Bulletin Edition May 2020

To walk after the flesh


“There is therefore now no condemnation to

those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not

after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Rom. 8:1

To walk after the flesh carries with it the idea of

the flesh going before us—as our leader, guide, and

example—and our following close in its footsteps,

so that wherever it drags or draws we move after

it, as the needle after the magnet.

To walk after the flesh, then, is to move

step by step in implicit obedience to . . .

the commands of the flesh,

the lusts of the flesh,

the inclinations of the flesh,

and the desires of the flesh,

whatever shape they assume,

whatever garb they wear,

whatever name they may bear.

To walk after the flesh is to be ever pursuing,

desiring, and doing the things that please the

flesh, whatever aspect that flesh may wear or

whatever dress it may assume—whether molded

and fashioned after the grosser and more flagrant

ways of the profane world—or the more refined

and deceptive religion of the professing church.

But are the grosser and more manifest sinners the

only people who may be said to walk after the flesh?

Does not all human religion, in all its varied forms and

shapes, come under the sweep of this all-devouring

sword? Yes! Every one who is entangled in and led by

a fleshly religion, walks as much after the flesh as

those who are abandoned to its grosser indulgences.

Sad it is, yet not more sad than true, that false

religion has slain its thousands, if open sin has

slain its ten thousands.

To walk after the flesh, whether it be in the

grosser or more refined sense of the term, is

the same in the sight of God.

The wretched idol, SELF!

(Octavius Winslow, “Christ and the Christian

in Temptation” 1877)

Of all the sins common to our fallen nature, God

has the most signally marked that of Idolatry, or

False Worship.

Man is by nature an idolater. His sinful mind,

being alienated from God, seeks some object

of worship other than the true and living God.

The ‘renewed’ man is not entirely exempt from this sin.

Hence the exhortation of the Apostle addressed to the

early Christians, and in these last days addressed to us:

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” “My dearly

beloved, flee from idolatry.”

Surely, it was not the gross and senseless idolatry of

the heathens to which the Apostles thus refer; from

this many of those saints to whom they wrote had

already been delivered; but to other idols and other

worship, less palpable and degrading, but not less

superstitious or offensive to God.

The worship of SELF is a natural and fearful form of

idolatry. It is an innate and never entirely eradicated

principle of our nature, but clings to us to the very last

of life. Alas! the holiest and the best of us want to be

something, and to do something, when in reality we

are nothing, and can do nothing.

We walk in our religious life, for the most part, upon

stilts; always appearing in the eyes of others taller

than we really are!

But real greatness and true humility have ever been

in alliance with entire abnegation of SELF.

Who can stand before the cross and gaze upon the

Creator of all worlds impaled between two criminals,

Himself dying as the chief, and not shrink into his

own nothingness, bewailing that he should ever have

been betrayed into the folly and the sin of burning

the incense of idolatry before the wretched idol,


Beware of SELF idolatry!

It is the most insidious, hateful, and degrading

form of idolism to which the soul can be subjected.

“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.” Hosea 6:3


We gather from these words that there is such a thing in soul experience as “a following on to know the Lord;” and indeed there is no obtaining the blessings which are laid up for the righteous, unless there is this following on. “To know the Lord” is the desire of every living soul; that is, to know him by his own divine manifestations, by the gracious revelation of his grace, his love, his presence, and his glory.

But the expression, “follow on,” implies that there are many difficulties, obstacles, and hindrances in a man’s way, which keep him back from “knowing the Lord.” Now the work of the Spirit in his soul is to carry him on in spite of all these obstacles. Nature, and all the work of nature, and all the power of Satan working on nature, is to draw the man back; but the work of the Spirit on the soul is to lead him forward, to keep alive in him the fear of God, to strengthen him from time to time with strength in his inner man, to give him those enlargements, to drop in those hopes, to communicate that inward grace, and to gird up the loins of his mind, so that in spite of sense, reason, and nature, he is compelled to follow on.

