HOW SHALL I PUT THEE AMONG THE CHILDREN?

HOW SHALL I PUT THEE AMONG THE CHILDREN?

Michael Jeshurun

“But I said, HOW SHALL I PUT THEE AMONG THE CHILDREN, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? And I said, Thou shalt call Me, my Father; and shalt not turn away from Me.” [Jer 3:19]

Back in 1985 Michael Jackson and his cohorts got on stage and yelled out a song titled – “We are the World” which was top of the charts for a long time. And part of the lyrics to that song read – “We’re all a part of God’s great big family!”

THAT’S A LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL!

ALL men and women are NOT a part of God’s great big family! Only those whom He has chosen to be His children comprise this ‘great big family’! Our Lord told the unbelieving Jews of His day plainly that IF they were Abraham’s seed then they would love Him. But now they sought to kill Him, the One who had told them the truth – clearly manifesting that they were NOT the seed of Abraham but THE SEED OF THE SERPENT! Our Lord didn’t mince words either, but put it quite bluntly when He said – “Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him!” [John 8:44]

And whether men will receive it or not, truth is: that the human race is divided into but TWO GROUPS – the Children of God and the Children of the Devil, the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, the Children of the Day and the Children of the Night!

Ain’t no such thing as ‘the brotherhood of man’!

“But Jesus answered and said, WHO is My mother? And WHO are My brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, BEHOLD My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother!” [Matt 12:48-50]

“He says, “How shall I put thee among the children and give thee a pleasant land and a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations?” This has been your very enquiry? How should Jehovah put such a vile sinner amongst his children? Why, I should disgrace the whole family, and be only a by-word amongst them. Such are your thoughts, but let us hear what the Father of the family says on the matter; “And I said, thou shalt call Me my Father; and shalt not turn away from Me.”

What, not make me a little better, and more fit for the company of the saints ? No, no! our God will have you just as you are, that He may teach you, and instruct you, and show you what love He has got for His little children, and how He can bear with their manners in the wilderness.” [J.C. Philpot]

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God!” [John 1:12,13]

Hallelujah!

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not!” [1John 3:1]

 
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TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE ON TWO DIFFERENT ROADS

TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE ON TWO DIFFERENT ROADS

Augustus Toplady

The readers of this address, and indeed the whole world at large, may be distributed into two kinds of people: those who are travelling to Canaan, and those who are going the direct contrary way. There are but two roads: the broad, which leadeth to destruction, and the narrow, which opens into life. Travelers all mankind are; and travellers at a very swift rate.

The grand point is, Where are you travelling to?

Are you desirous of knowing whither your footsteps tend, and toward what country thy face is set?

If so, have recourse to the Scriptures of truth, but study them on your knees; that is, in a spirit of prayer, and with the simplicity of a little child.

Suppose, for instance, that we look at John 16:8, where Christ thus describes the office of the Holy Ghost, and the effects which His converting influences have on the human mind: “When ‘He is come He shall convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment”; that is, He shall, first, feelingly demonstrate to them their absolute sinnership, and their total helplessness, working in them a deep sense and real hatred of self and sin; and He shall, secondly, lead them to rest on Christ, and on His righteousness alone, for justification.
Now, has God the Spirit done these things for you?

Has He wrought, or begun to work these convictions in your soul?

If He has not, nor so much as kindled a growing desire after Christ and His salvation in your breast, I dare not give you the right hand of fellowship. I dare not salute you as one of my fellow-travelers to the kingdom of God.

No, you are yet in Egypt, and you will quickly be in hell, except the Holy Ghost take you in hand, and give you a new heart, and lead you to Christ.

But if you have ground to hope that this work of grace is experienced by you in some degree; if, on looking at your soul in the gospel-glass, you can discern the traces of faith, love, repentance and sanctification there, you are of the number of those who have been enabled, through grace, to set forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan you shall come.

