Bulletin Edition November 2017

There are many tyrants!
(Henry Law, “Leviticus”)
“If the Son shall make you free, you
shall be free indeed.” John 8:36.
Each soul, apart from Jesus, is a poor slave.
There are many tyrants, and their yoke is hard.
SATAN enchains the heart, and drags His
vassals to vile service. They have no will;
no power, to resist. By nature all lie
prostrate at Satan’s feet.
But Jesus wrestles with this cruel tyrant,
hurls him from his throne, breaks his
scepter, and gives him a death wound.
This vile WORLD, also, a foul tyrant.
Its smiles allure.
Its frowns deter.
Its fashions force compliance.
Its laws exact submission.
It drives its millions to a slavish toil.
But when Jesus unmasks this monster’s
hideous filth; when He reveals the beauties
of the Gospel; then the chain snaps, the
tyrant is loathed, and its debasing ways
are shunned. The Gospel sets free from
the world’s snares.

The Gospel
(Octavius Winslow, “Morning Thoughts”)
The gospel is the ‘master work’ of Jehovah,
presenting the greatest display of His manifold
wisdom, and the most costly exhibition of the
riches of His grace. In constructing it He would
seem to have summoned to His aid all the
resources of His own infinity . . .
His fathomless wisdom,
His boundless love,
His illimitable grace,
His infinite power,
His spotless holiness,
all contributed their glory, and conspired
to present it to the universe as the most
consummate piece of Divine workmanship!
The revelations it makes,
the facts it records,
the doctrines it propounds,
the effects is produces,
proclaim it to be the “glorious
gospel of the blessed God.”
We live encircled by SHADOWS . . .
our friends are shadows,
our comforts are shadows,
our supports are shadows,
our pursuits are shadows, and
we ourselves are shadows passing away.
But in the precious gospel we have SUBSTANCE,
we have reality, we have that which remains
with us when all other things disappear, leaving
the soul desolate, the heart bleeding, and the
spirit bowed in sorrow to the dust.
But the gospel . . .
guides our perplexities,
mitigates our griefs,
sanctifies our sorrows,
heals our wounds,
dries our tears,
because it leads us to . . .
the love,
the tenderness,
the sympathy,
the grace of JESUS.
The gospel . . .
reveals Jesus,
speaks mainly of Jesus,
leads simply to Jesus,
and this makes it “glad tidings of great joy,” to
a poor, lost, ruined, tried, and tempted sinner!

Poor, miserable, paltry works of a polluted worm!
(Philpot, “The Loss of All Things for Christ’s Sake”)
“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we
proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they
are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither
and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.”
Isaiah 64:6
We once thought that we could gain heaven by
our own righteousness. We strictly attended to
our religious duties, and sought by these and
various other means to recommend ourselves
to the favor of God, and induce Him to reward
us with heaven for our sincere attempts to obey
His commandments.
And by these religious performances we thought we
would surely be able to make a ladder whereby we
could climb up to heaven. This was our tower of
Babel, whose top was to reach unto heaven, and
by mounting which, we thought to scale the stars.
But the same Lord who stopped the further building
of the tower of Babel, by confounding their speech
and scattering them abroad on the face of the earth;
began to confound our speech, so that we could not
pray, or talk, or boast as before; and to scatter all
our religion like the chaff of the threshing floor. Our
mouths were stopped; we became guilty before God;
and our bricks and mortar became a pile of confusion!
When, then, the Lord was pleased to discover to our
souls by faith, His being, majesty, greatness, holiness,
and purity; and thus gave us a corresponding sense of
our filthiness and folly; then all our creature religion
and natural piety which we once counted as gain, we
began to see was but loss; that our very religious duties
and observances, so far from being for us, were actually
against us; and instead of pleading for us before God as
so many deeds of righteousness, were so polluted and
defiled by sin perpetually mixed with them, that our
very prayers were enough to sink us into hell, had
we no other iniquities to answer for in heart, lip or life.
But when we had a view by faith of the Person, work,
love, and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we began
more plainly and clearly to see, with what religious toys
we had been so long amusing ourselves, and what is
far worse, mocking God by them.
We had been secretly despising . . .
Jesus and His sufferings,
Jesus and His death,
Jesus and His righteousness,
and setting up the poor, miserable, paltry
works of a polluted worm in the place of
the finished work of the Son of God.

John Newton’s tombstone
In his old age, when he could no longer see to read, John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace” heard someone recite this verse, “By the grace of God — I am what I am.” 1 Corinthians 15:10. He remained silent a short time, and then said:
I am not what I ought to be. Ah! how imperfect and deficient.
I am not what I might be, considering my privileges and opportunities.
I am not what I wish to be. God, who knows my heart — knows I wish to be like Him.
I am not what I hope to be. Before long, I will drop this clay tabernacle, to be like Him and see Him as He is!
Yet, I am not what I once was — a child of sin, and slave of the devil!
Though not all these — not what I ought to be, not what I might be, not what I wish or hope to be, and not what I once was — I think I can truly say with the apostle, “By the grace of God — I am what I am!”
At the age of 82, Newton said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner — and that Christ is a great Savior!”
John Newton’s tombstone reads: “John Newton, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy!”
“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10

