Believing The Lie

[In reference to the temptation in the garden:] “God is a liar,” (Satan) says. “He has deceived you, taken your freedom, and restricted your joy.” Satan’s lie is still the same today: “You can be free. Do whatever you want. It is your life. There are no divine laws; no absolute authority; and above all, no judgment. You will surely not die.” John MacArthur

Few preachers of religion do believe thoroughly the doctrine of the Fall, or else they think that when Adam fell down he broke his little finger, and did not break his neck and ruin his race. C.H.  Spurgeon

The real issue in the creation/evolution debate is not the existence of God. The real issue is the nature of God. To think of evolution as basically atheistic is to misunderstand the uniqueness of evolution. Evolution was not designed as a general attack against theism. It was designed as a specific attack against the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is clearly revealed through the doctrine of creation. Obviously, if a person is an atheist, it would be normal for him to also be an evolutionist. But evolution is as comfortable with theism as it is with atheism. An evolutionist is perfectly free to choose any god he wishes, as long as it is not the God of the Bible. The gods allowed by evolution are private, subjective, and artificial. They bother no one and make no absolute ethical demands. However, the God of the Bible is the Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Judge. All are responsible to Him. He has an agenda that conflicts with that of the sinful humans. For man to be created in the image of God is very awesome. For God to be created in the image of man is very comfortable. Marvin L Lubenow

Christ is much more powerful to save, than Adam was to destroy. John Calvin

In effect, by accepting Satan’s statement, Eve was calling God a liar, even though she might not have recognized those implications of her action. She accepted Satan as the truth-teller and God as the prevaricator. By partaking of the fruit she was implicitly stating her belief that Satan was more interested in her welfare than God was. Yielding to the temptation implied that she accepted Satan’s analysis of the situation instead of God’s. Henry Virkler

Evolution is simply the latest means our fallen race has devised in order to suppress our innate knowledge and the biblical testimony that there is a God and that we are accountable to Him (cf. Romans 1:28). By embracing evolution, modern society aims to do away with morality, responsibility, and guilt. Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences. John MacArthur

The excuse that is banished, the excuse every pagan hopes in vain to use, the excuse that is exploded by God’s self-revelation in nature is the pretended, vacuous, dishonest appeal to ignorance. No one will be able to approach the judgment seat of God justly pleading, “If only I had known You existed, I would surely have served You.” That excuse is annihilated. No one can lightly claim “insufficient” evidence for not believing in God. R.C. Sproul

Only The Cross

We care so much for the people around us. We want so badly for them to have a better life. To have enough. There are so many who don’t. By natural extension we worry about their afterlife. We want people to miss hell. It would be so horrible for anyone to go there–especially after having a bad life here.

We try so hard to convince them to want to go to heaven. We put it in their language. Make it colorful. Make it sound good. We present it as something that is easy to attain, as their right to have. Hell is a bad place to go so we make heaven sound like fun.

We make it man-centered all the way.

We do this at our own peril. Our Gospel message begins to soften. We soft-sell it. We try a new angle. We will do anything to help someone to work up a desire to do something so they can slide into heaven. We change the nature of God. Dumb Him down, if you will. He becomes the anxious lover, the nervous suitor, the father always longing, always searching, always ready to forgive and forget…even when the people in question never fully come to Him. He will endlessly pursue, stand at the door and knock, respond to anything that they say or do that shows that they just might have the slightest desire for heaven (not for God Himself but for the comforts of heaven). He becomes a genie working overtime, ever ready, ever watching, always anxious to pluck another person out of the grasp of hell. The faintest whisper of the sinner’s prayer is the only ticket they need. “Just do this and say that….” “Come forward, say a prayer.” “…heaven can be your home and you can miss hell.”

Miss hell?

Is that what we think the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is all about? Missing hell?

The Gospel isn’t about our missing hell; it’s about the Cross. It’s about God being glorified. God didn’t send Jesus to the Cross so that we could miss hell or make it to heaven. God’s wrath wasn’t vented on His Son so that we could have a happy life here on earth or a comfortable after life. God isn’t anxiously waiting up in heaven hoping that we will do the least amount possible so that He can nudge us over the line from lost to found. The Gospel isn’t about us at all.The Gospel is about God’s glory not ours.To say otherwise is to sinfully make it man-centered.

