Is Your Pastor FAITHFUL ?

images[In the modern era of easy religion and seeker friendly churches, the question still needs to be asked, and it also needs to be earnestly answered.  Is your pastor faithful? I don’t just mean faithful to his wife or spouse. I also mean to his or her calling as a minister.  What is this calling you ask?  A minister’s calling is to faithfully preach the Word, the Gospel, or the Good News.  This Gospel is what Jesus has done for us. It is the declaration of the Great Atonement of Jesus Christ for sin.  That is, the blood work demanded and accomplished, for all the sins of all of the Elect who are in Christ Jesus.  But if this calling, this preaching, is to be faithful, it must also encompass the fact that our salvation is from sin, and is not our salvation in sin. Why is this important? Because salvation from sin mandates a clear call to repentance, and the Christian to walk in holiness, and in separation from this world’s fleshly values, desires and ambitions.

But if your pastor does not also include, or stress a call to repentance in his ministry, and a call to holiness; that is, to walk differently from the world and its values and desires, but rather seeks to walk as closely to the world as possible, can you say that he is being faithful to his calling? No! From the Scriptures, you cannot. –MWP]

There is one tombstone in the Kiltearn Churchyard…

…more remarkable than all the others. It lies beside the church-door, and testifies, in an antique inscription, that it covers the remains of the “Great man of God and faithful minister of Jesus Christ” who had endured persecution for the truth in the dark days of Charles and his brother. He had outlived the tyranny of the Stuarts, and though worn by years and sufferings had returned to his parish after the Revolution, to end his course as it had begun. Calculating aright on the abiding influence of his own character among them. 

He gave charge on his deathbed to dig his grave in the threshold of the church, that they might regard him as a sentinel placed at the door, and that his tombstone might speak to them as they passed in and out.

The inscription, which, after the lapse of nearly a century and a half (as of 1830), is still perfectly legible, and concludes with the following remarkable words:  

“THIS STONE SHALL BEAR WITNESS AGAINST THE PARISHIONERS OF KILTEARN IF THEY BRING AN UNGODLY MINISTER IN HERE.”

Written by Hugh Miller.

Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage:  Hugh Miller (1802–1856) Scottish geologist and writer, folklorist and an evangelical Christian. He was a self-taught Born in Cromarty, he was educated in a parish school where he reportedly showed a love of reading. At 17 he was apprenticed to a stonemason, and his work in quarries, together with walks along the local shoreline, led him to the study of geology. In 1829 he published a volume of poems, and soon afterwards became involved in political and religious controversies, first connected to the Reform Bill, and then with the division in the Church of Scotland which led to the Disruption of 1843.

In 1834 he became accountant in one of the local banks, and in the next year brought out his Scenes and Legends in the North of Scotland. In 1840 the popular party in the Church, with which he had been associated, started a newspaper, the Witness, and Miller was called to be editor in Edinburgh, a position which he retained till the end of his life.

Among his geological works are The Old Red Sandstone (1841), Footprints of the Creator (1850), The Testimony of the Rocks (1856), Sketch-book of Popular Geology. Of these books, perhaps The Old Red Sandstone was the best-known. The Old Red Sandstone is still a term used to collectively describe sedimentary rocks deposited as a result of the Caledonian orogeny in the late Silurian, Devonian and earliest part of the Carboniferous period.

Miller held that the Earth was of great age, and that it had been inhabited by many species which had come into being and gone extinct, and that these species were homologous; although he believed the succession of species showed progress over time, he did not believe that later species were descended from earlier ones. He denied the Epicurean theory that new species occasionally budded from the soil, and the Lamarckian theory of development of species, as lacking evidence. He argued that all this showed the direct action of a benevolent Creator, as attested in the Bible – the similarities of species are manifestations of types in the Divine Mind; he accepted the view of Thomas Chalmers that Genesis begins with an account of geological periods, and does not mean that each of them is a day; Noah’s Flood was a limited subsidence of the Middle East. Geology, to Miller, offered a better version of the argument from design than William Paley could provide, and answered the objections of sceptics, by showing that living species did not arise by chance or by impersonal law.

In a biographical review about him, he was recognized as an exceptional person by Sir David Brewster, who said of him:

“Mr. Miller is one of the few individuals in the history of Scottish science who have raised themselves above the labors of an humble profession, by the force of their genius and the excellence of their character, to a comparatively high place in the social scale.”

