Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
"We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do--flee it or die upon it." - The Root of the Righteous, page 63.
"Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Saviour of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficent souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrasing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show." - Man: The Dwelling Place of God, page 27.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
4:1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
Jesus Heals an Official's Son
46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants  met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour  the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The Scriptural answer to that question makes evident the utter futility of the schemes of social reformers for ‘the moral elevation of the masses,’ the plans of politicians for the peace of the nations, and the ideologies of dreamers to usher in a ‘golden age’ for this world. It is both pathetic and tragic to see many of our greatest men putting their faith in such chimeras. Divisions and discords, hatred and bloodshed, cannot be banished while human nature is what it is. But during the past century the steady trend of a deteriorating Christendom has been to underrate the evil of sin and overrate the moral capabilities of men. Instead of proclaiming the heinousness of sin, there has been a dwelling more upon its inconveniences, and the abasing portrayal of the lost condition of man as set forth in Holy Writ has been obscured, if not obliterated, by flattering disquisitions upon human advancement. If the popular religion of ‘the churches’—including nine-tenths of what is termed ‘Evangelical Christianity’—be tested at this point, it will be found that it clashes directly with man’s fallen, mined, and spiritually dead condition.
There is therefore a crying need today for sin to be viewed in the light of God’s Law and Gospel, so that its exceeding sinfulness may be demonstrated, and the dark depths of human depravity exposed by the teaching of Holy Writ—that we may learn what is connoted by those fearful words, ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’ The grand object of the Bible is to make God known unto us, to portray man as he appears in the eyes of his Maker, and to show the relation of one to the other. It is therefore the business of His servants not only to declare the Divine character and perfections, but also to delineate the original condition and apostasy of man, as well as the Divine remedy for his ruin. Until we really behold the hole of the pit in which by nature we lie, we can never properly appreciate Christ’s so-great salvation. In man’s fallen condition we have the awful disease for which Divine redemption is the only cure, and our estimation and valuation of the provisions of Divine grace will necessarily be modified in proportion to how well we understand the depth and degree of our sin.” - A.W. Pink, Man’s Total Depravity
Symphony Of Scripture
"This is a noisy age, and the Church of Christ herself is too noisy. We have little silent worship, I fear. I do not so much regret the absence of silence from the public assembly as from our private devotions, where it has a sacred hallowing influence, unspeakably valuable.
Be silent, that you may hear the voice of Jesus, for when He speaks you will renew your strength. The eternal Spirit is with His people; but we often miss His power because we give more ear to other voices than to His, and quite as often our own voice is an injury to us, for it is heard when we have received no message from the Lord, and therefore gives an uncertain sound.
If we wait upon the blessed Spirit, His mysterious influence will sway us most divinely, and we shall be filled with all the fullness of God. Even as we have seen the frost yield suddenly to the influence of the warm south wind, so shall out lethargy melt before His sovereign energy.
How often have I felt in a moment my ice-locked spirit yield to the breath of the Holy Spirit. You have seen a cloud on high flying, as you thought, against the wind, driven on by some upper current of air which you did not feel below; even thus have we been carried on by the upper currents which flesh and blood cannot understand. We sang as Dr. Watts does—
“Look how we grovel here below, Fond of these trifling toys; Our souls can neither fly nor go, To reach eternal joys.”
But when the Holy Spirit came the lightening itself could not overtake us; we rode upon a cherub and did fly, yea, we did ride upon the wings of the wind, for God the everlasting One had caught us up and filled us with His power.
Be silent, then, that the Spirit may thus work upon you. Let other spirits be gone—let the spirit of the world, and the spirit of the flesh, and the spirit of self be banished, and let the Spirit of the Ever Blessed be heard speaking in your soul. Thus shall you renew your strength."
Friday, June 19, 2009
Well I thought within myself, that is not the Bible way at all. It never says, "Go home and pray." The poor girl went home; she did pray, and she still continued in distress. Said he, "You must wait, you must read the Scriptures and study them." That is not the Bible way; that is not exalting Christ; find a great many preachers are preaching that kind of doctrine. They tell a poor convinced sinner, "You must go home and pray, and read the Scriptures; you must attend the ministry;" and so on.
Works, works, works—instead of "By grace are ye saved through faith," If a penitent should come and ask me, "What must I do to be saved?" I would say, "Christ must save you—believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." I would neither direct to prayer, nor reading of the Scri ptures nor attending God's house; but simply direct to faith, naked faith on God's gospel.
Not that I despise prayer—that must come after faith. Not that I speak a word against the searching of the Scriptures—that is an infallible mark of God's children. Not that I find fault with attendance on God's word—God forbid! I love to see people there. But none of those things are the way of salvation. It is nowhere written—"He that attendeth chapel shall be saved," or, "He that readeth the Bible shall be saved." Nor do I read—"He that prayeth and is baptised shall be saved;" but, "He that believeth,"—he that has a naked faith on the "Man Christ Jesus,"—on his Godhead, on his manhood, is delivered from sin. To preach that faith alone saves, is to preach God's truth."
