"Artificiality is a Disease of the Soul"
"We are becoming what we Love"
"In Word Only, or In "Word and In Power"
What it means to ACCEPT CHRIST?
"The Effects of Regeneration" Rolfe Barnard
"Unbelief Not Ignorance"
"Seeking The Lord"
"Running Scared" Jonathan Edwards
"Unless convinced and made sensible" Miscellaneous Authors
"Are you sure that's what you said?", Author Unknown
"A Fishing Story" , Author Unknown
"Walk in the Light", Oswald Chambers
"On Theism" , Dr. Robert Flint
"A Breathing after God", Richard Sibbs
"Conversion of the Jailer", Matthew Henry
"The Will is Renewed", Thomas Boston
"Scripture resembles a flower", William Hendrickson
(Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones wrote that one of the problems with modern church folk is that they either see things "fuzzy or double". He went on to say that often it is easier for if they saw clearly, they would have to do something about it.)
This story reminds me of the one I tell about the minister hearing of the biblical illiteracy in the school system, so he goes and asks the question of student, teacher, principal and school board. Oh well, it will take a while and you had just better ask me to tell it... (JCS)
A church board was examining a candidate for a CHURCH
MEMBERSHIP. One of the board asked the candidate:
Once upon a time a man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves; and the thorns grew up and choked the man. And he went on and met the Queen of Sheba, and she gave that man, a thousand talents of gold and silver and a hundred changes of raiment. And he got in his chariot and drove furiously. And when he was driving along under a fig tree, his hair got caught in a limb and left him hanging there. And he hung there many days and many nights, and the ravens brought him food to eat and water to drink.
And one night while he was hanging there asleep, his wife, Delilah came along and cut off his hair and he dropped and fell on the stony ground; and it began to rain, and it rained forty days and forty nights. He then hid himself in a cave. He went out after a time and met a man that said, 'Come and take supper with me'. But he said 'I cannot come, for I have married a wife'. The men went out into the highways and the byways and compelled others to follow him. He went on and came to Jerusalem and say Queen Jezebel sitting high up in a window, and when she saw him she laughed, and he cried, 'Throw her down, and she perished, so now he wondered whose wife she would be in the judgment.
There was no one on the board who felt qualified to question the candidate further, for each one had a deep suspicion that his own organized Bible knowledge was sketchy - just like that of the candidate. SO the applicant was voted into membership.
Now it came to pass that a group existed
who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In
fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish,and the fish
were looking for something.
The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn't do, however, they didn't fish. All the fishermen however seemed to be agreed that what was needed was a board which could challenge fishermen to be faithful in fishing. So the board was formed by those who had great vision and courage to speak about fishing, and to promote the idea of fishing, and to promote the idea of fishing in faraway streams and lakes where many other fish of different colors lived. Large, elaborate and expensive training centers were built whose purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology. But the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing.
Some spent much study and travel to learn the history of fishing and to see faraway places where the founding fathers did great fishing in centuries past. They lauded the faithful fishermen of years before who handed down the idea of fishing.
Many who felt the "call" to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish off in those "foreign" lands... and to teach fishing. Now it is true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore with the smell of dead fish every day. They were even ridiculed at times for their efforts. They anguished over those who were not committed enough to attend weekly meetings to talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the Master who said, 'Follow me and I will make you fishers of men?' Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don't catch fish were really not fishermen, no matter how loudly their claims were made. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if year after year he never actually fishes?
If Christ were to return to this earth today in physical form, would He find us fishing, in obedience to Him, or would He find us organizing, talking about fishing, and making plans to be the best Fishing Headquarters anywhere?
"If any man will do His will, he shall know the doctrine"(Jn7:17)
"One thing have I desired" (Psalm 27)There is nothing that so characterizes and sets a stamp upon Christians so much as DESIRES.
All other things may be counterfeit, words and actions may be counterfeit; but desires and affections can-not. A man may ask his desires what he is! According to the pulse of the desires, so is the temper of a man. Desires are a great deal better than actions; for a man may do a good action, that he does not love, and he may abstain from an ill action, that he hates not.
The sluggard lusts and has nothing. So there are spiritual sluggards that lust and have nothing, because they show not their desire in their endeavor. There will be endeavor where the desires are true!
When we have holy desires stirred up by God, turn them to prayers.
Holy desires will be turned into prayers and then every attempt made to put them into actions. For instance, "I desire in earnest to be in the house of the Lord, I desire it of the Lord, I put my request to Him in prayer and yet I do not attempt to put these desires(??) into action. " It is an argument, and sign of a good conscience, for a man to go oft to God with his desires. It is a sign that he is not in a wicked course; for then he dares not appeal to the presence of God. Sore eyes cannot endure the light; and a troubled conscience cannot endure Gods presence. Therefore it is good to come often into Gods presence.
