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The Wednesday Word: The Unlikely Gospel!

I am so thankful for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Gospel. He gives us faith (Ephesians 2:8) and then persuades us of impossible things, the most unlikely of these being the Gospel itself!

Have you ever considered the unlikeliness of the whole Gospel story? Here we are on a tiny, insignificant speck of a planet, un-noticeable in the vast array of galaxies and yet God, the Creator of all things, has a particular interest in us.

And the skeptic says, “What a far-fetched idea!”

Well, it may be far-fetched to some, but the truth is He came here and became one of us!

And the doubter says, “Wait a minute, I don’t believe in fairy stories!”

But this is no fairy story; not only did He become one of us, but He also died the cruelest of deaths for us as He took responsibility for our sins and failures. And not only did He die for us, but He also became a curse for us and at the cross became the greatest reject in the universe.

And the cynic says, “That’s impossible.”

Impossible to believe? Yes indeed, the whole thing is impossible to believe unless the Holy Spirit possesses us and, in grace, opens our spiritual eyes. It’s all impossible to grasp unless He gives us faith to believe. He lets us see that the baby born in the stable was the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6). He births faith that we might see that our redemption and security are in the Lamb of God alone (John 1:29). He convinces us that our righteousness is in Christ alone (Jeremiah 23:6). He shows us that, because of the blood, our conscience can be at peace (Hebrews 9:14). He guarantees us that we are fully accepted in heaven, right now and forever, because of Jesus (Ephesians 1:6). He assures us that our adversary, Satan, has been judged and defeated at the cross (Colossians 2:15). He persuades us that there is a fierce judgment to come and yet witnesses to us that as His blood washed people, we have nothing to fear (Romans 3:25).

The Holy Spirit continually takes us to the Lord Jesus whom we have never seen and does the impossible by making Him exceedingly precious to our hearts. He magnifies the Lord Jesus and causes our desires to go after Him. We could see nothing in Christ Jesus to desire were it not for the ministry of the Spirit. The great English preacher, William Romaine said it this way;

“This is the way in which the Holy Ghost glorifies Jesus: He gives the believer such views of the infinite fullness and everlasting sufficiency of Emmanuel, that he is quite satisfied with Him. William Romaine: Letter 11 (Dec. 29th, 1764).

Without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the whole Gospel record and its ensuing mercies are impossible to grasp. It is far-fetched. It is foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). Someone says, “I see what you mean, when I think about it I find it’s almost impossible to believe that one simple act of faith on my part can wipe out the entire record of sin and the accumulated filth of a lifetime of wickedness.”

Well no, that’s not what I mean. You talk about the impossibility of faith wiping out your sin—– well I agree with you. No amount of believing on your part can erase the horror and depth of your sin—that is indeed impossible! But, here’s the reality; Jesus Christ has already purged our sin. He has already redeemed (paid for) us. Because of Him, we are out of spiritual debt; we are free and clear. Our believing does not purge our sins; our believing does not redeem us. Our believing doesn’t pay our debt to God. And it doesn’t have to because Christ has already finished and accomplished our redemption at Calvary. The Holy Spirit gives faith to believe this—He gives faith to rest on this. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Rest on Him and the impossible will become a reality—you will be saved!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

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Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1-Chapter 1-The Being of God

December 5, 2014 1 comment

CHAPTER 1-THE BEING OF GOD

We have no intention of making labored and elaborate arguments for the existence of God. We start where the Bible starts. The Bible assumes the existence of God, and we assume that our readers will do the same. There are so many witnesses to His existence that the Bible makes no effort to prove it. There is the outer witness in nature. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (#Ps 19:1). The voice of these witnesses has been heard in every language and in all places of the earth. It is true that in times past God “Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (#Ac 14:16). “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (#Ac 14:17). His eternal power and Deity are clearly seen in the visible things He has created: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (#Ro 1:20).

There is also the inner witness of the human conscience. “For when the Gentiles (heathen), which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;” (#Ro 2:14,15). The voice of nature in creation and in conscience proclaims loudly the existence of the true and living and eternal God. And so, for all practical purposes, there is no necessity for proving the existence of God.

THE SOUL FEELS GOD

A man once sought to ridicule the idea of God. He asked his Christian neighbor if he had ever seen God. The believer admitted he had not. He was then asked if he had ever heard God speak, or if he had ever tasted God, or if he had ever smelled God. The believer admitted that with the physical senses he had never apprehended God, and then shut the mouth of the atheist by asking him if he had ever told a lie. And when he confessed he had, he was further asked how he felt. He admitted that he had an uneasy or apprehensive feeling. Now this feeling was the testimony of conscience telling him there was a God, a moral Lawgiver, to whom he must give account. This is the meaning of conscience money and other things men do to ease their conscience and placate an offended Deity. Every man feels God whose conscience has not been seared or otherwise tampered with. The atheist is the educated fool. There are no theoretical atheists among the heathen. There are no atheists among the demons; they believe and tremble: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (#Jas 2:19).