Two things are particularly needful for you to observe:

1. That the world will endeavour to turn your feet out of the narrow way. If the wicked are so muzzled by Providence that they cannot bite, they will snarl at least. If they cannot do you real injury, they will probably pelt you with scandal, and sneer at you for being, in their opinion, righteous over-much. But let not this discourage you ~ but imitate the blind man in the gospel, who the more he was exhorted by the multitude to hold his peace, cried out so much the more, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”

2. Beware of sin. May you be enabled to shun the remotest appearance of evil. Though a truly converted, person cannot fall, so as to turn back finally and perish everlastingly; yet, if he is not kept watching unto prayer, he may lose his peace and joy in believing, and that inward testimony of the Holy Spirit, that felt fellowship with God, and that sweet tranquility of conscience, without which living scarcely deserves the name of life.

It is a sad thing when a saint is overturned on the road. Though he cannot lose his soul, yet a fall may break the neck of his comforts, and make him go halting to his journey’s end. “The devil,” as one justly remarks, “is never better pleased than when he can roll a child of God in the dirt.” Beg of the Lord, therefore, to hold up your goings in His paths, that your footsteps slip not.

Yet, if you should fall, be humbled, but do not despair. May you be led to pray afresh to God, who is able to raise you up, and to set you on your feet again, and helped to look to the blood of the covenant, and say to the Lord from the depth of your heart,

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee,
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.”

It has been justly observed that “it is one thing to fall into the mire, and another thing to lie in it.” When the Lord has graciously restored you, you will look upon sin as the bitterest calamity that can befall you, and consider those who would entice you to it as the very worst enemies you have.
Soon shall we arrive where not only sin, but every temptation to it and every propensity toward it will cease for ever. As a good man once said on his deathbed, “Hold out, faith and patience! Yet a little while, and I shall need you no longer.”

When faith and patience have done and suffered their appointed work, the disciples of Christ shall ascend from the wilderness to paradise. Then will they be able to say, “Called by the Lord’s effectual grace, we went forth into the land of Canaan; and, clothed with His righteousness and preserved by His power, into the land of Canaan we are come.” Even so, Amen.

[Taken from an address by Augustus Montague Toplady on Genesis 12:5.]

WHERE MERCY AND TRUTH MEET TOGETHER

WHERE MERCY AND TRUTH MEET TOGETHER

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” [Psalm 85:10] WHERE? In a fountain filled with Blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins!” – C.H. Spurgeon

How mercy might act freely without justice being insulted, or how justice might exact its full due without mercy’s hands being tied is a problem which could never be solved neither by man or angel. A marvelous, perfect and completely satisfactory solution to this problem has been found and furnished in the Satisfaction made to God by the mediatorial Redeemer. It is in this satisfaction that “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psa. 85:10). It is this satisfaction which has enabled God to be “just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

The Word of Truth declares, “There shall never enter into it, anything that defiles, neither works abomination” (Rev. 21:27), then how is it possible that I can ever gain admittance into the heavenly Jerusalem? How can it be that one so completely devoid of righteousness as I am, and so filled with unrighteousness, could ever receive the Divine approbation? The Law says, “The soul that sins—it shall die” and I have sinned and broken the Law—how then can I escape its penalty? Since I am a spiritual pauper—how can the necessary ransom be procured?

Those are problems that no human intelligence can solve. Nor is the knot to be cut by an appeal to the bare mercy of God, for His mercy is not an attribute which overrides His justice and integrity. But at the Cross, the Divine perfections shone out in glorious unity like the blending of the colors in the rainbow—there “mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). God’s JUSTICE was satisfied by Christ—and therefore His MERCY flows freely to all who repent and believe. God’s grace reigns “through righteousness,” and Christ’s blood can cleanse the foulest. The wisdom of God appears in CREATION and PROVIDENCE; but nowhere so grandly as at the CROSS. – A.W. Pink

“Mercy and truth meet in the person and sacrifice of the Son. Without the Saviour, we cannot conceive of mercy and truth being displayed by God to the rebellious. We could at least conceive of mercy without truth; but then it would admit the unclean into heaven: we could also conceive of truth without mercy; but then it would cast mankind without exception into hell. In order that there might be mercy and truth from the Judge to the sinful, Christ obeyed, and died, and rose again. God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son; but God so hated sin, that He gave Him up to die as an expiation to justice. Mercy reigns, not AT THE EXPENSE OF righteousness, but THROUGH righteousness.” – William Arnot

“In Him who is both our salvation and our glory “MERCY AND TRUTH HAVE MET TOGETHER;” God’s mercy and truth, and His “righteousness and peace, have kissed each other,” Psalm 85:10; that is, the great affair of our salvation is so well contrived, so well concerted, that God may have mercy upon poor sinners, and be at peace with them, without any wrong to His truth and righteousness. He is true to the threatening, and just in His government, and yet pardons sinners and takes them into covenant with Himself.” – Matthew Henry

THE PRISON OF HELL FROM WHICH THERE IS NO ESCAPE!

