TRUE AND FALSE RELIGION

TRUE AND FALSE RELIGION

by J. C. Philpot

“I see that you are very religious in every way.” Acts 17:22

True religion is what the world does not want –nor does true religion want the world. The two are as separate as Christ and Belial. But some religion the world must have! And as it will not have, and cannot have the true–it will and must have the false.

Worldly religion cannot exist without an order of men to teach it and practice its ceremonies. Hence come clergy, forming a recognized priestly caste. And as these must, to avoid confusion, be governed, all large corporate bodies requiring a controlling power, thence come bishops and archbishops, ecclesiastical courts, archdeacons–and the whole apparatus of clerical government.

The ceremonies and ordinances cannot be carried on without buildings set apart for the purpose–thence churches and cathedrals. As prayer is a part of all religious worship, and carnal men cannot, for lack of the Spirit, pray spiritually–they must have forms of devotion made ready to their hand, thence come prayer-books and liturgies. As there must be mutual points of agreement to hold men together, there must be written formulas of doctrine –thence come articles, creeds, and confessions of faith.

And finally, as there are children to be instructed, and this cannot be safely left to oral teaching, for fear of ignorance in some and error in others, the very form of instruction must be drawn up in so many words– thence come catechisms. People are puzzled sometimes to know why there is this and that thing in an established religion–why we have churches and clergy, tithes and prayer-books, universities and catechisms–and the whole apparatus of religion. They do not see that all these things have sprung, as it were, out of a moral necessity, and are based upon the very constitution of man–that this great and widespread tree of a human religion has its deep roots in the natural conscience; and that all these branches necessarily and naturally grow out of the broad and lofty stem.

The attachment, then, of worldly people to a worldly religion is no great mystery. It is no riddle for a Samson to put forth–or requiring a Solomon to solve.

THE LORD GAVE THE WORD: GREAT WAS THE COMPANY OF THOSE THAT PUBLISHED IT!

THE LORD GAVE THE WORD: GREAT WAS THE COMPANY OF THOSE THAT PUBLISHED IT!

ALL of God’s children are ‘rare’ and ‘unique’ in their own merit! And the way God uses them is quite unique too. Some of God’s children are made strong to do mighty works for Him! God has His Samsons here and there who can pull up Gaza’s gates, and carry them to the top of the hill; He has a few mighties who are lion-like men, but the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. They are like starlings, frightened at every passerby; a little fearful flock. But that is not to say that God does not use them in His Kingdom.

God has His Mr. Great-heart’s, and Mr. Faithful’s, and Mr. Valiant-for-Truth soldiers . . . but He also has His Miss Much-afraid’s, and Mrs. Despondency’s, and His Feeble-mind’s. But ALL of them are very much needed and make an integral part of Hid glorious Kingdom! (paraphrased from Spurgeon)

There are those who preach, those who print what is preached and those who publish what is printed and many others who stand in the shadows and fervently uphold in prayer those who are preaching! “The Lord gave the Word: GREAT was the company of those that published it”! [Psalm 68:11] And they all shall receive the same reward according to their labours!

“As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: THEY SHALL PART ALIKE”. [1Sam 30:24]

‘Those that tarry by the stuff’ are AS important as those who go down to battle! And whether we are called to preach, print or publish or pray we are all indebted to the ‘Grace of God’ which worketh in us mightily!

“Whereunto I also labour, striving according to HIS working, which worketh in me mightily”! [Col 1:29] And all the glory shall be to God ALONE! Amen!

Hallelujah!

GOD’S POWER MANIFESTED IN VARYING DEGREES

GOD’S POWER MANIFESTED IN VARYING DEGREES

A.W. Pink

God puts forth His power in VARYING degrees, proportioned to the work which He has before Him. Thus, Christ referred to His casting out of demons “with the FINGER of God” (Luke 11:20). Speaking to Israel, Moses said, “With a strong HAND hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt” (Exodus 13:9). When referring to the amazing miracle of the Divine incarnation Mary said, “HE hath showed strength with His ARM” (Luke 1:51).

