Bulletin Edition March 2018

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Men commonly teach that the Holy Spirit is striving to call all sinners to life and faith in Christ but that the Holy Spirit can be resisted unless man allows the Holy Spirit to save them. They use this scripture, among others, to support their claims. If God the Holy Spirit is trying to call all sinners alike to life and faith in Christ yet some die without faith, what does the Spirit’s work have to do with anyone’s salvation? Nothing! The stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, do always resist the Holy Ghost—that is true. It is because, “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2: 14) But that does not mean that God the Spirit can be prevented from creating a new heart. God always effectually, irresistibly calls whom he will. If the grace and power of God can be resisted then God is not the distinguishing factor or the Savior in salvation.
Yet, God says the Holy Spirit is the deciding factor, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”; “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (Jn 6: 63; 3: 6-8)
Does puny little weakling man really think he can resist God the Spirit? God! God! God! You cannot stop the wind God sends! None can stop a hurricane! “Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north….And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. (Job 37: 9, 12-13) So none can stop God from working his will in men through his word, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Is 55: 9-11)
Will-worshippers object, “God would not save me against my will?” But man’s natural, polluted will is not for God to save him at all. Dead sinners are willing to be saved by the god of their imagination over whom they reign but not by the true and living God! If God does not give us a new will we will never bow and believe him. But God the Holy Spirit is able to create a new will which wills for God to do what pleases God to bring all glory to God, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” (Ps 110: 3) Ask the apostle Paul, “beyond measure I persecuted the church of God…But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” (Gal 1: 13, 15-16)
Do you see that if God the Holy Spirit is trying and failing then the Spirit’s call has nothing to do with anyone’s salvation? Such absurdity makes man is his own savior. Will-worshippers have to save their god, but God alone saves his people!
Clay Curtis.

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17
When the gospel comes “not in word only, but also in power,” it comes “in the Holy Ghost,” that is, in and with the teaching and testimony of the Holy Ghost. It is this coming “in the Holy Ghost” which gives truth in its power such a sanctifying influence on the heart.

But you will ask, perhaps, What is a sanctifying influence? It is the communication of holy feelings, heavenly desires, and gracious affections; in a word, it is the breathing into the soul of that sweet spirituality of mind which is life and peace. If we are among the people of God, he chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” If he chasten us in this time-state, it is “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Heb. 12:10). It is this holiness of heart, this heavenly-mindedness which I mean when I speak of the sanctifying influence of truth in its power.

Now did truth ever come into your soul with any measure of this sanctifying influence? Did you ever long to get away from the chapel, go home to your room, fall upon your knees, and have blessed fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ? And were you ever so favoured when you did get home? Or sometimes when alone, in reading, or meditation, or secret prayer, did the word of God ever come into your soul with that sweet unction, savour, and dew that it seemed to make the very room in which you were holy ground?

I remember when God was pleased to reveal his dear Son to my soul in my sick room many years ago, I was afraid almost to go out of my room lest I should lose the sweet, holy feelings and blessed spirituality of mind which I then and there enjoyed. Depend upon it, there is a holiness of heart and affection, an inward holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; and depend upon it, whenever truth comes into a believer’s soul, it comes with that sanctifying influence, which not only gives him a meetness for, but is a blessed foretaste of the inheritance of the saints in light.
JC Philpot

Jesus Christ speaking of the Holy Spirit said, “…he shall testify of me” (John 15:26) “…he shall not speak of himself” (John 16:13) “…he shall glorify me” (John 16:14).

Any ministry where Christ does not have the “pre-eminence” (Col. 1:18); where the people speak more of the Spirit of God than the Son of God—is a false ministry!
Maurice Montgomery

