April 28, 2005

They Shall be My People by Don Fortner

"And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”
-- Jeremiah 24:7

There are some men and women in this world whom God has chosen to salvation from eternity, who must and shall be saved (John 15:16; 2 Thess. 2:13). There is a multitude, scattered among the fallen sons of Adam, in every age, in every nation who must be saved. The number of God’s elect is so great that no man can calculate it, though it always appears as only a remnant at any given time.

The number is unalterably fixed by God. All the elect must be saved. Nothing can prevent their salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ has made atonement for the sins of God’s elect and redeemed them from the curse of the law by his own precious blood (Gal. 3:13). Contrary to popular opinion, Christ did not die for all men. He refused to even pray for all men (John 17:9, 20). All his work was and is for his elect alone. To say otherwise is to declare that his work, his atonement, his intercession, all his work as the sinner's Substitute was and is futile, meaningless, and vain. The death of Christ was for his particular, chosen, elect people (Isa. 53:8; John 10:11) for the satisfaction of justice on their behalf.

All God’s elect, having been redeemed by the blood of Christ, shall be called from death to life by the irresistible power and almighty grace of God the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:13-14; Psa. 65:4; 110:3). Repentance toward God, faith in Christ, and eternal life are the results of the Spirit's call. Theses are things effectually wrought in God’s elect (not offered to them) by his almighty grace. There is specific day appointed by God in which each of
his elect will be called to life and faith in Christ by the gospel (Psa. 110:3; Ezek. 16:68). God will see to it that the sinner whom he has chosen will be in the place he has ordained, with his heart thoroughly prepared to receive the gospel, at the appointed time. And he will send his Word to that sinner in the irresistible power and grace of the Holy Spirit. In that day, God says, regarding every chosen, redeemed sinner, “They shall be my people.” By Donald Fortner

April 27, 2005

The duties and exercises of grace by Henry Mahan

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of faith without wavering; (for he faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some; but exhorting: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb 10:22-25)

The duties and exercises of grace…
- Let us all come forward in prayer and praise before our God with honest, open and sincere hearts. He will receive us, for our hearts have been sprinkled with the blood of Christ and our bodies have been washed or purified by His Spirit.
- Let us persevere in faith and grace, whatever the trial, the fear, the doubt; for God is faithful to His promise, and in that He promised.
- Let us consider one another both as frail men and as brethren. If we are busy loving and giving love, we will have less time to complain of being neglected. We can also help to kindle and rekindle love and grace in others.
- Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. It is the duty and privilege of believers to meet together for worship, praise, and fellowship.
- Because of God, who has appointed it, who approves of it, who is glorified in it and who should be worshiped.
- Because of ourselves, we need to be edified, instructed, refreshed, and comforted.
- Because of others, that they may be convinced, converted, and brought to a knowledge of Christ.
By Henry Mahan

April 26, 2005

The sheep and Their Shepherd by C.H. Spurgeon

“I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God” (Eze 34:15)

Oh, what sweet music there is to us in the name which is given to our Lord Jesus Christ of the Good Shepherd.

There cannot be a flock without a shepherd; neither is there a shepherd truly without a flock. The two must go together. They are the fullness of each other. As the church is the fullness of him that filleth all in all, so we rejoice to remember that “of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” That I am like a sheep is a sorry reflection; but that I have a shepherd charms away the sorrow and creates a new joy. It even becomes a gladsome thing to be weak, that I may rely on His strength; to be full of wants, that I may draw from His fullness; to be shallow and often at my wit’s end, that I may be always regulated by His wisdom. Even so doth my shame rebound to his praise. By Charles H. Spurgeon (exert from larger article; to see another exert read today’s Sovereign Grace Word for more of the perspective of the sheep and more of this article)read more...

April 25, 2005

Sleeping and Waking by Chris Cunningham

"I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me." (Psalm 3:5)

At the time David writes these words, he is bearing the weight of a crushing burden. His own treacherous son, whom he loves deeply, is pursuing him with intent to murder him and usurp his throne. Even those who he considered to be allies, stood much to gain by betraying him and delivering him into the hands of his enemy. How could one, in such painful and precarious straits, have a moments peace? The key is in verse 3, But thou, O LORD, art a shield For me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head, and in our text, For the LORD sustained me.

