Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Preciousness Of Trial

"The Lord tries our faith to test its genuineness, to promote its purity, to invigorate its power-thus to bring us into a more intimate acquaintance with Himself. How seldom would the Lord see our uplifted face, or our outstretched hands, or hear the plaint accents of our voice, did He permit this grace to lie sluggish and stagnant in the soul.  But it is "living water" which Christ has deposited within the regenerate, and trial is needed to keep it pure, sparkling, and ascending."

Octavius Winslow

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ring The Bells Of Heaven

"'Good Prayers,' says an old divine, 'never come weeping home. I am sure I shall receive either what I ask, or what I should ask. Prayer pulls the rope below, and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly: others give but an occasional pull at the rope: but he who wins with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continually with all his might.' 
That is the best kind of bell ringing--ringing the bells of heaven--making a sensation in the world celestial and pulling the power down upon the world terrestrial. Reader, do you know how to handle the bell rope, to pull it vigorously and constantly? We know some that do. Hell trembles when they seize the rope."

E.M. Bounds

The Father's Bargain

This might be my favorite couple paragraphs ever written by any man. This is a conversation between the Father and the Son about the people of God. Amazing!
Here you may suppose the Father to say, when driving His bargain with Christ for you:
Father: My Son, here is a company of poor miserable souls, that have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to my justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them: What shall be done for these souls? And thus Christ returns.
Son: O my Father, such is my love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety; bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee; Lord, bring them all in, that there may be no after-reckonings with them; at my hand shall thou require it. I will rather choose to suffer their wrath than they should suffer it: upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.
Father: But, my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements; if I spare them, I will not spare thee.
Son: Content, Father, let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures, yet I am content to undertake it!” (Works, Vol.1, p.61).
~ John Flavel

Monday, November 22, 2010

Divine Appointments

[God gives divine appointments--let us not miss ours that come along regularly. This is from my friend, Jeff Gregory, in Dallas-- Mack T. ]

This evening I was doing some late night shopping at Albertsons Foods and as I was unloading my shopping cart onto the conveyor belt at the checkout , I pulled out my keys and was fumbling through them looking for my Albertsons keychain card so I could get a discounted price on a few items. The cashier lady spoke to me in a foreign accent and said, “Those cards aren’t used anymore. How long has it been since you’ve shopped at Albertsons?”

I replied, “I couldn’t remember if Albertsons still used the card or not. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve shopped at Albertsons.”

As she was checking me out, I read her nametag. It said, “Megibre.”

“Your name is Megibre.”

“Oh, you pronounced my name correctly.”

“What language do you speak?”

“I’m from Albania.”

“Oh, you speak Albanian.”

“We came here because of the war. Maybe you heard about it.”

“Does “Megibre” have a meaning in English, like “Margaret”?

She shook her head.

“How long have you been living in Dallas?”

“I’ve been here eleven years.”

“What is your religion?”

She looked a little sheepish, and said, “I’m Muslim.”

I was surprised because she didn’t look at all like a Muslim woman. She was about 55 years old – looked like a typical middle-aged American woman.

I continued the conversation: “I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus. Do you know Jesus?“

“I don’t know anything about religions. I work all the time. I have four children.”

“Jesus is the one who died on the cross so we could have forgiveness of sins.”

She looked at me as if she didn’t know what I was talking about.

“What are you going to do with your sins?” I asked.

“We don’t eat all day from 6:00 am till 8:00 at night…”

“You’re talking about Ramadan.”

“Oh, you know Islam?”

“You know what sins are? The things we do that displease God. God doesn’t like our sins and has to punish them. But Jesus came to pay for our sins by dying on the cross. Because of our sins God will punish us in hell, but instead he punished Jesus on the cross so we won’t have to go to hell. He came to give us forgiveness and eternal life. Do you know the Bible?”

She was looking at me like she was having a hard time grasping what I was saying. She also was fidgeting a bit. There was no one else around within hearing distance so I didn’t hesitate to carry on the conversation.

“Jesus died on the cross but he rose from the dead on the third day. He resurrected. He’s alive. He’s a living Savior.”

