Monday, September 28, 2009

The Straight Gate and the Narrow Way

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction--and many go in there; but small is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life--and few there are that find it." -- Matthew 7:13-14

alking along the narrow way means for the heart and life to be constantly regulated by Christ's holy teaching. It denotes a steady perseverance in faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus, overcoming all opposition, and rejecting every temptation to forsake the path of fidelity to Him. It is called the "Narrow Way" because all self-pleasing and self-seeking is shut out.

It is right here that the testing point is reached. To the natural man, it is much easier and far more pleasant to indulge the flesh and follow our worldly propensities. The Broad Road, where the flesh is indulged, is easy, smooth, and attractive! But it ends in destruction! Though the narrow way leads to eternal life, only FEW are walking on it. Remember--it was the Lord Jesus Himself who said that.

Multitudes make a profession and claim to be saved, but their lives give no evidence that they are "strangers and pilgrims" here on earth, and that their "treasure" is in heaven. They are afraid of being thought narrow and strict. Satan has deceived them--they imagine that they can get to heaven by an easier route than by denying self, taking up their cross daily, and following Christ!

There are multitudes of 'religionists' who are attempting to combine the two "ways," making the best of both worlds and serving two masters. They wish to gratify self in time and enjoy the happiness of heaven in eternity. Crowds of nominal Christians are deluding themselves into believing that they can do so, but they are terribly deceived!

The reason why so few will enter eternal life is because the multitudes are not seeking it in the way of God's appointing. None seek it aright except those who pass through the narrow gate and who, despite many discouragements and falls, continue to press forward along the narrow way.

- A. W. Pink

Sunday, September 27, 2009

All Things

"We know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

All the afflictions, all the temptations, all the oppressions, all the oppositions, and all the persecutions which comes to a Christian, shall work for his good.

Every cross, every loss, and every disease which comes to the believer shall work for his good. Every device, every snare, every deceit, every stratagem, and every enterprise of Satan against the saint of God shall work for his good.

They shall all help to make him more humble, more holy, more heavenly, more spiritual, more faithful, more fruitful, and more watchful.

Every prosperity and every adversity; every storm and every calm; every bitter and every sweet; every cross and every comfort--shall ALL work for your good, if you love God and are among the called according to His purpose.

When God gives a mercy, that shall work for your good and when God takes away a mercy, that shall also work for your good.

Yes, even all the falls and all the sins of the saints shall work for their good. Oh, the care, the fear, the watchfulness, the tenderness, the zeal, which God raises in the souls of His saints by their very falls! Oh the hatred, the indignation, and the detestation, which God raises in the hearts of His children against sin by their very falling into sin!

Oh what love to Christ, what thankfulness for Christ, what admiration of Christ, what cleaving to Christ, what exalting of Christ, what drawings from Christ's grace are saints led to by their very falls!

It is the glory of God's holiness that He can turn spiritual diseases into holy remedies! He can turn soul poisons into heavenly cordials! He can prevent sin by sin, and cure falling by falling!

O Christian! What, though friends and family frown upon you, what though enemies are plotting and conspiring against you, what though needs, like armed men, are breaking in upon you, what though men rage, and devils roar against you, what though sickness is devastating your family, what though death stands every day at your elbow--yet there is no reason for you to fear nor faint, because all these things shall work for your good! Yes, there is wonderful cause of joy and rejoicing in all the afflictions and tribulations which come upon you, considering that they shall ALL work for your good.

O Christians! I am afraid, I am afraid, that you do not run as often as you should to the breasts of this promise, nor draw that sweetness and comfort from it, that it would yield, and that your circumstances may require. "We know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." But the condition of God's people calls for the strongest encouragements and the choicest and sweetest comforts.

- Thomas Brooks

Can You Share Real Truth in 60 Seconds?

Just say something like this:

"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."

Have you ever thought how will you do when you stand before God?

If your thought life was put on TV tonight, how comfortable would you be with others seeing your thought life?

Your thought life reveals your heart and the Bible says "God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ."

The truth is "There is none righteous, no, not one"; no one is good enough to get to heaven.

But Jesus Christ, who is the God who spoke this universe into existence, He became flesh and lived a sinless life and died in your place upon that cross, taking your hell for you.

Jesus rose from the dead. Death could not hold Him.

