Bulletin Edition June 2020

What is this babbler trying to say?

(Letters of John Newton)

“What is this babbler trying to say?” Acts 17:18

The Apostles were accounted as foolish babblers. We are no better than the Apostles; nor have we reason to expect much better treatment—so far as we walk in their steps.

On the other hand, there is a way of speaking of God, and goodness, and benevolence, and morality—which the world will bear well enough. But if we preach Christ as the only way of salvation, lay open the horrid evils of the human heart, tell our hearers that they are dead in trespasses and sins,

A mystery to yourself


“I find then, the law that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present.” Romans 7:21

Are you not often a mystery to yourself? Warm one moment—cold the next! Abasing yourself one hour—exalting yourself the following! Loving the world, full of it, steeped up to your head in it today—crying, groaning, and sighing for a sweet manifestation of the love of God tomorrow! Brought down to nothingness, covered with shame and confusion, on your knees before you leave your room—filled with pride and self-importance before you have got down stairs! Despising the world, and willing to give it all up for one taste of the love of Jesus when in solitude—trying to grasp it with both hands when in business!

What a mystery are you! Touched by love—and stung with hatred! Possessing a little wisdom—and a great deal of folly! Earthly-minded—and yet having the affections in heaven! Pressing forward—and lagging behind! Full of sloth—and yet taking the kingdom with violence! And thus the Spirit, by a process which we may feel but cannot adequately describe—leads us into the mystery of the two natures perpetually struggling and striving against each other in the same bosom—so that one man cannot more differ from another, than the same man differs from himself.

But the mystery of the kingdom of heaven is this—that our carnal mind undergoes no alteration, but maintains a perpetual war with grace. And thus, the deeper we sink in self-abasement under a sense of our vileness, the higher we rise in a knowledge of Christ, and the blacker we are in our own view—the more lovely does Jesus appear.

Almost saved!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Then Agrippa said to Paul: You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” Acts 26:28

To be almost saved — is to be altogether lost!

There are many in Hell who once were almost saved — but who are now altogether damned!

Think of that, you who are not far from the Kingdom. It is being in the Kingdom that saves the soul — not being near the Kingdom.

“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” Mark 12:34


The following is from Don Fortner-

The religion of the world, the religion of man, the religion of

antichrist is man-centered, man-exalting, and man-pleasing.

The religion of the Bible is exactly opposite.

Hear the words of God by the Prophet Isaiah, as he describes

what happens in the day God saves a sinner by his almighty grace–

“The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men

shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”



Natural men rebel against sovereignty, denounce predestination,

and ridicule God’s immutable purpose of grace.

Proud men can never rejoice in a sovereign God, because the fact

of God’s sovereign purpose robs man of all possibility of adulation.



Here is a test, by which you may prove every doctrine and every

preacher you hear– if the doctrine you hear causes your face

to glow with pride, it is not of God. Anything that lifts up man,

anything that lowers God, is not of God and is not the gospel.

The gospel of the grace of God abases the flesh and glorifies God.

“Christ came to save everybody except the self-righteous.”

If you are not a sinner, there is nothing in the gospel for you.

But if you are a sinner, I have good news for you – Christ died for sinners –

Christ saves sinners. Your sinfulness will never keep you from Christ.

Only your “goodness” can do that. Your sin will never keep you out of

heaven. Only your righteousness can do that.

There is pardon for the guilty!

There is a robe for the naked!

There is bread for the hungry!

There is water for the thirsty!

There is rest for the weary!

There is grace for the needy!

There is cleansing for the dirty!

There is help for the fallen!

But there is nothing in the gospel, not one word of

good news, for the good, the great, and the righteous.

The gospel is addressed to sinners who are spiritually dead!

(Eph. 2:1-3).

Talk about helpless! What is more helpless than death?

Talk about hopeless! What is more hopeless than death?

Talk about obnoxious! What is more obnoxious than death?

There is not a complimentary, dignifying, honorable word

between the covers of the Bible to fallen man.

If you want a picture of humanity, as the Bible describes man,

you must go to the cemetery, dig up a coffin, open the box,

and look upon the rotten, decayed body of corruption.

The unconverted man’s works are dead works.

The unconverted man’s religion is dead religion.

The unconverted man’s doctrine is dead doctrine.

The unconverted man’s faith is dead faith.

O, what slow learners!


