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Liberty of the text is no such freedom as this: it is an infinitely greater and better one

I have commenced with this idea, because I think worldly men ought to be told that if religion does not save them, yet it has done much for them-that the influence of religion has won them their liberties.

But the liberty of the text is no such freedom as this: it is an infinitely greater and better one. Great as civil or religious liberty may be, the liberty of my text transcendently exceeds. There is a liberty, dear friends, which Christian men alone enjoy; for even in Great Britain there are men who taste not the sweet air of liberty. There are some who are afraid to speak as men, who have to cringe and fawn, and bow, and stoop, to any one; who have no will of their own, no principles, no voice, no courage, and who cannot stand erect in conscious independence. But he is the free man, whom the truth makes free. He who has grace in his heart is free, he cares for no one; he has the right upon his side; he has God within him-the in dwelling Spirit of the Holy Ghost; he is a prince of the blood royal of heaven; he is a noble, having the true patent of nobility; he is one of God’s elect, distinguished, chosen children, and he is not the man to bend, or meanly cringe. No!-sooner would he walk the burning furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego-sooner would he be cast into the lion’s den with Daniel, than yield a point in principle. He is a free man. “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” in its fullest, highest and widest sense. God give you friends, to have that “Spirit of the Lord;” for without it, in a free country, ye may still be bondsmen; and where there are no serfs in body, ye may be slaves in soul. The text speaks of Spiritual liberty; and now I address the children of God. Spiritual liberty, brethren, you and I enjoy if we have “the Spirit of the Lord” within us. What does this imply; It implies that there was a time when we had not that Spiritual liberty-when we were slaves. But a little while ago all of us who now are free in Christ Jesus, were slaves of the devil: we were led captives at his will. We talked of free-will, but free-will is a slave. We boasted that we could do what we pleased; but oh! what a slavish and dreamy liberty we had. It was a fancied freedom. We were slaves to our lusts and passions -slaves to sin; but now we are freed from sin; we are delivered from our tyrant; a stronger than he has cast out the strong man armed, and we are free.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

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The Wednesday Word: Our Faithful God

We are assured by Jesus himself that “not one sparrow can fall to the ground without permission¨ (Matthew 10:29).

Our God is faithful!

We are also told that we are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). And no wonder we are valuable. We are the purchase of blood. God’s blood (Acts 20:28). We, as His purchased possession, have the assurance that He is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9).

All is well! He has not lost sight of you. He will supply.

He is faithful!

One of our problems is that we usually don’t go to the Lord Jesus with our trials. We choose worry rather than trust. We don’t; “Cast our burdens on the Lord.” We forget that He will “sustain us” (Psalm 55:22).

He is faithful!

By the way, the word ‘sustain’ contains a promise of support. Christ’s sustaining hand surrounds us whether we feel it or not. As we grow in grace, we learn to trust where we can’t trace. In other words, we don’t let our feelings dominate and guide us.

He is Faithful!

It is promised, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers (us) out of one or two of them” (Psalm 34:19). Are you serious? No! He delivers us from them all! Try Him! Trust Him! Venture yourself on Him!

He is Faithful!

Also, think of these further sustaining promises from our Faithful God: Philippians 4:2 ” Thy God shall supply all your need according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Isaiah 33:16 “Bread shall be given, water shall be sure,”

Are you worried about finances? Here’s some good news .. we have a faithful God. He isn’t suffering a lack of funds. Look at Haggai 2:8 “The silver is mine, the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” Then there’s Psalm 50:10 which tells us that, “The cattle upon the thousand hills” are His. We are being cared for by the One who owns and possesses all and He’s a giver not a taker.

The Lord can and does provide from the most unusual sources. This is clearly seen in Matthew 17. Money was needed for the temple tax. So, being near the lake, Jesus told Peter to throw out the line and take the first fish he caught, open its mouth and the money would be there.

The Lord Jesus provided money from a fish so let’s be open to His abundance of supply coming to us in any manner.

