Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Institute for Nouthetic Studies Blog
Irresponsibility by Jay Adams
Jay Adams explains how sinful actions begin and continue if one does not take responsibility of his own actions.
Strangers in a Hostile Land by Nathan Bingham
The Christian must continue to strive toward and long for his real home which is in heaven.
Special Features on Liberal Theology:
The Lie of Liberal Theology by Phil Johnson
Part One of Phil's series on liberal theology.
A Thumbnail History of Theological Liberalism by Phil Johnson
Phil continues his series on liberal theology by giving us a brief overview of the history of liberal theology.
Dr. Mohler's Blog
Air Conditioning Hell: How Liberalism Happens by Al Mohler
Dr. Mohler explains how liberals minimize and sometimes eliminate the doctrine of hell.
FIGHTING MAD" or other articles of interest
The Mindset of the New Evangelical Liberalism, Various Authors (PDF File)
The above articles by Phil Johnson and Al Mohler are included in this ejournal from 9Marks ministries with additional articles from Michael Horton, Carl Trueman, Matt Chandler, and more . . .
Friday, January 29, 2010
Fighting Friday: Letters of John Newton - Strength in Affliction--The Secret of Loving Christ More (Letters on Suffering 3/3)
Strength in Affliction--The Secret of Loving Christ More
by John Newton
At length, and without farther apology for my silence, I sit down to ask you how you fare. Afflictions I hear have been your lot; and if I had not heard so, I should have taken it for granted: for I believe the Lord loves you, and as many as He loves He chastens. I think you can say, afflictions have been good for you, and I doubt not but you have found strength according to your day; so that, though you may have been sharply tried, you have not been overpowered. For the Lord has engaged His faithfulness for this to all His children, that He will support them in all their trials: so that the fire shall not consume them, nor the floods drown them (I Cor. x. 13; Isa. xliii. 2).
If you can say thus much, cannot you go a little further, and add, in the apostle's words, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear. I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me: yea, doubtless, I count all things loss and of no regard, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for when I am weak, then am I strong"? Methinks I hear you say, "God, who comforteth those who are cast down, has comforted my soul; and as my troubles have abounded, my consolations in Christ have abounded also. He has delivered, He does deliver, and in Him I trust that He will yet deliver me." Surely you can set your seal to these words. The Lord help you then to live more and more a life of faith, to feed upon the promises, and to rejoice in the assurance that all things are yours, and shall surely work for your good.
If I guess right at what passes in your heart, the name of Jesus is precious to you, and this is a sure token of salvation and that of God. You could not have loved Him, if He had not loved you first. He spoke to you, and said, "Seek My face," before your heart cried to Him, "Thy face, O Lord, will I seek." But you complain, "Alas! I love Him so little." That very complaint proves that you love Him a great deal; for if you loved Him but a little, you would think you loved Him enough. A mother loves her child a great deal, yet does not complain for not loving it more; nay, perhaps she hardly thinks it possible. But such an infinite object is Jesus, that they who love Him better than parents or child, or any earthly relation or comfort, will still think they hardly love Him at all; because they see such a vast disproportion between the utmost they can give Him, and what in Himself He deserves from them. But I can give you good advice and good news: love Him as well as you can now, and ere long you shall love Him better. O when you see Him as He is, then I am sure you will love Him indeed! If you want to love Him better now while you are here, I believe I can tell you the secret how this is to be attained: Trust Him. The more you trust Him, the better you will love Him. If you ask, farther, How shall I do to trust Him? I answer, Try Him: the more you make trial of Him, the more your trust in Him will be strengthened. Venture upon His promises; carry them to Him, and see if He will not be as good as His word. But, alas! Satan and unbelief work the contrary way. We are unwilling to try Him, and therefore unable to trust Him; and what wonder, then, that our love is faint, for who can love at uncertainties?
If you are in some measure thankful for what you have received, and hungering and thirsting for more, you are in the frame I would wish for myself, and I desire to praise the Lord on your behalf. Pray for us. We join in love to you.
I am. &c.
H.T. Fire and Ice
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Dr. Mohler's Blog
Newsnote: Seen But Not Heard? by Al Mohler
Dr. Mohler explains about the exaltation of children and the death of the grown up in western civilization.
