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Infant baptism is not merely a question of an ordinance, it is also a question of membership in the church of Christ

February 26, 2021 Leave a comment

Infant baptism, as must be seen, in the light of all the facts and considerations now before you, is not merely a question of an ordinance, it is also a question of membership in the church of Christ. In the former sense it is unlawful. In the latter it is fearfully destructive. It must always give character to the church in which it is practiced. It inevitably fills it with the unregenerate, and unholy, with skeptics, and unbelievers. And still more Against this deterioration and moral death, there is for Pedobaptist churches, as such, no possible remedy. They possess within themselves no power to throw them off. They must wither and expire under their influence. Not so with us. Do corruptions, no matter of what character, invade Baptist churches? They contain inherently all the elements of restoration. They have only to recur to first principles, to their inspired laws of membership, and discipline. By the former, no persons are admitted to a place among them, but those who are decided, in a judgment of charity, to be true penitent believers in Christ, born of the Holy Ghost; and by the latter laws, all those who depart from piety in life, or truth in principle, are promptly separated from their communion. By this simple, but effective process, how often have they purged themselves from evils of all kinds! Striking instances are perhaps, within your own memory. Antinomianism attempted to fasten itself upon our churches. It was promptly thrown off. Campbellism came, with its Pedobaptist doctrine of sacramental efficacy. They arose and cast out this source of impurity. Thus they have acted in all ages. They have only to enforce the fundamental laws of their constitution, which require that God’s spiritual house shall be composed of spiritual materials. While they do this, they will ever rejoice in a pure doctrine, a pure membership, a pure and able ministry, and a vigorous life. With Pedobaptist churches the case is wholly different. From a resort to first principles they can derive no help. These very first principles, embracing, as they do, infant baptism, and infant church membership, have done all the mischief. While they preserve and cherish the source whence they arise, they can never escape the corruptions that necessarily result. They may manifest occasional amendment. There may be in their history, intervals of revival. There have been such, in this country, among Presbyterians, and Congregationalists, and in the Methodist branch of the Episcopal church. Comparative spirituality and purity, will in such cases, for a while prevail. But these periods must be evanescent. The same prolific fountain is perpetually sending forth its streams, and they must soon again be deluged. They have no remedy. They must renounce their first principles, and adopt the laws of church membership contained in the word of God. The annals of history contain not an instance of a Pedobaptist church, that has continued a Pedobaptist church, which has radically and permanently reformed itself. The Church of England has not done it. The Church of Germany has not done it. The Church of Calvin has not done it. No Pedobaptist church ever has done it. None ever will, except those who cease to receive into their bosom the worldly and the profane. In a word, if they would be what the church was designed to be by Christ, they must cease to be Pedobaptists.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ

The next reflection that should greatly strengthen us is the venerable character of the covenant

February 25, 2021 Leave a comment

The next reflection that should greatly strengthen us is the venerable character of the covenant. This covenant was no transaction of yesterday: or ever the earth was this covenant was made. We may not speak of first or last with God, but speaking after the manner of men the covenant of grace is God’s first thought. Though we usually put the covenant of works first in order of time as revealed, yet in very deed the covenant of grace is the older of the two. God’s people were not chosen-yesterday, but before the foundations of the world; and the Lamb slain to ratify that covenant, though slain eighteen hundred years ago, was in the divine purpose slain from before the foundations of the world. It is an ancient covenant: there is nothing so ancient. It is to God a covenant which he holds in high esteem. It is not one of his light thoughts, not one of those thoughts which lead him to create the morning dew that melts ere the day has run its course, or to make the clouds that light up the setting sun with glory but which soon have lost their radiance; but it is one of his great, thoughts, yea, it is his eternal thought, the thought out of his own inmost soul — this covenant of grace. And because it is so ancient, and to God a matter so important, when we come to him with this plea in our mouths we must not think of being staggered by unbelief, but may open our mouths wide, for he will assuredly fill them. Here is thy covenant, O God, which of thy own spontaneous sovereign will thou didst ordain of old, a covenant in which thy very heart is laid bare, and thy love which is thyself is manifested. O God, have respect unto it, and do as thou hast said, and fulfill thy promise to thy people.

Charles H. Spurgeon- ‘The Covenant Pleaded,’ at the Metropolitan Tabernacle Newington

The Wednesday Word: Afraid to Meet God?

February 24, 2021 Leave a comment

Some years ago, a gospel minister was called to the deathbed of a young man dying from Tuberculosis. The minister looked at the poor wasted form in the bed and saw there was not much time left. The young man’s short span of life was about to run out. They exchanged some civilities and then the minister asked,

“Are you afraid to die?”

The young man said nothing. Again, the minister asked him,

“Are you afraid to meet God?”

The young man fixed his anxious eyes upon the preacher then slowly and deliberately said,

” I am afraid to die … I’m missing something.”

The minister said to him,

“Yes, indeed, it is a solemn thing to meet a holy God, who will not pass over even one sin. God must condemn sin wherever it is found … how can you stand before Him, with sin upon you?”

The young man then said, “I know Christ died for sinners, and I know I am one, but I’m missing something.”

The preacher realized that he was speaking to someone who knew their need and knew Christ had done a work for sinners but was looking into themselves for assurance. Only false assurance can be gained by looking inward.

The minister opened his Bible and turned to John 3:14-16, and pointed out that,

God was the giver.

Christ was the gift.

The gift was lifted up upon the cross.

Whosoever believeth on Him has eternal life.

“I know all that,” the young man said, “but still I’m missing something.”

The minister then turned to John 5:24, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”

“Yes,” he said, “but I do not know that I have got it. I’m missing something.”

The preacher then read Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, but the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.”

Looking at the young man he said,

“All we like sheep have gone astray!’ is that true of you?”

“Yes indeed”

The preacher then said, “We have turned everyone to his own way. Is that also true of you?”

“Yes, indeed, too true,” he replied.

“Now listen to the next words, ‘The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Is that true also?”

The dying man then paused for a full half a minute, He then deliberately said, … “If one is true, the other must be true.”

“Well, then” the minister asked, “will the Father charge you for that which He has already condemned and punished Christ?”

With a look of intense relief depicted on his face, the young man exclaimed, … “No, He will not; He put my iniquities on Jesus, and they are gone.”

“Are you now afraid to meet God? Are you now afraid to die?” asked the preacher.

“No indeed” said the young man. I know now that I am saved; I know now that Christ took my sins.”

As the young man lay exhausted on his pillow, panting and coughing, the minister felt it was time to leave him alone but before he left he prayed asking the Lord to give His word an abiding place in the young man’s heart.

The day before his death a lady who called to see him was pressing the gospel truth on his mother, who in reply said, “I know He is a Saviour, but I cannot say He is my Saviour.” The young man was listening, and exclaimed, “Oh mother, can’t you say He is your Saviour?”

For his remaining few days, after the ministers visit, the young man confessed with his mouth, believed with his heart and learned to rest on Christ alone.

Then he quietly fell asleep in Jesus.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

To Explain the Text

February 24, 2021 Leave a comment

[TO EXPLAIN THE TEXT.]

FIRST, I will show you what he means by blood. They that believe are born to it, as an heir is to an inheritance–they are born of God, not of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God; not of blood, that is, not by generation, not born to the kingdom of heaven by the flesh, not because I am the son of a godly man or woman–that is meant by blood (Acts 17:26); He ‘hath made of one blood all nations.’ But when he says here, ‘not of blood,’ he rejects all carnal privileges they did boast of: they boasted they were Abraham’s seed; no, no says he, it is not of blood; think not to say you have Abraham to your father; you must be born of God, if you go to the kingdom of heaven.

SECOND, ‘Nor of the will of the flesh.‘ What must we understand by that?

It is taken for those vehement inclinations that are in man, to all manner of looseness, fulfilling the desires of the flesh: that must not be understood here; men are not made the children of God by fulfilling their lustful desires. It must be understood here in the best sense: there is not only in carnal men a will to be vile, but there is in them a will to be saved also; a will to go to heaven also. But this it will not do; it will not privilege a man in the things of the kingdom of God: natural desires after the things of another world, they are not an argument to prove a man shall go to heaven whenever he dies. I am not a free-willer, I do abhor it; yet there is not the wickedest man but he desires, some time or other, to be saved; he will read some time or other, or, it may be, pray, but this will not do: ‘It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.’ There is willing and running, and yet to no purpose (Rom 9:16). Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, have not obtained it (v 30). Here, I do not understand, as if the apostle had denied a virtuous course of life to be the way to heaven; but that a man without grace, though he have natural gifts, yet he shall not obtain privilege to go to heaven, and be the son of God. Though a man without grace may have a will to be saved, yet he cannot have that will God’s way. Nature, it cannot know any thing but the things of nature–the things of God knows no man but by the Spirit of God; unless the Spirit of God be in you, it will leave you on this side the gates of heaven. ‘Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ It may be, some may have a will, a desire that Ishmael may be saved; know this, it will not save thy child. If it was our will, I would have you all go to heaven. How many are there in the world that pray for their children, and cry for them, and are ready to die [for them]? and this will not do. God’s will is the rule of all; it is only through Jesus Christ: ‘which were born, not of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon

This is the passage which carnal literalists have wrested to the perversion of the symbolical and spiritual significance of the seal of the covenant

February 23, 2021 Leave a comment

And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Gen. 3:22-24). This is the passage which carnal literalists have wrested to the perversion of the symbolical and spiritual significance of the seal of the covenant. By God’s words “lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever,” they conclude that the property of that tree was to bestow physical immortality. We trust the reader will bear with us for mentioning such an absurdity; yet, inasmuch as it has obtained a wide hearing, a few words exposing its fallacy seem called for.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

For there is an idea in the world that persons ought to be very religious on a Sunday, but that it does not matter what they are on a Monday

February 22, 2021 Leave a comment

II. Now, WHEN SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE THIS? For there is an idea in the world that persons ought to be very religious on a Sunday, but that it does not matter what they are on a Monday. How many pious preachers are there on the Sabbath-day who are very impious preachers during the rest of the week! How many are there who come up to the house of God with a solemn countenance who join in the song and profess to pray, yet have neither part nor lot in the matter, but are “in that gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity!” This is true of some of you who are present here. When should a Christian, then be like Jesus Christ? Is there a time when he may strip off his regimentals-when the warrior may unbuckle his armor, and become like other men? Oh! No; at all times, and in every place let the Christian be what he professes to be. I remember talking some time ago with a person who said, “I do not like visitors who come to my house and introduce religion, I think we ought to have religion on the Sabbath-day, when we go to the house of God, but not in the drawing-room.” I suggested to the individual, that there would be a great deal of work for the upholsterers if there be no religion except in the house of God. “How is that?” was the question. “Why,” I replied, “we should need to have beds fitted up in all our places of worship, for surely we need religion to die with, and, consequently, every one would want to die there.” Ay, we all need the consolations of God at last; but how can we expect to enjoy them unless we obey the precepts of religion during life? My brethren, let me say, be ye like Christ at all times, imitate him in public. Most of us live in some sort of publicity; many of us are called to work before our fellow men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined-taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed, argue-eyed world observes everything we do; and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves-so that we can say, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.” Take heed that you carry this into the church too, you who are church members. Be like Christ in the church. How many there are of you like Diotrephes, seeking pre-eminence. How many are trying to have some dignity and power over their fellow Christians, instead of remembering that it is the fundamental rule of all our churches, that there all men are equal-alike brethren, alike to be received as such. Carry out the spirit of Christ, then, in your churches, wherever ye are; let your fellow members say of you, “He has been with Jesus.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Christ’s People Imitators of Him, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, at Exerter Hall Strand, April 29, 1855

Truth was abandoned, Religion expired

February 19, 2021 Leave a comment

To such a state,” remarks Dr. Ide,[92] “had the Puritan churches of New England been brought by infant baptism within a single century! Silently, but surely, it had done its work!” Successively it had destroyed the spirituality, and the purity of the church. Truth was abandoned. Religion expired. “Every where men avowedly unconverted, belonged to her communion, presided over her interests, and served at her altars. With such a membership, and such a ministry, both alike carnal, it was not to be supposed that the church would long retain even a theoretical belief in the grand teachings of revelation. These, however, were not at once repudiated. The forms of faith which have become fixed in a community, do not suddenly pass away. Truth leaves the heart, and the lips, long before it leaves the creed. For a considerable period, therefore, a dead, leaden orthodoxy hung over New England, hiding like a shroud the rottenness beneath. But this could not continue. An incipient change began to be perceived. The distinguishing doctrines of the gospel were not, indeed, denounced and opposed. They were passed over. While keeping their place in the Confessions, and Articles, they were quietly dismissed from the pulpit, to make room for moral essays, and panegyrics on the beauty of natural virtue. The downward progress having gone thus far, must go further. Men are never satisfied with what is merely negative. They demand a positive. When once they have discarded positive truth, their next step is to embrace positive error, Hence we find that as early as the middle of the last century, opinions involving a denial of the proper divinity of Christ, the depravity of human nature, the need of atonement, and the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, were extensively adopted in Massachusetts.” “They spread for fifty years through the country, pervading the graceless clergy, and more graceless laity.” “At last the great Unitarian apostasy stood revealed in all its hideous deformity!”

All these facts are authenticated by the stern voice of impartial history. They afford a demonstration most perfect, that infant baptism, wherever it is not counteracted by mitigating influences, will destroy, and must destroy, the spirituality, the purity, the very visibility of the church. It inevitably despoils her of all those qualities which are essential to the true church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ

To support us in using this plea we have God’s sacred jealousy for his Honor

February 18, 2021 Leave a comment

Next, to support us in using this plea we have God’s sacred jealousy for his Honor. He has told us himself that he is a jealous God; his name is jealousy; he has great respect unto his honor among the sons Of men. Hence this was Moses’s plea — “What will the enemy say? And what wilt thou do unto thy great name?” Now, if God’s covenant could he trifled with, and if it could be proved that he had not kept the promise that he made to-his creatures, it would not only be a dreadful thing for us, but it would bring grievous dishonor upon his name; and that shall never be. God is too pure and holy, and he is withal too honorable ever to run back from the word that he has given to his servants. If I feel that my feet have almost gone I may still be assured that he will not suffer me wholly to perish, else were his honor stained, for he hath said, “They shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.” He might give me up to mine enemies so far as my deserts are concerned, for I deserve to be destroyed by them — but then his honor is engaged to save the meanest of his people, and he has said, “I give unto them eternal life.” He will not, therefore, for his honour’s sake, suffer me to be the prey of the adversary; but will preserve me, even me, unto the day of his appearing. Here is good foothold for faith.

Charles H. Spurgeon- ‘The Covenant Pleaded,’ at the Metropolitan Tabernacle Newington

The Wednesday Word: FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT

February 17, 2021 Leave a comment

“Whether He is a sinner or not, I don´t know; one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9: 25).

Some believers I´ve talked to wonder about the reality of their salvation. They are in doubt of it because they cannot, with certainty, point to the day and hour of their conversion.

But does that matter?

It does if one holds to decisional regeneration, (i.e., we get saved by making a decision). In that case, it would seem that indeed it matters much to know when one went from darkness to light. Concerning decisions made for salvation, I like what John Stott says on the matter. He says, “A decision is involved in the process of becoming a Christian, but it is God’s decision before it can be ours. This is not to deny that we ‘decided for Christ’, and freely, but to affirm that we did so only because he had first ‘decided for us.’

Yes indeed, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)! We decided for Him because He had decided for us (see Ephesians 1:11; 3:11).

Salvation is of the Lord! He purposed to save His people.

Why?

There’s one word that adequately explains it … GRACE

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, always comes, in grace, looking for His sheep. Sometimes, when He finds us, we have a dramatic conversion experience. Other times there is a quiet and gradual realization that the Shepherd has died and risen again for us. We are not always able to pinpoint the exact moment we passed from death unto life. But we know that it has happened.

It´s no wonder then if you cannot point to the day, nor the place, nor the means which the Lord used to bring about your conversion. These are deep mysteries. But, here´s the thing … can we in honesty say, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see?” Has the Spirit of God shown us our utter helplessness and ruin? Do we realize that in and of ourselves we are hopelessly incapable of performing a single act whether of doing or believing which would recommend us savingly to His favour?

Once we were blind to Jesus, now we see.

Once we were blind to the beauty of Jesus; we didn´t see our need of Him.

Once we were blind to our need of Jesus.

Once we were blind to the Jesus´ glory.

Once we were blind to the wonders of Jesus´ love.

Once we were blind to the infinite value of Jesus´ precious blood.

Once we were blind to the perfection of Jesus´ work of redemption.

As believers, we can say that we once were blind, but now we see! Since we are no longer blind to the gospel, we are propelled to thank and bless the God of all grace (Acts 8:39). To open our blind eyes and give us life required the omnipotent power of the One who once stood by that grave in Bethany and cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth! And Lazarus came out, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes.

I don’t believe for a moment that we will be questioned at the gates of the celestial city as to the day and the hour of our conversion. If we are in Christ, we will enter heaven with His righteousness upon us. And that perfect righteousness will be a passport which neither earth, nor hell, nor heaven itself can dispute.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The words have a dependance on what goes before, and therefore I must direct you to them for the right understanding of it

February 17, 2021 Leave a comment

MR. BUNYAN’S LAST SERMON

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh,

nor of the will of man, but of God.‘– John 1:13

The words have a dependance on what goes before, and therefore I must direct you to them for the right understanding of it. You have it thus: ‘He came unto his own, and his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh – but of God.’

In the words before, you have two things.

First, Some of his own rejecting him, when he offered himself to them.

Second, Others of his own receiving him, and making him welcome; those that reject him, he also passes by; but those that receive him, he gives them power to become the sons of God.

Now, lest any one should look upon it as good luck or fortune, says he, they ‘were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ They that did not receive him, they were only born of flesh and blood; but those that receive him, they have God to their Father; they receive the doctrine of Christ with a vehement desire.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon