Bulletin Edition September 2019

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2


We by nature and practice are slaves to sin and Satan. We are the sport of the prince of the power of the air, who takes us captive at his will. We are held down also by many hurtful lusts; or, if free from gross sin, are slaves to pride, covetousness, or self-righteousness. Perhaps some idol is set up in the chambers of imagery which defiles all the inner man; or some snare of Satan entangles our feet, and we are slaves, without power to liberate ourselves from this cruel slavery. We groan under it, as the children of Israel under their burdens, but, like them, cannot deliver ourselves.

But sooner or later the truth comes to our aid; the truth as it is in Jesus flies to the rescue of God’s oppressed family; the blessed Spirit opens it up and seals it upon the heart with a divine power. As, then, under his gracious influences they believe the truth, and feel its power and savour in their heart, a liberating influence is communicated; their fetters and shackles are loosened; the bondage of sin and Satan, and the power and strength of evil are sensibly broken, and a measure of holy freedom is enjoyed. There is no other way of getting from under the bondage of the law but by the application of the gospel, and by believing what the gospel reveals. As the truth, then, comes to the heart as the very word of the living God, power comes with it to believe; faith is raised up to credit the testimony; and as faith begins to credit the truth of God and receive it in hope and love, there is a sensible loosening of the bonds; and then the chains and fetters drop off of themselves. It is with the soul as it was with Peter in prison–when the angel came, and a light shined in the prison, and the angel’s words fell upon his ears, “the chains fell from off his hands.” There remained nothing then to bar his exit; for “the iron gate that leads unto the city opened to them of its own accord.” So whatever chains or fetters may hold the soul, let the angel of mercy come; let the message of salvation be revealed, the chains of unbelief drop off, the iron gate of hardness gives way, and the truth makes the soul blessedly free (John 8:32).

Can these dry bones live?

The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,

“The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews”

No. 582. Ezekiel 37:1-10.

Men, by nature, are just like these dry bones

exposed in the open valley. The whole spiritual

frame is dislocated; the sap and marrow of

spiritual life has been dried out of manhood.

Human nature is not only dead, but, like the

bleaching bones which have long whitened in

the sun, it has lost all trace of the divine life.

Will and power have both departed. Spiritual

death reigns undisturbed. Yet the dry bones

can live. Under the preaching of the Word, the

vilest sinners can be reclaimed, the most stubborn

wills can be subdued, the most unholy lives can

be sanctified. When the holy “breath” comes

from the four winds, when the divine Spirit

descends to own the Word, then multitudes of

sinners, as on Pentecost’s hallowed day, stand

up upon their feet, an exceeding great army,

to praise the Lord their God.

“For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” Ephes. 2:14

BEHIND this wall Jesus did once stand, and although thus partially obscured, yet to those who had faith to see Him, dwelling though they were in the twilight of the Gospel, He manifested Himself as the true Messiah, the Son of God, the Saviour of His people. “Abraham rejoiced to see my day,” says Jesus, “and he saw it, and was glad.” But this wall no longer stands. The shadows are fled, the darkness is dispersed, and the true light now shines. Beware of those teachers who would rebuild this wall; and who by their superstitious practices, and legal representations of the Gospel, do in effect rebuild it. Remember that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.”

It is behind “our wall” that Jesus stands—the wall which we, the new covenant saints, erect. Many are the separating influences between Christ and His people; many are the walls which we, alas! allow to intervene, behind which we cause Him to stand. What are the infidelity, I had almost said atheism, the carnality, the coldness, the many sins of our hearts, but so many obstructions to Christ’s full and frequent manifestations of Himself to our souls? But were we to specify one obstruction in particular, we would mention unbelief as the great separating wall between Christ and His people. This was the wall which obscured from the view of Thomas his risen Lord. And while the little Church was jubilant in the new life and joy with which their living Savior inspired them, he alone lingered in doubt and sadness, amid the shadows of the tomb. “Except I thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Nothing more effectually separates us from, or rather obscures our view of, Christ than the sin of unbelief. Not fully crediting His word—not simply and implicitly relying upon His work—not trusting His faithfulness and love—not receiving Him wholly and following Him fully—only believing and receiving half that He says and commands—not fixing the eye upon Jesus as risen and alive, as ascended and enthroned, leaving all fullness, all power, all love. Oh this unbelief is a dead, towering wall between our Beloved and our souls!

