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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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Unforeseen Consequences

Quoting John Newton:

” I can hardly recollect a single plan of mine, of which I have not since seen reason to be satisfied, that had it taken place in season and circumstance just as I proposed, it would, humanly speaking, have proved my ruin; or at least it would have deprived me of the greater good the Lord had designed for me. We judge of things by their present appearances, but the Lord sees them in their consequences, if we could do so likewise we should be perfectly of His mind; but as we cannot, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is spoken of as one of his heaviest judgments, when He gives any person or people up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk after their own counsels.”

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By Grace Through Faith

There are many in this world who, no doubt, understand the doctrine of faith, but will one day be in hell because they did not believe. Yet, not any who have trusted in our Lord Jesus Christ will ever be cast out, even if his faith is as a grain of Mustard seed. Read here the words of Charles Spurgeon and receive Christ into your soul:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)

Commit yourself to the merciful God; rest your hope on the gracious gospel; trust your soul on the dying and living Savior; wash away your sins in the atoning blood; accept His perfect righteousness, and all is well. Trust is the lifeblood of faith; there is no saving faith without it. The Puritans were accustomed to explain faith by the word “recumbency.” It meant leaning upon a thing. Lean with all your weight upon Christ. It would be a better illustration still if I said, fall at full length, and lie on the Rock of Ages. Cast yourself upon Jesus; rest in Him; commit yourself to Him. That done, you have exercised saving faith. Faith is not a blind thing; for faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing; for faith believes facts of which it is sure. It is not an unpractical, dreamy thing; for faith trusts, and stakes its destiny upon the truth of revelation. That is one way of describing what faith is.

Let me try again. Faith is believing that Christ is what He is said to be, and that He will do what He has promised to do, and then to expect this of Him. The Scriptures speak of Jesus Christ as being God; God is human flesh; as being perfect in His character; as being made of a sin-offering on our behalf; as bearing our sins in His own body on the tree. The Scripture speaks of Him as having finished transgression, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness. The sacred records further tell us that He “rose again from the dead,” that He “ever liveth to make intercession for us,” that He has gone up into the glory, and has taken possession of Heaven on the behalf of His people, and that He will shortly come again “to judge the world in righteousness, and his people with equity.” We are most firmly to believe that it is even so; for this is the testimony of God the Father when He said, “This is my beloved Son; hear ye him.” This also is testified by God the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit has borne witness to Christ, both in the inspired Word and by diverse miracles, and by His working in the hearts of men. We are to believe this testimony to be true.

Faith also believes that Christ will do what He has promised; that since He has promised to cast out none that come to Him, it is certain that He will not cast us out if we come to Him. Faith believes that since Jesus said, “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life, it must be true; and if we get this living Water from Christ it will abide in us, and will well up within us in streams of holy life. Whatever Christ has promised to do He will do, and we must believe this, so as to look for pardon, justification, preservation, and eternal glory from His hands, according as He has promised them to believers in Him.

Jesus is what He is said to be, Jesus will do what He says He will do; therefore we must each one trust Him, saying, “He will be to me what He says He is, and He will do to me what He has promised to do; I leave myself in the hands of Him who is appointed to save, that He may save me. I rest upon His promise that He will do even as He has said.” This is a saving faith, and he that hath it hath everlasting life. Whatever his dangers and difficulties, whatever his darkness and depression, whatever his infirmities and sins, he that believeth thus on Christ Jesus is not condemned, and shall never come into condemnation. (All of Grace)

Sin

From the pen of Joseph Alleine:

“Oh, better were it for you to die in a jail, in a ditch, in a dungeon, than to die in your sins. If death, as it will take away all your comforts, would take away all your sins too, it were some mitigation; but your sins will follow you when your friends leave you, and all your worldly enjoyments shake hands with you. Your sins will not die with you as a prisoner’s other debts will; but they will go to judgment with you there to be your accusers; and they will go to hell with you there to be your tormentors.”

Patriotism

Quoting George Washington’s Farewell Address:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity. Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness—these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. (October 19, 1796)

Sacrifice Or Sin?

I would like to ask you something: What is “sacrifice”? People think of the word “sacrifice” in many ways. There are many who will tell you that sacrifice is giving up something of greater value for something of lesser value. However, when it comes to the spiritual discipline of sacrifice in the Christian life – we must be on the same page as God. If you wish to live a life of righteousness, there must be sacrifice.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 ESV)

In all that exists, God is of supreme value. So in one sense the Christian is always called on to sacrifice something of lesser value to honor God who is the greatest value. The problem is that the nature of sin in our souls very often blinds us to the reality of God’s glory and we begin to glory in the lesser things which are self-destructive. Therefore, our darkened minds refuse to sacrifice sin and so lose the benefits of the “pearl of great price”.

If we are to live rightly, we must sacrifice our lust for the things of the kingdom of Satan. How foolish we must seem to that demon’s eyes. It looks upon us and enjoys a jolly good laugh as we frantically chase after worldliness. So, is our idea of a “sacrifice” the same as what the Bible calls a “sacrifice”? Another important question to ask yourself would be; “Is your sacrifice completed with an unwilling heart?” If so, God will not accept it.

“All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.” (Exodus 35:29 ESV)

Partial sacrifices will not do. Do I remind you that sacrificial animals had to die? They did not suffer for just a little while. Yet this is the way that people are today. Christians will not mind suffering a bit. On the other hand, they are not willing to die for the cause of Christ. We try to bargain with God and seek a more beneficial compromise. We forget that God does not compromise.

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44 ESV)

These verses tell us that many rich people gave generous amounts of money. Later, a poor widow came to the offering box and put in two small copper coins. The Lord then called His disciples to Him and said, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

The rich gave, but they had given out of their abundance. Because the rich had given out of their abundance, they made no sacrifice in their giving. The widow, however, put only two copper coins of the smallest value into the offering box. Yet, this offering was more than all the rich together. She had cast in all she had and all she had to live on. Her gift was a true sacrifice because it was completely given.

A true sacrifice costs something. It cost our Lord Jesus Christ as He made the greatest sacrifice ever given. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15 ESV) Because of His love for us, He freely lay down His life.

Christ gave His all. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8 ESV) The Lord wants us to offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice unto Him. He is asking nothing less than for you to give up your secret sins! Are you willing to make such a sacrifice to honor Jesus Christ or do you give up God’s glory for petty lusts?

The Size Of A Minister

 

 

From the desk of John Newton:

“I measure ministers by square measure. I have no idea of the size of a table, if you only tell me how long it is: but if you also say how wide, I can tell its dimensions. So, when you tell me what a man is in the pulpit, you must also tell me what he is out of it, or I shall not know his size.”

One Step Follows Another

Quoting columnist Arnold Ahlert:

“We have become a nation where far too many people believe we can set the parameters of good and evil as we go along, and that we must all worship at the altar of non-judgmentalism. Yet the concept of non-judgmentalism is yet another progressive manipulation of the language: those who refuse to ascribe value to anything are not non-judgmental. They are amoral. Furthermore, a society with substantial numbers of amoral people is easily manipulable. But don’t take my word for it. There are more than a few people still alive with tattooed numbers on their arms who can attest to the depths that easily manipulated, ‘reasonable’ people can sink. Fanaticism rarely occurs in a vacuum. It proceeds from that which is initially perceived to be reasonable to utter depravity. From abortion to infanticide. From a classless society to the ninety-nine percent versus the one percent. From the so-called one percent to the ovens of Auschwitz and Dachau. One incrementally amoral step after another.”

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