BIBLICAL ELECTION – A TRUTH TO BE PREACHED

 BIBLICAL ELECTION – A TRUTH TO BE PREACHED

Michael Jeshurun

We have come across not a few who contend that the ‘doctrine of Election’ though it may be true is not for us to know. Election and predestination are ‘God’s business’ and we need not break our heads over it.”

Is that what the BIBLE teaches?

Here’s what the Scripture says –
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” [Deut 29:29]

Read that again – “but those things WHICH ARE REVEALED belong unto us and to our children!”

And WHAT has God revealed apart from the who He is and what He expects of man . . . why, He has revealed to us that He is a DISCRIMINATING GOD who has mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will! [Romans 9:18]

THE BIBLE EXPLICITLY TEACHES ELECTION in both the old and the new testaments and those who fail to see it are either men who are spiritually BLIND who must be born again or just plain REBELLIOUS men who willfully reject the teaching of God’s word because it is NOT AGREEABLE to their feelings and plausible to their understanding. Every Christian MUST believe in some kind of election, for the great God hath chosen to ‘REVEAL IT’ in His Word! And while the Scriptures leave unexplained many things about the doctrine of Election, they make very plain the FACT that there HAS BEEN AN ELECTION!

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the ELECTION HATH OBTAINED IT, and the rest were blinded!” [Rom 11:7]

The most eminent apostle of them all who wrote more than half the New Testament, towards the end of his ministry confessed to the Ephesian Church – “I KEPT BACK NOTHING THAT WAS PROFITABLE UNTO YOU, but have showed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.” [Acts 20:20]

And WHAT was one of those ‘profitable’ doctrines which he did not keep back from the Ephesians? Why ELECTION and PREDESTINATION!

“According as He hath CHOSEN US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having PREDESTINATED US unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will etc” [Ephesians 1:4,5]

And Paul was not the only one who taught Election and Predestination, but so did ALL OF THE APOSTLES! It is either expressly stated, strikingly illustrated, or clearly implied!

The Apostle Peter starts off his very first letter thus – “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus . . . ELECT ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD THE FATHER, through sanctification of the Spirit . . .” [1Pet 1:1-3]

And John that apostle of love was so full of the doctrine of election that he even addresses a sister in Christ as “the Elect lady” [2John 1:1] You can’t get more ‘Reformed’ than that!

GOD WANTS HIS PEOPLE TO KNOW THE TRUTH OF HIS ELECTION AND SOVEREIGN GRACE or He had not filled the pages of His Book speaking about it!

“but those things WHICH ARE REVEALED belong unto us and to our children!” [Deut 29:29]

And the reason why God has revealed the doctrine of Election in His Book is because as all other Biblical doctrines the Doctrine of Election and we might add the Doctrine of Man’s Total Depravity are profitable to us!

ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is PROFITABLE for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Timothy 3:16,17]

The doctrine of Election which we hold and contend for gives God ALL the glory and puts man where He belongs – i.e. in the dust! And the Holy Spirit has seen fit to reveal it in His Word and holy men of God through the ages have contended for it and in some cases have even laid down their lives for it!

Such a precious truth as this must not be neglected or set aside! It must be preached from the rooftops!

“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that PREACH YE UPON THE HOUSETOPS!” [Matt 10:27]

BUT TRUTH IS NEVER POPULAR and this is especially so with the truth of Election! It is not taught to gain favour with men. The preacher whose goal is to ‘win friends and influence people’ must needs AVOID this doctrine or explain it away to the satisfaction of the religious goats who warm his pews! . . . and sadly many have done just that!

In fact, to mention it before some, is like shaking the proverbial red flag before an enraged bull. It arouses the fiercest passions of their nature, and brings forth a torrent of abuse and calumny. But, because men have fought against it, or because they hate it, or perhaps misunderstand it, is no reasonable or logical cause why we should turn the doctrine adrift, or cast it behind our backs. The real question, the all-important question, is not “How do men receive it? But, IS IT TRUE?”.

“It is the duty of every theologian to subordinate his theories to the Bible, and teach not what SEEMS TO HIM TO BE TRUE OR REASONABLE, but simply WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES. The question as to whether Election and Reprobation are true, is not to be decided by ascertaining which is more agreeable to our feelings or the more plausible to our understanding, but which is consistent with the doctrines of the Bible and the facts of experience.” (Dr. Charles Hodge).