Institute for Nouthetic Studies Blog
Man and Beast by Jay Adams
Jay Adams compares the Biblical view of man and beast as compared to the world's view (environmentalism).
Christian: Don't Harden Others Against the Things of God by John Bunyan (Pilgrim's Progress)
Convicting quote from John Bunyan's classic Pilgrim's Progress.
Desiring God Blog
Rethinking Perfection by David Mathis
David asks us to rethink perfection in terms of grace rather than judgment as described by Jesus in Matthew 5:48.
Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue by Karisa Sclehr
R.C. Sproul's defense against abortion. Includes links to Sproul's resources concerning abortion.
(Related News Item)
Majority of Americans and 6 in 10 young adults view abortion as morally wrong (Knights of Columbus)
A recent survey shows that Americans are more inclined to view abortion as morally wrong. Is the tide turning?
"FIGHTING MAD" or other articles of interest
The New York Times
Spare the Spanking, Spoil the Report Card? by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway
A recent study shows that children who have been spanked do better academically and are able to adjust better socially than those children who have never been spanked.
THE SNARE OF SERVICE
Arthur W. Pink
The main business and the principal concern of the Christian should be that of thanking, praising and adoring that blessed One who has saved him with an everlasting salvation, and who, to secure that salvation, left Heaven’s glory and came down to this sin-cursed earth, here to suffer and die the awful death of the cross, that His people might be “delivered from this present evil world” (Gal.1:4). “Praise is comely for the upright” (Psa.33:1). But to see the upright praising God is something which Satan cannot endure, and he will employ every art and device to turn aside the happy Christian from such blissful occupation.
Our great enemy is very, very subtil in the methods and means he uses. He cares not what the object may be as long as it serves to engross the believer and hinder his giving to Christ that consideration (Heb.3:l) and adoration (Rev. 5:12) which are His due. Satan’s aim is gained if he can occupy the believer with perishing sinners rather than the Lord of glory. The tactics which the devil uses with the saints are the same he uses so successfully with the unsaved. What is the chief thing he employs to shut out Christ from the vision of the lost (2 Cor.4:4)? Is it not getting them occupied with their own deeds and doings? Assuredly it is. In like manner he deals with God’s people: he seeks to get them engaged in “service” as a substitute for communing with Christ. It is the dragon posing as an angel of light, stirring up the feverish nature and restless energy of the flesh, to find some outlet that appears to be pleasing to God.
Above we have said that the great aim and chief exercise of the Christian should be that of worshiping and adoring his blessed and wondrous Savior, which is, really, heaven begun on earth. Yet, let it be pointed out, this ought not to terminate at the lips, our very lives ought to show forth His praise (1 Pet. 2:9), our daily walk ought to be pleasing and honoring unto Him (1 Cor. 10:31), our every act needs to be brought into conformity to His holy will (Prov.3:6). To these statements many, perhaps all, Christians will assent. But do they perceive what is necessarily involved? We fear not. It involves a life’s task. And what is that? This: a constant searching of the Scriptures with a prayerful and earnest desire to find out what is pleasing to Him, a holy determination to discover the details of His revealed mind. This is the service to which God has called each of His people: to serve Him, to take His yoke upon them, to submit to His rule over them, to be in all things in subjection to His holy will. But, we say again, the learning of what His will really is, in all its fullness, is a life’s task which requires and calls for the utmost attention in the cultivation of our own soul’s garden. “Exercise thyself unto godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). “Take heed unto thyself” (1 Tim. 4:16). “Keep thyself pure” (1 Tim.5:22). “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Tim. 2:15). These are some of the exhortations of Holy Writ which much need to be taken to heart by God’s dear people in these hustling, bustling days. But, alas, they are unheeded by many.
And what is one of the chief causes of hindrance? What is it that in these times so often prevents the child of God from “taking heed” unto himself? This: he is far to much engrossed in attempting to “take heed” for others. The woman who has spent much of the day in attending to domestic duties, the man who has been toiling for his daily bread, instead of spending the evening quietly in spiritual devotions, prayerfully studying God’s Word, giving “attendance to reading” (1 Tim. 4:13), and thus feeding his soul, removing the world’s stains acquired through the day, and conversing with his family upon the things of God, has a round of religious meetings which he must attend, numerous church duties which he must perform. So it is with many on the holy Sabbath. Instead of that being, as God has designed, chiefly a day of rest, only too often it becomes the busiest of the whole week. No wonder that so many are little better than nervous wrecks! And all because of departing from God’s arrangements.
