Thursday, May 31, 2012

Difference Between a Bikini and Underwear

Have you ever asked yourself is there a difference?

As Christians, we are to be giving a proper estimate of Him, seeking to know HIS will, to glorify Him, not ourselves.

We are all in the sanctification process...indeed...we should all be works in progress, looking backward and thanking Him for challenging and changing us to be more conformed to HIS image, and less like the world.

Do you look more like Jesus today than you did a day, a month, a year ago?  Can someone discern that you are truly a follower of Christ, or is your behavior, your conduct, your conversation, your company causing His name to be blasphemed?

For those who may be interested in further reading on modesty:

Christian Modesty

Father, help each of us, because not one of us walking this earth has attained perfection in our sanctification, give us an ever growing passion and desire to be conformed to You, to thirst and hunger after You and Your righteousness.

Lord chastise us when we cause Your name to be blasphemed...and cause us to turn and repent before You.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Injurious Effects of Backsliding

Courtesy Chapel Library - Free Grace Broadcaster - Issue 197 - Fall 2006


Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) 

FIRST, IT WILL NECESSARILY DEPRIVE US of all true enjoyment in religion, and by consequence of all that preservation to the heart and mind, which such enjoyment affords. The principal sources of enjoyment, to a Christian that walketh spiritually, are communion with God and His people. But to him that is out of the way, these streams are dried up; or, which is the same thing in effect to him, they are so impeded as not to reach him. Guilt, shame, darkness, and defilement have taken possession of the soul. Love is quenched, hope clouded, joy fled, prayer restrained, and every other grace *enervated.  It becomes the holiness of God to frown upon us in such a state of mind by withholding the light of His countenance; and, if it were otherwise, we have no manner of desire after it.

Such was the state of David after he had sinned and before he had repented: the joys of God’s salvation were far from him. The thirty-second and thirty-eighth Psalms appear to have been written…after his recovery. But he there describes what was the state of his mind previously to it. There is much meaning in what he sets out with in the former of these Psalms: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psa 32:1, 2). He knew the contrary of this by bitter experience. Guilt and defilement had eaten up all his enjoyment. “When I kept silence,” saith he, “my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Psa 32:3, 4). It does not appear that he fully desisted from prayer; but there was none of that freedom in it, which he was *wont to enjoy. It was roaring rather than praying; and God is represented as disregarding it.  In the thirty-eighth Psalm he speaks of the rebukes of God’s wrath, and the chastening of His hot displeasure; of His arrows sticking fast in him, and His hand pressing him sore; of there being no soundness in his flesh, because of His anger; nor rest in his bones, because of his sin. There is one expression exceedingly appropriate: “My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of my foolishness.” A wound may be dangerous at the time of its being received; but much more so if it be neglected till the humors of the body are drawn towards it. In this case, it is hard to be healed; and the patient has not only to reflect on his heedlessness in first exposing himself to danger, but on his foolishness in so long neglecting the prescribed remedy. Such was the state of his mind, until, as he informs us, he “acknowledged his transgressions” and was “sorry for his sin.”

And as there can be no communion with God, so neither can there be any with His people. If our sin be known, it must naturally occasion a reservedness, if not an exclusion from their society. Or, if it be unknown, we shall be equally unable to enjoy communion with them. Guilt in our consciences will beget shame and incline us rather to stand aloof than to come near them; or, if we go into their company, it will prove a bar to freedom. There is something at first sight rather singular in the language of the Apostle John; but upon closer inspection it will be found to be perfectly just: “If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another” (1Jo 1:7)…

Nor shall we be deprived merely of the enjoyments of religion, but of all that preservation to the soul, which they afford. The peace of God is represented as that which keeps or fortifies our hearts and minds. Without this, the heart will be in perpetual danger of being seduced by the wiles or sunk by the pressures of this world and the mind of being drawn aside from the simplicity of the Gospel.

Secondly, it will render us useless in our generation. The great end of existence with a good man is to live to Him, Who died for us and rose again. If God bless us, it is that, like Abraham, we may be blessings to others. Christians are said to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world; but while we are in the state above described, we are as salt that has lost its savor, which is “good for nothing,” or as a light that is hid under a vessel (Mat 5:13, 15).

Of what use, with respect to religion, are we in our families, while this is the case? Neither servants nor children can think well of religion, from anything they see in us. And when we go into the world and mingle among mankind in our dealings, in whose conscience does our conversation or behavior plant conviction? Where is the man who, on leaving our company, has been compelled by it to acknowledge the reality of religion? Or, if we occupy a station in the church of God (and this character may belong to a minister no less than to another man), we shall do little or no good in it…There is a threatening directed against vain pastors which ought to make a minister tremble: “Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened” (Zec 11:17). Perhaps one of the greatest temptations to backsliding in ministers may lie in this way: being selected from their brethren and chosen to the office of public instructors, they are in danger of indulging in *self-valuation.  A man may labor night and day in his study and all to get accomplished that he may shine before the people. Where this is the case, the preacher is his own idol, and it may be that of the people….This character may respect ungodly preachers, such to whom the Jewish nation were given up for their rejection of Christ; but there is no sin committed by the most ungodly man of which the most godly is not in danger.