” This God is the God I adore,

A faithful unchangeable friend;

His love is as great as his power,

And knows neither beginning nor end.

‘Tis Jesus, the first and the last,

Whose Spirit shall guide me safe home;

I’ll praise him for all that is past,

And trust him for all that’s to come.”

Frances Havergal, the hymn writer, could have felt forgotten by God. She suffered terribly from peritonitis and died from it in her early forties. On the last day of her life, she asked a friend to read Isaiah 42 to her. When the friend read the sixth verse, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee,” Miss Havergal stopped her. She whispered,

“Called;”

“Held”

“Kept.”

“I can go home on that!”

And, later that day she did go home on that, resting in the faithfulness of her God and Saviour Jesus Christ. One of her best-loved Hymns is, “Like a River Glorious.” The third verse reads,

“Every joy or trial falleth from above,

Trac’d upon our dial by the Sun of Love;

We may trust Him fully all for us to do;

They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.”

It was true for her; it has been true of every one of God’s elect,

Called;

Held;

Kept.

We can go home on that! Even when God seems to have forgotten us, we can trust Him and find Him wholly true.

He is the Faithful God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XIV- The Perseverance of the Saints

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XIV

The Perseverance of the Saints

5. ARMINIAN SENSE OF INSECURITY

A consistent Arminian, with his doctrines of free will and of falling from grace, can never in this life be certain of his eternal salvation. He may, indeed, have the assurance of his present salvation, but he can have only a hope of his final salvation. He may regard his final salvation as highly probable, but he cannot know it as a certainty. He has seen many of his fellow Christians backslide and perish after making a good start. Why may not he do the same thing? So long as men remain in this world they have the remnants of the old sinful nature clinging to them; they are surrounded by the most alluring and deceptive pleasures of the world and the most subtle temptations of the Devil. In many of the supposedly Christian churches they hear the false teaching of modernistic, and therefore unchristian, ministers. If Arminianism were true, Christians would still be in very dangerous positions, with their eternal destiny suspended upon the probability that their weak, creaturely wills would continue to choose right. Furthermore, Arminianism would logically hold that no confirmation in holiness is possible, not even in heaven; for even there the person would still retain his free will and might commit sin any time he chose.

By comparison the Arminian is like the person who has inherited a fortune of, say, $100,000. He knows that many others who have inherited such fortunes have lost them through poor judgment, fraud, calamity, etc., but he has enough confidence in his own ability to handle money wisely that he does not doubt but that he will keep his. His assurance is based largely on self-confidence. Others have failed, but he is confident that he will not fail. But what a delusion is this when applied to the spiritual realm! What a pity that any one who is at all acquainted with his own tendency to sin should base his assurance of salvation upon such grounds! His system places the cause of his perseverance, not in the hands of an all-powerful, never-changing God, but in the hands of weak sinful man.

And does not the logic of the Arminian system tell us that the wise thing for the Christian to do is to die as soon as possible and thus confirm the inheritance which to him is of infinite value? In view of the fact that so many have fallen away, is it worth while for him to remain here and risk his eternal salvation for the sake of a little more life in this world? What would be thought of a business man who, in order to gain a few more dollars, would risk his entire fortune in some admittedly questionable venture? In fact, does it not at least suggest that the Lord has made many mistakes in not removing these people while they were true Christians? The writer, at least, is convinced that if he held the Arminian view and knew himself to be a saved Christian he would want to die as soon as possible and thus place his salvation beyond all possible doubt.

