Friday, September 24, 2010

Signs of a Dying or Decaying Christian

1. When you are so indifferent to public worship, or frequenting the church of God, that you can be satisfied to come, or not come, at your own pleasure.

2. When, in your most solemn worship, you are quickly weary without warrantable cause.

3. When few sermons will please you; either you like not the matter, or manner, or man, or place.

4. When you think you know enough.

5. When a small occasion will keep you from Christ’s table, or communion with the church of God.

6. When you have usually no great desire for prayer.

7. When reading the Holy Scriptures is more burdensome than delightful.

8. When you are very inquisitive after novelties or new things, rather than wholesome doctrine.

9. When you are so little prepared for the solemn assemblies, that they come before you think of them, or long for them.

10. When you come to the assembly more for fear of the brethren's eye, than Christ’s omniscient and all-piercing eye.

11. When you will rather betray the name of Christ Jesus and the credit of his gospel by your silence, than appear for it to your own suffering and disparagement.

12. When, at a small offence, you are usually so impatient that you commit great sin.

13. When you are more careful to get the words of Christ’s people than the spirit of Christ’s people,the form than the power.

14. When you are not much troubled at your own miscarriages, while they are kept from public view.

15. When you love least those Christians that deal most faithfully with you, in showing you your faults and pointing you to the remedy.

16. When you pray more that afflictions may be removed than sanctified.

17. When under God's calamity you find neither the need nor the benefit of humbling yourself by fasting and prayer.

18. When the thought of your bosom-lust, or any other sin, is more prevalent with you than pleasing God.

19. When you are curious about the lesser matters of God's law, and careless about the weightier.

20. When the Holy Spirit’s help to the great work of mortification seems not of absolute necessity to you.

21. When you are so ignorant of your spiritual standing that you know not whether you grow or decay.

22. When great sins seem smaller, and small sins seem none at all.

23. When a watchful care of a godly life and a Christian conversation is more accidental than habitual.

24. When care for your body is usually most pleasant, and care for your soul usually most irksome.

25. When you are much a stranger to the practical part of meditation on the word and works of God.

26. When the thoughts of a dying Jesus for your sins little dissuade you from an unchristian conversation.

27. When you can commit sin without pain, and reflect upon it with indifference.

28. When you find greater satisfaction in the company of the world than with the people of God.

George Burder (June 5, 1752—May 29, 1832)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Follow Me

John 10:27

We should follow our Lord as unhesitatingly as sheep follow their shepherd, for He has a right to lead us wherever He pleases. We are not our own, we are bought with a price-let us recognize the rights of the redeeming blood. The soldier follows his captain, the servant obeys his master, and so we must follow our Redeemer, to whom we are a purchased possession. We are not true to our profession of being Christians if we question the summons of our Leader and Commander. Submission is our duty; quibbling is our folly. Our Lord may say to us what he said to Peter, “What is that to you? You follow me!” Wherever Jesus may lead us, He goes before us. If we do not know where we go, we know with whom we go. With such a companion, who will dread the dangers of the journey? The road may be long, but his everlasting arms will carry us to the end. The presence of Jesus is the assurance of eternal salvation; because He lives, we will live also. We should follow Christ in simplicity and faith, because the paths in which He leads us all end in glory and immortality. It is true that they may not be smooth paths-they may be covered with sharp, flinty trials; but they lead to “the city that has foundations, whose designer and maker is God.” All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth to those who keep his covenant. Let us put our complete trust in our Leader, since we know that in prosperity or adversity, sickness or health, popularity or contempt, His purpose will be worked out, and that purpose will be clear, unmingled good to every heir of mercy. We will find it sweet to go up the bleak side of the hill with Christ’ and when rain and snow blow into our faces, His dear love will make us far more blessed than those who sit at home and warm their hands at the world’s fire. When Jesus draws us, we will run after Him. No matter where He leads us, we follow the Shepherd.

Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is God responsible for evil?

There is only one God, the true and the living God and He is Sovereign over all creation and He does fore-ordained whatever comes to pass. He is in control over every aspect of His creation. If a missionary is tortured and killed by wicked men, God did ordain it.

