The Wonder in Gospel Preaching

“There is a wonder in the preaching of the Gospel.  Those who have been appointed to the task of preaching know that they face an amazing dilemma. As far as they know, no one is able to hear what they say with the ears of faith.  They wait on the Spirit of God as they preach to spiritually dead men and women, all the while, directing their hearers to do the impossible!  This would seem a most daunting job, one fraught with assured disappointment and a sense of futility, were it not for the language of life that is built into the Gospel.  For the preacher there is hope in the words employed by the Scripture. The language itself speaks to LIFE!  Though no one is privy to the inward workings of the Holy Spirit, nor can anyone see a person being given life through the Word, the preacher is yet told to use language that only the spiritually living can hear. To the dead sinner the command is ‘Come to Christ’, ‘Believe on Christ’, ‘Call on the Name of the Lord’, ‘Repent’ and ‘Turn’.  These are admonitions to the living.  The Gospel addresses living needs, such as hunger, thirst and relief from burdens.  Such terms are exclusive to the realm of the living.  The dead do not know nor can they experience such things.
     Sweet dilemma this …knowing that God alone gives life, the preacher is told to speak in a manner as if everyone to whom he speaks can hear.  The preacher is thus, gloriously insulated from the burden of making folks hear, which to him, is an impossibility anyway.  However, at the same time he is commanded to speak to his fellow sinners as if they can respond. ‘Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’  Ephesians 5:14.”
 –  Pastor Tim James, Sequoyah Baptist Church in Cherokee, NC
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Christ’s Exaltation Is The Believer’s Comfort

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (Philippians 2:9)

How sweetly does every believer remember our Lord’s life in the flesh. How happy we are that He has obtained the righteousness of God by His faithfulness and obedience to God as our representative.  How precious are our thoughts of His blood offering by which He has purged our sins and satisfied the justice of God on our behalf. (Romans 3:22; Hebrews 1:3)

But remember, believer, that this same Jesus who was sent of God to accomplish our salvation He has raised up for our justification.  Hold fast this truth of our text that God has exalted our Savior and set Him over all things in time and eternity.  Our Lord Jesus was surely crucified and He truly died on the tree as He bore our sins in His own body.  But our hope of His victory and accomplishment of salvation is that God has raised Him from the dead, and now He lives at the right hand of God to make intercession for us. (Romans 4:25; Acts 2:32-36)

This same Jesus who said “I lay down my life for the sheep” also said, “I have power to lay it down and I have power to raise it up.” (John 10:16)
Therefore, believer, fear not for thy redeemer liveth and to Him is given all power in heaven and earth. (Job 19:25; Matthew 28:18) He not only holds us in His strong arms from which none can pluck us out, but he also in sovereign power ordains and controls all those circumstances and foes who seem to be against us. (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:31) Therefore in truth all things are for you, believer. All things are working together for your good and for an expected end, which is eternal life and eternal joy in the presence of Christ our Savior and, our Risen Lord. (1 Corinthians 3:21-22; Romans 8:28)

-Fred Evans

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Walk As You Received:

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: (Colossians 2:6) 

How did we receive Christ?  The scripture has said that “as many as received Him to them  gave he the power/right to be called the sons of God.  But we did not receive Christ by our own power.  We were not made the sons of God by blood nor by the will of the flesh nor by the will of man, but by the Sovereign Free Will and grace of God.  We received Christ and believed on Him by the Work of the Holy Spirit in the new birth.  (John 1:12-13; 3:5-8)

We by nature could not and would not receive Christ as all our salvation. (1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7) We like most religious men supposed Jesus to be a help to God.  That He by His work of redemption, and by our decision or work of the flesh God would be pleased to accept us.  But this natural religion is an abomination to God. (Prov. 11:1; 15:8) The unholy mixture of works and grace is a refuge of lies that will not stand in the day of Christ’s Judgment.  (Isa. 28:14-20; Rom. 11:5-6))

But God, who is rich in mercy, surprised us by His Grace.  He came in power and exposed the vanity of our false refuge.  He in grace disannulled our covenants of works and caused us to bow at the feet of the Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, we came to Christ as the man Full of leprosy.  We came confessing Christ to be God manifest in the flesh.  We came in humility saying “Lord if thou wilt thou canst make me clean.”

Then in grace we found the Lord Jesus not only able to save those that come to God by him to the uttermost, but we found that he is a very willing savior. (Luke 5:12-14)

“All that the Father giveth to me, shall come to me and him that cometh to me I will in NO WISE CAST OUT! ( John 6:37)

We who have been born again of the Spirit of God have received him even because He has cleansed us from all unrighteousness by His death.  We receive Him because he has obtained and clothed us in the righteousness of God.

Oh the joy of his touch and the sweetness of his voice to all that have received him: I will be thou clean!

So then, how have we received him?  Only by the Free Grace of God through faith in Christ.  Therefore let us so walk in  Christ continually by faith, rooted and grounded in the gospel that we have both heard and received.  Let us who are saved by grace be gracious. (Php. 1:27)

-F.E

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The Preachers Work and Exhortation

The work of every preacher is to be a watchmen and do our best to discover and declare the fullness of Christ and the emptiness of the creature and the snares of the great deceiver.  We should do so to the fullness of the measure of the gifts and graces which are given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let not God’s preachers consider their smallness or weakness, for our God has chosen the smallest and weakest of His saints to confound those worldly wisdom and earthly might.   Believers, let us remember this, that life is short, our duties are many, our assistance is great and our reward is sure.  Therefore we faint not, hold on and hold up in the ways of well doing and Heaven (Christ the king of Heaven) shall make amends for it all.

Consider this good counsel and “never let go out of your minds the thoughts of the crucified Christ.” Let this be meat and drink unto you.  Let this be your sweetness and consolation, your honey and your desire, your reading and meditation, your life, death and resurrection.

-Thomas Brooks

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Nothing But Sovereign Grace:

As the Lord is pleased to open our eyes, we shall see more what grace is- how pure, how free, and how sovereign.  We shall see our sins so great -that nothing but free grace can pardon them; our backslidings so aggravated- that nothing but free grace can heal them; our hearts so hard- that nothing but free grace can soften them; our path so rough -that nothing but free grace can help us over it; and our death so dreadful- that nothing but the grace of God can take away its sting and make us shout, “Victory!” even in its very arms!  We shall find nothing but sovereign grace can make us holy or happy either for time or eternity!

There is an out going of the single desire of the soul to the Lord Jesus Christ that His grace may be ever flowing forth into us, so as to dispel all doubt and fear-break to pieces all bounds and fetters- fill us with love and humility- conform us to His suffering image -produce in us every fruit that shall redound to His praise- be with us in life and death -and land us safe in eternity!

 

-J.C Philpot

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Buy the Truth

 “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23)

Hold on to the truth. Today they say it does not matter what we believe; that we should all join together and be one big happy family. To do this you must sacrifice something. I have never seen error compromised. It is always the truth. Somebody has to be wrong. Is it us? It is if we do not hold on to the truth. We cannot all be right. Is salvation of the Lord, or not? Is man dead in sin, or not? Does God choose out those on whom to show mercy, or not? Did Christ redeem, or not? Does the Spirit bring us to Christ, or not? Does God keep us safe, or not? This is what it comes down to. Either Christ is all, or He is not. Either Christ came to save sinners, or He did not.

-Milton Howard

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Go To The Cross

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  Tit_2:14.

There is no victory, over the indwelling power of sin, and there is no pardon for the guilt of sin, but as the soul deals with the blood of Christ. The great end of our dear Lord’s death was to destroy the works of the devil. Sin is the great work of Satan. To overcome this, to break its power, subdue its dominion, repair its ruins, and release from its condemnation, the blessed Son of God suffered the ignominious death of the cross. All that bitter agony which He endured all that mental suffering the sorrow of His soul in the garden the sufferings of His body on the cross all was for sin. See, then, the close and beautiful connection between the death of Christ, and the death of sin. All true sanctification comes through the cross. Reader, seek it there. The cross brought into your soul by the eternal Spirit will be the death of your sins. Go to the cross oh, go to the cross of Jesus. In simplicity of faith, go. With the strong corruption, go. With the burden of guilt, go, go to the cross. You will find nothing but love there nothing but welcome there nothing but purity there. The precious blood of Jesus “cleanses us from all sin.” And while you are kept low beneath the cross, your enemy dares not approach you, sin shall not have dominion over you, nor shall Satan, your accuser, condemn you.

-Octavius Winslow

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Christ, the Believer’s Secure Foundation and Refuge

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.   (Psalms 18:2)

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalms 18:2)

Oh, dear believer in Christ, let us keep this every near our hearts that Jesus Christ is All our salvation. (2 Samuel 23:5) Jesus is the Rock and eternal foundation of my soul and upon Him alone is the church of God built. (Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 16:18) Jesus is my fortress and a wall of fire about me so that none of Satan’s arrows of accusations shall reach us. Even because Jesus Christ has obtained for me an eternal righteousness by His blood and obedience. (Zechariah 2:5; 3:2; Daniel 9:24) Jesus Christ is the deliverer of our souls from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of Christ through faith in Him. (Colossians 1:12-14) Christ is all my strength even because He bares the full weight of responsibility for the salvation of my soul. (Ephesians 1:3; Genesis 43:9; Hebrews 7:22) Therefore He will carry me to glory upon his own shoulders. (Luke 15:5-6) Jesus Christ is the protector of our head. Jesus Christ has for us endured the full measure of God’s Holy Justice upon the cross. The sword of the Mighty God struck Jesus His fellow and therefore Justice that cannot demand twice payment will never fall upon us. (Zechariah 13:7; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:11)

Believer, if Jesus Christ is our foundation under us, our wall of fire round about us, and our refuge over us, who then can ever pluck us out of His hand? Who will undermine this Rock upon which we are built? Who shall scale the walls of fire to accuse us before God seeing he Justified us? How can divine Justice that was satisfied at the cross demand of us to suffer for our sins?

Then there is none that can ever remove us from His Great salvation! Jesus is a high tower that has reached to the throne of God. Therefore we have boldness to enter the very presence of God, which is to us a thorn of grace in time of need. Do you need forgiveness of sins? Do you need deliverance from the enemies of yours soul? Do you need faith, hope, love or any grace? Then come now with Christ in view, for He is your foundation, your wall of protection, your refuge, and your high tower. In Him we are saved and safe.

–   F. E.

 

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The Believer In Christ is a Mysterious Creature

The path of the Christian is indeed a mysterious one, full of harmonious contradictions and heavenly paradoxes. He is never easy when at ease, nor without a burden when he has none. He is never satisfied without doing something, and yet is never satisfied with anything that he does. He is never so strong as when he sits still [Isaiah 30:7], never so fruitful as when he does nothing, and never so active as when he makes the least haste [Isaiah 28:16]. All outstrip him in the race, yet he alone gains the goal, and wins the prize. All are sure of heaven but himself, yet he enters into the kingdom, whilst they are thrust out. He wins pardon through guilt, hope through despair, deliverance through temptation, comfort through affliction, and a robe of righteousness through filthy rags. Though a worm and no man, he overcomes Omnipotence itself through violence; and though less than vanity and nothing [Isaiah 40:17 2 Corinthians 12:11], he takes heaven itself by force [Matthew 11:12.]

Thus amidst the strange contradictions which meet in a believing heart, he is never so prayerful as when he says nothing; never so wise as when he is the greatest fool; never so much alone as when most in company; and never so much under the power of an inward religion as when most separated from an outward one. Strange mysterious creature! He cannot live without sinning, yet cannot live in sin; cannot live without prayer, and yet for days together cannot pray; continually finds religion a burden, yet would not part with it for the world; lusts after sin as a delicious morsel, yet hates it with a perfect hatred; esteems Christ the Chiefest among ten thousand, and yet is at times tried with doubts whether He is a Saviour at all.

                                                                 – J.C. Philpot

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Comfort from God’s Covenant of Sovereign Grace

For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:24-28)

Here we have in this chapter that covenant of God’s Sovereign Free Grace which was ordained before the world began.  This is that same covenant that David trusted upon His death bed saying “Thou hast made with me an everlasting covenant ordered in ALL THINGS and SURE!”  (2 Samuel 23:5)

This covenant of God is an everlasting covenant, an eternal covenant which God made with Himself for all of His elect people. This eternal agreement, or decree of God in the Trinity of His Sacred persons was predestinated, planned and done in the purpose of God before the world began. (Ephesians 1:3-6)

Therefore, it is by this covenant promise of God through Jesus Christ that every believer may find perfect comfort and assurance of our salvation. (Hebrews 6:17-20)  Behold that God has purposed to save us by His free grace for His own glory. God purposed to take us from the same lump of Adam’s fallen race. (v.24)  God purposed that Jesus Christ should accomplish all our righteousness and redemption and that we should be cleansed from all our unrighteousness. (v.25)  The Holy Spirit of God was purposed to come and give us a  heart and live within us. (v.26-27)  And seeing that this covenant promise was given to us before the world began, and having now experienced this work of grace in our hearts through faith in Christ, what then shall be able to disannul God’s purpose and oath?  We may be confident that nothing and no one shall thwart or pervert God’s eternal covenant of Grace that He has purposed for every one of His elect people. For God has said “You shall be my people and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness” (v.28b-29a).  And it is even the purpose of God that all of His saints loathe themselves for their sins. (v.31).  And we most surely do loathe the old man of our nature and look only to Jesus Christ for all our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Therefore God says to us his preachers: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to  Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.”  (Isaiah 40:1-2)

                                                                                                                                                                               – F.E

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