HOW TO DISCERN WHOM TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO

HOW TO DISCERN WHOM TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15] ‘Every creature’ does not necessarily mean every Tom, Dick and Harry or Jane, Jill and Mary you run into! For not ALL are called, but ‘MANY’. These ‘many’ the Lord will call either through YOUR personal evangelism, a Gospel meeting, a radio message, a Gospel tract or one way or another. And of these many to whom the Gospel call comes SOME are chosen who will believe and THE REST will not believe to which also they are appointed. [1Pet 2:8]

“Preach the Gospel to every creature” must be tempered by “Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine!” [Matt 7:6]

Yes, the gospel goes to ‘MANY’! But for the MAJORITY it is either foolishness or a stumbling block!
But unto them which are CALLED, both Jews and Greeks, (it is) Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God! [1Cor 1:24]

If only ‘FEW’ are ‘CHOSEN’ then why does God bother to call the ‘MANY?’

Dearly beloved, please understand that the gospel goes forth as a two edged sword both to ‘save’ and to ‘damn’! It goes forth as a savor of ‘life unto life’ unto the elect and ‘death unto death’ unto the reprobate! [see – 2Cor 2:16]

GOD DOES NOT DESIRE AND NEITHER HAS HE INTENDED TO SAVE ANY WHOM HE HAS FROM ETERNITY ORDAINED TO REPROBATION! (Jude 1:4)

Now WHO are these who are so ‘CALLED’?

They are none other than those whom God FORKNEW and PREDESTINATED!

It is THESE AND THESE ALONE whom He effectually calls, justifies and glorifies! [see Romans 8:29,30]

“Ye will not come unto Me that ye might have life”! [Jn 5:40] Fallen man cannot come because he WILL NOT COME!
Ye will not come that ye might have life, DOES NOT imply that IF THEY COME, there is ‘LIFE” for them! “LIFE” or the “ATONEMENT” was only provided for those whom God hath chosen, His elect, His people, His called out ones! “I lay down My life FOR THE SHEEP”! (not the GOATS) [John 10:15]

As Edwards so profoundly put it – “Christ did not intend to save those He knew He would not save. If He intended to save any it was those He knew would be saved. Christ has died for them (the elect) and NOT FOR THE WORLD. It was the elect that Christ came to save. Since God eternally decreed not to save others Christ would not be engaged in a FOOL’S errand.” [Jonathan Edwards]

Evangelizing or preaching to the lost can be categorized into two forms – One: preaching to a group or a gathering, and Two: personal evangelism. When we tell Christians to be discerning in their preaching to the lost we generally have the latter in mind.

Our guide to personal evangelism as with everything else is always the Word of God. How did Jesus do it, or how did the apostles do it, THAT is the question. And even an external skimming through of the New Testament will show that most of the ‘personal evangelism’ done there is done in response to questions and queries asked by the lost.

Just a few minutes following their encounter the ‘woman at the well’ showed signs of her concern regarding true worship. “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. etc” [John 4:20]

The ‘rich young ruler’ came to Christ asking, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” [Mark 10:17]

The Lord had told His disciple Philip “Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.” In other words the Lord first told him WHERE to go, and whom to preach to – “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot (of the Ethiopian Eunuch). And even after Philip joined the Eunuch alongside his chariot he didn’t start blurting out a ‘Salvation message’ but waited for the appointed time and by and by asked the Eunuch if he understood what he was reading.

The Eunuch once again read the portion from Isaiah and then asked, “I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? THEN Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” [Acts 8]

Same with Philippian jailer who asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” [Acts 16:31,32]

When you are desirous to preach to someone, you can always ask the Lord to guide the conversation to something spiritual so that you’ll know for sure that the Lord really wants you to preach to that individual. Never forget the Lord has complete control even over the words which men speak. “The answer of the tongue is from the Lord!” [Prov 16:1] Also read Genesis 24 where Abraham’s servant who went looking for a bride for Isaac specifically prayed that if the damsel with whom he spoke to at the well said, “Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels” then she was THE one that God had for Isaac, and what do you know the damsel (Rebekah) said the exact words confirming that she was the one for Isaac.

I remember once when I went to attend a wedding of one of my wife’s cousins, and it was arranged at a grand Five Star hotel. And as we walked through the lobby there was a man right in the middle of the lobby playing on the Piano very skillfully. I asked my wife to go on the wedding hall telling her that I would soon join her. I went up to this man and stood by him watching him play and got involved in a conversation. Since I am a musician and a vocalist too he asked if I would be kind enough to sing while he played the piano. I obliged and all the while was praying that God would steer the conversation to something spiritual so that I could preach the Gospel to him. And half way through the singing and playing he suddenly turned around and asked me, “Hey Mike, since you were so involved in Heavy Metal Music, I wanna know what you think of that song “Stairway to Heaven” and the accusations people make saying that there are Satanic backmasked messages in that song?”

THAT was the cue! I said, “Dennis, why don’t you take a break, there’s something I want to talk to you about.” And he took a break from his piano and we went over and sat on one of those huge sofas in the lobby and I preached Christ to him.

Then there are others whom I have had a burden to preach to and I myself start by asking a few probing questions such as – “Do you really believe in a life after death?” or “Are you aware of the fact that one of these days you will die and meet God for a reckoning?” If the man or woman to whom such a question is posed is the ‘called of God’ they will definitely be curious to know more, if not they will usually brush it off by changing the subject. For the record I have stopped trying to push the Gospel down people’s throats a long time ago.

In all your evangelizing and preaching efforts, please understand this – that generally speaking ‘sheep’ do not ‘argue’! They may ask a few sincere questions, but for the most part they will just hear the voice of the Shepherd who is speaking THROUGH YOU.

When you ‘officially’ preach the gospel of Jesus Christ . . . “It is NOT ye that speak but the SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER which speaketh in you!” [Matt 10:20]. And as our Lord Himself told the unbelieving Jews of His day, “He that is OF GOD heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because YE ARE NOT OF GOD.” [John 8:47]

And John 8:47 above is not a stray verse quoted out of context! There are many more. Consider these –
“To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. EVERY ONE THAT IS OF THE TRUTH heareth My voice!” [John 18:37] (i.e. Everyone who belongs to the Truth – His Elect!)

“But ye believe not, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP, as I said unto you. MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, and I know them, and they follow Me!” [John 10:26,27]
“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; HE THAT IS NOT OF GOD HEARETH NOT US. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error!” [1John 4:6]

But remember this dearly Beloved, 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 walk 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!

Your servant for His sake
Michael Jeshurun

GEORGE MUELLER THE CALVINIST

GEORGE MUELLER THE CALVINIST

Most people only know George Mueller as someone who cared for Orphans and educated them and had great testimonies of God’s miraculous supply for his ministry. But few know that what influenced Mueller to be the man he was and do the ministry he did was his conversion to the Doctrines of Grace which goes by the nickname ‘Calvinism’.

For the benefit of those who are new to the Faith and may not have heard of George Mueller, we must start with some introduction –

George Mueller was a native German (a Prussian). He was born in Kroppenstaedt on September 27, 1805 and lived almost the entire nineteenth century. He died March 10, 1898 at the age of 92. He saw the great awakening of 1859 which he said “led to the conversion of hundreds of thousands.” He did follow up work for D. L. Moody, preached for Charles Spurgeon, and inspired the missionary faith of Hudson Taylor.

He had read his Bible from end to end almost 200 times. He had prayed in millions of dollars (in today’s currency) for the Orphans and never asked anyone directly for money. He never took a salary in the last 68 years of his ministry, but trusted God to put in people’s hearts to send him what he needed. He never took out a loan or went into debt. And neither he nor the orphans were ever hungry.

GEORGE MULLER’S REGENERATION

His father was an unbeliever and George grew up a liar and a thief, by his own testimony. His mother died when he was 14, and he records no impact that this loss had on him except that while she was dying he was roving the streets with his friends “half intoxicated.” He went on living a bawdy life, and then found himself in prison for stealing when he was 16 years old. His father paid to get him out, beat him, and took him to live in another town (Schoenbeck). Mueller used his academic skills to make money by tutoring in Latin, French, and mathematics. Finally his father sent him to the University of Halle to study divinity and prepare for the ministry because that would be a good living. Neither he nor George had any spiritual aspirations. Of the 900 divinity students in Halle, Mueller later estimated that maybe nine feared the Lord.

Then on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of November, 1825, when Mueller was 20 years old, he was invited to a Bible study and, by the grace of God, felt the desire to go. “It was to me as if I had found something after which I had been seeking all my life long. I immediately wished to go.” “They read the Bible, sang, prayed, and read a printed sermon.” To his amazement Mueller said, “The whole made a deep impression on me. I was happy; though, if I had been asked, why I was happy I could not have clearly explained it. “I have not the least doubt, that on that evening, [God] began a work of grace in me. . . . That evening was the turning point in my life.”

That’s true. But there was another turning point four years later that the biographies do not open for the reader, but which for Mueller was absolutely decisive in shaping the way he viewed God and the way he did ministry.

GEORGE MULLER’S CONVERSION TO THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE

He came to England in the hope of being a missionary with the London Missionary Society. Soon he found his theology and ministry convictions turning away from the LMS, until there was a break. In the meantime, a momentous encounter happened.

Mueller became sick (thank God for providential sickness!) and in the summer of 1829 he went for recovery to a town called Teignmouth. There in a little chapel called Ebenezer at least two crucial discoveries were made: the preciousness of reading and meditating on the word of God, and the truth of the doctrines of grace. For ten days Mueller lived with a nameless man who changed his life forever. Mueller said, “Through the instrumentality of this brother the Lord bestowed a great blessing upon me, for which I shall have cause to thank Him throughout eternity.

Before this period I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace; so much so that, a few days after my arrival at Teignmouth, I called election a devilish doctrine. . . I knew nothing about the choice of God’s people, and did not believe that the child of God, when once made so, was safe for ever. . . . But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the word of God.”

He was led to embrace the doctrines of grace—the robust, mission-minded, soul-winning, orphan-loving Calvinism that marked William Carey, who died in 1834, and that would mark Charles Spurgeon, who was born in 1834. About forty years later, in 1870, Mueller spoke to some young believers about the importance of what had happened to him at Teignmouth. He said that his preaching had been fruitless for four years from 1825 to 1829 in Germany, but then he came to England and was taught the doctrines of grace.

“In the course of time I came to this country, and it pleased God then to show to me the doctrines of grace in a way in which I had not seen them before. At first I hated them, “If this were true I could do nothing at all in the conversion of sinners, as all would depend upon God and the working of His Spirit.” But when it pleased God to reveal these truths to me, and my heart was brought to such a state that I could say, “I am not only content simply to be a hammer, an axe, or a saw, in God’s hands; but I shall count it an honor to be taken up and used by Him in any way; and if sinners are converted through my instrumentality, from my inmost soul I will give Him all the glory; the Lord gave me to see fruit; the Lord gave me to see fruit in abundance; sinners were converted by scores; and ever since God has used me in one way or other in His service.”

This discovery of the all-encompassing sovereignty of God became the foundation of Mueller’s confidence in God to answer his prayers for money. He gave up his regular salary. He refused to ask people directly for money. He prayed and published his reports about the goodness of God and the answers to his prayer. These yearly reports were circulated around the world, and they clearly had a huge effect in motivating people to give to the orphan work. Mueller knew that God used means. In fact, he loved to say, “Work with all your might; but trust not in the least in your work.” But he also insisted that his hope was in God alone, not his exertions and not the published reports. These means could not account for the remarkable answers that he received.

Mueller’s faith that his prayers for money would be answered was rooted in the sovereignty of God. When faced with a crisis in having the means to pay a bill he would say, “How the means are to come, I know not; but I know that God is almighty, that the hearts of all are in His hands, and that, if He pleaseth to influence persons, they will send help.” That is the root of his confidence: God is almighty, the hearts of all men are in his hands, and when God chooses to influence their hearts they will give.

He had come to know and love this absolute sovereignty of God in the context of the doctrines of grace, and therefore he cherished it mainly as sovereign goodness. This gave him a way to maintain a personal peace beyond human understanding in the midst of tremendous stress and occasional tragedy. “The Lord never lays more on us,” he said, “in the way of chastisement, than our state of heart makes needful; so that whilst He smites with the one hand, He supports with the other.” In the face of painful circumstances he says, “I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to His holy will to glorify Him, I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me.”

And when he is about to lose a piece of property that he wants for the next orphan house, he says, “If the Lord were to take this piece of land from me, it would be only for the purpose of giving me a still better one; for our Heavenly Father never takes any earthly thing from His children except He means to give them something better instead.” This is what I mean by confidence in God’s sovereign goodness. This is the root of Mueller’s faith and ministry.

When he was 71 years old, Mueller spoke to younger believers:

“I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the word of God, and to meditation on it. . . . What is the food of the inner man? Not prayer, but the word of God; and . . . not the simple reading of the word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.”