In regard to spiritual matters, a state of doubt is a state of misery. The assurance that Christians can never be separated from the love of God is one of the greatest comforts of the Christian life. To deny this doctrine is to destroy the grounds for any rejoicing among the saints on earth; for what kind of rejoicing can those have who believe that they may at any time be deceived and led astray? If our sense of security is based only on our changeable and wavering natures, we can never know the inward calm and peace which, should characterize the Christian. Says McFetridge, in his very illuminating little book, Calvinism In History, “I can well conceive of the terror to a sensitive soul of dark uncertainty as to salvation, and of that ever-abiding consciousness of the awful possibility of falling away from grace after a long and painful Christian life, which is taught by Arminianism. To me such a doctrine has terrors which would cause me to shrink away from it for ever, and which would fill me with constant and unspeakable perplexities. To feel that I were crossing the troubled and dangerous sea of life dependent for my final security upon the actings of my own treacherous nature were enough to fill me with a perpetual alarm. If it is possible, I want to know that the vessel to which I commit my life is seaworthy, and that, having once embarked, I shall arrive in safety at my destination.” (P. 112.)

It is not until we duly appreciate this wonderful truth, that our salvation is not suspended on our weak and wavering love to God, but rather upon His eternal and unchangeable love to us, that we can have peace and certainty in the Christian life. And only the Calvinist, who knows himself to be absolutely safe in the hands of God, can have that inward sense of peace and security, knowing that in the eternal counsels of God he has been chosen to be cleansed and glorified and that nothing can thwart that purpose. He knows himself to be held to righteousness by a spiritual power which is as exhaustless and unvarying as the force of gravitation, and as necessary to the development of the spirit as sunshine and vitamins are to the body.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Men have a right to liberty, but it is equally true that you do not meet it in any country save where you find the Spirit of the Lord

Liberty is the heirloom of all the sons and daughters of Adam. But where do you find liberty unaccom-panied by religion? True it is that all men have a right to liberty, but it is equally true that you do not meet it in any country save where you find the Spirit of the Lord. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Thank God, this is a free country. This is a land where I can breathe the air and say it is untainted by the groan of a single slave; my lungs receive it, and I know there has never been mingled with its vapours the tear of a single slave woman shed over her child which has been sold from her. This land is the home of liberty. But why is it so? I take it, it is not so much because of our institutions as because the Spirit of the Lord is here-the spirit of true and hearty religion. There was a time, remember, when England was no more free than any other country, when men could not speak their sentiments freely, when kings were despots, when Parliaments were but a name. Who won our liberties for us? Who have loosed our chains? Under the hand of God, I say, the men of religion117 men like the great and glorious Cromwell, who would have liberty of conscience, or die-men who, if they could not reach kings’ hearts, because they were unsearchable in cunning, would strike kings low, rather than they would be slaves. We owe our liberty to men of religion to men of the stern Puritanical school-men who scorned to play the craven and yield their principles at the command of man. And if we ever are to maintain our liberty (as God grant we may) it shall be kept in England by religious liberty- by religion. This Bible is the Magna Charta of old Britain; its truths, its doctrines have snapped our fetters, and they never can be rivetted on again, whilst men, with God’s Spirit in their hearts, go forth to speak its truths. In no other land, save where the Bible is unclasped-in no other realm, save where the gospel is preached, can you find liberty. Roam through other countries, and you speak with bated breath; you are afraid; you feel you are under an iron hand; the sword is above you; you are not free. Why? Because you are under the tyranny engendered by a false religion: you have not free Protestantism there, and it is not till Protestantism comes that there can be freedom. It is where the Spirit of the Lord is that there is liberty, and nowhere else. Men talk about being free: they describe model governments, Platonic republics, or Owenite paradises, but they are dreamy theorists; for there can be no freedom in the world, save, “where the spirit of the Lord is.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855

The Wednesday Word: Was Jesus ever called God?

We, followers of Christ need to be grounded in the truth that the One we are following is the eternal God. Contrary to some popular ideas, Jesus is indeed called God in numerous places of scripture: Take for example,

The Word was God, John 1:1.

Thomas called Jesus Lord and God, John 20.28.

We learn that God was manifest in the flesh, I Timothy 3:16.

And let’s not forget Romans 9:5, “Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came who is over all God blessed forever.”

Away with these mischief makers who say that Jesus is not man and God at the same time. They know nothing of the Dual Nature of Christ.

