Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."



1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"Eternal Punishment" by A.W. Pink

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


This time we take up our pen to write on one of the most solemn truths taught in the Word. And ere we began we turned to the Lord and earnestly sought that wisdom and grace which we are conscious we sorely need; making request that we might be preserved from all error in what we shall say, and that nothing may find a place in these pages which shall be displeasing to that Holy One, "whose we are, and whom we serve." O that we may write in the spirit of One who said, "Who knoweth the power of Thine anger, even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath" (Ps. 90:11).

The subject before us is one that needs stressing in these days. The great majority of our pulpits are silent upon it, and the fact that it has so little place in modern preaching is one of the signs of the times, one of the many evidences that the Apostasy must be near at hand. It is true that there are not a few who are praying for a world-wide Revival, but it appears to the writer that it would be more timely, and more scriptural, for prayer to be made to the Lord of the harvest, that He would raise up and thrust forth laborers who would fearlessly and faithfully preach those truths which are calculated to bring about a revival.
While it is true that all genuine revivals come from God, yet He is not capricious in the sending of them. We are sure that God never relinquishes His sovereign rights to own and to bless where and as He pleases. But we also believe that here, as everywhere, there is a direct connection between cause and effect. And a revival is the effect of a previous cause. A revival, like a genuine conversion, is wrought of God by means of the Word—the Word applied by the Holy Spirit, of course. Therefore, there is something more needed (on our part) than prayer:
the Word of God must have a place, a prominent place, the prominent place. Without that there will be no Revival, whatever excitement and activities of the emotions there may be.
It is the deepening conviction of the writer that what is most needed today is a wide proclamation of those truths which are the least acceptable to the flesh. What is needed today is a scriptural setting forth of the character of God—His absolute sovereignty, His ineffable holiness, His inflexible justice, His unchanging veracity. What is needed today is a scriptural setting forth of the condition of the natural man—his total depravity, his spiritual insensibility, his inveterate hostility to God, the fact that he is "condemned already" and that the wrath of a sin-hating God is even now abiding upon him. What is needed today is a scriptural setting forth of the alarming danger in which sinners are—the indescribably awful doom which awaits them, the fact that if they follow only a little further their present course they shall most certainly suffer the due reward of their iniquities. What is needed today is a scriptural setting forth of the nature of that punishment which awaits the lost—the awfulness of it, the hopelessness of it, the unendurableness of it, the endlessness of it. It is because of these convictions that by pen as well as by voice we are seeking to raise the alarm.

"ELECTION" by J.C. Ryle

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."— 1 Thessalonians i. 4
"Give diligence to make your calling and election sure."— 2 Peter i. 10

The texts which head this page contain a word of peculiar interest. It is a word which is often in men’s minds, and on men’s tongues, from one end of Great Britain to the other. That word is "Election."
There are few Englishmen who do not know something of a general election to Parliament. Many are the evils which come to the surface at such a time. Bad passions are called out. Old quarrels are dug up, and new ones are planted. Promises are made, like piecrust, only to be broken. False profession, lying, drunkenness, intimidation, oppression, flattery, abound on every side. At no time perhaps does human nature make such a poor exhibition of itself as at a general election!
Yet, it is only fair to look at all sides of an election to Parliament. There is nothing new, or peculiarly English, about its evils. In every age, and in every part of the world, the heart of man is pretty much the same. There have never been wanting men ready to persuade others that they are not so well governed as they ought to be, and that they themselves are the fittest rulers that can be found. A thousand years before Christ was born the following picture was drawn by the unerring hand of the Holy Ghost: —
Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.
And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.
Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which bath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!
And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him." (2 Sam. xv. 2-5.)
When we read this passage we must learn not to judge. our own times too harshly. The evils that we see are neither peculiar nor new.
After all, we must never forget that popular election, with all its evils, is far better than an absolute form of government. To live under the dominion of an absolute tyrant, who allows no one to think, speak, or act for himself, is miserable slavery. For the sake of liberty we must put up with all the evils which accompany the return of members to Parliament. We must each do our duty conscientiously, and learn to expect little from any party. If those we support succeed, we must not think that all they do will be right. If those we oppose succeed, we must not think that all they do will be wrong. To expect little from any earthly ruler is one great secret of contentment. To pray for all who are in authority, and to judge all their actions charitably, is one of the principal duties of a Christian.

"False Doctrines In Christianity Today" by Ray Kane

Thursday, April 12, 2012

[3 John 1:4]
Many well meaning yet mis-taught Christians and others who claim to be Christians are preaching lots of things that sound 'good' on the surface but at the root are anything but true. Some of these lies (modern unscriptural ideas about Christianity) are discussed below as a wake-up call to all true born-again Bible-believing disciples of Jesus Christ.

LIE #1: God wants his children to be financially prosperous.
Matt 6:19-20 - "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal"
Luke 18:22 - "Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me."
Matt 8:20 - "And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."
First and foremost, a Christian should be content in all things and should be overjoyed with the tremendous spiritual blessing of salvation that Christ paid such an enormous price for.  God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust.  Some Christians will have more money than others and some with have better health than others.  It is all a matter of God's sovereign will, as to whom He blesses, in what way, and at what time.

LIE #2: If you have enough faith God will give you whatever you ask for.
James 4:3 - "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
1 John 5:14 - "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us"
God is not a genie in a bottle. He does not perform miracles based upon the power of our minds.  A true and faithful Christian will be thinking primarily about giving and serving and not about what they can get from God.