But when Paul prayed that God would enlighten His saints to apprehend His stupendous miracle of grace in salvation, it was that they might know “THE EXCEEDING GREATNESS of His power to us-ward”. [Eph 1:19]

[A.W. Pink]

THE FALLING SPARROW  – A MEDITATION

THE FALLING SPARROW  – A MEDITATION

John Marshall

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?” [Matt 10:29]
Jesus, sending forth the Twelve to do ministry and missions, here takes time to encourage them. Their involvement in kingdom work entails danger. To depict God’s tender loving care for them, our Master used sparrows as an object lesson.

Sparrows, the smallest and least valuable of edible birds, were cheap finger food. They could be purchased live, if a buyer wanted to cook them fresh at home, or could be bought plucked and stuck on skewers, ready to be eaten like kebabs.

The price was right, two for a penny, five for two pennies (Luke 12:6). By paying extra, a sparrow was thrown in free to make a bargain. Sparrows were cheap, not valuable, in people’s eyes a trifle, but in God’s eyes, not trivial. Even the free fifth sparrow, the one thrown in to close a deal, was not forgotten by God.

“And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” [Matt 10:29]

Few things in nature seem less significant than a dying sparrow plummeting to the ground. Nevertheless, God attends the funeral of every fallen sparrow.

Our text does not say a sparrow falls without His knowing about it. This is a valid and accurate observation, but does not convey the precise intent of our text.

God knows, but also somehow vitally interacts, with a sparrow’s fall. Even seemingly callous, capricious laws of nature are not outside Father’s involvement.

What appear to us to be accidents of nature are never off God’s radar screen. He tracks each fowl on the wing, logging every mile they fly. Though birds are as numerous as stars, none of them, not one, is ever lost track of by God. Even birds of no value to people, including the free fifth sparrow, are never forgotten by God.

When gravity draws a dying bird to the ground, God descends in the fall, accompanying the flight as a constant active presence in the moment. In a very real way, God is with dying sparrows. When a bird fulfils its purpose, God gives it a nest in which to die, and the nest is His own soft, infinite presence (Morgan).

Well, this is all interesting and good for ornithologists and bird watchers, but what does it have to do with you and me? EVERYTHING!! If God is engaged in every small incident in a sparrow’s life, He is also intimately involved in OUR LIVES.

God is aware of every incident, however little, in our lives. They are not outside His knowledge, nor are they outside His care and involvement. Whatever minutia hurts us grieves the Father, draws Him near, and engages His intervention.

I desperately need this truth branded deep in me. In worship last Sunday we wrote on cards what we feel keeps us from growing in Christ. I wrote on my card “Distrust. I need to trust Jesus more.” To these verses about God’s interest in us I come with a profound spirit of humility. I approach them more as student eager to learn than as accomplished teacher. I must make progress in trusting Christ more.

My personal quest is not primarily focused on gaining increased knowledge about God’s ways, though this is a worthy goal. My chief objective is increased faith in God’s ways. Facts alone do not provide answers adequate for our frailties.

“If I understood God, he could not be the true God. . . .When I cannot climb, I kneel. Where I cannot build an observatory, I set up an altar” (Spurgeon).

We do want increased knowledge, but along with it we crave deeper peace, stronger confidence. We want to trust God more in every part, every inch, of life.

We yearn to draw closer to this One whose involvement in our lives is punctual and particular, whose omnipotence and omniscience make His interaction with us universal. Finite minds fumble with Infinity, yet long to love it anyway.

Our Father does not flit (move swiftly) in and out of lives, stopping by only on occasions when He thinks He has time, and feels a need to deal with some matter of huge importance. God does not take care of big things and leave little things to chance.

The two are in fact indistinguishable. What we deem important often fizzles into being trivial. What we see as insignificant may change the course of history.

The Bible records two events that occurred at Dothan (Gen 37:17; 2 Kin 6:13). Here Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, and Elisha’s scared servant saw the mountain filled with God’s protecting horses and chariots of fires. The latter, a huge miracle, is often told to inspire confidence in God. Joseph being sold into slavery isn’t as exciting a story, but God used it to save the whole nation of Israel.
From our limited viewpoint, we can’t predict if an event, however trivial or important it seems to us, will prove huge or not. In high school, I rode horses one Sunday afternoon. I so chafed the insides of my thighs that I preached that night with my legs bowed to keep my pants from galling my skin. You may laugh it off as insignificant, but due to this, months later I did not go ride horses on a Sunday afternoon with a college revival team. One other student also chose not to go, for reasons I don’t know. We two were put in an elderly couple’s home that afternoon and fell in love. Ruth and I are wed today because we chose not to go horse back riding one afternoon in Ellington MO. Let us rejoice in serving a God engaged in each moment, each detail, each incident, of life. We must come to trust Him in all.