And He now offers you eternal life and complete forgiveness of sins, if you will go to Him.

If you want a free Bible, I'll send you one.

I challenge you to read one of the Gospels-- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

And just look at the words and life of Jesus Christ,

You will soon find He is no mere man, but He is life and truth itself.

Jesus is the reason for living."

- Kevin Williams, Manchester, England

Friday, September 25, 2009

Does It Really Matter That Much if We Believe in the Sovereignty of God? Pt. 2

Ten Reasons Continued

6. The hope that God will give life to those who are spiritually dead depends on it.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved."
- Eph. 2:4-5

"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." - John 3:8

7. The well-grounded expectation of answered prayer depends on it.

"Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved." - Romans 10:1
"Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins . . .for the promise is for .=2 0. . everyone whom the Lord our God shall call." - Acts 2:38-39

8. Boldness in the face of seeming hopeless defeat depends on it.

“Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.”
- 2 Samuel 10:12
“Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.”
- 2 Chronicles 32:7

9. Seeing and savoring the revelation of the fullness of God’s glory depends on it.

"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ . . . What if God, desirin g to show his wrath and to make known his power, acted in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy?”
- Romans 9:20–23

10. Praise that matches the fullness of God’s power, wisdom, and grace depends on it.

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. . . . We will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” - Psalm 115:3,18
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” - Psalm 96:4

The doctrine of God’s sov ereignty is an anchor for the troubled soul, a hope for the praying heart, a stability for fragile faith, a confidence in pursuing the lost, a guarantee of Christ’s atonement, a high mystery to keep us humble, and a solid ground for all praise. And oh, so much more. O Lord, turn this truth for the triumph of your saving and sanctifying grace.

- John Piper

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Does It Really Matter if We Believe in the Sovereignty of God?

Why Does It Matter? Ten reasons:

1. The good news of God substituting His Son on the cross depends on it.

"Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place."
- Acts 4:27-28

2. The perseverance of the saints in the fear of God depends on it.

"I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me."
- Jer. 32:40

3. Our progress in holiness now and the final perfecting of all believers in the end depends on it.

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." - Philippians 2:12-13

4. The assurance of God's final triumph over all natural and supernatural evil depends on it.

"I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.'" - Isaiah 46:9-10

5. The comfort that there is a wise and loving purpose in all our calamities and losses, and that God does work all things together for our good depends on it.

"Though He causes grief, He will have compassion according to the abundance of His steadfast love . . . Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?"
- Lamentations 3:32-28

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." - Genesis 50:20

- to be continued

- John Piper

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Can a True Christian Fall from Grace and Finally be Lost?

If we could but once believe the teaching that the child of God might fall from grace and perish everlastingly, we might, indeed, shut our Bible in despair. To what purpose would my preaching be--the preaching of a rickety gospel like that? To what purpose your faith be--a faith in a God that cannot and would not carry on to the end? To what use the blood of Christ, if it were shed in vain, and did not bring the blood-bought ones securely home? To what purpose the Spirit, if he were not omnipotent enough to overcome our wandering, to arrest our sins and make us perfect, and present us faultless before the throne of God at last? The doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints is, I believe, as thoroughly bound up with the standing or falling of the gospel, as is the article of justification by faith. Give that up and I see no gospel left; I see no beauty in religion that is worthy of my acceptance or that deserves my admiration.

An unchanging God, an everlasting covenant, a sure mercy--these are the things that my soul delights in, and I know your hearts love to feed upon them. But take these away, and what have we? We have a foundation of wood, hay, straw, and stubble. We have nothing solid. We have a fort of earthworks, a mud hovel through which the thief may break and steal away our treasures. No, this foundation stands sure--"The Lord knows them that are his" and he will certainly bring them all to his right hand at last in glory everlasting.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, September 21, 2009

Devoted to Prayer

These are days, no doubt, that demand our most earnest devotion to prayer. 'In everything by prayer' is God’s plan for us. Someone has said that prayer is 'the robing room of the soul'. Prayer sends the soul aloft and is the truest worship of the sanctified will. It is like a greenhouse for our spirit. Constant trips to the invisible world in prayer will speed us along and stabilize us in our walk of faith.

