December 31, 2009

On the Last Day

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, "if any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." John 7:37.

Patience had her perfect work in the Lord Jesus, and until the last day of the feast He pleaded with the Jews, even as on this last day of the year He pleads with us, and waits to be gracious to us. Admirable indeed is the longsuffering of the Saviour in bearing with some of us year after year, notwithstanding our provocations, rebellions, and resistance of His Holy Spirit. Wonder of wonders that we are still in the land of mercy!

Pity expressed herself most plainly, for Jesus cried, which implies not only the loudness of His voice, but the tenderness of His tones. He entreats us to be reconciled. "We pray you," says the Apostle, "as though God did beseech you by us." What earnest, pathetic terms are these! How deep must be the love which makes the Lord weep over sinners, and like a mother woo His children to His bosom! Surely at the call of such a cry our willing hearts will come.

Provision is made most plenteously; all is provided that man can need to quench his soul's thirst. To his conscience the atonement brings peace; to his understanding the gospel brings the richest instruction; to his heart the person of Jesus is the noblest object of affection; to the whole man the truth as it is in Jesus supplies the purest nutriment. Thirst is terrible, but Jesus can remove it. Though the soul were utterly famished, Jesus could restore it.

Proclamation is made most freely, that every thirsty one is welcome. No other distinction is made but that of thirst. Whether it be the thirst of avarice, ambition, pleasure, knowledge, or rest, he who suffers from it is invited. The thirst may be bad in itself, and be no sign of grace, but rather a mark of inordinate sin longing to be gratified with deeper draughts of lust; but it is not goodness in the creature which brings him the invitation, the Lord Jesus sends it freely, and without respect of persons.

Personality is declared most fully. The sinner must come to Jesus, not to works, ordinances, or doctrines, but to a personal Redeemer, who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree. The bleeding, dying, rising Saviour, is the only star of hope to a sinner. Oh for grace to come now and drink, ere the sun sets upon the year's last day!

No waiting or preparation is so much as hinted at. Drinking represents a reception for which no fitness is required. A fool, a thief, a harlot can drink; and so sinfulness of character is no bar to the invitation to believe in Jesus. We want no golden cup, no bejewelled chalice, in which to convey the water to the thirsty; the mouth of poverty is welcome to stoop down and quaff the flowing flood. Blistered, leprous, filthy lips may touch the stream of divine love; they cannot pollute it, but shall themselves be purified. Jesus is the fount of hope.

Dear reader, hear the dear Redeemer's loving voice as He cries to each of us, "if any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink."


Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England's best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, became pastor of London's famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification. In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Spurgeon's printed works are voluminous, and those provided here are only a sampling of his best-known works, including his magnum opus, The Treasury of David. Nearly all of Spurgeon's printed works are still in print and available from Pilgrim Publications, PO Box 66, Pasadena, TX 77501.

December 24, 2009

Immanuel - God with us

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14, KJV.

Immanuel - Hebrew ‘God with us’ - עמנואל ‛immânû'êl - from אל 'ĕl, "God," and עמנוּ ‛ımmânû, "with us." Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14, KJV.

Greek definitions of the following words:
  • dwelt - skēnoō (skay-no'-o), to tent or encamp.
  • among - en, a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state).
  • us - hēmin (hay-meen'), to (or for, with, by) us.
Matthew Henry's Commentary

The Messiah shall be introduced on a glorious errand, wrapped up in his glorious name: They shall call his name Immanuel - God with us, God in our nature, God at peace with us, in covenant with us. This was fulfilled in their calling him Jesus - a Saviour (Matthew 1:21-25), for, if he had not been Immanuel - God with us, he could not have been Jesus - a Saviour. Now this was a further sign of God's favour to the house of David and the tribe of Judah; for he that intended to work this great salvation among them no doubt would work out for them all those other salvations which were to be the types and figures of this, and as it were preludes to this. "Here is a sign for you, not in the depth nor in the height, but in the prophecy, in the promise, in the covenant made with David, which you are no strangers to. The promised seed shall be Immanuel, God with us; let that word comfort you (Isaiah 8:10), that God is with us, and (v. 8) that your land is Immanuel's land.

