Our need for peace with God!

images lloyd jonesD.Martin Lloyd Jones points out in His sermons on Romans chapter 5 that the tendency of the evangelists of his time was to invite people to the blessings of Christ without calling them to reconciliation with God and peace with Him, first and foremost.

They were calling upon them to come to Christ and receive this, that or the other blessing. They were ignoring the need to call people back to peace with God by repentance and faith in Christ’ finish work.

Speaking in 1957-58, Lloyd Jones warns of those who call people to happiness, peace and joy through coming to Christ and then promising them help with life’s problems without firstly calling them to be reconciled with God.

Man through the fall, is alienated from God by sin and therefore can expect no spiritual blessings from Him until they enter into relationship by repentance of sin and faith in and through Jesus Christ.

He uses the statement of the man born blind in the ninth chapter of John, that God does not hear sinners. Therefore those whose sin is not dealt with cannot approach God until their standing with Him is assured through Christ.

All other things in Christianity must be subservient to this. It is the primary function of Christianity to reconcile sinful men and women to God by faith and repentance.

This sort of preaching remains current with the teaching of many in the church today.

It is this neglect of the call to repentance and the need for new life and conversion which reduces the gospel to just a cure all for what “ails you” instead of a message of Salvation from the dire peril and consequences of sin.

It is of no value to erect a super structure without building it on the foundation that God has laid down in His revealed Word.

It is this error that explains the shallow and superficial state of Christianity and Christians.

Communications Barrier!

My brother works at a fast food restaurant among a group of teenagers and young adults. He was complaining that he mentions many things and people and they have no idea what he is talking about either because they are too young or just not experienced.

Today the Church is also confronted by a group of people who have no appear to have no frame of reference with which to understand the message of the gospel  given to them.

In the great effort to bridge the communication gap today’s church has over compensated for peoples natural lack of knowledge of the Bible and the things of God by either dumb-ing down or neglecting aspects of Biblical teaching. The result being that the “gospel” message they are trying to convey is no longer the same as that revealed in scripture.

We may be living in different times but the inherent ignorance of the man of this world regarding the things of God is nothing new. Indeed we are told that nothing but the direct work of the Holy Spirit is required before they can begin to understand the things of God.

It is this particular point that the church today seems to be ignoring. The fact is we all need to be taught of God before we have any real understanding and possibility of living the Christian life.

This is not to say that we  do not need to speak and teach in such a way to remove all reasonable barriers to the understanding of the gospel but we must never do this at the expense of the truth of God’s Word.

Righteous indignation!!!

When we look at those we perceive to be proclaiming a false or watered down Gospel or who are introducing  unscriptural innovations into the Church, while discarding  historical practices in worship and doctrine, it is easy to carry our indignation with what they are doing to extremes of passion and anger.

We may view ourselves in the character of modern reformers or as  imitating Christ in the temple and genuinely seek the restoration of gospel truth and the unvarnished simplicity of worship.

The problem is that this can be carried to excess and make us forget that error is as possible to ourselves as anyone else. We can come to despise those purveyors of false doctrines and forget that there but by the grace of God go I.

As D.Martyn Lloyd Jones again points, out we should pity those who are caught in Satan’s delusions and pray we do not fall into them.

Satan carries the major part of the World captive in sin and this should provoke sincere pity on the part of all those who live as Christ did and “to seek and save the lost”.

While those who go out of their way to contradict the “truth as it is in Jesus” are far more guilty and liable to greater punishment, it is still not our role to be judge and executioner but to leave their fate in the hands of God and pray for their repentance and salvation.

It is our task to stand up for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s Word and endeavour by His grace to live genuine Christian lives. Thereby we oppose error and sin by showing forth the power of God’s truth and embody His mercy.

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
 1 Timothy 1:16

 

Our need for peace with God!

Hobart’s Funnies!!

Is not a Tasmanian comic strip. They were a series of armoured and often amphibious vehicles designed to convey troups across water and marshy terrain and obstacles . They also made vehicles that cleared minefields.

I quote from Wiki,

“Hobart’s Funnies were a number of unusually modified tanks operated during the Second World War by the 79th Armoured Division of the British Army or by specialists from the Royal Engineers.BU_002335

They were designed in light of problems that more standard tanks experienced during the amphibious Dieppe Raid, so that the new models would be able to overcome the problems of the planned Invasion of Normandy. These tanks played a major part on the Commonwealth beaches during the landings. They were forerunners of the modern combat engineering vehicle and were named after their commander, Major General Percy Hobart.e7c0a7378478fe8bb1a04e8be80112ea

By early 1944, Hobart could demonstrate to Eisenhower and Montgomery a brigade each of swimming DD tanks, Crab mine clearers, and Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers – AVRE (Engineer) tanks along with a regiment of Crocodile flame-throwing tanks.

