Bulletin Edition August 2018

Whips And Chains And Biscuits
Tim James
The treatment afforded the demoniac of Gadara is a treatise on the means
used by false religion to keep its converts committed to its cause. In
Mark 5:3-4, two words are used to describe this vile religious practice.
The religious folks efforts to recover this poor sinner, were two-fold,
to bind and to tame.

Their first efforts were to bind this sinner in fetters and chains.
There can be no doubt that this is the illegal use of the law to control
behavior (which is all the law can do, it never reaches the heart). This
approach to life is the tool of those who would “make a fair show in the
flesh.” These love themselves and no one else, and believe themselves to
be responsible for the behavior of others. They operate in the realm of
guilt mongering. They keep folk in check with their rules, their
regulations, their personal convictions and inability to look at their
own behavior. They use scripture as a chain to bind the mind, and
fetters to bind the feet, thereby keeping their subjects exactly where
they want them.

The other means used to control folk is to tame them. There are only two
ways to tame a wild beast, either with a whip or a biscuit. The whip is
the slavish fear of wrath. Those who use this tactic hold their “beasts”
in fear of loss and fear of punishment. They make God out to be a petty
ogre, veritably licking His lips with pleasure at the thought of someone
messing up, so He can ravage their lives. The biscuit is the promise of
reward, the pat on the back, the public praise for the job well done. It
is the carrot on a stick, held before the mule, to keep him pulling the
plow while he stupidly chases what he can never attain. These are wicked
means of control. The gospel sets men free!

“For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6) God is unchangeable in
His essence, nature, and perfections. Isn’t it wonderful that in our
experience in a life that is nothing but change, to know that the Lord
changes not? His purpose has never altered and never will. This gives
assurance and peace to all who have fled to Christ for refuge. ~David

Eight times in I John we are told to abide in Christ. In Christ is a
place. You were in a place when you were in the ark, in the house with
the blood over the door, or in the city of refuge. To abide in Christ is
a conscious and intelligent desire to be found only in Christ. “Oh, that
I may win Christ and be found in Him.” If there was a room that in it
was sinless perfection, nothing but pleasure, beauty, good food, good
friends, perfect security, perfect satisfaction, with each moment being
better than the last and if outside of that room there was nothing but
pain and wrath…. you would never want to leave that room. At all times
the believer wants to abide in Christ, so that all God sees when He sees
me is Christ, and me in Christ. In Christ is a big place. In Him
dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in
Him.” Why would we ever want to be anywhere else? The fact of the matter
is if we are believers, we do not! ~Todd Nibert

To me the end of all controversy is “Thus saith the Lord.” Only let me
know that the Lord hath said this or that, and though the revelation
should seem impossible to believe, and though it should come into
conflict with all my previous notions, I will bow before it without a
question. “The Lord hath said it,” stands to us instead of all reason,
and argument, and evidence; yea, we believe God in the teeth of supposed
evidence and reason, saying, “Let God be true, but every man a liar.”
Charles Spurgeon

We are so prone to judge God’s love to us by his providence instead of
his promises—William Mason (1719-1791)

“And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his
raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the
smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed.” Gen.27:27
There is, without a doubt, no clearer picture or type of the blessing of
God Almighty to an unworthy rebel than the blessing of Jacob by his
father Isaac.
Jacob had exhibited the true nature of a wretched sinner. In Jacob’s
mind, the only way he could get his father’s blessing was to impersonate
his brother Esau. Lying with every breath, Jacob attempted to convince
his father that he was someone else. Not until Isaac smelled the coat of
Esau did he bestow the blessing. The smell of his first born satisfied
the aging Isaac.
And just as the smell of Esau’s coat that covered Jacob ushered in the
blessing to the younger son…Christ’s royal robe of righteousness,
imputed to everyone that believeth in Christ, is the smell of
satisfaction, obedience, and truthfulness to God the Father.
In ourselves, we are but “Jacobs,” deceivers, liars and supplanters. But
robed in the glorious robe of Christ’s imputed righteousness…we are
accepted and blessed in the Beloved…Apart from Him, there is no hope, no
life, and no blessing from the just and Holy God. Pastor Marvin Stalnaker