"Flee from the Wrath to Come!" by C.H. Spurgeon

Friday, March 23, 2012
(Delivered by C. H. Spurgeon, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, on October 23rd, 1881. No. 2704)

"Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matthew 3:7
"Who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." Hebrews 6:18

We will first consider the question of John the Baptist: "When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, You brood of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" I have no doubt that the Pharisees and Sadducees were very much surprised to hear John addressing them in that way; for men who wish to win disciples, ordinarily adoptmilder language than that, and choose more attractive themes, for they fear that they will drive their hearers from them if they are too personal, and speak too sharply. There is not much danger of that nowadays, for the current notion abroad now is that gospel ministers can sew with silk without using a sharp needle; and that, instead of piercing men with the sword of the Spirit, they should show them only the hilt of it; let them see the bright diamonds on the scabbard — but never let them feel the sharpness of the two-edged blade. They should always comfort, and console, and cheer — but never allude to the terror of the Lord.
That appears to be the common interpretation of our commission; but John the Baptist was of quite another mind. A Pharisee came to him — a very religious man, one who observed all the details of external worship, and were very careful even about trifles, a firm believer in the resurrection, and in angels and spirits, and in all that was written in the Book of the law, and also in all the traditions of his fathers, a man who was overdone with external religiousness, a Ritualist of the first order — who felt that, if there was a righteous man in the world, he certainly was that one. He must have been greatly taken aback, when John talked to him about the wrath of God, and plainly told him that that wrath was as much for him as for other people. Those phylacteries and the broad borders of his garment, of which he was so proud, would not screen him from the anger of God against injustice and transgression; but, just like any common sinner, he would need to "flee from the wrath to come!"

"John Calvin: Teacher and Practitioner of Evangelism" by Dr. Joel Beeke

Monday, March 12, 2012
Many scholars would take issue with the title of this chapter. Some would say that Roman Catholicism kept the evangelistic torch of Christianity lit via the powerful forces of the papacy, the monasteries, and the monarch while Calvin and the Reformers tried to extinguish it. (1) But others would assert that John Calvin (1509-1564), the father of Reformed and Presbyterian doctrine and theology, was largely responsible for relighting the torch of biblical evangelism during the Reformation.(2)  Some also credit Calvin with being a theological father of the Reformed missionary movement. (3) Views of Calvin’s attitude toward evangelism and missions have ranged from hearty to moderate support on the positive side, (4) and from indifference to active opposition on the negative side. (5)  A negative view of Calvin’s evangelism is a result of:

! A failure to study Calvin’s writings prior to drawing their conclusions,
! A failure to understand Calvin’s view of evangelism within his own historical context,
! Preconceived doctrinal notions about Calvin and his theology to their study. Some critics naively assert that Calvin’s doctrine of election virtually negates evangelism. To assess Calvin’s view of evangelism correctly, we must understand what Calvin himself had to say on the subject. Second, we must look at the entire scope of Calvin’s evangelism, both in his teaching and his practice. We can find scores of references to evangelism in Calvin’s Institutes, commentaries, sermons, and letters. Then we can look at Calvin’s evangelistic work (1) in his own flock, (2) in his home city of Geneva, (3) in greater Europe, and (4) in mission opportunities overseas. As we shall see, Calvin was more of an evangelist than is commonly recognized.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pray privately (i.e. at home) well in advance of outings and pray privately for the people you
make contact with. Pray as if the eternal destiny of people's souls depended on God hearing
and answering your prayers, remembering how Moses interceded for rebellious Israel many
times (Exodus 32, Numbers 14, etc.) and how Paul prayed for his fellow Jews (Romans 9:3).
Pray according to God's promises in His Word. For example, you could pray that God would
give you the joy of the Lord for your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Remember: "Except the LORD
build the house, they labour in vain that build it" (Psalm 127:1)

Remind yourself that you are going out with the intention of trying to best represent your
precious Lord and Saviour. Groom yourself as if your appearance really matters. Dress neat,
be clean, use breath-mints, etc.

A. Carry an easy to read Bible: avoid anything too large or too small and avoid computer
Bibles and anything else that would be distracting to you or to others.
B. Bring an extra New Testament with you to give to someone that may not have a Bible but
would like one. The Bible should be labeled with your church or ministry's contact information
to provide a way for the person to obtain follow-up information and additional discipleship.
C. Bring tracts appropriate for who you will meet: tracts in various foreign languages
(Spanish, Hindi for people from India, Arabic for Muslims, etc. Bring tracts that , Jewish,
Catholic, Muslim, etc. Be sure to check out our article "Good Versus Not-So-Good
Evangelistic Literature."

D. Bring something to write down information about people you contact and prayer requests
or other needs they may inform you of.

"But I Don't Have The Gift Of Evangelism"

Friday, March 2, 2012
Saying you don't have the gift of evangelism as a way of avoiding responsibility for sharing

your faith is equivalent to saying:

1. I don't have the gift of caring about the souls of other people.

2. I don't have the gift of appreciation for what my Savior did for me.

3. I don't have the gift of obedience to Christ's commands to preach the gospel and make

4. I don't have the gift of getting out of my comfort zone to tell people that Jesus is the only
way to Heaven.

5. I don't have the gift of storing treasure in Heaven.

6. I don't have the gift of doing what all true believers should want to do.

7. I can't share a gospel that I don't appreciate because I don't possess it myself.

8. I won't share a gospel that I don't see the dire need for, since the salvation I have is not real.

9. I won't point people to Christ or warn them about hell because I am more concerned about
what people will think of me than about what God thinks of me.

10. I think evangelism is only for pastors and professional evangelists, and I am neither of
those two classes of people and I love having that excuse because I am really a false convert
who has no allegiance to the Lamb Of God.