“I became a Christian when I was 21 years old and he’s been with me ever since. Jesus came into my heart and forgave me of my sins and he’s given me peace and joy.”

“I’m sorry. I have to go.”

As I passed by her on the way out she was helping another customer but she said to me, “Come back. Thank you.”

After I unloaded my groceries into my car and was driving down Buckner Boulevard, I began to pray loudly and with emotion:

“Oh God, may this woman know she has met a servant of the living God this night. May she know that a messenger from God has come to her this night. Stir up her heart and mind. May this night be the beginning of a search for her to learn about Jesus. Speak to her, O God, in dreams. I pray she will look for a Bible.

O God, I pray I will meet her around your throne one day. Maybe she will even remember this night, this conversation. O God, may this night be a divine encounter for her!”

Will you join me in praying for Megibre’s salvation?

- Jeff Gregory

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dangers For Young Men Part 5

We are on to the last danger in J.C. Ryle's book and its a big one.

Another danger to young men is the FEAR OF MAN'S OPINION.

"The fear of man" will indeed "prove to be a snare" (Proverbs 29:25). It is terrible to observe the power which it has over most minds, and especially over the minds of the young. Few seem to have any opinions of their own, or to think for themselves. Like dead fish, they go with the stream and tide: what others think is right, they think is right; and what others call wrong, they call wrong too. There are not many original thinkers in the world. Most men are like sheep, they follow a leader. If it was the fashion of the day to be Roman Catholics, they would be Roman Catholics, if it was to be Islamic, they would be Islamic. They dread the idea of going against the current of the times. In a word, the opinion of the day becomes their religion, their creed, their Bible, and their God.
The thought, "What will my friends say or think of me?" nips many a good inclination in the bud. The fear of being looked at, laughed at, ridiculed, prevents many a good habit from being taken up. There are Bibles that would be read this very day, if the owners dared. They know they ought to read them, but they are afraid: "What will people say?" There are knees that would be bent in prayer this very night, but the fear of man forbids it: "What would my wife, my brother, my friend, my companion say, if they saw me praying?" Oh, what wretched slavery this is, and yet how common! "I was afraid of the people and so I gave into them," Saul said to Samuel, "and so he violated the Lord's command" (1 Samuel 15:24). "I am afraid of the Jews," said Zedekiah, the graceless king of Judah: and so he disobeyed the advice which Jeremiah gave him (Jeremiah 38:19). Herod was afraid of what his guests would think of him: so he did that which made him "greatly distressed," he beheaded John the Baptist. Pilate feared offending the Jews: so he did that which he knew in his conscience was unjust--he delivered up Jesus to be crucified. If this is not slavery, what is?

Young men, I want you all to be free from this bondage. I want each of you to care nothing about man's opinion, when the path of duty is clear. Believe me, it is a great thing to be able to say "No!" Here was good King Jehoshaphat's weak point--he was too easy and yielding in his dealings with Ahab, and therefore caused many of his troubles (1 Kings 22:4). Learn to say "No!" Don't let the fear of not seeming good-natured make you unable to do it. When sinners entice you, be able to say decidedly, "I will not give in to them" (Proverbs 1:10).

Consider how unreasonable this fear of man is. How short lived is man's hostility, and how little harm he can do you! "Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth?" (Isaiah 51:12-13). And how thankless is this fear! No one will really think better of you for it. The world always respects those the most, who act boldly for God. Oh, break these bonds, and cast these chains from you! Never be ashamed of letting men see that you want to go to heaven. Do not think it a disgrace to show that you are a servant of God. Never be afraid of doing what is right.

Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). Try only to please God, and He will soon make others pleased with you. "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7). Young men, be of good courage. Don't worry what the world says or thinks: you will not always be with the world. Can man save your soul? No. Will man be your judge in the great and dreadful day of judgment? No. Can man give you a good conscience in this life, a good hope in death, a good answer in the morning of resurrection? No! no! no! Man can do nothing of the sort. Then "Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool" (Isaiah 51:7-8). Call to mind the saying of Gardiner: "I fear God, and therefore I have no one else to fear." Go and be like him.

