“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:29-31)
If we were blind, and reduced to desire a person to lead us, and should yet pretend to dispute with him, and direct him at every step, we should probably soon weary him, and provoke him to leave us to find the way by ourselves if we could. But our gracious Lord is long-suffering and full of compassion: he bears with our forwardness, yet he will take methods both to shame and to humble us, and bring us to a confession that he is wiser than we. The great and unexpected benefit he intends for us, by all the discipline we meet with, is to tread down our wills, and bring them into subjection to his. So far as we attain to this, we are out of the reach of disappointment: for when the will of God can please us, we shall be pleased every day, and from morning to night; I mean, with respect to his dispensations.
O the happiness of such a life! I have an idea of it: I hope I am aiming at it; but surely I have not attained it. Self is active in my heart, if it does not absolutely reign there, I profess to believe that one thing is needful and sufficient, and yet my thoughts are prone to wander after a hundred more. If it be true, that the light of his countenance is better than life, why am I so solicitous about anything else? If he be all-sufficient, and gives me liberty to call him mine, why go I a begging to creatures for help? If he be about my path and bed; if the smallest as well as the greatest, events in which I am concerned are under his immediate direction; if the very hairs of my head are numbered; then my care (any further than a care to walk in the paths of his precepts, and to follow the openings of his providence) must be useless and needless, yea sinful and heathenish, burdensome to myself and dishonorable to my profession.
– John Newton
If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth. (Jeremiah 15:19b)
If God’s preachers are called by Christ to preach the gospel then we must be faithful to our work. We must be vigilant and bold witnesses of God no matter the generation in which we live. Paul charged Timothy as well as everyone that God calls to this vocation: Preach the Word! Be instant in season and out of season; reprove rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering (2 Timothy 4:2). This matter of preaching the word of God is no light thing, for all who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ are as the mouth of God to all that hear us. And as such our gospel is always successful, because it always accomplishes the purpose of God, either to save sinners or to further harden the wicked hearts of men (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Isaiah 55:11; Romans 9:17).
Therefore, we who are called to preach, being the mouth of God to this generation, must execute our work correctly and follow God’s ordained method: Preach the Word! Not debate it, not suggest the word but to simply declare it! When God spoke to Jeremiah in that pit of despair He said “If thou separate the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth.” This is what it is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is to separate the precious from the vile. Those things that are precious are rare and valuable. While those things vile are common and filthy. So then, we must in our preaching separate the precious gospel from the vile gospel. We must proclaim that precious gospel of God’s Sovereign election (Ephesians 1:3-5). We must preach the total depravity of man. That no man can by work or will every merit God’s salvation (Romans 3:10-20; Galatians 2:16; John 6:44). We must declare that the precious blood of Christ has obtained eternal redemption for all those the Father had given to Him (John 6:37-40; Hebrews 9:12; 10:14). We must preach that precious gospel of
regeneration by which the Holy Spirit quickens the dead sinner to life. We must separate that precious doctrine of the Holy Spirit that keeps us in the faith until the end (John 3:7-8; John 17:2; Galatians 4:6; 1 Peter 1:5).
So then, when we declare the precious gospel of God, we are then calling all other gospels that oppose it to be vile and worthless to the souls of men. Paul says that there is one gospel and all others are accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
Therefore, we oppose that vile doctrine of conditional election, in which the false god of this generation chooses men based on what he saw that they would do (Ezekiel 36:22-23; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Romans 9:11-16; 11; 5-6). We condemn any doctrine that says man is capable by his free will to choose or reject the Salvation of God (John 6:44; Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 2:13). We cast off that vile doctrine of universal atonement because his blood actually redeemed no one except men allow it (Matthew 1:21; Daniel 9:24). We must oppose that vile doctrine of the resistible call of the Holy Spirit. That vile message that says the Holy Spirit is trying to save men but must submit to their will (John 1:12-13; Romans 9:18-21).
So then all who preach the Total Depravity of man, The Sovereign Free Grace of God in Election, The successful Redemption of Jesus Christ to Save His people from their Sins; the irresistible Calling of the Holy Spirit in quickening dead sinners to life, then we are separating the precious from the vile. And all who oppose us and our message oppose the Mouth of God! This precious gospel is what sinners greatly need and will freely believe.
– Fred Evans