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

Monday, September 1, 2014

sound the alarm

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
The saddest feature to us which is now presented by the worldwide "Depression," is not the material destitution which has overtaken millions of our fellow creatures, but the spiritual poverty of so many of our dear Brethren and Sisters in Christ. They seem to be as helpless as the poor worldlings, and while no doubt they all have faith that God will not let them starve to death, yet they apparently know of nothing better than simply to ask Him to be merciful, and give them patience to wait until times get better again. While they cannot be entirely innocent with the Word of God to their own hand, yet we are convinced that they are more to be pitied than blamed. By far the greater part of the guilt rests upon the preachers and "Bible teachers" whom they have sat under during the past twenty years. If those who were so zealous in denouncing "Modernism," "Higher Criticism," "Evolution," ad lib., ad nauseam, had devoted their energies unto teaching their hearers what it means to walk with God, He would have been more honored, and they had been more helped. If those who so loudly and so constantly warned against "Russellism," "Pentecostalism," "Eddyism" etc., etc., had been faithful in warning the professing people of God against the sins of covetousness, luxury, and extravagance, and had emphasized the teaching of Scripture upon mortification and the denying of self, though they had not been so popular, far more real good had been accomplished. If those who were so diligent in bidding people "rightly divide the Word of Truth," and adopt their arbitrary methods of sectioning the Scriptures — allocating this part to a company in the remote past, and another part to some company in the distant future—had shown their congregations how to apply the Scriptures practically unto all the varied details of their lives, we would not now witness the pathetic sign which we do.
Were we to follow our own inclinations, we had much prefer writing along different lines from what we are now doing, but we dare not remain silent any longer. While so many of God's people are still in danger of being deceived by blind leaders, it is high time to warn those whom our pen can reach. So many seem to think that because a preacher is "sound" on all the "fundamentals," that his messages must be helpful: that because they hear "faithful" sermons on the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures, the Virgin birth of Christ, and so on, that their souls are getting just the food they need. This by no means follows. There is "a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Eccl. 3:1), there is "the present truth" (2 Peter 1:12), there is such a thing as "a word in season" (Isaiah 50:4). The tragic thing is that scarcely any of the present-day preachers recognize or are experimentally equipped to give out such.
We are well aware that the above language is strong and sweeping, but the published programs of the "Bible conferences," the "subjects" being taken at the "Bible Institutes," the titles of religious books now being published, all illustrate and demonstrate the truth of what we have said. When we hear of those that are without work and reduced to almost the lowest point of existence, being entertained with lectures on "Daniel's seventy weeks" and interpretations of the symbols of the Apocalypse, it makes us think of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning! When we hear of the homes of Christians being seized and sold, and of other saints being dependent upon unsaved relatives, it seem high time that some voice was raised asking the question, Is that a testimony which honors Christ? Is that an experience which witnesses unto the faithfulness of God to undertake for His own? Instead of the poor, suffering, bewildered children of God having explained unto them what is signified by the "four horses" of Revelation 6, or who is represented by the "two beasts" of Revelation 13, they need to be shown how to pray down temporal blessings, how to have God working miracles for them, how to bring about the fulfillment of some of His wondrous promises. But who is there that is engaged in such a ministry today? Are there none who are now proving for themselves the sufficiency of God, and can point the way for others to do likewise?
Yes, here and there, there is one who is experimentally acquainted with the God of Elijah; but O how pathetically few is their number! Has not God declared that He is ready to "show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him" (2 Chron. 16:9)? Certainly He has, and He cannot lie. If then God has not shown Himself "strong" on your behalf, and if He is not now doing so, then it must be because your heart has not been and is not now "perfect toward Him." Ah, it is at the heart God ever looks! Nor does a "perfect" heart here signify a sinless one. No, a "perfect" heart is one which genuinely trusts, loves, and obeys God. A "perfect" heart is one which has been weaned from all idols, and finds its satisfaction in the Lord Himself.
"Six days shall you labor" (Exo. 20:9). But there is many a Christian man who is not working at all. Why? "Because there is none available for him." Ah, that is the answer a worldling would give: "Because God is providing none for him" is better, for that places the emphasis where it rightly belongs. And why is not God obtaining an opening for honorable employment? There must be some reason: nothing happens by chance. If you have asked Him to undertake for you, and He has not done so, may not that show you have not His ear!
"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful" (Josh. 1:7, 8). How many have not "prospered" and do not enjoy "good success"! True, and is the reason far to seek? Have they fulfilled the terms which God has here specified? If not, is not the fault their own? Perhaps someone says that promise does not concern us. But why not? Is not Joshua 1:5 applied to all Christians in Hebrews 13:5! It is the devil who seeks to persuade us that such searching promises as these do not pertain unto Christians today. "Truly I say unto you, There is no man who has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the Gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29, 30). Here is a New Testament promise which relates to material blessings. But mark, it is also a conditional one; it is only for those who genuinely put Christ first in their lives; who, at His call, are willing to forsake all things for Him.
Now three things are indispensable if we are to enjoy God's blessings, rather than suffer His chastisements.
First, all known sin—past as well as present—must be repented of, confessed, and forsaken (Proverbs 28:13). It is unpardoned sins which withhold good things from us (Jer. 5:25). This principle has always obtained, and will unto the end of time.
Second, real trust in the Lord: "According unto your faith be it unto you" (Matt. 9:29). Even the promises of God avail us not unless they be personally "embraced" (Heb. 11:13). "You have not, because you ask not" (James 4:2)—ask not with a real, living, expectant, persistent faith.
Third, an honest effort to serve Him: God will not place a premium upon disobedience. In keeping His commandments there is "great reward" (Psalm 19:11). True, we do not purchase God's favors; nevertheless, in His moral government of the world, He stands pledged to recompense the righteous "in the earth" (Proverbs 11:31).
The whole history of Israel supplies an illustration of what we have been saying above. God prospered or chastened them in accord with their conduct toward Him. And the principles of His governmental dealings have not changed. When Israel fasted, repented, reformed, and served the Lord wholeheartedly, His rod was removed and His smile again bestowed. There is much in Kings, Chronicles, and Jeremiah that is most pertinent for us today. He who has ears to hear, let him hear (2 Chron. 7:14).

