Christian Fools!!! The Need for Evangelism in a Calvinistic Context, Part Three.

Written by A. W. Pink.
Edited for thought, sense and space.

evangelismIt won’t cause one hair in my head to go grey if I am inconsistent with any Calvinistic creed…

…the only thing that concerns me is to be consistent with the Holy Spirit, and to teach as the Holy Spirit shall enable, the whole counsel of God; to leave out nothing, to withhold nothing, and to give a proportionate presentation of God’s truth.

I believe that most of the theological errors of the past have grown out of, not so much a denial of God’s truth, as a disproportionate emphasis of it. Let me give you a simple illustration. The most comely countenance with the most beautiful features would soon become ugly if one feature were to grow while the others remained undeveloped. You can take the most beautiful baby there is in the world tonight and if that baby’s nose were to grow while its eyes and its cheeks and its mouth and its ears remained undeveloped, it would soon become unsightly. The same is true with every other member of its face.

For an instance, If a church does not evangelize it will fossilize.

That is God’s method of perpetuating His work and of maintaining His churches. God uses means, and the means that the Holy Spirit uses in His work is the preaching of the gospel to the unconverted, to every creature. True, the preaching will avail nothing without the Spirit’s blessing and application. True, no sinner will or can believe until God has quickened him. Yet he ought to, and is commanded to.

I am very much afraid that there are some who entertain the notion that all they have to do is just to sit still and wait until God comes and saves you. My friends, I do not know of a single promise of God that He will do so. I do not know of a single line in this Book that encourages you to continue in your sinful inactivity. I am going to speak very plainly now. The devil will tell you there is no cause for you to be concerned: there is not a bit of need for you to worry: if your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life you will be saved, whether you believe or no. That is the devil’s lie! It is not God’s truth. The devil will tell you that if you have been elected to salvation there is not a bit of need for you to be alarmed, disturbed or exercised; no need at all for you to seek and search after the Lord; that when God’s good time comes He is going to do it all for you: not a bit of good for you to read the Bible and cry out to Him: and if He has not elected you, well, there is no need for sure, for it’s useless.

Yes, the devil will speak in those tones and terms and he will come quoting Scripture to you. But there is no salvation for the sinner apart from his believing in Christ. I close with this quotation—2 Thessalonians 2:13, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through”—through what? “sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” That is how God saves. That is how God carries out His purpose—by the sanctification of the Spirit and by your belief of the truth.

And my friends, I have not limited God. God could, if He so chose, make the fields to grow crops without the farmer plowing them and sowing the seed, but that is not His way; that is not the method He selects. God could keep us in health and strength without our taking any food at all or wasting time in sleeping if He so chose, but that is not His way. And God could save every sinner on earth tonight without them believing if He wanted to, but it is not His way! I am not limiting God, I am describing to you the plan and method that God Himself has set forth in His Word, and if you would be saved, sinner, you have got to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for yourself. I say it reverently: the Holy Spirit won’t believe for you. The Holy Spirit may put it into your heart and give you the desire to believe. If you have the desire it is because He has put it there, but He won’t believe for you: believing is a human act. It is the sinner himself, in all his wretchedness and need, coming to Christ, as a drowning man clutches a straw, and as the old hymn says—

“Just as I am without one plea, But that thy blood was shed for me.”

O sinner, Christ is saying to you, “O fools and slow of heart to believe all.” You do believe much as you sit there. There are some of you who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. There are some of you who believe that He is the only Saviour who can save any sinner. You believe that, then why not believe all? Why not believe in Him for yourself? Why not trust His precious blood for yourself; and why not now? God is ready to save you NOW if you believe on Him. The blood has been shed, the sacrifice has been offered, the atonement has been made, the feast has been spread. The call goes out to you, “Come, for all things are NOW ready” (Luke 14:17). And I say again, the devil will tell you as you are sitting there, “There is no need for me to come right now; I will just wait till God gets ready to come and save me.” How do you know that while you are waiting death may not come and smite you down? “Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Pro 27:1). The Holy Spirit saith, “Today if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). Yes, man can “harden” his heart: God says so; and God calls to you: “Harden not your heart.” That is something you do yourself—not the devil—you do it. God is speaking to you through His Word tonight. O may His grace forbid that He shall say our text to any of you after you have left this room. O God forbid that you should be among those “fools” who believe not all. You do believe that Christ is God’s appointed Saviour for sinners, why not as your Saviour? O may the Spirit draw you by the cords of love to that One who has said, “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

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Taken from, “Christian Fools” Written by A. W. Pink.

