Bulletin Edition February 2018

The Problem Of Evil Psalm 76:10
The question is often raised, “How did sin and evil arise in God’s creation?” If God is absolutely sovereign, absolutely holy, and absolutely good, if he created all things good, how is it that pride was found in Lucifer’s heart? How were the fallen angels led to rebel against his throne? How was Adam seduced to sin?
Augustus Toplady wrote, “The origin of evil, whether among angels (with whom evil seems, strictly, to have originated), or among men, is the most difficult question, perhaps, and the most mysterious part of the divine conduct that ever presented itself to human investigation. Clouds and darkness are the seat of its residence; though wisdom, goodness, and justice, were certainly (in a manner unknown to us) the motives to its permission.”
Yet, the existence of evil is a problem which vexes our minds continually. We must, whenever considering such a subject, at once, as Toplady put it, “clip the wings of curiosity.” Knowing that God is not the author of sin, and that he never tempts any to evil (James 1:13-17), knowing that nothing comes to pass without his all-wise decree, the matter cannot be resolved in a more God honoring way than to use the words of our Lord as the expression of submissive faith, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
We bow before God in reverent submission, and confess in the words of one who lived long ago, “Lord, I am darkness, but thou art light.” Before him of whom are all things, we acknowledge our utter ignorance. We must be content to wait until our souls are freed from the influence of evil in the world above to know the mind and purpose of God in permitting the evil which yet engulfs our minds. Still, two things we know by divine revelation.
Everything God does, or permits others to do, is to show forth the greatness of his glory (Rom. 11:33-36; Eph. 1:11-12; Rev. 5:13). It appears, then, that the perfections of God could not have been so gloriously revealed as they now are in Christ, had evil never been permitted to enter the universe. God all-wise permits sin and evil that he may use it and overrule it to his own praise (Psa. 76:10). Had sin never been permitted, how could the justice of God be known in punishing it? Had evil never existed, how could the wisdom of God be seen overruling it? Had sin never entered the world, how could the goodness of God be made manifest in pardoning and forgiving it? Had there never been any wickedness in God’s creation, how could the power of God be revealed in subduing it?
Without question, all evil in the world is included in the “all things” which work together for the everlasting good of God’s elect (Rom. 8:28-30). The fall of our father Adam, and the entrance of sin into the world by him, was one of the countless links of providence essential to Christ’s incarnation and crucifixion for the redemption of his people. To suggest, as many ignorantly do, that the fall was not purposed by God, is to assert that the incarnation, birth, life, death, resurrection, and glory of Christ, and the salvation of his people by virtue of his obedience as our Substitute, is all, from beginning to end, the result of chance, luck, or blind fate
Don Fortner

Good Out of Evil
Acts 8: 6: And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7: For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8: And there was great joy in that city…12: But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Everything that has ever transpired, even the most horrendous evil which is the crucifixion of our Lord, has not only been overruled by God, but has come to pass exactly according to God’s purpose, for the good of those that love him (Rom 8:28.) We attribute our actions to one of two things. We say it was an accident or I did it on purpose. With God there are no accidents. He works all things together for his children according to his purpose, For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? (Isaiah 14:27.)
The Lord Jesus loves God and was called of God to save his people from their sins. Therefore the whole time he walked this earth, God worked all things together on purpose for his good. Through all the persecution he endured and the wrath of God he suffered we behold him raised triumphant in glory! He is held up before us with the preeminent title of, the Faithful One, the Just One. He has the glory he had with God from the beginning, but now as both God and Man. The glory of declaring God’s righteousness in being just and the justifier of all who believe came to him through much suffering. He has the glory of being the King of heaven and earth, the Savior of sinners, of all fullness dwelling in him, and of being the Firstborn among many brethren. This was the joy set before him in the everlasting covenant which caused him to run the race with patience, enduring the cross, despising the shame. All according as he determined before the foundation of the world and brought to pass on purpose.
In like manner, our Lord works all things together for the good of his elect children. Here in Acts, he scattered his preachers and his saints bringing the word to his children in each place where they were scattered. He even saved the ring leader of this persecution–Saul of Tarsus–as a monument of his sovereign, saving, grace. Paul knew what mercy and grace God had shown him through this great persecution of the church and he knew why. It was the same reason he hardens the hearts of vessels of destruction and reveals Christ in his vessels of mercy (Romans 9: 17-23.) Just ask Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4: 34-37.)
God works everything together on purpose because he is absolutely sovereign, because he will glorify his Son, and because he will save a people from their sins whom he loves freely and everlastingly.
Clay Curtis.

