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The Wednesday Word: When the Spirit Moves!

December 25, 2019 Leave a comment

Salvation is by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Redemption and Reconciliation, not rules and regulations, are the heart of the Gospel; … nothing else will do (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I contend, therefore, that if the preaching of Christ crucified once more becomes the dominant theme of our pulpits, we will see revival. My friend Joseph Terrell nails it when he describes good churches like this, “Preaching Christ and Him crucified…nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!”

We all want to see a revival and a genuine moving of God´s Spirit. Indeed, many theories are being advanced for the accomplishment of such a move. Exciting music, for example, is touted by many as the way forward … but this is a silly notion. Singing endless verses about ourselves and our feelings will not bring an outpouring from heaven.

BTW, I´m not advocating that our services should be cold and heartless. Some people, it seems, mistakenly think they are more spiritual and dignified when they sit in silence without so much as a flinch. Sometimes, however, the problem with those dear folk is they don’t know the difference between dignity and rigour mortis.

May our times of fellowship glorify God with, not just any music, but with the music of the Gospel … the music of thanksgiving for the Saviour and His blood. The Holy Spirit is resident in such praises. He is the Master Conductor of the Music of Grace. He tunes our hearts to love the sound of the Good News.

Also, when the Spirit moves, we will once more hear from our pulpits the old, old story of a finished salvation. In this way, Jesus will be again discovered as Redeemer, Friend, Brother, Advocate, Intercessor, Forerunner and All-in-all.

When the Spirit moves, we will not hear of a work which is half of the believer and half of God. Such an unholy alliance is not discovered in the Bible. As the old-time preacher, John Berridge, said, such a work, if it were possible, would be like yoking a snail to an elephant.

The Lord did not come half-way and say, “I will help with your efforts.” That´s absurd. The work has already been completed at Calvary. A half and half salvation will damn its adherents, but Christ’s taking 100 % responsibility for us saves to the uttermost. It is grace, grace, grace from first to last. In Christ, we have complete salvation.

“Perish every human story,

Every system taught or tried;

God forbid that I should glory,

Save in Jesus crucified.”

When the Spirit moves, our pulpits will once more ring with the good news of the Lamb and His blood. This is the way of revival. We will again hear of the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1) and of that precious blood which “cleanses from all sin” (1 John 1:7) and purges the conscience (Hebrews 9:14).

When the Spirit moves, we will once more be thrilled with scriptures like this, “I, even I says Jehovah, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake and will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

Think of it, our sins, no matter what their depth or filth, are forgotten … they are all cast behind His back (Isaiah 38:17). They are completely gone! Sing it loud and preach it often. Such a truth is worthy of our attention.

“My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part, but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: Jesus our Gospel

As we read through the New Testament apostolic sermons, we discover that they always point back to events in the past. Those early, inspired preachers did not look to anything present tense as being the Gospel. From this, we learn that unless we are looking back and pointing to the redemptive events of the past, the Christ event, we are, in fact, not preaching the Gospel. Our message is not some vague philosophy about God, but rather a story packed with concrete, historical events and facts.

Here are the details; Christ lived; Christ died. Christ was buried; Christ rose again from the dead.

These are the significant specifics of the Gospel. They are events that have already happened in history. These facts are plain simple and few, so few that a child could remember and understand them.

The Gospel belongs to a completed history; its facts are not happening today. Christ is not on the cross, He is not atoning for sins, His work is finished; He is ruling and reigning that He might apply His entire accomplishments to His people. We are secure in Him! Because of the cross, He will come back for us (Hebrews 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts1:11). We are safe!

As a result of this Gospel, this Finished Work, Christ is now seated at the place of cosmic authority. Now, based on His accomplishments in the Gospel, Christ Jesus is our, “Advocate with the Father.” Talk about security!!

BTW, since the Gospel concerns that which has happened in the past, it makes our job very easy. To share the gospel all we have to do is tell the story —–the story of the doing, dying and rising of Christ. We don’t even have to tell our listeners to do anything because the minute we go to the realm of ‘do,’ we are not preaching the Gospel. Of course, we will eventually bring the hearers to the “Do” stage, but asking them to “do” something is the application of the Gospel and not the Gospel itself. For example, if we preach all night on repentance; then all we’ve done is preach all night on repentance.

We’ve not preached the Gospel since we’ve not preached a past historical event. If we preach repentance, we’re preaching what should be a necessary application of the Gospel, but how can we have anyone repent and exercise saving faith unless they first hear the Gospel (Romans 10:14-15)?

