Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

They Repented Not

by Todd Nibert
Todd's Road Grace Church
10/23/2011 Matthew 11:20

Listen to the full message here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Steven Lawson on Being a TRUE Disciple

This is an excerpt of a message given by Dr. Lawson at one of the Resolved Conferences titled: IT WILL COST YOU EVERYTHING from Luke 14. For the full message go to:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

A God Of Their Own Invention

Man fashions for himself a god after his own liking; he makes to himself if not out of wood or stone, yet out of what he calls his own consciousness, or his cultured thought, a deity to his taste, who will not be too severe with his iniquities or deal out strict justice to the impenitent. He rejects God as he is, and elaborates other gods such as he thinks the Divine One ought to be, and he says concerning these works of his own imagination, “These be thy gods, O Israel.” The Holy Spirit, however, when he illuminates their minds, leads us to see that Jehovah is God, and beside him there is none else. He teaches his people to know that the God of heaven and earth is the God of the Bible, a God whose attributes are completely balanced, mercy attended by justice, love accompanied by holiness, grace arrayed in truth, and power linked with tenderness. He is not a God who winks at sin, much less is pleased with it, as the gods of the heathen are supposed to be, but a God who cannot look upon iniquity, and will by no means spare the guilty.

This is the great quarrel of the present day between the philosopher and the Christian. The philosopher says, “Yes, a god if you will, but he must be of such a character as I now dogmatically set before you”; but the Christian replies, “Our business is not to invent a god, but to obey the one Lord who is revealed in the Scriptures of truth.” The God of Holy Scripture is love, but he is also possessed of justice and severity; he is merciful and gracious, but he is also stern and terrible towards evil; therefore unregenerate hearts say, “We cannot accept such a God as this,” and they call him cruel, and I know not what besides.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Heart-Knowledge of God," delivered December 6, 1874.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Real Christmas Story

by John MacArthur

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christian or Impostor?

Listen to or download the full message here.

It Came To Pass

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4).

How old is the story of Christmas? While it’s true that the events of Christmas—the birth of Jesus Christ—took place 2,000 years ago, the story of Christmas was being written for hundreds and even thousands of years before that blessed day.

The Story Begins

The beginning of the story of Christmas was told in the Garden of Eden, the paradise where Adam and Eve lived in harmony with God until they disobeyed His command. Because of Satan’s deceptive actions and temptation which led Adam and Eve to sin, God pronounced a judgment against him. The judgment, in Genesis 3:15, revealed that the seed of the woman (Jesus Christ) would bruise the head of the serpent (Satan). The sins of our first parents, as well as the sins of every person who has lived since then, created a need and a longing for a Redeemer who could conquer sin and restore mankind’s relationship with God.

More Details Emerge

More details of the story of Christmas—God’s story of redemption—emerge throughout the centuries. The prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before Christ was born, but wrote that “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14; compare Matthew 1:20-23). Micah, another Jewish prophet, pinpointed the place where the Saviour would be born: “Bethlehem … out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2, compare Luke 2:1-7).

The Picture Becomes Clearer

Other prophetic Scriptures reveal more about who the promised Redeemer would be. Isaiah wrote: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). The Saviour was to be none other than the everlasting Son of God (John 1:1,14; 3:16).

The Saviour Must Suffer

When Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal and made coats of skin to cover them (Genesis 3:21). When the children of Israel sinned, God required that they bring an animal sacrifice, shedding its blood at the altar (Leviticus 4). When God envisioned the ultimate sacrifice—the full and final payment for sin—it also involved the shedding of blood. Isaiah spoke of the suffering Saviour with perfect clarity: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…. He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:5,12). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, suffered and died as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice (1 Peter 1:18,19).

The Story is Not Over

All of the prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on Calvary’s cross came to pass 2,000 years ago. However, God’s story of redemption is still being written today. God is still saving all who come to Him in repentance and faith, trusting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as payment for their sins. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Have you become part of the Christmas story? Have you seen Jesus Christ as more than a baby in a manger? Have you seen Him as the Son of God who left Heaven and became a man so He could die in your place, bearing your sin? Have you turned to Him and placed your full trust in Him as Lord and Saviour? If not, I urge you to do so today! Then you can say, as did Simeon when he saw the baby Jesus, “For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people” (Luke 2:30,31).

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Disciples' Prayer

That great Welsh preacher, Christmas Evans, once said that if a long thread were to float down out of heaven and fasten itself to any one of us, if we knew that God were at the other end, none would lightly brush it aside. Now prayer is not a thread linking us in a tangible way with God, but it is a line of communication with heaven, and God is at the other end of that line. Is it not strange, therefore, that we so often neglect it?

Perhaps one of the greatest reasons for such neglect is an inability to approach God in an effective way. It is, therefore, an astonishing thing to find "Directions for Using the Communication Line" so often utterly disregarded. If we remember how ineffectual our prayers often are, and how discouraged we become because of this, may we not very properly turn to Matthew 6, study it once more for practical suggestions, and consider the wisdom displayed?

There are two main divisions to the prayer. The first half is a prayer for God's things, the second half for our things. This is, of course, as it should be. However, "our things" often have the first place, and His things scarcely get much place at all. Mr. Wilbur Chapman tells of a man who was very downcast and miserable and came to him for advice. Mr. Chapman asked him if he prayed often. He said that he did, that he was constantly beseeching God to help him, but that instead of getting happier, he only grew more miserable. Mr. Chapman then told him to drop all prayer for himself for a period of two weeks and to come back and let him know the result. The prescription was carefully followed and shortly afterwards the man returned full of joy. God's things should come before ours, and when we remember that God goes even halves with us, it is very wonderful, and astonishingly gracious.

