Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Unpardonable Sin Follow-Up

The man who wrote me about the unpardonable sin came to church Sunday and then I had 1 1/2 hours with him Monday morning. Here is his follow-up Monday afternoon. - Mack T.

Thanks for talking to me, Mack. I really needed that. The message Sunday morning was very good. I sometimes wonder if it is some spirit that has vexed me all these years. Until recently, I always thought a man could pull himself up by his own bootstraps. I could not have been more mistaken. I did not have the opportunity to explain the depth of despair that I have found myself in. I knew than that God has to find me, not the other way around.

My soul started into a downward spiral into the depths of despair that I have never known, only to get worse when confronted with the warnings in the Book of Hebrews. I do not intend to pretend with God ever again that I am saved. I can see how all these years I have been building my own house on the sand. I pray that God will not forsake me because the most wonderful thing in existence to be sought more than the entire world is Christ.

How wonderful He is. He is the only thing that is of value to a man. Some say they put Him first, but he should be more than that--he is all. And how I wish he would let me have him as my all and everything. My whole world has been burned to the ground. Nothing has remained. All of this happenning to me was just symbolism before in my mind. Not now. This is real. My works have gone up in smoke. My secret sins have burned me. My only hope is that the Word says he is merciful; I am just a man and I have no idea how much mercy he has. I have no doubt that He will judge. That is certain. I just hope and pray that in spite of my grievious sins, he will have mercy and extend grace to me.

I have had this nagging feeling for a long time that I have been trusting in the wrong thing. It seemed as though there should have been victory a long time ago. I just kept doing the wrong thing, spiritually speaking. Making up ways of appeasing God in my own mind. Never wanting to admit that these sins have hounded me. In a sense I made up my own god, a god that could let me live in my sins and some day my prince would come and deliver me. I didn't realize I was a hypocrite and a perverse man. I can't stand to think of it. My past. I hate that guy. I am that man. I am the summer clouds that have no promise of rain. I am the spot in your love feast. It would seem that by now Jesus could walk in His garden an enjoy some fruit. By now I'm 48, and Jesus should be able to be refreshed by some fruitfulness from me. I have failed the only beautiful One. I have been a rogue and a ruffian. I wish I would have just cut out my tongue years ago.

But I guess it's all evidence that a man is just sinful and without any ability to save himself. To even have the moral strength to resist temptation or to stand and not fall is impossible without wholly trusting in Jesus. It's all so clear to me now. A man cannot live for one day or one minute without Christ or he will fall. The tough guy will fall.

He is a Wonderful Counselor that you have. I only hope that He will have me. I love that hymn that says, "Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart. Not be all else to me save that Thou art. Thou and Thou only, first in my heart; High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art." I now understand the worth of that Treasure. It is not some mysterious thing anymore. Jesus is everything and the only thing in the entire universe and beyond. HE IS EVERYTHING. I hope God will forgive me for my small thinking in the past. Mack, Jesus is the only worthy endeavor a man should ever seek. Tell the young men this. There is nothing else to seek. Nothing. I sought success in real estate and being a family man. I sought a lot of things. A man needs to seek only one thing -- Jesus and His righteousness.

I really loved your sweet church with just a piano and singing from a hymnal. I tell you, there were either angels in the front row singing or you have a church full of opera singers. The only errant voice was mine. What a way to worship, without the rythmic booming of drums and railing electric guitars blasting through one's brain. I am beside myself in awe of the beauty of it. I only hope that I didn't bring anything foul with me to your assembling. I am not worthy to be accounted with the righteous. I would like to come again, but I do not want to be a blemish. I humbly submit to the leading of the Spirit through your leadership of your flock there. Knowing my situation and my soul being so vexed, I would expect you to protect your flock. I would like to talk with you more at any rate and visit if it is possible.

I started reading from John Bunyan's testimony. His thinking is exactly like mine while he was in his despair. So I have some more hope. Thanks Mack; I'll call this week or you can call me at your leisure anytime.......... Thanks

[Doesn't sound like one who has committed the unpardonable sin, does it?]

- Mack T.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Posture Before the Word of God, Part 1

Regarding the Bible--

1. If I find something with which I do not agree, I am wrong.

2. If I find something which I cannot understand, it is wrong of me to judge it on that account.

3. If I find something which contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture elsewhere, I cannot be right.

4. If I find something which would slander the revealed character of God, I am wrong; Caution: that which is "unworthy of God" is not decided by man.

5. If I find something in Scripture which brings up an apparent contradiction, I am wrong not to face it squarely.

- to be continued

- Tom Lyon

A Witness in Kazakhstan

Please Pray for the Gerhart Family

The Thomas Gerhart family live in Kazakhstan, not as official "missionaries", though they really are. They are there because Tom works at the American Embassy there. Please pray for them. There is no Christian church where they are. Please remember them in prayer. Here is an email from Tom today.
-- Mack T.

Dear Mack,

We are not missionaries, but only do what we can as ambassadors for Christ; like any ordinary Christian motivated by the indwelling Holy Spirit. I work F/T at the American Embassy as an IT person.

We finished 3yrs in New Delhi 3/09. What a God forsaken place plagued with rampant idolatry disease & pestilence. Our 9th child was born at home in the bathtub which was actually better than the hospital. 2 of our children & Kim almost died in India from sickness. The good thing about India is there are always people everywhere. We would easily pass out 500 Gospel tracts to people who likely would never hear the Gospel any other way. As one fellow Christian said, "You can preach on a street corner & have a crowd within seconds & be beaten in 10 minutes."

Our current post, Kazakhstan, is a barren remote place. The cross of Christ is despised in Kazakhstan nonetheless the children & I pass out Gospel tracts every chance they get much to the dismay of the Police. We haven’t been able to find a Church or believers to meet with so we do Home Church. Luke 22, Laura 20, John 17, EmilyAnne 15, Matthew 14, Gloria 11, Joy 10, Grace 7, Ellie 4 & Faith 6 months (born in Kazakhstan).

We pray often that the Bibles & tracts we pass out would bear fruit and that we would use every opportunity we get, which is rarer now that the police hound us when we are out & about.


- Tom

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Testimony from Malta

Dear Mack Tomlinson,

I am reading your book about the life of Leonard Ravenhill and would like to sincerely thank you for your work. I am being blessed and challenged by much of what
has been written. The book was providentially brought to my attention during this particular time in my life, and I thank our gracious God for this. Please received my
humble gratitude and appreciation for all your work and the effort which you put into it.

I know a little about this, since last February, after seven years of translatlion work, I have published the first edition of our Maltese language translation of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progess.

I hope and pray that your book is read by many and especially used to clarify and confirm those whom our blessed Lord, in spite of their limitations and weaknesses, might be called to be 'prophets' in these times we live in.

Once again, thank you.

Wishing you and your loved ones at home a most blessed day, and a closer walk with God.

Joseph Farrugia
Island of Malta

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hindrances to Prayer

1. Pretense in prayer - Mark 12:40
2. Inconsistency in prayer - Acts 2:42; Romans 1:9; Luke 11:8; Romans 12:12
3. Lack of fervency(zeal) in prayer - Romans 15:30; James 5:16; Colossians 4:12; Hebrews 5:7
4. Generality (lack of specificity) in prayer - 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Ephesians 6:19; Philemon 1:4
5. Lack of devotion to prayer - 2 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 5:5; Mark 9:29; Luke 6:12; Eph 6:18
6. Lack of corporately gathering - Acts 1:14; Acts 12:5
7. Lack of self-control; lack - 1 Peter 4:7; 1 Cor 7:5
8. Failing to honor your wife -1 Peter 3:7
9. Failure to discern spiritual danger 1 Peter 4:7
10. Double-mindedness - James 1:6-8

- Bob Schembre

Friday, May 27, 2011

From D. A. Carson

All of us would be wiser if we would resolve never to put people down, except on our prayer lists.

- D. A. Carson

Does The False Prophecy of Harold Camping Damage the Cause of Christ?

I received this question yesterday from someone

"Does the false prophecy by Harold Camping about May 21st damage true Christianity? Of course, the liberal media took great delight in ridiculing the whole of evangelical Christianity over this, even though very few took part in it. Harold Camping's false prophecy about the end of the world gave great cause for unbelievers to mock. But will there be any long-term effects? My mom said her whole office was laughing about it. I would be interested in your comments on this."

My reply

Dear brother,

I do not agree that much harm comes to true Christianity from such false prophecies as Harold Camping has made. Such has always been the case and it has always occurred since the beginning of the Christian faith. False, counterfeit Christianity may be harmed, but never the true gospel and the true kingdom of Christ. How can needless harm come to His cause, when Jesus already told us it would happen? He said that many would come in His name with such claims, and that false prophets would arise and deceive many.

The Apostle Paul also said, in the clearest of terms, that "because men will not receive the love of the truth in order that they might be saved, that therefore God sends them strong delusion, that they might believe a lie." (2 Thess. 2:11)

True Christians always discern and see through the scam and extremes of the religious idiot or deluded ones. Nothing has changed. Jesus said it was going to come and so it simply means the kingdom is right on schedule.

Let's keep preaching the gospel, living holy lives, and looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And let us ignore the Harold Campings of this world. There have always been religious kooks who speak in the name of the Lord and speak from the Bible. Leave them alone, for they are a part of the false religious world, and not a part of the true cause of God and truth.

Yours warmly in Him

- Mack Tomlinson

Monday, May 23, 2011

What God says to the Wicked

"But to the wicked God says, 'What right do you have to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips?'" - Psalm 50:16

There are some things that God especially dislikes. He dislikes them so much that He directly speaks to them in certain places in Scripture. One of those things is when people who do not know him quote the Bible and claim to be Christians when they are not.

In Psalm 50:16, God says directly to any unbeliever, "What right do you have to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips?"

According to this Psalm, no unbeliever has the right--

1. To quote the Bible at all - "What right have you to recite my statutes?"

The Lord here says that a wicked person (an unbeliever) does not have the right even to quote the Bible; they don't believe it or obey it, so according to God Himself, they have no right to even let Scripture come out of their mouth.

How wicked a thing it is, from God's perspective, for wicked men, women, and children to in any way use the Bible, when all the time they despise in their hearts the very truths it teaches; to use and quote the Bible, for them, is grievous sin; they stand rebuked by God Himself, directly calling them out for this in vs. 16 of Psalm 50; the unbeliever, if they have any reverence for the things of God and true Christianity, ought to be very fearful to talk about the Bible or quote it, as if doing so somehow helps them or gains them something. The only thing it gains them is judgment and divine rebuke. It is as if God is saying, "You wicked person, how dare you take my words and put them in your dirty mouth? Don't quote Me every again, for you have no right to take my precepts and statutes into your mouth and use them!"

What else does an unbeliever not have the right to do?

2. To profess to be a Christian when they are not a true Christian at all; vs. 16 continues: "To the wicked God says 'What right have you . . . . . to take my covenant on your lips?'"

To say the same thing today would be, "What right do you have to claim to be a Christian when you are not?" God Himself here is speaking to the unbeliever, who professes the name of Jesus, but does not truly know, love, and obey Christ. It is easy believism that God rebukes here. How dare you name the name of Christ when you are yet wicked and dead in your sins! It is wicked and evil to say, "I know God, I know Jesus", when your life's evidence doesn't match up to your profession.

Every unbeliever who knows they love their sin and knows they do not love Christ ought to renounce any Christian profession at all; just admit what you are-- a wicked and unbelieving person; stop taking God's covenant (true salvation) on your lips; quit claiming to be a Christian when you give no evidence of it at all.

What is true often of such people? The real proof is in their life style. The Psalm tells us:

1. They hate the discipline and correction of God (vs. 17) "For you hate discipline and cast my words behind you."

Such people do not want God's words or his correction at all; they profess to know God, but in works they deny him; if asked if they are a Christian, they will say, "Oh, yea, I did that when I was eight years old at a church camp." But if ask if why they won't put off their sin now and follow Christ, they will cry, "Oh, that's just legalistic; I don't need to obey all your religious rules; I love God in my own way; He and I have a good thing going, and I don't need all that Bible stuff." Such a person is exactly who is in view in vss. 16-17.

2. They like sin and approve of it (vs. 18) "If you see a thief, you are pleased with him and you keep company with adulterers."

This is proof that one doesn't know God at all; they love what God hates and they affirm what He rejects. You cannot love or like sin and love the Saviour at the same time. Whoever is a friend of this world is an enemy of God.

3. They use their mouth and their words continually, not for the glory of God, but as an instrument of evil. (vs. 19) "You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit; you sit and speak against your brother and slander your own mother's son."

How one talks, and how they use their tongue is proof of their true spiritual condition. Anyone who continually uses their words to criticize, slander, deceive and destroy others, is not a person who knows God at all. The fruit of the lips is proof of the root condition of the heart.

4. The final thing God says about such people-- "You thought I was one like yourself."

People claim to be Christians and yet live a wicked life because they think God is no different than them. They believe in their heart He is not much better than them; perhaps a little better, but not much different really; so they use the Bible at times and claim to know God, yet all the while continue in all the detestable things that are an offense to the God they profess to believe in, when in reality, He is not like them at all.

God says, "What right do you have to quote my Bible or claim to be a Christian?" No right at all, unless it is clearly true about you. Only those who know, love, reverence, and obey Jesus have the right to use the Bible or claim the name of Christian.

- Mack Tomlinson

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Today God Can Meet with You at Church

We get used to going-- "going to church" is what it is called; the reality is, we, the church, are going to each other, to meet together. We gather to join again as one body, under the headship of Christ, to worship, pray, sing, hear the truths of the Bible, and build one another up in faith and love.

We get used to going week in and week out; it becomes a routine, almost a rut--the tendency is to get used to it.

But please don't! Don't get used to it. When we get used to it, we then have no heart and mind preparation, and we bring no heart with us to the church meeting; then we go without expectancy of God meeting with us personally.

So as you go today, stop and get some expectancy in your heart. Ask the Lord Jesus to meet with you today "at church"- at the meeting of His saints; He will do so for seeking and asking souls; when He does, we are changed by Him and we then love the meeting of the church even more.

Today God can meet with you at church; ask Him to, and then bring a hungry expectant heart there with you.

"I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go unto the house of the Lord'."

- Mack Tomlinson

An Interview on Leonard Ravenhill's Life

After opening the link, click on Listen just under Inside Out 87: In Light of Eternity

the Lord bless your day

Mack T.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Preaching and the Gospel

One is unlikely to assert that we are justified by our sanctification, but whether done intentionally or not, that is what happens when we allow the teaching of Christian living, ethical imperatives, and exhortations to holiness to be separated from the clear statement of the gospel.

We can preach our hearts out on texts about what we ought to be, what makes a mature church, or what the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives. But if we do not constantly in every sermon show the link between the Spirit's work in us and Christ's work for us, then we will distort the message and send people away with a theology of salvation by works.

Preaching from the epistles demands of the preacher that the message of the document be taken as a whole, even if only a selection of texts or just one verse is expounded. Every sermon should be understandable on its own as a proclamation of Christ. It is no good to say that we dealt with the justification element three weeks ago and now we are following Paul into the imperatives and injunctions for Christian living. Paul wasn't anticipating a three week gap between his exposition of the gospel and his defining of the implications of the gospel in our lives. Nor was he anticipating that some people would not be present for the reading of the whole epistle and would hear part of its message out of context.

- Graeme Goldsworthy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Remembering All the Way

Deuteronomy 8:2 - You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has ledyou in the wilderness these forty years…

April was 40 years for me, 40 years as a Christian, 40 years ago I as a sinner came to the Lord Jesus to be saved from hell and be led through earth to heaven. Forty years! Where did it go? What have I done with it? What could I have done differently? Here’s one thing – I could have kept a journal, a journal at least of answers to prayer, special insights from the Bible, and special ways in which the Lord led me. A journal would have helped me to remember.

Wisdom and insights in the knowledge of God are better than silver and gold, Psa 119.72, Pro 3.14, 8.19, 16.16. We don’t want to waste such riches by forgetting them. A father might reprove his child for being wasteful. Well, the heavenly Father does not appreciate us being wasteful of His precious provisions for us.
Matthew 16:9 Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up?

Psa 78:42 They did not remember His power, the day when He redeemed them from the adversary.

But journal or not, countless things are remembered from the journey. What an adventure! What an experience. What blood has secured our escape from destruction, what power it was that brought us from sin’s bondage to glorious freedom as sons of God, what songs to sing, what hidden manna we have eaten, what a book has been our guide, what judgments we have seen, what giants have been routed, what powerful heavenly provisions, what companions are the saints of God, what sermons we have heard, what a blessed hope is ours, what a Leader is ours.

What a Savior! If we forgot some things, well, the Lord does not. All church history and the kindnesses of the Lord will be shown in the ages to come, Eph 2.7. A Great Documentary is coming and the Christian can rejoice greatly.