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”—2 Cor. iii. 17.
What liberty, my soul! art thou brought into by thine adoption into the family of God in Christ? Not from the assaults of sin; for thou still carriest about with thee a body of sin, under which thou groanest. Not from the temptations of Satan; for he is still levelling at thee many a fiery dart. Not from outward troubles; for the world thou art still in, thou findest it a wilderness state. Not from inward fears; for thine unbelief begets many. Not from the chastisement of thy wise and kind Father: for then many a sweet visit of his love, under the rod, would be unknown. Not from death; for the stroke of it thou must one day feel—though, blessed be Jesus, he hath taken out the sting in his blood and righteousness. What liberty then is it, my soul, thou enjoyest? What hath the Spirit of the Lord, as a spirit of revelation, discovering to thee the glory of Jesus, and thy interest in him, brought thee into? Oh, who shall write down the vast, the extensive account of thy freedom? Say, my soul, hath not the sight of God’s glory in Christ freed thee from the curse of the law,—from the guilt of the law,—from the dominion of sin,—from the power of Satan,—from the evil of unbelief in thine own heart,—from the terrors of justice,—from the alarms of conscience, from the second death? Say, my soul, doth not the sight of Jesus dying for thee, rising for thee, pleading for thee, enlarge thine heart, and lose thy bonds, and shake off all thy fetters and all thy fears? Doth not Jesus in the throne give thee liberty to come to him, to call upon him, to unbosom thyself unto him, to tell him all thy wants, all thy necessities, and to lean upon his kind arm in every hour of need? Shout, my soul! and echo to the apostle’s words,—”Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty:” liberty to approach, liberty to plead, liberty to pray, liberty to praise and to adore the whole persons of the Godhead, for having opened the prison-doors, and given thee freedom in Christ Jesus!
The poor man’s morning and evening portion-

Religion gives us many answers to that question. Some say that God’s elect were saved in eternity. They tell us that election is salvation; but that in not so. Election is unto salvation. Election secures salvation and makes it certain. But election is not salvation. “God hath from the beginning chosen us unto salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Some say that a child is saved when it is brought, by its believing parents, to a priest or a preacher as an infant, to be sprinkled with water. But that cannot be true. Such a practice is no where taught in the Bible. The Word of God makes it abundantly clear that salvation does not come by religious heritage or religious ceremony. The children of God are born, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”. Some say that a child is saved when he learns the church catechism, when he comes to what men call “the age-of accountability” and is confirmed in the church. But such foolishness is no where taught in the Word of God. Some say that a person is saved when he makes a decision for Jesus and professes faith in him. Judas decided to follow Jesus, but he was not saved. Demas professed faith, but he did not have faith. Simon Magus had a profession and a decision, but he was a lost man. My friends, profession is not possession. A decision for Jesus is not a saving knowledge of the Son of God. Some say that a person is saved when he reforms his life and starts living for God. You know that cannot be true. The Pharisees were thoroughly reformed in their lives. They were very moral and very religious. Annanias was a thoroughly reformed man. Diotrophes served the church of God zealously. But all of them are in hell today. Some say that a person is saved if he can hold on, hold out, or hang in to the end. It is true that those who are truly saved will continue in the faith; but our continuance in the faith is not dependent upon us. We continue in the faith because God keeps us in his hands, Some say that a person is saved when he is baptized, when he joins the church, when he receives the Lord’s Supper or when he has performed enough good works to merit heaven. And some say that a person is not saved until the day of judgment. When we get to heaven and hear the Lord say, “Come ye blessed” we will find out who is saved but not till then. NONE OF THESE STATEMENTS ABOUT SALVATION ARE TRUE. They are all the inventions of men. Not one of them has any foundation in the Word of God.
When is a person saved? The Apostle Paul tells us that A PERSON IS SAVED WHEN IT PLEASES GOD TO SAVE HIM. “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his graces to reveal his Son in me.” “When the fulness of time was come … God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father”. My friends, “Salvation is of the Lord”, Salvation comes to men according to God’s sovereign pleasure. He says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy”. God saves whoever he is pleased to save; and he saves them whenever it pleases him to do so. When is a person saved? Mark it down.
Don Fortner.

Henry Mahan
Religion can motivate people to do many things. It can cause them to speak well of Jesus Christ, as Nicodemus; to reform the outward man, as the Pharisees; to hold high office in the church, as Judas; to get excited over an earthly kingdom, as those in Matt. 21:9; to be baptized, as Simon Magus; to give large gifts to the church, as Ananias and Sapphira; and to boast of great works, as those at the judgement in Matt. 7. But there are the essential works of grace in the heart of a sinner which only the Holy Spirit can effectually accomplish.

1. Only the Spirit of God can convince men of sin and give them broken hearts over THEIR SIN, sins, and even their righteousness.

2. Only the Spirit of God can cause sinners to justify God in their condemnation. Eternal condemnation would be our just reward.

3. Only the Spirit of God can lead men to look to the will of the sovereign Lord, and not to their own wills, for salvation. “Salvation is of the Lord.”

4. Only the Spirit of God can wean sinners from all works, deeds, and merit and shut them up to CHRIST ALONE!

5. Only the Spirit of God can bring about peace with God and the peace of God which passes understanding, found in the hearts of His people!
“Wherefore the rather, brethern, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail:
II Peter 1:10.

1 Thess. 1:4-5
Tom Harding
Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. – 1 Thess. 1:4-5.

When Paul wrote to these early believers in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ he makes a rather bold statement that he knew they were the elect of God. He gives two reasons he knew they were God’s chosen people unto salvation.
1). The gospel came unto them through the ministry of the Word of God, “our gospel came not unto you in word only.” Paul preached to them from the scriptures; “…As his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ” (Acts 17:3). He plainly set forth before them the glorious person and priestly work of the Lord Jesus. Some of them that heard the message believed to the salvation of their soul and some believed not (Acts 17:4-5). God has ordained the preaching of the gospel to the salvation of His people (1 Cor. 1:21; James 1:18; 1 Pet.1:23). Let us never discredit nor neglect these necessary means to the salvation of sinners. Paul said to those in Antioch in Pisidia, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you ( Acts 13:46). Our God when He effectually calls His people to Christ in faith, it is with the word of life (Eph. 1:13-14). If it was necessary in Paul’s day, surely it is necessary in our day (2 Thes. 2:13-14).
2). The gospel also came in the power and revelation of the Holy Spirit. This is also necessary to the salvation of God’s people, “also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” We must not only hear the gospel, but it also must be made effectual to the heart of the sinner by the power and regenerating grace of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10). In the parable of the Sower the ground had to be prepared in order to bring forth fruit (Matt. 13:23). Our Lord told Nicodemus that he must be born of water (word) and the Spirit to enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). In Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones there was the preaching of the word to the bones and the quickening work of the Holy Spirit giving life (Ezek. 37:4-5). Why preach to dead bones? God instructed Ezekiel to do so. Even so we are instructed to preach the gospel to spiritual dead sinners looking and expecting God to bless His word (2 Tim. 4:1). God has promised to communicate and give life, faith, repentance, regeneration and salvation through His ordained means (Isa. 55:11; Rom. 10:13-17).

Why do God’s preachers preach?
When God calls a man to preach the glorious gospel of His free grace, He puts in his heart a hope behind his preaching. Like his Master, he has been sent to, “preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captive, recover of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” Luke 1:18. He preaches in hope that the Lord will minister grace and mercy to men’s sin sick soul. If he is called of God, he will remain faithful to preach Christ in season and out. He will not adjust his messages based on the response of men. His heart will be set to comfort God’s people until the cities be wasted without inhabitants, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate.
Some hearers will get angry, some will remain silent, some will try to correct him, others will even praise him. None of these things will deter him from hoping that some will hear and be saved. All that being true, preachers are frail men that need to be encouraged to know if someone has heard God speak to their soul.
Lord willing, in a couple of weeks, two of God’s preachers will come to preach the gospel to us. Pray for them as they prepare the messages we need to hear. Pray for the Lord to anoint the services with His Holy Spirit. Pray for God to give us ears to hear. If the Lord speaks in power to your heart, let them know. I’m not suggesting you pretend to be blessed if you weren’t. Oh, but if you are, their hope will be increased by knowing your hope has increased.
Greg Elmquist.

The Gospel is not an offer from God. He does not offer His mercy and grace so that it is up to your acceptance or rejection of what is offered as to whether or not you will have it. He does not offer anyone the forgiveness of sins. He does not offer salvation, and then wait and see if we accept His offer. If any aspect of salvation is an offer that means the determining factor of salvation lies in man’s decision to accept or reject the offer. That is salvation by works in grace clothing. The Gospel is a gracious command. When He says, “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden”, that is an imperative. “If any man thirst let him come to Me and drink”, that is an imperative. When we read, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”, that is a gracious command. I need not wonder if I am offered salvation or invited to believe. Being weary and heavy laden, I am commanded to come to Him for rest. Thirsting, I am commanded to come to Him and drink. Having nothing to pay, I am commanded to take the water of life freely. God does not offer. He commands. And the ability to obey the command comes with the commandment. When He commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch forth his hand, the man stretched forth his withered hand. When He says to a man….believe…..they believe!
Todd Nibert.

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