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This site was not developed with the intention of drawing a large number of visitors using trivial methods and shallowness. There is rejoicing among the angels when even one sinner repents and believes in Jesus Christ. (Luke 15:10) If, for as long as this site exists, just one sinner is led to repentance and belief in Christ with the aid of the material presented here, the purpose of this site has been served.


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Married to @SueBirdChaplin, LaneCh on Youtube, Host of Rightly Divided, Reagan Conservative, J.D., Deacon at Christ Reformed of Anaheim (Rom.7:24-25a)




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      Keep the Fire of Your Flattery at a Distance From Me.

      Friday, June 29, 2007

      The last thing you need to hear, especially if you're still also lacking in a true and genuine conviction over your sin, is more flattering talk about how "great and valuable you are" or how "you need more self-esteem" or how "Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life." No, as John Flavel so eliquoently put it:

      "If dying to self is the great work of any human soul in order to go to heaven, and scripture plainly states that it is, then those people that give the corruption of pride and self-righteousness in us occasion to rise up within ourselves do not help us, but rather, they do us a very harmful disservice. Those people and preachers are not our best friends who stir the pride of our hearts by the flattery of their lips. Although we would do well to acknowledge the grace of God when it is active in the lives of others and use words of encouragement wisely and cautiously when our friends are disheartened, the most godly person scarcely shows their own weakness in any one thing more than being glad to hear people talk highly of them. Oh my brothers and sisters, thou carriest gun-powder about thee! You would be wise, therefore, to request others to keep the fire of their flattery at a distance from you. It is a dangerous crisis when a proud heart meets with flattering lips.

      There is a well known story that is told of a great German theologian who, when his companion began to compliment his life upon his death bed, said, "Take away the fire for there is still combustible matter about me." Oh how wise he was! Faithful, seasonable, discreet reproofs are much more safe to us and to our advantage than flattering, flowery words. But alas! How few have the wisdom and love to duly administer them?

      It is said of Alexander that he fired a philosopher who had been with him for many years because he said, "You have been with me a long time, and yet, you have never reproved me which must be your fault because either you saw nothing in me which needed to be reproved which argues your ignorance or you dared not reprove me which argues of your unfaithfulness."

      Oh may it be known: a faithful friend is a faithful reprover, and a wise and faithful reprover is of singular use to any person who is sincerely engaged in trying to please God and save their own souls!"

      ...And John Flavel was absolutely right! We don't do anybody any favors by soft petaling the truth or outright avoiding the truth simply to make our listeners "feel good or encouraged. No, quite the opposite: A faithful and true friend will give you the straight story in love. Yet, sadly, our secular bookstores are just filled with misleading books that completely circumvent the root issue of sin and judgment and human depravity, and instead, they try to make people merely feel good about themselves with a host of homemade remedies and self-help strategies that are designed to tell us what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear.

      - Mark Kielar
      (and John Flavel [1627-1691])


      The Fear of the Lord is to Hate Pride.

      And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him (God) who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

      - Jesus Christ
      (Mat 10:28)

      The fear of God is to hate ...pride.

      (Pro 8:13)

      So high indeed are our spirits, that when it becomes the duty of any one to reprove or contradict us, we are commonly impatient both of the matter and the manner. We love the man who will say as we say, and be of our opinion, and promote our reputation, though, in other respects, he be less worthy of our esteem. But he is ungrateful to us who contradicteth us and differeth from us, and dealeth plainly with us as to our miscarriages and telleth us of our faults. Especially in the management of our public arguings, where the eye of the world is upon us, we can scarcely endure any contradiction or plain dealing. I know that railing language is to be abhorred, and that we should be as tender of each other’s reputation, as our fidelity to the truth will permit. But our pride makes too many of us think all men contemn us, that do not admire us, yea, and admire all we say, and submit their judgments to our most palpable mistakes. We are so tender, that a man can scarcely touch us but we are hurt; and so high-minded, that a man who is not versed in complimenting, and skilled in flattery above the vulgar rate, can scarcely tell how to handle us so observantly, and fit our expectations at every turn, without there being some word, or some neglect, which our high spirits will fasten on, and take as injurious to our honor.

      I confess I have often wondered that this most heinous sin should be made so light of, and thought so consistent with a holy frame of heart and life, when far less sins are, by ourselves, proclaimed to be so damnable in our people. And I have wondered more, to see the difference between godly preachers and ungodly sinners, in this respect. When we speak to drunkards, worldlings, or ignorant unconverted persons, we disgrace them to the utmost, and lay it on as plainly as we can speak, and tell them of their sin, and shame, and misery; and we expect that they should not only bear all patiently, but take all thankfully. And most that I deal with do take it patiently, and many gross sinners will commend the closest preachers most, and will say that they care not for hearing a man that will not tell them plainly of their sins. But if we speak to godly ministers against their errors or their sins, if we do not honor them and reverence them, and speak as smoothly as we are able to speak, yea, if we mix not commendations with our reproofs, and if the applause be not predominant, so as to drown all the force of the reproof or confutation, they take it as almost an insufferable injury. Brethren, I know this is a sad confession, but that all this should exist among us, should be more grievous to us than to be told of it. Could the evil be hid, I should not have disclosed it, at least so openly in the view of all. But, alas! it is long ago open to the eyes of the world. We have dishonored ourselves by idolizing our honor; we print our shame, and preach our shame, thus proclaiming it to the whole world. Some will think that I speak overcharitably when I call such persons godly men, in whom so great a sin doth so much prevail. I know, indeed, that where it is predominant, not hated, and bewailed, and mortified in the main, there can be no true godliness; and I beseech every man to exercise a strict jealousy and search of his own heart. But if all be graceless that are guilty of any, or of most of the fore-mentioned discoveries of pride, the Lord be merciful to the ministers of this land, and give us quickly another spirit; for grace is then a rarer thing than most of us have supposed it to be. Yet I must needs say, that I do not mean to involve all the ministers of Christ in this charge. To the praise of Divine grace be it spoken, we have some among us, who are eminent for humility and meekness, and who, in these respects, are exemplary to their flocks and to their brethren. It is their glory, and shall be their glory; and maketh them truly honorable and lovely in the eyes of God and of all good men, and even in the eyes of the ungodly themselves. O that the rest of us were but such! But, alas! this is not the case with all of us.

      Oh that the Lord would lay us at his feet, in the tears of unfeigned sorrow for this sin! Brethren, may I expostulate this case a little with my own heart and yours, that we may see the evil of our sin, and be reformed! Is not pride the sin of devils — the first-born of hell? Is it not that wherein Satan’s image doth much consist? and is it to be tolerated in men who are so engaged against him and his kingdom as we are? The very design of the gospel is to abase us; and the work of grace is begun and carried on in humiliation. Humility is not a mere ornament of a Christian, but an essential part of the new creature. It is a contradiction in terms, to be a Christian, and not humble. All who will be Christians must be Christ’s disciples, and ‘come to him to learn,’ and the lesson which he teacheth them is, to ‘be meek and lowly.’ Oh, how many precepts and admirable examples hath our Lord and Master given us to this end! Can we behold him washing and wiping his servants’ feet, and yet be proud and lordly still? Shall he converse with the meanest of the people, and shall we avoid them as below our notice, and think none but persons of wealth and honor fit for our society? How many of us are oftener found in the houses of gentlemen than in the cottages of the poor, who most need our help? There are many of us who would think it below us, to be daily with the most needy and beggarly people, instructing them in the way of life and salvation; as if we had taken charge of the souls of the rich only! Alas! what is it that we have to be proud of Is it of our body? Why, is it not made of the like materials as the brutes; and must it not shortly be as loathsome and abominable as a carcass? Is it of our graces? Why, the more we are proud of them, the less we have to be proud of. When so much of’ the nature of grace consists in humility, it is a great absurdity to be proud of it. Is it of our knowledge and learning? Why, if we have any knowledge at all, we must needs know how much reason we have to be humble; and if we know more than others, we must know more reason than others to be humble. How little is it that the most learned know, in comparison of that of which they are ignorant! To know that things are past your reach, and to know how ignorant you are, one would think should be no great cause of pride. However, do not the devils know more than you? And will you be proud of that in which the devils excel you? Our very business is to teach the great lesson of humility to our people; and how unfit, then, is it that we should be proud ourselves? We must study humility, and preach humility; and must we not possess and practice humility A proud preacher of humility is at least a self-condemning man. What a sad case is it, that so vile a sin is not more easily discerned by us, but many who are most proud, can blame it in others, and yet take no notice of it in themselves! The world takes notice of some among us, that they have aspiring minds, and seek for the highest room, and must be the rulers, and bear the sway wherever they come, or else there is no living or acting with them. In any consultations, they come not to search after truth, but to dictate to others, who, perhaps, are fit to teach them. In a word, they have such arrogant domineering spirits, that the world rings of it, and yet they will not see it in themselves!

