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Archive for March, 2016

Gnosticism

by Charmley, Gervase N.

Introduction

When Jude writes in his Epistle, ‘Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude 3), he expresses a need that has arisen over and again in the history of the Church. False teachers arise seeking to draw away disciples after themselves, and to subvert that faith. The history of Christian thought and teaching is mirrored by the sinister history of heresy. This is because ‘the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). Heresies come fundamentally from man, and reflect the way that the natural man would like God to be, rather than the way God actually is. This is both the source of heresy and the reason for its appeal.

 

 

 

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1689 Commentary Update

Nov 20, 2015- I just posted a revised and updated commentary on chapter 9, Of Free Will. Your will is at liberty to take a look if you so desire. Read the commentary here.

Mar 22, 2016- I just posted a significantly revised and updated commentary on chapter 10, Of Effectual Calling. Read the commentary here.

Mar 22, 2016- I just posted a moderate revision and updated commentary on chapter 11, Of Justification. Read the commentary here.

 

 
Source [1689 Commentary]

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 58

MENTONE, Jan. 15, 1881.

MY DEAR SON, —

May you some quarter of a century hence enjoy the great pleasure of having your son Charles to preach for you. Mind you must keep up the name — bad as it is.

It is a great delight to me to receive such loving letters from the Bishop of Greenwich who is also my son and heir, and it is even more joy to see that God is prospering you and making your work successful. I think you have made specially good progress in the time.

Stick to your studies. Read Matthew Henry right through if you can before you are married, for after that event I fear that Jacob may supplant him. Remember me to Mr. Huntley and all the good people.

I have not had this week’s letter from Tabernacle, and so have not had the eulogiums on your sermons. I am better and better. It is 42 days since we have had rain, and all along the fine weather has been unbroken.

I am so grieved about your dear mother, and my impulse is to come home at once, but then I reflect that I can do her no good, and should do her harm by becoming the second invalid to be waited on. Dear Char, don’t get the rheums or the gouts, but spin away on your skates and your cycles. Don’t go too much over the bridge, — but you may give my love to Sis.

Th sermon was capital. Thank you much.

Your own

DAD.

P.S. Mr. Harrald and George are deeply shocked at your wishing them “plenty of beer.” From a teetotaler this is very suspicious, you should have wished them “an ale.”

Billy Sunday (1862-1935)

March 30, 2016 6 comments

Billy-Sunday-188x300by Tom Nettles

Billy Sunday died on November 6, 1935, a week after preaching against his doctor’s advice. The text for his final sermon was, “What must I do to be saved?” Billy Sunday carried himself with consummate confidence, embracing the demeanor of a successful and well-dressed business man. When he got into the pulpit, however, none of the detachment, undisturbed sophistication, and aplomb of his dapper impression remained, but he took on the persona of a jealous lion, pacing, glaring, growling, and daring any creature to seek to cross him in the territory that was his. His podium and pulpit were his war zone. He could sound tender, savage, imploring, demanding, sympathetic or outraged. In the early twentieth-century, he provided American observers an interesting, and sometimes compelling, figure of the zealous evangelist, the American patriot, the social moralist, and the flashy entertainer.

When some criticized his absolutism and sensationalism, Sunday responded, “If God should ask you sisters and preachers in an audible voice, ‘Are you willing that I should promote a revival by using any methods or means or individual language……….

 

 

 

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The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus enough to get you to Heaven?

March 30, 2016 1 comment

Here’s some good news, God is holy, perfect and righteous! Here’s some bad news, in and of ourselves we are not! Here’s even worse news, if ever we are to get to heaven and avoid God’s judgment we must be like Him, perfectly holy (1 Peter 1:16). But this is impossible! Not one of us is as righteous, perfect and holy as God. As Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “– there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.”

So, how then can any of us get to Heaven? Are you ready for this? With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). The best news is that God Himself, knowing the helpless and hopeless mess we were in, came to earth and lived and died in our stead. He was perfect in our place. He lived as if he were us. Now His perfect righteousness is imputed (reckoned) to the believer. We are now perfectly holy in the eyes of God. That’s the power of the Gospel.

Also, Christ Jesus went to the cross and took responsibility for our sins by offering Himself as a sacrificial substitute for us. There, at the cross, Christ poured out His blood and absorbed the wrath which our sins justly deserved. He was buried, rose again on the third day and after 40 days, He visibly and bodily ascended into Heaven there to appear in the presence of God for us. He now guarantees that we who believe on Him will be completely and entirely saved. Is this enough for you?

Now before you say, “Yeah I know that,” let me ask, have you any other scheme of getting to Heaven other than resting entirely on the doing and dying of Jesus? Is He alone enough? Or, are you trying to supplement the work Christ did in His life and death? Are you attempting to add something to the gospel? Maybe it’s something like your performance as a Christian? Can you and do you rest in Christ alone? Is your hope built on Christ alone? Is Jesus enough?

If you are trying to impress God with anything other than the shed blood of Jesus, give it up. Jesus must be enough! He does not need our worthless contributions to bring us to Heaven! He is our only qualification for heaven; He is enough. There’s nothing you can do to save yourself.

I love the following illustration. I often use it when ministering….. Ebenezer Wooten an earnest but eccentric English evangelist of another generation once held meetings in a tent on the village green at Lidford Brook. The last service had been conducted, the crowd was leaving, and the evangelist was busy taking down the tent. A young fellow approached the preacher and rather casually asked, “Mr. Wooten, what must I do to be saved?”

“Too late!” said the evangelist, in a matter of fact way, as he glanced up at the inquirer. “You’re too late, my friend, way too late!”

This startled the young man causing him to quickly lose his apparent indifference. “Oh, don’t say that, Mr. Wooten! Surely it isn’t too late just because the meetings are over?”

“Yes, my friend,” answered the evangelist, looking the young man straight in the eye, “it’s too late! You want to know what you must DO to be saved, and I tell you that you’re hundreds of years too late! The work of salvation is done, completed, finished! It was finished on the cross; Jesus said so with the last breath that He drew! What more do you want?”

Then and there the truth dawned upon the young man. There was nothing for him to do! The Lord Jesus had perfected and finished the work of Salvation at the cross. That is, there was nothing for him to do but to accept the Saviour and His redemptive work as a free gift. The person and work of Jesus was enough! Nothing needed to be added.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

All hidden movements directed to their end by the unseen but righteous instigation of God-examples, with answers to objections

March 30, 2016 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015All hidden movements directed to their end by the unseen but righteous instigation of God. Examples, with answers to objections.

2. With regard to secret movements, what Solomon says of the heart of a king, that it is turned hither and thither, as God sees meet, certainly applies to the whole human race, and has the same force as if he had said, that whatever we conceive in our minds is directed to its end by the secret inspiration of God. And certainly, did he not work internally in the minds of men, it could not have been properly said, that he takes away the lip from the true, and prudence from the aged — takes away the heart from the princes of the earth, that they wander through devious paths. To the same effect, we often read that men are intimidated when He fills their hearts with terror. Thus David left the camp of Saul while none knew of its because a sleep from God had fallen upon all. But nothing can be clearer than the many passages which declare, that he blinds the minds of men, and smites them with giddiness, intoxicates them with a spirit of stupor, renders them infatuated, and hardens their hearts. Even these expressions many would confine to permissions as if, by deserting the reprobate, he allowed them to be blinded by Satan. But since the Holy Spirit distinctly says, that the blindness and infatuation are inflicted by the just judgment of God, the solution is altogether inadmissible. He is said to have hardened the heart of Pharaoh, to have hardened it yet more, and confirmed it. Some evade these forms of expression by a silly cavil, because Pharaoh is elsewhere said to have hardened his own heart, thus making his will the cause of hardening it; as if the two things did not perfectly agree with each other, though in different senses viz., that man, though acted upon by God, at the same time also acts. But I retort the objection on those who make it. If to harden means only bare permission, the contumacy will not properly belong to Pharaoh. Now, could any thing be more feeble and insipid than to interpret as if Pharaoh had only allowed himself to be hardened? We may add, that Scripture cuts off all handle for such cavils: “I,” saith the Lord, “will harden his heart,” (Exodus 4:21.) So also, Moses says of the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, that they went forth to battle because the Lord had hardened their hearts, (Josh. 11:20.) The same thing is repeated by another prophet, “He turned their hearts to hate his people,” (Psalm 105:25.) In like manner, in Isaiah, he says of the Assyrian, “I will send him against a hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the prey,” (Isaiah 10:6;) not that he intends to teach wicked and obstinate man to obey spontaneously, but because he bends them to execute his judgments, just as if they carried their orders engraven on their minds. And hence it appears that they are impelled by the sure appointment of God. I admit, indeed, that God often acts in the reprobate by interposing the agency of Satan; but in such a manner, that Satan himself performs his part, just as he is impelled, and succeeds only in so far as he is permitted. The evil spirit that troubled Saul is said to be from the Lord, (1 Samuel 16:14,) to intimate that Saul’s madness was a just punishment from God. Satan is also said to blind the minds of those who believe not, (2 Corinthians 4:4.) But how so, unless that a spirit of error is sent from God himself, making those who refuse to obey the truth to believe a lie? According to the former view, it is said, “If the prophet be deceived when he has spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet,” (Ezekiel 14:9.) According to the latter view, he is said to have given men over to a reprobate mind, (Romans 1:28,) because he is the special author of his own just vengeance; whereas Satan is only his minister, (see Calv. in Psalm 141:4.) But as in the Second Book, (Chap. 4: sec. 3, 4,) in discussing the question of man’s freedom, this subject will again be considered, the little that has now been said seems to be all that the occasion requires. The sum of the whole is this, — since the will of God is said to be the cause of all things, all the counsels and actions of men must be held to be governed by his providence; so that he not only exerts his power in the elect, who are guided by the Holy Spirit, but also forces the reprobate to do him service.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 18-Henry Beveridge Translation

Eschatological Fulfillment and the Confirmation of Mosaic Law

(A Response to D. A. Carson and Fred Zaspel on Matthew 5:17-48)

by Greg Welty

The following is a series of comments on D. A. Carson’s exposition of Mt 5:17-48, in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 8, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984). D. A. Carson’s interpretation of this crucial text – which includes Jesus’ relation to the law (vv. 17-18) and the nature of his six ‘antitheses’ (vv. 21-48) – is often appealed to by New Covenant Theology (NCT) advocates as emphatically supporting their distinctive teachings concerning the moral law of God, and as undermining the traditionally Reformed view of the same.

I regard Carson as in general a fine exegete, and a great blessing to the church. I have profited greatly from several of his books (Exegetical Fallacies, The Gagging of God, etc.). In particular, his commentary upon Matthew combines a cautious spirit with remarkable exegetical skills (including a firm grasp of redactional criticism). However, I was disappointed to find his treatment of this crucial text afflicted with a number of self-contradictions and implausibilities. Since I have lost track of the number of times that NCT advocates have pointed me to Carson’s exegesis as the intellectual foundation of their movement, I felt it was time to make some critical comments, and to defend the traditionally Reformed interpretation of this text as championed by those such as John Murray and Patrick Fairbairn, and encapsulated in the WCF and 2LBCF. Thus, my comments below.

After critiquing Carson, I close by providing a positive account of Mt 5:17-48 which both incorporates one of Carson’s key insights from v. 17, and yet retains the….

 

 

 

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