Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bow to the word

There are many good creeds, confessions, and catechisms
written by men, clearly setting forth the gospel of the grace
of God; but I do not pin my faith to the writings of any man,
or any group of men, no matter how much I may admire them.

The Word of God alone is my rule of faith and practice.

I bow my will and my reason, my experience and my feelings,
to the Word of God. I do not understand all that is written
in the Scriptures; but I believe it all.

I bow to the authority of Holy Scripture.
I do so unreservedly.

Let men call it bigotry, ignorance, or whatever they may,
I am not even open to the consideration of any thought,
idea, or evidence which contradicts the Book of God.

Don Fortner

The 'god' of this apostate generation

Don Fortner

The god of this apostate generation no more resembles the God
of the Bible than a gnat resembles an angel. The puny, pygmy,
frustrated god of our day, is an idol carved from the trees
which grow wild in the dark forests of their depraved minds.
The God of the Bible is infinitely and indescribably above
the gods of man's imagination.

The gods of Arminian, freewill, works religion cannot
even be compared to the TRUE GOD (Isa. 46:9-11).
That God who truly is God has distinct attributes which set him
apart from all the gods of men, four distinct attributes which
specifically set him apart from the imaginary god of this
apostate generation--

SOVEREIGNTY -Our God truly is God. He rules all things,
everywhere, at all times absolutely. A god who wants or desires,
or wills what he does not have, or what does not come to pass is
no God at all (Isa. 45:7; 46:9-11; Psa. 115:3; 135:6).

HOLINESS - "Holy and reverend is his name." When Isaiah
saw the LORD in his holiness, sitting upon his throne, high and
lifted up, when he heard the seraphim cry, "Holy, holy, holy, is
the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory," he fell
on his face and confessed his sin before the thrice holy God (Isa.

JUSTICE - The God of the Bible is, unlike all the gods of men,
just and true. He always deals with all his creatures upon the
basis of strict justice. He will by no means clear the guilty
(Ex. 34:7). Yet, this great sovereign, holy, and just God is
infinitely and indescribably gracious.

GRACIOUS - He says, "I will be gracious to whom I will be
gracious." He found a way to deliver his chosen from going
down to the pit (Job 33:24). That way is the satisfaction of
justice by the substitutionary sacrifice of his own dear Son
(Isa. 53:4-6, 8, 9-11; 2 Cor. 5:21).

That other question

So many profess to know God in America's version of "Christianity." They make this claim despite the fact that they question the validity of the Word of God and seek to alter it to fit their fantasy doctrines. It is common for most of these "professors" (preachers, conference circuit speakers, authors, etc.) to remind those that listen to their "sermons" of the many "years of faithful service" they have under their belt and taut their accomplishments far above the One who (supposedly)  saved them. Usually, their "testimony" is filled with themselves and not the gracious mercy of the Savior. This is by no means limited to 'preachers' and 'church leaders' but includes those who claim to know God, yet their fruit tells a different story. Matt. 7:13-23 speaks specifically to this scenario---the false vs. the genuine believer. One may be able to deceive his peers and certainly can/will deceive himself (Jer. 17:9) into thinking that all is well with his eternal soul just because of his involvement in "church" activities. But judgment approaches for us all, that final day when we will stand before Almighty God and be judged by Him of our every word, deed, and thought. Are you ready for that? [No, that's not the 'other question'.] Will you stand by yourself, or will Christ Jesus be your Advocate? Will His words to you be: "Well done, good and faithful servant...:" Matt. 25:21 or will He say to you: "I never knew you; depart from me you that word iniquity." Matt. 7:23.

That 'other question' would be: "Does God know you?" Laying aside the long list of things that you may intend to use in order to persuade God that you are "worthy" of His acceptance (Matt.7:22) you may find yourself speechless on that day, knowing deep inside the horror that awaits you. The prospect of these words being spoken to us ("I never knew you...") should shake a soul to it's very foundation and they will at the right time. Even for the genuine believer these words may cause a lump in the throat, a sick stomach, and weak knees. But there is comfort in the Word of God!!! There are no less than 33 'tests' or indications of real faith given to us in the Book of First John. 1 John 1:5; 8,9 & 10; 2:3,4,5,6,9 & 10,15; 3:24; 4:4, 13; 5:1, 4 & 5, 10, 12, 18, & 20 are some of these. There are more in this book and throughout the NT, and the OT (Job 19:25-27). Does learning about the Lord, the reading and study of His Word excite you? Luke 24:32. Is the promise of His return to earth anticipated or 'put on a back burner'? Heb. 9:28. Another pesky question would be: Do you credit the faith you say you have to some innate trait that needs only to be stirred by you at your discretion or is it all of grace? Acts 18:27 and Eph. 2:8-10.

