Bulletin Edition December 2020

“They will come with weeping; they will
 pray as I bring them back.” Jeremiah 31:9

As they come, they weep. They mourn . . .
  over their base backslidings,
  over the many evils they have committed,
  over the levity of mind which they have indulged,
  over the worldliness of spirit,
  over the—
    carelessness, and   
    obstinacy of their heart.

They go and weep with a broken heart and softened
spirit—seeking the Lord their God—seeking the secret
manifestations of His mercy, the visitations of His
favor, the “lifting up of the light of His countenance”—
seeking after a revelation of the love of Jesus—to know
Him by a spiritual discovery of Himself.

Being thus minded . . .
  they seek not to establish their own righteousness;
  they seek not the applause of the world;
  they seek not the good opinion of professors;
  they seek not the smiles of saints. But they . . .
  seek the Lord their God,
  seek His face day and night,
  seek His favor,
  seek His mercy,
  seek His grace,
  seek His love,
  seek His glory,
  seek the sweet visitations of His presence and power,
  seek Him until they find Him to be their covenant God,
who heals all their backslidings.

Oh encouraging truth!

(Octavius Winslow “Morning Thoughts”)”I the Lord search the heart.” Jeremiah 17:10.

Solemn as is this view of the Divine character, the
believing mind finds in it sweet and hallowed repose.

What more consolatory truth in some of the
most trying positions of a child of God than
this; the Lord knows the heart.

The world condemns, and the saints may
wrongly judge, but God knows the heart.

And to those who have been led into deep discoveries
of their heart’s hidden evil, to whom have been made
startling and distressing unveilings, how precious is
this character of God, “He that searches the heart!”

Is there a single recess of our hearts we
would veil from His penetrating glance?

Is there a corruption we would hide from His view?

Is there an evil of which we would have Him ignorant?

Oh no!

Mournful and humiliating as is the spectacle, we would
throw open every door, and uplift every window, and
invite and urge His scrutiny and inspection, making no
concealments, and indulging in no reserves, and framing
no excuses when dealing with the great Searcher of hearts,
exclaiming, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test
me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that
offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

And while the Lord is thus acquainted with the evil of
our hearts, He most graciously conceals that evil from
the eyes of others. He seems to say, by His benevolent
conduct, “I see my child’s infirmity.” Then, covering it
with His hand, exclaims, “but no other eye shall see it,
but my own!” Oh, the touching tenderness, the loving
kindness of our God! Knowing, as He does, all the evil
of our nature, He yet veils that evil from human eye,
that others may not despise us as we often despise
ourselves. Who but God could know it? Who but God
would conceal it?

And how blessed, too, to remember that while God
knows all the evil, He is as intimately acquainted
with all the good that is in the hearts of His people!

He knows all that His Spirit has implanted;
all that His grace has wrought.

Oh encouraging truth!

That spark of love, faint and flickering;
that pulsation of life, low and tremulous;
that touch of faith, feeble and hesitating;
that groan,
that sigh;
that low thought of self that leads a man to seek the shade;
that self-abasement that places his mouth in the dust;
oh, not one of these sacred emotions is unseen, unnoticed by God!

His eye ever rests with infinite complaisance and
delight on His own image in the renewed soul.

“Sovereign Grace Hated by the Modern Religionist”
    By C H Spurgeon
If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out gospel of the
grace of God, especially if that hateful word “sovereignty” is
mentioned with it. Dare to say “He will have mercy on whom
he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he
will have compassion” (Romans 9:15), and furious critics will
revile you without stint.

The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of sovereign
grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it. He would
sooner hear you blaspheme than preach election by the Father,
atonement by the Son, or regeneration by the Spirit.

If you want to see a man worked up till the Satanic is clearly
uppermost, let some of the new divines hear you preach a
free grace sermon. A gospel which is after men will be
welcomed by men; but it needs divine operation upon the
heart and mind to make a man willing to receive into his in
most soul this distasteful gospel of the grace of God. My
dear brethren, do not try to make it tasteful to carnal minds.

Hide not the offense of the cross, lest you make it of none effect.
The angles and corners of the gospel are its strength to pare them
off is to deprive it of power. Toning down is not the increase of
strength, but the death of it.