      Brethren, I desire to deal closely with my own heart and yours. I beseech you consider whether it will save us to speak well of the grace of humility while we possess it not, or to speak against the sin of pride while we indulge in it? Have not many of us cause to inquire diligently, whether sincerity will consist with such a measure of pride as we feel. When we are telling the drunkard that he cannot be saved unless he become temperate, and the fornicator that he cannot be saved unless he become chaste, have we not as great reason, if we are proud, to say to ourselves, that we cannot be saved unless we become humble. Pride, in fact, is a greater sin than drunkenness or whoredom; and humility is as necessary as sobriety and chastity. Truly, brethren, a man may as certainly, and more slyly, make haste to hell, in the way of earnest preaching of the gospel, and seeming zeal for a holy life, as in a way of drunkenness and filthiness. For what is holiness, but a devotedness to God and a living to him? and what is a damnable state, but a devotedness to carnal self and a living to ourselves? And doth any one live more to himself, or less to God, than the proud man? And may not pride make a preacher study for himself and pray and preach, and live to himself, even when he seemeth to surpass others in the work? It is not the work without the right principle and end that will prove us upright. The work may be God’s, and yet we may do it, not for God, but for ourselves. I confess I feel such continual danger on this point, that if I do not watch, lest I should study for myself, and preach for myself, and write for myself, rather than for Christ, I should soon miscarry; and after all, I justify not myself, when I must condemn the sin. Consider, I beseech you, brethren, what baits there are in the work of the ministry, to entice a man to selfishness, even in the highest works of piety. The fame of a godly man is as great a snare as the fame of a learned man. But woe to him that takes up the fame of godliness instead of godliness! ‘Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.’ When the times were all for learning and empty formalities, the temptation of the proud did lie that way. But now, when, through the unspeakable mercy of God, the most lively practical preaching is in credit, and godliness itself is in credit, the temptation of the proud is to pretend to be zealous preachers and godly men. Oh, what a fine thing is it to have the people crowding to hear us, and affected with what we say, and yielding up to us their judgments and affections! What a taking thing is it to be cried up as the ablest and godliest man in the country, to be famed through the land for the highest spiritual excellencies! Alas, brethren, a little grace combined with such inducements, will serve to make you join yourselves with the forwardest, in promoting the cause of Christ in the world. Nay, pride may do it without special grace.

      - Richard Baxter
      (from the book The Reformed Pastor)


      Be Not Deceived.

      Sunday, June 24, 2007

      If the Lord will and if I live, I am going to leave this entry on top for a while. The subject matter is of the most importance. Not long ago, I had no idea of a few of the things that I am going to present here. Even when I first had knowledge of the facts here, I still had the tendency to put them aside as "simply not able to be true." The fact is that I, myself was foolish and deceived serving various lusts and pleasures. (Titus 3:3) The importance of this post cannot be stressed enough. I have shared the scripture passage I am about to share with several people, and they had no idea what some of the terms mean. I had none either until I researched them some. For those of you who do not know, the original New Testament was written mostly in Koine Greek and the translations we have today such as the King James Version or the NASB are merely translations, though reliable, of the original language used. Jesus did not speak to his disciples in "thee's" and "thou's" as some may think. In fact, the first KJV was written in 1611, 1,611 years after Christ. With this said, the original Greek words have meanings just as the KJV might. For example, the term "deceive" in the KJV comes from the Greek word "planaō" which means 'to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive' so they mean basically the same thing. For these verses, I am going to give the words listed and their original Greek variation with the definition using Strong's and Thayer's Greek dictionaries to help increase the knowledge of this passage.

      This passage is of utmost importance because of the subject matter involved. When I first read this years ago, I had a hard time grasping that it could be true, but after receiving more and more of God's gift of grace, I know it to be true without a doubt. The verses I'm referring to are these:

      Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

      -Paul the Apostle

      (1Cor 6:9-10)

      The implication of the text from the epistle written by Paul the Apostle is that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. He then gives a list of the unrighteous according to their works. Notice that there are no clauses that say, "...unless you go to church every Sunday." or "...unless you do a bunch of good things." No, the truth is only if you believe in Jesus the Messiah who is come in the flesh and who never did any of the works of the flesh and forsake your sins will you inherit the Kingdom of God. (Rom. 10:9, Prov. 28:13) Notice also that it does not say that if you are only one of the things listed here that you are alright as long as you don't do the others (ie. You may say, "Well, I'm a little covetous, but you know, I haven't fornicated with anyone or stolen anything.") The verse does not keep a score, but rather if you are one of any, you are exempt from inheriting the kingdom of God if you are without forsaking the sin and believing in the risen Christ. Understanding the validity and urgency stated in the context of these verses is of the utmost importance. Failure to do so could ultimately lead to eternal damnation. It is that serious.

      Most of the people that I have read the following verses to do not know what each of the terms mean so, Lord willing, I am going to explain each using the Greek and the definions.

      Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:

      1) neither fornicators

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: a prostitute who prostitutes his or her's body to another's lust for hire; a person who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse; a debauchee (one who is morally unrestrained); a whoremonger (a prostitute's customer)

      2) nor idolaters

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: an image worshipper; a worshipper of false gods; a covetous person who worships worldly gain

      3) nor adulterers

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: metaphorically one who is faithless toward God, ungodly; paramour; apostate; an adulterer

      4) nor effeminate

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: figuratively a catamite (a boy who submits to a sexual relationship with a man);
      of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness

      5) nor abusers of themselves with mankind

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: one who lies with a male as with a female; sodomite; homosexual

      6) nor thieves

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: the name is transferred to false teachers, who do not care to instruct men, but abuse their confidence for their own gain; an embezzler; a pilferer; a stealer

      7) nor covetous

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: one eager to have more, especially what belongs to others; greedy of gain; avaricious

      8) nor drunkards

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: tipsy; a sot; drunken; intoxicated

      9) nor revilers

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: abusive; railer (One who utters curses and lamentations, or that shouts abuse.)

      10) nor extortioners

      Original Greek Word:


      definition: rapacious(excessively greedy and grasping, someone who is given to plundering or taking things by force); ravening

      ... shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1Co 6:9-10)

      "So what you're saying is that we're supposed to be perfect?"
      Jesus Christ says that we are:

      "You therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
      - Jesus Christ
      (Mat 5:48)

      I didn't realize that holiness is a requirment earlier in my life, and if I did, I may not have cared (I would not now apart from His Grace), but holiness is required from God:

      "He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all manner of life, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." (1Pe 1:15-16)


      "Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14)

      Have I always cared about holiness? No. Emphatically I reply, "No." But I know the reason. It is stated in scripture:

      Gird up the loins of your mind, stay sober, put your hope fully in the grace brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves after the former lusts, as you did in your ignorance;
      (1Pe 1:13-14)

      The fact is that I was ignorant and fashioning myself according the various lusts that I have served. I am fearful and aware that many people I care deeply about are doing the same now. I am ashamed of the fact that I have sinned, but I am not ashamed of the Gospel that saves. (Rom. 1:16) My prayer is that anyone (you) who is reading this post will take what is written above from the truth of the scriptures and apply it to yourself. Check yourself against scripture to see if you are walking according to the lusts of your flesh and not after the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1) Do not be deceived. The people who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. My prayer is for your salvation, reader, not for your condemnation. (John 3:17) God commands that we love our neighbor as ourself. (Matt. 22:39) I would be disobeying God by not loving you if I were to not share the truth that God in His Grace and sovereignty has shown me.


      So... What Do You Do With 2 Tim. 3:12?

      In Ermelo, Holland, Brother Andrew told the story of sitting in Budapest, Hungary, with a dozen pastors of that city, teaching them from the Bible. In walked an old friend, a pastor from Romania who had recently been released from prison. Brother Andrew said that he stopped teaching and knew that it was time to listen.

      After a long pause the Romanian pastor said, “Andrew, are there any pastors in prison in Holland?” “No,” he replied. “Why not?” the pastor asked. Brother Andrew thought for a moment and said, “I think it must be because we do not take advantage of all the opportunities God gives us.” Then came the most difficult question. “Andrew, what do you do with 2 Timothy 3:12?” Brother Andrew opened his Bible and turned to the text and read aloud, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” He closed the Bible slowly and said, “Brother, please forgive me. We do nothing with that verse.”

      (Still Piper)
      We have, I fear, domesticated the concept of godliness into such inoffensive, middle-class morality and law-keeping that 2 Timothy 3:12 has become unintelligible to us. I think many of us are not prepared to suffer for the gospel. We do not grasp the great truth that God has purposes of future grace that he intends to give his people through suffering. We can speak of purposes of suffering because it is clearly God’s purpose that we at times suffer for righteousness’ sake and for the sake of the gospel. For example, “Let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” (1 Peter 4:19; see also 3:17; Hebrews 12:4-11).

      To live by faith in future grace we must see that the suffering of God’s people is the instrument of grace in their lives.

      - John Piper


      An Ounce of Heart's-Ease is Worth More than a Ton of Gold.

      "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said . . . Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods."
      — Daniel 3:16, 18

      The narrative of the manly courage and marvellous deliverance of the three holy children, or rather champions, is well calculated to excite in the minds of believers firmness and steadfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of tyranny and in the very jaws of death. Let young Christians especially learn from their example, both in matters of faith in religion, and matters of uprightness in business, never to sacrifice their consciences. Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal. Be not guided by the will-o'-the-wisp of policy, but by the pole-star of divine authority. Follow the right at all hazards. When you see no present advantage, walk by faith and not by sight. Do God the honour to trust Him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of principle. See whether He will be your debtor! See if He doth not even in this life prove His word that "Godliness, with contentment, is great gain," and that they who "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, shall have all these things added unto them." Should it happen that, in the providence of God, you are a loser by conscience, you shall find that if the Lord pays you not back in the silver of earthly prosperity, He will discharge His promise in the gold of spiritual joy. Remember that a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of that which he possesseth. To wear a guileless spirit, to have a heart void of offence, to have the favour and smile of God, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield, or the traffic of Tyre could win. "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention therewith." An ounce of heart's-ease is worth more than a ton of gold.

      -C. H. Spurgeon


      Beware of Another Gospel.

      I marvel that you are so readily turning away from Him who called you in the favour of Messiah, to a different gospel which is not another gospel, only there are some who are troubling you and wishing to pervert the gospel of Messiah. However, even if we, or a messenger out of heaven, bring a ‘Good News’ to you beside what we announced to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone brings a ‘Good News’ to you beside what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I should not be a servant of Messiah.

      - Paul the Aposlte
      (Gal 1:6-10)

      And I shall go on doing as I do, in order to cut off the occasion from those desiring an occasion, so that in that which they boast, they might be found also as we are. For such are false apostles, deceptive workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself masquerades as a messenger of light! It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works!

      - Paul the Apostle
      (2Co 11:12-15)

      - David Wilkerson


      But Now Is Christ Risen!

      Saturday, June 23, 2007

      “But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.”

      - Paul the Apostle
      (1 Corinthians 15:20)

      THE fact of Christ’s resurrection is exceedingly well attested. It was necessary that it should be beyond dispute, since it lies at the very basis of our holy faith. It is consoling to think that it is so. For thus our foundation stands most secure. Our Lord was careful to show Himself after His resurrection to those who, having known Him before His decease, would be able to answer for the identity of His Person. Had He merely showed Himself to strangers who had not known Him before, they might have been able to say that they had seen such an one, but they could not have affirmed that He was the same person who had been buried.

      ...Dear Friends, ought not this view of death as a sleep, prevent our looking upon it in so repulsive a light? I know we like not to look at dead bodies—we are afraid to touch them. Some foolish people do not like to remain in the same house with a corpse, at least alone, or at night. There is a certain horror connected with the ruins of our earthly house. Did you ever feel horror at a sleeping child? Do you feel any sort of dread of your sleeping mother, or your slumbering husband or wife? Have you felt anything dreadful to draw back the curtain of the little cot and to gaze upon the sweet young face when the eyes are closed in happy sleep? Oh, why, then, should you think it dreadful to look upon the sleeping Believer’s brow?

      True, there are marks of decay which are not pleasant to nature. But are they not the footprints of the retreating enemy and signs that the corruptible is passing away to make room for incorruption? Do not those very marks which mar the form indicate that the ragged smoke-blacked tent of Kedar is being pulled down so that the curtains of Solomon may glitter in their place, and that the soul may dwell there as in a fair pavilion? Oh, look not upon the departed as though they were dead, but speak of them as Christ did of His friend—“Our friend Lazarus sleeps.” Let the ears of your faith hear the Master say, “And I come that I may awake him out of his sleep.” Let not the grave seem more abhorrent to you than your bedchamber.

      Let there be, by no means, such a view of the death of the redeemed as to wish them back again. Would you wish, when your friend has long been in excruciating pain, and at last falls into sleep, to shake him in his bed, to awake him, to tell him some idle tale? No. You have been watching for hours and you have said, “Oh, that he could have a little sleep! Doctor! Can you not give some sleep to this poor tortured frame?” And at last you have said, “Thank God, his eyelids drop. Speak softly. Tread lightly. He sleeps!” And you have been afraid even to let your foot fall upon the ground, lest you should awaken him.

      And what? After all the pain, the suffering, the temptation and the trial of your friends, do you wish to awake them? Rather I think you should say, “I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem, that you ask not that he should be stirred up or awakened until Jesus please. Let him sleep on while the night lasts, and then, at the trump of the archangel, and the voice of God, he shall wake in the morning when the sun has risen upon the earth!

      ...Entire Sermon.

      - C. H. Spurgeon


      "Render to Ceaser What is Ceaser's..."

      Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might trap Him in His speech. And they sent their disciples to Him with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You show favoritism to anyone. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" But Jesus, knowing their wickedness, said, "Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money." So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?" They said to Him, "Caesar's." And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." When they had heard these words, they marveled, and leaving Him, they went away.

      (Mat 22:14-22)

      So the question is, "What are the things that are God's?"

      - Alistair Begg


      Something to Think About.

      Thursday, June 21, 2007

      This message was recorded by Kirk Cameron and played before the SBC pastors.

