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Showing posts from June, 2009

A Barren Familiarity with Sacred Things: A Solemn Warning

There are few warnings in Scripture more solemn than this. The Lord Jesus Christ says to us, "Remember Lot's wife.

"Lot's wife was a professor of religion: her husband was a "righteous man" (II Peter 2:8). She left Sodom with him on the day when Sodom was destroyed; she looked back towards the city from behind her husband, against God's express command; she was struck dead at once, and turned into a pillar of salt. And the Lord Jesus Christ holds her up as a beacon to His church: He says, "Remember Lot's wife."

It is a solemn warning, when we think of the person Jesus names. He does not bid us remember Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, or Sarah, or Hannah, or Ruth. No: He singles out one whose soul was lost for ever. He cries to us, "Remember Lot's wife."

It is a solemn warning, when we consider the subject Jesus is upon. He is speaking of His own second coming to judge the world: He is describing the awful state of unreadiness in wh…

Especially for Men...

I was having a conversation with a beloved friend which brought to mind some of the most inspiring quotes I ever recall hearing. They were quotes which appeared at the end of Part 5 of John MacArthur's "Does the Truth Matter Anymore?" series that he did for Cross TV several years ago. I suppose they would and should inspire all believers; but they seem to me to speak to a man's heart in a very powerful way and felt they were well worth posting:

“We must never hide our colors. There are times when we must dash to the front and court the encounter, when we see that our Captain’s honor demands it. Let us never be either ashamed or afraid. Our Lord Jesus deserves that we should yield ourselves as willing sacrifices in defense of his faith. Ease, reputation, life itself, must go for the name and faith of Jesus.

If in the heat of the battle our good name or our life must be risked to win the victory, then let us say: “in this battle some of us must fall; why should not I’. I…

The Church and its Authority (Part One)

Christian Judgment

The Bible contains the whole rule of duty for men in their present state of existence. Nothing can legitimately bind the conscience that is not commanded or forbidden by the Word of God. This principle is the safeguard of that liberty wherewith Christ has made his people free. If it be renounced, we are at the mercy of the external Church, of the State, or of public opinion. This is simply the principle that it is right to obey God rather than man.

Our obligation to render obedience to human enactments in any form rests upon our obligation to obey God; and, therefore, whenever human laws are in conflict with the law of God we are bound to disobey them.

When heathen emperors commanded Christians to worship idols, the martyrs refused.

When popes and councils commanded Protestants to worship the Virgin Mary, and to acknowledge the supremacy of the bishop of Rome, the Protestant martyrs refused.

When the Presbyterians of Scotland were required by their rulers in Church and…

Their petty differences...

It doesn't seem all that complicated to me. 1) Have agreement on the essentials of the faith as the only membership requirement. 2) When teaching non-essentials; teach all of the positions that the Church has held and allow the Spirit of God, through the Word of God, to bring each man understanding of these things. 3) As a Pastor, explain to your flock your convictions in these areas and why you hold them. However, also explain to your flock that we must all allow liberty in those areas and avoid frivolous discussions, needles debates, and unprofitable controversies that cause discord and veil the beauty of Christ.

The church of Christ is composed of all who are savingly united to Him by genuine faith. They are infallibly known only to Himself. They are scattered far and wide, separated from each other by seas and mountains; they are a people of many nations and languages. But, wherever their lot is cast, they hear His voice, and are under His gracious eye. They do not have equal d…

Not Great Things, but Real Things

"And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not– for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, says the Lord. But your life will I give unto you for a prey in all places where you go." Jeremiah 45:5

Does the Lord say, "Seek not great things?" What then? "Seek real things." Mark the difference. Great things may suit the carnal mind, but real things will alone suit the spiritual mind. " O that Thou wouldst bless me indeed!" cried one whose inmost soul was panting for realities; and with his prayer do I, in my right mind, join heart and soul.

Realities are what my soul, when the Lord is pleased to bedew me with His Spirit, is breathing after; not great things, but real things. By real things I mean those spiritual blessings that are dropped into the soul by the mouth of God-the solemn verities of the kingdom of God made known by the Holy Ghost-such as the smiles of God’s countenance, the testimonies of His mercy, atoning blood sprinkled u…

Faith, Works, Love

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Camp on this passage for a long time. Meditate on this text. Do we really understand the significance of what Paul is saying?

You have heard it said, "Love is not a feeling; it's a choice" Oh really? What a pathetic way to try to explain love. One can choose to respect someone; to honor someone; to serve someone; to be loyal to someone; to even die for someone--but, that does not mean they have love.

If faith without works is dead; then, it must logically follow, if one believes what Paul is saying to be true (and of c…

Two Perspectives on "How one is Saved"

There is an outward darkness on men and an inward darkness in men.

Outward darkness is when men do not have that light by which they are enabled to see. So outward spiritual darkness is upon men when there is nothing to enlighten them about God and spiritual things (Matt 4:16; Psa 119:105; Psa. 19:1-4,8; 2 Pet 1:19; Rom 10:15, 18). It is the work of the Holy Spirit to remove this darkness by sending the light of the gospel (Acts 13:2, 4; 16:6-10; Psa. 147:19,20).