Such are the warnings I give you. Take them to heart. They are worth thinking about. I am greatly mistaken if they are not greatly needed. The Lord grant that they have not been given to you in vain.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dangers For Young Men Part 4

Continuing from J.C. Ryle's book, number four is CONTEMPT OF CHRISTIANITY.

I always observe that none pay so little outward respect to Christianity as young men. None take so little part in our services, when they are present at them--use Bibles so little--sing so little--listen to preaching so little. None are so generally absent at prayer meetings, Bible Studies, and all other weekday helps to the soul. Young men seem to think they do not need these things--they may be good for women and old men, but not for them. They appear ashamed of seeming to care about their souls: one would almost fancy they considered it a disgrace to go to heaven at all. And this is contempt of Christianity--it is the same spirit which made the young people of Bethel mock Elisha--and of this spirit I say to all young men, Beware!
Contempt of holy things is the straight road to hell. Once a man begins to make a joke of any part of Christianity, then I am never surprised to hear that he has turned out to be an unbeliever.

Young men, have you really made up your minds to this? Have you clearly looked into the fires which are before you, if you persist in despising Christianity? Call to mind the words of David: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1). The fool, and no one but the fool has said it: but he has never proved it! Remember, if there ever was a book which has been proved true from beginning to end, by every kind of evidence, that book is the Bible. It has defied the attacks of all enemies and faultfinders. "The Word of the Lord is flawless" (Psalm 18:30). It has been tested in every way, and the more it has been tested, the more evidently has it been shown to be the very handiwork of God Himself. What will you believe, if you do not believe the Bible? There is no choice but to believe something ridiculous and absurd. Depend on it, no man is so grossly naive as the man who denies the Bible to be the Word of God; and if it be the Word of God, be careful that you don't despise it.

Men may tell you that there are difficulties in the Bible; things hard to understand. It would not be God's book if there were not. And what if there are? You don't despise medicines because you cannot explain all that your doctor does with them. But whatever men may say, the things needed for salvation are as clear as daylight. Be very sure of this--people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment. They try to believe it is false and useless, because they don't like to believe it is true. An evil lifestyle must always raise an objection to this book. Men question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice of it.

Young men, when did God ever fail to keep His word? Never. What He has said, He has always done; and what He has spoken, He has always made good. Did He fail to keep His word at the flood? No. Did He fail with Sodom and Gomorrah? No. Did He fail with unbelieving Jerusalem? No. Has He failed with the Jews up to this very hour? No. He has never failed to fulfill His word. Take care, lest you be found among those who despise God's Word.

Never laugh at Christianity. Never make a joke of sacred things. Never mock those who are serious and earnest about their souls. The time may come when you will count those happy whom you laughed at--a time when your laughter will be turned into sorrow, and your mockery into seriousness.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dangers For Young Men Part 3

Another danger to young men is THOUGHTLESSNESS.
Not thinking is one simple reason why thousands of souls are thrown away forever into the Lake of Fire. Men will not consider, will not look ahead, will not look around them, will not reflect on the end of their present course, and the sure consequences of their present days, and wake up to find they are damned for a lack of thinking.
Young men, none are in more danger of this than yourselves. You know little of the perils around you, and so you are careless how you walk. You hate the trouble of serious, quiet thinking, and so you make wrong decisions and bring upon yourselves much sorrow. Young Esau had to have his brother's stew and sold his birthright: he never thought how much he would want it in the future. 

Believe me, this world is not a world in which we can do well without thinking, and least of all do well in the matter of our souls. "Don't think," whispers Satan: he knows that an unconverted heart is like a dishonest businessman's financial records, they will not bear close inspection. "Consider your ways," says the Word of God--stop and think--consider and be wise. The Spanish proverb says it well, "Hurry comes from the devil." Just as men marry in a rush and then are miserable with their mate, so they make mistakes about their souls in a minute, and then suffer for it for years. Just as a bad servant does wrong, and then says, "I never gave it a thought," so young men run into sin, and then say, "I did not think about it--it did not look like sin." Not look like sin! What would you expect? Sin will not come to you, saying, "I am sin;" it would do little harm if it did. Sin always seems "good, and pleasant, and desirable," at the time of commission. Oh, get wisdom, get discretion! Remember the words of Solomon: "Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm" (Proverbs 4:26).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dangers For Young Men Part 2

Part number one was on pride, now we are on the danger of love of pleasure; from J.C. Ryle's excellent book Thoughts For Young Men.

