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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Condemned or Forgiven?

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

Will you do me a little favor? Will you take a little time alone, perhaps this evening – Get a paper and pencil, and after you have honestly and fairly thought on your own spiritual state, and weighed your own condition before the Lord, will you write down one of these two words.

If you feel that you are not a believer write down this word “Condemned.” And if you are a believer in Jesus, and put your trust in him alone, write down the word “Forgiven.” Do it, even though you have to write down the word condemned.

We lately received into Church-fellowship a young man, who said —

“Sir, I wrote down the word condemned, and I looked at it; there it was; I had written it myself — ‘Condemned.’” As he looked the tears began to flow, and his heart began to break; and before long he fled to Christ, put that paper in the fire, and wrote down on another paper, “Forgiven.”

Remember you are either one or the other; you are either condemned or forgiven. Do not stand between the two. Let it be decided, and remember if you are condemned today, yet you are not in hell. There is hope yet. Blessed be God, still is Christ lifted up, and whoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. The gate of glory is not closed; the proclamation of mercy is not hushed; the Spirit of God still goes forth to open blind eyes and to unstop deaf ears, and still is it preached to you, to every creature under heaven — Whoever believes on the Son of God has everlasting life; he that believes and is baptized shall be saved; he that believes not shall be damned. Believe! God help you to believe. Trust Jesus; trust him now; and may the Lord grant that your name may be written among the some that believe, and not among the some that believe not. (“The Minister’s Stock-taking”)

Renewing Our Spiritual Strength

Quoting Ronald Reagan:

“This is the real task before us: to reassert our commitment as a nation to a law higher than our own, to renew our spiritual strength. Only by building a wall of such spiritual resolve can we, as a free people, hope to protect our own heritage and make it someday the birthright of all men.”

Knowing Truth

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one. He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites. (1 Kings 12:25-31 ESV)

I believe God put stories in the Bible for a purpose. One interesting story is about how Jeroboam sinned by changing how God was to be worshiped. Jeroboam changed the place of worship, the qualifications for priests, the date of the feast, and so forth. He was guided by his heart in these decisions.

Eventually, Jeroboam believed he should be a priest and planned to offer incense on his new altar at Bethel. Through this bit of Bible history, we learn about the destructive nature of a lie.

Too many people today need to understand that believing a thing to be true, does not make it true. If you were told that one church is just as good as another and you believed it, does that make it true? A good church is one that obeys and teaches God’s Word. Our emotions and desires for various activities and programs should never outweigh the pure teaching of God’s Word and obedience to it.

A thing cannot be judged as absolutely true of God by the simple word of your fellow creature. Believing a lie has terrible consequences. We must learn that no matter how high an I.Q. we may boast of, we can still be deceived. We must always test what is said by God’s Word.

If you wish to be godly-wise, you must read and study the Bible for yourself. Never misuse or misapply the word. There are all kinds of lies being preached and followed today. If we do not develop a love for God’s truth, we will listen to the lies of mere men and forsake the God of the Scriptures. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6 ESV) Jesus is the “way” to the Kingdom of God. Jesus is also truth. What better source can you find than the Author of all truth? Jesus is life because His life purchased “rebirth” and access to “eternal life” for God’s elect. Let us pray and discipline ourselves to love God’s truth. It is the persevering and consistent Bible student who is equipped to discern the truth from a lie.

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