EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD TRANSPIRES WITH AN EYE ON GOD’S ELECT

EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD TRANSPIRES 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 or a shortwave radio with which we listen to sermons 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!”

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How Scriptural are Seminaries and ‘Bible Colleges’? 

How Scriptural are Seminaries and ‘Bible Colleges’?

There came to Him (Jesus) the chief priests and the scribes, and the elders. And say unto Him, By WHAT authority doest Thou these things? And WHO gave Thee this authority?” [Mark 11:27,28].

How history repeats itself! “From WHAT College have YOU graduated? And in WHICH Seminary were YOU trained”? are the modern forms of this query!

[A.W. Pink]

Recently I posted an article by a Brother who clearly exposed and repudiated the error of Transubstantiation or the ‘Real-Presence of Christ in the bread and wine, and the people who were contending for this error, were more interested in the ‘credentials’ of the said Brother than the truth he had presented!

The question to ask is not “WHO gave you the authority to preach” but “Is your preaching in accord with God’s word”? The AUTHORITY to preach is not something that is bestowed by MAN, or even a school of men (like a College or Seminary). And it is definitely not bestowed by an Institution which claims to be the Church of Christ but teaches and practices everything contrary to the revealed Word of God.

The Pharisees were the only ones in Scripture who questioned a persons’ ‘authority to preach’! ‘And when He was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority”? Strikingly the Lord does not answer their query but says, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” [Mat 21:23-27]

Even when the Apostle Paul started preaching, none of the older Apostles asked him who gave him the authority, but admitted, that “he who persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith which once he destroyed”! [Gal 1:23]

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no warrant in Scripture for a formal Seminary education to qualify men to be preachers! The closest example in Scripture to a college or seminary education is the Pharisee’s education system. The result of their education system is pretty clear. They could not even recognize God when He came to them in person (Jesus). They really believed that they loved God, but in actuality they hated God (Jesus) because God did not fit the theology they had been taught in their schools. They refused to believe the truth. They went to Hell, because their education was a stumbling block. They were proud, arrogant, hypocritical, and looked for the approval and honor of men. God intentionally hid spiritual understanding from them. “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” (Matthew 11:25) The Pharisees education system was a failed education system and yet the Church’s Seminary education system is very similar to it.

THE MEN CHRIST CHOSE AND APPOINTED TO ‘FEED HIS SHEEP’ WERE FOR THE MOST PART ‘UNEDUCATED MEN’!

The way Jesus trained His disciples was totally different than a college or seminary education today. It was more of an apprenticeship, and could not be described as a formal education. AT THE END OF THEIR TRAINING WITH JESUS, THEY WERE STILL DESCRIBED AS UNLEARNED AND IGNORANT MEN. However, their preaching brought thousands to a saving faith in Jesus and impacted the world. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) God Himself gave us the example that education is not important.

Jesus did not even attend the “elementary” school for Jewish boys that taught them how to read. “And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? [John 7:15]

Paul was a highly educated man in the teachings of the Pharisees. He knew the terminology, the reasoning, the jargon of the religious elite. But he put that all aside as worthless when God called him to preach! [See I Corinthians 2:1-16]

Moses was educated in Pharaoh’s house with the best education in Egypt. However, that did not qualify him to lead the Children of Israel. God had to humble him for 40 years in the desert, leading sheep, before he was ready to be the leader that God wanted him to be. When God called Moses, he did not feel qualified to be a leader or to stand before Pharaoh. He asked God to send someone else instead.

And THAT is what God’s school of training does to those whom He calls and trains, – i.e. it shows them how insufficient they are for the task ahead! Almost every man whom God called to ‘go speak for Him’ in holy writ made excuses and tried to shake off the task, for they found themselves insufficient! [2Cor 3:5]

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”! [Matt 18:1-5]

College and seminary education and degrees do not help a pastor to become humble as a little child. A pastor must be converted in his thinking about what greatness really is. Unfortunately, a seminary degree and especially the title “Doctor” does not help a pastor become more humble. Neither can a man who is not humble himself help others to be humble so that they can enter the kingdom of heaven. (v.3)

GOD’S DESIGN OF THE CHURCH STRUCTURE IS ONE OF EQUALITY RATHER THAN HIERARCHY. BROTHERHOOD RATHER THAN MASTER AND SERVANT OR PROFESSOR AND STUDENT.