So is it wrong that God ordained for His saints to be cruelly tortured and killed for the gospel? Is it wrong for God to send a missionary to Peru to be martyred for the sake of the gospel? If God ordained these wicked and evil events, is God responsible for evil and wicked men doing wicked things? No. Man’s nature is depraved because of his own sin and he by his sinful nature loves the darkness, loves sin, loves selfishness, loves violence, and is a slave to it all. Because of his own willing sin, man is a slave to sin and a slave to their father the devil. The wicked man wants to kill but God, by His common grace, restrains evil in the world.

Think of it like this: If a man puts to rabid, stray dogs in a kennel and then throws one bone in the kennel, what will happen? Each vile, wretched dog will try to kill the other for the bone that it coveted. The same thing would happen if the same mad put a lion in a cage and then put a lamb in the cage with it. The lion, by nature, would devour the lamb. So, did the man who put the dogs together or the lion and lamb together responsible for their wickedness. By no means. The dogs and the lion have always wanted to kill, by their nature. The only reason they never killed before is because they lacked opportunity. The man who put the animals together never made them devour each other but the man did ordain that they would devour each other. The man always knew the wicked intentions of the dogs but restrained them in the past but now choose to leave them to their own wickedness.

It is the same way with God. God may ordain to do a might work in a man of God. He send the man and the man fulfills the will of God and God works through him. The entire time, God is restraining evil and wicked men from destroying this man of God. Then, when the saint’s work is done and it is time to bring him home, God releases his hold on the wicked men and the wicked men devour. In this, God is glorified and He uses the deeds of these wicked men for His glory and does many wonderful things from it. In fact, the church of Jesus Christ is built on the blood of the martyrs.

So God is not responsible for the wicked man’s actions but has ordained it for His glory. God just removed his restraint of the wicked man. God is not responsible for evil, man is. The only reason there is any peace on earth is because of God’s restraining grace on mankind. Thanks be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Signs of a Living or Growing Christian

PSA. 92:12

1. WHEN your chief delight is with the saints, especially them that excel in virtue. Psa. 16:3.

2. When the smitings of the righteous are not a burden to you, and you can hear of your faults with affectionate attention. Psa. 141:5.

3. When reproach for Christ makes you not ashamed of Christ. Mark 8:38; Heb. 11:26.

4. When wandering thoughts, in time of duty, find less entertainment than formerly. Psa. 139:23; 1 Cor. 13:11.

5. When length of standing in the profession of Christianity, works increase of hatred to all sin. Psa. 119:104-113.

6. When you carry about with you a constant jealousy over your own heart, that it turn not aside from God and goodness. Prov. 18:14.

7. When every known mercy begets new thankfulness, and that with delight. Psa. 145:2.

8. When known calamity in God's house begets deep sorrow in your heart. Neh. 1:4.

9. When, under deep distress or languishing, the word of God is precious to you. Psa. 119:92.

10. When any condition in the world, though in itself mean, as it comes from God is most welcome. Job 1:21; Hab. 3:17,18.

11. When your chief care, to avoid all sin, is as truly occasioned through fear of dishonoring God and
incurring his present displeasure, as of the wrath to come. Neh. 5:15; Gen. 39:9.

12. When every company is burdensome to you, that is not designing your Father's glory, but derogating
there from. Psa. 120:5; 2 Peter 2:7,8.

13. When the sins of others come so near your heart that you walk sadly to see such persons transgress
God's commandments. Psa. 119:136.

14. When the company of the pious poor is preferred to that of the ungodly rich.

15. When it is truly painful to you to see sinners going heedlessly on in the broad road to ruin.

16. When you are willing to part with all for Christ.

17. When the yoke of self-denial, as imposed by Christ Jesus, is not grievous, but pleasant to you.
Matt. 11:29,30 ; Mark 10:28.

18. When increase of time in Christ's acquaintance, works increase of delight in communion with Christ.
Psalm 92:12-14.

19. When the majesty of the great God, considering how visible you are in his sight, has an awful prevalence upon your heart. Job 31:4.

20. When you are at open war and constant hostility with bosom sin, as displeasing to God, and forbidden by his law. Psa. 18:23.

21. When you have a thirsting desire to get the power of godliness in your heart, rather than the form of
godliness in the head, or outward profession. 2 Cor. 1:12.