It is greatly to be feared that when the saints shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ that everyone may receive the things done in the body” (2 Cor. 5:10) that many of the redeemed will have to make the sad lament, “they made me keeper of the vineyards; mine own vineyard have I not kept” (Song of Sol. 1:6). Note carefully the first word, it is not, “He made me keeper of the vineyards.” No, His yoke is “easy” and His burden is “light” (Matt. 11:30); but “they.” Ah, it is the Egyptian taskmasters who spur on the people of God to engage in works in which the Lord has never called them to do. Martha is not alone in being “cumbered” (weighted down) with “much serving” (Luke 10:40).
The witness of our lives is far more weighty than that of our lips. If we spent more time in secret communion with Christ, people would take knowledge of us that we had “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). If we were more diligent and painstaking to find out and to put into practice the precepts and commands which God has recorded in His Word for the regulation of our lives; if, in consequence, we were really walking with Him, filled with that peace which passeth all understanding, rejoicing in the Lord; then instead of our going to the people and pressing upon all and sundry the precious things of Christ—thus disobeying Him who has bidden His disciples, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs” (Matthew 7:6) —some, at least, would come to us and ask “a reason of the hope” that is “in us” (1 Pet. 3:15).
But, as we have said above, the restless energy of the flesh longs to find some outlet, and our hearts are only too eagerly inclined to substitute service toward others for personal dealing with God for ourselves. It calls for less exercise of soul to memorize a few texts for the purpose of quoting them to someone else than it does to measure myself by the Scriptures, confess my sad failures and beg God to write His Word upon my heart. Ah, it is a comforting sop for our conscience to persuade ourselves that, though our walk is so far from being what it should be, yet we can “do our duty” in warning the wicked, or engage in some form of “Christian service.” Yes, and Satan will whisper in our ears, ‘You have been faithful there,’ and instead of being humbled and chastened before God for our miserable failures to live to Christ, our evil hearts are puffed up by the devil’s flatteries that we have, at least, faithfully preached Christ.
Let not the reader conclude from what has been said that the writer is opposed to either public worship or the Christian’s being engaged in any good works for the benefit of others. Not so, though we would earnestly warn against any attempt to worship with those who are not walking with God, or engaging in works which are not really glorifying to Him. Our main design has simply been to show the need of putting first things first.
Our first great need is not seeking to minister to others, but ourselves being ministered unto by the Lord. Our highest privilege is not that of being engaged in service for Christ, but of enjoying daily communion with Him. Our first obligation is not that of being concerned over the welfare of our neighbors, but making our own calling and election sure. Our first great task is not to serve our fellowmen, but to serve our God by studying His Word, learning His will, and then doing it. Our first circle of responsibility is not towards strangers and distant acquaintances, but our own home. Our chief ambition should not be the proclamation of Christ with our lips, but the preaching of Him by our lives.
If we have not learned to worship God in the secret place, we cannot do so in public assembly. If we are not ourselves really following Christ, walking and communing with Him, it is but mockery to speak of Him to others. If we preach Him in words but deny Him in our works, then we are only a stumbling block to those who hear us. If our “service” for Christ is robbing us of the time so urgently needed for the cultivation of our personal “vineyard,” then it is a snare and a curse to us. Then “take heed unto thyself,” “lay aside” every weight (Heb. 12:1) which hinders you from running the race which God “has set before” us. As a well known hymn says, “Take time to be holy,” or, better still, as a Scripture says, “The kingdom of God is... righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men” (Rom. 14:17,18).
HT. P.B. Ministries
Monday, January 25, 2010
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 28th, 1858, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"The governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now."—John 2:9-10.
