Bulletin Edition December 2023

When you sink so low that you can’t find anything good in yourself and when you look inside your heart and you can see nothing but that which would condemn you, then you can take hope for the wind of God’s Spirit is blowing in your direction. If that describes you; come to God then as a criminal in your prison clothes. Confess you have nothing of your own, but sin. 

                                                          Pastor Scott Richardson

A Believer’s Attitude Toward Sin

1. He knows and rejoices that all of his sin and sins are pardoned, paid for, and put away by the sacrifice of Christ the Lord. 

2. He condemns sin in himself! While sin does not reign it does remain in the believer, but he does not excuse or justify it. He grieves over it and daily confesses his sins before God. He hates a bad attitude as much as evil actions. He judges his motives as well as his manner by the holiness of Christ; and, when he finds iniquity in himself, he despises it and judges himself. “O wretched man that I am!”

3. He forgives sin in others! He does not forgive himself—only God can do that—but he is quick to pity, have mercy upon, and forgive others. Not to be able to forgive is to forfeit the right to ask forgiveness. 

4. He longs to be free from all sin and to be perfectly conformed to the image of Christ. While he rejoices in Christ, is content with his lot, and finds joy in the fellowship of Christ’s Church, he will only be satisfied when he awakes in the likeness of Christ!

~Henry Mahan 

If a lobster loses its claw in a fight

(Charles Spurgeon)

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh Ezekiel 36:26

What a wonder it is, that a man could ever have a new heart!

You know that if a lobster loses its claw in a fight, it may grow a new claw—and that is thought to be quite marvellous.

It would be far more astonishing, if men could be able to grow new arms and new legs.

But who ever heard of a man who grew a new heart?

You may have seen a bough lopped off a tree, and you may have thought that perhaps the tree will sprout again and there will be a new limb. But who ever heard of a wooden fence post getting new sap and a new life?

Yet my Lord and Master, the crucified and exalted Saviour—has given His people new hearts, and has and made new creations of them!

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ—he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Let us rejoice together in this regenerating Savior!

Astonished, bewildered, and overpowered!

(Octavius Winslow, “From Grace to Glory” 1864)

The unregenerate man does not worship the God of the Bible. Worshiping a god of his own imagination, he rears his altar to “THE UNKNOWN GOD.” Divesting the God of Scripture of His divine perfections . . .
   His holiness,
   His justice,
   His truth,
   His power
   His wrath —
he completely undeifies Him, robbing Him of His glory.

But when he is born again, lo! the God of the Bible bursts upon his new-found vision and his wondering gaze, as a ‘newly revealed God’.
Clothed with new attributes,
arrayed with new perfections,
bathed with new glory,
standing in a new relation — 
the new creature falls down at His feet in adoring admiration and love, exclaiming, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You! Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes!” Never did . . .
  the being of God, appear so true,
  the perfections of God, appear so glorious,
  the character of God, appear so great,
  the government of God, appear so holy,
  the relation of God, appear so endearing — as now!

Born into a new world, the GOD of the new creation unveils to the eye as infinitely, ineffably lovely!

Like a being born and grown up in a dark mine, and brought to the earth’s surface to gaze upon the sun in its noontide effulgence — the new created soul is astonished, bewildered, and overpowered by the splendour, glory, and greatness of the being, character, and perfections of Jehovah!

A sin-expelling power over our lives!

(Charles Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883)

“Old leaves, if they remain upon the trees through the autumn and the winter — fall off in the spring.”

We have seen a hedge all thick with dry leaves throughout the winter, and neither frost nor wind has removed the withered foliage — but the spring has soon cleared them off. The new life dislodges the old, pushing it away as unsuitable to it.

In the same way, our old corruptions are best removed by the growth of new graces.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

It is as the new life buds and opens, that the old worn-out things of our former state are compelled to give up their hold of us. Our wisdom lies in living near to God, that by the power of His Holy Spirit all our graces may be vigorous, and may exercise a sin-expelling power over our lives — the new leaves of grace pushing off our old worldly affections and habits of sin.

With new converts, it is often better not to lay down stringent rules as to worldly amusements — but leave the new life and its holier joys, to push off the old pleasures. Thus it will be done more naturally and more effectively.

We have all heard of the expulsive power of a new affection. This new affection of love to God coming into the soul, expels love to sin!

Lord, let Your life in me, push off the relics of my former sinful self — that I may put on the new man, and manifest Your transforming grace!

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

2 Corinthians 3:17

What liberty is this? Being brought into the family of God, we are brought into the sweet liberty of grace here and shall be brought into “the glorious liberty of the children of God” in the world to come. But what is that liberty that is ours in Christ?

Acknowledged Facts

Honesty compels us to acknowledge certain facts. We are not here freed from the raging lusts of our sinful hearts; for we still carry about a body of sin under which we groan. We are not freed from Satan’s temptations; for he still roars against us and hurls his fiery darts at our souls. We are not freed from temptations, trials, and troubles; for we still live in this world of sin and woe. It must be confessed, too, that we are not freed from inward fears; for our shameful unbelief begets many. Blessed be his name, we are not here freed from the chastisement of our wise, kind, and ever-gracious heavenly Father; for then we would never know many sweet visits of his love under the rod, by which he causes us to know and love him. And we are not yet freed from sickness and death; for the stroke of death we must feel, often death preceded by painful and long illness. Our blessed Savior has promised to make our bed of sickness by his grace, and has taken death’s sting away by his blood and righteousness.

Blessed Liberty

From these things we are not yet at liberty, though chosen in eternal love, redeemed by Christ’s precious blood, and saved by almighty grace. What, then, is that liberty that is given to our souls in and with Christ Jesus by the Spirit of the Lord?

      God the Spirit, discovering to our souls the glory of the Lord Jesus and our interest in him, has brought us into liberty. Sweet and blessed liberty it is! Who can apprehend, let alone describe, the vastness of this liberty? We have access to the Throne of Grace at all times and upon all occasions. Having received the Spirit of adoption, we cry, “Abba, Father!” We lift our hearts to heaven and confidently call the Lord God himself our Father! The Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God. We are freed from the burden of sin’s guilt and the fear of its punishment. — O sweet, sweet liberty!

      “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty!” — God’s law being magnified and made honorable by Christ, justice is satisfied and everlasting righteousness is ours. Justice no longer terrifies. The accusations of Satan are all answered. Conscience is appeased. This is liberty; is it not? Having passed from death unto life, we have peace with God through the blood of the cross. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit!

      This liberty is ours, child of God, because of our oneness with Christ. We can no more be brought into the bondage of sin, and guilt, and death, and law than he can. This blessed liberty ought to sustain our souls and cheer our hearts in the face of every temptation, every sorrow, every trial, and every affliction!

      Shout, my soul, and echo to the apostle’s words, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty!” — All the liberty of grace and all the liberty of glory too! — Liberty to adore, worship, love, trust, and live forever with God our Savior (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), who opened our prison doors and brought us out of the deep pit wherein was no water and no light!

Change Made

When God the Spirit reveals Christ in the chosen, redeemed sinner, causing the heaven born soul to behold with open face, as in a mirror, “the glory of the Lord,” a marvelous change takes place. Looking to our dear Savior by faith, we are changed into his image. Beholding Christ in his glory, admiring him, being ravished with his love, we imitate the One we love. Constrained by his love for us and the love he has created in us for him, saved sinners seek to be made like the Savior, and are made like him. — O wondrous liberty!

      Blessed Lord Jesus, be it my portion here to behold your face in righteousness, until I awake in your likeness in glory in complete and everlasting satisfaction (Psalm 17:15). Truly, this is “the glorious liberty of the children of God!

Don Fortner

No Change

Ephesians 4:14

The Lord God gives His Church pastors according to His own heart, who faithfully feed His people with knowledge and understanding, thereby sustaining the light of the Gospel in purity and passing it on unchanged, from generation to generation. Those pastors faithfully preach the Word, without alteration, without addition, without subtraction, and without adornment, in simplicity and truth, with clarity and boldness, — “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”

Not Looking

Those men, being taught of God and sent of God, can say, with our Master, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” (John 7:16). Their doctrine does not change from year to year, but remains the same. Someone once asked my friend, Bro. David Pledger, “How can you be so dogmatic? What if your doctrine changes?” Bro. Pledger replied, “It’s not going to change.” Surprised by that, the man asked, “How can you be sure?” To that Bro. Pledger said, “I’m not looking for anything.”

Faithful men are not looking for anything. Since they are not looking for anything to gain from any man or group of men, they are not looking for any new doctrine or any excuse to modify their doctrine. What they preached last year, you will find them preaching next year. Their message may be clearer and their assertions may be more dogmatic; but their doctrine will be unchanged.

Always Looking

False prophets, hireling preachers are always looking for something, looking for something to gain, looking for some advantage, and, therefore, are ready to change their doctrine to suit their pursuit. I was reminded of this sad fact last week, when I received a letter from Piedmont Baptist College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (my alma mater). Trying to excuse a shift in doctrine, the letter asserted, “Cultural shifts and generational transitions have created a need for a re-examination of our current beliefs and practices.”

            Cultural shifts and generational transitions do not have anything to do with Divine truth. The Word of God does not bend with the wind. Yet, there are many who determine their doctrine like politicians determine their positions, by holding their fingers in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.

            How many preachers I have seen alter their doctrine for advantage! As often as  they  change  their  company  (the  preachers and religious organizations with which they associate themselves), they alter their doctrine accordingly. Sometimes the alterations are modest. Sometimes they are radical. But the motive is always evil. They are looking for some advantage, looking for something to gain. — “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage…who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 16-19).

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 . . .

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  

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

You owe the whole to sovereign grace!
What a change has come over him!

(From Winslow’s, “The Pastor’s Request”)

I saw one man just yesterday, living without
God, and in total neglect of his soul’s salvation.
The solemn eternity to which he was hastening,
gave him not a moment’s serious concern. His
heart was filled with pharisaical pride, worldly
ambition, and covetous desires. Self was his god;
the only deity he worshiped. This world was his
paradise; the only heaven he desired.

Today I see him the subject of deep and powerful
conviction; a humble suppliant, in the spirit of self
abasement, pleading for mercy as the chief of sinners.

What a change has come over him!

How in a moment have old things passed away,
and all things become new! And he who only
yesterday was dwelling among the tombs, himself
dead in trespasses and sins, today is sitting as a
lowly disciple and an adoring worshiper at the feet
of Jesus! Where did this wondrous transformation,
this new creation, come from? Oh, it was the Spirit
of God who wrought it, and the work is marvellous
in our eyes!

Comments are closed.