The word “Minister” means: “to run on errands; an attendant, that is, (generally) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess): deacon, minister, servant.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary) A degree of higher education is a great hindrance to this command for a pastor to view himself as a servant. Church structure is opposite of business or government structure. A pastor must not do things to receive honor of others – special dress, special seat, parking, fancy or high pulpit, or honorary title or degree. All of those are contrary to the attributes of a servant. [See Matt 20:25-28]

Jesus commands (It is not a suggestion) that a pastor is not to use a title of honor: “Reverend”, “Doctor”, or “Ph.D.” “M.Div.” “Th.D.”, “Senior Pastor”, etc. A person’s education must not be used in the church to elevate that individual above any other person. Everyone in the church are equals (v.8) Highly educated persons in the church are not be acknowledged as such in the church. [read A.W. Pinks article –“Doctor or brother”]

Think of it – Jesus SAT DOWN to teach His disciples. Matthew 5, the sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to the multitudes SITTING DOWN. Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth SAT DOWN to teach. Jesus taught SITTING in a boat. A pulpit is usually ELEVATED above the people and puts the pastor at the center of attention and importance center stage. That is the OPPOSITE of Jesus’ command to be servant of all.

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight”. [Matt 11:25-27]

The Pharisees were highly educated in the Old Testament in the “seminary” of their day. But God hid spiritual understanding from them and revealed it to uneducated men. Note what Jesus said, that God knew that this was best to hide true spiritual understanding from the educated! Jesus did not have any formal education. If a pastor desires to follow Christ and do what Jesus would do, why does he desire to have a seminary education? Why does the church desire their pastor to have a seminary education?

God’s design for pastors is the opposite of one patterned after seminary training. God has chosen the uneducated, the foolish in the world’s eyes, the weak, the base things of the world, those that are despised. God has not chosen the educated to lead the church. Jesus followed this same principle in choosing the twelve disciples. Not one educated Pharisee was chosen. Later when Paul, a highly educated Pharisee became a Christian, he tells us how he renounced his education so that his ministry would be more effective for Christ.

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God”. [1Cor 3:18]

God warns us here that it is easy for a highly educated person to deceive himself. The tendency with a college or seminary education is that with a degree to one’s name, that person has a tendency to feel that he is wise.

THEREFORE IF A PASTOR HAS A SEMINARY DEGREE, HE NEEDS TO BECOME A FOOL BY RENOUNCING IT SO THAT HE CAN BECOME WISE. OTHERWISE HIS THOUGHTS, THOUGH APPEARING TO BE WISE, ARE VAIN IN TRUE SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

Here are some quotes from A.W. Pink on Seminaries –

The best place of training for the pastor is not a seminary but the school of adversity. Spiritual lessons can be learned only in the furnace of affliction. [Gleanings from Paul]

Commenting on Isaiah 40:29-31, he says –

But where had Elijah learned this all-important lesson? Not in any seminary or bible-training college, for it there were such in that day they were like some in our own degenerate time—in the hands of the Lord’s enemies. [Life of Elijah].

This was one of the trials which this writer (Pink) encountered over thirty years ago, when his pastor and Christian friends urged him to enter a theological seminary, though they knew that deadly error was taught there. It was not easy to take his stand against them, but he is deeply thankful he did so. [Gleanings from Elisha].

Passing through a seminary and putting on the ministerial garb does not transform the unregenerate into regenerate men. When our Lord announced, “The truth shall make you free,” it was the religious leaders of the Jews who declared they were never in bondage; and when He affirmed, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do,” they replied, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” (John 8). [The Doctrine of man’s Impotence].