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this Law.” [Deut 29:29]

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THE SPIRITUAL MYSTERIES OF GOD’S WORD SEALED TO ALL BUT GOD’S ELECT

THE SPIRITUAL MYSTERIES OF GOD’S WORD SEALED TO ALL BUT GOD’S ELECT

Condensed from the writings of J.C. Philpot by Michael Jeshurun

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a MYSTERY, even the HIDDEN WISDOM, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” [1 Cor. 2:7]

Every true minister of the gospel is “a steward of the mysteries of God;” as the Apostle declares (1 Cor. 4:1), “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” And his office is, as God the Spirit teaches and enables him, to bring forth these mysteries for the edification and consolation of the people of God.

WHAT IS A MYSTERY?

Let us endeavor to discover its scriptural meaning. A MYSTERY has these three marks attending it–

1. It is a truth beyond the comprehension of nature, sense, and reason.
2. It is hidden from the wise and prudent.
3. It is revealed by the Spirit of God unto babes.

These three distinct marks are found in EVERY gospel mystery; and therefore nothing but divine teaching can lead us into a spiritual and experimental acquaintance with heavenly mysteries.

Almost everything pertaining to the Gospel and the Kingdom to come is a ‘Mystery’!

There is the ‘Mystery of the Trinity’ [1John 5:7],
the ‘Great Mystery of Godliness’ [1Tim 3:16],
the ‘Mystery of the union of the Church with her covenant Head’ [Eph 5:30-32],
the ‘Mystery of the Gospel’ [Eph 6:19];
the ‘Mystery of the Kingdom of God!’ [Mark 4:11],
the ‘Mystery of the two natures, that “company of two armies,” perpetually struggling and striving against each other in the same bosom! [Sos 6:13]
the ‘Mystery of iniquity’ [2Thes 2:7]
the ‘Mystery of the Resurrection’ [1Cor 15:51, 52]

And then comes what John saw in Revelation (10:7)—”In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, THE MYSTERY OF GOD SHALL BE FINISHED, which He has declared to His servants the prophets.”

This is the winding up of all things, when the mystery of iniquity in the professing world; the mystery of God’s dealings with his people in grace; the mystery of his dealings with them in providence; the mystery of the way in which God has led his church; the mystery of all our trials, temptations, afflictions, and sufferings; the mystery of the crooked road we have walked, of the tangled labyrinth which we have threaded; the mystery why the wicked have prospered, and the righteous been oppressed—all these mysteries, which now puzzle and perplex nature, sense, and reason, will then be unfolded to the church of God.

Then “the mystery will be finished;” and God will lay bare the mystery hidden for ages in Christ Jesus, and make it known to the salvation of His people, the confusion of His enemies, and the glory of Himself.

Now, “in the Spirit,” the man of whom the Apostle spoke, preached “mysteries;” (1Cor 14;2) for “in the Spirit” they must be preached, and “in the Spirit” they must be received; or he who preaches, and those that hear, will preach and hear in vain. But what a mercy if the Spirit has preached any of these mysteries into our hearts; and what a blessing if we have received them in a measure of faith, hope, and love; and being deeply sensible of our ignorance, have received the truth in the love of it, been enabled to embrace it, in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, for our soul’s edification and consolation. THEY MUST BE RECEIVED AS MYSTERIES.

Immediately as natural reason intrudes, and the question is asked, “How can these things be?” we cease to submit to God’s will and word. But when we fall down before the throne of God, and feeling that though we cannot understand them, cannot comprehend them, cannot reason ourselves into them, we yet are enabled to receive them into our heart by a living faith, we see their beauty, taste their sweetness, and enjoy a measure of their glory.

Thus we have some evidence that we have received and have felt a power in the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, when a ‘reasonable’ religion, a ‘natural’ religion, an ‘intellectual’ religion satisfies us no longer. Has there not been a time with us when we scorned all mysteries, and would have no religion but one which we could comprehend, and, by dint of our natural understanding, could lay hold of? And through mercy, has not this ‘proud Babel’ been laid low? And have not some of us, through the teachings of God in the conscience, found NATURE, SENSE, and REASON buried in the dust; and felt ourselves brought down to be little children, to know our own ignorance, and to cry to the Lord to teach us the truth by divine revelation?

And since the Lord in mercy has brought our reason to nothing, since in mercy he has caused the ‘tall steeples of natural religion’ to topple down and be stretched in the dust, have we not felt a measure of sweetness, of power, of reality in the things of God not known before? Has not truth come with life and light into our souls, made us new creatures, revolutionized our lives, changed all our views, and given us eyes to see realities we never thought of before? And has not the Gospel of the grace of God been received into a believing heart, and a measure of its sweetness been experienced?

