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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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THE MERCY OF GOD

And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34 ESV)

Samuel A CainWhat may we learn from this event? It is obvious that the two men were serious about their present condition and their request. They readily acknowledged the authority and power of Jesus when they called Him “Lord” and recognized Him as the Messiah when they said He was the “Son of David”. The two men begged for mercy knowing they were owed none. When Jesus asked them what they wanted, they specifically asked Him to open their eyes so they could see. Jesus had pity on them, touched their eyes, and they were immediately healed. Having received such a great gift, the formerly blind beggars followed Him.

We all are blind beggars before God. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV) God has to open our eyes to our true nature. We are spiritually blind sinners, and the only way we can come to Him is by His mercy.

Faith in Jesus Christ may be described as the certain confidence that He is able and willing to help when our circumstances seem to deny all possibility of relief. We are unclean, dead in sins, in bondage to Satan, and blind to the truth of God. In spite of this – Christ makes us clean, forgives our sins, releases us from the bonds of the evil one, heals our blindness and opens our eyes to the way of salvation.

END OF THE GOSPEL

Thomas Boston:

Thomas BostonThe doctrines of the gospel believed with the heart, teach us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world. As Christ is the end of the law, so I may say, the law is the end of the gospel; for it is the great design of the gospel revelation, to bring back sinners to that righteousness and holiness which the law requires. The gospel never gains its end among a people, till a strain of piety and holiness run through their whole lives. (Works, 3:377)

PREACH CHRIST TO SINNERS

Charles H. Spurgeon:

Charles H. Spurgeon“My message to every man or woman who desires salvation, ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.’ Do not begin by hoping in mercy and redemption, for these are not to be found apart from the Lord—but go at once to that Divine Person with whom there is mercy and plenteous redemption—then both of those will be granted to you. I wish I knew how to put this so plainly that every bewildered and cast-down spirit would catch my meaning and accept its counsel. I would also have preachers learn a lesson from the point I have been driving at. Let them not so much preach sinners to Christ as preach Christ to sinners. I am persuaded that a full and clear declaration of what Jesus is, as to His Person, offices, Character, work and authority would do more to produce faith than all our exhortations. ‘Whoever believes in Him has everlasting life’—but how shall they believe unless they hear of Him?” (1891, Sermon #2199)

Behind the Curtains: Salvation!

7-deadly-sinsAll human beings are born sinners and enemies of God. (Psalms 51:5, Ephesians 2:3) We merit nothing but God’s wrath. Sin is always at work in us bearing fruit for death. (Romans 7:5) Even if we deny our sinfulness, we simply deceive ourselves. (1 John 1:8) We must change in order to be reconciled to God, but it is not in our power to change.

Praise God! – He has chosen to have mercy on many sinners. He has promised to give us a new heart and spirit. (Ezekiel 36:26-27) Even though we were dead in our sins, God chose to love us. (Ephesians 2:4-5) From eternity, God has chosen for Himself a people; (Romans 8:30) a people born by the Will of God – not man. (John 1:13) Continue reading

The Unconverted Church Member

“The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one. . . . (Matthew 13:36-43 ESV)

Church AttendersThere are many unconverted members who attend our churches each Sunday. They attend week after week and year after year; never hearing anything offensive to their unregenerated lifestyles. However, the truth of the Bible is distasteful to the sinner. The cross of Christ is impertinent to the proud. If you have listened faithfully to your pastor’s sermons each Sunday and have never felt a sting of rebuke for some sin brought to light, then you have a heart of stone or need to find a new pastor.

Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers. . . . (Matthew 13:37-43 ESV)

Of course, the unconverted do not see themselves as sinners or law-breakers. In the darkness of their minds they see themselves as worthy children of an adoring God. They believe that God loves them because they are not as “bad” as their neighbors. Yet, their lives do not reflect biblical truth. This is because it is impossible for their lives to reproduce a righteousness they do not know or understand. They have set their own standards for what to call sin. Continue reading

Saints, Sinners, and Christians

saint_sin_AA friend of mine recently pointed out that we should be careful using the word “Saint” when speaking of a Christian. I think he is right. The world has adopted a carelessly generalized Catholic definition of Saints and expects that if someone is called a “Saint”, the person must be perfect and sinless. Have you ever met a perfectly sinless Christian? The Bible teaches us that saints are simply believers in Christ.

Who is a Christian? Are there differences between Saints and Christians? No – not according to the Bible. (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:1) The problem emerges when we talk about Saints and Sinners. We know that Sinners reject the God of the Bible and that Sinners sin. Saints (Christians), however, may believe in the God of the Bible, acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, and still sin in thought or deed sometimes. This is probably very perplexing to the Sinner who witnesses the Saint sinning. “What is the difference between us?” he may ask. “What is a Christian (Saint) supposed to be?” Continue reading

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