One of the great things that this prayer teaches is that all prayer is to God and to God alone. Mr. Torrey says that this simple fact taught him more about prayer than he had ever learned elsewhere. "All prayer is to GOD." GOD is at the other end of the line. Surely if we pray, forgetting this, or even if we give it a secondary place in our thoughts, our prayers are almost irreverent. "This people draweth nigh unto Me with their lips," but alas, too often lips and mouth are all there is to it. Such saying of prayers is mere formalism.

Notice, moreover, that the prayer is to God as our Father. Christians have grown so accustomed to the thought that God is a Father that the wonder of this revelation is almost lost upon us. If you and I had lived in the Lord's day and had worshipped the many gods that cluttered the temples of the world, to have learned that there was but one omnipotent, omniscient Creator would have been a tremendous revelation, and to feel that He was friendly might well have created an ecstasy of joy within us. Yet how far beyond all this does the revelation of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ go! If God is shown to us as a heavenly Father, and fulfills that relationship, how glad we should be, and rejoice that God is a Father who is kind unto the "unthankful and evil." And how much happier still for us who know Him as "children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Yea, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God." Let us never allow that precious name of Father to become a mere form. Let every ounce of force that the expression will carry go into it, lest we seem to trifle with so sacred a relationship.

It may seem strange that the words "in heaven" should be appended to the title, but there is such a thing as becoming too "familiar" with God. There is such a thing as losing proper reverence for Him, because of His infinite graciousness in bringing us into such a close relationship with Himself. Sometimes we talk to our "Father" in ways that we might hesitate to adopt with an earthly father. We do well then to be reminded that it is our Father who is in heaven whom we address. Listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah: "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity … I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit" (Isaiah 57:15). The contrite and the humble will never be guilty of such an offense as undue familiarity, but we are often filled with pride or a kind of indifference when we pray. May we duly humble ourselves before Him.

The next clause of the prayer very suitably follows, as if it would reinforce this all-important lesson: "Hallowed be Thy Name." The Name represents the Person, and how joyously should we hasten to hallow it, especially when we think of the many abominable irreverences and profanities to which it is subjected.

"Thy Kingdom come." The fervor of such utterance is most necessarily increased when the sorrow of all other kingdoms is fully and completely realized. To desire this kingdom intensely, as it should be desired, requires a "hungering and thirsting after righteousness," for in the Father's kingdom alone is that righteousness attainable. If we sigh and cry over the abominations around us, how must He, who once wept over the wicked rebellion of Jerusalem, look forward to the time when the sons of God shall be fully manifested: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13:43).

"Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." If called upon to study us at prayer, one might find much in us of the spirit of "My Father, may my will be done on earth, as it ought to be in heaven." Of course we would not say this with our words, but it would be the hidden will of the heart cropping up in little things that would give us completely away. We are intellectually aware that God knows more than we do, that He is wiser than we are, and that He looks to the end, but we have our own plans and thoughts. We have very frequently taken good care to see that we had our own way, and to follow our own wills. The more often that is done, the harder the wrench it takes to drag us back to His way and the truly pleasant path. If we had been accustomed always to yield to His will when our wills came into conflict, then this violent wrenching of our wills would never have occurred. It would never have been an agonizing thing to say, "Thy will be done."

How can we know what His will is? We don't always have to know, but just as this beautiful little prayer-model puts God's things first, so we only need to "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" (v. 33). Let God be first, and then in its wider application we shall find it true: "He that will do His will shall know of the doctrine" (John 7:17).

—F.C. Grant, condensed from Help and Food, 1928.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blessed Assurance

If you were to die tonight, are you confident you would you wake up in heaven? You can know!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Have the Wise Men Wrought?

By Jerry Newcombe
Two thousand years ago, wise men (Magi---from which we get the word “magic”) from the East brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus.

Christians have been giving gifts at Christmastime since then, and millions of others have joined in the merriment.

But last Friday was an embarrassment.

So-called “Black Friday,” the big shopping day right after Thanksgiving, was marked by mobs, occasional violence, and rudeness that have nothing to do with the origins of the tradition.

The retailers are apparently happy, overall, because the sales were big and booming. They were record this year. That’s great for the economy. But it’s so sad to see us becoming such a rude nation.

Two hundred years ago, in pre-Victorian England, some activists (such as William Wilberforce) pushed for what they called “the reformation of manners.” The modern translation of that would be “the reformation of morals.” There is a link between manners and morals.

We’ve certainly lost both nowadays, it seems.

We are truly descending into a new incivility that is shocking sometimes.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving: Echoing the Grace of God

by David Mathis

Giving thanks is no small thing for the Christian.

But far too many of us have the wrong impression. Deep down we may see the summons to thanksgiving as pretty peripheral. Giving thanks — whoop dee doo — What really excites me is fill-in-the-blank.

It is tragic when gratitude seems obscure to the very people who have the most to be thankful for. To sinners forever saved by grace, thanksgiving should be significant. Even central. Healthy Christians are thankful Christians.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Lamb of God

What does the term, “the Lamb of God,” mean?

Nothing But The Best

The Hebrews sometimes refer to something as being “of God” when they mean that it is the greatest, the noblest, the chief of its kind. For instance, they call the cedars, “trees of God,” and thunder is the “voice of God.” Therefore, we may understand that Jesus, as “the Lamb of God,” is the chief of all sacrifices.

All other sacrifices of God’s ordaining were but pictures, representations, symbols, and shadows of Himself. There is only one Sacrifice for sin—there never was another, and there never can be. The blood of Jesus, offered once, has forever put away sin and no further sin-offering can be brought. Whoever rests in Jesus as the true and only Sacrifice is accepted in his faith.

God’s Appointed One

Moreover, our Saviour is called “the Lamb of God” because He is the Lamb of God’s appointing. Peter tells us that the Lord Jesus is “a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:19,20). Jesus is the choice of the Father. Our hearts rejoice that it is so, for when we rely upon Jesus to save us, we trust in One whom God has appointed to save His people. If, as a guilty sinner, I leave my sin upon Christ, the Lamb of God, I leave it exactly where God has asked me to put it. I rest in a sacrifice which God, Himself, ordained of old.

God’s Great Provision

Thirdly, Christ is called “the Lamb of God” because He is of God’s providing. The Father not only appointed His Son to be the Sacrifice for sin, but He also freely gave Him to be such. Out of the bosom of God came Jesus Christ as love’s richest blessing. He is the Father’s only begotten, God’s dear Son, and to us, “His unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). God “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Under the Old Testament law, men were required to provide the sacrifices, but the one Sacrifice of the Gospel is the gift of God.

God’s Supreme Offering

Lastly, let us not forget that God Himself had a hand in the sufferings of His Son. It is written: “We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted…. The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all…. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief” (Isaiah 53:4,6,10). What does that cry mean, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) but that God, Himself, had turned away from Him and so had brought His soul into the depths of woe?

When I think of this, that God chose His Son to be the Atonement, that He gave His Son, and then, Himself, offered Him up—I know that the Sacrifice must be acceptable and all-sufficient, so that he who rests in it need not have a shadow of a doubt that his soul is saved!

Now then, sinner, do you want to be rid of your sin? God’s way of pardoning you is that your sin be laid on Jesus. As of old the Jew laid his hands upon the lamb and the lamb was his substitute, so lay your trembling hands by faith upon Christ, and He will be your Substitute! Oh that you were led to receive Him now to be yours forever!

—C.H. Spurgeon

The Broad and The Narrow Way

Listen to or download the full message here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Give Thanks

Count Your Blessings
How many things do you have to be thankful for? Perhaps it has been a while since you sat down and really considered that question. If so, I would encourage you to take the time—today—to create a list of everything for which you are thankful.

What types of things will you put on your list? Most people begin with houses, cars, and other possessions. Next on the list might be family and friends. Don’t forget to include important but often-overlooked items such as health, freedom, and even life itself.

Wages or Blessings?

If you are struggling over whether or not to include something on your list, perhaps it is good to ask yourself: “Did I earn it, or was it given to me?” Some would say that if you work and earn a paycheck, you have no reason to be thankful for it—after all, you earned it, right? On the other hand, should you not be thankful for your abilities, for health, for the job itself, as well as for everything else which makes your job possible?

Every good thing we receive is a gift from God—a true blessing—for which we owe Him thanks. The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father” (James 1:17). Even more than this, according to God’s Word we should be thankful for everything that comes our way—even difficult things: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The Most Important Blessing

I hope that when your list is complete, it will contain the most important blessing of all—eternal life. Have you received this gift of God’s grace? If not, let me assure you that we need to receive it, we can receive it, and we may know we have received it.

First of all, why do we need eternal life? We need it because we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We need it because, due to our disobedience, the only things we have earned from God are death and judgment: “The wages of sin is death;” “after this the judgment” (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27).

Secondly, we can receive eternal life from God as a gift: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Salvation from sin and its penalty cannot be bought or earned or achieved: “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Many people mistakenly believe they can earn salvation, or if they are “good enough” they can merit a home in Heaven. But God says there is only one way to Heaven—and Jesus is the way: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

Lastly, we can know that we are saved—we can know that we have eternal life. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this earth to suffer, bleed, and die in our place—as our substitute. Jesus bore the penalty for our sin, and waits to save all who acknowledge their need of Him, turn to Him in repentance, and trust Him as their Savior. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

Receive God’s Gift Today

Have you turned to God as a guilty sinner in need of a Savior? Have you abandoned any hope of saving yourself and placed your full faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners? If not, I urge you to do so today. Jesus died for you. He lives for you. He is waiting for you to come to Him: “him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

It’s a good thing to be thankful. It’s a better thing to thank God for your blessings. But the best thing of all is to know Him personally and experience the joy of Him washing away your sins, making you fit for Heaven, and giving you a brand new life in Him!

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).


Friday, November 11, 2011

Trusting in Your Decision or Examining Yourself - Alistair Begg

Every Knee Will Bow

Excerpt from the message "Who is Jesus Christ?" by Steve Lawson given at the Resolved 2010 conference.
Download the full mp3 message here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This Is a Hard Saying

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, came to speak in chapel at The Master's College on March 9, 2011.

Listen to the full message here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Speaking the Truth With Courage

by Pastor Ron Bridge of Rehoboth Baptist Church

Paul tells the church in Ephesus to speak the truth in love (4:15), and the church in Philippi that doing so will result in persecution so they must be courageous (1:27-28), and commended the Christians in Thessalonica for suffering as a result of bearing a faithful, steadfast, witness (2:14-16). Writing to Timothy Paul says that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12).

The only time the church does not suffer is when it ceases to speak the truth and begins to compromise with the world in order to be at peace with it. Prior to the Edict of Constantine which made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, the church had suffered through numerous persecutions in which tens of thousands of believers lost their lives, often under extremely cruel circumstances. Following the Edict there was a period of peace but at the cost of the gospel. Indeed over the next thousand years the gospel virtually disappeared as the church itself took on the imperial mantle and became just like the world, albeit in religious garb.

Persecution resumed when the church rediscovered the gospel. The Reformers suffered under the assault of the imperial church, and to add insult to injury, fought amongst themselves as various Protestant movements sought to carve out their own religious territory. By the turn of the sixteenth century most of the infighting was over and the church, although separated into numerous denominations was in agreement over what we might call the fundamentals of the faith. There being essential unity in diversity, and speaking with the common voice of the gospel, the church turned once again to the Great Commission. When the church did this – persecution intensified and has been intensifying ever since. The more persistent the church, the more it is persecuted.

