The Sweet and Bitter of True Religion

“And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.”  (Revelation 10:10)

True religion is not a burdensome, painful, melancholy, wearisome, and toilsome task or employment as many think. It has indeed its trials, temptations, afflictions, cutting griefs, and depressing sorrows; but it has its sweetness, its peace, its delights, and its enjoyments. And it is the sweetness that we feel, the enjoyment that we have, and the delighting ourselves in the things of God, which hold our head up and encourage us still to persevere and travel on through the wilderness.

It is not all bondage, nor distress of mind, nor sorrow of heart, nor perplexity of soul which the heirs of promise feel. There are sips and tastes, drops and crumbs, and momentary enjoyments, if not long nor lasting, yet sweet when they come, sweet while they last, and sweet in the recollection when they are gone. The Lord gives that which encourages, strengthens, comforts, and delights, and enables us to see that there is that beauty, blessedness, and glory in him which we have tasted, felt, and handled, and which we would not part with for a thousand worlds.

  • J.C Philpot

Whom We Have Believed

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  (2 Timothy 1:12)

All who are called of the Holy Spirit to life and faith in Christ have this testimony. We gladly suffer the afflictions of the gospel, for He has saved us and called us. We who have believed on Christ are not ashamed of this gospel we preach; the gospel of God’s Free Salvation in Christ and the gospel of God’s Sovereign election, the gospel of Jesus’s perfect successful redemption; the gospel of the irresistible calling of the Holy Spirit, who also keeps us in the faith to the end. We declare this gospel even though it is hated by the world and despised by this religious generation of work mongers. And even though the great whore of free-will works religion seems to over shadow us, we will not fear for God, who purposed our salvation has also purposed their destruction.

Therefore we are not ashamed. For we know whom we have believed. This religious generation is trusting in what they believe, as though truth is subject to man’s opinion, or based on the circumstances, and the whims of man’s thoughts or feelings. So then the gospel we believe is not what you know but Whom you know. We know whom we have believe. That is, we know Jesus Christ, even because the Spirit of God has revealed Him (John 15:26). We know that He is the Eternal Son of God made flesh (John 1:1-3). We know Him who alone has fulfilled all the law of God and obtained eternal righteousness for all of God’s elect (Hebrews 9:12). We know Him who died upon the cross as God made Him to be sin for us. We know Him who did no sin nor knew no sin even when our sins were imputed to Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). We know Him who rose from the dead and who is seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3;Romans 4:25). We know Him who alone was victorious over our sin, death and Satan (Hebrews 10:14; Romans 6:9; Revelation 20:1-3). And Jesus is now actively engaged in moving all things in time and providence to save His people through the means of preaching the gospel (Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:21).

And because He has called us to life and faith, we know that we are the sons of God; and if sons, then heirs of God and joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:16-17). And even though in this body we suffer all kinds of afflictions, griefs and sorrows, Christ is sovereign and rules all things for our good (Romans 8:28). Even though we still have this old fleshly nature and are prone to any sin, yet we know Jesus who loved us and gave himself for us and that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Romans 7:18:24-25; Hebrews 13:5).

Do you know whom you have believed or are you trusting in what you have believed? Forsake all your thoughts and works and look by faith to Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal.

– Fred Evans

Happiness is Subjection to the Will of God

“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

What is it to Preach the Gospel?

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

Trusting Christ At All Times

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.  (Psalms 62:8)

Believer when are you to trust the Lord? Are we to trust Him only when all is well and doubt Him when all is dark?  Are we to trust Him only when we understand what He is doing but when all is unclear are we to lean on our own wisdom or knowledge?  Are we to trust Christ only when our love is strong but when grace is low in exercise and our love is at its weakest are we to lean on the arm of flesh?

No! The believer in Christ is to trust Christ at ALL TIMES!  Trust the Lord in prosperity and poverty.  Trust the Lord with understanding and especially when our knowledge fails. Trust Christ when our faith is low and times are darkest.

So then, believer, how much are we to trust Him?

Is this trust in Christ at any time to be partial or cooperative?  Are you to trust Christ only when it aligns with your reason or wisdom?  Are you to trust Him so long as it is logical?

No! “Trust the Lord with ALL THINE HEART and Lean NOT unto your understanding!” (Proverbs 3:5). You do not need to understand but to trust Him completely for His Grace!  Our understanding is at best only through a glass darkly and our way is full of sin and misery.  Therefore when our faith is weak, our love is low, and the way is dark let us trust Christ who Loved us and gave Himself for us.