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.

NO CREDIT ? … NO PROBLEM ! Or, Don’t pretend that your unworthiness and inability keeps you away from God.

Written by Richard Sibbes

“And this is the will of him who sent me,
that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me,
but raise it up on the last day.” 

–John 6:39 (ESV)

111Don’t pretend that your unworthiness and inability keeps you away from God…

…for this is the way to keep you aware.  If any thing help us, it must be God; and if ever he help us, it must be by casting ourselves upon him: for then he will reach out himself unto us in the promise of mercy to pardon our sin, and in the promise of grace to sanctify our natures.  It was a good resolution of the lepers,  “If we enter into the city, the famine is there, and we shall die”, say they; “if we sit still, we shall die also: let us therefore fall into the host of Assyrians, if they save us, we shall live; if they kill us, we shall but die.”

So we should reason: if we sit still under the load of our sin, we shall die; if we put ourselves into the hands of Christ, if he save us, we shall live; if he save us not, we shall but die. No, surely he will not suffer us to die. 

Did ever Christ thrust any back from him, that put themselves upon him?  Unless it were by that means to draw them nearer to him, as we see in the woman of Canaan, His denial was but to increase her recourse.  We should therefore do as she did, gather all arguments to help our faith… 

Suppose I am a dog, says she,
…yet I am one of the family, and therefore have right to the crumbs that fall. 

So, Lord, I have been a sinner,
…yet I am thy creature; and not only so, but such a creature as you have set over the rest of the works of your hands;

And not only so, but one whom you have introduced into your Church by baptism,
…whereby you would bind me to give myself unto you and your family beforehand;

And more than this, you have brought me under other means of grace,
…and by doing so, you have showed your will concerning my turning towards you. 

You have not only offered me conditions of peace,
…but you have wooed me by your ministers to give up myself unto you, as yours in your Christ.

Therefore, I dare not suspect your good meaning towards me, or question your intent,
…but I therefore, resolve by your grace, to take your counsel, and put myself upon your mercy. 

I cannot think, if you had meant to cast me away, and not to own me for your own,
…that you would have ever kindled these desires in me.

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Taken from the “Soul’s Conflict with Itself and Victory Over Itself by Faith” by Richard Sibbes
Edited for thought and sense.

Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Richard Sibbes (or Sibbs) (1577–1635) was an English theologian. He is known as a Biblical exegete, and as a representative, with William Perkinsand John Preston, of what has been called “main-line” Puritanism.

He was the author of several devotional works expressing intense religious feeling — The Saint’s Cordial (1629), The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax (1631, exegesis of Isaiah 42:3), The Soules Conflict (1635), etc. The clerical leaders of the Feoffees, Davenport, Gouge and Sibbes, all adhered to Calvinist covenant theology, as shaped by the English theologians Perkins, Preston, William Ames, and Thomas Taylor.

His works were much read in New England. Thomas Hooker, prominent there from 1633, was directly influenced by Sibbes, and his “espousal theology”, using marriage as a religious metaphor, draws on The Bruised Reed and Bowels Opened. Sibbes was cited by the Methodist John Wesley. The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon studied his craft in Sibbes, Perkins and Thomas Manton. The evangelical Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote in the highest terms of his own encounter with the work of Sibbes.

 

Christian Fools!!! False Tensions of the Gospel, Part Two.

Written by A. W. Pink

cartoon-preacher2There are multitudes of preachers whose theology is narrower than the teachings of the Bible.

Then, I say, away to the winds with those human systems of theology, especially those which are narrower than Scripture. For example, there are men today who read God’s Word, and they see that the gospel is to be preached to every creature, and that God commands all who hear that gospel to believe in Christ; then they come across some texts on election, predestination:—“many are called but few are chosen” (Mat 22:14), and they say, Well, I cannot harmonize this. I cannot see how it is possible to preach, unhampered, a gospel to every creature, and yet for election to be true. And because they cannot harmonize the two things, they neither believe the two doctrines nor will they preach both. They cannot harmonize a predetermined election with a gospel that is to be preached to every creature, and so the Arminians preach the gospel but they leave out election.

Yes, but there are many Calvinists who equally come under the rebuke of our text. They believe in the sovereignty of God, but they refuse to believe in the responsibility of man. I read a book by a hyper-Calvinist only a few weeks ago, by a man whose shoe-latchet the present speaker in many things is not fit to stoop down and unloose—a man of God, a faithful servant of His, one from whom I have learned not a little—and yet he had the effrontery to say, that responsibility is the most awful word in the English language, and then went on to tirade against human responsibility.

They cannot understand how that it is possible for God to fix the smallest and the greatest events, and yet not to infringe upon man’s accountability—men themselves choosing the evil and rejecting the good—and therefore because they cannot see both they will only believe in one.

Listen! If man were nothing more than clay in the hands of the Potter there would be no difficulty. Scripture affirms in Romans 9 that man is clay in the hands of the Potter, but that only gives you one aspect of the truth. That emphasizes the absoluteness of God’s control over all the works and creatures of His hands; but from other Scriptures we learn that man is something more than lifeless clay. Man has been endowed with understanding; man has been given a will. Yes, I freely admit that his understanding is darkened; I fully allow that his will is in bondage; but they are still there; they have not been destroyed. If man was nothing more than a block of wood or a block of stone, it would be easy to understand how that God could fix the place that he was to occupy and the purpose that he was to fulfill; but, my friends, it is very far from easy to understand how that God can shape and direct all history and yet leave man fully responsible and not infringe upon his accountability.

Now there are some who have devised a very simple but a most unsatisfactory method of getting rid of the difficulty, and that is to deny its existence. There are Arminians who have presented the “free-will” of man in such a way as to virtually dethrone God, and I have no sympathy whatever with their system. On the other hand, there have been some Calvinists who have presented a kind of fatalism (I know not what else to term it) reducing man to nothing more than a block of wood, exonerating him of all blame and excusing him for his unbelief. But they are both equally wrong, and I scarcely know which is the more mischievous of the two. When the Calvinist says,

All things happen according to the predestination of God.

I heartily say Amen, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but if the Arminian says that when a man sins the sin is his own, and that if he continues sinning he will surely perish, and that if he perishes his blood is on his own head, then I believe the Arminian speaks according to God’s truth; though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The trouble is when we tie ourselves down to a theological system.

Now listen a little more closely still. When the Calvinist says that faith is the gift of God and that no sinner ever does or can believe until God gives him that faith, I heartily say Amen; but when the Arminian says that the gospel commands all who hear it to believe, and that it is the duty of every sinner to believe, I also say Amen. What? you say, You are going to stand up and preach faith-duty—duty-faith? I know that is jolting to some of you. Now bear with me patiently for a moment and I will try and not shock you too badly. Whose is the gospel? It is God’s. Whose voice is it that is heard speaking in the gospel? It is God’s. To whom has God commanded the gospel to be preached? To every creature. What does the gospel say to every creature? It says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Act 16:31). It says, “whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Joh 3:16). It says, “the gospel of Christ…is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Rom 1:16). God commands, not invites. God commands every man, woman and child that hears that gospel to believe it, for the gospel is true; therefore it is the duty of every man to believe what God has said. Let me give you the alternative. If it is not the duty of every sinner to believe the gospel, then it is his duty not to believe it—one or the other. Do you mean to tell me it is the duty of an unconverted sinner to reject the gospel? I am not talking now about his ability to believe it.

