Archive

Archive for February, 2022

It is ‘surprising forgiveness’

February 28, 2022 Leave a comment

Spurgeon 3Again, it is surprising forgiveness; for the text speaks as if God himself were surprised that such sins should be remitted: “I, even, I;” it is so surprising that it is repeated in this way, lest any of us should doubt it. And it is amazing to the poor sinner when first awakened to his sin and danger. It seems to be too good too be true, and he “wonders to feel his own hardness depart,” the mercy offered is so overwhelming. It is said that Alexander, whenever he attacked a city, put a light before the gate of it; and if the inhabitants surrendered before the light was burnt out, he spared them; but if the light went out first, he put them all to death. But our Master is more merciful than this; for if he had manifested grace only while a small light would burn, where should we have been? There be some here seventy or eighty years of age, and God has mercy on you still; but there is a light you know which when once quenched, extinguishes all hope of pardon-the light of life. See then, gray-headed man, thy candle is burnt almost to the socket-it has but the snuff left. Seventy years thou hast been here living in sin, and yet mercy waits on thee; but thou shalt soon depart, and mark me, there is no hope for thee then. But surprising grace, mercy’s message is still proclaiming-

For while the lamp holds out to burn,

The vilest sinner may return.”

Inutterable mercy! There is no sinner out of hell so black but that God can wash him white. There is not out of the pit one so guilty that God is not able and willing to forgive him; for he declares the wondrous fact-”I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Forgiveness, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 20, 1855; at Exeter Hall.

The last proof that infant baptism leads to religious persecutions

February 25, 2022 Leave a comment

In proof that infant baptism leads to religious persecutions, I, in the last place, appeal to facts.

Popery before the Reformation, poured out upon our Baptist Fathers all the fury of its malignant heart. Nor could any thing better have been expected, since the oath taken by her Bishops at their consecration, and similar ones are made by every inferior priest, is as follows: “I will persecute and oppose all heretics, and schismatics, to the utmost of my power.”[139]

And most fully do they perform their vows. I will not, however, here recount the horrid details of her cruelties, practiced in every disgusting and execrable form. They may be read in the Histories of the Church by Ivimy, Jones, Benedict, and others. From the third to the fifteenth century they were hunted down and destroyed like wild beasts. They “had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins, and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, (of whom the world was not worthy.) They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens, and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:36-38.)

This was the measure meted to us by popery. And after the Reformation, did our Baptist Fathers receive kinder treatment from Protestants? No; in no respect whatever. They were still pursued with the same relentlessness. The Papists and the Protestants destroyed each other, in every possible manner.

Never were enemies more bitter, or uncompromising. In but one thing upon earth was it possible for them to agree, and that was in persecuting the Baptists. This was carried so far that in several of their treaties, both in Germany and Switzerland, as D’Aubigne confesses in his History of the Reformation, a special article was inserted binding both parties to use every possible effort to destroy all the Baptists in Europe. Let us briefly enter into this history, and see how far the Protestants fulfilled their part of the obligation they assumed. Thus we shall have laid open before us more fully the persecutions into which infant baptism hurries its friends.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 13- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it leads to religious persecutions

THE GREAT WORLD-PRISON AND THE LIBERATOR

February 24, 2022 3 comments

WHEN preaching in Dover, the mayor of the town lent the ancient townhall for the service, and in passing along, I noticed a large number of grated windows upon a lower level. These belonged to the prison cells, where persons committed for offenses were confined. It struck me as a singular combination, that we should be preaching the gospel of liberty in the upper chamber, while there were prisoners of the law beneath. Perhaps, when we sang praises to God, the prisoners heard us; but the free word above did not give them liberty, nor did the voice of song loose their bonds. Alas! What a picture is this of many. We preach liberty to captives; we proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; but how many remain year after year in the bondage of Satan, slaves to sin. We send up our notes of praise right joyously to our Father who is in heaven, but our praises cannot give them joy, for alas! Their hearts are unused to gratitude. Some are mourning on account of unpardoned sin, and others are deploring their blighted hopes, for they have looked for comfort where it is never to be found.

The little circumstance mentioned fixed itself in my mind, and in private meditations thrust itself upon me. In my day-dream I thought that some angelic warder was leading me along the corridors of this great worldprison, and bidding me look into the various cells where the prisoners were confined, reminding me ever and anon, as I looked sorrowful, that “Jehovah looseth the prisoners.”

