Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Family Worship

While it must be recognized that collective worship finds its center in the church, worship is a vital part of the family's social structure as well. Families should pray together, sing together, read God's Word together, and offer thanksgiving together. It is impossible to verbalize all the ways in which healthy family worship time provides security, stability, wisdom, and maturation for family members.

The same forces which rob families of mealtime together rob the same families of worship time together. The hurried life, especially the indulged hurried life, grows impatient with the quietness necessary for reading and prayer. There are far more exciting things to do. The exciting things are seldom the fulfilling things in the long run. The family which is too fragmented for worship together is living by a value system which cannot build strong Christians. Rather, such a value system actually prepares children to yield further to the pressures of sin and worldly society.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Comfortable Pilgrims ?

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;" ~I Peter 2:11

Does the Word of God teach that it's OK for professing Christians to be so comfortable in this world? Of course not! Why then are we seeing so many who call themselves believers entangling themselves with so many of this world's pleasures(Matthew 6:19,20)? They live as though there is no life to prepare for after death and as though there is no battle between "Good and Evil" going on all around them, II Timothy 2:4 tells us... "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."

We are to be pilgrims and strangers; this means that though we live in this world, we are to be free from it's appeal and severed from it's wicked fleshly culture. Anyone who has met Christ should be focused on Him and the work that He has for us to do... "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." ~Ephesians 2:10

I know that we must reach out to a depraved modernized society, but the Church has no business lowering her standards and becoming more like the world in order to appeal to sinners; for in doing so we cast our pearls before the swine (Matthew 7:6).

It boils down to this; God expects His people to be different than any other group of people on this earth, and not only in conduct and appearance but in our works for Him... "our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." ~Titus 2:13,14

I leave you with this thought... If according to God we are to be pilgrims and strangers in this world; then what right do we have to become comfortable with all that it has to offer?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The World or Christ?

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." ~I John 2:15

There is a popular opinion among the majority of today's professing Christians that God does not expect His children to live separated from this vile world. So many who call themselves followers of Christ are wrapped up in the wicked pleasures of this world. According to God's holy word his children are to live drastically different than those around them who are lost (I Peter2:11). It has been said that what we lack among today's believers is holiness, but I say a true follower of Christ who knows of His love for them, who has tasted of His joy, who has been forgiven for their sins and their evil heart's vanity will have no problem submitting to and obeying their Saviours desires for their life.

Jesus said in John 14:23 "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." If we are truly in love with Jesus then we will be Kingdom minded and will joyfully stay away from the things of this world that would hinder our walk with Him. people say today that they know and love Christ yet they deny and resist Him through their unholy deeds; the filth that people put before their eyes and pour into their ears will put desires within them that are unholy and damning to their souls, tell me how can someone claim to follow Christ yet they involve themselves with the very things He hates!

Parents allow their children to participate in unholy activities and lifestyles that defile their conscience and greater widens the gap between them and their Creator. Movies, music, clothing, games and much more, things that will teach them to be rebellious toward God's law and covetous for the things of this rotten world! But they say..."I'll just make sure I keep them in church and God and the pastor will teach them what they need to know". God help us when we are more concerned about our children's social standing than we are their hell bound souls. Why do parents allow such disobedience?... because they are as lost and undone and as full of sin as their children! We must teach our children to be separated from this world "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4 You CAN NOT love the world and love God and you CAN NOT hold the things of God in one hand and the things of this world in the other! I don't care what church you belong to or how active you are in your religious deeds, if you are a friend of this world you are not His child!

I recently heard a wise man of God say..."If a man or woman were to put on a clean white garment, they would do everything that they possibly could to stay away from anything that would stain that garment." This is true to a real child of God, Those who have put on Christ have put on a holy garment of purity and will do their very best to stay away from anything that even slightly favors sin. I say again, if we are true disciples of Jesus we will love what He loves and we will hate what He hates!

One thing that has been taught that is complete heresy is the teaching of comfort in this world for a believer, what I mean is... those who think that ever thing in a believer's life is always supposed to be happiness and a positive sin tolerating attitude! This is not how Christ said it would be, in fact, He taught quite the opposite. Take a look at these scriptures... John 15:19 "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." ... John 16:20 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy." Anyone who sees the condition of this vain world will carry a sorrowful load for all of those who are blind to it's ruin and despair.

