Bulletin Edition June 2020


(John MacDuff, “The Faithful Promiser”)

“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things — may abound to every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

All-sufficiency in all things! Believer! Surely you are “thoroughly equipped for every good work!”

Grace is no scanty thing, doled out in pittances!

It is a glorious treasury, which the key of prayer can always unlock — but can never empty!

It is a fountain — full, flowing, ever flowing, over flowing!

Mark these three ALL’S in this precious promise. It is a three-fold link in a golden chain, let down from the throne of grace, by the God of grace. “All grace!” “all-sufficiency!” in “all things!” and these to “abound.”

Oh! precious thought! My need cannot impoverish that inexhaustible treasury of grace! Myriads are hourly hanging on it, drawing from it — and yet there is no diminution. Out of that fullness we, too, may all receive, “grace upon grace!”

My soul, do you not love to dwell on that all-abounding grace! Your own insufficiency in everything, met with a divine “all-sufficiency in all things!”

Grace in all circumstances and situations!

Grace in all vicissitudes and changes!

Grace in all the varied phases of the Christian’s being!

Grace in sunshine — and in storm!

Grace in health — and in sickness!

Grace in life — and in death!

Grace for the old believer — and the young believer.

Grace for the tried believer, and the weak believer, and the tempted believer.

Grace for duty — and grace in duty.

Grace to carry the joyous cup with a steady hand — and grace to drink the bitter cup with an unmurmuring spirit!

Grace to have prosperity sanctified — and grace to say through tears, “May Your will be done!”

“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things — may abound to every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

God’s love is revealed and made known by these six deeds of indescribable love!

(Don Fortner)

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!” 1 John 3:1

We rejoice to know that “God is love!” Love is an attribute of His holy Being, without which He would not be God. We know that God is love, because His love is revealed and made known by His deeds. Love is active. It is never dormant. Like fire, it must break out. It cannot be contained. It is known only when it is experienced — not by words, but by deeds. We know the love of God is that love that “surpasses knowledge.” Yet, God’s love is revealed and made known by these six deeds of indescribable love!

The first act of God’s love was our ELECTION in Christ (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). Election is not a hard doctrine. It is a delightful doctrine. Were it not for God’s electing love toward sinners, there would be no salvation (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). We would never have come to know and love Christ — had He not first loved us (John 15:16; 1 John 4:19).

The second act of God’s love was our REDEMPTION by Christ (Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10). Because He loved us, the Son of God assumed our nature, assumed our sin, assumed our guilt and died under the wrath of God as our Substitute, to put away our sins. “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me!”

The third act by which God reveals His love to sinners is His EFFECTUAL SAVING GRACE (Jeremiah 31:3).

Those whom the triune God loved — the Father chose to save.

Those whom the Father chose to save — the Son redeemed.

And those whom the Son redeemed — the Holy Spirit will effectually call by His irresistible grace to life and faith in Christ.

The love of God is revealed fourthly in the absolute PRESERVATION of His elect in a state of grace (John 10:28; Romans 8:39). Can you imagine one who is loved of God falling from a state of grace, perishing and suffering the wrath of God forever in Hell? Such a notion is worse than nonsense — it is utter blasphemy! The love of God is . . .

without cause,

without beginning,

without condition,

without change,

and without end!

It is free.

It is sovereign.

It is indestructible.

It is everlasting.

Fifthly, God’s love for His elect is seen in our Savior’s TENDER, PROVIDENTIAL CARE for us (John 11:35-36). Our Savior really is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. We really are the apple of His eye.

But there is one act of love that goes beyond election, redemption, effectual calling, preservation, and providential care. As great and marvelous as those things are — there is one act of God that goes beyond them all. If the climax of God’s love is our redemption by Christ — then the apex of God’s love is our ADOPTION into the family of God! (1 John 3:1-3)

By birth, we are all fallen, depraved and spiritually dead (Romans 5:12).

By our deeds, we show ourselves to be children of the devil, sinful, deceitful, and wicked (John 8:44).

By nature, we are all children of wrath (Ephesians 1:3), a people deserving the wrath of God.

But by grace, we who believe are the sons of God!

Election is the great fountain of grace.

Redemption is the greatest mystery of grace.

And adoption is the greatest privilege of grace.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!”


John MacDuff

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

“Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”—John 21:15

No word here of the erring disciple’s past faithlessness—his guilty cowardice—unmentioned;—his base denial—his oaths and curses, and treacherous desertion—all unmentioned! The memory of a threefold denial is suggested, and no more, by the threefold question of unutterable tenderness, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”—When Jesus finds His disciples sleeping at the gate of Gethsemane, He rebukes them; but how is the rebuke disarmed of its poignancy by the merciful apology which is added—”The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak!” How different from their unkind insinuation regarding Him, when, in the vessel or Tiberias, “He was asleep”—”Master, don’t you care that we perish!”—The woman of Samaria is full of earthliness, carnality, sectarianism, guilt. Yet how gently the Savior speaks to her—how forbearingly, yet faithfully, He directs the arrow of conviction to that seared and hardened conscience, until He lays it bleeding at His feet! Truly, “He will not break the bruised reed—He will not quench the smoking flax.” By “the goodness of God,” He would lead to repentance. When others are speaking of merciless violence, He can dismiss the most guilty of profligates with the words “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.”