Thirdly, we shall not only be useless, but injurious to the cause of Christ. Indeed, it is impossible to stand neuter in this cause. If we do no good, we shall do harm, not only as *cumberers of the ground (Luk 13:7), occupying that place in society which might be better filled by others, but as giving a false representation of religion and diffusing a savor of death among mankind. If our domestics infer nothing favorable to religion from our conduct in the family, they will infer something unfavorable; and if there be but little good to be seen in our example, it is well if there be not much evil; and this will surely be imitated. Who can calculate what influence the treachery, unchastity, and murder, committed by David, had upon his family? We know that each was acted over again by Amnon and Absalom. And thus many a parent has seen his own sins repeated in his posterity. And perhaps, if he had lived longer, might have seen them multiplied still more to his shame and confusion.

The servants of God are called to bear testimony for Him: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD” (Isa 43:10). This is done not merely by words, but by deeds. There is a way of bearing witness to the reality and importance of religion, by a zealous perseverance in it; to its dignity, by our firmness; to its happy influence, by contentedness and cheerfulness; and to its purity, by being holy in all manner of conversation: and this is a kind of testimony, which is more regarded than any other. Men, in common, form their opinion of religion more by what they see in the professors of it than by the profession itself. Hence, it was that David by his deed is said to have given “great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (2Sa 12:14). They were not contented with reproaching him, but must speak against God and religion on his account….Things operate much the same to this day. Whatever evil is done by a professor, it is ascribed to his religion. In this view, we may justly consider our unchristian conduct as bearing false witness of God. For it is giving false representations of His Gospel and government to the world.

A grasping, selfish spirit is saying to those around us, that, after all which we have professed of living by faith in a portion beyond death, the present world is the best, and therefore we are for making sure of that, and running all hazards as to the other. In like manner, a cruel and revengeful disposition towards those who have offended us is saying that Christianity, after all its professions of meekness and forgiveness of injuries, renders its adherents no better than others. And when a Christian professor is detected of having privately indulged in the lusts of the flesh, the conclusion that is drawn from it is, that there is nothing in religion but outside appearance, and that in secret, religious people are the same as others. It is impossible to say how much such conduct operates to the hardening of men in sin, to the quenching of their convictions, to the weakening the hands of God’s servants, and to the stumbling of persons who are inquiring the way to Zion…

Fourthly, we are in the utmost danger of falling into future temptations, and so of sinking deeper and falling further from God. So long as sin remains upon the conscience unlamented, it is like poison in the constitution. It will be certain to operate, and that in a way that shall go on more and more to kill all holy resolution, to harden the heart, and to defile the imaginations and desires. “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart” (Hos 4:11). It was from sad experience of the defiling nature of past sin that David, when he came to himself, prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psa 51:10).

A mind thus enfeebled, stupefied, and defiled, must needs be in a very unfit condition to resist new temptations. The inhabitants of a besieged city, who are weakened by famine and disease, and discouraged by a number of disaffected persons within their walls, have no heart to resist, but stand ready to listen to the first proposals of the besiegers. And in proportion as we are disabled for resistance, it may be expected that the tempter will renew his attempts upon us. If Satan has any influence upon the human mind, it may be supposed that he acts with design and knows how to avail himself of the most favorable seasons to effect his purpose. And this we find to be true by experience. In proportion as we have yielded to temptation, it will rise in its demands. Solicitations, greater in number and in force, will ply our minds. As a resistance of the devil will be followed by his fleeing from us, so on the contrary, a non-resistance of him will be followed by renewed and stronger attempts upon us. One sin makes way for another and renders us less able to resist or to return to God by repentance…Samson first yielded to his sensual desires. After this, to the entreaties of his Delilah, who, in proportion as she saw him pliant to her wishes, increased in her *assiduousness until at length he lost his hair, his liberty, his eyes, and his life…

Fifthly, so long as sin remains upon the conscience unlamented, we are in danger of eternal damnation. It may be thought by some that such language is inconsistent with the final perseverance of believers; but it is manifest that our Lord did not so teach the doctrine of perseverance as to render cautions of this nature unnecessary. He did not *scruple to declare, even to His own disciples, that whosoever should say to his brother, “Thou fool,” should be in danger of hell-fire (Mat 5:22)—that if they forgave not men their trespasses, neither would God forgive theirs (Mat 6:15)—and if a right hand, or a right eye, caused them to offend, it must be cut off, or plucked out, and that lest the whole body should be cast into hell (Mat 5:29).

The object at which sin aims, whether in believers or unbelievers, is death—eternal death. To this, it has a natural and direct tendency….If it does not in all cases come to this issue, it is not because of its being different as to its nature or tendency in some persons to what it is in others, but because a timely stop is put to its operations. Only let it go on without repentance until it has finished its work, and eternal death will be the issue.