Be assured! God's people are full of joy, but that joy does not come from the pleasures and offerings of this wicked world but rather from prayer and communion with our precious Lord! All who are disobedient to the commandments of God's word are in grave danger, look to him and see if you are truly following Him. Time is running out, are you tired of playing games with God? Do you follow Christ or do you follow the world? You can not have both! Remember, if this world hated Christ then what gives us the right as His followers to expect this world to love us?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

God Will Punish Sin

“There is no use to apply a remedy to this generation…the second message of the cross, 'the forgiveness of sin through Christ’s blood.' They don’t think there is any need. This generation needs to hear the first message of that bloody cross, 'GOD WILL PUNISH SIN.' Nobody will ever be interested in whether Christ did anything on the cross that would do me any good or not till you believe that GOD WILL PUNISH SIN.”

- Evangelist Rolfe Barnard

Why Christ Offends Men

"There are some who stumble at Christ because of his holiness. He is too strict for them; they would like to be Christians, but they cannot renounce their sensual pleasures; they would like to be washed in his blood, but they desire still to roll in the mire of sin.

Willing enough the mass of men would be to receive Christ, if, after receiving him, they might continue in their drunkenness, their wantonness, and self-indulgence. But Christ lays the axe at the root of the tree; he tells them that these things must be given up, for “because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience,” and “without holiness no man can see the Lord.”

Human nature kicks at this. “What! May I not enjoy one darling lust? May I not indulge myself at least now and then in these things? Must I altogether forsake my old habits and my old ways? Must I be made a new creature in Christ Jesus?”

These are terms too hard, conditions too severe, and so the human heart goes back to the flesh pots of Egypt... Christ offends men because HIS GOSPEL IS INTOLERANT OF SIN."

Taken from Spurgeon's message, "Unbelievers Stumbling; Believers Rejoicing" - Metroplitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1864

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Son of God Does NOT Save Rebels

THERE ARE MANY who want to be saved from the consequences of their sin, who do not want to be saved from the love of it. Many want to be delivered from sin's curse and sin's wages, who do not want to bow their neck to the yoke of Christ. There are many who are attracted by the Gospel message and see the way of salvation, who are still possessing a craving for this present evil age. How great the need for care, lest by an inadequate presentation of the truth of the Gospel we deceive these souls into a false profession. There is a grave danger that many people will make a mistake of substituting an emotional religious crisis for a born-again experience. To preach Christ as Saviour without preaching Christ as Lord, makes a mockery of the Gospel and the entire Christian life. There must be true repentance.

"If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (I John 2 : 15). To those who want to receive Christ as Saviour in order to have a passport to Heaven, but desire to remain in their sins and in the world, we must be faithful and declare like Peter, "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (Acts 8:21-23).

Mr. Spurgeon warns his students: "If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord's will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Do you imagine that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified by going to the worldlings and telling them that they may be saved at this moment by simply accepting Christ as their Saviour, while they are wedded to their idols and their hearts are still in love with sin? If I do so, I tell them a lie, pervert the Gospel, insult Christ, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness."

The Son of God does not save rebels. There must be true submission (repentance) before there can be salvation. What a parody of the Gospel when many are told to "trust Jesus to take them to Heaven when they die," who nevertheless are living in the practice of sin and rebellion against His laws. Mr. George Goodman has left on record an illustration of the truth of the utter hollowness or utter impossibility of claiming to rest on "the finished work of Christ", while refusing to live under the lordship of Christ: "A king has part of his kingdom in rebellion, and in order to show his grace, causes mercy to be proclaimed to the rebels on their yielding to him and seeking reconciliation on the ground of the proclamation. He threatens destruction to those who continue to defy his authority. One of the rebels is warned of his danger, but he replies, 'I am in no danger; I am resting on the proclamation; I am sure the king is faithful. He will never break his promise or withdraw his proclaimed mercy.' "'But you are still in rebellion. You are continuing in the course he condemns, and are indifferent to His commands, and the mercy is offered to those who yield.' "'True, but the mercy is free; there are no conditions, and to make conditions would be to make it no more of grace,' is the reply." "What should we say to such reasoning? Alas, is it not in effect what some of us say who, while refusing Christ as Lord, profess to trust in Him and His work for salvation?"

Walter Marshall wrote some three hundred years ago, "Why doth a man seek a pardon if he intends to go on in rebellion and stand out in defiance of his prince? They seek a pardon in a mocking way and intend not to return unto obedience...To take a part of His salvation and leave out the rest? But Christ is not divided...They would be saved by Christ and yet be out of Christ in a fleshly state, whereas God doth free none from condemnation, but those who are IN Christ." "There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared" (Ps. 130 : 4). Many of God's children forget, when dealing with the unsaved, that the grace of God does not give deliverance to the sinner from the penalty of his sins and then give him liberty to live a life of sin. Paul tells us that the pardoning grace of God teaches us to live a life of holiness: "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee" (Tit. 2: 11-15).

