December 31, 2004

Putting on by Martin Luther

Col 3:12 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”

In the epistle for New Year's day we have sufficiently explained the meaning of "putting on"; how by faith we put on Christ, and he us; how in love we put on our neighbor, and our neighbor us. The Christian apparel is of two kinds faith and love. Christ wore two manner of garments one whole and typical of faith, the other divided and typical of love. Paul here has reference to the latter garment, love. He would teach us Christians the manner of ornaments and apparel we are to wear in the world; not silk or precious gold. To women these are forbidden of Peter ( 1 Pet 3, 3), and of Paul (1 Tim 2, 9). Love for our neighbor is a garment well befitting us -that. love which leads us to concern ourselves about the neighbor and his misfortunes. Such love is called the ornament of a Christian character an ornament in the eyes of men. by Martin Luther New Year’s eve address

December 30, 2004

Preach repentance by Eric Wilson

Mark 6:12 “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.”

So what is it to repent? What are we commanded to do? Repentance is toward God (Acts 20:21). It is not merely knowing your nature or confessing that you sin against someone but it is being brought to the knowledge that you have spit in the face of the Lord and your nature is total rebellion against His authority. Your repentance is toward the one whom you have offended, it is toward the one that suffered for that sin and nature, it is seeing that each sin against His holy law was one more hammer of the nail that drove into His flesh of His hand. It is weeping that yours and your nature alone was the spear that pierced His side. Repentance is a life long journey that continues to bring us closer to Christ (Rom 7:15-25). Both repentance and faith are necessary and we will not have one without the other. Without repentance releasing the filthy rags it once clung to, faith would not have had empty hands to grasp His grace. Without repentance hating what it once loved, faith could not love what it once hated. Faith could never cry for mercy, if repentance didn’t cry unclean. Repentance is more than just confessing your sins it is a state of heart (I Thes 1:9). It is loathing your flesh and praising His righteousness. It is turning from your sins and turning to God. And so I pray by His grace I shall carry both faith and repentance with me all the way to the gates of Heaven. For each day by His grace as I grow repentance shows me the evil and sins I abhor more and more while faith shows me the light and promise He has provided that I love and rest in more and more. Taken in part from Heart of Doctrine "Do you need to Repent?"

December 29, 2004

Confess your sins by Eric Wilson

(I John 1:9-10) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

All men are responsible to walk in the light that God has given them (Eph 5:8). Unbelief is not a passive thing. If you go to hell it is based solely on your sins. As much as redemption is only on the price that He paid, damnation is only on your transgressions you made. The sinner does not go to hell because Christ did not die for them but because they are rebels against God (Rom 1:18-20). In the justice of the Lord it is fixed so that those who die in their sins, those who die in unbelief are without excuse. Don Fortner wrote, “If you go to hell, you will have to scratch and claw your way there. Fighting to your last breath against the light God has given you.” God has commanded all to repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). And those He died for shall be made willing and will freely repent. Those who do not see the necessity of faith and repentance in the presence of election and grace know not yet the depths of their sin and true mercy. For when you are brought to a place by the grace of God where you loathe your self you willfully and helplessly cry for this mercy and repent. Stated in the scriptures and as a commandment it is a necessity but more than a need it becomes for the broken sinner, presented for the first time with a grace filled heart, a desire. Does this contribute to redemption; no. This is the result of His work in you. Does not repenting and believing contribute to someone fallen into eternal damnation; yes. This is the result of their works (Heb 12:14). Taken in part from Heart of Doctrine "Do you need to Repent?"

December 28, 2004

After All that I have done by Octavious Winslow

"Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God and committed adultery against Him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to follow Me. I, the Lord, have spoken!" Jer. 3:13

God has laid great stress in His word upon the confession of sin. How touching His language addressed to His backsliding people, whose backslidings were of a most aggravated character; than which none could have been of deeper guilt, seeing that they had committed the sin of idolatry! "Only acknowledge your guilt." This was all that He required at their hands. "Only acknowledge." Poor penitent soul, bending in tears and self reproaches over this page, read these words again and again, and yet again, until they have scattered all your dark, repelling thoughts of this sin forgiving God, winning you to His feet as His restored and comforted child, "only acknowledge your guilt."

"What! Lord! after all that I have done, after . . .
my base returns, my repeated wanderings, my aggravated transgressions, my complicated iniquity, my sins against conviction, light, and love; do You still stretch out your hand to me, a poor, wretched wanderer as I am? Do You go forth to meet, to welcome, to pardon me? Do You watch the first kindling of penitence, the first tear of contrition, the first word of confession, 'Father, I have sinned!' Lord, I fall at Your feet, the greatest of sinners . . .
Your power has drawn me,
Your love has subdued me,
Your grace has conquered me!"

