LETTER TO A DEAR BROTHER WHO DESIRED TO SEE HIS WHOLE FAMILY SAVED

LETTER TO A DEAR BROTHER WHO DESIRED TO SEE HIS WHOLE FAMILY SAVED

Dear brother Robert, I appreciate your concern for your Roman Catholic family and your desire to see them saved. This is a genuine and longing desire of all those whom the Lord hath saved, i.e. not just our unsaved relatives but even our close friends and acquaintances may come to know the Lord and be saved as we are. Standing before king Agrippa bound in chains the Apostle said, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am (i.e. a Christian), except these bonds.” [Acts 26:29]

I have been preaching the gospel for a good thirty three years, and through all those years the Spirit of God hath in His mercy taught me many things, some of which are indeed pretty ‘hard sayings’ and one of them is the fact that many of our loved ones are going to die unsaved and there is nothing WE can do about it!

That’s right! There is nothing WE CAN DO to bring about the salvation of a loved one! Just like the natural birth the ‘spiritual birth’ is totally out of our hands! A legally married couple can copulate all their lives and still be childless, and similarly you can preach the Gospel and pray for someone’s salvation all your life and still see them die unsaved. “Human destiny” is settled NOT by “the will of man,” but by the will of God. To say that “human destiny” may be CHANGED by the will of man, is to make the creature’s will SUPREME, and that is, virtually, to DETHRONE GOD.

Yes we do not desire to see ANYONE LOST – not even our worst enemy – much less our loved ones and so we preach to them at every given opportunity and pray for them like everything depended on prayer and yet for all that the truth remains that the majority in our circle of both family and friends are just not ‘called’ period!

The ‘Gospel’ we preach ‘makes sense’ and means something ONLY to those ‘who are the called’! To the rest it is either a stumbling block or just plain foolishness! [1Cor 1:23,24]
As I have clarified in many of my posts, there is a GENERAL CALLING by means of the Word of God which is not accompanied by God’s effectual operation (which generates faith and love), but which comes to the external ear only. It leaves man in his natural state, who, in his wickedness, REJECTS THIS EXTERNAL CALL. He despises this call due to his free will which wills by way of necessary consequence. And this is true of MOST of our loved ones who are called externally (Matt. 22:5, 14).

As the beloved Spurgeon said long ago, “As a preacher I can only give the general call . . . God alone can give that Special Effectual Call!” And truth is: this ‘effectual call’ many times does not come to the dearest of God’s elect – sometimes their parents, sometimes their children and in some cases even their spouses hear only the ‘general call’ and by and by will die in their sins! This is an hard saying and not all can receive it . . . but to them to whom it is given!

Incidentally when God calls a man he usually calls him ALONE! In rare cases may be him and his brother or him and his sister etc, but hardly ever THE WHOLE FAMILY! Which is why following this effectual call of the believer there is a division in the family!

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword! For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household!” [Matt 10:34-36]

When GOD calls His child, He calls him alone, not him and his relatives or him and his friends! It is a PERSONAL CALL where you are required to pay a great price by forsaking those that are near and dear to you. Not everyone can pay this price but those and ONLY THOSE THAT ARE TRULY CALLED OF GOD!

“Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I CALLED HIM ALONE, and blessed him, and increased him.” [Isa 51:2].

Commenting on the above verse, A.W. Pink writes –

“Observe carefully the words “I called him ALONE.” Remember that this was while he dwelt in Ur, and as modern excavations have shown, that was a city of vast extent: out of all its huge number of inhabitants God revealed himself to ONE ONLY! The Lord here emphasized that very fact and calls upon us to mark the singularity of His election by this word “ALONE.” See here, then, the absolute sovereignty of God, exercising His own imperial will, choosing whom He pleases. He had mercy upon Abraham simply because He was pleased to do so, and He left the remainder of his countrymen in heathen darkness simply because it so seemed good in His sight. There was nothing more in Abraham than in any of his fellows why God should have selected HIM: whatever goodness was found in him later was what God Himself put there, and therefore it was the CONSEQUENCE and not the CAUSE of His choice.

Striking as is the case of Abraham’s own election, yet God’s dealings with his offspring is equally if not more noteworthy. Therein God furnished an epitome of what has largely characterized the history of all His elect, for it is a VERY RARE THING TO FIND A WHOLE FAMILY which (not simply makes a profession, but) gives evidence of enjoying His special favor. THE COMMON RULE IS THAT ONE IS TAKEN AND OTHER IS LEFT, for those who are given to really believe this precious but solemn truth, are made to experimentally realize its force in connection with their own kin. Thus Abraham’s own family furnished in his next and immediate successors, a prototype of the future experience of the elect”. [A.W. Pink – Gleanings in Genesis]

The ‘salvation’ of a fellow human being is TOTALLY OUT OF OUR HANDS. Like when Paul wrote concerning Christians married to unbelieving spouses – “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife”? [1Cor 7:16]
In other words WE DON’T KNOW!

Yes, God will save SOME of our loved ones, not because we preached or we prayed for them but because they are amongst His Elect! But as history proves the MAJORITY will go the way of all flesh and die in their sins!

“Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth!” [Rom 9:18]

“It is the LORD: let Him do what seemeth Him good!” [1Sam 3:18]

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight!” [Luke 10:21]

“Salvation is of the LORD!” [Jonah 2:9]

You know I have a favourite quote which I always quote concerning the unsaved – “As long as there is life there is hope”. To be very frank with you my dear Brother, I sometimes wonder how much truth there is to that saying. Yes, in a real sense we can hope while folks still have life, but you know what, there are some folks whom you interact with you just know in your heart that they are NOT GOING TO COME to the Lord. Call it a ‘hunch’ or ‘intuition’ or whatever, but there are some to whom it’s JUST NOT GIVEN! And as the Lord lamented they will die in their sins like the rest of the world!

That is not to say that God cannot prove our hunch or intuition wrong and save someone whom WE have written off, but generally speaking our judgment concerning many whom we hope to see saved is usually right. They are NOT the Lord’s sheep! Period!

Another thing I want to mention here which I have noticed in my thirty three years with the Lord is – generally speaking those whom the Lord calls He usually calls them either in their childhood or in the prime of their youth. This is not to say that God does not or cannot save older folk – but I have witnessed VERY FEW such conversions of older elderly people . . . they are usually pretty much set in their ways . . . they do not desire if you will the “new wine” they say the “old is better” or to put it in the language of the Book – “You cannot put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but new wine must be put into new bottles, and both are preserved.”

The more I read the Scriptures and preach the Gospel of God’s glorious grace the more I see that this matter of salvation is TOTALLY OUT OF OUR HANDS! Yes, as compassionate and loving human beings we never desire to see any one die ‘lost’ especially not our near and dear ones. But Oh how helpless we are in this regard! Our God continues to have mercy ON WHOM HE WILL and hardens WHOM HE WILL and there IS VERY LITTLE WE CAN DO ABOUT IT!

“It is the LORD: let Him do what seemeth Him good!” [1Sam 3:18]

And finally remember, no one for whom Christ died is going to wind up in Hell because YOU failed to preach to them and neither is anyone going to run up to you in Heaven, grab your hands and exclaim, “Oh thank you so much for sharing the Gospel with me dear Brother, if it wasn’t for YOU I wouldn’t be here!” God forbid!

“Salvation” is OF THE LORD from the first to the last and man has neither part nor lot in it!

“Not unto US, O LORD, not unto US, but unto THY NAME give glory, for THY mercy, and for THY truth’s sake!” [Psalm 115:1] Amen!

with much Love
thy Brother for whom Christ died
Michael Jeshurun

THE HINGE ON WHICH ALL DOCTRINE TURNS (2019)

THE HINGE ON WHICH ALL DOCTRINE TURNS (2019)

“There are few books which written over 400 years ago are still applicable today; Martin Luther’s masterpiece, The Boncage of the Will, is one of those books. Anyone desiring to know more about the root of dissent between Luther and the Catholic Church must read this book.

In his treatise Luther systematically demolishes Erasmus’ arguments in favor of free-will. Luther brilliantly illustrates why the will is in total and complete bondage and enslavement to sin, and why free-will is a completely meaningless term. Luther argues that the only thing the will is free to do is to sin and rebel against God.

Luther shows that salvation is totally dependent on the grace of God and His sovereign Will. To say that even a small part of the human will can prepare itself to receive God’s grace is an utterly ludricous sentiment. Erasmus believes that a human being by a very small effort can earn God’s grace. Luther totally destroys this view and shows that to espouse such a view makes one worse than the Pelagians, who held that it took numerous great works to earn God’s grace”.
[by Seth Aaron Lowry]

“This book is as applicable today as it was when Luther first wrote this book. When so many Protestant Churches hold to a soteriological view more akin to that of Erasmus, it is absolutely vital that the truth of the Reformation be brought back into the spotlight. Read this book to gain a greater understanding of the major area of disagreement among the Reformers and the Catholic Church of the time, and also to understand that our salvation is not predicated on any meritorious work that we accomplish, but simply on the grace of God.

The denial of free will was the position of the Reformation. The Reformers had always been settled on this crucial issue. This was the “manifesto” of the Reformation. On this issue the Gospel, and Reformation Christianity, stands or falls. The selling of indulgences and other ecclesiastical abuses were not the central issues. They were the occasion for the Reformation, not the cause. Luther at the end of his rebuttal, in his book ‘Bondage of the Will’, praises Erasmus thus:

“I give you hearty praise and commendation on this further account—that you alone, in contrast with others, have attacked the real thing, that is, the essential issue. You have not wearied me with those extraneous issues about the Papacy, purgatory, indulgences and such like trifles. . . . You, and you alone, have seen the hinge on which all turns, and aimed for the vital spot” (319).