We need this blessed assurance, for tough times await us. God watches and cares, but sparrows still fall. Even in the Lord’s holy work itself, troubles dog our steps. Sometimes God wills His servants to suffer and yea to die. The Lord said of Saul of Tarsus, “I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (AC 9:16). It helps us to know in all of life, but especially in doing ministry and missions, nothing bad can happen to us without our Father knowing about it in advance, allowing it to come, and accompanying it to us with His own dear presence. Harm can befall us only if God sees good reason for it to come our way.

In our text, Jesus was sending the Twelve on a dangerous mission, a microcosm of what their life work would become. In later years, they all were hurt, and most died, for their dear Savior’s cause. Come life or come death, they needed to know Jesus would be engaged with them. We too need to know this.

To prove His involvement even in these situations, Jesus appeared at the death of the first martyr in Acts (7:55). As Stephen died a martyr’s death, the Master STOOD in respect and LET HIS STANDING BE SEEN. The sight speaks comfort into our darkest hours. If we believe God is with us in situations this inexplicable, we can believe He is with us in EVERY difficulty. Amen!

HAVE YOU MADE JESUS THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE?

HAVE YOU MADE JESUS THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE?

The Lord Jesus is Lord of ALL – whether we want it or not!

“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living!” [Rom 14:9]

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!” [Phil 2:9-11]

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” [Rev 17:14]

If God has called you through His Gospel in time (2Thes 2:14), it is because He has chosen you in eternity past (Eph 1:4) . . . and if He has chosen you and called you then He will keep you faithful! (Jude 1:24,25)

Salvation is of the LORD! [Jonah 2:9] And to Him ALONE is ALL the Glory!

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” [Romans 8:29,30]

Hallelujah!

‘GOING TO CHURCH’ ON SUNDAY ?

‘GOING TO CHURCH’ ON SUNDAY ?

Here is an excerpt from a letter to a Sister who wrote to me telling me that the voice of God was convicting her to ‘GET OUT’ of a compromised Church which she was attending –

Dear Sister, the nominal Christian is raised from his childhood with the idea that come Sunday he needs to ‘go to Church’!

And this, without even understanding what ‘the church’ actually means!

The ‘Church’ is not a building with a steeple on the top, nor is it a group of religious folks who attest to a creed, and have learnt to sing a few hymns and spiritual songs!

The Greek word used in the Bible for the Church is ‘Ecclesia’ which just simply means ‘called out ones’! Individuals sovereignly chosen and ‘called out’ by the God the Father, supernaturally made alive by the Holy Spirit and have been made partakers of the mystical body of Christ!

So you cannot in any real sense ‘go to Church’ because if you are truly saved, you are part of the Church!

Oh but doesn’t the Scripture say, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. [Heb 10:25]

It sure does!

But notice, it is the assembling of “OURSELVES”!

Who are those who constitute the “ourselves” which the Apostle speaks of? Well, it is those to whom the epistle is written to in the first place –

“Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling” [Heb 3:1]

Hebrews 10:25 is not admonishing the Christian to go every Sunday and sit amongst a bunch of religious goats who have a ‘form of godliness but deny the power thereof’! The Apostle’s counsel concerning such is “from such TURN AWAY”! [2Tim 3:5]

Dear Sister, please understand that I am not against God’s children having a desire to find a true Church to fellowship with. But such Churches are VERY FEW in the world today and usually meet in very small numbers either in their homes or a rented shed. If God leads you to such a Church then you can praise God for it! If not, better to sit at home and worship God than to ‘attend’ a Church which has a form of religion without the power thereof. Even at this moment I personally know God’s precious children both in the USA and England who are without an official Church where they can attend!