Montgomery considered that the US forces should use them. A third of the “funnies” were offered to the Americans of all the vehicles available, but take-up was minimal. Eisenhower was in favour of the Duplex drive (DD) amphibious tanks but left the decision on the others to General Bradley. None of the other designs were used, because it was thought that they required specialised training and an additional support organisation. Also, the Americans were reluctant to make use of funnies based on the Churchill tank as they did not want the logistical complexity of adding another tank model to their inventory.images

In the light of operations during the US landing on Omaha beach, Bradley’s decision has been criticised as it was felt that use of the range of “funnies” would have saved American lives.  After D-Day, American forces did make limited use of the Sherman Crab mine-clearing tank.”

As the use of these vehicles would have no doubt saved  American lives it is sad they did not put their prejudices aside and make use of these ingenious vehicles.index

In the same way when the gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ is offered freely to all it is no less than tragic that the prejudices and love of sin by men and women holds them from receiving the grace of God and the promise of life eternal.

Baptising Sinners or Christians?

Most denominations who practice baptism of adults only administer it upon a profession of faith. While it is not to be expected of new Christians to understand all of the Christian faith and belief it would be expected that they would have a fundamental understanding of the gospel of salvation and the work of Christ and repentance of known sin.

In one particular church of my knowledge I have attended baptismal services and having listened to the “Testimony” of the person baptized I was astounded by the ignorance of simple Christianity and lack of understanding of the saving work of Christ. Now some years later I hear of a baptismal service attended by a friend of mine, who having a conversation with the person was astonished by the absence of any Christian understanding at all.

In these two cases I do not blame the person themselves, rather the blame for this falls upon the shoulders of the pastors and church leadership. There is so little serious Bible teaching in the church today there is no wonder that ignorance of Christianity abounds even among professing believers.

There also seems to be a fear that refusing a person baptism will drive them away from the church. So they satisfy themselves with a positive answer to a simple acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour regardless of whether the person knows what this means or not.

I would not expect too much of candidates for baptism but I would not reduce it to the level of rubber stamp either.

It is not only necessary that teaching the Word of God be foremost in the work of the minister and church but it is als o necessary that  people are asked whether they know understand and live by the teaching of God’s Word and trust in Christ as Saviour from sin.

Jephthah

32And what more shall I say? Time will not allow me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and obtained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,…Hebrews 11:32-33 Berean study Bible

Were we modern believers to list the Old Testament heroes of the faith, we would no doubt relegate many of them to a footnote or ignore them altogether, Jephthah the Gileadite would probably fall into this category.

The writer to the Hebrews thought differently, he mentions him in the same breath with Gideon, Samuel and David and enrolls him in the ranks of those who “subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness and obtained promises”.

Jephthah was from the mountainous region of Gilead. It was something akin to what the highlands of Scotland were to the rest of Britain only in the land of Israel.Gilead-mountains-west-of-Ajlun-tb031701141-bibleplaces

It was famous for spices and medicinal balms and if the prophet Elijah, another of its inhabitants was anything to go by a wild and wooly place.

Jephthah got off to a bad start in life when his parentage was held against him by his father’s other sons and told to get lost. He took up residence in a Syrian area called “Tob”.

Like David long after him he gathered a group of malcontents and no-hopers around him and survived by raiding the country side.

It was during this time that Israel district was menaced and warred against by the Ammonites, a long time and bitter foe. This was made worse by the fact that the Ammonites were descended from Lot the nephew of Abraham and therefore kindred.

It was in this time of national danger that the elders of Gilead probably with his kinfolk among them sought out Jephthah to lead them against the Ammonites. Naturally saw the irony in this and reproved them with their former treatment of him. Yet the elders continued to plead with him and Jephthah agreed to lead them if they would continue to accept his leadership. They  agreed on oath to do this and to make it even more solemn they all went to Mizpah where Jephthah lived and laid all this out before the Lord, this may have been the place that Jacob and Laban had made their pact and thus used for this purpose ever since.

To his credit, Jephthah’s first action was to try and parley with the King of Ammon to avoid war. He reminded this king that during Israel’s conquest of the Land of Canaan, no hostile action was taken against Ammon and none of their legitimate territory was taken indeed the only tribes who action was taken against were those who attacked the children of Israel in the first place.

The king of Ammon even without any truth in his claim demanded the return of lands supposedly taken from him.  Jephthah pointed out that if the Ammonites claimed  that their own god Chemosh  had allowed them to conquer land and add it to their own they would not certainly give it up and besides why were they waiting till now to make this claim so long after the event. Despite the weakness of his claim the king of Ammon was set on war.

It was now that the spirit of the Lord came mightily on Jephthah and he advanced towards the enemy.

It was here he made his vow to the Lord which he would afterwards come to regret. Although the motive for this action may have been religious zeal and done in the heat of action it was ill considered and misguided.

While it shows his faith in the Lord and the necessity of seeking to Him for victory it showed a grave misunderstanding of the nature of the God he served.

The subject of making religious vows is too complex to discuss here it is only necessary to remark that God nowhere requires of us to vow rashly and make promises we have no right to make or in  justice expect  keep.

As Jesus said it is better to make our yes mean yes and our no mean no.

He the promised the Lord that whatever first came out to meet him when he returned home would be offered as a burnt offering to the Lord. The folly of making such a promise is obvious and not worthy of a servant of the Lord. If nothing else it shows how much foolishness and superstition there remains in all of us and we think God is impressed by such things.

The fact remains that the Lord delivers Israel and Ammon is defeated.

 

Upon Jephthah’s return his only daughter joyfully comes to meet him and as she is the first out of the door the loving father is bound to keep his vow.a jephthah

Whether Jephthah actually sacrifices her or devotes his daughter  herself to perpetual virginity  is still a bone of contention.

To have killed her would have gone against God’s  abhorrence of human sacrifice.

There are here many questions that cannot be fully answered.

What is clear is that Jephtha regretted his foolish vow and felt bound to act on it because it was to the Lord.

So we are left wondering why this man should be held forth as a hero of the faith and what lessons we so long after can learn from him?

There is no doubt that the faith he had in the Lord was real and it prompted his actions in a time of great peril.

He did not act unilaterally but sought unto the Lord his God to fight on his behalf and give Israel victory. What is more he shows no doubt whatsoever about the ability of God and his power although unseen and undeserved by Israel’s constant backsliding.

This perhaps is what the Hebrew Christians needed to know and remember when faced by the passing of the old temple dispensation and the persecution they were undergoing by both Jew and Gentile alike.

It is this we need to know even now when the church is beset by both open enemies and false friends.

Secondly we must remember that the story of faith is less about us and our inherent qualities and graces but rather about the great God and Saviour we worship and serve. It is what he does with our faith and obedience that is so wondrous and startling. It is this that makes the unbelieving world think again and causes sinful men and women to come and make our God their God.

This portion of Scripture also cautions us to be circumspect and thoughtful in our dealings with God. Our rashness and folly reflect badly on our life and witness. They cause the name of God to be blasphemed by those around us who look more at our weaknesses and sins than at our words and profession.

Postscript: In writing this I did not have access to my usual Bible Dictionairys. I looked at Hasting’s Bible dictionary a rather “liberal” and “Higher Critical” work. It informed me that some sections of the story of Jephthah were a later addition and no part of the original text. Yet it gave not one shred of evidence for this assertion. In the same way many today dispense with Bible truth and Theology and yet fail to give any sound reason for doing so except there own theories and preferences and desire for acceptance with post christian society.

matthew-henry-36491

 

Hobart’s Funnies!!

Jesus ,our Saviour!

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in His day;
And there have I, though vile as he,
washed all my sins away:-( William Cowper)

indexdying thief

“But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? We are punished justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our actions. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:40- 43

The story of the penitent thief is one of the most remarkable of the incidents surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus.

To the sin and fear blinded eyes of man, Jesus was finished and his life, despite all His mighty works, a failure.

He was dying as a condemned criminal and any hopes or expectations that His followers and the populace at large had concerning Him had come to nothing.

In spite of all these contrary appearances, this thief was brought to the realization that this man was in fact everything He claimed to be.

This man during that short period of time came to a better and truer understanding of the Person and work of Christ than nearly all of the surrounding people at the time and more so than many in the visible church today.