Oft times men will pray and seem to receive no answer or comfort so they give over (stop). Will the hypocrite continue oft in prayer? Sometimes he will pray; but if God answer him not, presently he gives over; Gods children pray always, if the ground be good, if they see the excellency of the thing, and the necessity of it. When they see the excellency, and the necessity and the attainableness of it, and that it is attainable in the use of means, they need no more, they will never give over.(stop)
This is the reason involved in the petition "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."
But can we do the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven? And does Gods glorious kingdom come while we are here on earth? No, not in its perfection and completeness, but the soul that is guided with the spirit of prayer, it rests not in this or that degree (of answer) but prays till it be so in heaven. "Thy kingdom come." I have grace now, but I desire glory. "Thy will be done." I desire , and I will not give God rest, but pray till all my prayers are answered in heaven; and then I shall do the will of God perfectly. Thus we ought to eagerly, and constantly persevere in our desires, till they be fully satisfied, or else we are but hypocrites.
David did not have a blind desire for SOMETHING , but a desire to the right Object, to God to fulfill it.
(THEISM= A belief in ONE God (the Deity), the Creator and ruler of the universe. And/or belief in any god rather than many)
Have we sufficient evidence for thinking that there is a self-existent Being, infinite in power and wisdom, and perfect in holiness and goodness, the Maker of heaven and earth or is some antagonistic, some anti-theistic theory true?Religion to be reasonable, must rest on KNOWLEDGE of its object. This is not to say that it is exclusively knowledge, or that knowledge is its one essential element. It is not to say that FEELING and WILL are not as important constituents in the religious life as intellectual apprehension. Mere knowledge, however clear, profound, and comprehensive it may be, can never be religion. There can be no (true) religion where FEELING and AFFECTION are not added to KNOWLEDGE. There can be no (true) religion in any mind devoid of reverence and love, hope or fear, gratitude or desire - in any mind whose thinking is untouched, uncolored, uninspired by some pious emotion. Any religion includes more even than an apprehension of God supplemented by feeling - than the love or fear of God based on knowledge. The importance of feeling and will in religion is thus in no respect questioned or denied when it is maintained that religion cannot be a reasonable process, a healthy condition of mind, a healthy condition of mind, if constituted by either feeling or volition (will) separate from knowledge. Some have represented it as consisting essentially in the feeling of dependence, others in that of love, and others in fear; but these are all feelings which must be elicited (draw out) by knowledge, and which must be proportional to KNOWLEDGE in every un-disordered mind. We can neither love nor fear what we know nothing about. We cannot love what we do not think worthy of love, nor fear unless we think there is reason to fear. We cannot feel our dependence upon what we do not know to exist. We cannot feel trustful and confiding dependence on what we do not suppose to have a character which merits trust and confidence. Then, however true it may be that short of the action of the will in the form of the self-surrender of the soul to the object of its worship the religious process is essentially imperfect, this self-surrender cannot be independent of reason and yet be reasonable. In order to be a legitimate act it must spring out of good affections, - and these affections must be enlightened; they must rest on the knowledge of an object worthy of them, and worthy of self-sacrifice to which they prompt. Unless there be such an object, and unless it can be known, all the feeling and willing involved in religion must be delusive - must be of a kind which reason and duty command us to resist and suppress.
IF GOD EXISTS - IF PIETY, THEREFORE, OUGHT ALSO TO EXIST - IT CAN SCARCELY BE SUPPOSED THAT PERSONAL AND SOCIAL MORALITY WILL NOT SUFFER WHEN THE CLAIMS OF TRUE RELIGION GO UNHEEDED.
(A case study of God's activity)
FIRST: The Spirit of God, that was to convince, in order to His being a Comforter, struck terror upon the jailor, startled him and arrested his attention to seek and hear.
God not only ordains the END but also the MEANS in a sinner's conversion. There is no one method or means of arresting men, but if he is ever to become a child of God HE MUST KNOW CONVICTION AND BE BROUGHT TO REPENTANCE.
Following the earthquake, the attempt at suicide and the first words from Paul...he called for a light and ran into the inner prison and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. Those that have had their sin set before them and made to know its abomination, cannot but tremble at the sensibility of their misery and danger.
How reverent and respectful are his words to them NOW. He called for a light, because they were in the dark, and that he might see and that they might see what a fright he was in; he fell down before them, as one amazed at the awfulness of his own condition, and ready to sink under the load of terror. He was now made to sense the commission of God upon them. It is probable he had heard of the damsels announcement earlier that they were "the servants of the living God, who showed to them the way of salvation." He gave them the title of respect, LORDS, MASTERS, while just before it was rogues and villains. CONVERTING GRACE CHANGES PEOPLES LANGUAGE OF AND TO THE GOOD PEOPLE OF GOD AND THEIR MINISTERS; yea and to such as are thoroughly convinced of sin, the "very feet of those that bring good tidings of Christ are beautiful."
How serious his inquiry, "What must I DO to be saved?"