Erasmus had understood the issues clearly and went straight for the jugular. If Erasmus had succeeded in this debate against Luther, Roman Catholicism would have triumphed, and the Reformation lost. What Erasmus failed to do 500 years ago, he now succeeds magnificently among the supposed posterity of the Reformation, who are even now returning to Rome.

If there is ever going to be a reclaiming of the Gospel, if there is ever going to be a second Reformation, this essential issue—the bondage of the will—must once again be proclaimed and successfully defended. No lesser victory will do”.

[Quoted from – ‘Martin Luther on Free-Will’ from The Highway]

OLD TESTAMENT CIRCUMCISION DOES NOT CORRESPOND TO INFANT BAPTISM

OLD TESTAMENT CIRCUMCISION DOES NOT CORRESPOND TO INFANT BAPTISM

The argument is this – “IF circumcision can be a sign of faith and righteousness, and still be given to all the male children of the Israelites (who don’t yet have faith for themselves), then why should not baptism can be given to the children of Christians even though it is a sign of faith and righteousness (which they don’t yet have)”?

ANSWER: The main problem with this argument is a wrong assumption about the similarity between the people of God in the Old Testament and the people of God today. It assumes that the way God gathered his covenant people, Israel, in the Old Testament and the way he is gathering his covenant people, the Church, today is so similar that the different signs of the covenant (baptism and circumcision) can be administered in the same way to both peoples. This is a mistaken assumption.

But first a word on WHY Bible believing Christians do not baptize their infants

1. In every New Testament command and instance of baptism the requirement of faith precedes baptism. So infants incapable of faith are not to be baptized.

2. There are no explicit instances of infant baptism in all the Bible. In the three “household baptisms” mentioned (household of Lydia, Acts 16:15; household of the Philippian jailer, Acts 16:30–33; household of Stephanus, 1 Corinthians 1:16) no mention is made of infants, and in the case of the Philippian jailer, Luke says explicitly, “they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house” (Acts 16:32), implying that the household who were baptized could understand the Word.

3. Paul (in Colossians 2:12) explicitly defined baptism as an act done through faith: “. . . having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God.” In baptism you were raised up with Christ through faith—your own faith, not your parents’ faith. If it is not “through faith”—if it is not an outward expression of inward faith—it is not baptism.

4.The apostle Peter, in his first letter, defined baptism this way, “. . . not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). Baptism is “an appeal to God for a good conscience.” It is an outward act and expression of inner confession and prayer to God for cleansing, that the one being baptized does, not his parents.

5. When the New Testament church debated in Acts 15 whether circumcision should still be required of believers as part of becoming a Christian, it is astonishing that not once in that entire debate did anyone say anything about baptism standing in the place of circumcision. If baptism is the simple replacement of circumcision as a sign of the new covenant, and thus valid for children as well as for adults, as circumcision was, surely this would have been the time to develop the argument and so show that circumcision was no longer necessary. But it is not even mentioned.

WHY IT IS NOT FITTING TO GIVE THE NEW COVENANT SIGN OF BAPTISM TO THE INFANTS

There are differences between the new covenant people called the Church and the old covenant people called Israel. And these differences explain why it was fitting to give the old covenant sign of circumcision to the infants of Israel, and why it is not fitting to give the new covenant sign of baptism to the infants of the Church. In other words, even though there is an overlap in meaning between baptism and circumcision (seen in Romans 4:11), circumcision and baptism don’t have the same role to play in the covenant people of God because the way God constituted his people in the Old Testament and the way he is constituting the Church today are fundamentally different.

Paul makes this plain in several places. Let’s look at two of them. Turn with me to Romans 9:6–8:
(6) But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; (7) nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac [not Ishmael] your descendants will be named.” (8) That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

What’s relevant in this text for our purpose is that there were two “Israels”: a physical Israel and a spiritual Israel. Verse 6b:”They are not all Israel [i.e., true spiritual Israel] who are descended from Israel [i.e., physical, religious Israel].” Yet God ordained that the whole, larger, physical, religious, national people of Israel be known as his covenant people and receive the sign of the covenant and the outward blessings of the covenant—such as the promised land (Genesis 17:8).

The covenant people in the Old Testament were mixed. They were all physical Israelites who were circumcised, but within that national-ethnic group there was a remnant of the true Israel, the true children of God (verse 8). This is the way God designed it to be: he bound himself by covenant to an ethnic people and their descendants; he gave them all the sign of the covenant, circumcision, but he worked within that ethnic group to call out a true people for himself.

How Is the Church a Continuation of Israel?

Now the question for us is: is the New Testament Church—the Church today—a continuation of the larger mixed group of ethnic, religious, national Israel, or is the Church a continuation of the remnant of the true sons of Abraham who are children of God by faith in Christ? Are we a Spirit-born, new covenant community with the law of God written on our hearts and defined by faith? We don’t need to guess at this.

Paul makes the answer clear in Galatians 4:22–28:
(22) For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman [Ishmael, born to Hagar] and one by the free woman [Isaac, born to Sarah]. (23) But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. . . . (28) And you brethren [the Church], like Isaac, are children of promise.

Now who is “you brethren”? They are the Church. The Church is not to be a mixed heritage like Abraham’s seed. The Church is not to be like Israel—a physical multitude and in it a small remnant of true saints. The Church is the saints, by definition. The Church continues the remnant. As verse 28 says, the Church is “like Isaac, children of promise.”

The people of the covenant in the Old Testament were made up of Israel according to the flesh—an ethnic, national, religious people containing “children of the flesh” and “children of God. “Therefore it was fitting that circumcision was given to all the children of the flesh.

But the people of the new covenant, called the Church of Jesus Christ, is being built in a fundamentally different way. The church is not based on any ethnic, national distinctives but on the reality of faith alone, by grace alone in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Church is not a continuation of Israel as a whole; it is a continuation of the true Israel, the remnant—not the children of the flesh, but the children of promise.

THEREFORE, IT IS NOT FITTING THAT THE CHILDREN BORN MERELY ACCORDING TO THE FLESH RECEIVE THE SIGN OF THE COVENANT, BAPTISM.

The church is the new covenant community—”This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25)—we say when we take communion. The new covenant is the spiritual work of God to put his Spirit within us, write the law on our hearts, and cause us to walk in his statutes. It is a spiritually authentic community. Unlike the old covenant community it is defined by true spiritual life and faith. Having these things is what it means to belong to the Church. Therefore to give the sign of the covenant, baptism, to those who are merely children of the flesh and who give no evidence of new birth or the presence of the Spirit or the law written on their heart or of vital faith in Christ is to contradict the meaning of the new covenant community and to go backwards in redemptive history.

The Church is not a replay of Israel. It is an advance on Israel. To administer the sign of the covenant as though this advance has not happened is a great mistake. We do not baptize our children according to the flesh, not because we don’t love them, but because we want to preserve for them the purity and the power of the spiritual community that God ordained for the believing church of the living Christ.

I pray that you will be persuaded of these things, and that many who have been holding back will be baptized, not to comply with any church constitution, but by faith and obedience to glorify the great new covenant work of God in your life. Have you been washed by the blood of the Lamb? Are your sins forgiven? Have you died with Christ and risen by faith to walk in newness of life? Does the Spirit of Christ dwell in you? Is the law being written on your heart? Come, then, and signify this in baptism, and glorify God’s great new covenant work in your life.

[Quoted from Desiring God]

OBJECTIONS OF THOSE WHO JUSTIFY CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS ANSWERED! (2019)

OBJECTIONS OF THOSE WHO JUSTIFY CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS ANSWERED! (2019)

Michael Jeshurun

These objections are from a letter written to us in objection to the tract- “The Christian and Christmas’!

OBJECTION NO.1 
Are you saying saved people will end up in hell because they practice Christmas? This is not possible. But, if you are using the word ‘Christian’ to mean the nominal unsaved person who thinks they are Christian, then he will end up in hell anyway, regardless of Christmas.
We expose the darkness of Christmas dear friend not to suggest that a saved Christian will wind up in Hell if he celebrates Christmas, but to provoke and challenge everyone who claims to be Christian to examine himself whether he is truly a Christian. A Christian is not at liberty to take anything and everything and ‘sanctify’ it to the Lord in worship. This is what the ‘Regulative Principle of Worship’ is all about. A Christian cannot take that which is obviously Pagan and ‘sanctify’ it for the Lord! But even if after receiving clear light on the matter the Christian insists to do so, he must examine himself whether he be in the Faith! 

“the nominal unsaved person who thinks he is Christian, will end up in hell anway, regardless of Christmas. So why make a fuss?”. This is the most sickening statement one can make with regards to preaching. The nominal Christian will wind up in Hell anyway, so why make a fuss about anything?!

Dearly beloved, with all the spirit of discernment we have, we have no way of knowing who the nominal’s are as opposed to true Christians. And the preacher who goes about his preaching with this attitude and mindset can never be genuine or zealous in his preaching. The greatest Evangelist of them all said, “we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”! [Col 1:28]

Who the elect or the nonelect are, is none of our business. The commission He has given His servants is to preach the Gospel to and to warn every creature, and they certainly have not fully obeyed until they bid their hearers “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). Whom God quickens, is His own affair; ours is to faithfully warn all the unsaved, to show wherein their sins consists, to bid them to throw down the weapons of their warfare against Him, to call upon them to repent (Acts 17:30), to proclaim the One who receives all who come to Him in faith.

OBJECTION NO. 2

“This is a very harsh thing to say. Most have no idea what Christmas is. They cannot just be condemned out of hand”.

This may have been true say even ten years ago, but anymore. With the coming of the ‘Information technology’ at least 90% of all so called Christians know or at least have heard that this festival is spoken against by many Christians the world over. Last year our own secular ‘Daily News paper’ had a full page article questioning the origins of Christmas. And this is one of the reasons that I did not take any pains to reiterate what many Christians have already exposed, i.e. the roots of all that goes with this Pagan practice….the tree, Santa Claus, the Star etc.