- Bob Jennings

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An Influential Sermon

"You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance."- 2 Timothy 3:10

A holy life is a most influential sermon!

"You ought to live holy and godly lives!" 2 Peter 3:11

- James Smith

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bible Doctrine Note

It is a sad day indeed when Bible doctrine is heeded about as much as a flight attendant giving instructions about flotation devices.

- Doug Sangster

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Trinity and the Error of Modalism

The Bible teaches that God is one God in three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This teaching is commonly known as the Trinity - meaning that God is a "tri-unity" or "three-in-one." Now let me make it clear that Christians do not believe in three Gods. Nor does the Bible teach that God is one person who appears in three different forms or modes, which is an error sometimes known as modalism or Oneness Pentecostalism. Though the concept that God is one God in three distinct persons may be difficult for us to grasp, it is what Scripture clearly teaches.

The Bible teaches that God is one:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (Deuteronomy 6:4)

For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22)

The Bible clearly teaches that there are not three Gods, but one true God. However, Scripture also teaches that there are a plurality of persons in the Godhead.

God the Father is:
God - Phil 1:2
Creator - Gen 1:1
Eternal - Psalm 90:2

God the Son is:
God - John 1:1; Romans 9:5; Col 2:9; Tit 2:13; Heb. 1:5-13
Creator - Col 1:16
Eternal - John 8:58; (cf. Ex 3:14)

God the Holy Spirit is:
God - Acts 5:3-4
Creator - Job 33:4; Job 26:13
Eternal - Heb 9:14

This teaching that all three persons in the triune Godhead are One God but three distinct persons, is seen throughout Scripture:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2)

We are told here that Jesus Christ - the Word of God - was “with God” in the beginning. If I said, “I am with my wife,” you would not think I was saying that “I am my wife." In the same way, we can clearly see a distinction in John 1:1 between the Father and the Son. However, John also tells us that the Word “was God," so clearly He is the same God while at the same time being a distinct and separate person.

Another text illustrating this truth is Zechariah 12:10.

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

Zechariah speaks here of a time when God will pour out His Spirit, showing that the Spirit of God is a distinct entity. Some cult groups have claimed that the Holy Spirit is not a person but “God’s active force." However, we can see from other verses that God the Holy Spirit has every aspect of a person:

The Spirit loves (Rom 15:30); He is someone you can have fellowship with (2 Cor 13:14); He speaks (Acts 8:29); He can be lied to (Acts 5:3); He can be grieved (Eph 5:30). Clearly these are not attributes of an impersonal force, but of a person.

Notice also in Zechariah 12:10 that God says, “they will look on Me whom they have pierced." God says it is He who will be pierced on the cross, and then in the next part of the verse He speaks of the one on the cross as somehow different from Him: “and they will mourn for Him.” As in John 1:1, we see here a distinction of persons within the united Godhead.

The Error of Modalism

A common error and false teaching regarding the Godhead is modalism. Also known as Oneness Pentecostalism, modalism is a heresy which wrongly teaches that God is one person that puts on three different "masks." In other words, the modalist believes that God is one single person that has manifested Himself in three different modes or roles.

Those who adhere to this false doctrine believe that in the Old Testament God appeared as the Father, then in the ministry of Jesus God appeared as the Son, and then after Jesus' ascension God now operates as the Holy Spirit. This is a denial of the Trinity because it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture that God is one God in three persons, claiming instead that God is only one person playing three different roles. However, Scripture clearly teaches that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not simply three modes; they are not three masks worn by one person, but they are clearly three distinct persons in one united God.

One helpful verse on this is Matthew 26:39.

And going a little farther [Jesus] fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."

In order to hold to the false notion that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all the same person, not only do you have to say that Jesus was praying to himself here, but you have to completely ignore the last part of the verse where Jesus says, “not as I will, but as you will.” This phrase clearly teaches that the Father and the Son have two different wills. They are One God - as Jesus said, "I and the Father are One" (John 10:30) - but they are two distinct persons in the Godhead, each with His own will.

Another text refuting modalism is Matthew 3:16-17, which recounts the baptism of Jesus.

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Here we can see all three members of the Godhead acting as distinct persons. It would be ludicrous to suggest that Jesus was somehow acting as a ventriloquist here, making a voice sound from Heaven!

And the text immediately after Jesus' baptism is instructive as well:

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matt. 4:1)

Are we supposed to believe, as the modalist claims, that this verse is teaching that Jesus led Himself into the wilderness? Or is the Holy Spirit another person in the Godhead who led Jesus into the wilderness?

So we can see from the above verses (and there are many more) that modalism, or Oneness Theology, is in direct opposition to what Scripture teaches. This denial of the triune Godhead not only results in the worshiping of a God who is different from the God of the Bible (i.e., idolatry), but it also leads to a works-based salvation. Within various groups the works added to salvation may be different, but some examples include: that baptism by full immersion is necessary for salvation; that baptism is invalid unless performed in the name of the Lord Jesus only; and that speaking in tongues is the only sure evidence of salvation.

In response, it should be noted that even though baptism is important and the obedient thing for a believer to do, it is not a work needed to get someone into heaven. The thief on the cross was never baptized. Secondly, the claim that baptism is invalid unless performed only in the name of the Lord Jesus contradicts the teaching of Jesus Himself in Matthew 28:19, where He commands His followers to baptize disciples "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Lastly, the claim that speaking in tongues is the only sure evidence of salvation contradicts John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

It is not “whoever speaks in tongues” but "whoever believes" that is assured of salvation. In addition, 1John 5:13 tells us that the book of 1 John was written so that those who profess to believe in Christ can test that their faith is real, and therefore have Biblical assurance of salvation. However, there is no mention of speaking in tongues in 1 John, proving that speaking in tongues is not a Biblical evidence for salvation.

To deny the Trinity is to not worship the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself. Though the concept that the God of the Bible is one God in three distinct persons may be difficult for us to grasp, it is nevertheless what Scripture plainly teaches. To know this God is to have eternal life (John 17:3); to deny Him is to remain dead in sin (John 8:24).

- Kevin Williams and Garrett Holthaus

Friday, April 22, 2011

Moody Stuart’s Six Exhortations

1. Never neglect daily private prayer; and when you pray, remember that God is present, and that he hears your prayers. (Hebrews 11:6)

2. Never neglect daily private Bible-reading and, when you read, remember that God is speaking to you and that you are to believe and act upon what he says. I believe all backsliding begins with the neglect of these two rules. (John 5:39)

3. Never let a day pass without trying to do something for Jesus. Every night reflect on what Jesus has done for you, and then ask yourself, "What am I doing for him?" (Matthew 5:13-16)

4. If you are in doubt as to a thing being right or wrong, go to your room and kneel down and ask God’s blessing upon it. (Colossians 3:17) If you cannot do this, it is wrong. (Romans 14:23)

5. Never take your Christianity from Christians, or argue that because such and such people do so and so, that therefore you may. (2 Corinthians 10:12) You are to ask yourself, “How would Christ act in my place?” and strive to follow him. (John 10:27)

6. Never believe what you feel, if it contradicts God’s Word. Ask yourself, “Can what I feel be true if God’s Word is true?” If both cannot be true, believe God, and make your own heart the liar. (Romans 3:4; 1John 5:10-11)

- Geoff Thomas

Monday, April 18, 2011

Great Difficulties

When God is about to perform any great work, He generally permits some great opposition to it. Suppose Pharaoh had acquiesced in the departure of the children of Israel, or that they had met with no difficulties in the way. They would indeed, have passed from Egypt into Canaan with ease, but they, as well as the church in all future ages, would have been great losers. The wonder-working God would not have been in those extremities, which make His arm so visible. A smooth passage here would have made but a poor story.

- John Newton

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Common Temptation

It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the Word and prayer when our enjoyment is gone; as if it were of no use to read the Scriptures when we do not enjoy them, and as if it were no use to pray when we have no spirit of prayer.

The truth is that in order to enjoy the Word, we ought to continue to read it, and the way to obtain a spirit of prayer is to continue praying. The less we read the Word of God, the less we desire to read it, and the less we pray, the less we desire to pray.

- George Mueller

Grace is not a Thing

In the Christian life we can easily find ourselves using jargon without knowing what we're really saying. What exactly is "grace"?

It is legitimate to speak of "receiving grace," and sometimes (although I am somewhat cautious about the possibility of misuing this langauge) we speak of the preaching of the Word, prayer, baptism, and the Lord's Supper as "means of grace." That is fine, so long as we remember that there isn't a thing, a substance, or a "quasi-substance" called "grace." All there is is the person of the Lord Jesus — "Christ clothed in the gospel," as John Calvin loved to put it. Grace is the grace of Jesus.

