Bulletin Edition November 2018

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth” (Proverbs 28:1). — Terrified by
his own guilty conscience, a wicked man presumes someone is after him.
Frightened by his own dark shadow, he strikes out at nothing but his own
guilt (Judges 9:36). Like Cain, he presumes somebody is out to get him
when, in reality, it is only the torment of a guilty conscience that
makes him mad.

Two Thieves
Luke 23:32-43
How willing, how anxious the Lord Jesus Christ is to save poor, lost
sinners! The cross of Christ is a vivid declaration that “where sin
abounded grace did much more abound!” What is the meaning of the cross?
Why was our Lord Jesus nailed to the cursed tree? Behold the dying thief
and hear the answer. The Son of God came into the world to save sinners.
Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost!

The Dying Thief
The dying thief is a true specimen of God’s elect. This man appears to
have done nothing but evil all his life. We know nothing about him,
except that he was a thief, a thief who had executed his crimes with
violence, a thief who continued to blaspheme, even as he was being
executed, a thief who was loved and chosen of God (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Why was Immanuel’s blood poured out at Calvary? Christ Jesus poured out
his life’s blood upon the cursed tree to wash away sin. Here I see it
washing away the sins of one like myself, whose heart and life were as
black as hell. Why did Christ suffer and die? It was to pardon the most
guilty. It was not merely to save us from hell, but to open Paradise to
the chief of sinners, to open it at once; not after years of torment,
but “today.” Today “shalt thou be with me.” Yes, the Lord Jesus went
back to heaven with this saved thief in his hands.
By his death upon the cursed tree, the Son of God delivers and saves his
people from their sins. Satisfying the justice of God, He plucked us as
brands from the burning, conquered hell, and defeated the devil and cast
him down to hell. The first sinner saved by the cross, after it had been
erected upon Calvary’s hill, was a wretched, justly condemned thief; and
the Son of God went up to heaven with him to join in that joy that is in
heaven over one sinner who repents.

The Brink of Hell
How near a person may be to hell and yet be saved! That thief was, as it
were, upon the very brink of hell. He had one foot in the pit. Hell was
in his heart. Hell had been his life. Soon, hell must be his portion
forever! He had done nothing but evil continually all the days of his
life. In the very last hour of his life, he is heard blaspheming and
railing against the Lord Jesus. Yet, he was plucked from the fire by
omnipotent mercy! — Saved by the Son of God! He was just about to step
into everlasting damnation when the omnipotent hand of the Son of God
seized him and lifted him up to Paradise! Oh, what grace is here! What
boundless love! What power to save! Who after this need despair? Truly
our Lord Jesus Christ is mighty to save!

The Other Thief
How near you may be to Christ and yet be lost forever! The other thief
was as near the Savior as the one who was saved. Yet, he perished. He
went to hell from the very side of the Son of God, from the very
presence of Immanuel! Can anyone be nearer to Christ than that thief
was? Looking at him, hearing him, speaking to him, he was lost after
all! Be warned. Outward nearness, religious
duties, familiarity with the Word of God, baptism, eating and drinking
the symbols of the Savior’s body and blood, none of these things can
save. You may be very near Christ, and yet not be in Christ. Salvation
is not being near Christ. Salvation is being found in Christ.
Here are two men. Both are thieves. Both are damned. Both are lost. Both
are without God, without Christ, without hope. Both are in the immediate
presence of the crucified Christ. One is taken up to glory. One is taken
up to heaven. The other is cast down to hell. What made the difference?
Two Facts
Here’s the difference. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God
is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). —
Throughout the Word of God, we are constantly assured of two facts. (1)
If anyone goes to hell, it is his own fault alone, his own
responsibility, altogether the result of what he has done, and that for
which he alone must bear the blame forever. (2) If anyone is saved, if
anyone goes to heaven, it is God’s work alone, altogether the result of
that which God has done, and that for which God alone must have the
praise forever.

Wages Paid
“The wages of sin is death!” — Sin is what we all are by nature; and sin
is all that we do in a state of rebellion against God. It is as
impossible for a sinner to do good as it is for water to be dry. Our
corrupt nature corrupts all our thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds. As
a corrupt fountain only brings forth corrupt water, so a corrupt heart
only brings forth corruption. That means that the very plowing of the
wicked is an abomination to God, and even our righteousnesses are filthy
rags in his sight (Proverbs 21:4; Isaiah 64:6). Sin is also our choice.
We all drink iniquity like water (Job 15:16). And that which sin
deserves is death, eternal death, which is eternal separation from God
and the eternal vengeance of his holy wrath. Death is the debt God owes
to sin. And God always pays his debts. The reprobate thief went to hell
because he ate the fruit of his own way.

