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