If I can highlight the thought here: there is no "thing" that Jesus takes from Himself and then, as it were, hands over to me. There is only Jesus Himself. Grasping that thought can make a signficant difference to a Christian's life. So while some poeple might think this is just splitting hairs about different ways of saying the same thing, it can make a vital difference. It is not a thing that was crucified to give us a thing called grace. It was the person of the Lord Jesus that was crucified in order that He might give Himself to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

- Sinclair Ferguson

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Authority of Christ

The fundamental basis of all Christian missionary enterprise is the universal authority of Jesus Christ, “in heaven and on earth.” If the authority of Jesus were circumscribed on earth, if He were but one of many religious teachers, one of many Jewish prophets, and one of many divine incarnations, then we would have no mandate to present Him to the nations as the Lord and Savior of the world.

If the authority of Jesus were limited in heaven, if He has not decisively overthrown the principalities and powers, we might still proclaim Him to the nations, but we would never be able to “turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:18). Only because all authority on earth belongs to Christ do we dare go to all nations. And only because all authority in heaven as well is His do we have any hope of success.

- John Stott

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Minister's Regrets - Part 2

Geoff Thomas

5. I am sorry that I did not learn to disciple people.

I hear people talking about it, maybe more in the USA. I would like to have been there, unobtrusive, tucked away in a corner, watching and learning, seeing how they did that, the mechanics of it, the programme, the length, the homework, the expectations and the fruit. Where do men get the time to disciple? They have more discipline and so they can disciple, I guess. Every disciple I have met who announced he was seeking my input into his life ended up showing his own agenda and wanting confirmation. At first it had been hidden and I was naive, but then it came out and there were tensions.Is there a generally recognized approach to discipling? Is there a book to advise us that everyone else knows and uses? 'I was greatly helped being discipled . . .' men say. Tell us how. It is to my loss that I know so little about discipling.

6. I am sorry to be the frequent prisoner of circumstances,

though kept sane by my assurance of the holy, wise and powerful providence of God, ruling and governing all his creatures in all their actions. The life of a minister is hazardous, dealing with events that are unpredictable and problems met for the first time and intractable. No book gives any assistance; fellow ministers shake their heads. Normally the minister feels he is not in control. He would like a five year plan, a year plan, a monthly plan and one for each week, the wheels of which are silently turning without any human involvement. You could tell the time by them. Such a minister envies the fixed routines of a monk. He would preach away a certain number of neatly spaced out Sundays, read through a dozen classic books a year, visit the members in turn and have six weeks’ annual writing time to produce a book on a topic no one else has written upon.

It is not like that, except for cult leaders; it has never been like that. There are the phone-calls that make you sit down. There are the e-mails with their questions and invitations, the books that have to be read because the congregation is reading them, the queries from people whose marriages are breaking up for the most bizarre reasons, people who are leaving the church for undisclosed reasons (they never say, do they? They just write that they are leaving). The local group of gospel churches need a reassuring elderly presence; there are also committees. Then there is the family and one’s delightful duty to nourish and cherish one’s wife and not provoke one’s kids to wrath. In theory one seems to have loads of spare time, but one never has enough. So one makes lists, and the tough neglected issues are copied onto the next list, and onto the list after that. But in all these things we are more than conquerors. Its diversity and challenge is fulfilling.

My own conviction is that people come first, not study, not preparation, not writing, not further degrees, but people. I can say that so confidently because I am not disturbed by a host of folk knocking on my door or lining up to discuss something with me after the services. What a rare delight that someone actually wants to talk to you and ask your opinion and advice. At the end of many a day I write in my journal something like, 'Nothing much happened . . . not much done . . . loads of little things.' One deals with people at the old people’s home, one sits with the students on a Sunday night, one is going across to the hospital, one is compiling the church newsletter or drawing up the agenda for the church meeting or answering one’s correspondents. One would not want it to be different, asking, 'Choose Thou for me my time, my friends, my ministry, my days, my priorities.' God save us from being locked into book-lined studies with a Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob, protected by a secretary or two in outer offices, emerging for graciously given interviews with favoured people. Tell them often, 'The doors of this church are always open to you, and the door of the Manse.'

7. I fear I have watched too much TV.

TV is like fire, necessary for warmth and washing and cooking, but also able to burn and destroy. It is present in our own house like some fascinating knowledgeable uncle whom yet we can shut up in a moment when he gets too garrulous. He can present live rugby 6 or 7 times in a year when Wales is playing. He can show us reports of snowfalls and tsunamis and planes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York and revolutions on the streets of Iran, all unmissable spectacles. Then he comes closer to home and he shows us farming programmes about Welsh rural communities in the Welsh language which are a personal delight. He has documentaries about history and science and medical breakthroughs. He has programmes about antiques, and quizzes between various universities. I can thank God for TV; if I could not I would not tolerate it in the house. I am not interested in films and comedy programmes and soaps and cooking and political discussions and motor cars and music and most of what is on the box. It leaves me sad and cold to glance at the announcements of what is going to be shown in fifty channels. 'No thanks, Uncle. Not in this house.'

One night in 1962 we students were watching some TV programme in the lounge at Westminster Seminary, just four of us having popped in from different corridors for a break of ten minutes or so before making ourselves some chocolate and going to bed. There were always that kind of number briefly watching an extract of some trivia on a black and white screen, but usually no one at all was there. Dick Van Dyk’s programmes were popular I think. Then into the room came John Murray and he watched it for a half minute and finally said, 'Sometimes you’d like to put your fist through the screen,' and left. Quite so. I want to watch what is good-humoured and edifying, but feel that over the years I have found myself drifting into grey areas. Then shutting up uncle is not so straightforward. A pastor friend of mine decided to read Latourette’s fat volume of church history at the end of the day rather than watch the TV the news programme, and he completed the book. Good for him. I do not want to watch any of the grey area and even keep the true, just, holy and praiseworthy firmly under control, not always successfully. Let redeeming grace triumph over common grace always. That phrase in a succinct Latin quip would be memorable . . .

8. I am sorry that my love for Jesus Christ is cool and shallow.

'Weak is the effort of my heart and cold my warmest thought.' It was true for Newton and it is true for us today. Sometimes I think, 'Do I love him at all?' Where is the affection, the glow, the delight and anticipation of meeting with him? M'Cheyne wrote in his diary, 'Rose early to meet him whom my soul loves. Who would not rise early to meet such company?' I wish that that reflected my own heart’s longing for the Saviour. I wish I could give myself to him anew each Sunday, thinking, 'I am going to go where the Lord Jesus is.' When I have nothing else to think about I wish my mind naturally gravitated to him. Here is someone who laid down his life for me. This is the one who delivered me from hell. Behold my Saviour who is taking me to glory for ever. Here is my beloved and here is my friend who is working all things together for my good. This dear Lord of mine is going to do an eternal makeover on my whole life. The Lord Jesus is my personal teacher and personal trainer and personal counsellor and personal bodyguard. He can protect me from the biggest devil in hell. Christ is so fascinating a personality, wise, caring, fresh, creative, stimulating, patient and so kind to me. It is my chief complaint, that my love is weak and faint. I who encourage others to love him am amazed that I can love him so little, but what is more amazing is the fact that I love him at all.

- Geoff Thomas

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Minister's Regrets - Part 1

I remember every member of the congregation who stayed for a few services, or maybe a few years, and then grew disillusioned with my life and preaching and drifted off disgruntled. But that is not of first priority in my areas of failure. None left to hear more of Jesus Christ or a better gospel than the one they heard sitting at my feet. I thank God for that. They had another agenda hidden from me and the congregation, different ecclesiastical, social and philosophical convictions, and some of them moved on to where they could find their own prejudices gently rearranged on Sundays. It happens. But my regrets are more substantial than the dynamics of the movement of people into and out of a congregation.

1. I am sorry that I have not done more personal evangelism

The times I have defended the faith with a critic have been rare. Occasions on which I have gone back to a non-Christian’s home and explained the faith, answered his objections and spelled out the nature of Christianity have been too infrequent. I could have made a rule for myself that for every occasion on which I had preached publicly I would seek to speak to one unbeliever about the Lord Jesus, and then to seek and pray for such opportunities.

