The Wilderness Wanderer

“They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.” Psalm 107:4

    The true Christian finds this world to be a wilderness. There is no change in the world itself. The change is in the man’s heart. The wilderness wanderer thinks it altered—a different world from what he has hitherto known—his friends, his own family, the employment in which he is daily engaged, the general pursuits of men all seem to him different to what they were.

This however is the prominent and uppermost feeling in his mind—that he finds himself, to his surprise—a wanderer in a world which has changed altogether its appearance to him. The fair, beautiful world, in which was all his happiness and all his home—has become to him a dreary wilderness. Sin has been fastened in its conviction on his conscience. The Holy Spirit has taken the veil of unbelief and ignorance off his heart. He now sees the world in a wholly different light—and instead of a paradise it has become a wilderness—for sin, dreadful sin, has marred all its beauty and happiness. It is not because the world itself has changed that the Christian feels it to be a wilderness—but because he himself has changed.

There is nothing in this world which can really gratify or satisfy the true Christian. What once was to him a happy and joyous world has now become a barren wilderness. The scene of his former pursuits, pleasures, habits, delights, prospects, hopes, anticipations of profit or happiness—is now turned into a barren wasteland. He cannot perhaps tell how or why the change has taken place, but he feels it—deeply feels it. He may try to shake off his trouble and be a little cheerful and happy as he was before—but if he gets a little imaginary relief, all his guilty pangs come back upon him with renewed strength and increased violence. God means to make the world a wilderness to every child of His, that he may not find his happiness in it, but be a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth.

-J.C Philpot

Comfortable Conclusions

 

“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound!”
(Romans 5:20)

      Dear Savior, in your sufferings I not only see the infiniteness of sin, but also the infiniteness of your love; so that, though I have cause with myself to be angry on account of sin, I need not despair. If the desert of my sinful folly is death—the merit of your sufferings is life! If my sins mount up to heaven—your mercy is above the heavens! Though my sins reach to the very throne to accuse me—there is ONE upon the throne who will not condemn me! My sins, in their seven-fold abominations, can rise no higher than the throne, but the rainbow of redeeming love and grace is both around and above the throne, and that in its seven-fold beauties—power, wisdom, justice, goodness, holiness, mercy, and truth. And as all the different rays meet in one glorious beam of light, so all the attributes, all the perfections of God, are summed up in LOVE! God is graciously pleased to be called by his favorite name, “God is love!” By the mingling rays of this beauteous rainbow, all my blackness is removed, and I am clothed with his beauty!

When I look to myself and see my vileness and necessity–I am confounded with shame! But when I look to you, and see your fullness and all-sufficiency, I am confounded with wonder! Am I weak? He is my strength. Am I foolish? He is my wisdom! Am I wicked? He is my righteousness! Am I impure? He is my sanctification! Am I in bondage? He is my complete redemption! Am I in misery? From him tender mercy flows. Am I deceitful? He is wholly truth! In a word, am I enmity itself? Then he is love itself which passes understanding! Mine is but the enmity of a creature—but his love is the love of God!

Sin may raise the tempest of wrath, but can do no more. But Christ not only calms the raging tempest, but gives peace of conscience, flowing from intimations of peace with God, and makes me heir of all things! Where sin abounded—grace did much more abound! Where misery has surrounded me—mercy has crowned me! Sin is too strong for me—but your grace is too strong for sin!

Why, then, am I so vexed with fears, doubts, and unbelief? Because I am sinful? On that very account, Christ, who knew no sin, was made sin—that I, who knew no righteousness, might be made the righteousness of God in him. But I am a great sinner! Then, he is a Savior, and a great One! Where is boasting now soul? See—it is great mercy in God, great merit in Christ—which saves a great sinner! Since rich and free grace builds the temple of salvation, let it have all the glory!

But I fall often into the same sin! That is my failing, over which I ought to mourn, and by which I should be driven out of all boasting in my own holiness, high attainments, and religious duties; and cry, with tears of holy joy, “Grace, grace to him that has laid the foundation, carries on the whole work of redemption, and will, with shouting bring forth the topstone!”