This thief was brought from scoffing to worshipping by nothing less than the power of the Holy Spirit’s operation in these final hours of his life.

A.W Pink in his work on the Seven saying from the Cross describes the results of this mighty work in his heart and mind.

First, he expresses his belief in a future life where retribution would be meted out by a righteous and sin-avenging God.

“Dost not thou fear God?” proves this. He sharply reprimands his companion, and as much as says, How dare you have the temerity to revile this innocent man? Remember, that shortly you will have to appear before God and face a tribunal infinitely more solemn than the one which sentenced you to be crucified. God is to be feared, so be silent.

Second, as we have seen, he had a sight of his own sinfulness—“Thou art in the same condemnation. And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds” (Luke 23:40-41). He recognized that he was a transgressor. He saw that sin merited punishment, that “condemnation” was just. He owned that death was his “due.” This was something that his companion neither confessed nor recognized.

Third, he bore testimony to Christ’s sinlessness—“This man hath done nothing amiss” (Luke 23:41). And here we may mark the pains God took to guard the spotless character of His Son. Especially is this to be seen toward the end. Judas was moved to say, “I have betrayed innocent blood.” Pilate testified, “I find no fault in him.” Pilate’s wife said, “Have nothing to do with this just man.” And now that He hangs on the Cross, God opens the eyes of this robber to see the faultlessness of His beloved Son, and opens his lips so that he bears witness to His excellency.

Fourth, he not only witnessed to the sinless humanity of Christ but he also confessed His Godhead—“Lord, remember me,” he said. A marvelous word was that. The Saviour nailed to the tree, the object of Jewish hatred and the butt of a vulgar mob’ ridicule. This thief had heard the scornful challenge of the priests. “If thou be the Son of God come down from the cross” (Mat27:40), and no response had been given. But moved by faith and not by sight, he recognizes and owns the deity of the central Sufferer.

Fifth, he believed in the Saviour-hood of the Lord Jesus. He had heard Christ’s prayer for His enemies, “Father, forgive them,” and to one whose heart the Lord had opened, that short sentence became a saving sermon. His own cry, “Lord, remember me” included within its scope, “Lord, save me,” which therefore implies his faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour. In fact he must have believed that Jesus was a Saviour for the chief of sinners or how could he have believed that Christ would “remember” such as he!

Sixth, he evidenced his faith in Christ’s kingship—“when thou comest into thy kingdom.” This too, was a wonderful word. Outward circumstances all seemed to belie His kingship. Instead of being seated on a throne, He hung upon a Cross. Instead of wearing a royal diadem, His brow was encircled with thorns. Instead of being waited upon by a retinue of servants, He was numbered with transgressors. Nevertheless, He was King—King of the Jews (Mat 2:2).

Finally he looked forward to the Second Coming of Christ—“when thou comest.” He looked away from the present to the future. He saw beyond the “sufferings” the “glory.” Over the Cross, the eye of faith detected the crown. And in this he was before the apostles, for unbelief had closed their eyes. Yes, he looked beyond the first advent in shame, to the Second Advent in power and majesty.

(Quoted from A.W. Pink “Seven sayings from the Cross”)

He then goes on to point out how this illuminates the Saviour-hood of Jesus Christ.

It is this scriptural reality we need to see at this time in the life and witness of the Church.

Any proclamation of the Christian gospel which does not set forth the sinfulness of sin and our lost and desperate state by nature, as well as the powerand willingness of Christ to save, is not true Christianity.

Indeed ,why was the Lord Jesus so named in the first place?

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”Matt 1:21

Many today would place this need for a Saviour from sin further down in the list of priorities.

They would rather offer them the answer to their “felt needs” instead of deliverance from their “un-felt” sinfulness.

Our lost and sinful state means we must deal with Christ ,first and foremost as our Saviour from sin, anything less than this fails to face our fundamental problem and most dire predicament.

This thief saw his own sin in contrast to Christ’s sinless-ness.  He knew that he full well deserved the terrible consequences of his sinful life. He also saw that this righteous sufferer was the Son of God and the chosen King and Lord and therefore well able to save him.

Jesus even in this, His state of greatest weakness proved Himself a willing Saviour and how much more is He now when He reigns on the throne of heaven.

We also note the immediacy of Christ’s promise to the repentant thief,

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

Jesus Christ is truly both Saviour and King.

Let us with like repentance and faith come to the Saviour.

The Resurrection and the Life.