THE governor of the feast said more than he intended to say, or rather, there is more truth in what he said than he himself imagined. This is the established rule all the world over: "the good wine first, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse." It is the rule with men; and have not hundreds of disappointed hearts bewailed it? Friendship first—the oily tongue, the words softer than butter, and afterwards the drawn sword. Ahithophel first presents the lordly dish of love and kindness to David, then afterwards that which is worse, for he forsakes his master, and becomes the counsellor of his rebel son. Judas presents first of all the dish of fair speech and of kindness; the Saviour partook thereof, he walked to the house of God in company with him, and took sweet counsel with him; but afterwards there came the dregs of the wine—"He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me." Judas the thief betrayed his Master, bringing forth afterwards "that which is worse." Ye have found it so with many whom ye thought your friends. In the heyday of prosperity, when the sun was shining, and the birds were singing, and all was fair and gay and cheerful with you, they brought forth the good wine; but there came a chilling frost, and nipped your flowers, and the leaves fell from the trees, and your streams were frosted with the ice, and then they brought forth that which is worse,—they forsook you and fled; they left you in your hour of peril, and taught you that great truth, that "Cursed is he that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." And this is the way all the world over—I say it once again—not merely with men, but with nature too.
"Alas, for us, if thou wert all,
And nought beyond O earth;"
for doth not this world serve us just the same? In our youth it brings forth the best wine; then we have the sparkling eye, and the ear attuned to music; then the blood flows swiftly through the veins and the pulse beats joyously; but wait a little and there shall come forth afterwards that which is worse, for the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves; the grinders shall fail because they are few, they that look out of the windows shall be darkened, all the daughters of music shall be brought low; then shall the strong man totter, the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail, the mourners shall go about the streets. First there is the flowing cup of youth, and afterwards the stagnant waters of old age, unless God shall cast into those dregs a fresh flood of his lovingkindness and tender mercy, so that once again, as it always happeneth to the Christian, the cup shall run over, and again sparkle with delight. O Christian, trust not thou in men; rely not thou upon the things of this present time, for this is evermore the rule with men and with the world—"the good wine first, and when ye have well drunken, then that which is worse."
This morning, however, I am about to introduce you to two houses of feasting. First, I shall bid you look within the doors of the devil's house, and you will find he is true to this rule; he brings forth first the good wine, and when men have well drunk, and their brains are muddled therewith, then he bringeth forth that which is worse. Having bidden you look there and tremble, and take heed to the warning, I shall then attempt to enter with you into the banquetting house of our beloved Lord and Master Jesus Christ, and of him we shall be able to say, as the governor of the feast said to the bridegroom, "Thou hast kept the good wine until now;" thy feasts grow better, and not worse: thy wines grow richer, thy viands are daintier far, and thy gifts more precious than before. "Thou hast kept the good wine until now."
I. First, we are to take a warning glance at the HOUSE OF FEASTING WHICH SATAN HATH BUILDED: for as wisdom hath builded her house, and hewn out her seven pillars, so hath folly its temple and its tavern of feasting, into which it continually tempts the unwary. Look within the banquetting house, and I will shew you four tables and the guests that sit thereat; and as you look at those tables you shall see the courses brought in. You shall see the wine cops brought, and you shall see them vanish one after another, and you shall mark that the rule holds good at all four tables—first the good wine, and afterwards that which is worse—yea, I shall go further—afterwards, that which is worst of all.