      "Can I speak to you from my heart for a moment? I realize that, theologically, I’m not worthy to wash your socks. But imagine this scenario with me, if you will: Imagine I’m a “seeker”- I’m a non-Christian, sitting in your church week after week after week listening to you. Am I ever going to hear the message that will save my soul from Hell? Will you ever tell me the truth clearly enough so that I realize that my sin has made me an enemy of God: that I am currently on the path that leads to destruction, with the wrath of God dwelling upon me, and that unless I repent and put my faith in the Savior, I will perish? Or have you decided that it’s better to simply entertain me, and on Sundays I can come to have my “felt needs” met with good music and good advice? Pastor, while I would appreciate that, it’s the ultimate betrayal of my trust in you if you don’t tell me the truth. Will I ever hear the words “repent,” “surrender,” “turn to the Savior,” “be born again”? If you don’t tell me those things, how will I ever know to do it?Please don’t leave it up to the Wednesday night small-group leader. They’re taking their cues from you. You’re leading the flock.

      And now I speak to you as a Christian. If you and I fail to teach the whole counsel of God, and we don’t warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and run to the love of Christ on the Cross to save their soul, we make a terrible mistake. It doesn’t matter how happy a person is- how much a sinner is enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season- without the righteousness of Christ, he’ll perish on the Day of Judgment. The Bible says, “Riches profit not on the Day of Wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” You see, that’s how Kirk Cameron realized he needed a Savior. I had riches, but I knew that it was the righteousness of God that I needed in order to be saved from my sin."

      - Kirk Cameron


      "Am I My Brother's Keeper?"

      Tuesday, June 19, 2007

      "I just don't want to get involved."

      That could well be the motto of modern-day Christianity. For the sake of privacy, tolerance, and forgiveness, we allow fellow believers to wade into the most grievous, dangerous of sins, and never say a word. Adultery, gossip, stealing, hateful attitudes, lying—no sin seems worth offending a church member or costing a friendship.

      But there is a problem. The goal of living in the Body of Christ is not to keep your friends and avoid confrontation. God wants His children to be intimately active in each others' lives—especially where sin is involved. Refusing to help a sinning believer is the spiritual equivalent of a lifeguard refusing to save a drowning man.

      This careful study of Matthew 18 spells out the step-by-step process you and your church can use for rescuing a believer from sin's deadly grip. You'll also find a clear explanation of Christ's own teaching on the subject of forgiveness. A vital study for establishing and maintaining church purity!


      All At It.

      Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere
      preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria,
      and preached Christ unto them.”
      -Acts 8:4, 5.
      “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture,
      and preached unto him Jesus.”
      -Acts 8:35.

      THEY that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.”
      God intended that his church should be scattered over the world. There
      was a tendency in our humanity at first to remain together; hence the first
      grey fathers endeavored to build a central tower, around which the race
      should rally. But God confounded their language, and scattered them from
      Babel, that they might people all the world. Jerusalem was at first the
      central point of Christianity. The church there was highly favored with its
      twelve apostles and a multitude of minor lights; and the tendency would
      have been to keep the center strong. I have often heard the argument, “Do
      not have too many out-stations, keep up a strong central force.” But God’s
      plan was that the holy force should be distributed: the holy seed must be
      sown. To do this the Lord made use of the rough hand of persecution. The
      disciples could not stay in Jerusalem: Saul made them run for their lives,
      or, if they did not, he shut them up in prison; and prisons in those days
      were so foul and noisome as to be the vestibules of the grave. One went
      this way, and one went the other way; and the faithful were scattered.

      In every church where there is really the power of the Spirit of God, the
      Lord will cause it to be spread abroad, more or less. He never means that a
      church should be like a nut shut up in a shell; nor like ointment enclosed
      in a box. The precious perfume of the gospel must be poured forth to sweeten
      the air. Just now we have little of that form of persecution which drives
      men from home. But godly people are scattered through the necessity of
      earning a livelihood. Sometimes we regret that certain young men should
      have to go to a distance; but should we regret it? We lament that certain
      families must migrate to the colonies. Does not the Lord by this means sow
      the good seed widely? It is very pleasant to be comfortably settled under an
      edifying ministry, but the Lord has need of some of his servants in places
      where there is no light. In many ways the great Head of the church scatters
      his servants abroad; but they ought of themselves to scatter voluntarily.
      Every Christian should say, “Where can I do the most good?” and if he can
      do more good anywhere beneath the sun than in the land of his birth, he is
      bound to go there, if he can. God will have us scattered; and if we will not
      go afield willingly, he may use providential necessity as the forcible means
      of our dispersion.

      The Lord’s design is not the scattering in itself, but scattering for a
      purpose. He intended that, being scattered, the saints of Jerusalem should
      go everywhere preaching the word. Upon this I am going to speak at this

      I would call your attention to the translation in the Revised Version, where
      Philip is said to have “proclaimed” the word. The word “ proclaim” is not
      quite so subject to the modern sense which has spoiled the word “preach.”
      “Preach” has come to be a sort of official term for delivering a set
      discourse; whereas gospel preaching is talking, discoursing, and telling out
      the gospel in any way. We are to make known the word of the Lord.

      ... will you please to notice THE NATURALNESS OF IT. That word “therefore,” at
      the commencement of the fourth verse, says a great deal to me. “Therefore
      they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word”-as if
      it followed as a sort of natural consequence, that being scattered they went
      everywhere preaching the word. Does not this show us that they could not
      think of following any other course? They that were scattered might have
      said, “Clearly our duty is to hold our tongues; we have got into great
      trouble at Jerusalem because we preached Christ. We must now look to
      our own safety, and the comfort of our families; and in these foreign
      countries we had better live godly lives, and go to heaven on the sly, but
      we need not again expose ourselves to the dangers of persecution.” They
      did not thus argue. It is not said, “Therefore they that were scattered
      abroad slunk away, and held their tongues.” No, they never thought of

      We do not find that they even said, “This gospel of ours is evidently not in
      accord with the spirit of the age. The scribes and Pharisees all differ from
      us, and we must endeavor to win them by altering our tone.” They did not
      dream of cutting off the angles of truth, nor of inserting pleasant fragments
      of popular thought to please the powers that be; but they set forth “the
      word” in its pure simplicity, and the cross of Christ, which is an offense to
      so many. They never said, “The old gospel did very well when Jesus was
      here; but you see he has gone, and circumstances alter cases, and alter
      gospels, and we had better adapt our teaching to the period.” They did not
      so, because of the fear of the Lord. They did not endeavor to mend the
      gospel, but they went everywhere proclaiming it. They preached the word
      as they received it; they set forth the kingdom as their King had revealed it.
      Ah, dear friends! if you are true to the Lord Jesus Christ you have to
      spread the gospel somehow, and it must be the old, old gospel. You must
      not dare to think of denying the light to those around you. Would you
      leave men to perish for lack of knowledge? Dare you have their blood on
      your skirts?

      These persecuted ones “went everywhere preaching the word.” Why was it
      so natural to them to do it? Their obligations pressed upon them. They
      each one of them said, “I have been saved, and I must see others saved. I
      am bound to tell of the blood of Jesus, and its power to wash away sin.
      The curses of the ages will fall upon me, and the wails of lost souls will
      come up into my ears as long as I exist, if I do not make known the
      gospel.” Brethren God’s way of saving the unconverted is through his
      church; and if the church neglects its work, who is to do it? Our Lord
      means to bring in the rest of his chosen through those who are already
      called; but if these start aside and are untrue to their calling, how is the
      work to be done? I know the work is of God alone; still he uses
      instruments. If you do not tell the gospel, you are leaving your fellow-men
      to perish. Yonder is the wreck, and you are not sending out the life-boat!
      Yonder are souls starving, and you give them no bread! Well, if you are
      resolved to be thus inhuman, at least know what you are doing. You that
      are taking no share in this great work of spreading the gospel are wilfully
      allowing men to go down to hell, and their blood will be required at your
      hands. These first believers dared not incur such guilt, and therefore away
      they went preaching the word.

      - C. H. Spurgeon


      A Gospel Worth Fighting For.

      Monday, June 18, 2007


      Regarding the Value or Worth of the Praise of Men.

      Sunday, June 17, 2007

      Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven!