Sometimes he seems driven, and sometimes drawn, sometimes led, and sometimes carried, but in one way or another the Spirit of God so works upon him that, though he scarcely knows how, he still “follows on.” His very burdens make him groan for deliverance; his very temptations cause him to cry for help; the very difficulty and ruggedness of the road make him want to be carried every step; the very intricacy of the path compels him to cry out for a guide; so that the Lord the Spirit working in the midst of, and under, and through every difficulty and discouragement, still bears him through, and carries him on; and thus brings him through every trial and trouble and temptation and obstacle, until he sets him before the Lord in glory.

It is astonishing to me how our souls are kept alive. I believe a living man is a marvel to himself. Carried on, and yet so secretly; worked upon, and yet so mysteriously; and yet led on, guided, and supported through so many difficulties and obstacles, that he is a miracle of mercy, and, as the Apostle says, “a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men;” the world wondering, the angels admiring, and men standing astonished, how the quickened soul is carried on amid all its difficulties, obstacles, trials, and temptations; and yet in spite of all “following on.”

But “following on” for what? “To know the Lord,” as the sum and substance of all religion, as the very marrow of vital godliness; to know Jesus, so as by faith to enter into his beauty and loveliness, and feel ourselves one spirit with him, according to those words, “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”

Our only rule of faith and practice!

(Don Fortner)

Our only rule of faith and practice is the Word of God. We have . . .

no creed to defend,

no denomination to maintain, and

no confession to bind our minds.

“What do the Scriptures teach?” That is and must be our only concern. If the plain teachings of Holy Scripture appear to destroy or contradict our understanding of any doctrine — then let us relinquish the doctrine, or acknowledge the fact that our minds are both depraved and minuscule — and bow to the revelation of God.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

How to fill your church!

by Spurgeon–

I believe that the best, surest, and most permanent way to fill

a place of worship is to preach the gospel, and to preach it in

a natural, simple, interesting, earnest way. The gospel itself

has a singularly fascinating power about it, and unless impeded

by an unworthy delivery, or by some other great evil, it will win

its own way. It certainly did so at the first, and what is to hinder

it now? Like the angels, it flew upon its own wings; like the dew,

it tarried not for man, neither waited for the sons of men.

The gospel has a secret charm about it which secures a hearing:

it casts its good spell over human ears, and they must hearken.

It is God’s own word to men; it is precisely what human

necessities require; it commends itself to man’s conscience, and,

sent home by the Holy Spirit, it wakes an echo in every heart.

In every age, the faithful preaching of the good news has brought

forth hosts of men to hear it, made willing in the day of God’s power.

Decked in the glories of free and sovereign grace, wearing the

crown-royal of the covenant, and the purple of atonement-

the gospel, like a queen, is still glorious for beauty,

and supreme over hearts and minds.

Published in all its fulness, with a clear statement of its efficacy

and immutability, it is still the most acceptable news that ever

reached the ears of mortals.

“In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious.” Isaiah 4:2


Where in heaven or on earth can there be found such a lovely Object as the Son of God? “What is your beloved more than another beloved?” ask the companions of the Bride. But she answers, “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chief among ten thousand.” If, then, you have never seen any beauty in Jesus, you have never seen Jesus; he has never revealed himself to you; you never had a glimpse of his lovely face, nor a sense of his presence, nor a word from his lips, nor a touch from his hand. But if you have seen him by the eye of faith, and he has revealed himself to you even in a small measure, you have seen a beauty in him beyond all other beauties, for it is a holy beauty, a divine beauty, the beauty of his heavenly grace, the beauty of his uncreated and eternal glory, such as no earthly countenance can wear, nor man or woman, no, not Adam, in all his unfallen innocency, nor his fair partner Eve, with all her virtue, grace, and dignity, ever could show, for it is the beauty of the glorious Son of God, which he forever wears as the Son of the Father in truth and love.