“But God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans v. 8.
It is a very blessed heightening of divine mercies, when we behold them
as not only bestowed upon those that deserved them not, but upon those
that deserved the reverse of them. It is not enough, in our account of
God’s love, to say that God was gracious when we had done nothing to
merit his favour, but that God was gracious when we had done every thing
to merit his displeasure. This is among the sweet features of the
gospel. And the reason is very plain. God himself is an infinite Being,
and therefore his love must be an infinite love. All the properties of
it are infinite; it must be exercised to suit an infinite power; it must
be such as corresponds to infinite wisdom; and its effects must be such
as shall be suited to infinite goodness. Hence, therefore, in the
display of it, such manifestations must be given as shall set forth,
that the love of God, as an infinite Being, totally differs from the
love of man, who is but a finite creature. Our love is bounded, like
ourselves, by circumstances of a finite, limited, perishing, dying
nature, such as ourselves, and all the creatures around us partake of.
But in the love of God, there are “breadths and lengths, and depths and
heights, passing knowledge!” Now God commendeth his love towards us by
those properties; that is, he bids us take notice of it by those special
marks and characters. And when the Lord surpriseth the souls of his
people by the same astonishing instance of his grace, in those acts of
goodness, he speaks as in these solemn words: “If it be marvellous in
the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be
marvellous in mine eyes, saith the Lord of Hosts?” Zech. viii. 6. How
sweetly is this shewn to us in the gift of his dear Son Jesus Christ!
When’ was Christ given? When we were enemies. On what account was he
given? Purely on account of God’s love. And to whom was he given? Not to
his friends; not to those who had never offended him; not to those who,
by their affection, or by their services, could make some return of
acknowledgment for such blessings; but to poor, helpless, barren,
unprofitable sinners. So that the love of God in Christ is particularly
recommended, sent home, pressed upon our hearts, by this rich display of
it. To have blessed us, or to have loved us, if we had never offended
God, would have been a stream too shallow, too trifling, to shew forth
divine love. No! “God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Pause, my soul! mark these
properties, admire divine, goodness, and learn how to put a proper value
upon the unparalleled love of God in Jesus Christ. So God commended his
love towards us!
Robert Hawker
Even As Others

… and were by nature children of wrath, even as others. Eph.3:3

Are you a believer? Are you what is called a saved person, a child of
God? If so, how did that come about? Why did God save you? If your
answer is, “because I believed in Jesus,” then you are over-qualified to
be a candidate for the mercy of God and are therefore deceived and lost.
God saves sinners who are “even as others” and if you have distinguished
yourself from “others” by some kind of faith that you produced, you have
disqualified yourself from receiving the unmerited, free, sovereign,
distinguishing grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our text and its context clearly show that when God, Who is rich in
mercy, displayed and dispensed that mercy upon men, that He did so when
they were just like everybody else. If God saved me because I believed
in Jesus and did not save “others” because they did not believe in
Jesus, then the scriptures are meaningless and there is no such thing as
pure grace.

What does it mean to be “even as other?” Read Ephesians 2. It means to
be “dead in trespasses and sins,” in the “lusts of our flesh,” and to be
“by nature the children of wrath.” You may say, “Well I was a sinner and
God saved me by grace, but I ‘improved’ upon that, grace whereas others
did not.” Then you are not “even as others”; God has surely passed you
by and shall until you become so.

This was the Pharisee’s problem. Luke 18:11. The Pharisee stood and
prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men
are, extortionist, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” Real
sinners, such as the publican referred to here, make no such claim, but
only cry out for mercy! If we have any objection to the title “even as
others,” it is only that surely there is no one quite as wretched as

What is your definition of grace? God saved me out of a world full of
drowning worms just like me. If that’s not grace, then I don’t know what
grace is. — Chris Cunningham

On Death Row; Next In Line; Sleeping
Drew Dietz

And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was
sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains and the keepers
before the door kept the prison. Acts 12:6

Look! what grace in the heart does for God’s dear children!! Peter was
just hours before his probable execution. James was already murdered
(vs.2) and I’m sure Peter was next in line. Yet, read the text again my
weak brother, let it liven your discouraged soul my sister…’Peter was
sleeping!’ Peter, who was the Lord’s own, had that peace that passes all
understanding. How can this be? What is the formula for such rest and
peace in the face of fiery trial? No formula, no 1,2 or 3; but simple
and child-like trust (all of grace) in the very person of Jesus Christ,
who held nothing back for the free redemption of my vile, ugly and
deplorable sin sick soul! If he be for us….none shall be against us
really or more importantly, eternally!

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