Now, law, what have you to do with me? Go to my Surety, Jesus. O curse! you have lighted on his head, that the blessing might rest on mine! The brandished

-James Meikle (1730-1799)

Ye WILL NOT come unto me… (John 5:40)

It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense. . .I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, “If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.” It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free-will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is “Alpha and Omega” in the salvation of men.

 

-C.H Spurgeon

Good Reasons for a Good Resolution

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful inn my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10.

 

Dear friends, let me tell you, once for all, that you cannot make yourselves fit for heaven, you cannot clothe yourselves with the garments of salvation, you cannot renew your own nature. Somebody says, “But, sir, you discourage people by telling them that they cannot change themselves.” That is the very thing I want to do. “Oh, but, I want to set a man working!” says one. Do you? I want to set him not working; that is to say, I want him to have done with any idea that salvation is of himself; I want him to drop that thought altogether, and just to feel that, if his salvation is to some out of himself, he has to get everything out of nothing, and that is not only difficult, but impossible. He has to get life out of his own death, to get cleanness out of the filthy ditch of his own nature, out of which it can never come. Discouragement of this sort is the very thing I always aim at in my preaching. I am afraid that there are many people who are made to believe that they are saved when they are not. My belief is that God never healed a man till he was wounded, and that he never made a man alive till he was dead. It is God’s way first to drag us down, and make us feel that we are nothing, and can do nothing, and that we are shut up to be saved by grace, that Christ must save us from beginning to end, or else we can never be saved at all. Oh, if I could but bring all my hearers, not only into a state of discouragement, but into a condition of despair about themselves, then I should know that they were on the road to a simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

It is absolute helplessness and death that lays the sinner where Christ can deal with him. When he is nothing, Christ shall be everything. . . . When you become just nothing, when you have no good feelings, no good desires, or anything you can bring to Christ – when you come to Christ, not with a broken heart, but for a broken heart, then he will receive you, then you will be the kind of man that Christ came to save.

-C.H Spurgeon

How Can They Escape?

 

“He will keep the feet of His saints.” 1 Samuel 2:9

 

The Lord sees His poor scattered pilgrims travelling through a valley of tears, journeying through a waste-howling wilderness—a path beset with baits, traps, and snares in every direction. How can they escape? Why, the Lord ‘keeps their feet.’ He carries them through every rough place—as a tender parent carries a little child. When about to fall—He graciously lays His everlasting arms underneath them. And when tottering and stumbling, and their feet ready to slip—He mercifully upholds them from falling altogether. But do you think that He has not different ways for different feet?

The God of creation has not made two flowers, nor two leaves upon a tree alike—and will He cause all His people to walk in precisely the same path? No. We have each our path—each our troubles—each our trials—each peculiar traps and snares laid for our feet. And the wisdom of the all-wise God is shown by His eyes being in every place—marking the footsteps of every pilgrim— suiting His remedies to meet their individual case and necessity— appearing for them when nobody else could do them any good— watching so tenderly over them, as though the eyes of His affection were bent on one individual—and carefully noting the goings of each, as though all the powers of the Godhead were concentrated on that one person to keep him from harm!

– J.C Philpot

One Hope for Incapable Faith

 

Incapable Faith:

According to the plain statements of Holy Scripture, no one has the will or the ability to come to Christ by faith (John 5:40; 6:44). This is the real issue at hand. Modern day religion, for the most part, professes to believe in original sin and total depravity. Very few people openly teach that man can save himself by his own works. Yet, most people do teach that man by nature does have the ability to come to Christ and be saved, that he has the ability in himself, by his own free-will, to believe on Christ.

By such teachings, they make salvation to rest ultimately upon man’s free-will. According to the commonly received heresy, man’s free-will makes the blood of Christ effectual, man’s free will controls the operations of God, and man’s free-will determines who shall populate heaven.