The Bible tells us that David’s kingdom grew stronger and stronger, while Saul’s kingdom grew weaker and weaker. Saul is a picture of the natural man who trusted in his own natural gifting. David inquired of the Lord constantly...and when God said to him, 'Seek my face', David’s heart said to the Lord, 'Thy fac e will I seek'. Perhaps the difference between David and Saul could be summed up in David’s own words recorded in 1 Chronicles13:3: 'And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul'.

What an admission! No inquiry at the ark of God in the days of Saul, because he was not a man of prayer and did not seek the Lord as a way of life. We need to learn from this contrast, because we are like one of these men.

J. O. Fraser, missionary to China, once said, 'It is one of the most subtle wiles of the foe to get us occupied with superficial and surface concerns. The enemy is delighted to have us so occupied incessantly with secondary and trivial things, as long as he can keep us from attacking and resisting in the true spirit of the conflict. Weigh these words'.

May our Lord enable each of us to follow Him fully as the Spirit of God seeks to lead us into the=2 0the promised land of prayer. What riches await us! Yes Lord.

The trumpet is sounding in our land, and there is a call to God’s people. Let us heed His call and respond to Him with all our hearts, for it is a call to His church.

- Al Whittinghill

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Actual Words of an Atheist One Hundred Years Ago

If I firmly believed, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences the eternal destiny of others, then religion would mean everything to me. I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as folly, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I would labor in its cause alone. I would only take thought for tomorrow about eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences would never stop my hand nor seal my lips. Earth and its joys and griefs would occupy no moments of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon eternity alone and on the immortal souls around me who are soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach in season and out of season, and my text would be, 'What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul'?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ambition Hinders Life and Ministry, Pt. 2

The whole history and character of Christ are in direct antagonism to ambition.

If Paul is to serve as an example for preachers, it is at the point of freedom from all forms of ambition that his example is the most emphatic. He puts the whole inventory of ecclesiastical and earthly goods in one catalog and renounces them all in this strong language: "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" (Phil. 3:7-8); and as though this were not enough, he takes us to the cross, where every earthly thing perished in pain, shame, and utter bankruptcy, and declares; "I am crucified with Christ."

Many things often are often allowed to come into our faith and our ministry to defame them, but nothing is more deadly to us than ambition. It has in its bad embrace the seeds of all evil. It has insincerity and hypocrisy. It is a tyrant. Of all the evils that grieve God's Spirit and quench his flame, ambition may be reckoned among the chief, if not the very chief. The fact that ecclesiastical pride, church sentiment, and church worldliness will allow ambition to be christened at church altars and have the stamp of innocence and of virtue, ought to be alarming.

Is the desire for ecclesiastical advancement ambition? If not, what is it? We may say it is a laudable ambition! Can a qualifying word change the evil nature of this dark and fallen angel? Does an angelic garb make Satan an angel? We may say we want a more honorable place to do more honorable and larger service for Christ. Is not this Satan clothing himself as an angel of good? The honor of a service done for God is in no way dependent on its honorable nature or largeness. The honor of service for God depends only on the spirit in which it is done, and that spirit is one in which self-pride and ambition are crucified. Self in us looks to the future to largeness and honor. Christ in us looks to the present to fidelity and zeal for the work at hand and has no eye for self and future.

Can the preacher preach without faith? If he preaches with ambition, he is preaching without faith, for in Christ's service faith and ambition cannot co-exist. Can the preacher preach without love? If he preaches with ambition, he is preaching without love, for ambition and love have neither union nor concord. Can a preacher preach without humility? If he preaches with ambition, he is preaching without humility, for ambition is the very essence of pride. Can a preacher preach without consecration? If he preaches with ambition he must, for ambition is a thing to be crucified and not consecrated. Ambition must be daily crucified because it never can be consecrated.

Ambition changes the whole nature of ministry and floods it with worldliness. Instead of the ministry being an institution where the highest Christian graces are to be produced and the loftiest virtues exhibited, ambition transforms it into a ministry where self is the mainspring and every grace is blighted.

With ambition, the church is no longer an institution to save men, where the preacher, like Christ, exhausts himself to secure this end; but it is changed into an institution to confer position on men, and all its holy places are then polluted by the grasping, selfish hand of ambition or they are trodden by its unhallowed feet.