Whatever we are, so long as sin lies unlamented upon the conscience, we have no scriptural foundation to conclude that we are Christians. No real Christian, it is true, will prove an apostate; yet while we are under the influence of sin, we are moving in the direction which leads to apostasy. If we are contented with a relapsed state of mind, what ground can we have to conclude that it is not our element or that we have ever been the subjects of true religion?

From The Backslider.

enervated – deprived of nerve and strength.
wont – accustomed
self-valuation – appreciation of one’s self.
cumberers of the ground – those who use up or waste the ground.
assiduousness – persistence.
scruple – hesitate.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

“Playing the Pharisee Card”

Courtesy of Issues, Etc.
I have been called a Pharisee more times than I can remember. It goes with the territory. I host a conservative Christian radio talk show. I publicly defend the teachings and practices of the historic Church. I also publicly point out false teaching and practices in the Church today. For these reasons alone, some believe that I deserve to be called a Pharisee.
But I’m not alone. Today, the label “Pharisee” is applied to many Christians just like me—perhaps you’re one of them. We are Christians who cherish God’s Word, the Church’s historic Creeds, confessions and practices. …
When we see the Church abandoning these things to follow the latest fads and entertainments, we lament. When we see the Gospel itself being left behind in the Church’s rush to mimic popular culture, we are grieved. And when we question the Church’s infatuation with the spirit of the age, we are labeled Pharisees.
The “race card” is a political term of art made famour during the 1988 presidential race between George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. In today’s presidential politics, we also have the “gender card.” The Race and Gender Cards aren’t designed to rise the legitimate issues surrounding race or gender. Instead, both the Race and Gender Cards are political tactics that exploit racial and gender divisions among voters, and appeal to the worst racial and gender sterotypes. In American politics, the Race and Gender Cards are played to discredit someone by implying that he is racist or sexist.
Just as politicians and pundits play the Race Card or the Gender Card, many in the Church are playing the “Pharisee Card.”
Just like the Race or Gender Cards, the Pharisee Card is not designed to raise a legitimate issue of doctrine or practice. Rather, the Pharisee Card is used to discredit someone by implying that he is narrow, rigid, and unloving—a Pharisee. Most often these days, the Pharisee Card is played to portray a fellow Christian as a “doctrinal purist,” resistant to change, and therefore, unconcerned for the lost.
The Pharisee Card is a powerful weapon. Most of its punch comes from the fact that, during His earthly ministry, Jesus did often condemn the Pharisees. The Pharisee Card is intended to be tantamount to the condemnation of Jesus Himself.
Why did Jesus so often condemn the Pharisees? Was it because (as those who play the Pharisee Card assume) the Pharisees were ultra-conservative doctrinal purists, with no love for the lost? No.

Were the Pharisees Concerned with Doctrinal Purity?

The Pharisee Card is played against Christians who are concerned with doctrinal purity. When used this way, the Pharisee Card is intended to discredit the doctrinal purist and silence any further questions about false teaching. It works beautifully. Those dealing the Pharisee Card know that many Christians would rather suffer silently under false teaching than speak up and risk being labeled a Pharisee.
The only problem is, Jesus never faulted the Pharisees for being doctrinal purists. He faulted them for being false teachers who abandoned the truth of God’s Word in favor of the erroneous word of man (Matthew 16:11–12; 15:1–9; Mark 7:6–13).
Jesus called Christians who demanded doctrinal purity “disciples,” not “Pharisees.” “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31–32) In fact, Christians who demand doctrinal purity are really following the example of Jesus, of Paul and the other Apostles (Matthew 7:15; see also Matthew 24:10–11; Mark 9:42; 2 Corinthians 15:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Timothy 4:16; 6:3–4; Titus 1:7–9; 2:1, 7–8; 1 John 4:1; 2 Peter 3:17).

Were the Pharisees Resistant to Change?

The Pharisee Card is also played in order to discredit Christians who refuse to abandon the historic practices of the Church in favor of the latest innovations. This too works beautifully. Those dealing the Pharisee card know that, to avoid being labeled a Pharisee, many Christians will tolerate an endless succession of fads in worship, music, and ministry. But Jesus never faulted the Pharisees for resisting change. On the contrary, He faulted them for introducing their own innovations and methods in the place of God’s Word.
Dealers of the Pharisee Card will cite Luke 5:36–39 in favor of their own innovations:
And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.”
Was Jesus calling for wholesale change, or warning against it? The new patch ruins the garment. The new wine bursts the wineskins. The context of the parable is a discussion of fasting. Rather than advocating the abandonment of this ancient practice, Jesus instead taught that ancient practices must now be understood and practiced in light of Him and His redemptive work.
Jesus didn’t condemn the Pharisees for retaining ancient paractices, or for resisting change; rather, Jesus concluded the parable by saying, “And no one, after drinking old wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good.’”

Were the Pharisees Unconcerned for the Lost?