How many have an unholy pleasure in finding a brother in the wrong—blazing abroad his failings; administering rebuke, not in gentle forbearance and kindly admonition, but with harsh and impatient severity! How beautifully did Jesus unite intense sensibility to sin, along with tenderest compassion for the sinner, showing in this that “He knows our frame!” Many a sinner needs gentleness in chastisement. The reverse would crush a sensitive spirit, or drive it to despair. Jesus tenderly “considers” the case of those He disciplines, “tempering the wind to the shorn lamb.” In the picture of the good shepherd bearing home the wandering sheep, He illustrated by parable what He had often and again taught by His own example. No word of needless harshness or upbraiding uttered to the erring wanderer! Ingratitude is too deeply felt to need rebuke. In silent love, “He lays it on His shoulders rejoicing.”

Reader! seek to mingle gentleness in all your rebukes; bear with the infirmities of others; make allowance for constitutional frailties; never say harsh things, if kind things will do as well; do not unnecessarily lacerate with recalling former delinquencies. In reproving another, let us rather feel how much we need reproof ourselves. “Consider yourself,” is a searching Scripture motto for dealing with an erring brother. Remember your Lord’s method of silencing fierce accusation—”Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.” Moreover, anger and severity are not the successful means of reclaiming the backslider, or of melting the obdurate. Like the smooth stones with which David smote Goliath, gentle rebukes are generally the most powerful. The old fable of the traveler and his cloak has a moral here as in other things. The genial sunshine will effect its removal sooner than the rough tempest. It was said of Leighton, that “he rebuked faults so mildly, that they were never repeated, not because the admonished were afraid, but ashamed to do so.

Exercises of sin and grace

(Letters of John Newton)

Alas, how vain is man! What a contradiction is a believer to himself!

If I were to describe him from the Scriptural portrait—I would say that he is one whose heart is athirst for God, for His glory, and for His presence; that his affections are fixed upon an unseen Savior; that his treasures, and consequently his thoughts, are on eternal realities, far beyond the bounds of sense. Having experienced much God’s forgiveness, he is full of mercy and forgiveness to all around. Having been often deceived by his own heart, he dares trust it no more—but lives by faith in the Son of God—for wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and derives from Him grace upon grace; sensible that without Him—he has not sufficiency even to think a good thought! In short—he is dead to the world, to sin, to self; but alive to God, and lively in His service. Prayer is his breath, the Word of God is his food, and Christ is more precious to him than the light of the sun. Such is a believer—in his judgment and prevailing desires.

But was I to describe him from his actual experience, especially at some times—how different would the picture be!

Though he knows that communion with God is his highest privilege, he too seldom finds it so; on the contrary, if duty, conscience, and necessity did not compel him—he would leave the throne of grace unvisited from day to day!

He takes up the Bible, conscious that it is the fountain of life and true comfort; yet perhaps, while he is making the reflection, he feels a secret distaste, which prompts him to lay it down, and give his preference to a newspaper!

He needs not to be told of the vanity and uncertainty of the world, and all beneath the sun; and yet he is almost as much elated or cast down by a trifle—as those who have their only portion in this world!

He believes that all things shall work together for his good, and that the most high God appoints, adjusts, and overrules all of his concerns; yet he feels the risings of fear, anxiety, and displeasure, as though the contrary was true!

He owns himself to be ignorant, and liable to be deceived by a thousand fallacies; yet he is easily betrayed into flattering views of himself, and self-conceit! He feels himself to be an unprofitable, unfaithful, unthankful servant—and therefore blushes to harbor a thought of desiring the esteem and commendations of men—yet he cannot suppress it!

By these exercises of sin and grace—the Lord teaches us more truly to know and feel the utter depravity and corruption of our whole nature—that we are indeed defiled in every part! His method of salvation is hereby exceedingly endeared to us! We see that it is and must be of grace, wholly of grace; and that the Lord Jesus Christ, and His perfect righteousness, is and must be—our all in all.

God’s power likewise, in maintaining His own work, notwithstanding our infirmities, temptations, and enemies—is hereby displayed in the clearest light; His strength is manifested in our weakness!

Satan likewise, is more remarkably disappointed and put to shame—when he finds bounds set to his rage and wiles, beyond which he cannot pass; and that those in whom he finds so much evil to work upon, and over whom he so often prevails for a season—escape at last out of his hands!

He casts them down—but they are raised again!

He wounds them—but they are healed!

He obtains his desire to sift them as wheat—but the prayer of their great Advocate prevails for the maintenance of their faith!

Further, by what believers feel in themselves—they learn by degrees how to warn, pity, and bear with others. A soft, patient, and compassionate spirit, and a readiness and skill in comforting those who are cast down—is not perhaps attainable in any other way!

I believe that nothing more habitually reconciles a child of God to the thought of death, than the wearisomeness of this warfare with sin and temptation. Death is unwelcome to human nature. But the Christian knows that not until death—will the conflict cease! Then we shall sin no more! The flesh, with all its attendant evils, will be laid in the grave. Then the soul, which has been partaker of a new and heavenly birth, shall be freed from every encumbrance, and stand perfect in the Redeemer’s righteousness before God in eternal glory! When we see Jesus, we shall be transformed into His image—and be done with sin and sorrow forever! 

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