Youth is the time when our passions are strongest--and like unruly children, cry most loudly for indulgence. Youth is the time when we have generally our most health and strength: death seems far away, and to enjoy ourselves in this life seems to be everything. Youth is the time when most people have few earthly cares or anxieties to take up their attention. And all these things help to make young men think of nothing except pleasure. "I serve lusts and pleasures:" that is the true answer many a young man should give, if asked, "Whose Servant are you?"
Young men, time would not permit me to tell you all the fruits this love of pleasure produces, and all the ways in which it may do you harm. Why should I speak of carousing, partying, drinking, gambling, movie-going, dancing, and the like? There are few to be found who don't know something of these things by bitter experience. And these are only instances. All things that give a feeling of excitement for the time--all things that drown thought, and keep the mind in a constant whirl--all things that please the senses and delight the flesh--these are the sort of things that have mighty power at your time of life, and they owe their power to the love of pleasure. Be on your guard. Do not be like those of whom Paul speaks, "Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:4).
Remember what I say: if you would cling to earthly pleasures--these are the things which murder souls.
There is no surer way to get a seared conscience and a hard heart towards the things of God, than to give way to the desires of the flesh and mind. It seems like nothing at first, but it tells in the long run.Consider what Peter says: "Abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul" (1 Peter 2:11). They destroy the soul's peace, break down its strength, lead it into captivity, and make it a slave.
Remember, again, if you cling to earthly pleasures, they will all be unsatisfying, empty, and pointless. Like the locusts of the vision in Revelation, they seem to have crowns on their heads: but like the same locusts, you will find they have stings--real stings--in their tails. All that glitters is not gold. All that tastes sweet is not good. All that pleases for a while is not real pleasure.
Go and take your fill of earthly pleasures if you will--you will never find your heart satisfied with them. There will always be a voice within, crying, like the leech in Proverbs 30:15, "Give! Give!" There is an empty place there, which nothing but God can fill. You will find, as Solomon did by experience, that earthly pleasures are but a meaningless show--promising contentment but bringing a dissatisfaction of spirit--gold plated caskets, exquisite to look at on the outside, but full of ashes and corruption within. Be wise in your youth. Write the word "poison" on all earthly pleasures. The most lawful of them must be used in moderation. All of them are soul- destroying if you give them your heart. Pleasure, must first have the guarantee that it is not sinful--then it is to be enjoyed in moderation.

And I will not shrink from warning all young men to remember the seventh commandment; to beware of adultery and sexual immorality, of all impurity of every kind. I fear that we don't very often speak on this part of God's law. But when I see how prophets and Apostles have dealt with this subject, when I observe the open way in which the Reformers of our own Church denounced it, when I see the number of young men who walk in the wicked footsteps of Reuben, and Hophni, and Phinehas, and Amnon, I for one cannot, with a good conscience, hold my peace. The world becomes more wicked because of our failure to teach and preach on this commandment. For my own part, I feel it would be false and unscriptural delicacy, in addressing men, not to speak of that which is preeminently the "young man's sin."
The violation of the seventh commandment is the sin above all others, that, as Hosea says, "takes away the understanding" (Hosea 4:11). It is the sin that leaves deeper scars upon the soul than any other sin that a man can commit. It is a sin that destroys thousands of young men in every age, and has even overthrown a few of the saints of God in the past. Samson and David are fearful proofs. It is the sin that man dares to smile at, and smoothes over using the terms: thrills, love, uncontrollable passions, and natural desires. But it is the sin that the devil rejoices over, for he is the "unclean spirit;" and it is the sin that God abhors, and declares He "will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).
Flee from the opportunity of it--from the company of those who might draw you into it--from the places where you might be tempted to do it. Read what our Lord says about it in Matthew 5:28, "I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Be like the holy servant Job: "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl" (Job 31:1). Flee from talking about it. It is one of the things that ought not even be hinted about in conversation. You cannot even touch black grease without getting your hands dirty. Flee from the thoughts of it; resist them, destroy them, pray against them--make any sacrifice rather than give way to them. Imagination is the hotbed where this sin is too often hatched.
Guard your thoughts, and there will be little fear about your actions.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dangers For Young Men Part 1

The following dangers are from J.C. Ryle's excellent book: Thoughts for young men. I will be doing one danger each day. Oh for grace to beware and run away from these dangers.