Ray Kane

"Incarnate Truth" B.B. Warfield

Sunday, February 19, 2012
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of . . . truth.”—John 1:14

The obvious resemblance between the prologue to John’s Gospel and the proem of Genesis is not a matter of mere phraseology and external form. As the one, in the brief compass of a few verses, paints the whole history of the creation of a universe with a vividness which makes the quickened imagination a witness of the process, so the other in still briefer compass traces the whole history of the re-creation of a dead world into newness of life. In both we are first pointed back into the depths of eternity, when only God was. In both we are bidden to look upon the chaotic darkness of lawless matter or of lawless souls, over which the brooding Spirit was yet to move. In both, as the tremendous pageants are unrolled before our eyes, we are made to see the Living God; and to see him as the Light and the Life of the world, the Destroyer of all darkness, the Author of all good. Here too, however, the Old Testament revelation is the preparation for the better to come. In it we see God as the God of power and of wisdom, the Author and Orderer of all; in this we see him as the God of goodness and mercy, the Restorer and Redeemer of the lost. Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Through what a sublime sweep does the Apostle lead our panting thought as he strives to tell us who and what the Word is, and what he has done for men. He lifts the veil of time, that we may peer into the changeless abyss of eternity and see him as he is, in the mystery of his being, along with God and yet one with God—in some deep sense distinct from God, in some higher sense identical with God. Then he shows us the divine work which he has wrought in time. He is the All-Creator—“all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that hath been made.” He is the All-Illuminator—he “was the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” And now in these last days he has become the All-Redeemer—prepared for by his prophet, he came to his own, and his own received him not; but “as many as received him,” without regard to race or previous preparation, “he gave to them the right to become children of God, to them that believe on his name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Then the climax of this great discourse breaks on us as we are told how the Word, when he came to his own, manifested himself to flesh. It was by himself becoming flesh, and tabernacling among us, full of grace and truth. He came as Creator, as Revealer, as Redeemer: as Creator, preparing a body for his habitation; as Revealer, “trailing clouds of glory as he came”; as Redeemer, heaping grace on grace.

"The Ministry of Kindness" by J. R. Miller, 1902

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved—clothe yourselves with compassion,kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23

 Nothing is more worth while, than kindness. Nothing else in life is more beautiful in itself. Nothing else does more to brighten the world, and sweeten other lives.
Robert Louis Stevenson said in a letter: "It is our kindnesses, that alone makes the world tolerable. If it were not for that—I would be tempted to think that our life is a practical jest in the worst possible spirit."
The man whose life lacks habitual kindliness may succeed splendidly in a worldly sense. He may win his way to high honor. He may gather his millions. He may climb to a conspicuous place among men. But he has missed that which alone gives beauty to a life—the joy and blessing of being kind. There are men who are so intent on winning the race, that they have neither eye nor heart nor hand for the human needs along the wayside. Here and there is one, however, who thinks more of the humanities, than of the personal success; that woos him forward, and who turns aside in his busiest hour to give help and cheer to those who need.
There is always this difference in men. There are those who have only one purpose in life, the making of their own career. They fix their eye upon their goal, and press toward it with indomitable persistence, utterly unheeding the calls and appeals of human need which break upon their ears. They fail altogether in love's duty. They dwarf and deaden the qualities which are divinest in their nature.

"The Duty of Self-Denial by Thomas Watson, 1675

Monday, February 13, 2012

 Christian Reader,
The weightiness of the argument here discoursed on justly merits a larger volume. But I have contracted it, so that it may possibly come into more hands. I must profess I do not know a more necessary point in divinity. Self-denial is the first principle of Christianity! It is the life-blood which must run through the whole body of piety. Self-denial is not learned at an academy, but from the oracles of Scripture.
It is my request to the reader to pursue this manual with seriousness, knowing that the practice of self-denial is that wherein his salvation is nearly concerned. "May the Lord work with His Word and cause the dew of His blessing to fall with this manna," is the prayer of,
Your Friend and Servant in the Gospel,
Thomas Watson, 1675
1. Exposition of the verse.
"And He said to them all—If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself." Luke 9:23
"All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16. The Word is compared to a lamp for its illuminating quality, Psalm 119:105, and to refined silver for its enriching quality, Psalm 12:6. Among other parts of sacred writ, this is not the least, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself."
These words are dropped from the lips of Christ, the oracle of truth. In the preceding verse, our blessed Savior foretold His suffering, "The Son of Man must suffer many things." And His suffering is set down in two expressions:
1. He must be rejected. Thus He was the "stone which the builders rejected," Psalm 118:22.
2. He must be slain. This diamond must be cut! He who gave life to others, must Himself die. And as Christ thus abased Himself for us—so we must deny ourselves for Him. "And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself."
Self-denial is the foundation of godliness, and if this is not well laid, all the building will fall. Let me explain the words:
1. "And He said to them all." Self-denial is of universal extent. It concerns all; it respects both ministers and people. Christ spoke it as well to His apostles as to the rest of His hearers.
2. "If any man will come after Me." That is--if he will arrive at that place of glory where I am going--"let him deny himself."
3. "Let him deny himself." Beza and Erasmus render it, "Let him lay aside or reject himself." Self-denial is a kind of self-annihilation. The words have two parts:
First, a supposal: "If any man will come after Me."
Second, an imposal: "Let him deny himself." These words are not only a permission—but an injunction. It carries in it the force of the command. It is as if a king should say, "Let it be enacted."
The PROPOSITION I shall insist on, is that a true Christian must be a self-denier. "Let him deny himself."