1. At the first table to which I shall invite your attention, though I beseech you never to sit down and drink thereat, sit the PROFLIGATE. The table of the profligate is a gay table; it is covered over with a gaudy crimson, and all the vessels upon it look exceedingly bright and glistening. Many there be that sit thereat, but they know not that they are the guests of hell, and that the end of all the feast shall be in the depths of perdition. See ye now the great governor of the feast, as he comes in? He has a bland smile upon his face; his garments are not black, but he is girded with a robe of many colours, he hath a honied word on his lip, and a tempting witchery in the sparkle of his eye. He brings in she cup, and says, "Hey, young man, drink hereat, it sparkleth in the cup, it moveth itself aright. Do you see it? It is the wine-cup of pleasure." This is the first cup at the banquetting house of Satan. The young man takes it, and sips the liquor. At first it is a cautious sip; it is but a little he will take, and then he will restrain himself. He does not intend to indulge much in lust, he means not to plunge headlong into perdition. There is a flower there on the edge of that cliff: he will reach forward a little and pluck it, but it is not his intention to dash himself from that beetling crag and destroy himself. Not he! He thinks it easy to put away the cup when he has tested its flavour! He has no design to abandon himself to its intoxication. He takes a shallow draught. But O how sweet it is! How it makes his blood tingle within him. What a fool I was, not to have tasted this before! he thinks. Was ever joy like this? Could it be thought that bodies could be capable of such ecstacy as this? He drinks again; this time he takes a deeper draught, and the wine is hot in his veins. Oh! how blest is he! What would he not say now in the praise of Bacchus, or Venus, or whatever shape Beelzebub chooses to assume? He becomes a very orator in praise of sin? It is fair, it is pleasant, the deep damnation of lust appeareth as joyous as the transports of heaven. He drinks, he drinks, he drinks again, till his brain begins to reel with the intoxication of his sinful delight. This is the first course. Drink, O ye drunkards of Ephraim, and bind the crown of pride about your head, and call us fools because we put your cup from us; drink with the harlot and sup with the lustful; ye may think yourselves wise for so doing, but we know that after these things there cometh something worse, for your vine is the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah, your grapes are grapes of gall, the clusters are bitter; your wine is the poison of dragons and the cruel venom of asps.
Now with a leer upon his brow, the subtle govenor of the feast riseth from his seat. His victim has had enough of the best wine. He takes away that cup, and he brings in another, not quite so sparkling. Look into the liquor; it is not beaded over with the sparkling bubbles of rapture; it is all flat, and dull, and insipid; it is called the cup of satiety. The man has had enough of pleasure, and like a dog he vomits, though like a dog he will return to his vomit yet again. Who hath woe? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine. I am now speaking figuratively of wine, as well as literally. The wine of lust bringeth the same redness of the eyes; the profligate soon discovers that all the rounds of pleasure end in satiety. "What!" says he, "What more can I do? There! I have committed every wickedness that can be imagined, and I have drained every cup of pleasure. Give me something fresh! I have tried the theatres all round: there! I don't care so much as one single farthing for them all. I have gone to every kind of pleasure that I can conceive. It is all over. Gaiety itself grows flat and dull. What am I to do?" And this is the devil's second course—the course of satiety—a fitful drowsiness, the result of the previous excess. Thousands there are who are drinking of the tasteless cup of satiety every day, and some novel invention whereby they may kill time, some new discovery whereby they may give a fresh vent to their iniquity would be a wonderful thing to them; and if some man should rise up who could find out for them some new fashion of wickedness, some deeper depths in the deeps of the nethermost hell of lasciviousness, they would bless his name, for having given them something fresh to excite them. That is the devil's second course. And do you see them partaking of it? Three are some of you that are having a deep draught of it this morning. You are the jaded horses of the fiend of lust, the disappointed followers of the will-o'-the-wisp of pleasure. God knows, if you were to speak your heart out you would be obliged to say, "There! I have tried pleasure, and I do not find it pleasure ; I have gone the round, and I am just like the blind horse at the mill, I have to go round again. I am spell-bound to the sin, but I cannot take delight in it now as I once did, for all the glory on it is as a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer.
Awhile the feaster remains in the putrid sea of his infatuation, but another scene is opening. The governor of the feast commandeth another liquor to be broached. This time the fiend bears a black goblet, and he presents it with eyes full of hell-fire, flashing with fierce damnation. "Drink of that, sir," says he, and the man sips it and starts back and shrieks, "O God! that ever I must come to this!" You must drink, sir! He that quaffs the first cup, must drink the second, and the third. Drink, though it be like fire down your throat! Drink it, though it be as the lava of Etna in your bowels! Drink! you must drink! He that sins must suffer; he that is a profligate in his youth must have rottenness in his bones, and disease within his loins. He who rebels against the laws of God, must reap the harvest in his own body here. Oh! there are some dreadful things that I might tell you of this third course. Satan's house has a front chamber full of everything that is enticing to the eye and bewitching to the sensual taste; but there is a back chamber, and no one knoweth, no one hath seen the whole of its horrors. There is a secret chamber, where he shovels out the creatures whom he hath himself destroyed—a chamber, beneath whose floor is the blazing of hell, and above whose boards the heat of that horrible pit is felt. It may be a physician's place rather than mine, to tell of the horrors that some have to suffer as the result of their iniquity. I leave that; but let me tell the profligate spendthrift, that the poverty which he will endure is the result of his sin of extravagant spendthriftcy; let him know, also, that the remorse of conscience that will overtake him is not an accidental thing that drops by chance from heaven,—it is the result of his own iniquity; for, depend upon it, men and brethren, sin carries an infant misery in its bowels, and sooner or later it must be delivered of its terrible child. If we sow the seed we must reap the harvest. Thus the law of hell's house stands—"first, the good wine, then, afterwards, that which is worse."