THE PRISON OF HELL FROM WHICH THERE IS NO ESCAPE!

A.W. Pink

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal!’ [Matt 25:46]

Upon this point the language of Scripture is most explicit. In Matthew 25:41 we read of “everlasting fire.” In Matthew 25:46 of “everlasting punishment.” In Mark 6:29 of “eternal damnation.” And in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 of “everlasting destruction.” We are aware that the enemies of God’s truth have sought to tamper with this word rendered everlasting and eternal. But their efforts have been entirely futile. The impossibility of rendering the Greek word by any other English equivalent appears from the following evidence:

The Greek word is “aionios” and its meaning and scope has been definitely defined for us by the Holy Spirit in at least two passages. “While we look not at the things which are seen: but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). Here a contrast is drawn between things “seen” and things “not seen,” between things “temporal” and things “eternal.” Now it is obvious that if the things “temporal” should last forever, there would be no antithesis between them and the things “eternal.” It is equally obvious that if the things “eternal” are merely “age-long,” then they cannot be properly contrasted with things that are temporal. The difference between things temporal and things eternal in this verse is as great as the difference between the things “seen” and the things “not seen.”

The second example, which is of the same character as the one furnished in 2 Corinthians 4:18, is equally conclusive. In Philemon 15 we read, “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him forever.” Here the Greek for “forever” is aionios. The apostle is beseeching Philemon to receive Onesimus, who had left his master, and whom Paul had sent back to him. When the apostle says “receive him forever,” his evident meaning is, never banish him, never sell him, never again send him away. “Aionios” is here contrasted with “for a season,” showing that it means just the opposite of what that expression signifies.

Eternal or everlasting is the one and unvaried meaning of aionios in the New Testament. The same word translated “everlasting destruction,” “everlasting punishment,” “everlasting fire,” is rendered “everlasting life” in John 3:16; “the everlasting God” in Romans 16:26; “eternal salvation” in Hebrews 5:9; “His eternal glory” in 1 Peter 5:10. No argument needs to be made to prove that in these passages it is impossible to fairly substitute any other alternative for everlasting and eternal, And it is thus with the other class of passages.

The “everlasting fire” will synchronize with the existence of “the everlasting God.” The “everlasting punishment” of the lost will continue as long as the “everlasting life” of believers. The “eternal damnation” of the wicked will no more have an end than will the “eternal salvation” of the redeemed. The “everlasting destruction” of unbelievers will prove as interminable as the “everlasting glory” of God. To deny the former is to deny the latter. To affirm the everlastingness of God is to prove the endlessness of the misery of His enemies.

THE FINALITY OF THEIR STATE

The doom of those who shall be cast into the Lake of Fire is irrevocable and final. Many independent considerations prove this. Forgiveness of sins is limited to life on this earth. Once the sinner passes out of this world there remaineth “no more sacrifice for sins.” The fact that at death the soul of the wicked goes at once into the “furnace of fire” (Matt. 12:42) witnesses to the fixity of his future state. The fact that, later, his resurrection is one “of damnation” (John 5:29) excludes all possibility of a last-hour reprieve. The fact that he is cast soul and body into a lake of fire argues that then he receives his final portion. The fact that the Lake of Fire is denominated the “Second Death” denotes the hopelessness of his situation. Just as the first death cuts him off forever from this world, so the second death cuts him off forever from God.

In Philemon 3 the apostle Paul speaks of the enemies of the Cross of Christ, and moved by the Holy Spirit he tells us that their “end is destruction” (v. 19). Stronger and more unequivocal language could not be used. There is nothing beyond the “end.” And the end of the enemies of the Cross of Christ is “destruction” not salvation. The Greek word here translated “end” is “telos.” It is found in the following passages: “Of His Kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33); “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4); “Having neither beginning of days nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3); “I am … the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Rev. 22:13).

