Bulletin Edition September 2017

What Religious Folks Really Hate
Acts 6: 11-14.

1. They said that he speaks blasphemy against Moses.  It is unheard of in scripture to blaspheme a man, only God can be blasphemed.  But that was the problem.  Their devotion to a dead prophet proved they hated the Lord whom Moses loved.  They would have stoned Moses just as they did Stephen.

2. They said that he speaks blasphemy against God. Stephen proclaimed that Jesus is the Son of God, one with God (v55-57.) Jesus Christ our Lord is both God and Man.  Those who reject Christ’s messengers reject Christ.  And those who reject Christ reject God.

3. They said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place.  Sinners love their places of worship more than the Lord of glory. Still do!  Vain religionists will enter a church building once a week, thinking they are more righteous for doing so. That is exactly why the Lord promised to destroy the temple and Jerusalem. It was all worthless.  That is why he promises to destroy this world and everything in it when he calls the last of his redeemed children home.

4. They said that he preaches, Against the law.  They hated that Stephen declared that the law of commandments was given for the purpose of showing sinners their dire need of a Savior and for restraining the unrighteous.  They hated that Stephen proclaimed that the ceremonial law had served the purpose of foreshadowing Christ our High Priest and our Lamb.  They could not understand how a believer follows Christ, led of the Spirit, not the flesh; how believers serve in newness of Spirit, not in the oldness of the letter.  They had a form of godliness but denied the power of Christ to dwell in and constrain the believer by love rather than law.

The Word strips man of his imaginary righteousness by declaring sinners are altogether a stench in God’s nostrils.  Religious men hate to be told they are unrighteous.  God chooses whom he will and passes by whom he will.  Sinners hate God’s sovereign right to do as he pleases.  Christ alone pleased God for his people. Sinners hate for someone else to receive the glory they covet.  The Holy Spirit must regenerate and draw a sinner to Christ.  Sinners hate to be told they can not do anything to bring themselves or to keep themselves from bowing to God. Believer, settle it in your mind, men do not reject the truth set forth in God’s word because they love God and believe on Christ.  They do so because they love themselves and hate God.
Clay Curtis.

If You Walk in the Fear of God
JC Philpot

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:19
If you walk in the fear of God, and follow in the footsteps of a persecuted and despised Jesus, the world will hate and despise you as it hated and despised him, as he himself declares, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” God himself has put enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Gen. 3:15); and nothing will secure you from the manifestation of this enmity if you are on Christ’s side. Neither rank, nor property, nor learning, nor education, nor amiability, nor the profuse deeds of liberality, nor the greatest uprightness of conduct, will stave off the scorn of men, if you are a sincere follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and carry out in practice what you hold in principle. If you are not conformed to Jesus here in his suffering image, you will most certainly not be conformed to Jesus hereafter in his glorified likeness. But if by living for and unto Jesus and his cross, your name be cast out as evil, wear it as your distinguishing badge, as adorning the breast of a Christian warrior. If men misrepresent your motives or actions, and seek to hunt you down with every calumny that the basest malignity can invent, do not heed it as long as you are innocent. They cannot find you a better or more honorable crown, if indeed your godly life provoke the cruel lie. It is a crown that your Master bore before you when they crowned his head with thorns.

Henry Mahan
Some of you have found that your family, friends, and fellow workers are not happy over your conversion to Christ – in fact, they are quite hostile. “I liked you better when you were not a Christian!” said one man to a new believer. Be encouraged, my friends; it is not you that they dislike, it is your Master. It is not you that they are against, it is the gospel you believe.

The gospel of God’s free grace is hated and despised by natural men. The gospel of God’s glory (salvation that gives God all the glory, that begins and ends with Him, that looks to Him as the fountain, the source, the giver, and the gift) is contrary to the flesh. They will not tolerate this message of sovereign mercy nor will they welcome those who believe and preach it. Two errors can walk together in harmony, or at least in peace, but error will never accept truth and will never allow it any room. It must be suppressed and denied. If you dare to declare your belief in the sovereign, electing, infinite, and everlasting love of Christ, prepare for trouble. If you have the courage to preach God’s covenant mercies, Christ’s sufficient obedience and sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit’s effectual call, be assured that you will suffer the same trials as those who have walked this road before.
One of the great old sovereign grace preachers of the past gave four reasons for natural men’s attitude toward the free grace of God.