The Scriptures declare that man is not only morally depraved and sinful, but that he is also spiritually impotent, unwilling and incapable of coming to Christ by faith. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). He also declares that if the Father draws a man, that man will come to him; and he says, “I will raise him up at the last day.”

In the Scriptures the idea of “Coming to Christ,” simply means believing on him. C. H. Spurgeon said, “It is used to express those acts of the soul wherein, leaving at once our self-righteousness and our sins, we fly unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive his righteousness to be our covering and his blood to be our atonement.”

Today we are told that coming to Christ is the easiest thing in all the world. But here our Lord himself tells us that – It is utterly and entirely impossible for any man to come to Christ, unless the Father draws him by effectual and irresistible grace. Man by nature is spiritually impotent, and helpless, utterly without strength. Indeed, man is altogether dead spiritually. Man’s inability does not lie in any physical defect. Man’s inability is not a lack of mental power. I am just as capable of believing on Christ mentally as I am of believing in Abraham Lincoln. The mind is just as capable of seeing the moral guilt of sin as it is of seeing the moral guilt of murder. Man’s inability lies deep within his nature. A wolf cannot be domesticated and tamed into a trusted pet. A loving mother cannot stab her nursing baby to death. She has no ability to do so, because it is contrary to her nature. And no man can ever come to Christ of his own accord, because of the obstinancy of the human will.

The Arminian, the will worshipper, cries, “Any man can be saved who will.” That is certainly true. But that is not the issue. The issue is this, – Are men ever found naturally willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ? The Son of God answers that question with an emphatic, “No!” The human will is so desperately set on evil, so thoroughly depraved, so inclined toward evil, and so disinclined toward good, that without the powerful, supernatural, irresistible grace and call of God the Holy Spirit, no human being will ever come to Christ by faith.

No man will ever, of his own accord, come to Christ, because his understanding is darkened (John 3:3). He cannot see the exceeding evil of his own heart. He cannot see the strict justice of God’s law. He cannot see the glory of electing grace. He cannot see the glory of our Lord’s incarnation. He cannot see the glory of Christ’s obedience unto righteousness. He cannot see the glory of Christ’s substitutionary redemption. He cannot see the glory of Christ’s intercession.

No man will ever, of his own accord, come to Christ, because his affections are corrupt. We love what we ought to hate. And we hate what we ought to love. “Men love darkness rather than light.”

No man will ever come to Christ of his own voluntary accord, without the power of God, because his conscience is depraved. Conscience may tell me that such and such a thing is wrong. But how wrong it is conscience does not know. The unenlightened conscience of man will never tell him that he deserves eternal damnation, that he must abhor himself, that he must have a perfect righteousness, or that he must have a perfect atonement.

It is true that men will not, and it is true that man cannot, by their own power, come to Christ – “No man can come.” Man by nature is dead, spiritually dead. Certainly, if words mean anything, that means that man is without any spiritual power or ability whatsoever. If it is true that the Holy Spirit only gives me a will to come to Christ, and that the power to come is mine, then certainly I would have a right to share in the glory of my salvation.

Because man is guilty of sin, and because he sinfully refuses to believe on Christ, he remains under the wrath of God, and eternal damnation will be his just reward. But I cannot conclude this study with such a sad and gloomy picture. It is a terribly black scene that I have set before you. Man by nature is fallen. Our hearts are evil. Our works are evil. We are spiritually impotent. And we are justly condemned. But there is a bright ray of hope for such creatures as we are.

ONE HOPE

The only hope for fallen, guilty, depraved, helpless, and vile sinners, such as we are, is the free and sovereign grace of God in Christ. If salvation depends in any measure upon you or me, all hope is gone. But since it is entirely the work of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, there is hope even for fallen, helpless sinners. God says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:15-16).

This is what God does for sinners by his sovereign, eternal grace. He chose to save a great multitude from Adam’s fallen race. He determined to save his elect people by the sacrifice of his Son. He sent his Son into the world to accomplish eternal redemption for us. He sends his Spirit to regenerate his chosen people and effectually call them to Christ in faith. He gives life to the dead. He convicts (convinces) chosen, redeemed sinners of sin pardoned, righteousness brought in, and judgment finished by the obedience and blood of Christ. He reveals Christ. He causes the awakened sinner, by the power of his irresistible grace, to come to Christ, saying,…

Could my tears forever flow,
Could my zeal no languor know,
All for sin could not atone,
Thou must save and thou alone.

No man has any claim upon the grace of God. Any sinner who will come to Christ may freely come. All who come to Christ in true faith acknowledge most gladly that they were constrained to come. We who have been constrained by almighty, irresistible grace into the arms of Christ, do most gladly acknowledge and praise him for his matchless, free grace. The whole work of salvation, from start to finish, is due entirely to the grace of God.

All that I was, my sin, my guilt,
My death was all my own:
All that I am, I owe to Thee,
My gracious God, alone.
The evil of my former state
Was mine, and only mine:
The good in which I now rejoice
Is Thine, and only Thine.
The darkness of my former state,
The bondage – All was mine:
The light of life in which I walk,
The liberty is Thine.
The grace that made me feel my sin
It taught me to believe:
Then, in believing, peace I found,
And now I live, I live!
All that I am, even here on earth,
All that I hope to be,
When Jesus comes, and glory dawns,
I owe it, Lord, to Thee!

In the light of these things, every believer rejoices to declare, “By the grace of God I am what I am…Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”  Amen.

– Don Fortner

The Supreme Court’s Ruling on June 26, 2015

Revelation 11:1-13

The great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified,” has spoken. I can’t tell you how very heavy my heart is. On Friday morning June 26th 2015 the Supreme Court of the United Sates ruled that Sodomites must be protected by law in the practice and promotion of their vile perversity, not only with impunity, but under the protection of the law! June 26, 2015 shall forever mark in my mind the most infamous day in American history.

We have had some truly infamous days in our nation’s history. — On December 7, 1941 Japan attacked the United States by air and sea, killing 2400 people and launching us into World War II. — On January 22, 1973 the United States Supreme Court, in utter contradiction to our Constitution, ordered that abortion must be approved of, supported, and paid for by every State in our Union. Since then almost 60,000,000 babies have been butcherously ripped from the womb, making Herod’s slaughter of the innocents insignificant by comparison! — On September 2001 Muslim terrorists, following the long and black history of Islam, attacked the United States, murdering 3000 people, before the watching eyes of a stunned nation.

But no evil day in the history of this nation we love is more infamous than the very black Friday of June 26, 2015. The evil consequences of that day upon our nation and the world shall be such as none of us can imagine. June 26, 2015 will bring far more evil consequences upon our nation and the world than all those previous days of infamy combined. There is no crime against humanity so great, so vile, so evil, so destructive as Sodomy. This act by black robed reprobates is the just judgment of God upon a people who have, with willful determination, cast off the fear of God. These things are works of Divine judgment upon a people who have shut their eyes against the light God has given them and stopped their ears against his voice, determined not to bow to him as God.

My Contentment

Two things content my soul in the face of this sad, dark day of Divine judgment upon the nation we love…

1.     The fact that our God is on his throne. He always does right; and he “only doeth wondrous things.

2.     The marvelous lovingkindness and tender mercy of our God. — Blessed be his name, in wrath he will remember mercy! I know he will, because I’ve experienced it (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

My Message

Heavy my heart has been; but, oh, what a message God has given me for this dark day. — “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Blessed be his name forever, there is a people in this world loved of God, an elect remnant whom he loves with an everlasting love! We know that is so because, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The greatest possible display and commendation of God’s love is the substitutionary sacrifice of his Son. The Lord our God will save every one of those sinners for whom Christ shed his precious blood at Calvary. And when he has done so, though astonished with terror, even Sodom and Egypt will give God the glory!

– Don Fortner

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