And as he is “beautiful,” so is he “glorious.” Oh, what a glory does faith see sometimes in his eternal Deity, in his divine Sonship, in what he is in himself as the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his Person, and in what he is as made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption! How glorious does he show himself to be in his atoning blood and dying love. Even as sweating great drops of blood in Gethsemane’s gloomy garden, and as hanging in torture and agony upon Calvary’s cross, faith can see a beauty in the glorious Redeemer, even in the lowest depths of ignominy and shame. Was there not a glory in his meek obedience, in his suffering patience, in his submission to his Father’s holy will, in his uncomplaining resignation to the heaviest strokes of vindictive justice, in bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, and thus putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself? But more especially does faith see him glorious as rising from the dead and going up on high, and sitting down at the right hand of the Father, crowned with glory and honor, and all things put under his feet.

“And you shall be My witnesses.” Acts 1:8


In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ—look at His example. He is always witnessing—by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem—by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain’s brow. He is witnessing night and day; His mighty prayers are as vocal to God—as His daily services. He witnesses under all circumstances; Scribes and Pharisees cannot shut His mouth; even before Pilate He witnesses a good confession. He witnesses so clearly, and distinctly—that there is no mistake in Him.

Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be as the clear brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom—not as the muddy creek, of which you only see the surface—but clear and transparent, so that your heart’s love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not say, “I am true!” Be true! Boast not of integrity—but be upright. So shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it.

Never, for fear of feeble man, restrain your witness. Your lips have been warmed with a coal from off the altar; let them speak as heaven-touched lips should speak. “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand.” Watch not the clouds, consult not the wind—in season and out of season—witness for the Savior, and if it shall come to pass that for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not—but rejoice in the honor thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord. Rejoice also in this—that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make a platform—from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with His evangelistic spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility—if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory!

The whole apparatus of religion

(J. C. Philpot, “Reviews”)

“I see that you are very religious in every way.”

Acts 17:22

Religion, in some shape or other, is indispensable

to the very existence of civilized society. There is

a natural religion–as well as a spiritual religion.

Natural conscience is the seat of the former;

a spiritual conscience the seat of the latter.

One is of the flesh–the other of the Spirit.

One for time–the other for eternity.

One for the world–the other for the elect.

One to animate and bind men together as

component members of society–the other to

animate and bind the children of God together

as component members of the mystical body

of Christ.

True religion is what the world does not want

–nor does true religion want the world.

The two are as separate as Christ and Belial.

But some religion the world must have!

And as it will not have, and cannot have

the true–it will and must have the false.

True religion is . . .

spiritual and experimental,

heavenly and divine,

the gift and work of God,

the birthright and privilege of the elect,

the peculiar possession of the heirs of God.

This the world has not, for it is God’s enemy–not

His friend–walking in the broad way which leads

to perdition–not in the narrow way which leads

to eternal life.

Worldly religion cannot exist without an order of

men to teach it and practice its ceremonies. Hence

come clergy, forming a recognized priestly caste.

And as these must, to avoid confusion, be governed,

all large corporate bodies requiring a controlling power,

thence come bishops and archbishops, ecclesiastical

courts, archdeacons–and the whole apparatus of

clerical government.

The ceremonies and ordinances cannot be carried on

without buildings set apart for the purpose–thence

churches and cathedrals.

As prayer is a part of all religious worship, and carnal

men cannot, for lack of the Spirit, pray spiritually–they

must have forms of devotion made ready to their hand,

thence come prayer-books and liturgies.

As there must be mutual points of agreement to hold

men together, there must be written formulas of doctrine

–thence come articles, creeds, and confessions of faith.

And finally, as there are children to be instructed, and

this cannot be safely left to oral teaching, for fear of

ignorance in some and error in others, the very form

of instruction must be drawn up in so many words–

thence come catechisms.

People are puzzled sometimes to know why there is

this and that thing in an established religion–why we

have churches and clergy, tithes and prayer-books,

universities and catechisms–and the whole apparatus

of religion. They do not see that all these things have

sprung, as it were, out of a moral necessity, and are

based upon the very constitution of man–that this

great and widespread tree of a human religion has

its deep roots in the natural conscience; and that all

these branches necessarily and naturally grow out of

the broad and lofty stem.

The attachment, then, of worldly people to a worldly

religion is no great mystery. It is no riddle for a Samson

to put forth–or requiring a Solomon to solve.

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