Inward darkness, on the other hand, arises from the natural depravity and corruption of the minds of men concerning spiritual things. Man’s mind is depraved and corrupted in things which are natural, civil, political, and moral, as well as in things which are spiritual, heavenly and evangelical. This depravity is often held back from having its full effects by the common grace of the Holy Spirit. So, man’s mind being darkened, he is unable to see, receive, understand or believe to the saving of his soul. Spiritual things, or t…

The Local Church

Disclaimer: I don't see any realistic solution to this problem and I don't claim to have any of the answers. I am simply sharing the following to inform those who may be unaware of the problems that some lay people face when desiring to join a local church.

For the average lay person, membership in a local body is usually not a huge and perplexing decision. They attend a local church, they feel the teaching is biblically sound and the worship is to their liking. They fill out an application, the church leaders interview them, and their application is usually accepted and they are introduced as new members of the church (of course each church has their own set of steps). They do not know that the statement of faith that they agreed to, as part of the membership requirements, includes doctrines that they may have never even heard of let alone know whether they agree with those doctrinal positions or not.

To take it even further, most lay persons who are members of Baptist churche…

With all due respect....

and on a personal note.

I am frankly tired of defending my desire to learn from the great men of faith. Yes, it has (in a sense) spoiled me. Yes, it has (in sense) made me somewhat grieved by what I hear coming from the modern pulpits. If these men were still alive and preaching every night of the week, I would go to worship the Lord with them as they proclaimed His majesty through the preaching of His Word every single day--but they are not and so I am left to read.

They are my brothers-in-Christ and men called by God to be pastors and teachers. Is there some reason that I should not benefit from this rich and wonderful gift that He has seen fit to give His church? Is there some reason that you should not also take advantage of what the Lord has given His Church? Am I being somehow disloyal to my local Pastor, because I read sermon transcripts that were preached by these men?

When I express a concern regarding a particular man or his ministry, it is out of love for the Church, for Chris…
A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God

Shown to be Both Scriptural and Rational Doctrine
by Jonathan Edwards

Click HERE

Did you know?

In 1657, John Owen produced one of his finest devotional treatises, probably the substance of a series of sermons. He examines the Christian’s communion with God as it relates to all three members of the Holy Trinity. He leads us by green pastures and still waters, and lays open the exhaustless springs of the Christian’s hidden life with God. Twenty years after its publication, Of Communion with God provoked the scoffing remarks of a Rational ecclesiastic. In his reply, Owen vindicates himself from the various mystical sentiments that were ascribed to him.

And it is still going on today.

If you would like to know what John Owen taught Of Communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost Click the link.

T4G (1653)

A little more History: (I would highly recommend reading all of the works referenced below. You will find them tremendously profitable to both mind and heart.)

In 1653 Owen was once more engaged in preaching before Parliament. In the midst of these engagements, Cromwell invited him, together with a number of other ministers -- Presbyterian, Independent, and Baptist -- to hold a conference on Christian unity. Apparently too much was attempted and no practical measures resulted. But at least it showed the willingness and earnest desire of the leaders to confer together and recognize each other as brethren in the same family.

Baxter, Howe and Owen were all champions of unity and of the advance of Christian love. Baxter wrote: “While we wrangle here in the dark, we are dying, and passing to the world that will decide all our controversies; and the safest passage thither is by a peaceable holiness.” Howe was of kindred spirit, and in this vein wrote his essay On Union among Protestants a…

History should humble us...

Nothing new under the sun. Although it grieves me to see the controversies raging in the church today, it comforts me to know that it has always been this way. We are not so learned and clever as we think. If one studies Church History, one will soon discover that what the church is debating today has already been discussed and debated in length by the men who have gone before us. If nothing else, studying the controversies within the church (ancient to modern) should, at the very least humble us, but preferably--make us realize that it might benefit all to read what has already been debated before we think we have something great and wonderful to offer. Let us look at a little modern history:

In his earliest writings Perkins frequently defined faith with reference to a direct relationship to Christ. Later he came to lay more emphasis upon the relationship of faith to the words of God in Holy Scripture. He defined faith as “a gift of God whereby we give assent or credence to God’s Word…

A More Excellent Way

“As for my part, this I say, and I say it with much integrity, I never yet took up party religion in the lump. For I have found by a long trial of such matters that there is some truth on all sides. I have found Gospel holiness where you would little think it to be, and so likewise truth. And I have learned this principle, which I hope I shall never lay down till I am swallowed up of immortality, and that is, to acknowledge every truth and every goodness wherever I find it.”

Thomas Goodwin

Worth reading many times, as we can so easily forget this wise counsel...

Dear Sir,

As you are likely to be engaged in controversy, and your love of truth is joined with a natural warmth of temper, my friendship makes me solicitous on your behalf. You are of the strongest side; for truth is great, and must prevail; so that a person of abilities inferior to yours might take the field with a confidence of victory. I am not therefore anxious for the event of the battle; but I would have you more than a conqueror, and to triumph, not only over your adversary, but over yourself. If you cannot be vanquished, you may be wounded. To preserve you from such wounds as might give you cause of weeping over your conquests, I would present you with some considerations, which, if duly attended to, will do you the service of a great coat of mail; such armor, that you need not complain, as David did of Saul's, that it will be more cumbersome than useful; for you will easily perceive it is taken from that great magazine provided for the Christian soldier, the Word of…