It is thus we have some evidence that we have received the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. And are they not doubly sweet, because reason cannot comprehend them, because we are not able to understand them; and because they can only be received from the lips of Jesus, or as they are dropped into the heart, and distilled on the conscience by the power of the Holy Spirit? And is it not far more blessed to learn them thus, than if we could understand all mysteries by natural intellect, or fathom the depths of God by the line of creature understanding?

Some of you perhaps are poor and despised, and are ridden down by ‘great professors’; your family and friends perhaps cast you out, and say, “Really we cannot understand you; you were a good Christian once, a pattern to others, a truly pious person; and everybody loved and spoke well of you. But,” they say, “what a strange person you are now! We cannot at all get on with you. Ever since you have gone to that chapel, and become connected with that strange sect, you are quite altered, and we know not what to make of you.” Does not this show that the mystery, revealed unto babes, is hidden from the wise and prudent? If all could SEE as we see, HEAR as we hear, FEEL as we feel, the gospel would then be no mystery at all; but by knowing something of this mystery, we are made to differ from them, and this stirs up their enmity and wrath.

“What,” say they, “are there only two or three in a village, only half a dozen in a town, only one in a family going to heaven? and are none right but they?—Away with such narrow-minded, bigoted wretches.” What is this but declaring that there is a mystery in this people’s religion? If they could understand it, if it were agreeable to nature, sense, and reason, it would cease to be a mystery, and you would cease to have a testimony from God that you have received it into your heart with power.

THEREFORE, TO KNOW GOSPEL MYSTERIES BY DIVINE TEACHING, WILL SEPARATE A MAN FROM THE WORLD, LEAD HIM OUT OF FALSE CHURCHES, CUT HIM OFF FROM DEAD MINISTERS, AND BRING HIM INTO UNION WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD.

And as he finds these are spiritually led into the mysteries of the kingdom of God, it will produce a communion with them, and a sweetness which he never knew in dead churches; and, his heart being dissolved in love and affection, he will cry, “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16.) And thus he will have an increasing testimony from God that he is not one of the “wise and prudent” from whom these things are hidden, but one of “the babes” to whom they are revealed.

O may we know more of these divine mysteries! And may the Lord the Spirit lead us more deeply into them, favor us with more sweet and abiding views of them, and specially make the mystery of the gospel, in the Person, love, and blood of Jesus, “all our salvation and all our desire.” And then, we shall bless God not only that there is a mystery in the gospel, but that He has mercifully unfolded it with power to our consciences!

Amen! Praise the Lord! – M.J. 

ALL THINGS ORDAINED WITH AN EYE ON GOD’S ELECT

ALL THINGS ORDAINED WITH AN EYE ON GOD’S ELECT

Michael Jeshurun

“According as His divine power hath GIVEN UNTO US ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN UNTO LIFE AND GODLINESS, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue!” [2Peter 1:3] 

That’s right, even a thing as common as a printing press to print a Bible or the spectacles through which to read it were all foreordained by God with an eye on His Elect! In fact all the inventions, discoveries, advances in science and practically EVERYTHING that is transpiring under the sun is unfolding with an eye on God’s only begotten Son as the Head and His body the Church! ALL THINGS whatsoever they may be are working together for the GOOD of them that love God, and those who are the called according to His purpose!” [Rom 8:28]

Spurgeon said in one of his sermons – “Long before He had made the world in which men should dwell, He had ordained a place for His people and the arrangements of Providence were made WITH AN EYE TO THEM, for Moses says, “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. For the Lord’s portion is His people. Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” [Duet 32:8,9]

And A.W. Pink said – “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all.”

WHATEVER comes to pass is God’s will and by God’s sovereign rule! God is doing it to glorify Christ and with an eye on His Elect, His chosen, His sheep! God is sovereign in His purpose, over sin and in the salvation of his Elect. God’s purpose shall not fail!

Most importantly God’s purpose for YOU shall not fail beloved, and that in-spite of yourself – your sins, your shortcomings and your oft failures! The God who purposed to save you is One who speaks in righteousness – ‘Mighty to save!’ [Isa 63:1] And He is not only ABLE to save you to the uttermost but He WILL save you to the uttermost!

“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD SHALL RETURN, AND COME with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head.” [Isaiah 51:11]

The Lord God says that His redeemed SHALL COME and that settles the matter!

Say “Praise the Lord!”

