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.
Source: http://www.sermonaudio.com

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.
Source: www.mwtb.org

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.