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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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OVERCOMING SATAN

For some have already strayed after Satan. (1 Timothy 5:15 ESV)

Not only are you fighting against normal human problems, but you now have engaged in war with Satan and demons and sin itself. (John MacArthur)

Many no longer believe in Satan. They think that he is the product of the uneducated, superstitious mind. The Scriptures are largely ignored concerning Satan and his minions in our current free-thinking culture. We look at evil with enlightened eyes and see a disease which only needs the right medicine to cure it.

Evil thrives on being unacknowledged. It separates man from God. It is an unrelenting malevolence against mankind. This is a spiritual battle on a cosmic scale and most are blind to its existence. (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV) How is the master of evil overcome? James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, writes:

Continue reading

DISCERNMENT: GOD’S WAY

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people? (1 Kings 3:9 ESV)

We often find it difficult to see what will result in the future from a decision that is made. If our minds are not clouded by uncontrolled emotions, we may clearly see the immediate consequences, but fail to see beyond that for many reasons. Many times we will need to make choices which involve discerning good from evil. In the verse above, Solomon asks God for the wisdom to discern between good and evil. We do not, however, have to be the king of Israel to be frequently faced with evil’s deceptive charms. As long as you live, evil will desire to devour your life. (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

Continue reading

MISERIES

Charles H. Spurgeon:

Charles H. SpurgeonOften in this present world, the most wicked men are the most prosperous, while the most holy are the most afflicted. This present world is not the place where the Judge of all usually punishes sin. He ordinarily reserves his wrath for the Day of Judgment, and the world to come. This is not the land of punishment, and your having more afflictions than others, may be because God loves you; certainly it is not because he hates you.

Some of God’s people are chastened every morning, and vexed every evening and the Lord’s hand lies heavy on them. Yet there is God’s goodness in that heavy hand, and infinite loving kindness in their tribulations. God only gives the wicked prosperity as we give husks to swine– he gives them this world’s transient things because he loves them not. I beg you then, do not misconstrue your sufferings of body and mind– they may be tokens of mercy; they certainly are not indicators of any special wrath.

SECRET SINS

Thomas Brooks:

You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. (Psalm 90:8 ESV)

Thomas BrooksGod is privy to your most secret sins! His eye is as much upon secret sins, as it is upon open sins. God has an eye upon our inmost evils. He sees all that is done in the dark. As we are never out of the reach of God’s hand, so we are never from under the view of God’s eye.

Oh! what dreadful atheism is bound up in that man’s heart, who is more afraid of the eye of his father, his neighbor, his child — than he is of the eye and presence of the eternal God! Those who wallow in secret sins, act as if there were:

  • no God to behold them,
  • nor conscience to accuse them,
  • nor judgment-day to arraign them,
  • nor justice to condemn them,
  • nor Hell to torment them!

All men’s secret sins are printed in Heaven, and God will at last read them aloud in the ears of all the world! Though they may escape the eyes of men — yet they shall never escape the judgment of God!

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14 ESV)

THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD

george-whitefield-pictureGeorge Whitefield:

The spirit of the world is hatred; that of Christ is love; the spirit of the world is vexation; that of Christ is pleasure: the spirit of the world is sorrow; that of Christ is joy: the spirit of the world is evil, and that of Christ is good: the spirit of the world will never satisfy us, but Christ’s spirit is all satisfaction: the spirit of the world is misery; that of Christ is ease.

CONTINUING IN THE FAITH

Samuel A CainAnd I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13 ESV)

Many Christians are disillusioned by the times we live in. Wickedness, dishonesty, and violence appear to be increasing. An anti-Christian attitude has taken hold of the media and those who believe themselves our intellectual, cultural élite. The disintegration of the family and the growing numbers of abused children are alarming. Because of compromise with a secular culture, the Gospel is no longer preached with authority in many of our churches. Many lament: “What can we do?” Continue reading

THE WORLD’S THEOLOGY

James Montgomery BoiceJames Montgomery Boice:

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools,” (Romans 1:22 ESV)

The world’s theology is easy to define. It is the view . . . that human beings are basically good, that no one is really lost, that belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation.

TEMPTATIONS

george-whitefield-pictureGeorge Whitefield:

The riches of His free grace cause me daily to triumph over all the temptations of the wicked one, who is very vigilant, and seeks all occasions to disturb me.