- E. M. Bounds

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ambition Hinders Life and Ministry

Ambition is one of the greatest hindrances to the Christian life and especially to preaching because it is born of self and nurtured by pride. It manifests itself in various ways: the desire to be a great preacher, to have the first place, to be a leader, or to secure places of honor or profit veils itself under many disguises. It is christened with the surname "laudable", and comes into the church, then works its selfish, worldly schemes. A person may be a Christian by name and a church member, but if he is driven by ambition, he is an infidel at heart and worldly. The days of the prevalence of ambition in the church have been days of supreme church worldliness and extreme apostasy.

There is much in a name, and the true and wise Christian will not allow this corrupter of the faith to enter, though clothed in a garb of innocent names. Christian faith has kindled and consecrated the flame of holy zeal, stimulating and giving ardor to effort. True zeal is a heavenly fire, the purity of which disdains all earthly adulterations. Zeal crucifies self-- it fixes its eyes on both God and his glory. As Christ died for sin once, so the Christian by crucifixion dies to self and says, "Perish every fond ambition." In every moment of his life, in every vision of his eye, in every impulse of his heart, and in every effort of his hand, the Christian is to be true to the fact of this self-renouncing commitment.

Ambition is the one thing that affected the power, peace, and piety of the apostles of the Lord. We see its effects noted in their envies and strife. A few instances are recorded, but how much unrecorded jealousy and alienation was produced, we can only conjecture. We have the record of its existence and Christ's rebuke in the early part of their career and its violence breaks out under the shadow of the cross. The bitter thoughts of his death are mixed with the strife of his disciples for place and his solemn charge against the religious phase of worldly ambition. The washing of the disciples' feet was the last act of personal training that Christ used as the remedy for ambition in his disciples.

Ambition destroys the foundation of Christian character by making faith impossible. Faith roots itself in the soil where selfish and worldly growths have been destroyed. "How can ye believe," says Christ, "which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" (John 5:44). In this statement is shown the impossibility of blending faith with the desire to receive honor from men.

The entrance of this alluring element of human honor draws the heart from the honor that comes from God and sweeps away the foundations of faith. When the eye seeks things other than God, when the heart desires things other than God--this is ambition. No man can serve these two masters; no man can combine the ends of self and of God. He may think he can; he may seem to do so; but no one can perform this spiritual impossibility.

Ambition enthrones pride, and that is the throne on which Satan sits. Humility is destroyed by ambition. The history of the church attests to the fact that humility has no place in the church or the man that is ambitious. Humility is not a virtue of those who have sought to be put in the calendar of earthly saints. No ambition is so proud as a religious ambition, and none less scrupulous. No church can be more thoroughly apostate than the church whose leaders have come into their places though the way of ambition. No ambition is so destructive as that which comes in under the guise of religion. Ambition is worldly, though it may be disguised under the name of Christianity. It easily deludes its possessor under the plea of a wider field of influence and usefulness; but the presence of ambition, like the soil of Sardinia, spoils even the honey.

If ambition can be religious and can preach, then it must do so without love, for love and ambition can no more unite than can light and darkness; they are as essentially at war as Christ and Belial. "Love seeketh not her own," while ambition is ever seeking its own, and not infrequently it seeks with all its heart that which is another's. Love in honor prefers one another, but ambition never does.

If Jesus Christ is to be our model preacher, if our attachment to him rises to anything above an impure sentiment, then the mind that was in him must be in us. He was without taint of ambition. We have this attitude of Christ to ambition set before us:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. - Philippians 2:5-8

to be continued

- E. M. Bounds

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Let's Be Clear in our Understanding about the Holy Spirit

I become weary of seeing the wrong teaching that is out there among professing evangelicals regarding the Holy Spirit. It's from one extreme to the other. This Daily Thoughts is not about trying to straighten it all out. I only want to address one particular thing.

The other day while I was driving I heard a popular and very well-known radio preacher who, I believe, is a good and sincere man who tries to preach the Bible. As he was speaking about the Holy Spirit's working on David's life, he made the statement: 'But that was before Pentecost and before the Holy Spirit was really given." I immediately thought, "O boy, here we go", because I knew where he was going before he went there. I knew what he was going to say before he began to say it.

His view was that which most professing evangelicals in the 20th and 21st centuries have held, especially since the rise of dispensational teaching at the beginning of the 20th century. Here's the basic summary teaching:

1. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament period was only occasionally sent upon prophets and priests for temporary work; He never indwelt any believers in that time, but only came and went as God sovereignly purposed. No believers had the Holy Spirit until the Day of Pentecost.

