Monthly Archives: June 2011

Pursuit Of Trivia

Something to think about…

FaceBook and MySpace may be fine websites, useful places for others to communicate with many friends at once; but Gospel preachers demean themselves, their office, and the Gospel of God in the use of such, lowering themselves and the Gospel to trivia. — Brethren, stay in your studies. Pray, study, and preach the Word. If you will do so with faithfulness, you will have no time for the pursuit of trivia.”

Don Fortner October 31, 2010

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Why Do You Call Me Lord?

Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

“You call me the way and walk me not. You call me the life and live me not. You call me master and obey me not. If I condemn you, blame me not. You call me bread and eat me not. You call me truth and believe me not. You call me Lord and serve me not. If I condemn you, blame me not” (Geoffrey O’Hara)

“Thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Saviour,” who have not first received Him as their Lord. The Son of God did not come here to save His people in their sin, but “from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). To he saved from sins, is to be saved from ignoring and despising the authority of God, it is to abandon the course of self-will and self-pleasing, it is to “forsake our way” (Isaiah 55:7). It is to surrender to God’s authority, to yield to His dominion, to give ourselves over to be ruled by Him.” A.W. Pink Another Gospel.

“Salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred Scriptures… Apart from obedience there can be no salvation, for salvation without obedience is a self-contradictory impossibility.” A.W. Tozer

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What Then Is Grace?

First, it is evidently something very blessed and joyous, for our text speaks of the “good news of the grace of God.” Secondly, it is the opposite of Law: Law and grace are antithetical terms: “The law was given by Moses-but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). It is significant that the word “Gospel” is never found in the Old Testament. Consider a few contrasts between them: The Law manifested what was in man-sin; grace manifests what is in God-love, mercy. The Law speaks of what man must do for God; grace tells of what Christ has done for men. The Law demanded righteousness from men; grace brings righteousness to men. The Law brought out God to men; grace brings in men to God. The Law sentenced a living man to death; grace brings a dead man to life. The Law never had a missionary; the Gospel is to be preached to every creature. The Law makes known the will of God; grace reveals the heart of God!

In the third place, grace, then, is the very opposite of justice. Justice shows no favor and knows no mercy. Grace is the reverse of this. Justice requires that everyone should receive his due; grace bestows on sinners what they are not entitled to-pure charity. Grace is “something for nothing.” Now the Gospel is a revelation of this wondrous grace of God. It tells us that Christ has done for sinners what they could not do for themselves-it satisfied the demands of God’s Law. Christ has fully and perfectly met all the requirements of God’s holiness so that He can righteously receive every poor sinner who comes to Him. The Gospel tells us that Christ died not for good people, who never did anything very bad; but for lost and godless sinners who never did anything good. The Gospel reveals to every sinner, for his acceptance, a Savior all-sufficient, “able to save unto the uttermost those who come unto God by Him.” Arthur W. Pink. The Attributes of God.

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The Gospel of the Grace of God

Now the Gospel of God’s grace is epitomized in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” All genuine reforms or revivals in the churches of God must have as their basis a plain declaration of this doctrine. The tendency of Christians is like that of the world, to shy away from this truth which is the very sum and substance of the Gospel.

Those with any acquaintance with Church history know how sadly true this is. Within fifty years of the death of the last of the apostles, so far as we can now learn, the Gospel of God’s grace almost ceased to be preached. Instead of evangelizing, the preachers of the second and third centuries gave themselves to philosophizing. Philosophy took the place of the simplicity of the Gospel.

Then, in the fourth century, God mercifully raised up a man, Augustine, who faithfully and fearlessly proclaimed the Gospel. So mightily did God empower both his voice and pen that more than half of Christendom was shaken by him. Through his instrumentality came an heaven-sent revival. His influence for good staved off the great Romish heresy for another century. Had the churches heeded his teaching, popery would never have been born. But, they turned back to vain philosophy and science, falsely so-called.

