“The most terrifying truth I can speak to you… Are you ready? Here it is, the most terrifying thing I can tell a man, a women, a child is that God is good! The most terrifying news is God is good! God is good! What’s the problem with that? The apostolic proclamation is NOT pray this prayer, the apostolic proclamation is this… That He commands all men to repent and believe the gospel.”
Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14, 15
The Gospel Is Only Good News To A Needy Man
“Repentance means that you realize that you are a guilty, vile sinner in the presence of God, that you deserve the wrath and punishment of God, that you are hell-bound. It means that you begin to realize that this thing called sin is in you, that you long to get rid of it, and that you turn your back on it in every shape and form. You renounce the world whatever the cost, the world in its mind and outlook as well as its practice, and you deny yourself, and take up the cross and go after Christ. Your nearest and dearest, and the whole world, may call you a fool, or say you have religious mania. You may have to suffer financially, but it makes no difference. That is repentance.” From the Sermon On The Mount Study- Martyn Lloyd Jones
Is there anybody out there? Is anybody there? Is there anybody that does good? Is there even one? Paul answers in Romans 3:12 by quoting Psalm 14:3 There is no one who does good, not even one. THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” You could line up all the greatest humanitarians that ever lived in a row and if they’re not created in Christ Jesus for good works, they are, well Isaiah explains it this way “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” Isaiah 64:6. Sprugeon writes about Psalm 14:3 “The Holy Spirit adds the crushing threefold negative none … no, not one. What say the opponents of the doctrine of natural depravity to this? Rather what do we feel concerning it? Do we not confess that we by nature are corrupt, and do we not bless the sovereign grace which has renewed us in the spirit of our minds, that sin may no more have dominion over us, but that grace may rule and reign?” (Treasury of David)
Paul tell us how we do good many times in the New Testament For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Ephesians 2: 8‐9 Now look at verse 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2: 10 We’re not saved by good works, we are saved for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. The best these great humanitarians can do is good/bad, there good!But they’re really bad. Romans 14:23 says “whatever is not from faith is sin.” Titus puts it another way “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.” Titus 1:15 Proverbs says this “There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness.” Proverbs 30:12 They’re just good/bad, they do much good for the world, but only believers can do good/good… We do it all for the glory of God “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God;” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Paul explains “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” He gave Himself for me and redeem me, I think about my life before Christ and all the lawless deeds I did, He washed me and cleansed me of all unrighteousness and now to a man who wants to do good for His glory, because of what He did for me. One of my favorite verses comes out of Galatians “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:10 How we as believes conduct ourselves MATTERS! Being zealous for good deeds until He comes, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus Titus 2:13
Paul goes on to say this is a trustworthy statement and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. Titus 3:8 And Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17 So be zealous for good deeds until He comes… The New Testament Greek Lexicon calls Zealous (Zelotes) one burning with zeal, to boil, be hot or glow… John Wesley said “Get on fire for God and men will come and see you burn.” So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:12. Get on fire for God and do good to all people but especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Jim Elliot said “Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things’. Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame.”
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35
“We know what God wants, right? We know God’s plan and God’s purpose is to bring us all to glory and lose none of us and to give us everlasting life. And we will never perish. And Jesus said, “No one will take them out of My Father’s hand.” That’s God’s promise, that’s God’s pledge. And since God is for us, what person would be more powerful? In the church, Paul warned…you can be in a church, you can be in a religious organization that claims to be Christian and he says this, “It can be a dangerous place. After My departure, savaged wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock and from among your own selves, men will arise…men will arise speaking perverse things. For what?…to draw away the disciples after them.” There are people in churches that wear religious garb that stand in pulpits that teach in seminaries that want to take you away from your convictions, your faith. They want to steal your salvation. But if God is for you, are they more powerful than God?”
God the Refuge of His People.
For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Martin Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” was greatly influence by Psalm 46
The one hymn that most symbolizes the Protestant Reformation is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” In it, Martin Luther proclaims his confidence in God and rallies all Christians to war against evil. Basing his words on Psalm 46, he victoriously states “We will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.” Those persecuted and martyred for their convictions during the Reformation sang these words.
Luther understood the power of evil: After he posted his ninety-five theses on the door of Wittenberg’s Castle in 1517, he faced years of trials and persecution, he was excommunicated from the Roman church, and he continually faced threats against his life and his freedom. Other reformers had been persecuted and burned at the stake.
But he also knew “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in danger” (Psalm 46:1) and so he wrote “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” proclaiming boldly that “the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him . . . one little word shall fell him.”
Since he wrote it in 1529, Luther’s hymn has been translated into nearly every language. There are said to be over eighty English translations alone to this hymn, but the version most used in the United States is the translation by Frederic Henry Hedge in 1852.
The first line of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is inscribed on the tomb of Martin Luther at Wittenberg. And its powerful words and tune continue to live. The hymn was sung at the funeral of President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National Cathedral in Washington DC, March 1969. And it was also included in the National Service of Prayer and Remembrance, held shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks against America.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God; 1 Corinthians 10:31 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36
What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
While studying and teaching in Romans for Sunday school I get these fleeting thoughts every once in a while, like… How does anyone every get saved? or Man is really bad! Paul just pours it on, over and over while he levels the playing field, we’re all guilty and in need of a Redeemer. Then I remember! It’s Christ and Christ alone that saves. So we don’t need to evangelize right? NO! Paul says faith comes by hearing the message concerning the things of Christ Romans 10:17 The word of God is how people hear and are made alive… Robert Murray McCheyne in Confort and Sorrow writes “It is the voice of Christ that wakens the dead soul. Jesus speaks through the Bible, through ministers, through providences. His voice can reach the dead. He quickeneth whom He will. They that hear, live… When the voice of Christ speaks through the Word, then you will arise, and leave all, and follow Him.”