2. With the coming of Pentecost, believers were for the first time indwelt by the Spirit and all believers were possessed by Him.

This view, simply put, is wrong. And I am amazed at how many true Christians still believe it. They are confused still about how people in the Old Testament were saved and knew God or if they were even truly saved at all; they are confused about what the Holy Spirit did, if anything, in the Old Testament believers.

Let me give a summary statement on this; I would encourage anyone who will be helped by this to pursue further understanding on such an important subject.


1. Both Old Testament and New Testament believers were all justified by faith alone, apart from works; the Old Testament people of Israel always had a remnant among them that truly knew the Lord and were true believers; true believers under the O T were saved by grace through faith, just like N. T. believers and had a new heart within them; this is the reason why they loved the Lord from the heart, sought the Lord, trusted and obeyed the Lord. All those in the Old Covenant who did not do these things did not know the Lord. The fact is, a majority of those in the Old Covenant were not true believers and thus they acted as they did. Only a minority remnant were true believers who did know and love the Lord. It was those alone who were justified.

2. Both believers in both the O. T. and N. T., to be justified, were all regenerated and were indwelt by the Spirit. The reason this is absolutely true is because true justification presumes and presupposes a new heart, which only comes by regeneration. If you deny that regeneration was true under the Old Covenant, then you must deny that justification was as well. But that is impossible, as we already know from the New Testament that they were justified by faith. You cannot be a believer, either in the Old or New Testament periods, without being both regenerated and justified. This is seen in a number of O. T. passages as well as N. T. passages.

This obviously does not answer every question about this great subject and will provoke a number of questions. But it amazes me at times to see how many true believers are still carrying weak and wrong teaching with them from their past on this issue and are not clear on even the basic truths. May the Lord continue to guide us into all truth.

- Mack Tomlinson

Catholic View of Who is Man's Mediator

In response to the biblical view of Christ being the one and only Redeemer and heavenly Mediator, a Catholic gave the following response:

"One could perhaps get around concern about elevating Mary to the same redemptive level as her Son by conceiving the titles Redeemer and co-redeemer along the lines of the titles "pilot and co-pilot." A co-pilot is not the pilot, but assists him/her [...] in the job of guiding the plane and its occupants to their destination. So Christ is the unique Redeemer/pilot leading us to our final destination with the special assistance of his Mother, his subordinate co-pilot."

Quite a twisting of words--shows us how words can make heresy sound plausible and not so bad to undiscerning souls. But error is still error, regardless of how you dress it up. Such a view is nothing but blasphemy and anti-Christ. Smooth words do not change the reality of such dangerous and damning teaching.

- Mack Tomlinson

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy in the Lord

"I see more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord."

Do you know who said this? It was not Joel Osteen in his best-seller, Your Best Life Now, or some other popular TV preacher. It was George Muller. I do agree with Muller's statement that only by being truly happy and joyful in the Lord will we glorify Him consistently. It is Him that we must seek, not only to know and glorify Him, but also because He is the only one who can do for us what Muller is recommending here.

Why is Muller right? Because when we are happy in Him, others will see the evidence of the reality of God on our lives. If am contented, peaceful, joyful, satisfied, daily walking in fullness and freshness of life, truly happy in the Lord Jesus--then will people take notice of the greatest reality--a person that is actually like God in some real measure. It is then that they cannot deny or argue with true Christianity. After all, which kind of person reflects the Lord Jesus Christ?--

1. a depressed, gloomy, sad, somber and discontented person who is always under the weight of difficulty

2. one who evidences inner reality and joyful satisfaction regardless of difficulties

If I were an unbeliever, I would be only attracted to the second kind of person and I would only be open to the faith they profess.

"Happy in the Lord."--has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

- Mack Tomlinson


Eternal hallelujahs
Be to the Father given,
Who loved His own
Ere time began,
And marked them out for heaven.

Anthems of equal glory,
Ascribe we to the Saviour;
Who lived and died
That we, His bride,
Might live with Him forever.

Hail, co-eternal Spirit,
Thy church's new Creator!
The saints He seals,
Their fear dispels,
And sanctifies their nature.

We laud the Glorious Triad,
The mystic One-in-Essence;
Till called to join
The hosts that shine
In His immediate Presence.

