Monday, July 30, 2012

The Nature of Genuine Faith

Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46 Watch, listen or download the full message here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Praying them out of Sodom

by Pastor Ron Bridge of Rehoboth Baptist Church

Sometime later this Summer I plan to start preaching through the epistle of James and have been thinking about some of the key passages. One very familiar one is James 5:16 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (5:16 NASV). One of the most effective prayers of a righteous man was the prayer of Abraham for Sodom (or for a few people in Sodom) prior to it's destruction (Gen. 18,19). No doubt you know the story and the events leading up to it.

Abraham and his nephew, Lot, had parted company because of the size of their flocks. Abraham had given first choice to Lot and Lot chose to dwell in the fertile plain and pitched his tent toward Sodom (Gen. 13:12). Lot was so taken by the quality and goodness of the land that he was blinded to the depravity of nearby Sodom. In Gen. 14:12, we learn, sadly, that Lot had moved into Sodom.

Some time later, Lot was taken captive in one of the local wars and had to be rescued by Abraham. After paying a tenth of all the spoils to Melchizedek, king and priest of Salem (Jerusalem), Abraham returned all the captives and the material goods to the king of Sodom saying that he would not keep even a shoelace for himself - Abraham wanted nothing to do with Sodom. However, amazingly, we find that Lot returned to Sodom and chapter 19 opens with Lot sitting in the gate of Sodom. What was he doing there?

His position in the gate indicates that he was a well known citizen and someone respected for his judgment. 2 Peter 2:7-8 indicates that Lot was a righteous man and was grieved over the sins of his fellow citizens. Apparently, by remaining in Sodom Lot was attempting to provide some kind of moral guidance and corrective to the prevailing gross immorality. But, it was not appreciated (Gen. 19:9) and in addition, Lot put his whole family at risk by exposing them to the evils of the place, evil company corrupts good character.

It is difficult even for a good man to live in an evil place and not be stained by it, not be affected by it in some way. Lot had moved near Sodom then had moved into Sodom. He was grieved by the sin of the place but did not remove his family from it. Lot was caught up with the prosperity of the place. It was easier to live in Sodom with all its conveniences than to chase sheep and goats in the hills. But there is a price to pay fro friendship with the world, even if that friendship is just one of convenience. One part of the price was ignorance of impending doom, proving that association with the world has a dulling effect on the spirit. The more time one spends in the world and with the things of the world the less spiritually in tune one becomes.

Abraham, on the other hand, knew what was going to happen and boldly interceded on behalf of any righteous person that may have been in the city: will you destroy the righteous with the wicked? (18:23). Abraham bargained with God (not recommended unless you are on intimate terms with Him and you have the faith of Abraham). Abraham started at fifty righteous persons and eventually got God to agree on ten. From Abraham's perspective that would just about cover Lot's family. God answered Abraham's bold prayer and Lot was delivered - but only just!

We are astonished to read in 19:16 that Lot lingered - he hesitated! What was there to hesitate about? Just at this point we see the real power of this world's system and the power of evil to deceive and blind even the eyes of God's people. Lot had been warned, his own spirit vexed, and yet the pull, the familiarity and the love of the world is strong. Satan will not let go easily. But Abraham had prayed so the angels took Lot by the hand and brought him out: If the righteous are scarcely saved what will become of the ungodly or the sinner (1 Peter4:18).

Question: Would Lot have been saved if Abraham had not prayed? We do not know. But we do know this: Abraham did pray and God gave Him what he requested. Here is encouragement for all of us who have loved ones living in Sodom - pray and do not stop praying until God delivers them: The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Doctrines of Grace - Steve Lawson

Seeking eternal life with all your heart

O man, if thou wert in a burning house thou wouldst be eager to get out of it; if there seemed a probability that thou wouldst sink in a river thou wouldst struggle desperately to get to shore, how is it then that thou art so little moved by the peril of thy soul? Man is aroused when his life is once known to be in peril, how much more earnest ought he to be when eternal life or eternal death are the solemn alternative “What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, and call upon thy God!”

Look, moreover, at the greatness of the mercy which thou art seeking. It is none other than pardon of all thy sins, perfect righteousness in Christ Jesus, safety through his precious blood, adoption into the family of God, and eternal enjoyment of the presence of God in heaven. They that seek for pearls, and gold, and precious stones, use all their eyes and all their wits, but what are those gaudy toys compared with these immortal treasures? How ought a man to seek after heaven and eternal life? Should it not be with all his heart?

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "A Second Word To Seekers," delivered September 10, 1876.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Can the Gospel be Preached Without Words?

The following quote is alleged to have been spoken by St Francis of Assisi: "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” But is this really true? Can the gospel be preached without words?

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Be Fruitful or Die

by Sean E. Harris
Often bearing fruit is not seen as a required byproduct of salvation but that isn't what Christ taught.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bless God For What Humbles You (John MacArthur)

"Bless God for what humbles you. And know that He gives grace to the humble." ~John MacArthur

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Preaching with the Culture in View (T4G 2006)

"If you aren't really clear, I mean really clear in your expository preaching about what the gospel means, it will be heard by many people as a new form of therapy." -Albert Mohler

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Worship is our privilege

The genius of the Christian religion is joy, its proper spirit is delight, and its highest exercise is praise. “They shall praise the Lord that seek him.” Now we go up to the house of the Lord with the congregation of the faithful with songs of holy joy: now we draw near to the feast of communion at the Lord’s table with delight, and ere we depart we sing a hymn; now we go forth to the good fight of faith, and our battle song is a jubilant psalm; now do we even go to our beds of painful sickness and sing the Lord’s high praises there.

Since Jesus died our heaviness is dead; our murmuring is buried in his tomb. Since Jesus endured the wrath of God, which was due to us, that wrath has passed away for ever, and it is now the privilege, nay, the duty of every Christian to rejoice in the Lord. Let all the people praise him, and let the redeemed of the Lord be foremost in the joy. 

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Good News For Seekers," delivered September 3, 1876.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

What About the Future?

Though we are concerned about the young today, this is especially written for those who are getting on in years and whose life lies mostly behind them. It seems but yesterday, does it not, since we were young ourselves, with life brightly before us? How quickly the years have flown! How brief the time has been! Maybe you agree with the saying, "I have too much past and too little future."

We like to dwell on the past, telling others of the trials and the difficulties we have passed through, as well as our pleasant memories. Maybe we can speak of hard times, of bitter disappointments and sorrows hard to bear, for it is quite true, as one of God's servants of old said, "Man is born unto trouble" (Job 5:7).

The present time, too, has its problems, though perhaps of another kind. We are more aware of our bodily infirmities than we used to be. Illness often besets us more. Our faculties and our memory seem to be going downhill.

We can, however, dwell too much on past and present circumstances, so that we give little or no thought to the future. After all, we are fellow travelers to eternity, and the all-important question is, "Where will you spend eternity?"

Perhaps some who will read this message do not trouble about such things, vaguely hoping that all will be right in the end. They may feel that they are as good as, if not better than some others, and having lived a respectable life as things go, why should they have anything to fear?

To be in this attitude of mind is a very sad state, because the Bible says, "There is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:12). Many "die in their sins" (John 8:24) because they do not humble themselves before God. They compare themselves with others but remain indifferent to their own need of salvation through God's grace (Ephesians 2:8,9).

It may be, however, that you are not deceived in this way. You know that you are a sinner in God's sight, and that you need something more than your own righteousness and respectability to stand before God.

If this is your concern, then we have good news for you because "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, bids you to come unto Him and find rest unto your soul (Matthew 11:28-30). The simple words of the hymn:

Just as I am, without one plea, 
But that Thy blood was shed for me, 
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee, 
O Lamb of God I come," 

have expressed the confession of many a seeking soul, and may they be the reader's earnest prayer to the Lord also. If you draw near to God in repentance, He will receive you, for He says, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

Then instead of fear and uncertainty regarding the future, peace and forgiveness by His Spirit will possess your heart (Romans 5:1,2). When death shall finally call you away it will not be, as with the self-righteous, to "die in your sins," but to "die in the Lord" (Revelation 14:13) and to "depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Philippians 1:23).

Be wise, therefore, and consider your latter end while God gives you time and opportunity. "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near" (Isaiah 55:6). He will at the last bring you into His presence, "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

With Christ as your Saviour, the future is not "too little," but bright and glorious and eternal. Truly, the best is yet to be. —Adapted (