For most of 1856, Miller suffered severe headaches and mental distress, and the most probable diagnosis is of psychotic depression. Victorian medicine did not help. He feared that he might harm his wife or children because of persecutory delusions.

Miller committed suicide, shooting himself in the chest with a revolver in his house on Tower Street, Portobello, on the night he had finished checking printers’ proofs for his book on Scottish fossil plants and vertebrates, The Testimony of the Rocks. Before his death, he wrote a poem called Strange but True.

A shocked Western world mourned him, and his funeral procession was among the largest in the memory of Edinburgh residents.

He is buried in the Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh.

[ A NOTE TO MY READERS AS TO THE PURPOSE OF THESE STORIES:  Recently, I have written about Christians who before us have suffered great persecution and/or died in the cause of Christ.
I do not do this because I have less regard for theology than I once had, or that I now scorn the importance of those doctrines which were once given unto the saints.  Nor, do I wish to lessen those scriptures which are they that do testify of Christ. And even more importantly, I do not wish to glorify man; so there is no need to sensationalize or even to make significant the facts of their deaths or of their persecution. For in one sense, that is truly not what is important.   
Rather, I wish to make alive their faith, to make alive their living faith which was their living testimony unto Christ Jesus.  They were not all great Christians.  Many of those that I read and write about had significant flaws, some morally and some theologically… But all had found “The Christ.”  And they each had witnessed to, and testified of that living Christ which takes away the sins of the world.
Having done all, these Christians stood, and their stories still stand today, demonstrating to us and pointing to us their Lord, both with their teachings, but more importantly, with their lives. And therein lies the power… They were totally committed. 
As you look around yourself, do you see that type of commitment?  As you look deep within yourself, do you see yourself standing in their shoes?  Can you say, with grace, “If called, there go I?”  As you look around your church, can you sense, as a member, an increasing importance of who we are in Christ Jesus, or do you see an increasing importance of who we are in the world?  From your vantage point, which seems to be most important?
Never before has the Christian Church been assaulted on so many fronts.  Never before, has it faced so many enemies from without and enemies from within.  One shudders at the sound of all the axes being laid to the roots of our Christian heritage, and we ask ourselves, “When Christ comes will he find faith on the earth?”  To this question, I am deeply stirred with a sense of urgency.
Today, I call to you wherever you are, find your commitment, find your passion, find who you really are –in Christ!  Resolve in yourself right now, to make Him and his cause, the purpose for your highest commitment, and the reason for your deepest passion.  I can tell you, that you will never be sorry.
As apostates and apostasy continues in the church, I seek new ways of pointing others to Jesus. In this new project, to which at this time I am now committed, I will strive mightily to point to our blessed Savior through the fingers and lives of those Christians who have once lived and died for Christ, and whose voices and anthems, I believe, now blend with the others from the church triumphant, and with the angels and cherubim as they circle around the throne of the Living God; “To whom be glory forever.  Amen.”  –MWP]

Are You of God, or of the World?

Written by A. W. Pink

wordlywiseman1[It has been said by the wise that “Context is everything.” And while that bit of sagacity is certainly true in the study of the Scriptures, it is equally true in the giving and receiving of Christian Commentary. And, it is also true of the following message by A. W. Pink. 

If I may be so bold, let me reassure those seeking, anxious Christians.  You, who are tempest tossed with sin, who struggle keenly with your Adamic nature, who cling to the cross and bitterly lament even the whiff of temptation, or the tiniest thought of sin that dares to cross the threshold of your mind…   As I said, let me reassure you, that Pink is not addressing you with this message, at least not directly.

Rather, Pink here is addressing that large class of Christians who, by virtue of their church, heritage, position, social standing, etc., believe that they have a “lock” on heaven.  After all, they were baptized as children, they had recited the ritual formula for salvation, but their shallow profession of Christianity has never translated over to a “sanctified life.” 

In the highly stratified society of England where Pink lived, I am sure that the “Church” was as highly infested with those people as the church is today.  And it was, and is, to those highly self-satisfied, self-righteous, holier-than-thou, I can do anything I want, shallow Christians that Pink is here reaching out to… by the neck, almost.  