Faithful is He that promised,
And stands engaged to save us:
The triune Lord
Has passed His word
That He will never leave us!

A Kingdom He assigned us,
Before the world's foundation:
Thou God of grace,
Be Thine the praise,
And ours the consolation.

- Augustus Toplady (1740-1778)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kings & Priests

"He has made us kings and priests to our God!" Revelation 5:10

The Lord Jesus infinitely excels all earthly kings, in that He makes all His subjects kings! He has a crown of glory for every subject! Oh, what a glorious King is this! It is better to be a poor member of Christ, than the head of a nation! Oh, how infinitely happy are all Christ's subjects! They are all kings, all heirs, all favorites, all sons!

Where is there such a king to be found, who makes all his subjects kings? There are many kings who bring their subjects down lower, but Christ makes His subjects kings! There are many kings who make their subjects beggars, but Christ makes His subjects rich! There are many kings who put their subjects to death, but Christ died that His subjects might live! There are many kings who give their subjects titles, but Christ gives all His subjects Himself and then heaven!

Now, beloved, here is the excellence of our King-- He has made us all kings and priests under Him, and gives us all crowns of glory!

- William Dyer

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Revival in Bala

It was two years ago this summer that Linda and I spend a month in the British Isles, where I was preaching for three weeks in Aberystwyth, Wales at Alfred Place Baptist Church for Pastor Geoff Thomas. During the month, we also had the privilege and enjoyment of seeing many church history sites and meeting many very dear Christians in England, Wales, and Scotland.

One of the most heart-warming and beneficial parts of the trip was to be in Bala, Wales, for visits with some very dear Christians, John & Mari Jones, who were among the closest friends of D. M. and Bethan Lloyd-Jones, as well as attend the annual summer Bala minister's conference, which was led for years by Dr. Lloyd-Jones.

Bala is situated in majestic central Wales with beautiful Bala Lake just on the edge as you come into town from the south. Situated in a beautiful valley, it is a breath-taking view driving to the north over the mountains on the small mountain road looking down on the valleys, and seeing the Welsh farms nestled among the hills with sheep scattered on the hills and in the grasslands. A prettier drive, one could not expect to see.

It was in Bala almost 220 years ago that a spiritual awakening occurred that shook the entire north of Wales. Thomas Charles, an evangelical leader time who lived there, wrote on December 7, 1791:

"Here, in our town of Bala, for some time back, we have had a very great, powerful, and glorious outpouring of the Spirit of God on the people in general, especially among the young people. The state and welfare of the soul has become the general concern of the entire country. Many, many of the wildest of the people have been awakened.

"This glorious work began on a Sunday afternoon in the chapel, where I preached twice that day; I cannot say that there was anything particularly special in the ministry of that day, more than what I had often experienced among our dear people here.

"Then toward the close of the evening service, the Spirit of God seemed to work in a very powerful manner on the minds of great numbers present who never appeared before to seek the Lord's face; but now there was a general and loud crying, 'What must I do to be saved?', and, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner'. About ten o'clock at night, there was nothing to be heard from one end of town to the other except the cries and groans of people in distress of soul. The very same night, a spirit of deep conviction and serious concern fell upon whole congregations in the town, when they were calling upon the Lord.

"In the following week, we had nothing but prayer meetings, and widespread concern about eternal things swallowed up all other concerns. The spirit of conviction spread so rapidly that there was hardly a young person in the town who did not begin to ask, 'What will become of me?' The work has continued to go on with undiminished power and glory, spreading from one town to another, all around this part of the country. A dispensation so glorious, I have never beheld nor indeed expected to see in my day.

"While it stirs up the opposition and rage of some determined enemies of the Lord, yet the coming of the Lord among us has been with such majesty, glory, and irresistible power, that even His enemies would be glad to hide themselves somewhere from the brightness of His coming.

"It is an easy and delightful work to preach the glorious gospel here in these days, for many are the fervent prayers by the people for the preacher, and they hear the Word for eternity. Divine truths have their own infinite weight and importance in the minds of the people. Beams of divine light, together with irresistible energy, accompany every truth delivered . . . I bless God for these days, and would not have missed seeing what I now see, not for the whole world."