As we have already seen, the twentieth chapter of Revelation describes the final judgment of the wicked before the Great White Throne, after which they are cast into the Lake of Fire. The chapters which follow—the last two in the Bible—may be read carefully and searched diligently, but they will not be found to contain so much as a single hint that those cast into the Lake of Fire shall ever be delivered from it. Instead, we find in the very last chapter of God’s Word the solemn statement, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still” (Rev. 22:11). Thus the finality of their condition is expressly affirmed on the closing page of Holy Writ.

Read the whole thing –

http://pbministries.org/books/pink/Eternal_Punishment/index.htm

THERE’S THE WORD AND THEN THERE’S THE ‘VOICE OF HIS WORD’

THERE’S THE WORD AND THEN THERE’S THE ‘VOICE OF HIS WORD’

compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me!” [John 10:27]

To have a functional fellowship with a living God we must develop the habit of stillness. We can’t hear God speak when there is a din of noise inside us. He doesn’t speak to our flesh and our emotions. We must learn to be still and know He is God. Jesus said, enter into your closet and shut the door. There is a closet inside of you where you can shut the door while life goes on around you. And so often, when you shut that door, you get direction about how to proceed in the midst of what’s going on. You must practice being present to God. It is very little comfort to know that God is present everywhere if you are not present to Him where you are. That’s stillness. We are to wait on Him, worship Him, recognize it is Him we want, not His blessings. It is Him we want, not the experience of Him speaking.

How do we discern the difference between our own thoughts and His Voice? When we are quiet there are many thoughts that come; but our task is to hear Him in the midst of those thoughts. It’s like tuning in a radio to a particular frequency, you have to ignore the whole mass of static and strange voices coming in, and zero in on the one you are searching for. He’s speaking, we’re just not always listening. At work, you puzzle over a problem and then He comes and you know the answer to it. You only know it because He told you. He gives you wisdom beyond your own. There are times when you are wallowing in depression, there seems no way out, but He’s there. Just as He was with Paul. And He speaks a word and suddenly a peace that passes all understanding comes over you. Nothing in your circumstances has changed, but you now have His perspective on them, you are learning like Paul to be content in whatsoever state you are in.

If God is going to be heard clearly, we must live in a habitation of mediation upon His word. We must immerse ourselves in the Scriptures, basing our thinking upon His Word, filling ourselves with it; letting His Living Water wash our minds clean of the world’s distortions of reality. Then, when through His Word He speaks to us, we are in the right state of mind to receive what He says.

“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart!” [Heb 4:12]

Those words describe Jesus dealings with us as the Word of God. The first test of whether I’ve really heard God speak to me is to check what was said against the written Word. The first two screening questions must be: does this add to the written Word of God? Does this contradict what He has already said? If it disagrees with the Scriptures, it is not of Him.

Paul wrote some harsh words to the Galatians. Galatians 1:8-9 Even if we or an angel from heaven should speak to you a gospel that is contrary to that which we have preached, let him be accursed. In verse 9 he repeats the same thing. Twice over in two verses. When angels come to visit, we aren’t to drop the Bible and receive them without question. Rather, we should say, “sit down, angel, let me check what you say with the scripture.” Gods Word is the last word!

If what were hearing doesnt line up with the Word of God, its not His Word. There’s more out there than the Holy Spirit; we dare not walk in this world except in the Spirit. Without His protection we can get really weird; we can commit gross sin. Every confused and amateur Christian is in that condition due to ignorance or disregard of Gods written Word. Listening to God never means seeking extra-Biblical revelations. If what we hear really is God speaking in our hearts, it will be encompassed in a principle already written in the Word of God. He will be showing us a Biblical principle to apply to our lives today. Jesus was saturated in the Scripture; he quoted it continually. In this, as in all things, He is our model.

“Let the peace of God rule in your heart.” [Col 3:15]

Finally, there is the confirmation of His Peace. Whenever God speaks, even if what He is saying to us is corrective, there will always be His peace with it. The peace of God acts as an umpire in your heart. This is how we know what we are hearing is from Him; there is a peace that accompanies it. Maybe there comes a time when an opportunity opens for you, but you don’t feel right about taking it. Just stop. Your peace is disturbed. Wait for His peace to tell you it is OK to go ahead; if you don’t receive it; don’t go. In walking with Him, in making decisions, keep consulting His umpiring peace.