And the Holy Spirit is faithful to lead all His elect into ALL truth. And should a newly born again Christian hear for the first time that Christmas is Pagan then it is his bounden duty to examine whether it be so! Ignorance is not bliss in the Christian walk!

OBJECTION NO. 3

“And what of those Christians who hold Christmas just as a holiday? They do not use it as a disguise… it is just a holiday time”.

How lukewarm can you get! ChristMASS is an abomination done in the name of my Lord who shed His blood for me! I could care less about Ramadan or Halloween, for it does not blaspheme my Lord’s name. But as one said – “The Christian has a moral imperative to examine what is proclaimed and done in Jesus’ Name, and to expose and condemn false teaching and unbiblical behaviour.”

The true Christian is not content with having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reproves (EXPOSES) them! [Eph 5:11]. To stick your head in the sand and pretend everything’s okay and have a ‘holiday’ is no mark of a Christian. What is written concerning the Head is also true concerning all those who belong to the body ….i.e. “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up”!!!

OBJECTION NO. 4

“Many do not enter into ‘merrymaking’… our friend is making general statements about people he does not know”.

Many do not, but sadly many do! And it is for these many for whom this tract against Christmas is written. And incidentally this is a direct quote from Pink’s tract on Xmas! Brethren, you have to remember that when a message is preached warning people of evil, that same message is bound to be heard also by those who are not guilty of the said evil. So was Pink wrong in saying that many are merrymaking because a few don’t?! All preaching against any given sin is done with the admonition –“If the shoe fits, wear it”!

Every time a preacher stands up and exhorts a multitude to forsake a certain sin, there will always be those in that same multitude who are not in the least guilty of that sin. So should the preacher be silenced lest he offend the sinless few! Absurd!
J. C. Ryle was right when he wrote in his warning to the Churches- “Surely the dumb dog and the sleeping shepherd are the best allies of the wolf, the thief and the robber.”

OBJECTION NO. 5

“Yes, you are right to give the truth… but must be careful not to appear to be hateful towards the brethren”.

This comment was made in response to the words – “Without labouring the point, I as a true child of God should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather exposes them [Eph 5:11], not that I might be saved, but because I am! It cannot be overstressed that ‘Christmas’ is a worldly festival, and everything connected to it – (the Christmas Tree, Santa Claus, the Mistletoe, the elves all of them) has a Satanic significance. And God’s Word makes it plain that if I am a friend of the world then I am the enemy of God”!

Is it hateful to warn a professing Christian to examine himself whether he is a friend or the enemy of God? Surely then as John was the Apostle of ‘love’, James must have been the Apostle of Hate! For the whole verse reads – “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”![Jam 4:4]. James opens this letter addressing them as ‘Beloved brethren’ and now he chides them as ‘adulterers and adulteresses’. Is something wrong?! ‘If the shoe fits wear it’ or Scripturally- “he that hath ears to hear let him hear’!

The Psalmist said, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head” [Psa 141:5]. And the Apostle asks – “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth”? [Gal 4:16]

Dear Brothers, without laboring the point, this Tract on Christmas or others like it are not written to say believers go to Hell for celebrating Christmas. But this knowing willful participation in this abomination may just be a symptom of a frightening truth – i.e. an unregenerate heart!

This is what it means to sin willfully after receiving a knowledge of the truth. When a professing Christian adamantly says – “I don’t care what the Bible says, or history proves, I am going to take this ‘Pagan festival’ and sanctify it for the Lord”, then it must be questioned whether such an one is truly a child of God!

Sure, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus! But those who are in Christ Jesus are classified not as those who do as they please but those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit! [see Rom 8:1]Those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God! Not those who rebelliously do whatever is right in their own eyes.

OBJECTION NO. 6

But isn’t Christmas a great opportunity to preach Christ to our loved ones. Surely they are more open to the truth during this season.

John MacArthur says “I do see Christmas concerts attracting people to the church”(GC-2022). Those who say this are ignorant of the fact that men’s hearts are the same in every season. And again, would God truly honour the witnessing efforts of those who observe Rome’s traditions which are an abomination to Him? The idea that men’s hearts are more receptive to the gospel during the Christmas season is a delusion of those who seek to compromise.

On the other hand I think if you withdrew yourself from celebrating Christmas, this would raise eyebrows and the unbelievers would ask (at least out of curiosity) why you don’t celebrate Xmas when the whole world is doing so. Then you can use this as an opening and preach not just Christ but the whole truth about true and false Christianity!

OBJECTION NO. 7

“We know, that many who are believers follow silly or even evil ways. But, it does not mean they are lost, or that God will destroy them…”

Sure there are many true believers caught in sin who are praying for deliverance. But the stubborn Christian who justifies this pagan celebration is not one who is helplessly caught in sin, but one who deliberately is suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and is determined to offer strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded us not [Lev 10:1,2]. The Lord Jesus came to save His people from their sins not in their sins! In all His dealings with us God acts in grace, but His grace ever reigns “through righteousness,” and never at the expense of it! [Pink]

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” [Proverbs 28:13]. To seek to be justified by Christ while deliberately following a known course of sin, is one of the greatest delusions of the Devil!

IS THE LORD’S DAY SATURDAY OR SUNDAY AND ARE CHRISTIANS REQUIRED TO OBSERVE IT?

IS THE LORD’S DAY SATURDAY OR SUNDAY AND ARE CHRISTIANS REQUIRED TO OBSERVE IT?

Compiled by Michael Jeshurun

One day of rest following six days of labour without getting hung-up on whether that should be a Saturday or a Sunday is our admonition to Christians. Denominations have been founded on whether Saturday or Sunday is the Sabbath which should be observed. So rest on the seventh day after six days of labour and if you have an opportunity to do good on that day of rest (like rescuing your neighbor’s ass that has fallen in a pit etc) do that also.

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” [Rom 14:5,6]

Here’s a quote from A.W. Pink on this –

“After all our articles on the Christianization of the Sabbath, especially the exposition of Hebrews 4:8-10, there is little need for us to refute seriatim (point by point) the errors of those who insist that the Sabbath should, even now, be kept on Saturday rather than Sunday. The essential feature to be noted is that God requires us to set apart one seventh of our time and consecrate the same unto His worship. Nowhere in the Scriptures is it specified that the Lord ever commanded any people to observe the seventh day of the week—rather six days of work (without defining which days) followed by one of rest. Nor does the transference of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday involve any alteration in the Law, but merely a change in its administration.

It is true that the Apostles for a season, while their ministry had a special regard for the Jews (Rom. 1:16), for the conversion of that remnant among them according to the election of grace, went frequently into their synagogues on the seventh day to preach the Gospel (Acts 13:14; 16:13, etc). Yet it is evident they did so only to take opportunity of their assemblies, that they might preach to greater numbers of them, and that at a time when they were prepared to attend unto sacred things. Upon the same ground and for the same reason we find Paul endeavouring to be at Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost (Acts 20:16). But we nowhere read that Christians at any time assembled together on the seventh day for the worship of God.”  – (A.W. Pink ‘The Holy Sabbath’)

The following is an excerpt from “Christians and Biblical Law” by Dr. Tom R. Schreiner. Schreiner not only coherently answers the tough questions concerning the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day, but also writes clearly and engagingly that the pastor, student, and layperson can easily understand God’s mind on this much controversial subject.

“I do not believe the Sabbath is required for believers now that the new covenant has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. I should say, first of all, that it is not my purpose to reiterate what I wrote about the Sabbath in the Gospels since the Sabbath texts were investigated there. Here it is my purpose to pull the threads together in terms of the validity of the Sabbath for today. Strictly speaking, Jesus does not clearly abolish the Sabbath, nor does he violate its stipulations. Yet the focus on regulations that is evident in Jubilees, Qumran, and in the Mishnah is absent in Jesus’ teaching. He reminded his hearers that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Some sectors of Judaism clearly had lost this perspective, so that the Sabbath had lost its humane dimension. They were so consumed with rules that they had forgotten mercy (Matt. 12:7). Jesus was grieved at the hardness of the Pharisees’ hearts, for they lacked love for those suffering (Mark 3:5).

Jesus’ observance of the Sabbath does not constitute strong evidence for its continuation in the new covenant. His observance of the Sabbath makes excellent sense, for he lived under the Old Testament law. He was “born under the law” as Paul says (Gal. 4:4). On the other hand, a careful reading of the Gospel accounts intimates that the Sabbath will not continue to play a significant role. Jesus proclaims as the Son of Man that he is the “lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28). The Sabbath does not rule over him, but he rules over the Sabbath. He is the new David, the Messiah, to whom the Sabbath and all the Old Testament Scriptures point (Matt. 12:3–4). Indeed, Jesus even claimed in John 5:17 that he, like his Father, works on the Sabbath. Working on the Sabbath, of course, is what the Old Testament prohibits, but Jesus claimed that he must work on the Sabbath since he is equal with God (John 5:18).

It is interesting to consider here the standpoint of the ruler of the synagogue in Luke 13:10–17. He argued that Jesus should heal on the other six days of the week and not on the Sabbath. On one level this advice seems quite reasonable, especially if the strict views of the Sabbath that were common in Judaism were correct. What is striking is that Jesus deliberately healed on the Sabbath. Healing is what he “ought” (dei) to do on the Sabbath day (Luke 13:16). It seems that he did so to demonstrate his superiority to the Sabbath and to hint that it is not in force forever. There may be a suggestion in Luke 4:16–21 that Jesus fulfills the Jubilee of the Old Testament (Lev. 25). The rest and joy anticipated in Jubilee is fulfilled in him, and hence the rest and feasting of the Sabbath find their climax in Jesus.