And yet does He stand behind it? Does it not compel Him to depart and leave us forever? Ah no! He is there! Oh wondrous grace, matchless love, infinite patience! Wearied with forbearing, and yet there! Doubted, distrusted, grieved, and yet standing there—His locks wet with the dew of the night—waiting to be gracious, longing to manifest Himself. Nothing has prevailed to compel Him to withdraw. When our coldness might have prevailed, when our fleshliness might have prevailed, when our neglect, ingratitude, and backslidings might have prevailed, never has He entirely and forever withdrawn. His post is to watch with a sleepless eye of love the purchase of His dying agonies, and to guard His “vineyard of red wine night and day, lest any hurt it.” Who can adequately picture the solicitude, the tenderness, the jealousy, with which the Son of God keeps His especial treasure? And whatever would force Him to retire—whether it be the coldness that congeals, or the fierce flame that would consume—yet such is His deathless love for His people, “He withdraws not His eyes front the righteous” for one moment. There stands the “Friend that sticks closer than a brother,” waiting to beam upon them a glance of His love-enkindled eye, and to manifest Himself to them as He does not unto the world, even from behind our wall.
Octavius Winslow

Believers err in many things, fall

in many ways, and sin is mixed with

all they do; but in the tenor of their

lives all believers are faithful, seeking

the will and glory of God in all things

and above all things.

As we become increasingly aware of our

personal sinfulness and corruption, as

we are humbled by the depravity of our

hearts, nothing is more comforting,

cheerful, and reassuring to God’s saints,

than the knowledge of the fact that in

the eyes of Christ we stand perfect in the

beauty of his righteousness, the beauty

which he has put upon us.

-Don Fortner

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21


A man in his fleshly mind is generally devising some method or other whereby he may escape a practical subjection to the gospel; some way or other whereby he may escape walking in the path of self-denial and mortification of the flesh, and the crucifixion of “the old man with the affections and lusts.” He is generally seeking some way or other to indulge the flesh, and yet, at the same time, to stand in gospel liberty–to have everything that can gratify his carnal mind, and, at the same time, have a well-grounded hope of eternal life.

But the Lord says, “No, these two things are not compatible; he that shall live with Christ must die with Christ; he that shall reign with Christ must suffer with Christ; he that shall wear the crown must carry the cross.” So, that whatever devices there be in a man’s heart, or whatever ways and plans he shall undertake to bring his devices to pass, “the counsel of the Lord still shall stand.” Divine sovereignty shall fulfill that which divine sovereignty has appointed, and the purposes of God shall stand upon the ruins of the purposes of the creature.

And it is our mercy (so far as we are children of the living God), it is our mercy, that it should be so. Where would we have been this moment, if the devices in our hearts had succeeded? We would have been in hell. Where would we have been, since the Lord has been pleased, as we trust, to quicken our souls into spiritual life, if all our devices had succeeded? Our “eyes would have stood out with fatness,” and we would have “had more than heart could wish.” We would have been now, if the Lord had left us to our own devices, indulging in some dreadful temptation, or already have disgraced our name before the Church of God; or, if we had escaped that, we would have only a name to live, while our hearts were secretly dead before God; have had “a form of godliness, while we inwardly or outwardly denied the power thereof.”

And therefore it is our mercy that the devices of our hearts should not stand, but that “the counsel of the Lord” should prevail over all the purposes of our base nature. When a man is brought to the right spot, and is in a right mind to trace out the Lord’s dealings with him from the first, he sees it was a kind hand which “blasted his gourds and laid them low;” it was a kind hand that swept away his worldly prospects, which reduced him to natural as well as to spiritual poverty, which led him into exercises, trials, sorrows, griefs, and tribulations; because, in those trials he has found the Lord, more or less, experimentally precious. Jacob found it so; he blessed the Lord for the path he had led him in. Though his days had been few and evil, he could see how the Lord had “fed him all his life long unto that day,” amid all the changing vicissitudes through which he had passed in body and soul; and he blessed that hand which had guided him through that difficult way, and yet brought him to a “city of habitation.”

Sanctification & Holiness

(Octavius Winslow, “The Christians Journey”)

Christ himself is our sanctification.

As Christ, by the Spirit grows in us, and we

become conformed to the image of Christ,

He becomes our sanctification.

We grow holy only as we approximate to

the nature, the spirit, and image of Christ.

This is true holiness, and nothing else is.

Holiness does not consist in fastings, in prayers,

in religious duties, rites, and ceremonies. How

many there are in the present day who are

religiously and rigidly observing all these external

things, dreaming of holiness and fitness for heaven,

without one particle of real sanctification!

What a fearful and fatal delusion!

Your sanctification, beloved, is Christ: Christ growing

in you, “who of God is made unto us wisdom,

righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”

Beloved, you have to battle with indwelling sin, and

to conflict with outward temptation. But never forget

that you are to live upon Christ as much for your

sanctification as for your justification; that His grace

is pledged to subdue your iniquities, to arm you in

the conflict, to give you skill in the holy fight, and

the final victory over all your enemies. And in

proportion as Christ grows in you, you will grow

in a true hatred of sin, in a deepening love of

holiness, and thus in real, gospel sanctification.

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