Thursday, June 18, 2009
In one sense, we are witnessing the result of secularization and the evaporation of biblical theism from our public life. To this we must add the privatization of truth and the fact that millions of Americans claim a divine right to their own spiritual cocoon and belief system. As the song suggests, Americans now lay claim to “their own personal Jesus.” This personal vision of Jesus Christ may well bear little or no resemblance to Jesus as he is revealed in the Bible.
Indeed, the abdication of biblical faith is one of the hallmarks of our age – whether you prefer to call it postmodern, hypermodern, or post-postmodern. Yet, once the faith is severed from biblical authority, Christianity becomes essentially plastic; a malleable and changeable belief system that just begs for transformation into some other shape and substance.
The situation is complicated further by the embrace of an “openness” that is not open to authentic biblical Christianity. “Tolerance” becomes a code-word for avoiding truth=2 0and “openness” means never having to make a judgment about truth at all.
A rescue from this predicament would appear more hopeful but for the fact that the church has, in large part, apparently joined the revolution. Theological fads and fashions dot the American religious landscape, and far too many Christian churches flirt with doctrinal disaster.
As always, truth is the essential issue. Where a clear notion of truth is absent, Christianity becomes more of an attitude than a belief system. But belief has always stood at the center of Christianity, and belief presupposes a truth that can and must be known.
The issues addressed within this book are matters of continuing concern within the Christian church. Intelligent and faithful Christians should know of these issues, and this book is intended to help believers to understand what is at stake.
In the end, the hope for the church is the hope of our lives – Jesus Christ. As our Lord promised, the gates of Hell shall not prevail over his church. This is a promise we can trust, even (and especially) in the face of current controversies and concerns.
God has certainly not disappeared, but the belief that he has, sets our pr esent challenge squarely before us. We will soon find out whether this generation of Christians is up to the challenge."
- Albert Mohler - Preface from his new book, The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Those men and women whom God has been pleased to choose from all eternity, He calls in time, by His Spirit working in due season. He convinces them of sin. He leads them to Christ. He works in them repentance and faith. He converts, renews, and sanctifies them. He keeps them by His grace from falling away entirely, and finally brings them safe to glory. In short, God’s eternal Election is the first link in that chain of a sinner’s salvation of which heavenly glory is the end. None ever repent, believe, and are born again, except the Elect. The primary and original cause of a saint’s being what he is, is eternal God’s election.
The doctrine here stated, no doubt, is peculiarly deep, mysterious, and hard to understand. We have no eyes to see it fully. We have no line to fathom it thoroughly. No part of the Christian religion has been so much disputed, rejected, and reviled as this. None has called forth so much of that enmity against God which is the grand mark of the carnal mind. Thousands of so-called Christians profess to believe the Atonement, salvation by grace, and justification by faith, and yet refuse to look at the doctrine of Election. The very mention of the word to some persons is enough to call forth expressions of anger, ill-temper, and passion.
But, after all, is the doctrine of Election plainly stated in Scripture? This is the whole question which an honest Christian has to do with. If it is not in the Book of God, let it be forever discarded, refused, and rejected by man, no matter who propounds it. If it is there, let us receive it with reverence, as a part of Divine revelation, and humbly believe, even where we are not able to understand completely or explain fully. What then is written in the Scriptures? “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah. viii. 20.) Is Election in the Bible, or is it not? Does the Bible speak of certain persons as God’s Elect, or not? (J.C.Ryle)
Click Here To Read The Entire Article
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I've always liked this picture of Megan and Elder. Not only can you see their genuine kindness and affection toward each other, but Spurgeon's looking over their shoulder. This picture was taken in Elder Ward's study during the 2006 Sovereign Grace Conference. This is how I will remember him -- full of life and warmth.
My dear friend, beloved brother, trusted confidant -- the man who most taught me what it means to be a pastor -- went to his reward on Friday, April 25, 2008. He succumbed to lung cancer after fighting valiantly and went out doing what he loved to do -- preaching.
As many of you know, Elder Ward and David Morris officiated my ordination in May of 2000. Elder was a pastor's pastor, which is why so many of us called by the affectionate and respectful name "Elder." Those who were closest to him just called him "Pop."
Elder Ward was a bold preacher who was committed to extolling the virtues of grace. He had a profound influence on everyone who knew him. He was loved dearly because he loved fiercely. This picture was taken at the Chattanooga conference in March, where Elder preached for three days, teaching a room full of pastors and elders. On Friday we all gathered, prayed over him, laid hands on him, and wept collectively. Afterward, I said to Marlon, "I hope someday to be loved that way." Without missing a beat, Marlon replied, "He has always loved that way." Lesson learned.
His influence was far-reaching and he will be sorely missed. This August will be the 25th anniversary of the Sovereign Grace Bible Conference. This will be the first conference without him. But, every man who stands in that pulpit knows that he is standing in the shadow of a giant.
I look forward to the next time I can look into his eyes, hug his neck, kiss his cheek, and thank him for his many years of leadership and friendship. In the meantime, I will continue doing the one thing he always adjured me to do -- "Preach the word."
I have just returned from Elder D. J. Ward's Memorial and Home-Going Services. The world seems a little emptier now.