We would expect the Sabbath to no longer be in force since it was the covenant sign of the Mosaic covenant, and, as I have argued elsewhere in this book, it is clear that believers are no longer under the Sinai covenant. Therefore, they are no longer bound by the sign of the covenant either. The Sabbath, as a covenant sign, celebrated Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, but the Exodus points forward, according to New Testament writers, to redemption in Christ. Believers in Christ were not freed from Egypt, and hence the covenant sign of Israel does not apply to them.

It is clear in Paul’s letters that the Sabbath is not binding upon believers. In Colossians Paul identifies the Sabbath as a shadow along with requirements regarding foods, festivals, and the new moon (Col. 2:16–17). The Sabbath, in other words, points to Christ and is fulfilled in him. The word for “shadow” (skia) that Paul uses to describe the Sabbath is the same term the author of Hebrews used to describe Old Testament sacrifices. The law is only a “shadow (skia) of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities” (Heb. 10:1). The argument is remarkably similar to what we see in Colossians: both contrast elements of the law as a shadow with the “substance” (sōma, Col. 2:17) or the “form” (eikona, Heb. 10:1) found in Christ. Paul does not denigrate the Sabbath. He salutes its place in salvation history, for, like the Old Testament sacrifices, though not in precisely the same way, it prepared the way for Christ. I know of no one who thinks Old Testament sacrifices should be instituted today; and when we compare what Paul says about the Sabbath with such sacrifices, it seems right to conclude that he thinks the Sabbath is no longer binding.

Some argue, however, that “Sabbath” in Colossians 2:16 does not refer to the weekly Sabbaths but only to sabbatical years. But this is a rather desperate expedient, for the most prominent day in the Jewish calendar was the weekly Sabbath. We know from secular sources that it was the observance of the weekly Sabbath that attracted the attention of Gentiles (Juvenal, Satires 14.96–106; Tacitus, Histories 5.4). Perhaps sabbatical years are included here, but the weekly Sabbath should not be excluded, for it would naturally come to the mind of both Jewish and Gentile readers. What Paul says here is remarkable, for he lumps the Sabbath together with food laws, festivals like Passover, and new moons. All of these constitute shadows that anticipate the coming of Christ. Very few Christians think we must observe food laws, Passover, and new moons. But if this is the case, then it is difficult to see why the Sabbath should be observed since it is placed together with these other matters.

Another crucial text on the Sabbath is Romans 14:5: “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” In Romans 14:1–15:6 Paul mainly discusses food that some—almost certainly those influenced by Old Testament food laws—think is defiled. Paul clearly teaches, in contrast to Leviticus 11:1–44 and Deuteronomy 14:3–21, that all foods are clean (Rom. 14:14, 20) since a new era of redemptive history has dawned. In other words, Paul sides theologically with the strong in the argument, believing that all foods are clean. He is concerned, however, that the strong avoid injuring and damaging the weak. The strong must respect the opinions of the weak (Rom. 14:1) and avoid arguments with them. Apparently the weak were not insisting that food laws and the observance of days were necessary for salvation, for if that were the case they would be proclaiming another gospel (cf. Gal. 1:8–9; 2:3–5; 4:10; 5:2–6), and Paul would not tolerate their viewpoint. Probably the weak believed that one would be a stronger Christian if one kept food laws and observed days. The danger for the weak was that they would judge the strong (Rom. 14:3–4), and the danger for the strong was that they would despise the weak (Rom. 14:3, 10). In any case, the strong seem to have had the upper hand in the Roman congregations, for Paul was particularly concerned that they not damage the weak.

Nevertheless, a crucial point must not be overlooked. Even though Paul watches out for the consciences of the weak, he holds the viewpoint of the strong on both food laws and days. John Barclay rightly argues that Paul subtly (or not so discreetly!) undermines the theological standpoint of the weak since he argues that what one eats and what days one observes are a matter of no concern. The Old Testament, on the other hand, is clear on the matter. The foods one eats and the days one observes are ordained by God. He has given clear commands on both of these issues. Hence, Paul’s argument is that such laws are no longer valid since believers are not under the Mosaic covenant. Indeed, the freedom to believe that all days are alike surely includes the Sabbath, for the Sabbath naturally would spring to the mind of Jewish readers since they kept the Sabbath weekly.

Paul has no quarrel with those who desire to set aside the Sabbath as a special day, as long as they do not require it for salvation or insist that other believers agree with them. Those who esteem the Sabbath as a special day are to be honored for their point of view and should not be despised or ridiculed. Others, however, consider every day to be the same. They do not think that any day is more special than another. Those who think this way are not to be judged as unspiritual. Indeed, there is no doubt that Paul held this opinion, since he was strong in faith instead of being weak. It is crucial to notice what is being said here. If the notion that every day of the week is the same is acceptable, and if it is Paul’s opinion as well, then it follows that Sabbath regulations are no longer binding. The strong must not impose their convictions on the weak and should be charitable to those who hold a different opinion, but Paul clearly has undermined the authority of the Sabbath in principle, for he does not care whether someone observes one day as special. He leaves it entirely up to one’s personal opinion. But if the Sabbath of the Old Testament were still in force, Paul could never say this, for the Old Testament makes incredibly strong statements about those who violate the Sabbath, and the death penalty is even required in some instances. Paul is living under a different dispensation, that is, a different covenant, for now he says it does not matter whether one observes one day out of seven as a Sabbath.

Some argue against what is defended here by appealing to the creation order. As noted above, the Sabbath for Israel is patterned after God’s creation of the world in seven days. What is instructive, however, is that the New Testament never appeals to Creation to defend the Sabbath. Jesus appealed to the creation order to support his view that marriage is between one man and one woman for life (Mark 10:2–12). Paul grounded his opposition to women teaching or exercising authority over men in the creation order (1 Tim. 2:12–13), and homosexuality is prohibited because it is contrary to nature (Rom. 1:26–27), in essence, to God’s intention when he created men and women. Similarly, those who ban believers from eating certain foods and from marriage are wrong because both food and marriage are rooted in God’s good creation (1 Tim. 4:3–5). We see nothing similar with the Sabbath. Never does the New Testament ground it in the created order. Instead, we have very clear verses that say it is a “shadow” and that it does not matter whether believers observe it. So, how do we explain the appeal to creation with reference to the Sabbath? It is probably best to see creation as an analogy instead of as a ground. The Sabbath was the sign of the Mosaic covenant, and since the covenant has passed away, so has the covenant sign.

Now it does not follow from this that the Sabbath has no significance for believers. It is a shadow, as Paul said, of the substance that is now ours in Christ. The Sabbath’s role as a shadow is best explicated by Hebrews, even if Hebrews does not use the word for “shadow” in terms of the Sabbath. The author of Hebrews sees the Sabbath as foreshadowing the eschatological rest of the people of God (Heb. 4:1–10). A “Sabbath rest” still awaits God’s people (v. 9), and it will be fulfilled on the final day when believers rest from earthly labors. The Sabbath, then, points to the final rest of the people of God. But since there is an already-but-not-yet character to what Hebrews says about rest, should believers continue to practice the Sabbath as long as they are in the not-yet? I would answer in the negative, for the evidence we have in the New Testament points in the contrary direction. We remember that the Sabbath is placed together with food laws and new moons and Passover in Colossians 2:16, but there is no reason to think that we should observe food laws, Passover, and new moons before the consummation. Paul’s argument is that believers now belong to the age to come and the requirements of the old covenant are no longer binding.

Does the Lord’s Day, that is, Christians worshiping on the first day of the week, constitute a fulfillment of the Sabbath? The references to the Lord’s Day in the New Testament are sparse. In Troas believers gathered “on the first day of the week . . . to break bread” and they heard a long message from Paul (Acts 20:7). Paul commands the Corinthians to set aside money for the poor “on the first day of every week” (1 Cor. 16:2). John heard a loud voice speaking to him “on the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10). These scattered hints suggest that the early Christians at some point began to worship on the first day of the week. The practice probably has its roots in the resurrection of Jesus, for he appeared to his disciples “the first day of the week” (John 20:19). All the Synoptics emphasize that Jesus rose on the first day of the week, i.e., Sunday: “very early on the first day of the week” (Mark 16:2; cf. Matt. 28:1; Luke 24:1). The fact that each of the Gospels stresses that Jesus was raised on the first day of the week is striking. But we have no indication that the Lord’s Day functions as a fulfillment of the Sabbath. It is likely that gathering together on the Lord’s Day stems from the earliest church, for we see no debate on the issue in church history, which is quite unlikely if the practice originated in Gentile churches outside Israel. By way of contrast, we think of the intense debate in the first few centuries on the date of Easter. No such debate exists regarding the Lord’s Day.

The early roots of the Lord’s Day are verified by the universal practice of the Lord’s Day in Gentile churches in the second century. It is not surprising that many Jewish Christians continued to observe the Sabbath as well. One segment of the Ebionites practiced the Lord’s Day and the Sabbath. Their observance of both is instructive, for it shows that the Lord’s Day was not viewed as the fulfillment of the Sabbath but as a separate day.