The occasions on which I have spoken to sinners have been fruitful. Some of them have come to church and become Christians. Their objections were paper thin, no weighty considered arguments – not at all. They had read an article or briefly heard a sentence or two, and all their complaints about the Christian religion were hanging on that. For example, that ‘most of the wars in the history of the world have been fought over religion.’ They were the ones to be believing myths; my life was rooted in the history of the Sermon on the Mount, the cross and the empty tomb. I said a few words to them and they agreed with me instantly. When they said half smiling, 'Who made God?' I said 'He is eternal and uncreated,' and they nodded their heads satisfied. They changed and would hear more. Why haven’t I put myself in places where those sorts of exchanges could take place? I love to speak about Jesus Christ to people, more so these days than ever before. May God guide.

A mother from Swansea asked me to visit her son at the University in Aberystwyth. I was happy to do so, but he was resistant and embarrassed and did not want to hear of the claims of Christ. It seemed an unfruitful tense time, but his room mate sitting on a bed in the room was listening to all the conversation and the next week he turned up in church, became a Christian and married a girl in the congregation. I had not even been talking directly to him and yet the word was effectual.

The most fruitful evangelism in our church has been done by members of the congregation showing friendship to people to whom God has led them. I should have been more of an example in this. I should be explaining to them each week the people I was seeing, and encouraging these new arrivals to feel at home in the Sunday congregation. It has been a failure in my life; my life has been consumed in preparing two sermons for Sundays. I pray that my last years will be my most fruitful years in personal evangelism.

2. I am sorry that I did not do a Spurgeon on Sunday nights for the first five years of my ministry.

In other words I wish I had given myself to the great texts of the Bible once a Sunday for that period. Consider these famous words of Jesus in Luke chapter 9:

Then he said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels (Luke 9:23-26).

There are three or even four great texts there: The Cost of Discipleship, Losing your Life in order to Save it, The Folly of Gaining the World and Losing your Soul, and Who will be those Whom the Lord will be Ashamed of when He Comes Again? These sorts of texts have been honoured by God to the salvation of hearers for twenty centuries. They are plain and they focus on the heart of the Christian message. These themes are what Ryle and Spurgeon and Whitefield and Wesley preached on. Those of us who listened to Dr. Lloyd-Jones on his visits around the United Kingdom heard him preaching on such passages as those with a heavenly anointing. Today there are entire and influential preaching movements which are cold towards such mighty texts being declared on single occasions. The followers of those schools regard those four verses of Luke 9:23-26 as a sub-section within a single sermon on the whole of Luke 9. They would make a few comments on each of those texts, moving on and on restlessly to their goal of completing their studies of the entire gospel of Luke in six months. Such sermons are mere glorified Bible studies.

There are mighty texts of Scripture which are gems of truth, summaries of the gospel. They are in the Word of God to be preached; their power is to be felt by a congregation, by the young and the old. If the Christian religion is divided into three sections - its devotional emphases, its ethics and its teaching - then the usual method of expounding the devotional is to take the Lord’s prayer and go through it clause by clause. The customary way of expounding the ethical is via the ten commandments and seeing it expanded in Matthew six and Romans twelve. It is a commendable expository approach. However, how have the divines dealt with the third section, the nature of the Christian faith? They have turned away from the big texts and mightiest passages and built the exposition of the faith on the Apostles’ Creed or the Westminster Shorter Catechism or the Heidelberg Catechism, admirable helpful statements, sure, but the great passages from Genesis 1, Genesis 3, Isaiah 6, Isaiah 53, John 1 and 3, Romans 1, 5, 6 and 8, Ephesians 1 and Ephesians 2 are those which present the heart of Christianity more naturally and winsomely.

I am pleading that texts that present the essence of the faith should not be dealt with en passant in the flight to ‘finish the book,’ even made more cerebral by being dissected on a screen from a PowerPoint projection. Where is the prophetic declaration? Where is the excitement of digging a hole in a field and discovering that the spade has struck the lid of a treasure box; 'Look at this . . . and consider this diamond . . . and here is gold dust . . .' The preacher, upheld by God, brings these themes to bear on the consciences of his hearers. Do they see this beauty? Do they feel the weight of these truths? Are they almost crushed? Do they feel they are teetering on the brink of a precipice almost falling off . . . 'O the depth . . .' not hitting the buttons on the laptop built into the pulpit and bringing up the next coloured box with its three points on the screen. This is an exercise in addressing the intellects of the congregation. The atmosphere is one of the classroom rather than Pentecost. The doxology is diluted, and God himself in his power, holiness and grace beseeching men by one he has appointed and gifted is marginalized.

I wish I had learned early on how to preach the gospel from those vivid verses that sum up the plight of man and the power of God to save. Consecutive expository preaching at both services on a Sunday when you are actually beginning your ministry is an unwise self-imposed burden. You are forced to consider passages that do not readily lend themselves to popular preaching, and there is no greater need in our pulpits today. Now that I have learned my craft I preach evangelistically morning and evening, intermingling the emphases of my role-models, Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones. I love to sit under expository, consecutive evangelistic ministry.

3. I am sorry that I did not rest in a routine of personal devotions early on.

Settled into a place at a time and seeking the face of God sounds natural, like morning ablutions, but it is a living holy world you are entering and so there is bound to be dark spiritual resistance. It is the Holy One, infinite, eternal and unchangeable, whose face you are seeking. What a struggle for some of us, to impose upon the flesh a spirit of contrition, penitence and hunger for the divine, yet how essential to gain some progress there. How many pitfalls would have been avoided if only one had prayed more faithfully about issues and people. It was an issue spotted by the apostles themselves. They were the busiest of men; they had the grandest of concerns, to keep alive and joyful in God the holy widows, both Hebrew and Greek, of the persecuted congregation. They came to the conclusion that their balance of the ministry of mercy and the ministry of the word and prayer was askew to the detriment of the kingdom of God. They concluded that their priority as church leaders was this; 'We will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.' There is no explanation of how they worked this out, 50% praying and 50% the word? The latter could not have been study solely; it must have been declaration, the defence of the faith, pastoral visitation and so on. How did they spend their time dedicated to praying? In praise, in corporate prayer, in praying with the dying, in private devotions? Those elements are all present in the later chapters of Acts and in the epistles. The effect of this decision is indicated a few verses later; 'the word of God spread.' There is no possibility of that without the prior commitment to prayer and the word. No spiritual growth, no conversions, no impact on a community, no revival of religion, no victory over temptation, no Christ-likeness without the word and prayer. Prayer is simply impotence stretching out to omnipotence. Did Jesus pray? Was there any man who less needed to pray, humanly speaking? He was full of the Holy Spirit, beloved by God, overcoming every temptation and sin, yet he prayed. How much more ourselves, especially before the big events that rise and advance irresistibly towards us.

When I mention prayer, I’m not thinking about rolling on the floor, but about simple earnest praying regularly, and praying all the time. A young theological student named Prichard made an appointment with the greatly loved Rev. Henry Rees of Liverpool. He recounted his interview some years later. He never forgot that time together. He was taken upstairs to the study and they sat each side of the fire. Henry Rees spoke to him; 'So your mind is bent on preaching the gospel. That is the most serious and solemn duty any man can ever engage in.' His hands were on his knees and he rocked slightly to and from as he spoke. 'Praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . .' repeating it many times, and then adding, 'We are not aware of the thousandth part of the power praying has upon preaching . . .' Then, again slightly rocking back and for he went on repeating that word, '. . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying.' Then he paused for a moment and said, 'If I were called upon suddenly to preach on any great occasion, and had only two hours of time to prepare for it, I should spend them every moment in praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying.' He wept a great deal as he spoke. Then he regained his composure and said, 'I cannot tell you what are the best books to read. I don’t know much about books, but try to read those books which will be most likely to nourish and strengthen the spirit of prayer in you. The great thing with preaching is praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying . . . praying.' Soon the interview came to an end and Prichard went away convicted thinking that these were the most awesome moments he had experienced. If you want to humble a minister, then ask him about his praying.

4. I am sorry that I did not meditate more on the Word of God.

Of course that goes with prayer. Where I do meditate is over a passage of Scripture I am to preach upon. It seems a holy word to employ for such a functional task. I am talking about looking at a section of Scripture from as different an angle as I can envisage, putting it in different settings, seeing it from the perspective of different states and conditions of man, placing it in the context of the whole of redemptive history. But I have heard, as all of us have, of men who have spent hours in prayer. Some of that must have been in meditation. It must have been. They have considered a word that they read that day and then they looked at it word by word in the presence of God and responded to him . . . God (who is he? What has he done? What is he doing now? What will it be when I come into his presence?) commands (the God who spoke and it was done, who commanded and all things stood fast, the God who brought all things into being by his fiat, the God who gave his law on Sinai, the God who will judge the world by his law . . .) all men (without any exception at all, the greatest and the least, the people with learning difficulties, the scientist, the most moral of men . . .) everywhere . . . to repent. And so on, thinking about the words individually and in their structure, each one breathed out by God. To taste the cordial of heaven in what the Lord has written for our good. Our preparation for preaching overwhelms our personal communion with the Almighty. It is serving another end rather than the drawing near to God himself.