Learn, then, that if you take Christ out of Christianity,
Christianity is dead. If you remove grace out of the gospel,
the gospel is gone. If the people do not like the doctrine
of grace, give them all the more of it.

I preach the doctrines of grace because I believe them to be true;
because I see them in the Scriptures; because my experience endears
them to me; and because I see the holy result of them in believers.

The doctrine which I preach to you is that of the Puritans:
it is the doctrine of Calvin, the doctrine of Augustine,
the doctrine of Paul, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
The Author and Finisher of our faith himself taught the
most blessed truth which well agreed with our text-
“For by grace are you saved through faith;
 and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8

This abominable thing that I hate!

(J.C. Philpot, 1858)

As no heart can sufficiently conceive, so no tongue can adequately express—the state of wretchedness and ruin into which sin has cast guilty, miserable man. In separating him from God, sin has severed him from the only source and fountain of all happiness and all holiness. Sin has ruined him, body and soul:
  it has filled the body with sickness and disease
  it has defaced and destroyed the image of God in which man was created.

Sin has:
  shattered all of man’s mental faculties;
  broken his judgment,
  polluted his imagination,
  and alienated his affections.

Sin has made man love evil and hate God!

“Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!” Jeremiah 44:4

Four facts of Scripture

(The following is by Don Fortner)

Here are the four facts revealed in Holy Scripture which I most
cherish. Those four, blessed, gospel truths are the pillars of our faith,
the joy of our hearts, the comfort of our souls, and the constant
themes of our songs in worship and of the message we preach.
1.  The God we worship and serve, our Heavenly Father
is absolutely sovereign in all things – (Dan. 4:34-37).
2.  The Lord Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son, our Savior has
effectually redeemed his people from all sin – (Gal. 3:13).
3.  Salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ – (Eph. 2:8-9).
4.  And the Lord our God sovereignly rules, controls, and disposes
of all things in providence according to His own wise and holy will –
(Isa.46:9-13; Rom. 8:28; 11:36; II Cor. 5:18).

Your  beloved?

(by Henry Mahan)
Every soul has a beloved; something or
someone in which to glory, rejoice, and enjoy.

With some it is THE WORLD (its vanity,
 materialism, and honors) .

With others it is THE FLESH. They live
to entertain the flesh, to satisfy the
flesh, and to pamper the flesh.

With others it is THE FAMILY. Close and distant
relatives, family trees, family reunions make
up their past, present, and future.

With others it is RELIGION and works of
righteousness. Their religion is not a PERSON;
it is a CAUSE to which they are devoted in
hope of a suitable reward.

And with some it is SELF, pure and simple;
what can we do for me?

To a believer, it is CHRIST!  He worships,
loves, rejoices, and glories in the Lord Jesus
above all things.

Christ is my Beloved and I am His.

Christ; His fellowship, His love, and His
approval, are preferred above people,
possessions, pleasures, or pursuits. Could One
so illustrious and supreme deserve any less?
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there
is none upon earth that I desire beside You!” (Ps. 73:25)

When we are reduced to poverty and beggary

How often we seem not to have any real religion,
or enjoy any solid comfort! How often are our minds
covered with deep darkness! How often does the
Lord hide Himself, so that we cannot behold Him,
nor get near to Him! What a painful path is this
to walk in, but how profitable!

When we are reduced to poverty and beggary,
we learn to value Christ’s glorious riches.

The worse opinion we have of our own heart, and
the more deceitful and desperately wicked that we
find it—the more we put our trust in His faithfulness.

The more black we are in our own esteem—the more
beautiful and lovely does He appear in our eyes.

As we sink—Jesus rises.

As we become feeble—He puts forth his strength.

As we come into danger—He brings deliverance.

As we get into temptation—He breaks the snare.

As we are shut up in darkness and obscurity;
He causes the light of His countenance to shine.

Now it is by being led in this way, and walking
in these paths, that we come rightly to know who
Jesus is; and to see and feel how suitable and
precious such a Savior is to our undone souls!
We are needy, He has in Himself all riches.