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Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

In this life we are surrounded by death. Whether young or old and despite all we do to keep our minds off it, the grave often looms large before us.

We see friends stricken by disease and succumbing to old age, we see the results of accident, disaster and war hastening multitudes to their final abode.

Yet how little serious thought do we give to death and eternity.

To some it may be the end of existence. Others see some shadowy after life, but those who know and believe the Bible , death is just the beginning of either eternal good or ill, wheal or woe.

Even the Christian can in the weakness of his faith regard death as a terrible thing. It is as if we were existing in a state of perpetual suspense.

Whatever Martha believed about the future resurrection on the last day, Jesus showed her that He himself, here and now was the source and power of resurrection. He was the one who not only could raise the dead but also the one who imparted “life” in its truest and fullest sense.

He himself exemplified and demonstrated this in his own resurrection from the dead and exalted and risen bodily state.imagesthe resurrection

In this precious verse He not only claimed the ability and power to do this but also abundant willingness to do this for those who would believe on Him, both now and in the future.

There is a sense of immediacy here which is inescapable.

We who are now dead in “trespasses and sins” can be even now given newness of life and triumph over sin, death and the grave. If we are not realizing this day by day, we have only ourselves to blame.

The question asked of Martha by Jesus is one He asks of us all, “Do you believe this?

If we do, let us live in this hope and trust in Him who cannot lie.

A pompous humbug!

UpDown_S3Ep7

Was how this British character actor was often cast on films both dramatic and comedic.

To anyone familiar with old British films and television this man will be a recognizable figure (I am not sure how much so in the U.S.).

Raymond Huntley Passport to Pimlico (1949)

Despite having an exceedingly long acting career, I wonder how many would  know his real name. Even I only found it out after watching two films in which he acted in the last few days.

His name was Raymond Huntley and his filmography stretches from 1934 to 1974, as well as television appearances, most notably as “Sir Geoffrey Dillon” in “Upstairs, Downstairs”.

He would be often appear as a solicitor or doctor or some other authority figure. He often played a character with a very supercilious and haughty air. He was easily recognizable with his cultured bearing and well modulated voice.imageshuntley soldier

We all have familiar figures in our lives. Sometimes we cannot put a name to the face although we can always recognize the voice.

They play a small but important part in forming the tapestry of our lives and we would be very poorer without them.

Sad to say they are often forgotten and neglected in our busy lives and we do not give them the recognition and respect they  deserve and are due.

We ourselves play a role ,however small in the lives of many of the people we meet.

They may not know or remember our names yet as followers of Christ we can make the effort to leave the “sweet smelling savor” of Christ in their memories and exemplify Christianity in our daily lives.

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sowen od death of christ

 

Jesus ,our Saviour!

The least likely to Succeed!

The story of Gideon is well known to us from our Sunday School days .

Gideon appears in a less than heroic vein in his encounter with the “Angel of the Lord” . He is not presently involved in the resistance movement , he is not a “Yul Brynner” in the magnificent Seven putting together a team to save the helpless villages rather he is one of the villagers hiding like everyone else.

14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:14-16

I confess ,I have often thought that this “Angel” messenger was speaking ironically when he said this to Gideon, this man was obviously anything but mighty, as Gideon himself admitted. Yet if one theme is prevalent throughout all this portion of Scripture is the fact that God does not work  by the mighty in this world but rather in and through the weak.gideon-tests-god

Although Gideon had thousands to call upon when it came down to it , they were too many to fulfill God’s purposes at this time.

We also see that in a very real sense that the enemies of God destroy themselves. While they make a brave figure in the eyes of the world ,in reality they are beset by engrained fears of  forthcoming punishment, and when confronted by the judgement of God fall into disarray and panic.

God’s dealing with Gideon’s lingering fear and doubt is patient and tender to an amazing degree. For  similar expression of doubt Zacharias was smitten dumb for a short time.

God truly knows people’s hearts and the source of their fears and doubts. Jesus in His dealings with Thomas being another example of dealing with the genuine doubt and fear of true believers.

Contrast this with the unbelief of others in the Word and power of God which is based on sinful attitudes and hatred of God.

God’s dealings with the great characters of the Bible exemplifyand glorify His power and mighty works in response to great faith.

On the other hand, God is no less glorious in His gracious dealings with those of small faith.

Gideon’s weakness of faith was understandable in the light of the circumstances Israel found themselves in . They were suffering as a direct result of their idolatry and disobedience to God and His commandments. Therefore those among them who still sought to God for deliverance from their plight had nothing but free grace and undeserved mercy to hope for.