The teaching is clear in the Epistles that if a person has passed from death unto life he is now under the sway of the lordship of Christ. "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again . . . "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5 : 15-17). The young convert is now UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT. Paul's conversion is the pattern conversion of the New Testament. His first words in his new life in Christ were, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Yes, the first word of a new-born soul is Lord. The Lord takes control of the heart that accepts Him as Saviour and makes known His will. The believer knows His voice and rejoices to obey. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10 : 27).

Let me finish with an incident in my evangelistic experience. When I was preaching in the open air in Scotland, I invited the listening crowd to come forward and accept the Gospel of John in my hand if they were interested or anxious to be saved. Immediately a young girl of fourteen years of age came forward and received a copy. "Why do you want to be saved?" I asked. "Why do you want to accept Christ as your Saviour?" The answer came clear as crystal, "Please sir, I do not want to live a life of sin." John D. 'Wheeler, my colleague (an aged, experienced worker, having labored with Dr. Torrey and Gypsy Smith) said that this was the finest answer ever given to this all-important question.

Oh, my fellow Christian workers, let us cease proclaiming a perverted Gospel, and preach the evangel of COMPLETE SALVATION: Jesus Christ Lord. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." ~James A. Stewart

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brother Booth was Right!

"I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell." -William Booth (1829-1912)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Holiness and Prayer

IT is worthy of note that the praying to which such transcendent position is given and from which great results are attributable, is not simply the saying of prayers, but holy praying. It is the "prayers of the saints," the prayers of the holy men of God. Behind such praying, giving to it energy and flame are the men and women who are wholly devoted to God, who are entirely separated from sin, and fully separated unto God. These are they who always give energy, force, and strength to praying.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was preeminent in praying, because he was preeminent in saintliness. An entire dedication to God, a full surrender, which carries with it the whole being, in a flame of holy consecration-all this gives wings to faith and energy to prayer. It opens the door to the throne of grace, and brings strong influence to bear on Almighty God.

The "lifting up of holy hands" is essential to Christlike praying. It is not, however, a holiness which only dedicates a closet to God, which sets apart merely an hour to him, but a consecration which takes hold of the entire man, which dedicates the whole life to God.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," had full liberty of approach and ready access to God in prayer. And he had this free and full access because of his unquestioning obedience to his Father. Right through his earthly life his supreme care and desire was to do the will of his Father. And this fact, coupled with another-the consciousness of having so ordered his life-gave him confidence and assurance, which enabled him to draw near to the throne of grace with unbounded confidence, born of obedience, and promising acceptance, audience, and answer.

Loving obedience puts us where we can "ask anything in his name," with the assurance, that "He will do it." Loving obedience brings us into the prayer realm, and makes us beneficiaries of the wealth of Christ, and of the riches of his grace, through the coming of the Holy Spirit who will abide with us, and be in us. Cheerful obedience to God, qualifies us to pray effectually.

This obedience which not only qualifies but foreruns prayer, must be loving, constant, always doing the Father's will, and cheerfully following the path of God's commands.

In the instance of King Hezekiah, it was a potent plea which changed God's decree that he should die and not live. The stricken ruler called upon God to remember how he had walked before him in truth, and with a perfect heart. With God, this counted. He hearkened to the petition and as a result death found his approach to Hezekiah barred for fifteen years.

Jesus learned obedience in the school of suffering, and, at the same time, he learned prayer in the school of obedience. Just as it is the prayer of a righteous man which availeth much, so it is righteousness which is obedience to God. A righteous man is an obedient man, and he it is, who can pray effectually, who can accomplish great things when he betakes himself to his knees.

True praying, be it remembered, is not mere sentiment, nor poetry, nor eloquent utterance. Nor does it consist of saying in honeyed cadences, "Lord, Lord." Prayer is not a mere form of words; it is not just calling upon a name. Prayer is obedience. It is founded on the adamantine rock of obedience to God. Only those who obey have the right to pray. Behind the praying must be the doing; and it is the constant doing of God's will in daily life which gives prayer its potency, as our Lord plainly taught:

Not every one which saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, "Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?" And then will I profess unto them, "I never knew you; depart from me, ye that worketh iniquity" ~E.M. Bounds

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Joy of Obedience

Long ago I came across this sentence: "Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness, if only we had perfect confidence in the power we were obeying." I remember being struck with the saying as the means of a possible, though undreamed of, way of happiness. I thought of that saying often, even when full of inner rebellion. It gave me the vision of a rest and yet a vision of a possible development that would soothe and at the same time satisfy all my yearnings.

Need I say that this rest has now been revealed to me, not as a vision, but as a reality. I have seen the Lord Jesus as the way to perfect rest when we yield to Him and take His yoke upon us.

