The Heart and the Gospel

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) 9  “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

You do not need to look far in our modern Evangelical church environment to see multiple movements concerned with getting the message out concerning a personal relationship with Christ.  Much of this has sprung from the “Church Growth Movement, Church Health Movement, Emergent Movement, and the Seeker Sensitive Movement.”  What they all have in common is a desire to see individuals come to a saving knowledge of Christ.  What they also have a in common is a desire to maximize their conversion rate.  So, in each of these movements, the focus primarily focuses in on felt needs, what they believe the hearer’s heart is seeking or wants.   Let me address two areas in which, we as Christians, in our desire to proclaim the Gospel, have fallen victim to a weak Gospel born out our misunderstanding of the heart. Continue reading

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Ecclesiastical Separation

Psalms 119:63(NKJV) 63    I am a companion of all who fear You,  And of those who keep Your precepts.

1 Timothy 6:20(NKJV) 20O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust…

2 Thessalonians 3:6(NKJV) 6But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which  he received from us.

It has been said, that any unity of persons that would honor God must first be a unity that God Himself has produced.

Failure to observe the Scripture’s mandates on Ecclesiastical Separation endangers the integrity of the Gospel with which we have been entrusted. Sometimes, however, our own ideas about Ecclesiastical Separation fall short – neglecting the clear instructions of the Bible or adding our own opinions to the Word of God. Continue reading

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The Spirit of Life – Part 2

In my Bible I have two glimpses of this in human life. The first is spoiled ere I can see it in perfection. The second grows with increasing glory the longer I gaze upon it. I have the “first Adam” and the “last Adam.” When I look at the “first” I see the picture of what the Spirit of God means in human life.

You will remember the verse in Genesis 2, which runs thus: “Jehovah . . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of  lives,” that suggestive Hebrew plural which is used poetically to indicate the fact of spaciousness and breadth which cannot be expressed in the singular number-“the breath of lives;

and man, became a living soul: ‘ Man is made in the image of God and given dominion over the creation of God. There are no details. The broad poetic facts are stated in that chapter. I turn to chapter 2, and I do not find a contradiction, but an explanatory account of a certain fact and phase of human life which had not been dealt with fully in the first chapter. Here there is revealed to us the nature of man. Man is dust and Deity; of the dust, God in-breathed; linked to the material, offspring of the Spirit, of the earth, of the heavens. It is all poetry, but it is true poetry. Man becomes the conscious and capable ego, when by this mystery, baffling all explanation, the God of heaven by breath Divine makes man. Continue reading

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The Spirit of Life – Part 1

I’d like to  share with you this great exposition of Romans 8:2 from G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945), one of the finest expositors of the last 100 years.

His family experience and the impact of the preaching of D.L. Moody brought him to a ministry of preaching at the age of twelve.  He was twice the pastor of Westminster Chapel (1904, 1943).  He ministered in England and the United States and is well known for his solid expositional preaching and teaching.

This exposition will be broken down into two parts because of its length.  Enjoy the preach of G. Campbell!

Romans 8:2 (NKJV) 2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

The Spirit is described in the New Testament as “the Spirit of Truth,” “the Spirit of Promise,” “the Spirit of Grace,” “the Spirit of Glory.” “The Spirit of Life” is a suggestive and comprehensive phrase, indicating the relation of the Spirit of God to all life. Two words are here placed together, both of which; refer to life. The word “Spirit” suggests life at its very highest. Here, as always, where the reference is to God, the word indicates the originating cause. The word “life” marks rather a manifestation or a form of the essential than the origination and power thereof. This word translated “life” is a very interesting one. The Greek language is richer than ours in this particular, that it has more words than one to describe life. Where we use our word “life”‘ to include many conceptions, there are at least two words in Greek literature; words that we have become familiar with by their adaptation into our language in scientific usage-the words bios and zoe, from which we have derived our words biology and zoology. These two Greek words indicate two thoughts about life, but in Greek classical literature they are other than the thoughts that they indicate in the New Testament. The order of suggestiveness is reversed in the New Testament, and this is an arresting peculiarity which the purely natural-I may almost say the animal-side of life. The other word, bios, had in it something of an ethical value and a spiritual conception. In all Greek literature you find this contrast is maintained. Continue reading

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To The Glory of God

Psalm 115:1 (NKJV) 1  Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) 31  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

What cannot be missed when we read the Scriptures is that it is a revelation of who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and will do.  The first four words in the Bible set the stage; “In the beginning God…”(Genesis 1:1). But because of the fall which corrupted humanity to self-love, even for the believer, to live for the glory of God is no small feat.  The only one who accomplished that was Jesus Christ (John 1:14).   His life was not only sinless but gloriously lived for and in obedience to His Father (John 4:34; 5:36; 14:11). Genesis 1:1 makes it clear, and thunders out, that the whole of creation was not only a work of God but for His glory (Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 6:3). All the wonders of the created universe are His and designed to point to His glory. His creative work is so self-evident and declares his “hidden attributes and his power that man is left without an excuse (Romans 8:20).  In the end, the culmination of all things, the whole of creation will once again singularly express His glory (Habakkuk 2:4). Continue reading

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Security of the Believer – Part 5 (What It Is Not)

Matthew 7:21-23 ( NKJV ) 21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  22Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

2 Corinthians 13:5 ( NKJV ) 5Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

For me, there is no more glorious a thought than to know that I rest in the saving hands of God (John 1:28).  And for many years I rested in this one solid dimension of God’s faithful grace until while reading Romans 9:4-13 I saw that the elective purposes of God stood as the foundational and paramount truth to my position in Christ.  I realized that when we are told that it “is not of works but of Him who calls” (vs.11), I stood solely by the grace of God and that “not of works” meant exactly that.  I saw new and afresh that I was saved “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:4), and “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).  Continue reading

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The Security of the Believer-Part 4 (The Power of God)

Ephesians 1:19-22 ( NKJV ) 19and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power  20which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

Philippians 3:20-21 ( NKJV ) 20For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  21who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

This is a further discussion in many ways of the purposes of God in salvation.  Whatever God purposes He must have the power to carry out.  A God who calls ( Romans 8:28,30; Romans 9:24, 1 Corinthians 1:2,9,24,26; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:1,4; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 5:24, Colossians 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 1:15), and a God who elects (Romans 8:33; 9:11, 11:5,7,28; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 1:2) is a Sovereign God.  But if He lacks the power of his calling and elective prerogatives  He  cannot, in the final analysis , be called Sovereign and his elective purposes and His calling out a people unto Himself is meaningless.  Thankfully, this is not the case. Continue reading

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The Security of the Believer Part 3 (Sovereign Purposes of God)

Ephesians 1:11 ( NKJV ) 11In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

Titus 3:5 ( NKJV ) 5not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

I can remember a time before I came to know the Lord when I was told that my salvation did not depend on my goodness or good works but on Christ. I just found that incomprehensible. Once I came to know Christ I thought I understood the Biblical principle that I was saved by the Grace of God because of the work of Christ on the cross.  My understanding was that I added no work or effort to my salvation.  While that is true, what I didn’t really get, was that the phrase “not of works” (Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5; Romans 9:11), meant that God chose and that He did this before the foundation of the world and that His choosing was not dependent upon any good works I may or may not  do in the future. Continue reading

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The Security of the Believer – Part 2 (Substitutionary Death of Christ)

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV) 5  But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

1 John 4:10 (NKJV) 10  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

John 1:29 (NKJV) 29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

When we place our faith in Christ we do so because He stood in our place as atonement for sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He became our substitute for the punishment of sin and endured the wrath of a just and righteous God for us in our stead (Romans 3:24-26). He bore the sins of others in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24); He suffered once to bear the sins of others (Heb. 9:28); He experienced horrible suffering, scourging, and death in place of sinners (Isaiah 53:4-6). That is the meaning of substitution.  It is often describes as “vicarious,” meaning; “in place of another.”  The innocent Christ made atonement and suffered for the wicked (1 Peter 3:18). Continue reading

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The Message I Love

1 Corinthians 2:2 (NKJV) 2  For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

This week I have been pondering the things I love, especially as I focus on the new year and examine my loves and purpose to love them more.

I love my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ the most. Then of course, comes my wife and my grown children, their spouses and our grandchildren.  As I review my ministry I have found one thing that stands out as the most loved; the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even when it seems that all is dark, the Gospel stands as a bright light that motivates my preaching.  It is found on every page of Scripture and hopefully in every message and class I have taught.  Since I am quite fallible, I am certain there have been times the message from me of the profound Gospel truths may not have been as bright as they should have been.  But one thing is for certain, once I focus on that message, I am lifted to see the glories of a message that was decreed in eternity past and reigns as the only hope, the only light, the only escape from the judgment of God and immerses me in His grace. Continue reading

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