Thursday, January 30, 2014

From James Smith:

The entire mass of human nature became depraved, polluted, rotten to the heart's core; so depraved, so polluted, so rotten, that nothing could effect a change but the omnipotent energy of the omnipotent God. There is that in depravity in every form, that defies the touch of any one but the Infinite; that refuses to succumb to anything but to Omnipotence itself. 

The heart of man is foul as the heart of Satan; the nature of man is foul as the nature of Satan; and the sin of man is worse than the sin of Satan. Satan, the great archangel, that fell from heaven, did a tremendous deed when he set mind in opposition to Deity; but man set not merely mind, but matter with mind, in opposition to the eternal God. God could once look upon the world and say, "Though mind is in rebellion, matter is not in opposition;" but after the fall of man, mind and matter alike were corrupt, were depraved, were in opposition to the Eternal. 

Every man's heart steams with enmity against God; every man's spirit rises in rebellion against God; and, as you have heard tonight, the verdict of every man's conscience in its fallen state is, "No God, no God;" and if the Eternal could be voted out of existence by the suffrages of his fallen creatures, every hand would be up, every heart would give its verdict, and every voice would vote for the annihilation of the Most High. 

The will of man strong, the will of man stern, the will of man determined, and opposed to the will of God, will yield to nothing but that which is superior to itself; it laughs at authority, it turns with disgust from holiness, it refuses to listen to invitation, and, in this state, man—universal man, is found.

[BUT] Christ came into our world. He came and, as ye have heard, assumed humanity, and united it with Deity. The two natures constituted the one person of the glorious Mediator; that glorious Mediator stood the representative of his people; that Mediator stood the Surety of his family; that Mediator stood the Substitute of the multitude of his fallen ones. That Mediator came to be the sacrifice to which sin was to be transferred, by which sin was to expiated and removed out of the way, that God's mercy might freely flow, and from the sinner's conscience, that he might have peace and joy.

Read the rest here.
From R.C. Sproul:

In the administration of redemption, though all three persons of the Godhead are co-equal in being, glory, and eternality, there is nevertheless an economic subordination that takes place. The Son comes to do the will of the Father. His task is to satisfy the demands of God’s justice and righteousness. His meat and His drink is to do the will of the Father. He speaks with authority, but it is an authority not His own. Rather, it is an authority delegated to Him by the Father.

His perfect obedience is both active and passive. Actively, He kept every jot and tittle of the Law. In that endeavor, He was perfectly successful. He is more than sinless. To be sinless is to be free from all fault, taint, or blemish. It is to be innocent of guilt. But the Son is more than innocent. He is righteous. He achieves perfect merit. He fulfills the details of the covenant by which God promised the reward of blessing to those who achieved obedience. It is the fruit of Christ’s active obedience that is the ground of our justification and the righteousness that is imputed to us by faith.

In His passive obedience, like the silent lamb at the slaughter, the Son acquiesces to the dreadful punishment of the curse of God. He drinks the cup of the bitterness of God’s wrath to its dregs.
In His active and passive obedience, the Son accomplishes our redemption objectively. Yet, for that redemption to avail for us, it must be appropriated subjectively. Faith is required as the necessary instrument for us to receive the benefits of Christ’s accomplished work of redemption.

The subjective appropriation of the work of the Son is accomplished by the application of that redemption by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who regenerates us. In that regeneration, He generates the faith in us that is necessary for our appropriation of the work of Christ.

That application via regeneration and faith is not a joint venture between the sinner and the Spirit. The Spirit does not regenerate those who believe. No, He regenerates the unbelieving sinner unto faith. He quickens to spiritual life those who are dead in sin. He changes the recalcitrant heart of the sinner, making the unwilling willing to come to Christ. He makes the indisposed disposed to Him, the disinclined fully inclined. Our salvation is entirely of God — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Soli Deo Gloria.

(From: RC Sproul, "Can These Bones Live? The Effective Calling of the Holy Spirit," Tabletalk, 28, no. 7 [July 2004]).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

“Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach CHRIST, always and evermore. He is the whole gospel. His person, offices, and work must be our one great, all-comprehending theme. The world needs still to be told of its Saviour, and of the way to reach him . . . If with the zeal of the Methodists we can preach the doctrine of the Puritans a great future is before us . . . the fuel of Whitefield will cause a burning which shall set the forests of error on fire, and warm the very soul of this cold earth. We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel.

Man’s fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons of war. We have enough to do to learn and teach these great truths, and accursed be that learning which shall divert us from our mission . . . More and more am I jealous lest any views upon prophecy, church government, politics, or even systematic theology, should withdraw one of us from glorifying in the cross of Christ. Salvation is a theme for which I would fain enlist every holy tongue . . . O that Christ crucified were the universal burden of men of God.”