The last course remains to be presented. And now, ye strong men who mock at the warning, which I would fain deliver to you with a brother's voice and with an affectionate heart, though with rough language. Come ye here, and drink of this last cup. The sinner has at the end brought himself to the grave. His hopes and joys were like gold put into a bag full of holes, and they have all vanished—vanished for ever; and now he has come to the last; his sins haunt him, his transgressions perplex him; he is taken like a bull in a net, and how shall he escape. He dies, and descends from disease to damnation. Shall mortal language attempt to tell you the horrors of that last tremendous cup of which the profligate must drink, and drink for ever? Look at it: ye cannot see its depths, but cast an eye upon its seething surface, I hear the noise of rushing to and fro, and a sound as of gnashing of teeth and the wailing of despairing souls. I look into that cup, and I hear a voice coming up from its depths—"These shall go away into everlasting punishment;" for "Tophet is prepared of old, the pile thereof is wood and much smoke, the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, shall kindle it." And what say ye to this last course of Satan? "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Profligate! I beseech thee, in the name of God, start from this table! Oh, be not so careless at thy cups; be not so asleep, secure in the peace which thou now enjoyest! Man! death is at the door, and at his heels is swift destruction. As for you, who as yet have been restrained by a careful father and the watchfulness of an anxious mother, I beseech you shun the house of sin and folly. Let the wise man's words be written on thine heart, and be thou mindful of them in the hour of temptation—"Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: for the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell."
2. Do ye see that other table yonder in the middle of the palace? Ah! good easy souls! Many of you had thought that you never went to the feast of hell at all; but there is a table for you too; it is covered over with a fair white cloth, and all the vessels upon the table are most clean and comely. The wine looks not like the wine of Gomorrah, it moveth aright, like the wine from the grapes of Eshcol; it seems to have no intoxication in it; it is like the ancient wine which they pressed from the grape into the cup having in it no deadly poison. Do ye see the men who sit at this table? How self-contented they are! Ask the white fiends who wait at it, and they will tell you, "This is the table of the self-righteous: the Pharisee sits there. You may know him; he has his phylactery between his eyes; the hem of his garment is made exceeding broad; he is one of the best of the best professors." "Ah!" saith Satan, as he draws the curtain and shuts off the table where the profligates are carousing, "be quiet; don't make too much noise, lest these sanctimonious hypocrites should guess what company they are in. Those self-righteous people are my guests quite as much as you, and I have them quite as safely." So Satan, like an angel of light, brings forth a gilded goblet, looking like the chalice of the table of communion. And what wine is that? It seems to be the very wine of the sacred Eucharist; it is called the wine of self-satisfaction, and around the brim you may see the bubbles of pride. Look at the swelling froth upon the bowl—"God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." You know that cup, my self-deceiving hearers; Oh that ye knew the deadly hemlock which is mixed therein. "Sin as other men do? Not you; not at all. You are not going to submit yourself to the righteousness of Christ: what need you? You are as good as your neighbours; if you are not saved, you ought to be, you think. Don't you pay everybody twenty-shillings in the pound? Did you ever rob anybody in your life? You do your neighbours a good turn; you are as good as other people." Very good! That is the first cup the devil gives, and the good wine makes you swell with self-important dignity, as its fumes enter your heart and puff it up with an accursed pride. Yes! I see you sitting in the room so cleanly swept and so neatly garnished, and I see the crowds of your admirers standing around the table, even many of God's own children, who say, "Oh that I were half as good as he." While the very humility of the righteous provides you with provender for your pride. Wait awhile, thou unctious hypocrite, wait awhile, for there is a second course to come. Satan looks with quite as self-satisfied an air upon his guests this time as he did upon the troop of rioters. "Ah!" says he, "I cheated those gay fellows with the cup of pleasure—I gave them, afterwards, the dull cup of satiety, and I have cheated you, too; you think yourselves all right, but I have deceived you twice, I have befooled you indeed." So he brings in a cup which, sometimes, he himself doth not like to serve. It is called the cup of discontent and unquietness of mind, and many there be that have to drink this after all their self-satisfaction. Do you not find, you that are very good in your own esteem, but have no interest in Christ, that when you sit alone and begin to turn over your accounts for eternity, that they do not square somehow—that you cannot strike the balance exactly to your own side after all, as you thought you could? Have not you sometimes found, that when you thought you were standing on a rock, there was a quivering beneath your feet? You heard the Christian sing boldly,—
"Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
While, thro' thy blood, absolv'd I am
From sin's tremendous curse and shame."
