GRACE EMPOWERS

“And because the number of the saints is gathered by no preceding merits, as was said, but only by the gratuitous will of God concerning such, correctly John, about to write to the seven churches which are located in Asia, puts forth the heading of his greeting, saying: Grace to you and peace from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:4-5). For, grace is said to be something that has been given freely, not something paid as a reward, but something conferred freely through kindness. For, when this grace shined within us, we, from enemies were led back to friendship with our Creator, from ungodly were made godly, and from servants of sin were adopted as children of righteousness. Every day we are illuminated by this preceding grace so that we may be able to see where we should place our step regarding good work. We are guarded by subsequent grace so that in the end we are not bitten by a serpent in the heel. By this grace we are incited to good work, but having been incited, unless that grace supports what it has incited, we are unable to complete that same work. On this Paul says: The will is present with me, but to do good I do not find (Rom. 7:18). Accordingly, therefore, the will that is present with you, is only because you received it by grace, as you yourself said in another passage: What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Cor. 4:7) Therefore, just as the will was present with Paul because he received this very thing by grace, so he did not find it to do good unless that very grace, which gave him the will, supported it. Accordingly also, the same Apostle says again: It is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). For, John, Peter, and Paul, when they were about to write to believers, put forth this grace in the heading of their greetings in their writings.”
Ambrose Autpert (730-784), Expositio in Apocalypsin. On Rev 1:3

Thanks Andy Underhill (USA)

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Killing Sin (3)

Part 3 of Owen’s treatise

The Holy Spirit is the agent in mortification (Rom.8:13): He it is who takes away of the stony heart, Ezek. 11:19, 36:26, “I will give my Spirit, and take away the stony heart;” “Without Christ we can do nothing,” John 15:5. All actings of any grace whatever, from him, are by the Spirit, by whom he alone works in and upon believers. As per Acts 5:31 he grants repentance of which mortification is no small portion.  Having “received the promise of the Holy Ghost,” he sends him abroad for that end, Acts 2:33.

All self-denying religious acts, like many indulged in by Romanists, Hindu monks and fanatical Muslims are useless and impotent in mortification because NOT in the Bible.

DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU.

So states Christ in Luke 6:27.

Helen Berhane who was imprisoned and tortured for her faith in Eritrea shares this exhortation.

The love of God shed abroad in our hearts enables us to do what is otherwise humanly impossible-to love our enemies.

” Every good gift that comes to us comes as a gift from our amazing Father in heaven. Sharing in the sufferings of Christ always brings us deeper into fellowship with Jesus-and for this gift we must be thankful.”

“Here is a great mystery: when we respond to hatred with the love of God , it sets us free!”

Can you guess what we are freed from? Free from slavery to fear, revenge and hatred.

” It enables us to be free even when in prison.”

“God so loved the world that he sent his son into the world to die for those who would hate him, harm him and ultimately put him to death.” AMAZING!

” There may be some who chose to hate me and harm me because I am a Christian-but God’s love complels me to do them good.”

AMAZING POWER OF GRACE!

Brothers and sisters reading this. May this be our experience too as it is soon coming our way!

Temperance

TEMPERANCE—The third property that we should supply in our supernatural faith is “temperance” (egkrateian, accusative of egkrateia, which means self-control or self-restraint). Paul preached the faith in Christ before Felix and “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come…” (Acts 24:25). Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit proclaimed by Paul (Gal. 5:23). This word, as well as the other excellencies to be supplied in our faith, was used twice by Peter (II Pet. 1:6). Self-control is the mastery of desires and passions. It prevents excesses of any kind in the life of a Christian. Self-control includes more than abstinence from alcohol. A person may be a glutton and be just as guilty of the absence of self-control. Sorrow and laughter are all right, but a person does not want to spend all his time in either. Therefore, we will gird our mirth and restrain our sorrow. The apostle Paul refused to be mastered by bodily appetites. He disciplined his body into subjection that he might not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).
The Christian is both the governor and the governed. The new nature within us enables us to control the old Adamic nature. From God’s word, we learn we have the new nature which is capable of controlling our old nature within. Hence, we learn that by the help of the grace God has given us that we are governors and we are governed. Without Christ we are nothing, but with Him and His grace we are governors. This is what Paul meant when he said he would keep his body under subjection (I Cor. 9:27). He taught this same truth in Romans 7. There is a warfare between the outward man and the inward man. But we can thank God that we have victory through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:25).
Knowledge, the preceding property, defends itself by the excellence of self-control. True knowledge leads to self-restraint from every inordinate desire. 