Anyone who knows me knows that I counted Elder Ward as my friend, confidante, and pastor. I'll miss being able to pick up the phone and add new "Wardianisms" to my lexicon. He was a rare gift.
It was almost-exactly 8 years ago that Elder Ward and David Morris placed their hands on my head and officiated my ordination (May 5, 2000). I feel honored and grateful to have had a man like Elder in my life. His influence is far-reaching and undeniable. He is the man who, more than any other, taught me how to be a pastor.
Still, God is on His throne, doing whatever seems good to Him. Christ is still building His church and the gates of Hell have yet to prevail against it.
We probably will not see the likes of Elder Ward again on this planet, but "on that great gettin' up morning" we'll gather with him and all the saints around God's throne, praising our Lord for the wisdom and grace that led us, protected us, and blessed us with men like our dear Elder.
The services were beautiful, respectful, dignified, humorous, glorious, and heart-breaking. In other words, they were a perfect reflection of the man we had gathered to honor and remember. And his wife, Sister Brenda Ward, displayed remarkable grace, dignity, and kindness to us all. She is a shining example of what it is to be a God-fearing, Christian woman and servant of the gospel of God's grace.
But, now Elder's gone ... at least for a while. As Elder Spotts said, "We lost our safety net." I guess we will have to learn to rely on one another. But, I sure did love that man.
Good-bye, my beloved friend. I'll see you soon.
To God be the glory.
- Jim McClarty
End of post.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
How much we appreciate God's love is conditioned by how deeply we fear Him. The more we see God in His infinite majesty, holiness, and transcendent glory, the more we will gaze with wonder and amazement upon His love poured out at Calvary. But it is also true that the deeper our preception of God's love to us in Christ, the more profound our reverence and awe of Him. We must see God in the glory of all His attributes...His goodness as well as His holiness...if we are to ascribe to Him the glory and honor and reverence that is due Him. The psalmist caught this truth when he said to God, "If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness..therefore you are feared" (Psalm 130:3-4). He worshipped God with reverence and awe because of His forgiveness. In our practice of godliness, then, we must seek to grow both in the fear of God and in an ever-increasing comprehension of the love of God. These two elements together form the foundation of our devotion to God.
The awareness of God's love for us in Christ must be "personalized" in order for it to become one of the solid foundational corners of our "triangle of devotion" to God. It is not enough to believe that God loved the world...I must be gripped by the realization that God loves "me", a specific person! It is this awareness of His individual love that draws out our hearts in devotion to Him.
Our awareness of God's love for us must also be constantly growing. As we mature in our Christian lives, we are increasingly aware of God's holiness and our sinfulness. In Paul's first letter to Timothy, he reflects upon God's mercy in appointing him to the gospel ministry. He recalls that he once was a blasphemer and a persecuter and a violent man. This description no longer applies to Paul...it is all past tense!
But as he continues to reflect upon the grace of God, he slips, almost unconsciously it seems, into the present tense of his experience. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...of whom I am the worst." He is no longer thinking about his past as a persecutor of Christ. Now he is thinking about his present daily experience as a believer who falls short of the will of God for him. He doesn't think about other Christians, whom we know were way behind Paul in their devotion to God and their attainment of godly character. Paul never wastes time trying to feel good about himself by comparing himself favorably with less mature Christians. He compares himself with God's standard, and he consequently sees himself as the worst of sinners.
Through this present sense of his sinfulness, Paul sees God's love for him. The more he grows in his knowlege of God's perfect will, the more he sees his own sinfulness, and the more he comprends God's love in sending Christ to die for him. And the more he sees God's love, the more his heart reaches out in adoring devotion to the One who loved him so.
The Practice of Godliness, Pages 26-27
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us. Therefore, to share with us what he has received from the Father, he had to become ours and to dwell within us. For this reason, he is called ‘our Head’ [Eph. 4:15], and ‘the first-born among many brethren’ [Rom. 8:29]. We also, in turn, are said to be ‘engrafted into him’ [Rom. 11:17], and to ‘put on Christ’ [Gal 3:27]; for, . . . all that he possesses is nothing to us until we grow into one body with him.
It is true that we obtain this by faith. Yet since we see that not all indiscriminately embrace that communion with Christ which is offered through the gospel, reason itself teaches us to climb higher and to examine into the secret energy of the Spirit, by which we come to enjoy Christ and all his benefits.”
- John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, Bk III, Ch. I.I
(Click Title to be taken to source)
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.
"And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book." I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
But he said to me, "Do not do that I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God."
The Final Message
And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. "Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy."
"Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." The Spirit and the bride say, "Come" And let the one who hears say, "Come" And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly " Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
I relish those times when there are no responsibilities but to engage in this quiet dialogue that is my vocation. Then, I readpray, studypray, workpray, thinkpray, because there is nothing I more want to do.
So when old activist friends ask why I'm not out there on the street working to change the world, I answer that I am out on the street in the most serious way by being here with my books, and if you see no connection there, you have not understood my vocation. I do not love the suffering poor less by offering them what they need more."
Thomas C. Oden, "Last Wednesday's Theology," Christianity Today, 10 February 1992, page 9.
The Relevance Of Irrelevance