Saturday, August 30, 2014

When the church stops caring what the Lord thinks

Mark Driscoll has always been controversial...and that's putting it quite mildly. What's amazing to me are the number of professing Christians, including some 'big names', who defended Driscoll, and still do. It seems being a celebrity Pastor holds more water than the standard laid out in Scripture for elders. Driscoll is an example of how one can verbally profess to hold to {some} right doctrine yet bear no good fruit...and STILL be considered a 'Christian'. When men follow men and exalt them over sacred Scripture, refusing to handle sins biblically, the result is what we presently see. In reality, most of what calls itself 'Christian' in America is anything but; Christianity has been used by many as a way to make lots of money via books, conferences, dvds, etc., to pursue power, to suppress and hurt those who do attempt to expose, and to fulfill all the wicked, sinful desires of men.
I've read tweets by John Piper {another celebrity Pastor who is very questionable at best} praying for Driscoll to repent. This is baffling to me as well; where does the Bible state wolves will/can repent?  These verses come to mind concerning wolves...
2Peter 2:3  'And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.' 
Jude 1:4  'For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.' 

I put this post up because I wanted to share a piece written by Janet Mefferd, who took a LOT of criticism from the publishing company of Driscoll's plagiarized book, and from Justin Taylor at the 'Gospel Coalition' {a blog I no longer visit, and not because of Mefferd} when she interviewed Driscoll over his plagiarism. Here's Janet's well-thought out piece concerning the train wreck called Driscoll...