Some of you say, Well how can it be his duty to believe it, when he cannot do so? Is it his duty to do an impossibility? Well, listen! Is my duty, is my responsibility measured by my ability, by my power to perform? Here is a man who has ordered a hundred pounds’ worth of furniture; he receives it, and he is given thirty days’ credit in which to pay for it; but during the next thirty days he squanders his money, and at the end of the month he is practically bankrupt. When the firm presents their bill to him, he says, “I am sorry but I am unable to pay you.” He is speaking the truth. “I am unable; it does not lie within my power to pay you.” Would the head of that business house say, “All right, that ends the matter then: sorry to hear that you do not have the power, but evidently we cannot do anything.” No, my friend, ability does not measure our responsibility. Man is responsible to do many things that he is not able to do. You that are Christians are responsible to live a sinless life, for God says to you, “Awake to righteousness and sin not” (1 Cor. 15:34), and in the first Epistle of John we read, “these things write I unto you, that ye sin not” (1 John 2:1). God sets before you and me a standard of holy perfection. There is not one of us that is capable of measuring up to it, but that is our responsibility, and that is what we are going to be measured by when we stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.

Now then there are many Arminian preachers who are afraid to preach sermons on certain texts of the Bible. They would be afraid to stand up and preach from John 6:44—“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” They would be afraid to stand up and preach from Romans 9:18—“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Yes, and it is also true that there are many Calvinist preachers who are equally afraid to preach from certain texts of the Scriptures lest their orthodoxy be challenged and lest they be called Freewillers. They are afraid to stand up and preach, for example, on the words of the Lord Jesus: “how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Mat 23:37). Or on such a verse as this: “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Mat 11:12); or “Strive (agonize) to enter in at the strait gate” (Luk 13:24). And to show you that I am not imagining things, I am just going to read you three lines. Listen! “At the meeting at…[I will leave out the name] on January 15th last, the question was asked to the effect: Had not some of our ministers for the sake of orthodoxy abstained from preaching from certain texts, and the answer was in the affirmative.” I am reading now from a Strict Baptist magazine! That was a meeting of Strict Baptist preachers and they were honest enough to admit, themselves, that because they were afraid of their orthodoxy being challenged, they were silent on certain texts of Scripture. O may God remove from all of us the fear of man.

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Taken from, “Christian Fools” Written by A. W. Pink.

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 Law, When it Knows Not the Gospel… Or, Judgmentalism vs. Grace

repenting-sinnerMay I tell you of a minister who loudly preached the law and sternly pronounced the judgment of the Lord against what he considered every form of evil?

He had a beautiful daughter, who was lured into forbidden ways. A more simple-minded, trustful child never blessed the fireside of any home. But she was led away. Not all at once did she take the great leap into the terrible darkness; she traversed a gently inclined plane. Could she have spoken freely to her father, she would never have gone so far; but when she did speak to him, he received her at the point, the cold sharp point, of the law. He did not understand her tears! He knew not that righteousness must be merciful if it would be complete. He was stern, hard, upright man who weighed and measured everything by law, and turned the gospel itself into redemption of arithmetic.

This child left him.

She soon felt the cold and the darkness, the bitter hunger and the sharp pain of those who are the servants of sin. In much suffering –such suffering as tears the heart in secret and goads the brain to madness,” she turned her steps towards her father’s house, and asked me on the way to plead for her. I cannot forget her woe-worn face; there were great red rings round her beautiful eyes,” eyes which should have been full of light, of young hope and girlish merriment. She was old too soon; she had drunk of the cup of which if any woman drink she can never be young again.

She came to me. The night was darkened by great rains, which fell through a keen north wind, and yet she had but little on to keep out the sharpness of the harsh night. She stammered out that she was tired and sad and penitent, and that she longed to tell her father so, and die in her mother’s chair.

I hastened to him. I never went so quickly anywhere in my life–to tell him that he might rise at once almost to heaven, for his child, so long-lost, was at the door.

“I cannot see her, sir; no wicked person shall dwell in my sight.”

“But she is penitent.”

“She must prove that before I can receive her.”

“Sir ! do you talk so about your poor, weary, shamed child? See her but for a moment, and you will pity her misery.”

“Sir,” said he in a hard legal tone, “the way of transgressors is hard.”

“Sir,” said I, “am ashamed of you. Such hearts as yours never knew the gospel of Jesus Christ; you were never in Gethsemane” you were never on Calvary. Your poor, wronged, sinning, broken-hearted child will be in heaven, upon the breast of the living God, and you yourself will be justly thrust down to hell.”

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

–Dr. Joseph Parker.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Joseph Parker (9 April 1830 – 28 November 1902) was an English Congregational minister.  In the revolutionary years from 1845 to 1850 young Parker as a local preacher and temperance orator gained a reputation for vigorous utterance. He was influenced byThomas Cooper, the Chartist, and Edward Miall, the Liberationist, and was much associated with Joseph Cowen, afterwards MP for Newcastle upon Tyne.

At the time, he was wooing a local girl — Ann Nesbitt, daughter of William Nesbitt, a farmer of Horsley–on–Tyne. He referred to her as “Annie, the soul I loved, the girl that saved me, and made me a man”. Horsley was about ten miles from Hexham, and he became acquainted with the Nesbitts through his preaching there, and Mr Nesbitt, a trustee and deacon of Horsley Congregational Church was especially interested in the young preacher, who, on Sunday nights, brought them the news of the town and slept in a “snug little chamber” in the old farmhouse.

In the spring of 1852 Joseph Parker. wrote to Dr John Campbell, minister of Whitefield Tabernacle, Moorfields, London, for advice as to entering the Congregational ministry, and after a short probation he became Campbell’s assistant. He also attended lectures in logic and philosophy at University College London. From 1853 to 1858 he was pastor at Banbury. His next charge was at Cavendish Street, Manchester, where he rapidly made himself felt as a power in English Nonconformity. While here he published a volume of lectures entitled Church Questions, and, anonymously, Ecce Deus (1868), a work provoked by Seeley’s Ecce Homo. The University of Chicago conferred on him the degree of D.D.

In 1869, he returned to London as minister of the Poultry church, founded by Thomas Goodwin. Almost at once he began the scheme which resulted in the erection of the great City Temple in Holborn Viaduct. It cost £70,000, and was opened on 19 May 1874. From this centre his influence spread far and wide. His stimulating and original sermons, delivered with a ready command of vigorous English, made him one of the best known personalities of his time

When it is not Your Fault

healing_of_the_blind_man_jekelAs Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His followers asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused this man to be born blind—his own sin or his parents’ sin?” Jesus answered, “It is not this man’s sin or his parents’ sin that made him blind. This man was born blind so that God’s power could be shown in him.

–John 9:1-3

CAPTAIN WORDSWORTH,

The youngest brother of the poet, perished most unhappily at the very outset of the voyage he meant to be his last. It happened off the coast of Dorsetshire, in the East India Company’s ship “Abergavenny.”

In reality it was the pilot, the incompetent pilot, who caused the fatal catastrophe. “0 pilot, you have ruined me!” were amongst the last words that Captain Wordsworth was heard to utter.”

Pathetic words, and fit for him, “a meek man and brave,” to use in addressing a last reproach to one who, not through misfortune or overruling will of Providence, but through miserable conceit and unprincipled levity, had brought total ruin upon so many gallant countrymen.

Captain Wordsworth might have saved his own life, but the perfect loyalty of his nature to the claims upon him, that supreme fidelity to duty which is so often found amongst men of his profession, kept him to the last upon the wreck. –De Quincey

There are many right now, who are trapped in unfortunate situations of life not because of any sin which they committed, not because of some general misfortune, not because of some overruling will of Providence that occurred out of the blue, something which we might today describe as an “act of God,” but rather because of someone else’ sin.

Is that person you?

Do you ask yourself why me? Are you just a bit tempted to be more than a little bitter about it. Do you imagine the life you could have had and find yourself often living in the valley of “vain regrets”?

We will never know all the reasons why some things happen, at least, not on this side of heaven. But there are reasons. Valid reasons. Reasons only God knows about. Whatever happened to you or your loved one was not an accident. Oh, it may seem like an accident to you. It may seem like an unfortunate occurrence, such as a random act of wickedness. But to God, it was not an accident.

