Bulletin Edition October 2021

“If my salvation was so difficult to accomplish that it necessitated the death of Christ, then all my works, all my righteousness of the Law, is good for nothing. How can I buy for a penny what cost a million dollars?” Martin Luther

Why must we be born again?

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:3-7)

In order for God to save a sinner two things must be done. God must do something for you and do something in you. Redemption is the work of God for sinners. Regeneration is the work of God in sinners. Both are the works of God. Man has nothing more to do with regeneration than he has to do with redemption. — “Salvation is of the Lord!”

“Not all the outward forms on earth, Nor rites that God has given,

Nor will of man, nor blood, nor birth, Can raise a soul to heaven.

The sovereign will of God alone Creates us heirs of grace;

Born in the image of His Son, A new peculiar race.”

Perhaps you ask, “Why must we be born again?” Though many answers to that question may be found in the Word of God, the Lord Jesus gave Nicodemus three reasons why he must be born again. These three things make it imperative that you and I must also be born again.

1.    Unless we are born again we cannot understand anything spiritual.

 “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3). — All natural men are totally void of spiritual understanding. You may be a logical, reasonable, rational, and well educated person among men, but with regard to the things of God, you are as ignorant, foolish, and unreasonable as a madman, until you are born again. You have no capacity for spiritual knowledge. — “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit…But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (Romans 8:5; 1 Corinthians 2:14). The heart of stone is hard, cold, unbending, unaffected. Until you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. You cannot understand anything spiritual.

·      You cannot see the spiritual nature of God’s law (Matthew 5:21, 27, 38, 43, 48).

·      You cannot see the spiritual nature of sin (Matt. 15:17-19).

·      You cannot see the glory of God in redemption (Romans 3:24-26).

·      You cannot see the condition of your own heart (Jeremiah 17:9).

·      You cannot see the spiritual nature of salvation. Salvation and faith in Christ are matters of the heart; but until God gives you a new heart, you cannot see it (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

·      You cannot see that obedience to Christ is a spiritual thing, involving the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Romans 14:17). Human religion is carnal. It has to do with carnal things!

·      You cannot see the spiritual nature of faith and worship (Philippians 3:3).

·      You cannot see the true character of God (Exodus 33:18-34:7).

·      You cannot see the glory of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

·      You cannot see the glory of Christ’s suretyship engagements (Hebrews 7:22).

·      You cannot see the blessed mystery of our Savior’s incarnation (1 Timothy 3:16).

·      You cannot see the wonder, majesty, and efficacy of Christ’s substitutionary atonement (2 Corinthians 5:21).

·      You cannot see the glory of his ascension and exaltation (Romans 14:9).

·      You cannot see the gospel of the grace of God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

 2.    Unless you are born again by almighty grace you can never enter into the kingdom of God.

 “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (v. 5). — You can reform your life without the new birth. You can be baptised without the new birth. You can join the church, be zealous in religion, teach a Bible class, serve as a deacon or elder, you can even preach with great success without being born again. But unless you are born again, you will never enter the kingdom of God. Until you are born again, you will never be a part of the church and family of God. Until you are born again, you will never have eternal life. Until you are born again, you will never enter into the worship and fellowship of God’s saints. Until you are born again, you will never be admitted into the presence of God’s glory in the bliss of heaven. Only new creatures will enter the new Jerusalem. Only holy men and women will walk into the Holy City. Only heaven born citizens will possess the bliss of heaven (Revelation 20:6; 21:27).

3.    We “must be born again” because by nature we are all fallen, sinful, depraved children of human flesh.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v. 6). — We must be born again, because we were all born wrong the first time. The flesh is our natural, sinful self (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Romans 5:12; Revelation 20:11-15). All flesh is defiled. All flesh is corrupt. All flesh is sinful. All flesh is condemned. All flesh must die. Unless you are born of the Spirit, you will die in your sins, and you shall be justly damned. May God be pleased this day to grant that you may be born again, for Christ’s sake.

 Don Fortner

The great heart changer!

From Spurgeon’s, “The Stony Heart Removed”

The heart of the natural man, like marble,

is stone-cold towards spiritual things.

No arguments have power to move a soul so steeled,

so thoroughly stony, hard, and impenetrable.

O rocks of iron and hills of brass,

you are softer than the proud heart of man!