Oh, by the way, if you have not examined yourself in Christ recently, perhaps because you are feeling pretty self-assured, well this message is most definitely meant for you.  –MWP]

God Himself has supplied us with tests…

…and we are mad if we do not avail ourselves of them, and honestly measure ourselves by them. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13). The Holy Spirit Himself moved one of His servants to write a whole Epistle to instruct as how we might know whether or not we have eternal life…..Let the really concerned soul read slowly and thoughtfully through this first Epistle of John…. the very first passage which contains the familiar “we know” is quite the reverse of what is now being so widely advocated as the ground of Christian assurance. “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3).

Is not that plain enough?

A godly life is the first proof that I am a child of God….But let us observe the solemn declaration that immediately follows. “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).

Do these words anger you?

We trust not: they are God’s, not ours. Do you refuse to read any more of this article? That would be a bad sign—an honest heart does not fear the light. A sincere soul is willing to be searched by the Truth. If you are unable to endure now the feeble probing of one of His servants, how will it fare in a soon-coming day when the Lord Himself shall search you through and through?

O dear friend, give your poor soul a fair chance…

…be willing to ascertain whether your faith is real wheat, or only chaff. If it proves to be the latter, there is still time for you to humble yourself before God and cry unto Him to give you saving faith. But in that Day it will be too late!”

———————–
Taken from, ”Assurance”
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Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Arthur Walkington Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) was an English Christian evangelist and biblical scholar who was known for his staunchly Calvinist and Puritan-like teachings in an era dominated by opposing theological traditions. For example, he called Dispensationalism a “modern and pernicious error”.  Subscribers of his monthly magazine Studies in the Scriptures included Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Dr. Douglas Johnson, first general secretary of Inter-Varsity.After Pink’s death, his works were republished by a number of publishing houses, among them, Banner of Truth Trust, Baker Book House, Christian Focus Publications, Moody Press, Truth for Today, and reached a much wider audience as a result. Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, “the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.” His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living. Pink is left out of many biographical dictionaries and overlooked in many religious histories.

Laying it All Down… For Jesus!

[Over the last couple of days I have had the privilege of communicating with some dear Christians who have lost much for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Now, this suffering did not happen because of some foreign persecution in some foreign land. No, indeed!  Rather, it was because they had discovered that the church they were attending had rejected the Gospel so clearly given to the saints.  All of these Christians, some hurting, some hurting badly, all of them had decided that the joy they found in the Gospel was worth far more than rubies, far more than gold, far more than membership in a church, many of which had known since childhood.  Each of these saints have lost friends, some their families, some their jobs, but all valued Christ Jesus much more than these things.  What do you value most?  What are you ready to give up for Jesus?  In the memory of those who have lost their lives for the Gospel, and in tribute to those still suffering for the Gospel, wherever you are, I thank God for your witness and for the endurance of your testamony.  And I say, “so persecuted they the prophets before you.” αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν. –To Him be the glory forever. Amen   -MWP]
.

??????????????????One of the proscribed Covenanters, overcome by sickness, had found shelter in the house of a respectable widow and had died there.

The corpse was discovered by the laird of Westerhall, a petty tyrant. This man pulled down the house of the poor woman, carried away her furniture, and leaving her and her younger children to wander in the fields, dragged her son Andrew, who was still a lad, before Claverhouse who happened to be marching through that part of the country. Claverhouse was that day strangely lenient; but Westerhall was eager to signalize his loyalty, and extorted a sullen consent.

The guns were loaded, and the youth was told to pull his bonnet over his face. He refused, and stood confronting his murderers with the Bible in his hand. “I can look you in the face,” he said; ‘I have done nothing of which I need be ashamed.  But how will you look in that day when you shall be judged by what is written in this book?”

He fell dead, and was buried in the moor.

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Taken from, History of England Chap. IV, James the Second.  Written by, T. B. Macaulay
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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron Macaulay of Rothley (born October 25, 1800, Rothley Temple, LeicestershireEngland—died December 28, 1859, Campden Hill, London), English Whig politician, essayist, poet, and historian best known for his History of England, 5 vol. (1849–61); this work, which covers the period 1688–1702.

Macaulay was born in the house of an uncle in Leicestershire. His father, Zachary Macaulay, the son of a Presbyterian minister from the Hebrides, had been governor of Sierra Leone; an ardent philanthropist and an ally of William Wilberforce, who fought for the abolition of slavery, he was a man of severe evangelical piety. Macaulay’s mother, a Quaker, was the daughter of a Bristol bookseller. Thomas was the eldest of their nine children and devoted to his family, his deepest affection being reserved for two of his sisters, Hannah and Margaret. At age eight he wrote a compendium of universal history and also “The Battle of Cheviot,” a romantic narrative poem in the style of Sir Walter Scott. After attending a private school, in 1818 he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he held a fellowship until 1831 and where he gained a reputation for inexhaustible talk and genial companionship in a circle of brilliant young men. In 1825 the first of his essays, that on John Milton, published in The Edinburgh Review, brought him immediate fame and the chance to display his social gifts on a wider stage; he was courted and admired by the most distinguished personages of the day.

In the first parliament elected after the act of 1832, Macaulay was one of the two members from the newly enfranchised borough of Leeds. He soon faced a problem of conscience when the question of slavery was debated. As a holder of government office he was expected to vote for an amendment proposed by the ministry but disapproved by the abolitionists. He offered his resignation and spoke against the government, but since the House of Commons supported the abolitionists the government gave way, he remained in office.

Character excerpts taken from the Encylopaedia Britannica 

Do you belong to the one and only true Church? Part 2.

Written by J. C. Ryle
Edited for thought and sense

“On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.”
–Matthew 16:18

The Church of our text is made up of all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

going_to_churchIt comprehends all who have repented of sin, and fled to Christ by faith, and been made new creatures in Him. It comprises all God’s elect, all who have received God’s grace, all who have been washed in Christ’s blood, all who have been clothed in Christ’s righteousness, all who have been born again and sanctified by Christ’s Spirit. All such, of every nation, and people, and tongue, compose the Church of our text. This is the body of Christ. This is the flock of Christ. This is the bride. This is the Lamb’s wife. This is the Church on the rock.

The members of this Church do not all worship God in the same way, or use the same form of government. “It is not necessary that ceremonies should be in all places one and alike.” But they all worship with one heart. They are all led by one Spirit. They are all really and truly holy. They can all say “Alleluia,” and they can all reply “Amen.” This is that Church, to which all visible Churches on earth are servants. They all serve the interests of the one true Church. They are the scaffolding, behind which the great building is carried on. They are the husk, under which the living kernel grows.

The best and worthiest of them, is that which trains up most members for Christ’s true Church.

But no visible Church has any right to say, “We are the only true Church. We are the men, and truth shall die with us.” No visible Church should ever dare to say, “We shall stand forever. The gates of hell will not overcome us.” This is that Church to which belong the Lord’s precious promises of preservation, continuance, protection, and final glory. “Whatever,” says Hooker, “we read in Scripture, concerning the endless love and saving mercy which God shows towards His Churches, the only proper subject is this Church, which we properly term the mystical body of Christ.” Small and despised as the true Church may be in this world, it is precious and honorable in the sight of God. The temple of Solomon in all its glory was nothing, in comparison with that Church which is built upon a rock.

Men and brethren, see that you hold sound doctrine on the subject of “the Church.” A mistake here may lead to dangerous and soul-ruining errors. The Church which is made up of true believers, is the Church for which we, who are ministers, are specially ordained to preach. The Church which comprises all who repent and believe the Gospel, is the Church to which we desire you to belong. Our work is not done, and our hearts are not satisfied, until you are made new creatures, and are members of the one true Church. Outside of this Church, there can be no salvation. I pass on to the second point, to which I proposed to call your attention.

Our text contains not merely a building, but a “Builder”…

The Lord Jesus Christ declares, “I will build My Church.” The true Church of Christ is tenderly cared for by all the three persons of the blessed Trinity. In the economy of redemption, beyond all doubt, God the Father chooses, and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies, every member of Christ’s mystical body. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three Persons in one God, cooperate for the salvation of every saved soul. This is truth, which ought never to be forgotten. Nevertheless, there is a peculiar sense in which the help of the Church is laid on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is peculiarly and preeminently the Redeemer and the Savior. Therefore it is, that we find Him saying in our text, “I will build—the work of building is my special work.” It is Christ who calls the members of the Church in due time. They are “the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6). It is Christ who gives them life. “The Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it” (John 5:21). It is Christ who washes away their sins. He “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Revelation 1:5). It is Christ who gives them peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27). It is Christ who gives them eternal life. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). It is Christ who grants them repentance. “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior, that he might give repentance” (Acts 5:31). It is Christ who enables them to become God’s children. “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

It is Christ who carries on the work within them, when it is begun. “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).

In short, “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Christ]” (Colossians 1:19). He is the author and finisher of faith. From Him every joint and member of the mystical body of Christians is supplied. Through Him they are strengthened for duty. By Him they are kept from falling. He shall preserve them to the end, and present them faultless before the Father’s throne with exceeding great joy. He is all things, and all in all to believers.

The mighty agent by whom the Lord Jesus Christ carries out this work in the number of His Churches, is, without doubt, the Holy Spirit. He it is who applies Christ and His benefits to the soul. He it is who is ever renewing, awakening, convincing, leading to the cross, transforming, taking out of the world, stone after stone, and adding it to the mystical building. But the great Chief Builder, who has undertaken to execute the work of redemption and bring it to completion, is the Son of God—the Word who was made flesh. It is Jesus Christ who “builds.”

In building the true Church, the Lord Jesus condescends to use many subordinate instruments.

The ministry of the Gospel, the circulation of the Scriptures, the friendly rebuke, the word spoken in season, the drawing influence of afflictions—all, all are means and methods by which His work is carried on. But Christ is the great superintending architect, ordering, guiding, directing all that is done. What the sun is to the whole solar system—that Christ is to all the members of the true Church. “Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God gives the increase.” Ministers may preach, and writers may write, but the Lord Jesus Christ alone can build. And except He builds, the work stands still.

Great is the wisdom with which the Lord Jesus Christ builds His Church. All is done at the right time, and in the right way. Each stone in its turn is put in the right place. Sometimes He chooses great stones, and sometimes He chooses small stones. Sometimes the work moves fast, and sometimes it moves slowly. Man is frequently impatient, and thinks that nothing is happening. But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great Builder makes no mistakes. He knows what He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning. He works by a perfect, unalterable and certain plan. The mightiest conceptions of architects, like Michaelangelo are mere insignificant child’s play, in comparison with Christ’s wise counsels respecting His Church.
Great is the condescension and mercy, which Christ exhibits in building His Church. He often chooses the most unlikely and roughest stones, and fits them into a most excellent work. He despises no one, and rejects none—on account of former sins and past transgressions. He delights to show mercy. He often takes the most thoughtless and ungodly, and transforms them into polished corners of His spiritual temple.

Great is the power which Christ displays in building His Church. He carries on his work in spite of opposition from the world, the flesh, and the devil. In storm, in chaos, through troublesome times—silently, quietly, without noise, without stir, without excitement—the building progresses. “I will work,” He declares, “and none shall hinder it.” Brethren, the children of this world take no interest in the building of this Church, they care nothing for the conversion of souls. What are broken spirits and penitent hearts to them? It is all foolishness in their eyes. But while the children of this world care nothing, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God. For the preserving of that Church, the laws of nature have oftentimes been suspended.

For the good of that Church, all the providential dealings of God in this world are ordered and arranged. For the elect’s sake, wars are brought to an end, and peace is given to a nation. Statesmen, rulers, emperors, kings, presidents, heads of governments, have their schemes and plans, and think them of vast importance.

But there is another work going on of infinitely greater significance, for which they are all but as the axes and saws in God’s hands. That work is the gathering in of living stones into the one true Church. How little are we told in God’s Word about unconverted men, compared with what we are told about believers! The history of Nimrod, the mighty hunter, is dismissed in a few words. The history of Abraham, the father of the faithful, occupies several chapters. Nothing in Scripture is so important as the concerns of the true Church. The world makes up little of God’s Word. The Church and its story make up much.

Forever let us thank God, my beloved brethren, that the building of the one true Church is laid on the shoulders of One who is mighty. Let us bless God that it does not rest upon man. Let us bless God that it does not depend on missionaries, ministers, or committees. Christ is the almighty Builder. He will carry on His work, though nations and visible Churches do not know their duty. Christ will never fail. That which He has undertaken He will certainly accomplish! 

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0Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  John Charles Ryle (10 May 1816 – 10 June 1900) was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool. Ryle was born at Macclesfield, and was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was Craven Scholar in 1836.  The son of a wealthy banker, he was destined for a career in politics before choosing a path of ordained ministry. While hearing Ephesians 2 read in church in 1838, he felt a spiritual awakening and was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish priest, first at Helmingham and later at Stradbrooke, in Suffolk. He became a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England and was noted for his doctrinal essays and polemical writings.

jc-ryle-and-charles-spurgeonRyle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher. Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition. He was also credited with having success in evangelizing the blue collar community. His second son, Herbert Edward Ryle also a clergyman, became Dean of Westminster.

The Divine Inspiration of the Bible

Written by A. W. Pink.
Taken from “The Divine Inspiration of the Bible.”

Christianity is the religion of a Book.

Christianity is based upon the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture. The starting point of all doctrinal discussion must be the Bible.

130117060558133207Upon the foundation of the Divine inspiration of the Bible stands or falls the entire edifice of Christian truth.” “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3). Surrender the dogma of verbal inspiration and you are left like a rudderless ship on a stormy sea “at the mercy of every wind that blows. Deny that the Bible is, without any qualification, the very Word of God, and you are left without any ultimate standard of measurement and without any supreme authority. It is useless to discuss any doctrine taught by the Bible until you are prepared to acknowledge, unreservedly, that the Bible is the final court of appeal.

Grant that the Bible is a Divine revelation and communication of God’s own mind and will to men, and you have a fixed starting point from which advance can be made into the domain of truth. Grant that the Bible is (in its original manuscripts) inerrant and infallible, and you reach the place where study of its contents is both practicable and profitable.

It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of the doctrine of the Divine inspiration of Scripture. This is the strategic center of Christian theology, and must be defended at all costs. It is the point at which our satanic enemy is constantly hurling his hellish battalions. Here it was he made his first attack. In Eden he asked, “Yea, hath God said?” and to-day he is pursuing the same tactics.

Throughout the ages the Bible has been the central object of his assaults. Every available weapon in the devil’s arsenal has been employed in his determined and ceaseless efforts to destroy the temple of God’s truth. In the first days of the Christian era the attack of the enemy was made openly “the bonfire being the chief instrument of destruction” but, in these “last days” the assault is made in a more subtle manner and comes from a more unexpected quarter. The Divine origin of the Scriptures is now disputed in the name of “Scholarship” and “Science,” and that, too, by those who profess to be friends and champions of the Bible. Much of the learning and theological activity of the hour, are concentrated in the attempt to discredit and destroy the authenticity and authority of God’s Word, the result being that thousands of nominal Christians are plunged into a sea of doubt. Many of those who are paid to stand in our pulpits and defend the Truth of God are now the very ones who are engaged in sowing the seeds of unbelief and destroying the faith of those to whom they minister. But these modern methods will prove no more successful in their efforts to destroy the Bible than did those employed in the opening centuries of the Christian era. As well might the birds attempt to demolish the granite rock of Gibraltar by pecking at it with their beaks.”

“Forever, 0 Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven.”
–Ps. 119:89

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Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Arthur Walkington Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) was an English Christian evangelist and biblical scholar who was known for his staunchly Calvinist and Puritan-like teachings in an era dominated by opposing theological traditions. For example, he called Dispensationalism a “modern and pernicious error”.  Subscribers of his monthly magazine Studies in the Scriptures included Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Dr. Douglas Johnson, first general secretary of Inter-Varsity.After Pink’s death, his works were republished by a number of publishing houses, among them, Banner of Truth Trust, Baker Book House, Christian Focus Publications, Moody Press, Truth for Today, and reached a much wider audience as a result. Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, “the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.” His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living. Pink is left out of many biographical dictionaries and overlooked in many religious histories.

 

The Prayer of a Righteous Man Availeth Much

[Have you ever heard the prayer of an old saint and knew by just listening to him or her that here was a person accustomed to talking to God? Did you not feel just a wee bit Jealous? I have. There is something about the sacred and respectful familiarity, the familial closeness, the trusting communication of a friend that speaks volumes of a mutually close and dear relationship. As I was thinking about this, I am reminded of an old story… M.W.P.]

cwm_5One night, during the Revolutionary war…

…near a British camp not far from the Hudson, a Highland soldier was caught creeping stealthily back to his quarters out of the woods.

He was taken before the commanding officer, and charged with holding communication with the enemy. The poor Highlander pleaded that he had only gone into the woods to pray by himself. That was his only defense. The commanding officer was himself a Scotchman, and a Presbyterian, but he felt no tenderness for the culprit “Have you been in the habit, sir, of spending hours in private prayer?” he asked sternly. “Yes, sir.” “Then down on your knees and pray now” thundered the officer. “You never before had so much need of it.”

Expecting immediate death, the soldier knelt and poured out his soul in a prayer that, for aptness and simple expressive eloquence, could have been inspired only by the piety of a Christian. “You may go,” said the officer when he had done.

“I believe your story. If you had not been often at drill, you couldn’t have got on so well at review.”

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It is my prayer that each of us grow in our prayers and in our prayer life. But to start, remember first, that the power of the prayer does not depend on the one who makes the prayer, but on the one who Hears the prayer.

Therefore, we can tell God that we, or our loved ones, are tired, sad, hungry, lonely, fearful, or perhaps depressed, that we need help, that we need Divine guidance. The words of our prayers vary, but God’s response to our praying never changes. Our Savior hears our prayers. He won’t miss a word.

I am sure that there is a Christian, a child of God, who feels that their sins are not yet forgiven. Are you that person?

Written by J. C. Ryle.
Edited for thought and space
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Consider, that the forgiveness set before you is a great and broad forgiveness.
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Jesus_Drawing_Cast_First_Stone_Hear what the Prince of Peace Himself declares: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall become as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Yes! though your trespasses be more in number than the hairs of your head, the stars in heaven, the leaves of the forest, the blades of grass, the grains of sand on the sea-shore, still they can all be pardoned.  As the waters of Noah’s flood covered over and hid the tops of the highest hills, so can the blood of Jesus cover over and hide your mightiest sins. “His blood cleanses from’ all sin” (1 John 1:7).   Though to you they seem written with the point of a diamond, they can all be effaced from the book of God’s remembrance by that precious blood.  Paul names a long list of abominations which the Corinthians had committed, and then says: “Such were some of’ you: but ye are washed” (1 Cor. vi. 11).

Furthermore, it is a full and complete forgiveness. 

It is not like David’s pardon to Absalom,—a permission to return home, but not a full restoration to favour (2 Sam. 14:24).  It is not, as some fancy, a mere letting off, and letting alone. It is a pardon so complete, that he who has it is reckoned as righteous as if he had never sinned at all. His iniquities are blotted out. They are removed from him as far as the east from the west (Psalm 103:12).  There remains no condemnation for him.  The Father sees him joined to Christ, and is well pleased. The Son beholds him clothed with ‘His own righteousness, and says, “Thou art all fair, .  .  .  there is no spot in thee” (Cant. 4:7). Blessed be God that it is so. I verily believe if the best of us all had only one blot left for himself to wipe out, he would miss eternal life.  If the holiest child of Adam were in heaven all but his little finger, and to get in depended on himself, I am sure he would never enter the kingdom.  If Noah, Daniel, and Job had but one day’s sin to wash away, they would never have been saved.  Praised be God that in the matter of our pardon there is nothing left for man to do.  Jesus does all, and man has only to hold out an empty hand and to receive.

Furthermore, it is a free and unconditional forgiveness

It is not burdened with an “if,” like Solomon’s pardon to Adonijah: “If he will show himself a worthy man (1 Kings 1:52).  Nor yet are you obliged to carry a price in your hand, or bring a character with you to prove yourself deserving of mercy.  Jesus requires but one character, and that is that you should feel yourself a sinful, bad man. He invites you to “buy wine and milk without money and without price,” and declares, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Isaiah 55:1; Rev 22:17) ‘Like David in the cave of Adullam, He receives everyone that feels in distress and a debtor, and rejects none (1 Sam. 22:2).  Are you a sinner? Do you want a Saviour? Then come to Jesus just as you are, and your soul shall live.

Again, it is an offered forgiveness.

 I have read of earthly kings who knew not how to show mercy,—of Henry the Eighth of England, who spared neither man nor woman; of James the Fifth of Scotland, who would never show favour to a Douglas.  The King of kings is not like them.  He calls on man to come to Him, and be pardoned. “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men” (Prov. 8: 4).  “Ho, every one that thirsts, come ye to the waters” (Isaiah 4:1) “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink” (John 7:37). “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Oh, reader, it ought to be a great comfort to you and me to hear of any pardon at all; but to hear Jesus Himself inviting us, to see Jesus Himself holding out His hand to us,—the Saviour seeking the sinner before the sinner seeks the Saviour,—this is encouragement, this is strong consolation indeed!

Again, it is a willing forgiveness. 

I have heard of pardons granted in reply to long entreaty, and wrung out by much importunity.  King Edward the Third of England would not spare the citizens of Calais till they came to him with halters round their necks, and his own Queen interceded for them on her knees.  But Jesus is “good and ready to forgive” (Psalm 87:5).  He delights in mercy (Micah vii.18)  Judgment is His strange work.  He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He would fain have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. ii. 4)  He wept over unbelieving Jerusalem.  “As I live;” He says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways: why will ye die?” (Ezek.  32:11).  Ah, reader, you and I may well come boldly to the throne of grace!  He who sits there is far more willing and ready to give mercy than you and I are to receive it.

Besides this, it is a tried forgiveness. 

Thousands and tens of thousands have sought for pardon at the mercy-seat of Christ, and not one has ever returned to say that he sought in vain; sinners of every name and nation,—sinners of every sort and description, have knocked at the door of the fold, and none have ever been refused admission.  Zacchæus the extortioner, Magdalene the harlot, Saul the persecutor, Peter the denier of his Lord, the Jews who crucified the Prince of Life, the idolatrous Athenians, the adulterous Corinthians, the ignorant Africans, the bloodthirsty New Zealanders,—all have ventured their souls on Christ’s promises of pardon, and none have ever found them fail. Ah, reader, if the way I set before you were a new and untraveled way, you might well feel faint-hearted! But it is not so.  It is an old path.  It is a path worn by the feet of many pilgrims, and a path in which the footsteps are all one way.  The treasury of Christ’s mercies has never been found empty.  The well of living waters has never proved dry.

Beside this, it is a present forgiveness. 

All that believe in Jesus are at once justified from all things (Acts 13:38).  The very day the younger son returned to his father’s house he was clothed with the best robe, had the ring put on his hand, and shoes on his feet (Luke 15).  The very day Zacchæus received Jesus he heard these comfortable words “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luke 19:9). The very day that David ‘said, “I have sinned against the Lord,” he was    told by Nathan, “The Lord hath also put away thy sin” (2 Sam. 12:13). The very day you first flee to Christ, your sins are all removed.  Your pardon is not a thing far away, to be obtained only after many years. It is nigh at hand.  It is close to you, within your reach, all ready to be bestowed.  Believe, and that very moment it is your own.  “He that believeth is not condemned” (John 3:18).  It is not said, “he shall not be,” or “will not be,” but “is not.” From the time of his believing, condemnation is gone.  “He that believeth hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).  It is not said, “he shall have,” or “will have,” it is “hath” It is his own as surely as if he was in heaven, though not so evidently so to his own eyes. Ah, reader, you must not think forgiveness will be nearer to a believer in the day of judgment than it was in the hour he first believed!  His complete salvation from the power of sin is every year nearer and nearer to him; but as to his forgiveness and justification, it is a finished work from the very minute he first commits himself to Christ.

Last, and best of all, it is an everlasting forgiveness. 

It is not like Shimei’s pardon, a pardon that may sometime be revoked and taken away (1 Kings ii.  9). Once justified you are justified forever.  Once written down in the book of life, your name shall never be blotted out.  The sins of God’s children are said to be cast into the depths of the sea,—to be sought for and not found,—to be remembered no more,—to be cast behind God’s back (Mic. 52:19; Jer. 1: 20; 31:34; Isaiah 38:17).  Some people fancy they may be justified one year and condemned another,—children of adoption at one time and strangers by and by,—heirs of the kingdom in the beginning of their days, and yet servants of the devil in their end.  I cannot find this in the Bible.  As the New Zealander told the Romish priest, “I do not see it in the Book.” It seems to me to overturn the good news of the Gospel altogether, and to tear up its comforts by the roots. I believe the salvation Jesus offers is an everlasting salvation, and a pardon once sealed with His blood shall never be reversed.

Reader, I have set before you the nature of the forgiveness offered to you. I have told you but little of it, for my words are weaker than my will.  The half of it remains untold.  The greatness of it is far more than any report of mine.  But I think I have said enough to show you it is worth the seeking, and I can wish you nothing better than that you may strive to make it your own.

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0Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  John Charles Ryle (10 May 1816 – 10 June 1900) was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool. Ryle was born at Macclesfield, and was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was Craven Scholar in 1836.  The son of a wealthy banker, he was destined for a career in politics before choosing a path of ordained ministry. While hearing Ephesians 2 read in church in 1838, he felt a spiritual awakening and was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish priest, first at Helmingham and later at Stradbrooke, in Suffolk. He became a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England and was noted for his doctrinal essays and polemical writings.

jc-ryle-and-charles-spurgeonRyle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher. Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition. He was also credited with having success in evangelizing the blue-collar community. His second son, Herbert Edward Ryle also a clergyman, became Dean of Westminster.