Jesus is called Jehovah,

We learn in Numbers 21 that the Israelites tempted Jehovah. This is applied to Christ by the apostle in I Corinthians 10:9 when he says, ¨Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Nor is Christ merely called Jehovah but Jehovah our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6.) Christ is our righteousness and thus our God (2 Peter 1:1).

The Great God

He is called the great God and Saviour, Titus 2:13

Someone says but that is not speaking of Christ. Excuse me! Read the next verse. This Great God and Saviour gave Himself for our sins (verse 14). Therefore, Jesus is both the great God and Saviour. That’s good news for those of us who have trusted Him.

If language has any meaning, then we must look no further than Christ Jesus to discover God.

Attributes

Not only is Christ called God, but also the attributes of the Godhead are credited to him.

Eternity is ascribed to Him: for he is said to be before Abraham (John 8. 58). This evidently proves that Christ existed before he was born of a virgin.

Jesus is said to be Omniscience: Peter confessed ‘Lord, you know all things.’

He is Omnipresence: Matthew 18:10. Jesus Himself said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Omnipotence …Divine power is attributed to Him (Hebrews 1:1). He upholds all things by the word of His power.

These things are sufficient to prove that Christ is God. The names of God and the attributes of the Godhead are ascribed to him: But there is more.

Works.

The works which only God can perform, are ascribed to the Lord Jesus. Creation is ascribed to Him. Hebrews 1:10. “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hath laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” This is further confirmed in John 1:3, “All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Additional witness is given in Colossians 1:16. It reads; “By him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things were created by him, and for him.”

The Government of the universe is ascribed to him in Hebrews 1:3 where we are told that he is upholding all things by the word of his power.

The work of our Salvation is ascribed fully to Christ (Matthew 1:21). It would be great error to deny it, when it is evident from so many places in the New-Testament. Furthermore,

Redemption is His (Acts 20:28).

Remission of sins is His to give (Matthew.9: 6).

Eternal Life is His to give (John 10:28).

The building of the Church is credited to Him. This again is strong proof that He is God for “He that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).

Jesus is the Lord God. We worship Him (Matthew 28:9) and believe on Him (John 14:1).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XIV- The Perseverance of the Saints

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XIV

The Perseverance of the Saints

4. AN OUTWARD PROFESSION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS NOT ALWAYS A PROOF THAT THE PERSON IS A TRUE CHRISTIAN

We have no great difficulty in disposing of those cases where apparently true believers have gone into final apostasy. Both Scripture and experience teach us that we are often mistaken in our judgment of our fellow men, that sometimes it is practically impossible for us to know for certain that they are true Christians. The tares were never wheat, and the bad fish were never good, in spite of the fact that their true nature was not at first recognized. Since Satan can so alter his appearance that he is mistaken for an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), it is no marvel that sometimes his ministers also fashion themselves as doers of righteousness, with the most deceptive appearances of holiness, devotion, piety and zeal. Certainly an outward profession is not always a guarantee that the soul is saved. Like the Pharisees of old, they may only desire to “make a fair show in the flesh,” and deceive many. Jesus warned His disciples, “there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect,” Matthew 24:24; and He quoted the prophet Isaiah to the effect that, “This people honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men,” Mark 7:6, 7. Paul warned against those who were “false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 11:13. And to the Romans he wrote, “They are not all Israel, that are of Israel: neither, because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children,” Romans 9:6, 7. John mentions those who “call themselves apostles, and they are not,” Revelation 2:2; and a little later he adds, “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead,” Revelation 3:1.

But however effectively these may deceive men, God all the time knows “the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan,” Revelation 2:9. We live in a day when multitudes claim the name of “Christian,” who are destitute of Christian knowledge, experience, and character, – in a day when, in many quarters, the distinction between the Church and the world has been wiped out. Like Samuel, we are often deceived by the outward appearance, and say, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before us,” when if we really knew the motives behind their works we would conclude otherwise. We are often mistaken in our judgment of others, in spite of the best precautions that we can take. John gave the true solution for these cases when he wrote: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they all are not of us,” 1 John 2:19. All of those who fall away permanently come under this class.