1) Pride

I know well that all souls are in fearful peril. Old or young, it doesn't matter; all have a race to run, a battle to fight, a heart to humble, a world to overcome, a body to keep under control, a devil to resist; and we may very well say, Who is sufficient for these things? But still every age and condition has its own peculiar snares and temptations, and it is well to know them. He that is forewarned is forearmed. If I can only persuade you to be on your guard against the dangers I am going to name, I am sure I shall do your souls an essential service.Pride is the oldest sin in the world. Indeed, it was before the world. Satan and his angels fell by pride. They were not satisfied with their first situation and status. Thus pride stocked hell with its first inhabitants. Pride threw Adam out of paradise. He was not content with the place God assigned him. He tried to raise himself, and fell. Thus sin, sorrow, and death entered in by pride.Pride sits in all our hearts by nature. We are born proud. Pride makes us rest content with ourselves--think we are good enough as we are--keep us from taking advice--refuse the gospel of Christ--turn every one to his own way. But pride never reigns anywhere so powerfully as in the heart of a young man.

How common is it to see young men with big heads, high-minded, and impatient of any counsel! How often they are rude and uncourteous to all around them, thinking they are not valued and honored as they deserve! How often will they not stop to listen to a hint from an older person! They think that they know everything. They are full of conceit of their own wisdom. They think elderly people, and especially their relatives, are stupid, and dull, and slow. They want no teaching or instruction themselves: they understand all things. It almost makes them angry to be spoken to. Like young horses, they cannot bear the least control. They must be independent and have their own way. 

Remember how often Scripture sets before us the excellence of a humble spirit. How strongly we are warned "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought" (Romans 12:3). How plainly we are told, "The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know!" (1 Corinthians 8:2). How strict is the command, "Clothe yourselves with humility" (Colossians 3:12). And again, "Clothe yourselves with humility" (1 Peter 5:5). Think of the great example our Lord Jesus Christ leaves us in this respect. He washed the feet of His disciples, saying, "You should do as I have done for you" (John 13:15). It is written, "Though he was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor" (2 Corinthians 8:9). And again, "He made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself" (Philippians 2:7, 8). Surely to be proud is to be more like the devil and fallen Adam, than like Christ.

Young men, if you would be wise, if you would be happy, remember the warning I give you--Beware of pride.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What is Sin?

I was reading the puritan Thomas Watson in his body of divinity, (great book btw) and he listed ten sins that Adam and Eve committed in disobeying God. The command from God was, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Gen. 2:16-17 I will not quote Watson word by word but this is his work.

1) Unbelief. Adam and Eve believed not that they should die; they could not be persuaded that such fruit had death at the door. Therefore, by unbelief they made God a liar, but worse they believed the devil rather than God.
2)Unthankfulness. Adam's sin was committed in the midst of Paradise. God gave Adam everything, yet he still disobeyed.
3)Discontent. One would think Adam had enough, yet he was not content, he wanted more.
4)Pride. He wanted to be like God, he supposed the tree of knowledge would have anointed his eyes, and made him omniscient, but by climbing too high, he got a fall.
5)Disobedience. God gave Adam his word, therefore it was but right Adam should give God his allegiance.
6)Curiosity. He flirted with that which was out of his sphere, and did not belong to him.
7)Wantonness: Adam had a choice of all other trees that God gave him, yet he must have this tree.
8)Sacrilege. The tree of knowledge was none of Adam's, yet he took of it, and robbed God of his due.
9)Murder. Adam was a public person, and all his posterity were involved and wrapped up in him; and he, by sinning, at once destroyed all his posterity, if free grace did not interpose.
10) Presumption. Adam presumed of God's mercy, he blessed himself, saying he should have peace; he thought, though he did transgress, he should not die; that God would sooner reverse his decree than punish him.
How many sins were in Adam's sin! What an awful thing sin is!