Commenting on John 7:15 –

“How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” How like the spirit

which is abroad today! How many there are in the educational and religious world who suppose it is impossible for man to expound the Scriptures gracefully and to the edification of his hearers unless, forsooth, he has first been trained in some college or seminary! Education is an altar which is now thronged by a multitude of idolatrous worshippers. That, no doubt, is one reason why God’s curse has fallen on almost all our seats of learning. [Exposition of John]

Commenting on John 7:17 –

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” How this word rebuked, again, these worldly-minded Jews; and how it reverses the judgment of many of our moderns! One does not have to enter a seminary or a Bible Institute and take a course in Christian Apologetics in order to obtain assurance that the Bible is inspired, or in order to learn how to interpret it. Spiritual intelligence comes not through the intellect, but via the heart: it is acquired not by force of reasoning, but by the exercise of faith.

An experiential acquaintance with Christ is the one thing needful. A heart knowledge of God’s truth is the vital thing, and it is that which no schooling or seminary training can confer. [Exposition of John]

Commenting on John 9:34 –

Alas, how tragically does history repeat itself. These men were too arrogant to receive anything from this poor beggar. They were graduates from honored seats of learning, therefore was it far too much beneath their dignity to be instructed by this unsophisticated disciple of Christ. And how many a preacher there is today, who in his fancied superiority, scorns the help which ofttimes a member of his congregation could give him. Glorying in their seminary education, they cannot allow that an ignorant layman has light on the Scriptures which they do not possess. Let a Spirit-taught layman seek to show the average preacher “the way of the Lord more perfectly,” and he must not be surprised if his pastor says — if not in so many words, plainly by his bearing and actions — “dost thou teach us?” How marvellously pertinent is this two-thousand-year-old Book to our own times! “And they cast him out” (John 9:34).

But to “open” the Scriptures helpfully to the saints requires something more than a few months’ training in a Bible institute, or a year or two in a seminary. None but those who have been personally taught of God in the hard school of experience are qualified so to “open” the Word that Divine light is cast upon the spiritual problems of the believer, for while Scripture interprets experience, experience is often the best interpreter of Scripture. [Acts 17:2,3].

[Some of the above is quoted from – ‘A Biblical Research Report by Myron Horst’]

Here’s an additional note from Elder Jack Dawsey an Old School Baptist in response to a query on this subject –

Question – “Elder Dawsey, would you make some comments on theological schools, their authenticity (or not) for Bible teaching, and whether or not an aspiring Bible student should enroll in them to prepare for the ministry?”

Thank you for asking my opinion on theological schools. But first, before I attempt an answer to your inquiry, allow me to “generalize” and then proceed by offering you some “specifics.”

As an aspiring ministerial student, it’s important to read everything you get your hands on and “prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” I Thess. 5:21 and that “which you have already, hold fast till He come.” Rev. 2:25.

Moreover, it’s important for you to keep in mind that acquiring a body of knowledge, whether or not institutional or self-taught is a laudable action that Old School Primitive Baptists ambitiously seek, and you should too. Education is an equalizer among men.

But when Bible colleges and other esteem theological institutions promote the notion that they are equipped to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, that they are the fountain of wisdom, and conflate the wisdom of the flesh to the Holy Spirit, the word foolish is not a sufficient word to describe their charter.

When schools of academia have the audacity to confer doctorates of divinity on students or colleagues, or claim empowerment to prepare men and women to advance the kingdom of God, they are gone beyond the pale.

Theological schools are devices of men, and are used to confer titles that are misleading. Their degrees are misleading because when brethren of religious stripes attend these schools for the service of Christ, they open themselves to an employment opportunity (hireling) our precious Lord declared to be evil –John 10:13. In addition, there is but One Reverend and One Doctor of Divinity Psalm 111:9, therefore when schools confer this moniker they mock the dear Redeemer.

We believe that a person, called to serve God, must first experience the grace of God, and part of the experience is the constant awareness that Christ has perfect knowledge in all things, that He has the power to confer upon His called servants that which is well pleasing in His sight, and is able to perform and accomplish the work He ordained to His servant. As an example to follow, I urge you to consider the apostle to the Jews and the apostle to the Gentiles, Gal. 1:16.