- Thomas Charles

Iain Murray says:

"This year of 1791 proved to be of the greatest importance in many respects in Wales, as it marked the beginning of genuine revivals which continued in several districts of North Wales over the next three years, and more occasional similar scenes were to be seen there repeatedly over the next forty years. The moral change was immense and permanent for several generations to come. In 1811, twenty years after the awakening, Thomas Charles wrote: 'The whole country is in a manner emerging from a state of great ignorance and barbarity to civilization and piety. . . . Bibles without end are called for, are read diligently, learned by heart, and searched in with diligence and care. Instead of vain amusements, dancing, quarreling and cruel fights, we now have public prayer meetings and congregations are crowded."

This divine intervention in a country, which is rightly called a spiritual awakening, is the very last and ONLY hope America has in any way. That is why political action, as good as some of it may be, as far as making one's voice heard-- political action will never bring a nation back to where it was before. Only God can save a nation. Does He purpose to do so with America? Only what happened in Bala in the 18th and 19th centuries will preserve our nation. That is why history is so important.

- Mack Tomlinson

Monday, September 7, 2009

Glorious Truth

Predestination is God's sovereign, eternal arrangement of all the affairs of the universe to secure the object of His electing love, to secure the everlasting salvation of His adopted sons and daughters. It is God's purpose, the blueprint by which He created the universe and rules it in providence. This great, blessed work of God's grace includes all things and can never be altered. This, too, is a matter of such unmistakable, clear revelation that ignorance of it is inexcusable (Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4-5, 11; Romans 8:29).

Redemption is the ransom of chosen sinners out from under the curse of God's broken law and offended justice by the sacrificial, substitutionary, sin-atoning death of our Lord Jesus. Redemption is the satisfaction of justice by the blood of Christ and the deliverance of God's redeemed ones from all possibility of condemnation (Ephesians 1:7; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:18-20). The redemption of our souls by Christ's shed blood also includes and guaranteed the redemption (deliverance) of our souls from the bondage and dominion of sin (Isaiah 53:10-11), and the redemption of our bodies from the grave at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:14; 4:30). All who were redeemed by the blood of Christ must and shall be saved by God's grace in him.

Regeneration is the new birth, the actual deliverance of chosen, redeemed sinners from spiritual death into spiritual life by the effectual power and irresistible grace of God the Holy Spirit (John 3:8; Ephesians 2:1-4; Colossians 2:10-13). It is a resurrection from spiritual death to spiritual eternal life in Christ by the Spirit of God.

Providence is the glorious, though mysterious, sovereign rule of the universe by our God for the salvation of His people and the praise, honor and glory of His own great name (Romans 8:28; 11:36; Ephesians 1:11). Providence is God working out in time what He purposed in eternity. Nothing is more comforting, nothing inspires boldness and nothing gives peace like a good understanding of and a confident faith in God's predestination, redemption, regeneration and providence.

A Wise Perspective, Pt. 2

In our last Daily Thoughts, Carl Trueman spoke about "mega-everything" in church life and ministry. He was not saying that normal, smaller church life is boring or dull; rather, he was saying that anyone who is of the mega-mentality might view churches without the fluff as being boring and unexciting. And that is wrong.

What Trueman said also has another important application.

The effect of "mega, not mundane" has taken a huge toll on the view point of many young men and couples entering the Christian ministry today. It is evident that some do not want the mundane routine of being prepared under faithful pastors until they are truly ready for ministry, not ready in their own eyes, but in the eyes of their pastors and church, prepared by doing real service in unseen ways and learning submission. By the mid-twenties, they often desire to have positions of ministry that often take 20 years to mature into.

Some seem to think they have the wisdom of a 50 or 60 year old pastor and do not want to be under, for any length of time, an experienced pastor. Two years is about the maximum length of time many younger men have the ability to stay put. They become bored by the mundane, discontented, impatient, wanting to be up and doing something on their own, rather than seeing that they could exercise a wonderful ministry right where they are, assisting the elders, visiting the elderly in the nursing homes, going to the hospital to visit the sick, going down to witness to the homeless and where the local teenagers hang out.

But that isn't attractive; its not big enough or interesting enough; they would rather blog, tweet, and dialogue about theology while they drink their wine and beer, exhibiting their "superior" freedom which they believe is much more than those old foggies down at the church. The attitude at times is--"those men are nice, they are good men, but they are not up to date enough, they aren't cutting edge; they don't relate enough; they don't preach like Piper or Driscoll; I need something innovative, I need to be under someone who is exciting that younger people are really tracking with. I just can't stay with them--they don't do ministry good enough. I believe God is leading me away from here."