 

 

IDOLS

Works of Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

Idols are but vanities and lies: in them is no help. As to power or knowledge, they are nothing. As the apostle says, 1 Cor. 8:4, “An idol is nothing in the world.” As to images, they are so far from having power to answer prayer, that they are not able to act, “They have hands, and handle not; feet have they, but they walk not; neither speak they through their throat.” They, therefore, that make them and pray to them, are senseless and sottish, and make themselves, as it were, stocks and stones, like unto them: Psa. 115:7, 8, and Jer. 10:5. “They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not; they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil; neither also is it in them to do good.” Continue reading

DO NOT AVOID THE TOPIC OF SIN

paulwasherPaul Washer:

As stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we do no service to men by making light of sin, skirting around the issue, or avoiding it altogether. Men have only one problem: they are under the wrath of God because of their sin. To deny this is to deny one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity. It is not unloving to tell men that they are sinners, but it is the grossest form of immorality not to tell them! In fact, God declares that their blood will be on our hands if we do not warn them of their sin and the coming judgment. To seek to preach the gospel without making sin an issue is like trying to heal the brokenness of people superficially, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.”

FACING OPPOSING FORCES

Samuel A Cain“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 ESV)

There are times in life when we face opposition. This opposition may consist of personal antagonism or even hostility. People may disagree with us and try to obstruct our plans. They may challenge our character in order to raise disapproval toward us and our motives. Take up God’s cause on any issue and our old adversary, the devil, will raise his head in resistance.

The great English evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770) experienced this many times in his life. Whitefield sought to honor God even when he was falsely accused by his enemies. On one occasion, Whitefield received a malicious letter accusing him of wrongdoing. He replied, “I thank you heartily for your letter. As for what you and my other enemies are saying against me, I know worse things about myself than you will ever say about me. With love in Christ, George Whitefield.” He offered no defense because he was seeking to please God – not men.

Jesus Christ faced continuous opposition during His ministry on earth. He taught His followers to expect opposition as well. Jesus said: Continue reading

HELL

Flames of HellAnd do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 ESV)

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15 ESV)

Charles Spurgeon said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” The modern church doesn’t talk about Hell as much as it should. Perhaps this is why so many Christians today are not as passionate to share their faith with others. Are we really as concerned as we should be over our neighbors, family, and friends’ eternal future? Do we live as if we believe there is no Hell, and still think of ourselves as Christians?

The Scriptures absolutely teach that hell is a real place where there is eternal conscious punishment of the wicked (Matthew 25:30, 25:41, 25:46, Mark 9:43, 9:48, Luke 16:33-24, 16:28, Revelation 14:9-11, 20:10). In fact, Jesus has more to say about Hell than He does about Heaven in the New Testament.

We may discover a lot about Hell by reading Matthew 25:41–46. For instance, Hell is eternal separation from God and all His blessings. (Matthew 25:41) Hell was created for the Devil and his demons. It is a realm of suffering where the souls of men will be with the being who is most unlike God. It is a horrible place of chastisement and retribution. (Matthew 25:46) Hell is an everlasting place of endless punishment. Continue reading

CHRISTIAN DIVISION

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“It is amazing how unanimous bad men can be. It has always struck me as a very startling thing that you have never heard of any division among the devils in Hell. There are no sects among the devils—they seem to work together with an awful unanimity of purpose in their wicked design. In this one thing they seem to excel the family of God. Oh, that we were as hearty and united in the service of God as wicked men are in the service of Satan!” (1892, Sermon #2254)

C. S. LEWIS ON SIN

Screwtape LettersUncle Screwtape on small sins:

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness.  But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy.  It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.  Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.  Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.  Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” (The Screwtape Letters, 56)

A LITTLE YIELDING

Thomas_MantonThomas Manton:

If you yield to Satan in the least, he will carry you further and further, till he has left you under a stupefied or terrified conscience: stupefied, till thou hast lost all thy tenderness. A stone at the top of a hill, when it begins to roll down, ceases not till it comes to the bottom. Thou thinkest it is but yielding a little, and so by degrees are carried on, till thou hast sinned away all thy profession, and all principles of conscience, by the secret witchery of his temptations.

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