22. When the worship of God, agreeable to his word, is highly prized and faithfully practiced in the worst of times. Mal. 3:14-16.

23. When the soul is more hungry for the word of God, than the body is for temporal food. Job 23:12; Psa. 119:72,162.

George Burder (June 5, 1752—May 29, 1832)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Here we go again.

The Swiders and I met TJ in town Saturday night to hit the streets with the gospel. It seems that we may need to get a new fishing hole because the recurring theme has been people saying that we have already talked to them 3 or 4 times. This was the case with the first group of kids I talked to. I did a card trick for them and two of the kids said they knew me and I had already shared the gospel with them several times. I focused on the other three kids. One was an agnostic the other grew up in church and the middle kid was confused. We went through creation and the law and gospel. The agnostic kid bolted pretty quick but the others stayed and had questions. As we talked and I answered their questions they said they thought about the things of God a lot. I encouraged them to go home and read the gospel of John and see if what I was telling them was true. I told them not to believe me or anyone else before first comparing our words to Scripture. They said they would look into these things. On kid said he liked my approach because I never tried to relate to them, I just spoke plainly to them. I guess someone else came up to them on the street the other night and tried to relate to them by saying that he smoked pot. This "evangelist" that was trying to relate to them obviously had some very bad theology if he thought that by acting like a pagan and showing the pagans that he was no different than them would win their soul to Christ. Only God can save a soul and if God is in it then it will not matter what you look like or how relevant you are. When the Holy Spirit is working in the speaker and the hearer and they see that you genuinely care for their soul, they stop and listen. People who think you have to look like, act like, and be like the wicked kids on the street to witness to them have no understanding of the Sovereignty of God or the means by which God saves people. It drives me crazy. People don't want to see that you are them same as them, their life is messed up and they know it but don't know how to fix it. They need truth and the truth of the Gospel is the only thing that can change anyone.

I next walked into a group of kids and did a card trick and asked a girl what the cross she was wearing meant, as a way to lead into the gospel. Most of the kids then split but two of the 13 year old girls stayed. The one girl said she was a Christian but I had to help her with some answers. The other girl was not a Christian so I focused on her. She said our beliefs can change reality. So if we believed something to be true then it was. I asked her what would happen if we both went to the top of the building to jump from it and I believed in gravity and she didn't. She saw the point. We would both fall, no matter what we believed because truth is what matters not our belief. We talked for a while about the cross and Jesus Christ. They had questions but didn't seem too convicted but you never know. Seeds planted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Clown posse?

Well, we had a good night of sharing the gospel on the streets of Helena and we met some weird people and had some good conversations. This pictures is of a band that is apparently called the "insane clown posse". They are a demonically, twisted, wicked band. We met one of their biggest fans. This guy had most of his body tattooed and had piercings in places where you wouldn't think you could pierce, like his neck. His tattoos were of demons all over his face and body. His clothes were all advertising this demonic band. Now the funny thing is, is that he said he was a Christian. Now I don't hold his looks against him if he did all of this demonic stuff when he was a pagan but the sad thing is he loved his look. He said he was saved after an attempt to shoot himself in the head failed. Sounds like he is as bad a shot as my friend Killillay. The clown said that since his salvation his goal in life is to teach everyone that the "Insane clown posse" are actually a Christian band. I asked what was Christian about them and he said they talk about spirits but not Jesus. I started to get into the gospel and he left.

The girl he was talking to was now playing her guitar for us. She was good. Swider, who is an outstanding guitar player, borrowed her guitar and the two of them played for some time which attracted a crowd. This was good because I was able to share the gospel with them as they listened.

Earlier I saw two little 16 year old kids making out in public so I interrupted them and shared the gospel with them. They seemed depressed and said they received the same tract I gave them a few weeks ago. They were lost and not convicted.

I did share the gospel with another guy playing his guitar on the street. He was a Catholic. He was very pleasant and open to talking about the things of God. He was very active in the Catholic church but never knew what it took to get to heaven. I shared the biblical gospel and my testimony and we debated over some of the usual Catholic arguments but he was open. I focused on standing on Scripture alone to guide our beliefs instead of men. By the end, he admitted that he disagreed with the Catholics on some of their teachings and he said that sometimes the priests would say things that contradicted the Bible. It was a good conversation.