      - Jesus Christ
      (Luke 6:22-23)

      Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

      - Jesus Christ
      (Luke 6:26)

      Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

      - Jesus Christ
      (Mat 5:11-12)

      But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

      - Paul the Apostle
      (Php 3:7-11)

      And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.

      - Jesus Christ
      (Mar 6:10-11)

      ...because all they'll say anyway is, "That kid's nuts. (Acts 26:24) We're good people..." (Prov. 20:6)


      Freedom Understood and Applied.

      - Alistair Begg



      In this day and age, there are SO MANY people who profess to be Christians. The big question is are they REALLY Christians? I admit, that may sound pretty judgmental on the surface. Part of the problem is that the Biblical Gospel isn't preached very often anymore. Usually what you will hear from a "preacher" is something like this: "Just ask Jesus into your heart" or "Jesus came to fill the voids in your life" or "Jesus will give you love, joy, peace, happiness, purpose and fulfillment in life" or "Just pray this little prayer after me and you are saved." Then, the "preacher" will usually tell you that if you just prayed that prayer you are on your way to Heaven no matter what. No reason to doubt and no reason to examine yourself. THAT'S NOT BIBLICAL AND IT'S NOT TRUE! The apostle Paul admonished people to examine and test themselves to see whether they are in the faith or not in 2 Corinthians 13:5. That goes so contrary to what we hear out of the pulpits in America today! The scary thing is that Jesus made it clear in Matthew 7:21-23, that MANY would be self-deceived. Not a FEW, but MANY. And these "many" people didn't just call Jesus Savior, they called Him "Lord." In fact, they went beyond calling Jesus just "Lord." They called Jesus, "Lord, Lord." And these "many" who were self-deceived, did many things "in Jesus name." They prophesied, cast out demons and performed many wonders. Most of us can't say that we have done one of those things listed, let alone all of them. The bottom line is that the scriptures are VERY CLEAR on this issue. There will be professing Christians in Hell. So how do you know if you are one of them or not? Well, that's what we hope to help you figure out on this website. 1 John 5:13 makes it clear that God wants us to KNOW whether we have eternal life or not. Our prayer is that you will make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10) and that you will seek God with ALL your heart that you may find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). If there are questions that you have that aren't addressed on this website, please feel free to contact us through the contact page. Please start by taking the test below. God Bless...


      God's Will About the Future.

      "Go to now, ye that say, to day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

      - James
      (James 4:13-17)

      MEN to-day are just the same as when these words were first written. We still find people saying what they are going to do to-day, to-morrow, or in six months time, at the end of another year, and perhaps still further. I have no doubt there are persons here who have their own career mapped out before them pretty distinctly, and they feel well-nigh certain that they will realize it all. We are like the men of the past; and this Book, though it has been written so long, might have been written yesterday, so exactly does it describe human nature as it is at the end of this nineteenth century.

      The text applies with very peculiar force when our friends and fellow-workers are passing away from us. Sickness and death have been busy in our midst. Perhaps in our abundant service we have been reckoning what this brother would do this week, and what that sister would be doing next week, and so on. Even for God's work we have had our plans, dependent in great measure on the presence of some beloved helpers. They have appeared amongst us in such buoyant health, that we have scarcely thought it possible that they would be struck down in a moment. Yet so it has often been. The uncertainty of life comes home to us when such things occur, and we begin to wonder that we have reckoned anything at all safe, or even probable, in such a shifting, changing world as this. With this in full view, I am going to talk about how we ought to behave with regard to the future, and attempt to draw some lessons for our own correction and instruction from the verses before us.

      Following the line of the text, and keeping as close to it as we can, we will notice, first, that counting on the future is folly. Then we will observe what is clear enough to us all, that ignorance of the future is a matter of fact. In the third place, I shall set before you the main truth of this passage, that recognition of God in the future is wisdom, our fourth point shall be that boasting of the future is sin; and our final thought will be, that the using of the present is a duty.

      - C. H. Spurgeon
      ( God's Will About the Future by C. H. S. )


      Billy Graham Exposed.

      Saturday, June 16, 2007

      - John MacArthur

      ( link to past transcripts of Billy Graham's interviews... )

      More of MacArthur Defending Christ


      "Do You Suppose I am Come to Give Peace on Earth?..."

      "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I (Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God) tell you, Nay; but rather division: "

      - Jesus Christ
      (Luke 12:51 KJV)

      Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

      - Jesus Christ
      (Matthew 10:34 ESV)

      The character and the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ is not well understood by the majority of people on planet Earth. In fact, many professing “Christians” have an image of Him in their understanding that is based upon fleshly reasoning. This “other” Jesus is not Biblical for the most part. They have given their Jesus a whole new set of values and traits that conflict sharply with the Jesus presented in the Gospels in His own words.

      One of the most damaging false images of Jesus that we have among us in the 21st Century is one that presents Him as a man of peace no matter the cost. When false doctrinal positions are brought into the light and so that the error can be dealt with Biblically, the supporters and quasi supporters of that false doctrinal position will often declare that those who are doing this are not Christlike because of their virulent attacks against what amounts to lies about God and His nature. They declare that Jesus would never do that.

      The fact that they say or write something like that is a clear indication that they don’t know the real Jesus who is presented in scripture. Jesus was very blunt and vocal in His opposition against false religion and its leaders in His day. He presented God the Father and His nature to everyone who would listen and never compromised the message of the Gospel nor did He flinch from presenting the truth in stark black and white–right and wrong. Jesus did not give us gray areas open to interpretation. People are saved or lost. People are sheep or goats. People obey God or they don’t.

      In this post we are going to look at a teaching by our Lord taken from Matthew 10. In this chapter Jesus prepares His twelve disciples to go out on their first missionary journey. He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every afflictions. (Matthew 10:1) Before sending them out Jesus instructed them about what to expect when they took the same uncompromising, black and white, right and wrong stance on God, His character, His ways, and the Gospel. The warnings Jesus gave them are not just for these men on this specific mission. They have been proven to describe the world’s reaction to Jesus and the Gospel from the beginning to our current time in the 21st Century.

      Jesus instructions about what to expect when they proclaimed the truth can be broken down into five main points. First, not everyone will believe. Second, persecution will come to those who proclaim the Gospel. Third, Even so, have no fear because they are in the Father’s hands. Fourth, the Gospel divides people into two groups, believers and unbelievers. In this there will never be peace. Fifth, Righteousness before God will result in eternal rewards.

      A little over a year ago on a Sunday morning I was teaching in my Sunday School class in my former church about the high cost of standing for the truth. When I mentioned that persecution was coming, I was scoffed at by several of the people in the class. This puzzled me for quite a while. Then when this church went head-over-heels into the Purpose Driven deception, I was ostracized and looked at as a trouble maker and dissenter because I refused to stay there if they would go down that path. I told the truth to the pastor and some of the other leaders there and was simply ignored. I presented a very well researched 8 page paper that showed the Biblical fallacies of the Purpose Driven Church model. I gave it to the pastor and within a couple of hours lost nearly every friend I had in that church. Since then I have been informed by some of my former class members that they have completed the 40 Days of Purpose. One of my students saw the truth and left right after we did. The rest have stayed and, I assume, are now Purpose Driven. Those who contacted me who have stayed just cannot comprehend what is so wrong with it. Yes, they understand that I would have to compromise my stand to come back, but, hey.

      Several years ago when the coming persecution of Christians was talked about it was always assumed that in the US that it would come from the government. It never occurred to me or anyone else that I know of at that time that it would come from within.

      Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

      - Jesus Christ
      (Matthew 10:34-39 ESV)

      God’s truth divides people. Of course it does not divide those who believe God and are genuinely saved by grace through faith. At least it shouldn’t cause persecution. There may be disagreements, but not all out war. On the other hand, there are many professing Christians and Christian leaders who are anything but. They are unregenerate and teach a false gospel that gives them power or privilege or license. It is not the genuine Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings God’s peace into hearts. The sword of division that Jesus has brought into the world divides the true from the false, the believer and unbeliever, the genuine Christian from the false Christian.