Octavious Winslow

December 27, 2004

Glory in Damnation! By C.H. Spurgeon

At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Even so, Father, for this was your good pleasure." (Matthew 11:25-26)


Is God glorified in the damnation of the wise and prudent?

Yes, tremendous fact! At the winding up of this world's drama, God will be glorified in the men that shut their eyes against his grace, as well as in the men whose eyes are opened to receive it. The 'yells of hell' shall be but the deep bass of the everlasting music of which the 'songs in heaven' are the sweeter high notes.
God, the terrible one, shall have praise from the wise and prudent when their folly shall be discovered, when their wisdom shall be dashed in pieces or torn to shreds.

God, the terrible avenger of his own gospel shall be glorified when those are cast out, who having heard the gospel were too wise to believe it, and having listened to it were too prudent to give their praise to it. In either case God is glorified, and in either case Christ devoutly gives thanks. by C.H. Spurgen

December 25, 2004

The Spirit of Christmas by E. Wilson

I suppose no greater time of the year manifests the nature of man than this season. Throughout the year many churches seem to pervert the gospel and preach a more palatable sermon to the flesh. They teach lessons and stories and ignore the message of Christ finished work. They bring the world into the church to entice the worshipers and discard His abilities and work. They add to the theatrics with pictures, idles, and symbols of blasphemy. And every week under the pretense of spirituality the lost wonder in to fill their emotional needs only to be empty by that afternoon. With that it should not surprise any of us the apparent zeal people go into this holiday season with every year. But still my heart sinks to see all that man does with the pretense of religion. They take what they know as religion and mix it with the world. Christmas was clearly brought over from Paganism to entice those to the Roman Church. Christmas services of today teach stories and ignore the message of Christ life, death, resurrection, ascension, and Word. Nowhere in the scripture speaks of or records a celebration of Jesus birth, but the same scriptures says clearly we should remember His death. Ignoring this many not only embrace and celebrate the nativity but change it to fit a 60 minute pageant. They worship it with idles and symbols and fight for idolatrous nativity scenes to be displayed in public. And on December 25th there are those that exhibit joy in the remembrance of the birth of Jesus, but seek no pleasure in the Savior. It seems for this single day the religion of self is amplified to demonstrate the flesh more than usual. There is no different it appears than any other day.

And so it should be for you and me as well. We should spend this day and season as we should spend every day of the year. Believers should spend every day in thanks and praise to God for His gift of His Son. We should embrace songs such as Joy to the World and sing them all year round. Since it is not improper but lawful to meditate upon the Lord on any day it shouldn’t be in the power of other men’s superstition, or our own, to make such a meditation improper for this one day as well. We need not act like super-pious religious idiots over a day that truly has absolutely no more religious significance than any other. And like any other day we should live it to serve the Lord. And like any other day we should give thanks to Him. Let us remember that everyday and opportunity is provided us by divine providence. The day may be afforded us to tell everyone who Christ is, to preach the message of His finished work, to call everyone to reconcile to God. It is not by accident that once a year all unbelievers are faced with the truth that Christ became flesh to save His elect.

With all of this, I am not saying it is wrong to come together, give gifts, send cards, or especially give thanks for the gift of His Son. I enjoy, most of the time, this season and the good will it promotes. And I love, am humbled, and honored for any opportunity to praise the lord and share the meaning of His Son and the Gift of Grace. Let us repent from any religiosity and false representations of Christ. This day like any other day let us exalt it to glorify God.

December 23, 2004

The gift of Christmas by Don Fortner

While I loathe the religiosity of this holiday season, the silly plays, the idolatrous pictures and representations of Christ and the angels of God, and pretense of spirituality by people who have no interest in the glory of God, I am delighted for this season of the year (for any season) that brings families together, encourages kindness and good will, and promotes thoughtfulness of and generosity to others. It is perfectly all right to exchange gifts with and send cards to family and friends. (I cannot imagine a reason for anyone objecting to that!) But I suggest that each of us find a way to acknowledge and do something special for someone from whom we expect nothing, maybe even from someone from whom we expect abuse. “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” - Don Fortner

December 22, 2004

Christmas is coming by A.W. Pink

Christmas is coming! Quite so; but what is "Christmas"? Does not the very term itself denote its source-- "Christ-mass." Thus it is of Romish origin, brought over from Paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior's birth. It is? And who authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples "remember" Him in His death, but there is not a word in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth... -
By Arthur Pink

December 20, 2004

Christmas Superstition by C.H. Spurgeon

We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English. Secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. 'Superstition' has fixed most positively the day of our Savior's birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. ... It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the Church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western Church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it.... Probably the fact is that the "holy" days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. We venture to assert, that if there be any day in the year, of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Savior was born, it is the 25th of December. ... Regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son. – C.H. Spurgeon

December 16, 2004

Salvation by Grace by CH Spurgeon

No sinner will ever come to Christ apart from the quickening, enlightening, drawing, converting power of the Holy Spirit, supernaturally exercised upon the conscience and heart. Until grace comes into our souls we have no heart for the things of God. We may be fussily religious so far as to be attentive to every 'outward form of worship'; but there is no heart-work, no light of truth in all our devotion. But when once the divine light comes in, then we become intensely real in our dealings with God.