And you have said, "Well, I cannot sing that, I have been as good a Churchman as ever lived, I never missed going to my church all these years, but I cannot say I have a solid confidence." You had once a hope of self-satisfaction; but now the second course has come in, and you are not quite so contented. "Well," says another, "I have been to my chapel, and I have been baptized, and made a profession of religion, though I was never brought to know the Lord in sincerity and in truth, and I once thought it was all well with me, but I want a something which I cannot find." Now comes a shaking in the heart. It is not quite so delightful as one supposed, to build on one's own righteousness. Ah! that is the second course. Wait awhile, and mayhap in this world, but certainly in the hour of death, the devil will bring in the third cup of dismay, at the discovery of your lost condition. How many a man who has been self-righteous all his life, has, at the last discovered that the thing whereon he placed his hope had failed him. I have heard of an army, who, being defeated in battle, endeavoured to make good a retreat. With all their might the soldiers fled to a certain river, where they expected to find a bridge across which they could retreat and be in safety. But when they came to the stream, there was heard a shriek of terror—"The bridge is broken, the bridge is broken!" All in vain was that cry; for the multitude hurrying on behind, pressed upon those that were before and forced them into the river, until the stream was glutted with the bodies of drowned men. Such must be the fate of the self-righteous. You thought there was a bridge of ceremonies; that baptism, confirmation, and the Lord's Supper, made up the solid arches of a bridge of good works and duties. But when you come to die, there shall be heard the cry—"The bridge is broken, the bridge is broken!" It will be in vain for you to turn round then. Death is close behind you; he forces you onward, and you discover what it is to perish, through having neglected the great salvation, and attempting to save yourself through your own good works. This is the last course but one: and your last course of all, the worst wine, your everlasting portion must be the same as that of the profligate. Good as you thought yourself to be, inasmuch as you proudly rejected Christ, you must drink the winecup of the wrath of God; that cup which is full of trembling. The wicked of the earth shall wring out the dregs of that cup, and drink them; and you also must drink of it as deep as they. Oh, beware in time! Put away your high looks, and humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved. (Please click here to continue reading, "Satan's Banquet"
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Desiring God Blog
Measure Your Favorite Authors By What the Bible Includes by John Piper
John Piper encourages us to measure our favorite authors and theologians by what the Bible teaches and includes.
Pros Apologian Blog
Theology, Morality, and the Carribbean by TurretinFan
Theology matters especially when facing and reacting to trials (Haiti).
Dr. Mohler's Blog
How Will They Hear Without A Preacher? by Al Mohler
Dr. Mohler reviews a recent study on preaching.
The Providence of God by Tim Challies
Tim recommends the excellent series from R.C. Sproul, "The Providence of God". The entire series can be listened to for free at the Ligonier Ministries web site.
New York Times
Fate of Science Teacher with a Bible Divides an Ohio Town by Ian Urbina
Ohio public school science teacher is facing dismissal from his job for refusing to remove his Bible from his desk.
"FIGHTING MAD" or other articles of interest
John McCain's wife becomes poster girl for same sex marriage
John McCain's wife and daughter become advocates for same sex marriage.
Fighting Friday: Letters of John Newton - Doubts and Fears--The Source of Assurance (Letters on Suffering 2/3)
Doubts and Fears--The Source of Assurance
by John Newton
Though I have the pleasure of hearing of you, and sending a remembrance from time to time, I am willing, by this opportunity, to direct a few lines to you, as a more express testimony of my sincere regard.