Saturday, January 28, 2012
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, "Sirs what must I do to be saved?" Acts 16:29-30

We have here and in the context and account of the conversion of the jailer, which is one of the most remarkable instances of the kind in the Scriptures. The jailer before seems not only to have been wholly insensible to the things of religion, but to have been a persecutor, and to have persecuted these very men, Paul and Silas; though he now comes to them in so earnest a manner, asking them what he must do to be saved. We are told in the context that all the magistrates and multitude of the city rose up jointly in a tumult against them, and took them, and cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Whereupon he thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And it is probable he did not act in this merely as the servant or instrument of the magistrates, but that he joined with the rest of the people in their rage against them. And that he did what he did urged on by his own will, as well as the magistrates' commands, which made him execute their commands with such rigor.
But when Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises at midnight, and there was suddenly a great earthquake, and God had in so wonderful a manner set open the prison doors, and every man's bands were loosed, he was greatly terrified. And in a kind of desperation, he was about to kill himself. But Paul and Silas crying out to him, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here," then he called for a light, and sprang in, as we have the account in the text. We may observe:
First, the objects of his concern. He is anxious about his salvation. He is terrified by his guilt, especially by his guilt in his ill treatment of these ministers of Christ. He is concerned to escape from that guilty state, the miserable state he was in by reason of sin.
Second, the sense which he has of the dreadfulness of his present state.
This he manifests in several ways.

"Christian Fools" by A.W. Pink

Thursday, January 12, 2012

“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.”

"Self-Denial" by Richard Baxter

Monday, January 9, 2012
You hear ministers tell you of the odiousness and danger and sad effects of sin; but of all the sins that you ever heard of, there is scarce any more odious and dangerous than selfishness, and yet I doubt there are many that never were much troubled at it, nor sensible of its malignity. My principal request therefore to you is, that as ever you would prove Christians indeed, and be saved from sin and the damnation which follows it, take heed of this deadly sin of selfishness, and be sure you are possessed with true self-denial; and if you have, see that you use and live upon it.

And for your help herein, I shall tell you how your self-denial must be tried. I shall only tell you in a few words, how the least measure of true self-denial may be known. And in one word that is thus: Wherever the interest of carnal self is stronger and more predominant habitually than the interest of God, of Christ, of everlasting life, there is no true self-denial or saving grace; but where God's interest is strongest, there self-denial is sincere. If you further ask me how this may be known, briefly thus:


Sunday, January 8, 2012
They (the Martyrs of the seventeenth century) held the grand Protestant doctrine of the perfection and supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures, and claimed a right to read, and think, and believe, for themselves. They embraced the system of doctrine usually known in this country by the name Calvinistic; but which we would rather call apostolical, or evangelical, for they called no man master, and would submit their consciences in this matter to no authority, excepting that of God speaking in the Scriptures. The doctrines of human guilt and depravity, salvation by the cross of Christ, and by the grace of God and influences of the Holy Spirit, formed their creed, and were the basis of that pious and holy character by which they were distinguished. They claimed a right to worship God in the institutions which he has ordained, without the interference or authority of a man.

They contended for true liberty of conscience, and would not bow to receive from any human authority, ecclesiastical or civil, rites that had no sanction in the word of God. And when they had no alternative but to wrong their consciences or sacrifice their lives, they loved not their lives unto the death. They held the exclusive supremacy of Jesus Christ in the church, and contended for the blood-chartered liberty of the church, and her independence of human authority in the early establishment of the Reformation this was a prominent feature. The Pope had assumed and exercised an authority over the church; Henry VIII in his contentions with Rome, transferred this authority to himself; and in all the contentions with the house of Stuart, this was a main point. The independence of the church was boldly asserted by Henderson in the Assembly in Glasgow, 1638. The reformers and sufferers contended for the liberty of the ministers, the courts, and the members of the church; and would not bow to prelatic more than to popish authority, nor to a civil ecclesiastic supremacy. They were persuaded of the scriptural authority of the Presbyterian polity, but held it in its unfettered freedom and independence; and viewed with jealousy every encroachment of human authority, as not only opposed to their liberty, but as reflecting dishonour upon their Saviour. Fidelity to this truth, as interfering with the taking of oaths, in which a supremacy over the church was recognized, formed one chief ground of the sufferings of those troublous times. The martyrs held the divine institution of magistracy, and of the scripture precepts in the erection of civil government and in the appointment of governors. They held that persons invested with authority should not only be persons of ability and moral character, but fearers of God, and professors of the true religion.

"The Gospel of Satan" By A.W. Pink

Friday, January 6, 2012
Satan is the arch-counterfeiter. As we have seen, the Devil is now busy at work in the same field in which the Lord sowed the good seed. He is seeking to prevent the growth of the wheat by another plant, the tares, which closely resembles the wheat in appearance. In a word, by a process of imitation he is aiming to neutralize the Word of Christ. Therefore, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parades, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it.

It is to this gospel of Satan the apostle refers when he says to the Galatians "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ" (1:6,7). This false gospel was being heralded even in the days of the apostle, and a most awful curse was called down upon those who preached it. The apostle continues, "But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." By the help of God we shall now endeavor to expound, or rather, expose, false gospel.

The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal, spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great "brotherhood". It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to "the best that is within us". It aims to make this world such a congenial and comfortable habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.

"Exhortation to Holiness" by Martin Luther

Thursday, January 5, 2012
                    1 Thessalonians 4:1-7

" Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness."       1 Thess 4:1-7 (KJV)

This lesson is easy of interpretation. It is a general and earnest admonition on the part of Paul, enjoining us to an increasing degree of perfection in the doctrine we have received. This admonition, this exhortation, is one incumbent upon an evangelical teacher to give, for he is urging us to observe a doctrine commanded of God. He says, "For ye know what charge [commandments] we gave you through the Lord Jesus." Whatever Christians do, it should be willing service, not compulsory; but when a command is given, it should be in the form of exhortation or entreaty. Those who have received the Spirit are they from whom obedience is due; but those not inclined to a willing performance, we should leave to themselves.

