Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The End Is Greater Than The Means

THE ultimate end or goal of redemption is not the happiness, well-being, or even conversion of sinners, but the glory of God (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14).   Man's comfort and safety is not the supreme goal of God's glorious gospel.  The supreme goal of our gospel is the glory of God, the establishment of His rule and reign over a kingdom of peace and righteousness, the exaltation and manifestation of His character, and the preeminence of His Beloved Son. Our salvation will serve that purpose (Phil. 2:6-11).  Everything in covenant mercies, in salvation, and in God's purpose for the sons of men (past, present, and future) turns upon the will of God in Christ. This makes Christ the principal figure in our gospel, our goals, and our glory.  If you have salvation and God's purpose waiting upon the free-will of the creature, then man is the principal figure in your landscape and will lead you to compromise divine truth in order to win man's approval.  The attitude that we must get men converted at any cost and compromise usually winds up costing the very character and truth of God, which is a price too high to pay. Conversions are never more important than results. "Let God be true and every man a liar!"

-Gospel report by preacher Henry Mahan

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Contenders or Pretenders?

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for THE FAITH which was once delivered unto the saints." -Jude vs. 3 [KJV]

Those who are not earnestly contending "for the faith" (the gospel of God's sovereign and free grace in Christ) are only mere pretenders in a false refuge of lies (Isa. 28:15; Matt. 7:21-23). Those who are earnestly and eagerly contending "for the faith" are those that are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Rom.1:16-17). Those who fervently contend "for the faith" are those who publicly preach it (Acts 5:42; Phil. 1:27), faithfully support it (Cor. 9:7), zealously identify themselves where the gospel is preached (Heb. 10:25), ardently pray for God's blessing upon it (2Thes. 3:1), dogmatically defend it against all opposition (Gal. 5:1-5; Phil. 1:17; 1Tim. 6:3-5), and assertively insist that there is but one gospel (Gal. 1:6-10; Eph. 4:4-6). Now the question for us is this, are we genuine and legitimate contenders or wretched and desolate pretenders?
-Gospel report by preacher Tom Harding
Zebulon Baptist Church of Pikeville, Kentucky USA
E-Mail: taharding@mikrotec.com
Web-Site: http://henrytmahan.com/zebulongrace.htm


In the Word of God, redemption was always for a specific people. In the garden of Eden, the animals that the Lord killed were for Adam and Eve, not for any of the fallen angels. When Abel offered to God the firstling of his flock, he brought it for himself and his family, not for Cain and his family. When the passover lambs were killed, they were sacrificed for the firstborn of the Israelite families, not for the firstborn of the Egyptian families. On the Day of Atonement when the high priest of Israel killed a goat and offered it to God upon the altar, that sacrifice was only on the behalf of Israel, not for any other nation.
Even so, Christ came into this world to redeem a specific people, the elect of God. When He laid down His life, it was to satisfy justice for those given to Him by the Father in the covenant of grace. Let there be no misunderstanding here, we consider the teaching of universal redemption to be heresy because it is contrary to the Word of God and makes the success of the Savior’s redemption dependent upon the will of sinners. The "Good Shepherd" did not lay down His life to make salvation possible for all mankind; He died for His sheep to put their sins away and reconcile them to God.

John Owen (1616-1683 A.D.) made three logical declarations in defense of the truth of
Christ’s particular, effectual redemption. Any person who honestly considers these three statements must acknowledge that they are reasonable. I have paraphrased his words.

1. If Christ died for all the sins of all men then all men must be saved and universalism is true because sin once atoned for, there remains no more ground for punishment. However, the teaching of universal salvation is contrary to the Scriptures which plainly state that many do in fact perish in their sins.

2. If Christ died for some of the sins of all men then no person will be saved because un-atoned sin must bring forth death. We know this theory is also false because there are some who are saved by the grace of God which means all of their sins were paid for by the death and resurrection of Christ.

If Christ died for all of the sins of some men then all of those in whose stead He laid down His life must be saved because their sins have been put away, separated from them as far as the east is from the west. Justice has been satisfied for them and since Christ has been condemned in their stead, those people must be saved. This is the doctrine of particular, effectual redemption which is the message of the Word of God.
-Gospel report by preacher Jim Byrd

These Calamities

"Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast."  

-Psalm 57:1 [KJV]

The Psalmist speaks of what he calls “these calamities.”  All people experience “these calamities” of life whether they be afflictions, trials or troubles.  The difference that grace makes among men is demonstrated in where or to whom one goes to for comfort, help and refuge.  This is said to be a psalm of David when he was in the cave while hiding as Saul pursued him to take his life, David’s calamities were his alone as are ours. 

But notice his plea, it is for God to be merciful to him.  He did not deserve God’s mercy as I don’t but, in Christ and through Him, we seek it and find it.  His trust was in God alone and as we know, God blessed him as He does all who trust in Him alone.  We have no confidence in the flesh and our trust, being God-given faith, relies solely upon Him.  Furthermore, our calamities are not only outward caused by the circumstances around us and those like Saul who bring them about.  No, they are inward as well and maybe even greater.  The word “calamities” in this verse can also mean “desire.”  Desire of the ruinous kind.  The continued lusts of the flesh even in believers like David, can be deadly. 

Only God can help us and we pray as David that He would keep us like little chicks or birds under the watchful eye and care of their mothers: “in the shadow of Thy wings.”  There is also a blessed assurance here and comfort.  These calamities will pass!  There is an end to them, if not before, when we are soon in the presence of our Savior God.  Christ spoke of them as being “for a little while.”  Paul said they’re not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.  The Psalmist looks to God’s mercy, keeping and protection as his “refuge” “until these calamities be overpast.” 

They all are like storm clouds that may be over us at the moment but will pass.  Then notice his words in the next verse: I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.” Even these calamities are sent of our loving heavenly Father who sends them for our spiritual and eternal good and His glory.  These calamities are often severe and frightful as was David’s; but we pray for grace that we might flee to our God for refuge, to Christ who is our Refuge, that we might have peace and be comforted of soul.  These calamities will pass!  

-Gospel report by preacher Gary Shepard

Friday, July 13, 2018

There is One Who Saves!

"Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of
the earth; for I am God, and there is none else."
-Isaiah 45:22 [KJV]
Till in soul feeling, we are at "the ends of the earth," we have no eyes to see, no ears to hear, no hearts to feel what a glorious Mediator there is at the right hand of the Father. And the more we feel to be at "the ends of the earth," the deeper is our need of Him; and as the Spirit unfolds the mystery of the glorious Person of Christ, and reveals His beauty, the more does He become the object of the soul's admiration and adoration. And O what a Mediator is held out in the word of truth to living faith! What a subject for spiritual faith to look to, for a lively hope to anchor in, and for divine love to embrace!

That the Son of God, who lay in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the second Person in the glorious Trinity, should condescend to take upon Him our nature, that He might groan, suffer, bleed, and die for guilty wretches, who, if permitted, would have ruined their souls a thousand times a day—what a wonder of wonders! But we cannot enter into, nor feel the power of this mystery till we are reduced to such circumstances, that none but such a Saviour can save our souls.

Can we do anything to save ourselves? Then we want not help from that mighty One on whom God has laid help; and we secretly reject Him. Can we heal ourselves? Then we want not the good Physician. But when our eyes are opened to see our own thorough ruin and helplessness, and to view the glorious Person of the Son of God, faith is drawn out to flee to and rest upon that glorious Object.

-Gospel report by preacher J.C. Philpot (1802 – 1869 A.D.)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Christ Sets The Captives Free!

A wealthy and philanthropic individual visits a prison and approaches the dungeon in which a wretched captive lies bound with chains and fetters, and strongly secured within walls, and doors, and bars. He proclaims loud to the captive that he has brought gold sufficient for a ransom on condition that the captive will liberate himself from his chains, burst open his prison doors, and come forth. "Alas," exclaims the wretched man, "your kindness does not reach my case. Unless your gold can effect my deliverance, it can be of no service to me. The offer of it on such terms can do me no good."

Now, although there is a great difference between physical and spiritual inability, yet one serves to illustrate the other. Man by nature is as spiritually unable to believe in Christ as the prisoner is physically unable to break his chains and open the prison doors; so that all this boasted sufficiency of the atonement is only an empty offer of salvation on certain terms and conditions; and such an atonement is much too weak to meet the desperate case of a lost sinner.

But, how different is the salvation of God! "By the blood of Thy covenant, I have sent forth Thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water" (Zechariah 9:11). Jesus, by His death, hath PAID THE RANSOM AND MADE THE CAPTIVES HIS OWN. Therefore, He has a legal right to their persons and with His own power He brings them forth. It is glorifying to His grace to bring out the prisoners from the prison and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
"I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" (Isaiah 42:6-7).

Gospel report by preacher William Rushton (1754 - 1815 A.D.)

Flee to Christ - The Rock of Salvation!

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree”
(I Peter 2:24).

The flaming sword of God’s justice was quenched in the holy, loving bosom of Jesus! The most significant and appalling demonstration of God’s holiness that the universe ever beheld, infinitely distancing and transcending every other, is the sufferings and death of His only and beloved Son!

Behold the most solemn display of God’s hatred of sin! Finding the sins of the Church upon Christ as its Surety, Substitute, and Savior, the wrath of God was poured out upon Him without measure! Finding the sins of His people laid upon His Son, God emptied upon His holy soul all the vials of His wrath due to their transgressions!

Go, my soul, to Calvary, and learn how holy God is, and what a monstrous thing sin is, and how imperiously, solemnly, and holily bound Jehovah is to punish it, either in the person of the sinner or in the person of a Surety. Never was the Son of God dearer to the Father than at the very moment that the sword of divine justice, flaming and flashing, pierced to its hilt His holy heart!

Oh, to learn experimentally these two great facts: sin’s infinite hatefulness and love’s infinite holiness! The love of God in giving His Son to die; the love of Christ in dying; the essential wickedness and unmitigated enormity of sin, which demanded a Sacrifice so Divine, so holy, and so precious!

Gospel report by preacher Octavius Winslow (1808–1878 A.D.)