God came to dwell among men and become the penalty for their sin, yesterday, today and forever.

As the anticipation grows for the day to acknowledge His birth, the joy of the King that has come quickly fades away in the hearts and minds of men as soon as the festivities end. How sad this is?

When a child is born of a husband and wife, the new parents along with many others, rejoice a whole lot longer than just the day the child was born. But this child will be selfish, obstinate, rude, disrespectful, beligerent and test his/her parents constantly. Now this child will not be troublesome all of their life. They will certainly demonstrate love, compassion, humility, sorrow, honor, responsibility and respect too.

But the Christ has come and was the perfect Child, the perfect Son and is the perfect Savior. He will later become known as the one who knew no sin, so that we would be made righteous with God, through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Sadly though, people still see no desireable beauty in him and they continue to reject him though He is very familiar with our sorrows and grief. Even when the Gospel of His life is spoken of before men, they turn away their faces as well as their ears, becoming deaf and blind to their Savior.

As a beautiful and precious baby that He was, He would grow up to be despised by many. There was no regard to honor Him at all. How selfish and insulting this is!

This Child will be the one that will be wounded for our sins and beaten for our violations of His law.

Yet, the only way to bring peace between sinful humanity and God, was to discipline His Son, whom had not committed these egregious offenses (Isaiah 53:1-6). We did.

Maybe when we look at Jesus in various settings around us, the cards we've received, commercials on television and in the messages proclaimed at church this weekend, it is my hope that you will see Christ more as a Savior, rather than just a baby in a manger, more than the gifts that have been given or received, Christ is a gift from God, the free gift that came to all men, unto justification of life (Romans 5:18).

I hope you will take notice of how often the words "free" and "gift" are referred to in the fifth chapter of Romans, which speaks of Jesus Christ, followed by the last two verses of this chapter and the explicit distinction between Adam's disobedience and resulting effect and Jesus' obedience and resulting reward.

Romans 5:15, But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Romans 5:16, And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

Romans 5:17, For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:18, Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Romans 5:19, For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Romans 5:20, Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.


Immanuel, God with us, has come and Jesus Christ is His gift of salvation and redemption to the world.

It is my hope that your heart and life would be as the shepherds did after witnessing the Savior, Christ the Lord, "the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them" (Luke 2:20).


O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Psalm 95:1.


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the King James Version. Public domain.

December 15, 2009

When Sport Becomes a god

I came across this post at The Informed Evangelist blog and it is with permission that I re-post this.

I like sports and I'm a fan of the game as well. My contention lies with those who place a devotion to the sport or an athlete, in a greater and higher esteem than they do of God.
While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Psalm 146:2.
Sadly though, many Americans on any given Sunday, or any day, or night of the week that a sporting event is broadcast, will these devoted fans lift their voices with immense passion and praise, just to see their favorite team win, or their favorite athlete score. And if they had attended a church service on a Sunday morning prior to the game, I would guess their praise to the King of kings was not even close to the praise given to their favorite team.

Just as the psalmist wrote, "while I live, I will praise the LORD;" not just on Sundays, but every day.

QUESTION: Will your praise for the LORD be more exalting because He gives you the breath to live, because you have been justified by His blood and saved from God's wrath through Christ (Romans 5:9), or will you give your highest praise and worship to your favorite team or player?

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me; Exodus 20:3-5, KJV.

I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Isaiah 42:8, KJV.


We would do well, to obey these words from the LORD. Thank you to The Informed Evangelist for the permission to repost this.

When Sport becomes a god.

This article will appear in an upcoming edition of The Justin Texan:

Football season is in full swing. This means that high school, college and NFL teams are doing battle on the gridiron and fans are buying tickets, merchandise, paying for special packages on their cable and satellite services to see more games, and starting fantasy football leagues. Athletes are training, some are taking steroids, and parents are carting their first graders to football fields to don pads and helmets and learning how to crash into each other like miniature torpedoes.

I like football. I watch it now and then. I’m originally from Buffalo, NY and used to go to a few Buffalo Bills games a year. I’ve been to a few playoff games in sub-zero weather. I’ve even been to a home opener here in Dallas (which is tough for a die-hard Bills fan) when we got tickets for chump change. I used to be involved in a couple of fantasy leagues and even won a league once.

Here’s my question for myself and everyone else who likes football: at what point does our enjoyment of the game become idolatry? When do we cross the line from healthy enjoyment to outright obsession? Is it when we skip church to go to a game? When we pay more money for merchandise or football equipment than we give to a local church? When we care more about not missing a practice than whether or not our friends know Christ? When you know your team’s playbook better than you know the Bible? Where is that line?

I’ll leave the specific answer to that question to everyone who names the name of Christ and is involved with sport. But generally speaking, theologians agree that idolatry happens whenever something or someone becomes more important than God Himself. I think it’s safe to say that comparing the time, money, and energy we give to the Lord (lit. “Master”) and sport would be a good place to start.

Why do we do this? Why are we content with so little? We find more joy in watching a millionaire run across a chalk line carrying the skin of a pig than we do in the one, true living God! Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? We care more whether our kids, whose ages are measured in single digits, can hit, shoot a gap, throw a ball and make a play than we care whether they know Christ! We’d gladly trade their soul for a Super Bowl ring! “Dereliction of duty” does not begin to describe the father who would settle for such a trade. It’s spiritual child abuse.

Even while you are reading this, if you’ve read this far and not tossed this paper out in a fit of rage, you are accusing me of taking my Christianity too far. Oh really? How far are we supposed to take it? I seem to recall something about Jesus saying that if anyone wanted to come after Him, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Him! In other words, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “He bids us come and die.” Pretty extreme, I know, but I don’t write the mail, I just deliver it.

What really mystifies me is that professing Christians idolize a false god. Could it be due to the fact that they can “see” football, games, sport and can’t physically see the living God that they claim to love, serve and adore? Augustine was once approached by a heathen who showed him his idol and said, “Here is my god. Where is yours?” Augustine replied, “I cannot show you my God; not because there is no God to show but because you have no eyes to see Him.”

Do you have eyes to see Him? Or are you blind to the beauty, the magnificence, the power of this living God that we claim to serve? Are you dazzled with Friday night lights or the glory of God? Posted by Jon Speed.

Fear and Awe

The prophets warn us that when we see God shaking the nations, and perilous times befall us, our natural man will fear greatly. Ezekiel asked, “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?” (Ezekiel 22:14).

When God warned Noah of his coming judgments and told him to build an ark, Noah was “moved with fear” (Hebrews 11:7). Even bold, courageous David said, “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalm 119:120). And when the prophet Habakkuk saw disastrous days ahead, he cried out, “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble…” (Habakkuk 3:16).

Please click on the title above, to read the post in its entirety.

December 11, 2009

Unholy Trinity - John MacArthur

"Recently, however, while recovering from knee-replacement surgery, I decided to sample some of the current fare on TBN. From a therapeutic point of view it seemed a good choice: something more excruciating than the pain in my leg might distract me from the physical suffering of post-surgical trauma. And I suppose on that basis the strategy was effective."

John MacArthur


To read the full post by John MacArthur regarding the deception of ministers who purport themselves as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, when their words are examined and tested by the Word of God, one discovers they are not who they claim to be when money is the constant message that comes from their mouths.

Please click on the post title above, Unholy Trinity, to read the entire post from the Shepherd's Fellowship blog.

December 9, 2009

Exposing Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

John MacArthur has become one of my favorite preachers over the last several months. His thorough exposition of Scripture has helped me to attentively discover with clarity and detail, the deeper meaning of various passages in its context, which has also enabled me to explain other texts in a similar manner to others.