—C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures To My Students, p 79.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A.W. Pink:

"The nature of Christ's salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Prayer is the life of the Christian. A Christian must pray just as a human being breathes. Just as a body needs oxygen, so the body of Christ must constantly pray. An accurate indicator of the health of a local church is to examine the church’s corporate prayer meeting. Who gathers? Who prays? How do they pray? What do they pray for? If prayer is, in fact, one of the greatest duties in every Christian’s life individually and in the body of Christ corporately, then the prayer meeting should have a high priority in the life and culture of a local church. To meet and pray is to take hold of God corporately, to ask God to move mightily, to rend the heavens and come down sovereignly, so that He may receive glory preeminently!

This article will examine prayer in the local church from a number of various perspectives.

1. The importance of prayer
Prayer is what breathing is to human life. Without breathing there is no life. Without a heartbeat, there is no life. Prayer sustains, prayer energizes, and prayer strengthens Christians. To pray is to fellowship with God. To pray is to meet with God. To pray is to take hold of God. To pray is to wrestle with God and to beg God to act, to move, to revive, to restore, to forgive, and to sanctify. If one gives up communicating with his spouse, the marriage will suffer quickly; and so it is in the believer’s relation to Christ. When communication lacks, the relationship suffers quickly. As a newborn knows but one thing to do when he is born, and that is to cry for his mother’s attention, so a newborn babe in Christ knows but one thing to do, and that is to cry out for his Father’s willing ear. Prayer is the life of the soul. Prayer is the highway to heaven. Prayer gives fervency to Christianity. It gives power to Christian piety. Prayer is the pulse of one’s spiritual state. To lack prayer is to lack life. To neglect prayer is to attempt to find life elsewhere. To give God the scraps in prayer is to attempt to live on a few abnormal, scattered, and weak heartbeats. Only a matter of time before that person will die. Let the importance of prayer drive every believer to fervent prayer, to regular prayer, to constant prayer, to daily prayer, to believing prayer, and to Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered praying! Nothing in all the world is so important than for the child of God to pray to the Father, through Christ, by the Spirit incessantly.

2. The power of prayer
Jesus said that true faith and powerful prayer can move mountains (Matt 21:21). Elijah prayed that it would rain for three years and six months (James 5:17) and God heard him. Moses prayed and the fire of judgment died out (Num 11:2). Elisha prayed that God would strike the Syrians with blindness and God answered (2 Kings 6:18). Peter prayed and raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:40). The Apostle Paul prayed and healed Publius’ father on the island of Malta (Acts 28:8). Prayer works. God hears prayer. The Bible says that God was moved by prayers for the land (2 Sam 21:14). Even the heinously wicked, idolatrous, murderous, and blasphemous Manasseh, when he humbled himself before the Lord and came to God in prayer, God was moved by his entreaty (2 Chron 33:13). Prayer is spiritual power. Prayer is like spiritual electricity that gives light, brightness, force and energy to one’s life. The weakest saint on his knees is mightier than ten thousand of the world’s leading armies combined.

3. The providence of prayer
God has declared the end from the beginning. Every moment of time, every second of world history, every event that has occurred, and every molecule that runs its course all obeys the sovereign directive of God Almighty. God rules preeminently. God reigns providentially. God actively works out His plan in and through all things. God works all things according to the plan of His will. God has decreed what shall happen, when it shall happen, for whom it shall happen, and by what means it shall happen. Prayer is the means of God working out His sovereign will. God gloriously, wonderfully, and sovereignly works through prayer. Prayer moves God and prayer prompts God to act (2 Sam 24:25; 2 Chron 33:13). One cannot forget that God uses prayer providentially to bring about His purposes. When believers gather to beg God to act in a certain way, God receives glory in responding to that prayer, answering that prayer, and manifesting His power so that all the saints who prayed rejoice and thank Him (cf. Acts 12:12-17). God uses prayer as a means of the outworking of His sovereign will. When people pray, God forgives (2 Chron 7:14). Even a whole nation repented and prayed and God heard, relented and forgave them (Jonah 3:3-10). Prayer works because God uses every prayer as a way of working out (providentially) His glorious plan in and through His people for His own glory.