Paul says in Romans 10:11 whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed and how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news Romans 10:15. No, it’s not about their feet, but what those feet are carrying the good news of good things. This is God’s formula for redeeming His elect, that they hear the message about Christ so that you can confess Jesus as Lord and be saved. Romans 10:9 This is exactly what the early church did, they spread the word of God Acts 6:7. Paul said it was necessary that the word of God be spoken first Acts 13:46. Salvation doesn’t come by any pragmatic approach, easy believism or by just praying a man-made prayer… But faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 which lead them to repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ Acts 20:21.
One writer puts it this way “The purpose of evangelism is not to use human persuasion and clever devices to manipulate confessions of faith in Christ but to faithfully proclaim the gospel of Christ, through which the Holy Spirit will bring conviction and salvation to those who hear and accept the word of Christ.” So we plead with the lost to come as ambassadors for Christ 2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. Paul begged sinners to come to Christ, and so should we, knowing its all Him doing the work Philippians 1:6. Jesus said repent and believe the good news Mark 1:15.
We continue to study the book of Romans, chapter 3 in Sunday school… I ask the class this question, are you getting sick of all the bad news Paul is saying yet? Especially after Romans 3:10-18 when he continues to even the playing field and pronounce all the world guilty as charged.
Paul quotes the O.T starting in Romans 3:10 as it is written,
“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”
13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,
WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,”
“THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”;
14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”;
15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.”
18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”
Then somebody said this, “Paul has to get them lost before they can get saved.” Then he shared this quote from Spurgeon with me that really cuts to the core of todays contemporary Christianity and all it’s easy believism and just pray this prayer.
“A very great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have known their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father’s house, and never making him say, “Father, I have sinned.” How can he be healed who is not sick, or he be satisfied with the bread of life who is not hungry? The old-fashioned sense of sin is despised….Everything in this age is shallow….The consequence is that men leap into religion, and then leap out again. Unhumbled they came to the church, unhumbled they remained in it, and unhumbled they go from it.” C. H. Spurgeon, 1882
But wait! Justification, peace and love are just around the corner in Romans 5:1-5 But we have to get their first, and that’s going to be a while.
The worship was so God honoring and Christ exalting … We have a passionate worship leader who is dedicated to the Lord and to leading and directing the redeemed in our church with songs… While I was singing the hymns and songs I couldn’t help thinking about this truth found Ephesians 5 where we see that the redeemed are spirit filled people who sing collectively to each other and who love to sing praises to the Lord. speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19 We sing a new song, a song only the redeemed can sing… In Revelation 5 we read And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation Revelation 5:9. The price with which the believers in our church are redeemed is the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb without blemish and without spot. knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18, 19
It was God who we honored on the Lord’s day, it was Christ who we exalted, for He purchased the church with His own blood” Acts 20:28. It is the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, which cleanses us from all our sin 1 John 1:7. That is why we sing a new song, a song only the redeemed can sing! The world sings old songs, with a heart of stone and that is the last thing we should care about, what the world is singing, we sing because we have a joy and a hope in our heart because we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb… It’s a heart issue (singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord) We now have a heart of flesh not of stone. Ezekiel 36:26 by His doing we are in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30) who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, So I sing (not so good) and make melody (even worse) with my heart (because He saved me!) to the Lord ( my savior and my God). That’s why I praise Him, that’s why I sing, that’s why I offer Him thanks for everything He’s done… always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; Ephesians 5:20
The Lord’s day is for the redeemed not the world, the writer of Hebrews calls us to never forsake the gathering of the saints (redeemed) Hebrews 10:25, we are called to devote ourselves to teaching and sound doctrine Titus 2:1 and 1:9 and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42 and speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; Ephesians 5:19, 20 Because we were bought with a price 1 Corinthians 7:23 All because of Him our Redeemer, Jesus is my Redeemer, the name above all names, thank you oh my Father for giving us (the redeemed) Your Son.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30
“Now as we have been learning, just to give you the broad picture again, I don’t want to belabor this point but it is an urgent point to make. As we have been learning the gracious mighty wondrous work of the Holy Spirit on behalf of every Christian, is sufficient to motivate full hearted, joyous, grateful worship, and worship is the priority for the believer. We are first and foremost worshipers. The Father is seeking true worshipers and we are those who worship in the Spirit, according to the Apostle Paul. We are first and foremost worshipers. The object of our worship is the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And basically speaking, we are well informed in the worship of God the Father. We understand His attributes. We understand His mighty works and we celebrate them in our expressions of worship, both individually and corporately. We’re well-informed on the worship of the Son of God. We understand His life and ministry. We understand His death and His resurrection, ascension, His intercessory work, His return. We do well to worship the Son. But we don’t understand fully, at least in the evangelical church, the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And consequently we do not worship the Spirit as we should and therefore we do not worship the triune God in the fullest measure that He is worthy to receive” Watch the whole sermon below.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Romans 13:14
“Mark it down – your progress in holiness will never exceed your relationship with the Word of God.” Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Breath in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Augustine