And the reason is not far to seek, Sister! You see, we are living in a day when God’s sheep are an ‘endangered species’! Which means, there aren’t many of them left! You have more chances of running into a ‘Tasmanian Wolf’ in Australia than running into a true child of God in a large shopping mall or train station!

In Psalm 83:3 the Psalmist refers to the Lord’s people as “Thy hidden ones”. And I believe that that is a good description of God’s people in the day that we are now living in. First of all I guess you will agree that a Church is not a BUILDING. It is a collection of believers. How many believers does it take to constitute a Church? JUST TWO! The Lord said “where TWO or three are gathered together in My Name there am I in the midst of them”! I guess the Lord had a reason for limiting the number to two or three, because being the omniscient One He knew that the day would come (has come!) when in most parts of the world only two of three would come together in His Name.

Yes, if we can find other believers who love the truth and holiness and are against all that is erroneous like Free-Willism, Roman Catholicism, Christmas, and the Prosperity Gospel etc, then it will be our joy to join with such believers and break bread.

But I speak from 27 years of personal experience that such Churches are one in a thousand and they usually meet in homes. The Master called His sheep ‘little-flock’ (Lk 12:32) because compared to the multitudes that throng the nominal churches, they are VERY SMALL in number. If a true child of God is yet a member of one of these HUGE ‘churches’, it will not be long before the Spirit opens his eyes to the fact that he is sitting amongst goats.

In our day the Lord’s true sheep who love the truth are so few in number that for a preacher to be a FULLTIME SALARIED MINISTER he has to necessarily be an amuser of goats and an entertainer of religious hypocrites. Trust me, Sister; I do not say this lightly. I know what I am saying. If a preacher has gathered enough members to support him fulltime and build him a church building then 99% of those who are part of his ‘Church’ have to NECESSARILY be religious goats! I am sorry but this fact I have seen through my own bitter experience!

Incidentally, one does not have to ‘go to church’, or ‘go’ anywhere for that matter! If the Lord leads us to a group of true believers then great! We MUST make every effort to fellowship with them at every given opportunity and do our part to edify them.

But remember this – if whichever group we have decided to be a part of is growing to a number where we have to purchase or rent a building for our gathering, then chances are that the ‘pastor’ or ‘elders’ there are not preaching the WHOLE truth!

“Anything which is endured today in the religious world CANNOT be sound doctrine; anything which is approved of, well-attended, popular, is not sound ‘doctrine’. When God raises up His servant, equips him and sends him forth to preach, that servant will necessarily preach the WORD, and DENOUNCE all that is opposed to the world: hence his message is BOUND to be UNPOPULAR, in fact HATED by all who are not regenerated”. [A.W. Pink]

My dear Sister, I preach separation from false churches as IMPERATIVE! Ever since I left the Apostate Churches and started out independently, the Lord has gradually shown me little by little that the existing Christendom of our day is IRREMEDIABLY APOSTATE. We are living in a day when ‘Christians’ have no regard for sound doctrine or a hunger for true holiness. Even most who prate about their orthodoxy in sound doctrine do not demand holiness from the flock entrusted to them. Most preachers in our day desire to have a ‘ministry’ to show the world what they have accomplished for Christ.

But I know from EXPERIENCE that any preacher who faithfully preaches the WHOLE counsel of God, which means not just preaching the truth but exposing the lie (and the liars who masquerade in Jesus’ name), I believe such a preacher WILL be left WITHOUT A ‘MINISTRY’, for he will soon begin to see that the elect of God who sincerely seek to follow the Lamb by denying self, sin, and the world are only a mere HANDFUL. The Lord said “when the Son of man cometh shall He find faith upon the earth?” [Luk 18:8] Except for a few small groups of faithful disciples who gather in houses all over the world, THE WHOLE OF CHRISTENDOM WILL BE THOROUGHLY APOSTATE– which is why He says, “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues”. [Rev 18:4]

But even if you cannot find an assembly of true believers to fellowship with, there is no need to ‘go anywhere’ on Sunday! Just stay at home and spend the time reading God’s Word and in prayer!