But, whenever the church compromises the gospel in order to have peace, persecution wanes. No one delights in persecution. While we can rejoice when it comes (1 Peter 4:13) it is not something to be sought. But neither is peace with the world. Peace (friendship) with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). A great many churches have made friends with the world and compromised the gospel in order to avoid persecution. Even good churches and Christians can fall into this trap. We do so when we fail to speak the truth with courage. We don't want to rock the boat and so we beat around the bush and never get to the heart of the gospel in our conversation with unbelievers. We avoid the hot button issues of the day that we know will arouse opposition, or we fail to state our beliefs forthrightly. We want to be seen as loving and not judgmental so we clam up if we sense that we might offend someone. However, the preaching of the cross is offensive – it may indeed be death to some, but it is life to others (2 Cor. 2:15-16).

The Great Commission is a message of love, but love is dependent on truth, and it takes courage to speak the truth that men are sinners and God hates sin and must punish it – either in the sinner, or in the sinner's substitute. Speak this truth and you will experience persecution. But you will also experience the presence of Christ who said: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why the Tulip?

by Pastor Fred G. Zaspel

What makes a man a Christian? Is he just born Christian rather than, say, Muslim? Is it that he lives in a country which is predominantly "Christian"? Or maybe it is simply because his parents were Christian. Or is it more personal? Perhaps he is a Christian simply by virtue of attending a "Christian" church and participates in those liturgies which are distinctively Christian.

These are all popular answers to the question; but to anyone who knows even the least about the Bible, there is more to it than that. Much more. Christianity is a religion of faith -- vital, personal faith. A "Christian" is a person of faith.

Continue reading here.

Is This All?

(John MacDuff, "THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS" 1856)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

A radically alternative lifestyle

by Terry Virgo

While in Manila last year I stumbled on a secular bookshop which to my surprise boasted a large Christian book section in which Piper, Grudem, Keller and Carson among many others could be found. Strolling around the store I came across another section entitled ‘Self help’. I must confess that I chuckled (maybe I should have wept) when I found books by 2 of America’s best known TV preachers. The secular bookshop manager proved extraordinarily insightful; what was on offer was not actually “Gospel help” but “self help” masquerading as Christianity. In the USA these books would have held pride of place in the average Christian bookshop alongside the greeting cards, Christian novels and plastic angels.

Sometimes the Gospel not only loses its edge it is actually so distorted that it becomes unrecognisable. In many places in the West the church has become so enmeshed in the culture that it is difficult to discern its radical message. So many so-called Christian books encourage the believer to prosper, succeed, “be a winner” in the culture and all this by exercising faith.

Continue reading here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Getting the Gospel - Alistair Begg

Two Life-Changers!

Each week that passes more than one million people will go out into eternity. The majority will go to their graves unsung and will not be missed by any but their family and closest friends. With these statistics we have a constant reminder of Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

However, this week two men in particular passed away. Each had an impact on the world in different ways and with far-reaching implications.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Be Careful Lest You Fall Away

by Richard Owen Roberts

Turn to the Book of Hebrews with me as we focus upon the warning passages. The first three passages are:

1) 2:1-4 which deals with the issue of drifting away;

2) 3:5 – 4:13 which deals with the danger of hardening the heart;

3) 5:11 – 6:12 which deals with the incredible problem of dullness of hearing and sluggishness of spirit.

These three issues characterize the bulk of the church in our land today. There are large numbers of people that if they ever had salvation at all (and ofttimes it is dubious that they really did), they have drifted away to an amazing degree. Everywhere I go I encounter people who have hardened their hearts. They were at one time under conviction, but somehow they refused to respond to God, and in the process of refusing, their hearts were hardened. The bulk of the church is obviously sluggish, dull and lost in terms of the keenness, vitality and passion of true Christianity.

Read the full message here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Faith Without Deeds is Useless

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
(Jas 2:15-17)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

You Can't Scare People Into Heaven

"A Passion for God's Supremacy and Compassion for Man's Soul"
John Piper, February 19, 2007

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Better Never to Have Been Born - Steve Lawson

The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born. -Matthew 26:24

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Kinds of Repentance

Listen or download the full message here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

America's "Evidence For Salvation" by Bob Utley

"An Iron Pen and Lead"

These words are found in the 19th chapter of the book of Job. Let me tell you about them. Job lived 5,000 years ago, long, long before the coming of Christ Jesus into the world to save sinners, yet by faith of that Anointed One of God, the promised Saviour of men, Job staked his soul's salvation for time and for eternity. Just as we can look back to the historic days of our Lord's earthly life, death, resurrection and exaltation, so Job looked forward into time to when the promised Saviour should appear on earth. Job knew, as every honest man knows, that there is a price to pay for sin, that even the best of men (an Job was exemplary) are sinful. But Job rested for salvation on the Christ which should surely come from heaven in God's perfect time and who would accomplish the work of redemption, sacrificially laying down His precious life as the sinner's Substitute. Moreover, Job foresaw that the One who would come to die for sinful men must live again. Assurance is required that the price paid has been accepted!

Being enlightened by the Spirit of God, Job exulted in his discovery of a divine Redeemer. Of Him he speaks in fervent words, "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! For I know that MY REDEEMER LIVETH." These last three words Job desired to be indelibly written to endure to the ages of ages. First of all he would jot down his great discovery in normal writing. But no, not good enough. The words must be inscribed on a parchment scroll which would, perhaps, last for centuries. Still not good enough—so glorious a message must be engraved in perpetuity—but how! "By iron pen and lead upon the rock." "Come," says he, "Bring a sculptor's chisel and engrave deeply the letters of the wondrous words, then take molten lead and fill the graven letters cut deeply upon the rock." Now there they shine in silvery hue to the eternal ages! "MY REDEEMER LIVES."