May the Peace of God umpire your heart and mind as you continue to learn how to listen to Him. God bless you with a full knowledge of who you are in Christ.” [ A.G. Veal]

Though the Lord does manifest Himself and speak to His people today in many ways, the first and foremost is always the WORD OF GOD!

There is the printed Word of God and the audible Word when one reads it . . . but then there is the VOICE of His Word which we need to tune in to. It is a ‘still small voice’!

“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord ; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a STILL SMALL VOICE.” (1Kings 19:11,12)

Keep your spiritual ears open for that ‘still small voice’ my dear friend. Even the angels do His bidding, not just by hearing His Word, but by hearing the ‘voice of His Word’! “Bless the Lord , ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the VOICE OF HIS WORD.” (Psalm 103:20)

Read Psalm 119 and notice the importance and priority David places on God’s Word. He uses many synonyms like ‘Thy testimonies’, ‘Thy law’, ‘Thy precepts’, ‘Thy comforts’, ‘Thy statutes’, ‘Thy judgments’, ‘Thy commandments’ etc . . . But they all mean one and the same thing – The Word of God!

The more acquainted you are with the Word, the more closer you will be to Jesus, for the Lord Jesus is that Word made flesh who dwelt among us. It is the SPIRIT that quikeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing! The Words that He spoke unto us THEY are Spirit and they are LIFE! (John 6:63) So spend time in the Word and always ask – “Dear Lord, WHAT will Thou have me to do in this situation?” And trust me, God is ever faithful to guide the soul that seeks Him! As it is written – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge HIM, and HE shall direct thy paths.” [Prov 3:5,6]

Most of the time our fallen nature gets in the way and we think WE know what to do! This is a grave mistake. When we are involved in a spiritual war like we are, even the most logical thing to do might not be the ‘will of the Lord for us!’ So we must imitate Jehoshaphat and say – “O our God . . . we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; NEITHER KNOW WE WHAT TO DO: but OUR EYES ARE UPON THEE!” [2Chron 20:12]

 

LEARNING TO BE CONTENT 

LEARNING TO BE CONTENT

 Michael Jeshurun

 The Apostle said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. [Phil 4:11].

Notice, he did not say that it was something which he was born with, but something which he had learned. Contentment is something which we all need to LEARN.

The only thing promised to the Christian in the New Testament as far as temporal things are concerned are Food and Clothing! [see Mat 6:25-33, 1Tim 6:8]]. Everything else is a BONUS!

Yes that’s right! The roof over your head, that vehicle you go around in, and even that wristwatch on your hand is all a bonus. Scripture says that, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord”.  And again the servant is not greater than his Master! If you remember well, the Master said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head”.

But thanks be to God, that He has given us so much more than what He Himself had on earth. In fact Scripture says that “His divine power hath given unto us ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN UNTO LIFE and godliness”. [2pet 1:3] And the ALL THINGS include the roof over your head, the job that you hold, your vehicle, your wristwatch etc.

Now these things along with the blessing of the Lord should keep us content. But sadly there is within the best of us a covetous spirit. The old nature does not vanish once you become a born-again Christian. David the man after God’s own heart prayed – “Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and NOT TO COVETOUSNESS”.[Psa 119:36].

Covetousness is nothing but a strong or inordinate desire of obtaining and possessing some supposed good. This strong or inordinate desire is what I term as a ‘MUST-HAVE’ MENTALITY.

From time to time we Christians fall prey to this ‘must-have’ mentality even without consciously knowing it. In order for us to be happy or be fulfilled we feel we ‘must have’ a certain thing. It could be something as obvious as the shining ‘new car’ parked in your neighbour’s yard or something as harmless as the new leather bound Scofield Reference Bible your pastor was using in Church this Sunday. It matters little that you already have a car (though an old dinky one) and you have a Gideon’s Bible in almost every room!

The Spirit of God is faithful to remind you that you can’t afford that new shiny car and there is no need for the Scofield Bible! But then you have already been enticed and the lust hath conceived! YOU MUST HAVE IT!  You know that as a Christian you cannot rob! So what’s the answer?

When we reject God’s warning and decide to follow the lusts of our heart the devil ALWAYS HAS AN ANSWER FOR US. “You can still buy that car, dude” he whispers. But how, you ask? ……. “Buy it on CREDIT! Buy now and pay tomorrow”!