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without (outside) the camp (of nominal Christianity), bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come”. [Hebrews 13:12-14]

“Those who are “poor in spirit” have nothing in common with the self-satisfied Laodiceans. And how “distressed” in soul are they over the worldliness that has come in like a flood, over the crowds of unregenerate members, over the utter absence of any scriptural discipline? And what is to be the attitude and actions of God’s grieved children toward those having nothing more than a form of godliness? This – “FROM SUCH TURN AWAY” (2 Timothy 3:5). Identify yourself with Christ on the outside; walk ALONE WITH HIM”! [A.W. Pink]

So basically that is my take on present day Christendom. The truly elect know what I am preaching is the truth. But even among the elect, methinks that there are those who do not want to make a complete break with the established religion. For they love the praise of men more than the praise of God! But they have their reward and I am not the one to judge them.

Love
Michael Jeshurun

LOVE TO THE BRETHREN – A MARK OF YOUR ELECTION

LOVE TO THE BRETHREN – A MARK OF YOUR ELECTION

A.W. Pink

Matthew Henry well pointed out, “the spirit of Christianity is a spirit of love.” The fruit of the Spirit is love (Gal. 5:22). Faith worketh by love (Gal. 5:6). “Everyone that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him” (1 John 5:1). Love to the brethren is both the first indication and fruit of the Christian life (Acts 16:33) and the final aim and result of Divine grace (2 Pet. 1:7).

It is to be noted that these Hebrew believers were not exhorted “let us have brotherly love,” but “let brotherly love continue.” Thus the apostle’s language clearly supposes that they already had love for each other, that he approvingly notices the same, and then calls upon them for a continuance of it. The apostle felt there was danger of their brotherly love decaying, for there were disputes among them concerning the ceremonies of the Mosaic law, and wrangling over religious differences bodes ill for the health of spiritual affection. He therefore puts them on their guard, and bids them live and love as “brethren.”

“A love hath its foundation in relation. Where there is relation, there is love, or there ought so to be; and where there is no relation, there can be no love, properly so called. Hence it is here mentioned with respect unto a brotherhood… This brotherhood is religious: all believers have one Father (Matthew 23:8,9), one elder Brother (Rom. 8:29), who is not ashamed to call them brethren (Heb. 2:11); have one spirit, and are called in one hope of calling (Eph. 4:4), which being a spirit of adoption interesteth them all in the same family (Eph. 3:14, 15)”—John Owen. Brotherly love we would define as that gracious bond which knits together the hearts of God’s children; or more definitely, it is that spiritual and affectionate solicitude which Christians have toward each other, manifested by a desiring and endeavoring after their highest mutual interests.

This duty was enjoined upon His disciples by the Lord Jesus: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). That which was required by the Law (Lev. 19:18) is repeated by the Gospel (John 15:12), so that absolutely speaking it is not a new, but an old commandment. Yet relatively, it is “new,” because enforced by new motives (1 John 3:16) and a new Pattern (1 John 4:10, 11). Thus, “Let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10), because the latter have peculiar claims upon our affections, being created in the same image, professing the same faith, and having the same infirmities.

The maintenance of brotherly love tends in various ways to the spiritual blessing of the Church, the honor of the Gospel, and the comfort of believers. The exercise thereof is the best testimony to the world of the genuineness of our profession. The cultivation and manifestation of Christian affection between the people of God is a far more weighty argument with unbelievers than any apologetics. Believers should conduct themselves toward each other in such a way that no button or pin is needed to label them as brethren in Christ. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). It should be made quite evident that their hearts are knit together by a bond more intimate, spiritual, and enduring than any which mere nature can produce. Their deportment unto each other should be such as not only to mark them as fellow disciples, but as Christ says, “My disciples”—reflecting His love!

The exercise of brotherly love in not only a testimony unto the world, but it is also an evidence to Christians themselves of their regeneration: “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14). There should be a word of comfort here for those poor saints whose souls are cast down. At present they cannot “read their title clear to mansions in the sky,” and are afraid to cry “Abba, Father” lest they be guilty of presumption. But here is a door of hope opened to Christ’s little ones: you may, dear reader, be afraid to affirm that you love God, but do you not love His people? If you do, you must have been born again, and have in you the same spiritual nature which is in them. But do I love them? Well, do you relish their company, admire what you see of Christ in them, wish them well, pray for them, and seek their good? If so, you certainly love them.