Which brings us back now the satisfaction of Mueller’s soul at the death of his wife, Mary. He said, “My heart was at rest. I was satisfied with God. And all this springs, as I have often said before, from taking God at his word, believing what he says.”

The aim of George Mueller’s life was to glorify God by helping people take God at his word. To that end he saturated his soul with the word of God. At one point he said that he reads the Bible five or ten times more than he reads any other books. His aim was to see God in Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead in order that he might maintain the happiness of his soul in God. By this deep satisfaction in God George Mueller was set free from the fears and lusts of the world. And in this freedom of love he chose a strategy of ministry and style of life that put the reality and trustworthiness and beauty of God on display. To use his own words, his life became a “visible proof to the unchangeable faithfulness of the Lord.

He was sustained in this extraordinary life by his deep convictions that God is sovereign over the human heart and can turn it where he wills in answer to prayer; and that God is sovereign over life and death; and that God is good in his sovereignty and withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly.

George Mueller wrote –
“I had not before seen from the Scriptures that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world; that in Him that wonderful plan of our redemption originated, and that He also appointed all the means by which it was to be brought about…

Before this period I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace: so much so that, a few days after my arrival at Teignmouth I called election a devilish doctrine. I did not believe that I had brought myself to the Lord, for that was too manifestly false; but yet I held, that I might have resisted finally. And further, I knew nothing about the choice of God’s people, and did not believe that the child of God, when once made so; was safe for ever. In my fleshly mind I had repeatedly said, “If once I could prove that I am a child of God for ever, I might go back into the world for a year or two, and then return to the Lord, and at last be saved”.

But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the word of God. Being made willing to have no glory of my own in the conversion of sinners, but to consider myself merely as an instrument; and being made willing to receive what the Scriptures said; I went to the Word, reading the New Testament from the beginning, with a particular reference to these truths. To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines. As to the effect which my belief in these doctrines had on me, I am constrained to state, for God’s glory, that though I am still exceedingly weak, and by no means so dead to the lusts of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, as I might and as I ought to be, yet, by the grace of God, I have walked more closely with Him since that period.

My life has not been so variable, and I may say that I have lived much more for God than before. And for this have I been strengthened by the Lord, in a great measure, through the instrumentality of these truths. For in the time of temptation, I have been repeatedly led to say: “Should I thus sin? I should only bring misery into my soul for a time, and dishonour God; for, being a son of God for ever, I should have to be brought back again, though it might be in the way of severe chastisement”.

Thus, I say, the electing love of God in Christ (when I have been able to realize it) has often been, the means of producing holiness, instead of leading me into sin. It is only the notional apprehension of such truths, the want of having them in the heart, whilst they are in the head, which is dangerous.”

[Quoted from the Biography of George Mueller by John Piper and a few others]

A PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING FOR THE OPEN DOOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA

A PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING FOR THE OPEN DOOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Dear Lord Jesus
We thank Thee for this open door of facebook and other Social-media which Thou hast given us to proclaim Thy Word! As You said long ago unto Thy Church, “Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it!” You have graciously given us this opportunity to preach Thy Truth and feed Thy sheep. We do not take this lightly Lord, but pray that you will use our witness to accomplish that which You have promised – i.e. “My Word shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it!” 

Oh may Thy Spirit accompany Thy Word that is preached and open the eyes of those whom Thou hast ordained to eternal life and also establish those whose eyes and ears Thou hast already opened. And grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word in season and out of season!

Lord whilst You were here You said, “I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work!” We know not how long this door of opportunity to preach Thy Word will be open, so while we still have this blessing, grant unto us the ability to make the most of it and minister to as many as we can.

And Lord Thou knowest the dangers of the Internet and the evil that lies at the door to trip Thy servants; so grant us we pray the strength in the inner man to resist all temptation to sin that we might be vessels of honor through whom You can work. We pray with the man after thine own heart – “Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe!”

And lastly dear Lord there are so many of Thy sheep in different parts of the world who have no saints to fellowship with and long to either own a device with which they can interact with or learn to use a device they already have. . . please help such saints and supply their need accordingly and encourage their hearts.

Oh dear LORD we wait for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy Name, and to the remembrance of Thee! Not unto US, O LORD, not unto US, but unto THY NAME give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake!

In Jesus’ precious Name. Amen!

Thy unworthy and unprofitable servant

Michael Jeshurun

 

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS AND WORSHIP

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS AND WORSHIP

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

‘Professional Sports’ be it Boxing, Football, Soccer, Cricket or whatever – is an ABOMINATION TO GOD! And you CANNOT take something which God hates and clean it up to ‘give Him glory’! Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh! When you see someone bragging about Floyd Mayweather, Lionel Messi or Tiger Woods etc you have to wonder WHO truly is their God. For the true Christian this is not even an option, for with the Apostle he says – “God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world!” [Gal 6:14]

Are you telling me that God hates all sports and is against it?

Let us make this plain – it is not wrong or sinful for a father to take his children out to the park to toss a Frisbee or a ball and have some fun. Neither is it sinful for the neighborhood kids to come together for a friendly ball game. But ‘Professional Sports’ at both college and state level is MORE than just a ‘game’! It is a RELIGION and an IDOLATROUS one at that! And as we shall see it has all the features of that which constitutes what the Scripture terms as ‘WORKS OF THE FLESH’! [Gal 5:19-21]

“That which is HIGHLY ESTEEMED among men is ABOMINATION IN THE SIGHT OF GOD”! [Luke 16:15]

This verse alone should settle it once and for all whether ‘professional sports’ is well pleasing to God or an abomination to Him.

HOW ‘highly esteemed’ is sports today?

Commenting on the amazing sports frenzy that has permeated the land, sports psychologist Dr. Alan Goldberg of the University of Connecticut said: “Sports [is] like a RELIGION, and the god of that religion that we all worship is the god of winning” (www.CNSNews.com, August 31, 2001). An extensive survey commissioned in 1983 found that seven in every 10 Americans watches, reads, or talks about sports every day. A study, the most comprehensive ever undertaken of America’s attachment to sports, found that almost 35 million people are “ardent sports fans” who watch sports events on television at least once a week, and in some cases, every day. In 1983 that WORLD ALMANAC AND BOOK OF FACTS polled 2,000 8th-grade students to see which persons they most admired. There was not a single name on the list who was not an entertainer or a sports figure.

In 1982, the famous sports announcer Howard Cosell, while viewing the largest Sunday football game attendance in Texas history, said “the Cowboys are more than a football team in Dallas; they are a RELIGION.” He exclaimed, “Look at the loyalty of those people! Look at the signs they have made. Truly, the Cowboys are A RELIGION IN DALLAS.” HE WAS RIGHT. Professional football has become a religion all across America. On Sunday, December 27, 1987, 75,000 Denver Broncos football fans battled blizzard conditions to reach Mile High Stadium by the 2 p.m. kickoff. The airport was closed at 12:30 p.m. that Sunday and remained closed until 6 a.m. Monday. Thousands of people were stranded at the airport, but those extreme conditions did not stop the football-mad crowd.

The noise level in a domed ballpark has been recorded at 125 decibels. If you did not know that it was coming from a stadium you would think that there was a war going on. This was in Minnesota’s Metrodome in Game 2 of the 1987 World Series (USA Today, Oct. 18-20, 1991, p. A1). That is louder than a launch of the massive Saturn V rockets which carried men to the moon. The noise level for a Saturn V launch was 120 decibels.

To sports fans it matters little what morality their sports heroes have. A survey of 1,240 adults completed in 1995 and published in SPORTS MARKETING NEWSLETTER asked people to name the athletes they most admired. The first four were Magic Johnson (HIV positive and an admitted adulterer), Tonya Harding (convicted conspirator for the violent attack upon fellow-skater Nancy Carrigan), O.J. Simpson (held financially liable by a jury for murdering his wife), and Mike Tyson (convicted rapist).

Fallen man will worship anything other than the true God. And for multitudes their SPORTS HEROES HAVE BECOME THEIR GODS. Charles S. Prebish, associate professor of religious studies at Pennsylvania State University said, “Sport is America’s newest and FASTEST-GROWING RELIGION, far outdistancing whatever is in second place”.

One can understand the worldly people making a ‘god’ out of sports. But what about Christians? Houston’s First Baptist Church announced in June 1994 that “if there is a sixth game between the Rockets and the Knicks” the Sunday P.M. service might be changed.

1John 5:21 says, “Little children, KEEP YOURSELVES FROM IDOLS. Amen.”

Professional and collegiate sports are a GOD OF THIS WORLD. They are worshiped, loved, praised and talked about constantly. They are even a source of gambling for many. Satan uses sports very effectively to take men’s minds off eternity and their need of a Saviour. Children grow up with sports heroes as their champions. Many even desire to be like their idol and grow up to be famous and great. Many church members know more about some sport, team or man than they do about Jesus Christ and his word. THIS IS IDOLATRY!

Idolatry is not just bowing before Mary or Joseph or any other statue. Webster’s dictionary defines an “idol” as any object of ARDENT OR EXCESSIVE DEVOTION. It is a shame that so many professing Christians bow to the shrine of sports.

“Every one that is PROUD IN HEART is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished”. [Prov 16:5]

What is it that professional sports thrives on? You guessed it- PRIDE! “HE is the best; WE are the best; I am the best; WE win the most games; hit the best; run the best; throw the best; the best defense; the best offense; the best goalkeeper” etc the wise man in Proverbs warns that – the high look and the proud heart are SIN. 1 Timothy 3:6 reminds us that PRIDE brought the downfall of the devil. 2 Timothy 3:2, says pride is one of the characteristics of apostate people in the last days. 1 John 2:16 warns that THE PRIDE OF LIFE IS NOT OF THE FATHER BUT IS OF THE WORLD, and God’s people are not to love the world.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS IS BASED ON SELFISHNESS.

When the well-known evangelist Billy Sunday turned his back on a successful professional baseball career in 1893, he gave ten reasons for leaving. Reason number two was “Because it develops a spirit of jealousy and selfishness; one’s whole desires are for personal success regardless of what befalls others.” As a matter of fact, SPORTS TEACHES US TO BE HAPPY WHEN OUR OPPONENTS FAIL OR WHEN ANOTHER PLAYER IS INJURED SO THAT I AM PROMOTED TO HIS POSITION. Winning and promotion of self are what matter most.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS IS FULL OF COVETOUSNESS.

Covetousness is one of the definitions of modern professional sports. Loyalty to the team or country is out of the question. Unlike the true Christian who is not for sale (because Christ has already bought him) the professional sportsman will play against his own for a price!

Professional sports in the West today is an orgy of greed, and the Bible says this is a sin akin to idolatry. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” [Col 3:5].

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS IS PERMEATED WITH THAT WHICH THE BIBLE CONDEMNS AS LICENTIOUS, ILLICIT AND FILTHY.

Consider the ever-present ungodly beer commercials, the beer drinking, the drunkenness, the gambling, the diabolic, fleshly rock music, the sensual dancing, the indecent clothing, the cursing and blasphemy. What does the Bible tell us about such things? “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” [Eph 5:11].

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS STARS ARE FREQUENTLY IN THE NEWS FOR THEIR MORAL PERVERSIONS, FOR RAPE AND ASSAULT CHARGES, FOR PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS, FOR DRUG ARRESTS, FOR UGLY DIVORCES. The sports announcers are also frequently caught in immoral situations. One of the top U.S. announcers recently was charged with indecency and unlawful assault of and restraint of women. He pled guilty of a lesser charge of assault to avoid more serious charge of forced sodomy. During the trial, his perverted sex life was displayed to the public. In the last few days an announcer on a popular baseball television broadcast was charged with public indecency after urinating from a window onto some police officers below. You will read of things like this almost on a daily basis in the sports section of the newspaper. Professional sports is a trashy environment.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS DESPISES THE CHURCH.

Not many decades past, professional sports was not played on Sundays in respect for the Lord’s Day and the command of God that Christians not forsake the assembling of themselves together. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” [Heb 10:24-25]. The only thing that has caused more people to absent themselves from the house of God than sports, is television in general. Holidays such as Thanksgiving, which once were days dedicated particularly to worshipping God and enjoying family time, today are more likely to be consumed by professional sporting events.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS AND SUPERSTITIONS

Many times I have heard sports announcers say that there is not a more superstitious group than professional sports players. Some obsessively wear the same pair of socks or underwear every game. Great numbers of them have their various lucky charms. Some go through inflexible superstitious routines prior to each game or each at bat or each play. As the pagans of old they are confiding in their “lucky stars,” but this is a form of idolatrous witchcraft [Deut. 18:10-12]. Our times are not in the hands of the stars. Our fortunes are not influenced by charms and rituals.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS STINKS OF COMMERCIALISM

Professional sports has always had a strong financial motivation. It is, after all, an occupation pursued for profit. There was a time, though, when it appeared that money was not the only motive, or even the overriding motive, for sports players. Today, by contrast, the commercial aspect to professional sports is all pervasive, and the words of those who claim not to be caught up in the gross commercialism of the game sound hollow. Star players are granted multimillion dollar contracts merely for permitting a company to use their name and likeness to sell everything from automobiles to toothpaste. The names and logos of businesses appear on the players shoes, clothes, caps, equipment, everywhere. We wonder when the players will begin allowing themselves to be tattooed with business ads. The stadiums are literally plastered with advertisements. So are the Internet sites and the television and radio productions. Absolutely everything having to do with professional sports today is commercialized to the hilt.

BUT WHAT ABOUT CHRISTIAN SPORTS STARS WHO WITNESS FOR THE LORD?

What would you say of a Rock musician who prays before a concert or has crucifixes all over the stage? Some do. At the PMRC hearings, Dee Snider vocalist of Twisted Sister mentioned in his Statement to the Senate that he considers himself CHRISTIAN, saying “I was born and raised a Christian and I still adhere to those principles. Alice Cooper too claims to be a BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN.

“But THAT can’t be” you say, “Those guys are so OBVIOUSLY demonic”! “And what they REPRESENT is obviously devilish”!

BUT YOU DO NOT SEE PROFESSIONAL SPORTS AS UNGODLY though it is associated with drinking alcohol, drugs, gambling, high emotions– anger, frustration, loss of self-control, mob violence, excitement; secular music, immodestly dressed cheerleaders, lasciviousness, groupies, fans who are IDOLATROUS OF THEIR FAVORITE TEAM PLAYERS, and above all: fans WHO CURSE THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS— when their favorite team is losing, etc –

Let me be blunt about this. If you do not see this, then there is a marvelous blindness upon you!

IF THEREFORE THE LIGHT THAT IS IN THEE BE DARKNESS, HOW GREAT IS THAT DARKNESS! [Matt 6:23]

Yes, the Lord Jesus sat with drunks and harlots, but Scripture makes it plain that he was “SEPARATE from sinners” [Heb 7:26].

Let me know when Tim Tebow, Pacquiao or any other ‘Christian’ professional sportsman is witnessing in the stands either with a banner or tracts saying –
“PROFESSIONAL SPORTS IS AN ABOMINATION TO GOD! HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT”!

THEN maybe I’ll believe you.

You don’t witness for the Lord by kneeling down in a stadium or painting John 3:16 on your cheek while you are still a part of the ABOMINATION!

What communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath HE THAT BELIEVETH WITH AN INFIDEL? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God . . WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, SAITH THE LORD, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. [2Cor6:14-18]

[The above article prepared from various sources on the web. All the glory to God alone!]

SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST NOTHING TO SAY

SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST NOTHING TO SAY

Gina Kemp

Sometimes there is just nothing to say. There are some things that happen in life that words won’t heal.

There are some things that take our breath away that only silence can breathe life back into our lungs.

They are the things of life that are beyond someone giving a kind word, a positive hopeful thought, a story of so and so who went through this and that and made it through, a good sermon, an uplifting song. I mean don’t get me wrong, these things help especially when they are blanketed by the truth of God’s word but somewhere a midst the things of life that exceed the realm of platitudes there are just some things that happen that can’t be healed by us and our feeble human attempts.

I think of Job, I think of all he suffered, loss of family, loss of things, loss of identity, loss of hope. I think of how his body betrayed him and words fell flat. Have you been here? Have you been in this place? The place where your bones ache? The place where your mind craves hope against hope and there seems to be none? Have you been here?

Job was here. He was tired. He was weak. He was emptied out. We are familiar with the story and of how his friends abused his soul by contributing nothing but awful platitudes and assumptions of his deserving this, crushing him further into his pain. Job’s friends made some poor choices. While perhaps they intended to help they inflicted more pain, they would have done him well to continue in the manner they started with when they first came to offer their condolences:

Silence.

In silence they sat with him. In silence they listened to his pain. In silence they nodded to his pangs of sour grapes and allowed him to borrow their comfort without words being spoken.

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” [Job 2:13]

They didn’t offer great explanations for why this happened. They didn’t say “God has a plan for your life”
They didn’t say “Well maybe if you prayed more”
They didn’t say “Well maybe it was to teach you a lesson”
They didn’t say “God has a great testimony for you out of this pain”

All of those things are quite possibly true in some of our stories. God does use our pain. God does have plans. After all…He is God. But there are some circumstances in which saying these things doesn’t mend our severed hope.

Maybe it makes us feel like we are helping…
Maybe it’s our way of hoping…
Maybe we feel like it’s the right thing to say because it’s the only thing we know to say…

But sometimes the offering of just being there is enough and sometimes it is better.

I can think of times in my life when my heart was so sad I just couldn’t cry. I just sat and let myself be what I was. I think of the friends in my life who didn’t have words but sat with me and let me be and were just with me.

Sometimes when someone suffers we say nothing and skip over it, changing the subject. This is not the kind of silence I’m referring to. If you have ever opened your heart to someone about your pain and they said nothing as though you said nothing you know the damage this creates. Saying nothing while being with the person in this place of needing to be silent is the kind of saying nothing I’m referring to. The kind that says “I can’t fix this but I’m here”, “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I’m here”, “I am here.”

Henri Nouwen has one of the best quotes regarding silence, friendship, and comfort:
“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”

Perhaps it’s just being there that speaks louder than words in times like these. When there is nothing to say, sometimes saying nothing and just being is saying more than you could ever imagine.

I need to remember this, sometimes being a person of many words and wanting to fix, help, cure, it might be in my own silence that God can speak even louder to those who need comfort. I can think of a few people in my life right now who are going through circumstances that my words can’t fix, but maybe my just being there is part of healing.

If you are in a place of needing comfort, I pray that God will speak to you in your silence. Where words fail, I pray that His perfect word would speak into places that no human ever could.

“Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”. [Psalm 119:105]

“Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side”. [Psalm 71:20-21]

CHANCE, ACCIDENT, LUCK OR DIVINE PROVIDENCE? YOUR ANSWER SPEAKS VOLUMES OF HOW WELL YOU KNOW YOUR GOD

CHANCE, ACCIDENT, LUCK OR DIVINE PROVIDENCE? YOUR ANSWER SPEAKS VOLUMES OF HOW WELL YOU KNOW YOUR GOD

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid—you are worth more than many sparrows!” Matthew 10:29-31

Charles Spurgeon: “Blessed is that man who is done with chance, who never speaks of luck—but believes that from the least, even to the greatest, all things are ordained by the Lord. We dare not leave out the least event! The creeping of an aphid upon a rosebud is as surely arranged by the decree of Providence—as the march of a pestilence through a nation! Believe this, for if the least thing is omitted from the supreme government, so may the next be, and the next—until nothing is left in the divine hands. There is no place for chance, since God fills all things.”

J.C. Ryle: “There is no such thing as chance, luck or accident in the Christian journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are working together for the believer’s good!”

Charles Spurgeon: “God’s Providence not only extends to mankind in general, and to the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and the innumerable fish in the sea—but also to every atom of matter in the universe!”

Charles Spurgeon: “All things are ordained of God and are settled by Him, according to His wise and holy predestination. Whatever happens here on earth—happens not by chance, but according to the counsel of the Most High!”

Matthew Henry: “God who feeds the sparrows—will not starve His saints! God controls all the concerns of His people, even of those that are most minute, and least regarded. This is an encouragement to live in a continual dependence upon God’s providential care! If God numbers our hairs, much more does He number our heads. He takes care of our lives, our needs, our concerns, and our souls. God’s universal providence extends itself to all creatures, and to all their actions—even the smallest and most minute!”

Charles Spurgeon: “Providence may be seen as the finger of God, not merely in those events which shake nations and are duly emblazoned on the page of history—but in little incidents of common life. Yes, in the motion of a grain of dust, the trembling of a dew-drop, the flight of a swallow, or the movements of a fish!”

Charles Spurgeon: “We talk of God’s providence when we have hairbreadth escapes. But are they not quite as much divine providences, when we are preserved from danger?”

Charles Spurgeon: “It is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence—as the most momentous events! He who counts the stars—has also numbered the hairs of our heads. Our lives and deaths are predestined—but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up.”

Louis Berkhof: “Scripture everywhere teaches that even the minutest details of life are of divine ordering!”

Charles Spurgeon: “Jesus rules the whole world for the good of His people. All the arrangements of Providence are under His control. Nothing is done in the entire universe, without His command or His permission.”

Charles Spurgeon: “The best remedy for affliction, is sweet submission to God’s providence. What can’t be cured, must be endured!”

J.C. Ryle: “If God has given His Son to die for us—let us beware of doubting His kindness and love in any painful providence of our daily life.”

Charles Spurgeon: “Divine Providence is a downy pillow for an aching head—and a blessed salve for the sharpest pain. He who can feel that his times are in the hand of God—need not tremble at anything that is in the hand of man!”

TEACHING GODLY MUSIC TO OUR LITTLE ONES

TEACHING GODLY MUSIC TO OUR LITTLE ONES

Children love music. A happy child is a singing child who sings and hums as he works or plays. When my wife and I sang in a choral group, one of the things that impressed us was that the singing captivated the attention of four and five year olds for an hour and a half. Music ministers to all age levels in a way that preaching and teaching can never do.

The music that you and your children sing and listen to is more important than you may realize. The songs that we sing and listen to permanently shape our understanding of who God is and what the Christian life is all about. The songs that children learn are often remembered the rest of their lives. For that reason it is important that children have not only children’s songs but that they also learn songs that they will sing when they are adults. Children need children’s songs. However, if we give our children only children’s things that are apropriate for their age, we are training them to be children when they grow up. That is a mistake that is being made today and we are seeing the results in many college age young people. Many do not know how to be mature adults.

It is important for children to learn hymns and other Godly songs that they will sing when they become adults . Hymns have a wealth of spiritual truths in them. A hymn with four or five verses will often have 30 to 40 spiritual truths expressed in it in comparison with praise and worship choruses which usually have only a few spiritual truths. Singing only choruses is like eating only french fries. Make sure you have a meal to go with your “fries”. Don’t neglect the goldmine of teaching and worship for you and your children in hymns. Children love to listen to well-sung hymns.

The following is significant for anyone who is involved in training children in the ways of the Lord. In Psalms 44:11,12 it says, “Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth-, that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” The result of ridding ourselves of ungodly influences is that our sons will be mature, and grown up in their youth, and that our daughters will be stable, mature, and refined. They will be pillars – able to stand on their own and providing support.

A problem today is that young men are not grown up in their youth. One juvenile court judge said that girls used to be the stablizing influence even though the guys were doing things they shouldn’t. However, today girls are no longer a stabilizing influence. They are involved in as bad or worse things than the guys. The sad thing is that many young people in the church are not much different than ungodly young people.

Music plays a more important part in the problem and in the solution than I realized. As I looked at the context of Psalms 144, I noticed that verse 11 “Rid me…” was also given before that in verses seven and eight. In between these verses on ridding ourselves of ungodly influences is verse nine which says, “I will sing a new song unto Thee, 0 God; upon a psaltry and an instrument of ten strings I will sing praises unto Thee.” Of all the places in the Bible about singing a new song, this is the only one that contrasts it with what it is not, and gives the blessing of singing a new song.

A new song is not one from strange children – the ungodly. Nor is it vain words or falsehood. Songs borrowed from the ungodly do not result in mature young people. The blessing of singing only a new ( a decidedly Godly) song and ridding ourselves of ungodly influences is young people who are mature and who are prepared to make an impact for God’s Kingdom. They also stand out in sharp contrast to society around them because of their uprightness. One of the characteristics of those who have rid themselves of music with a backbeat is bright eyes. This is especially noticeable in children and young people. Music with a backbeat dulls the eyes.

We encourage you to raise the standard and provide decidedly Godly music for your family – music that is without question Godly music. Earthly entertainment is for a moment, eternity is forever.

Taken from Biblical Research Reports

REBUTTING THOSE WHO ACCUSE US OF FOLLOWING THE ‘WRITINGS OF A MAN’ – EVEN JOHN CALVIN

REBUTTING THOSE WHO ACCUSE US OF FOLLOWING THE ‘WRITINGS OF A MAN’ – EVEN JOHN CALVIN

Dear Jim,
Once again please forgive my late response. I trust that all is well with you and your family. I realize that our friendship has reached an ‘uneasy level’ where we are NOT in agreement. But sir, trust me if this was a MINOR issue where we could ‘agree to disagree’ I would be more than willing do that. But this is an issue concerning the ‘crux of the matter’ as far as the ‘gospel’ is concerned and I must remain faithful to the message which God has delivered to me concerning His absolute sovereignty.