Then came the Dark Ages, when for centuries the Gospel ceased to be generally preached. Here and there feeble voices were raised, but most of them were soon silenced by the Italian priests. It was not until the fifteenth century that the great Reformation came. God raised up Martin Luther, who taught in no uncertain terms that sinners are justified by faith, and not by works.

After Luther came a still more distinguished teacher, John Calvin. He was much more deeply taught in the truth of the Gospel, and pushed its central doctrine of grace to its logical conclusions. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Luther had, as it were, undamned the stream of truth, by breaking down the barriers which had kept back its living waters as in a great reservoir. But the stream was turbid and carried down with it much which ought to have been left behind. Then Calvin came, and cast salt into the waters, and purged them, so that there flowed on a purer stream to gladden and refresh souls and quench the thirst of poor lost sinners.”

The great center of all Calvin’s preaching was the grace of God. It has been the custom ever since to designate as “Calvinists” those who emphasize what he emphasized. We do not accept that title without qualification, but we certainly are not ashamed of it. The truth Calvin thundered forth was identical with the truth Paul had preached and set down in writing centuries before. This was also the substance of Whitefield’s preaching, which God honored so extensively as to produce the great revival in his day. (Arthur W. Pink. The Attributes of God.)

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What I Learned In Church Yesterday

The news here in NY was the passing of the Gay Marriage Bill on Friday night…  It didn’t come as a surprise, yes I’m grieved that it finally passed. I’m grieved because it goes against the Word of God and His mandate for marriage. But I will say this (the decision) has impeccable timing. We’re not caught off guard here, In Sunday school as you all know we’re in Romans… Romans 1:18-32 It’s very important than I have these verse laid right out for you to see, Paul says:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

As I said in Sunday school and my Pastor affirmed behind the pulpit yesterday we love all people and all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… We pray for these people, we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with these people… But we stand by the Word of God, we don’t condemn them because they already stand condemn before God John 3:36 We pray Gods sovereign work in their heartsBecause now God has given them over to their own desires Romans 1:24, 26, 28 We as believers were like them once before God saved usWe finished up Romans 1:21 this morning For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. God has impeccable timing… Their foolish hearts were darkened, It’s like God answered the decision Friday night with a bible study on Sunday.

What does it mean that their hearts were darkened? (skotizo) Literally to be or become dark or to be unable to give light as in Matthew 24:29. These people have a lack of religious and moral perception and become inwardly darkened in respect to one’s understanding. Look at Psalm 50:23 “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.” But when truth is rejected falsehood replaces it and they love darkness.  Look at John 3:19, 20 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

God has given them all this glorious light and truth in nature and it’s all darkness to them… And once this happens they fall for anything foolish that comes their way and falsehood becomes truth, then their ears are tickled For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3, 4

Professing to be wise, they became fools Romans 1:22 But thats for next week. What do we do for people who reject the truth… We pray for them, we love them and more than anything we give them the truth… For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Romans 1:16-18

When I was teaching through the gospel of Mark 5 or 6 years ago I remember Jesus saying something so simple yet so powerful, listen it was Him who was saying it:  Jesus starts His Galilean ministry with these straight forward and no-nonsense words “ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15 And that’s what I learned in church yesterday.

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Regarding what happened last night in New York State… I find only one answer… The faithful teaching and preaching of God’s Word and Prayer!


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The Truth

“It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it.”  A.A. Hodge

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What every church should be in its community

Every church should be in its community, as nearly as possible—what Christ would be—if He lived again in human form in a house just where the church stands. Imagine Jesus living here, and people coming to Him just as they used to do when He had His home for many months at a certain home on a certain street in Capernaum. Would not our church become a wonderful Mecca for weary pilgrims? The sorrowing, would come to find comfort. People having problems and perplexities, would come to have them solved. Those who have stumbled and fallen, would come to be forgiven and helped to start again. The weary, would come to get rest. This corner would be a great resort—for all who feel any need of help.