Now it’s true, on occasion, Christ calls men to serve Him of great natural learning from institutes of higher education. And true, He endows some with unusual gifts. But these do not represent the standard call to the ministry; rather, they are the exception. Besides, these gifts are (more often than not) particular professional fields.

If Christ calls a person to labor in the gospel field, and then subjects His servant to depend upon a theological school (to prepare and “get ready” for service in the kingdom) that would be contrary to: ”Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty: And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”- I Cor. 26-29.

So, given the hatchery-like egg settings of these institutions, where students are treated like a new-born chick and subjected to the psychological phenomenon known as Groupthink, it behooves the aspirant minister of God to turn away from these schools because the kingdom of God is not of this world. Therefore, Bible colleges have no part in teaching Divinity.

In addition, it’s been our observation that to learn Christ (falsely) i.e. in and through the wisdom of flesh is the snare of deception. Deception is such a powerful device that the snared-one will be required to unlearn his false Christ; yea, vomit the false Christ up before ever learning him aright. (And that’s a psychological and emotional lesson very painful to experience).

Finally, I will say this and this is not an opinion. Stumbling blocks for many professing saints are documented beginning with the School at Alexandria (the first, so-called, Christian academy established in the mid-2nd century) to the modern era of Bible colleges.

Graduates of these schools become (wittingly or unwittingly) “hired” hands.

As hirelings, they tend to rely upon their natural propensity to teach lessons that a heaven-taught child has not. They are apt to pursue preaching as a professional career, building a Resume’ that demands a lucrative salary -with perks- at their next post.

They are apt to introduce new “programs” of worship and new “songs” to the saints in the assembly, including “songs and messages” contrary to the apostles who, “determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” – I Co. 2:2.

 

THE GREATEST PIECE OF THEOLOGICAL WRITING THAT EVER CAME FROM LUTHER’S PEN

THE GREATEST PIECE OF THEOLOGICAL WRITING THAT EVER CAME FROM LUTHER’S PEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SINS OF PRESUMPTION

SINS OF PRESUMPTION

C.H. Spurgeon

“Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!” [Psalm 19:13]

ALL SINS are great sins, but yet some sins are greater than others. Every sin has in it the very venom of rebellion, and is full of the essential marrow of traitorous rejection of God. But there be some sins which have in them a greater development of the essential mischief of rebellion, and which wear upon their faces more of the brazen pride which defies the Most High. It is wrong to suppose that because all sins will condemn us, that therefore one sin is not greater than another. The fact is, that while all transgression is a greatly grievous sinful thing, yet there are some transgressions which have a deeper shade of blackness, and a more double scarlet-dyed hue of criminality than others.

“Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins!”

Will you just note, that this prayer was the PRAYER OF A SAINT, the prayer of a holy man of God! Did David need to pray thus? Did the “man after God’s own heart” need to cry, “Keep back Thy servant?” Yes, he did. And note the beauty of the prayer. If I might translate it into more metaphorical style, it is like this: “Curb Thy servant from presumptuous sin.” “Keep him back or he will wander to the edge of the precipice of sin. Hold him in, Lord; he is apt to run away; curb him; put the bridle on him; do not let him do it; let Thine overpowering grace keep him holy; when he would do evil, then do Thou draw him to good, and when his evil propensities would lead him astray, then do Thou check him.” “Check Thy servant from presumptuous sins.”

What then? Is It true that the best of men may sin presumptuously? Ah! it is true. It is a solemn thing to find the Apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome of sins. He says, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, inordinate affection,” and such like. What! do saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do.

THE HIGHEST SAINTS MAY SIN THE LOWEST SINS, UNLESS KEPT BY DIVINE GRACE!

You old experienced Christians, boast not in your experience; you may trip yet, unless you cry, “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.” Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes an bright, say not “I shall never sin,” but rather cry out, “Lord, lead me not into temptation, and when there leave me not there; for unless Thou hold me fast I feel I must, I shall decline, and prove an apostate after all.” There is enough tinder in the hearts of the best men in the world to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell, unless God should quench the sparks as they fall.