Dear hesitating soul, you are missing such joy! The Master has revealed Himself to you and is calling for your complete surrender. Yet, you withdraw and hesitate. You are partially willing, and you think it is fit and proper that you should feel thus. But a complete surrender, without any reserve, seems to you to be too much. You are afraid of it. You think it involves too much and is too great a risk.

Then, too, you see other souls who seem able to walk with easy consciences in a far wider path than that which appears to be marked out for you, and you ask yourself why this is so. It seems strange that you must do what they do not have to do, and must avoid what they feel free to do.

Dear Christian, this very difference between you is your privilege, though you do not yet know it. Your Lord says, "He that hath My commandments) and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father. and I will love him, and will manifest myself to Him." You have His commandments. Those you envy do not have them. You know the mind of your Lord about many things. Those walking in darkness do not. Is this not a privilege? Should you regret that your soul is in such close relationship with your Master that He is able to tell you things which those less close may not know? Do you not realize the tender degree of intimacy in this? ~An exerpt from "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" by Hannah Whitall Smith

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The American Holocaust

After a speech, pro-life activist Penny Lea was approached by an old man. Weeping, he told her the following story:

"I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?

A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!

Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we'd just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.

"Their screams tormented us . . . If some of their screams reached our ears we'd just sing a little louder."Now, so many years later, I see it happening all over again in America. God forgive you as Americans for you have blocked out the screams of millions of your own children. The holocaust is here. The response is the same as it was in my country - SILENCE!"

Have you ever wondered HOW people could have stood by and let the holocaust just happen? Do you wonder why the Christians in this story chose to just sing their praise to God a little louder to drown out the victim's cries?

The old man's story is in the past. The past cannot be changed. It is easy to think we would act differently now. But the old man's last words are haunting "It's happening all over again in America with abortion. The Holocaust is here."
As American Christians, we have become so comfortable in our lovely buildings and padded pews. We have beautiful fellowship halls for our many banquets. We have the latest sound equipment for our praise and worship. We have computers to keep our records. We gather together each week and shut ourselves inside our buildings. We raise our voices as loud as we can, all in the name of God.

And yet, in the heavenly realm, our voices raised in praise are drowned out by screams of agony from millions of babies who are being executed before they are born. We can't see them. We can't hear them. But it is happening right now!

Babies are being aborted UP UNTIL THE DAY OF BIRTH in this country. Their organs and brains are "harvested" for use in medical experimentation. In Wichita, Kansas, the smoke stack from the furnace of Dr. Tiller's abortion clinic belches out black smoke and the sickening smell of burning flesh. These are the bodies of 7th, 8th and 9th month old babies being "disposed of".

If the Christians in the old man's church had done something, they would have probably been killed. That is not the case with us. We don't even have that as an excuse for our silence.

Years from now will you be like that old man trying to explain your apathy as millions were led away to slaughter in abortion clinics? Or will you raise your voice and cry out in protest for those who have no voice! The choice is YOURS!

The Gospel

"Paul never glamorized the gospel! It is not success, but sacrifice! It's not a glamerous gospel ,but a bloody gospel, a gory gospel, and a sacrificial gospel! 5 minutes inside eternity and we will wish that we had sacrificed more!!! Wept more, bled more, grieved more, loved more, prayed more, given more!!!"-Leonard Ravenhill

Abandonment by Oswald Chambers

"Then Peter began to say unto Him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee… ." Mark 10:28

Our Lord replies in effect, that abandonment is for Himself, and not for what the disciples themselves will get from it. Beware of an abandonment which has the commercial spirit in it - "I am going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy." All that is the result of being right with God, but that spirit is not of the essential nature of Christianity. Abandonment is not for anything at all. We have got so commercialized that we only go to God for something from Him, and not for Himself. It is like saying, "No, Lord, I don't want Thee, I want myself; but I want myself clean and filled with the Holy Ghost; I want to be put in Thy show room and be able to say - 'This is what God has done for me.'" If we only give up something to God because we want more back, there is nothing of the Holy Spirit in our abandonment; it is miserable commercial self-interest. That we gain heaven, that we are delivered from sin, that we are made useful to God - these things never enter as considerations into real abandonment, which is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.

When we come up against the barriers of natural relationship, where is Jesus Christ? Most of us desert Him - "Yes, Lord, I did hear Thy call; but my mother is in the road, my wife, my self-interest, and I can go no further." "Then," Jesus says, "you cannot be My disciple."

The test of abandonment is always over the neck of natural devotion. Go over it, and God's own abandonment will embrace all those you had to hurt in abandoning. Beware of stopping short of abandonment to God. Most of us know abandonment in vision only.