NEED FOR UPHOLDING GRACE

NEED FOR UPHOLDING GRACE

A.W. Pink

The Lord is very jealous of His honour and will not share His glory with another. His people profess to believe that as a cardinal truth, yet they are apt to forget it. They, too, are human, and prone to hero-worship, prone to idolatry, prone to render unto the creatures that to which the Lord alone is entitled. Hence it is they so frequently meet with disappointment, and discover their beloved idol is, like themselves, made of clay. For his own people, God has chosen “the foolish things of this world,” the “weak things,” the “base things” and “things which are not” (mere “nobody’s”), “that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:27-29). 

And he has called sinful though regenerated men, and not holy angels, to be the preachers of His Gospel, that it might fully appear that “the excellency of the power” in calling sinners out of darkness into His marvelous light lies not in them nor proceeds from them, but that He alone gives the increase to the seed sown by them: “so then neither is he that planteth (the evangelist) anything, neither he that watereth (the teacher), but God” (1 Cor. 3:7).

It is for this reason that God suffers it to appear that the best of men are but men at the best. No matter how richly gifted they may be, how eminent in God’s service, how greatly honored and used of Him, let His sustaining power be withdrawn from them for a moment and it will quickly be seen that they are “earthen vessels.” No man stands any longer than he is supported by Divine grace. The most experienced saint, if left to himself, is immediately seen to be as weak as water and as timid as a mouse.

“Man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Ps. 39:5). Then why should it be thought a thing incredible when we read of the failings and falls of the most favored of God’s saints and servants? Noah’s drunkenness, Lot’s carnality, Abraham’s prevarications, Moses” anger, Aaron’s jealousy, Joshua’s haste, David’s adultery, Jonah’s disobedience, Peter’s denial, Paul’s contention with Barnabas, are so many illustrations of the solemn truth that “there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20).

Perfection is found in Heaven, but nowhere on earth except in the Perfect Man.

BE NOT IGNORANT OF THE DEVIL’S DEVICES 

BE  NOT IGNORANT OF THE DEVIL’S DEVICES

Thomas Brooks

DEVICE 1 – To present the bait and hide the hook; to present the golden cup, and hide the poison; to present the sweet, the pleasure, and the profit that may flow in upon the soul by yielding to sin, and by hiding from the soul the wrath and misery that will certainly follow the committing of sin. By this device he took our first parents: ‘And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil’ (Gen. 3:4-5). Your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods! Here is the bait, the sweet, the pleasure, the profit. Oh, but he hides the hook,—the shame, the wrath, and the loss that would certainly follow! 

There is an opening of the eyes of the mind to contemplation and joy, and there is an opening of the eyes of the body to shame and confusion. He promiseth them the former, but intends the latter, and so cheats them—giving them an apple in exchange for a paradise, as he deals by thousands now-a-days. Satan with ease puts fallacies upon us by his golden baits, and then he leads us and leaves us in a fool’s paradise. He promises the soul honour, pleasure, profit, but pays the soul with the greatest contempt, shame, and loss that can be. By a golden bait he laboured to catch Christ (Matt. 4:8- 9). He shows him the beauty and the bravery of a bewitching world, which doubtless would have taken many a carnal heart; but here the devil’s fire fell upon wet tinder, and therefore took not. These tempting objects did not at all win upon his affections, nor dazzle his eyes, though many have eternally died of the wound of the eye, and fallen for ever by this vile strumpet the world, who, by laying forth her two fair breasts of profit and pleasure, hath wounded their souls, and cast them down into utter perdition. She hath, by the glistening of her pomp and preferment, slain millions; as the serpent Scytale, which, when she cannot overtake the fleeing passengers, doth, with her beautiful colours, astonish and amaze them, so that they have no power to pass away till she have stung them to death. Adversity hath slain her thousand, but prosperity her ten thousand.

Remedy (1). First, Keep at the greatest distance from sin, and from playing with the golden bait that Satan holds forth to catch you; for this you have (Rom. 12:9), ‘Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.’ When we meet with anything extremely evil and contrary to us, nature abhors it, and retires as far as it can from it. The Greek word that is there rendered ‘abhor,’ is very significant; it signifies to hate it as hell itself, to hate it with horror.

Anselm used to say, ‘That if he should see the shame of sin on the one hand, and the pains of hell on the other, and must of necessity choose one, he would rather be thrust into hell without sin, than to go into heaven with sin,’ so great was his hatred and detestation of sin. It is our wisest and our safest course to stand at the farthest distance from sin; not to go near the house of the harlot, but to fly from all appearance of evil (Prov. 5:8, 1 Thess. 5:22). The best course to prevent falling into the pit is to keep at the greatest distance; he that will be so bold as to attempt to dance upon the brink of the pit, may find by woeful experience that it is a righteous thing with God that he should fall into the pit. Joseph keeps at a distance from sin, and from playing with Satan’s golden baits, and stands. David draws near, and plays with the bait, and falls, and swallows bait and hook with a witness. David comes near the snare, and is taken in it, to the breaking of his bones, the wounding of his conscience, and the loss of his God.

Sin is a plague, yea, the greatest and most infectious plague in the world; and yet, ah! how few are there that tremble at it, that keep at a distance from it! (1 Cor. 5:6): ‘Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?’ As soon as one sin had seized upon Adam’s heart, all sin entered into his soul and overspread it. How hath Adam’s one sin spread over all mankind! (Rom. 5:12): ‘Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’ Ah, how doth the father’s sin infect the child, the husband’s infect the wife, the master’s the servant! The sin that is in one man’s heart is able to infect a whole world, it is of such a spreading and infectious nature.

The story of the Italian, who first made his enemy deny God, and then stabbed him, and so at once murdered both body and soul, declares the perfect malignity of sin; and oh! that what hath been spoken upon this head may prevail with you, to stand at a distance from sin!

Remedy (2). To consider, That sin is but a bitter sweet. That seeming sweet that is in sin will quickly vanish, and lasting shame, sorrow, horror, and terror will come in the room thereof: ‘Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; though he spare it, and forsake it not, but keep it still within his mouth; yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him’ (Job 20:12-14). Forbidden profits and pleasures are most pleasing to vain men, who count madness mirth.

Many long to be meddling with the murdering morsels of sin, which nourish not, but rend and consume the belly, the soul that receives them. Many eat that on earth that they digest in hell. Sin’s murdering morsels will deceive those that devour them. Adam’s apple was a bitter sweet; Esau’s mess was a bitter sweet; the Israelites’ quails a bitter sweet; Jonathan’s honey a bitter sweet; and Adonijah’s dainties a bitter sweet. After the meal is ended, then comes the reckoning. Men must not think to dance and dine with the devil, and then to sup with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; to feed upon the poison of asps, and yet that the viper’s tongue should not slay them.

When the asp stings a man, it doth first tickle him so as it makes him laugh, till the poison, by little and little, gets to the heart, and then it pains him more than ever it delighted him. So doth sin; it may please a little at first, but it will pain the soul with a witness at last; yea, if there were the least real delight in sin, there could be no perfect hell, where men shall most perfectly be tormented with their sin.

Remedy (3). Solemnly to consider, That sin will usher in the greatest and the saddest losses that can be upon our souls. It will usher in the loss of that divine favour that is better than life, and the loss of that joy that is unspeakable and full of glory, and the loss of that peace that passeth understanding, and the loss of those divine influences by which the soul hath been refreshed, quickened, raised, strengthened, and gladded, and the loss of many outward desirable mercies, which otherwise the soul might have enjoyed.

Remedy (4). Seriously to consider, That sin is of a very deceitful and bewitching nature. Sin is from the greatest deceiver, it is a child of his own begetting, it is the ground of all the deceit in the world, and it is in its own nature exceeding deceitful. ‘But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ Heb. 3:13. It will kiss the soul, and pretend fair to the soul, and yet betray the soul forever. It will with Delilah smile upon us, that it may betray us into the hands of the devil, as she did Samson into the hands of the Philistines.

Sin gives Satan a power over us, and an advantage to accuse us and to lay claim to us, as those that wear his badge; it is of a very bewitching nature; it bewitches the soul, where it is upon the throne, that the soul cannot leave it, though it perish eternally by it. Sin so bewitches the soul, that it makes the soul call evil good, and good evil; bitter sweet and sweet bitter, light darkness and darkness light; and a soul thus bewitched with sin will stand it out to the death, at the sword’s point with God; let God strike and wound, and cut to the very bone, yet the bewitched soul cares not, fears not, but will still hold on in a course of wickedness, as you may see in Pharaoh, Balaam, and Judas. Tell the bewitched soul that sin is a viper that will certainly kill when it is not killed, that sin often kills secretly, insensibly, eternally, yet the bewitched soul cannot, and will not, cease from sin.

When the physicians told Theotimus that except he did abstain from drunkenness and uncleanness he would lose his eyes, his heart was so bewitched to his sins, that he answered, ‘Then farewell, sweet light’; he had rather lose his eyes than leave his sin. So a man bewitched with sin had rather lose God, Christ, heaven, and his own soul than part with his sin. Oh, therefore, forever take heed of playing with or nibbling at Satan’s golden baits.