There is enough corruption, depravity, and wickedness in the heart of the most holy man that is now alive to damn his soul to all eternity, if free and sovereign grace does not prevent. O Christian, thou hast need to pray this prayer. But I think I hear you saying, “Is thy servant a dog, that I should do this thing?” So said Hazael, when the prophet told him that he would slay his master; but he went home and took a wet cloth and spread it over his master’s face and choked him, and did the next day the sin which he abhorred before. Think it not enough to abhor sin, you may yet fall into it.

Say not, “I never can be drunken, for I have such an abhorrence of drunkenness;” Thou mayest fall where Thou art most secure. Say not, “I can never blaspheme God, for I have never done so in my life;” take care; you may yet swear most profanely. Job might have said, “I will never curse the day of my birth;” but he lived to do it. He was a patient man; he might have said, “I will never murmur; though He slay me, yet will I trust in him;” and yet he lived to wish that the day were darkness wherein he was brought forth. Boast not, then, O Christian; by faith thou standest. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

But if this need to be the prayer of the best, how ought it to be the prayer of you and me? If the highest saint must pray it, O mere moralist, thou hast good need to utter it. And ye who have begun to sin, who make no pretensions to piety, how much need is there for you to pray that you may be kept from presumptuously rebelling against God.

Instead, however, of enlarging upon that point, I shall close my few remarks this morning by just addressing myself most affectionately to such of you as are now under a sense of guilt by reason of presumptuous sins. God’s Spirit has found some of you out this morning. I thought when I was describing presumptuous sin that I saw here and there an eye that was suffused with tears; I thought I saw here and there a head that was bowed down, as much as to say, “I am guilty there.” I thought there were some hearts that palpitated with confession, when I described the guilt of presumption. I hope it was so. If it was I am glad of it. If I hit your consciences, it was that I meant to do. Not to your ears do I speak, but to your hearts. I would not give the snap of this my finger to gratify you with mere words of oratory, with a mere flow of language. No, God is my witness. I never sought effect yet, except the effect of hitting your consciences. I would use the words that would be most rough and vulgar in all our language, if I could get at your heart better with them than with any other; for I reckon that the chief matter with a minister is to touch the conscience.

If any of you feel, then, that you have presumed against God in sinning, let me just bid you look at your sin, and weep over the blackness of it; let me exhort you to go home and bow your heads with sorrow, and confess your guilt, and weep over it with many tears and sighs. You have greatly sinned, and if God should blast you into perdition now, He would be just; if now His fiery thunderbolt of vengeance should pierce you through, if the arrow that is now upon the string of the Almighty should find a target in your heart, he would be just. Go home and confess that, confess it with cries and sighs. And then what next wilt thou do? Why, I bid thee remember that there was a man who was a God. That man suffered for presumptuous sin. I would bid thee this day, sinner, if thou knowest thy need of a Saviour, go up to thy chamber, cast thyself upon thy face, and weep for sin; and when thou hast done that, turn to the Scriptures, and read the story of that man who suffered and died for sin. Think you see him in all his unutterable agonies, and griefs, and woes, and say this—

“My soul looks back to see
The burdens thou didst bear
When hanging on the accursed tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.”

Lift up your hand, and put it on His head who bled, and say,

“My faith would lay its hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While, like a penitent, I stand,
And there confess my sin.”

Sit down at the foot of his cross, and watch Him till your heart is moved, till the tears begin to flow again, until your heart breaks within you; and then you will rise and say—

“Dissolved by His mercy, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I found.”

O sinner, thou canst never perish, if thou wilt cast thyself at the foot of the cross. If thou seekest to save thyself thou shalt die; if thou wilt come, just as thou art, all black, all filthy, all hell-deserving, all ill-deserving, I am my Master’s hostage, I will be answerable at the day of judgment for this matter, if He does not save thee, I can preach on this subject now, for I trust I have tried my Master myself. As a youth I sinned, as a child I rebelled, as a young man I wandered into lusts and vanities: my Master made me feel how great a sinner I was and I sought to reform, to mend the matter; but I grew worse. At last I heard it said, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;” and I looked to Jesus. And O! my Saviour, Thou hast eased my aching conscience, Thou hast given me peace; Thou hast enabled me to say;

“Now, freed from sin I walk at large;
My Saviour’s blood’s a full discharge
At His dear feet my soul I lay,
A sinner saved, and homage pay.”