We are hungry—He is the bread of life.

We are thirsty—He says, “If any man thirst,
let him come unto Me, and drink.”

We are naked—and He has clothing to bestow.

We are fools—and He has wisdom to grant.

We are lost, and He speaks—
“Look unto Me, and be saved.”

Thus, so far from our misery shutting us out
from God’s mercy—it is the only requisite for it.

So far from our guilt excluding His pardon,
it is the only thing needful for it.

So far from our helplessness ruining our souls,
it is the needful preparation for the manifestation
of His power in our weakness.

We cannot heal our own wounds and sores. That is
the very reason why He should stretch forth His arm.

It is because there is no salvation in ourselves, or
in any other creature, that He says, “Look unto Me,
for I am God, and there is no other.”

Bring your wounded heart!
from Octavius Winslow’s, “Morning Thoughts”

“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”
  Jeremiah 8:22

There is!

The physician is Jesus, the balm is His own most precious blood.

He binds up the broken heart, He heals the wounded spirit.

All the skill, all the efficacy, all the tenderness
and crucial sympathy needed for the office meet
and center in Him in the highest degree.

Here then, disconsolate soul, bring your wounded heart!

Bring it simply to Jesus.

One touch of His hand will heal the wound.

One whisper of His voice will hush the tempest.

One drop of His blood will remove the guilt.

Nothing but a faith’s application to Him will do for your soul now.

Your case is beyond the skill of all other physicians.

Your wound is too deep for all other remedies.

Do not let the freeness of the remedy keep you away.

The cost is “without money, and without price.”

The ground on which the healing is bestowed is….
  not worthiness on the part of the applicant,
  not merit of the creature,
  not tears,
  not convictions,
  not faith.

Oh no! It is all of grace!

It is all God’s free gift, irrespective
of any worth or worthiness in man.

Your only motive to come to Christ is your very sinfulness.

The reason why you go to Him is that….
  your heart is broken, and that He only can bind it up;
  your spirit is wounded, and that He only can heal it;
  your conscience is burdened, and that He only can lighten it.

It is enough for Christ….
that you are covered with guilt;
that you have no plea that springs from yourself;
that you have no money to bring in your hand,
  but have spent your all upon physicians, yet
  instead of getting better you only grow worse;
that you have wasted your substance in riotous
  living, and now are insolvent; and
that you really feel a drawing towards Him, a longing for Him;
that you ask, you seek, you crave, you earnestly implore His
compassion; that is enough for Him.

His heart yearns!

His love is moved!

His hand is stretched out!

Come and welcome to Jesus, come!

Thus Says the Lord!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“Thus Says the Lord”   No. 591.  Ezekiel 11:5.

“Thus says the Lord” is the only authority in God’s Church.

The faintest whisper of Jehovah’s voice should fill us with
solemn awe, and command the deepest obedience of our souls.

Brethren, how careful should we be that we do not set up in
God’s church anything in opposition to his Word, that we do
not permit the teachings of a creature to usurp the honor due
to the Lord alone.

“Thus says antiquity.”
“Thus says authority.”
“Thus says learning.”
“Thus says experience.”
   -these are but idol-gods which defile the church of God!

Be it yours and mine as bold warriors to dash them in pieces
without mercy, seeing that they usurp the place of the Word of God.

“Thus says the Lord,” -this is the motto of our standard;
the war-cry of our spiritual conflict; the sword with which
we hope yet to smite through the loins of the mighty who
rise up against God’s truth.

“Thus says the Lord God.” This is the trowel, and this the
hammer of God’s builders; this the trumpet of his watchmen
and the sword of his warriors.
Woe to the man who comes in any other name!

If we, or an angel from heaven, shall preach unto you anything but
a “Thus says the Lord,” no matter what our character or standing,
give no heed to us, but cleave unto the truth as it is in Jesus.

To the law and to the testimony, if we speak not according
to this word, it is because there is no light in us.

That test which we demand to be exercised upon others we
cheerfully consent to be exercised upon ourselves, praying
that we may have grace to forsake our errors as we would
have other men forsake theirs.