Scripture says that we, as Christians, should have no fellowship with those who engage is deceptive, dishonest, evil practices and it is also our responsibility to expose the deception too (Ephesians 5:11).

This responsibility does not exclusively rest upon the shoulders of the pastor, though hopefully he is not ashamed to acknowledge the deception and error of the prosperity gospel and those associated with this unbiblical form theology, but it should also be the responsibility of every believing Christian too, for the benefit of the body of Christ and to the honor of God.

To my knowledge, I have not read of anyone in the Bible that has been miraculously healed or supernaturally gifted because they had given any amount of money either to Jesus or any of the Apostles.

In fact, a man named Simon, a practioner of sorcery in the city of Samaria who did some amazing works that astonished its residents and who declared this man to be someone great, demonstrating the great power of God (Acts 8:9-10). He at some point however, heard the Gospel preached by Phillip, believed the message and was baptized (v. 13). Then as he watched the apostles lay hands on the people of Samaria to receive the Holy Spirit, he thought he could receive this gift as well, by offering money to the apostles (Acts 8:18).

What followed for Simon was a stern rebuke by the apostles for his desire to purchase and receive such a gift the apostles had so that he may possess it as well. Because of this, the apostles were able to clearly discern that Simon had an utterly wrong motive to possess such a gift and issued a command to repent of his wickedness and seek God's forgiveness (Acts 8:20-22).

Shouldn't the same be said of those that John MacArthur describes in this introductory post that do the exact same thing today? Absolutely.

Shouldn't we also expose the deceitfulness of those who declare that the power of God or a miracle from God, can be bequeathed to another for a price, or that a person can be blessed with abundance of finances if they "sow their most generous seed (money) offering?" The answer is unequivocally yes, they should be exposed, because no such power of God or miracle can ever be bought from God. The bottom line is, God cannot be bought to do anything for us in our lives.

Yet why does it continue take place and why aren't there more people outspoken about it?

The answer lies simply in the fact that many Christians do not diligently study their Bible, like the Bereans did, searching the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:10-15) rightlly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), to find out whether what a television evangelist, prosperity preacher or faith-healer has said or done that is in direct accord with the context of Scripture.

I think from the tone of this article, it seems as if John MacArthur is fed up with the deception as well as the ignorance of Christians not calling out these people who purport themselves as godly ministers or evangelists. They should be repeatedly exposed and called what they truly are: conniving, deceiving wolves in sheep's clothing.
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. Proverbs 15:28, King James Version.

The first quarter of this article by John MacArthur is posted and the remaining portion can be read at the link provided.


A Colossal Fraud
Monday, Dec 7, 2009
(By John MacArthur)


Former NASDAQ chairman Bernie Madoff ran a ponzi-scheme swindle for nearly 20 years, and he bilked an estimated $18 billion from Wall-Street investors. When the scam finally came to light it unleashed a shockwave of outrage around the world. It was the largest and most far-reaching investment fraud ever.

But the evil of Madoff's embezzlement pales by comparison to an even more diabolical fraud being carried out in the name of Christ under the bright lights of television cameras on religious networks worldwide every single day. Faith healers and prosperity preachers promise miracles in return for money, conning their viewers out of more than a billion dollars annually. They have operated this racket on television for more than five decades. Worst of all, they do it with the tacit acceptance of most of the Christian community.

Someone needs to say this plainly: The faith healers and health-and-wealth preachers who dominate religious television are shameless frauds. Their message is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing spiritual or miraculous about their on-stage chicanery. It is all a devious ruse designed to take advantage of desperate people. They are not godly ministers but greedy impostors who corrupt the Word of God for money's sake. They are not real pastors who shepherd the flock of God but hirleings whose only design is to fleece the sheep. Their love of money is glaringly obvious in what they say as well as how they live. They claim to possess great spiritual power, but in reality they are rank materialists and enemies of everything holy. Continue reading...

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