But mark you this: Paul places much value upon the gift bestowed upon us, the gift of knowing how we are "to walk and to please God." In the world this gift is as great as it is rare. Though the offer is made to the whole world and publicly proclaimed, further exhortation is indispensable, and Paul is painstaking and diligent in administering it. The trouble is, we are in danger of becoming indolent and negligent, forgetful and ungrateful--vices menacing and great, and which, alas, are altogether too frequent. Let us look back and note to what depths of darkness, of delusion and abomination, we had sunk when we knew not how we ought to walk, how to please God. Alas, we have forgotten all about it; we have become indolent and ungrateful, and are dealt with accordingly. Well does the apostle say in the lesson for the Sunday preceding this (2 Cor 6, 1): "And working together with him we entreat also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain, for he saith, At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee, and in a day of salvation did I succor thee."

"The Twenty-Two Questions" by George Whitefield

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Twenty-two Questions Members of
John Wesley's/George Whitefield Holy Club Asked

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression than I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what I was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give it time to speak to me every day?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else of my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy.?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrusting?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? I If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

"Love Thy Neighbor" by Charles H. Spurgeon

Saturday, December 24, 2011
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself"—Matthew 19:19.

UR SAVIOUR very often preached upon the moral precepts of the law. Many of the sermons of Christ—and what sermons shall compare with them—have not what is now currently called "the gospel" in them at all. Our Saviour did not every time he stood up to preach, declare the doctrine of election, or of atonement, or of effectual calling, or of final perseverance. No, he just as frequently spoke upon the duties of human life, and upon those precious fruits of the Spirit, which are begotten in us by the grace of God. Mark this word that I have just uttered. You may have started at it at first, but upon diligent reading of the four evangelists, you will find I am correct in stating that very much of our Saviour's time was occupied in telling the people what they ought to do towards one another; and many of his sermons are not what our precise critics would in these times call sermons full of unction and savor; for certainly they would be far from savory to the sickly sentimental Christians who do not care about the practical part of religion. Beloved, it is as much the business of God's minister to preach man's duty, as it is to preach Christ's atonement; and unless he doth preach man's duty, he will never be blessed of God to bring man into the proper state to see the beauty of the atonement. Unless he sometimes thunders out the law, and claims for his Master the right of obedience to it, he will never be very likely to produce conviction—certainly, not that conviction which afterwards leads to conversion. This morning, I am aware, my sermon will not be very unctuous and savory to you that are always wanting the same round of doctrines, but of this I have but little care. This rough world sometimes needs to be rebuked, and if we can get at the ears of the people, it is our business to reprove them; and I think if ever there was a time when this text need to be enlarged upon, it is just now. It is so often forgotten, so seldom remembered, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
    I shall notice, first of all, the command; secondly, I shall try and bringsome reasons for your obedience to it; and afterwards, I shall draw some suggestions from the law itself.
    I. First, then, THE COMMAND. It is the second great commandment. The first is, "Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God," and there, the proper standard is, thou shalt love thy God more than thyself. The second commandment is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour," and the standard there is a little lower, but still preeminently high, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." There is the command. We can split it into three parts. Whom am I to love? My neighbour. What am I to do? I am to love him. How am I to do it? I am to love him as myself.

"A Puritan Fear of God" by J. Gresham Machen

Friday, December 23, 2011
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him, which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

These words were not spoken by Jonathan Edwards. They were not spoken by Cotton Mather. They were not spoken by Calvin, or Augustine, or by Paul. But these words were spoken by Jesus.

And when put together with the many other words like them in the Gospels, they demonstrate the utter falsity of the picture of Jesus which is being constructed in recent years. The other day, in one of the most popular religious books of the day, The Reconstruction of Religion, by Ellwood, I came upon the amazing assertion that Jesus concerned Himself but little with the thought of a life after death. In the presence of such assertions any student of history may well stand aghast. It maybe that we do not make much of the doctrine of a future life, but the question whether Jesus did so is not a matter of taste but an historical question which can be answered only on the basis of an examination of the sources of historical information, which we call the Gospels. And if you want to answer the question, I recommend that you do what I have done, and simply go through a Gospel harmony, noting the passages where Jesus speaks of blessedness and woe in the future life. You may be surprised at the result; certainly you will be surprised if you have been affected in the slightest degree by the misrepresentation of Jesus which suffuses the religious literature of our time. You will discover that the thought not only of heaven but also the thought of hell runs all through the teaching of Jesus. It appears in all four of the Gospels; it appears in the sources, supposed to underlie the Gospels, which have been reconstructed, rightly or wrongly, by modem criticism. It is not an element which can be removed by any critical process, but simply suffuses the whole of Jesus' teaching and Jesus' life.

"Cross-Bearing" by A.W. Pink

Sunday, December 18, 2011

“When said Jesus unto His disciples, if any man will come after
Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me” 

Matthew 16:24

“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, if any man will”—the word “will” here means “desire to” just as in that verse, “If any will live godly.” It signifies “determine to.” “If any man will or desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross (not a cross, but his cross) and follow me.” 

Then in Luke 14:27 Christ declared, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” 

So it is not optional. The Christian life is far more than subscribing to a system of truth or adopting a code of conduct, or of submitting to religious ordinances. Preeminently the Christian life is a person; experience of fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and just in proportion as your life is lived in communion with Christ, to that extent are you living the Christian life, and to that extent only.