SIN ORIGINATED IN THE AFFECTIONS

The Scriptures do not reason with the atheist, but rather reprove him. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (#Ps 14:1). The error is not so much in the understanding as in the heart. The theoretical atheist (the man who denies the existence of God) has tampered with his mind until he has made it agree with his heart. It is a case of the wish being father to the thought. While there are comparatively few theoretical atheists, every man in his natural and fallen state is a practical atheist, he does not want the true God. The fool of Psalms fourteen and fifty-three is the typical fool; he represents every unregenerate man. In the context the plural is used: “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (#Ps 14:1). “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good” (#Ps 53:1). Sin originated in the affections or desires, and the darkened understanding is one of the effects by way of Divine punishment. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (#Ro 1:28). The true God, when known, was not the God men wanted. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (#Ro 1:21).

MORAL DEVOLUTION

The true evolution, morally, takes sin into account, and is the development or unfolding of a human nature that hates the true God. It is moral devolution. The progress of sin is given “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (#Ro 1:18-32).

First, men suppressed or held down the truth about God. They had the truth about God in the book of nature. His eternal power and Deity were clearly revealed in the things He had made, but men did not like this truth. They turned away from revelation and turned aside to their own reasonings. Second, they changed the truth about God into a lie, and made images or representations of God in the form of man and birds and beasts and creeping things. There was the Apollo of the Greeks, the eagle of the Romans, the bull of the Egyptians, and the serpent of the Assyrians. Men knew God and refused to worship Him, and idolatry followed as a psychological necessity. And third, idolatry was followed by sensuality. God gave them up to uncleanness and vile affections. He withdrew His restraining grace and suffered human nature to go its full length in immorality. The closing verses of Romans one reveal the terrible things men and women will do when given up by God. They not only do these things themselves, but are glad to see others do them. The lowest stage in depravity is reached when men take pleasure in seeing others sin.

NO SAVING LIGHT IN NATURE

The witnesses of God in nature do not constitute Gospel light. They are sufficient to render all men without excuse, but they are not efficient as means of salvation. They are sufficient to make men know they are sinners, but they have nothing to say about a Savior. There must be a further revelation of God before men can know Him in the forgiveness of sins. And this revelation is His written Word as a witness to the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, by the knowledge of Whom many shall be justified. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (#Isa 53:11).

MAN IS A RELIGIOUS BEING

Man is by nature a religious being. By training, apart from Bible teaching and the new birth, he will either become an atheist or an idolater. This is the best education can do apart from the grace of God. A mere cultural religion deifies humanity, denies the fall, and talks only of upward development. This is the religion of the evolutionist. The god of the sensualist is his belly, his inward desires. The only law he recognizes is the craving of a depraved nature. “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (#Php 3:19). This is the religion of the godless business man as well as of the drunkard and libertine.

It is as bad to invent a god in the imagination as it is to make one with the hands. The old form of idolatry had its gods made with hands; the new form of idolatry has its gods spun out of the imagination and harbored in the mind. The unknown God is still the true God. The Athenians of Paul’s day had monuments to many gods, and in their religious zeal had a monument to the unknown God. The unknown God was the God Paul preached to them. The true God was unknown to them. (#Ac 17:22-32): “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.”

It is the purpose of the following pages to present the God of the Bible in His nature and personal perfections. The reader is asked to test what is written herein with what is revealed in Holy Writ. And may the Spirit of truth guide us into the truth!

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-17-The Future Life

February 13, 2014 8 comments

The Future Life

 

1. What do the Scriptures teach about the immortality of the soul?

They teach that the soul will never die, but will live forever.

2. Do not our bodies die?

They do, and after death return to dust.

3. Will these bodies ever be raised to life again?

They will, at the judgment day.

4. What is the judgment day?

It is the day God has appointed in which to judge the world.

5. By whom will He do this?

By his Son, Jesus Christ.

6. What will be done with the wicked?

He will send them away into everlasting punishment.

7. Into what place will He send them?

Into Hell, the place of torment.

8. What will He do for the righteous?

He will give them life everlasting.

9. Where will they Live?

In Heaven with Jesus — the home of all the good.

10. Who alone of mankind will be the righteous?

Those who have attained to the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

 

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

Special Revelation brings the knowledge of God unto salvation

October 2, 2013 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015God gives his elect a better help to the knowledge of himself, viz., the Holy Scriptures. This he did from the very first.

1. Therefore, though the effulgence which is presented to every eye, both in the heavens and on the earth, leaves the ingratitude of man without excuse, since God, in order to bring the whole human race under the same condemnation, holds forth to all, without exception, a mirror of his Deity in his works, another and better help must be given to guide us properly to God as a Creator. Not in vain, therefore, has he added the light of his Word in order that he might make himself known unto salvation, and bestowed the privilege on those whom he was pleased to bring into nearer and more familiar relation to himself. For, seeing how the minds of men were carried to and fro, and found no certain resting-place, he chose the Jews for a peculiar people, and then hedged them in that they might not, like others, go astray. And not in vain does he, by the same means, retain us in his knowledge, since but for this, even those who, in comparison of others, seem to stand strong, would quickly fall away. For as the aged, or those whose sight is defective, when any books however fair, is set before them, though they perceive that there is something written are scarcely able to make out two consecutive words, but, when aided by glasses, begin to read distinctly, so Scripture, gathering together the impressions of Deity, which, till then, lay confused in our minds, dissipates the darkness, and shows us the true God clearly. God therefore bestows a gift of singular value, when, for the instruction of the Church, he employs not dumb teachers merely, but opens his own sacred mouth; when he not only proclaims that some God must be worshipped, but at the same time declares that He is the God to whom worship is due; when he not only teaches his elect to have respect to God, but manifests himself as the God to whom this respect should be paid.

The course which God followed towards his Church from the very first, was to supplement these common proofs by the addition of his Word, as a surer and more direct means of discovering himself. And there can be no doubt that it was by this help, Adam, Noah, Abraham, and the other patriarchs, attained to that familiar knowledge which, in a manner, distinguished them from unbelievers. I am not now speaking of the peculiar doctrines of faith by which they were elevated to the hope of eternal blessedness. It was necessary, in passing from death unto life, that they should know God, not only as a Creator, but as a Redeemer also; and both kinds of knowledge they certainly did obtain from the Word. In point of order, however, the knowledge first given was that which made them acquainted with the God by whom the world was made and is governed. To this first knowledge was afterwards added the more intimate knowledge which alone quickens dead souls, and by which God is known not only as the Creator of the worlds and the sole author and disposer of all events, but also as a Redeemer, in the person of the Mediator. But as the fall and the corruption of nature have not yet been considered, I now postpone the consideration of the remedy, (for which, see Book 2 c. 6 etc.) Let the reader then remember, that I am not now treating of the covenant by which God adopted the children of Abraham, or of that branch of doctrine by which, as founded in Christ, believers have, properly speaking, been in all ages separated from the profane heathen. I am only showing that it is necessary to apply to Scripture, in order to learn the sure marks which distinguish God, as the Creator of the world, from the whole herd of fictitious gods. We shall afterward, in due course, consider the work of Redemption. In the meantime, though we shall adduce many passages from the New Testament, and some also from the Law and the Prophets, in which express mention is made of Christ, the only object will be to show that God, the Maker of the world, is manifested to us in Scripture, and his true character expounded, so as to save us from wandering up and down, as in a labyrinth, in search of some doubtful deity.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 6-Henry Beveridge Translation 

To teach our distinctive views is a duty we owe to the unbelieving world

April 26, 2013 1 comment

broadusI. REASONS WHY BAPTISTS OUGHT TO TEACH THEIR DISTINCTIVE VIEWS

3. To teach our distinctive views is a duty we owe to the unbelieving world. We want unbelievers to accept Christianity; and it seems to us they are more likely to accept it when presented in its primitive simplicity, as the apostles themselves offered it to the men of their time. For meeting the assaults of infidels, we think our position is best.

Those who insist that Christianity is unfriendly to scientific investigations almost always point to the Romanists; they could not with the least plausibility say this of Baptists. And when an honest and earnest-minded skeptic is asked to examine with us this which claims to be a revelation from God, we do not have to lay beside it another book as determining beforehand what we must find in the Bible. Confessions of faith we have, some Older and some more recent, which we respect and find useful; but save through some exceptional and voluntary agreement we are not bound by them.

We can say to the skeptical inquirer, “Come and bring all the really ascertained light that has been derived from studying the material world, the history of man, or the highest philosophy, and we will gladly use it in helping to interpret this which wt believe to be God’s word”; and we can change our views of its meaning if real light from any other sources requires us to do so.

There is, surely, in this freedom no small advantage for being the truly rational inquirer. But, while thus free to sear the Scriptures, Baptists are eminently conservative in their whole tone and spirit; and for a reason. Their recognition of the Scriptures alone as religious authority, and the stress they lay on exact conformity to the requirements of Scriptures foster an instinctive feeling that they must stand or fall with the real truth and the real authority of the Bible. The union of freedom and conservatism is something most healthy and hopeful.

John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views

You shall stand before a Holy God

March 4, 2013 1 comment

fullerCommenting on Acts 16:30 Andrew Fuller said:

Reader, this important question may have already occupied your mind. An alarming sermon, a death in your family, a hint from a faithful friend, or it may be, an impressive dream, has awakened your attention. You cannot take pleasure, as formerly, in worldly company and pursuits; yet you have no pleasure in religion. You have justify off many vices, and have complied with many religious duties, but can find no rest for your soul. The remembrance of the past is bitter; the prospect of the future may be more so. The thought of God troubles you. You have even wished that you had never been born or that you could now shrink back into non-existence, or that you were any thing rather than a man. But you are aware that all these wishes are vain. You do exist; your nature is stamped with immortality; you must go forward and die, and stand before this holy Lord God!

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

Question 1-Puritan Catechism

January 10, 2013 2 comments

CharlesSpurgeon

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, (1 Corinthians 10:31) and to enjoy him for ever. (Psalm 73:25, 26)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism