Wednesday, November 12, 2014

9 Motivations for You to Repent Now!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The Bible teaches that today is the day of salvation. Now is the acceptable time for sinners to repent. God always promises to forgive when sinners repent of sin but God never promises the sinner tomorrow so that he can repent of his sin then. So, this brief writeup lists nine compelling motivations for sinners to repent now. Come to Christ today! Turn from your sins now and live!

1. The shortness of time!
You must number yours days. Time on earth will not go on forever. People are not immortal. Humans are eternal beings but not immortal beings. You will live on forever. Your life, dear friends, is but a candle, for it’ll soon go out. Your life is but a shadow that quickly passes by. One’s existence is but a sunset that begins and after but a few passing moments it is gone. Your life is like steam on a hot cup as it goes up and then it’s gone forever. God lovingly beckons you to come now when he says: Today if you hear his voice: do not harden your hearts (Heb 3.7-8)!

2. The concern for your soul!
Thomas Watson helps us imagine this: O horrible day, when Jesus Christ clothed in his judge's robe shall say to the sinner, “Stand forth; answer to the indictment brought against you.” Have you forgotten that your soul will live on forevermore? You will everlastingly live in either eternal glory in heaven or eternal torments in hellfire. Do you live careless about your own soul? Do you apathetically live as to the future punishments that really, literally, and immediately await you at death? Death is sure. Your soul will live on. Hell is real. Out of care for your soul, repent today.

3. The evil of sin!
Sin is the ultimate treason against God. The vileness of sin manifests itself as it transgresses the Word of God, it incites the holy anger of God, and it fuels the fires of hell. Do you see your sin as treason against God? Do you view your sin — all of your sins and your sin nature — as rising up in protest against God’s sovereignty? Until your sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet to you(Thomas Watson).

4. The awfulness of hell!
The rich man died and immediately entered hellfire. He lifted up his eyes while being in torment. He was in flames, in agony, and in eternal conscious punishment. He remembered his family, his brothers, the opportunities he had to repent, and he felt the flames of fire that engulfed him then and would be his pillows forevermore. All who die impenitent (=without repenting) will enter hell. All who hope to repent and die in that state will enter hellfire. All who plan to repent but never genuinely repent will die and perish forevermore. Hell is real and it is awful. It is dreadful and it is punishment from the Almighty hand of God upon every individual sinner without rest, without relenting, without ceasing, without mercy forevermore. O repent now!

5. The mercy of God!
God tenderly says that now is the acceptable time and today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6.2). God’s mercy awaits penitents to come before Him with broken and contrite hearts. And God’s mercy engulfs the sinner and casts all his iniquities into the depths of the sea since He punished the sin upon Christ, the Lamb of God who offered an eternal redemption. You should repent today because God’s mercy is available! God graciously, tenderly, patiently commands you to repent! God’s mercy will not remain forever. The door will shut one day. The opportunity to reconcile with God will end one day. The gate will be closed and locked and will shut out forever all the impenitent. Do not refuse to repent! God’s mercy is available! Turn to Him now.

6. The love of Christ!
The heart of compassion that Jesus has ought to motivate you to repent today. Jesus told the paralytic: “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Matt 9.2). Jesus said to Simon regarding a great sinner in the city: “her sins, which are many have been forgiven” (Luke 7.47). The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins (Matt 9.6). Christ calls on men and women to come to Him! All who are weary and heavy laden, He beckons to come! All who thirst can drink bountifully in Him! The love of Christ which is sweeter than the most pleasant delight on earth should compel a sinner to come to Christ now. The love of Christ now calls you to come. The same Christ will one day bring a sword to slay all His enemies with unrelenting fury and justice and sentence them to eternal hellfire under His wrath. Now, the love of Christ calls you! Come to Him at once!

7. The joy in life!
An infinite bounty of perfect delights reside in God Himself. All joy is directly related to God and His glorious perfections! One cannot ever be happy till He finds happiness in Christ! One will never set his heart upon true joy until he leaves sin, forsakes it at once, hates it and all of its manifestations, and clings to Christ Jesus in true faith. J.C. Ryle stated that you’ll never be happy till “God is upon the throne, and sin cast down and put out of doors.” Do not linger in your unrepentant sin. Do not dally in your course of hidden sin. Do not suppress the cherished sins you refuse to mortify. Slay them for the greater joy of knowing Christ! Come to the Risen and Living and wondrous Savior immediately.

8. The hope of heaven!
The Word of God informs that there joy in heaven over a sinner to repents. As praise is the music of heaven, so repentance is the joy of heaven (Thomas Watson). May the joy of heaven abound as sinners come to the Savior today. This joy of heaven will eternally be enjoyed by every blood-washed sinner. This permits him to live with an enduring, steadfast, confident hope of heaven. All who repent from sin and trust in Christ have the sure destiny of heaven. You can live with expectancy. You can live with God-centered perspective and heavenly-minded ambitions. Repent now and have the hope of heaven! Repent today and have an unshakeable hope.

9. The stupidity of procrastination!
Many now reside in the flames of hell who once had hoped to repent and come to God. Lots of moral churchgoers have experienced the righteous justice of God because they procrastinated and thought they could repent and turn to Christ later in life. But that ‘later day’ never came. Indeed, a hard heart is the worst heart (Thomas Watson). Procrastinating is the vice that sends many ethical citizens and moral teenagers to hell. Many are now in hell—who purposed and intended to repent! (Watson). God tells sinners not to harden their hearts and not to refuse God who speaks to them. God spoke to the people in the wilderness but they refused to repent. They were stubborn and stiff-necked. They were obstinate people who died in the wilderness and perished forevermore. Christ came down from heaven so that men would look upon Him as the Bread of Life and feed upon Him now! God never promises tomorrow. He graciously grants you this moment! Look to your sinful condition and see your helplessness and hopelessness! Look to Jesus Christ and see His righteousness and His satisfactory atonement. Turn from your sins and live! Refuse to plan for this at a later time. Be diligent to come to God today! Leave everything and come now!

Download the pdf article here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What To Repent Of?
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

1. Repent of your public, known sins.
Make it your ambition to come before the Lord and ask for His mercy for your public and known sins. That is, make known the sins that you’ve committed in public, that you know about, that others know about.

2. Repent of your hidden, private sins.
Uncover the hidden, deep, dark recesses of your private sins to the Lord. He sees it all and knows them all anyway. Uncover the deep blackness in the well of your heart. Bring it to light. Let the blackness of sin be cleansed by the crimson blood of Christ. Uncover and repent of these.

3. Repent of that ‘pet/darling/favorite’ sin that you won’t let go of.
Come to the Lord and earnestly beseech God’s mercy for that one sin that you repent of often. That ‘darling’ (pet, cherished) sin that you have, that you fight against, that you repent of often, and that you are most afraid of — or unwilling — to give up. Repent and surrender that to Christ.

4. Repent of your lack of serving family members at home.
True religion is lived at home. What you really are is evidenced by the pattern of conduct that you have with the family. Repent of the friction, the impatience, the lack of serving others, the selfishness, and the lack of compassion that you have demonstrated toward others.

5. Repent of your coldness of love toward the Father, Son & the Spirit.
God yearns that His elect Bride would passionately love Him with a blazing hot zeal. Sadly, many things distract us and cool our passion for God. Confess and turn from the coldness of your love to each of the members of the Trinity — the Father for His sovereign love, the Son for His glorious redemption and sufficient righteousness, and the Spirit for His regenerative power and His transforming work.

6. Repent of the littleness of your faith in fervent, ongoing, daily prayer.
Pray and repent of the littleness of your prayer. O that God’s people would increase in fervent prayer. Repent of the infrequency of your outbursts of prayer. Confess the redundancy and tendency of your prayers to become rote and heartless. Repent of this and seek to bring about change.

7. Repent of your laziness in bible-reading, bible-memorization, and bible-meditation each day.
To feast upon the Word of God is the greatest duty in which a Christian can engage. Repent of and expose to the Lord the laziness in Bible reading. Confess that there have been other entertainments, other distractions, and other circumstances that have crowded out and taken priority over your time communing with God in His precious Book. 

8. Repent of failing to redeem the time because the days of evil.
Come to the Lord on your knees and beg for His grace and mercy because of the frequent ways in which time is wasted each day. Repent and ask for God’s help to manage your time better, to be more evangelistic at heart, to be more eternal in focus, and to live more Christocentrically in life.

9. Repent of your missed opportunities to call sinners to repent & escape hellfire.
Come to the Lord and loathe the many missed opportunities that God has granted you to proclaim Christ and His saving gospel to the lost. Whether it be at a park, with a neighbor, to a complete stranger, to a homeless man on a corner, or to a coworker in the next cubicle, repent to the Lord and seek for his grace to forgive and for His power to equip you to make changes.

10. Repent of your complaining, mumbling & grumbling.
Christians battle the ongoing desire in our hearts to rule sovereignly. And when we do not get what we want, what we think we deserve, or how things suit our preferences, we tend to complain, mumble and grumble — verbally or silently. It may be a loud bewailing to others or a silent mumbling in the innermost sector of your heart. Repent of this sin and turn from it.

11. Repent of your frustrations, selfishness and lofty thoughts of self.
The sinful heart is an idol factory. Repeatedly, the Lord commands His people to humble themselves and to abstain from all pride. Come before the Lord with humility and carefully and specifically expose the selfishness, pride, and exalted thoughts of self. Seek God’s grace and forgiveness.

12. Repent of your refusal to stand up for truth when others mock your Savior.
In the cultural context that now prevails, many blaspheme God, take His name in vain, and speak ill of God’s Word and of God’s truth. Repent and bemoan the times that you stood silently and remained unwilling to boldly open your mouth to proclaim the truth of Christ and His gospel to the nonbelievers. Seek God’s grace and endeavor to turn from this sin from here on out.

13. Repent of your shallow repentance.
Come before the Lord and repent of your repentance. Repent of the shallowness of lip service. Repent of the mediocrity of heart-sorrow. Repent of the fear of consequences rather than a healthy fear of God. Repent of the littleness and infrequency of genuine, fervent, committed repentance. Seek God’s grace and His empowering to change.

14. Repent of the infrequent meditations on Christ, His beauty, His worth & His atonement on your behalf.
Come to God in shame at the infrequency of your meditations upon Christ. See the glory of Christ and the sufficiency of His death. Claim the righteousness of Christ and the propitiation that He won. Cling to the atonement of Christ and His spotless blood that was shed. Trust in the redemption that He accomplished and the eternal victory in His bodily resurrection. Repent that Christ has consumed so little of your thoughts, affections, delights, passions, and longings. Come to Him in repentance and plead for His mercy, grace, and help to change!

Concluding Note:
In coming to God through Christ by the enabling grace of the Spirit, when you repent you will find God as a loving Father passionately tender in His forgiveness, incessantly flowing in his compassions, and ever-embracing with his mercies. Repent of your sins and resolve to put them to death by trusting in Christ more, seeking His glory more, and feeling the all-surpassing worth and splendor of His person and cross-work. God lavishly forgives. He generously pardons. He tenderly embraces. He loves to drown penitent sinners in the ocean of His cleansing and in the fountain of His delights. Come to God in repentance and faith and turn from your sins resolvedly, decisively and diligently and look to Christ in faith to put sin to death, to gaze upon His warm delights and strive to be holy for His glory!

Download the pdf article here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Believe in the Absolute Sovereignty of God!
A Most Comforting Doctrine to the Christian
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The Lord has given a number of psalms that focus on the theme of the LORD’s Kingship. These “Kingship Psalms” consist of Psalms 93-100. The psalms highlight, repeat, and underscore various features of the Lord’s reign, His character, His deeds, and His praiseworthiness. 

This brief write-up will provide eleven adverbs describing how the LORD reigns.

1. Exclusively
The Lord alone reigns. He shares His throne with no one else. No enemy or foe or fate could ever share the throne with the LORD. He reigns exclusively over all things in all creation.

2. Absolutely
The Lord reigns absolutely. His kingship is absolute. He rules as king independently and depends upon no one or nothing else for existence. He reigns with all control and with no co-dependence upon another.

3. Exhaustively
The Lord reigns over everything — every single proton and every galaxy. Every leaf and every mountain range. Every molecule, atom and dust mote as well as every sun, planet and person rests under His control. He rules over it all.

4. Intimately
The Lord reigns intimately. Unlike the Ancient Near Eastern deities of old who were cold, lifeless and uninvolved gods, the LORD God of Israel rules intimately in and amongst His people. He is involved in everything that happens.

5. Globally
The Lord reigns over every plot of ground and over every unknown corner of the endless universe. The Lord reigns over the cosmos and over the creatures. He rules over everything in the heavens, on the earth & under the earth.

6. Perfectly
The Lord reigns with meticulous care and with impeccable perfection. He rules without blemish and without injustice. His Kingship is the perfect kingship and can never be improved since He Himself is infinitely perfect.

7. Victoriously
The Lord reigns victoriously. No enemy can defeat the God of Israel. No god, enemy, nation, king, or fate could ever rise up in triumph over the Lord. He rules with might and He always has the victory. He rules supremely!

8. Wisely
The Lord reigns with inscrutable wisdom. None can plummet the unfathomable wisdom of God and none could ever counsel the Lord. He reigns perfectly, actively, knowledgeably and always and ever demonstrating perfect wisdom.

9. Providentially
The Lord reigns and works all things together to accomplish His decreed purposes that can never be — and have never been — thwarted. He works His sovereignly decreed will by seeing that all things work together to that end.

10. Compassionately
The Lord reigns as a loving King. He rules with love, with care, with concern, and with abounding compassions for His own. He loves His own. He died for His own, and He protects them. His heart affectionately yearns for His own.

11. Eternally
The Lord reigns without beginning or end. The Lord never began to reign nor shall he ever cease reigning. He always and ever reigns as King. He sits upon His throne as the ever-ruling Monarch. He is the eternal Sovereign.

Download the pdf article here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Pastor’s Primary Responsibilities
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

In this brief essay, I will set before you three primary responsibilities of every pastor.

1. Intercede for God’s Flock
To neglect to pray is to neglect the power source in a pastor’s ministry. For a minister to engage in many duties in his church and yet omit the regular practice of prayer demonstrates that he has no understanding of nor does he have any conviction of the importance of the ministry, his helplessless in the ministry, his humility in the ministry and God’s sovereignty over his ministry. A pastor must pray. A shepherd must intercede for God’s flock. Every Christian is a sheep that belongs to God and God has stated that every sheep in the fold belongs to Him. And God has entrusted His own blood-bought sheep to the care of His undershepherds — pastors. To lead is to model. And there is no greater way that a pastor can model Christlikeness for his flock than to show them how to pray; that is, to model a life of prayer for them. It is insufficient for a pastor to say his ‘prayers’. The common statistic that the average pastor prays less than 10 minutes a day cannot describe a man who is radically in love with Christ, desperately in need of His power, and singularly awed by the gospel of sovereign grace. No one must coerce the pastor to pray. No one must check in to certify that the minister is on his knees. The godly minister has callouses on his knees that no one ever sees. He spends time with his God alone in the early morning when many people lay still on their beds. The minister has an overwhelming amount of items for which he can pray. He certainly longs to worship God in prayer: to adore Him, to bless Him, to ascribe glory and power to Him. The minister confesses his own sin to God. He repents of his sin to God. He begs for God to examine him and show him in the inner recesses of his heart and mind and motivations so that he will be spotless, blameless, and above reproach. The shepherd must pray for his flock by name. He must know them. He must bring them before the throne of God. Jesus prayed for His flock, so should every godly minister. The exemplary leader must take hold of God in prayer, giving him no rest, until God blesses the ministry, the preaching, the shepherding, the counseling, the discipling, the evangelizing, and the fellowship. Indeed, a teaching pastor must pray throughout the week and wrestle with God in prayer to come with power upon the preached Word. He must pray for the anointing of the Spirit. He must pray for the unction of the Spirit. He must seek the face of God throughout his days of studying, discipling, mentoring, resting. The godly pastor communes with God regularly. He prays urgently, passionately, warmly, daily, and believingly. Christ modeled a prayer life, so should pastors.