When the grace of God comes, the Holy Spirit brings us out from under the dominion of the old nature by creating within us a new life, and he brings us out from under the tyranny of the Prince of Darkness by opening our eyes to see, and our minds to understand celestial truth. The opening of our blind eyes and the pouring in of the light of truth are from the Lord.

The entrance of God's word into the mind by the power of the Holy Spirit gives us light as to-- ourselves, our sin, and our danger. With this comes light as to the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, and light as to the mind of God concerning our sanctification. True knowledge takes the place of ignorance, and a desire for purity becomes supreme over the love of sin. Not all the temptations of life, nor all the terrors of death, nor all the furies of hell, shall prevent any soul upon whom God has begun his work of grace from reaching eternal salvation. What a blessing is this, and what a comfort it is!

"The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord."

December 15, 2004

Three rules for a happy marriage by J.C. Ryle

Of all relationships of life, none ought to be regarded with such reverence, and none taken in hand so cautiously as the relationship of husband and wife.

In no relationship is so much earthly happiness to be found, if it be entered upon discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God. In none is so much misery seen to follow, if it be taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly, and without thought. From no step in life does so much benefit come to the soul, if people marry "in the Lord." From none does the soul take so much harm, if fancy, passion, or any mere worldly motive is the only cause which produce the union.

There is, unhappily, only too much necessity for impressing these truths upon people. It is a mournful fact, that few steps in life are generally taken with so much levity, self will, and forgetfulness of God as marriage. Few are the young couples who think of inviting Christ to their wedding! It is a mournful fact that unhappy marriages are one great cause of the misery and sorrow of which there is so much in the world. People find out too late that they have made a mistake, and go in bitterness all their days.

Happy are they, who in the matter of marriage observe three rules: The first is to marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God's approval and blessing. The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels. The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another's sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are. By J.C. Ryle

December 14, 2004

The training and education of children by J.C. Ryle

"For from within, out of a person's heart, come . . . evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God." Mark 7:21-23

The heart is the chief source of defilement and impurity in God's sight. Our original sinfulness and natural inclination to evil are seldom sufficiently considered. The wickedness of people is often attributed to . . bad examples, bad company, peculiar temptations, or the snares of the devil. It seems forgotten that everyone carries within him a fountain of wickedness.

We need no bad company to teach us, and no devil to tempt us, in order to run into sin. We have within us the beginning of every sin under heaven. We ought to remember this in the training and education of children. In all our management we must never forget, that the seeds of all mischief and wickedness are in their hearts. It is not enough to keep boys and girls at home, and shut out every outward temptation. They carry within them a heart ready for any sin, and until that heart is changed they are not 'safe', whatever we do.

When children do wrong, it is a common practice to lay all the blame on bad companions. But it is mere ignorance, blindness, and foolishness to do so. Bad companions are a great evil no doubt, and an evil to be avoided as much as possible. But no bad companion teaches a boy or girl half as much sin as their own hearts will suggest to them. The beginning of all wickedness is within! If parents were half as diligent in praying for their children's conversion as they are in keeping them from bad company, their children would turn out far better than they do. by J.C. Ryle

December 13, 2004

Has the Gospel Christianized your home? By Octavius Winslow

It is impossible to love Jesus ardently, to behold Him spiritually, and to study Him closely, and not be molded, in some degree, into His lovely likeness! Has the Gospel of Jesus made your temper milder, your heart purer, your life holier? Has it softened your churlishness, subdued your moroseness, sweetened your disposition, rendering you more attractable, admired, and loved? Has it converted your penuriousness into liberality, your pride into humility, your selfishness into generosity, your love of ease and sloth into active service for the Lord? Has the Gospel Christianized your home? O remember that the Gospel of Jesus has done but little for us if it has not done this! by Octavius Winslow

December 09, 2004

Family Duty: A Father's Duty to His Family –by John Bunyan

He that is the master of a family, he has, as under that relation, a work to do for God; the right governing of his own family. And his work is twofold. First, Touching the spiritual state of it. Second, Touching the outward state of it. (Josh 24:15)

First, As touching the spiritual state of his family; he should be very diligent and circumspect, doing his utmost endeavor both to increase faith where it is begun, and to begin it where it is not. For this reason, he should diligently and frequently lay before his household such things of God, out of his word, as are suitable for each particular (Phil 4:8).

