Wednesday Events – Passion Week – and Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1-2 Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10-11 Luke 22:3-6

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

Reclame

Today was supposed to be my wedding day…

We first posted an excerpt from this story in May of 2012. We thought it was an important story, worth retelling to anyone who is the process of considering marriage.

A heartfelt journey of one young woman – read her entire story here – http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/05/26/today-was-supposed-to-be-my-wedding-day/

May 26, 2012. It was supposed to be a momentous occasion–the day I would walk down the aisle in my mother’s lace wedding gown, peonies in hand, best friend at my side, family and friends looking on with joy. It was supposed to be the day I started a new chapter, the day my dreams would be fulfilled. Little did I know, God had other plans.

We met in the winter of 2010–me and God, that is. He always had his eye on me, but I barely even knew who he was. Once I began spending time with him, our relationship blossomed into something special. He cared for me and loved me like no other. He filled a huge void in my heart.

That’s how I came to know God. It’s also how I came to know the man I thought I would marry.

The relationship started out like many others, following cultural expectations rather than God’s design. Dating, sex, spending the night, meeting the parents, integrating the pets (him, a dog; me, two cats). After 10 months, on a snowy Sunday evening in front of the place we first met, he asked me to marry him. It was romantic indeed. Even strangers passing by yelled congratulations from their car windows.

I was excited to be engaged–to finally be moving toward marriage–but something never felt quite right. I sensed a resistance in my heart, like I wasn’t totally sure about something. But he was a good guy–the right age, handsome, fun, easy-going, from a decent family. What more could a girl want?

So I moved forward. Even though I had just bought my own home, I gave it up and moved in with him on a spring day in early March. Everyone has to make sacrifices for love, I reasoned. That’s where we’re going to end up anyway. Why not start now? At first, it was exciting and felt like the right thing to do. But a different story soon emerged.

After just a few months of living together, God shook things up. I accepted an awesome job opportunity in another state, so we left behind the house we just finished renovating and drove across the country (pets in tow) to set up our life far from home, family, friends, and church.

Shortly after we settled, a friend from work recommended we try out a small new Presbyterian church in the area. I was a tad leery, as I had recently been baptized in a non-denominational church, but I agreed to check it out. I immediately loved it and felt like this could be my church home. On my second visit, I filled out a visitor card, which asked a few questions about how I wanted to get involved. Did I want to join a life group? Be part of a ministry team? Have coffee with the pastor? Coffee sounded good. I checked the box.

Later that week, the pastor emailed me, asking when I wanted to get together. What a great opportunity to get to know him and learn more about the church, I thought. Maybe he would even be willing to officiate our wedding in a few months. High hopes turned to frustration when I mentioned the possibility to my fiancé. „Coffee? With a pastor?” he asked. „Heck, no. That’s just too weird.”

After weeks of my coercing, praying, hoping, and begging, he finally obliged. But we continued to fight about it–all the way to the front door of the pastor’s house. Regardless, I enjoyed myself and looked forward to hanging out with the pastor and his wife again soon. I could see them being our friends–a couple who would help guide our marriage and bring us closer to God.

Before we could marry, the church asked us to complete a series of counseling sessions, so we set up time to meet with our new pastor. He recommended we start reading the book When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey. I ordered it online, along with Tim and Kathy Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage. And in my determination to be the very best Christian wife I could be, I also ordered a copy of Carolyn Mahaney’s Feminine Appeal.  I thought these books would help us get ready for one of the biggest steps we would ever take.

Help they did, but in a way I didn’t expect. As I started reading Harvey’s book, the first chapter stopped me dead in my tracks. He explained that faith is the most important part of a marriage. Faith? Really? Even though I was now a Christian, I had never considered this point before. Harvey explains that faith is like the first button on a shirt–if you get that wrong, nothing else will line up right.

I began considering how this idea played out in the episode at the pastor’s house, not to mention the weekly task of begging my fiancé to go to church, trying to convince him to join a Bible study, and asking him to remember to pray before dinner. Is it supposed to be this difficult?

No, it’s not, I learned from Harvey, Keller, and my pastor. I began to realize that just as my thinking had been flawed about sex as a prerequisite for love, I also had the wrong idea about the most important traits in a marriage. As I kept reading and talking to other Christians, no one said it was a good idea for me to marry someone with a different worldview. In other words, I had come to love Jesus and make my decisions based on him; my fiancé had not. That discrepancy became poison in our relationship–barely noticeable at first but eventually corrupting nearly every aspect of our lives. As I grew closer to God, I grew further from wanting to marry someone who did not have a relationship with him.

Keller’s teaching on Ephesians 5 helped clarify what I was discovering. Ephesians 5:25-27 says:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit spoke to me on a weekday in early January when my friend opened the Bible to this passage and showed me the truth. I came to understand that God intends for marriage to mimic Jesus’ selfless love for his people. I was awestruck. My husband is supposed to lead me closer to God? I immediately broke down crying. I kept digging, trying to understand how I got so far off base. „He’s a good man,” I argued. „Yes, but is he a Christian? Does he know Jesus?” people asked me in response. „But if I leave him, won’t I be going against what God says, by not loving the unbeliever?” Surprisingly, no. I was not yet married. I had not made a covenant with him before God. I was not bound to him. As much as it would hurt to say goodbye, I knew this was not the relationship God intended for me. He promises much more, and I wasn’t going to find it in a marriage with an unbeliever.

As this devastating realization sunk in, we began the process of disentangling our lives. And within a few weeks, my ex-fiancé headed back to his home with his belongings, including the dog I had come to love and all of my hopes and dreams for a lifetime of happiness together. We both knew he had to find God on his own terms, in his own way.

Who could have guessed that simply checking a box on a church form would eventually end in heartbreak, financial loss, and unwanted singleness? Difficult and sad as it was, God was there every step of the way. He was there in the simple way it ended, despite our lives being intertwined in nearly every way. He was there in the support and love our family and friends provided. He was there to give me a sense of peace that transcended all understanding. Left to myself, previous breakups had knocked me down to my lowest points in life. But this time, with more riding on the relationship than ever before, I was truly okay. I suppose obedience to God made the difference. As much as it hurts, God is always there to pick up the pieces.

Marriage and family are still the two things I want most in life, but I know that they’re in God’s control–not mine. Before I knew God, I tried to control my relational life by making poor decisions and sacrifices that brought little reward. Now, I find fulfillment in God. He is my rock, the one who deserves my love and attention. While it is a daily struggle to trust him with the things I care about so deeply, he has proven that he’s looking out for me. I leave my future in his hands.

 Written by M. Connor. Read the follow-up article from M. Connor, „Today IS My Wedding Day! at the Gospel Coalition.

Related posts

Suicide rates in the US outpaced car accident deaths in 2010

Hebrews 9:27-28
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Romans 1:16
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…

Titus 2:11
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

A very simple statistic from Albert Mohler on Facebook today startled my heart:

In 2010, 33,687 Americans died in a car accident. That same year, 38,364 Americans committed suicide. God help us. [Harper’s Index]

What’s our excuse for not sharing the Gospel???

Spurgeon – Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.

 

C. H. Spurgeon, "The Prince of Preachers&...

Kirk Cameron mentions this quote in his interview with Dr. Bryan Smith at First Baptist Church Roanoke. I have heard this quote before, and today, I tried researching it on the internet. Thankfully, I came across the fruit of this work from another fellow blogger named Daniel who blogs over at – http://doulogos.blogspot.com:

The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners, and love to his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the stout, brave fireman, who careth not for the scorch or for the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity hath set his heart. – Charles Spurgeon, One Antidote for Many Ills (Sermon #284, November 9, 1859, see: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0284.htm)

…if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” – Charles Spurgeon, The Wailing of Risca (sermon #349, December 9, 1860 see: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0349.htm)

The original quote however is taken from a sermon preached by Spurgeon in 1888 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle entitled, „She was not Hid” (see: http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols34-36/chs2019.pdf) and is pulled from the following paragraph:

„But the confession had to be made for the sake of others. Do any of you wish to live unto yourselves? If you do, you need saving from selfishness. I have seen it brought as a charge against evangelical religion that we teach men to look to their own salvation first and that this is a kind of spiritual selfishness. Ah, but if that salvation means salvation from selfishness, where is the selfishness of it? It is a very material point in salvation to be saved from hardness of heart and carelessness about others. Do you want to go to Heaven alone? I fear you will never go there. Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that. What is the most natural plan to use for the salvation of others but to bear your own personal testimony?”

A Good Friday Meditation – How can the salvation of all mankind happen in this way?

by Bill Lawrence via www.bible.org  Photo via www.samuelandrade.blogspot.com/

  • A passionate prayer
  • A traitorous arrest
  • A trumped up charge
  • A false trial
  • Lying witnesses
  • A denying disciple
  • Washed hands
  • Unrighteous remorse
  • A Place called Skull
  • A remote crossroads of the world
  • Between two thieves
  • Sneering rulers
  • Scoffing bystanders
  • Abusive soldiers
  • Insensitive crucifiers
  • A repentant robber
  • A new mother and her new son
  • Weeping women
  • A worshipping Centurion
  • Three hours of darkness
  • The earth shakes
  • Some living dead
  • A criminal’s cross
  • A sealed stone
  • Salvation!

Salvation? How can the salvation of all mankind happen in this way? In this ignominious, inglorious way? How can this be? That all of the sins of all who have ever lived or are living or will live are paid for on a criminal’s cross? Aren’t criminals most in need of forgiveness? Can criminals even be forgiven? How can a Man who hung on a criminal’s cross pay for all the sin of all people?

And in Jerusalem of all places. Why not Rome, the political capital of the world? Or Athens, the cultural capital of the world? Or Alexandria, the educational capital of the world? Or Ephesus, one of the economic capitals of the world? Or Corinth, certainly one of the sin capitals of the world? Yes, that’s it, why wasn’t sin paid for in one of the greatest sin centers of history?

It just doesn’t make sense. How can this Friday be Good? And how could salvation happen in this way?

No blaring trumpets, no glorious angels, no parades of power and purity, just another Friday crucifixion in the ancient Roman empire. Amazing. Excruciatingly painful, but almost ho-hum for the Roman soldiers. Just one more criminal to throw on the trash heap of history and off we go for a few drinks and a good time of gaming.

Yet salvation did come this way. Yes, it did!

God had worked for thousands of years to provide His salvation. First there was creation, then rebellion, and then rejection, banishment, separation-we were cut off from God and Life. But that’s when God began the redemption process, first with promises, then with prophecies, and all with purpose, the purpose of demonstrating His power through His weakness as He kept His promises and fulfilled His prophecies. His Son became one of us: His Son became His Slave, His sacrifice. our Savior. And in Jerusalem.

God loves weakness because weakness is the greatest way He can show His power. How can an ordinary Man who isn’t even worthy of a second look become our Savior? But He did through the power of God’s weakness in Jerusalem.

How can Jerusalem become the place of salvation? Jerusalem was a world capital in the ancient Roman Empire. One of the greatest structures of all, Herod’s Temple, was in Jerusalem. The city was a spiritual capital in the empire, but Jerusalem was different from the other world capitals. It was . . . well, it was Jewish, quirkish, lavish in its own way, but certainly not in the Roman way. Jerusalem was really a weak world capital, crushed under the Roman heel. But God had made Jerusalem the center of His salvation purposes, the place where all His promises would be fulfilled, an unlikely place populated by some very unlikely people. How like God to do this.

This is my salvation, my deliverance, my eternal life started on earth and slated to last forever. Again, I must ask how can this be? How can a five-year old fatherless and familyless little boy get father, mother, and family in the blink of an eye? How can that little boy receive a call to serve God? How can that little boy grow up to be blessed with mentors and marriage and sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren, and faithful friends full of love for him? How can that be? Only because God glories in taking the weak and making us His vessels of glory.

It has been many years since God saved me and I still serve Him. Salvation never ends; why should service? And may I die as Jesus died: with a cross on my back, resurrection in my heart, and the interests of God on my mind.

What has your salvation been? Can you join with me in this Good Friday season and rejoice in God’s salvation for you? Think of what He has done for you and join me.

R. C. Sproul – Jesus and His Active Obedience

rc sproul 2from LigonierMinistries

I don’t think there’s any more important text in all of the New Testament that defines the work of Jesus than this one: That Jesus was sent to fulfill all righteousness. And what that means to the Jew, was to obey every jot and tittle of the law. Because Jesus is now not acting in His baptism for Himself, but for His people. And if His people are required to keep the ten commandments, He keeps the ten commandments. If His people are required to submit to this baptismal ritual, He submits to it, in their behalf. Because the redemption that is brought by Christ is not restricted to his death on the cross.