Most of the early church fathers did not practice or defend literal Sabbath observance (cf. Diognetus 4:1) but interpreted the Sabbath eschatologically and spiritually. They did not see the Lord’s Day as a replacement of the Sabbath but as a unique day. For instance, in the Epistle of Barnabas, the Sabbaths of Israel are contrasted with “the eighth day” (15:8), and the latter is described as “a beginning of another world.” Barnabas says that “we keep the eighth day” (which is Sunday), for it is “the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead” (15:9). The Lord’s Day was not viewed as a day in which believers abstained from work, as was the case with the Sabbath. Instead, it was a day in which most believers were required to work, but they took time in the day to meet together in order to worship the Lord. The contrast between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day is clear in Ignatius, when he says, “If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death” (To the Magnesians 9:1). Ignatius, writing about A.D. 110, specifically contrasts the Sabbath with the Lord’s Day, showing that he did not believe the latter replaced the former. Bauckham argues that the idea that the Lord’s day replaced the Sabbath is post-Constantinian. Luther saw rest as necessary but did not tie it to Sunday. A stricter interpretation of the Sabbath became more common with the Puritans, along with the Seventh-Day Baptists and later the Seventh-Day Adventists.

 SUMMARY

Believers are not obligated to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the sign of the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant and the Sabbath as the covenant sign are no longer applicable now that the new covenant of Jesus Christ has come. Believers are called upon to honor and respect those who think the Sabbath is still mandatory for believers. But if one argues that the Sabbath is required for salvation, such a teaching is contrary to the gospel and should be resisted forcefully. In any case, Paul makes it clear in both Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16–17 that the Sabbath has passed away now that Christ has come.

It is wise naturally for believers to rest, and hence one principle that could be derived from the Sabbath is that believers should regularly rest. But the New Testament does not specify when that rest should take place, nor does it set forth a period of time when that rest should occur. We must remember that the early Christians were required to work on Sundays. They worshiped the Lord on the Lord’s Day, the day of Jesus’ resurrection, but the early Christians did not believe the Lord’s Day fulfilled or replaced the Sabbath. The Sabbath pointed toward eschatological rest in Christ, which believers enjoy in part now and will enjoy fully on the Last Day.

AS A SAVED CHRISTIAN GOD NOW COMMANDS YOU TO REPENT OF OBSERVING PAGAN HOLIDAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EASTER (2019)

AS A SAVED CHRISTIAN GOD NOW COMMANDS YOU TO REPENT OF OBSERVING PAGAN HOLIDAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EASTER (2019)

That’s right! It’s that awkward time of the year that I almost wish didn’t come around. The time to tell Christians that the Christmas they’ve been celebrating all along has nothing to do with either the Jesus they worship or the Bible they claim to follow. It’s that time when nominal colors really begin to show, when compromising Christian folk will use all kinds of arguments and sickening excuses to justify their little Christmas idol. But as an iconoclast I have to smash it . . . . even at the cost of losing some ‘friends’ and family! So help me God!

THIS is what sets me apart from your average run of the mill preacher, beloved! I am not here to ‘win friends and influence people’ . . . I tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may! – Michael Jeshurun

“For what peace in the Church without Truth? All conformity to anything else is but the agreement of Herod and Pilate to destroy Christ and His Kingdom”. And again, “An agreement without truth is no peace, but a covenant with death, a league with hell, a conspiracy against the Kingdom of Christ and a stout rebellion against the God of Heaven”. [John Owen]

God does not want His church to take pagan days, and those pagan and popish rites and paraphernalia that go with them and adapt them to Christian use. He simply commands us to abolish them altogether from the face of the earth forever. YOU may not be offended by the Easter eggs and the Easter bunnies and the selection of a pagan day to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, but GOD is offended! God commands us to get rid of the monuments and paraphernalia of paganism!

If your wife was promiscuous before you married her would you be offended if she had pictures of her old boyfriends on her dresser? Would it bother you if she celebrated the various anniversaries relating to her past relationships? Would you be offended if she kept and cherished the various rings, jewelry and mementos given to her by her old boyfriends? Of course you would be offended! The Lord God is infinitely more zealous of His honor than you are; He is a jealous God. Could Israel take festival days to Baal, Ashteroth, Dagon and Molech and alter them to make them pleasing to God? Of course not! The Bible makes very clear which kings of Judah pleased God the most. God is pleased when idols, their temples, their religious dress, earrings, sacred houses, sacred trees, poles, ornaments, rites, names and days are utterly cut off from the earth, never again to be restored.

God wants His bride to eliminate forever the monuments, the days, the paraphernalia and the mementos of idolatry. “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:2-3). “Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods” (Deut. 12:31).

Christians must not only put away the monuments of past idolatry but also everything associated with present idolatry. Easter like Christmas is one of the most important holy day in Roman Catholicism. The term ‘Easter’ is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch [Passover and the Feast of Unleavens] was a continuation of the Jewish [that is, God’s] feast….from this Pasch the pagan festival of ‘Easter’ was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity.” (W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, article: Easter, p.192)

The Roman Catholic Church hates the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Roman church uses human inventions, such as Christmas and Easter, to keep millions of people in darkness. The fact that millions of Bible-believing Protestants are observing a Roman Catholic holy day which has not been commanded anywhere in God’s Word reveals the sad state of modern Evangelicalism.

“We cannot conform, communicate, and symbolize with the idolatrous Papists, in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation.” Our attitude should be that of the Protestant Reformer Bucer who said, “I would to God that every holy day whatsoever besides the Lord’s day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the Word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names.”

The common objection against the argument that pagan monuments must be abolished is that these things occurred so long ago as to be harmless to us. But this is totally untrue. Not only do we have the present idolatry of Romanism, but there is a revival going on at this very moment in Europe and North America of the old pagan European religions. The radical feminist movement is presently reviving the fertility goddesses and gods of the ancient Near East. God’s law-Word says to get rid of the monuments to idolatry. God’s law is not rendered null and void with the passage of time.

The ONLY day that God has authorized as a holy day is the Lord’s day. If the church wants to please Jesus Christ and honor Him, then it should do so by keeping His day and by setting an example to the outside world. When Christians make Easter or Christmas more special than the Lord’s Day, they disobey the teachings of Christ and dishonor His day!

[copied from sources on the web]

 ‘THANKSGIVING’ WHAT IT MEANS TO ME

 ‘THANKSGIVING’ WHAT IT MEANS TO ME

Many Americans will celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’ this month. Some will sincerely thank the Lord for all that He is to them and all that He has done for them, while the majority will only be concerned about the ‘roast Turkey’, the booze and the revelry.

I just wanted to share in a few words what the word ‘Thanksgiving’ itself means to me personally.

The Pharisee in the temple prayed, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers …etc.” Truth is, I too many times pray thus, but not in pride or self-righteousness, but in humility and a deep sense of thankfulness! For by the grace of God I am what I am! And by that same grace I have been taught and established in the doctrine of the ‘Absolute Sovereignty of God’ to realize full well that but for God’s sovereign choice I could have been the Pharaoh, Saul or Judas or any one of the ‘many’ vessels of wrath prepared afore for destruction! And I would have had no say in the matter whatsoever. A contemplation of this truly makes me shudder at who Jehovah really is!

On the other hand I look around me and see people who are so morally good and religiously faithful (unlike me), but notwithstanding are lost; my heart melts with gratitude and thankfulness for the God who CHOSE ME to be His son! As the apostle said- “Behold, WHAT MANNER OF LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. [1John 3:1] And again, “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY he saved us! [Titus 3:5].

The objector to God’s Sovereign grace questions God saying “why hast Thou made me thus”? And the Apostle rightly rebukes him for this! But I too often times find myself asking this very question. Not in rebellion or hatred to God’s sovereignty, but in sheer awesomeness and awareness of my own unworthiness! As the Psalmist exclaimed , “Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto”? [2Sam 7;18] Or as Mephibosheth after him, “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a DEAD DOG AS I AM”? [2Sam 9:8]

Spurgeon commenting on this verse says –

“If Mephibosheth was thus humbled by David’s kindness, what shall WE be in the presence of our gracious Lord? The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves, for grace, like light, reveals our impurity. Eminent saints have scarcely known TO WHAT TO COMPARE THEMSELVES, their sense of unworthiness has been so clear and keen. “I am,” says holy Rutherford, “a dry and withered branch, a piece of dead carcass, dry bones, and not able to step over a straw.” In another place he writes, “Except as to open outbreakings, I want nothing of what Judas and Cain had.”

I believe we shall never grasp the awesomeness of what it means to be saved until we grasp the awesomeness of what it means to be LOST FOR ETERNITY. So terrible is this that the Master said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the WHOLE WORLD, and lose his OWN SOUL? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? [Mark 8:36,37] And again – “it had been good for that man if HE HAD NOT BEEN BORN”. [Mat 26:24]. As an ex-Satanist I have had some horrific experiences with demons, and to think that the one who is damned to Hell will spend an eternity with them is more frightening and fearful than tongue can tell! [See Matt 25:41]

And when we begin to understand that I of my own free will would have never chosen the Lord and on the contrary was enmity itself toward Him, it breaks and melts my heart beyond measure so that I realize my unworthiness and exclaim with Peter, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord”. [Luke 5:8].

Another comforting thought and experience in my Christian walk is that not only has He saved me but KEEPS ME SAVED! Oh how oft have we provoked him and grieved Him with our sins. Both sins of omission and sins of commission. And that in spite of a sound knowledge of the Word! But praise His Name He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities [Psa 103:10]. But as a father pitieth his children he pitieth us remembering that we are dust! As the grand old hymn says –

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again. [Hallelujah!]

Once again I look around and see men schooled in some of the best Universities and Theological Seminaries money can afford, and yet for all that they are as blind as a bat and deaf as an adder concerning the knowledge of God and His ways. And here I am the dumbest in my family and with not so much education as most of them had , and yet the Lord Jesus has come and given me an understanding of who the Mighty Jehovah is and His ways, all because He sovereignly chose to do so!

Even when many Christians who claim to know Him are deluded with the devil’s lies,  speaking of ‘the free will of man’ and ‘creature ability’ – Christ has chosen to teach me the true doctrine of my Total Depravity and His Absolute Sovereignty and what the plan of God is concerning His dealings with men. A knowledge known and understood ONLY by Divine revelation. Oh I am not worthy of this. Thank you Jesus!