No preacher ever chose a better text, nor ever did so few words convey so great a volume of a meaningful truth. Now if that is the gospel witness of the ancient patriarch, what endorsement can we find in an Apostle's words?

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel . . . how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1,3,4).

These are the great apostle Paul's inspired words, spoken in the light and fact of our Lord Jesus Christ's actual advent, death and glorious resurrection.

My Redeemer Lives!

The writer of this article can say it with great joy. Can you do the same?


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Folly Of A False Trust

Listen or download the full message here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Truth-Telling in a Time of Tragedy: September 11, 2001

[This message was preached on September 13, 2001--two days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011. It is republished in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of those attacks. An extended reflection on these events from the perspective of 2011 will follow.]

Preachers are expected to speak when no one else has any idea what to say. This is not an enviable position. Standing at the graveside, the dying bedside, the scene of the accident, the preacher is supposed to know what to say, when nothing seems right to say.

Sometimes, saying nothing is best. We can be too hasty to speak, too eager to explain, too superficial in our answer, or too arrogant in our presumption. At other times, silence would be mere cowardice and the abdication of calling and responsibility. To fail to speak in these moments is to deny one’s calling and to fail the supreme test of authentic ministry.

Continue reading at

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Be a Boaz

by Pastor Ron Bridge of Rehoboth Baptist Church

I am reading through the Old Testament again and have recently finished the book of Ruth. It is, as you know, a wonderful story of love, devotion and faithfulness (I plan to preach through it on the conclusion of Romans, DV). The thing that stood out to me this time was the manly honor and integrity of Boaz.

It is clear from the very first time that Boaz noticed Ruth gleaning in the fields that he took an interest in her – more than ordinary interest. He took pains to find out who she was and knew of her reputation and her faithfulness to Naomi. He also knew that she was a widow and therefore eligible and available for marriage (the text does not say this explicitly but it is not too hard to discern “between the lines.” This is made pretty clear by the way he treated her, gave her special privileges, protected her, and gave her extra measures of grain. Yet, he made no improper moves toward her.

Boaz was considerably older than Ruth (cf. 3:10) and even though there is little doubt he had feelings for her did not allow himself to be carried away by them or entertain false hopes. For all he knew, Ruth was content to stay with Naomi, or be expected to seek out someone younger, Naomi however, had other ideas and developed a plan (rather daring) by which she would seal the deal. I chuckle every time I read the part where Boaz wakes up at night to find a woman lying at his feet and under his covers, but does not tell her to leave at once – she must have kept his feet warm. In the early morning he assists her to get away before anybody knew of it, which certainly would have caused tongues to wag.

Ruth returned to Naomi and told her all that transpired and then said: Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day (3:18). This is the verse that really caught my attention. Boaz was clearly smitten with Ruth (3:10) but also knew that there was one who, according to the law, had a prior claim (3:12). The honor and integrity of Boaz is seen in chapter 4 in that he does what is right, even though it would, no doubt have caused him pain to lose Ruth to another man. As it turned out, the close relative refused to exercise his right and Boaz married Ruth and they became the great-grandparents of David.

How we need to see that kind of honor and integrity displayed in our world today – it is in very short supply. How many men today are truly of their word who will do what is right even though it may not be in their own best interest? Very few, I think. Where are the politicians who will do what is right even at the cost of their re-election? Where are the businessmen who will do what is right even at the cost of their bottom line? Even in the church we see compromise in order to not jeopardize a large ministry. In a world where honor and integrity are in short supply Christian men (women too) have an opportunity to demonstrate honor and integrity in their daily lives. The world will not fail to notice it, even though they will not really understand it, and may even think it foolish, but it will bring honor to the Lord and he will bless it (1 Peter 3:15-16). So, be a Boaz today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why Should I Let You Into Heaven?

Listen or download the full message here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Simon, Religious Con-Man

Listen or download the full message here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Where Will You Be In Eternity?

Listen or download the full message here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Way of Salvation

by Arthur W. Pink

What must I do to be saved? Saved from what? What is it you wish to be saved from? Hell? That proves nothing. Nobody wants to go there. The issue between God and man is SIN. Do you wish to be saved from it?

What is sin? Sin is a species of rebellion against God. It is self-pleasing: it is the utter ignoring of God’s claims: being completely indifferent whether my conduct pleases or displeases Him.

Before God saves a man He convicts him of his sinnership. By this I do not mean that he says with everybody else, “O yes we are all sinners, I know that.” Rather do I mean that the Holy Spirit makes me feel in my heart that I have been a life-long rebel against God, and that my sins are so many, so great, so black, that I fear that I have transgressed beyond the reach of Divine mercy.

Have you ever had that experience? Have you seen yourself to be totally unfit for heaven? For the presence of a Holy God? Do you now perceive that there is no good thing in you, nothing good credited to your account, that all the way through you have loved the things God hates and hated the things God loves?

Has the realization of this broken your heart before God? Has it made you mourn that you have so despised His Sabbaths, neglected His Word, and given Him no real place at all in your thoughts, affections and life? If you have not yet seen and felt this personally, then at present there is no hope for you, for God says, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” — Luke 13:3. And if you die in your present condition you will be lost forever.

But if you have been brought to the place where sin is your greatest plague, where offending God is your greatest grief, and where your deepest desire is now to please and honor Him; then there is hope for you. “The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost” — Luke 19:10. And He will save you providing you are ready and willing to throw down the weapons of your warfare against Him, bow to His Lordship, and surrender yourself to His control.