      The genuine Gospel creates Christians who will never be satisfied with superficial religion. They are regenerate and are New Creations who partake of the Divine Nature of God. Because of this, they will always have a passion to live uncompromising lives based upon God’s nature and ways. When other people put pressure on them to conform to the ways that are different then the sword that divides comes into play. Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 10 makes it very clear that we must never compromise our stance on the truth even when the pressure to do so comes from loved ones or our church family.

      Jesus’ teaching in this passage was that we should not be surprised when we are persecuted for Righteousness’ sake. This is the natural function of the sword that divides. Not only are we not to be surprised, but we are to not fear the evil that can come upon us. All in Christ are eternally in God’s hands and control. People may persecute us even unto death, but all that does is send us to be our Lord that much quicker. We may be tempted to compromise when the division that will happen if we don’t is between us and someone we care about very much, but we must always put our Saviour first.

      All in Christ are at peace with God. All not in Christ are God’s enemies and are children of wrath. Our job is to tell the truth of this and give everyone who will listen the Gospel. We do no one any favors if we soft-sell this. We must tell the truth and let the chips fly. I was on the Irish Calvinist Blog several weeks ago commenting on a particular post. Several self-proclaimed atheists were commenting there as well. The discussion went on a very long time. It got to the point where one particular atheist kept challenging our faith attempting to use man’s reason. After I while I just could not stand it anymore and simply told the man that the Gospel had been clearly given to him by many of us over the length of the discussion and unless He believed he would go to Hell when he died. He called me many unprintable names and had to be censored by Erik. Then he started attacking my blog using comments that appeared to be by me that were insulting and vicious. I turned him over to Akismet as a spammer. After a while I had to turn on comment moderation to keep that from happening continually not only from him, but also some others with their own agendas.

      This is normal folks. If the Gospel message being preached never causes this sort of reaction from some people then something is wrong with the message. Jesus told us what would happen to us if we preached His message to the world. The fact that, at least in the US, this is a rarity is a clear warning that what is being preached is something other than the genuine Gospel. Hence, that is why I left my former church because they were preparing to preach a corrupt gospel which is the heart the Purpose Driven Church model.

      Never stop praying for the repentance of those who are preaching from the platform of spiritual darkness. Never stop praying for God to send a great awakening to the Church. Never stop praying for strength and wisdom and opportunity to tell the truth to people God brings into our sphere for a divine appointment with the Saviour. Never stop praying for superficial “Christianity” to be obliterated by the light of the truth being shown into it. Never think that you are self-sufficient and capable of tackling the darkness all around us without God right there with you. Never stop praying for me and this ministry to be used for God’s glory alone.

      by Mike Ratliff
      ( from the blog Possessing the Treasure )

      Additional Links about the Purpose Driven Debate:
      1) Purpose Driven Life Berean Discernment Tool
      2) A Question Regarding The Purpose Driven Life


      Great Advice on Going to Friends for Advice.

      "For he shall deliver the needy when he
      crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no
      ." - Ps. Ixxii. 12.

      The needy cries; what else can he do?
      His cry is heard of God; what else need
      he do? Let the needy reader take to
      crying at once, for this will be his wisdom.
      Do not cry in the ears of friends, for even if
      they can help you it is only because the Lord
      enables them.
      The nearest way is to go
      straight to God, and let your cry come up be
      fore him. Straight-forward makes the best
      runner : run to the Lord, and not to secondary

      "Alas !" you cry, "I have no friend or
      helper." So much the better; you can rely
      upon God in both capacities as without sup-
      plies and without helpers. Make your double
      need your double plea. Even for temporal
      mercies you may wait upon God, for he careth
      for his children in these temporary concerns.
      As for spiritual necessities, which are the
      heaviest of all, the Lord will hear your cry,
      and will deliver you and supply you.

      O poor friend, try your rich God. O helpless
      one, lean on his help. He has never failed
      me, and I am sure he will never fail you.
      Come as a beggar, and God will not refuse you
      help. Come with no plea but his grace.
      Jesus is King, will he let you perish of want?
      What! Did you forget this?

      - C. H. Spurgeon
      ( from the book The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith )


      An Earnest Warning Against Lukewarmness.

      Friday, June 15, 2007

      "Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

      - Jesus Christ
      (Rev. 3:14-21)

      In this state of the church there is much self-glorification, for Laodicea said, "I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." The members say, "Everything goes on well, what more do we want? All is right with us." This makes such a condition very hopeless, because reproofs and rebukes fall without power, where the party rebuked can reply, "We do not deserve your censures, such warnings are not meant for us." If you stand up in the pulpit and talk to sleepy churches, as I pretty frequently do, and speak very plainly, they often have the honesty to say, "There is a good deal of truth in what the man has said": but if I speak to another church, which really is half asleep, but which thinks itself to be quite a model of diligence, then the rebuke glides off like oil down a slab of marble, and no result comes of it. Men are less likely to repent when they are in the middle passage between hot and cold, than if they were in the worst extremes of sin. If they were like Saul of Tarsus, enemies of God, they might be converted; but if, like Gamaliel, they are neither opposed nor favouring, they will probably remain as they are till they die. The gospel converts a sincerely superstitious Luther, but Erasmus, with his pliant spirit, flippant, and full of levity, remains unmoved. There is more hope of warning the cold than the lukewarm.

      When churches get into the condition of half-hearted faith, tolerating the gospel, but having a sweet tooth for error, they do far more mischief to their age than downright heretics.

      It is harder a great deal to work for Jesus with a church which is lukewarm than it would be to begin without a church. Give me a dozen earnest spirits and put me down anywhere in London, and by God's good help we will soon cause the wilderness and the solitary place to rejoice; but give me the whole lot of you, half-hearted, undecided, and unconcerned, what can I do? You will only be a drag upon a man's zeal and earnestness. Five thousand members of a church all lukewarm will be five thousand impediments, but a dozen earnest, passionate spirits, determined that Christ shall be glorified and souls won, must be more than conquerors; in their very weakness and fewness will reside capacities for being the more largely blessed of God. Better nothing than lukewarmness.

      Alas, this state of lukewarmness is so congenial with human nature that it is hard to fetch men from it. Cold makes us shiver, and great heat causes us pain, but a tepid bath is comfort itself. Such a temperature suits human nature. The world is always at peace with a lukewarm church, and such a church is always pleased with itself. "Not too worldly,—no! We have our limits! There are certain amusements which of course a Christian must give up, but we will go quite up to the line, for why are we to be miserable? We are not to be so greedy as to be called miserly, but we will give as little as we can to the cause. We will not be altogether absent from the house of God, but we will go as seldom as we can. We will not altogether forsake the poor people to whom we belong, but we will also go to the world's church, so as to get admission into better society, and find fashionable friends for our children. How much of this there is abroad!" Compromise is the order of the day. Thousands try to hold with the hare and run with the hounds, they are for God and Mammon, Christ and Belial, truth and error, and so are "neither hot nor cold." Do I speak somewhat strongly? Not so strongly as my Master, for he says, "I will spue thee out of my mouth." He is nauseated with such conduct, it sickens him, and he will not endure it. In an earnest, honest, fervent heart nausea is created when we fall in with men who dare not give up their profession, and yet will not live up to it; who cannot altogether forsake the work of God, but yet do it in a sluggard's manner, trifling with that which ought to be done in the best style for so good a Lord and so gracious a Saviour. Many a church has fallen into a condition of indifference, and when it does so it generally becomes the haunt of worldly professors, a refuge for people who want an easy religion, which enables them to enjoy the pleasures of sin and the honours of piety at the same time; where things are free and easy, where you are not expected to do much, or give much, or pray much, or to be very religious; where the minister is not so precise as the old school divines, a more liberal people, of broad views, free-thinking and free-acting, where there is full tolerance for sin, and no demand for vital godliness. Such churches applaud cleverness in a preacher; as for his doctrine, that is of small consequence, and his love to Christ and zeal for souls are very secondary. He is a clever fellow, and can speak well, and that suffices. This style of things is all too common, yet we are expected to hold our tongue, for the people are very respectable. The Lord grant that we may be kept clear of such respectability!