Christians who demand doctrinal purity and resist compromising change are often accused of being Pharisees with no love for the lost. This is probably the most common use of the Pharisee card today. Those who like to play the Pharisee Card know that Christians will put up with almost anything in the name of missions and evangelism, in order to avoid being called Pharisees.
But Jesus never faulted the Pharisees for being unconcerned for the lost. On the contrary, He said:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15)
Jesus had no problem with the missionary zeal of the Pharisees—they were zealous enough; Jesus had a problem with the Pharisees’ soul-damning message. Paul was of the same opinion:
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:2–3)
And Paul spoke from experience. As a former Pharisee, his missionary zeal took him far and wide as a persecutor of the first Christians (Acts 9:1–2; Philippians 3:6).
The Pharisees’ error was not a lack of missionary zeal; it was that their false teaching (however zealously preached) damned rather than saved.
Moreover, contrary to everything the Pharisee Card is meant to imply, just because someone is concerned for doctrinal purity and resistant to theological innovation does not mean that he is unconcerned for the lost. On the contrary, departure from the pure Word, in doctrine and practice, does not help, but hinders the preaching of the Gospel, therefore impeding the mission of the Church. False teaching does not save sinners. Purity in doctrine and practice makes the preaching of the Gospel possible. Purity in doctrine and practice makes the preaching of the Gospel imperative.
The irony is that those most often called Pharisees in the Church today are those most concerned about the lost, and thereforepreaching the pure Gospel to them.
The power of the Pharisee Card is based on the mistaken idea that those unwilling to compromise in doctrine and practice are the modern-day counterparts of the ancient Pharisees. This idea has no basis in fact.

Why Did Jesus Really Condemn the Pharisees?

Read more --> HERE.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Evil of Apostasy

Courtesy Chapel Library - Free Grace Broadcaster - Issue 205, Fall 2008

The Evil of Apostasy

Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754)

Is it so that many of Christ’s pretended disciples do, some time or other, fall totally and finally away from Him? Then let me exhort and persuade all hearing me, but especially you who have been lifting up your hands to Him at a communion table and professing to be His disciples by laying your hands on a slain Redeemer, to endeavor firmness and stability in cleaving to Christ and His way…To enforce this exhortation, consider first the evil of apostasy either in part or in whole.

1. It is a provocation of the highest nature. And there are especially two evils in it, which cannot but awaken divine resentment, viz., treachery and ingratitude. 1st, There is treachery in it. What husband would take it well, if his wife should abandon him and follow after other lovers? My friends, you have been taking God for your husband in a solemn manner before angels and men. Will it not be treachery in the highest degree to go and prostitute your souls unto sin, His greatest enemy? Will not this cast a calumny and reproach upon God, as if others were better than He? This will make Him say, “What iniquity have your fathers found in me?” (Jer 2:5). “O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee?” (Mic 6:3). 2dly, There is ingratitude in it also. It was a very cutting word that Christ had to His disciples…“Will ye also leave me?” The same is He saying to every one of you: “Will ye also go away, after such proofs of My kindness, after such repeated vows and obligations?” From all [this], it is evident that apostasy is a provocation of the highest nature.

2. Your backsliding will give a deep l give a deep wound to religion wound to religion and bring up a reproach upon the good ways of God. You have been owning Him as your Lord and Master and declaring before the world that you think His service the best service, His wages the best wages; that one day in His courts is better than a thousand (Psa 84:10). Now, if after all you backslide, will not the world conclude that you have not found that in His service that you expected? Thus, others will be scared from the good ways of the Lord.
a. You will grieve the hearts of the godly, whose hearts God would not grieve. And it is a dangerous thing to offend one of His little ones. It were better for you that “a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luk 17:2).

b. If ye shall apostatize in whole and slide back with a perpetual backsliding, it will be a prelude of your eternal banishment and separation from the presence of God. God’s soul takes no pleasure in [such] backsliders, and therefore they can never have access into His gracious presence. Consequently, [they] shall be punished with everlasting destruction.

c. If ye be believers and apostatize in part, ye shall put a whip in God’s hand to chastise you. If ye shall after this turn careless in your walk, more remiss in duty, less frequent, less fervent, less lively than before, ye may assure yourselves that ye shall not go unpunished. “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amo 3:2). “If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments…then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes” (Psa 89:30-31). 

Secondly, consider some great advantages of stability in cleaving to Christ and standing firm to His cause and interest.

a. It will furnish you much inward peace and tranquility of mind. “Great peace have they which love thy law” (Psa 119:165). God tells Israel that, if they had cleaved unto Him and His way, their peace should have been as a river and their righteousness as the waves of the sea (Isa 66:12).

b, It will glorify God and reflect a luster upon religion. Make the world conclude ye serve a good Master. Hence is that of Christ, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mat 5:16).

c. As backsliding strikes a damp upon the spirit at the approaches of death, so stability of heart in the Lord’s way affords courage and confidence through Christ upon the approach of that grim messenger of the Lord of hosts. Hence is that of Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have fin-ished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness…” (2Ti 4:7-8).

d. The reward of grace is insured in Christ to the steadfast soul. “Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for-asmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1Co 15:58). Remember that your title to the reward comes in by virtue of your union with Christ; and, O, how glorious is that reward the steadfast soul is entitled to through Him! It has a kingdom secured to it: “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations; And I appoint unto you a kingdom” (Luk 22:29). A throne: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Rev 3:21). A crown is secured, a crown of life: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev 2:10). A crown of glory: “When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1Pe 5:4). A crown of righteousness, which is laid up for all that keep the faith and “that love his appearing” (2Ti 4:8). A crown of joy, yea, a crown of everlasting joy shall be “upon their heads…and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isa 35:10).