And O! my heart pants for you. O that you who never knew Him could taste His love now. O that you who have never repented might now receive the Holy Ghost who is able to melt the heart! And O that you who are penitents would look to Him now! And I repeat that solemn assertion—I am God’s hostage this morning; ye shall feed me on bread and water to my life’s end, ay, and I will bear the blame for ever, if any of you seek Christ and Christ rejects you. It must not, it cannot be. “Whosoever cometh,” He says, “I will in no wise cast out.” “He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him.” May God Almighty bless you; and may we meet again in yonder Paradise; and there will we sing more sweetly of redeeming love and dying blood, and of Jesus’ power to save;

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save:
I’ll sing Thy power to save.

NO LOVE LIKE THE LOVE OF JESUS FOR HIS OWN

NO LOVE LIKE THE LOVE OF JESUS FOR HIS OWN

C.H. Spurgeon

Think WHAT that love must have been which brought the Lord of glory from the highest heaven to become the Man of sorrows for our sakes!

Think again HOW GREAT that love must have been which caused Him who is God to become a man for us! We remember that JESUS DIED BECAUSE OF LOVE! ” Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That laying down of life in our Lord’s case was specially a proof of love, for He died voluntarily; there was no necessity upon Him, as upon us, to die.

Other men, if they died for us, would but pay the debt of nature a little before its time; but Jesus died who needed not to die, so far as He himself was concerned. He died also amid circumstances of pain, and shame, and desertion, which made that death peculiarly bitter. The death of the cross is to us the highest proof of our Saviour’s infinite love to us.

He must die the death of a felon, between two thieves, utterly friendless, the object of general ridicule; and this He must do as bearing our sins in His own body. All this makes us say, “Behold HOW He loved us!” O beloved! can we doubt Christ’s love, since He laid down His life, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God”?

It was BECAUSE OF THIS LOVE, remember, dear child of God, that THE LORD MADE THEE LIVE. I cannot quote at full length that memorable passage in the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel; but there you have our condition represented as that of a deserted infant cast out to die, unwashed, unswaddled, bleeding itself to death in filth and misery; and it is written that when the Lord passed by, He said unto that infant, “Live.” Even thus did He speak to us, and we lived, and rose out of our misery. He declares that the time when He thus passed by was “a time of love.” Shall I not touch your hearts when I remind you of the Lord’s time of love to you?

Remember your cast-out condition, your helpless distress, your hopeless ruin. You lay between the very jaws of death, and no one eye pitied you; you did not even pity yourself. Jesus looked on you long before you looked to Him. He spoke to you before you spoke to Him. He said, “Live!” and you did live, but before that you were dead in trespasses and sins. Then He washed, clothed, beautified, and adopted you. He made a wretched foundling to be joint-heir with Himself.

O love! Matchless love! We owe our spiritual life to love, and therefore as long as we live we will praise the Lover of our souls! Amen!

Say “Praise the Lord!”

SALVATION – NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH!

SALVATION – NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH!

Compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“So then it is NOT of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD that showeth mercy”! [Romans 9:16]

Free will is “corrupted nature’s deformed darling, the Pallas or beloved self-conception of darkened minds” – John Owen

“The friends of free will are the enemies of free grace.” – John Trapp

“This crown of free will is fallen from our head” and “If it be God’s purpose that saves then it is not free will.” – Thomas Watson

“A man’s free will cannot cure him even of the toothache, or a sore finger; and yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure his soul.” – Augustus Toplady.

“Man is nothing; HE HATH A FREE WILL TO GO TO HELL, BUT NONE TO GO TO HEAVEN, till God worketh in him” and “you dishonour God by denying election. You plainly make salvation depend, not on God’s ‘free grace’ but on Man’s ‘free will.’” – George Whitefield

“Free will has carried many souls to hell, but yet never a soul to heaven.” C.H. Spurgeon

“I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, “You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself.” My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will.” C.H. Spurgeon

“God’s character is maligned by every person who believes in free will.” – W.E. Best

“This brought me out of the free-will fog, and truth shone in my heart like a comet … from that moment I waged war against free will.” – William Huntington

“Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness? INDEED WE ARE; except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.”

