Archive for March, 2013

Come see, Go Tell,


Mat 28:1-:20 IN the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


Samuel at Gilgal

The ResurrectionPaul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Romans 1:1-4 ESV)

We know that all who believe in Christ have hope for redemption and salvation by Him. However, what if there was no resurrection? Then our hope in Him would be limited to this life and we would be in a worse condition than the rest of humanity. The Apostle Paul tells us, among other things, that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ declared Him the Son of God in power. The Gospel is concerned with two facts about Jesus Christ…

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Shade of the Moriah Tree


IT IS NOT sentimentality about Christ’s resurrection that speaks of true celebration, but a life changed by the power of His resurrection that brings true rejoicing.

– M.A. Williams

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Shade of the Moriah Tree

Amidst the Glory of God

“My Glory I will not give to another.” – Isaiah 48:11

GOD’S DEPICTION OF Israel as having a forehead of brass (impudent, not ashamed of sin, nor blushing at it, refusing to receive correction for it, having a whore’s forehead” – John Gill’s commentary on Isaiah) and her inclination to obstinacy and rebellion, reveals humanity at its heart – that we are all naturally (in nature) disposed to defying God. There is nothing within us (in and of ourselves) that desires the ways of God – for how can we, as the apostle reveals in the eighth chapter of Romans: “for the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

But here is the mercy of God, that while it was impossible to improve ourselves…

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Shade of the Moriah Tree

eternal life in Him

THERE ARE MANY ‘Christians’ today who don’t know God, nor the Scriptures, failing to realise that the essence of eternal life is knowing God Himself.

– M.A. Williams

reference: John 17:3

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Undiscernibly Wrought

It’s always fun to see signs of divine providence in the unplanned convergence of events. What most would call coincidence or serendipity, I call small graces, sometimes given only for my pleasure, that I might give thanks. Today brought another such morsel when, having written this Monday of my own rebirth and its indiscernible timing, I was led by Iain Murray to the following passage from Richard Sibbes:


[T]he dew doth fall insensibly and invisibly. So the grace of God. We feel the comfort, sweetness, and operation of it, but it falls insensibly without observation. Inferior things here feel the sweet and comfortable influence of the heavens, but who sees the active influence upon them? which, how it is derived from superior bodies to the inferior, is not observable. As our Saviour speaks of the beginnings of grace and workings of it, ‘The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit,’ John iii. 8. It works we know not how. We feel the work, but the manner of working is unknown to us. Grace, therefore, is wrought undiscernibly. No man can see the conversion of another; nay, no man almost can discern his own conversion at first.* Therefore, this question should not much trouble you, Shew us the first hour, the first time of your conversion and entrance into the state of grace. Grace, to many, falls like the dew, by little and little, drop and drop, line upon line. It falls sweetly and undiscernibly upon them at the first. Therefore, it is hard to set down the first time, seeing, as our blessed Saviour speaks, grace at the first is wondrous little, likened to a grain of mustard-seed; but though it be small at first, yet nothing is more glorious and beautiful afterwards, for from a small seed it grows to overspread and be great, shooting our branches, Mark iv. 31, 32. And as the root of Jesse was a despised stock, and in show a dead root, yet thence Christ rose, a branch as high as heaven; so the beginning of a Christian is despised and little, like a dead stock, as it were; but they grow upward and upward still, till they come to heaven itself, Prov. iv. 18. Thus we see there is nothing in the world more undiscernible in the beginning than the work of grace, which must make us not over-curious to examine exactly the first beginnings thereof, because it is as the falling of the dew, or ‘the blowing of the wind.’

The Works of Richard Sibbes (Banner of Truth, 2001), 2:331–332.

If Jesus, then, was telling Nicodemas the truth—which we cannot doubt—it isn’t just confused folks like me who can’t mark a conversion date on the calendar.


The Thirsty Theologian: Undiscernibly Wrought.

The Extent of Our Predicament

When evangelists make getting a response their primary goal, they become salesmen who must conceal a truth of first importance: that the unregenerate can’t respond. Iain Murray writes:


Where ‘receiving Christ’ is made the first object in evangelism, then the primary concern may be to do nothing to hinder that result, nothing should be said to antagonize or to awaken resistance, so man’s impotence and helplessness, his being ‘dead in trespasses and sin; his condition as an individual who ‘is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’—come to be related as truths likely to put off those who are to be won, for the same reason the wrath of God (a truth spoke of ten times in the Epistle to the Romans) is often considered to be a hindrance to the reception of the message.

The problem with this thinking is the assumption that somehow, after all, salvation is ultimately in the sinner’s own hands, and that nothing must be done to provoke his resistance. But such thinking is really to deny that man is in the condition that God has revealed. Either it is true or it is not, that ‘the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God’ (1 Cor. 2:13). If it is true, then conversion does not come about by the preacher gaining the sinner’s acceptance of his message. Paul’s whole argument in the passage in 1 Corinthians, where he asserts the impossibility of the natural man receiving spiritual things, is that all men are offended by the preaching of the cross—‘a stumbling to Jews and folly to Gentiles.’ It is that fact that makes the intervention of divine grace and power essential: ‘Faith is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God’ (Eph. 2:8). Instead, then, of hiding their helplessness from men, and avoiding what might offend, the preacher needs to show the full extent of their predicament and their dependence on the mercy of God. The unregenerate are as unable before the invitations of the gospel as they are before the claims of the law, yet their lack of faith is no more to be excused than their disobedience to the law. Indeed unbelief heightens guilt (1 John 5:10).