The Cross is where we must begin and end our theology. We need to preach the Cross again and again. It needs to take center stage in our preaching. The older preachers knew this. Spurgeon was once told that his sermons all sounded alike. His response? “That may be so. I can take any verse in the Bible and make a bee-line for the Cross.” We need more men of God to do that today. They need to forget themselves, forget numbers, forget church growth and concentrate on the Cross.

We try to preach people out of hell, when we ought to be saying, “The Cross—look at the CROSS!” No one will ever be saved simply because they don’t want to go to hell. Nobody wants to go to hell. The devil has known for a long, long time that hell is his eternal destination and even he doesn’t want to go there. We cartoonishly present Satan as ‘lord’ of hell when he himself would still love to go to heaven–if only God wasn’t in charge. Most of us don’t want God anymore than he does.

God deserves to be glorified simply because of Who He is, because He is God, because He is the Great I AM.

He deserves to be glorified and praised endlessly because of the Cross.

Understanding the Cross is to understand Christ. Understanding Christ, you understand God. Understanding Him is all that we are told that we ought to glory in.

The Cross is all that matters. Anything else is digression.

The Gospel must center on God and His glory. The Gospel must center on the Cross. When preachers preach that once again, we will once again have an understanding of sin. Then, and only then, will we have true repentance among the people supposedly coming to God.

A man truly converted to God will take one look at the Cross and heart-broken, fall to his knees. There he will stay, and as repenting gives way to praise, he will crawl to Calvary and beg God, “Give me one! I beg you. Give me a cross. Jesus bore the Cross for me. I want to bear a cross for Him. Crucify me with Him. Give me a cross!”

The converted man will gladly give up all of his so-called rights. On the cross there is no chance for self-promotion, pride or a physically abundant life. Nothing else here on earth will ever matter to him again–not like it did before his he took up his cross. The things of God will consume him. For the crucified man there can be no other way.

God’s Will will now be all encompassing.  Once on the cross, God’s man can no longer go into the world and participate of it. By God’s grace, he won’t want to. Christ died for him so how can the world hold any further attraction for him? The things that once brought him so much happiness will now be seen as they actually are: instruments used by the devil to bind him and lead him to eternal death.

The Cross, the Cross will be his cry, his plea.

When the man of God looks at the Cross and fully realizes that Jesus’ beard was plucked out because of his gluttony, that His back was lashed because of his pride, that He was beaten unmercifully because of things he lightly called “addictions”, the torment will break through his soul like so much water through a broken levy. When he completely comprehends that Jesus suffered in quiet agony because of his covetousness, that He was thrashed with rods because of his “little white lies”, that His head was pierced with a crown of thorns because of his enslavement to money, His hands and feet were nailed to the Cross because of his lust, repentance will flow and keeps on flowing. His proclamation from that moment on will forever be “Worthy is the Lamb!”

The Cross shows God’s love, His mercy, His justice, His wrath like nothing else ever has or could. To see the Cross, to know the Cross, to understand the Cross is to understand God.

The Old Testament points towards Christ and His Cross. The New Testament reveals it. If heaven itself, if the Triune God-head is so consumed by the Cross, shouldn’t we be?

 

Holiness: Thoughts Past and Present

It is absurd to imagine that God should justify a people and not sanctify them, He should justify a people whom He could not glorify. Thomas Watson

Holiness appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, serene, calm nature; which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness, and ravishment to the soul.  In other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers. Jonathan Edwards

Holiness is not just for some select few spiritual giants; it is not just for pious people who sit around all day with nothing to do but “be holy.”… “Everyone who names the name of the Lord” is called to live a holy life! Nancy Leigh DeMoss

 I believe the holier a man becomes, the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him. C.H. Spurgeon

God’s goal in saving you was not just to make your few years on planet Earth easier or more enjoyable.  He had an eternal end in view.  His intent was to make you holy, as He is holy, that you might perfectly glorify Him, that you might bring Him pleasure, and that you might enjoy intimate fellowship with Him for all eternity. Nancy Leigh DeMoss

As God delights in His own beauty, He must necessarily delight in the creature’s holiness which is a conformity to and participation of it. Jonathan Edwards

Scripture speaks of both a holiness we already possess in Christ before God and a holiness in which we are to grow more and more. The first is the result of the work of Christ for us; the second is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in us.  The first is perfect and complete and is ours the moment we trust Christ; the second is progressive and incomplete as long as we are in this life. The objective holiness we have in Christ and the subjective holiness produced by the Holy Spirit are both gifts of God’s grace and are both appropriated by faith. Jerry Bridges