AN INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF MAN’S TOTAL DEPRAVITY AND AN EXPERIENTIAL ONE

AN INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF MAN’S TOTAL DEPRAVITY AND AN EXPERIENTIAL ONE

J.C. Philpot

When the Church of God fell in Adam, she fell with a crash which broke every bone and bruised her flesh with wounds which are ulcerated from top to toe. Her understanding, her conscience, and her affections were all fearfully maimed. The first was blinded, the second stupified, and the third alienated.

Every mental faculty thus became perverted and distorted. As in a shipwrecked vessel the water runs in through every leak, so when Adam fell upon the lee-shore of sin and temptation, and made shipwreck of the image of God in which he was created, sin rushed into every faculty of body and soul and penetrated into the inmost recesses of his being.
Or to use another figure; as when a man is bitten by a poisonous serpent the venom courses through every artery and vein, and he dies a corrupted mass from head to foot, so did the poison-fang of sin penetrate into Adam’s inmost soul and body, and infect him with its venom from the sole to the crown. But the fearful havoc which sin has made is never seen nor felt till the soul is quickened into spiritual life”Now, as this is opened up to the conscience by the Spirit of God, we feel indeed to be of all men most sinful and miserable, and of all most guilty, polluted, and vile. But it is this, and nothing but this, which cuts to pieces our fleshly righteousness, wisdom, and strength, which slays our delusive hopes, and lays us low at the footstool of mercy, without one good thought, word, or action to propitiate an angry Judge. It is this which brings the soul to this point, that, if saved, it can only be saved by the free grace, sovereign mercy, and tender compassion of Almighty God. These are painful lessons to learn.

How trying is bodily illness! To be parched by fever, racked by internal pain, with nerves unstrung, temples throbbing, limbs tottering, appetite gone, are heavy afflictions. Wounds also festering, abscesses gathering, ulcers spreading, cancers eating—what a catalogue of ills this poor flesh is heir to!

Yet these are but types of the maladies and wounds which the fall has brought into the soul. But as it is one thing to read of disease in books and another to be sick one, one thing to walk through the wards of a hospital and another to lie there a dying patient; so it is one thing to know the fall by theory and another to feel it by experience.

This miserable state, brought upon us and into us by the fall, all the people of God must in some measure feel. It is of no use mincing the matter and saying that a person can be saved by the grace of God and the blood of Christ, without knowing anything of the depth of misery and wretchedness into which he is sunk as the fallen child of a fallen sire. We must go down into the depths of the fall to know what our hearts are and what they are capable of; we must have the keen knife of God to cut deep gashes in our conscience and lay bare the evil that lies so deeply imbedded in our carnal mind, before we can enter into and experience the beauty and blessedness of salvation by grace.

THREE KINDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

THREE KINDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

J.C. Philpot

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]

There are three kinds of righteousness, or at least three kinds of righteousness which bear that name. There is inherent righteousness, of which we have none. There is imputed righteousness, which is all our justification. And there is imparted righteousness, when God the Spirit makes us new creatures, and raises up in the heart that “new man, which after God” (that is, “after the image of God”) “is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

When the Lord, therefore, said, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven,” he did not mean only an external righteousness wrought out by his obedience to the law for them, but an internal righteousness wrought out by the Holy Spirit in them. Thus we read of the inward as well as the outward apparel of the Church, “The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold.”

Two kinds of righteousness belong to the Queen; her imputed righteousness is her outward robe, “the clothing of wrought gold;” but imparted righteousness is her inward adorning, which makes her “all-glorious within.” This inward glory is the new man in the heart, with all his gifts and graces, what Peter calls “the divine nature,” “Christ in the heart, the hope of glory.” [Hallelujah!]