We all must stand on this ground when it comes to hope of salvation though it galls the pride of man.

Gideon’s lack of faith was not commendable but it does serve to emphasise the wonderful things God can do with true faith however small.

Gideon was God’s chosen instrument at this perilous time but it was the power of God that was to be seen in this saving work not the ability or prowess of man.

In the same way today it is to be the power of God that must be looked to in the proclamation of the gospel today and not the slickness of multi -media presentation or the powers of persuasion of a plausible tele-evangelist.

Although some claim direct revelations from God , for most of us the call of God comes from study of the Word and the opportunity for outreach and ministry.

The challenge for all of us is how we react to the call of service and duty of God when it comes to us.maxresdefault

An Easter soundbite!

At this time of the year one of the few times the World looks to church leaders to make a seasonal statement.

It is rather amusing to see the effort they make to clothe the Christian gospel message in a new light and in a form acceptable and understandable for the man in the street.

We hear abundant calls for peace and understanding between people and different faiths. We hear a great deal about self sacrifice and giving and the need for people to let God into their lives.

It is sobering as well to hear the greater part of the church explain the Cross of Christ in ways different to the Scriptural teaching.

No wonder if the world has no real understanding of the Gospel message and the Cross of Christ if those who should be proclaiming it either do not understand them or as is most likely the case ashamed and unbelieving of them.

Even those who claim orthodox belief of Scriptural truth seem to be very measured in their way of dealing with the unbelieving majority. True they have no reliable frame of reference  with which to understand the Word of God, as they might have in past times when nominal church attendance was widespread and the Bible was at least respected ,if not believed.

Yet there is timidity among us Bible believing “Christians” regarding the proclamation the gospel of Christ that makes me “Uzzah” like to fear for the stumbling “Ark of God”.

Others with a man pleasing message can proclaim falsehoods and half truths in the name of Christianity and command a hearing. Those who seek to put forward the true understanding of the gospel will be howled down and prosecuted as “Hate speakers”. God help us all.

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The Cross of Christ is an enigma which does not fit well with modern conceptions of God , it was a very high price to pay if He was only calling mankind to a “purpose driven life”.

Jesus would never have been the “Saviour” if there was nothing real to be saved from.

 

 

 

The least likely to Succeed!

A dose of Fire and Brimstone!

It can only be said that the trends in preaching and Christianity have gone to the other extreme from what they were in by-gone years.

Through the sixteenth, seventeenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, the “Hellfire and brimstone” preacher prevailed in the Bible believing, evangelical churches to varying degrees.

pollyanna-sermon-brimstone

There is no doubt that the reality of eternal damnation and  the torments of hell were vivid realities to the preachers and believers in those days and  because of this  they confronted the unsaved  and the lapsing Christian with the  eternal and solemn punishment  awaiting the unrepentant.

Many hammered this subject to such an extent that the good news of salvation and promises of mercy upon repentance by sinners was almost lost sight of.

We are now at the other extreme in that hell is effectively ignored and salvation is reduced to nothing more than accepting that God has a purpose for your life and cares about little more than your living a good and happy life with Heaven hereafter throw in.

Most Biblical Christians believed up till now, that God’s purpose in Christ’s dying on the Cross was to save and turn you from your sin and call you to holiness and obedience.

If many of today’s “Christians” were confronted more often with the sinfulness of sin and God’s abhorrence of it and the fact that those dying without Christ are lost eternally and without hope, they would no doubt complain heartily that they were deceived about the nature of the Gospel as it is most often preached and depart from the church in droves.

If the true gospel, with its tendency to humble man before God, were faithfully and truly preached everywhere today, no doubt many “mega “churches would be reduced to mere shadows.

In order to attract people to the Church, we see many reducing the Bible to a merely human and fallible book. Others use Biblical words in ways that the original writers and indeed the Holy Spirit never intended and no unbiased reader would so interpret it: all in order to widen the way of Salvation and take away the offense which has always attended the sound preaching of the Gospel of Christ , all to  grow church attendances.

People who daily read their Bibles devotionally and claim to be sincere followers of Christ, read His words and yet persist in pursuit of worldly pleasures and excuse their indulging in sin, in light of Christ’s mercy and God’s saving love for the sinner.

If this is not to make Christ a minister of sin I know not what does.