1 John 5:21 "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."
May it please the Lord to shatter our idols, burn our fig leaves, and open our hearts to Him in full honesty and humility as He searches the thoughts and intents of our hearts daily.

It is May year round!

“His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers.”
- Son_5:13
Lo, the flowery month is come! March winds and April showers have done their work, and the earth is all bedecked with beauty. Come my soul, put on thine holiday attire and go forth to gather garlands of heavenly thoughts. Thou knowest whither to betake thyself, for to thee “the beds of spices” are well known, and thou hast so often smelt the perfume of “the sweet flowers,” that thou wilt go at once to thy well-beloved and find all loveliness, all joy in him. That cheek once so rudely smitten with a rod, oft bedewed with tears of sympathy and then defiled with spittle-that cheek as it smiles with mercy is as fragrant aromatic to my heart. Thou didst not hide thy face from shame and spitting, O Lord Jesus, and therefore I will find my dearest delight in praising thee. Those cheeks were furrowed by the plough of grief, and crimsoned with red lines of blood from thy thorn-crowned temples; such marks of love unbounded cannot but charm my soul far more than “pillars of perfume.” If I may not see the whole of his face I would behold his cheeks, for the least glimpse of him is exceedingly refreshing to my spiritual sense and yields a variety of delights. In Jesus I find not only fragrance, but a bed of spices; not one flower, but all manner of sweet flowers. He is to me my rose and my lily, my heart’s- ease and my cluster of camphire. When he is with me it is May all the year round, and my soul goes forth to wash her happy face in the morning-dew of his grace, and to solace herself with the singing of the birds of his promises. Precious Lord Jesus, let me in very deed know the blessedness which dwells in abiding, unbroken fellowship with thee. I am a poor worthless one, whose cheek thou hast deigned to kiss! O let me kiss thee in return with the kisses of my lips.  

C.H. Spurgeon

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Do you know God?

Many claim to know God (or a "god") but do they really know Him---the Creator of heaven and earth? The Scriptures are plain in their teaching, yet too many have taken it upon themselves to alter their meaning, change the text to suit their fantasy god, or simply ignore the Scriptures all together. Most people say that all religions ultimately worship the same god whether Hindu, Muslim, Roman Catholic, or whatever flavor of man-made nonsense is presented as authentic "worship of God". Yet the Scriptures as found in the sixty six books of the Bible tell an entirely different story.

Today we find a new excuse for our sins: "we were born that way." But what does the Bible say that every person was born with, a proclivity and love for sin predisposing them to a life of uncontrollable rebellion (old sin nature), and a certain albeit limited knowledge of God? Rom. 1:19 & 20 gives the clear, unambiguous answer: a knowledge of God where we see His "invisible attributes" by the Creation. Going further we find this knowledge is expanded to include "even His eternal power and Godhead" or His being the only all powerful God (and as such, precludes even the existence of "other gods") who is totally sovereign and just and holy in all His actions toward the object of His will. But man, in his assumed wisdom, has decided to suppress this truth---that God is the Creator, the All-Powerful, the only and Sovereign God of all that is---Rom. 1:17. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Rom. 1:22) and will suffer the consequences of their rebellion as God righteously 'gives them over' to the lust of their heart. So there are no "atheists", only those who through arrogant pride and a stubborn, deceitful heart claim to be one so as impress their fellow rebels.

Is this knowledge of God that all are born with sufficient for a man to attain eternal life? NO! If it were then all men would be "saved" simply by being born of a woman. The Scriptures say "You must be born again" John 3:3-8. This fact---the necessity of the second birth---is not found in any of the man-made religions and has been mutilated to the point of being unrecognizable in so-called "evangelical churches" the world over.

"I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6. Yet EVERY man-made religion and most of the "evangelical" crowd of today go out of their way to circumvent these words of the Lord Jesus and offer "another way" (read "another gospel" as seen in Gal 1:6-9). The "evangelical other way" includes a simple mental ascent to the historical Jesus, a cursory (and meaningless) statement to the fact of their former sins, and an "acceptance of Jesus into their heart", none of which is mandated in the Scriptures (Mark 1:15 is clear). All of these little exercises are actually an insult to the Spirit of God, for it is His task to "convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" John 16:8 and He does not fail---ever! So did the 'repentance' you think you displayed "at the altar" produce anything in you but a smug self-satisfaction? The evidence of real God-wrought repentance is found in 2 Cor. 7:10 & 11. Is your former and present sin repugnant to you or do you still find pleasure in your sins? The most egregious, presumptive, and arrogant statement a man can make is to "invite Jesus into your heart." No such "command" is found, hinted at, or displayed in the Scriptures, but it's done thousands of times over. It is completely void of humility. It puts the one doing the "inviting" in a superior position to Almighty God (literally making man a "god"). It totally negates the necessity of grace on any level to be given a man. It puts the Lord in a position to be obliged to give what is demanded (again, no humility). It does away with gratitude to the Lord, because somehow they feel that He owes them "salvation", or whatever their demand may be. "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith..." 2 Cor.13:5