As Scripture teaches Adam was our representative, so we would have committed the same sins he did, and we have committed the very same sins. Oh, how far we have fallen from our original state of righteousness!
Yet rejoice believer, though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool! Christ has suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust to bring us to God!
Let this make us beware of sin and all its horrible effects, and let us also magnify our Savior who washes all our stains of sin away!

The Darkened Mind

No man will see truth clearly at all and truly believe it unless God first opens his eyes to see it.

I sit listening to two college professors over a cup of coffee discuss their work and the intricacies of academic life. It's obvious they are smart men intellectually. But what is also obvious is that they are self-confident, arrogant men. I desire to walk to their table and after introducing myself, say to them, "Gentlemen, is it at all real to you that one day soon you will stand before Jesus Christ, the Judge of the universe, and give account to Him for everything you've ever done and every word you've ever spoken. You will give account for every word in your classroom, every motive you've ever had, and every thought of your heart. Are you now ready to meet Him?" Such men, unless they are Christians, would think I was either a dinosaur or mentally imbalanced.

As I think about it, it is clear. Men's minds are so darkened, prideful and blind, they could sooner be persuaded that they could build a ladder to the moon with spagetti noodles than be persuaded of their personal accountability to God. Their darkened minds have convinced themselves He doesn't even exist. If they believe He exists at all, in is obvious that He is not pertinent to this life and will not factor at all in their death.

Men more easily believe there is life on other planets than believe they will stand before God one day.

Men more easily believe that they came from monkeys than from their Creator.

Men more easily believe they will be re-incarnated as a bug than that their soul is to live forever.

Men more easily believe they will cease to exist after death than that they will exist consciously in an eternal state. 

Men more easily believe that life originated here by the arrival of aliens than that they were created.

Men more easily delude themselves into thinking everything will somehow be all right when they die than face the truth that they will perish in their sins.

Why will people more easily believe a lie than the truth? Because the natural mind is darkened. It is at enmity with God and wants to believe a lie. They don't want God to exist; they want Him gone and out of the picture as a non-factor. If they can delude themselves into believing the lie, then they are free from any personal responsibility and accountability.

What an awesome and terrifying prospect awaits the secular, proud man upon death--to awake in eternity, only to realize too late that all you denied IS true and all you believed is a lie. Then its too late, for the eternity condition is irreversibly set. 

The most terrifying thought an unbeliever can have--"Hell is real and what if I am there forever?"

The second most terrifying thought--"My personal accountability to the living God--when I die, I will stand before God in judgment."