What is it to trust the Lord?  It is to “Acknowledge Him in all thy ways” (Proverbs 3:6).  Acknowledge God as He has revealed Himself in His word by faith.  In Faith Acknowledge the truth that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). Acknowledge His deity and Sovereignty (Isa. 46:9-10). Acknowledge His gospel of sovereign election by Grace and the perfect redemption of Jesus Christ by His blood (Rom.9:11-13; Heb. 10:14).  Acknowledge His Holy Spirit who has quickened us and keeps us trusting in Jesus Christ until He comes again and receives us unto Himself (John 3:8; 1 Peter 1:5).

When do you trust the Lord?  At all times!  How much are to trust Him?  With ALL THINE heart!  What is it to trust Him?  It is to believe on Jesus Christ alone as all our hope and salvation!

And this is always the result:  “. . . He Shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 5:6b).  All thy paths, all thy ways are in the hands of the Lord who chose you, redeemed you, called you and keeps you.  You can never go wrong trusting Christ too much or too often!

– F.E

Who Seeks after God?

O God, you are my God; early will I seek you– my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where there is no water; to see your power and your glory, so as I have seen you in the sanctuary. (Psalm 63:1, 2)

Do carnal, unregenerate men know anything of these holy longings and spiritual breathings after an invisible God, or after a manifestation of the blood and love of Christ? Depend upon this, that no unregenerated man ever longed truly and really for God. He might desire to have his sins pardoned, under the convictions and stingings of his natural conscience; he might even wish to go to heaven that he might escape hell; but he never desired God for what he is in himself. He is too pure and holy, too great and glorious a Being for a natural heart to love, or a carnal mind to desire. But every unregenerate sinner says unto God, “Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of your ways.” (Job 21:14.)

There must be a new nature raised up in the soul, a new heart and a new spirit, before God can be desired for his own sake. If there are in your soul breathings similar, if not so deep, you have so far marks and evidences that God is your God, though you may not be able, in the sweet approbation of faith, to say with unfaltering lips, “O God, you are my God!” I fully grant were you able to say this, it would put more life into your longing, more earnestness into your seeking, and more power into your wrestling; for it is this appropriating faith which holds the Lord so firmly in the arms of wrestling prayer. But though you cannot, from various internal hindrances, rise up into the sweet appropriation of faith, yet, as having these longings, seekings, and thirstings, you have so far an indubitable, because scriptural, evidence that God has not left you devoid of a work of grace upon your heart. I am very sure that if a man knows nothing of the power of God in his soul he can know nothing of true religion or vital godliness.

– J.C Philpot

The Believer’s Chastening

Believer in Christ, let us keep in mind that when we are chastened of the Lord, that it is not for the punishment of our sins.  The chastening hand of God is for our correction so that we should repent and forsake our sins (Jer.31:18-20).  The scourging of the Father is meant to loose our grip from the things of this world, and cause us to set our affection on Christ and those things that are above (Col.3:2).  Our chastisement is used of God to show us the vanity of our self-righteousness and the fleeting pleasures of this world.  The scriptures warn us that when we forget the God of our salvation that all our “pleasant plants and foreign seeds shall be a harvest of grief and sorrow.” (Isaiah 17:10-11)

Truly our sins, our flesh, and our attachments to this world are the cause of our Father’s chastening hand upon us.  This will certainly cause us much pain and tears.  But then let us look to Jesus Christ our Savior.   Let us by faith lay hold upon Him, for by His one offering He has obtained for us eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).  Our Lord Jesus was stricken smitten and afflicted of God for ALL our sins (Isa.53: 4-5;10-12).  He was “made sin for us that we should be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor.5:21).  Therefore, God being Just and Holy, and having punished our sins in Christ cannot and will not ever punish us for our sins.  As the old hymn writer once said:  “twice payment God cannot demand, once at my bleeding surety’s hand, and then again at mine” (Isa. 40:2).

Are you then chastened of God?  Weep for thy sin!  Lament for the coldness of thy heart and return unto the Lord (Hos.6:1).  Confess thy sin and He is faithful and just to forgive thy sin (1 John 1:9).  And here is the ground of thy plea:  Christ hath once died and purged our sins (Hebrews 1:3: 9:12).  Rejoice, believer!  Only the living soul can feel the chastening hand of the Father, and only the Sons of God flee by faith to Christ alone!

– Fred Evans

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

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

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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