I think your experience is generally of the fearful doubting cast. Such souls, however, the Lord has given particular charge to his ministers to comfort. He knows our infirmities and what temptations mean, and as a good Shepherd He expresses a peculiar care and tenderness for the weak of the flock (Isa. xl. 1). But how must I attempt your comfort? Surely not by strengthening a mistake to which we are all too liable, by leading you to look into your own heart for (what you will never find there) something in yourself whereon to ground your hopes, if not wholly, yet at least in part. Rather let me endeavour to lead you out of yourself; let me invite you to look unto Jesus. Should we look for light in our own eyes, or in the sun? Is it indwelling sin distresses you? Then I can tell you (though you know it) that Jesus died for sin and sinners. I can tell you that His blood and righteousness are of infinite value; that His arm is almighty and His compassions infinite; yea, you yourself read His promises every day, and why should you doubt their being fulfilled? If you say you do not question their truth, or that they are accomplished to many, but that you can hardly believe they belong to you, I would ask, what evidence you would require? A voice or an angel from Heaven you do not expect.
Consider, if many of the promises are not expressly directed to those to whom they belong. When you read your name on the superscription of this letter you make no scruple to open it: why, then, do you hesitate at embracing the promises of the Gospel, where you read that they are addressed to those who mourn, who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who are poor in spirit, &c., and cannot but be sensible that a gracious God has begun to work these dispositions in your heart?
If you say that though you do at times mourn, hunger, &c. you are afraid you do it not enough, or not aright, consider that this sort of reasoning is very far from the spirit and language of the Gospel; for it is grounded on a secret supposition, that in the forgiveness of sin God has a respect to something more than the atonement and mediation of Jesus; namely, to some previous good qualifications in a sinner's heart, which are to share with the blood of Christ in the honour of salvation. The enemy deceives us in this matter the more easily, because a propensity to the covenant of works is a part of our natural depravity. Depend upon it you will never have a suitable and sufficient sense of the evil of sin, and of your share in it, so long as you have any sin remaining in you.
We must see Jesus as He is before our apprehension of any spiritual truth will be complete. But if we know that we must perish without Christ, and that He is able to save to the uttermost, we know enough to warrant us to cast our souls upon Him, and we dishonour Him by fearing that when we do so He will disappoint our hope. But if you are still perplexed about the high points of election, &c., I would advise you to leave the disposal of others to the great Judge; and as to yourself, I think I need not say much to persuade you, that if ever you are saved at all, it must be in a way of free and absolute grace.
Leave disputes to others; wait upon the Lord, and He will teach you all things in such degree and time as He sees best. Perhaps you have suffered for taking things too much upon trust from men. Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils. One is your master, even Christ. Study and pray over the Bible; and you may take it as a sure rule, that whatever sentiment makes any part of the Word of God unwelcome to you is justly to be suspected. Aim at a cheerful spirit. The more you trust God, the better you will serve Him. While you indulge unbelief and suspicion, you weaken your own hands, and discourage others. Be thankful for what He has shown you, and wait upon Him for more: you shall find He has not said, "Seek ye My face" in vain. I heartily commend you to His grace and care,
And am, &c.
H.T. Fire and Ice
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Phil Johnson on emergent pastor, Erwin McManus' consistent lack of delivering a true gospel message, and the promotion of his Doritos Superbowl commercial.
Commentary on the disaster in Haiti and information on where to donate funds to help with disaster relief.
Dr. Mohler's Blog
Does God Hate Haiti? by Al Mohler
Dr. Mohler responds to Pat Robertson's comments and gives a Biblical perspective on how we should view the disaster in Haiti.
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? by Sinclair Ferguson
Sinclair Ferguson explains Rom. 9:14 ("Jacob I loved, Esau I hated").
The Preacher Must Impersonate the Gospel by E.M. Bounds
The preacher must not only proclaim and teach the gospel, but it must also be evident in his life as well.
"FIGHTING MAD" or other articles of interest
U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes by Joseph Rhee, Tahman Bradley and Brian Ross
A Michigan Company, who supplies the Pentagon with military rifle sites, causes protest when they find New Testament references on their rifle sites.