- Mack Tomlinson

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jesus and Sinners

All that Jesus does for lost sinners--He does freely, out of pure pity, kindness, and love.
Yet we are always looking for something in ourselves--to encourage us! On the other hand, we tend to look at some sincommitted by us--which discourages us. Whereas we should look only to Jesus. I want now, for a few minutes, to fix the eye of your mind on what Jesus does for sinners--how He acts toward them at the present day.
Jesus calls the sinner. He says, "Come unto Me. Come, just as you are. Come, this moment. Come, for all that you need. Come, for all that you desire. Come, and be saved. Come, and I will satisfy you. Come, and commit all your concerns to Me, and I will make all things that occur, work together for your good." 
Jesus receives the sinner when he comes. He receives every sinner, however base, vile, or unworthy he may be! He receives the sinner graciously--pardoning every sin, forgiving and forgetting all that he has done amiss, and treating him with the utmost kindness.
Jesus cleanses the sinner. In the fountain of His precious blood, and in the laver of His holy Word--He cleanses him from guilt and pollution--fitting him for holy service on earth, and for holier service in heaven. Nor is there any getting rid of guilt--but by His blood; nor of impurity--but by His Spirit working with His Word!
Jesus clothes the sinner. Cleansed from guilt and filth--we are clothed in His garments of salvation, and are covered with His robe of righteousness. All that is necessary for our honorable appearance in heaven among the glorified--He undertakes to provide.
Those who trust in Him, are completely nourished by Him. Jesus feeds the sinner. His flesh and blood becomes our daily food. We can no more live and be healthy, without nourishing food for the body--than we can live and be happy, without sweet and frequent nourishment from Christ. There is in the renewed soul--a craving for Christ, and it is never satisfied--but as it realizes His presence, meditates on His Word, or is solaced with His love!
Jesus employs the sinner. Having called, received, cleansed, clothed, and nourished him--He sets him to WORK. He gives him a cross to carry, and a plot in his vineyard to cultivate. He sends him to speak to others of His grace, and tomanifest to others His temper and disposition. He sends him to the poor widow's cottage, to the sick man's chamber, and to the ignorant soul's home--and says, "Feed them for Me; comfort them for Me; and teach them for Me!"
Jesus comforts the sinner. Yes, when he is depressed and discouraged, when he is low and cast down. He consoles by some special providence, by some seasonable portion of His Word, by the counsel of some friend, or by the sweet whispers of His Spirit.
Jesus assures the sinner. Assures him of His love to him, of a saving interest in His finished work, and of a title to heavenly mansions! When Jesus assures us--our doubts and fears depart, our unbelief is destroyed, and our souls are filled with peace and joy.
Jesus visits the sinner. He says, "I will come unto him." And He does come, and brings with Him--pleasant light, precious fruits, and joy and peace. He says, "I will come and sup with him--and he with Me." And He draws him out into such sweet, near and dear communion with Himself--that no costly meal, no delightful company--can be compared to it.
Jesus restores the sinner. For as astonishing as it may appear, it is nevertheless true--that we are prone to wander!
We leave light--for darkness!
We leave plenty--for poverty!
We leave joy--for sorrow!
We leave a paradise--for a desert!
And having wandered, we would never find our way back--if He did not come after us! But, blessed be His holy name--He does! And then He restores our souls, and again feeds us in green pastures, causing us to lie down beside the still waters!
Jesus reproves the sinner. However He may spare our persons--He never spares our sins! He visits our transgressionswith the rod, and our iniquities with stripes! His reproofs are often sharp. Cutting convictions, heavy losses, severe trials, perplexing troubles, bodily sickness, and painful bereavements--are some of the RODS which He employs. But howevernumerous and heavy His strokes--they are lighter than our guilt, and fewer than our sins! He deals with us as with sons. He chastens us for our profit--and to make us partakers of His holiness!
Jesus glorifies the sinner. Glorifies him with Himself--and confers on him an eternal weight of glory! What it is to be glorified--we do not fully know. At the least, it is to be freed from all that is sinful, painful, and degrading--and to beinvested with all that is bright, beautiful, and blessed. It is to be made as like Jesus as possible, and to be with Him where he is forever!
O wondrous grace, of a wondrous Savior!
Believer, this precious Savior is yours! 
Will you not love Him then?
Will you not bear witness to the power and sweetness of His love, to the joy and happiness that are found in His ways?
Will you not observe His statutes and keep His laws? 
Will you not come out of the world, which is peopled by His enemies--and be separated to Him? Can you mingle with the carnal, and frequent places of worldly amusement? Must you go to the world to be gratified and amused?
Beware how you wound your precious Savior's loving heart!
-James Smith

Spurgeon and Owen on Particular Atonement

"We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved.  Now, our reply to this is, that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not.  The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it.  Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men.   They say, "No, certainly not."  We ask them the next question--Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular?  They answer, "No."  They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent.  They say, "No, Christ has died that any man may be saved if..." --and then follow certain conditions of salvation.  Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you.  You say that Christ did not die so as to secure the salvation of anybody.   We beg your pardon, when you say that we limits Christ's death; we say, "no my dear sir, it is you that do it."  We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ's death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved.  You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it.  We will never renounce ours for the sake of it."
Charles Spurgeon

"[If Jesus died for all men]...why then, are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins?  You will say, "Because of their unbelief; they will not believe."  But his unbelief, is it sin, or not?  If not, why should they be punished for it?  If it be sin, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it; If this is so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death?  If he did not, then he did not die for all their sins."  John Owen