I would start by reminding you, that it was NOT CALVIN who said – “I lay down My life for THE SHEEP”! [John 10:11] Again it wasn’t Calvin who said, “No man CAN COME to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me DRAW HIM”! [John :44] Neither said he – “AS MANY as were ORDAINED to eternal life believed”! [Acts 13:48]

Now I want to make it very clear that we use the term “Calvinism” ONLY FOR IDENTIFICATION, and are NOT IN AGREEMENT with all that Calvin taught. That Calvin contributed a lot to the system that bares his name we do not deny. But even though we may quote a few things from the works of Calvin, our appeal is NOT TO CALVIN OR ANY CONFESSIONS OR CREEDS OF THE CHURCHES, BUT TO THE LAW AND TESTIMONY OF JEHOVAH.

Historically speaking, the so-called “Doctrines of Grace” – which go by the nickname of Calvinism – did not originate with Calvin. They are the result of a Synod held in Dort, Holland in 1618/19, after Calvin was long dead. Those of us who hold to Reformed Theology do so not because we are attempting to replicate the theology or ecclesiology of a mere MAN – John Calvin, but because we are convinced that the Biblical arguments and the conclusions stemming from that Synod are valid and our OWN EXEGESIS AND EXPERIENCE CONFIRMS THE FIVE POINTS.

If it could be proven that John Calvin was indeed a murderous wretch, an ‘Infant baptizer’ or whatever, still it would have no effect on the theology that sprung from the pen of the Reformers. In other words, the “guilt by association” tactic has no teeth!

If John Calvin believed what the Spirit of God has taught us in our personal study of God’s Word and our experience in our preaching ministry, then good for him! But it means NOTHING TO US!

We be persuaded that the Spirit of God would have by and by taught us these glorious truths WHETHER THERE WAS A CALVIN OR NOT!

No infant comes into the world knowing everything, but learns as he grows! Even so a truly born again child of God may have many misconceptions concerning the nature and method of his salvation at first, but if he is saved at all, then the Spirit will by and by teach him what He means when He says that “It is NOT of him that WILLETH, nor of him that RUNNETH, but OF GOD that showeth mercy”! [Rom 9:16]

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”! [Prov 4:18]

Whatever glorifies God 100%, THAT is what is right!

The doctrines of grace which we hold gives God ALL THE GLORY and puts man where He belongs, i.e. IN THE DUST!

“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]

You are either an Arminian or a Calvinist! You either believe that Salvation is ALL OF GOD, or you believe that it is partly of God and partly of man!

There is NO MIDDLE GROUND!

Those who pretend that they are neither Arminians nor “Calvinists” are in reality hypocrites! They suppose that they are neutral! But in matters pertaining to the doctrines of Soteriology (salvation) there are NO NEUTRALS!

NOBODY IS NEUTRAL! EVERYBODY HAS A BIAS FOR OR AGAINST! You’re either a capitalist or a communist. You’re either a conservative or a liberal–a rightist or a leftist–right or wrong! Nothing short of right is right. There is no such thing as neutrality on anything. Even a battery has only two poles, positive and negative, and you cannot get them together without fireworks! No battery has neutral poles: You’re either alive or dead, hot or cold!

Oh, the neutral is always so fair! “I can see BOTH sides.” The Liar! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BOTH SIDES! Only ONE side can be right and only ONE side can be wrong, so in claiming to be neutral and pretending to see right and wrong on both sides, the neutral puts himself above everybody. He is the most righteous of all. He can see how everybody’s a little bit wrong but him and he is the only one right–the only one who really sees the truth, which he claims is somewhere in-between, which makes him the worst liar and most treacherous enemy of all! As Jesus said “He that is not for Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.” [Matt 12;30]

You either believe fallen man is totally depraved and CANNOT come to God of his own ‘free-will’ or you don’t! [John 6;44]

You either believe God has elected a CERTAIN NUMBER and sovereignly ordained them to eternal life or you don’t! [Acts 13:48]

You either believe that Christ laid down His life FOR THE SHEEP and them alone, as he said He did, or you don’t! [John 10:15]

You either believe that the Holy Spirit DRAWS God’s chosen by an IRRESISTIBLE POWER or you don’t! [Jer 31:3]
And finally you either believe Christ saves FULLY AND FINALLY those whom He died for unto the end or you don’t! [Heb 7:25]

There is no MIDDLE GROUND HERE!

I know what have written might sound harsh and ‘un-loving’, but “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the TRUTH”?! [Gal 4:16]. “FAITHFUL are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”. [Prov 27:6]

If you choose to believe that fallen, depraved man has a ‘free-will’ to either accept or reject Christ, and that the spiritually dead man can respond to God’s call anytime HE chooses, you are free to do so. But I believe that if you are TRULY SAVED by the Spirit of God and have ‘the root of the matter in you’ [Job 19:28] then God will sooner or later open your eyes to the truth of that word – “it is not of him that WILLETH, nor of him that RUNNETH, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy”!! [Rom 9:16].

Dear Jim, to further dialogue and debate this issue would be a waste of time for both of us. I am sure you realize this by now. But please know that I shall be praying for you that God will be pleased to open your eyes to the truth of His absolute sovereignty and show you that our God is STILL the Absolute Sovereign who has ‘mercy on WHOM HE WILL and hardens WHOM HE WILL and NONE can say unto Him “what doest Thou”?! [Daniel 4:35]

Love
Michael Jeshurun 

IT IS GOD WHO ADDS AND SUBTRACTS PEOPLE FROM OUR LIVES

IT IS GOD WHO ADDS AND SUBTRACTS PEOPLE FROM OUR LIVES

“Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. [Isa 43:4]

What does the Lord mean when He says, “I give men for thee, and people for thy life. [Isa 43:4]? I shall first speak of how this Scripture applied to me personally and then quote the best classical interpretation given on this portion of Scripture.

The Apostle wrote that God’s divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness! [2Pet 1:3] WHATEVER it is that the elect need to sustain their natural bodies and their spiritual souls, GOD HAS ALREADY DECREED, ORDAINED AND APPOINTED IN ETERNITY PAST! As the Master Himself said, “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things”! [Matt 6:32] And since most of these temporal blessings come to us through MEN, in one form or another, God has in His sovereign grace and providence given us these men.

When I review my own life, and the men who are involved in it, starting from my employer to my landlord, my barber, my doctor and even my housekeeper; I see that they have been given to me by the Lord with a special view to be a blessing to me. And especially when I hear the sad tales of some of my unsaved friends as to how they are having a very difficult time with the above mentioned individuals like say their doctor or their motor mechanic etc, I can see that God has given me not just any doctor or any mechanic to bless my life, but a ‘hand picked’ one particularly with ME in mind”.

And not only those people who have been a blessing to me, but even those who have caused me much pain and grief by either their unloving attitude or their plain indifference were ALL sent by GOD for my good!!!

“I will give men for thee, and people for thy life” [Isaiah 43:4]

Michael Jeshurun

But here is a theological masterpiece of an interpretation on this verse, by that renowned Reformed theologian, Herman Hoeksema, quoted from his classic sermon –

‘THE PLACE OF REPROBATION IN THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL’!

God loved His people with an infinite love. In His great love He determined to lead them to the glory He had appointed for them in Christ. If He determined to attain this greatest glory and lead the elect into it, it was necessary for Him, reverently speaking, to reprobate some. Not because all could not find a place in that glory, for then the question would arise, Why did God decree to create more people than could assume a place in the organism of the body of Christ? But because those who are presently to be damned must for a time serve the salvation of the elect, be it in an antithetical manner. In this sense, reprobation is a DIVINE NECCESITY. In this sense, the reprobate exist for the sake of the elect. They are in a certain sense the price, the ransom, which God pays for the higher glory of His children.

Of course, you will ask if we can prove this. We think we can. In the first place, we wish to refer you to the fact that this idea is not strange to God’s general revelation in nature and in history. You find it proved in the life of the nations and of people in particular. On many monuments erected in honor of our soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefield, you may read the inscription, ‘They gave their lives that we might live.’ Here is a figure of election and reprobation as we are now considering it. How often it occurs that thousands lose their lives on the battlefield in order that others may live. They do not merely give their lives, but it is required of them. They were reprobated that the nation might live.

It is no different in the lives of individuals, or individual persons and animals. The mother gives life to her child, not infrequently at the expense of her own. It is virtually always true that one generation lives and dies to make room for the next. There are species of animals in which the male dies after mating. The male is cast off (reprobated) to give life to the young.

According to the Scriptures, it is no different in the plant kingdom. When a farmer sows seed in his field, he sows much more than he needs. When the seed falls into the earth and dies, there appear not only the kernels of wheat, for which the seed was planted, but also the stem, the straw, and even the chaff. Without the stem and the chaff the grain could never have germinated and ripened. The stem and the chaff serve the grain, the seed. Yet both will presently be burned by fire in order that the grain may be gathered into the barn. Here also we find election and reprobation, and in such a way that the latter serves the former, and is necessary to it.

Yet this is not all. Not only do you find a figure of this truth in the general revelation of God, but it is also literally proved in Scripture, both in various texts and in the historical accounts. The Lord declares in Isaiah 43:4 to Israel, ‘Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.’ It is true that this passage refers to that which the Lord did for Israel in the past. But it is also true that this passage refers to the eternal counsel of God’s good pleasure. For indeed God has loved His people from eternity. In His counsel they are precious in His eyes. Thus the text refers to the eternal love of God. In that eternal love He has desired to glorify and magnify His people, and to lead them to the highest possible glory in His eternal inheritance.

The text says that, in order to accomplish this, God has given other people in the place of His chosen people. Because He loved His people, those others had to pay for Israel’s salvation with their own lives. Israel’s history proves this time and time again. Pharaoh and his host perish. They must serve Israel temporarily, but God does not hesitate to give people for the life of His people. When Israel enters Canaan, people are again given in the place of Israel. This is effectuated by the sins of these people. They have filled the measure of iniquity at the time when Israel must enter into the rest and are destroyed to make room for Israel. So it is throughout the history of Israel. Babylon also serves a purpose, namely, to chastise Jerusalem. Yet, hereby it makes itself ripe for judgment. And when it has served to realize God’s counsel, Babylon is destroyed.

Thus it is literally presented in Proverbs 11:8: ‘The righteous is delivered out of trouble and the wicked cometh in his stead.’ The idea here is that the ungodly serve to deliver the righteous out of trouble, to glorify them. And having done so they perish for their sins. Still stronger is the language of Proverbs 21:18: ‘The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.’ Here again we have the idea that God gives the wicked as a ransom, which He pays to glorify the righteous.

Naturally, this does not detract from the other truth that in reprobation God also reveals His righteousness, and is glorified in revealing His holy name. Indeed, these reprobate do not serve the salvation of the elect willingly, but as godless, and in spite of themselves. For this reason, they become guilty in serving this purpose, and are worthy of condemnation. Thus, in serving God’s purpose they become ripe for destruction. Just as chaff ripens for destruction while it serves the grain, so the godless become ripe for perdition while they serve the elect.

More evident this is in the case of our Savior Himself. Surely for the glorification of the elect, the blood of the Savior must flow. But if this blood is to flow, there must be a wicked and reprobate world to shed it. There must be a Judas who betrays Him; there must be a Sanhedrin that condemns Him; there must be a mighty and godless Roman power that finally brings Him to the cross. In all this, the reprobate serve for the glorification of the elect. Without that ungodly world, the cross cannot be imagined. But the situation is also thus that the world, in crucifying the Savior, through which it serves for the glorification of the elect, becomes ripe for destruction.

As it was then, so it is now. So it will be to the end of the world. And when the end shall come, the ungodly shall be righteously condemned and damned, in sin having served God’s counsel. The elect shall be eternally glorified with the Savior in the inheritance of the saints. Thus we conclude that in the unity of God’s plan, reprobation necessarily serves election. God’s love toward His people reigns supreme in His counsel. To reveal and to realize this love fully He brings into existence people who must finally be damned. Reprobation is the necessary antithetical counterpart of election.

THE STORY BEHIND THE HYMN – ‘IN THE GARDEN’

THE STORY BEHIND THE HYMN – ‘IN THE GARDEN’

Austin Miles (1868-1946) was a pharmacist turned hymn writer and church music director. He was also an amateur photographer. One day in March, 1912, while in his dark room waiting for film to develop, Miles had a profound spiritual experience in which he saw an incredible vision of Mary Magdalene visiting the empty tomb. He saw her leave the tomb and walk into a garden where she met the Master and heard Him speak her name.

When Miles came to himself his nerves were vibrating and his muscles tense; the words to a new song were filling his mind and heart. He quickly wrote out the lyrics to In The Garden and later that evening composed the musical score. The song was published that same year and became a theme song of the Billy Sunday evangelistic crusades.

In The Garden was recorded on an album by Perry Como in 1950, was sung in the closing scene of the 1984 film Places in the Heart and continues to be a favorite of hymn lovers who treasure that quiet ‘garden time’ with their Savior.

In The Garden

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses . . .

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other, has ever, known!

He speaks and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing . . .

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other, has ever, known!

And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other, has ever, known!