His blood can wash the foulest clean. His grace can support and uphold the weakest. His power can deliver the tried and tempted. “Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” — II Corinthians 6:2. Yield yourself to Christ’s claims. Give Him the throne of your heart. Turn over to Him the regulation of your life. Trust in His atoning death. Love Him with all your soul. Obey Him with all your might and He will conduct you to heaven. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” — Acts 16:31.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jesus' Most Terrifying Words

Excerpt from a message on Matthew 7:21 by Pastor Jeffrey Miller
Listen or download the full message here.

More messages on Matthew 7:21
Saved or Self-deceived.
I Never Knew You (Paul Washer)
Self Deception

Meditate on Christ, No Matter the Cost - Tim Conway

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Can I Know I'm Not a Christian?

by Tim Challies

How can I know that I’m a Christian? This is a question most of us have faced at one time or another, and even if we have not asked it ourselves, it’s likely that someone has asked for our help in wrestling through it. I recently came across an article from Michael McKinley that provides an interesting counter-question: How Can I know that I’m not a Christian?

Continue reading here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh The Depth!

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Romans 11:33

Two short clips from the message "Oh The Depth" on Romans 11:32,33 by Pastor Ron Bridge of Rehoboth Baptist Church given on Aug 14, 2011.

Listen or download the full message here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Self Deception

We come now to verses 21 and following in which the Lord shows that the strait gate and the narrow way is even narrower still. In addition to man’s sinful nature and the presence of false prophets we discover in these verses a common tendency for sinners to deceive themselves. The scene described by our Lord is one of the most tragic scenes conceivable in all of the Bible.

The Lord Jesus carries us forward to the day of judgment. That day will be fearful. The dead, small and great will be present on that day. Sinners who thought they had gotten away with their sin in life will awake to the awful truth that their sins have been found out and now must be accounted for. They were judged every man according to their works we read in Rev. 20:13. Every knee will bow to Christ on that day – every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord on that day. It will be a day of fear and trembling of such a nature that the natural man does all he can to try to suppress his innate knowledge of that day.

But to add to the tragedy of that day we discover those that are now being described by Christ in the closing remarks of His sermon who thought they were ready for that day. These are not wicked sinners by men’s standards – quite the contrary, they’re religious sinners. Indeed as we’ll see you could call them orthodox Christians. They confess Christ as Lord. They perform deeds that require supernatural power and they perform many good works. And yet in the end they’re lost – in the end they must depart from Christ – in the end Christ Himself calls them workers of iniquity.

The response of Nicodemus to Christ seems like an appropriate response to this portion of Christ’s sermon when Nicodemus asks with regard to another subject – how can these things be? How can those that call Christ Lord be lost? How can those that cast out devils be cast into the same place with those devils? How can those who perform good works be judged as workers of iniquity in that day? The answer to these questions must be found in the fact that these orthodox and religious sinners deceived themselves. They thought they were Christians but they were not. They thought they would be accepted by Christ but they weren’t accepted. They thought they could impress Christ but they couldn’t.

This awful scene certainly adds to the dread of that judgment day. That day will prove to be a day of surprises. Those who in some cases were highly esteemed by men will not be esteemed at all by Christ. Do you begin to see just how strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life? Do you begin to see what so many that profess the name of Christ don’t to see which is the need for self-examination.

As dreadful as the day of judgment will be there is grace in these words of Christ. We’re being warned ahead of time about the things that will be revealed on that day. We’re being given the opportunity now to make sure that we don’t enter the ranks of those that say Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? It must be now, during our days on earth, that we must exercise the proper scrutiny to make our calling and election sure. Only by taking Christ’s solemn warning to heart and making the right application to our lives can we avoid what will be the awful tragedy of that day when Christ says depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Listen to the full message below.

Read or download the full message here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reversing The Reformation

- How Some So-Called Protestants Are Subtly Undermining Justification By Faith
by Terry Rayburn

The central point of the Reformation is what we call Justification by Faith. This is the sublime and simple truth that when we believe in Jesus Christ we are “justified” or “declared righteous” by God. This means that we are fully in right standing with God, our sins forgiven and no longer held against us.

This is accomplished because God judged our sins in Christ on the Cross, and gave us the “gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17) by imputing the righteousness of Christ to us, when we believe in Christ.

As 2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Romans Chapter 5:1,2 gives us the result of this wonderful act of the Lord:

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

Read the full post here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Never Knew You (Paul Washer)

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
-Matthew 7:21-23

I have met so many that have said they have faith and believe in God. But there is a difference between faith and saving faith. Jesus says in these verses that there are those who will be shocked on judgement day to hear those four words "I never knew you". They believed but they were lost. How can that be?

Listen to Paul Washer explain in this short video clip.

Download or listen to the MP3 here.

For further exposition on this passage listen to the message:
Saved or Self-deceived.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Satan's workshop!

(J. A. James, speaking of the power of the press in 1848)

"I don't want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not
ignorant about Satan's scheming." 2 Corinthians 2:11

The press has a great power for evil. Infidel and immoral
writers are pouring forth a deluge of skepticism and vice,
which are depositing a pernicious and pestiferous slime
over the minds of the people.

Let it be imagined, if imagined it can be, what must be
the state of multitudes in this country, when millions of
pestiferous publications are annually going out among
the masses of our population. Let the minds of all
Christian people dwell upon . . .
the insult offered to God,
the ruin brought upon souls,
the injury done to morals, and
the mischief perpetrated in the nation,
by such a state of things!