Fallen man is like the deaf adder which will not be charmed,

charm we never so wisely.

Tears are lost on him.

Threatenings are but as the whistlings of the wind.

The preachings of the law, and even of Christ crucified–

all these are null and void and fall hopelessly to the ground,

so long as the man’s heart continues what it is by nature–

dead, and hard, and cold.

The heart of man grows harder whether it be the soft sunshine

of love, or the harsh tempest of judgment that falls upon it.

Mercy and love alike make it more solid,

and knit its particles closer together;

and surely until the Omnipotent himself speak the word,

the heart of man grows harder, and harder, and harder,

and refuses to be softened or broken.

Granite may be ground and be broken into pieces,

but unless God gets the hammer in his hand,

and even he must put both hands to it,

the great ‘granite heart’ of man will not yield in any way.

You may smite a man’s heart right and left with death,

with judgment, with mercy, with tears, with entreaties,

with threatenings, and it will not break!

No, even the fires of hell do not melt man’s heart,

for the damned in hell grow more hard by their agonies,

and they hate God, and blaspheme him all the more

because of the suffering they endure.

Only Omnipotence itself, I say,

can ever soften this hard heart of man.

Christ is the Great Heart Changer!

“Lord, melt my heart.

None but a bath of blood divine can take the flint away;

but do it Lord, and you shall have the praise.”

Reader! marvel not that you must be born again!

(From Octavius Winslow’s, “The Restored Sheep”)

Alas! the life of an unconverted person is

one entire, unbroken, departure from God!

What hue sufficiently dark can portray the

life of an unrenewed man? He may be….

upright and honourable as a man of the world;

faithful in all the relations of life;

admired for his private rectitude, and

honoured for his public character and career.

His morality, stainless;

his virtue, unquestioned;

his liberality, generous;

his philanthropy, distinguished;

his religion, admired.

And yet, destitute of the converting grace of God;

a stranger to the great change of the new birth;

an unbeliever in the Lord Jesus Christ, his life is

but a blank; and dying in this condition, he can

in no way enter into the kingdom of heaven!

Reader! marvel not that you must be born again!



When a man is converted to God, it is done in a moment.

Regeneration is an instantaneous work.

Conversion to God, the fruit of regeneration, occupies all

our life, but regeneration itself is effected in an instant.

A man hates God– the Holy Spirit makes him love God.

A man is opposed to Christ, he hates his gospel, does not

understand it and will not receive it– the Holy Spirit comes,

puts light into his darkened understanding, takes the chain

from his bondaged will, gives liberty to his conscience, gives

life to his dead soul, so that the voice of conscience is heard,

and the man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.

And all this is done, mark you, by the instantaneous

supernatural influence of God the Holy Spirit working

as he wills among the sons of men.

God’s perfect will

(J. C. Philpot, “The Living Sacrifice Presented” 1856)

“That good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

     Romans 12:2

God’s will is “perfect”. In it, there is . . .

  no spot,

  no stain,

  no weakness,

  no error,

  no instability.

It is and indeed must necessarily be as perfect as God

Himself; for it emanates from Him who is all perfection;

and is a discovery of His mind and character.

But when God’s perfect will . . .

  sets itself against our flesh,

  thwarts our dearest hopes,

  overturns our fondest schemes,

we cannot see that it is a perfect will. But rather, are

much disposed to fret, murmur, and rebel against it.

God’s perfect will may . . .

  snatch a child from your bosom;

  strike down a dear husband;

  tear from your arms a beloved wife;

  strip you of all your worldly goods;

  put your feet into a path of suffering;

  lay you upon a bed of pain and languishing;

  cast you into hot furnaces or overwhelming floods;

  make your life almost a burden to yourself!

How can you, under circumstances so trying and

distressing as these, acknowledge and submit to

God’s perfect will; and let it reign and rule in

your heart without a murmur of resistance to it?

Look back and see how God’s perfect will has, in

previous instances, reigned supreme in all points,

for your good. It has ordered or overruled all

circumstances and all events, amid a complication

of difficulties in providence and grace. Nothing has

happened to your injury; but all things have worked

together for your good.

Whatever we have lost, it was better for us that

it was taken away. Whatever . . .


  or comfort,

  or friends,

  or health,

  or earthly happiness we have been deprived of,

it was better for us to lose, than to retain them.

Was your dear child taken away? It might be

to teach you resignation to God’s sacred will.

Has a dear partner been snatched from your

embrace? It was that God might be your better

Partner and undying Friend.

Was any portion of your worldly substance taken

away? It was that you might be taught to live a

life of faith in the providence of God.

Have your fondest schemes been marred; your

youthful hopes blighted; and you pierced in the

warmest affections of your heart? It was . . .

  to remove an idol,

  to dethrone a rival to Christ,

  to crucify the object of earthly love,

so that a purer, holier, and more enduring

affection might be enshrined in its stead.

To tenderly embrace God’s perfect will is

the grand object of all gospel discipline.

The ultimatum of gospel obedience is to lie

passive in His hand, and know no will but His.

“That good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

     Romans 12:2

By the grace of God I am what I am!

John Newton

June, 1773

Dear sir,

I must content myself with the idea of the pleasure it would give me, to sit with you half a day under my favorite great tree, and converse with you, not concerning the comparatively petty affairs of human governments—but of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. How many delightful subjects would suggest themselves in a free and retired conversation! The excellency of our King, the permanency and glory of his kingdom, the beauty of his administration, the privileges of his subjects, the review of what he has done for us, and the prospect of what he has prepared for us in future—and if, while we were conversing, he should be pleased to join us (as he did the disciples when walking to Emmaus), how would our hearts burn within us! Indeed, whether we are alone or in company, the most interesting topics strike us but faintly—unless he is pleased to afford his gracious influence; but when he is present—light, love, liberty, and joy, spring up in the hearts that know him.

But we cannot meet. All that is left for me, is to use the liberty you allow me of offering a few hints upon these subjects by letter, not because you don’t know them—but because you love them. The hour is coming, when all impediments shall be removed—all distinctions shall cease that are founded upon sublunary things, and the earth and all its works shall be burnt up. Glorious day! May our souls be filled with the thought, and learn to estimate all things around us now—by the view in which they will appear to us then. Then it will be of small consequence who was the prince, and who was the beggar, in this life; but who in their several situations sought, and loved, and feared, and honored the Lord.

Alas! how many of the kings of the earth, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, will then say (in vain) to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb!” In this world they are for the most part too busy to regard the commands of God, or too amusing to seek his favor. They have their good things here; they please themselves for a while, and in a moment they go down to the grave. In that moment their thoughts perish, their schemes are left unfinished, they are torn from their possessions, and enter upon a new, an untried, an unchangeable, a never-ending state of existence! Alas, is this all the world can afford!

I congratulate you—not because God has appointed you to appear in an elevated rank, (this, abstracted from the opportunity it affords you of greater gospel usefulness, would perhaps be a more proper subject for condolence); but that he has admitted you to those honors and privileges which come from him alone, and which so few in the superior ranks of life think worthy of their attention. “By the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10.

As believers, we are often affected with a sense of God’s distinguishing mercy to us. We are debtors, great debtors to the sovereign grace of God, which alone makes us to differ from the perishing world around us!

Yet it does not yet appear what we shall be. We cannot form a just conception of the misery from which we are redeemed, much less of the price paid for our redemption! How little do we know of the Redeemer’s surpassing excellency, and of the unutterable agonies He endured, when His soul was made an offering for sin, and it pleased the Father to bruise Him—that by His stripes we might be healed! These things will strike us in quite another manner—when we view them from the light of eternity!

May the cheering contemplation of the glorious hope set before us—support and animate us to improve our short interval on earth, and fill us with a holy  ambition of shining as lights in this evil world, to the praise and glory of His grace—who has called us out of darkness, into His glorious light!

Encompassed as we are with snares, temptations, and infirmities, it is possible (by His promised assistance) to live in some good measure above the world—above the influence of its cares, its smiles, or its frowns. Our citizenship is in heaven—we are not at home—but only reside here on earth for a season, to fulfill our appointed service. The Lord, whom we serve, has promised that He will guide us by His wisdom, strengthen us by His power, and comfort us with the light of His countenance, which is better than life. Every temporal blessing we receive from Him, is a token of His favor, and a pledge of that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which He has reserved for us in heaven. Oh! to hear Him say at last, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!” will be rich amends for all that we can lose, suffer, or endure, for His sake!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined—what God has prepared for those who love Him!” 1 Corinthians 2:9

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