Let others do or think what they please, WHAT MUST I DO? He does not negotiate, as if, "Tell me what I must do, and I am ready to do it. Sirs, put me into the right way, and in a sure way; though narrow, and thorny, and uphill, yet I will walk in it." Note: those who are thoroughly convinced of sin, and truly concerned about their salvation, will surrender to the terms of Jesus Christ, will give him a blank check (a quit claim deed. jcs) to write in what He pleases.
We do not know the answer of ourselves, but God has made it known by His word, has appointed His ministers, to assist us in consulting the scriptures, and has promised to give HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO THEM THAT ASK HIM, to be their guide in the way of believing in Him
They were READY and directed him what he must do. v.31. They were always READY to answer such inquiries; though they were cold, and sore, and sleepy, they do not dismiss him to a more convenient time. Now that God begins to work, it is time for them to set in as "workers together with God." After he had offered himself up to Christ, he began to offer himself in good works.(cf Eph.2:10; James.2)
"His people are made willing in the day of His power." (Ps.110)
Regenerating grace is powerful and efficacious (actually effects) and gives the will a new turn.
The will is cured of its utter inability to will what is good. While the opening of the prison to them that are bound is proclaimed in the Gospel, the Spirit of God comes and opens the prison door, goes to the prisoner, and, by the power of His grace, makes his chains fall off, breaks the bond of iniquity, wherewith he was held in sin, and brings him forth into a large place, 'working in him both to will and to do of His good pleasure.' (Phil. 2:13) Then it is that the soul, that was fixed to the earth, can mover heavenward; the withered hand is restored, and can be stretched out.
There is worked in the quickened sinner an aversion to evil. The sweet morsel of sin, so greedily swallowed down, he now grows more and more to hate. The renewed will rises up against sin, strikes at the root and the branches of sin. Lusts are now grievous, and the soul endeavors to starve them.
The will is endowed with an inclination, bent, propensity to good. Now by the power and operation of God, it is drawn from evil to good, and gets another disposition. As the former bent was natural to him, so now this is natural. The will, as renewed, points towards God and godliness. When God made man, his will in respect of its intention, was directed towards God as his chief end; in respect of its choice, it pointed towards that which God willed. When man unmade himself, his will was framed to the very reverse, he made himself his chief end and his own will his law. BUT when man is new made in regeneration, grace rectifies this disorder in some measure, though not perfectly, it yet brings the sinner back to God.
The will is disposed now to receive Christ Jesus the Lord. The soul is content to submit to Him. Regenerating grace undermines, and brings down the towering imaginations of the heart, raised up against its rightful Lord; it breaks the iron sinew, which kept the sinner from bowing to Him; and disposes him to be no more stiff necked, but to yield. He is willing now to take on the yoke of Christ's commands, to take up the cross and to follow Him. He is content to have Christ on any terms.
The mind being savingly enlightened, and the will renewed, the sinner thereby determined and enabled to answer the gospel call. So the chief work in regeneration is done; the fort of the heart is taken; there is room made for the Lord Jesus Christ in the inmost parts of the soul, the inner door of the will being now opened to Him.
His first vital act is an active receiving of Jesus Christ, discerned in His glorious excellencies, that is, a believing on Him, a closing with Him, as discerned, offered and exhibited in the word of His grace, the glorious Gospel. The immediate effect is union with Him. (Jn.1:12,13; Eph. 3:17)
William HendricksonAnd now, the final, most beautiful theme (of the book of Revelation): the new heaven and earth, Revelation 21:1-8, and the New Jerusalem, 21:9-22:5. There is a beautiful connection between the first book of the Bible and the last. Scripture resembles a flower. We find the seed in Genesis, the growing plant in the books which follow, the fully developed and beautiful flower in the book of Revelation. Observe the following parallel:
Genesis tells us that God created heaven and earth. Revelation describes the NEW heaven and earth, 21:1.
In Genesis the luminaries are called into being: sun, moon, stars. In Revelation we read: "And the city has no need of the sun, nor of the moorn, to shine in it; for the glory of God lightened it, and its lamp is the Lamb."
Genesis describes a Paradise which was Lost. Revelation pictures a Paradise Restored, Revelation 2:7; 22:2.
Genesis describes the cunning and power of the devil. This book tells us that the devil is bound and was hurled into the lake of fire and brimstone.
Genesis pictures that awful scene: man fleeing away from God and hiding himself from the presence of the Almighty. Revelation shows us the most wonderful and intimate communion between God and redeemed man.
Finally, whereas Genesis shows us the tree of life, with an angel to keep the way of the tree of life, "lest man put forth his hand and eat of the fruit." The book of Revelation restores to man his right to have access to it:" that they may have the right to come to the tree of life." 22:14
So, again we ask: what is the theme of this book? It is this: Not the devil but Christ is victorious; Gods plan, though for a while SEEMINGLY - never really - defeated, in the end is seen to triumph completely. Conquerors are we.
*MORE THAN CONQUERORS by: William Hendrickson, pp236,237
Please e-mail Dr. John C. Shafer for
answers to any questions you may have, or requests for study materials.