P.S. “This must be so if the Church is conformed to her Head, for He was “without spot” externally, and “without blemish” internally.” – A.W. Pink

IT IS GOD WHO ASSURES YOUR SLEEP

IT IS GOD WHO ASSURES YOUR SLEEP

 A.W. Pink

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep”.  [Psalm 127:2]

How often is it now lost sight of that the Lord cares for the bodies of His saints as well as for their souls. This is more or less recognized and owned by believers in the matter of food and clothing, health and strength, but it is widely ignored by many concerning the point we are here treating of.

SLEEP is as imperative for our physical well-being as is food and drink, and the one is as much the GIFT of our heavenly Father as is the other.

We cannot put ourselves to sleep by any effort of will, as those who suffer with insomnia quickly discover. Nor does exercise and manual labour of itself ensure sleep: have you ever lain down almost exhausted and then found you were “too tired to sleep”?

Sleep is a DIVINE GIFT, but the nightly recurrence of it blinds us to the fact.

When is so pleases Him, God withholds sleep, and then we have to say with the Psalmist, “Thou holdest mine eyes waking” (77:4). But that is the exception rather than the rule, and deeply thankful should we be that it is so. Day by day the Lord feeds us, and night by night He “giveth His beloved sleep.” Thus in this little detail—of Elijah’s sleeping under the juniper tree—which we are likely to pass over lightly, we should perceive the gracious hand of God ministering in tenderness to the needs of one who is dear unto Him.

Yes, “the Lord pitieth them that fear Him,” and why? “for He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). He is mindful of our frailty, and tempers His winds accordingly; He is aware when our energies are spent, and graciously renews our strength. It was not God’s design that His servant should die of exhaustion in the wilderness after his long, long flight from Jezreel, so he mercifully refreshes his body with sleep. And thus compassionately does He deal with us.

Alas, how little are we affected by the Lord’s goodness and grace unto us. The unfailing recurrence of His mercies both temporally and spiritually inclines us to take them as a matter of course. So dull of understanding are we, so cold our hearts Godward, it is to be feared that most of the time we fail to realize WHOSE loving hand it is which is ministering to us. Is not this the very reason why we do not begin really to value our health until it is taken from us, and not until we spend night after night tossing upon a bed of pain do we perceive the worth of regular sleep with which we were formerly favored?

And such vile creatures are we that, when illness and insomnia come upon us, instead of improving the same by repenting of our former ingratitude, and humbly confessing the same to God, we murmur and complain at the hardness of our present lot and wonder what we have done to deserve such treatment. O let those of us who are still blessed with good health and regular sleep fail not daily to return thanks for such privileges and earnestly seek grace to use the strength from them to the glory of God.

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Life of Elijah’]

YOUR ‘DECISION’ IS NOT WHAT SAVES YOU

YOUR ‘DECISION’ IS NOT WHAT SAVES YOU

preacher Gary Shepard

Believers are not saved by their “decision.” No, they are saved because God decided upon them, chose them in Christ and blessed them with all spiritual blessings in Him before the world began. He redeemed us by His blood and calls us. Yet, as believers in Christ and servants of the living God in this world, we have many decisions in this life. These decisions, some big and some small (so we think), do not determine anything but they do reveal many things. You see, it is our decisions concerning the things of this life that prove to be the test of our faith. Decisions concerning family, work, recreation, worship, etc. Actually, every decision in life! In making these decisions there are a number of things we as believers should consider:

1. Will I be acting according to God’s plain commands and statements in His Word? The Spirit of God never leads us to act contrary to the written Word. “He that is of God hears God’s words” John8:47

2. Will my decision be for the glory of God above all things? “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Co 10:31

3. Will what I choose to do really work for my spiritual and eternal good? “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” 1Co 10:23“Set your affection on things above ”

4. Will the course of action I choose encourage or be a good example for the people of God? “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Ro 14:19

5. Will my decision work for the good of Christ’s church in this world and the advancement of His gospel? Will it encourage the one He has sent to feed and watch over my soul?

Remember Joshua’s words to the people: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Jos 24:15 God give us grace to serve YOU!