We’re seeing that in the work of redemption, God didn’t send Jesus to earth on Good Friday to die for the sins of the people and that will take care of it. No, Jesus, not only had to die for our sins, but He had to live for our righteousness. If all Jesus did was die for your sins, that would remove all of your guilt and that would leave you sinless in the sight of God, but not righteous. You would be innocent, but not righteous because you haven’t done anything to obey the law of God, which is what righteousness requires.

So, we have a doctrine in theology that refers to „The Active Obedience of Jesus”, as distinguished from the „Passive obedience of Jesus”. This doctrine is in great dispute right now, in particular among dispensational thinkers, which I find extremely unsettling. The passive obedience of Christ, refers to His willingness to submit to the pain that was inflicted on Him by the Father, on the cross, in the atonement. He passively received the curse of God there. The active obedience refers to His whole life of obeying the law of God, whereby, He qualifies to be the Savior. He qualifies to be the Lamb without blemish. He qualifies for the song „Worthy is the Lamb Who Was Slain”.  Through His total righteousness, He fulfills the law’s demand.

You remember the covenant with Moses: Everybody who fulfills the law receives the blessing. Those who disobey the law receive the curse. What does Jesus do? He obeys the law perfectly, receives the blessing, and not the curse. But, there’s a double imputation at the cross, where my sin is transferred to His account. My sin is carried and laid upon Him on the cross. But, in our redemption, His righteousness is imputed to us, which righteousness He wouldn’t have, if He didn’t live this life of perfect obedience. So, what I’m saying to you is, His life of perfect obedience is just as necessary for our salvation as His perfect atonement on the cross, because there’s double imputation. My sin to Him, His righteousness to me. So that is what the Scripture is getting at when it says, „Jesus is our righteousness.”

Nanotech and Jesus Christ with Jim Tour, Ph.D., professor at Rice University

James M Tour’s website- http://www.jmtour.com. James M. Tour is a synthetic organic chemist, specializing in nanotechnology. Quote from Dr. Tour: People ask, „Does science draw me away from God? And, it’s just the opposite. When I study biological systems, it’s like, „Wow! This, to me is so amazing, how it happens. It is understandable, as we understand more, but, it draws me closer to God…. I see this amazing order and it causes me to love God all the more. That’s what it causes me to do.”

Among the great work Jim Tour does as one of the world’s top 10 chemists, and top scientist at Rice University is his work with nanotechnology. A tiny nano-sized car which can propel itself forward in response to while the first nano car (without a motor) was built by James Tour in 2005. Read about it here- http://articles.cnn.com

A stimulating talk/lecture about nanotechnology in the first 15+ minutes- Webster defines nanotechnology as ‘the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale’. At the 19th minute Jim shares how he came to faith in Jesus Christ. The talk lasts about 49 minutes, followed by a 48 minute question and answer session.

The following are some notes I jotted down form the talk.

The first verse Dr. Tour ever thought about at the age of 18, in his freshman year of college was pointed out to him by a college sophomore. He was doing his first load of laundry at college and another young man, a sophomore who played quarterback on the Syracuse Football Team  was also in the laundry room. This young man started talking to him and Jim asked him, „What do you want to do when you leave school? Do you want to play professional football?” He said, „Oh no, I’m not good enough for that. Maybe I want to do lay ministry.” Well, Dr. Tour being from a secular Jewish home in New York City, he didn’t know what lay ministry was. So I said, „Lay ministry, what is that?” He said, „Oh, like a missionary.” I said, „Missionary? We don’t need missionaries today. This is 1977. Why do we need missionaries today. We got TV, TV can do everything.”

He told Jim that he wanted to give him an illustration of the Gospel. Here are the things he told Jim:

Jim: „He had me read a verse from the Bible. This was the first verse: Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And, when I read this, I looked at him and said, „I’m not a sinner.” He was a bit taken back by that. Now, sin is not something that secular Jews in New York think about. This was never ever a topic in our home. We never discussed God, we never discussed any of this stuff. As far as I was concerned, as far as I knew you would go to the synagogue once a year and the rabbi would take care of all of that. And we never really thought about it, at least I never did. And then, lo and behold, I understood christians, every thought, „Oh, oh I have sinned.” It’s constructed around this. But, it was a new concept to me and I said, „I’m not a sinner.”

He looked a bit bewildered and then he had me read another verse, Matthew 5:28 ‘But I say to you that anyone who looks at a woman with lust for her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ I read this verse and it was as if a knife had been stabbed right in my heart, because when I was 14 years old, I started working in a gas station on a highway going in and out of New York City… I told the owner I was 16, I was 14 years old. I learned that when I cleaned the parking lots on Friday nights, that I could find an amazing stash of pornographic magazines, as the salesmen, on their way home on friday nights would throw them out.

And I became addicted to pornography at a young age, at the age of 14. By the time I was 18, I was well addicted. And, I didn’t think anybody knew this. And then this man, Jesus Christ, said something 2000 years ago that just zeroed right in on my heart. And for any of you that have ever been, or are addicted to pornography, ( in my day there was no internet, it’s much easier now to get addicted to it) you understand how compelling that can be. 

And I couldn’t get this off my mind. Then he had me read another verse. Romans 5:8 ‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ I didn’t even know that there was a claim on the table- that Christ died for me. You would think, someone growing up in the United States, born and raised in New York, would have heard this somewhere. And, I’m sure I heard it on some TV program. I remember when I worked at the gas station, some people would give me some little tracts sometime and I’d sit on the night shift and read these sometime. But, nothing ever registered. But, all of a sudden after reading these verse- somebody died for me. 

And then I read that ‘If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord  and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.’ What an odd verse! Romans 10:9 If I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord- well, that’s pretty simple. But, ‘believe in my heart that God has raised Him from the dead’? Who could believe in a physical resurrection? Who could believe in such a thing? How could any thinking man or woman ever believe in a physical resurrection? Were it not for the case that it’s true. And God has set it in the very hearts of men and women to believe it’s true. Could that be? Could it be?

I was living at that time in a small dorm room at Syracuse University. On November 7, 1977 . So a couple of months after I heard this, that word was still  penetrating into my heart. And, I don’t know, to this day, what motivated me to do this. This was something that was not demonstrated to me in Christianity or in Judaism. I got down on my knees and I said, „Father, forgive me because I am a sinner.” At that moment it was as if somebody was in my room. I was all alone, my roommate wasn’t there. And I remember opening my eyes, because I felt somebody was in my room. I did not see anyone, but, all of a sudden there was this rush of cleansing over me and the feeling of conviction that I had about that lust in my heart about that pornography just went away. I started weeping. What a strange experience for some Jewish kid from New York City… to read a few verse… and I didn’t want to get up because I loved the presence of whoever was in my room. Something happened to me and I didn’t know what I was gonna do, what I was gonna say.

I remember a couple of weeks later, the young man who had shared these few verses with me looked at me a couple of weeks after this event (I didn’t tell anybody, what would this Jewish kid from New York say?)  and he said to me, ‘Jim, have you asked Jesus into your heart?’ I said, ‘I think I have, why do you ask?’ He said, ‘You haven’t stopped smiling for weeks. Something is different.’ And I sure felt different.  And I’ll tell you the other thing that happened to me on that day, which is really remarkable. There was no longer any hold of pornography over me. All of my magazines went in the trash, and never in all of these years has pornography been trouble for me again.

Now, this is very unusual. I have seen many men come to faith. I do prison ministry at a maximum security prison for 10 years. I’ve worked with many men, with many struggles. It is very rare that somebody on the day of salvation gets delivered in this way. What’s interesting is that I’ve been convicted of my sin through pornography. And on the day that I received Jesus, something changed in me.

Now, I’ll tell you what happened in my career, as a result…

 Jim Tour recounts some of the results of that experience and his decision to follow Jesus Christ.

  • First result was that he started striving to overcome sin on a daily basis.
  • One of those results is that he reads his bible every day. For over 30 years he has read from Genesis 1 through the end of Revelation. Then he started all over again and reads through the whole Bible. He doesn’t hurry. Every day he picks up where he left off the day before. As he reads, when he feels God speaking to him through the verses- he just reads that passage over and over.
  • He started seeking like minded friends.
  • He joined a church where he was mentored by godly men.
  • He started praying that God would provide a wife that He had for him. He realized that that would be a pretty important decision.
  • He started actively praying for God’s blessing on his studies.  Jim says he was struggling in freshman chemistry. He says he was never good or smart. His older sister was gifted, she is now head of Microsoft Research. HIs brother was one of those guys that always did well and never had to work very hard and now he’s a lawyer. As he was struggling with chemistry, he started praying for his class and ended the semester with a B+. After that, he took all the Organic Chemistry classes available and finished at the top of all of his classes. God really blessed his work and answered his prayer.

The impact of Scriptures on my career

  • Admonition to change my words and actions Proverbs 3:3-4 – Do not let kindness and truth leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. This transcends faith.
  • Admonition to value my family. I don’t know of many who marry and don’t do it out of love. But, love in itself doesn’t make marriage last forever. ~~Proverbs 5:18 ‘Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth.’ And then ~~Proverbs 22:6 ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.’ I invested in my children. We had daily prayer times.
  • Admonition to fear God and keep His commandments. ~~Ecclesiastes 12:13 ‘The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.’  ~~John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,’ Jesus said. ~~John 15:10- Jesus said, ‘If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.’ 

http://www.veritas.org/talks – Jim Tour, Ph.D., a professor at Rice University, is ranked in the top ten most cited chemists in the world. He is known for creating nanocars, nanoelectronics, graphene nanostructures and carbon nanovectors in medicine. He will speak on nanotechnology, the impact of faith in his life and career, and about his love for Jesus Christ. Published on Nov 14, 2012 by 

Video of the Week – R.C. Sproul: Jesus Christ, the Only Way

How can you believe in a God who is so narrow minded that He would only provide ONE way of salvation to a world.

 Who is this God ?

R. C. Sproul: I don’t know why God hasn’t given us 5 Saviors or 15 religious ways to satisfy Him. I don’t know the answer to that question and let’s take a hypothetical situation. Suppose there is a God. Let’s start with that supposition and suppose that God is altogether absolutely holy. And, suppose that God, not out of any necessity within Himself, but out of sheer love and graciousness creates a world and He inhabits this world with a vast array of animals and plants and then when He is finished, His crowning act of creation is a creature that He shapes in His own image and He breathes into this creature His own breath. And, gives this creature preeminence, dominion over all the world and gives him the task of mirroring and reflecting God’s own holy character.

And God gratuitously heaps all kinds of benefits on this creature, but gives one restriction to this creature  and says, „You’re not allowed to touch or eat of this particular fruit and as soon as God turns His back, suppose this creature, totally ungrateful,  who owes his creator everything, turns around and grasps for equality with his creator and openly, willfully, defies the law of God and God had told him, „If you do this, you die.” Now suppose right then God had erased mankind from the earth, He would have been perfectly just to do it. Wouldn’t He have?

But suppose God was so patient, so kind, that He said, „I will cover this creature’s nakedness and I will provide a way of salvation for him and I will promise to deliver this ungrateful sinner from his desperate condition. I am going to send to this people who reject everything I do for them; I am going to send my only begotten Son. And I am going to take the sins of my people and transfer them to the back of my own Son, who is perfectly righteous and perfectly just.

And they kill…. the Son! And God said, „That’s okay! You killed Him, but if you will just put your trust in Him and honor Him; I will forgive you of every sin you ever committed against Me and against Him and I will give you eternal life where there will be no more death, no more tears, no more wickedness, no more pain, no more suffering and you will live forever in unending bliss! But my only requirement is that you honor the One who has died in your place.

Buddha didn’t die for you. Moses didn’t die for you. Mohammad didn’t die for you and I require that you honor and embrace my only Son.

Would you dare to stand before God on the day of  judgement and say, „God, You have not done enough. would you look in the face of God and say, „One way of salvation is not enough?” How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Beloved, I don’t think that people who believe in Christ are any better than people who believe in something else. We’re not talking about the superiority of people but I’m sure it rankles God Almighty to hear any human being even mention Buddha in the same breath  with Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ alone is sinless. Buddha was a sinner. Buddha couldn’t save himself, let alone anyone else. Mohammad was a sinner and Mohammad never saved anybody.

Only Christ is sinless. Only Christ has offered an atonement. Only Christ has provided redemption for us.

If that’s not enough for you, if that’s too restricted, then go your own way. But it’s the only way that God provided. You choose that or you perish.

Message R.C.Sproul „Christ the only way”, a Renewing Your Mind Broadcast from Ligonier ministries.

Video of the Week – Song of Songs – a portrait of love

Beautiful musical and video rendition

of the portrait of a biblical parable

about our love for Christ

sung by

Freddy Hayler:

Why should you, a Christian, repent of your sin?

A short (34 min) sermon from Pastor David Platt of Oak Brook Hills Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Why are we sometimes stuck in a pattern of sinfulness? Because, only after we repent of our sin, does God relent and empower us to defeat it. Meanwhile, living in our sin separates us from the very presence of God. And, the essence of Salvation (the reason Jesus came to die for our sins) is to reconcile us to the presence of God. How can you persist in sin if you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you?

For more David Platt sermon click here.

Notes from David Platt’s sermon below:

Remember in Genesis 3, when sin entered the world? What was the immediate and disastrous effect of sin? Separation from the presence of God. What man once enjoyed unhindered in beauty and communion with God  was ripped apart by sin and everything we’ve read since then (throughout the Bible) is all the effect of sin, and, men and women being separated from the presence of God until we get to the end of the Bible where God will have the new heaven and the new earth, and sin will be gone.

What is Redemption? It is about being reconciled to the presence of God.

What is Salvation? It is about being brought into the presence of God.

Now, that is not the way Salvation is sold in our day

Among the Church, Salvation is sold as :

„Come to God to get ‘stuff”. Come to God to get forgiveness, come to God to get heaven… to get your best life, prosperity and success. Come to God to get abundance and health and wealth. Come to God to get all these things.”

„NO!!!”

We do not come to God to get stuff!. We come to God to GET GOD! He is the one we need. And, He’s the one we want and you can’t have your best life without God. You can’t have anything good without God. Everything flows from God. He is the fountain from which life and everything flows and so we want Him.

When we fast we are saying, „We want you  God! Aside from you we can do nothing. We are putting aside our daily necessities of food and say , „More than our bodies are sustained by food; our souls are sustained by You!'”

And what separates us from experiencing the satisfaction of the presence of God? 

SIN! So, repent.

Get rid of sin. Repent of sin, not because you got caught and not because it hurts you this way or that in your life. Repent and weep and grieve over it because it keeps you from God and from the beauty and the joy and the delight and the wonder and the satisfaction that are found in God. That’s what leads to Godly sorrow and weeping over sin.

God says, „When you repent, I will be with you.”

The whole Old Testament Book of Joel is a call to repentance. The way that God calls people to repentance through the prophet Joel is through a fast. On the call for a day of fasting in the book of Joel, the difference between us and them is that the people of Joel’s time are old covenant people. But, the principles, practices and truths are very applicable when it comes to fasting. All throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, fasting is an external expression among the people of God, of an internal reality. Fasting is abstaining from physical food for a spiritual purpose.

More than we need our meal, we need God’s Mercy. Our souls long for the presence of God.

Joel talks about the Day of the Lord, which also comes in the future. There will come a day of destruction for the resistant, who resist God’s mercy and holiness and remain in sin. For them, it will be a day of utter and eternal destruction. But, it will also be a day of salvation for he repentant, who repent of sin, turn to God and He will be a refuge to them.

We repent

What does repentance involve? (Read Joel 2:12-14)

  1. Confession – Acknowledgement to God about sin and agreement with God where we acknowledge specifically about sin. To see our sin, not as the culture (sees it), not as compared to others, but, to see our sin as God sees our sin. Now, it is no longer small or big, but, everything is as infinite offense before Him.
  2. Contrition – To have brokenness before God over our sin. A sorrow and fasting with weeping over our sin. How long has it been since we, as a people, wept over our sins?
  3. Conversion – Turning to God from sin- a change of direction, a transformation of lives. Repentance involves all of these things.

God relents

  1. God rescues us – As we repent, God relents. He doesn’t leave us to our sin to wander in it. What does it mean for God to relent? That means he rescues us from our sin.(Joel 2:18-20). Ultimately, God rescues us from Himself; from the judgement He is pouring out for sin. We need to be rescued from the payment of our sin.
  2. God restores us 
  3. God resides with us 

How will God reside with us?

This is the essence of Salvation – to be reconciled to the presence of God.

He will come to us

  • in His Son (Romans 10:12-13)
  • through His Spirit (Acts 2:17-21) as He did at Pentecost.

Every man and woman today, who has trusted in Christ for their Salvation, the very present of God lives in you. His Spirit dwells in you. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6, „Flee, run from sin,…your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. How can you be comfortable with sin when the Spirit of God is within you? Run from it! You have the Spirit of the living God dwelling in you. Weep over anything that will rob you over the joy that is found in God dwelling in you.

Ultimately, in the end, He will forever protect us in His stronghold. (Joel 3:16). There is coming a day when you will be free from sin and experience His presence in all of its fullness. So, weep and mourn and wail and grieve over and repent of sin in anticipation of that day.

A W Pink – Christian Fools – Preached in Sydney, Australia 1927

“Then He said unto them, O fools and slow of heart
to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”
Luke 24:25

Those of you who read the religious announcements in the newspapers of yesterday would see the subject for my sermon this evening is “Christian Fools.” Possibly some of you thought there was a printer’s error and that what I really meant to announce was “Professing Christian fools.” The paper gave it quite correctly. My subject tonight is “Christian Fools.” Probably some of you think that this is a most unsuitable title for a servant of God to give to his sermon, and yet I make no apology whatever for it. It fits exactly my subject for tonight: it expresses accurately what I am going to speak about: and—“what is far more to the point—it epitomizes our text: “Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

Those words were spoken by Christ on the day of His resurrection: spoken not to worldlings but to Christians. That which occasioned them was this. The disciples to whom He was speaking were lopsided in their theology: they believed a certain part of God’s truth and they refused to believe another part of the truth that did not suit them; they believed some Scriptures but they did not believe all that the prophets had spoken, and the reason they did not was because they were unable to harmonize the two different parts of God’s truth. They were like some people today: when it comes to their theology; they walk by reason and by logic rather than by faith.

In the Old Testament there were many prophecies concerning the coming Messiah that spoke of His glory. If there was one thing the Old Testament prediction made plain, it was that the Messiah of Israel should be glorious. It spoke of His power, His honor, His majesty, His dominion, His triumphs. But on the other hand, there were many prophecies in the Old Testament that spoke of a suffering Messiah, that portrayed His humiliation, His degradation, His rejection, His death at the hands of wicked men. And these disciples of Christ believed the former set of prophecies, but they would not believe in the second: they could not see how it was possible to harmonize the two. If the coming Messiah was to be a glorious Messiah, possessing power and majesty and dominion: if He would be triumphant, then how could He, at the same time, be a suffering Messiah, despised, humiliated, rejected of men? And because the disciples could not fit the two together, because they were unable to harmonize them, they refused to believe both, and Christ told them to their faces that they were fools. He says, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

I suppose some of us have wondered how it was possible for these disciples, these followers of Christ, who had been privileged to be with Him during His public ministry and those who had been so intimate with Him, had been instructed by Him, had witnessed His wonderful miracles; how it was possible for such men to err so grievously and to act so foolishly. And yet we need not be surprised; the same thing is happening all around us today. Christendom tonight is full of men and women who believe portions of God’s truth, but who do not believe all that the prophets have spoken. In other words, my friends, Christendom tonight is full of men and women that the Son of God says are “fools” because of their slowness of heart to believe.

Now very likely, the sermon tonight will make some of my hearers angry: probably they are the ones who most need the rebuke of the text. When a servant of God wields the sword of the Spirit, if he does his work faithfully and effectively, then some of his hearers are bound to get cut and wounded: and, my friends, that is always God’s way. God always wounds before He heals.  And I want to remind you at the outset that this text is no invention of mine.  These are the words of One who never wounded unnecessarily, but they are also the words of the True and Faithful Witness who never hesitated to preach the whole truth of God, whether men would receive it or whether they would reject it. I know it is not a pleasant thing to be called a fool, especially if we have a high regard for ourselves and rate our own wisdom and orthodoxy very highly—it wounds our pride. But we need to be wounded, all of us. We need to be humbled; we need to be rebuked; we need to have that word from the lips of Christ which is as a two-edged sword.

the Gospel of Matthew

Now  notice, dear friends, that Christ did not upbraid these disciples because they did not understand, but because of their lack of faith. The trouble with them was they reasoned too much. Very likely they prided themselves on their logical minds and said, Well, surely we are not asked to believe impossibilities and absurdities: both of these cannot be true; one is true and the other cannot be. Either the Messiah of Israel is going to be a glorious and a triumphant Messiah, or else He is going to be a rejected and a humiliated one: they cannot both be true. That is why Christ said to them—not because of their failure to understand, but because of their lack of faith—“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

I am afraid that today there are many who only believe what they can understand, and if there is something else that they cannot understand, they do not believe it. If they have devised to themselves a systematized theology (or more probably they have adopted someone else’s system of theology), and they hear a sermon (no matter how much Scripture there may be in it) which they cannot fit into their little system of theology, they won’t have it. They place a higher value on consistency than they do on fidelity. That is just what was the matter with these disciples: they could not see the consistency of the two things and therefore they were only prepared to believe the one.

The same thing, my friends, is true today with many preachers. There are multitudes of preachers in Australia tonight whose theology is narrower than the teaching of this Book. Then away to the winds with theology! —I mean human systems of theology which are narrower than Scripture. For example, there are men today who read God’s Word, and they see that the gospel is to be preached to every creature, and that God commands all who hear that gospel to believe in Christ; then they come across some texts on election, predestination:—“Many are called but few are chosen,” and they say, Well, I cannot harmonize this, I cannot see how it is possible to preach, unhampered, a gospel to every creature, and yet for election to be true. And because they cannot harmonize the two things, they neither believe the two nor will they preach both. They cannot harmonize election with a gospel that is to be preached to every creature, and so the Arminians preach the gospel but they leave out election.

Yes, but there are many Calvinists who equally come under the rebuke of our text. They believe in the sovereignty of God, but they refuse to believe in the responsibility of man. I read a book by a hyper-Calvinist only a few weeks ago, by a man whose shoe-latchet the present speaker in many things is not fit to stoop down and unloose—a man of God, a faithful servant of His, one from whom I have learned not a little—and yet he had the effrontery to say, that responsibility is the most awful word in the English language, and then went on to tirade against human responsibility. They cannot understand how that it is possible for God to fix the smallest and the greatest events, and yet not to infringe upon man’s accountability—men themselves choosing the evil and rejecting the good—and therefore because they cannot see both they will only believe in one.

Listen! If man were nothing more than clay in the hands of the Potter there would be no difficulty. Scripture affirms in Romans 9 that man is clay in the hands of the Potter, but that only gives you one aspect of the truth. That emphasizes the absoluteness of God’s control over all the works and creatures of His hands; but from other Scriptures we learn that man is something more than lifeless clay. Man has been endowed with understanding; man has been given a will. Yes, I freely admit that his understanding is darkened; I fully allow that his will is in bondage; but they are still there; they have not been destroyed. If man was nothing more than a block of wood or a block of stone, it would be easy to understand how that God could fix the place that he was to occupy and the purpose that he was to fulfil; but, my friends, it is very far from easy to understand how that God can shape and direct all history and yet leave man fully responsible and not infringe upon his accountability.

Now there are some who have devised a very simple but a most unsatisfactory method of getting rid of the difficulty, and that is to deny its existence.  There are Arminians who have presented the “free-will” of man in such a way as to virtually dethrone God, and I have no sympathy whatever with their system.  On the other hand, there have been some Calvinists who have presented a kind of fatalism (I know not what else to term it) reducing man to nothing more than a block of wood, exonerating him of all blame and excusing him for his unbelief. But they are both equally wrong, and I scarcely know which is the more mischievous of the two. When the Calvinist says, All things happen according to the predestination of God. I heartily say Amen, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but if the Arminian says that when a man sins the sin is his own, and that if he continues sinning he will surely perish, and that if he perishes his blood is on his own head, then I believe the Arminian speaks according to God’s truth; though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The trouble is when we tie ourselves down to a theological system.

Now listen a little more closely still. When the Calvinist says that faith is the gift of God and that no sinner ever does or can believe until God gives him that faith, I heartily say Amen; but when the Arminian says that the gospel commands all who hear it to believe, and that it is the duty of every sinner to believe, I also say Amen. What? you say, You are going to stand up and preach faith-duty-duty-faith? I know that is jolting to some of you. Now bear with me patiently for a moment and I will try and not shock you too badly. Whose is the gospel? It is God’s. Whose voice is it that is heard speaking in the gospel? It is God’s. To whom has God commanded the gospel to be preached? To every creature. What does the gospel say to every creature? It says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It says, “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It says, “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” God commands, not invites. God commands every man, woman and child that hears that gospel to believe it, for the gospel is true; therefore it is the duty of every man to believe what God has said. Let me give you the alternative. If it is not the duty of every sinner to believe the gospel, then it is his duty not to believe it—one or the other. Do you mean to tell me it is the duty of an unconverted sinner to reject the gospel? I am not talking now about his ability to believe it.

Some of you say, Well how can it be his duty to believe it, when he cannot do so? Is it his duty to do an impossibility? Well, listen! Is my duty, is my responsibility measured by my ability, by my power to perform? Here is a man who has ordered a hundred pounds’ worth of furniture; he receives it, and he is given thirty days’ credit in which to pay for it; but during the next thirty days he squanders his money, and at the end of the month he is practically bankrupt. When the firm presents their bill to him, he says, “I am sorry but I am unable to pay you.” He is speaking the truth. “I am unable, it does not lie within my power to pay you.” Would the head of that business house say, “All right, that ends the matter then: sorry to hear that you do not have the power, but evidently we cannot do anything.” No, my friend, ability does not measure our responsibility. Man is responsible to do many things that he is not able to do. You that are Christians are responsible to live a sinless life, for God says to you, “Awake to righteousness and sin not,” and in the first Epistle of John we read, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” God sets before you and me a standard of holy perfection. There is not one of us that is capable of measuring up to it, but that is our responsibility, and that is what we are going to be measured by when we stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.

Now then there are many Arminian preachers who are afraid to preach sermons on certain texts of the Bible. They would be afraid to stand up and preach from John 6:44—“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.” They would be afraid to stand up and preach from Romans 9:18—“Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Yes, and it is also true that there are many Calvinist preachers who are equally afraid to preach from certain texts of the Scriptures lest their orthodoxy be challenged and lest they be called Freewillers. They are afraid to stand up and preach, for example, on the words of the Lord Jesus: —“How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Or on such a verse as this: —“The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force;” or “Strive (agonize) to enter in at the Strait Gate.” And to show you that I am not imagining things, I am just going to read you three lines. Listen! “At the meeting at. . . [I will leave out the name] on January 15th last, the question was asked to the effect: Had not some of our ministers for the sake of orthodoxy abstained from preaching from certain texts, and the answer was in the affirmative.” I am reading now from a Strict Baptist magazine! That was a meeting of Strict Baptist preachers and they were honest enough to admit, themselves, that because they were afraid of their orthodoxy being challenged, they were silent on certain texts of Scripture. O may God remove from all of us the fear of man.

Some of you perhaps are thinking right now in your own minds, Well, Brother Pink, I do not see how you are consistent with yourself. My friends, that does not trouble me one iota, and it won’t cause one hair in my head to go gray if I am inconsistent with any Calvinistic creed: the only thing that concerns me is to be consistent with the Holy Spirit, and to teach as the Holy Spirit shall enable, the whole counsel of God; to leave out nothing, to withhold nothing, and to give a proportionate presentation of God’s truth. Do you know, I believe that most of the theological errors of the past have grown out of, not so much a denial of God’s truth, as a disproportionate emphasis of it. Let me give you a simple illustration. The most comely countenance with the most beautiful features would soon become ugly if one feature were to grow while the others remained undeveloped. You can take the most beautiful baby there is in the world tonight and if that baby’s nose were to grow while its eyes and its cheeks and its mouth and its ears remained undeveloped, it would soon become unsightly. The same is true with every other member of its face.

Beauty is mainly a matter of proportion and this is true of God’s Word. It is only as truth is presented in its proper proportions that the beauty and blessedness to it are maintained in the hearts and lives of God’s people. The sad thing is that almost everywhere today there is just one feature of truth being disproportionately emphasized.

And listen again! If God’s truth is to be presented proportionately and effectively then each truth of God’s Word must be presented separately. If I am speaking upon the humanity of Christ, if I am seeking to emphasize the reality of His manhood, how that He was made like unto His brethren in all things, how that He was tempted in all points as they were—sin excepted—I would not bring into my sermon a reference to His Godhood; and if you were to hear me preach the next twelve Sunday nights on the manhood of Christ and never refer to His Deity in those sermons, I hope none of you brethren would be so foolish as to draw the conclusion, Oh dear me, Brother Pink no longer believes in the Godhood of our Savior.

Again, if I am preaching on the wrath of God, the holy hatred of God for sin and His vengeance upon it, I would be weakening my sermon to bring in at the close a reference to His tenderness, mercy and love, for in my judgment that would be to blunt the point of the special truth I was seeking to press on the unconverted. And, in the same way, if I am pressing on the unconverted their need, their duty and importance of seeking the Lord, calling upon, coming to and believing on Him for themselves, I would not bring in or explain the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion.

Each truth needs to be presented separately that it may have its clear outline presented to the heart and to the mind. And after all, my friends, we are not saved by believing in the Spirit, we are saved by believing in Christ. We are not saved by believing in the work of the Spirit within us (no man was ever saved by believing that); we are saved by trusting in the work of Christ outside of us. O may God help us to maintain the balance of truth. There is something more in this Book, brethren and sisters, beside election, particular redemption and the new birth. They are there, and I would not say one word to weaken or to repudiate them, but that is not all that is in this Book. There is a human side. There is man’s responsibility. There is the sinner’s repentance. There is the sinner’s believing in Christ. There is the pressing of the gospel upon the unsaved; and I want to tell you frankly that is a church does not evangelize it will fossilize: and, if I am not much mistaken, that is what happened to some of the Strict Baptist Churches in Australia.  Numbers of them that once had a healthy existence are now no more; and some others are already dead but they are not yet buried; and I believe one of the main reasons for that is this—they failed at the vital point of evangelism. If a church does not evangelize it will fossilize. That is God’s method of perpetuating His work and of maintaining His churches. God uses means, and the means that the Holy Spirit uses in His work is the preaching of the gospel to the unconverted, to every creature. True, the preaching will avail nothing without the Spirit’s blessing and application. True, no sinner will or can believe until God has quickened him. Yet he ought to, and is commanded to.

Now I meant, if time had allowed me, to come back again to the text and give you a few striking examples of where many have failed in holding the balance of God’s truth. Take for example the Unitarians. I have met numbers of Unitarians who believe this Book is God’s word, and believe that they can prove their creed from this Book. They appeal to such Scriptures as Deuteronomy 6:4—“The Lord our God is one Lord.” Their creed is the unity of God and they argue that if there be three divine persons there must be three Gods; they cannot harmonize them, they cannot reconcile three persons with one God; so what do they do? Well, they hold fast to the one and they let go the other. They say the two won’t mix—either God is one or else He is three; He cannot be both.  When they come to the Person of Christ they emphasize such passages as—“He grew in wisdom.” Well, they say, if He was a divine person, how could He grow in wisdom? They emphasize such passages as “He prayed,” and they say it is an absurdity to think of God praying to God. They say, He died—how could God die?  No, He cannot be divine: He is a good man; He is a holy man; He is a perfect man; and because they cannot reconcile the two classes of Scriptures they believe the one and reject the other. And Christ says to them, Ye are fools because ye are slow of heart to believe all.

Take the Universalists. I have met numbers of Universalists—several here in Sydney. I was going to say that I have less suspicion of the reality of their own salvation than I have of some of yours. At any rate they seem to give such evidence in their daily walk that they commune with Christ that it really makes one wonder where they are. Well now, the Universalists are staggered by the doctrine of eternal punishment. They say “God is love.” “The mercy of God endureth forever.” God is good: how can a merciful, loving God send any to eternal suffering? The Universalist say they cannot both be true: if there is such a thing as eternal punishment, then God can’t be love: if God is love, there cannot be such a thing as eternal punishment. You see what they are doing? They are reasoning: they are walking by logic: they have drawn up their own scheme and system of theology and that which they cannot fit exactly into that scheme, somewhere, well, away with it!

But the Unitarians and the Universalists and the Arminians are not the only ones who are guilty of that. I am sorry to say that it is equally true, in some respects, of many Calvinists. They are unsound when it comes to the gospel. They are all at sea when it comes to the matter of believing. I am not going to keep you very much longer, but listen closely now. There are many Calvinists who say, Believing is an evidence of our salvation, but it is not a condition or the cause of salvation. But, my friends, I make so bold as to say that those who so teach take issue with this Book. Now I want you to turn with me to four passages in the New Testament. I am not asking you to take my word for anything. You turn with me now to four passages in God’s own word. First of all Romans l:16-17—“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.” The power of God unto salvation to whom? —“the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” Now I have no hesitation whatever in saying to every grown-up person in this room tonight, if you had read that verse just now for the first time in your life, and had never read a page of either Calvinistic or Arminian literature; if you read that verse without any bias one way or the other, it would only mean one thing to you.

Now turn to Romans 13:11—“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” The salvation that is spoken of there is the salvation of the body, the glorification of the believer, the final consummation of our redemption: but what I want you to notice is where the Holy Spirit Himself puts the starting point. “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” THAT is when it begins, so far as our actual experience is concerned.

Now turn to Hebrews 10:39, and you have one there that is plainer still—that is outside the realm of debate—that has no ambiguity about it: “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” You cannot get around that if you live to be a thousand years old.  “Them that believe to the saving of the soul.” The sinner’s believing does have something to do with his salvation: God says so! If you deny it you are taking issue with God. “Believe to the saving of the soul.”

Now turn to Luke 7:50—“And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee.” He did not say thy faith is an evidence that you have been saved. “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Now in the light of those last two verses I make this assertion, that believing in Christ is the cause of the sinner’s salvation.  But listen closely to this qualification. It is neither the meritorious cause nor is it the effectual cause! You must put these three things together to get the complete thing. The blood of Christ is the meritorious cause of salvation; the regenerating work of the Spirit is the effective cause of salvation; but the sinner’s own believing is the instrumental cause of his salvation. We believe to the saving of the soul. I repeat that. The blood of Christ is the meritorious cause: without that all the believing in the world could not save a soul. The regenerating work of the Spirit is the effectual cause: without this, no sinner would come or will believe with the heart. But the believing of the sinner in Christ is the instrumental cause—that which extends the empty hand to receive the gift that the gospel presents to him—and where there is no personal trust in Christ there is no salvation—“I did not say “quickening.”

Now I want to make this very plain and I am going to weigh my words. If instead of you trusting in the sacrificial blood of Christ, you are trusting in something that you believe the Spirit has done in you, you are building your house upon the sand, which in time of testing will fall to the ground.

“On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.”

If you are building your hope for eternity on what you think or feel that the Spirit of God has done in you, instead of putting your trust in what Christ did for sinners, you are building your house on the sand. And that may apply to some church-members here tonight. O my friends, the gospel of God does not invite you to look inside and pin your faith to what you think the Holy Spirit has done in you; the gospel of God commands you to look outside of yourself, away from all your feelings and frames, to what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross for sinners as sinners.

Now my last word tonight is directed to the unconverted, for my text also applies directly to them. Last Sunday evening I said a good deal about the necessity of being quiet, of standing still, of waiting upon God; but I want to supplement those remarks in concluding tonight by saying that those are all admonitions that are given to the converted, and that the Holy Scriptures speak in very different terms to those of you who are unconverted. The Bible does not bid you to sit still, to wait and be quiet; the Bible commands you to flee from the wrath to come. It bids you to strive to enter in at the strait gate. I am quoting Scripture now. It bids you seek the Lord. It bids you come unto Him. It bids you believe in Him, and if you do not you will be damned, whoever you are.

I am very much afraid that there are some here tonight who entertain the notion that all they have to do is just to sit still and wait until God comes and saves you. My friends, I do not know of a single promise of God that He will do so. I do not know of a single line in this Book that encourages you to continue in your sinful inactivity. I am going to speak very plainly now. The devil will tell you there is no cause for you to be concerned: there is not a bit of need for you to worry: if your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life you will be saved, whether you believe or no. That is the devil’s lie! It is not God’s truth. The devil will tell you that if you have been elected to salvation there is not a bit of need for you to be alarmed, disturbed or exercised; no need at all for you to seek and search after the Lord; that when God’s good time comes He is going to do it all for you: not a bit of good for you to read the Bible and cry out to Him: and if He has not elected you, well, there is no need for sure, for it’s useless.

Yes, the devil will speak in those tones and terms and he will come quoting Scripture to you. But there is no salvation for the sinner apart from his believing in Christ. I close with this quotation—2 Thessalonians 2:13, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through—Through what?  “Sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” That is how God saves.  That is how God carries out His purpose—by the sanctification of the Spirit and by your belief of the truth.

And my friends, I have not limited God. God could, if He so chose, make the fields to grow crops without the farmer plowing them and sowing the seed, but that is not His way; that is not the method He selects. God could keep us in health and strength without our taking any food at all or wasting time in sleeping if He so chose, but that is not His way. And God could save every sinner on earth tonight without them believing if He wanted to, but it is not His way! I am not limiting God, I am describing to you the plan and method that God Himself has set forth in His Word, and if you would be saved, sinner, you have got to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for yourself. I say it reverently: the Holy Spirit won’t believe for you. The Holy Spirit may put it into your heart and give you the desire to believe. If you have the desire it is because He has put it there, but He won’t believe for you: believing is a human act. It is the sinner himself, in all his wretchedness and need, coming to Christ, as a drowning man clutches a straw, and as the old hymn says—“Just as I am without one plea, But that thy blood was shed for me.”

O sinner, Christ is saying to you tonight, “O fools and slow of heart to believe all.” You do believe much as you sit there. There are some of you who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. There are some of you who believe that He is the only Savior who can save any sinner. You believe that, then why not believe all? Why not believe in Him for yourself? Why not trust His precious blood for yourself; and why not tonight? God is ready to save you now if you believe on Him. The blood has been shed, the sacrifice has been offered, the atonement has been made, the feast has been spread. The call goes out to you tonight, “Come, for all things are now ready.” And I say again, the devil will tell you as you are sitting there, “There is no need for me to come tonight; I will just wait till God gets ready to come and save me.” How do you know that while you are waiting death may not come and smite you down. “Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” The Holy Spirit saith, “Today if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts.” Yes, man can “harden” his heart: God says so; and God calls to you: “Harden not your heart.” That is something you do yourself—not the devil—you do it. God is speaking to you through His Word tonight. O may His grace forbid that He shall say our text to any of you after you have left this room—O God forbid that you should be among those “fools” who believe not all. You do believe that Christ is God’s appointed Savior for sinners, why not your Savior? O may the Spirit draw you by the cords of love to that One who has said, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

Preached by Arthur W. Pink in Sydney, Australia—1927.

via pbministries.org

J.I.Packer – Old Gospel vs. New Gospel

by J.I.Packer (via) Banner of Truth Trust. This is an extract from the Introductory Essay to John Owen’s „Death of Death” published by the Banner of Truth Trust.

The Old Gospel and The New

The old gospel of Owen, first of all, contains no less full and free an offer of salvation than its modern counterpart. It presents ample grounds of faith (the sufficiency of Christ, and the promise of God), and cogent motives to faith (the sinner’s need, and the Creator’s command, which is also the Redeemer’s invitation). The new gospel gains nothing here by asserting universal redemption. The old gospel, certainly, has no room for the cheap sentimentalising which turns God’s free mercy to sinners into a constitutional softheartedness on His part which we can take for granted; nor will it countenance the degrading presentation of Christ as the baffled Saviour, balked in what he hoped to do by human unbelief; nor will it indulge in maudlin appeals to the unconverted to let Christ save them out of pity for His disappointment. The pitiable Saviour and the pathetic God of modern pulpits are unknown to the old gospel. The old gospel tells men that they need God, but not that God needs them (a modern falsehood); it does not exhort them to pity Christ, but announces that Christ has pitied them, though pity was the last thing they deserved. It never loses sight of the Divine majesty and sovereign power of the Christ whom it proclaims, but rejects flatly all representations of Him which would obscure His free omnipotence.

Does this mean, however, that the preacher of the old gospel is inhibited or confined in offering Christ to men and inviting them to receive Him? Not at all. In actual fact, just because he recognises that Divine mercy is sovereign and free, he is in a position to make far more of the offer of Christ in his preaching than is the expositor of the new gospel; for this offer is itself a far more wonderful thing on his principles than it can ever be in the eyes of those who regard love to all sinners as a necessity of God’s nature, and therefore a matter of course. To think that the holy Creator, who never needed man for His happiness and might justly have banished our fallen race for ever without mercy, should actually have chosen to redeem some of them! and that His own Son was willing to undergo death and descend into hell to save them! and that now from His throne He should speak to ungodly men as He does in the words of the gospel, urging upon them the command to repent and believe in the form of a compassionate invitation to pity themselves and choose life! These thoughts are the focal points round which the preaching of the old gospel revolves. It is all wonderful, just because none of it can be taken for granted. But perhaps the most wonderful thing of all – the holiest spot in all the holy ground of gospel truth – is the free invitation which „the Lord Christ ” (as Owen loves to call Him) issues repeatedly to guilty sinners to come to Him and find rest for their souls. It is the glory of these invitations that it is an omnipotent King who gives them, just as it is a chief part of the glory of the enthroned Christ that He condescends still to utter them. And it is the glory of the gospel ministry that the preacher goes to men as Christ’s ambassador, charged to deliver the King’s invitation personally to every sinner present and to summon them all to turn and live. Owen himself enlarges on this in a passage addressed to the unconverted.

„Consider the infinite condescension and love of Christ, in his invitations and calls of you to come unto him for life, deliverance, mercy, grace, peace and eternal salvation. Multitudes of these invitations and calls are recorded in the Scripture, and they are all of them filled up with those blessed encouragements which divine wisdom knows to be suited unto lost, convinced sinners…. In the declaration and preaching of them, Jesus Christ yet stands before sinners, calling, inviting, encouraging them to come unto him.

„This is somewhat of the word which he now speaks unto you: Why will ye die? why will ye perish? why will ye not have compassion on your own souls? Can your hearts endure, or can your hands be strong, in the day of wrath that is approaching?… Look unto me, and be saved; come unto me, and I will ease you of all sins, sorrows, fears, burdens, and give rest unto your souls. Come, I entreat you; lay aside all procrastinations, all delays; put me off no more; eternity lies at the door… do not so hate me as that you will rather perish than accept of deliverance by me.

„These and the like things doth the Lord Christ continually declare, proclaim, plead and urge upon the souls of sinners…. He doth it in the preaching of the word, as if he were present with you, stood amongst you, and spake personally to every one of you. He hath appointed the ministers of the gospel to appear before you, and to deal with you in his stead, avowing as his own the invitations which are given you in his name, 2 Cor. v.19,20,”

These invitations are universal; Christ addresses them to sinners, as such, and every man, as he believes God to be true, is bound to treat them as God’s words to him personally and to accept the universal assurance which accompanies them, that all who come to Christ will be received. Again, these invitations are real; Christ genuinely offers Himself to all who hear the gospel, and is in truth a perfect Saviour to all who trust Him. The question of the extent of the atonement does not arise in evangelistic preaching; the message to be delivered is simply this – that Christ Jesus, the sovereign Lord, who died for sinners, now invites sinners freely to Himself. God commands all to repent and believe; Christ promises life and peace to all who do so.

Furthermore, these invitations are marvellously gracious; men despise and reject them, and are never in any case worthy of them, and yet Christ still issues them. He need not, but He does. „Come unto me . . and I will give you rest” remains His word to the world, never cancelled, always to be preached. He whose death has ensured the salvation of all His people is to be proclaimed everywhere as a perfect Saviour, and all men invited and urged to believe on Him, whoever they are, whatever they have been. Upon these three insights the evangelism of the old gospel is based.

It is a very ill-informed supposition that evangelistic preaching which proceeds on these principles must be anaemic and half-hearted by comparison with what Arminians can do. Those who study the printed sermons of worthy expositors of the old gospel, such as Bunyan (whose preaching Owen himself much admired), or Whitefield, or Spurgeon, will find that in fact they hold forth the Saviour and summon sinners to Him with a fulness, warmth, intensity and moving force unmatched in Protestant pulpit literature. And it will be found on analysis that the very thing which gave their preaching its unique power to overwhelm their audiences with broken-hearted joy at the riches of God’s grace – and still gives it that power, let it be said, even with hard-boiled modem readers – was their insistence on the fact that grace is free. They knew that the dimensions of Divine love are not half understood till one realises that God need not have chosen to save nor given his Son to die; nor need Christ have taken upon him vicarious damnation to redeem men, nor need He invite sinners indiscriminately to Himself as He does; but that all God’s gracious dealings spring entirely from His own free purpose.

Knowing this, they stressed it, and it is this stress that sets their evangelistic preaching in a class by itself. Other Evangelicals, possessed of a more superficial and less adequate theology of grace, have laid the main emphasis in their gospel preaching on the sinner’s need of forgiveness, or peace, or power, and of the way to get them by „deciding for Christ.” It is not to be denied that their preaching has done good (for God will use His truth, even when imperfectly held and mixed with error), although this type of evangelism is always open to the criticism of being too man-centred and pietistic; but it has been left (necessarily) to Calvinists and those who, like the Wesleys, fall into Calvinistic ways of thought as soon as they begin a sermon to the unconverted, to preach the gospel in a way which highlights above – everything else the free love, willing condescension, patient long-suffering and infinite kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Without doubt, this is the most Scriptural and edifying way to preach it; for gospel invitations to sinners never honour God and exalt Christ more, nor are more powerful to awaken and confirm faith, than when full weight is laid on the free omnipotence of the mercy from which they flow. It looks, indeed, as if the preachers of the old gospel are the only people whose position allows them to do justice to the revelation of Divine goodness in the free offer of Christ to sinners.

Then, in the second place, the old gospel safeguards values which the new gospel loses. We saw before that the new gospel, by asserting universal redemption and a universal Divine saving purpose, compels itself to cheapen grace and the Cross by denying that the Father and the Son are sovereign in salvation; for it assures us that, after God and Christ have done all that they can, or will, it depends finally on each man’s own choice whether God’s purpose to save him is realised or not. This position has two unhappy results.

The first is that it compels us to misunderstand the significance of the gracious invitations of Christ in the gospel of which we have been speaking; for we now have to read them, not as expressions of the tender patience of a mighty sovereign, but as the pathetic pleadings of impotent desire; and so the enthroned Lord is suddenly metamorphosed into a weak, futile figure tapping forlornly at the door of the human heart, which He is powerless to open. This is a shameful dishonour to the Christ of the New Testament.

The second implication is equally serious: for this view in effect denies our dependence on God when it comes to vital decisions, takes us out of His hand, tells us that we are, after all, what sin taught us to think we were-masters of our fate, captain of our souls-and so undermines the very foundation of man’s religious relationship with his Maker. It can hardly be wondered at that the converts of the new gospel are so often both irreverent and irreligious, for such is the natural tendency of this teaching. The old gospel, however, speaks very differently and has a very different tendency. On the one hand, in expounding man’s need of Christ, it stresses something which the new gospel effectively ignores – that sinners cannot obey the gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart. On the other hand, in declaring Christ’s power to save, it proclaims Him as the author and chief agent of conversion, coming by His Spirit as the gospel goes forth to renew men’s hearts and draw them to Himself.

Accordingly, in applying the message, the old gospel, while stressing that faith is man’s duty, stresses also that faith is not in man’s power, but that God must give what He commands. It announces, not merely that men must come to Christ for salvation, but also that they cannot come unless Christ Himself draws them. Thus it labours to overthrow self-confidence, to convince sinners that their salvation is altogether out of their hands, and to shut them up to a self-despairing dependence on the glorious grace of a sovereign Saviour, not only for their righteousness but for their faith too.

It is not likely, therefore, that a preacher of the old gospel will be happy to express the application of it in the form of a demand to „decide for Christ,” as the current phrase is. For, on the one hand, this phrase carries the wrong associations. It suggests voting a person into office – an act in which the candidate plays no part beyond offering himself for election, and everything then being settled by the voter’s independent choice. But we do not vote God’s Son into office as our Saviour, nor does He remain passive while preachers campaign on His behalf, whipping up support for His cause. We ought not to think of evangelism as a kind of electioneering. And then, on the other hand, this phrase obscures the very thing that is essential in repentance and faith – the denying of self in a personal approach to Christ. It is not at all obvious that deciding for Christ is the same as coming to Him and resting On Him and turning from sin and self-effort; it sounds like something much less, and is accordingly calculated to instil defective notions of what the gospel really requires of sinners. It is not a very apt phrase from any point of view.

To the question: what must I do to be saved? the old gospel replies: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. To the further question: what does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? its reply is: it means knowing oneself to be a sinner, and Christ to have died for sinners; abandoning all self-righteousness and self-confidence, and casting oneself wholly upon Him for pardon arid peace; and exchanging one’s natural enmity and rebellion against God for a spirit of grateful submission to the will of Christ through the renewing of one’s heart by the Holy Ghost.

And to the further question still: how am I to go about believing on Christ and repenting, if I have no natural ability to do these things? it answers: look to Christ, speak to Christ, cry to Christ, just as you are; confess your sin, your impenitence, your unbelief, and cast yourself on His mercy; ask Him to give you a new heart, working in you true repentance and firm faith; ask Him to take away your evil heart of unbelief and to write His law within you, that you may never henceforth stray from Him. Turn to Him and trust Him as best you can, and pray for grace to turn and trust more thoroughly; use the means of grace expectantly, looking to Christ to draw near to you as you seek to draw near to Him; watch, pray, read and hear God’s Word, worship and commune with God’s people, and so continue till you know in yourself beyond doubt that you are indeed a changed being, a penitent believer, and the new heart which you desired has been put within you. The emphasis in this advice is on the need to call upon Christ directly, as the very first step.

„Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him”

so do not postpone action till you think you are better, but honestly confess your badness and give yourself up here and now to the Christ who alone can make you better; and wait on Him till His light rises in your soul, as Scripture promises that it shall do. Anything less than this direct dealing with Christ is disobedience of the gospel. Such is the exercise of spirit to which the old evangel summons its hearers. „I believe-help thou mine unbelief”: this must become their cry.

And the old gospel is proclaimed in the sure confidence that the Christ of whom it testifies, the Christ who is the real speaker when the Scriptural invitations to trust Him are expounded and applied, is not passively waiting for man’s decision as the word goes forth, but is omnipotently active, working with and through the word to bring His people to faith in Himself. The preaching of the new gospel is often described as the task of „bringing men to Christ ” – as if only men move, while Christ stands still. But the task of preaching the old gospel could more properly be described as bringing Christ to men, for those who preach it know that as they do their work of setting Christ before men’s eyes, the mighty Saviour whom they proclaim is busy doing His work through their words, visiting sinners with salvation, awakening them to faith, drawing them in mercy to Himself.

It is this older gospel which Owen will teach us to preach: the gospel of the sovereign grace of God in Christ as the author and finisher of faith and salvation. It is the only gospel which can be preached on Owen’s principles, but those who have tasted its sweetness will not in any case be found looking for another. In the matter of believing and preaching the gospel, as in other things, Jeremiah’s words still have their application:

„Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” To find ourselves debarred, as Owen would debar us, from taking up with the fashionable modern substitute gospel may not, after all, be a bad thing, either for us, or for the Church.

More might be said, but to go farther would be to exceed the limits of an introductory essay. The foregoing remarks are made simply to show how important it is at the present time that we should attend most carefully to Owen’s analysis of what the Bible says about the saving work of Christ.

Spurgeon on Human Responsibility

„If he be lost, damnation is all of man, but, if he be saved, still salvation is all of God”

from a sermon entitled „Exposition of the Doctrines of Grace.

This is the third of four reasons Iain Murray in his book ‘Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism recounts Spurgeon’s debate with the Hyper-Calvinists of his time. While doing so, Spurgeon lays down the foundation for a doctrine that helps the reader grasp a better understanding of the most debated texts of Evangelical Christians (in the Arminian v. Calvinism debate).

P.80

The two convictions so far stated -that gospel invitations are to be addressed to al, and that the warrant to believe lies in the commands and promises of Scripture lead us to the heart of the dispute- It concerns the place of man’s responsibility, or his free agency. Free agency is not to be confused with „free-will”. Since the fall, men have not lost their responsibility but they have lost their ability, the will, to obey God. Hyper-Calvinism argues that sinners cannot be required to do what they are not able to do, namely to believe in Christ for their salvation. The ability to believe belongs only to the elect, and that at the time determined by the Spirit of God. So for a preacher to call all his hearers to immediate repentance and faith is do deny both human depravity and the sovereignty of grace.

Spurgeon did not reply to this argument, as many have done, by weakening the biblical teaching on human depravity and inability. His sermons prove the truth of his words,”We shall proclaim the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, without toning it down, and electing love without stuttering over it.” He asserted, as strongly as it has ever been asserted, that the will of God is omnipotent both in the provision and in the application of every part of salvation. But his response to the Hyper-Calvinist argument was to assert another equally biblical truth, namely that man is wholly responsible for his own sin. God is not its author. Those who hear the Gospel and reject the Saviour will not be able to plead that sovereignty prevented them from excercising the obedience of faith. None will be able to claim that God excluded them. No, it is on account of sin alone, including the sin of unbelief, that unrepentant sinners will finally be condemned and lost for ever.

Asked to explain such a mystery, Spurgeon constantly replied that it was not his business to do so. His duty was to deal with the whole range of Scriptural truth and to declare it in its true proportions. To limit the message to such truths as we can see to be consistent with each other is to excercise a liberty to which we have no right. The great error of Hyper-Calvinism is to neglect one side of the Word of God because it does not know how to explain both that the will of Godis effective and sovereign in all things and that man is free and responsible for all his actions. „Both are true; no two truths can be inconsistent with each other, and what you have to do is believe them both.” In an early sermon on ‘Sovereign Grace and Man’s Responsibility’ Spurgeon introduced his subject with these words:

„The system of truth is not one straight line, but two. No man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once…Now, if I waqs to declare that man was free to act, that there is no presidence of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I declare that God so overrules all things, as that man is not free to be responsible, I am driven at once to Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestinates and that man is responsible, are two things that few of us can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is the fault of our weak judgement…it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other.

This truth will be found over and over again in Spurgeon’s sermons. Murray gives another example from another sermon where Spurgeon states:

But I do equally believe in the free agency of man, that man acts as he wills,especially in moral operations- choosing the evil with a will that is unbiased by anything that comes from God, biased only by his own depravity of heart and the peverseness of his habits; choosing the right too, with perfect freedom, though sacredly guided and led by the Holy Spirit…I believe that man is as accountable as if there were no destiny whatsoever…Where these two truths meet I do not know, nor do I want to know.

PAUL WASHER – How do you know that you believe?

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

1st collector for PAUL WASHER – How do you know that you believe?
Follow my videos on vodpod

Free Will (2) Thirteen Things a Lost Person Can Not Do

by Curtis A. Pugh (via) monergism

That the lost sinner must cast himself wholly on the mercy and grace of God must be obvious to those who read and believe the Scriptures. But the Bible knows nothing of such foolish man-made ideas as „praying the sinner’s prayer”, or „making a decision for Christ”, or „inviting Jesus into your heart” or „going forward to receive Christ.” No New Testament preacher ever used such terms or tactics! To tell spiritually dead sinners that there is something they can do to bring about their salvation is damnable heresy for by its false hope sinners are taught to trust in what they have done rather in Christ who has done all. 

Consider these thirteen spiritual things an unsaved person cannot do:

1. HE CANNOT THINK AS GOD DOES:

„For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

2. HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND GOD:

„. . . thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself . . .” (Psalm 50:21)

„Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? (Job 11:7-8)

3. HE CANNOT SEE SPIRITUAL THINGS:

„Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

4. HE CANNOT KNOW HIS OWN HEART: 

„The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

5. HE CANNOT PROPERLY DIRECT HIS OWN PATHS:

„O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

„There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

6. HE CANNOT FREE HIMSELF FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW:

„For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10)

7. HE CANNOT RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT:

„Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not . . .” (John 14:17)

8. HE CANNOT HEAR (receive & understand) GOD’S WORDS:

„He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God.” (John 8:47)

„But the natural (unsaved) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14)

9. HE CANNOT BIRTH HIMSELF INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD:

„Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God.” (John 1:13)

„For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16)

10. HE CANNOT PRODUCE REPENTANCE AND FAITH IN CHRIST:

„For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

„. . . for all men have not faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

„For unto you it is given . . . to believe on him . . .” (Philippians 1:29)

„. . . if God peradventure will give them repentance . . .” (2 Timothy 2:25)

„. . . to them that have obtained like precious faith with us . . .” (2 Peter 1:1)

11. HE CANNOT COME TO CHRIST:

„No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him . . . Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:44, 65)

12. HE CANNOT BELIEVE ON CHRIST:

„But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep as I said unto you.” (John 10:26)

13. HE CANNOT PLEASE GOD:

„For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. . . . So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:5, 8, 9)

SO THEN, MANKIND IS SHUT UP TO THE FACT OF HIS OWN TOTAL INABILITY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT HIS LOST CONDITION.

In the light of these things which a spiritually dead (lost) sinner cannot do, how then do we account for the command of God to all men to repent? The Bible does state that God „. . . now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). What do we do about the counsel of God to men which says they are to believe on Christ? Would God command and instruct men to do that which they cannot do?

We answer an emphatic „Yes!” Our proof is the holy Law of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai. While there was nothing wrong with God’s Law, no man is able to keep those commandments (1 Timothy 1:8; Romans 8:3). No man ever kept the Law of God and yet God was right to give it to man and command its keeping! By that Law we see ourselves as sinners (Romans 3:20). That was the purpose of the Law!

While God requires repentance (the will to turn from sin) and faith (the will to believe in Christ), no man is able of himself to do either. Thus, as with the Law, man is forced to see that there is nothing good in him and that he cannot repent and believe savingly in Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Bible God’s children recognize their own inability to do anything to save themselves. In addition to the portions previously quoted in this tract, consider the following statements:

„. . . I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)

„Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

„. . . I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.” (Psalm 88:8)

Turn us. O God of our salvation . . .” (Psalm 85:4)

” . . . Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.” (Jeremiah 31:18)

„But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our riqhteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee . . .” (Isaiah 64:6, 7)

„. . . Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).

Those who think that they can properly repent of their own ability and savingly believe of their own faith fall into error. They trust in their own ability and not in the saving work of Jesus Christ! Is not this true of those who boast of their past sins and their turning from them? Do they not claim that they did it themselves? Repeatedly we hear this in their popular „testimony meetings.” Some are willing to share the glory and admit that they had a little help from God, but even this is wicked confidence in the flesh. And do not some religionists boast of their faith as if it was some great thing worthy of reward? Faith (confidence) in my faith or in my turning to God is not „. . . the faith of God’s elect.” (Titus 1:1)

Paul wrote concerning true children of God, „. . . We . . . worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3). To trust in anything done in the flesh (human nature and strength) is to have „confidence in the flesh.” To trust in your prayer, your baptism, your goodness, your faith or any experience you may have had is to have confidence in the flesh and not to trust in Christ. The faith and confidence of the true believer is in Christ! Those born of God trust not in rituals, sacraments, good works, their own repentance or their faith in Christ, but rather in Christ alone!

„Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith . . .” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Are you trusting in your faith or are you trusting in Christ? What is the object of your faith? Do you really see that all your „righteousnesses are as filthy rags”? (Isaiah 64:6). Have you seen that you deserve Hell? Are you willing to take your place as a sinner and if God sends you to Hell will you say He is just, fair, and righteous to do so? Or do you think yourself unworthy of eternal punishment?

Consider these words from the old English Baptist Gadsby Hymnal.

O beware of trust ill-grounded;
‘Tis but fancied faith at most, 
To be cured, and not be wounded:
To be saved before you’re lost.

Have you never been wounded by the Word of God so that your sins have been laid bare? Have you never been lost–that is, have you seen yourself as hopelessly lost and a Hell-deserving sinner? How can you think yourself saved if you have never been lost? Jesus said, „. . . I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). If a sinner, surely the Scriptures cited in this tract have shown that you are helpless to do anything about your terrible lost condition!

Salvation is free and comes, „Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us . . .” (Titus 3:5). Look to Jesus Christ, who has done all things necessary and possible, „for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

May God give you grace to see yourself as He does, and may He give you the twin gifts of „. . . repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21) so that you are „. . . not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39).

Why are Christians so miserable? Dr. Ken Matto

I have given twelve of the most blatant reasons that aid Christians in living in misery. Of all the people on earth, Christians have the greatest future. We have eternal life in Heaven but so many walk around like this is all there is. Satan has succeeded well in refocusing the Christian’s eyes on the here and now. The Christian needs to look beyond the horizon of the here and now and realize that we have a future which will never end and it will be in bliss. There is no reason for the Christian to walk around like they are in total defeat or as if they are ashamed of who they are. When Christ went to the cross, He was placed on that cross naked and bleeding. He was not ashamed to face it yet we are ashamed to face who we are. The false religions of the world proudly display who they are and the Christians are the only ones who walk around with their heads hung low. Let’s just briefly look at the twelve reasons: 

  1. Seeking Victory – We already have the victory
  2. Political Amalgamation – Shrouds the true Gospel
  3. Christianity and the New World Order – These wealthy are not gods but men
  4. Following Men – Leads to futility
  5. Modern Versions – Attacks the person of Christ
  6. No Commitment – Creates spiritual lethargy
  7. Fear – Shows no trust in God
  8. Cheap – Shows no trust in God’s ability to provide
  9. Materialism – Engenders greed
  10. No Fear of God – No spiritual growth
  11. Coveting some type of sin – Serving the flesh
  12. What happened at the cross – All sin forgiven and removed 

The way a Christian can turn themselves around from being miserable is to find out where they are being disobedient to the Scriptures and immediately begin to repair that breach.

Once a Christian becomes obedient, the joy of salvation returns to them. This obedience comes by getting to know the Scriptures. (Psa 51:12 KJV) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. David asked the Lord to restore unto him the joy of the Lord’s salvation after he confessed his sin with Bathsheba. We too must ask the Lord to restore us to the joy of His salvation. It may cost us and take time. Getting into sin is like getting into debt. It is easy to get into debt but hard to get out and yet it is very doable.

The beginning of joy is to compare where your Christian walk is right now according to the Scriptures. Once you know where you are at, then you begin to remove the worldly ideas, motives, and methods. Then you replace them with the biblical ideas, motives, and methods and then the joy of your salvation will return because you have begun to refocus from the world to the Lord.

(Acts 16:25 KJV) And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

Paul & Silas - jail Acts 16

 If there is one strange phenomenon skulking around Christianity today, it is the fact that many Christians are miserable. With what God has done for the Christian, we should be the most joyous people on earth, I didn’t say happy, I said joyful. (Gal 5:22 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, According to Galatians 5:22, when a person becomes saved, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit given to them is joy. It seems that instead of being given the fruits listed in Galatians 5:22, it looks like most Christians have received rotten fruit. The way Christians walk around today, it seems like they have received fruits like these: hate for love, misery for joy, anxiety for peace, impatience for longsuffering, harshness for gentleness, badness for goodness, and disbelief for faith.

At this writing, I have been saved for 29 years and I have had the non-privilege in running into many Christians who seem to live exclusively in the doldrums. When I run into these people, I make it a policy to run from them. It is obvious that when Christians walk around in perpetual spiritual depression that what has happened is they have been diverted from Christ. This is not to say that they have lost their salvation, they have lost direction, perspective, and ultimately their joy.

How was it that Paul and Silas, were able to sing praises unto God after being flogged? Today’s Christian goes ballistic if someone sits in their seat at church. Paul and Silas was able to sing true praises from prison because they had not lost their spiritual perspective. The problem is that many Christians today have lost their spiritual perspective and have transferred that perspective to the physical realm. (Rom 1:17 KJV) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (2 Cor 5:7 KJV) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Romans 1:17 was the catalyst for the Reformation. Martin Luther was miserable and then one day he read Romans 1:17 and instantly the Holy Spirit illuminated that passage. He then realized that it is by faith we live and not by works. He was stuck in the Roman Catholic system which was a hotbed of works and mysticism. Once God broke through with the mighty truth of that passage, it sparked the Reformation and the truth started to spread. The Roman Catholic institution could do nothing to stop it. One Monk who read the Scriptures, changed the face of spiritual Europe and then it came to America and from America the true Gospel went out to every nation. In 2 Cor. 5:7, we are told that the just, that is the saved, the same born again Christians found in Romans 1:17, are to walk by faith and not by sight.

The word “walk” carries with it the idea of “live or conduct oneself.” This means that we walk strictly by faith and not by sight, or what we see. The physical senses have a tendency to neutralize faith, if we allow them to. The key to understanding this situation is that as I mentioned before, many Christians have transferred their faith in God to faith which is determined by what they see. Let me say at the outset, that just because we do not know what is going on in the world, does not mean that God has lost control. If God has lost control, here is how we will recognize that fact. Either the sun will be speeding toward us or we will be speeding out of control toward the sun. So every morning when you get up and look out the window and see the sun where it belongs, then you know God is still in control. Our non-understanding of God’s ways must never be the catalyst for losing faith. 

In this article, I am going to reference 12 things which will and have caused Christians to lose their perspective, leading to loss of joy and faith. You may disagree with them and continue to live in misery, which unfortunately has become the psychological trademark of many Christians. The overriding problem in Christianity today is that Christians have lost focus and that focus must be regained and I will broach that at the end of this article, because if we don’t know what we are doing wrong, then we will never be able to make it right.

1 – Seeking to be Victorious(1 John 5:4 KJV) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (1 Cor 15:57 KJV) But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. One thing the Christian must understand and that is that victory is not a goal, it is the present state in which the true believer lives. We have overcome the world through the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing more to overcome. A Christians needs to conduct their life from the point of victory, not toward a victory, which has already been won. The Christian has been set apart from the world system and the problem is too many Christians are dabbling with the world. Whenever we attempt to do something in the same way the world does, we are lowering ourselves from the roof of victory. You see victory is not a ladder to climb instead all Christians are on the roof of victory and we don’t come down. Just like the roof covers the entire house, the victory of Christ in our lives causes us to be above the whole world system. 

2 – Political Amalgamation(Psa 119:140 KJV) Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. The word of God is pure but when we try to take politics and combine it with the Bible, we take the pure word of God and adulterate it. This does not mean that the Christian cannot be politically active but it does mean that the bible is interpreted spiritually and not politically. If someone votes in a candidate and that candidate seems to be a Christian but later it is obvious that they are anything but a Christian, then one can lose heart. We must never expect anything but the lowest form of conduct from any politician. God is not a Republican or a Democrat. Christians who heavily invest their lives in politics will soon live a disappointed life and if they do not refocus their eyes on the Lord, then they will walk around in defeatist mode. 

3 – Christianity and the New World Order(1 John 5:19 KJV) And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. I have been familiar with the teachings of the New World Order. They would include groups such as the Trilateral Commission, The Bilderbergers, The Council on Foreign Relations, Yale order of Skull and Bones, etc. Now there is much material available on these conspiratorial groups and what they have accomplished in their goal of ruling the world. I know many Christians who read this material and after they do, they are so discouraged and cast down you think they lost their salvation.

The problem is that when one reads this material, it tends to refocus our eyes off the Lord and on the “elite.” I know Christians who have devoted their lives to this material and what fruit have they borne? (2 Tim 2:4 KJV) No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. We are in the army of the Lord which means we are in a different kingdom. We know that there is always going to be these kind of groups of wealthy people who are going to make sport of the poor people. (John 18:36 KJV) Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world.

If you are truly saved, then your kingdom is not of this world and those who are trying to rule the world are not of our kingdom but of the kingdom of Satan. If we continue to soak up this material concerning the unrest in the kingdom of Satan, then we are going to be discouraged as we see things happening in society. We must remember that Christianity was birthed in one of the most oppressive regimes in history. The Roman Empire was no friend of Christianity but did that stop the spread of the Gospel? If we allow ourselves to become discouraged by reading all this types of material, then the next step is, we stop ministering. If we are susceptible to easy discouragement and fear, then avoid these materials and stay upon the Scriptures. We need to know what is going on in our Kingdom and not in Satan’s kingdom. 

4 – Following Men(1 Cor 3:4 KJV) For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (Psa 118:8 KJV) It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. If there is one thing which defines modern Christianity it is compartmentalization. What I mean by that is that Christianity has been partitioned off by teacher and preacher worship. Christians today have devoted themselves to the reading material written by men. It seems commentaries, books, and sermons by preachers have usurped the teaching of Scripture. The only time we study the Scriptures is when we are under the teaching of our favorite teacher. The problem is that man has a limited horizon and only God has an unlimited one which is the one that the Christian should be focusing on. The Bible is not of anyone’s private interpretation and there should be uniformity among Christians in understanding of the Bible.

If Christians would study the Scriptures and not follow teachers, then they would excel in Christianity and it would be much stronger. I personally know Christians who have chosen to follow a man and they are the most miserable examples of Christians I know today. That is because their favorite teacher has become the Holy Spirit to them. What I mean by that is the teacher does all the interpretation and the followers only believe what that preacher or teacher tells them to believe.(John 16:13 KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth but the problem is that too many Christians seek for their favorite teacher to guide them into all truth. The problem is that when many teachers gain a large following, they tend to get puffed up with pride and will take counsel from no one. Then when they are found wrong, the followers lose faith and become discouraged. This does not happen when you follow the Lord because He does not give false teachings and therefore if your mind is upon the Lord, rather than man, then you will not suffer discouragement. 

5 – Modern Versions(Psa 119:89 KJV) LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. The word of God is settled in Heaven and that means it is settled here on earth. (Mat 6:10 KJV) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Jesus prayed that God’s will should be done in the earth as it is in Heaven. Since 1881, the fatal year of the publication of the Revised Version of Hort and Westcott, there have been 218 translations of the Bible. Every new translation becomes more corrupt than their predecessors. This includes the New King James Version which casts doubt upon 873 verses in the New Testament. With every translation that is produced, the wording is changed because if a copyright is to be secured, there must be sufficient change in the text. The publishers are not concerned as to whether you go to hell or not, they just want to sell books at your eternal expense. The majority of Christians use multiple translations thinking they are getting a better understanding but they do not realize they are ingesting more confusion. Every translation says something different which means the modern versions are in flux and are subject to every archaeological find.

God cannot bless a word that has been tampered with because He pronounces judgment upon those who add or subtract from His word. Let me show you just two of the most butchered verses in the New Testament: (Rom 8:1 KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (1 John 5:13 KJV) 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, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (NIV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 10 words omitted from Romans 8:1 and 13 words omitted from1 John 5:13. How can a holy God, who states that His word is settled in Heaven, place a blessing upon these counterfeit versions when they have been mutilated by Satan’s scholars? This is why those who study these modern versions are not receiving any spiritual benefit, only confusion. Confusion does not engender spiritual growth and spiritual growth is a key to a joyous Christian walk.

6 – No Commitment(Heb 6:12 KJV) That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Another synonym, yeah two, for slothful would be “lazy” and “idle.” The Christian’s reason of existence is to send forth the Gospel and to make disciples of all nations. When a Christian refuses to get involved, they are spurning the reason God has kept them here after salvation. Christianity is a lot more than just going to church on Sunday. It is a seven day a week responsibility. Many say they do not know what their spiritual gifts are and sitting in front of the TV every night is really going to help you find it. Do you need to know your spiritual gift to go and buy a couple hundred tracts and then hand them out? All you need for that is one hand to hold the stack and the other one to disperse them to those who pass by. You can’t even put a tract in with your bills? You are that lazy?

Do you know why world religions are gaining momentum? It is because Christians are sitting home watching TV or walking around with their MP3 players stuck in their ears dead to the world around them. The churches have chosen to build their kingdoms within their walls and have seriously neglected going out to the streets. True evangelism is not “bring them to church on Sunday” but is going out to meet the unbelievers where they work and play. It seems a very small number of Christians know what commitment means. Many of them know what “commitment to self means” but not commitment to Christ. Many Christians walk around like zombies because they have no idea what their reason of existence is. There is an old saying that 10% of the Christians do 90% of the work. I believe it is a much lower percentage than that. Most Christians will not even place a bumper sticker on their car.

When the Lord told us to go out into the world, He said it as a command. No one is going to reach the world sitting on their couch eating potato chips or sipping Budweiser. What churches need to do is ramp up their teachings on commitment. In our constitution, it is required that men serve 6 years of their life in the military. What churches should do is follow the same course of action. Don’t let anyone join unless they promise to give at least one year of committed service to the church, by the time that one year is complete, they may desire to continue on in service. 

7 – Fear (Isa 35:4 KJV) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Another characteristic of the miserable Christian is that they live in fear. They are afraid that someone at work might find out they are a Christian. In deference to their religion, Muslims will tape C4 to their bodies and blow it up killing them and whoever is around them. Comparing the commitment the Muslim makes to the commitment that the Christian makes, the Christian commitment pales in comparison. These people will blow themselves up and many Christians are afraid to even hand out a tract. They are afraid that if they are found out to be Christians, they might not get a promotion at work. (Heb 13:6 KJV) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Hebrews 13:6 states that the Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. In our opening verse, Isaiah 35:4, the Lord will come with vengeance on those who have caused us trouble.

Our first responsibility is to be Christians and then employees. Have you ever seen people in restaurants bow their head before a meal by rubbing their forehead? My wouldn’t it be a shame that the drug addict sitting one table over might find out that you are a Christian? The fear of man has overtaken many Christians and when we first become saved, maybe there is a little apprehension but that should fade after a while. The Christian has nothing to fear in this world. We are commanded to go into the world with the Gospel and that means the world around us first. What do we really have to fear?

You know what we fear the most? Anticipation! We want to do something for the Kingdom of God and as soon as we plan, the next thing we know we are anticipating personal consequences. Guess who is planting that idea in your mind? It is Satan! He wants you to live in cowering fear so you will be the type of Christian who does nothing. Fear can stop you dead in your tracks. If we look back in history at many of the martyrs, their testimonies were bold because they we were willing to take it to the point of their physical death. If you are willing to trust the Lord, you will find that you will be a strong testimony but if you shrink back at every bit of opposition, then it shows you are not trusting the Lord.

suffering unto death, apostle Paul is beheaded

Look at the Apostle Paul, he didn’t sneak into town at night and then sneak out the next night. As soon as he came to a town, it was only a short time before there was an uproar. This was because he was willing to take his testimony as far as his physical death and eventually it cost him his life but he is still affecting people to this day. How? (1 Th 5:27 KJV) I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. Here Paul implores them to read this epistle to all the brethren, not only those who are members of the church, but even to those they witness to and become saved. In fact, Paul’s prayer is still being answered today. Whoever is saved and has a Bible, is reading or will read 1 Thessalonians. Paul’s prayer is going to be answered until the last day. What will be your legacy? Fear or action?