The first cell is called the common prison — the ward of SIN. All the human race have been prisoners here; and those who this day are perfectly at liberty, once wore the heavy chain, and were immured within the black walls. I stepped into it, and instead of hearing notes of mourning and lament, I heard loud and repeated bursts of laughter. The mirth was boisterous and obstreperous. The profane were cursing and blaspheming; others were shouting as though they had found great spoil. I looked into the faces of some of the criminals, and saw sparkling gaiety: their aspect was rather that of wedding-guests than prisoners. Walking to and fro, I noticed captives who boasted that they were free, and when I spoke to them of their prison-house, and urged them to escape, they resented my advice, saying, “We were born free, and were never in bondage unto any man.” They bade me prove my words; and when I pointed to the irons on their wrists, they laughed at me, and said that these were ornaments which gave forth music as they moved; it was only my dull and somber mind, they said, which made me talk of clanking fetters and jingling chains. There were men fettered hard and fast to foul and evil vices, and these called themselves flee-livers, while others whose very thoughts were bound, for the iron had entered into their soul, with braggart looks, cried out to me that they were freethinkers.

I had never seen such bond-slaves before, nor any so fast manacled as these; but ever did I mark as I walked this prison through and through, that the most fettered thought themselves the most free, and those who were in the darkest part of the dungeon, thought they had most light, and those whom I considered to be the most wretched, and the most to be pitied, were the very ones who laughed the most, and raved most madly and boisterously in their mirth.

I looked with sorrow; but I saw a bright spirit touch a prisoner on the shoulder, who thereon withdrew with the shining-one. He went out, and I knew, for I had read — “The Lord looseth the prisoners,” I knew that the prisoner had been loosed from the house of bondage. But as he went forth, his late bond-fellows laughed and pointed with the finger, and called him sniveler, hypocrite, mean pretender, and all ill names, until the prison walls rang and rang again with their mirthful contempt! I watched, and saw the mysterious visitant touch another, and then another, and another, and they disappeared. The common conversation of the prison said that they had gone mad; that they were become slaves, or miserable fanatics, whereas I knew that they were gone to be free forever; emancipated from every bond. What struck me most was, that the prisoners who were touched with the finger of delivering love were frequently the worst of the whole crew. I marked one who had blasphemed, but the Divine hand touched him, and he went weeping out of the gate. I saw another who had often scoffed the loudest when he had seen others led away, but he went out as quietly as a lamb. I observed some, whom I thought to be the least depraved of them all, but they were left, and oftentimes the blackest sinners of the whole company were first taken, and I remembered that I had read these words — “The publicans and the harlots enter into the kingdom of God before you.”

As I gazed intently, I saw some of those men who had once been prisoners come back again into the prison — not in the same dress which they had worn before, but arrayed in white robes, looking like new creatures. They began to talk with their fellow-prisoners; and, oh! How sweetly did they speak! They told them there was liberty to be had; that yonder door would open, and that they might escape. They pleaded with their fellow-men, even unto tears. I saw them sit down and talk with them till they wept upon their necks, urging them to escape, pleading as though it were their own life that was at stake. At first I hoped within myself that all the company of prisoners would rise and cry, “Let us ‘be free.” But no; the more these men pleaded, the harder the others seemed to grow, and, indeed, I found it so when I sought myself to be an ambassador to these slaves of sin.

I asked the guide where those were led who were released from the common ward. He told me that they were taken away to be free, perfectly free; but that before their complete gaol deliverance it was necessary that they should visit a house of detention which he would show me. He led me thither. It was called the solitary cell. I had heard much of the solitary system, and I wished to look inside this cell, supposing that it would be a dreadful place. Over the door was written this word — “PENITENCE,” and when I opened it I found it so clean and white, and withal so sweet and full of light, that I said this place was fitter to be a house of prayer than a prison, and my guide told me that indeed so it was originally intended, and that nothing but that iron door of unbelief which the prisoners would persist in shutting fast made it a prison at all. When once that door was open, the place became so dear an oratory, that those who were once prisoners therein were wont to come back to the cell of their own accord, and begged leave to use it, not as a prison, but as a closet for prayer all their lives long. He even told me that one was heard to say, when he was dying, that his only regret in dying was, that in heaven there would be no cell of penitence. Here David wrote seven of his sweetest Psalms; Peter also wept bitterly; and the woman who was a sinner washed the feet of her Lord. But this time I was regarding it as a prison, and I perceived that the person in the cell did so consider it. I found that every prisoner in this cell must be there alone. He had been accustomed to mix with the crowd, and find his comfort in the belief that he was a Christian because born in a Christian nation; but he learned that he must be saved alone if saved at all.

He had been accustomed aforetime to go up to the house of God in company, and thought that going there was enough; but now every sermon seemed to be aimed at him, and every threatening smote his conscience. I remember to have read in the Old Book I quoted just now — “I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.” I noticed that the penitent, while thus alone and apart in his cell, sighed and groaned full oft, and now and then mingled with his penitential utterances some words of unbelief. Alas! Were it not for these, that heavy door would long ago have been taken from its hinges. ‘Twas unbelief that shut the prisoners in, and if unbelief had been removed from this cell, I say it had been an oratory for heaven, and not a place for disconsolate mourning and lamentation. As the prisoner wept for the past, he prophesied for the future, and groaned that he should never come out of this confinement, because sin had ruined him utterly, and destroyed his soul eternally. How foolish his fears were all men might see, for as I looked round upon this clean and white cell, I saw that the door had a knocker inside, and that if the man had but the courage to lift it, there was a shining one standing ready outside who would open the door at once; yea, more, I perceived that there was a secret spring called faith, and if the man could but touch it, though it were but with a trembling finger, it would make the door fly open. Then I noticed that this door had on the lintel and on the two side posts thereof the marks of blood, and any man who looked on that blood, or lifted that knocker, or touched that spring, found the door of unbelief fly open, and he came out from the cell of his solitary penitence to rejoice in the Lord who had put away his sin, and cleansed him forever from all iniquity. So I spoke to this penitent, and bade him trust in the blood, and it may be that through my words the Lord afterwards loosed the prisoner; but this I learned, that no words of mine alone could do it, for in this case, even where repentance was mingled with but a little unbelief, tis the Lord, the Lord alone, who can loose the prisoners.

I passed away from that cell, and halted at another; this, also, had an iron gate of unbelief, as heavy and as ponderous as the former. I heard the warder coming, and when he opened the door for me it grated horribly upon its hinges, and disturbed the silence, for this time I was come into the silent cell. The wretch confined here was one who said he could not pray.

If he could pray, he would be free. He was groaning, crying, sighing, weeping because he could not pray. All he could tell me, as his eye-balls rolled in agony, was this: — “I would, but cannot, pray; I would plead with God, but I cannot find a word, my guilt has smitten me dumb.” Back he went, and refused to speak again, but he kept up a melancholy roaring all the day long. In this place no sound was heard but that of wailing; all was hushed except the dropping of his tears upon the cold stone, and his dreary miserere of sighs and groans. But do you know, there was a little table in this cell, and on the table lay a key of promise, inscribed with choice words: — “The Lord looked down from the height of His sanctuary: from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death.” Now, thought I, if this man cannot speak, yet God hears his groans; if he cannot plead, God listens to his sighs, and beholds him all the way from heaven, with this purpose, that He may catch even the faintest whisper of this poor man’s broken heart and set him free; for though the soul feels it can neither plead nor pray, yet it has prayed, and it shall prevail. I tried to catch the ear of my poor friend a little while, and talked to him, though he would not speak. I reminded him that the Book in his cell contained instances of dumb men whom Jesus had taught to speak, and I told him that Christ was able to make him speak plainly too.

I told the man that, whether he could pray or not, he was bidden to look at the blood-marks over his door; that the publican was justified by the blood, though he could only cry, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” I pleaded with him to receive the Lord’s own testimony, that the Lord Jesus is “able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by Him,” that He waited to be gracious, and was a God ready to pardon; but after all, I felt that the Lord alone must loose his prisoners. O, gracious God, loose them now!

We hastened to a fourth door. The door opened and shut behind me as I stood alone. ‘Twas dark as Egypt in her plague! This was the black hole called the cell of ignorance. I groped as a blind man gropeth for the wall. I was guided by my ear by sobs and moans to a spot where there knelt a creature in an earnest agony of prayer. I asked him what made his cell so dark. I knew the door was made of unbelief, which surely shuts out all light; but I marveled why this place should be darker than the rest, only I recollected to have read of some that sat “in darkness, and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron.” I asked him if there were no windows to the cell. Yes, there were windows, many windows, so people told him; but they had been stopped up years ago, and he did not know the way to open them. He was fully convinced that they never could afford light to him. I felt for one of the ancient light-holes, but it seemed as if, instead of giving light, it emitted darkness; I touched it with my hand, and it felt to me to have once been a window such as I had gazed through with delight. He told me it was one of the doctrines of grace which had greatly perplexed him; it was called Election. The little light thus shed upon the poor man led him to seek for more. Another darkened window was called Human Depravity. The man said: “Oh, there is no hope for me, for I am totally depraved, and my nature is execrating vile; there is no hope for me.” I pulled the rags out of this window, and I said to him: “Do you not see that your ruin fits you for the remedy? It is because you are lost that Christ came to save you. Physicians are for the sick, robes for the naked, cleansing for the filthy, and forgiveness for the guilty.” He said but little, but he pointed to another window, which was one I had long looked through and seen my Master’s glory by its means; it was the doctrine of Particular Redemption. “Ah!” said he, “suppose Christ has not redeemed me with His precious blood! Suppose He has never bought me with His death!” I knocked out some old bricks which had been put in by an unskillful hand, which yet blocked out the light, and I told him that Christ did not offer a mock redemption, but one which really did redeem, for “the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”