These ungodly publications originate from Satan's
workshop, and reflect the scenes of that dreadful
laboratory of mental poison! These authors, printers,
publishers, booksellers, vendors, by myriads, are all
busy and indefatigable--to do what?
To destroy the Bible,
to corrupt the mind,
to pull down the cross,
to dethrone God,
to subvert true religion,
to turn man into a speaking brute,
to overturn all morality,
to poison the springs of domestic happiness,
to dissolve the ties of social order,
to involve our country in ruin!

Satan, and all his emissaries upon earth,
are in earnest in ruining men's souls!

We have an evil to contend with--
so gigantic in its strength,
so diffused in its influence all around us,
so infectious and malignant in its effects!

The enemy is coming in like a flood!

Infidelity and immorality are invading us!

The alarm bell must be rung!

(Editor's note. In 1848, when J. A. James wrote this article, the press was the only media available. What would he say today, with the deluge ungodly media from Satan's workshop pouring into Christian homes and minds!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Winding and Troubled Road

Reflection by John Piper. Music by The Joy Eternal.
HT: Truth Matters

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tear down this wall

Short video from Dr. David P Murray of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Heart of the Gospel - A.T. Pierson

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

I suppose that I had read this verse tens of thousands of times, and yet, a little while ago, I sought of the Lord a clearer view of it. After reading these familiar words over, perhaps a hundred times, prayerfully asking for new light and insight, it flashed on my thought that there are ten words in the verse that are quite prominent words, such as “God,” “loved,” “world,” “whosoever,” and so on. Further careful study showed these words to be in five pairs. Let us look at this text in the light of this fresh arrangement of the thoughts which it contains.

“God” and “Son”

These are two of the persons of the Godhead. Many are troubled about the relation of the Father to the Son, and of the Son to the Father. They cannot exactly see how Jesus Christ can be equal with God if He is God’s Son. They cannot see how He can be as glorious as the Father, and how He can be entitled to the same honor and homage and worship as the Father if He proceeds forth from the Father, and comes into the world.

Let us seek a simple illustration. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” What is a word? It is the expression of a thought. A thought in a mind is not visible, but when it takes the form of a word, that thought comes to

your eye on the printed page, or to your ear through the voice of the speaker. The thought is the word invisible; the word is the thought visible. Now Jesus Christ was the invisible thought of God put into a form in which you could see and hear it.

A great many people have the notion that God the Father is all wrath, and that Jesus Christ, who incarnates the principle of love, comes in between the angry God and the sinner. That is a very shallow notion indeed. Have you never gotten hold of the truth that the Father is just as much interested in you as the Son is, and that the Father loves you just as much as the Son does? Look at our verse. It puts all the glory of the love and the sacrifice upon the Father: “For God so loved … that He gave.” When Philip said, “Lord, shew us the Father,” Jesus answered, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:8,9).

“Loved” and “Gave”

The word “love” has different meanings in different cases. I love God because I know Him to be the most beautiful, the most wise, the most glorious, and the most gracious Being in the universe. But why did He love me? Was it because He saw that I was beautiful and truthful, honest and honorable? Not so, says the Bible: “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us … when we were enemies” (Romans 5:8,10).

So there are two kinds of love. You love a beautiful person with a lovely character because you see something in the person that draws out your love. But that is not the kind of love God has for us. God’s love is impartial, universal, self-denying, self-forgetting, voluntary. Now, it is a characteristic of that kind of love that it gives. Such love keeps nothing, but gives everything that it has. And so these words, “loved” and “gave,” naturally go together. You could not have one without the other. There could not be this wonderful giving without this wonderful loving; and there could not be this wonderful loving without this wonderful giving.

“World” and “Whosoever”

These are both universal terms. “World” is the word that God uses to indicate the objects of His love. There is always a danger of losing sight of ourselves in a multitude of people, but when God looks at us, He never forgets each individual. Every one of us stands out just as plainly before the Lord as though we were the only man, woman, or child on earth. So God adds here another word, “whosoever,” that is also universal, but with this difference: “whosoever” takes everyone out of the world and holds him up separately before the Lord.

If this precious text only said, “God so loved the world,” one might say, “Oh, He never thought of me. He had a kind of a general love to the whole world, but He never thought of me.” But when God uses that all-embracing word “whosoever,” that must mean you and me; for whatever my name or yours may be, it is included in “whosoever,” is it not?

“Perish” and “Everlasting Life”

In the Garden of Eden, God said to Adam, “In the day that thou eatest [of the forbidden fruit] thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). It did not mean that Adam should that day die physically. It meant something worse than that. He died to God when he ate. One proof that Adam and Eve died to God when they ate the forbidden fruit is that, when the Lord came down to walk in the garden as their companion, our first parents shrank from the presence of the Lord and hid.

How do you know that you are dead to God? You want to get out of His way. You do not love the things that God loves; you would like to be independent of God’s rule. You would like, if possible, to get into some corner of the universe where there is no God. The Psalmist twice says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). The impious man hates God. It is an uncomfortable thing for him to think that there is a Sovereign of the earth who will judge all the works done in the body. When one is unprepared to go into that judgment and meet the Judge, it is uncomfortable to think of the judgment day that lies beyond the grave.

After the prodigal son went into the far country, and had wasted his life and possessions, he came to himself. He came back to his father and said, “Father, I have sinned.” The father rejoiced, because his son “was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:32). Now, let us once more hear the word of the living God. God so loved you that He gave the best that He had to give, and all that He had to give. While He gave to the whole world, He singled you out as the object of His love, and said, “whosoever.” God says, “Come back to Me, My prodigal and wandering child.”

How long would it take to change from death unto life? Just as long, and no longer, as it takes to turn around. Your back has been on God. When you turn, your face will be toward Him. It will take no longer for a sinner to become a living son of God than that. Just put your heart into your acceptance of Jesus. Cast your whole will into the acceptance of the Son of God, renounce your sin and your rebellion, and take the salvation that is given to you.

“Believe” and “Have”

Believing is receiving. This word occurs forty-four times in the gospel according to John, which is the great gospel of “believing.” It is constantly repeating believing, believing, believing, and having life. In the twelfth verse of the first chapter, we read: “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” That little word “even” indicates that to believe is equivalent to receive. You may, in any one of those forty-four instances in this gospel, put the word “receive” in the place of the word “believe” and still make good sense.

You have what you take, do you not? It is a very simple thing to take what is given to you, and so to have it. That is practically all there is in faith. We may make faith sound complicated by talking too much about it, leading others to infer that there is some obscurity or mystery in it. Faith is very simple: it is taking God at His word. Just as you can put forth your hand and receive a gift, you are able to put forth your will and receive the gift of God, even Jesus Christ, as your Saviour.

The Lord Jesus Christ says to you, “I love you; I died for you. Do you believe? Will you receive the salvation that I bought for you with My own blood?” You need to do no work; all that you need to do is with all your heart to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again. Trust God at His word and take this salvation which He offers to you.

—Adapted from The Heart of the Gospel by A.T. Pierson.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The One Minute Gospel

What Is The Gospel?
If you have One Minute, You can hear exactly what the Gospel Is.
This is an excerpt from a sermon titled, "Work Out Your Salvation" preached by Pastor Robert Haling.

The entire sermon can be found here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jesus: Possessed, Mad or The Son of God

Sean Harris answers the question: What is the unpardonable sin? This sermon looks at the linkage in Mark 3:7-28 between the declaration by the demons (unclean spirits) that Jesus is the Son of God and the declaration by the scribes that Jesus is possessed with a devil.

Watch, listen or download the full sermon here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The True Gospel Defined

Excerpt of a message on Galatians 2:15-16 by Richard Caldwell Jr.
Founders Baptist Church
Spring, Texas.

Download, watch or listen to the full message here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The secret of true happiness

(by Harvey Newcomb, 1843)

The secret of true happiness lies in a cordial acquiescence in the will of God. It is sweet to lie passive in His hand—and know no will but His!

The doctrine of a 'particular providence' is precious to the Christian's heart. It enables him to see the hand of God in every event. Hence the sinfulness of a repining, discontented, unsubmissive temper. It is difficult to reconcile the habitual indulgence of such a sinful disposition—with the existence of grace in the heart. The first emotion of the new-born soul is submission to the will of God.

We are prone to lose sight of the 'hand of God' in the little difficulties and perplexities which are of every-day occurrence, and to look only at 'second causes'. We often do the same, in more important matters. When we are injured or insulted by others, we are disposed to murmur and complain, and give vent to our indignation against the immediate causes of our distress; forgetting that these are only the 'instruments which God employs' for the trial of our faith, or the punishment of our sins.

In this doctrine of the secret agency of divine Providence, we have the strongest motive for a hearty and cheerful resignation to all the troubles and difficulties, trials and afflictions, which come upon us in this life—whatever may be their immediate cause. We know that they are directed by our heavenly Father, whose "tender mercies are over all His works," and who "does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men."

Whatever may be our afflictions, so long as we are out of hell, we are monuments of His mercy. "Why does a living man complain—a man for the punishment of his sins?"

We are assured "that all things work together for good, to those who love God." The afflictions of this life, are the faithful corrections of a kind and tender Father. "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives." How consoling the reflection—that all our sufferings are designed to mortify and subdue our corruptions, to wean us from the world, and lead us to a more humble and constant sense of dependence upon God! How ungrateful for a child of God to repine at the dealings of such a tender and faithful Father!

God will give us all that He sees is best for us. And surely we ought to be satisfied with this; for He who sees the end from the beginning, must know much better than we—what is for our good. It is our duty to maintain a contented and cheerful spirit in every situation of life. If God directs all our ways, and has promised to give us just what He sees we need, we surely ought to rest satisfied with what we have; for we know it is just what the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and unbounded goodness—sees fit to give us.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Is It Real?

11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation by John MacArthur
In 1746, about six years after the Great Awakening, in which Jonathan Edwards was the primary instrument of God to preach the gospel and bring about the greatest revival in American history thus far, Edwards wrote A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections. He wrote it to deal with a problem not unlike one we face today: the matter of evidence for true conversion. Many people want the blessings of salvation, especially eternal security, but no more.

In the explosive drama of the Great Awakening, it seemed as though conversions were occurring in great numbers. However, it didn't take long to realize that some people claimed conversions that were not real. While various excesses and heightened emotional experiences were common, scores of people didn't demonstrate any evidence in their lives to verify their claim to know and love Jesus Christ, which led critics to attack the Great Awakening, contending it was nothing but a big emotional bath without any true conversions.

Thus, partly in defense of true conversion and partly to ex­pose false conversion, Jonathan Edwards took up his pen. He came to this simple conclusion. The supreme proof of a true conversion is what he called "holy affections," which are a zeal for holy things and a longing after God and personal holiness. He made a careful distinction between saving versus common operations of the Holy Spirit. Saving operations obviously produce salvation. Common operations of the Holy Spirit, he said, "may sober, arrest and convict men, and may even bring them to what at first appears to be repentance and faith, yet these influences fall short of inward saving renewal" (lain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography [Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987], p. 255).

How can you tell whether the Holy Spirit has performed a saving operation? As the principle evidence of life is motion, Edwards wrote, so the principle evidence of saving grace is holy practice (pp. 262-63). He said true salvation always produces an abiding change of nature in a true convert. Therefore, whenever holiness of life does not accompany a confession of conversion, it must be understood that this individual is not a Christian.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Valley of Vision

Video recital of a well-known Puritan prayer that has encouraged many. Fittingly, it is titled the Valley of Vision.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.