(1) Addressing all men as sinners offends man’s dignity. He resents being called a sinner. He does not mind admitting that he is not perfect, but to infer that he is born in sin, without God, without strength, without hope, having no righteousness, and a child of wrath will never do.

(2) The gospel of revelation offends man’s wisdom! Do you mean that apart from the Holy Spirit’s quickening work, apart from divine revelation, a man with reasonable intelligence and a fair education cannot understand the gospel you preach? Exactly! A man can understand free-willism and he can with natural logic and wisdom understand fatalism, but the mysteries of grace must be revealed. How God can be just and Justifier is a mystery no man understands.

(3) Salvation as a free gift offends man’s pride. “I will go home and pray.” I hope you do, but prayer does not save – Christ saves! “I will give my money and serve the Lord.” I hope you do, but works do not save-Christ saves! Salvation is the gift of God, as is repentance, faith, and all grace. This free gift is despised by all who go about to establish their own righteousness. Men, by nature, just must share the glory if only in a small way. Their pride will not let them beg for mercy and fall at His feet, making their headquarters in the dust.

(4) The demands of Christ’s Lordship offend man’s love of self. Christ is welcome as his saviour from sin, judgment, and hell, but Christ as Lord and supreme dictator of his heart, hand, health, home, and inheritance is not in his plans. Barnard used to say, “I know who you say your Saviour is, but who is your Lord? His servants you are, and His will you will do, and His company you will have forever.” “I will” is still the essence of sin, and “Thy will” is the sum and substance of holiness. No man can serve two Masters. Christ will be Lord of all, or He will not be Lord at all!

Satan’s Grief = The Children Of God
Tommy Robbins
“The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” Exodus 1:12

As Satan and the world is no match for God, neither is sin and Satan a victor over the children of God – “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” Romans 8:37. The more the child of God is afflicted the more we grow in grace and knowledge of Him. This is because of Christ, not ourselves – “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1John 4:4. Our Lord knows nothing of defeat. He has won every battle and defeated every enemy that comes against us – “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. We but need to stand on the bank of the river and watch the final destruction of Pharaoh and his army to calm our fears. The deliverance of the children of Israel is but a picture of a greater deliverance. It was by the affliction of our Lord Jesus Christ that grace was multiplied for His sheep.

The grief of Satan is the growth of God’s kingdom through Christ’s suffering and death. Shall those whom Christ purchased with His Own blood suffer loss? Emphatically, NO! “This is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” John 6:39. As the children of Israel were an uncontrollable burden and grief to the Egyptians, so is Christ and His church to the world.

Adversity is sent from the loving hand of God to graciously force us to Himself. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” John 16:33. What Satan means for evil, God uses for His people’s good. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28.

God Offers Peace – Man Declares War
Joe Terrell

“I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” (Psalms 120:7)
We may judge our hearts, and judge them accurately by this Scripture. When the Lord Jesus came into this world, he came as a man of peace. Jesus Christ, “…came and gospel-preached peace to you who were far away [that is, the Gentile] and peace to those who were near [that is, the Jew].” (Ephesians 2:17) If one carefully reads the words of the Lord Jesus, he will discover that everything he said was designed to bring peace between God and men. Even as He rebuked, His aim was not so much to wound as to correct men and bring them to repent, that is, to stop their warfare against God, and be at peace with Him. But most would have none of His word.

His call for peace was answered by shouts of war. He stretched out His hands; they raised their fists. He claimed to be the Son of God, and men took up stones to stone Him. He said that none could come to Him unless God had given the grace to do so, and many of His disciples no longer followed Him. He declared that God was free to pass by one and save another, and they took Him to the brow of hill that they might throw Him over. He claimed to be their king, and they shouted, “Crucify Him!” Hear our Lord’s words as He echoes Psalm 120.7: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. (Matthew 23:37)

As Christ goes forth in gospel preaching, the result is much the same as when He was on the earth so long ago: men gnash their teeth at the gospel of peace. How does this Man of Peace affect you? Do His claims enrage you or bring peace to your heart? Does the fact that Son of God has come threaten you or fill you with the hope of God’s salvation? Does the sovereignty of God’s grace offend your pride or stir hope in you that even such a one as you might be saved? Does Christ’s royal claim make you assert your right to choose and do as you wish, or does it make you bow before Him and find peace beneath the His scepter? Those who refuse the Man of Peace now shall find a Man of War in time to come. (Exodus 15.3; Isaiah 42.13; Revelation 19.11-16) “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalms 2:12)

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