Second, touching the outward state; If you are father, then you are to consider your calling under this relation. Your children have souls, and they must be born of God as well as of you, or they perish. And know also, that unless you be very circumspect in your behavior to and before them, they may perish through you: the thoughts of which should provoke you, both to instruct, and also to correct them (Eph 6:4; Deu 6:7). If you are a husband, in a word, be such a husband to your believing wife, that she may say, God has not only given me a husband, but such a husband as preaches to me everyday the behavior of Christ to his church (Eph 5:8, 29). by John Bunyan

December 08, 2004

Great Duty of Family Religion - by George Whitefield

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24:15

These words contain the holy resolution of pious Joshua, who having in a most moving, affectionate discourse recounted to the Israelites what great things God had done for them, in the verse immediately preceding the text, comes to draw a proper inference from what he had been delivering; and acquaints them, in the most pressing terms, that since God had been so exceeding gracious unto them, they could do not less, than out of gratitude for such uncommon favors and mercies, dedicate both themselves and families to his service. "Now therefore, fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth, and put away the Gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood." And by the same engaging motive does the prophet Samuel afterwards enforce their obedience to the commandments of God, 1 Sam. 12:24, "Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth, with all your heart; for consider how great things he hath done for you." But then, that they might not excuse themselves (as too many might be apt to do) by his giving them a bad example, or think he was laying heavy burdens upon them, whilst he himself touched them not with one of his fingers, he tells them in the text, that whatever regard they might pay to the doctrine he had been preaching, yet he (as all ministers ought to do) was resolved to live up to and practice it himself: "Choose you therefore, whom you will serve, whether the Gods which your fathers served, or the Gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

A resolution this, worthy of Joshua, and no less becoming, no less necessary for every true son of Joshua, that is entrusted with the care and government of a family in our day: and, if it was ever seasonable for ministers to preach up, or people to put in practice family-religion, it was never more so than in the present age; since it is greatly to be feared, that out of those many households that call themselves Christians, there are but few that serve God in their respective families as they ought. by George Whitefield

December 07, 2004

"Shall I not in that day saith the LORD..." by John Calvin

"Shall I not in that day saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?"–Obad. 8

Though men be in many respects blind whom God guides not by his Spirit, and on whom he shines not with his word, yet the worst blindness is when men become inebriated with the false conceit of wisdom. God indeed permits the ungodly for a long time to felicitate (joyfully congratulate) themselves on account of their own acumen (wisdom) and counsels. But we are warned by these words that if we excel in understanding, we are not to abuse this singular gift of God, as we see the case to be with the ungodly, who turn to cunning whatever wisdom the Lord has bestowed on them. There is hardly one in a hundred to be found who does not seek to be crafty and deceitful if he excels in understanding. We see that the world perverts this excellent gift of God; the more reason there is for us to labor that our wisdom should be founded in true simplicity. This is one Thing. Then we must also beware lest we trust in our own understanding and despise our enemies, and lest we think that we can ward off any evil that may impend over us; but let us ever seek from the Lord that he may vouchsafe (give) to us at all times the Spirit of wisdom, that he may guide us even to the end of life. by John Calvin

December 06, 2004

What is Calvinism? by B.B. Warfield

Calvinism is total dependence upon God for salvation! Calvinism implies a NEED of salvation, a profound SENSE of this need, a profound sense of HELPLESSNESS in the presence of this need, and an utter DEPENDENCE ON GOD for its satisfaction. Its type is found in the publican who smote on his breast and cried, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" No question there of saving himself or of helping God to save him. No question of anything but, "I am a sinner and all my hope is in God, my Saviour." This is Calvinism! Where this attitude of heart and mind is found, there is Calvinism. The Calvinist is the man who has seen God and who, having seen God in His glory, is filled on the one hand with a sense of his own unworthiness to stand in God's presence as a CREATURE, and much more as a SINNER, and on the other hand, with adoring wonder that, nevertheless, this God, in Christ, is a God WHO LOVES AND RECEIVES SINNERS. He believes God without reserve and is determined that GOD IS GOD in all his thinking and feeling, willing (in the entire compass of life's activities) that God is God in all of creation, providence, and salvation. He who can cast his soul wholly on the free grace of God, who through the merit of His Son, is both just and justifier, is, by the very necessity of the case, a Calvinist! by BB Warfield

December 01, 2004

Dying to self by Bruce Crabtree

"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself…" Matthew 16:24

When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, and unpunctuality, or any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, and spiritual insensibility, enduring it as Christ Jesus endured it, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you no longer care to hear yourself in conversation, or to record your own works, or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and you are in far more desperate circumstance, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself, and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.