[This is a fantastic and ‘must read’ sermon for all those who fear God and hate evil. Please read the whole –

http://www.eternallifeministries.org/tb_remedies.htm

GOD’S PROVIDENCE RULETH OVER ALL

GOD’S PROVIDENCE RULETH OVER ALL

C.H. Spurgeon

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21

“Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24

Do not judge divine providence in little pieces — it is a grand mosaic, and must be seen as a whole.

The Lord’s wisdom is seen in arranging the smallest events so as to produce great results. We frequently hear people say of a pleasant or a great event, “What a providence! This is the finger of God!” — while they are silent as to anything which appears less important, or has an unpleasant savor.

But the place of the flower upon the hillside — is as fixed as the station of a king! And the dust which is raised by a cart-wheel — is as surely steered by divine providence as the planet in its orbit!

There is as much providence in the creeping of an insect upon a rose leaf — as in the marching of an army to ravage a continent!

Everything, the most minute, as well as the most magnificent — is ordered by the Lord who has prepared His throne in the heavens, whose kingdom rules over all.

Whatever the event may be, the attentive eye will as clearly see the Lord’s providential hand.

I am sure that God is in the world, yes, and is at my own fireside, and in my chamber — and manages my affairs, and orders all things for me, and for each one of His redeemed children. We need no miracles to convince us of His working, the wonders of His providence are as great marvels as miracles themselves.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.!” [Romans 8:28]

Christ’s Lily – His Church

Christ’s Lily – His Church

C.H. Spurgeon

“As the lily among thorns, so is My Love among the daughters.” [Sos 2:2]

He styles her, “My Love” i.e. “My darling.” An exquisitely sweet name; as if His love had all gone forth from Him, and had become embodied in her. The first point then of her relation to Christ is that she has His DARLING. Think of it, and let the blessed truth dwell long and sweetly in your meditations. The Lord of life and glory, the Prince of the kings of the earth, has such a loving heart that He must have an object upon which to spend His affection; and His people, chosen from among men, whom he calls His church, these are they who are His “love,” the object of His supreme delight. “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”

He looked on His people and he exclaimed, “as the Father has loved me even so have I loved you.” Every believer, separated from mankind, and called unto the fellowship of Christ, is also the peculiar object of His love. Not in name only, but in deed and in truth, does Jesus love each one of us who have believed on Him. You may each one of you say with the apostle, “He loved me”; you may read it in any tense you please- He loved me; He loves me; He will love me, for He gave Himself for me. This shall be your song in heaven, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory.”

This love is DISTINGUISHING love, for in its light one special object shines as a lily, and the rest, “the daughters,” are as thorns. Love has fixed on its chosen object, and compared with the favored one all others are as nothing. There is a love of Jesus which goes forth to all mankind, for “the Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works”; but there is a special and peculiar love which He bears to His own.

As a man loves his neighbors but still he has a special affection for his own wife, so is the church Christ’s bride, beloved above all the rest of mankind, and every individual believer is the favored one of heaven. The saint is united to Christ by a mystical union, a spiritual marriage bond, and above all others, Christ loves the souls espoused to Him. He said once, “I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them which you have given me;” thus indicating that there is a specialty about His intercession.

We rejoice in the largeness and the width of Jesus’ love, but we do not therefore doubt its specialty. The sun shines on all things, but when it is focussed upon one point, ah, then there is a heat about it of which you little dreamed! The love of Jesus is focussed on those whom the Father has given Him. Upon you, my brother or sister, if indeed you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the Lord’s heart is set, and he speaks of you in the words of the text as “my love,” loved above all the daughters, precious in His sight and honorable, so that he will give men for you and people for your life.

Observe that this is a love which he OPENLY AVOWS. The bridegroom speaks and says before all men, “As a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the daughters.” He puts it upon record in that book which is more widely scattered than any other, for he is not ashamed to have it published on the housetops. The love of Christ was at first hidden in His heart, but it soon revealed itself, for even of old His delights were with the sons of men, and he bent His steps downward to this world in divers forms before ever Bethlehem’s song was sung. And now, since the incarnate God has loved, and lived, and died, He has unveiled His love in the most open form, and astonished heaven and earth thereby.

On Calvary He set up an open proclamation, written in His own heart’s blood, that He loved His own people even unto the end. He bids His ministers proclaim it to the world’s end, that many waters could not quench His love, neither could the floods drown it; and that neither life, nor death, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He would have it known, for he is not ashamed to call His people “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” He declares it that His adversaries may know it, that He has a people in whom His heart delights, and these he will have and hold as His own, when heaven and earth shall pass away.

Note, too, that He who gave the beauty is the first to see it. While they are unknown to the world Jesus knows His own. Long before anybody else sees any virtue or any praise in us, Jesus observes it, and is pleased therewith. He is quick to say, “Behold, he prays,” or “Behold, he repents.” He is the first to say, “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.”

Love’s eyes are quick, and her ears are open. Love covers a multitude of faults, but it discovers a multitude of beauties. Can it be so, O my soul, can it be so that Christ has made you lovely in His loveliness? Has He shed a beauty upon you, and does He Himself look complacently upon it? He whose taste is exquisite, and whose voice is the truth, who never calls that beautiful which is not beautiful, can he see a beauty in your sighs and tears, in your desires after holiness, in your poor attempts to aid His cause, in your prayers and in your songs, and in your heart’s love towards Him.

Can He see a beauty in these? Yes, assuredly He can, or He would not speak as He does in this text. Let His condescending discernment have all honor for this generous appreciation of us. Let us bless and love Him because he deigns to think so highly of us who owe everything to Him. “You are,” says He, “my darling, as the lily.”

“As the lily among thorns” wears also another meaning. Dr. Thompson writes of a certain lily, “It grows among thorns, and I have sadly lacerated my hands in extricating it from them. Nothing can be in higher contrast than the luxuriant, velvety softness of this lily, and the withered, tangled hedge of thorns about it.” Ah, beloved, you know who it was that in gathering your soul and mine, lacerated not His hand only, but His feet, and His head, and His side, and His heart, yes, and His inmost soul. He spied us out, and said, “Yonder lily is mine, and I will have it”; but the thorns were a terrible barrier; our sins had gathered round about us, and the wrath of God most sharply stopped the way. Jesus pressed through all, that we might be His; and now when he takes us to Himself he does not forget the thorns which girded His brow, and tore His flesh, for our sakes.

This then is a part of our relationship to Christ, that we cost Him very dear. He saw us where we were, and He came to our deliverance; and now, even as Pharaoh’s daughter called the young child’s name “Moses,” “because,” said she, “I drew him out of the water,” so does Jesus call His chosen “the lily among thorns,” because such she was when he came to her rescue. Never will he forget Calvary and its thorns, nor should His saints allow the memory thereof to fade. Amen!

READING GOD’S WORD IS NOT ENOUGH – YOU MUST MEDITATE ON IT

READING GOD’S WORD IS NOT ENOUGH – YOU MUST MEDITATE ON IT

Saturation with the Scriptures is the Secret to Satisfaction of our Souls

The Puritan writer Thomas Brooks offers an excellent description of Biblical meditation…

Remember that it is not hasty reading—but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, which makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee which gathers honey (cp Ps 19:10-note; Ps 119:103-note)—but her abiding for a time on the flower which draws out the sweet. It is not he who reads most, but he who meditates most—who will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian.”

Meditation is CHEWING. Meditation is aptly depicted by the cow’s process of mastication (chewing). God has so constructed bovines to bring up previously digested food for additional grinding to enable optimal assimilation of the “cud.” Meditation is pondering and reviewing various thoughts (especially the thoughts/words of God) by mulling them over in one’s mind and heart (our “control center” so to speak – see Pr 4:23-note).

Meditation is the processing of God’s food for our soul (real “soul food!) One might call it “divine thought digestion.” “Chewing” upon a divine thought, deliberately and diligently, a process which (enabled by the Spirit our “Sanctifier”) provides the vital link between theory and action, between God’s Word on paper and God’s Word in our life. What mastication is to the physical life of the cow, meditation is to the spiritual life of those created in the image of God.

C H Spurgeon asks a good question…

“Have you a spiritual taste, dear Hearer? It is one thing to hear the Word. It is another thing to taste it. Hearing the Word is often blessed, but tasting it is a more inward and spiritual thing—it is the enjoyment of the Truth in the innermost parts of our being! Oh, that we were all as fond of the Word as were the old mystics who chewed the cud of meditation till they were fattened upon the Word of the Lord and their souls grew strong in the Divine Love! I am sure of this—the more you know of God’s Word, the more you will love it!”—The True Sayings of God – #3144

Meditation is ANALYZING. Literally analyzing describes the art of taking an intentional, lengthy look at a given object as the jeweler does when he puts his eyepiece on to examine the character and qualities of a flawless diamond. Indeed, “The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” (Ps 12:6-note) Meditation on the living and active (energetic) Word (Heb 4:12-note) is like gazing at a prism, which breaks a single beam of sunlight into many component colors. As we take time to steadily focus on the “diamond” of God’s Word, the Spirit illumines the Son’s light in His many and variegated “colors and hues.”

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law (Psalm 119:18).

Meditation is ACTION. Someone has described it: “Making words into thoughts and thoughts into actions.” It is mental planning ahead with definite action in mind for accomplishing a job. Andrew Murray describes it: “Holding the Word of God in your heart until it has affected every phase of your life… this is meditation.”

Now tie these three thoughts together: chewing, analyzing and action. Reflect on each of them now before reading any further. Give God time for divine polishing in His secret place in order to more effectually reproduce His glory and beauty in public.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou SHALT MEDITATE therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for THEN thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” [Joshua 1:8]

[Quoted from Precept Austin.org]

ONLY GOD CAN DEVISE MEANS TO BRING GLORY OUT OF UTTER RUIN AND DESTRUCTION!

ONLY GOD CAN DEVISE MEANS TO BRING GLORY OUT OF UTTER RUIN AND DESTRUCTION!

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“What human intellect could have devised a means whereby God could be just and yet merciful, merciful and yet just? What mortal mind would ever have dreamed of a free and full salvation, bestowed on hell-deserving sinners, “without money and without price”! And what flight of carnal imagination would ever have conceived of the Son of God Himself being “made sin” for us and dying the Just for the unjust?” [A.W. Pink]

“Yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him” [2 Sam 14:14]

“Sin entered the world by Satan, and death entered by sin. Sin separated between God and our souls, but the incarnation of the Son of God brought our nature back to God which sin had separated, and the blood of Christ made us nigh, whom wicked works had made far off. Sin had its beginning by the tree of knowledge, and it had its end on the accursed tree. Adam sinned and died, and paradise was lost; Christ was made sin and died, and a better paradise was gained.

The woman, being first in the transgression, was condemned to sorrow in child-bearing, and that sorrow brought forth the woman’s great Deliverer. Sin is the sole cause of all our misery, and a sense of this misery renders us proper objects of God’s mercy. By sin and death Satan aimed at the eternal destruction of men, and sin and death will be the eternal destruction of Satan.

Nothing pleased Satan so well as bringing mankind under the sentence of death; and that sentence executed upon Christ bruised Satan’s head, and he himself and his works were destroyed in the same nature that he had ruined. By the incarnation of Christ grace and mercy came to men, and by the death of Christ honour is brought to the justice and holiness of God. Satan is degraded, sin is condemned in Christ’s flesh and the sinner is saved, and yet God appears just when He justifies the ungodly. Sin is freely pardoned and yet vengeance is taken on our inventions; forgiveness and cleansing are of free grace, and yet God is faithful and just in forgiving and cleansing. The sinner is bought with a price and yet saved and glorified by free grace.

Sin brought us all under the wrath of God, but in pouring that wrath upon Christ, everlasting love was displayed to men. All the works of devils have been to destroy human nature, and by a Judge in human nature shall all devils be judged and destroyed. Devils are the accusers of the brethren, and the brethren shall be the judges of the devils. Men, aspiring to be like gods, fell under the dominion of fallen angels; Christ, by being made a little lower than the angels of light, raised us to an honour above them.”

William Huntington S.S. [1745-1813]

THANKSGIVING AND GREED – THINGS THAT CAN’T GO TOGETHER

THANKSGIVING AND GREED – THINGS THAT CAN’T GO TOGETHER

“Thanksgiving offers tradition, family, and contentment; Black Friday offers smart phones at drastically reduced prices. In America, we all know who wins that battle. So Black Friday, like a black hole, violently expanded; it absorbed the light that surrounded it and sucked everything into its terrifying abyss, where all substance is torn to shreds and obliterated. Black Friday could not be contained to a mere 24 hours. It is Consumerism. It wants more. It always wants more. Nothing is sacred to it; nothing is valuable. So, now, Black Friday has eaten Thanksgiving alive. Thanksgiving let out a desperate cry as Black Friday devoured its soul, but we barely noticed. It’s hard to hear anything when you’re wrestling 4,000 other people for buy one get one free cargo shorts at Old Navy.” – Matt Walsh

“What will the next four days say about who you are? Are you a coveter? Are you moved by Greed? Are you thankful for what you have?

Please do not understand me, there is nothing wrong with shopping this weekend. I bought a stove and microwave a few weeks ago and still go the Black Friday specials. I am not saying “don’t spend money.” But what I am asking is that you use this weekend as an opportunity to evaluate your heart.

WHY do you spend?

Answering that question honestly might just expose some things in your heart you won’t want to know. As James, the brother of of our Lord, says . . .

“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!” (James 4:4)

What does your desire for more say about your desire for God?”
Thad Bergmeier