Thanks Barry Watson.

Attitude to Persecution

Hear Cyprian:

Cyprian of Carthage (200-258AD), while suffering banishment, writes a letter to three of his church members (Nemesian, Felix, and Lucius), who were sent to work in the mines as punishment for their faith. Cyprian, who by all accounts, should be the recipient of letters of encouragement, writes one himself to his fellow suffering Christians. He writes, “That you have been grievously beaten with clubs, and have been initiated by that punishment in your Christian confession, is a thing not to be lamented. The body of a Christian trembles not on account of clubs: all his hope is in the wood (i.e., the cross of Christ). The servant of Christ acknowledges the emblem of his salvation: redeemed by wood to eternal life, by this wood he is advanced to his crown. O happy feet, shackled indeed at present with fetters, ye will quickly finish a glorious journey to Christ! Let malice and cruelty bind you as they please, ye will soon pass from earth and its sorrows to the kingdom of heaven. In the mines ye have not a bed on which the body may be refreshed; nevertheless, Christ is your rest and consolation: your limbs are fatigued with labour, and have only the ground to lie on; but so to lie down, when you have Christ with you, is no punishment. Filth and dirt defile your limbs, and ye have no baths at hand; but remember, ye are inwardly washed from all uncleanness: your allowance of bread is but scanty; be it so, ‘man doth not live by bread alone, but by the word of God: ye have no proper clothes to defend you from the cold; but he who has put on Christ, is clothed abundantly. How will all these deformities be compensated with honour proportioned to the disgrace! What a blessed exchange will be made of this transient punishment for an exceeding and eternal glory!… And though your travail be great, yet is the reward greater, which is most certain to follow: for God, beholding and looking down upon them that confess his name, in their willing mind approveth them, in their striving helpeth them, in their victory crowneth them; rewarding that in us which he hath performed, and crowning that which he hath perfected in us.”

Thanks to Andy Underhile.

The Sinfulness of Sin

 

Dear Brethren,

Commenting on the great evil of sin, Samuel Bolton (1606-1654) said, “How great an enemy was this that God must send out His Son to conquer it? He can arm flies, lice, frogs, the meanest of creatures, to overthrow the greatest power and force on the earth; but no less than His Son was strong enough to conquer sin.” I wonder how many of us grasp the weight of that statement and ardently believe it? How bad, how evil, how degenerate, how ruinous, how offensive, how utterly grotesque, filthy, and loathsome is your sin? Is the least of your sins worthy of an eternity in hell?
Be honest with your own soul and with God: when was the last time you wept, grieved, groaned over your sin? Not because its nastiness, ugliness, or perversity shamed you; not because its humiliation and disgrace made you feel dirty; not because its consequences filled you with panic and fear; not because your guilt-ridden conscience kept you awake, gave you no rest, and would not stay silent—sin can certainly produce such experiences in our soul. But have you sorrowed for your sin because you, a creature made in the image of God, have chosen the evil of evils against a holy and good God?
How do you answer these questions? Are your eyes dry? Your lips silent? Your heart quiet, undisturbed? Has your view of grace become an anaesthetic that numbs your spiritual sensitivities, so that you shrug off sin rather than despising and mortifying it? Has grace become your license to live like the world or, at least, to take sin lightly? Do you really know what you are doing when you sin? I believe it safe to say that apart from those suffering forever in the flames of the unquenchable fires of hell, we rarely perceive the depths nor biblically respond to the sinfulness of sin.
With that in mind, we offer you this new issue of the Free Grace Broadcaster—The Sinfulness of Sin. This issue does not unfold the doctrine of sin: that awaits a future issue. The purpose of this collection of articles is to press our hearts to honestly consider before heaven the dreadfulness of sin and the only hope for its pardon—Jesus Christ.

Therefore, Arthur W. Pink begins with a brief, biblical definition of sin, followed by William S. Plumer’s excellent exposition of sin as an infinite evil. Pink offers us a second article, explaining that there is nothing so vile as sin, as he describes its nature. Puritan Thomas Watson teaches us from vivid biblical descriptions that sin is a heinous thing, worthy of God’s just curse; while another Puritan, Ralph Venning, labors to show us that the heart of the sinfulness of sin is its relentless opposition to God; in fact, Venning says that if it could, sin would “ungod God.” A third Puritan, Samuel Bolton compares natural evils—natural disasters such as plagues, hurricanes, and earthquakes—with moral evil—sin—to teach us that sin is the greatest evil known to man! Watson then takes on the vital issue of degrees of sin, for many in his day and ours are deluded into thinking that God does not view one sin as greater than another. Furthermore, many of us have weak views of sin, so Edward Payson helps us to see that our sins are infinite, innumerable, and monstrous; thankfully, he points us to Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross as the only remedy for the plague of our hearts. Again, pointing us to Christ, J. C. Ryle explains with great clarity our need for repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Charles Spurgeon displays the unknown depths of human sin and convincingly reveals that we really do not know what we are doing when we sin against God. The last word is from Octavius Winslow, who shows us that the one place where we may see our sins in all their depraved wickedness is the cross of Jesus Christ: from that extraordinary light, we will see our sins as they really are.

Pastors, do God’s blood-bought children under your care understand the sinfulness of sin? If not, how will they love Christ, how will they love holiness if they have low views of sin? Parents, do your children understand that God hates nothing in this universe but sin? That one sin is so infinitely evil that it will damn a sinner to an infinite hell? Dear people of God, do you really grasp the horror of sin by meditating on the Christ of God, hanging on Calvary’s cross? Oh, read this issue prayerfully and carefully; and, then, love Jesus Christ more intensely than ever before. Understanding the sinfulness of sin will drive you to a more profound love of the crucified and resurrected Savior.

In the love of Christ Jesus,

Jeff Pollard~Free Grace Broadcaster

Our relationship with the Holy Spirit-a summary.

What he does

 

Allusion to

 

What we must not do

 

What that means

 

Indwells His person sealing-love, kindness and tenderness.

 

Grieve him (Eph.4:30)

 

Pursue universal holiness

 

Sanctifies His gracious operation-like fire

 

Quench him (I Thess. 5:19)

 

Work out what he works in

 

Speaks through ministers The means of grace (preaching, reading)

 

Resist him (Acts 7:51) by closing ears

 

Listen and apply

 

Taken from John Owen’s “Communion with the Triune God.”

Available here:

http://file:///C:/Users/user/Desktop/communion-with-the-triune-god-complete-ebook..pdf

 

Entering Sabbath Rest

This is keeping the fourth commandment which we do because we love God.

Young Calvinists

The Lord’s Day is the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament Sabbath, the day of rest that God instituted at the close of the creation week. On this day God calls His people to rest; not merely to rest physically (though that is part of it), but to rest spiritually. This spiritual rest is an important dimension of our worship on the Lord’s Day. For that reason, we do well to think about Sabbath rest as we prepare ourselves for worship tomorrow.

The true idea of Sabbath rest is lost in much of the church today. On the one side, there are those who have taken the liberty to transform the Sabbath into a day for themselves. Rather than faithfully attend the corporate worship of the church, they are very willing to substitute “family time” or some other activity in place of church. That can be a temptation…

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Wisdom (2)

We have seen that wisdom consists:

The wisdom of Solomon!

1. Knowledge of God.

2. Knowledge of self and now we come to:

3.  Walking with God.

Now, that one may walk with another, six things are required:— 1. Agreement. 2. Acquaintance. 3. A way. 4. Strength. 5. Boldness. 6. An aiming at the same end. All these, with the wisdom of them, are hid in the Lord Jesus.

  1. Agreement-Amos 3:3. We now have peace and access.
  2. We know him-I John 5:20, John 1:18, because he has revealed himself.
  3. There is a way, a highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) into which we are directed(Is. 30:21), of good works (Eph.2:10).
  4. Ability is given (John 15:5, Phil. 2:13).
  5. We have confidence and boldness (Heb. 4:16).
  6. Our aim like Christ’s is the glory of God (I Cor.10:31).

 

From Communion with God by John Owen.

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