The Christian life is a life that consists of following Jesus. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” O that you and I may gain distinction for the closeness of our walk to Christ, and then shall we be “close communionists” indeed. There is a class described in Scripture of whom it is said, “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” But sad to Say, there is another class, and a large class, who seem to follow the Lord fitfully, spasmodically, half-heartedly, occasionally, distantly. There is much of the World and much of self in their lives, and so little of Christ. Thrice happy shall he be who like Caleb followeth the Lord fully.

"Christmas Season Joy" by Shane C. Montgomery

Sunday, December 11, 2011
    Christmas is the time of year when just about everybody becomes holy.  There is a great spirit of giving, a time of putting others before ourselves.  It is a wonderful time of year.  Many will go out of their way to provide for others less fortunate then themselves, putting in more hours at work to raise more money to purchase gifts for others and volunteering at shelters, soup kitchens, hospitals, the church and other ministries.  This is indeed the time of year when people put forward their very best, it is a time when we all become just a little more holy.  We hear people say, "Jesus is the reason for the season!" and rightly so.  We see more and more folks getting upset about when others use the dreaded abbreviation, "XMas" instead of "Christmas" and rightly so.  Even though most do not understand the "X" was the earliest known symbol for early Christians, as a way of marking themselves in secret so as to prevent persecution.  The Koine Greek letters "Chi and Rho" the first few letters in "Christ" were placed on top each other and that formed somewhat to look like a cross or an "X" depending on how it was written.  If you do not know Biblical Greek, you can easily find the alphabet on line by simply "Googling" it, and you can see the proper Greek symbol for those letters.

  Christmas is truly a great and wonderful time of year, where else do we see and hear so much about Christ outside the church?   We as believers are of course happy about this, this embracing of Jesus Christ by such a large portion of the world.  Even if they do not normally attend church, they will celebrate the birth of our Savior, and in this we are pleased, we often pray and hope for those we love who are not converted that a Christmas miracle will happen and those family members or friends might be saved and regenerated.  But usually within a few days of Christmas all that is behind most folks and these same people who were saying "Jesus is the reason for the season" are now planning their big New Years Eve party, complete with alcohol.

  We see this every year and we have come to expect it to be this way, those outside the Church embracing Christ for a short season and then returning to their old ways and their old sinful lives.

   Where do we go from here?  How about the Gospel of John chapter Three, verses 22-36?  What does these verses have to do with Christmas?   Or with non-believers?  Or even with believers?  Why and how would this bit of Scripture help us understand better?

"The New Life" by Horatius Bonar

Friday, December 9, 2011

       (from "God's Way of Holiness" 1864)

It is to a new life that God is calling us; not to some new steps in life, some new habits or ways or motives or prospects, but to a new life.
For the production of this new life the eternal Son of God took flesh, died, was buried, and rose again. It was not life producing life, a lower life rising into a higher, but life rooting itself in its opposite, life wrought out of death, by the death of "the Prince of life." Of the new creation, as of the old, He is the author.
For the working out of this the Holy Spirit came down in power, entering men's souls and dwelling there, that out of the old He might bring forth the new.

That which God calls new must be so indeed. For the Bible means what it says, as being, of all books, not only the most true in thought, but the most accurate in speech. Great then and authentic must be that "new thing in the earth" which God "creates," to which He calls us, and which He brings about by such stupendous means and at such a cost. Most hateful also must that old life of ours be to Him, when , in order to abolish it, He delivers up His Son; and most dear must we be in His sight when, in order to rescue us from the old life, and make us partakers of the new, He brings forth all the divine resources of love power and wisdom, to meet the exigencies of a case which would otherwise have been wholly desperate. 

"The Covenant of Grace" by Charles Hodge Part III

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Part III

Parties to the Covenant

At first view there appears to be some confusion in the statements of the Scriptures as to the parties to this covenant. Sometimes Christ is presented as one of the parties; at others He is represented not as a party, but as the mediator and surety of the covenant; while the parties are represented to be God and his people. As the old covenant was made between God and the Hebrews, and Moses acted as mediator, so the new covenant is commonly represented in the Bible as formed between God and his people, Christ acting as mediator. He is, therefore, called the mediator of a better covenant founded on better promises.
Some theologians propose to reconcile these modes of representation by saying that as the covenant of works was formed with Adam as the representative of his race, and therefore in him with all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation; so the covenant of grace was formed with Christ as the head and Representative of his people, and in Him with all those given to Him by the Father. This simplifies the matter, and agrees with the parallel which the Apostle traces between Adam and Christ in Rom 5.12-21, and 1 Cor. 15.21, 22, 47-49. Still it does not remove the incongruity of Christ's being represented as at once a party and a mediator of the same covenant There are in fact two covenants relating to the salvation of fallen man, the one between God and Christ, the other between God and his people. These covenants differ not only in their parties, but also in their promises and conditions. Both are so clearly presented in the Bible that they should not be confounded. The latter, the covenant of grace, is founded on the former, the covenant of redemption. Of the one Christ is the mediator and surety; of the other He is one of the contracting parties.
This is a matter which concerns only perspicuity of statement. There is no doctrinal difference between those who prefer the one statement and those who prefer the other; between those who comprise all the facts of Scripture relating to the subject under one covenant between God and Christ as the representative of his people, and those who distribute them under two. The Westminster standards seem to adopt sometimes the one and sometimes the other mode of representation. In the Confession of Faith Chap. 7 section 3) it is said, "Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant [by the covenant of works], the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe." Here the implication is that God and his people are the parties; for in a covenant the promises are made to one of the parties, and here it is said that life and salvation are promised to sinners, and that faith is demanded of them. The same view is presented in the Shorter Catechism, according to the natural interpretation of the answer to the twentieth question. It is there said, "God having out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer. In the Larger Catechism, however, the other view is expressly adopted. In the answer to the question, "With whom was the covenant of grace made ? " it is said, " The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in Him with all the elect as his seed" " (Q. 31).