4. The effectiveness of prayer
Prayer is power. Prayer works. Nothing so captivates the heart of a loving Father than His children crawling into His lap and whispering into His ear. He hears and He answers. He hears and He responds. Abraham prayed to God that He might heal Abimilech and God heard and answered (Gen 20:17). Moses interceded and prayed that God might not destroy His grumbling and complaining people (Deut 9:26). Hannah, a barren woman, prayed for a boy and the Lord heard her prayer and answered her entreaty (1 Sam 1:27). Elisha prayed to the Lord and raised a dead boy back to life (2 Kings 4:33). Hezekiah prayed and asked God to remember His covenant so that Sennacherib and the Assyrians might not destroy Judah and God heard and answered (2 Kings 19:20-32). When the early church prayed together in times of severe opposition, the place where they gathered was shaken and they all had great boldness (Acts 4:31). Elisha prayed that it might not rain and God withheld rain for three and a half years (James 5:17). Then after praying again that it might rain, God heard Elijah’s request and granted rain (James 5:18). Prayer is effective. The people of God who take hold of God and wrestle with God in prayer see God act mightily for His Name’s sake. Indeed, the prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness (James 5:16).

5. The Trinity in prayer
Jesus alone is the way to God the Father. There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Believers pray to God in the Name of Jesus Christ and by the power of God the Spirit. Thus, believers pray to God through Christ and by the Spirit. The Trinity is always actively involved in the believer’s prayer. Jesus Christ, by means of His propitiatory sacrifice and atoning offering to God, has provided access into the Holy of Holies for all those who are clothed in His righteousness by faith alone. The Scriptures say that a believer does not even know what to pray for at times. During these moments, the Spirit of God intercedes with silent goanings, that is, inter-Trinitarian communication and prays on behalf of the believer to the Father and He always receives an affirmative answer. Thus, in all the prayers of God’s people, there are four parts involved in this concert of prayer: the Father who hears all prayer, the Son who gives the access to pray, the Spirit who prays for and on behalf of the believer to God, and the believer who presents his requests to God. The blessed Trinity receives praise, honor, glory and adoration when His elect come into the throneroom of grace to pray, adore, worship, thank and present petitions.

6. The revival from prayer
Rend the heavens and come down! So prayed the prophet Isaiah exclaimed (Isa 64:1). He called upon God to descend with power so that even the mountains might quake at God’s almighty presence. The psalmist prayed that God would revive “us” (His people) so that God’s chosen ones may rejoice in Him (Ps 85:6). God receives glory in reviving His people for the tasks, the callings, and the duties that He has given (Hos 6:2). Habakkuk prayed for God to “revive Your work” (Hab 3:2). Revival begins with God’s people in the inner recesses of the heart. Then, through God’s people, revival spreads like wildfire to those in surrounding areas and to the lost as they observe the people of God aflame with Christlike zeal and passion. Fervent praying for revival should come frequently from the mouths of God’s people. Prayer takes hold of God. Prayer moves God. When the church returns to corporate prayer and expository preaching, God works mightily, powerfully, gloriously and unmistakably. Pray for revival!

7. The influence of prayer
The prayer meeting is like a wildfire. When one piece of wood is on fire, it may quickly die out. When more wood is added to the fire, it continues on longer and hotter. When one adds much wood to a fire, the fire grows bigger, it grows more visible, it becomes much hotter, and it endures much longer. The more people that gather to pray, the more influence there is on each other to remain steadfast, resolute and fervent in pouring out the heart to God. One person who ‘prays in his praying’ impacts another who will desire to say like the disciples did: “teach us to pray.” O that the men of Christ’s church would pray more! O that the shepherds would pray more! O that God’s people might influence others who struggle with prayer and those who treat prayer lightly to wrestle with God in prayer, to see the power of prayer, and to see the unspeakable delight that comes in crawling into the Father’s lap and praying into His open ear.

Part 2 will follow next week.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

This upcoming Sunday (Jan 5th, 2014), as I continue the verse by verse exposition through Romans 8 at Christ Fellowship Bible Church, I will begin a 5-part series working through the Golden Chain in Romans 8:29-30.

These verses (and the 5 terms) are foundational for a proper understanding of the supreme and sovereign working of God in man's redemption.

Robert Haldane commented on Rom 8:29-30...
In looking back on this passage, we should observe that, in all that is stated, man acts no part, but is passive, and all is done by God. He is elected and predestinated and called and justified and glorified by God. The apostle was here concluding all that he had said before in enumerating topics of consolation to believers, and is now going on to show that God is ‘for us’, or on the part of his people. Could anything, then, be more consolatory to those who love God, than to be in this manner assured that the great concern of their salvation is not left in their own keeping?

January 5th — Divine Foreknowledge: special compassion & intimate love
January 19th — Divine Predestination: supreme choosing & guaranteed plan
January 26th — Divine Calling: sovereign calling/effectual calling
February 2nd — Divine Justification: forensic declaration & double imputation
February 9th — Divine Glorification: sure confidence & steadfast clinging

Join us at Christ Fellowship Bible Church as we examine the greatness of God in the great salvation that He thought, wrought, sought & bought for His bride, the Church.

(For a recent article working through the 5 links in this 'Golden, Unbreakable Chain', click HERE.)

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