“So Jesus said, Do you also still not understand?” Matthew 15:16

What lessons we need day by day to teach us anything aright, and how it is for the most part, “line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” O, what slow learners!—what dull, forgetful scholars!—what ignoramuses!—what stupid blockheads!—what stubborn pupils! Surely no scholar at a school, old or young, could learn so little of natural things as we seem to have learned of spiritual things after so many years instruction—so many chapters read—so many sermons heard—so many prayers put up—so much talking about religion. How small, how weak is the amount of growth, compared with all we have read and heard and talked about! But it is a mercy that the Lord saves whom He will save—and that we are saved by free grace—and free grace alone!

The time of love!

There is a day appointed by God for the salvation of his elect,

a day fixed from eternity when grace will come to the chosen

sinner, an hour determined before the world began when the

Good Shepherd will seek out and find his lost sheep.

There is a time fixed before time began, called “the time of love,”

when the predestined child, the elect sinner, redeemed by the

blood of Christ, must be saved. At that hour, salvation must

and shall come to the soul loved of God with an everlasting love.

Only one thing is really important in this matter, only one

question must be answered, only one issue must be settled.

“Do you believe on the Son of God?”

You will know that God has saved you, that you are chosen,

redeemed, and called by grace, when you find yourself believing

the gospel. Do you believe? If you do, the Lord has sought you

out and found you by his grace.

-Don Fortner

No fear!


“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:18

Those who have every reason to fear as to their eternal state before God, have for the most part, no fear at all. They are secure, and free from doubt and fear. The depths of human hypocrisy—the dreadful lengths to which profession may go—the deceit of the carnal heart—the snares spread for the unwary feet—the fearful danger of being deceived at the last—these traps and pitfalls are not objects of anxiety to those dead in sin.

As long as they can pacify natural conscience, and do something to soothe any transient conviction—they are glad to be deceived! God does not see fit to disturb their quiet. He has no purpose of mercy towards them—they are not subjects of His kingdom—they are not objects of His love. He therefore leaves them carnally secure, as in a dream—from which they will not awake until the day of judgment.

Why a man is saved?

The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,

“The Minister’s Stock-taking”

If you are asked why a man is saved, the only Scriptural answer is-

“Sovereign grace” — grace, unmoved by anything in the creature,

flowing spontaneously from the mighty depths of the divine heart.

The answer is this– because God willed it that way.

“He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he

will have compassion on whom he will have compassion.”

“It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs,

but of God that shows mercy.”

If any man is saved, it is not because he willed to be saved.

If any man be brought to Christ, it is not of any effort of his,

but the root, the cause, the motive of the salvation of any one

human being, and of all the chosen in heaven, is to be found

in the predestinating purpose and sovereign distinguishing

will of the Lord our God.

It is God who quickens the souls of those who believe.

If men be saved all the glory must be unto God from first to last,

and not an atom nor a particle attributed to the goodness, or the

power, or the will of the creature.

This is a doctrine which some people have not learned very fully yet,

but they will have to learn it if they are God’s people. Jonah, you

know, had never learned it from the schools, but when the Lord

got him in the whale’s belly, at the bottom of the sea, with the weeds

wrapped about his head, then it was that he said, “Salvation is of

the Lord;” and often some sore trials and terrible afflictions are

necessary schoolmasters to teach us this lesson, that salvation

is of the Lord alone.

It is one of the instinctive apprehensions of every enlightened

man’s mind, that if he is saved, it is because of God’s mercy.

Idling life away like an idiot or a madman


When one is spiritually reborn, he sees at one and the same moment God and self—justice and guilt—power and helplessness—a holy law and a broken commandment—eternity and time—the purity of the Creator, and the filthiness of the creature. And these things he sees—not merely as declared in the Bible—but as revealed in himself as personal realities, involving all his happiness or all his misery in time and in eternity.

Thus it is with him as though a new existence had been communicated, and as if for the first time he had found there was a God! It is as though all his days he had been asleep, and were now awakened—asleep upon the top of a mast, with the raging waves beneath—as if all his past life were a dream, and the dream were now at an end. He has been hunting butterflies—blowing soap bubbles—fishing for minnows—picking daisies—building houses of cards—and idling life away like an idiot or a madman. He had been perhaps wrapped up in a religious profession—advanced even to the office of a deacon, or mounted in a pulpit. He had learned to talk about Christ, and election, and grace, and fill his mouth with the language of Zion. But what did he experimentally know of these things? Nothing, absolutely nothing! Ignorant of his own ignorance (of all kinds of ignorance the worst)—he thought himself rich, and increased with goods, and to have need of nothing—and knew not that he was wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

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