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The Wednesday Word: The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

Ephesians 3:8 ‘Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

The unsearchable riches of Christ were the thrust of the apostolic message and should be our focus today (Ephesians 3:8). The preacher’s main pulpit subject is not to be politics, nor morality but the preaching of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

‘Unsearchable’… what a mystifying term. It takes us to the treasure-house of God’s grace and shows us that the riches of Christ are,

Inexhaustible, they are like having a bank account that no matter how much we spend we can never empty. These riches are,

Unfathomable, they are like a bottomless ocean of limitless reserves. These riches are both,

Unexplorable, and Indescribable. Just when we think we have arrived, these riches keep showing us that there is more beyond. They are dynamic and ongoing.

We are to declare primarily and essentially, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is the subject of, ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ.’

We preach doctrine, but our doctrines are to be clothed with Christ. We preach Election but our election is not separated from Christ (Ephesians 1:3-4). We preach assurance, but our assurance is not in ourselves, but in Christ (Ephesians 3:12, 2 Timothy 1:12). We preach reconciliation unto God, but reconciliation is only in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18). We preach redemption but not without Christ (Romans 3:23-24). We preach the One true living God but not without the revelation of Christ Jesus, God manifest in the flesh (John 1:18; John 14:9).

As Spurgeon says, ‘The doctrines of the Gospel are a golden throne upon which Jesus sits as King—not a hard, cold stone rolled at the door of the sepulcher in which Christ is hidden.‘

The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ crucified (Romans 15:16, 25).

Spurgeon again tells us the following story. A young man had been preaching in the presence of a highly respected older minister, and after he had done, went to the old gentleman, and said, “What do you think of my sermon?”

“A very poor sermon indeed,” was the reply.

“A poor sermon?” said the young man, “it took me a long time to study it.”

“Aye, no doubt.”

“Did you not think my explanation of the text a very good one?”

“Oh, yes,” said the old preacher, “very good indeed.”

“Well, then, why do you say it is a poor sermon? Didn’t you think the metaphors were appropriate and the arguments conclusive?”

“Yes, they were very good as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon.”

“Will you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?”

“Because,” said he, “there was no Christ in it.”

“Well,” said the young man, “Christ was not in the text; we are not to be preaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text.”

So the old man said,

“Don’t you know young man that from every town and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London?”

“Yes,” said the young man.

“Ah!” said the old divine “and so from every text in Scripture, there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. And my dear brother, your business is when you get to a text, to say, ‘Now what is the road to Christ?’ and then preach a sermon, running along the road towards the great metropolis—Christ. “And,” said he, “I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one that has not a road to Christ in it, I will make one; I will go over hedge and ditch to get to my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Christ in it.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

http://www.milesmckee.com

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The Wednesday Word: Ten Prophesies Fulfilled

August 29, 2018 4 comments

It is said there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. Fulfilled prophesies are one of the great proofs that the Bible is God’s word. Here are but ten of them.

1 Betrayed by a friend. About 1000 years before it transpired, Psalm 41:9 prophesied the betrayal of Christ, “My own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who did eat of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” This prophecy was fulfilled in Mark 14:10 -11 when Judas betrayed the Master.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

2. Sold for thirty pieces of silver. About 500 years before it happened, Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would be sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zec 11:12). “Matthew 26:15 confirms that Judas was paid thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32), to betray Jesus.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

3. Silent when accused. About 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah the prophet wrote of Him that “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so he opened his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7). Instead of trying to plead innocent, the prophet tells us Jesus remained silent when He was given a chance to defend Himself (Matthew 26:63).

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

4. Slapped and spit upon. Isaiah again gives, as it were, an eyewitness account of the brutal treatment of Christ. “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. Isaiah 50:6.

Mark 14:65 confirms that the Roman soldiers began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants struck him with the palms of their hands. What Isaiah wrote 700 years earlier had come true!

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

5. Hands and feet pierced. 1000 years before the crucifixion and 600 years before it (crucifixion) was invented, David prophetically declares the scene at the cross. He writes, “For dogs (Gentiles) have surrounded me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet (Psalm 22:16).

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

6. Mocked and insulted. “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him (Psalm 22:6-8).

And this is exactly what happened 1000 years or so later. Matthew 27: 39-40 informs us that the people watching the crucifixion yelled insults at Jesus. They mockingly demanded that if He was really the Son of God to call on His Father to rescue Him.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

7. Soldiers cast lots for his garment. “They part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture” Psalm 22:18. According to Mark 15:24, this is precisely what transpired.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

8. Not a bone is broken. About 1000 years before Jesus, David prophesied of Christ saying, “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” Psalm 34:20.