Again how thankful should we be for the Holy Spirit who comes to us again and again in our times of discouragement and despair, when we no longer feel the presence of God because of some disobedience. In times like these the Spirit comes to us and assures us that WE ARE STILL GOD’S CHILDREN and brings to mind every verse we know on assurance; assuring us that God will never leave us nor forsake us and that He hath inscribed us on the palms of His hand!

Oh Beloved, He is not called the Comforter without a good reason. Many a time this is the only comfort we ever get! Friends, theologians and well-meaning loved ones most often turn out to be like Job’s comforters! [see Job 16:2]. But our Lord has ALWAYS been our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble!

Dearly Beloved, I wrote all this because I just wanted to share with someone what God has done for my soul and how gracious He has been to me in healing my backsliding and loving me freely [Hosea 14:4]. Yes many a time I have become quite bitter and exclaimed with Jeremiah- “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His Name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay”. [Jer 20:9] ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord say so whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy! [Psa 107:2]

Love
Michael Jeshurun

JESUS IS NOT THE ANSWER!

JESUS IS NOT THE ANSWER!

Michael Jeshurun

Almost every evangelistic meeting in our day advertises this promising message- Jesus is the answer! You’ve tried everything else, now try Jesus! Or Pick Jesus and He will solve your problems, etc.

We are here to tell you that Jesus is not ‘the answer’ for the social, moral and financial evils which plague mankind.

Christ is not here to deliver the alcoholic or the drug addict or cure the cancer patient or solve someone’s financial woes! His mission always was and still is in His own Words – “To seek and to save that which was lost!” [Luke 19:10]

Yes, Jesus IS the ‘answer’ but only to them who are truly ‘lost’ and subsequently ‘called’, but to the rest He is as the apostle said, “a stumbling block”! [1Cor 1:23,24]

Jesus came not to set right the moral and social evils of the world, or for that matter to solve men’s financial problems and give them a prosperous life. He came to seek and to save that which was lost!

WHO are these ‘Lost’?

They are those whom the Father chose from before the foundation of the world and permitted to be lost through the Fall only to be sought, found and be redeemed by Christ. They are those whom He calls sheep as opposed to goats! [Matt 25:32] It is for these and these alone that Christ came, and of all these ‘lost’ He loses NONE! “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day!” [John 6:39]

And unlike Darius “who would gladly have saved Daniel, but could not” (Dan. 6:14) the Lord Jesus seeks and saves every single one of God’s Elect whom He came to save!

The plain fact that many die in their sins and go into a Christless eternity ought to tell us that not ALL are ‘lost’ as most Christians presume! For if they were truly the ‘lost’ and belonged to Christ’s fold, then they would be found and saved by Him before they closed their eyes in death. Amen?

These lost sheep are those for whom Christ came! And all the sheep that Christ owns in time He owned from eternity. No one ‘becomes’ a sheep in time and joins Christ’s fold. Those who are brought into His fold in time were always a part of His flock from eternity, and as we said above they were in the wisdom of God lost through the fall. All that the Great Shepherd does is seek and save that which originally belonged to Him by divine decree!

One of the important facts which many miss out when studying the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son is that in all three cases the ‘seekers’ sought for that which was ALREADY THEIRS! [Luke 15:4-32]

The Shepherd HAD a hundred sheep, and the woman HAD ten coins and the father was looking out and patiently waiting, not for a stranger but for HIS OWN SON!

God’s elect do not start out as goats and later become sheep by accepting Jesus! The sheep are sheep from ETERNITY! They are KNOWN and loved by the Father from BEFORE TIME BEGAN!

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, WHICH WAS GIVEN US IN CHRIST JESUS BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN!” [2 Tim 1:9]

And here’s the kicker – No man knows he is ‘lost’ until Christ finds Him!

In his hymn Amazing Grace, John Newton wrote – “I once was lost but now am found!”

LOST is the condition of ALL whom God saves. Lost, that is, in such a condition as to not be able to know God, save ourselves or find the way to God, to please God or come to Him. Why are there so few that are saved in our day? Maybe it is because nobody’s really lost. Nobody actually see themselves in this desperate condition – LOST.

Fact is, “If you’ve never been lost, then you’ve never been saved!”

THIS is whom Christ came to save and this is whom He saves – the LOST! Lost means helpless, hopeless, and unable to save ourselves. Lost in sin. God’s people are described as “LOST SHEEP” and in need of the Shepherd’s seeking and saving.

Those who are truly “lost” must be found. When they are found by the seeking Shepherd, they attribute all of their salvation to Him and say as Newton, “I once was lost but now AM FOUND!”

Praise the Lord!

Is Music Neutral?

Is Music Neutral?

Michael Jeshurun

On a Forum some time ago a Sister in Christ asked me as to what constitutes true worship. She wrote – “I know that many only worship with Psalms, but the scriptures say “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – making worship in your heart to the Lord.” My husband and I usually worship the Lord with some of Gadsby’s Hymns, though I am unable to sing. It would be interesting to see what others believe is True Worship.

Pasted below is the answer the Lord led me to write –

Dear Sister,

The question which you have raised is indeed an important one for the Christian. If you had asked me this question in your living room over a cup of tea, my answer would have been plain and simple and straight to the point. This is because you are already for the most part established on what God’s will is for the Christian with regards to music. I praise God for that.

But since you have raised this question on a ‘Forum’ the answer cannot be given in a word, for there are many who visit a forum who have no idea what Christian music is and whether God is concerned as to the kind of music we listen to and sing in His honour.

So please bear with me if I go a little bit into detail and mention things in this post that may not even be relevant to you. But trust me, it will be relevant to many and be a blessing to many more.

First we must begin by correcting a few false notions which exist in the mind of many Christians regarding music. One of them is that “All the music is neutral only the words matter.” In fact the entire ‘Contemporary Christian Music’ (CCM) is built on this one massively deceptive pillar!

The other lie that is prevalent among many so called Christians today is that–”the Bible gives no instructions on the type of music for a Christian to listen to. It’s all a matter of preference and culture.

As we shall see, this is not true. Let their be no doubt. . .
Music is not neutral. Has never been neutral. Nor ever will be neutral!

Do you remember that when king Saul was troubled by an evil spirit, they did not go around looking for a doctor or a soothsayer but a musician! And the scripture records – “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him”. [1sam 16:23] Saul’s men knew the power of music. They knew music had inherent powers! They knew music wasn’t neutral!

Ask any composer who is asked to compose music for a play or a movie. The music is not the same for a happy scene as it is for a sad one. Because music has an effect on both the mind, (emotions) and the body.

One more fact to bear in mind while discussing Christian music is that the purpose of Christian music was NEVER meant to evangelize the lost! Many contemporary ‘Christian’ musicians and compromised ‘Churches’ which allow Christian Rock and Christian Rap music in their assemblies justify it by saying that they are doing it to ‘reach the lost’ who come to their services.

God’s only method of reaching the lost is the preaching of the Word of God. Not aping the world and using their music! ‘For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”! [1Cor 1:21]

How to discern music?

Many sincere Christians when it comes to music usually ask –“What about such and such a group or such and such a singer, can we listen to him or use their songs to worship the Lord”?

The best way to answer that question is to give them guidelines as to what godly music is in the first place and let them make the judgment. As the scripture admonishes – “test all things, and hold fast to that which is good”! [1Thes 5;21] Does the Bible give us any indication to the type of music we should sing? Did the Lord God who made heaven and earth, who created music and sound, who put so much emphasis on music in His Word forget to tell us what is Christian music?

Not hardly. Thank God — He has given us instructions for our music.

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making MELODY in your heart to the Lord”.  [Ephesians 5:18-19]

Let us start with a word of reproof to those who use Rock or Rap music to ‘worship’ the Lord.

We need to understand that Music is composed of three main components; melody, harmony and rhythm. If these ingredients are not present, then it’s not music, but noise. Though there is a lot of harmony and some rhythm in Rock and Rap music, there is hardly any melody. Because of that, rock is unlike any other music. In other music, the melody is the main component, but in rock – the rhythm or the beat literally takes over the music.

Perhaps the most important defining quality of rock and roll is the BEAT, . . . Rock and roll is different from other music primarily because of the BEAT.” (Charles Brown, The Art of Rock and Roll, p. 42)

And it is that BEAT that the FLESH loves!

When secular rock-star, Michael Jackson was asked why he did the filthly-sexual, hand gestures on stage, he replied:

“It’s the music that COMPELS me to do it. You don’t think about it, it just happens. I’M A SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM.” (The Evening Star, February 11, 1993, p. A10)

So ask yourself, can one use Rock or Rap music to worship the Lord?

Here is a quote from Rock star David Bowie (sodomite) – “Rock has always been THE DEVILS MUSIC . . . . I believe rock and roll is dangerous . . . . I feel we are only heralding something EVEN DARKER THAN OURSELVES.” (Rolling Stone, Feb. 12, 1976)

Some country Gospel songs were written and sung in the right spirit. But sadly not all.  Much discernment is needed in determining whether a particular country gospel is Christian.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS IN WORSHIP

There are those who would forbid all musical instruments in worship. But I would have to disagree. Because the Scripture does not forbid it!

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.etc Psalms 150:3-5

With all the many references to musical instruments, there is one instrument that is NEVER mentioned! The DRUM! Why is that? The drum was a very common instrument in Egypt and the lands around Israel. And yet the DRUM is NEVER mentioned in a King James Bible.

Did the Lord just forget to include the DRUM or is there another reason?

Is it because — drums are associated with voodoo, shamanism, paganism and magic rituals?

“[Drums] represents the beat of the heart and is played to summon up magic powers.” (Miranda Bruce-Mitford, The Illustrated Book of Signs & Symbols, DK Publishing, 1996 p.80)

“The shaman was the original ‘long hair’, the first rock star draped in leather, dancing POSSESSED to a rhythm banged out on A DRUM.” (Danny Sugerman, Appetite for Destruction, p. 208)

In Siberia, in northern Asia, drums are used in shamanic rituals to heal people. It is believed that the shaman can communicate with the spirit world THROUGH DRUMMING. (Louise Tythacott, Musical Instruments, Thomas Learning, 1995, p. 37)

“Pagan dances and rituals are always accompanied by the incessant BEAT of DRUMS. Rhythm plays a major role in these demonic activities.” (Hart, Lowell Satan’s Music Exposed, Salem Kirban Inc., 1980 p.71)

The DRUM has always been associated with the paganism and the devil. In fact, a little more than a hundred years ago, drums were forbidden (exy th for the military) in America!

“The arrival of African slaves has had one of the strongest influences on North American music. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, millions of African people were taken as slaves to the U.S. to work on plantations in the South. They brought many of their own traditions with them but were forbidden to play their DRUMS.” (Louise Tythacott, Musical Instruments, Thomas Learning, 1995, p.19)

Do you know why New Orleans is the voodoo capital of the U.S, and also the birthplace of jazz? Because drumming was forbidden in the U.S. – except in New Orleans!

When the first blacks from Africa were converted to Christianity they knew the power and evil influence of DRUMS. And the converted blacks strictly forbid the use of drums! They referred to the drums as “the Devil’s drum”. (Martha Bayles, Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music, p. 138)

One simple guideline for Christian music is NO DRUMS!

CHRISTIAN MUSIC SHOULD FEED THE SPIRIT — NOT THE FLESH!

CHRISTIAN MUSIC SHOULD EMPHAZIE THE MELODY — NOT THE BEAT!

So much then for a general statement on music, and now to particularize:

 CHRISTIAN MUSIC SHOULD PRAISE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST — NOT MAN

Now, you would think this point is unnecessary for CHRISTian music. After all, CHRISTian means “a follower, believer of Jesus Christ”. And if it is truly Christian music, it should testify, praise and sing about the Lord Jesus Christ.

The PURPOSE of Christian music is to PRAISE the Lord.

I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to THY NAME, O thou most High. Psalm 9:2

Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we SING and praise THY POWER. Psalm 21:13

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my SONG will I praise HIM. Psalm 28:7

Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. Psalm 33:2-3

When someone truly gets saved, God puts a NEW song in their mouth. And that song is “PRAISE unto our God” — the result of salvation is — praise unto our GOD! And it’s not something we work up, or “fake”, or just do — but it’s something God “puts”! Christian music is “praise unto our GOD“.

He hath PUT a NEW SONG in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Praise 40:1-3

Sadly, much of what goes by the name CHRISTian Music today is NOT CHRISTian. It does NOT testify, praise or sing about the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, a great deal of it does not even mention the Lord Jesus Christ. Much of today’s Christian Music goes out it’s way to avoid the name of Jesus Christ – or any Christian content whatsoever.

CHRISTIAN MUSIC IS FOR THE LORD — NOT THE WORLD.

A Christian’s music is sung to the Lord. It is not for the world.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart TO THE LORD; Ephesians 5:19

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts TO THE LORD. Colossians 3:16

Sing praises TO THE LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. Psalm 9:11

Isaiah 12:2 sums it up wonderfully, “. . .for the LORD JEHOVAH is . . . MY SONG . . .”:

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and MY SONG; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2

The ONLY way Christian Music can appeal to the world is make it UN-Christianwhich is exactly what CCM does. Most CCM artists “remove” or “redefine” the Lord Jesus Christ. They replace the Lord Jesus Christ with the pronouns; “he”, “him”, “you”, “I”, et. al. They also “redefine” the Lord Jesus Christ as a “politically-correct” “tolerant”, “lovey-dovey”, non-judgemental, “partying”, “hip-hop”, “rapping-rocker” that appeals to the world. Songs such as, dc Talk’s “Jesus Freak”, Messiah Prophet Band’s, “Master of the Metal”, et al. clearly describe “another Jesus” than the Jesus Christ of the Bible. In 2 Cor. 11:4, the apostle Paul warns of “another Jesus”.

Just as the lost world is not interested in a “Bible-believing” church that preaches the word of God, the world is not interested in music that openly praises the Lord. The lost world is NOT going to praise the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is CLEAR — “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God”!

After Babylon captured the children of Israel, Babylon requested Israel to sing, but Israel refused to sing “the Lord’s song in a strange land”. Notice, it is “the Lord’s song” — NOT the world’s song or even Israel’s song.

How shall we sing the LORD’S SONG in a strange land? Psalms 137:1-4

CHRISTIAN MUSIC IS A NEW SONG — NOT AN OLD SONG

Just before I got saved, I loved rock ‘n’ roll. Nothing – but nothing, was more important to me than rock music!. I played rock guitar – day and night! I did not have a dream or goal besides rock music. And when I got saved in November 1986, at 19 years old, I had NO intention to stop listening and playing rock music. But something changed. . .

I didn’t know it then — but “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become NEW” and that included my music!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become NEW. 2 Corinthians 5:17

I didn’t change intentionally — but within a few months, the ONLY music I wanted to listen to and play was real Christian Music. Music that praised my Lord and Savior! My desire and love for rock music was replaced by a NEW SONG — even PRAISE unto our God!

Fanny Crosby is the greatest hymn writer that ever lived, writing over 9,000 songs! Before Fanny got saved, at 45 years old, she wrote many secular songs. But after she got saved — things were different. . . Here’s what Fanny said about mixing Christian and worldly music:

“Sometimes I need to reject the music proposed for my songs because the musicians misunderstand that the Fanny Crosby who once wrote for the people in the saloons has merely changed the lyrics. Oh my no. The church must never sing it’s songs to the melodies of the world.” (Danny Castle, video “What’s Wrong with Christian Rock”)

And do you know why Fanny Crosby said that — because Fanny got saved! And God “hath put a NEW SONG in my mouth, even PRAISE unto our God” inside the NEW Fanny Crosby! Fanny Crosby wrote over 9,000 songs to the Lord! Fanny used over 200 different pen names because she wanted to make sure God got the glory and not her.

CHRISTIAN MUSIC’S MESSAGE SHOULD BE CLEAR — NOT VAGUE OR DECEPTIVE

The Bible says in 1 Cor 14:15:

I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the UNDERSTANDING also. 1 Cor. 14:15

The message in Christian music should be clear, not vague, or unclear. Christian music should praise the Lord and — the listener should clearly understand the message.

The apostle Paul didn’t try to “trick” anybody, he wanted to make sure he was understood:

Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great PLAINNESS of speech: 2 Cor. 3:12

And my speech and my preaching was NOT with ENTICING words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 1 Cor. 2:4

Paul warns against “enticing words”, such as CCM does:

And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with ENTICING words. Colossians 2:4

Martin Luther, the German Reformer, also avoided any worldly influence and wanted the message clear:

“But I would like to avoid any new words or the language used at court. In order to be understood by the people, only the simplest and the most common words should be used for singing; at the same time, however, they should be pure and apt; and further, the sense should be CLEAR and as close as possible to the psalm.” (Martin Luther, “To George Spalatin,” Letters II, p. 69)

Look how clear these songs praise the Lord. And literally thousands of examples could be given:

“Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine” by Fanny Crosby
“My Jesus I Love Thee” by Adoniram Gordon

“Wonderful, Wonderful Jesus” by Anna Russell
“Victory in Jesus” by E.M. Bartlett
“Jesus Is All the World to Me” by Will Thompson
“Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know” by Lela Long

 CHRISTIAN MUSIC SHOULD EMPHASIS THE MESSAGE — NOT THE MUSIC, NOR THE MUSICIAN

Christian music should give ALL the attention and praise to the Lord — and NONE to the music, or the musician, or the singer. The Lord should get ALL the praise, ALL the glory, and ALL the honor. Spiritually speaking, the Christian musician should be heard but not seen — the Christian musician should be hidden in Christ.

Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. Psalm 66:2

Christian musicians today are so caught up with their “music” and just the “right-sound” that the message takes a backseat. A lot of Christian music (especially with the “canned” accompaniment tapes) is a “performance” rather than a message. When that happens, the “performance” completely destroys the message by pointing all the attention to self or the music. Consequently, the musician “robs” the Lord of any praise and from a Christian perspective, it’s fruitless.

Sadly, many musicians (and not just limited to CCM) are like the chief rulers that the Lord Jesus addressed in John 12:

For they loved the PRAISE OF MEN more than the praise of God. John 12:43

Much of Christian music today is more entertainment than ministry. A lot of Christian musicians (and not limited to CCM or Christian Rock) are far more interested in impressing their audience and “flaunting” their musical talent than ministering to the Lord. You can not sing to “please men” and sing unto the Lord. It’s one or the other.

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should NOT be the servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Christian music is not entertainment. Christian music is spiritual “food”. Real Christian music admonishes [reprove mildly], while praising the Lord.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and ADMONISHING one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your HEARTS to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

Christian music is from the heart, not just the voice. Beautiful voices are a “dime a dozen”. But beautiful hearts are “more priceless than gold”. I can’t remember the times I’ve watched a Christian musician, flaunt, pomp, articulate, get every note and vibrato perfect — and yet God was nowhere around. And yet, I’ve seen several times, when the singer may not hit the right notes — and yet God was all over them — and it showed!

A church we once attended had a man, named “J.C.” Brown. “J.C.”, by the world’s standards “wasn’t all there” — but “J.C.” and the Lord “was all there”. When “J.C.” would sing, he didn’t know all the words, he wasn’t musically “in tune” — but he was spiritually “in tune” with the Lord. And when “J.C.” sang, hearts were moved, tears would flow and you knew God was there. Why? “J.C.” was “in tune” with the Lord.