I conclude with two or three advices.

1. Take care that the foundation be well laid upon the everlasting Rock Jesus Christ. For this is the foundation that God hath laid in Zion, and another foundation can no man lay. Ye must be cemented to this foundation by the Spirit and faith, otherwise ye can never stand in a day of trial; for your root being rottenness, your “blossom shall go up as the dust” (Isa 5:24). The house built upon the sand fell when the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon it; but the house founded upon this Rock shall stand out against the utmost efforts of the gates of hell (Mat 7:24-27).

2. Maintain an everlasting jealousy over your own hearts. For “he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Pro 28:26), considering that it is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9). Particularly take heed of the workings and sproutings of the bitter root of unbelief, which causes to depart from the living God (Heb 3:12).

3. Keep your eyes upon the promises of persevering grace, particularly that [of] Jeremiah 32:40: “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” If you plead and improve this promise by faith, it is impossible ye can draw back. For it is “impossible for God to lie” (Heb 6:18). God stands on both sides of the covenant to fulfill both His and our part of the same. Therefore, plead that ye may fulfill His in you, that He would keep you by His power through faith unto salvation (1Pe 1:5).

4. Keep a steady eye on Christ, the blessed Mediator of the covenant. Eye Him as the storehouse and fountain of all your supplies of grace and strength. For it is out “of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (Joh 1:16). Eye Him as your Captain to fight all your battles against sin and Satan; for He has “spoiled principalities and powers” (Col 2:15); and if ever we overcome, it must be in the blood and strength of the Lamb. Eye Him as your guide to lead you through all the dark and difficult steps of your pilgrimage. For He leads the blind “in paths that they have not known” (Isa 42:16). Eye Him as your pattern. Endeavor to imitate Him in all His imitable perfections. Run your Christian race, “looking unto Jesus” (Heb 12:2). Remember how steady and firm He was in carrying on the great work of redemption. He set His face like a flint against all the storms and obstacles that lay in His way. He did not faint, nor was He discouraged, but travelled on in the greatness of His strength, enduring the cross, and despising the shame. For He said on the cross, “It is finished” (Joh 19:30). So study ye after His example to run your Christian race, your course of obedience, and press on against all temptations and difficulties, until ye have finished your course with joy and arrive at the mark and prize of the high calling of God in Christ.

a. Be aware of the first beginnings of defection and backsliding. For one trip makes way for another. Defections are like the rolling of a stone upon the brow of an high mountain; if once it begins to roll, it is fair never to rest until it be at the bottom. Ye have been upon the mount of God, Sirs! If ye begin once to roll down the hill of your high professions and resolutions, it is an hundred to one if ye do not land in the depths of apostasy and at last in the depths of hell.

b. Lastly, study to be well skilled in the unmasking the mystery of iniquity, in detecting the wiles and stratagems of the tempter, and to provide yourselves with suitable antidotes against every attack of the enemy. For instance, if he tell thee sin is pleasant, ask him if the gripings of the worm of conscience be pleasant too, and if one day in God’s house be not better than a thousand in the tents of sin. If he tell thee that nobody sees, ask him if he can shut the eye of an omniscient God, Whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and Who setteth our most secret sins in the light of His countenance (Psa 90:8). If he tell thee that it is but a little one, ask him if there be a little God or if His displeasure be a little thing. If he tell thee that sin is profitable, ask him, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mat 16:26). By considerations of this nature, the mind comes to be fortified against the attacks and onsets of that grand enemy of salvation, [which proves to be] a notable ballast to keep the soul firm and steady against the most violent storms and tempests that may blow either from earth or hell.

From “The Backslider Characterised” in The Whole Works of the Late Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, Vol. 1, reprinted by Tentmaker Publications.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times; And a brother is born for adversity.

Courtesy of Bill Cain ~ Proverbs Devotional

Words of the Verse:
"All times" could be "every time."

Analysis of the Verse
Being Compared
• A friend
• A brother

Their Descriptions Respectively
• Loves at all times
• Is born for difficulty

Teaching of the Verse:

Here are two definitions, one for friend and one for brother. We need to know what each of them means, for there are those who call themselves friends who are not, and those who are brothers who prove unworthy of the name. Therefore, our proverb tells us what a true friend and a true brother are.

A friend truly defined is one who "loves at all times. His love is not occasional. His love does not alternate with hate. Now his love may waver at times, and it may give way to anger at others, but its nature is such that WHOM is his friend is someone his soul has come to love.

Consider some of the alternatives to Friend. Most often, a relationship that seems to be friendship is actually something else. As often as not, it is Mutually Enjoyed Company. Two people find that they enjoy each other's company, so they become 'friends'. Oftentimes they become true friends, inseparable
by most any trial; but more often, Mutually Enjoyed Company discovers forks in their joint road which mere enjoyment will not reconcile. They may always enjoy one another, but they have no basis for a permanent kind of soul bonding.

Another variation of friendship is Mutually Beneficial Company. Two people find that each has something to offer that the other values. Again, such a relationship can turn into true, inseparable friendship; but as often as not, there is no actual soul bonding, no permanent love that binds them.

Another alternative to true friendship is Mutually Dependent Company. In this, two insecure people take refuge in one another. Usually, one or the other of them will not have a strong enough soul to sustain true love; but sometimes, two partial people who know and accept their own and each others' weaknesses become fast friends in a most unusual and inspiring way.

The ingredient missing in any relationship short of friendship is love. Love bonds two friends together.

Now consider this: it really only takes one loving person to be a friend. If one person truly loves another at all times, the recipient of that love need not return it for the lover to be his friend.

In that case, Jesus was the loneliest lover in the world's history when He was on earth. He had a love toward His own which even the best of them appreciated little.  Even the women and John who forsook Him the least in His hour of trial still forsook Him. They did not understand His mission, nor did they reciprocate the love of it. They showed themselves, as all men do, unworthy of the truest love. Fortunately for us and them, the love God has as our friend does not depend upon our return of it. He loved us unilaterally
and unconditionally, when we actually rejected Him. The great thing about God's love, though, is that whom He loves He makes into a friend:

Rom 5:5 And hope does not make us ashamed. because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.

Hence, Christians, by definition, should be the truest friends on earth. We should be able to be friends to all men, because we have a supply .of love from the Infinite.

The second part of the proverb says that "a brother is born for adversity". This is intended to portray a step beyond friendship. Brotherhood is an even deeper bond than friendship. There is a love from growing up together that binds siblings together uncannily.

Ironically, on this count, the connections among men are revealed at their truest level. Jesus defined it thus:

Mar 3:32 - 35 And the crowd sat about Him, and they said to Him, Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking for You. And He answered them, saying, Who is My mother, or My brothers? And He looked around on those who sat about Him, and said. Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God.the same is My brother and My sister and My mother.

Jesus defined brotherhood on the spiritual level. His earthly brothers did not have God as their Father at the time. Those who were receiving His message, though, did. Until after His' death, Jesus' earthly brothers were not there for Him. So the ultimate definition of Brother must be kept in mind for this proverb.

Of course, a Christian should be the truest brother just as he should be the truest friend. A Christian honors his parents by faithfulness in family relations. In terms of the bond between souls, though, many an earthly brother makes it impossible for a Christian sibling to be brotherly towards him. The Christian must simply do his best.

The question for us today is this: are we bound in soul with those connected to Christ, our brothers? For John, this was a sufficient proof of the reality of our own relationship with God:

1 John 3: 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brothers. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

A brother is born for adversity.  Are you fulfilling your birthright for brothers in need?

Monday, May 14, 2012

What is Apostasy?

Courtesy Chapel Library - Free Grace Broadcaster #205 - Fall 2008

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)

What is Apostasy?

In the past, dear reader, there have been thousands who were just as confident that they had been genuinely saved and were truly trusting in the merits of the finished work of Christ to take them safely through to Heaven, as you may be. Nevertheless, they are now in the torments of Hell. Their confidence was a carnal one…They were too confident that their faith was a saving one to thoroughly, searchingly, frequently test it by the Scriptures, to discover whether or not it was bringing forth those fruits that are inseparable from the faith of God’s elect. If they read an article like this, they proudly concluded that it belonged to someone else. So cocksure were they that they were born again so many years ago, they refused to heed the command of 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Prove your own selves.” Now it is too late. They wasted their day of opportunity, and the “blackness of darkness” is their portion forever.

In view of this solemn and awful fact, the writer earnestly calls upon himself and each reader to get down before God and sincerely cry, “Search me, O God: reveal me to myself. If I am deceived, undeceive me ere (1) it be eternally too late. Enable me to measure myself faithfully by Thy Word, so that I may discover whether or not my heart has been renewed, whether I have abandoned every course of self-will and truly surrendered to Thee; whether I have so repented that I hate all sin and fervently long to be free from its power, loathe myself and seek diligently to deny myself; whether my faith is that which overcomes the world (1Jo 5:4) or whether it be only a mere notional thing which produces no godly living; whether I am a fruitful branch of the vine or only a cumberer (2) of the ground; in short, whether I be a new creature in Christ or only a painted hypocrite.” If I have an honest heart, then I am willing, yea anxious to face and know the real truth about myself.