2. Feed God’s Flock
The Lord Jesus told Peter no less than three times to shepherd and tend His flock. A primary responsibility of a shepherd is to feed the sheep. If he has everything in the world and yet he fails to feed the sheep, eventually they will starve and die. The pastor is called to tend God’s flock. The sheep do not belong to the pastor; they’re God’s. And God demands that the man of God ‘preach the Word’ in season and out of season. Even when masses turn away to what their itching ears desire and turn aside from the truth, the man of God must be faithful to fulfill his calling and teach with all authority. To feed is to provide sustenance. A shepherd can feed the sheep poisonous food but the sheep will most certainly die. The shepherd can feed the flock food lacking nutrition and the sheep will be malnourished, unhealthy and they soon will become sick and eventually they will die. So it is with a pastor. A pastor is to teach and preach. He must feed God’s flock. He must feed them the Word of God, the full counsel of God, biblical theology, and the unashamed, unflinching, unrestrained truth of Scripture. He must preach the Bible. This is what expository preaching means. The man of God expounds the meaning of the Word of God so that the people of God understand what God says in God’s Word and how their lives must be affected because of it. The pastor must study to show himself approved so he feeds the flock of God with the food of God as it rightly comes out of the Word of God so they can live lives to the glory of God.

3. Tend God’s Flock
The man of God must care for souls. To pastor is to conduct soul-care. To care rightly for God’s people, one must tend the flock with regularity and with compassion. The pastor is just called to do that, pastor the flock. Shepherds live with the flock, they care for the flock, they nurture the flock, they love the flock, they live with the flock, they ward off predators who could harm the flock, they know the flock by name and see them frequently. The pastor should live similarly among God’s people. He should live and conduct himself among and with the flock. He must know the flock. He must enter their homes to visit the flock. He must avail himself to the flock for counseling, for wisdom, for prayer, and for guidance. To feed is essential, but it’s not enough. Shepherds can feed the sheep, but good shepherds care for, protect, instruct in the way they should go, warn in the way they must avoid, and see how they walk. Shepherds must attend to those who are bruised and wounded. They must give must attention to the cast-down and the broken-hearted. Pastors cannot conduct this kind of soul-care only by preaching on Sunday with the flock. He must know them throughout the week. He must open the Word with the people with regularity. He must enter their homes and counsel them in the Word and he must open up his own home so as to model hospitality, godly living in the home, and family worship. This cuts to the core of the contemporary celebrity, traveling preacher who more often than not is away from the home, away from his flock, unable to meet with his people and thus unable to personally point them to Christ. May God’s pastors shepherd the flock of God among them. May God’s ministers teach God’s people God’s Word publicly and from house to house. If a pastor neglects this ministry, then he no longer is qualified to be called a ‘pastor.’ He may be a teacher, and he may be an expositor, but if he is not with his people then he cannot honestly be called a pastor of souls. He is to model for the flock Christlikeness. He is to point them to incessant and specific lives of prayer and communion with God. He is to instruct them in family worship, in godly living in the home, in marital unity, in parental duties, in the mortification of sin, and in the zealous pursuit of holiness. He should strive to win souls through fervent evangelism and model for the flock a compassionate heart for the lost. May God equip such men to fulfill their duties as pastors so as to glorify God by caring for His flock and serving them with God’s strength.

Download the pdf essay here.
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