In the 1620s a fierce preacher, John Glendinning, preached the law and dread of God to his listeners in Sixmilewater, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. By all accounts, his hearers were cut down in terror and actually swooned with fear—-but they did not get saved. They believed every word Glendinning said, but because the Gospel had not been preached, they remained lost. Another minister, Robert Blair was then sent into the area, and he preached the saving acts of God in Christ, and the poor tormented souls got saved.

It is vital that we grasp the ‘pastness’ of the Gospel because, since the Gospel is a past historical event, it cannot be experienced. The Gospel is uniquely about Christ’s unrepeatable experience. It is not about my experience or your experience. His life was the only one of its kind. He will never repeat His accomplishments or death. The Gospel is uniquely about the experiences of the Divine/Human Saviour, Jesus Christ. As He hung upon that never to be repeated cross, the experience was uniquely His. We can look back to that event and fully identify with it, but we cannot travel back in time and climb on the cross with Him. We can, however, by faith, receive all the Gospel benefits He obtained for us, but we cannot experience the Gospel. We can only experience its benefits.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Jesus our Gospel

December 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Jesus is our Gospel. He is Heaven’s good news. To put it another way, the Gospel is God’s good news about Himself revealed in His Son. The Gospel brings, not only good news about what God has done for us but also gives us good news about God Himself. Because of the Gospel, we can learn about the very character of God.

For example, we would not realize how much God hates sin if it were not for the cross. It is the Gospel, in fact, which best illustrates His awful and intense abhorrence of sin. There is nothing in the entire universe that reveals God’s holy wrath against sin more than the blood of Christ. Think about it. There was no other way for the Lord to save us but by the blood. The horror of our sin is seen in that the sinless, spotless Lamb of God offered Himself and poured out His blood as our substitute.

Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3)! Death, of course, is not always bloody. You can die without losing your blood. But Christ not only died, He shed His blood. Blood is the sign of violence. You see, the death of Jesus was not just a mere passing away – a dying of old age on a comfortable bed. No! It was a violent death. It was a bloody, gory, ugly, revolting scene — a man hanging torn and wretched upon a cross, with blood streaming down His sides and running down His face.

Lets never forget that the God who is love is the God who is holy. As Dr. Barnhouse said,

“If you say that God is love without realizing that God is hate of sin you have no Gospel at all because you do not have God. The people who teach that God is love without teaching that God is also hate of sin have in reality another God who is Satan with a mask on.”

Donald Gray Barnhouse: Commentary on Romans.

In the Old Testament Temple, God demonstrated His hatred of sin in the daily sacrifices. God, being Holy, can no more endorse sin than He can commit it. But, these sacrifices were merely shadows of the reality which was to come. Only in the Gospel do we see the fulfillment of these Old Testament types. Only in the Gospel are we caused to face the horror of sin.

God spared not His Son but delivered Him up as an offering which took away holy wrath. Christ, as the Puritan, Stephen Charnock, said: “hung on the cross like a disinherited son while he appeared in the rank and garb of a sinner.”

Hanging there, the Lamb who knew no sin, called out and cried, “My God My God why have you forsaken me.” By the way, this is the first time in His ministry that Christ had ever called the Father by the title of ‘God.’ All through His life, he had called God His Father. But there at the cross, Christ took the place of His sinful people taking their sin and all the separation that goes along with it.

Listen to Him cry out in tortured agony, “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” Had there been another way to reconcile us do you not think the Father would have taken it? The cross was awful; it was scandalous! Yet, it reveals the heart of God, not only in His deep love for us but also in the deep hatred of sin which so offended His holiness.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Motivated by Grace Alone

December 24, 2014 Leave a comment

The daughter of one of the attendees at The Gospel of Grace Conference in Yadgir , India

In attempts to help congregations grow in the Lord, it is easy for pastors to cross the line between grace and works. To my shame I have to admit that I’ve crossed that line oftentimes … and I’m not alone. Sometimes we pastors find ourselves trying to motivate our listeners by the Law and its demands instead of by the gospel. However, it takes no spirituality whatsoever to get behind the pulpit and demand change as we warn about bad habits and lax living. But, this is not gospel preaching!

For example, in our zeal to see God’s people grow in grace we can continually demand repentance. Yet, the doctrine of repentance, although vital, saves no one. Granted, no one is saved without it, but repentance is not the gospel. It is the gospel of Christ alone that is the power of God unto salvation, not the gospel plus our repentance (Romans 1:16).

Here’s the gospel truth, the Good News is neither a call nor a demand to repent. In fact, the gospel is not even a demand that we change our lives. Indeed, the gospel is not a demand to do anything. In the gospel, all demands were laid on Christ and He fulfilled them all.

