Our Idols

Have we not all in our various ways, set up some beloved idol—something which engaged our affections, something which occupied our thoughts, something to which we devoted all the energies of our minds, something for which we were willing to labor night and day? Be it money, be it power, be it esteem of men, be it respectability, be it worldly comfort, be it literary knowledge, there was a secret setting up of SELF in one or more of its various forms, and a bowing down to it as an idol.

The man of business makes money his god. The man of pleasure makes the lust of the flesh his god. The proud man makes his adored SELF his god. The Pharisee makes self-righteousness his god. The Arminian makes free-will his god. The Calvinist makes dry doctrine his god. All in one way or other, however they may differ in the object of their idolatrous worship, agree in this—that they give a preference in their esteem and affection to their peculiar idol, above the one true God. “And the idols He shall utterly abolish.” Isaiah 2:18

There is, then, a time to break down these idols which our fallen nature has set up. And have not we experienced some measure of this breaking down, both externally and internally? Have not our idols been in a measure smashed before our eyes, our prospects in life cut up and destroyed, our airy visions of earthly happiness and our romantic paradises dissolved into thin air, our creature-hopes dashed, our youthful affections blighted, and the objects from which we had fondly hoped to reap an enduring harvest of delight removed from our eyes?

And likewise, as to our religion—our good opinion of ourselves, our piety and holiness, our wisdom and our knowledge, our understanding and our abilities, our consistency and uprightness—have they not all been broken down, and made a heap of ruins before our eyes?

-J.C Philpot

Faith Reviving

From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hast Thou, O Father, put to grief
And will the righteous Judge of men
Which, Lord, was laid on Thee?
If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my place endured
The whole of wrath Divine;
Payment God cannot twice demand
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid,
What e’er Thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood?
Turn, then, my soul, unto thy rest,
The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty.
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.

-Augustus Toplady

My Grace Is Sufficient For Thee

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

1.  Oppressed with unbelief and sin,

Fightings without, and fears within;

While earth and hell, with force combined,

Assault and terrify my mind.

2.  What strength have I against such foes,

Such hosts and legions to oppose?

Alas! I tremble, faint, and fall,

LORD save me, or I give up all.

3.  Thus sorely pressed I sought the LORD,

To give me some sweet cheering word;

Again I sought, and yet again,

I waited long, but not in vain.

4.  O! ’twas a cheering word indeed!

Exactly suited to my need;

“Sufficient for thee is my grace,

Thy weakness my great pow’r displays.”

5.  Now despond and mourn no more,

I welcome all I feared before;

Though weak I’m strong, though troubled blest,

For CHRIST’S own pow’r shall on me rest.

6.  My grace would soon exhausted be,

But his is boundless as the sea;

Then let me boast with holy Paul,

That I am nothing, CHRIST is all.

-John Newton

Sovereign Protector

A sov’reign Protector I have,
unseen, yet forever at hand,
unchangeably faithful to save,
almighty to rule and command.

He smiles, and my comforts abound;
His grace as the dew shall descend;
and walls of salvation surround
the soul He delights to defend.

Inspirer and hearer of pray’r,
Thou Shepherd and Guardian of Thine,
my all to Thy covenant care
I sleeping and waking resign.

If Thou art my Shield and my Sun,
the night is no darkness to me;
and fast as my moments roll on,
they bring me but nearer to Thee.

Kind Author and Ground of my hope,
Thee, Thee, for my God I avow;
my glad Ebenezer set up,
and own Thou hast helped me till now.

I muse on the years that are past,
wherein my defense Thou hast proved;
nor wilt Thou relinquish at last
a sinner so signally loved!

-Augustus Toplady

The Will of God

“Having made known unto us the mystery of His will…” Ephesians 1:9a

The will of God in times past was hidden in many types and shadows, but now God has declared to us the “mystery of His will.” Let us see what Paul is speaking of by asking a few questions concerning the will of God:

1. What is the object of the will of God?

The will of God has one purpose, and that is for His own Glory.

The scripture says in Proverbs 16:4, “The LORD hath made all things for Himself . . .”. So we see that He has willed that all things for His own glory. All things in nature, providence, and grace are willed by God for His own glory. Even the evil works of men are ordained by God, but He is not chargeable of them. God allows or suffers men to do what they want to do by nature; which is to sin. Yet men are not as evil as they can be because of the restraining hand of God (Gen 50:20; Acts 4:27-28; Ps 76:10).

2.     What is the nature of the will of God?

a. God’s will is Eternal and Immutable. That is the will was from all eternity, and therefore it cannot be changed or thwarted (Psalms 115:3; Acts 15:18; Malachi 3:6).

b. God’s will is Powerful/Effectual. When we will something, we are bound by the limit of time and circumstance, but God’s will shall always come to pass because He has all power to accomplish it (1 Sa 14:24-27).

c. God’s will is Sovereign. The will of God was not conceived based on anyone, or any action of the creature, but by God’s own Sovereign Free Will (Eph 1:9; Dan 4:35).

3. What is the manifestation of God’s will?

The mysterious will of God that was hidden in types and shadows is now manifest in His Sovereign Election. God chose some of Adam’s fallen race to manifest His Sovereign Mercy to unworthy objects (Eph 1:4; Ex 33:18-19). His glory is manifest in the redemption of those elect by Jesus Christ (Eph 1:5-7). The glory of God’s will is manifest in the gathering of those elect by the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:10-12; Isa 43:6). Therefore if God has elected us, redeemed us, and called us to life and faith in Christ, is there anything that will separate us from His love? Praise God, nothing shall keep us from Him (Romans 8:33-39; Isa 14:27).