I passed on and came to another chamber. This room, marked number five, was large, and had many persons in it who were trying to walk to and fro, but every man had a chain round his ankle, and a huge cannon-ball fixed to it — a military punishment, they said, for deserters from the ranks of virtue. This clog of virtue troubled the prisoners much. I saw some of them trying to file their chains with rusty nails, and others were endeavoring to fret away the iron by dropping tears of penitence thereon; but these poor men made but little progress at their work. The warder told me that this was the chain of Habit, and that the ball which dragged behind was the old propensity to lust and sin. I asked him why they did not get the chains knocked off; and he said they had been trying a long time to be rid of them, but they never could do it in the way they went to work, since the proper way to get rid of the chain of habit was, first of all, to get out of prison; the door of unbelief must be opened, and they must trust in the one great Deliverer, the Lord Jesus, whose pierced hands could open all prison doors; after that, upon the anvil of grace with the hammer of love, their fetters could be broken off. I saw a drunkard led out of his prison, rejoicing in pardoning grace. He had aforetime labored to escape from his drunkenness, but some three or four times he broke his pledge, and went back to his old sin. I saw that man trust in the precious blood, and he became a Christian, and, becoming a Christian, he could no more love his cups; at one stroke of the hammer the ball was gone forever. Another was a swearer; he knew it was wrong to blaspheme the Most High, but he did it still, till he gave his heart to Christ, and then he never blasphemed again, for that foul thing was abhorred.

In almost all prisons where they do not want to make vagabonds worse than when they entered, they have hard labor for them. In the prison I went to see, there was a hard-labor room. Those who entered it were mostly very proud people; they held their heads very high, and would not bend; they were birds with fine feathers, and thought themselves quite unfit to be confined, but, being in durance vile, they resolved to work their own way out. They believed in the system of human merit, and hoped in due time to purchase their liberty. They had saved up a few old counterfeit farthings, with which they thought they could by-and-bye set themselves free, though my bright attendant plainly declared their folly and mistake. It was amusing, and yet sad, to see what different works these people were about.

Some of them toiled at the tread-wheel; they were going to the stars, they said, and there they were, tread, tread, tread, with all their might; but though they had been laboring for years, and were never an inch higher, yet still they were confident that they were mounting to the skies. Others were trying to make garments out of cobwebs; they were turning wheels, and spinning at a great rate, and, though it came to nothing, they wrought on.

They believed they should be free as soon as they had made a perfect garment, and I believe they will. In one place, a company labored to build houses of sand, and when they had built up to some height, the foundations always yielded; but they renewed their efforts, for they dreamed that if a substantial edifice were finished, they would then be allowed to go free. I saw some of them, strangely enough, endeavoring to make wedding garments out of fig-leaves, by sewing them together; but the fig-leaves were of a sort that were shriveled every night, so that they had to begin the next morning their hopeless toil. Some, I noticed, were trying to pump water out of a dry well; the veins stood out upon their brows like whipcords while they worked amain without result. As they labored, like Samson when he was grinding at the mill, I could hear the crack of whips upon their backs. I saw one ten-thonged whip called the Law, the terrible Law — each lash being a commandment, and this was laid upon the bare backs and consciences of the prisoners; yet still they kept on work, work, work, and would not turn to the door of grace to find escape. I saw some of them fall down fainting, whereupon their friends strove to bring them water in leaking vessels, called ceremonies; and there were some men called priests, who ran about with cups which had no bottoms in them, which they held up to the lips of these poor fainting wretches to give them comfort. As these men fainted, I thought they would die; but they struggled up again to work. At last they could do no more, and fell down under their burdens utterly broken in spirit; then I saw that every prisoner, who at last so fainted as to give up all hope of his own deliverance by merit, was taken up by a shining spirit, and carried out of the prison and made free forever.

