Bulletin Edition March 2022



“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said,”

“If any man thirsts — let him come unto Me, and drink.” — John 7:37

This is one of the most gracious “words” which ever “proceeded out of the mouth of God!” The time that it was uttered was an impressive one; it was on “the last, the great day” of the Feast of Tabernacles, when a denser multitude than on any of the seven preceding ones were assembled together. The golden bowl, according to custom, had probably just been filled with the waters of Siloam, and was being carried up to the Temple amid the acclamations of the crowd, when the Saviour of the world seized the opportunity of speaking to them some truths of momentous import. Many, doubtless, were the “words of Jesus” uttered on the previous days — but the most important is reserved for the last. What, then, is the great closing theme on which He rivets the attention of this vast auditory, and which He would have them carry away to their distant homes? It is, The freeness of His own great Salvation, “If any man thirsts — let him come unto Me, and drink.”

Reader, do you discredit the reality of this gracious offer? Are your legion sins standing as a barrier between you and a Saviour’s offered mercy? Do you feel as if you cannot come “just as you are;” that some partial cleansing, some preparatory reformation must take place before you can venture to the living fountain? No, “If any man.”

What is freer than water? — The poorest beggar may drink “without money” from the wayside pool. That is your Lord’s own picture of His own glorious salvation; you are invited to come, “without one plea,” in all your poverty and need, in all your weakness and unworthiness. Remember the Redeemer’s saying to the woman of Samaria. She was the chief of sinners — profligate, hardened, degraded — but He made no condition, no qualification; simple believing was all that was required, “If you knew the gift of God,” you would have asked, and He would have given you “living water.”

But is there not, after all, one condition mentioned in this “word of Jesus?”, “If any man thirsts.” You may have the depressing consciousness that you experience no such ardent longings after holiness — but only of your need of the Saviour. But is not this very conviction of your need — an indication of a feeble longing after Christ? If you are saying, “I have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep,” then He who makes the offer of the salvation — will Himself fill your empty vessel, “He satisfies the longing soul with goodness.”

“Jesus stood and cried out.” It is the solitary instance recorded of Him, of whom it is said, “He shall not strive nor cry out, nor raise His voice in the streets.” But it was truth of surpassing interest and magnitude He had to proclaim. It was a declaration, moreover, especially dear to Him. As it formed the theme of this ever-memorable sermon during His public ministry, so when He was sealing up the inspired record — the last utterances of His voice on earth, until that voice shall be heard again on the throne, contained the same life-giving invitation, “Let him that is thirsty come — and whoever will, let him take of the water of life freely!” Oh! as the echoes of that gracious saying — this blast of the silver trumpet — are still sounding to the ends of the world, may this be the recorded result, “As He spoke these words — many believed on Him.”

“If Thou Knewest the Gift of God”

“If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10)

Here are two sweet, precious, instructive views of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he held before the Samaritan woman, by which he graciously and effectually endeared himself to her. Let us ever behold our Saviour in these two aspects of his character as our God-man Mediator: (1.) All that he is in himself, and (2.) the fact that he is the gift of God. These two things give poor, needy sinners both a reason to trust our Lord Jesus Christ and a divine warrant for faith in him. Ignorance of these two great things is the cause of much misery in those poor souls tortured with the guilt of sin, and the cause of much discomfort in believing sinners. Ignorance of these two, sweet revelations of grace greatly hinders our enjoyment of our interest in and union with the Lord Jesus Christ. “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” — May God the Holy Spirit give us grace to prove these words of our Saviour to ourselves.

Christ’s Person and Work

First, consider who and what the Lord Jesus is in himself. Consider his magnificent Person and his mediatorial work as the God-man, our Savior. In all that he is, in all that he performed, in all that he accomplished, and in all that he obtained as the God-man, he acted as the Surety of his elect. And in all the fulness which is treasured up in him, by virtue of it, we have all things. None of the virtue, merit, and power of his work or being as the God-man is for himself, but for us. He does not and cannot need it. We do! “So that,” as Robert Hawker wrote, “a poor sinner is as much suited to Jesus for him to give out of his fulness, as Jesus is suited for a poor sinner to supply his emptiness.” If we thus know him and come to him, we find that he is as eager and anxious to receive every poor, needy sinner and to give out of his fulness, as that poor, needy sinner is to come and take!

The Gift of God

Second, our Lord Jesus declares that he is, in all his mediatorial work and being, “the gift of God.” Here we are given a warrant from God to come to Christ. God himself gives sinners command to believe on his Son (1 John 3:23). That is the warrant of faith. That is the sinner’s right and authority to trust Christ!

      If you know who Christ is and what he has done for sinners, if you know that Jesus Christ the Saviour is the gift of God, make use of him as such. Use him for every need of your poor soul. Christ is the only Sacrament there is. We receive grace only in and by him. He is he only Way sinners can come to God and find acceptance with him.

      May God the Holy Spirit enable us ever to keep in view that Christ is the gift of God and that God is honoured by us when we honour his dear Son, by believing “the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

        The thirst of our souls cannot be quenched from any pool that depends upon dry or wet seasons; but only from the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who gives living water, and is himself that everlasting living spring of water in our souls, springing up into everlasting life.

Don Fortner

Grace, ’tis a charming sound — harmonious to the ear!

(“Every Day!” Author unknown, 1872)

“By grace are you saved through faith — and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God — not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

“Grace, ’tis a charming sound — harmonious to the ear!”

Grace pitied us in our guilty, helpless condition — and provided a Saviour for us.

Grace instituted the ministry of gospel reconciliation — and brought the tidings of divine mercy to our ears.

Grace opened our blind eyes — and led us to see and feel our need of the precious blood of Christ.

Grace led us to cast away the filthy rags of our own righteousness — and to receive with thankfulness and joy, the spotless robe that Jesus wrought for us.

Grace brought us to the footstool of mercy, with the cry of the publican, “God be merciful to me a sinner!”

Grace enables us to live a life of dependence on Jesus alone, for all spiritual supplies.

Grace has begun a good work within us — and grace will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

By grace we are saved! “We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus!” Romans 3:24

  ‘Tis not by works of righteousness

  Which our own hands have done.

  But we are saved by sovereign grace,

  Abounding through His Son!

I will love them FREELY

from Spurgeon’s, “GRACE ABOUNDING”

“I will love them freely.” — Hosea 14:4.

No LABOR of man can procure the Grace of God;

and no EFFORT of man can add to it.

God is good from the simple necessity of his nature;

Let them alone!

(John Newton, “The imminent danger and the only sure resource of this nation”)

“They are joined to their idols—let them alone!” Hosea 4:17

God sometimes leaves men to themselves—their furious passions are unchained, and they are given up, without restraint, to the lusts of their own evil hearts! A more dreadful judgment than this, cannot be inflicted on this side of hell.

A thin slice of godliness over a mass of carnality!

Spurgeon, “Constancy and Inconstancy: a Contrast.”

“…what should I do with you?” asks the Lord.

“For your goodness vanishes like the morning

mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight.”

Hosea 6:4

Oh, beware of pious veneering!

Beware of the religion which consists

in putting on a thin slice of godliness

over a mass of carnality!

We must have thorough going work

within; the grace which reaches the

core, and affects the innermost spirit

is the only grace worth having.

The absence of the Holy Spirit is the

great cause of religious instability.

Beware of mistaking ‘religious excitement’

for the Holy Spirit, or your own resolutions

for the deep workings of the Spirit of God

in the soul.

All that human nature ever paints, God

will burn off with hot irons. All that human

nature ever spins he will unravel and cast

away with the rags.

You must be born from above, you must

have a new nature wrought in you by the

finger of God himself, for of all his saints

it is written, “You are his workmanship,

created anew in Christ Jesus.”

Oh, but, everywhere I fear there is an

absence of the Holy Spirit! There is much

getting up of a tawdry morality, barely

skin deep, much crying “Peace, peace,”

where there is no true peace. There is

very little deep heart searching anxiety

to be thoroughly purged from sin.

The hopes of many hypocrites are flimsily

formed, and their confidences ill founded.

It is this which makes deceivers so plentiful,

and fair religious shows so common.

God is love, simply because it is his essence to be so,

and he pours forth his love in plenteous streams to

undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving objects,

simply because he “Will Have Mercy on Whom He Will

Have Mercy, and He Will Have Compassion on Whom Will

Have Compassion,” for it is not of him that wills,

nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.

No matter how vile, and black, and foul, and godless,

men may be, God will have mercy on whom he will have

mercy; and that free, rich, overflowing goodness of

his can make the very worst and least deserving,

the objects of his best and choicest love!

The wilderness

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

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead

her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.”

    Hosea 2:14

The children of God would not voluntarily go into the

wilderness–it is a place too barren for them to enter,

except as allured in a special manner by the grace of

God, and led by the power of God.

Nor do they for the most part know where the Lord

is taking them. They follow His drawings; they are

led by His allurings; they listen to His persuading

voice, trusting to Him as to an unerring Guide.

But they do not know the ‘place of barrenness’ into which

He is bringing them–this the Lord usually conceals from

their eyes. He allures and they follow, but He does not

tell them what He is going to do with them, or where

He intends to take them. He hides His gracious purposes,

that He may afterwards bring them more clearly to light.

Look at the place where He brings His people–the

wilderness. This is a type and figure much used by

the Holy Spirit, and conveys to us much deep and

profitable instruction.

The wilderness is an isolated, solitary spot, far, far

away from cities, and towns, and other busy haunts of

men–a remote and often dreary abode, where there is

no intruding eye to mark the wanderer’s steps, where

there is no listening ear to hear his sighs and cries.

The Lord, when He puts forth His sacred power upon

the heart, to allure His people into the wilderness,

brings them into a spot where in solitude and silence

they may be separated from everyone but Himself.

The ‘wilderness’, we take as an emblem of being alone

with God–coming out of the world, away from sin and

worldly company, out of everything carnal, sensual, and

earthly, and being brought into that solemn spot where

there are secret, sacred, and solitary dealings with God.

That hideous idol SELF in his little shrine

(J. C. Philpot, “Israel’s Departure and Return” 1849)

Never again will we say any more to the work

of our hands—”You are our gods!”  Hosea 14:3

The besetting sin of Israel was the worship of idols.

Perhaps, if you have walked into the British Museum,

and seen the idols that were worshiped in former days

in the South Sea Islands, you have been amazed that

rational beings could ever bow down before such ugly


But does the heart of a South Sea Islander differ from

the heart of an Englishman? Not a bit! The latter may

have more civilization and cultivation—but his heart

is the same! And though you have not bowed down to

these monstrous objects and hideous figures—there

may be as filthy an idol in your heart! Where is

there a filthier idol than the lusts and passions of

man’s fallen nature?

You need not go to the British Museum to see

filthy idols and painted images. Look within!

Where is there a more groveling idol than Mammon,

and the covetousness of our heart? You need not

wonder at heathens worshiping hideous idols—when

you have pride, covetousness, and above all that

hideous idol SELF in his little shrine, hiding himself

from the eyes of man—but to which you are so often

rendering your daily and hourly worship!

If a person does not see that the root of all

idolatry is SELF, he knows but little of his heart.

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