8 – Cheap with the Lord’s Money(2 Cor 9:6 KJV) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. If there is one pair of words which makes up the premier oxymoron, it is, “Cheap Christian.” The Bible is replete with promises God makes to those who are willing givers to the work of the Lord. So many Christians do not give anything to God’s work and they wonder why they have financial problems in their life. Then their excuse is I cannot afford to give anything. That is the time you need to turn your excuse in for a new heart about giving.

Giving is a great dynamic of the Christian life. It is a sad shame that many Christians place God last on their list. Of course, their own priorities are always first. Basically, what is being taught by cheap Christians is that a person’s eternal soul is not as important as my priorities. When I was a young Christian, the man who discipled me placed a love for missions in my heart. Since I was a young Christian, I have supported missions because missions is the heart of the Gospel. We have been commanded to go forth with the Gospel to the whole world and if we are unable to go, then we can and should support those whom the Lord has raised up to be able to go. Now what follows is not name it and claim it but my own personal testimony to the fact that God is very faithful to His word. I live in a house that didn’t cost me a penny (cost was $65,000), I drive a car that didn’t cost me a penny (cost was $15,800), shortly some Christians are going to purchase an electric recliner for me which would otherwise cost $535. Some time ago a brother bought me a desk which sells for about $200 for $15. Since I live in a Co-op, our monthly co-op fee is $174 for 2010. In January, I received a big surprise concerning my Property tax rebate. I received a total of $958 back from my 2008 taxes. Instead of throwing it in the bank, I put $950 in my checking account and now from March-December 2010, instead of budgeting $174 per month, I now budget $79 per month because the $950 covers the other $95 per month. For those ten months, my co-op fees are only $79 per month. 

Now I am not saying these things to brag, what I am saying is that God has given many promises in Scripture to those who willingly give to His work. As a new Christian, I did not know anything about these promises but I learned as I went along. I really feel sorry for those who refuse to give to God’s work or just see it as another burden on their budget. It is this kind of attitude that causes cheap Christians to remain in financial trouble and financial trouble always causes misery. When Christians get into financial trouble, their focus is on the finances and not on the Lord. 

9 – Materialism(Luke 12:18 KJV) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. On the other side of the coin from the cheap Christian is the Christian who is extremely materialistic. Since they are too busy attempting to find security in all their worldly goods, they too are cheap Christians when it comes to the work of the Lord. How can one support the work of the Lord and their materialism? Guess which one will win out? So many Christians feel they need to have every new gadget that comes out or they must have the upgraded model.

When the Lord Jesus came to this earth, He didn’t even have a place to lay His head. Today it is very easy to become materialistic since we don’t even have to leave the house to go shopping because we can shop on line. The problem here is that these Christians look at the economy or the doomsayers on TV and become frightened at what they say and start hoarding everything. Their faith in God is replaced by their faith in their material goods. It is a shame when Christians feel more secure with material goods then they do with the Lord.

Materialism does not lengthen your life nor does it make you feel secure because the more you have the more you want and pretty soon you will be like the rich man who wanted to tear down his barns and build new ones which were bigger. How many Christians live in bigger houses than they can really afford? If we limited our junk buying, we could live in cheaper homes more comfortably. The less material goods we have the less worry we have. I am not speaking about having extra batteries or extra food in the pantry or even a second car if you have a big family. It is the obsession with buying everything and anything on a whim just to have it. The desire for material goods is a sin because it refocuses your desires from God to materialism.

10 – No Fear of God(Lev 26:2 KJV) Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. Have you noticed that most churches today have become non-alcoholic night clubs? What I mean by that is when you visit these churches, they call it contemporary services which means they have a rock and roll band on stage and that is exactly what it is, a stage! In Leviticus 26:2, God commanded Israel to reverence His sanctuary. To reverence the sanctuary meant that the people would attend the service and would not allow anything sinful or unclean to come into it. The amalgamation of rock and the Gospel is mixing the world and Christianity which is trying to take the Gospel of Heaven and adding Hell to it and thinking you are having a great outreach.

Any time you mix the Gospel with the world, you neutralize the effects of the Gospel and it is no more the Gospel, just religion. Since rock and roll bands have been brought into the church, the spirituality in these assemblies has gone out the door. Once the reverent atmosphere leaves the church, there is no dwelling on God because these rock bands minister to the flesh alone. (Rom 13:14 KJV) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:14 warns us that we must never make provision for the flesh and that is what these church based rock groups are doing.

When you do not have true understanding of who God is, then you will not fear or reverence Him. Christians tell many jokes with the name of God and the name of Jesus used casually. The third commandment has never been rescinded. It seems whenever Christians come into contact with these rock and roll churches, their reverence for God evaporates. Just go into any Christian bookstore and you will find the name of Jesus on everything, from pencils to skateboards. Whatever companies can place the name of Jesus on, they will sell it and the sorry part is that Christians will buy them. That is why there is no fear of God today.

When I was young, I attended a church where you sat in silence waiting for the service to begin. It was a time of reflection and prayer. You sang hymns like Rock of Ages or Amazing Grace. Today you sing one line 30 times over. These false churches build euphoria into the fleshly part of the Christian and when they hit hard times, they will not know how to handle it because the clergy do not know enough about the Bible to preach their congregations to proper Christian living and how to face adversity. One cannot grow spiritually unless they understand the fear of God.

11 – Coveting some type of sin(Josh 7:20-21 KJV) And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: {21} When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. Achan was tested by the Lord to see if he would obey the command to not take any of the spoils. He disobeyed and it cost the lives of thirty six men plus the punishment was that he and his family were stoned to death and burned with fire.

If we are holding on to a pet sin, we may be affecting others without knowing it. Christians that hold on to a pet sin, will never experience the full joy of their salvation and will make them feel like a hypocrite to the point that they will not be a witness. The problem is that they would rather forsake the witnessing than the pet sin. It does not matter what that pet sin is, it will keep a Christian from growing to their full potential in the Kingdom. When a Christian has a pet sin, they definitely know they have it and maybe it is the type of sin which is hard to expunge. We cannot walk in sin and in the presence of the Lord at the same time. Since the flesh and spirit war against each other, the Christian must strive to make the spirit rule over the flesh. We must intentionally avoid any situation which can enflame any sin passion in our lives. 

12 – What happened at the cross(Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; When biblical teachings are replaced by rock and roll bands in the church, then biblical truth flies out of the window. When that happens, Christians are denied the cardinal truths of the Scriptures.

One of the great truths is that every sin which the Christian has ever committed or will ever commit has been paid for and removed from their souls. The Christian has a sin cleansed soul and is readied for Heaven. This truth seems to be missing in almost every church. This results in the Christian believing that they still have sins which must be atoned for. When Christ went to the cross for His Elect, He removed the sin from every true believer. Without the Christian realizing this truth, they will still feel like they are a sinner. Nowhere in Scripture does God call His children sinners. They are redeemed children of God. Christians need to know that they have been fully forgiven. Salvation is not partial but full. 

For Judgement I Came into This World – Desiring God

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.
John 9:35-41

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”

It continually amazes me that the Gospel of John, even though it has the reputation for being the simplest Gospel, nevertheless, again and again tackles some of the hardest and most complex issues in life and doctrine, even in philosophy. These are always issues that really matter. And the Gospel does that again today in John 9:39–41.

One of the issues that troubles us when we start to take the sovereignty of God seriously—which this Gospel does, perhaps more bluntly than any of the others, especially in regard to our salvation—is that human beings seem less responsible, less accountable for what we feel and know and do. The more complete and the more extensive the sovereign power of God over our lives and our hearts, the more we start to wonder if we really can have any accountability for our own actions. If we sin are we really responsible for our sinning? That’s what these verses are about when you scratch just a little beneath the surface.

God’s Sovereignty in Our Salvation

Here’s a glimpse of what I mean by this Gospel’s emphasis on the sovereignty of God in our salvation.

In John 3:3, Jesus says, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And then he says in verse 8, “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The Spirit gives life and sight where he wills. When we are aware of being awake spiritually, we have already been awakened. God did it before we did it.

Mai mult

Keith Green – The Story of a Radical Christian who was a friend of Leonard Ravenhill (a must read)

Meet Keith Green in this 1 1/2 minute video. Here is a brother in Christ that will challenge the way you think about yourself as a Christ follower. God took him home at the age of 28 but in the few short years he lived for Christ he impacted thousands of other people to not only follow Christ, but to devote their lives to spread the Gospel to the unsaved. If you are a Christian, this is one story you need to know (entirely). If you are not a Christian, you need to know this story too. Keith Green searched for religion in fame, drugs, the hippie culture, but in the end he found only Jesus could satisfy his soul, and he radically changed his life and devoted it entirely to Christ.

then a little bit more in this 7 minute video:

Keith Green- Go to the hungry ones

When Keith Green came to Christ, he believed he had to emulate Jesus and do everything Jesus did. When he preached on the streets, he brought home the homeless, the pregnant single teens and housed them, fed them and had bible study with them daily. This was normal Christianity to him. What an example he was. You can see the 60 minute documentary, narrated by his wife Melody, at the bottom of this page.

Go to the hungry ones and fill them with His bread,
They’ll leave their darkness as you shine the light He shed,
Point to His promises, believe in what He said,
And His joy will be manifest in you,
And the lost will be found as He works through you.

Out on the highways, there’s so many passing by,
Step out in boldness and watch the family multiply,
Pray up some miracles, lets open up the sky,
And His joy will be manifest to you,
And the lost will be found by the things you do.

Oh don’t you know that Jesus loves you,
So let’s go and spread His word,
Redeem the time while there’s still time,
Let’s share the call we heard, lets share the call we heard.

Is your house open to let strangers enter there,
Give to the least of them, show them someone cares,
And you may be entertaining Angels unaware,
And His joy may be manifest to you,
And the lost may be found as He works through you,
And His joy will be manifest in you,
And the lost, they’ll be found by the things you do.

Keith Green a radical Christian

His friend Leonard Ravenhill eulogized him at his funeral quoting something

Leonard Ravenhill (friend)

Keith Green fiercely struggled with : Are you living too much for time and not enough for eternity? (In spite of the exemplary way he was witnessing to people, Keith Green felt he was not doing enough). The next day at the burial, Leonard Ravenhill said, „Being yet dead, he speaketh.” There are two ways Keith speaks even today. One is through his recordings and two, is through the people he influenced for Jesus. Keith wanted people to know Jesus Christ personally in the way he had come to know Him.

An amazing story of a young man in the early 1970’s hippie culture, seeking spirituality in drugs, Eastern religions, and mysticism. In the end he started reading the red letter words of Jesus in the Bible, because he was attracted to the fact that Jesus said He was the only way and because he had read that all other teachers respected Jesus.

He would write in his journal one day, Jesus you are hereby accepted, but then found Christians unacceptable because they wanted him to believe the whole Bible and he only wanted to believe what Jesus said. By 1974 he was extremely confused and frustrated. His childhood friend asked him and his wife to attend an in home Bible study, which they weren’t too keen on; they felt they weren’t too keen on Christians, but they really liked the Jesus stuff. His friend dared him and his wife Melody to go, and so they did. The group was so crowded together and at the end when one of the leaders talked about how their sins could be cleansed and they could start with a fresh clean slate, Keith immediately accepted, never looked back, convinced he found the real thing. Keith felt like everything started new that night. His friends had never seen such a radical transformation, and immediately he started writing and singing for God.
But, his old fans were not happy at all. He started to sing and evangelize people. He prayed to the Lord to temper his radicalism so he could evangelize people without offending. He would tell his christian friends (the ones that invited them to the Bible studies) they needed to shape up their lives. He was like a bull in a china closet. He took the gospel seriously and had the audacity to put Christ’s teaching into practice.(Some of his songs reflect this-like the song- Churches asleep in the light).

He started bringing young lost kids off the street, where he taught them from the Bible and started writing and singing songs for Sparrow Records. He would chew people out when he would come out on stage when they would applaud for him.

His ministry grew so fast, they bought another home and rented 5 more homes because they actually took in homeless people, and evangelized them-mixing help of strays (single moms, homeless people) and discipleship of people that already knew the Lord.  Keith was the first to hold concerts nad not charge anything. He felt that was like selling the gospel. He challenged everybody to be in that ‘no compromise’  level. He next started an International Mission called Last Day Ministries.

In 1982 Keith Green dies in an airplane crash, along with two of his young children. He was only 28 years old. His messages were played on a screen at his funeral service and countless thousands committed their lives to missions because of Keith Green and 2 of those missions are still going strong today.

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

1st collector for The Keith Green Story (FULL)
Follow my videos on vodpod

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari