Bulletin Edition January 2022

Upon  a  review  of  the  last  year,  I  desire  to  confess  that  my

unfaithfulness has been exceedingly great, my sins still greater,

God’s  mercies  greater  than  both.  My  shortcomings  and

misdoings, my unbelief and want of love would sink me into the

lowest hell, was not Jesus my righteousness and my redeemer.

– Augustus M. Toplady (1740-1778)

Beware! lest you fall into the fire!

Spurgeon, “NOTHING BUT LEAVES”

“He found nothing but leaves.” — Mark 11:13.

Thousands go to Church or chapel, and they think
that the mere going into the place, and sitting a
certain time, and coming out again, is an acceptable
act to God.

Mere formality, you see, is mistaken for spiritual
worship! They offer him their ignorant will-worship
either in obedience to custom, or in the superstition
of ignorance. What the ritual is, or why it is, they
do not inquire, but go through a performance as
certain parrots say their prayers.

They know nothing about the inward and spiritual grace.

They have a name to live and are dead.

Their religion is a mere show–
a signboard without an inn;
a well-set table without food;
a pretty pageant where nothing is gold, but everything gilt;
nothing real, but all pasteboard, paint, plaster, and pretense.

Multitudes live and die satisfied with the outward trappings
of religion, and are utter strangers to internal vital godliness.

There is nothing to be done with such trees which bring
forth only leaves, but in due time to use the axe upon
them, and to cast them into the fire: and this must be
your doom, fruitless professor.

As sure as you live under the sound of the gospel, and
yet are not converted by it, so surely will you be cast
into outer darkness. Jesus Christ will certainly send
his angels to gather the dead branches together, and
you among them, to cast them into the fire.

Beware! beware! you fruitless tree!
You shall not stand for ever!
Mercy waters you with her tears now; God’s
patience digs about you still; still the husbandman
comes, seeking fruit upon you year after year.

Beware! the edge of the axe is sharp, and the
arm which wields it is nothing less than almighty.
Beware! lest you fall into the fire!
Awake! Awake!

-Spurgeon, from his sermon, ” Awake! Awake!”

The mass of mankind are ignorant of spiritual things–
of the divine person of the adorable Redeemer they have
no idea; of the sweet enjoyments of a life of piety they can
not even make a guess; toward the high enthusiasms and
the inward raptures of the Christian, they cannot mount.

Talk to them of divine doctrines, and they are to them a
riddle. Tell them of sublime experiences, and they seem to
them to be enthusiastic fancies. They know nothing of the
joys that are to come.

Alas! for them, they are oblivious of the evils which shall
happen to them, if they go on in their iniquity.
But, blind-folded by the ignorance of this world,
they march on through the paths of lust to that sure and
dreadful end– the everlasting ruin of their souls.

They are standing on the brink of hell, but they tremble
not. The anger of God is burning against them, but they
fear not. The sword of Jehovah is unsheathed, but terror
does not seize upon them.

They proceed with the merry dance;
they drink the bowl of intoxicating pleasure;
they revel and they riot;
still do they sing the lascivious song.

Yes, they do more than this–
in their vain dreams they do defy the Most High.
Whereas, if they were once awakened to the
consciousness of their state, the marrow of their bones
would melt, and their heart would dissolve like wax in the
midst of their bowels.

They are spiritually asleep, indifferent and unconscious.

THE GOD OF LIGHT (excerpt)

“God is light.” 1 John 1:5

“Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to behold the sun.” In what believing heart will not these words awaken a quick and grateful response? The renewed man is the only being who knows what true light is, because he only, really knows Jesus. All others are like miners dwelling from their birth beneath the surface of the earth, having never seen the sun, through whose eternal gloom not one vivifying ray has ever pierced. “Darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people.” When man sinned, God went out of the temple, luminous and glorious with His presence, and the sun of the soul set in guilt, darkness, and death. Henceforth the natural man walks in darkness, not knowing where he goes, until the time of electing love and sovereign grace draws on, when He who at creation’s dawn said, “Let there be light, and light was,” causes the light of life to shine, and the soul is immediately “translated out of darkness into His marvelous light,” henceforth and forever to be a child of the light and of the day. “You were once darkness, but now are you light in the Lord walk as children of light.”

Octavius Winslow

You owe the whole to sovereign grace!

(Henry Law, “Deuteronomy” 1858)

Believer! Only the grace of God makes
you to differ from the world around you!

You once were dead in trespasses and sins.

You moved as a living carcass with a lifeless soul.

Your every step was hellward.

Your every moment hurried you towards endless woe.

Your life was . . .
   ignorance,
   rebellion,
   slavery,
   disgrace.

But now the darkness is dispersed, and true light
shines. You see the cross! You stand in a new
world of spiritual delight. You are a new creation of  
  thought,
  affection,
  hope,
  desire.

You live for God; to God; with God; in God.

But whence the change?

Did it result your own resolve?

Did rolling years beget this wisdom?

Oh, no!

You owe the whole to sovereign grace!


God, of His own free will, looked down with favor
on your ruined soul. His grace gave you, as a jewel,
to His Son; and gave His Son to be your uttermost
salvation!

You owe the whole to sovereign grace!

Darkness of ignorance, dungeons of falsehood,
and chains of superstition!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
    “WHAT GOD CANNOT DO!”

Truth once reigned supreme upon our globe, and
then earth was Paradise. Man knew no sorrow
while he was ignorant of falsehood.

The Father of Lies invaded the garden of bliss,
and with one foul lie he blighted Eden into a
wilderness, and made man a traitor to his God.
Cunningly he handled the glittering falsehood
and made it dazzle in the woman’s eyes- “God
knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your
eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods,
knowing good and evil.”

Proud ambition rode upon that lie as a conqueror
in his chariot, and the city of Mansoul opened its
gates to welcome the fascinating enemy.

As it was a lie which first subjugated the world to Satan’s
influences, so it is by lies that he secures his throne.

Among the heathen his kingdom is quiet and secure,
because the minds of the people are deluded with a
false mythology. The domains of Mohammed and the
Pope are equally the kingdom of Satan, and his reign
is undisturbed, for human merit, priestly efficacy,
and a thousand other deceptions buttress his throne.

The darkness of ignorance, the dungeons of falsehood,
and the chains of superstition, are the main reliance of that
monster who oppresses all the nations with his infernal tyranny!

The idol ‘self’ must fall

(From Winslow’s, “A Full Christ for Empty Sinners”)

The soul of man in its natural condition is
devoid of all holiness, of all righteousness,
of all spiritual goodness, strength, and love.

The soul of man is full to overflowing with
self righteousness, with rebellion against God,
with the love of sin, and the reigning power
of all iniquity. It is brimmed and overflowing
with all the elements of destruction, which,
if left to work their own results, will infallibly
plunge the soul into the chambers of eternal
darkness and despair.

The idol ‘self’ must fall
, your own righteousness
must be renounced, there must be the deep
spiritual conviction of the plague of your own
heart; you must feel that you are under the
condemnation of the law, and that you have
not one claim to God’s mercy, nor one plea
springing from yourself whereby He should
accept and save you.

It is only a heart deeply, spiritually conscious
of its poverty, lowliness, and uncleanness, and
emptied and humbled thereby in the dust, that
opens its doors to receive and welcome Him
who came “not to call the righteous, but sinners
to repentance.”

Oh, if your heart is lowly, empty and penitent,
Jesus will make His gracious advent into it,
and dwell there forever!

It is the power of God alone that empties a man,
that makes him clearly to see the imperfection
of his own righteousness, his ignorance of truth,
of God, and of Christ.

It is the work of the Holy and Eternal Spirit to show
to the poor sinner that all his righteousness is as
filthy rags, that he has no spiritual strength, and
not one pulse of love to God throbbing in his bosom.

Oh, it is a power as great, as mighty, and as Divine
as that which spoke this universe into being, which
said, “Let there be light, and there was light,” which
alone can empty your soul of all its darkness, its
rebellion, its ignorance, its love and homage of self,
and bring you to the cross of Christ, to the feet
of Jesus as a poor, empty beggar.

Exodus 3:14

Here we see God’s revelation of himself to Moses. Here the Lord God our Saviour reveals himself in his great redemptive character. — “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

      Those words by which God reveals himself here — “I AM THAT I AM,” contain all three tenses of the verb of being, all three tenses of the words “to be.” They might be translated, “I was, I am, and I shall always continue to be.” God’s name represents his character. When we call upon the name of the Lord, we worship him as he really is. When we pray in Christ’s name, we pray upon the basis of all that he is and all that he has done. When we gather to worship in his name, we gather to worship trusting him in all his character as our God and Saviour.

      When the Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel of the Lord, here declares “I AM THAT I AM,” he is revealing himself as God, the only eternal, self-existent, self-sufficient, unchanging, immutable, constant, faithful One. He is saying, “I am now what I have always been and what I shall forever be. — ‘I am the Lord, I change not.’”

      Remember, the One speaking to Moses is our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, the unchangeable Jehovah, “the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” the only wise and eternal God (Hebrews 13:8; John 8:58; Revelation 1:8, 17-18). Our Lord Jesus Christ made this claim no less than fourteen times in John’s gospel. Fourteen times he publicly took to himself this title which belongs to none but God — “I AM” (John 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 14:6; 18:5). He said “I AM…

·      “The Bread of Life” (6:35).

·      “The Light of the World” (8:12; 9:5).

·       “The Door” (10:7, 9).

·      “The Good Shepherd” (10:11, 14).

·      “The Resurrection and the Life” (11:25).

·      “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (14:6).

·      “The Vine” (15:1, 5).

·      “I am He” (John 4:26).

      This name — “I AM” — is our Savior’s declaration that he is God come to save. He makes himself known to chosen sinners as that One of whom the Scriptures speak (John 4:22-26). I make no attempt to prove that he is. He cannot be known by human reason, or made known by the words of man’s wisdom. Our business is simply to proclaim him as he has revealed himself in all his glorious character. The “I AM” of the burning bush is the God-man Mediator, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, “the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.” From everlasting to everlasting he is God. We declare, with Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” But he simply declares, “I AM THAT I AM!” Well may he challenge all the earth, saying, “To whom will ye liken me?” (Isaiah 46:3-5, 9-10; 45:5, 7, 11, 20-25; 40:25-31). — “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, 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” (Isaiah 25:9).

Don Fortner

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