May I speak a pastoral word to you? I want to tell you that God is in control. His hand is at the wheel. He is controlling the ship. No incompetence here. No being asleep on watch. Oh, there are incidents that occur, to be sure. Bad incidents, things that are appalling, things that we could not explain in a million years. But let me again remind you that God IS in control…and he loves you. When you hurt, or your loved one, it matters to him. When you cry, he writes them down in his book, he counts your tears. “You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” –Psalms 56:8. And God always listens, it doesn’t matter, if you stutter or stammer, it doesn’t matter if you are weeping so hard that you are not even coherent… he is listening to you anyways. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to polish those desperate thoughts, those hurting thoughts and then he presents them to the Father on your behalf, along with the blood of Jesus.

Finally, may I gently point out that, as Christians, you, or your loved one, is going to make it. He has promised that. Whether it be here, or whether it be at your rebirth into heaven, You heavenly father, your heavenly brother, and the Holy Spirit is with you, even until the end of the age. Even though you cannot see them, even though you cannot make sense of what is happening to you, or to your loved one, just remember that you will never be left to walk alone.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

And believe me, we Christians are always called according to his purpose!

And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. Lamentations 3:18-26

 

Christian Fools!!! Walking by Reason rather than by Faith, Part One.

Written by A. W. Pink

funny business manWalking by Reason rather than by Faith

Those words were spoken by Christ on the day of His resurrection…

…spoken not to worldlings but to Christians. That which occasioned them was this. The disciples to whom He was speaking were lopsided in their theology: they believed a certain part of God’s truth and they refused to believe another part of the truth that did not suit them; they believed some Scriptures but they did not believe all that the prophets had spoken, and the reason they did not was because they were unable to harmonize the two different parts of God’s truth. They were like some people today: when it comes to their theology; they walk by reason and by logic rather than by faith.

In the Old Testament there were many prophecies concerning the coming Messiah that spoke of His glory. If there was one thing the Old Testament prediction made plain, it was that the Messiah of Israel should be GLORIOUS. It spoke of His power, His honor, His majesty, His dominion, His triumphs. But on the other hand, there were many prophecies in the Old Testament that spoke of a suffering Messiah, that portrayed His humiliation, His degradation, His rejection, His death at the hands of wicked men. And these Disciples of Christ believed the former set of prophecies, but they would not believe in the second: they could not see how it was possible to harmonize the two. If the coming Messiah was to be a glorious Messiah, possessing power and majesty and dominion: if He would be triumphant, then how could He, at the same time, be a suffering Messiah, despised, humiliated, rejected of men? And because the disciples could not fit the two together, because they were unable to harmonize them, they refused to believe both, and Christ told them to their faces that they were fools. He says, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe ALL that the prophets have spoken.”

I suppose some of us have wondered how it was possible for these disciples, these followers of Christ, who had been privileged to be with Him during His public ministry and those who had been so intimate with Him, had been instructed by Him, had witnessed His wonderful miracles; how it was possible for such men to err so grievously and to act so foolishly. And yet we need not be surprised; the same thing is happening all around us today. Christendom tonight is full of men and women who believe portions of God’s truth, but who do not believe all that the prophets have spoken.  

Christendom tonight is full of men and women that the Son of God says are “fools” because of their slowness of heart to believe.

Now very likely this will make some of my hearers angry: probably they are the ones who most need the rebuke of the text. When a servant of God wields the sword of the Spirit, if he does his work faithfully and effectively, then some are bound to get cut and wounded: and, my friends, that is always God’s way. God always wounds before He heals. And I want to remind you at the outset that this text is no invention of mine. These are the words of One who never wounded unnecessarily, but they are also the words of the True and Faithful Witness who never hesitated to preach the whole truth of God, whether men would receive it or whether they would reject it. I know it is not a pleasant thing to be called a fool, especially if we have a high regard for ourselves and rate our own wisdom and orthodoxy very highly—it wounds our pride. But we need to be wounded, all of us. We need to be humbled; we need to be rebuked; we need to have that word from the lips of Christ which is as a two-edged sword.

Now notice, dear friends, that Christ did not upbraid these disciples because they did not understand, but because of their lack of faith. The trouble with them was they reasoned too much. Very likely they prided themselves on their logical minds and said, Well, surely we are not asked to believe impossibilities and absurdities: both of these cannot be true; one is true and the other cannot be. Either the Messiah of Israel is going to be a glorious and a triumphant Messiah, or else He is going to be a rejected and a humiliated one: they cannot both be true. That is why Christ said to them—not because of their failure to understand, but because of their lack of faith—“O fools, and slow of heart to believe ALL that the prophets have spoken.”

I am afraid that today there are many who only believe what they can understand…

…and if there is something else that they cannot understand, they do not believe it. If they have devised to themselves a systematized theology (or more probably they have adopted someone else’s system of theology), and they hear a sermon (no matter how much Scripture there may be in it) which they cannot fit into their little system of theology, they won’t have it. They place a higher value on consistency than they do on fidelity. That is just what was the matter with these disciples: they could not see the consistency of the two things and therefore they were only prepared to believe the one.

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Taken from, “Christian Fools” Written by A. W. Pink.

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 False Faith of Fear

Written by John Bunyan
Taken from the Works of John Bunyan, Volume 1, “The Desire of the Righteous Granted”,
Edited for thought and sense.

shield-of-faith-against-the-fiery-darts.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; 

whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?” 
–Psalm 27:1 (ESV)
.
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The righteous are not without their fears…

…for all their life long. Through fear of death, they, some of them, are all their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb 2:15). But as the desires of the wicked shall be frustrate, so shall also the fears of the godly; hence you have them admonished, yea commanded, not to be afraid neither of devils, death, nor hell; for the fear of the righteous shall not come upon them to eternal damnation (Isa 35:4, 41:10-14, 43:1, 44:28; Luke 8:50, 12:32; Rev 1:17).

‘The desire of the righteous shall be granted.’

No, they are not to fear what sin can do unto them, nor what all their sins can do unto them; I do not say they should not be afraid of sinning, nor of those temporal judgments that sin shall bring upon them, for of such things they ought to be afraid, as saith the Psalmist, ‘My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments’ (Psa 119:120). But of eternal ruin, of that, they ought not to be afraid of with slavish fear.  ‘Wherefore should I fear,’ said the prophet, ‘in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?’ (Psalm 49:5). And again, ‘Ye have done all this wickedness, yet turn not aside from following the Lord; – for the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake’ (1 Sam 12:20-22).

The reason is, because the righteous are secured by their faith in Christ Jesus; also their fears stand upon a mistake of the nature of the covenant, in which they are wrapped up, which is ordered for them in all things, and sure (2 Sam 23:5; Isa 55:3). Besides, God has purposed to magnify the riches of his grace in their salvation; therefore goodness and mercy shall, to that end, follow them all the days of their life, that they may ‘dwell in the house of the Lord for ever’ (Psalm 23:6; Eph 1:3-7). They have also their intercessor and advocate ready with God, to take up matters for them in such a way as may maintain true peace betwixt their God and them; and as may encourage them to be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto them at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1Peter 1:13; 1 John 2:1,2).

Wherefore, though the godly have their fears, yes, sometimes dreadful fears, and even that of perishing for ever and ever; yet the day is coming, when their fears and tears shall be done away, and when their desires only shall be granted. ‘The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon them; but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.’

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Meet the author and a part of your Christian Heritage: John Bunyan ( 1628 – 1688) was an English Christian writer and preacher. He is the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, arguably the most famous published Christian allegory. In addition to The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons.

Bunyan faced legal challenges to fulfilling his calling but did not make any concessions to the authorities. As a dissenter who was not ordained in the Church of England he was unlicensed to preach. He preferred to face and endure twelve years of imprisonment at great sacrifice to himself and his family, rather than resign himself to giving up preaching. Although he has been described both as a Baptist and as a Puritan, he himself preferred to be described simply as a Christian.