      - C. H. Spurgeon

      (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)

      -Paul the Apostle
      (2 Cor. 10:4)


      Don't Mingle With Flatterers.

      Thursday, June 14, 2007

      He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
      (Pro 20:19)

      Pro 20:19 - Two sorts of people are dangerous to be conversed with: -

      1. Tale-bearers, though they are commonly flatterers, and by fair speeches insinuate themselves into men's acquaintance. Those are unprincipled people that go about carrying stories, that make mischief among neighbours and relations, that sow in the minds of people jealousies of their governors, of their ministers, and of one another, that reveal secrets which they are entrusted with or which by unfair means they come to the knowledge of, under pretence of guessing at men's thoughts and intentions, tell that of them which is really false. "Be not familiar with such; do not give them the hearing when they tell their tales and reveal secrets, for you may be sure that they will betray your secrets too and tell tales of you."

      2. Flatterers, for they are commonly tale-bearers. If a man fawn upon you, compliment and commend you, suspect him to have some design upon you, and stand upon your guard; he would pick that out of you which will serve him to make a story of to somebody else to your prejudice; therefore meddle not with him that flatters with his lips. Those too dearly love, and too dearly buy, their own praise, that will put confidence in a man and trust him with a secret or business because he flatters them.

      - Matthew Henry Consice Commentary

      Pro 20:19 - He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets,.... Or, "he that revealeth secrets goeth about as a talebearer"; a man that has really got the secrets of others out of them respecting themselves and families, and the affairs of them, or however pretends he master of them; goes about telling his tales from house to house, to the great prejudice of those whose secrets he is entrusted with, or pretends to be; and to the great prejudice of those to whom he tells them, as well as to his own; this is contrary to the law of Moses, and the rules of Christianity, Lev_19:16;

      therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips; or "mingle not with him" (g); do not associate with him, do not keep him company, have nothing to say to him or do with him; for when he flatters you, and highly praises and extols you, he has a design upon you to get what he can out of you, in order to expose you elsewhere; therefore suspect him, be upon your guard, shun him and avoid him. It may be applied to false teachers, and their deceptions with good words and fair speeches; the word used signifies to deceive with the lips; see Rom_16:18; and well agrees with the parasites of Rome, Rev_18:23.

      - John Gill Commentary


      Cheer for the Faint-Hearted.

      ( Entire Sermon [pdf] )

      FAITH is not only the door by which we enter into the way of salvation, as it is written, “He has opened the door of faith unto the gentiles,” but it likewise describes the entire path of Christian pilgrimage, “that we also walk in the steps of that faith.” We are not only quickened by faith at the outset of our spiritual career, but we are supported and sustained thereby in all our subsequent experience—“the just shall live by faith.” As it is by faith that we come out from the world and begin to tread the heavenly road, so it must be by faith that we walk all the journey through.

      Till we lay down this veil of flesh, till the angel of death shall rend the curtain and we shall see him face to face, let us not hope to walk by sight or sense but only by faith in the living God. A life of faith is always very singular—often it seems very foolish to the carnal man. The man who acts by faith often acts imprudently in the eyes of the world. He appears unbusiness-like, because he observes not the maxims of his times, but holds fast by those statutes which God has given us for all time.

      Faith and patience often encourage a man to go the very way that caution and prudence would tell him not to go. And not infrequently, those who are weak in the faith will hold up their hands with astonishment, even if they do not speak with some degree of indignation, at the daring way in which the man strong in faith challenges the promises of God and acts as if he believed them to be quite as true as though they were already fulfilled. You know little, my Brothers and Sisters, of what it is to walk by faith, if you do not find it to be a way that you know not and a path which you have not seen.

      We saw the last step not until we had taken it, but the foundation on which faith is to put its foot for the next we cannot see. We do, as it were, tread on clouds and find them firm. We put our feet on mists and find them adamant beneath our feet. Happy is that man who, steadfast, upright, cheerful, goes from strength to strength, believing his God! Trusting in his God, he knows no care! Resting in his God he knows no impossibility!

      But, it seems, from our text, that we have one or two lessons to learn. And the first is, that the strongest faith has its seasons of wavering. Even Abraham, “the father of the faithful,” had his seasons of distrust, when expediency rather than integrity prompted him. Most of those eminent saints who are mentioned in Scripture as exhibiting faith in its greatness, appear to have sometimes showed the white flag of unbelief. There may have lived—I will not dare to say to the contrary there may have lived some man who did never once doubt his God.

      But I think I have never had the privilege of putting my eyes upon him. There may be, and I hope there are, some Christians who through their whole career never doubted their interest in Christ and who never had to say—

      “It is a point I long to know,
      Often it causes anxious thought,
      Do I love the Lord or no,
      Am I His, or am I not?”

      But, I must say, I think such Brethren are few. I think you might travel far before you should meet with any. God forbid I should speak lightly of unbelief! It is the most damnable of sins. God forbid I should say a word in its favor, or encourage its propagation. There cannot be a greater villainy out of Hell than doubting the promises of God.

      There cannot be a greater act of treason than to mistrust the love, the faith, the tenderness, the Truth of the God who has helped us up to now. But still the confession must be made, humiliating though it is—we do know that even those Believers whose hearts are true and whose souls are clad in the panoply of Heaven, do sometimes find their loins loose and their strength fail them. Mr. Pilgrim thought Mr. Great-Heart never had a doubt. ( from The Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan ) And so is it with some of our hearers. They fancy that their pastors certainly never have any trials as to their union with Christ. They can always read their titles clear.

      Ah, Beloved but if you should ask those men, they might say with Elijah, “I am not better than my fathers.” There are times when the high-soaring eagle droops to the earth, and when he who could scale the stars has to lay flat upon his face in dust and ashes, crying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These reflections are illustrated by the narrative of our text. Manoah certainly was strong in faith. He did not even see the angel but he believed— “Blessed is he that has not seen and yet has believed”—and when he entreated that he might see the angel, there seemed to be more curiosity than wavering in his faith.

      He believed God, and no doubt, settled in his own mind that he would be obedient to the heavenly vision. Yet even he begins to entertain misgivings when he says, “We shall surely die, for we have seen an angel of the Lord.” Good Lord! Of what small account are the best of men apart from You! How high they go when You lift them up! How low they fall if You withdraw Your hand! It is our joy amidst distress when You enables us to say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” But if You take away Your Spirit, we cannot even trust You in the brightest day. When storms gather around us, we can laugh at them if You are with us. But in the fairest morn that ever glowed on human heart, we doubt, and we miscarry if You are not with us still, to preserve and strengthen the faith which You have Yourself bestowed.

      - C. H. Spurgeon


      Divine Cultivation / He Constantly Abides.

      Divine Cultivation

      I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. (Isaiah 27:3)

      When the Lord Himself speaks in His own proper person rather than through a prophet, the word has a peculiar weight to believing minds. It is Jehovah Himself who is the keeper of His own vineyard; He does not trust it to any other, but He makes it His own personal care. Are they not well kept whom God Himself keeps?
      We are to receive gracious watering, not only every day and every hour "but every moment." How we ought to grow! How fresh and fruitful every plant should be! What rich clusters the vines should bear!

      But disturbers come; little foxes and the boar. Therefore, the Lord Himself is our Guardian, and that at all hours, both "night and day." What, then, can harm us? Why are we afraid! He tends, He waters, He guards; what more do we need?

      Twice in this verse the Lord says, "I will." What truth, what power, what love, what immutability we find in the great "I will" of Jehovah! Who can resist His will? If He says "I will," what room is there for doubt? With an "I will" of God we can face all the hosts of sin, death, and hell. O Lord, since Thou sayest, "I will keep thee," I reply, "I will praise Thee!"