Something unexpected happened to me today.
This morning, I received copies of a letter penned by nine Mars Hill pastors, outlining the latest revelations about Pastor Mark Driscoll. It started as all Mars Hill documents seem to begin: Expressing deep and abiding Christian love for Mark Driscoll and his willing accomplices. Then, of course, came the charges. Lies. Deceit. Lack of accountability. They even revealed that Paul Tripp — a recently resigned member of the Board of Advisors and Accountability — told them Mars Hill is “the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with.”
Another bombshell. This time, the church will really sit up and take notice!
But for some reason, I didn’t react to the latest Driscoll reveal the way I’ve reacted to others like it in the past. It’s not that I don’t care, that I don’t hurt for all involved or that I don’t feel outrage or disgust. I do, on all counts.
It’s just that I’m finally to the place where I have to say, “I’m done.”

Friday, August 29, 2014

Genuine submission

“Our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psa. 115:3). 

Being God, He consults no one; yet being omniscient and infinitely holy, He does only that which is good and right. But we are finite creatures; yea, fallen creatures, and sin has darkened our understanding. Therefore we are quite incompetent to gauge or grasp God’s ways; and to criticize or murmur against them is the height of impiety and wickedness: “Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?” (Rom. 9:20). True spirituality and practical godliness consist in yielding ourselves to the sovereign and perfect will of God, bowing submissively unto whatever He lays upon us, seeking grace to do whatever He commands us. 

Much that God does is displeasing to the flesh, and sin within rises up and rebels. This is the very nature of sin: to oppose God, to be dissatisfied with His appointments. Daily does the Christian need to ask God to lay His cooling and quietening hand upon him. Daily doe he need to beg Him to increase his faith, so that his confidence in Him may be so entire that he will not call into question any of His dealings with him; but rather will say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (v. 15). That is the great secret of real and lasting peace of heart. But that is something to which all the unregenerate are total strangers, though they will not acknowledge it, and try hard to conceal it. A heart which is truly at rest is one that realizes that God (and not the Devil) is on the throne of the universe, directing all things by His unerring wisdom and making all things “work together for good” unto His own people. 

It is true that even to the Christian many of God’s ways are profoundly mysterious: if they were not, there would be no room for the exercise of faith. If the writer or the reader were on the throne and had all power at his disposal, he would order things in this world very different from what they now are. Yes, and that would only manifest what a fool he is. How so? Because Perfect Wisdom is now directing all the concerns of every life and all the affairs of this world as a whole, and therefore the very desire to altar what is, only exhibits our folly. Faith knows that unerring wisdom is regulating all things; that One too wise to err holds the helm in His hand, and that He “doeth all things well.” Though to sight and sense things seem to be all out of order, though human reason is quite unable to perceive the perfection of God’s governmental ways and providential dealings, faith knows that “of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things” (Rom 11:36). 

God could put an end to all sin in the world right now did He so please. So to He could save every sinner on earth this moment did He so choose. As to why He does not do so, we cannot tell; nor is it any of our business! Our business is not to mount the bench and pass judgment on the ways and dealings of the Most High: that is what the Devil once sought to do, and it resulted in his eternal undoing. Our business is to be clay in the hands of the Potter; to unmurmingly submit to His holy and sovereign pleasure, to lie passive, and be molded by Him. Our business is to take our place in the dust before the Almighty, and say, Lord, in Thy mercy subdue my rebellious will, quieten my restless soul, purify my unbelieving heart. Our business is to delight ourselves in the Lord (Psa. 37:4), and to give thanks “always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20).

 We live in the midst of a rebellious generation who are ever murmuring and complaining at God’s appointments: grumbling at His weather, chaffing at His restrictions, belching forth their discontent every time He crosses their wills. Verily, “the poison of asps is under their lips” (Rom. 3:13). And my reader, unless we are constantly on our guard, we shall be corrupted by them, learn their evil ways, and acquire their wicked speech. Our safeguard is to have as little to do with them as possible, and to cultivate more and more communion with Him who never murmured, but always delighted in the Father’s will—A.W. Pink