John 19:33 records that the Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves on either side, but when they came to Jesus, He was already dead, so they didn’t break His legs. This also points us to the Passover Lamb. Numbers 9:12 insists that as our Passover Lamb, none of Jesus’ bones were to be broken.

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

. 9. Buried in a rich man’s grave. 700 years before it happened, it was prophesied that Jesus was to be buried in a rich man’s grave (Isaiah 53:9). It is, therefore, of no surprise that a wealthy man, Joseph of Arimathea, buried Jesus in his own, newly carved tomb (Matthew 27:57-60).

Coincidence or fulfilled prophesy?

10. His resurrection! Again, 1000 years before it happened Christ resurrection was prophesied. We read of this event when it says, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (the grave); neither will You allow your Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:10).

Jesus died and was buried, but, as prophesied, He wasn’t abandoned to the grave, and His body didn’t decay. According to Matthew 28:9, He came out of the grave, and He is alive forevermore!

These are but a few proofs that Jesus is who He says He is. He is the Lord God from Heaven come to seek and to save.

Trust Him as your sin-bearer and Saviour and you will never perish.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: The Old and the New

August 22, 2018 2 comments

Through the centuries, the relationship between the Old and New Testaments has been well examined and established. Speaking of this bond, many have concluded that the New is in the Old concealed and the Old is in the New revealed. Others have said it this way, “The New is in the Old contained, and the Old is in the New explained”. Still others have boldly declared that CHRIST is the theme of both Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, Christ is seen in shadows, pictures, types and rituals. In the New Testament He, the Prophesied One, appears in substance, person, truth and reality.

We must, therefore, not make the mistake of believing that the Old and New Testaments are two separate, unrelated books. No indeed, they comprise 2 integral parts of the One book…the Bible.

Notice how the Testaments relate to each other. In the Old Covenant, we see that God is a Just God and a Saviour (Isaiah 45:21). In the New, however, we receive the full revelation that this Just God and Saviour is none other than the Lord Christ (Matthew 1:23).

The Old Testament begins with God (Genesis 1:1). The New Testament begins with Jesus (Matthew 1:1). This is not surprising since God and Jesus are one and the same.

However, there are major contrasts between Old and New. The Old Testament narrative, for example, deals mainly with Law (Exodus 13:9, Deuteronomy 31:11) whereas the New Testament deals mainly with Grace.

In the Old Testament, the first question asked is from God to man, ‘Where art thou?’ (Genesis 3:9).

On the other hand, the first question in the New is ‘Where is He… (Jesus)?’ Matthew 2:2

The Old Testament ends with the word curse (Malachi 4:6).

The New Testament ends with a blessing (Revelation 22:21).

In the Old Testament, the Law was given by Moses but in the New, Grace …. came by Christ Jesus (John 1:17).

In the Old Covenant, the question is asked, ‘Where is the Lamb’ (Genesis 22:7). The answer comes in the New when John the Baptist declared ‘Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).

In the Old Testament, one of Moses first miracles was to turn water into blood (Exodus 7:19). Blood, as you remember, is a picture of death. However, the first miracle performed by the Master was to turn the water into wine (John 2:1-11). Wine represents joy and gladness.

May we become readers of and believers in the Bible (both Old and New Covenants). An unknown writer said, “In this Book, we find the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

“Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

“Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Whatever happened to the Law and the Gospel?

By Fred Malone

When one looks at the New Testament teachings of Jesus and the writings of the Apostles, one would think that a confession of faith ought to have some explanation of the law of God as well as the gospel of Christ. You cannot read the Sermon on the Mount, Romans, Galatians, James, or 1 John without seeing many references to the law of God or the commandments of God. Yet in the progression of Baptist confessions from England into America we see a decided and obvious reduction of any serious reference to the law of God or the commandments of God.

Read the entire article here.

The Wednesday Word – Grace and Truth

“The law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” John 1:17.

Moses gave the Law, but the Law it did not come by Moses. Moses, for all his moral rectitude, was not the originator of Law. He gave the Law, but he didn’t invent it.

Moses had to receive the Law. It was not his own. It was not a part of his being. He was not Law incarnate. The Law was delivered to him and he, in turn, gave it to others.