Perhaps some readers are ready to say, “I already know the truth about myself. I believe what God’s Word tells me: I am a sinner with no good thing dwelling in me. My only hope is in Christ.” Yes, dear friend, but Christ saves His people from their sins. Christ sends His Holy Spirit into their hearts, so that they are radically changed from what they were previously. The Holy Spirit sheds abroad the love of God in the hearts of those He regenerates, and that love is manifested by a deep desire and sincere determination to please Him Who loves me. When Christ saves a soul, He saves not only from Hell, but from the power of sin. He delivers him from the dominion of Satan and from the love of the world. He delivers him from the fear of man, the lusts of the flesh, the love of self. True, He has not yet completed this blessed work. True, the sinful nature is not yet eradicated. But one who is saved has been delivered from the dominion of sin (Rom 6:14). Salvation is a supernatural thing that changes the heart, renews the will, transforms the life, so that it is evident to all around that a miracle of grace has been wrought…A faith that does not issue in godly living, in an obedient walk, in spiritual fruit, is not the faith of God’s elect. O my reader, I beg you to diligently and faithfully examine yourself by the light of God’s unerring Word. Claim not to be a child of Abraham, unless you do the works of Abraham (Joh 8:39).

What is apostasy? It is a making shipwreck of the faith (1Ti 1:19). It is the heart’s departure from the living God (Heb 3:13). It is a returning to and being overcome by the world, after a previous escape from its pollutions through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pe 2:20). There are various steps that precede it. First, there is a looking back (Luk 9:62), like Lot’s wife, who though she had outwardly left Sodom, yet her heart was still there. Second, there is a drawing back (Heb 10:38): the requirements of Christ are too exacting to any longer appeal to the heart. Third, there is a turning back (Joh 6:66): the path of godliness is too narrow to suit the lustings of the flesh. Fourth, there is a falling back, which is fatal: “That they might go and fall backward, and be broken” (Isa 28:13).

From Studies in the Scriptures, reprinted by Chapel Library.
(1) ere - before
(2) cumberer - that which clutters.

A.W. Pink (1886--1952): --1952): Pastor, itinerate Bible teacher, author of Studies in the Scriptures and many books including his well-known The Sovereignty of God; born in Great Britain, immigrated to the U.S., and later returned to his homeland in 1934; born in Nottingham, England.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012


A soul dead in sin is insensible to any real distress because of sin; a heart destitute of love to God, feels no distress because it does not love Him. A graceless sinner never longs for grace: an unrenewed person never thirsts for holiness, and a dead soul never breathes after life. Take heart, then, O believer, for your soul-sorrow is the prelude to your soul's eternal joy.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


"Amidst the flood of dangerous reading, I plead for my Master's book; I call upon you not to forget the book of the soul.

Do not let newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the Prophets and Apostles be despised.

Do not let the exciting and sensual swallow up your attention, while the edifying and the sanctifying can find no place in your mind."

~ J.C. Ryle

Monday, May 7, 2012

O For A Closer Walk With God

1. O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame;
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

2. Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His word?

3. What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left and aching void
The world can never fill.

4. Return, O holy Dove, return, 
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,
And drove Thee from my breast.

5. The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from
Thy throne, And worship only Thee.

6. So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

William Cowper, the author of this hymn, experienced a number of  tragic events in his life, beginning with the death of his mother when he was six years old, and he suffered from depression all of his life.

Born the son of an Anglican clergyman, Cowper studied for the law, but was so intimidated at the prospect of the law exam that he attempted suicide. 

The story is told that Cowper determined to commit suicide by drowning himself in the Ouse River.  He called a taxi to take him to the place on the river where he had determined to do the deed, but the taxi driver couldn't find it and eventually returned Cowper to his home.  It seems possible that the driver sensed something amiss and drove aimlessly for awhile as a way of thwarting Cowper's plan.  It also seems possible that God intervened to save Cowper –– perhaps using an incompetent driver as a saving grace. 

Cowper was institutionalized in Cotton's mental asylum for a time.  Upon his release, he went to church where he met the Reverend Morely Unwin and his wife, Mary.  The Unwins took Cowper under their wing, and Cowper lived with them for more than two decades.  When Rev. Unwin fell from a horse and was killed,  John Newton (best known as the author of the hymn, "Amazing Grace") came to the Unwin home to pay his respects.  He persuaded Cowper and Mrs. Unwin to move to Olney, where Newton served as the pastor of a church. 

Then Mary Unwin became seriously ill, and it appeared that she would die.  Cowper began to experience severe depression again, because Mary had been a mother figure to him and his best friend.  That crisis inspired him to write the verse for "O for a Closer Walk with God" –– verse that comforted him in his distress.  Fortunately, Mary recovered from her illness.

Cowper, who had written poetry for most of his life, worked with Newton on a collection of hymns that they entitled Olney Hymns.  That collection included 280 of Newton's hymns and 68 of Cowper's hymns, including this one.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Awaiting the City of God

Courtesy of Ligonier Ministries

Evangelical Christians love America. Some see in her the last hope of creating a Christian nation. But it is not a Christian nation. It is pagan to the core. It is in danger of becoming, if it is not already, the new “Evil Empire.” The Mayflower Compact is a museum piece, a relic of a forgotten era. “In God We Trust” is now a lie.

Yes, we must always work for social reform. Yes, we must be “profane’ in Martin Luther’s sense of going out of the temple and into the world. We do not despise the country of our birth. But in what do we invest our hope? The state is not God. The nation is not the Promised Land. The president is not our King. The Congress is not our Savior. Our welfare can never be found in the city of man. The federal government is not sovereign. We live—in every age and in every generation—by the rivers of Babylon. We need to understand that clearly. We must learn how to sing the Lord’s song in a strange and foreign land.