But not only is the exercise of Christian love a testimony unto the world of our Christian discipleship, and a sure evidence of our own regeneration, but it is also that which delights God Himself. Of course it does! It is the product of His own grace: the immediate fruit of His Spirit. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1) is what the Lord Himself declares. This also comes out very sweetly in Revelation 3. There we find one of the epistles addressed to the seven churches which are in Asia, namely, the Philadelphian, the church of “brotherly love,” for that is the meaning of the word “Philadelphia,” and in that epistle there are no censures or rebukes: there was that there which refreshed the heart of the Lord!

But our text refers not so much to the existence and exercise of brotherly love, as it does to its maintenance: “Let brotherly love continue” or “abide constant” as some render it, for the word includes the idea of enduring in the face of difficulties and temptations. That which is enjoined is perseverance in a pure and unselfish affection toward fellow-Christians. Brotherly love is a tender plant which requires much attention: if it be not watched and watered, it quickly wilts. It is an exotic, for it is not a native of the soil of fallen human nature—”hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3) is a solemn description of what we were in our unregenerate state. Yes, brotherly love is a very tender plant and quickly affected by the cold air of unkindness, easily nipped by the frost of harsh words. If it is to thrive, it must needs be carefully protected and diligently cultivated.

Nor are things any better today. O how little is brotherly love in evidence, generally speaking, among professing Christians. Is not that tragic word of Christ receiving its prophetic fulfillment: “because iniquitiy shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). But, my reader, Christ’s love has not changed, nor should ours: “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). Alas, have not all of us reason to hang our heads in shame! Such an exhortation as this is most needful today when there is such a wide tendency to value light more highly than love, to esteem an understanding of the mysteries of Faith above the drawing out our affections unto each other. Here is a searching question which each of us should honestly face: Is my love for the brethren keeping pace with my growing (intellectual) knowledge of the Truth?

“Let brotherly love continue.” But what a gracious word is this! Consider its implications: are they not similar to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:1, 2)? That means we are to conduct ourselves not according to the dictates of the flesh, but according to the requirements of grace.

If grace has been shown toward me, then surely I ought to be gracious to others. But that is not always easy: not only has the root of “hatred” been left in me, but the “flesh” still remains in my brethren! and there will be much in them to test and try my love, otherwise there would be no need for this exhortation “forbearing one another in love.” God has wisely so ordered this that our love might rise above the mere amiability of nature. We are not merely to govern our tempers, act courteously, be pleasant to one another, but bear with infirmities and be ready to forgive a slight: “Love suffereth long, and is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4).

“Let brotherly love continue.” What a Divine word is this. The love which is here enjoined is a holy and spiritual one, made possible “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5). For until then there is naught but hatred. Love for the brethren is a love for the image of God stamped upon their souls: “every one that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him” (1 John 5:1). No man can love another for the grace that is in his heart, unless grace be in his own heart. It is natural to love those who are kind and generous to us; it is supernatural to love those who are faithful and holy in their dealings with us.

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on LOVE, which is the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:12-14).

HARD WORK AND ITS REWARD

HARD WORK AND ITS REWARD

C.H. Spurgeon

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” [Gal 6:9,10]

DO you not think that at times our getting lax in Christian work arises from our being very low in grace? As a rule, you cannot get out of a man that which is not in him. You cannot go forth yourself to your class and do your work vigorously if you have lost inward vigor. You cannot minister before the Lord with the unction of the Holy One if that unction is not upon you.

If you are not living near to God and in the power of God, then the power of God will not go forth through you to the children of your care; so that I think we should judge, when we become discontented and down-hearted, that we are out of sorts spiritually. Let us say to ourselves, “Come! my soul! What aileth thee? This faint heart is a sign that thou art out of health.

Go to the great Physician, and obtain from Him a tonic which shall brace thee. Come, play the man. Have none of these whims! Away with your idleness! The reaping-time will come, therefore thrust in the plow.” ‘Is not another reason why we become down-hearted to be found in the coldness and indifference of our fellow-Christians? We see others doing the Lord’s work carelessly and when we are all on fire ourselves we find them to be cold as ice: we get among people in the church who do not seem to care whether the souls of the children are saved or not, and thus we are apt to be discouraged.

