Sinners Worse than those in Sodom and Gomorrah

If the mighty works, which have been done in thee [Capernaum], had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Matthew 11:23-24

Sodom and Gomorrah were given an opportunity. Read the story in Genesis 19. But consider what the names of these cities suggest to us; Sodom has become a symbol of everything that is false and ugly in man as the result of the Fall. Sodom and Gomorrah suggest profligacy, born in the very gutters of sin, with marauders walking the streets with eyes that stand out in lasciviousness—those were the characteristics of the life there. Now what our Lord said in Matthew 11 was that the case of Capernaum and Chorazin and Bethsaida was worse than that of those Old Testament cities.

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 07:48 -- john_hendryx

Fear of God or Fear of Man?

by C. H. Spurgeon

“Fear not, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will help you, says the LORD, and your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” – Isaiah 41:14.

Make a man afraid—he will flee at his own shadow. Make a man brave and he will stand before an army and overcome them! He will never do much good in the world who is afraid of men. The fear of God brings blessings, but the fear of men brings a snare, and such a snare that many feet have been tripped! No man shall be faithful to God if he is fearful of man. No man shall find his arm sufficient for him and his might equal to his emergencies unless he can confidently believe and quietly wait. We must not fear, for fear is weakening. . .

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 14:55 -- john_hendryx

12 Prayers for God to Bring Your Friends to Know Christ

"Unless the Holy Ghost blesses the Word, we who preach the gospel are of all men most miserable, for we have attempted a task that is impossible. We have entered on a sphere where nothing but the supernatural will ever avail. If the Holy Spirit does not renew the hearts of our hearers, we cannot do it. If the Holy Ghost does not regenerate them, we cannot. If He does not send the truth home into their souls, we might as well speak into the ear of a corpse." - C. H. Spurgeon

If you have a heart for friends and family whom you’d like to see come to know Christ as their Savior, it is imperative to join your gospel witness to them with prayers from Scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 declares that God’s word is sharper than a double-edged sword.  As you pray for your friend(s) using Scripture, you’re joining with the truth God has already spoken and thinking your thoughts after God on their behalf.

The 12 prayers below ask God to work in the life of the person you’re praying for in a saving way, and they tie your prayers with a relevant Scripture passage.

1. Gracious God, in you great mercy, set my friend  ______ free from spiritual captivity. Grant repentance to _____ leading them to a saving knowledge of the truth, that they may escape from the snare of the devil having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Tim 2:23, 26) Enable me to gently instruct ______  when he/she is in opposition to you,

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 18:18 -- john_hendryx

How May I Know I Am Saved?

A. W. Pink answers the question this way:

First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced. Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty, and lost condition. Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope. Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me - a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ. Fifth, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it. Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God's Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness. Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces and using all diligence to this end. Thus the knowledge of election is cumulative."

Visitor: What if someone (not myself) does not find in their life these signs that they are among the elect? Should they then conclude that they are not elect, and despair? After all, if they are not elect they are wasting their time trying to repent, according to this kind of theology. Or should they do what the Bible tells them to do, repent and turn to Christ? Should they believe the truth in it which some seem to deny, that "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved", whether or not they exhibit any signs of being elect?

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 17:04 -- john_hendryx

Excuses For Not Praying

by D.A. Carson

Pages 111-121

I Am Too Busy

Lillian Guild tells an amusing story of an occasion when she and her husband were driving along and happened to notice a late-model Cadillac with its hood up, parked at the side of the road. Its driver appeared somewhat perplexed and agitated. Mrs. Guild and her husband pulled over to see if they could offer assistance. The stranded driver hastily and somewhat sheepishly explained that he had known when he left home that he was rather low on fuel, but he had been in a great hurry to get to an important business meeting so he had not taken time to full up his tank. The Cadillac needed nothing more than refueling. The Guilds happened to have a spare gallon of fuel with them, so they emptied it into the thirsty Cadillac, and told the other driver of a service station a few miles down the road. Thanking them profusely, he sped off.

Twelve miles or so later, they saw the same car. Hood up, stranded at the side of the road. The same driver, no les bemused than the first time, and even more agitated, was pathetically grateful when they pulled over again. You guessed it: he was in such a hurry for his business meeting that he had decided to skip the service station and press on in the dim hope that the gallon he had received would take him to his destination.

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 16:33 -- john_hendryx

What sins are we to turn from, there are so many of them?

Visitor: What sins are we to turn from there are so many of them?

Response:  Thanks for your inquiry.  As for what sins to turn from, fist and foremost, by grace, you must turn from trusting in your own righteousness and turn to trusting in Christ and and His righteousness alone.  That means salvation comes to those who are stripped of all self-sufficiency and trust only in the sufficiency of Christ to save them.  This is the basis or foundation for repenting of all other sin because, in it, one recognizes that all repentance is impossible apart from Christ and the Spirit working repentance in them.  Once a person, through the illumination of the Spirit, realizes that they have zero ability to repent on their own, that they are without strength, impotent of themselves to repent, then and only then do they begin to faithfully understand Christ's salvation as revealed in the Scriptures.  We must first lose all hope in ourselves THEN when our hope is in Christ all things are possible. The new birth means God's seed abides in a person and obeying God's commands are no longer burdensome (1 John 5:2-4).