      He Constantly Abides

      For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake; because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. (1 Samuel 12:22)

      God's choice of His people is the reason for His abiding by them and not forsaking them. He chose them for His love, and He loves them for His choice. His own good pleasure is the source of their election, and His election is the reason for the continuance of His pleasure in them. It would dishonor His great name for Him to forsake them, since it would either show that He made an error in His choice or that He was fickle in His love. God's love has this glory, that it never changes, and this glory He will never tarnish.

      By all the memories of the Lord's former lovingkindnesses let us rest assured that He will not forsake us. He who has gone so far as to make us His people will not undo the creation of His grace. He has not wrought such wonders for us that He might leave us after all. His Son Jesus has died for us, and we may be sure that He has not died in vain. Can He forsake those for whom He shed His blood? Because He has hitherto taken pleasure in choosing and in saving us, it will be His pleasure still to bless us. Our Lord Jesus is no changeable lover. Having loved His own, He loves them to the end.

      - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
      ( from the book The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith )


      In Who's Sight?

      The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

      (Proverbs 15:3)

      We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. ... (We are perceived as) unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

      - Paul the Apostle
      (2 Corinthians 6:1,9-10)

      The gospel is a word of grace sounding in our ears. The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the proper time to accept these offers. The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be. We now enjoy a day of grace; then let all be careful not to neglect it. Ministers of the gospel should look upon themselves as God's servants, and act in every thing suitably to that character. The apostle did so, by much patience in afflictions, by acting from good principles, and by due temper and behaviour. Believers, in this world, need the grace of God, to arm them against temptations, so as to bear the good report of men without pride; and so as to bear their reproaches with patience. They have nothing in themselves, but possess all things in Christ. Of such differences is a Christian's life made up, and through such a variety of conditions and reports, is our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all things to approve ourselves to God. The gospel, when faithfully preached, and fully received, betters the condition even of the poorest. They save what before they riotously spent, and diligently employ their time to useful purposes. They save and gain by religion, and thus are made rich, both for the world to come and for this, when compared with their sinful, profligate state, before they received the gospel.

      - Matthew Henry
      (from Matthew Henry's Commentary)

      And (the unbelievers) called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when (the unbelievers) had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.

      (Acts 4:18-21)

      Peter being filled with the Holy Ghost, would have all to understand, that the miracle had been wrought by the name, or power, of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, whom they had crucified; and this confirmed their testimony to his resurrection from the dead, which proved him to be the Messiah. These rulers must either be saved by that Jesus whom they had crucified, or they must perish for ever. The name of Jesus is given to men of every age and nation, as that whereby alone believers are saved from the wrath to come. But when covetousness, pride, or any corrupt passion, rules within, men shut their eyes, and close their hearts, in enmity against the light; considering all as ignorant and unlearned, who desire to know nothing in comparison with Christ crucified. And the followers of Christ should act so that all who converse with them, may take knowledge that they have been with Jesus. That makes them holy, heavenly, spiritual, and cheerful, and raises them above this world.

      All the care of the rulers is, that the doctrine of Christ spread not among the people, yet they cannot say it is false or dangerous, or of any ill tendency; and they are ashamed to own the true reason; that it testifies against their hypocrisy, wickedness, and tyranny. Those who know how to put a just value upon Christ's promises, know how to put just contempt upon the world's threatenings. The apostles look with concern on perishing souls, and know they cannot escape eternal ruin but by Jesus Christ, therefore they are faithful in warning, and showing the right way. None will enjoy peace of mind, nor act uprightly, till they have learned to guide their conduct by the fixed standard of truth, and not by the shifting opinions and fancies of men. Especially beware of a vain attempt to serve two masters, God and the world; the end will be, you can serve neither fully.

      - Matthew Henry
      (from Matthew Henry's Commentary)

      Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God.

      (James 1:19-20)


      Desperately Wailing.

      "As we go through life, each and every one of us is constantly asking ourselves, 'Who really loves me? Who really cares for me?' How we answer this question will end up impacting almost every aspect of our lives. Who can we trust? Who do we choose to be around? Who do we listen to? Who will we choose to follow and obey? The answers to these questions generally come from the answer to the question, 'Who is it then that really loves me?' Well, there are many ways to answer this and many ways to determine who it is that really loves us. For many of us, and I think this is especially true in our culture, many of us would answer the question this way, 'Who loves me? The one who affirms me. The one who supports me in whatever I do. The one who is always positive with me; always encouraging, always building me up.' For many of us, our rule of life goes something like this: 'To love me, is to affirm me. It is to tell me that I am wonderful. I am special.' I ask, 'Is that really the sign of true love? Is it unconditional affirmation? Unconditional support? Unconditional praise?' You know, that may be a picture of love in our world, but if we look to the Scriptures in an effort to answer these questions, we actually get a very different picture of love. Who loves you? Well, you may be able to summarize scriptural teaching in this way: 'The one who loves me is the one who labors to tell me the truth, and is willing to sacrifice themselves so that I may come to know that truth and conform my life to that truth.' Let me say that again, 'Scritpurally speaking, the one who loves who loves me is the one who is willing to tell me the truth, and is not just willing to say what is true but is willing to sacrifice themselves in order to help me come to understand what is true and follow what is true.' This is important to us because as we go through life, often times the truth isn't flattering. Sometimes the truth isn't encouraging. Sometimes the truth is indicting. It is convicting. Simply put, sometimes the truth is hard to hear, and harder to accept, and yet, in the face of what is true, real love demands that I hear what is true."

      - Aaron Messner


      For They Loved the Praise of Men Rather Than the Praise of God.

      Wednesday, June 13, 2007

      Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
      (Joh 12:42-44)

      Joh 12:43 - For they loved the praise of men,.... To be in the esteem of men, to have their applause, and receive honour from them:

      more than the praise of God; than either to receive honour from him, and be praised by him, or to praise and glorify him. By confessing Christ they knew they should run the risk of losing their places of honour and profit, and of falling under the disgrace and contempt of men; and therefore they chose rather not to confess Christ, than by so doing to glorify God, and please him, and be praised by him, as all the faithful professors of Christ will be at the last day; for then every such an one will have praise of God, and it will be said, well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord.

      - Gill's Commentary

      They loved the praise of men - Δοξαν, the glory or honor that cometh from men.
      How common are these four obstacles of faith! says Quesnel:

      1. Too great a regard to men.
      2. Riches and temporal advantages.
      3. The fear of disgrace.
      4. The love of the praise of men.

      Abundance of persons persuade themselves that they love God more than the world, till some trying occasion fully convinces them of their mistake. It is a very great misfortune for a person not to know himself but by his falls; but it is the greatest of all not to rise again after he has fallen. This is generally occasioned by the love of the praise of men, because in their account it is more shameful to rise again than it was to fall at first.

      - Clarke's Commentary

      Verses 37-43 Observe the method of conversion implied here. Sinners are brought to see the reality of Divine things, and to have some knowledge of them. To be converted, and truly turned from sin to Christ, as their Happiness and Portion. God will heal them, will justify and sanctify them; will pardon their sins, which are as bleeding wounds, and mortify their corruptions, which are as lurking diseases. See the power of the world in smothering convictions, from regard to the applause or censure of men. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion, and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate, when religion is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it. Verses 44-50 Our Lord publicly proclaimed, that every one who believed on him, as his true disciple, did not believe on him only, but on the Father who sent him. Beholding in Jesus the glory of the Father, we learn to obey, love, and trust in him. By daily looking to Him, who came a Light into the world, we are more and more freed from the darkness of ignorance, error, sin, and misery; we learn that the command of God our Saviour is everlasting life. But the same word will seal the condemnation of all who despise it, or neglect it.

      - Henry's Commentary


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