Today’s Christian may not be as great a sinner as they once were before their profession of faith, in that they turn away from the more heinous and obvious sins: yet it still persists that the attitude taken to sin today is to minimize it and regard it as of little account in God’s sight since after all, Christ paid the price for it so why do we need to concern ourselves with it.

Also as we are seen by God clothed in Christ’s righteousness surely our remaining sin and sinfulness is not of any real consequence.

Sadly there are those who go a step further and by a superficial reading and twisting of scripture and even a denial of its authority, say that those things, which in the past were regarded by the Church’s understanding of the Bible as abominable in God’s sight are now allowable and acceptable to Him.

The people enslaved to these particular sins instead of repenting of them and seeking deliverance are demanding acceptance for their practices and there are all too many  ministers , and churches willing to do so.

No doubt the people, who read my blog (few though they may be) grow weary of my decrying and denouncing these modern trends. To them I say that no one who seeks to understand scripture and knows anything of the gospel as it has always been proclaimed by its truest preachers and witnesses can but be appalled by the fundamental difference between the message of so-called Christianity as it is in many places being proclaimed and the true scriptural gospel “once delivered to the saint’s.

Nor is it merely a matter of interpreting obscure points of Scripture and coming to different conclusions. Rather it is a wholesale dispensing and denial of Scriptural teaching and a re-asking of Satan’s question to Eve “Hath God indeed said”?

God deliver us from a Christ-less Christianity and hold us to the good old paths.

Parkyakarkus!

Harry_Einstein

Harry Einstein (May 6, 1904 – November 23, 1958), known professionally by a multitude of pseudonyms, most commonly Parkyakarkus, was an American comedian, writer, and character actor. A specialist in Greek dialect comedy, he became famous as the Greek chef Nick Parkyakarkus on the Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson radio programs, and later on a program of his own. He appeared in eleven films (as Parkyakarkas, or a close variant) from 1936 to 1945. He was very popular during the thirties and forties.

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He had a heart attack during a celebrity roast for Dezi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in 1958.

When he been taken backstage, Ball came to the microphone and managed only, “I can say nothing”, through tears.  Arnaz , the closing speaker, said, “This is one of those moments (the celebrity occasion )  that Lucy and I have waited a lifetime for, but it’s meaningless now. They say the show must go on, but why must it? Let’s close the show now by praying for this wonderful man backstage who has made a world laugh.”

The fact is that all the world’s joys and pleasures are fading and passing away. If we make them the only pursuit of our lives we will be left devastated and eternally bankrupt when they leave us.

It is only with Christ that there are pleasures forever more, and only in and through him that we will find the joy and peace the endures to eternity.

Information Gathering.

We are confronted today by those who by fair means and foul seek to pry into the day to day habits, spending practices and opinions of the public at large.

Whether it is by means of survey, monitoring online usage or purchases or the periodic Census, we are ,whether we like it or not, feeding grist into the numbers crunchers and poll-sters mill.radio-telescope.jpg

The results stemming from all this commercial and political effort may be innocent and innocuous enough.

By it ,they may gain insight into what products are popular or saleable. They may dictate what government policies and measures are called for and therefore likely to attract votes and they may in some small way help our daily lives by providing services where they are most needed.

In a more sinister way the intelligence which is in many and varied ways being accumulated may show that a wary eye is being kept on us and is watching our every move.timthumb

In our consumption driven society, marketing is the primary concern of businesses and organizations, large and small. This naturally leads to the desire to find out the spending habits, incomes, lifestyle aspirations and desires of the population at large.

As I am continually pointing out this trend is making its way into the church in varying degrees.

Whether it was Robert Schuller, surveying Orange county California to see what sort of Church they would want to come to, if he built it or the “Churches” current obsession with relevance that  prompts it to imitate youth and pop culture to attract the “un-churched.

It has all come down to the desire to give the people what they want to get them to come to church.

God did not consult with anyone but Himself when He formulated the plan of man’s salvation. Even the angels who are far above all the rest of creation were not consulted by the Almighty and even with all their super human wisdom, they are still desire to look into and understand the wondrous way in which God wrought salvation through the death of His Son.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 1Peter 1:12

Surely this should deter anyone endeavoring to adapt the Gospel of Christ to the fads and whims of sinful men and encouraging all of us to gratefully accept the wondrous word of Salvation as declared to us by God in his holy Word and to His name alone be the glory.

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A dose of Fire and Brimstone!