Grace and truth, on the other hand, were not “given” to Christ, they came by Christ for grace and truth were His essence. He was grace and truth incarnate. It is interesting to note that Christ could have come as Law incarnate for, indeed, He was the quintessence of the Law. But when He came to us, He came as the embodiment of grace and truth.

The Law was given to, among other reasons, expose our inability to please God. Our hearts towards God had been frozen in a glacier of self-will and destruction. God, therefore, did not hope that we would keep the Law, He knew we couldn’t. Rather, He gave it so that every mouth would be stopped and all the world become guilty before Him (Romans 3:19).

But there’s good news! Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. When Christ appeared, grace and truth appeared in all its fullness. Grace and truth descended to earth in the person of Jesus the God/Man. He alone is our Gospel. We dare not add to or subtract from Him.

There are no two things in the Bible more different than Law and Gospel. Either we obtain salvation in all its facets by contributing our works, or we freely receive salvation by faith alone in the doing, dying and rising again of our Lord Jesus …plus nothing!

For a moment then, let’s consider some of the differences and contrasts between Law and Gospel!

The Law demands righteousness; the Gospel gives it.

The Law requires good works; the Gospel provides them.

Under the Law, the source of our blessings is from our obedience. But under the Gospel, blessings are a gift based upon Christ’s obedience.

“The Law threatens, the Gospel heals.

The Law shows us our wretchedness. The Gospel takes our misery away.

The Law was not given to save us but to damn us.

The Gospel, on the other hand, was given, not to damn us but to save us.

The Law was not given to bless us, but to curse us.

The gospel was given to set us free from the curse .

The Law puts on its black cap of damnation and sentences men to death. The Gospel, by contrast, put on the white cap of mercy and brings dead men to life.”

The Law tells us what we must do to get right with God. Grace, on the other hand, tells us what God has done for us to get us right with Himself.

When Moses gave the Law, his face shone. But when grace and truth came, the full light of the knowledge of the glory of God was revealed in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Of the Love of the World

OF THE LOVE OF THE WORLD

NOTHING more hinders a soul from coming to Christ than a vain love of the world; and till a soul is freed from it, it can never have a true love for God.

What are the honors and riches of this world, when compared to the glories of a crown of life?

Love not the world; for it is a moth in a Christian’s life.

To despise the world, is the way to enjoy heaven; and blessed are they who delight to converse with God by prayer.

What folly can be greater than to labor for the meat that perisheth, and neglect the food of eternal life?

God or the world must be neglected at parting-time; for then is the time of trial.

To seek yourself in this world is to be lost; and to be humble is to be exalted.

The epicure that delighteth in the dainties of this world, little thinketh that those very creatures will one day witness against him.

Mr. John Bunyan’s Dying Sayings

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Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Introduction- Book Fifth

Book Fifth

INTRODUCTION.

DUTY OF BELIEVING IN JESUS CHRIST.[1]

In close connection with repentance for sin, the Word of God enjoins the duty of believing in Christ; “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel;[2] “Testifying repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”[3] Both the duties relate to men as sinners, and without the performance of them, escape from the penalty of sin is impossible. The requirement of faith, in addition to repentance, proves that mere sorrow for sin will not suffice; and the passages of Scripture are numerous in which faith is expressly declared to be necessary to salvation; “Preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.”[4] “Without faith it is impossible to please him.”[5] “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”[6] “He that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”[7]

These clear proofs that faith is necessary to salvation, render it important to understand the nature of faith. And since the saving benefit does not result from every kind of exercise of faith, but only from faith in Christ, what it is to believe in Jesus Christ, is an inquiry of highest interest.

Every one who reflects on the operations of his own mind, will perceive that faith lies at the foundation of every mental affection, and of every purpose to act. The testimony of our senses must be believed, before external objects can awaken any emotion in the mind; and the uniformity of nature’s laws, and the deductions of our reason, must be believed before we can resolve to shun a precipice, or to labor for a future crop. In the ordinary affairs of life, faith is the basis of action. The man who believes that his house is on fire, or that a rich treasure is buried under it, acts accordingly. It is equally true that faith lies at the foundation of every religious affection and of every religious duty. He who loves God, and delights in his will and works, must believe that he is, and that the will and works in which he delights are realities, and possess the qualities which his mind attributes to them. He who repents of sin, must believe that the sin of which he repents has been committed, and that it possesses the evil nature which he condemns and loathes. So, in everything else, faith is the foundation of all religion.