So the covetous Christian unwittingly buys the ‘shiny new car’ which he CANNOT AFFORD and BINDS HIMSELF TO THE LENDER! He is not the ‘free man’ that Christ wants him to be! Scripture says, “THE BORROWER IS SERVANT TO THE LENDER”. [Prov 22:7] God never intended His Children to borrow! He says , “thou shalt LEND unto many nations, but THOU SHALT NOT BORROW’. [see Duet 15:6 & 28:12].

And sadly his covetousness does not end with the shiny new car. He realizes that he is still living in a RENTED HOUSE while his unsaved brother-in-law has just bought his own mansion in Beverly Hills! “No problemo” says the devil. “Your credit score is good and the banker likes you”. So he buys that house too on credit and spends the rest of his life slogging to pay off his debts.

So you see, how refusing to be content and living within our income leads to unwanted sorrow. [I personally worked for a Collection Agency as a collector for four years and I know what I am talking about]. I guess ‘peer-pressure’ has a lot to contribute to it. “Oh what will my neighbours think of me if they see me going around in this old dinky car”?

We must determine to be like the Master who cared little about what men around Him thought, but was always concerned about pleasing His Father![see Mat 22:16]. And the Apostle said, “Do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for IF I YET PLEASED MEN, I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST”. [Gal 1:10]

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and BE CONTENT WITH SUCH THINGS AS YE HAVE: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. [Heb 13;5] is more than just good advice. It is a rule to live by for the Christian, if he is to be sober and vigilant and steer clear of the devils jaws [1Pet 5:8].

If there is one lesson that life has taught me and in many ways I am still learning, in my twenty seven years as a Christian, it is this – “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”. [Lk 12:15]

Think about it – Even if I had a room full of mattresses, I can only lie down on only one!

ALL THINGS ORDAINED FOR THE SALVATION OF GOD’S ELECT

ALL THINGS ORDAINED FOR THE SALVATION OF GOD’S ELECT

 “Things that accompany Salvation.” [Hebrews 6:9]

 C.H. Spurgeon

 IN THE MARCHES OF TROOPS AND ARMIES, THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE OUTRIDERS, AND GO FAR AHEAD OF THE OTHER TROOPS. So in the march of Salvation, which have far preceded it to clear the way. I will tell you the names of these stupendous Titans who have gone before. The first is ELECTION, the second is PREDESTINATION, the third is REDEMPTION and the COVENANT is the captain of them all. Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. “He must needs go through Samaria,” said Election; and Salvation must go there.

Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house, Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation, it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment, when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely, that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road. In the everlasting decree of the Sovereign God, the footsteps of Mercy were every one of them ordained. As nothing in this world revolves by chance—as even the foreknown station of a rush by the river is as fixed as the station of a king—it was not meet that Salvation should be left to chance; and therefore God has mapped the place where it should pitch its tent, the manner of its footsteps to that tent, and the time when it should arrive there.

Then came Redemption. The way was rough; and though Election had marked the house, and Predestination had mapped the road, the way was so impeded that Salvation could not travel it until it had been cleared. Forth came Redemption, it had but one weapon; that weapon was the all-victorious cross of Christ. There stood the mountains of our sins; Redemption smote them, and they split in halves and left a valley for the Lord’s redeemed to march through. There was the great gulf of God’s offended wrath; Redemption bridged it with the cross, and so left an everlasting passage by which the armies of the Lord may cross. Redemption has tunnelled every mountain; it has dried up every sea, cut down every forest; it has levelled every high hill, and filled up the valleys, so that the road of Salvation is now plain and simple. God can be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly.

Now, this sacred advance-guard carry for their banner the Eternal Covenant. Election, Predestination, and Redemption—the things that have gone before, beyond the sight, are all rallied to the battle by this standard—the Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure. We know and believe that before the morning star startled the shades of darkness, God had covenanted with his Son that he should die and pay a ransom price, and that, on God the Father’s part, he would give to Jesus “a number whom no man could number,” who should be purchased by his blood, and through that blood should be most securely saved. Now, when Election marches forward, it carries the Covenant. These are chosen in the Covenant of grace. When Predestination marcheth, and when it marketh out the way of Salvation, it proclaims the Covenant. “He marked out the places of the people according to the tribes of Israel.” And Redemption also, pointing to the precious blood of Christ, claims Salvation for the blood-bought ones, because the Covenant hath decreed it to be theirs.