The idleness of others should be an argument for our being more diligent ourselves. If our Master’s work is suffering at the hands of our fellow-servants should we not try to do twice as much ourselves to make up for their deficiencies? Ought not the laggards to be warnings to us lest we also come into the same lukewarm condition? To argue that I ought to be a sluggard because others loiter is poor logic.

Sometimes, too — I am ashamed to mention it — I have heard of teachers becoming weary from want of being appreciated. Their work has not been sufficiently noticed by the pastor, and praised by the superintendent, and sufficient notice has not been taken of them and their class by their fellow teachers.

I will not say much about this cause of faintness, because it is so small an affair that it is quite below a Christian. Appreciation! Do we expect it in this world?

The Jewish nation despised and rejected their King, and even if we were as holy as the Lord Jesus we might still fail to be rightly judged and properly esteemed. What matters it? If God accepts us we need not be dismayed, though all should pass us by.

Perhaps, however, the work itself may suggest to us a little more excuse for being weary. It is hard work to sow on the highway, and amidst the thorns — hard work to be casting good seed upon the rock year after year.

Well, if I had done so for many years, and was enabled by the Holy Ghost, I would say to myself: “I shall not give up my work because I have not yet received a recompense in it, for I perceive that in the Lord’s parable three sowings did not succeed, and yet the one piece of good ground paid for all.

Perhaps I have gone through my three unsuccessful sowings, and now is my time to enjoy my fourth, in which the seed will fall upon good ground.”

It is a pity, when you have had some years of rough work, to give all up now. Why, now you are going to enjoy the sweets of your former labor. It would be a pity, just when you have mastered your class, and prepared the way for a blessing, for you to run away from it. There is so much less of difficulty for you to overcome by as much as you have already overcome.

He who has passed so many miles of a rough voyage will not have to go over those miles again: do not let him think of going back. To go back, indeed, in this pilgrimage were shameful and as we have no armor for our back, it would be dangerous. Putting our hand to this plow and looking back will prove that we were unworthy of the kingdom. If there be a hundred reasons for giving up your work of faith, there are fifty thousand for going on with it. Though there are many arguments for fainting, there are far more arguments for persevering. Though we might be weary, and do sometimes feel so, let us wait upon the Lord and renew our strength, and we shall mount up with wings as eagles, forget our weariness, and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

We have abundant encouragement in the prospect of reward. “In due season we shall reap, if we faint not!”

THE SOVEREIGN GOD OF THE BIBLE CAN ONLY BE KNOWN BY DIVINE REVELATION

THE SOVEREIGN GOD OF THE BIBLE CAN ONLY BE KNOWN BY DIVINE REVELATION

A.W. Pink

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth, and KNOWETH ME, THAT I AM THE LORD.” [Jeremiah 9:23,24]

In one on his letters to Erasmus, Luther said, “Your thoughts of God are too human.” Probably that renowned scholar resented such a rebuke, the more so, since it proceeded from a miner’s son; nevertheless, it was thoroughly deserved. We too, though having no standing among religious leaders of this degenerate age, prefer the same charge against the majority of the preachers of our day, and against those who, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves, lazily accept the teaching of others.

The most dishonoring and degrading conceptions of the rule and reign of the Almighty are now held almost everywhere. To countless thousands, even among those professing to be Christians, the God of the Scriptures is quite unknown.

Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel, “Thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself” (Psalm 50:21). Such must now be His indictment against an apostate Christendom. Men imagine that the Most High is moved by sentiment rather than actuated by principle. They suppose that His omnipotency is such an idle fiction that Satan is thwarting His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s “free-will” and reduce him to a “machine.” They lower the all-efficacious Atonement, which has actually redeemed everyone for whom it was made, to a mere “remedy”, which sin-sick souls may use if they feel disposed to; and they enervate the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to an “offer” of the Gospel which sinners may accept or reject as they please.

The “god” of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The “god” who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences is the figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality.