Christian music is not entertainment, not a talent show, not a performance or a concert — but a SERIOUS ministry to the Lord.

Augustine once stated:

“When I am moved by the voice of him that sings more than the words sung, I confess to have sinned”. (Oliver Strunk, Source Reading in Music History, Vol. I, p. 74)

 CHRISTIAN MUSIC IS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH — NOT CONCERT HALLS, NIGHT CLUBS.

God’s place of worship and fellowship is the local church.

Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the CONGREGATION of saints. Psalm 149:1

I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the CONGREGATION will I praise thee. Psalm 22:22

Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the CHURCH will I sing praise unto thee. Hebrew 2:12

While I realize there are exceptions, the primary place for Christian music, (excluding tapes, CD’s and other recordings) is the church. CCM’ers justify their performing in worldly concert halls, auditoriums, et. al. as “trying to reach the lost“. Of course, at the same time they charge $15 – $20, rarely mention Jesus Christ and never, never, never — mention hell, judgement, sin or enough “salvation doctrine” to get anyone saved!.

CHRISTIAN MUSIC SHOULD FEED THE SPIRIT — NOT THE FLESH

The Christian life is a spiritual life.

A Christian is born-again of the Spirit.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John 3:6-7

A Christian is to walk in the Spirit:

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

God is a Spirit — and you “MUST worship him in spirit”.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him MUST worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24

And a Christian’s music should be spiritual — not carnal.

I will sing with the SPIRIT, and I will sing with the understanding also. 1 Cor 14:15

ROCK MUSIC AND CCM IS FLESHLY MUSIC!

 LASTLYAND MOST IMPORTANTLY CHRISTIAN MUSIC SHOULD BE RICH IN THE WORD AND DOCTRINE.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the lord. Colossians 3:16

This is one reason why many older saints stick to the Psalms in their singing. Because when you are singing the Psalms you cannot be singing anything else other than the Word.

But even the other hymns and spiritual songs which we sing should be judged by how rich in the word and scriptural they are and how doctrinally right they are. Not all the hymns in the Hymn book (whether Baptist or Presbyterian) were written by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Some of them are obviously erroneous and while others are not easily discernable to the simple. So it behooves the Christian to examine every hymn and spiritual song in the light of God’s word before he lifts his voice to sing them.

 Let me close with a good rule of the thumb for determining if the Christian music we use is biblical:

(1) Can I hum the tune after hearing it?

(2) Can I understand the words?

(3) Do the words conform to sound biblical doctrine and truth?

(4) Do the words, and the tune, honor the Lord rather than pander to the flesh and the physical?

(5) Does the song emphasize grace, salvation, eternity, etc.? (6) Does it simply sound like a “love song” that has a romantic tinge to it, rather than proper spiritual love?

(7) Is the song loud and blaring in order to bring on an emotional response?

(8) Is it a mantra with empty repetition (Praise God, praise God, praise God, praise God)?

(9) Can both old and young understand the song and be equally touched by it?

I trust the above was of some help in discerning what constitutes TRUE WORSHIP.

Love

Mike

[Much of the above is taken from Jeff Godwin’s ‘Bible Guidelines for Christian Music’]

THE ANTICHRIST SEEKS TO CHANGE THE LORD’S PRAYER

THE ANTICHRIST SEEKS TO CHANGE THE LORD’S PRAYER

Michael Jeshurun

One of the distinct marks of the Antichrist is that he shall “think to change times and laws!” [Dan 7:25] And we see him doing just that here – Even the lost journalists at Fox News who published this news of the Pope’s endeavour start off by saying . . . .

“Lead us not into mistranslation.

Pope Francis officially approved a change to the most famous prayer in Christianity.

It’s the prayer Jesus taught followers to pray and one of the few things that unites 2.2 billion Christians across the globe. But the Holy See’s May 22 approval adjusting The Lord’s Prayer, widely known among the faithful as the “Our Father,” has been years in the making, UCatholic reported.

The Catholic leader changed the phrase “lead us not into temptation” to “do not let us fall into temptation,” as mentioned in the gospel of Matthew 6:13, because the original translation implies that God induces temptation. The change, officials said, is closer to the original intent of the prayer.

“I am the one who falls; it’s not Him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen,” Francis explained to Italian broadcasters about the phrase change.

“A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately. It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.”   – [Fox News June 5 2019]

The apostle warned of those who “wrest the scriptures to their own destruction” (2Pet 3:16) and we see the Pontiff doing just that.

Before we proceed further, we would seek to affirm and establish beyond all doubt that GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF SIN, NEITHER DOES HE MAKE ANY MAN TO SIN OR ENTICE HIM TO DO SO!

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of HIS OWN LUST, and enticed”.  [James 1:14]

But though God does not tempt any man or ‘make’ him to sin, yet nevertheless He DOES lead men into temptation . . . or it would be pointless to pray – “lead us not into temptation”!

WHO was it who led Christ into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil? “Then was Jesus led up of THE SPIRIT into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil”. [Matt 4:1]

We recommend a sermon and an article: one by the late C.H. Spurgeon and another by A.W. Pink both titled – “Lead us not into temptation” for further light on this neglected aspect of God’s Sovereignty.

Here is an excerpt from A.W. Pink –

Note the truths that are clearly implied by these words – “Lead us not into temptation”

FIRST, God’s universal providence is owned. All creatures are at the sovereign disposal of their Maker; He has the same absolute control over evil as over good. In this petition an acknowledgment is made that the ordering of all temptations is in the hands of our all-wise, omnipotent God.

SECOND, God’s offended justice and the evil we deserve are avowed. Our wickedness is such that God would be perfectly just if He should now allow us to be completely swallowed up by sin and destroyed by Satan.

THIRD, His mercy is recognized. Though we have so grievously provoked Him, yet for Christ’s sake He has remitted our debts. Therefore, we plead that He will henceforth preserve us.

FOURTH, our weakness is acknowledged. Because we realize that we are unable to stand against temptations in our own strength, we pray, “And lead us not into temptation.”

The only reason many of us have not fallen into gross sin is because divine Providence has barred the way! John Flavel has much to say on this in his classic – “The Mystery of Providence”. And one of the reasons the apostle admonishes saints to “Flee fornication and flee youthful lusts” (1Cor 6:18; 2Tim 2:22) is because hundred to one you WILL FALL in the presence of such powerful sins! Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife is a rare exception! [Genesis 39:12]

So WHO led King David up the stairs on that dismal day? It was the same Spirit who later led the Greater David into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil! David until that point was almost looked up to by the people as a god! They had chanted, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” [1Sam 18:7] And the king himself was all too self confident of his integrity. He had boasted, “In my prosperity I said, I shall NEVER BE MOVED”! [Psalm 30:6] Also about the same time he boasted – “I WILL behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt Thou come unto me? I WILL walk within my house with a perfect heart. I WILL set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I WILL NOT know a wicked person” [Psalm 101:2-4]

Commenting on the above verse in relation to David’s fall with Bathsheba, A.W. Pink writes – “Note the repeated “I will” in the above passage, and learn therefrom how much the “will” of man is worth”!

In closing let me share this for whatever it is worth – There are two divine mysteries in the Scriptures which the Lord would reveal to us. One is ‘The mystery of Godliness’ [1Tim 3:16] and the other ‘The mystery of Iniquity’ [2Thes 2:7]. When we come into the Kingdom as newborn babes we are supernaturally taught ‘the mystery of Godliness’, But this ‘mystery of iniquity’ is something we learn as we ‘follow on to know the Lord’. [Hosea 6:3] There are lessons to be learnt, of which the soul at present knows little or nothing of.

A lesson, therefore, is to be taught which the soul can learn in no other way. Books here are useless, Christian friends of little value, ministers ineffectual, and the letter of the Word insufficient. A certain EXPERIENCE must be wrought in the soul, a peculiar knowledge be communicated, a particular secret be revealed, and all this must be done in a way for which no other can be substituted.

In order for a child of God to go through this experience, God in a certain sense ‘LEAVES HIM’! Now I am aware that this may sound contrary to what you may have been taught in the religious world. But it is truth all the same. Consider the following verse- ‘O LORD, why hast Thou made us to err from Thy ways, and hardened our heart from Thy fear? Return for Thy servants’ sake, the tribes of Thine inheritance’. [Isa 63:17] And here’s another one – “And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. Howwbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, GOD LEFT HIM, to try him, that HE MIGHT KNOW all that was in his heart. [2Chron 32:30,31]. That WHO might know? God? No! For God already knows what is in man! [see Jn 2:25]. It was for Hezekiah’s sake!

None of us know how weak we are till God withdraws His upholding grace (as He did with Peter) and we are left to ourselves. True, the Lord has plainly told us that “without Me ye can do nothing.” And we think we believe that Word, and in a sense we do; yet there is a vast difference between not calling into question a verse of Scripture, an assenting to its verity, and an INWARD ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE SAME IN OUR OWN PERSONAL HISTORY. It is one thing to believe that I am without strength or wisdom, it is another to KNOW it through ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. Nor is this, as a rule, obtained through a single episode, any more than a nail is generally driven in securely by one blow of the hammer. No, we have to learn, and re-learn, so stupid are we. The Truth of God has to be burned into us in the fiery furnace of affliction. [A.W.Pink]

The same Lord who stood with David in his slaying of the lion and the bear and especially in defeating the champion of the Philistines (Goliath), now LEFT HIM in his temptation with Bathsheba! And it was THIS which plainly taught him, that without God HE WAS NOTHING!

And hence the prayer – “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually”! [Psalm 119:117]

Praise the Lord!