Do you know God?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Gospel Distinctives

I know that the things we believe and preach, place us in direct conflict with the religious world around us. That really shouldn't surprise us. When our Lord Jesus told the religious leaders of his day the things I am about to tell you, they started grabbing rocks to stone him to death. So we must never be surprised when lost religionists get upset with us for preaching the gospel.
Here are four things which place us in direct conflict with the entire religious world--
1. What we believe and preach about GOD himself is the primary, basic difference between us and those who do not believe the gospel. We believe, according to the plain statements of Holy Scripture that the one true and living God, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGN of the universe (Ps. 115:3; 135:6). That simply means that God is God. He does, he always does, exactly what he will everywhere, with everyone and everything! God always has his way. God always does all his pleasure. None can stay his hand. None can resist his will. In heaven, earth, and hell GOD RULES!
This great, sovereign God is absolutely, perfectly, immaculately HOLY. Everything he does is holy. Everything he requires is holy. He is so perfectly, absolutely, inviolably holy that he cannot and will not accept anything or anyone who is not perfectly holy.
Our great, sovereign, holy Lord God is immutably JUST. God our Savior declares himself to be both "a just God and a Savior." His justice is unbending and unbendable. He will not forgive sin, except upon the grounds of strict justice. The just God must and shall punish all sin. He cannot forgive sin until full satisfaction for sin has been made. And this gloriously just God cannot charge any sin upon any sinner for whom atonement has been made. Justice, once satisfied, demands the release of all for whom satisfaction has been made.
2. That which we believe about MAN also separates us from the entire religious world around us. We believe, according to the plain statements of Holy Scripture, that all men and women are sinners, born in spiritual death, corrupt at heart, inclined toward every evil, incapable of doing good, and totally incapable of changing their condition. In a word, fallen man is "dead in trespasses and sins," lost, justly condemned, under the wrath of God, doomed, damned, willfully ignorant of all things spiritual; without Christ, and without hope, apart from God's sovereign mercy.
3. Everything we believe about the LORD JESUS CHRIST sets us apart from the religious world in which we live. Unlike most religious people, we actually believe the Bible. We believe all that the Bible reveals about the Son of God. We really do believe that Jesus Christ is God, God in human flesh.
-That he is the eternal Surety.
-That he brought in everlasting righteousness for his elect by his obedience to God as our Representative.
-That he fully satisfied the justice of God for the sins of his people, which were imputed to him, when he died as our Substitute at Calvary.
-We believe that all for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died must and shall be saved, because he cannot fail. He is an almighty, effectual Redeemer, an omnipotent Savior, an unfailing Advocate, and an all-prevailing High Priest!
4. Believing what the Bible teaches about SALVATION also separates us from the lost religionists of this world, who foolishly imagine that God's salvation depends in some way, or to some degree, at some point upon the will, work, or worth of man. It does not! "Salvation is of the LORD!" Salvation is accomplished, in its entirety, by the free, sovereign, irresistible grace and power of God Almighty, through the person and work of his dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the omnipotent operations of his Holy Spirit, who alone can raise sinners from death to life, reveal Christ in them, and give them the gift of faith in him.
Every aspect of God's salvation is by GRACE alone.
Are we 'chosen' of God? We were chosen unto salvation by the election of grace.
Are we 'redeemed' by the blood of Christ? We were redeemed because God the Father gave us to God the Son in the covenant of grace before the world began.
Are we 'called', 'born again'? We are born again by the Spirit of God, who called us from death to life in Christ by the power of his omnipotent grace.
Are we 'justified'? We are justified by grace.
Are we 'sanctified'? We are sanctified by grace.
Are we 'kept'? We are kept by the power of God's grace.
There is no place between the pit of hell and the gates of pearl, where salvation depends on us. It is written in the Book of God in bold, capital letters-- "BY GRACE YOU ARE SAVED!" That is the message written upon every page of the Bible. Any religion, any doctrine, any preacher, any religious teacher, anything or anyone who contradicts that message contradicts the Word of God. Salvation is by the grace of God, entirely by the grace of God. Human works, human effort, and the will of man has absolutely nothing to do with it. "Salvation is of the LORD!"
I know that men object to these things. I know preachers everywhere deny them. I know that proud men are offended by them. But I am not running for political office. I am here to proclaim the truth to eternity bound sinners for the glory of God. That which we have heard and learned of the Father, we must declare. I must be true to God, true to the Scriptures, and true to your souls.

Don Fortner