Then I thought within myself, “Surely, surely, these are proud, selfrighteous persons who will not submit to be saved by grace, ‘therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down and there was none to help; then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses.’ “ I rejoiced and blessed God that there was such a prison-house to bring them to Jesus; yet I mourned that there were so many who still loved this house of bondage and would not escape, though there stood one with his finger always pointing to the words: “By the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified;” and to these other words: “By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

Charles H. Spurgeon – Words of Warning for Daily Life, ‘The Great World-Prison and the Liberator’

The Wednesday Word: The Little Town of Bethlehem

February 23, 2022 Leave a comment

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, “The House of Bread.” How appropriate that the Bread of Life should enter the world there (John 6:35).

What a prominent place Bethlehem has in Scripture. It was in Bethlehem that Jacob buried Rachel and in Bethlehem Ruth and Boaz both met and lived. King David, came from Bethlehem, and it was on the surrounding hills that the lambs destined for Temple sacrifice were born and raised. But of greatest significance, it was at Bethlehem that, Christ, the true, sacrificial Lamb came into this world.

Mind you, on the day that our Saviour was born, Bethlehem was not a terribly impressive place. There was neither Palace nor Temple. There was only an inn for weary travellers journeying between Hebron and Jerusalem and when God incarnate arrived, He wasn’t even given a room. This shows us that, in His human experience, God began life as a reject. This must mean that He feels and knows our pain when we feel like rejected outcasts. (John 1:12; Hebrews 4:15).

Yes, the mighty God Himself came to earth and there wasn’t even a proper bed for Him.

The Christian singer, Steve Amerson, wrote of this event saying,

“A bed of straw became a cradle

Embracing God in human form

One would expect more than a stable

But where else would a Lamb be born

But where else would a Lamb be born.”

I like that!

And, think about it, the people who welcomed him on His arrival were outcasts. They were shepherds, members of the lowest echelon of society. According to Jewish society, shepherds were nothing more than a bunch of rogues, renegades and robbers. They weren’t even allowed past the Outer Court of the Temple. Yet Jesus identifies with these nobodies, these men who didn’t even have a name (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-28).

By the way, it is when we become nobodies that we become candidates for the effective service of God. We can be too big for God to use, but we can never be too small.

Then a short time afterwards we have the Wise Men. We don’t know how many there were. Tradition says three, but the Bible is silent on the matter (Matthew 2:1). One thing we do know, however, is that they were foreigners and would, therefore, have been considered unclean gentiles in society ‘s eyes. Unclean? Yes indeed, but they were welcome to bow before and worship the Saviour.

You may feel unclean, maybe your life is not what it should be. You have failed. You have fallen. Let me urge you then to take your sins to the Lord Jesus and be cleansed. Go to Christ Jesus and tell Him of your uncleanness. He will cleanse you.

O that we would be like the Wise Men. If we were, we would worship Christ the Lord. That lamb is,

God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).

He is the first begotten of the dead (Revelation 1:5).

He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; and 22:13).

He is the circumference of human history (Ephesians 1:10).

He is God’s self-revelation (John 14:9).

Yet here He lies in Bethlehem. In a feeding trough for cattle. But think about it, God will save no one without this child. Man’s hope rests on this child for no man can come to the Father but by Him (John 14:6). In Him, God and man meet. In Him, man sees God and God sees man.

The good news for Bethlehem is that our God has come for us. He has stepped down from His exalted throne and come to earth on a 33-year journey to seek and to save that which was lost. At Bethlehem, God was manifest in the flesh (John 1:14). The inaccessible God became accessible, the unapproachable God became approachable, and the unseen God became visible.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

There is sometimes a call to suffer for righteousness by the voice of providence

February 23, 2022 Leave a comment

From this consideration, two things present themselves to our sight.

II. There have been, and may yet be a people in the world that have, and may suffer in the sense of the apostle here, according to the will of God.

Second, To prove this by reason is easy. The devil is not yet shut up in the bottomless pit-Antichrist is yet alive. The government in all kingdoms is not yet managed with such light, and goodness of mind, as to let the saints serve God, as he has said, whatever it is in some. And until then there will be in some places, though for my part I cannot predict where, a people that will yet suffer for well-doing, or for righteousness’ sake.

In order to a right handling of this matter, I shall divide this head into these two parts-

A. Show you what it is to suffer for well-doing, or for righteousness.

B. Show you what it is to suffer for righteousness’ sake. I put this distinction, because I find that it is one thing to suffer for righteousness, and another to suffer for righteousness’ sake.

[A. What it is to suffer for well-doing, or righteousness.]

(3.) As he that suffereth for righteousness must have a good cause, so he that suffereth for righteousness must have a good call.

Thirdly, There is sometimes a call to suffer for righteousness by the voice of providence. That is, when, by providence, I am cast for my profession into the hands of the enemies of God and his truth; then I am called to suffer for it what God shall please to let them lay upon me. Only, for the making of my way more clear in this matter, I will deliver what I have to say, with a caution or two.