- to be continued

- Geoff Thomas

Giving Thanks

If we can’t thank God for everything, even the bad stuff, then what we’re saying is “I’m wiser than God! I could have done it better! I deserve more than this! If I’d have been in charge, I’d have done it this way!”

You know you just shudder at the thought. You put your hand over your mouth and bow and bless the Lord… …Giving thanks for hardships makes the devil mad and makes God glad.

- Bob Jennings

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Will Look Up

"In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before You--and I will look up!" Psalm 5:3

This was the Psalmist's determination in the morning--and it should be ours. Preserved and protected through the night, we should look up with gratitude, and praise our God for His goodness. Aware of our dependence and needs, we should look up and beg mercies of our Almighty God for the new-born day. Sensible of our foes and dangers, we should look up and pray to be kept, guided, and sanctified by our ever-present God.

If we look within--it will discourage us; if we look around--it may distract us; if we look back--it may awaken fears; if we look forward--it may arouse anxiety!

But if we look up to God, it will preserve the head from swimming, the heart from sinking, the feet from slipping, and the hands from hanging down!

Beloved, let us look up! There our loving Father is; there our interceding Savior is; there all our supplies are; there our everlasting home is!

Let others look where they will, but "I will look up!"

If we look to the Lord Jesus in faith, He will look down upon us in mercy; and looking, He will supply all our needs!

- James Smith

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ten Time Wasters

"Redeeming the time." Colossians 4:5

"That you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way." Colossians 1:10

1. Idleness and laziness

2. Excess of sleep

3. An inordinate adorning of the body

4. Unnecessary pomp and extravagance in household furniture and domestic entertainments

5. Idle talk

6. Vain and sinful company

7. Needless sports and games

8. Excessive worldly cares and business

9. Ungoverned and sinful thoughts

10. Worthless books, movies, and entertainment for the pleasing of a carnal mind

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do--do it all for the glory of God!" 1 Corinthians 10:31

- Edited from the writings of Richard Baxter

Friday, March 25, 2011

Our Guide- Scripture or Man's Opinion -- A Letter from John Newton

It seems to me that no one person can adjust the standard and draw the line exactly for another person. There are so many particulars in every situation, of which a stranger cannot be a competent judge; and the best human advices and models are mixed with such defects, that it is not right to expect others to be absolutely guided by our rules. Nor is it safe for us to implicitly adopt the decisions or practices of others.

But the Scripture undoubtedly furnishes sufficient and infallible rules for every person, however circumstanced; and the throne of grace is appointed for us to wait upon the Lord for the best exposition of His precepts. Thus David often prays to be led in the right way.

By frequent prayer, close acquaintance with the Scripture, and a habitual attention to the frame of our hearts, there is a certain delicacy of spiritual taste and discernment to be acquired. Yet love is the clearest and most persuasive indicator, and when our love to the Lord is in lively exercise and the rule of His Word is in our eye, we seldom make great mistakes.

- John Newton

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Advice for Rookie Evangelists

A question put to John Blanchard, the English evangelist

"What advice would you give to young evangelists today just starting out on their path in ministry?"

JB: First and foremost, make your personal walk with God a priority, though this is not my advice; it simply applies Paul’ s word to Timothy to "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching." As to advice, I don't feel qualified to give any, but these (not in any significant order) are some things that have proved helpful to me.

Firstly, master the biblical basics. Knowing the words of the evangel is not the same as understanding their meaning. Keep meditating on the salvation doctrines.

Secondly, read as if your life depended on it--read, read, read!

Thirdly, read for sustenance and not just for sermons. A young evangelist once called me to ask: ‘John, what are you reading for the good of your soul?’ Always be ready to give a good answer to that question!

Fourthly, be disciplined; don’t spend time--invest it.

Fifthly, set goals, aim high and do everything you can to get there.

Sixthly, get out of bed early! Any active hours invested before 8.00 am are worth double. This kind of discipline is sometimes difficult when away from home and you need to consider your hosts, but at home there is no excuse for being sloppy.

Seventhly, develop a prayer support team and keep it up to date with your news.

Eighthly, never stop praying for wisdom from above, especially as your ministry develops and you have ever-increasing calls on your time and gifts.

- John Blanchard


"You must be born again." - John 3:7

Regeneration is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation, and we should be very diligent to take heed that we really are “born again,” for there are many who presume they are, but who are not. Be assured that the name of a Christian is not the nature of a Christian, and that being born in a Christian land, and being recognized as professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever, unless there be something more added to it—being “born again,” is a matter so mysterious, that human words cannot describe it. “The wind bloweth where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Nevertheless, it is a change which is known and felt: known by works of holiness, and felt by a gracious experience. This great work is supernatural. It is not an operation which a man performs for himself: a new principle is infused, which works in the heart, renews the soul, and affects the entire man. It is not a change of my name, but a renewal of my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus. To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other. If you have then, been “born again,” your acknowledgment will be, “O Lord Jesus, the everlasting Father, thou art my spiritual Parent; unless thy Spirit had breathed into me the breath of a new, holy, and spiritual life, I would be to this day ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’ My heavenly life is wholly derived from thee--to thee I ascribe it. ‘My life is hid with Christ in God. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who liveth in me.' May the Lord enable us to be well assured on this vital point, for to be unregenerate is to be unsaved, unpardoned, without God, and without hope.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, March 21, 2011


Today many professing Christians approach unbelievers with a self-centered gospel, telling them, "God has a great plan for your life; you are someone special and you are valuable to God; God needs you." One would think that these messengers are "head-hunters" for God's corporation.

But the biblical picture of true evangelism is more like picking up trash and waste from the side of the road, so that God might transform people into useful objects by his sovereign mercy and power. Paul writes that the unconverted are worthless, that not one of them does good, not even one (Romans 3:12). Thus, whereas Onesimus was "useless" before his conversion, he had become "useful" after he was converted (Philemon 1).

- Fred Smith

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Will Be Their God

"I will be to them a God!" Hebrews 8:10

That is, to all His redeemed people. I will be the object of their adoration and trust, the subject of their meditation, and the source of all their happiness.

To be our GOD is more than being our friend, helper, or benefactor. He engages to do us good according to His all-sufficiency, to bestow upon us blessings which none else can!

He will pardon us--and pardon like only God can!

He will sanctify us--and sanctify us like only God can!

He will comfort us--and comfort us like only God can!

He will glorify us--and glorify us like only God can!

If He is our God--He is our All.

And all that He has is ours! He is our inheritance, and a glorious inheritance He is.

Consider, when in danger, in darkness, in distress, in temptation, in duty, or in affliction--God will be to you a God delivering you, enlightening you, comforting you, strengthening you, and sanctifying you.

Look to Him for all that He has promised--which is all that you need! Adore His Divine perfections, and rejoice that they are all engaged to make you eternally blessed.

Live to His glory, walk by His Word, and He will glorify Himself in your present and everlasting welfare. He rejoices to do good unto His people, He delights to bless them!

"I will be to them a God!" Hebrews 8:10

- James Smith

Monday, March 14, 2011

Advice to Preachers

The year was 1768. A twenty-eight year old preacher by the name of Augustus Toplady, who wrote many hymns, including "Rock of Ages", spent the afternoon in London with a Mr. Brewer, an older, veteran Gospel preacher, whom he greatly admired and from whom he learned much. This is what Mr. Brewer said to the young Toplady, as Toplady later recorded in his diary:

I cannot conclude without reminding you, my young brother, of some things that may be of use to you in the course of your ministry:

1. Preach Christ crucified, and dwell chiefly on the blessings resulting from His righteousness, atonement, and intercession.

2. Avoid all needless controversies in the pulpit, except when your subject necessarily requires it or when the truths of God are likely to suffer by your silence.

3. When you enter the pulpit, leave your learning behind you. Endeavor to preach more to the hearts of your people than to their heads.

4. Do not be tempted toward much oratory. Seek rather to profit your hearers than to be admired by them.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Speaking of Hell

Settle it firmly in your mind, that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has spoken most plainly about the reality and eternity of hell. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus contains things which should make men tremble! But it does not stand alone. No lips have used so many words to express the awfulness of hell--as the lips of Him who spoke as never any man spoke: "hell . . . hell fire . . . the damnation of hell . . . . eternal damnation . . . the resurrection of damnation . . . everlasting fire . . . the place of torment. . . . eternal destruction . . . outer darkness . . . the worm that never dies . . . the fire that is never quenched . . . the place of weeping . . . wailing and gnashing of teeth . . . everlasting punishment." These are the words which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself employs!

Away with the miserable nonsense which people talk of in this day, who tell us that the ministers of the gospel should never speak of hell! They only show their own ignorance or their dishonesty when they babble in such a manner! No person can honestly read the four Gospels, and fail to see that those who would follow the example of Christ, must speak of hell!

- J. C. Ryle

Monday, February 28, 2011


Show me a man who is unwilling to exercise self-control and I'll show you a man who is striving towards ruin. Self-control is a matter of the will. You purpose you will or you will not. That's the distinction between self control or lack of it. Young people, the sooner you can learn this lesson, the better. It's a valuable lesson that I would have to rank it in the top five maybe of lessons of life to learn: Someones gonna be in charge, someones gonna give the orders. Is it going to be your body or is gonna be your spirit? That is the essence of self-control and if it's your body, then I say you're on the road to ruin.

The Apostle Paul he didn't sugar-coat it. Has anyone written more New Testament Scripture than the Apostle Paul? He was responsible for forming and expositing the doctrines, and yet he leaves the possibility open that if he does not discipline his body and make it his slave, he's going to be, in the end, cast away regardless of how much preaching he's done to others. That is a weighty statement.

2nd Timothy 3 describes those who are without self control, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and in the end they perish. They might hold to a form of godliness, but there's no power in it; we're talking about self-control here. It's such an imperative that Jesus said, "If you're going to be my disciple you're going to have to daily deny yourself." The sins of the flesh kill their thousands, but self-control kills ten-thousands. Lack of self control is like a fountain head of which all other sins flow out of.

- Clint Leiter

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Living by your Feelings

Conrad Murrell said, "If you don't bring your though life into captivity with what you know is true, you will live a wretched miserable life." I want to submit to you that the exact same is true with regard to your feelings. If you don't bring your feelings into captivity to what you know is true, you will live a wretched, miserable defeated life. Many Christians are wretched and miserable precisely because they make their feelings the barometer of their spiritual life.

-Garrett Holthaus

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Showers of Blessing

"I will cause the shower to come down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing." - Ezekiel 34:26

Here is sovereign mercy—“I will give them the shower in its season.” Is it not sovereign, divinemercy?—for who can say, “I will give them showers,” except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. Who sendeth down the rain upon the earth? Who scattereth the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord?

So grace is the gift of God, and is not to be created by man. It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing. In vain you labour, until God the plenteous shower bestows, and sends salvation down.

Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send them showers.” It does not say, “I will send them drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, he usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we want plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace.

Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will cause the shower to come down in his season.” What is thy season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As thy days so shall thy strength be.”

And here is a varied blessing. “I will give thee showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If he gives converting grace, he will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” Look up today, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

To Walk with God

By faith in Christ I walk with God,
With heav'n, my journey's end, in view;
Supported by his staff and rod,
My road is safe and pleasant too.

I travel through a desert wide,
Where many round me blindly stray;
But he vouchsafes to be my guide,
And will not let me miss my way.

Though snares and dangers throng my path,
And earth and hell my course withstand;
I triumph over all by faith,
Guarded by his almighty hand.

The wilderness affords no food,
But God for my support prepares;
Provides me ev'ry needful good,
And frees my soul from wants and cares.

With him sweet converse I maintain,
Great as he is, I dare be free;
I tell him all my grief and pain,
And he reveals his love to me.

Some cordial from his word he brings
When'er my feeble spirit faints;
At once my soul revives and sings,
And yields no more to sad complaints.

I pity all that worldlings talk
Of pleasures that will quickly end;
Be this my choice, O Lord, to walk
With thee, my Guide, my Guard, my Friend!

- John Newton

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Then Should You Feel?

When you awake to see a glowing red sunrise, shedding its beams and light upon a snow-covered earth, reflecting beauty which only the Creator can display, what should you feel and do?

"When morning guilds the skies, my heart awakening cries, "May Jesus Christ be praised!"

- Mack T.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ashamed of Christ

The wickedness of being ashamed of Christ is very great. It is a proof of unbelief. It shows that we care more for the praise of men whom we can see, than that of God whom we cannot see.

It is a proof of ingratitude. It shows that we fear confessing Him before man who was not ashamed to die for us upon the cross. Wretched indeed are they who give way to this sin. Here, in this world, they are always miserable. A bad conscience robs them of peace. In the world to come they can look for no comfort. In the day of judgment they must expect to be disowned by Christ to all eternity, if they will not confess Christ for a few years upon earth.

Let us resolve never to be ashamed of Christ. Of sin and worldliness we may well be ashamed. Of Christ and His cause we have no right to be ashamed at all. Boldness in Christ’s service always brings its own reward. The boldest Christian is always the happiest person.

- J. C. Ryle

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What to Pray For

More than once I have heard Christians say that they can't pray long until they feel like they have run out of things to pray. They don't know what else to pray about. Certainly, learning experientially to pray is a process and takes the aid and help of the Holy Spirit. One must be taught of God to really pray.

But there are great helps in the Bible about what to pray for and what to ask. Paul's prayers are a great example for us in that regard. Paul, from the very beginning of his conversion, was praying. Luke, in the book of Acts, says of Paul, "Behold, he prays."

In Colossians 1, we see an example of what he prayed specifically for the Colossian Christians. No doubt, he prayed these specific requests for himself regularly, as well as praying the same for the churches he loved and nurtured.

When you examine Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:12, you are being allowed into Paul's prayer closet, seeing what God put in his heart to pray. What did Paul pray for others? What kind of things did Paul ask for in prayer?

1. "that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" - vs. 9

2. "to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him" - vs. 10

3. "bearing fruit in every good work" - vs. 10

4. "increasing in the knowledge of God" - vs. 11

5. "may you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might" - vs. 11

6. "all endurance and patience with joy" - vs. 11

Paul's praying was not-- "Lord, bless the Corinthians; meet their needs; lead them, guide them, help them, encourage them" -- there is nothing wrong with praying that way for others, when your heart is serious and clear about what those things mean. But we get in a rut in prayer with our words, saying the same things often over and over again, without really being fresh and in tune with the Lord.

I remember the first year after my conversion, there were 2 men in our church who always led morning prayer and evening prayer in church before the offering plate was passed. They both always parroted the same prayer week after week--

"Lord, we thank You for thy blessings; we pray that You would bless the gift and the giver; forgive all our sins-- lead, guide and direct us, in Your name we pray-amen."

Now these were nice men who seemed sincere. But it became obvious that they did not have a clue about the reality of prayer and what it meant to lay hold on God and plead His promises.

When you look at that content in Paul's praying, it is amazing what he prayed for. Do we pray that way for ourselves and for others regularly?

- I want to be filled with the knowledge of your will

- I want to grow in spiritual understanding and wisdom

- I would have a worthy walk

- Strengthen me with all power

- Let me increase in truly knowing You

- Make me fruitful in every work

- Cause me to have real endurance and patience and lasting joy

Let's get meatier in our praying; increasingly pray the Word, pray the Psalms, and the prayers of the saints found in the Scriptures, and Paul's prayers found in his epistles. We ought never to read Paul's letters without praying those prayers for ourselves and the saints we walk with.

When we do, we are praying the perfect mind and will of God. We are praying for the greatest possible reality and we are growing in our understanding and capacity in relation to pray.

Lord, teach us to pray, as you did Paul.

- Mack Tomlinson

Saturday, January 22, 2011

He Shall Deliver You

"Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler." - Psalm 91:3

God delivers his people from the snare of the fowler in two senses. From, and out of. First, he delivers them from the snare—does not let them enter it; and secondly, if they should be caught therein, he delivers them out of it. The first promise is the most precious to some; the second is the best to others.

“He shall deliver thee from the snare.” How? Trouble is often the means whereby God delivers us. God knows that our backsliding will soon end in our destruction, and he in mercy sends the rod. We say, “Lord, why is this?” not knowing that our trouble has been the means of delivering us from far greater evil. Many have been thus saved from ruin by their sorrows and their crosses; these have frightened the birds from the net. At other times, God keeps his people from the snare of the fowler by giving them great spiritual strength, so that when they are tempted to do evil they say, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” But what a blessed thing it is that if the believer shall, in an evil hour, come into the net, yet God will bring him out of it! O backslider, be cast down, but do not despair. Wanderer though thou hast been, hear what thy Redeemer saith—“Return, O backsliding children; I will have mercy upon you.”

