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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Shaping The Heart by R. L. Dabney

“The preacher is a herald; his work is heralding the King’s message. . . . Now the herald does not invent his message; he merely transmits and explains it. It is not his to criticize its wisdom or fitness; this belongs to his sovereign alone. On the one hand, . . . he is an intelligent medium of communication with the king’s enemies; he has brains as well as a tongue; and he is expected so to deliver and explain his master’s mind, that the other party shall receive not only the mechanical sounds, but the true meaning of the message. On the other hand, it wholly transcends his office to presume to correct the tenor of the propositions he conveys, by either additions or change. These are the words of God’s commission to an ancient preacher: ‘Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.’

“The preacher’s task may be correctly explained as that of (instrumentally) forming the image of Christ upon the souls of men. The plastic substance is the human heart. The die which is provided for the workman is the revealed Word; and the impression to be formed is the divine image of knowledge and true holiness. God, who made the soul, and therefore knows it, made the die. He obviously knew best how to shape it, in order to produce the imprint he desired. Now the workman’s business is not to criticize, recarve, or erase anything in the die which was committed to him; but simply to press it down faithfully upon the substance to be impressed, observing the conditions of the work assigned him in his instructions. In this view, how plain is it, that preaching should be simply representative of Bible truths, and in Bible proportions! The preacher’s business is to take what is given him in the Scriptures, as it is given to him, and to endeavor to imprint it on the souls of men. All else is God’s work. The die is just such, so large, so sharp, so hard, and has just such an “image and superscription” on it, as God would have. Thus He judged, in giving it to us. With this, ‘the man of God is perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’ (2 Tim 3:17) This is enough for us.”

R.L. Dabney, Evangelical Eloquence: A Course of Lectures on Preaching (Banner of Truth, 1999), p. 36-37.

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Greg Laurie Speaks Out

“One of the candidates who professes to be a Christian running for the presidency recently said in a speech, ‘There are a lot of Jewish people who are just as moral, or even more moral than I am. There are a lot of Muslims who are decent, good, kind people. I don’t think they are any less children of God.’

“Now, that sounds very inclusive and kind, but I have to tell you it goes against the very core of the essential Gospel message. Yes, it is certainly true that people of faiths other than Christianity – or even no faith at all – can be ‘decent, good and kind.’ But the simple fact is, a man or woman does not come into a relationship with God by being ‘kind and good,’ but rather by admitting that he or she is a sinner who needs forgiveness from God.

“This is why Jesus died on the cross. He was paying the price for our sins, because as the Bible says, ‘All have turned away from God; all have gone wrong. No one does good, not even one’ (Romans 3:12, NLT).

“That verse isn’t saying there are no ‘good’ people, but rather that no one is ‘good enough’ to please God on his or her own. Jesus took care of that for us, dying in our place, paying the full penalty for our sins.” (The Emergent Church: A Dangerous Counterfeit)

Read the entire article. . . .

The Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of Man?

In the movie, The Kingdom of Heaven (historical fiction with a PC bias), Balian of Ibelin asks his father, Godfrey: “What could a king ask of a man like me?” To which Godfrey of Ibelin replies: “A better world than has ever been seen. A kingdom of conscience. A kingdom of heaven.” Unfortunately, instead of finding the kingdom of heaven on this journey, Balian finds only the kingdom of man.

One thing that the New Testament makes perfectly clear is that Jesus Christ was absolutely concerned about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus declared, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 3:2) “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19) “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3) Jesus’ message was uncompromising even to the point of His crucifixion.

Perhaps the kingdom of heaven seems to be less important today because the kingdom of man has so much influence over the church. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote correctly in his Letter from Birmingham Jail that, “So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.” Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

The kingdom of man is seductive. It promises to take care of you materially while taking everything that is important from you. The kingdom of man has a party line and a self-appointed intelligentsia to think for you. Conformity to the power of the moment drives its stupefying existence. Darkness guides its way. But the kingdom of heaven is no temporary man-made utopia; it endures; it is eternal, because it is established by God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10) The kingdom of heaven does not exist by government decree or because of your effort and mine. It exists because God reigns. “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.'” (Revelation 11:15)

Therefore, to which kingdom will you render service; the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of man? “. . . As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua, 24:15)

Bill Would Ban Human-Animal Hybrids

LifeSiteNews.com reports that a Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act, H.R. 5910, has been presented in Congress. This bill would ban the creation of part-human, part-animal hybrid beings. British scientists are developing a hybrid technique which has created part-human, part-animal hybrid embryos in the UK.

Pro-life and public health advocates point out that there has been an increase in infections emerging from animal populations that threaten human health. Human-animal hybrids could increase the risk for transmission of both human and animal diseases. Genetically modified hybrids could also have a devastating effect on the natural environments of native animal populations. Michael Crichton’s fictional novel, Next, portrays many of the moral, ethical, and legal problems that such experimentation creates. You may also have seen the movie version of The Island of Doctor Moreau, which also presents some of the ethical conflicts of developing human-animal hybrid beings.

Appalachian State University’s Coach Jerry Moore

Jerry Moore, head football coach at Appalachian State in the mountains of North Carolina, has won the National Championship for the last 3 years in a row in their Division.

However, the most important thing in his life is not football.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE VIDEO.

Are You Clinging To Garlic & Onions? By Charles H. Spurgeon

There are some who stumble at Christ because of his holiness. He is too strict for them; they would like to be Christians, but they cannot renounce their sensual pleasures; they would like to be washed in his blood, but they desire still to roll in the mire of sin.

Willing enough the mass of men would be to receive Christ, if, after receiving him, they might continue in their drunkenness, their wantonness, and self-indulgence. But Christ lays the axe at the root of the tree; he tells them that these things must be given up, for “because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience”, and “without holiness no man can see the Lord”.

Human nature kicks at this.

“What! May I not enjoy one darling lust? May I not indulge myself at least now and then in these things? Must I altogether forsake my old habits and my old ways? Must I be made a new creature in Christ Jesus?”

These are terms too hard, conditions too severe, and so the human heart goes back to the flesh pots of Egypt, and clings to the garlic and the onions of the old estate of bondage, and will not be set free even though a greater than Moses lifts up the rod to part the sea, and promises to give to them a Canaan flowing with milk and honey.

Evangelism by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18 )

“You can not skate lightly over and around sin in evangelism, and say to people ‘do not bother about repentance now. Come to Christ first, you can repent afterwards.’ No! The doctrine of sin is a vital part of this ‘form of doctrine’ [mentioned in Romans 6:17] that produces the amazing result. We all have to see ourselves under condemnation, bound for hell, hopeless and helpless in sin and under the wrath of god. We have to see the foul, terrible nature of such a condition, its slavery to sin and Satan, and the terrible end to which it inevitably leads. That is part of the message. . . .

“This is all a part of evangelism. Evangelism does not consist in telling stories and playing on people’s emotions, and then pressing them to a decision at the end without any true knowledge on their part of what they are doing. No, but it is the outlining of this ‘form of doctrine’, this message, this truth. Then you go on to tell them that from this complete hopelessness and helplessness and despair God has provided a way of escape: ‘Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood’. That is the message, that is the ‘form of doctrine that has been delivered’. That is the immediate agency that produces this great change.”

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