Bulletin Edition January 2021

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Matthew 11:25


Whatever religious knowledge, whatever carnal wisdom, or whatever worldly prudence a man may be possessed of, if he is devoid of the life of God in his soul, he is destitute of the workings of godly fear, he has no solemn awe or reverence for Jehovah, he has never seen his sins in the light of God’s countenance, he has never trembled at “the wrath to come,” he has never prostrated himself with a reverential spirit before the eyes of a heart-searching Jehovah, who sees into the secret recesses of his bosom.

But all his knowledge, and all his wisdom, and all his prudence leave him just where they found him–unconverted carnal, sensual, worldly, “dead in trespasses and sins.” All his wisdom never reached beyond the surface; it never broke up the crust of unbelief, so as to enter through that seared crust into the conscience, and produce living effects in it, as made tender by the touch of God’s finger. But his knowledge, his wisdom, his prudence are all floating in his mere judgment, and never descend into the depths of his heart.

God hides then the workings of spiritual fear from those who are “wise and prudent.” He does not condescend to manifest himself to them; he does not show them light in his light; he does not reveal himself to their consciences; he does not come with power into their hearts; he does not take the veil of unbelief and blindness from their carnal minds, and show them himself; he takes them not where he took Moses, into the cleft of the rock, “where his glory passed by;” he deals not with them as he dealt with Isaiah, when he manifested to him the glory of the Lord in the temple; he discovers himself not to them as he did to Job, when “he abhorred himself in dust and ashes.” All their knowledge of God, therefore, is an external, intellectual knowledge, a mere exercise of the faculties of the mind, without any spiritual teaching, or any special revelation of the presence, power, glory, and majesty of God to their consciences.

But the babe, the living babe in Zion has “the fear of the Lord,” in his soul, “as the beginning of wisdom.” And therefore, having this fountain of life within, he has it springing up in spiritual exercises. As the Apostle speaks, he “serves God acceptably with reverence and godly fear;” he dare not rush with presumption into his holy presence. When he comes into his sanctuary a solemn dread from time to time falls upon his spirit. He has the feelings of Isaiah when he cried–“I am a man of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts;” the feelings of Jacob when he was afraid, and said, “How dreadful is this place!” the feelings of Moses, when he stood by the burning bush, and put his shoes from off his feet, for the spot whereon he stood was holy ground; the feelings of the high priest in the temple, on that mysterious day of atonement, when he entered alone, “not without blood,” into the sanctuary, the holy of holies, and beheld the Shechinah, the Divine presence as a cloud resting on the mercy-seat.

The babe, then, has these exercises of godly fear, which carnal, unhumbled, worldly-wise professors know nothing of. And though the babe, at times, seems to have no religion which he can really call spiritual or which satisfies himself, yet he has that tenderness, awe, and reverence which the carnal professor, however high in doctrine, however soaring in vain confidence, is utterly unacquainted with.

The Gospel crucible!

(John MacDuff, “Ripples in the Twilight” 1885)

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

It will never cease to be one of the marvels of Christianity, that her antidotes are the same in every climate, every age, and every bosom. Just as the chemist can infallibly pronounce on the action of the various elements he throws into his crucible — so in the Gospel crucible, cast the human heart in its every form and type, that of . . .

  the degraded African,

  the superstitious Hindu,

  the ferocious Arab,

  the reprobate European —

the Gospel of Christ, by a heavenly alchemy, melts that heart! It dissolves . . .

  the pride of reason,

  the power of superstition,

  the curse and misery of vice!

It is the only universal balm!

It was tried . . .

  on ignorant fishermen of Galilee,

  on poor wayside beggars of Judea,

  on hardened Roman soldiers and

  on crouching slaves of sin and Satan.

It was tried on the great persecutor of the church — and by him on the disciples of Plato on Mars Hill. It was tried amid the tears of Bethany — and amid the courtly splendor and uncongenial influences of Caesar’s household. And in not one of all these varied cases, has it failed!

The king clothed in ermine,

the pauper clothed in rags,

the statesman in his senate-house,

the merchant at his desk,

the artisan in his workshop,

the cottager at her wheel —

all feel the power of the same Gospel, all own the beauteous simplicity of the same healing words, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ — and you shall be saved!”

Morality without Christ

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

You moral and upright people without Christ—you are as surely lost as the despicable reprobate!

You chaste and respectable people without Christ—you will be as surely damned as the vile prostitute who walks the streets at midnight!

“Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish!” Luke 13:3

“They that be whole need not a physician but they that are sick.” Matthew 9:12


A physician is useless without a case; and the harder the case, the wiser and better physician we need. Thus a guilty conscience is a case for atoning blood, a wounded spirit for healing balm, a filthy garment for a justifying robe, a drowning wretch for an Almighty hand, a criminal on the gallows for a full pardon, an incurable disease for a heavenly physician, and a sinner sinking into hell for a Saviour stooping down from heaven. A man with a real case must have a real salvation. He is no longer to be cheated, deluded, and tricked with pretenses, as a nervous patient is sometimes cured with fake pills; but he must have a real remedy as having a real disease.