In the view which has been taken, faith is merely intellectual, and does not imply any emotion, either pleasurable or painful. It may immediately excite emotions, pleasurable or painful, according to the character of the truth believed, and the state of mind in which it is received. The belief of one truth gives pleasure; pleasure to one mind and pain to another. So, the truth of God, which a man dislikes while he is unconverted, is delighted in after his heart has been changed.

Faith, in this general sense, is necessary to the obedience of holy creatures, and mingles with all the holy exercises of their minds. But holy beings are incapable of repentance, because they have no sin to repent of; and they are unable to approach to God through Christ as guilty beings, seeking pardon. The Gospel addresses men as sinners, and presents Christ to them as the Saviour of sinners; and the faith in Christ which it requires, is the receiving of the truth which it declares concerning Christ.

Although faith may be contemplated as merely intellectual, and as antecedent to all emotion; it is not, in this abstract view of it, that faith in Christ is enjoined in the Gospel, and has the promise of salvation. Men must receive “the love of the truth, that they may be saved,”[8] as well as the truth itself. A merely intellectual faith, without the love of the truth believed, cannot produce the proper fruits of faith; for “faith worketh by love;”[9] and it cannot secure the blessings promised to faith; for “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.”[10] A faith which dwells exclusively in the intellect, and leaves the heart untouched and cold, is the dead faith which the apostle James describes.[11]

Faith in Christ, is faith in the declarations of the Gospel concerning Christ; and it is faith in these as coming from God. It is the receiving of God’s testimony concerning his Son; and, in this view of it, we see the great sinfulness of unbelief; for he who believeth not, hath made God a liar.[12] We see, also, how firm a foundation is laid for strong faith. The Gospel is the Word of God that cannot lie. Our senses may deceive us and the deductions of our reason may be false. Relying on these, we may err, in things pertaining to the present life; but, in laying hold on life eternal, we may believe the truth of God with unwavering confidence. His word cannot fail.

Faith in Christ is necessary to salvation. We may believe many things that God has said in his Holy Word, without believing in Christ; and we may believe many truths concerning Christ, without possessing that faith in him which has the promise of eternal life. True faith receives Christ entire, as he is presented in the Gospel. If any part of his character, of his offices, or of his doctrine, is unwelcome to the heart, true faith does not dwell there. A perfect knowledge of Christ is not necessary to true faith; otherwise true faith would be impossible; for the riches of Christ are unsearchable,[13] and his love passeth knowledge.[14] But the true believer delights in Christ, just so far as he has knowledge of him; and desires to know more of him, that he may be more filled with his love. The revelation made to the Old Testament saints was obscure; but, so far as they could see Christ, in the light which was afforded them, they rejoiced to see his day and were glad.[15]

From the necessity of faith in Christ may be inferred the greatness of Christ’s character. When Jesus said, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins,”[16] he claimed an importance to which Isaiah or Paul could never have aspired. When the ministers of his religion taught, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,”[17] they ascribed to him an office of exceeding greatness. If we believe in Christ, according to the Scriptures, we fully justify all that he claimed for himself, and all that his apostles claimed for him; and we rejoice to render to him all honor and praise.

We may consider the question proposed to us; “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” On the decision of this question our eternal all depends. As guilty sinners we are under condemnation, and the wrath of God abides on us. Among all the beings in the universe, no deliverer can be found, except Jesus Christ and there is no salvation possible, except by faith in him. It is, therefore, an inquiry of infinite importance whether we believe in him. The man, to whom the question was proposed by the Saviour, very pertinently asked in turn, “Who is he, that I might believe on him?” We are about to institute the inquiry, Who is he? While we search the Holy Scriptures, to find the answer, let us take heed to it that we believe in him with all our hearts. Let us rejoice to discover that he is mighty to save; and that he is, in every particular, just such a Saviour as we need. While we study his character and works, let us receive him into our hearts, and yield ourselves up to him, as bought with his blood, and seek to glorify him with our bodies and spirits, which are his.

[1] Acts xvi. 31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.

John ix. 35. Dost thou believe on the Son of God? Who is he, that I might believe on him?

[2] Mark i. 15.

[3] Acts xx. 21.

[4] Mark xvi. 15, 16.

[5] Heb. xi. 6.

[6] John iii. 36.

[7] John iii. 18.

[8] 2 Thess. ii. 10.

[9] Gal. v. 6.

[10] Rom. x. 10.

[11] James ii. 26.

[12] 1 John v. 10.

[13] Eph. iii. 8.

[14] Eph. iii. 19.

[15] John viii. 56.

[16] John viii. 24.

[17] Acts iv. 12.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology