Bulletin Edition December 2021

“Conversion is not the smooth, easygoing process some men seem to think it otherwise man’s heart would never have been compared to fallow ground and God’s Word to a plough.”

-John Bunyan

Truth!

A sacred regard to the authority of God ought to lead us

to reject an error, however old, sanctioned by whatever

authority, or however generally practiced.

 Spurgeon

“The truths that I know best I have learned

 on my knees. I never know a thing well, till

 it is burned into my heart by prayer.”

-John Bunyan

THE BELIEVER’S RULE OF LIFE

I left the pulpit one night and a fellow asked me, “Do you believe ‘the law’ to be a believer’s rule of life?” He seemed surprised when I told him I did not. His very next question was, “How do you know how to live?” I told him immediately that I lived just as the Apostle Paul, “The life that I now life, I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20). This was the rule of life for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Abel and all others who have nothing but Jesus Christ to live upon. Someone would say, “You mean you live as you want to?” I wish I could: I’d be filled with the Spirit, I would never sin again, all my motives would be pure, I’d be delivered from this body of death. Oh, I wish I could live just like I want to. The closest thing I have found to living just like I’d like to is living by faith upon Jesus Christ the Dear and Blessed Son of God. – Pastor Bruce Crabtree

*So completely was Jesus bent upon saving sinners by the sacrifice of Himself—that He created the tree upon which He was to die, and nurtured from infancy, the men who were to nail Him to the accursed wood!

*Christ took your cup of grief, your cup of the curse, pressed it to his lips, drank it to its dregs—then filled it with His sweet, pardoning, sympathizing love, and gave it back for you to drink, and to drink forever!

*Christian! God is near at hand whenever you approach Him in prayer. Oh, comforting truth! You have a God at hand . . .
to listen to the softest breath of prayer,
to listen to every confession of sin,
to listen to every cry of need,
to listen to every utterance of sorrow,
to listen to every wail of woe,
to listen to every appeal for counsel, strength, and support!

*Seasons vary, circumstances change, feelings fluctuate, friendships cool, friends die—but Christ is ever the same!

*Unaccompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit–the Bible is inactive, inoperative; a mere dead letter!

Octavius Winslow

“I am black, but lovely!” Song of Solomon 1:5

The believer pictures her state. It is a seeming paradox. The extremes of lowliness and greatness are combined. She presents two aspects: deformity and loveliness compose the portrait. “I am black, but lovely!”

Blackness is frightful and repulsive. No eye can rest on it complacently. But blackness is the emblem of our state by nature. We are conceived and born in sin; and sin is most hideous wherever it appears. The Spirit has revealed this truth to each enlightened convert.

He sees it;

he feels it;

he owns it;

he bewails it.

It is his constant misery.

When he would do good, evil is present with him. He hates and loathes and abhors himself in dust and ashes. Surveying the innate corruption, which is his, he mournfully confesses, “I am black! I am vile!”

But he looks off to Christ. He sees the precious blood washing out every stain and obliterating the crimson dye.

The blackness disappears.

In Christ he is whiter than the whitest snow.

He puts on Christ, and adores Him as made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He sees His pure and perfect obedience wrought out as a robe to hide his every defect, so bright, so lovely, and so glorious, that it exceeds all admiration.

He feels that this righteousness is through grace imputed to him. He knows that he is lovely through divine loveliness. Thus clothed and decked, he triumphantly tells his friends, “I am black, but lovely!”

“You are absolutely beautiful, My beloved! There is no spot in you!” Song of Solomon 4:7

Henry Law 1879

“We Will Be Glad And Rejoice In Thee”

    Song of Solomon 1:4

Another year is dawning. We who are the children of the living God will not open the gates of the new year in sorrow and mourning. We will sing unto our God. With joy in our hearts and gladness in our souls, we will make known his lovingkindness, his faithfulness, and his grace. “We will be glad and rejoice in thee!” The eternal God is our Father. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. The blessed Son is our Savior. Why should we not rejoice? We will rejoice. We are determined. Our God must have the crown of our hearts’ praise. We will be glad because of all that he has done. And we will rejoice because he is who he is.

     We will rejoice because our God is God. “Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3). God our Father rules this world. He is the inexpressibly majestic sovereign of the universe. He rules absolutely, and he rules absolutely well. All that he does, or allows to be done, is positively good for his people. He does all things for the salvation, the spiritual good, and the eternal felicity of his own elect. And he does all things for his own eternal praise and glory. We want no more than this. “We will be glad and rejoice in thee!”

     We will be glad because of all that God has done for us in Christ. “Count your many blessings, name them one by one; and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!” He chose us as the peculiar objects of his grace in eternal, electing love. He redeemed us by the blood of his own dear Son. He has forgiven us of all our sin and justified us by his grace. He preserved us, even in our rebellion, unto the day of his grace. He regenerated us, called us, and gave us faith in Christ. God has saved us by his matchless grace. Oh yes, “We will be glad and rejoice in thee!”  Don Fortner 

What is it to preach the gospel?

“Salvation is, in its entirety, the work of

God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ.

Election, redemption, justification, sanctification,

and preservation are all works of grace alone, in no way

conditioned upon the will, works, or worth of the sinner.”

What Is it to Preach the Gospel?

To preach the gospel is to tell the truth about MAN.

What is the truth about man? “All flesh is grass,” -withering,

worthless, insignificant grass (Isa. 40:6-8). All men are fallen,

depraved, helpless, guilty sinners, without the least inclination

or ability to do good, seek God, or know God (Rom. 3:9-18),

dead in trespasses and in sins (Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3).

To preach the gospel is to tell the truth about GOD.

God is is the eternal, holy, sovereign Monarch of the universe.

It is he who made all things, rules all things, and disposes of all

things (including you and I) as he will. “All things are of God.”

Nothing in this universe writhes or wiggles apart from God’s

purpose, predestination, providence, and power (Rom. 11:36).

It is this great and glorious Lord God who lifts his hand and says,

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

compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

To preach the gospel is to tell the truth about the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

The Lord Jesus Christ is God in human flesh, God come to save.

He was called “Jesus” because he is Jehovah our Savior.

He came here on an errand of mercy, with a commission from

God the Father as our covenant Surety to save his people from

their sins (Matt. 1:21; John 10:16-18); and when he left here,

all that he came to do was done! Righteousness was established.

Justice was satisfied. The sins of God’s elect, which were

imputed to him, were put away. His people were fully and

forever redeemed, justified, and sanctified by his blood

(Heb. 10:10-14).

To preach the gospel is to tell the truth about SALVATION.

What does it take to save a sinner? It takes a work of God’s

sovereign, eternal, electing love and predestination (Eph. 1:3-6).

It takes a work of effectual, blood redemption, the satisfaction of

divine justice by an infinitely meritorious Substitute– the Lord

Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:24-26). It takes all the work of God’s

universal providence (Rom. 8:28-30). It takes the infallible,

irresistible grace and power of God the Holy Spirit in

regeneration and effectual calling, by which chosen, redeemed

sinners are raised from the dead and given faith in Christ (Eph.

1:17-20; Psa. 65:4). It takes a work of immutable grace, preserving

the called ones in life and grace, causing them to persevere

in faith, keeping them unto the end (Phil. 1:6). It takes a work of

resurrection glory, by which these bodies sown in corruption

shall put on incorruption, mortality shall put on immortality, and

God’s elect shall enter into that eternal state of bliss called

“the glorious liberty of the sons of God” (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

This salvation, in its entirety, is found in the Lord Jesus Christ

alone (1 Cor. 1:30-31).

Don Fortner

The love of the truth

(J. C. Philpot, “The Valley of Achor” 1861)

“They perish because they did not receive the love of

 the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thess. 2:10

There is a receiving of ‘the truth’, and a receiving of

‘the love of the truth’. These two things widely differ.

To receive the truth will not necessarily save; for many

who receive the truth, never receive ‘the love of the truth’.

Professors by thousands receive the truth into their

judgment, and adopt the plan of salvation as their creed;

but are neither saved nor sanctified thereby. But to receive

‘the love of the truth’ by Jesus being made sweet and

precious to the soul, is to receive salvation itself.

“Yes, He is very precious to you who believe.” 1 Peter 2:7

“The only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth!” John 1:14

(Charles Spurgeon)

Believer, you can bear your testimony that Christ is the only begotten of the Father.

You can say, “He is truly divine. He has done that for me, which none but a God could do!

He has . . .

  subdued my stubborn will,

  melted a heart of adamant,

  opened gates of brass,

  and snapped bars of iron!

He has turned my mourning into laughter, and my desolation into joy!

He has made my heart rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!

Let others think as they will of Him—to me He must be the only begotten of the Father!

And He is full of grace. Ah! had He not been, then I would never have been saved! He drew me when I struggled to escape from His grace; and when at last I came all trembling like a condemned culprit to His mercy-seat He said, “Your sins which are many, are all forgiven!”

And He is full of truth. True have His promises been, not one has failed.

I bear witness that . . .

  never any servant had such a master as I have;

  never any brother had such a kinsman as He has been to me;

  never any spouse had such a husband as Christ has been to my soul;

  never any sinner had a better Savior;

  never any mourner had a better comforter than Christ has been to my heart.

I desire none beside Him!

In life, He is my true life.

In death, He shall be the death of death.

In poverty, Christ is my true riches.

In darkness, He is my sun.

He is my manna in this poor wilderness world.

He shall be heavenly manna when I come to the heavenly Canaan.

Jesus is to me . . .

  all grace, and no wrath;

  all truth, and no falsehood.

And of grace and truth He is full, infinitely full!

“The only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth!” John 1:14

What do you depend on?

from Spurgeon’s, “THE CEDARS OF LEBANON”

O Christian. You are to live expecting nothing

from man, and you shall never be disappointed.

You are to live looking upon the Lord alone, and

there again disappointment shall never come.

Understand that one of God’s objects with you is to

knock away every prop from you, to take away every

buttress, and to make you lean upon God alone.

There is the round world, what bears it up?

God hangs the world upon nothing!

If you are what you should be, you are just like that earth —

you have no visible support — there is nothing upon which

you can depend that the carnal eye can see.

But yet as the earth moves not and falls not from her orbit, so you,

by the power of faith, shall be maintained and kept just where you are.

“The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they

that wait on the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”

It is a life’s work to learn independence of the creature, and almost

another life’s work to learn dependence upon the Creator.

To wean us from the breasts of this world is a long and painful process;

to get us clean rid of that walking by sight, which is the disease of man,

and to bring us to walk by faith in the Spirit, which is the glory of a

Christian, this is a work well worthy of a God, and blessed is the man

who has this work to a great extent accomplished in himself.

The best Christians are those who are most

delivered from confidence in the creature.

In proportion as men become little in self and little in creature love and

creature trust, they become great and mighty in their doings for the Lord.

I do feel, brethren, more and more, that my soul must wait only

upon the Lord, and that my expectation must be from him alone.

You too, must come here, and learn that the Lord will provide, but

it is only in the mount of the Lord that this sweet truth can be seen.

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