Gift Bestowed
“But the gift of God is eternal life!” — Eternal life comes to guilty
sinners not as a debt, or a reward for something we have done, but as
the free grace gift of God. The new birth, which is the beginning of
eternal life in the soul, is the gift of God. Faith in Christ is the
gift of God. Heavenly glory, which is the consummation of eternal life,
is also the gift of God. Death, hell, and judgment are things we earn by
sin. But grace, life, and heaven are things freely given to sinners
“through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Christ paid the debt of sin for his people by his death upon the cross,
making it right and just for the holy Lord God, who must punish sin, to
give eternal life to all for whom he died. Through the merits of his
blood and righteousness, God gives eternal life to everyone who believes
on him. Even the faith by which we receive this gift is the gift of God
and the result of his operation of grace (Ephesians 2:8; Colossians
1:12). Faith in Christ is not the cause of God’s gift, but the result of
it. If you now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, God has given you
eternal life. It is altogether his work. — “Salvation is of the Lord!”
Don Fortner.

Outward or Inward
In the Old Testament, worship was fleshly and outward – circumcision in
the flesh, killing animals, sprinkling blood, cleaning pots and pans,
dancing and shouting when the ark, full of physical objects (tables of
law, pot of manna, Aaron’s rod) was returned. This was all carried out
in the nation of Israel, physical Jews, direct descendants of Abraham.

In the New Testament, worship is spiritual and inward – circumcision in
the heart, faith in the righteousness and blood of Christ, carried out
by spiritual Israel, spiritual Jews (elect believers) – “For we are the
circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ
Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). If during the
preaching of the Gospel, I started clapping and shouting, eyes would be
drawn to me, and off of Christ – that is idolatry, that is
flesh-worshipping, that is self-serving and self-glorying…. Scripture
says, “No flesh should glory in His presence.” But “He that glorieth,
let him glory in the Lord” (I Cor. 1:29,30). ~ Brian DuFour

Two Troubled Souls
(1 Kings 2:26-34 & Gen. 32:24-26)

Here we see two men in some pretty difficult situations, two men very
anxious about situations that have confronted them because of their
stubbornness and sin of days gone by.

One man (Joab) lays hold of the HORNS of the altar and will not let go.
The other man (Jacob) lays hold of, SOMEONE and will not let go. One man
is cursed and will die right where he stands, the other one is blessed
and will live a life of honor and glory to God.

One man will not let go of HIS TRADITION, religious forms and trinkets
and will perish with them. The other will not let go of HIS GOD and will
be blessed to see the almighty Sovereign workings of the Triune God in
dealing with his past sins, and his future pilgrimage!

Which man are you? Will you sit in the church building and hang on to
your religion without Christ, never letting go of its form, ritual,
tradition and legalism? Or are you that man who has seen the Son and
your abominations, foolishness, and sinful trickery and must have the
Son’s blessings, substitution and Redemption before you go on in this

May God give us much grace and daily mercy to wrestle with Immanuel and
never let go. For in Him and by Him and through Him are all blessings
whether they be on earth or in the Heavens !
Drew Dietz

What is your Ground of Assurance?
To those who struggle with assurance, saying, “There are so many times
that I do not feel saved,” I would remind you that, before you came to
Christ, there were many times you did not feel lost! Did your lack of
‘lost feeling’ at that time mean that you were not lost? Of course not!
For feelings have nothing to do with whether or not we are lost. Do you
not see that it is the same with respect to whether or not we are saved?
Martin Luther said it well when he wrote:

For feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving

My warrant is the Word of God

Naught else is worth believing.

There it is! God’s Word! There is our foundation. The Scriptures never
instruct us to feel, but to believe. If you do not feel, believe anyway!
It does not say, “For by grace are you saved through feelings.” Feelings
are a look inward, at ourselves. Faith is a look outward at Christ.
Feelings change because they look at a changing object – ourselves.
Faith never changes, for it looks at an unchanging object – Christ! May
God grant you grace to look to Him. ~Joe Terrell

Two Great Evils
Jeremiah 2: 13
“For my people have committed two evils; They have forsaken me the
fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns,
that can hold no water.”

There are two great evils that describe the condition of man in every age.
First, he has forsaken the promised redeemer. It was not moral reform or
threat of punishment by which the Lord reconciled Adam in the garden. It
was by a substitutionary death of a chosen sacrifice and the promise of
him who would accomplish it. What Cain forsook at his altar was the
promised redeemer. He forsook him who is the fountain of living waters.
Secondly, he has attempted by his own hand to make a way to have his own
source of water. He hews and chips away until he has what he believes
will provide that precious water but, it is broken and cannot hold the
eternal drink. Man has been laboring for thousands of years to make
these watering holes but the results are always the same – They are
broken and cannot hold water. The water of life is in the Lord himself.
Thirsty souls are bidden of him. Come and drink.
Darvin Pruitt

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