The truth is, often they are simply running from what would be God's best for their maturity and growth, and they are blaming God for their flight by saying, "God is leading me"; no one in the church sees God leading them; their elders who have loved them don't see God leading them; yet they have convinced themselves it is true.

This is often a deception which is caused by the pride of youth. They simply can't see that if they were to stay where they are and supported and submitted to the godly leaders they already have, do the menial tasks, serve, be faithful and very consistent at all the meetings of the church, they would make gigantic leaps toward maturity, wisdom, ministry effectiveness, and fruitfulness.

If a younger man or couple in their twenties were to say, "Let's stay right here where we are for the next ten or fifteen years and serve, serve, serve, doing what no one else is doing, doing all the elders ask us to do and be the most faithful believers in this fellowship"-- that young man or couple would be given exceedingly wonderful ministry by the Lord and would far excel those who run from one situation to another. But very few stay put for the long haul. And that is where true ministry really happens. This is a call for all those under 30 years to really consider and search their hearts.

Where is the 20-30 year old Christian young man who would say to his church leaders: "I would love to take on all the nursing home visits, the shut-ins, and the hospital visits; I will do anything you want me to do that no one else is doing; Can I serve Christ in whatever capacity you see is needed in the church?" Where is such a Christian?

Where are the young women who will say to their elder's wives, "Let me learn from you; let me come and serve your family, and serve along side you in hospitality and in church events-- let me help you and I would love for you to mentor and teach me. Let me be a blessing to others and not just receive; let me be a blessing along side you."

It's just such a mentality that God abundantly pours out His blessing upon for future quality ministry because the one who is faithful in that which is little will be entrusted with more.

Any young man or couple who are driven about and focused on having a ministry, let them be honest with themselves and beware--they are on dangerous and deceptive ground unless their church body and their elders are like-minded with them; Let them first serve faithfully under their own pastors and elders in their church and patiently let God blossom them into the ministry He will prepare them for. And let them go to their elders to see when they should be sent out to do any ministry. If they do this, they not make the mistakes that so many make and later regret. The truth is, it's the mundane, faithful Christian, who glorifies God the most.

- Mack Tomlinson

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Wise and Correct Perspective

I worry that a movement built on megachurches, megaconferences, and megaleaders, does the church a disservice in one very important way that is often missed amid all the pizzazz and excitement--it creates the idea that church life is always going to be big, loud, and exhilarating and thus gives church members and ministerial candidates unrealistic expectations of the normal Christian life. In the real world, many, if not most of us worship and work in churches of 100 people or less. Life is not loud and exciting; big things do not happen every Sunday; budgets are incredibly tight and barely provide enough for a pastor’s support; each Lord’s Day we go through the same routines of worship services, of hearing the gospel proclaimed, taking the Lord’s Supper, with some churches teaching Sunday School; perhaps several times a year we do leaflet drops in the neighbourhood with very few results; at Christmas time we carol sing in the street and hand out invitations to church and maybe two or three people actually come along as a result. But no matter — we keep going, giving, and praying as we can; we try to be faithful in the little entrusted to us. It’s boring, it’s routine, and it’s the same, year in, year out.

Therefore, in a world where excitement, celebrity, and cultural power are the ideal, it is tempting amidst the circumstances of ordinary church life to forget that the routine of the ordinary, the boring, the plodding, is actually the norm for church life and has been so throughout most places for most of the history of the church; that mega-whatevers are the exception, not the rule; and that the church has survived throughout the ages because of the day to day faithfulness of the mundane, anonymous, non-descript people who constitute most of the church, and who do the grunt work and the tedious jobs that need to be done. History does not generally record their names; but the likelihood is that you worship in a church which owes everything, humanly speaking, to such people.

- Carl Trueman

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Guarding Your Heart

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life!" Proverbs 4:23

See that your chief study is about your heart: it is there that God's image is planted, that His interests are advanced, that the world and flesh are subdued, that the love of every sin is cast out, and that the love of holiness grows.

"I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the mind!" Jeremiah 17:10

- Jonathan Edwards