—Iain Murray, The Old Evangelicalism (Banner of Truth, 2005)

The Thirsty Theologian: The Extent of Our Predicament.

Kind of long but well wroth the time to read.

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)

The 21st Century version of pop-Christianity is not doctrinally sound. That should not surprise us since those most of influence in it elevate human philosophy up to the highest esteem while looking at Orthodox Christianity and its solid biblical doctrines as passé or old-fashioned or something to be phased out to make room for what is culturally relevant. One of the components…

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Shade of the Moriah Tree

Great Beginnings Grave Endings

1 Samuel Chapters 9, 10 and 31

ASIDE FROM THE ‘Fall of Man’, the biographical account of King Saul has to be one of the most – if not the most – lamentable and pitiable human events recorded in Scripture.

Saul began great only to end in horror. Many who start off well end bad; many who start bad finish good in the economy of God’s grace.

Saul had so many positive and prosperous factors that paved the way to him possibly being Israel’s greatest king:

  • in all of Israel, none were more handsome than Saul (this being the least of all).
  • he had a sensitive conscience.
  • though he was of humble beginnings he was quickly exalted to royalty.
  • the Spirit of the Lord frequently descended on him powerfully.
  • he was given another heart by the Lord.
  • God was with him in whatever he did.
  • he won favour in the…

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Shade of the Moriah Tree


“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12-14

IT IS ASTOUNDING to realize the eagerness and enthusiasm of some folk who voluntarily embark upon the ministry, while it is so apparent they have no calling from God Himself. Nowadays, anyone can venture for the clergy; there are no requirements or no limitations as to who can or cannot take up such a profession, no matter what your religious views, sexual…

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Presuming Thou art Saved

Samuel at Gilgal

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon:

Beware; I pray thee, of presuming that thou art saved. If thy heart be renewed, if thou shalt hate the things that thou didst once love, and love the things that thou didst once hate; if thou hast really repented; if there be a thorough change of mind in thee; if thou be born again, then hast thou reason to rejoice: but if there be no vital change, no inward godliness; if there be no love to God, no prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then thy saying “I am saved” is but thine own assertion, and it may delude, but it will not deliver thee.

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carthorseEvery one should strive to continually improve, right?  Well, yes.  But we must be very careful when it comes to improving our actions and behaviors,  or our avoidance of sins.  Are we trying to improve ourselves and cease sinning because we are trying to be in right standing with God?  If this is the case, we are rejecting Christ’s work on the Cross!  It is the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, the atonement He won for us, that makes us in right standing with God.  He paid the fines His people owe (fines dictated by God’s law) so that they would be found righteous in the eyes of the Holy Court.  Period.  Sin will bring brokenness, grief, conviction and much other turmoil, but if you think that “being better next time” will make you right with God you are worshipping the idol of your own goodness.  Saved means saved.  Sin should be…

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The Old Guys

Mystery is the lifeblood of dogmatics. To be sure, the term “mystery” (μυστεριον) in Scripture does not mean an abstract supernatural truth in the Roman Catholic sense. Yet Scripture is equally far removed from the idea that believers can grasp the revealed mysteries in a scientific sense. In truth, the knowledge that God has revealed of himself in nature and Scripture far surpasses human imagination and understanding. In that sense it is all mystery with which the science of dogmatics is concerned, for it does not deal with finite creatures, but from beginning to end looks past all creatures and focuses on the eternal and infinite One himself. From the very start of it labors, it faces the incomprehensible One. From him it derives its inception, for from him are all things. But also in the remaining loci, when it turns its attention to creatures, it views them only in…

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Samuel at Gilgal

Andrew MurrayAs the Holy Spirit takes possession of a person’s life, his heart will be filled with divine, holy power. We must always pray for this power in our lives to be active in helping us to live holy lives. If we receive the Spirit with gladness, He will teach us how to really live. Andrew Murray writes:

Under the Old Testament, you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to do the work of God. But He did not dwell in them then. Now, many just want the Old Testament gift of power for work. But, they know very little of the New Testament gift of the indwelling Spirit, animating and renewing the whole life. When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the formation of a holy character. It is…

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Examine Your Foundation


VishnuI recently read an article regarding the Hindu festival “Kumbh Mela” where participants, amid much religious ceremony, bathe themselves in the Ganges river for the washing away of their sins (view article HERE).  They smear themselves with ashes and sand, pray prescribed prayers, and then descend into the water.  To most of us in the West, this ritual sounds odd.  Praying to Hindu gods, carrying out certain rituals at a designated religious location, and then going into river water to be cleansed of sin?  How, we enlightened Christians of the West ask ourselves, can such activities remove the guilt of sin?  It strikes us as the pagan invention of man and Satan, does it not?

Please allow me to switch gears for a moment (we will come back to the Kumbh Mela in just a moment).  You who claim Christianity, may I ask you a question?  How do you…

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The Old Guys

3. We are not to fashion God according to our own whim
Thus is overthrown that vain defense with which many are wont to gloss over their superstition. For they think that any zeal for religion, however preposterous, is sufficient. But they do not realize that true religion ought to be conformed to God’s will as to a universal rule; that God ever remains like himself, and is not a specter or phantasm to be transformed according to anyone’s whim. One can clearly see, too, how superstition mocks God with pretenses while it tries to please him. For, seizing almost solely upon what God has testified to be of no concern to himself, superstition either holds in contempt or else openly rejects that which he prescribes and enjoins as pleasing to himself. Thus all who set up their own false rites to God worship and adore their own ravings.


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