America will fall. The United States will inevitably disintegrate. The Stars and Stripes will bleed. The White House will turn to rubble. That is certain. We stand like Augustine before the sea. We pray that God will spare our nation. If He chooses not to, we ask for the grace to accept its demise. In either case, we look to Him who is our King and to heaven, which is our home. We await the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God.

Are you looking to your King and to your eternal destiny, despite the circumstances around you? Keep your focus on the heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God.

Passages for Further Study
1 Corinthians 15:50
John 3:5
2 Peter 1:11

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"These all died in faith."—Hebrews 11:13.

BEHOLD the epitaph of all those blessed saints who fell asleep before the coming of our Lord! It matters nothing how else they died, whether of old age, or by violent means; this one point, in which they all agree, is the most worthy of record, "they all died in faith." In faith they lived—it was their comfort, their guide, their motive and their support; and in the same spiritual grace they died, ending their life-song in the sweet strain in which they had so long continued. They did not die resting in the flesh or upon their own attainments; they made no advance from their first way of acceptance with God, but held to the way of faith to the end. Faith is as precious to die by as to live by.

Dying in faith has distinct reference to the past. They believed the promises which had gone before, and were assured that their sins were blotted out through the mercy of God. Dying in faith has to do with the present. These saints were confident of their acceptance with God, they enjoyed the beams of His love, and rested in His faithfulness. Dying in faith looks into the future. They fell asleep, affirming that the Messiah would surely come, and that when He would in the last days appear upon the earth, they would rise from their graves to behold Him. To them the pains of death were but the birth-pangs of a better state. Take courage, my soul, as thou readest this epitaph. Thy course, through grace, is one of faith, and sight seldom cheers thee; this has also been the pathway of the brightest and the best. Faith was the orbit in which these stars of the first magnitude moved all the time of their shining here; and happy art thou that it is thine. Look anew to-night to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith, and thank Him for giving thee like precious faith with souls now in glory.

~ C. H. Spurgeon (Morning and Evening Devotions)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

State and Church - Wed?

Still researching and getting information on 501c3 status for 'churches' - the more I read the more convinced I become that it is an unholy alliance.

Is your church a State run 501c3 church

How the church of today has been brainwashed into silence and controlled by the government and these "Nancy boy" pastors fall right into step and help with the demise of this once great Country. Please educate yourself on this matter and take it to your pastor.

501c3 Church Facts

Most churches in America have organized as "501c3 tax-exempt religious organizations." This is a fairly recent trend that has only been going on for about fifty years. Churches were only added to section 501c3 of the tax code in 1954. We can thank Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson for that. Johnson was no ally of the church. As part of his political agenda, Johnson had it in mind to silence the church and eliminate the significant influence the church had always had on shaping "public policy."

Although Johnson proffered this as a "favor" to churches, the favor also came with strings attached (more like shackles). One need not look far to see the devastating effects 501c3 acceptance has had to the church, and the consequent restrictions placed upon any 501c3 church. 501c3 churches are prohibited from addressing, in any tangible way, the vital issues of the day.

For a 501c3 church to openly speak out, or organize in opposition to, anything that the government declares "legal," even if it is immoral (e.g. abortion, homosexuality, etc.), that church will jeopardize its tax exempt status. The 501c3 has had a "chilling effect" upon the free speech rights of the church. LBJ was a shrewd and cunning politician who seemed to well-appreciate how easily many of the clergy would sell out.

Did the church ever need to seek permission from the government to be exempt from taxes? Were churches prior to 1954 taxable? No, churches have never been taxable. To be taxable a church would first need to be under the jurisdiction, and therefore under the taxing authority, of the government. The First Amendment clearly places the church outside the jurisdiction of the civil government: "Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Religion cannot be free if you have to pay the government, through taxation, to exercise it. Since churches aren't taxable in the first place, why do so many of them go to the IRS and seek permission to be tax-exempt? It occurs out of:

    * Ignorance ("We didn't know any better")
    * Bandwagon logic ("Everyone else is doing it")
    * Professional advice (many attorneys and CPAs recommend it)

Does the law require, or even encourage, a church to organize as a 501c3? To answer that question let's turn to what the IRS itself has to say.

Churches Need Not Apply

In order to be considered for tax-exempt status by the IRS an organization must fill out and submit IRS Form 1023 and 1024. However, note what the IRS says regarding churches and church ministries, in Publication 557:

    Some organizations are not required to file Form 1023. These include:

        Churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church, such as a men’s or women’s organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group. These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).

Churches Are “Automatically Tax-Exempt”

According to IRS Code § 508(c)(1)(A):

    Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations.

        (a) New organizations must notify secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status.
        (c) Exceptions.

            (1) Mandatory exceptions. Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to—

                (A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.

This is referred to as the "mandatory exception" rule. Thus, we see from the IRS’ own publications, and the tax code, that it is completely unnecessary for any church to apply for tax-exempt status. In the IRS’ own words a church “is automatically tax-exempt.”

Read more -->HERE.