With this in mind, I recommend the following helpful meditation by J. C. Ryle:

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 13:05 -- john_hendryx

Why Some People Lose Faith

by Steve Hays

Why do folks like Bart Ehrman lose their faith? There are different reasons people lose faith. In some cases, it's due to a personal tragedy, or succumbing to sexual temptation.
According to Ehrman:
A turning point came in my second semester, in a course I was taking with a much revered and pious professor named Cullen Story…we had to write a final term paper on an interpretive crux of our own choosing. I chose a passage in Mark 2…
In my paper for Professor Story, I developed a long and complicated argument to the effect that even though Mark indicates this happened "when Abiathar was the high priest," it doesn't really mean that Abiathar was the high priest, but that the event took place in the part of the scriptural text that has Abiathar as one of the main characters. My argument was based on the meaning of the Greek words involved and was a bit convoluted. I was pretty sure Professor Story would appreciate the argument, since I knew him as a good Christian scholar who obviously (like me) would never think there could be anything like a genuine error in the Bible. But at the end of my paper he made a simple one-line comment that for some reason went straight through me. He wrote: "Maybe Mark just made a mistake." I started thinking about it, considering all the work I had put into the paper, realizing that I had had to do some pretty fancy exegetical footwork to get around the problem, and that my solution was in fact a bit of a stretch. I finally concluded, "Hmm . . . maybe Mark did make a mistake." 
Sun, 05/08/2016 - 11:59 -- john_hendryx

Elect Exiles of the Diaspora

"To those who are elect exiles of the Diaspora..." 1 Peter 1:1

The Elect: the objects of God's undeserved mercy - rebellious sinners who are privileged, through no merit of their own, to have received God's sovereign, gracious, eternal choice to be adopted in His family in Christ (Eph 1:4-9) 

Exiles:  emphasizing the transitory nature of the sojourner's time in this age.  As exiles, those in Christ live and function in this fallen world away from their true home in the age to come where Christ reigns in glory,  where the dwelling place of God is with men, where heaven comes to earth and where He makes all things new.

The Diaspora:  a Greek word which referred to Jews living outside Israel. (ex. in Babylon)  In 1 Peter the apostle uses the same term to refer to Christians who live scattered throughout the world and are awaiting their Lord to return and visibly reign over the earth, as the waters cover the sea.

Meditating on these words brings increased clarity to what follows in Peter's epistle.   With that in mind, now read how the Holy Spirit continues to instruct us in the passage about who we are, how we are to think, and what we are to do during our temporary time of exile in this fallen world:

Sat, 05/07/2016 - 19:43 -- john_hendryx

Praying for Magistrates and for All in Authority

by John Calvin

We must not only pray for the faithful, who are our brothers already, but for those who are very far off, those poor unbelievers.  Even though there seems to be a great distance and a thick wall between both, nevertheless we must have pity for their coming destruction, to the end that I may pray to God that he would draw them unto him.  Since this is so, let us notice how backward a thing it is for every man to be committed to his own profit, and have no regard to his neighbors.  For our Lord God has not created infinite worlds, for every man to dwell apart by himself, seeking nothing but his own private commodity.  Instead he has placed us together, one with another.  Since he makes us to dwell together, he has also bound us to think upon this, how we ought to communicate with our neighbors.  And therefore he has made us of one nature.  When I look upon a man, I cannot but behold my own image in him; and in seeing him I look upon myself and know myself in him.  Moreover and beside this, there is another thing even more worthy to be considered, namely, the image of God which he has ingrained in us.  Therefore if we bear any reverence and honor to God, it is good reason for us not to despise his image which he has ingrained in all men; and know what is said in the Scripture: that no man hates his own flesh, for it is a monstrous thing, and clearly against humanity.  And when it speaks of flesh, this is extended to great and small, and to the greatest stranger in the word; as the prophet Isaiah also says (Isaiah 5:7).  We see that God has joined us together upon this condition, that every one of us should employ himself to serve his neighbors as much as he can, and how he may.  And we must do this in our prayers to God, for it i

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 15:50 -- john_hendryx

The Bible's Description of Man's Condition Evidences the Divine Inspiration of Scripture

“An incomprehensibly holy God with such a hatred of sin would never have been conceived of by any of Adam’s fallen descendants because this would have required an admission of guilt.... The description of God's holiness of foreign to man-made gods found in mythology and false systems of religion. This further evidences the divine inspiration of Scripture. People, by nature, do not really want to believe in God's holiness as described in the Scriptures. Fallen man wants to emphasize personally beneficial attributes ahead of those that do not serve his interests." - Keith Knell.

I agree. This is one of the best evidences for the truth of Scripture. The God of the Bible does not just go after "others" out there and create some kind of us versus them mentality. No. It directly targets all of us in a sweeping judgment of our rebellion against God. If any are saved it is by their sheer mercy of God in Jesus Christ (Rom. 9:15, 16), not because we were better than others. This teaching goes so against the grain of human nature that it rings genuine. When you look at mythologies and other religions in the world, without fail they somehow prop up man and his pride.  They point to human attainment rather than divine accomplishment because men are, by nature, prideful and it goes against ever fiber in our being to acknowledge our  helpless and spiritually bankrupt state.  In the Old Testament the LORD knew that Israel would be tempted to be prideful because he chose them over others so he makes certain they know that it had nothing to do with them, stripping them of all possibility of boasting over others.  God declared:

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 13:14 -- john_hendryx


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