We will listen to the opinions of great men with the respect
which they deserve as men, but having so done, we deny that
we have anything to do with these men as authorities in the
Church of God, for there nothing has any authority, but
“Thus says the Lord of hosts.”
Yes, if you shall bring us the concurrent consent of all tradition-
if you shall quote precedents venerable with fifteen, sixteen, or
seventeen centuries of antiquity, we burn the whole as so much
worthless lumber, unless you put your finger upon the passage
of Holy Writ which warrants the matter to be of God.

To the true Church of God the only question is this, is there
“Thus says the Lord” for it? And if divine authority be not
forthcoming, faithful men thrust forth the intruder as the cunning
craftiness of men.

Let us use much of Scripture, much of the pure silver
of sacred revelation, and no human alloy.
“What is the chaff to the wheat, says the Lord?”

Many sorrows shall be to those who dare to dash themselves
against the thick bosses of Jehovah’s buckler by opposing his
“Thus says the Lord.” Upon whomsoever this stone shall fall
it shall grind him to powder, and whosoever shall fall upon it shall
be broken to his own lasting damage.

O! my brethren, I would that we trembled and stood more in awe
of God’s Word. I fear that many treat the things of God as
though they were merely matters of opinion, but remember that
opinion cannot govern in God’s house.

God’s Word, not man’s opinion, claims your allegiance.
O for a stern integrity that will hold the Word and will never
  depart from it, come what may.

  by Don Fortner

“And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord:
   and they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
   for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”
      — Jeremiah 24:7

There are some men and women in this world whom
God has chosen to salvation from eternity, who must
and shall be saved (John 15:16; 2 Thess. 2:13).
There is a multitude, scattered among the fallen sons of
Adam, in every age, in every nation who must be saved.
The number of God’s elect is so great that no man can
calculate it, though it always appears as only a remnant
at any given time.

    The number is unalterably fixed by God.
    All the elect must be saved.
    Nothing can prevent their salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ has made atonement for the sins of
God’s elect and redeemed them from the curse of the law by
his own precious blood (Gal. 3:13). Contrary to popular
opinion, Christ did not die for all men. He refused to even
pray for all men (John 17:9, 20). All his work was and is for
his elect alone. To say otherwise is to declare that his work,
his atonement, his intercession, all his work as the sinner’s
Substitute was and is futile, meaningless, and vain.
The death of Christ was for his particular, chosen, elect people
(Isa. 53:8; John 10:11) for the satisfaction of justice on their behalf.

All God’s elect, having been redeemed by the blood of Christ, shall
be called from death to life by the irresistible power and almighty
grace of God the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:13-14; Psa. 65:4; 110:3).
Repentance toward God, faith in Christ, and eternal life are the
results of the Spirit’s call. Theses are things effectually wrought
in God’s elect (not offered to them) by his almighty grace.
There is specific day appointed by God in which each of
his elect will be called to life and faith in Christ by the gospel
(Psa. 110:3; Ezek. 16:68). God will see to it that the sinner whom
he has chosen will be in the place he has ordained, with his heart
thoroughly prepared to receive the gospel, at the appointed time.
And he will send his Word to that sinner in the irresistible power
and grace of the Holy Spirit. In that day, God says, regarding
every chosen, redeemed sinner, “They shall be my people.”

All true religion

Jesus is . . .
  our sun, and without Him all is darkness;
  our life, and without Him all is death;
  the beginner and finisher of our faith;
  the substance of our hope;
  the object of our love.

It is the Spirit who quickens us . . .
  to feel our need of Christ;
  to seek all our supplies in Him and from Him;
  to believe in Him unto everlasting life, 
  and thus live a life of faith upon Him.

By His . . .
  secret teachings,
  inward touches,
  gracious smiles,
  soft whispers,
  sweet promises,
  manifestations of Christ’s glorious Person and work,
  Christ’s agonizing sufferings and dying love,
the Holy Spirit draws the heart up to Christ.

He thus wins our affections, and setting Christ
before our eyes as “the chief among ten thousand
and the altogether lovely One,” draws out that love
and affection towards Jesus which puts the world
under our feet.

All true religion flows from the Spirit’s grace,
presence and power.

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