But you say you cannot return, for you are a captive. Then listen to the promise—“Surely he shall deliver thee out of the snare of the fowler.” Thou shalt yet be brought out of all evil into which thou hast fallen, and though thou shalt never cease to repent of thy ways, yet he that hath loved thee will not cast thee away; he will receive thee, and give thee joy and gladness, that the bones which he has broken may rejoice. No bird of paradise shall die in the fowler’s net.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thursday Afternoon Radio Program

If you are free to listen, I will be sharing about Leonard Ravenhill and the new biography this Thursday afternoon, January 20th, at 4:35 Mountain time (5:35 Central time) on KKIM Radio in Albuquerque, N.M.;

The live streaming can be heard on KKIM Radio Interview KKIM AM 1000 ABQ, FM 94.7 Santa Fe KARS AM 860 Belen, NM & WORLDWIDE at

- Mack T.

Be on Guard

"And it came to pass, at the evening time, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house." - 2 Samuel 11:2

At that hour, David saw Bathsheba. We are never out of the reach of temptation. Both at home and abroad, we are liable to meet with allurements to evil; the morning opens with peril and the shades of evening find us still in jeopardy. They are well kept whom God keeps, but woe unto those who go forth into the world or even dare to walk their own house unarmed. Those who think themselves secure are more exposed to dangers than any others. The armor-bearer of sin is self-confidence.

David should have been engaged in fighting the Lord's battles; instead he tarried at Jerusalem and gave himself up to luxurious repose, for he arose from his bed at time of evening. Idleness and luxury are the devil's jackals, and find him abundant prey. In stagnant waters noxious creatures swarm and neglected soil soon yields a dense tangle of weeds and briars.

Oh, for the constraining love of Jesus to keep us active and useful! When I see the king of Israel sluggishly leaving his couch at the close of the day and falling at once into temptation, let me take warning and set holy watchfulness to guard the door.

Is it possible that the king had mounted his housetop for retirement and devotion? If so, what a caution is given us to count no place, however secret, a sanctuary from sin! While our hearts are so like dry wood and spark so plentiful, we must use all diligence in all places to prevent a blaze. Satan can climb housetops and enters closets, and even if we could shut out that foul fiend, our own corruptions are enough to work our ruin unless grace prevents it.

Let us beware of evening temptations. Be not secure. The sun is down, but sin is up. We need a watchman for the night as well as a guardian for the day. O blessed Spirit, keep us from all evil this night.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Our Words

Many people do not take their words serious enough. Everyone who hears anything we say will be influenced and affected by our words, whether for good or bad. Often young people or foolish adults will saying cutting, hurtful things in jest, only to justify it by saying, "I was only teasing--man, can't anybody take a joke?"

Whether or not the person was joking is another issue; the thing about words is that, regardless what our motives are in speaking, the words themselves have a direct influence upon those who hear us.

How important are words? When words are spoken, they immediately do their work. It doesn't matter if it was intentional or not, if it was a joke or not, if it was well-thought out or rashly spoken without thought--none of that matters; what matters is that when words leave a person's mouth, the effect happensand the influence occurs; blessing and edification are accomplished by the words themselves if the words are right, truthful and good; likewise, damage, hurt, and sin immediately occurs if the words are harmful.

Words and their effects cannot be drawn back in like a fishing line. Once out of the mouth, they are permanent and cannot be reversed.

How important are words? Only a few reminders from Proverbs cause us to remember:

Preserving or destroying one's very life - "Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin." - Prov. 13:3

Toil or talk - "In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty." - 14:23

Anger or peace - "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." - 15:1

Thoughts themselves can be sin, and words can be acts of righteousness - "The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure." - 15:26

Words have influence with those who are in authority - "Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right." - 16:13

Words are a real means of comfort and healing - "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." - 16:24

For those talkative ones who always have to express their views - "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." - 18:2

Words are what get most people in trouble - "A fool's lips walk into a fight and his mouth invites a beating." - 18:6 (Advice to young people--if you don't want to get in trouble or get your teeth knocked down your throat by a mad jerk, keep your mouth shut--be quick to listen and very slow to speak.)

Words totally ruin some people's lives - "A fool's mouth is his ruin and his lips are a snare to his soul." - 18:7

Gossip is enjoyable to the gossip and the listener - "The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels." - 18:8

Premature words bring shame - "If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame." - 18:13

Words always reap a harvest - "From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips." - 18:20

Words reflects outright evil and wickedness - "A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity." - 19:28

The main life preserver - "Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble." - 21:23

Telling others is wrong - "Argue your case with your neighbor himself and do not reveal another's secrets." - 25:9

Good, timely words - "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." - 25:11

Lying about others is destructive - "A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, a sword, or a sharp arrow." - 25:18

Quarreling - "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife." - 25:24

Quarreling - "For lack of wood the fire goes out and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases." - 26:20

There's a time to answer a fool and there's a time to not answer a fool - "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." - 26:4-5

Words are often meant to directly deceive - "Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart." - 26:24-25

How many more warnings could we find, just in Proverbs? Many more.

In an age of information overload, tweeting, face-booking, emailing, texting, and all the rest, the amount of words that are used have been multiplied by the millions; and everyone one of us are storing up more and more accountability to God on judgment day, when we will give account of our words.

- Mack Tomlinson

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Second Coming, Part 2

To put it another way, when will the resurrection and the ‘rapture’ occur? At the last trumpet.

* 1Cor 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
* 1Thes 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
* Mat 24:31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

To put it another way, when will the end of the world occur? At the last trumpet, the 7thand last.

* Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

To put it another way, when will the resurrection occur? On the last day.

* John 6:39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
* Repeated three more times in John 6
* Also: John 11.24

To put it another way, when will the judgment day occur? On the last day.

* John 12:48 … the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

To put it another way, will the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked be simultaneous? Yes, it will be in a coming hour – the last hour.

* John 5:28, 29 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to aresurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Conclusion? It will all happen on that one day. What a day it will be! Man has had his days – birthday, graduation day, wedding day, Independence Day, Ground Hog Day, etc. The Lord will have His Day.
How can I be ready for the great day of the Lord? A person might be fouled up on the above, and still make it to heaven if he knows how to be ready. If you repent of sin, giving your life to the living God unconditionally and believe on the Lord Jesus – truly, sincerely, totally, that He died to pay your sin-debt – you will be rescued from the wrath to come.

* 1Thes 1:9, 10 … you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

Most folks will be sleeping when their house burns, many with a false confession of Christ.

* 1Thes 5:6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
* Matt 7:22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

Sin is contraband. You don’t want to be under its guilt or power.

* Rom 13:11,12 Knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

The day will come; it is fixed by God. No bomb or cataclysm can stop it.

* Acts 17:30, 31 … God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

Rev 22:20 …Come, Lord Jesus.
- Bob Jennings

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Second Coming - Part 1

No one knows when the great day will be, not the angels, not even the Son, at least in the days of His incarnation, Matthew 24.36, Acts 1.7, but we do know two things:

* what will happen, and
* how to be ready.

What will happen? There are a lot of schedules taught in Christendom about the last things. So, to simplify the matter, let’s only take the one Greek word parousia, translated “coming.”
At the parousia, Christ will be revealed – the revelation.

* 2Thes 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord
* 2Thes 1:7 … when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire

At the parousia, Christ will raise the dead – the resurrection.

* 1Thes 4:15 … we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
* 1Thes 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will risefirst.
* See also: 1Cor 15.22,23

At the parousia, Christ will “catch up” the believers who are then alive – the rapture.

* 1Thes 4:15 … we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
* 1Thes 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
* See also: 1Cor 15.52

At the parousia, Christ will gather to Himself all believers of all times.

* 2Thes 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him
* 1Thes 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

At the parousia, Christ will judge – it will be the judgment day.

* 2Thes 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
* 2Thes 1:8, 9 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power

At the parousia, Christ will destroy everything – souls and bodies of unbelievers will be thrown into hell, Matt 10.28, and it will be the end of heaven and earth.

* 2Thes 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
* 2Thes 1:8, 9 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power
* 2Peter 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat

At the parousia, Christ will end it all.

* Mat 24:3 … what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?
* 1Cor 15:23, 24 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God

At the parousia, Christ will make all things new.

* 2Pet 3:12, 13 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and anew earth, in which righteousness dwells.

to be continued...

- Bob Jennings