Possessed with the Devil
Drew Dietz
“..And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind: and they were afraid.” (Mark 5:15).
What a tremendous miracle grace surely performs upon its subjects! This man (like the rest of us before grace comes to our souls) was once full of evil, possessed wickedly, and constantly in movement (works). NOW, he is sitting; i.e. quiet repose in the Son of God, resting in the Lord of glory. This man was naked, fully exposed to the harsh and unbending law of God. NOW, he is clothed; fully covered and protected by the righteousness which is only found in Jesus the Christ. This man was crazy and lunatic in the ways of grace and mercy. NOW, he is in his right mind; that is safe and sound and sane in the way of grace, mercy and peace as it is in Immanuel. From one wrong way to the other right way; we must attribute this astonishing work (miracle) to the Sovereign Grace of God in the person, worth and Love of Jesus Christ! Only those who have seen and tasted the grace of God know anything of the matter of which I speak.

The Sovereign Will of God
Drew Dietz
One way or another, the sovereign will of our God is being done!

Do you believe this? Do I believe this? Take a look with me at Acts 21:30-37 and you will see what I mean by the statement above.

You have on one hand the Roman soldiers, on the other the Jewish mob. One group is the occupier and is despised by the occupied nation. One group is responsible for law and order, the other group is in full rebellion. The Romans are the conquerors, the Jews are the conquered. Two wheels turning in direct opposites bent on over-ruling the other. Yet God in His sovereign power and supreme purpose used both of these to fulfill His will for Paul in his eventual journey to Rome. It is amazing how, says one writer of old, the Lord would use Rome to protect the fledgling church while Jerusalem persecuted it.

Our ever gracious Lord is still doing such things for each individual sheep as well as His Church collectively, taking all things, whether opposites in our way of thinking or not and turning them for His glory and our best interest!

Oh my soul, consider this daily and see the sweet peace it affords to my weak and hurting soul.

Acts 7:54-60
Tom Harding

What a demonstration of contrast between the way of the wicked flesh and the way of sovereign grace when God’s servant, Stephen was being stoned to death for the gospel’s sake. The enemies of the gospel were filled with rage; Stephen was filled with joy in the Lord (Acts 7: 56; Phil. 3:3). They were occupied with hatred; Stephen was bursting with the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). They were packed with fear; Stephen was occupied with faith (Heb. 12:2). They were chock-full of persecution; Stephen was jam-packed with prayer (Acts 7:60).
Oh, what a difference the sovereign grace of God makes in the believer (Rom. 9:15-16; 1 Cor. 4:7; 2 Tim. 1:9). Oh, how dreadfully wicked is the way of the sinful flesh (Rom. 3:9-18).

Whatever Will Be, Will Be
Tommy Robbins

“All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou? Daniel 4:35

I was accused once by an Armenian preacher of preaching a “whatever will be will be” gospel. My answer was, I preach a “whatever God wills to be will be” gospel. It would be a fool to believe whatever will not be will be. However, it is a greater fool to believe whatever God wills to be will not be. I make my argument, not solely upon human logic, but wholly upon the declaration of God Himself.

The position of all religious men by nature is one of exalting the imaginary freewill of man and the bringing into bondage the freewill of God. The position of all those who know God is the opposite – “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth”. A god who is not sovereign over ALL is no god.

Man’s will is in bondage to sin and self and is governed and overruled by Divine Omnipotence. God’s will is consistent with Himself in virtue and character and is the essence and revelation of Divine Omnipotence. The Bible plainly declares our Lord Jesus Christ, “in Whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” has “all power in heaven and in earth”. The perfect, complete will of God will be accomplished by One Lord Jesus Christ in past, present, and future history to the praise of the glory of His Majesty.

God works all things to the end that all those whom He loves shall be saved with an everlasting salvation in Christ Jesus, and all those who believe not shall be damned unto everlasting torment. His will is as Himself – unchangeable – “None can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou”. Yes, I believe “whatever will be will be” because every minute “whatever” is in the hand of the Infinite True and Living God.

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