Two Covenants to be Distinguished

This confusion is avoided by distinguishing between the covenant of redemption between the Father and the Son, and the covenant of grace between God and his people. The latter supposes the former, and is founded upon it. The two, however, ought not to be confounded, as both are clearly revealed in Scripture, and moreover they differ as to the parties, as to the promises, and as to the conditions.

"The Covenant of Grace" Part II by Charles Hodge

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Part II

Different Views of the Nature of this Covenant

It is assumed by many that the parties to the covenant of grace are God and fallen man. Man by his apostasy having forfeited the favour of God, lost the divine image, and involved himself in sin and misery, must have perished in this state, had not God provided a plan of salvation. Moved by compassion for his fallen creatures, God determined to send his Son into the world, to assume their nature, and to do and suffer whatever was requisite for their salvation. On the ground of this redeeming work of Christ, God promises salvation to all who will comply with the terms on which it is offered. This general statement embraces forms of opinion which differ very much one from the others.
(1) It includes even the Pelagian view of the plan of salvation, which assumes that there is no difference between the covenant of works under which Adam was placed, and the covenant of grace, under which men are now, except as to the extent of the obedience required. God promised life to Adam on the condition of perfect obedience, because he was in a condition to render such obedience. He promises salvation to men now on the condition of such obedience as they are able to render, whether Jews, Pagans, or Christians. According to this view the parties to the covenant are God and man; the promise is life; the condition is obedience, such as man in the use of his natural powers is able to render.
(2.) The Remonstrant system does not differ essentially from the Pelagian,.so far as the parties, the promise and the condition of the covenant are concerned. The Remonstrants also make God and man the parties, life the promise, and obedience the condition. But they regard fallen men as in a state of sin by nature, as needing supernatural grace which is furnished to all, and the obedience required is the obedience of faith, or fides obsequiosa faith as including and securing evangelical obedience. Salvation under the gospel is as truly by works as under the law; but the obedience required is not the perfect righteousness demanded of Adam, but such as fallen man, by the aid of the Spirit, is now able to perform.

" The Greek Language and the Christian Ministry" by F.F. Bruce

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Christian theology is based upon the firm belief that God; the Maker of heaven and earth, has revealed Himself to mankind as a righteous God and a Saviour, and that this revelation, at first conveyed partially and variously through those whom He called to be His spokesmen, has been perfectly  communicated in Jesus Christ His Son. The preparatory and consummating stages of the revelation have been recorded respectively in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. To these sacred writings, Evangelical theology in particular attaches unique importance, believing that they constitute the standard of faith and practice, that they contain all things necessary for salvation, and that nothing must  be pressed upon men as of the essence of Christian belief and life which cannot be established from them.

The Christian theologian, particularly if he calls himself Evangelical, must therefore pay the most painstaking attention to these writings. He must realize that sound theology rests upon true exegesis, and true exegesis requires a  number of preliminary disciplines, of which linguistic study and textual criticism are two of the most important. The Biblical theologian―and do we not all call ourselves  Biblical theologians nowadays!―cannot be content with a second-hand approach to his foundation documents, by reading them in another man’s translation. He will, no doubt, consult and value many translations, but he will wish to control them by regular, direct reference to the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. “True,” says one reader, “true so far as the theological specialist is concerned. But I am no theological specialist; I have no ambition but to be a parish clergyman, charged with the cure of souls. I have neither the time nor perhaps the inclination to pursue linguistic study.” But, my friend, that very vocation to which  your life is dedicated, makes you a theological
specialist. Not a theological  specialist among theologians, admittedly, but a theological specialist among laymen. To whom should your  parishioners turn for an expert ruling on some point of theological or Biblical interpretation if not to you, their true pastor? Must you, like them, depend on other men’s translations and other men’s explanations for an answer?  No doubt you will have access to many more translations and explanations than they; but your answer will still, in some important respects, be second-hand.

"Simplicity in Preaching" by J. C. Ryle

Monday, November 28, 2011
King Solomon says, in the book of Ecclesiastes, "Of making many books there is no end" (12:12). There are few subjects about which that saying is more true than that of preaching. The volumes which have been written in order to show ministers how to preach are enough to make a small library. In sending forth one more little treatise, I only propose to touch one branch of the subject. I do not pretend to consider what should be the substance and matter of a sermon. I purposely leave alone such points as "gravity, unction, liveliness, warmth," and the like, or the comparative merits of written or extemporaneous sermons. I wish to confine myself to one point, which receives far less attention than it deserves. That point is simplicity in language and style.
I ought to be able to tell my readers something about "simplicity," if experience will give any help. I began preaching forty-five years ago, when I first took orders in a poor rural parish, and a great portion of my ministerial life has been spent in preaching to laborers and farmers. I know the enormous difficulty of preaching to such hearers, of making them understand one's meaning, and securing their attention. So far as concerns language and composition, I deliberately say that I would rather preach before the University at Oxford or Cambridge, or the Temple, or Lincoln's Inn, or the Houses of Parliament, than I would address an agricultural congregation on a fine hot afternoon in the month of August. I have heard of a laborer who enjoyed Sunday more than any other day in the week, "Because," he said, "I sit comfortably in church, put up my legs, have nothing to think about, and just go to sleep." Some of my younger friends in the ministry may some day be called to preach to such congregations as I have had, and I shall be glad if they can profit by my experience.
Before entering on the subject, I wish to clear the way by making four prefatory remarks.
1. For one thing, I ask all my readers to remember that to attain simplicity in preaching is of the utmost importance to every minister who wishes to be useful to souls. Unless you are simple in your sermons you will never be understood, and unless you are understood you cannot do good to those who hear you. It was a true saying of Quintilian, "If you do not wish to be understood, you deserve to be neglected." Of course the first object of a minister should be to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but "the truth as it is in Jesus." But the next thing he ought to aim at is, that his sermon may be understood; and it will not be understood by most of his hearers if it is not simple.