The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form “gods” out of wood and stone, while millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a “god” out of their own carnal mind. A “god” whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nought but contempt.

Something more than a theoretical knowledge of God is needed by us. God is only TRULY KNOWN as we yield ourselves to Him, submit to His authority, and regulate all the details of our lives by His holy precepts and commandments. (Hosea 6:3; John 7:17; Daniel 11:32)

“Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee” (Job 22:21). A spiritual and saving knowledge of God is the greatest need of every human creature.

The foundation of all true knowledge of God must be a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. An unknown God can neither be trusted, served, nor worshipped.

“Yea doubtless, and I count ALL THINGS BUT LOSS for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ . . . THAT I MAY KNOW HIM, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death!” [Philippians 3:8-10]

An additional footnote –

Most who call themselves ‘Christians’ in our day neither know nor worship this Sovereign Almighty God of the Scriptures! What they do worship and contend for is a miserable IDOL!

“An anxious and pleading God, whose power is limited, and whose hands may be tied by the proud and stubborn sinner, who is less than dust of the balance, is no God, but a miserable idol!” (Herman Hoeksema; 1886-1965)

The God of the Scriptures is a Sovereign discriminating God, who is likened unto a ‘potter’ who has power over the clay to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor! A Sovereign who is answerable to NONE but Himself! A God who doeth according to HIS WILL in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and NONE can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest THOU? [Dan 4:35]A Sovereign who hath mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will! [Rom 9:18] A Sovereign who knows the end from the beginning, and calleth those things that are not as though they were and makes His people willing in the day of His power! A Sovereign who hath created ALL THINGS for Himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil, and causes the wrath of man to praise Him! [Prov 16:4; Psalm 76:10]

Few who claim to be Christians know THIS God! The God THEY believe in is a frustrated idol who keeps hoping and wishing and wringing his hands helplessly as MAN AND DEVIL RULE BY THEIR ‘FREE WILL’.

Now this God has told us plainly in His book that He hath mercy on whom He will and whom He will He hardeneth! [Rom 9:18] From amongst the children of Adam, He hath unconditionally chosen SOME to be saved from the wrath to come! [1Thes 1:10] And in order that He might be just and the justifier of these chosen ones (Rom 3:26), He sent His Son to atone on the Cross for their sins, and in time He doth irresistibly draw each and everyone for whom His Son atoned, making them ‘willing’ in the day of His power and saving them with an everlasting salvation! [Psalm 110:3]

This Almighty Sovereign God of the Bible cannot be known by ‘walking an aisle’, ‘saying a little prayer’, signing a ‘decision card’ or getting baptized when you are old enough etc, but only by REVELATION!

“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”. [Matt 11:25]

Again – “Unto YOU (His elect) it is GIVEN to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: [WHY?] That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them”. [Mark 4:11,12]

Michael Jeshurun

THE LORD MUST GIVE THE ‘HEARING HEAR’ 

THE LORD MUST GIVE THE ‘HEARING HEAR’

A.W. Pink

“Why do ye not understand My speech? Even because ye cannot hear My word!” [John 8:43]

“Even because ye cannot hear my word.” – The word “hear” [an Hebrew idiom] signifies to receive and believe — compare John 9:27; 10:3; 12:47; Acts 3:22, 23, etc. And why was it that these Jews “could not hear” His Word? It was because they were children in whom was no faith [Deuteronomy 32:20].

It was because they had no ear for God, no heart for His Word, no desire to learn His will. Proof positive was this that they were dead in trespasses and sins, and therefore not children of God. Unspeakably solemn is this. Hearing God’s Word is an attitude of heart. We speak now not of the Divine side, for true it is that the Lord Himself must prepare the heart [Proverbs 16:1] and give the hearing ear [Proverbs 20:12].

But from the human side, man is fully responsible to hear. But he cannot hear the still small voice of God while his ears are filled with the siren songs of the world. That he has no desire to hear does not excuse him, rather does it the more condemn him. The Lord grant that the daily attitude of writer and reader may be that of little Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth!” [1 Sam 3:10]

“And when He putteth forth his own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: FOR THEY KNOW HIS VOICE! And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they KNOW NOT THE VOICE OF STRANGERS!” [John 10:4,5]