To be holy is to be set apart in purity. It is to be separated from what is common and ordinary in order to be devoted to God’s service. Whatever is holy is distinguished from the secular and dedicated to the sacred. Philip Graham Ryken

Holiness…consists of that internal change or renovation of our souls whereby our minds, affections and wills are brought into harmony with God. A.W. Pink

I would sooner be holy than happy if the two things could be divorced.  Were it possible for a man always to sorrow and yet to be pure, I would choose the sorrow if I might win the purity, for to be free from the power of sin, to be made to love holiness, is true happiness. C.H. Spurgeon

We are so accustomed to equating holiness with purity or ethical perfection that we look for the idea when the word holy appears. When things are made holy, when they are consecrated, they are set apart unto purity. They are to be used in a pure way. They are to reflect purity as well as simple apartness. Purity is not excluded from the idea of the holy; it is contained within it. But the point we must remember is that the idea of the holy is never exhausted by the idea of purity. It includes purity but is much more than that. It is purity and transcendence. It is transcendent purity. R.C. Sproul

Of late God has been pleased to keep my soul hungry almost continually, so that I have been filled with a kind of pleasing pain.  When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of Him the more insatiable and my thirstings after holiness more unquenchable.  David Brainerd

True godliness lies very much in desires. As we are not what we shall be, so also we are not what we would be. The desires of gracious men after holiness are intense – they cause a wear of heart, a straining of the mind, till it feels ready to snap with the heavenly pull. A high value of the Lord’s commandment leads to a pressing desire to know and to do it, and this so weighs upon the soul that it is ready to break in pieces under the crush of its own longings. What a blessing it is when all our desires are after the things of God. We may well long for such longings. C.H. Spurgeon

Man’s holiness is now his greatest happiness, and in heaven man’s greatest happiness will be his perfect holiness. Thomas Brooks

What a strange kind of salvation do they desire that care not for holiness… They would be saved by Christ and yet be out of Christ in a fleshly state… They would have their sins forgiven, not that they may walk with God in love, in time to come, but that they may practice their enmity against Him without any fear of punishment. Walter Marshall

The chief design of my life in the station wherein the good providence of God hath placed me, are, that mortification and universal holiness may be promoted in my own and in the hearts and ways of others, to the glory of God; that so the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be adorned in all things. John Owen

Praying For Wind

In the year 1854 a sailing vessel was becalmed in the vicinity of New Guinea. Seeing the distressed look on the captain’s face as he peered intently into the sea, a young Englishman inquired as to the cause of his anxiety. This was the reply: “A four-knot current is carrying us swiftly toward some sunken reefs over there. Our fate seems to be sealed.” On the shores of the island, cannibals were rushing about and lighting fires in great glee. Presently the captain spoke again: “We have done everything that can be done.” “No,” responded the young man, “there is one thing we haven’t done. Four of us on board are Christians. Let each of us retire to his cabin and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us a breeze immediately.” This was agreed upon and done. After a few minutes of earnest intercession, the young man came up on deck confident that the petition had been granted. Finding the first officer, a godless man, in charge, he requested him to let down the corners of the mainsail. “What would be the good of that?” he asked. The young man told him that he and three others had been asking God to send a wind, that it was coming immediately and that there was not a minute to lose, since they were so near the reefs. With a look of contempt, the officer replied with an oath: “Nonsense! You can’t pray up a wind.” Noticing a few moments later that the topmost sail was beginning to tremble, he said: “That is only a cat’s-paw — a mere puff of wind.” “Never mind what you think,” cried the young man. “Let down the mainsail quickly.”

This he was not slow to do. Hearing the heavy tread of the men on deck, the captain came up from his cabin and saw that the breeze had indeed come. In a few minutes they were sailing away from the dangerous reefs, much to the disappointment of the native cannibals on the beach.

Writing of this and similar experiences, the young man said: “Thus God encouraged me, ere landing on China’s shores, to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honor the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help which each emergency required.”

So we have been introduced to a remarkable man, J. Hudson Taylor, and to the text, John 14:13, which was woven into the fabric of his life and into the texture of his stupendous achievements: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Feeding Sheep Or Amusing Goats? by Charles Spurgeon

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.” No such words, however, are to be found.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world,” not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, “Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!” No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the “gospel of amusement.” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Others May, You Cannot by G. D. Watson

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
(Matthew 16:24-25) 

If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.

God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.

God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.