Christ in the Bible, Christ sitting as an unknown Saviour in the heavens, Christ afar off, unmanifested and unrevealed, is no Christ to him. “Near, near; let him come near; in my heart, in my soul, revealed in me, manifested unto me, formed within me–this, this is the Christ I need. O for one drop of his atoning blood, one smile of his blessed countenance, one testimony of his love, one gleam of his justifying righteousness!” And thus when this divine Redeemer appears in his garments stained with blood, the sinking soul hails his approach, the fowls of the mountains take flight, the beasts of the earth slink off to their dens, the dreary stump pushes forth its shoots, and the voice sounds forth from the inmost depths of the soul, “This is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us. This is the Lord, we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

The others, where are they?

(Octavius Winslow “Evening Thoughts”)

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,

 and I will have compassion on whom I will have

 compassion.” Romans 9:15

Here is the Sovereign! How like Himself He speaks!

He carries forward His gracious purposes of infinite

wisdom and love—chooses or rejects—reveals or

withholds, “working all things after the counsel of

His own will,” and “giving no account,” either to

angels or to men, “of any of His matters.”

Is the reader a child of God? Who and what made

you to differ? You have been taken out of your family,

your kindred, your friends, your companions. From this

circle you alone have been selected, called, and made

a child of grace, an heir of glory.

The others, where are they?

Still dead in trespasses and sin!

The others, where are they?

Living in the world, and to the world;

lovers of pleasure,

lovers of self,

lovers of sin,

hating God,

rejecting Christ.

The others, where are they?

Bursting through every restraint, and bending

their footsteps down to the doom of the lost!

The others, where are they?

Gone, many of them, into eternity; past

the confines of mercy, “in hell lifting up

their eyes, being in torments.”

And what are you?

A sinner saved by grace;

a sinner chosen and called;

pardoned and justified;

washed and clothed;

adopted and sanctified;

brought to the foot of the cross;

constrained to welcome Jesus,

to take up His cross, and to follow Him.

Oh the electing love of God!

Oh the distinguishing grace of Jesus!

Oh the sovereign operation of the Eternal Spirit!

Bow down to the sovereignty of His will—silently

wonder, and adore Him who says, “Be still, and

know that I am God.”

Oh precious truth!

It stains the pride of human merit!

It lays the axe at the root of self!

It empties and humbles and abases!

It ascribes all the praise, honour, and

glory of salvation, to the Triune God!

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,

 and I will have compassion on whom I will have

 compassion.” Romans 9:15

Market-Driven Christianity

(Don Fortner)

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

Religion in America is big business. Scads of money, powerful personalities, huge egos, and positions of prominence, influence, and recognition are at stake in the business of religion, just as they are in any other business. There was a time when the concern of churches and preachers in this country was the glory of God and the truth of God. Today, like any business, the concern is for success.

Christianity today is market-driven. The goal of all marketing is to make both the buyer and the seller satisfied. Consequently, market-driven churches, in utter abandonment of God’s glory and God’s truth, in their insatiable quest for success and recognition—do whatever it takes to win customers and keep them.

Be warned! False doctrine and worldliness always go hand in hand. Worldliness usually leads the way. The early modernists did not aim at destroying biblical Christianity. They simply tried to make Christianity palatable to an unbelieving world. It cannot be done. When Christianity becomes acceptable to unregenerate people—it has ceased to be Christianity!

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing!” 1 Corinthians 1:18

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 22:3


Noah, warned of God, prepared an ark to the saving of his household. Lot, admonished by the angels, fled out of Sodom. So there is a fleeing from the wrath to come. How careless, how secure, and unconcerned are we until quickened with spiritual life! Solomon speaks of those who sleep on the top of a mast, where one jerk of the wave, or one turn of the sleeper may precipitate him into the foaming ocean. God’s anger is gathering against a wicked world. Who will escape this fearful storm of eternal, unmitigated wrath? Those who flee to Jesus. Who flee to Jesus? Those only who feel their need of him. How are they made to feel their need of him? By the flashes of God’s anger. Whence issue these flashes? Out of the thunder-cloud of God’s holy law–the revelation which he has made of his anger against transgressors. How necessary then to feel the application of the law to the conscience, to experience what Job calls, “the terrors of God,” that Jesus Christ, who is a “covert from the tempest,” may be seen and fled unto! It is like the warning given in Egypt of the grievous hail–“He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses–and he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field” (Exodus 9:20, 21). Faith credits what unbelief derides. As is their nature and operation, so is their end. Faith ends in salvation; unbelief in perdition.

Is God unjust?

(Don Fortner)

“As it is written: ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’ What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheath mercy.” Romans 9:13-16

Though God is absolutely sovereign, having mercy on whom He will have mercy and hardening whom He will — He is strictly just, both in bestowing His saving mercy upon His elect, and in the everlasting damnation of the reprobate.

“Therefore He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Romans 9:18

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