Bulletin Edition December 2017

And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together:
for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
(Isaiah 40.5).

There can be no sweeter sight to the eye of the child of God than to see His Savior glorified in the sight of all flesh. To the child of God, the truth of the gospel is not merely doctrine to be debated and defended, or even just a body of settled truth to be confessed as a matter of orthodox religion. No, to the believer the gospel of the Lord Jesus is a declaration of the glory of the One who loved him and gave Himself for him. It is a portrait of his Beloved, and he could no more tolerate a corruption of the truth than a woman could tolerate that a picture of her beloved husband should be desecrated in her presence.

What patience does the church exhibit as she sets forth the truth of her heavenly husband and lovingly instructs the children of the Kingdom giving time for them to absorb and come to terms with the truth. But see her kind face flash with anger when her Husband is insulted by a rebellious refusal to acknowledge His sovereign rights. Many religionists become upset when their particular form of religion is assaulted for they take it as an insult against them. But for the church of the Lord Jesus, it is not her own glory for which she is jealous, but for the glory of the One Who loved her and gave Himself for her.

It may be tempting to establish theological benchmarks and test all men by these. The danger in such a system is that it easily taps into our innate self-righteousness and can make us act as theological legalists. Instead, let us be enamored of the glory of the Lord Jesus. Then, as we make our way in this religious world we will know who it is that has seen the same Savior as we have seen, and we will be fit to defend His glory in this world.
Joe Terrell

Redeem the Time of Visitation
Acts 13: 26
It was a day like hundreds of days before. Jew and Gentile came from far and near to the synagogue in Antioch, Pisidia. It was their Sabbath day; they were careful to observe the Sabbath day each and every week. The services had been conducted as usual. One of the elders read from the law of Moses because they were careful to walk according to all that Moses commanded. One of the elders read from the prophets because they were careful to draw near to the prophets and their words. They searched both to find out how to live their lives.

But on this particular day something was different. God’s messenger was sent by God to their synagogue with God’s word of salvation. It was their time of visitation. After this day if they went on rejecting God it would not be due to ignorance, it would be willful rejection. So it is for all who have heard the word of salvation which declares that forgiveness with God is by his sovereign electing, regenerating grace, through faith in Christ Jesus, apart from any justifying or sanctifying works from the object of mercy and yet go on in their form of religion, devoted to pleasing themselves with a conformity to this world (Acts 13: 38, 39.)

God gives a word of warning to all such men, “Beware therefore….” (Acts 13: 40, 41.) The principle of Habakkuk’s prophecy is that the work which God was to do by means of the Chaldeans was so fearful, so unusual, and so remarkable, that they would not believe it was God’s work though a man declared it to them. Yet, if they held in contempt the doings of God, they would perish. Likewise, the doings of God in giving his Son, Christ Jesus the only Savior of sinners, is contrary to man’s expectations: the virgin birth, God in human flesh, coming forth so lowly, salvation completely accomplished not by man’s power and strength but by his Person and Work and through his Spirit, salvation given through faith alone apart from anything in man, God finishing what he has begun in the believer so that none shall perish–this is at variance with man’s thoughts. Multitudes hear, yet disbelieve. They despise the gospel.

“He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith [Moses] was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10: 28-29; Matthew 12: 33.) To continue claiming that justification or sanctification is accomplished by the believer, by the flesh, by obedience to the law, by intellectual attainment, to continue disregarding God, his messenger, and his people while you live for the pleasure of this world is not love, it is closing up your bowels of compassion. It is fooling no one but you. The heart is deceitful and yours has deceived you. Balaam spoke truth but he would not stand for THE TRUTH. Salvation is Christ Jesus the Son of God who is All and in all who believe (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-29; John 5:45). Those who hear the word of God’s salvation and reject Christ are not merely damned, but doubly-damned by God. Today is the time of your visitation, beware therefore (Luke 19: 42-44.)
Clay Curtis.

“And at midnight there was a cry made, behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.”—Matt. xxv. 6.
When Jesus, the bridegroom of his church, first came, it was in a moment sudden and unexpected, like the surprise at a midnight hour. And when Jesus cometh to any of his people, it is unlooked for. Indeed, it is always midnight in the soul of a sinner, when the cry is made! But how blessed is the cry, when a poor lost perishing sinner is advanced to the midnight of death, on the verge of an approaching eternity, and in that season hears the voice of the Son of God, and lives! How many, like the thief on the cross, or like the jailor at Philippi, have been surprised into grace at such seasons, by the sovereignty of Him, “who calleth things that are not, as though they were?” Precious Jesus! in all the circumstances of life, in the midnight of nature, the midnight of carnal security, the midnight of sleep, in which even thy dear children are so liable to be found; Oh! that we may hear thy voice, and go forth to meet thee! And, Lord! let the going forth of thy redeemed be, not with the lamp of a profession, but with the enlightened oil of grace, that we may meet thee with all our affections alive, to hail and welcome thy coming; so that “at midnight,or cock-crowing, or in the MORNING,” when Jesus saith, “Behold, I come quickly,” our souls may cry out, in joyful reply, “Even so; come, Lord Jesus!”
Robert Hawker the poor mans morning and evening portions

Isaiah 12:1-6
This chapter contains a song of praise and thanksgiving for redemption and salvation in Christ Jesus. This is strictly “family fare” and cannot be appreciated, understood, nor sung by any but the redeemed of the Lord.
(Vs. 1) “And in that day.” This is a phrase used repeatedly by Isaiah to indicate a particular time of DIVINE VISITATION. It may not be a twenty-four hour day, but rather a time when the Lord is pleased to reveal to His elect His grace and mercy in Christ.
1. It is a day of CONVICTION (Isa. 2:10-11) ; for judgment precedes justification, emptying precedes filling, repentance precedes comfort.
2. It is a day of REVELATION (Isa. 25:8-9) when, like Simeon of old, the believer cries, “I have seen thy salvation!”
3. It is a day of ASSURANCE (Isa. 26:1-4) when His rest, peace, and joy settle upon the heart and mind, and we are enabled to trust Him with complete confidence.

“I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.” The Lord’s anger toward His elect is difficult to explain in the light of the fact that “He has loved us with an everlasting love;” and He declared, “Jacob have I loved” before Jacob was born. But the scripture says, “We were children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3-4), and “at that time, we Gentiles were without Christ and without God” (Eph. 2:11-13). Whatever it means, we know that in Christ Jesus His anger and wrath are turned away (Rom. 8:31-33, 38-39). “God was in Christ reconciling us to Himself” (II Cor. 5:19); and we are comforted by His promises, by His love shed abroad in our hearts, and by His indwelling Spirit (John 14:16-18; John 16:13-14).

(Vs. 2) “Behold God is my salvation.” This may read, “God is My SAVIOUR.” Christ, who is God, is my Saviour (John 1:1, 14). He is a just God and a Saviour (Isa. 45:21-22). He was appointed by the Father, provided in the covenant, promised in the word, sent in the fulness of time, and became the author of my salvation by His obedience, death, and exaltation (Acts 13:38-39; I Peter 3:18).

“I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song.” I WILL TRUST HIM for all things needed and required—wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (I Cor. 1:30). “I WILL REST CONFIDENTLY IN HIM and believe that in Him I am secure from all wrath and condemnation (Rom. 8:1, 33-34). I WILL NOT BE AFRAID of sin, satan, death, hell, nor the wrath to come (Isa. 26:3-4).

“He also is become my salvation.” In the light of our weakness, failure, and flesh, how can we have such confidence and assurance of our security and acceptance before God? Because HE IS OUR SALVATION! HE IS OUR STRENGTH! HE IS OUR SONG! God set Him forth to be a mercy-seat: God laid on Him our iniquities; God made us accepted in the Beloved. “How shall He NOT with Him freely give us all things” accomplished by our Redeemer-God? (Rom. 8:32). It would be nothing short of blasphemy to reckon that God would renege on His promises to Christ and His church (Isa. 46:9-11; Rom. 11:29).

(Vs. 3) “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water from THE WELLS OF SALVATION.” The father is called “the fountain of living waters” (Jer. 2:13). The Lord Jesus is “the giver of living water” (John 4:10, 14). The Holy Spirit is the source of “rivers of living water” (John 7:38-39). These are the wells of salvation, and from them with joy we draw water (GRACE) for every need. Our needs go beyond a once-for-all justification and acceptance; our needs are DAILY needs. He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” which is not only food for the body but comfort, faith, joy, peace, strength, and love. I must always remain at the fountain “drawing water” for my thirsty soul.

(Vs. 4) “And in that day shall ye say…” If there has indeed been for you a day of Divine visitation, of conviction, of revelation, of mercy, then shall you say—
1. “Praise the Lord,” for mercy to this chief of sinners, for all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus ( Eph. 1:3-7).
2. “Call upon His name,” which takes in THE WHOLE OF WORSHIP. To worship God is to call upon His name. Whether in FAITH for mercy, in PRAYER, in THANKSGIVING, in TRIAL, or in a DAILY WALK, we constantly “call upon His name.”
3. “Declare His doings among the people,” not only His works of creation, of providence, and miracles, but especially His doing and dying to redeem a people. “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). That work of redemption is the doings we especially declare.
4. “Make mention that His name is excellent” (Phil. 2:5-11).

“There’s none other name given among men,
There’s none can with Him compare;
All others are marred, by sin they are scarred;
He’s fairer than all the fair.”
(Vs. 5) “Sing unto the Lord for He hath done excellent things.” Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, vocally and together, as gospel churches, to the glory of God. Let Him be the subject of our songs, for He hath done great things for us and in us and will yet glorify the riches of His grace to us! He is worthy to be praised by all His creatures (Psalm 150).

(Vs. 6) “Cry out and shout all ye who are in Zion (His church) for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” Christ Jesus is the Holy One of Israel, the head of the church; and He has promised and grants His presence to His church; wherefore, He is worthy of our praise—for His greatness, for His mercy, for His grace.
Henry Mahan.

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