"The Lord's Day" by Archibald Alexander (1846)

Sunday, November 27, 2011
Reason teaches that there is a God, and that he ought to be worshipped. Had man remained in his primeval state of integrity, social worship would have been an incumbent duty. But it is evident that continual worship, whatever may be the fact in heaven, would not have been required of him while on the earth. We know, from express revelation, that it was appointed unto him to keep the garden of Eden, and dress it; and this would have required much attention, and vigorous exertion. He was also constituted lord of the inferior animals; and the exercise of this dominion would of necessity occupy a portion of his time and attention. In order to perform the primary duty of worshipping his Creator in that manner which was becoming and proper, he must have had some portion of his time appropriated to that service.

"The Nature and Beauty of Gospel Worship by John Owwn

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Eph. ii. 18.

"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
In the foregoing verses the apostle makes mention of a double reconciliation, wrought by the blood of the cross,—the one, of the Jews and Gentles unto God; the other, of the same persons one to another. There were two things in the law:—First, Worship instituted under it; Secondly, The curse annexed unto it. The first of these being appropriated to the Jews, with an exclusion of the Gentles, was the cause of unspeakable enmity and hatred between them. The latter, or the curse, falling upon both, was a cause of enmity between God and both of them. The Lord Jesus Christ, in his death removing both these, wrought and effected the twofold reconciliation mentioned. First, He brake down "the middle wall of partition between us," verse 14, and so "made both one;" that is, "between us,"—the Jews and Gentles. He hath taken away all cause of difference that should hinder us to be one in him. And how hath he done this? By taking away "the law of commandments contained in ordinances, verse 15;—that is, by abolishing that way of worship which was the Jews' privilege and burden, from which the Gentles were excluded: so breaking down that wall of partition. Secondly, By the cross at his death he slew the enmity, or took away the curse of the law; so reconciling both Jews and Gentles unto God; as verse 16. By bearing the curse of the law, he reconciled both unto God;—by taking away and abolishing the worship of the law, he took away all grounds of difference amongst them.
Upon this reconciliation ensueth a twofold advantage or privilege;—an access into the favour of God, who before was at enmity with them; and a new and more glorious way of approaching unto God in his worship than that about which they were before at difference among themselves.
The first of these is mentioned. Rom. v. 2. And that which is there called, an "access into this grace wherein we stand," may in the text be called, an "access unto the Father;" that is, the favour and acceptance with God which we do enjoy. Thus our access unto God is our sense of acceptance with him upon the reconciliation made for us by Jesus Christ. But this seems not to me to he the special intendment of the text; for that access unto God here mentioned seems to be the effect of the reconciliation of the Jews and Gentles among themselves, by the abolishing of the ceremonial worship;—a new and more glorious way of worship being now provided for them both in common, is there expressed. Before the reconciliation made, one party alone had the privilege of the carnal worship then instituted; but now both parties have in common such a way of worship, wherein they have immediate access unto God;—in which the apostle asserts the beauty and glory of the gospel worship of Jews and Gentles above that which, enjoyed by the Jews, was a matter of separation and division between them. And this appears to be the intendment of the words from verse 17. That which is here asserted, is not an immediate effect of the reconciliation made by the blood of Christ on the cross, but of his preaching peace unto, and calling both Jews and Gentles,—gathering them unto himself, and so to the worship of God. Being called by the word of peace, both the one and the other, as to our worship, we have this access.

"Seven Characteristics of false Teachers by Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)

Monday, November 21, 2011
  That Satan labours might and main, by false teachers, which are his messengers and ambassadors, to deceive, delude, and for ever undo the precious souls of men (Acts 20:28-30; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 4:14; 2 Tim. 3:4-6; Titus 1:11,12; 2 Peter 2:18,19): "I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err" (Jer. 23:13). "The prophets make my people to err" (Micah 3:5). They seduce them, and carry them out of the right way into by-paths and blind thickets of error, blasphemy, and wickedness, where they are lost forever. "Beware of false prophets, for they come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Mat. 7:15). These lick and suck the blood of souls: "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision" (Phil. 3:2). These kiss and kill; these cry, Peace, peace, till souls fall into everlasting flames, &c., Proverbs 7.

Now, the best way to deliver poor souls from being deluded and destroyed by these messengers of Satan is, to discover them in their colors, that so, being known, poor souls may shun them, and fly from them as from hell itself.
Now you may know them by these characters following:


False teachers are men-pleasers (Gal. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:1-4). They preach more to please the ear than to profit the heart: "Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophecy no unto us right things: speak to us smooth things; prophecy deceits"' (Isa. 30:10). "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so. And what will you do in the end thereof?" (Jer. 5:30,31). They handle holy things rather with wit and dalliance (playful come-on) then with fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-undoers. They are like evil chirurgeons, that skin over the wound, but never heal it. Flattery undid Ahab and Herod, Nero and Alexander. False teachers are hell's greatest enrichers. Non acerba, sed blanda, Not bitter, but flattering words do all the mischief, said Valerian, the Roman emperor. Such smooth teachers are sweet soul-poisoners (Jer. 23:16,17).