1. Thou must take heed that thy call be good to this or that place, at which, by providence, thou art delivered up.

2. Thou must also take heed that, when thou art there, thou busiest thyself in nothing but that that good is.

3. Thou must also take heed that thou stay there no longer than while thou mayest do good or receive good there.

4. Thus far a man is in the way of his duty, and therefore may conclude that the providence of God, under which now he is, is such as has mercy and salvation in the bowels of it, whatsoever is by it, at the present, brought upon him.

Christ Jesus, our Lord, though his death was determined, and of absolute necessity, and that chiefly for which he came into the world, chose rather to be taken in the way of his duty than in any other way or anywhere else. Wherefore, when the hour was come, he takes with him some of his disciples, and goeth into a garden, a solitary place, to pray; which done, he sets his disciples to watch, and falleth himself to prayer. So he prays once; he prays twice; he prays thrice: and he giveth also good doctrine to his disciples. And now, behold, while he was here, in the way of his duty, busying himself in prayer to God, and in giving of good instruction to his followers, upon him comes Judas and a multitude with swords and staves, and weapons, to take him; to which providence he, in all meekness, submits, for he knew that by it he had a call to suffer (Matt 26:36-47).

In this way, also, the apostles were called to suffer, even while they were in the way of their duty. Yea, God bid them go into the temple to preach, and there delivered them into the hands of their enemies (Acts 4:1-3; 5:20-26).

Be we in the way of our duty, in the place and about the work unto which we are called of God, whether that work be religious or civil, we may, without fear, leave the issue of things to God, who only doth wonderful things. And he who lets not a sparrow fall to the ground without his providence, will not suffer a hair of our head to perish but by his order (Luke 12:6,7). And since he has engaged us in his work, as he has if he has called us to it, we may expect that he will manage, and also bear us out therein; either so as by giving of us a good deliverance by way of restoration to our former liberty and service for him, or so as to carry us well out of this world to them that, under the altar, are crying, How long, holy and true: nor shall we, when we come there, repent that we suffered for him here. Oh! how little do saints, in a suffering condition, think of the robes, the crowns, the harps, and the Son that shall be given to them; and that they shall have when they come upon mount Zion (Rev 6:11; 14:1-7).

John Bunyan- Seasonable Counsel or Advise to Sufferers

That which we shall now concentrate upon is the “token” or “sign” of the covenant

February 22, 2022 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkThe above words contain the fulfillment of the promise which the Lord had given to Noah in Genesis 6:18, and amplify what He had said in Genesis 8:21, 22. That which we shall now concentrate upon is the “token” or “sign” of the covenant. There is no doubt whatever in our own mind it was now that the rainbow appeared for the first time in the lower heavens, for the purpose of allaying men’s fears against the calamity of another universal flood and to provide them with a visible pledge in nature for the performance of her existing order and constitution; for had this divine marvel appeared before unto the antediluvians, it would have possessed no special and distinctive meaning and message after the Flood. The fact that the rainbow was an entirely new phenomenon, something which was quite unknown to Noah previously, supplies a striking demonstration of the silent harmony of Scripture; for it is clear from Genesis 2:6 that no rain had fallen before the Flood!

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Three-The Noahic Covenant

The Deed of Mercy

February 21, 2022 Leave a comment

Spurgeon 3II. The second point is, THE DEED OF MERCY. We have found out the persons to whom God will give mercy; now what is mercy’s deed? It is a deed of forgiveness, and in speaking of it, I shall speak first of its being a divine forgiveness — “I, even I, am he.” Divine pardon is the only forgiveness possible; for no one can remit sin but God only, and it matters not whether a Roman Catholic Priest, or any other priest shall say in the name of God, “I absolve thee from thy transgressions,” it is abominable blasphemy. If a man has offended me I can forgive him, but if he has offended God I cannot forgive him. The only discharge possible is pardon by God; but then it is the only pardon necessary. Suppose I have so sinned that the king or the queen will not pardon me, that my brethren will not forgive me, and that I cannot pardon myself; if God absolves me, that is all the acquittal that will be necessary for my salvation. Perhaps I stand condemned by the lay of my country: I am a murderer and must suffer on the scaffold; the queen refuses to pardon, and perhaps she does right in such a refusal; but I do not want her forgiveness in order to enter heaven; if God acquits me, that will be enough. Were I such a reprobate that all men hissed at me and wished me gone from existence, if I knew that they would never forgive my crime-though I ought to desire my fellow-creatures forgiveness-it would not be necessary that I should have it to enter heaven. If God says, I forgive thee, that is enough. It is only God that can forgive satisfactorily; because no human pardon can ease the troubled conscience. The self-righteous Pharisee may be content to give himself into the hands of a priest to be rocked to sleep in the cradle of delusion, but the poor convinced sinner wants something more than the arrogant dictum of a priest -ten thousand of them, with all their enchantments, he feels to be all in vain, unless Jehovah himself shall say, “I have blotted out thy sins for mine own sake”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Forgiveness, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 20, 1855; at Exeter Hall.

A third proof is derived from the source of the main argument upon which infant baptism relies for support

February 18, 2022 Leave a comment

A third proof is derived from the source of the main argument upon which infant baptism relies for support. The appeal of its friends is now, and has been for many ages, to Judaism. In Judaism they find their “scripture testimony,” for the union of church and state. In Judaism also they obtain ample authority for all their persecutions. Judaism is now the grand platform upon which all these principles stand. There all of them are alike sustained. If infant baptism is right, a state religion is right, and persecution is right. Look into Pedobaptist standards, Popish and Protestant, and you will find that they maintain their doctrines, and defend their proceedings, by appeals to the laws of the Hebrews. Does any man dare to differ from the established religion? Each priest is another Samuel, and armed with the same powers. He therefore hews the presumptuous Agags to pieces before the Lord. In the same scriptures that support their forms of ecclesiastical organizations, they find commands to punish those who depart from the doctrines, or violate the precepts of their religion. Can we be surprised, then, that such a church should practice persecution? It would be wonderful if it did not.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 13- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it leads to religious persecutions

A TALK ABOUT DEATH

February 17, 2022 Leave a comment

IT is the part of a brave man, and especially of a believing man, neither to dread death nor to sigh for it; neither to fear it nor to court it. In patience possessing his soul, he should not despair of life when hardly pressed; and he should be always more eager to run his race well than to reach its end. It is no work of men of faith to predict their own deaths. These things are with God. How long we shall live on earth we know not, and need not wish to know. We have not the choosing of short or long life; and if we had such choice, it would be wise to refer it back to our God. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” is an admirable prayer for living as well as for dying saints. To wish to pry between the folded leaves of the book of destiny is to desire a questionable privilege: doubtless we live the better because we cannot foresee the moment when this life shall reach its finis.

Job made a mistake as to the date of his death, but he made no mistake as to the fact itself. He spake truly when he said: “I know that thou wilt bring me to death.” Some day or other the Lord will call us from our home above ground to the house appointed for all living. I invite you this morning to consider this unquestioned truth. Do you start back? Why do you do so? Is it not greatly wise to talk with our last hours? “We want a cheerful theme.” Do you? Is not this a cheerful theme to you? It is solemn, but it ought also to be welcome to you. You say that you cannot abide the thought of death. Then you greatly need it. Your shrinking from it proves that you are not in a right state of mind, or else you would take it into due consideration without reluctance. That is a poor happiness which overlooks the most important of facts. I would not endure a peace which could only be maintained by thoughtlessness. You have something yet to learn if you are a Christian, and yet are not prepared to die. You need to reach a higher state of grace, and attain to a firmer and more forceful faith. That you are as yet a babe in grace is clear from your admission that to depart and be with Christ does not seem to be a better thing for you than to abide in the flesh.

Should it not be the business of this life to prepare for the next life, and, in that respect, to prepare to die? But how can a man be prepared for that which he never thinks of? Do you mean to take a leap in the dark? If so, you are in an unhappy condition, and I beseech you as you love your own soul to escape from such peril by the help of God’s Holy Spirit.

Oh,” saith one, “but I do not feel called upon to think of it.” Why, the very autumn of the year calls you to it. Each fading leaf admonishes you. You will most surely have to die; why not think upon the inevitable? It is said that the ostrich buries its head in the sand, and fancies itself secure when it can no longer see the hunter. I can hardly fancy that even a bird can be quite so foolish, and I beseech you do not enact such madness. If I do not think of death, yet death will think of me. If I will not go to death by meditation and consideration, death will come to me. Let me, then, meet it like a man, and to that end let me look it in the face. Death comes into our houses, and steals away our beloved ones. Seldom do I enter the pulpit without missing some accustomed face from its place. Never a week passes over the church without some of our happy fellowship being caught away to the still happier fellowship above. Whether we will hear him or not, death is preaching to us each time we assemble in public. Does he come so often with God’s message, and shall we refuse to hear? Nay, let us lend a willing ear and heart, and hear what God the Lord would say to us at all times.

Oh! you that are youngest, you that are fullest of health and strength, I lovingly invite you not to put away this subject from you. Remember, the youngest may be taken away. Early in the life of my boys I took them to the old churchyard of Wimbledon and bade them measure some of the little graves within that enclosure, and they found several green hillocks which were shorter than themselves. I tried thus to impress upon their young minds the uncertainty of life. I would have every child remember that he is not too young to die. Let others know that they are not too strong to die. The stoutest trees of the forest are often the first to fall beneath the destroyer’s ax. Paracelsus, the renowned physician of old time, prepared a medicine of which he said that if a man took it regularly he could never die, except it were of extreme old age; yet Paracelsus himself died a young man. Those who think they have found the secret of immortality will yet learn that they are under a strong delusion. None of us can discover a spot where we are out of bow-shot of the last enemy, and therefore it would be idiotic to refuse to think of it. A certain vainglorious French Duke forbade his attendants ever to mention death in his hearing; and when his secretary read to him the words, “The late King of Spain,” he turned upon him with contemptuous indignation, and asked him what he meant by it. The poor secretary could only stammer out, “It is a title which they take.” Yes, indeed, it is a title we shall all take, and it will be well to note how it will befit us. The King of terrors comes to kings, nor does he disdain to strip the pauper of his scanty flesh: to you, to me, to all he comes; let us all make ready for his sure approach.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘A Talk About Death’

The Wednesday Word: 14 Things that Jesus Would Never Say to His Followers

February 16, 2022 2 comments

1) “You haven’t repented enough so I can’t forgive you!”

Jesus would never say that!

Our salvation does not depend upon how much we repent. It rests entirely on the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2) “Shape up or ship out.”

Jesus would never say that!

If we were qualified for salvation because of our efforts none of us would ever be saved. Our efforts do not reach perfection but Christ’s effort to save us was perfect. It is finished!

3) “You have sinned, so I am, therefore, putting you on probation.”

Jesus would never say that!

After a sinful fall there is no waiting time for restoration of fellowship with God. While there may be necessary time given in the church assembly, decreed for healing and restoration to service after a serious fall, there is no fellowship probation in Heaven’s courtroom. If you have fallen, bring the blood and enjoy instant communion with the Father. We have already been purchased forever. He does not cast us off and spurn us.

4) “I am one of the many ways to get to God.”

Jesus would never say that!

Jesus was both exclusive and intolerant. He excluded all other teachers and would not tolerate any others who claim to be the way to God. (See John 14:6).

5) “You are wearing my patience very thin.”

Jesus would never say that! (Numbers 14:18 a). Jesus is the God of all patience (Romans 9: 22-24). He is entirely patient with us.

6) “You are not sanctified enough. I need you to do more before I accept you.”

Jesus would never say that!

He already is our sanctification. (1 Corinthians 1:30). In Him we are fully sanctified.

7) If you really loved me, you would not have fallen into sin.

Jesus would never say that!

In sovereignty, He chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). His choice of us was by grace alone … not because He foresaw how much we would love Him (see Ephesians 2:7)

8) “Go into all the world and make me look cool.”

Jesus would never say that!

We have an unpopular message (for the unsaved). Nevertheless, we should never attempt to make Jesus look ‘cool.’ Unpopular message? Yes indeed! As a build-up to the gospel to let someone know that they are a sinner before the all-holy God is uncool in the world’s eyes. To inform them that their only hope is the Lord Jesus is also uncool. But the truth is Jesus never compromised to gain followers. To the unbelieving Jews, He was a curse. Indeed, multitudes of people to this day find no beauty in Him.

9) “My passion is that everyone lives in peace”

Jesus would never say that!

In Matthew 10:34 He says the very opposite.

(10) ¨ You must get baptized or you can’t get to heaven!

Jesus would never say that! Jesus accomplished our salvation at the cross. He proclaimed, ‘It is Finished’ (John 19:30). While we believe in Baptism, we also believe it cannot alter our standing before God.

11) “I’m taking my gift of eternal life back.”

Jesus would never say that!

His gifts are irrevocable (see Romans 11:29)

12) “I will love you in the proportion to which you love me.”

Jesus would never say that!

Our love for Him is imperfect … at best. But Jesus demonstrated how much He perfectly loved us by going to the cross. He said ¨Greater love has no man than this than a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus has loved us with the greater love … a love, not conditioned by our love for Him. (See John 15:13).

13) “Your love for me is not steady and consistent so I’m going to love you in the same inconsistent way.”

Jesus would never say that!

Jesus is far from childish. Our love for Him never determines His love for us. His love was set upon us before time existed (Ephesians 1:4).

14) Follow me and have a trouble-free life.

Jesus would never say that!

(See Matthew 16:24).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com