We are naturally creatures of sense and, therefore, outward circumstances are the only reality we acknowledge. Believers, however, also have spiritual discernment so that what we know to be real is not limited to the outward (2 Kings 6:15-17). King David's slate of mind was not unaffected by these trials, but amidst them, he was able to rest in the knowledge of THE KING in whose hand he knew himself to be.
There is no peace of any kind until there is peace with God. Men and women suffer from depression and anxiety, which results in all manner of illness, because they are guilty sinners without God and without hope in this world. David's assurance came from knowing that his sins were forgiven in Christ, the Sacrifice and that this mighty God therefore loved him and cared for him (vs. 8). Knowing this, in the midst of all the evils of this world and my flesh, I can lay down at night and sleep. Also, I shall awake, either in my bed, or in His presence and likeness, for it is the Lord who sustains me.

"Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding." (Isaiah 40:28)

By Chris Cunningham

April 21, 2005

Public Worship by Todd Nibert

Public worship is the public assembly of God's saints, meeting together to worship God publicly through the preaching of the word, public prayer, and public praise. Public worship is just as important as private worship. It is so important that Christ Himself gives the promise of His special presence and blessing only to public worship. (Matt. 18:20). "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." One who says "I don't need to worship God publicly, I can worship just as well on my own," is nothing more than a religious hypocrite. One who does not worship God publicly in reality does not worship God privately either. Public worship, the coming together as a church to hear the Gospel preached is of utmost importance to the child of God. If a person can willingly and habitually absent themselves from public worship, one of two things is true. (1) They are in a serious, spiritually sick condition. When one is physically sick they lose their appetite. When one is spiritually sick they lose their appetite for the Word preached. (2) They are lost.

The true child of God delights in public worship, because true worship does something for him. True worship will draw us closer to Christ in communion, faith, love and obedience. It shows us Christ, it shuts us up to Christ, and it leaves us looking to Christ. If that is not the case we have not truly worshipped. God uses public worship to cause us to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ. It always inspires, increases, and enlarges the faith, submission. By Todd Nibert

April 20, 2005

Best of men.. by A.W. Pink

It is for reason that God suffers it to appear that the best of men are but men at best. No matter how richly gifted they may be, how eminent in God’s service, how greatly honored and used of Him, let His sustaining power be withdrawn from them for a moment and it will quickly be seen that they are earthen vessels. No man stands any longer than he is supported by Divine grace. The most experienced saint, if left to himself, is immediately seen to be as weak as water and as timid as a mouse. “Man at his best estate is altogether vanity” (Psa 39:5). Then why should it be thought a thing incredible when we read of the failings and falls of the most favored of God’s saints and servants? Noah’s drunkenness, Lot’s carnality, Abraham’s prevarications, Moses’ anger, Aaron’s jealously, Joshua’s haste, David’s adultery, Jonah’s disobedience, Peter’s denial, Paul’s contention with Barnabas, are so many illustrations of the solemn truth that “there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl 7:20). Perfection is found in Heaven, but nowhere on earth except in the Perfect Man. A.W. Pink

April 19, 2005

Must! By Todd Nibert

Being the conservative person that I am, I love a sure thing. I don't like maybe's and ifs. I like must's. Christ said to Zacchaeus, "Today I must abide at thy house." I like that! He didn't invite Himself. He simply said He must do it. There is only one reason Christ must do anything. He must do His Father's will, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business," and, "I must work the works of Him that sent Me." Everything that Christ did was a must. That is why everyone He died for, everyone that trusts in Him, must be saved! He said concerning the "other sheep" that were not of the particular fold of His twelve disciples, "... Them also I must bring in, and they shall hear my voice." I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that all that Christ represented must be saved. But you may ask, where do I fit in? The Philippian jailer asked the question, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" To which the apostles replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." I must trust Christ to be saved, and if I trust Him my salvation is a must! By Todd Nibert

April 18, 2005

Marks of a True Conversion - George Whitefield

"Verily, I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:3.

If you ask others, upon what foundation they have built their hope of heaven, they will tell you, that they have been baptized, that their fathers and mothers, presented them to the Lord Jesus Christ in their infancy; and though, instead of fighting under Christ's banner, they have been fighting against him, almost ever since they were baptized, yet because they have been admitted to church, and their names are in the Register book of the parish, therefore they will make us believe, that their names are also written in the book of life. But a great many, who will not build their hopes of salvation upon such a sorry rotten foundation as this, yet if they are, what we generally call, negatively good people; if they live so as their neighbors cannot say that they do anybody harm, they do not doubt but they shall be happy when they die; nay, I have found many such die, as the scripture speaks, "without any hands in their death." And if a person is what the world calls an honest moral man, if he does justly, and, what the world calls, love a little mercy, is not and then good-natured, reacheth out his hand to the poor, receives the sacrament once or twice a year, and is outwardly sober and honest; the world looks upon such an one as a Christian indeed, and doubtless we are to judge charitably of every such person.

There are many likewise, who go on in a round of duties, a model of performances, that think they shall go to heaven; but if you examine them, though they have a Christ in their heads, they have no Christ in their hearts. The Lord Jesus Christ knew this full well; he knew how desperately wicked and deceitful men's hearts were; he knew very well how many would go to hell even by the very gates of heaven, how many would climb up even to the door, and go so near as to knock at it, and yet after all be dismissed with a "verily I know you not." The Lord, therefore, plainly tells us, what great change must be wrought in us, and what must be done for us, before we can have any well grounded hopes of entering into the kingdom of heaven. Hence, he tells Nicodemus, "that unless a man be born again, and from above, and unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." And of all the solemn declarations of our Lord, I mean with respect to this, perhaps the words of the text are one of the most solemn, "except, (says Christ) ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." By George Whitefield

April 13, 2005

How to Listen to a Sermon - George Whitefield

"Therefore consider carefully how you listen" (Luke 8:18).

1. Come to hear them, not out of curiosity, but from a sincere desire to know and do your duty. To enter His house merely to have our ears entertained, and not our hearts reformed, must certainly be highly displeasing to the Most High God, as well as unprofitable to ourselves.

2. Give diligent heed to the things that are spoken from the Word of God. If an earthly king were to issue a royal proclamation, and the life or death of his subjects entirely depended on performing or not performing its conditions, how eager would they be to hear what those conditions were! And shall we not pay the same respect to the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and lend an attentive ear to His ministers, when they are declaring, in His name, how our pardon, peace, and happiness may be secured?

3. Do not entertain even the least prejudice against the minister. Consider that the clergy are men of like passions with yourselves. And though we should even hear a person teaching others to do what he has not learned himself, yet that is no reason for rejecting his doctrine. For ministers speak not in their own, but in Christ’s name. And we know who commanded the people to do whatever the scribes and Pharisees should say unto them, even though they did not do themselves what they said (see Matt. 23:1-3).

4. Be careful not to depend too much on a preacher, or think more highly of him than you ought to think. Preferring one teacher over another has often been of ill consequence to the church of God. It was a fault which the great Apostle of the Gentiles condemned in the Corinthians: "For whereas one said, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos: are you not carnal, says he? For who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but instruments in God’s hands by whom you believed?" (1 Cor. 1:12; 2:3-5).

5. Make particular application to your own hearts of everything that is delivered. Oh, that persons, in like manner, when preachers are dissuading from any sin or persuading to any duty, instead of crying, "This was intended for such and such a one!" instead would turn their thoughts inwardly, and say, "Lord, is it I?" How far more beneficial should we find discourses to be than now they generally are!

6. Pray to the Lord, before, during, and after every sermon, to endue the minister with power to speak, and to grant you a will and ability to put into practice what he shall show from the Book of God to be your duty.

If only all who hear me this day would seriously apply their hearts to practice what has now been told them! How ministers would see Satan, like lightning, fall from heaven, and people find the Word preached sharper than a two-edged sword and mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the devil’s strongholds! By George Whitefield

April 12, 2005

The whole apparatus of religion by J. C. Philpot

"I see that you are very religious in every way." Acts 17:22

True religion is what the world does not want --nor does true religion want the world. The two are as separate as Christ and Belial. But some religion the world must have! And as it will not have, and cannot have the true--it will and must have the false.

Worldly religion cannot exist without an order of men to teach it and practice its ceremonies. Hence come clergy, forming a recognized priestly caste. And as these must, to avoid confusion, be governed, all large corporate bodies requiring a controlling power, thence come bishops and archbishops, ecclesiastical courts, archdeacons--and the whole apparatus of clerical government.

The ceremonies and ordinances cannot be carried on without buildings set apart for the purpose--thence churches and cathedrals. As prayer is a part of all religious worship, and carnal men cannot, for lack of the Spirit, pray spiritually--they must have forms of devotion made ready to their hand, thence come prayer-books and liturgies. As there must be mutual points of agreement to hold men together, there must be written formulas of doctrine --thence come articles, creeds, and confessions of faith. And finally, as there are children to be instructed, and this cannot be safely left to oral teaching, for fear of ignorance in some and error in others, the very form of instruction must be drawn up in so many words-- thence come catechisms. People are puzzled sometimes to know why there is this and that thing in an established religion--why we have churches and clergy, tithes and prayer-books, universities and catechisms--and the whole apparatus of religion. They do not see that all these things have sprung, as it were, out of a moral necessity, and are based upon the very constitution of man--that this great and widespread tree of a human religion has its deep roots in the natural conscience; and that all these branches necessarily and naturally grow out of the broad and lofty stem. The attachment, then, of worldly people to a worldly religion is no great mystery. It is no riddle for a Samson to put forth--or requiring a Solomon to solve. by Joseph Philpot

April 11, 2005

His life mine; my death His! By Octavius Winslow

It is astonishing that I should so be one with Christ, that all that He is becomes mine; and all that I am becomes His!

His glory mine; my humiliation His!
His righteousness mine; my guilt His!
His joy mine; my sorrow His!
His riches mine; my poverty His!
His life mine; my death His!
His heaven mine; my hell His!

The daily walk of faith is a continuous development of the wonders of this wondrous truth. That in traveling to Him empty; I should return from Him full. That in going to Him weak; I should come away from Him strong. That in bending my steps to Him in all darkness, perplexity, and grief; I should retrace them all light, and joy, and gladness. By Octavius Winslow

April 06, 2005

One great secret of unhappiness by J. C. Ryle

Let us learn not to be surprised or fret when trials come. It is a wise saying of Job, "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward." (Job 5:7). Some, no doubt, have a larger cup of sorrows to drink than others. But few live long without troubles or cares of some kind. The greater our affections--the deeper are our afflictions. The more we love--the more we have to weep.

The only certain thing to be predicted about the babe lying in his cradle is this--if he grows up, he will have many troubles, and at last he will die.

Let us learn not to expect too much from anybody or anything in this fallen world. One great secret of unhappiness is the habit of indulging in exaggerated expectations.

From money,
from marriage,
from business,
from houses,
from children,
from worldly honors,
from political success--
people are constantly expecting what they never find--and the great majority die disappointed.

Selfish feeding on our own troubles, and continual poring over our sorrows--are one secret of the melancholy misery in which many spend their lives.

Let us never give way to a fretting, murmuring, complaining spirit. Let us firmly believe at the worst of times--that every step in our lives is ordered by the Lord, with perfect wisdom and perfect love, and that we shall see it all at last. By J.C. Ryle

April 04, 2005

The heart? by Octavius Winslow

There exists not upon earth a more vile and unlovely thing, in the self searching view of
the true believer, than his own heart. From every other human eye that bosom is deeply, impenetrably veiled. All that is within is known only to itself. What those chambers of abominations are, God will not permit another creature to know. Any yet, O wonder of grace! God, by His renewing Spirit, has made of that heart a beautiful, costly and precious censer, the cloud of whose incense ascends and fills all heaven with its fragrance!

With all its indwelling evil and self loathing, God sees its struggles, watches its conflict,
and marks its sincerity.

Not a feeling thrills it,
not an emotion agitates it,
not a sorrow shades it,
not a sin wounds it,
not a thought passes through it, of which He is not cognizant.

Believer, Jesus loves that heart of yours! He purchased it with His own heart's blood,
agonies, and tears; and He loves it! He inhabits it by His Spirit, and He loves it!

by Octavious Winslow