Some persons make a great profession of religion although they know nothing of the Lord Jesus in sincerity and in truth. These persons may outstrip many a humble follower in head-knowledge, and for a season they may quite deceive the very elect; yet all the time their hearts have never been touched. In the judgment day many of those who at some time in their lives have been externally associated with the Church will say, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?” And then He will reply to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22,23; which, of course, would not be true if at some time He had known them as real Christians. When every man shall appear in his own colors, when the secrets of all hearts shall be manifest, many who at times appeared to be true Christians will be seen never to have been among God’s people. Some fall away from a profession of faith, but none fall away from the saving grace of God. Those who do fall have never known the latter. They are the stony-ground hearers, who have no root in themselves, but who endure for a while; and when tribulation or persecution arises, straightway they stumble. They are then said to have given up or to have made shipwreck of that faith which they never possessed except in appearance. Some of these become sufficiently enlightened in the scheme of the doctrines of the Gospel that they are able to preach or to teach them to others, and yet are themselves entirely destitute of real saving grace. When such fall away they are no proofs nor instances of the final apostasy of real saints.

Mere church membership, of course, is no guarantee that the persons are real Christians. Not every member of the Church militant will be a member of the Church triumphant. To answer certain purposes, they make an outward profession of the Gospel, which obliges them for a time to be outwardly moral and to associate themselves with the people of God. They appear to have true faith and continue thus for a while. Then either their sheep’s clothing is stripped off, or they throw it off themselves, and return again to the world. If we could see the real motives of their hearts, we would discover that at no time were they ever actuated by a true love of God. They were all this while goats, and not sheep, ravening wolves, and not gentle lambs. Hence Peter says of them, “It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had been washed to wallowing in the mire,” 2 Peter 2:22. They thereby show that they never belonged to the number of the elect.

Many of the unconverted listen to the preaching of the Gospel as Herod listened to John the Baptist. We are told that “Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him he was much perplexed; and he heard him gladly,” Mark 6:20. Yet no one who knows of Herod’s decree to put John the Baptist to death, and of his life in general, will say that be was ever a Christian.

In addition to what has been said it is to be admitted that often times the common operations of the Spirit on the enlightened conscience lead to reformation and to an externally religious life. Those so influenced are often very strict in their conduct and diligent in their religious duties. To the awakened sinner the promises of the Gospel and the exhibition of the plan of salvation contained in the Scriptures appear not only as true but as suited to his condition. He receives them with joy, and believes with a faith founded on the moral force of truth. This faith continues as long as the state of mind by which it is produced continues. When that changes, he relapses into his usual state of insensibility, and his faith disappears. It is to this class of persons that Christ referred when He spoke of those who receive the Word in stony places or among thorns. Numerous examples of this temporary faith are found in the Scriptures and are often seen in every day life. These experiences often precede or accompany genuine conversion; but in many cases they are not followed by a real change of heart. They may occur repeatedly, and yet those who experience them return to their normal state of unconcern and worldliness. Often times it is impossible for an observer or even the person himself to distinguish these experiences from those of the truly regenerated. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” is the test given by our Lord. Only when these experiences issue in a consistently holy life can their distinctive character be known.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

LIBERTY is the birthright of every man

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”-2 Corinthians 3:17.

LIBERTY is the birthright of every man. He may be born a pauper; he may be a foundling; his parentage may be altogether unknown; but liberty is his inalienable birthright. Black may be his skin; he may live uneducated and untaught; he may be poor as poverty itself; he may never have a foot of land to call his own; he may scarce have a particle of clothing, save a few rags to cover him; but, poor as he is, nature has fashioned him for freedom he has a right to be free, and if he has not liberty, it is his birthright, and he ought not to be content until he wins it.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Spiritual Liberty, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 18, 1855