So let’s say it again, nowhere in the scriptures do we discover that the gospel is about our repentance. Along these lines, Charles Spurgeon once said, “You must not expect that you will be perfect in ‘repentance’ before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. ‘Repentance’ is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself.”

(CHS Repentance unto Life: Sermon # 44, New Park Street Pulpit).

The gospel is not the story of what we must do, it is the story of what has already been done in history, by the Lord Jesus Christ. Far from being about us or anything we can do, the gospel is about the perfections of the doing and dying of Christ.

The gospel is not about how we behave, it is about Christ’s behaviour in our place and stead. The gospel is not even a demand that we give up worldliness. Indeed, there are no demands at all in the gospel.

One old time preacher put it like this, “The Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed.” He was right! But as preachers, it is easier, at times, for us to demand that the flock obey the Word rather than for us to preach the accomplishment and person of Christ. It’s easier to demand personal righteousness than to hold forth an invisible, alien righteousness that is ours by faith alone.

Nowhere, in scriptures, do we find the gospel presented to us as a duty or a call to reformation. So why is our preaching so full of demands and devoid of the gospel? Behavioural demands, unless bathed in the gospel are a toxic diet to feed the flock of God.

This gospel, by the Spirit, produces godly desires in its hearers and under its preaching God’s people become a grateful people who desire to follow and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

A special greeting goes out to Pastor Devadas who forwards the Wednesday Word to seventy pastors in his state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Also, a big welcome to the pastors and leaders from Karnataka who have signed up to receive these gospel messages.

Many thrilling things are happening both in Ireland and India. Will keep you posted.

Gospel Blessings

Miles

www.milesmckee.com 

Please feel free to forward, post and blog etc. the Wednesday Word (without changing the content of the actual message)

Thanks to those of you who by your giving and prayers make this ministry possible. You are a blessing!

Concerning Despising Predestination

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

But for those who are so cautious or fearful that they desire to bury predestination in order not to disturb weak souls–with what colour will they cloak their arrogance when they accuse God indirectly of stupid thoughtlessness, as if he had not foreseen the peril that they feel they have wisely met? Whoever, then, heaps odium upon the doctrine of predestination openly reproaches God, as if he had unadvisedly let slip something hurtful to the church.

Calvin Institutes III.21.4

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel by Rolaant L. McKenzie

What is the Gospel? Knowing the answer to this question is vital if one is to receive salvation and have a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, for belief in the wrong gospel will not save, but condemn (Galatians 1:6-9). 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4 provides a good summary of what the gospel is:

Read more here:

But now in Christ Jesus

There is a scripture in Ephesians that sums up the condition of the Gentiles before Christ came. Let’s read this scripture:

Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

In this scripture I see five negatives against the Gentiles before Christ came. These are not trivial points, but sum up the whole condition of the Gentiles.

The first point is that we were without Christ. In other words there was no gospel message being given to the Gentiles. The Jews had the laws, the covenants, the promises, and were looking forwards to a mediator like unto Moses. The types, shadows, sacrifices, and rituals all pointed to Christ. Yet the Gentiles had none of these things and so they were without Christ or without any signs, rituals, or promises of his coming.

The second point is that the Gentiles were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. The Gentiles could not eat with the Jews, fellowship with them in their rituals, or keep their festival days. Unless the Gentile was converted and became a Jew, then he was shut out of all the privileges of the Jews; namely to whom pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; etc……

The third point against the Gentiles was that they were strangers from the covenants of promise. They were strangers to the covenants that promised land, eternal blessings, the Messiah, God being their people, etc… All these promises and many more were given through the covenants, but in order to obtain the promise, one must be part of the covenants.

The fourth part against the Gentiles is that they had no hope. They had no hope of the Messiah, salvation by him, the resurrection of the dead, a future state, eternal life, etc… The Gentiles had no way to escape eternal damnation.

The fifth and last point that Paul makes is that the Gentiles were without God in this world. They were without the knowledge of God in Christ, without communion with him, and worship of him. They had no access to the throne of God.

It looked pretty bad for the Gentiles before Christ came, but Paul does not end there. He uses a conjunction that is the most blessed conjunction in the New Testament. This conjunction is the word ‘but.’

Paul says, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” It is because of Christ that those who were far off, namely Gentiles, are now brought near to God. Christ has taken both Jews and Gentiles and combined them into one body called ‘The Church of God.’

This is good news to all those who are not Jews by nature. We can rejoice at the preaching of the gospel because we are now grafted into the promises.

Written by Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.