Now, my dear hearers, this advance-guard is so far ahead that you and I cannot see them. These are true doctrines, but very mysterious; they are beyond our sight, and if we wish to see Salvation, we must not stop until we see the van-guard, because they are so far off that only the eye of faith can reach them. We must have that sacred glass, that divine telescope of faith, or else we shall never have the evidence of things not seen. Let us rest certain, however, that if we have Salvation we have Election. He that believeth is elected and whoever casts himself on Christ as a guilty sinner, is certainly God’s chosen child. As sure as ever you believe on the Saviour, and go to him, you were predestinated to do so from all eternity, and your faith is the great mark and evidence that you are chosen of God, and precious in his esteem.

Dost thou believe? Then Election is thine. Dost thou believe? Then Predestination is as surely thine as thou art alive. Dost thou trust alone in Jesus? Then fear not, Redemption was meant for thee. So then, we will not be struck with terror at that grand advance-guard that hath already gained the celestial hill, and have prepared the place where the elect shall for ever repose upon the bosom of their God.

But mark, we are about to review THE ARMY THAT IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES SALVATION; and first, in the forefront of these, there marches one whose name we must pronounce with sacred awe. It is God, the Holy Spirit. Before anything can be done in our salvation, there must come that Third Person of the Sacred Trinity. Without him, faith, repentance, humility, love, are things quite impossible. Even the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot save until it has been applied to the heart by God the Holy Spirit. Before we notice the grand army, then, that immediately precedes Salvation, let us be cautious that we do not forget Him who is the leader of them all. The great King, Immortal, invisible, the Divine person, called the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit: it is he that quickens the soul, or else it would lie dead for ever; it is he that makes it tender, or else it would never feel, it is he that imparts efficacy to the Word preached, or else it could never reach further than the ear; it is he who breaks the heart, it is he who makes it whole: he, from first to last, is the great worker of Salvation in us just as Jesus Christ was the author of Salvation for us.

O soul, by this mayest thou know whether Salvation has come to thine house—art thou a partaker of the Holy Spirit? Come now, answer thou this question—hath he ever breathed on thee? Hath he ever breathed into thee? Canst thou say that thou hast been the subject of his supernatural influence? For, if not, remember except a man be born of the Spirit from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Thy best exertions will be all unavailing unless the Holy Ghost shall work in thee, to will and to do of God’s good pleasure.

The highest efforts of the flesh can never reach higher than the flesh, just as water of itself will never run higher than its source. You may be moral, you may be strictly upright, you may be much that is commendable, but unless you be partakers of the Holy Spirit, salvation is as impossible to you as it is even to the lost. We must be born again, and born again by that divine influence, or else it is all in vain. Remember, then, that the Spirit of God always accompanies Salvation.

THE HINGE ON WHICH ALL DOCTRINE TURNS

THE HINGE ON WHICH ALL DOCTRINE TURNS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT THE OLDER DIVINES SAID CONCERNING ‘FREE-WILL’

WHAT THE OLDER DIVINES SAID CONCERNING ‘FREE-WILL’

Compiled by Michael Jeshurun

“So then it is NOT of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD that sheweth 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.”

TRAINING NEW DISCIPLES IN CHRIST

TRAINING NEW DISCIPLES IN CHRIST

C.H. Spurgeon

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: and I will teach you the fear of the LORD!” [Psalm 34:11]

The best of the church are none too good for this work. Do not think because you have other service to do that therefore you should take no interest in this form of holy work, but kindly, according to your opportunities, stand ready to help the little ones, and to cheer those whose chief calling is to attend to them. To us all this message comes: “Feed My lambs!” To the minister, and to all who have any knowledge of the things of God, the commission is given. See to it that you look after the children that are in Christ Jesus. Peter was a LEADER among believers, YET HE MUST FEED THE LAMBS!

The LAMBS are the young of the flock. So, then, we ought to look specially and carefully after those who are YOUNG IN GRACE. They may be old in years, and yet they may be, mere babes in grace as to the LENGTH OF THEIR SPIRITUAL LIFE, and therefore they need to be under a good shepherd.

As soon as a person is converted and added to the church, he should become the object of the special care and kindness of his fellow-members. He has but newly come among us, and has no familiar friends among the saints, therefore let us all be friendly to him. Even should we leave our older comrades, we must be doubly kind towards those who are newly escaped from the world, and have come to find a refuge with the Almighty and His people. Watch with ceaseless care over those new-born babes who are strong in desires, but strong in nothing else. They have but just crept out of darkness, and their eyes can scarcely bear the light; let us be a shade to them until they grow accustomed to the blaze of gospel day.

Addict yourselves to the holy work of caring for the feeble and despondent. Peter himself that morning must have felt like a newly-enlisted soldier, for he had in a sense ended his public Christian life by denying his Lord, and he had begun it again when he “went out and wept bitterly.” He was now making a new confession of his faith before his Lord and his brethren, and, therefore, because he was thus made to sympathize with recruits, he is commissioned to act as a guardian to them. Young converts are too timid to ask our help, and so our Lord introduces them to us, and with an emphatic word of command He says, “Feed My lambs!” This shall be our reward: “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these—you have done it unto Me!”

However young a believer may be, he should make an OPEN CONFESSION of his faith, and be folded with the rest of the flock of Christ. We are not among those who are suspicious of YOUTHFUL PIETY: we could never see more reason for such suspicions in the case of the young, than in the case of those who repent late in life. Of the two we think the latter are more to be questioned than the former: for a selfish FEAR OF PUNISHMENT and dread of death are more likely to produce a COUNTERFEIT FAITH than mere childishness would be. How much has the child missed—which might have spoiled it! How much it does not know—which we hope it never may know!

Oh, how much there is of brightness and trustfulness about children when converted to God which is not seen in elder converts! Our Lord Jesus evidently felt deep sympathy with children—and he is but little like Christ who looks upon them as a trouble, and treats them as if they must needs be either little deceivers or foolish simpletons. To you who teach in our schools is given this joyous privilege of finding out where these young disciples are, who are truly the lambs of Christ’s flock, and to you He says, “Feed My lambs!”; that is, instruct such as are truly gracious, but young in years.

It is very remarkable that the word used here for “feed My LAMBS” is very different from the word employed in the precept, “feed My SHEEP.” I will not trouble you with Greek words, but the second “feed” means exercise the office of a shepherd, rule, regulate, lead, manage them, do all that a shepherd has to do towards a flock; but this first feed does not include all that: it means distinctly FEED, and it directs teachers to a duty which they may perhaps, neglect—namely, that of INSTRUCTING children in the faith.

The lambs do not so much need keeping in order, as we do who know so much, and yet know so little: who think we are so far advanced that we judge one another, and contend and strive. Christian children mainly need to be taught the DOCTRINE, PRECEPT, and CHRISTIAN LIVING: they require to have Divine truth put before them clearly and forcibly. Why should the higher doctrines, the DOCTRINES OF GRACE, be kept back from them? They are not as some say, bones; or if they are bones—they are full of marrow, and covered with fatness! If there is any doctrine too difficult for a child, it is rather the fault of the teacher’s conveyance of it—than of the child’s power to receive it, provided that child is really converted to God. It is ours to make doctrine simple; this is to be a main part of our work. Teach the little ones the whole truth and nothing but the truth; for instruction is the great need of the child’s nature.

A child has not only to LIVE as you and I have—but also to grow; hence he has double need of food. When fathers say of their boys, “What appetites they have!” they should remember that we also would have great appetites if we had not only to keep the machinery going, but to ENLARGE it at the same time. Children in grace have to grow, rising to greater capacity in knowing, being, doing, and feeling, and to greater power from God; therefore above all things they must be FED. They must be WELL fed or instructed, because they are in danger of having their cravings perversely satisfied with error! Youth are susceptible to false doctrine.

Whether we teach young Christians truth or not, the DEVIL will be sure to teach them ERROR. They will hear of it somehow, even if they are watched by the most careful guardians. The only way to keep CHAFF out of the child’s little measure—is to fill it brimful with good WHEAT. Oh, that the Spirit of God may help us to do this! The more the young are taught the better; it will keep them from being misled!