Then all who come—would find a home for their souls here. We know how Christ welcomed all who came to Him. He was everybody’s friend! No one was ever turned away from Him, unhelped. The church should be to the people who come to it—what Christ was to those who came to Him. It should be a true home of the soul.

It is in a spiritual way, that the church should chiefly serve us. Some people forget this, and think that it is the business of the church to provide entertainment for those who come to it. We sometimes hear people complain that the church does nothing to furnish ‘good times’ for the young. But frankly, that is not the purpose of the church.

Are schools—public schools, high schools, colleges—established to entertain those who come to them? Places of amusement are established to entertain—but the purpose of a school is to teach, to educate, to train the mind, to develop the intellect.

Just so, the mission of a church is not to amuse, to provide fun and entertainment—but to lead people to Christ, to train them in Christian duties, to build up godly character in them, and to prepare them for usefulness and service to the souls of men.

Entertainment is never to be the great purpose of the church. The aim must always be to honor God—and make the worshipers more holy!

(J. R. Miller, “Devotional Hours with the Bible”) HT: Grace Gems

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Studying God’s Word

I love this video from Dr. Lawson… So Encouraging!

Here then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion.  Our problem is that we are lazy. (R.C. Sproul Knowing Scripture.)

Steve Lawson on studying God’s Word from Resolved on Vimeo.

Amidst the flood of dangerous reading, I plead for my Master’s book; I call upon you not to forget the book of the soul. Do not let newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the prophets and Apostles be despised. Do not let the exciting and sensual swallow up your attention, while the edifying and the sanctifying can find no place in your mind. (J.C. Ryle Thoughts for Young Men.)

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Mom, I found what I was looking for!

I left church feeling a little down, but thinking back on it… I think it was  just God sharpening my discernment. Usually I read when feeling his way… I read a real lot this past Sunday, I read most of the book of Joshua just to get the context right in my mind, I read a lot in Romans and then some in Acts, then I got to Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. I remembered something John Stott wrote in his book (Between Two Worlds: The Art of Preaching in the Twentieth Century.) about this text.

He said “The people of Beroea are commended as ‘noble’… Because they combined enthusiastic receptivity with critical listening.” I’m excited about the word of God, to hear it, to receive it and to discern it and to be obedient… as much as this weak man can, and that will never change… All for the glory of God and “All God’s people said AMEN!”

I couldn’t help thinking about my Mom Sunday… I know I should have thought about my Dad being Fathers day, but it was my Mom I needed to think about, she would say in her King James kind of way… Lenny Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth… So I dug a little deeper in 2 Timothy because that’s what my Mom would have had me do. “Search your answers out in the scriptures!”

Look in chapter 1 Paul, urges Timothy to keep the standards of sound words and guard the treasures that have been entrusted to you in 2 Timothy 1:13-14 No, I’m not a pastor, I’m not Timothy and definitively not the apostle Paul… But I love God’s word, I love it enough to guard it, to study it diligently and proclaim it boldly as commanded in the bible. My desire always is to be a faithful teacher of God’s word. I’m not the greatest speaker… I always go to 1 Corinthians 2:1, 2 when I need encouragement… Paul said “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.”

Now fast forward to 2 Timothy 3:1 Paul tells Timothy difficult times are coming and I will add are now here… But Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,  Paul was convinced of the knowledge he had learned from the word of God and boldly proclaimed it and told Timothy to do the same… Because All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17… Because For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Paul ends with this command to Timothy “PREACH THE WORD” I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 2 Timothy 4:1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Thanks Mom, I found what I was looking for, that is… The truth! Only found in the scriptures. So Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; Then look what he says in 2 Timothy 4:13 “Bring me my books” Paul loved his books, Paul loved to study… Paul was not ashamed before God. Paul gave glory to God and trusted God will bring him safely home 2 Timothy 4:18 So I’ll end as Paul did 2 Timothy 4:22

The Lord be with your spirit.

Grace be with you.


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