-Fred Evans

The Doctrines of Grace

We believe that all men since the fall of Adam are both guilty and helpless as sinners. All men are born with a sinful nature. All men are guilty of sin. All men are spiritually dead in sin. All men are helplessly lost by nature (Romans 3:9-19; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3).

God sovereignly chose the people whom He would save before the world began, not because of anything good which He foresaw in them, but simply according to His own good pleasure (John 15:16; Romans 9:11-13; Ephesians 1:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9).

We believe, according to the Scriptures that the Lord Jesus Christ died for and redeemed only His own elect, those who are actually saved by His grace. He did not die in vain, for those who perish under the justice of God; but He actually accomplished the redemption of His people. The benefits of Christ’s atonement are limited to the elect of God, according to God’s own purpose. Christ died for a particular people and effectually satisfied the justice of God for those people, guaranteeing their eternal salvation (Isaiah 53:8; John 10:11; Hebrews 9:12).

God the Holy Spirit regenerates those sinners who were chosen by God and redeemed by Christ, and calls them to Christ, creating faith in their hearts by irresistible grace and power. All who are effectually called by the Holy Spirit, do come to Christ in faith (Psalm 65:4; 110:3; John 6:37-40; Romans 9:16).

All true believers shall continue in the faith, persevere in grace, and inherit eternal glory, being preserved by the power and grace of God in Christ. Not one chosen, redeemed, regenerate sinner shall perish. Grace cannot allow it! (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:29-39; Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:3-5).

These blessed truths of the Gospel we believe and preach to the glory of God and for the salvation of sinners through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Don Fortner

The Lord Will Provide

Though troubles assail, And dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail, And foes all unite;
Yet one thing secures us, Whatever betide,
The scripture assures us, The Lord will provide.

We may, like the ships, By tempest be tossed
On perilous deeps, But cannot be lost.
Though Satan enrages, The wind and the tide,
The promise engages, The Lord will provide.

His call we obey, Like Abram of old,
Not knowing our way, But faith makes us bold;
For though we are strangers, We have a good Guide,
And trust in all dangers, The Lord will provide.

When Satan appears, To stop up our path,
And fill us with fears, We triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us, Though oft he has tried,
This heart-cheering promise, The Lord will provide.

He tells us we’re weak, Our hope is in vain,
The good that we seek, We ne’er shall obtain,
But when such suggestions, Our spirits have plied,
This answers all questions, The Lord will provide.

No strength of our own, Or goodness we claim,
Yet since we have known, The Saviour’s great name;
In this our strong tower, For safety we hide,
The Lord is our power, The Lord will provide.

When life sinks apace, And death is in view,
This word of his grace, Shall comfort us through:
No fearing or doubting, With Christ on our side,
We hope to die shouting, The Lord will provide.

-John Newton

Trusting The Lord God

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, 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; 1Peter 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! 

-Pastor Fred Evans

The Free, Sovereign Grace of God!

“Those He predestined, He also called;
 and those He called, He also justified;
 and those He justified, He also glorified.”
    Romans 8:30

The justified sinner stands the closest to God,
of any created being in the universe. Nearer
to the throne of the Eternal, he cannot stand.

What marvelous love!

Who will dare assert that salvation is not,
from first to last of free, sovereign grace!

Let your eye pierce the veil which falls between
earth and heaven. Behold that shining, worshiping
being, standing so near to the throne of glory,
bathed in the overpowering effulgence of its rays!

Who is he?

He was once a sinner upon earth, the vilest
of his race, the dishonored of his generation,
forsaken by man and abhorred of God.

But Jesus met him, and divine love drew him, and
sovereign grace rescued, pardoned, and saved him!
And now washed from all his guilt by the blood,
freed from all condemnation by the righteousness
of Christ he stands before the throne “blameless,”
a “king and a priest unto God.” Such is the great
love of Jesus! And all this grace, and all this
glory, and all this bliss flows from the free,
sovereign grace of God!

-Octavius Winslow

The Basics of Baptism

  1. WHAT IS BAPTISM? It is an ordinance of God (one of only two, the Lord’s supper being the other) given for a confession of faith and a symbol of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Mark 16:16; Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:3).
  2. WHO IS TO BE BAPTIZED? Not infants and not unbelievers. Believers only should be baptized; all those who believe with all their heart that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” should not be hindered (Acts 8:26-38).
  3. WHY SHOULD ALL BELIEVERS BE BAPTIZED? Primarily because Christ commands it! It is not optional but simply a matter of obedience to our Lord. Consequently, it is also encouraging to the new believer who is being baptized and edifying to the rest of the church (Matt. 7:21-23; Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10).
  4. WHEN SHOULD BELIEVERS BE BAPTIZED? A very singular answer here – immediately! Upon bowing in faith to the Lordship of Christ (Acts 2:38-41; Acts 9:18; Acts 16:31).
  5. HOW SHOULD BELIEVERS BE BAPTIZED? The word “baptize” is not a complicated word; it means “to dip or plunge into”, thus, immersion is the ONLY mode of baptism. Also, this was the method used by our Lord Himself and the Apostles.

-Bruce Crabtree, Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church, New Castle, Indiana, USA