The Gospel crucible!
(John MacDuff, “Ripples in the Twilight” 1885)
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God!” 1 Corinthians 1:18
It will never cease to be one of the marvels of Christianity, that her antidotes are the same in every climate, every age, and every bosom. Just as the chemist can infallibly pronounce on the action of the various elements he throws into his crucible — so in the Gospel crucible, cast the human heart in its every form and type, that of . . .
the degraded African,
the superstitious Hindu,
the ferocious Arab,
the reprobate European —
the Gospel of Christ, by a heavenly alchemy, melts that heart! It dissolves . . .
the pride of reason,
the power of superstition,
the curse and misery of vice!
It is the only universal balm!
It was tried . . .
on ignorant fishermen of Galilee,
on poor wayside beggars of Judea,
on hardened Roman soldiers and
on crouching slaves of sin and Satan.
It was tried on the great persecutor of the church — and by him on the disciples of Plato on Mars Hill. It was tried amid the tears of Bethany — and amid the courtly splendor and uncongenial influences of Caesar’s household. And in not one of all these varied cases, has it failed!
The king clothed in ermine,
the pauper clothed in rags,
the statesman in his senate-house,
the merchant at his desk,
the artisan in his workshop,
the cottager at her wheel —
all feel the power of the same Gospel, all own the beauteous simplicity of the same healing words, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ — and you shall be saved!”

Of all bondage and slavery in the world, there is none more horrible than the bondage of sin. Tell me of Israel in Egypt preparing their tale of bricks unsuppled with straw; tell me of the slave beneath the lash of his cruel task-master, and I confess it is a bondage fearful to be borne; but there is one far worse — the bondage of a convinced sinner when he is brought to feel the burden of his guilt; the bondage of a man when once his sins are baying him, like hounds about a weary stag; the bondage of a man when the burden of his sin is on his shoulder — a burden too heavy for his soul to bear — a burden which will sink him forever in the depths of everlasting torment, unless he doth escape from it.
Methinks I see such a person. He hath ne’er a smile upon his face; dark clouds hath gathered on his brow; his songs are groans; his smiles are tears; and when he seems most happy, hot drops of grief roll in burning shower, scalding furrows on his cheek. Ask him what he is, and he tells you he is “a wretch undone.” Ask him how he is, and he confesses that he is “misery incarnate.” Ask him what he shall be, and he says, “he shall be lost in flames forever, and there is no hope.” Behold him alone in his retirement: when he lays his head on his pillow, up he starts again: at night he dreams of torment, and by day he almost feels that of which he dreamed. Such is the poor convinced sinner under bondage. I speak to those who understand it. You have passed through that gloomy Slough of Despond; you have gone through that dark vale of penitence: you have been made to drink the bitter cup of repentance: and I know you will say, “Amen” when I declare that of all bondage this is the most painful — the bondage of the law, the bondage of corruption. “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me” from it? But the Christain is free; he can smile now, though he wept before; he can rejoice now, whereas he lamented. “There is,” he says “no sin upon my conscience now; there is no crime upon my breast; I need not walk through the earth fearful of every shadow, and afraid of every man I meet, for sin is washed away; my spirit is no more guilty; it is pure, it is holy; there no longer resteth the frown of God upon me; but my Father smiles: I see his eyes — they are glancing love: I hear his voice — it is full of sweetness. I am forgiven, I am forgiven, I am forgiven! All hail, thou breaker of fetters! Glorious Jesus! … “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is libery” from the bondage of sin.
Charles H. Spurgeon

I can imagine the day of judgment. All are gathered before the throne of God. Those who are robed in the perfect robe of Christ’s righteousness are gathered to His right hand. The rest wait to hear His voice of condemnation, “Depart from Me!” Does anyone have anything to say? If there be one who has no sin, let him step forth and say so. Come forth, my friend, and state your case! What about the righteousness and holiness in which you boasted while on earth? Come forward and tell about your works, your gifts, your denomination; you found much comfort in those things once. You who scoffed at substitution, who laughed at free grace, imputed righteousness and covenant mercies —you are not laughing now! Why is your face so pale? Why do you tremble so? You never trembled before but always had so much confidence in your decision and boasted of being as sure for heaven as if you were already there! Why do you not tell God what you did for Him on earth? It is quite evident that He did nothing for you. But I remember that you said, “God has done all that he could do and salvation is up to you.” What a terrible time to discover what you should have known, “SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!” “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Why do you not speak? Is it because of the awesome, infinite “HOLINESS, OF HIS PRESENCE”? You clutch your righteous garments about you and they are nothing but filthy rags now, and you know it! You think of your prayers, your religious activities, your debates over doctrine; and they are all so much rubbish in the light of His presence. And now you are praying? What is it that you cry? “O rocks and mountains, fall on me, and hide me from the face of Him that sits upon the throne.” I wish that you had cried as fervently for Christ to hide you, cleanse you, and cover you —HE WOULD HAVE!
Thomas Brooks said, “The preaching of this and that opinion may please a man’s fancy, but it is only the preaching of Christ that changes a man’s heart.”
Henry Mahan

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