Bulletin Edition February 2024

Jesus Christ is precious!”

John Newton was a rough, dirty sailor with a foul mouth and an appetite for filthy living. He hated life and life hated him.  He was the captain of a slave ship and eventually became a slave himself.  In due course, he escaped and was in a ship that hit an unmerciful storm and he ended up in the sea crying out “Lord Save me!”

The Lord saved him physically then saved him spiritually and made him into a great gospel preacher and hymn writer! 

 He preached for years and when he was well past his “retirement” age, he had to have an assistant stand in the pulpit with him on Sundays. He was nearly blind and spoke in whispers, but nothing could keep him from preaching while he still had breath.

One Sunday, while delivering his message he repeated the sentence: “Jesus Christ is precious.” His helper whispered to him: “But you have already said that twice.” Newton turned to his helper and said loudly, “Yes, I’ve said it twice, and I’m going to say it again.” The stones in the ancient sanctuary fairly shook as the grand old preacher said again: “Jesus Christ is precious!” 

The more lovely does Jesus appear!

The poor believer feels, “I continually find all kinds of evil working in my mind; every base corruption

crawling in my heart; everything vile, sensual, and filthy rising up from its abominable deeps. Can I

think that God can look down in love and mercy on such a wretch?”

When we see . . .

  our vileness,

  our baseness,

  our carnality,

  our sensuality,

  how our souls cleave to dust,

  how we grovel in evil and hateful things,

  how dark our minds,

  how earthly our affections,

  how depraved our hearts,

  how strong our lusts,

  how raging our passions;

we feel ourselves, at times, no morefit for God than Satan himself!

“For when we were yet without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly!”

    Romans 5:6

Christ does not justify those who are naturally righteous, holy, and religious.

But He takes the sinner as he is, in all his filth and guilt; washes him in the fountain opened

for sin and uncleanness; and clothes the naked shivering wretch, who has nothing to cover him

but filthy rags, in His own robe of righteousness!

The gospel of the grace of God brings glad tidings . . .

  of pardon to the criminal,

  of mercy to the guilty, and

  of salvation to the lost!

That the holy God should look down in love on wretches that deserve the damnation of hell; that

the pure and spotless Jehovah should pity, save, and bless enemies and rebels, and make them

endless partakers of His own glory; this indeed is a mystery, the depth of which eternity itself

will not fathom!

The deeper we sink in self-abasement under a sense of our vileness, the higher we rise in a

knowledge of Christ. And the blacker we are in our own view, the more lovely does Jesus



Lord, I feel my own utter helplessness!

(J. C. Philpot, “Sending Out of Light and Truth” 1841)

“O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me;
let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles” Psalm 43:3

The Christian is often dissatisfied with his state. He
is well aware of the shallowness of his attainments
in the divine life, as well as of the ignorance and the
blindness that are in him. He cannot perceive the path
of life. He sees and feels so powerfully the workings
of sin and corruption, that he often staggers, and is
perplexed in his mind.

And therefore, laboring under the feeling of . . .
  his own shortcomings for the past,
  his helplessness for the present,
  and his ignorance for the future,
he wants to go forward wholly and solely
in the strength of the Lord, to be . . .
not by his own wisdom and power—but by
the supernatural entrance of light and truth
into his soul.

When thus harassed and perplexed, he will at times
and seasons, as his heart is made soft, cry out with
fervency and importunity, as a beggar that will not
take a denial, “O send forth Your light and Your truth,
let them guide me!” As though he would say, “Lord,
I feel my own utter helplessness!
 I know I must go
astray, if You do not condescend to guide me. I have
been betrayed a thousand times when I have trusted
my own heart. I have been entangled in my base
. I have been puffed up by presumption. I have
been carried away by hypocrisy and pride. I have been
drawn aside into the world. I have never taken a single
step aright when left to myself. And therefore feeling
how unable I am to guide myself a single step of the
way, I come unto You, and ask You to send forth Your
light and Your truth, that they may guide me, for I
am utterly unable to lead myself

The child of God—feeling his own ignorance, darkness,
blindness, and sinfulness—causes him to moan, and
sigh, and cry unto God—that he might be . . .
  led every step,
  kept every moment,
  guided every inch.

“O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me;
let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles” Psalm 43:3


2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

In these two verses, God the Holy Spirit tells us that the only reason any of us are found worshipping our great and glorious, almighty, sovereign God, rather than kneeling before a stump, the only reason we are not deceived with the rest of the world by the idolatrous, free-will, works religion of antichrist is the fact that we have been chosen by God the Father, redeemed by God the Son, and called by God the Holy Spirit. Let us ever ascribe the whole of this great work to God alone and praise God alone for it! “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”

            Pay close attention to the Words of Holy Scripture. Too often we read the Word of God like we would read a newspaper, just scanning for the highlights. In the Book of God the highlights are in the details. Here the Apostle Paul, writing by divine inspiration, tells us five things which go right to the heart of the gospel. The things here described are words of assurance given to every sinner who trusts Christ alone for redemption, righteousness, grace, salvation, and eternal life. If you have been granted faith in the Son of God, here are five things of which you ought to be assured by the Word of God. As surely as you trust Christ, these five things are true of you.

“God hath from the beginning CHOSEN YOU!” What blessed, good news that is! The holy Lord God chose you as the object of his special love and distinguishing grace in Christ before the worlds were made by his hand. Indeed, the reason why he made this world is that he chose you.

God chose “you TO SALVATION”! The Lord did not choose you to have a chance at salvation. He did not choose you to receive an offer of salvation. He did not choose you to hear about salvation. He chose you to save you! Election is for salvation.

God chose “you to salvation THROUGH SANCTIFICATION OF THE SPIRIT”. The Lord God chose to save his elect in Christ, upon the grounds of justice satisfied, by the irresistible grace and power of the Holy Spirit, in regeneration. He has saved you, not only by imputing righteousness to you in justification, but also by imparting righteousness to you in regeneration. The Holy Spirit, in regeneration, sanctifies God’s elect by giving us a new, holy nature, a nature created in the image of Christ in true holiness.

God chose “you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit AND BELIEF OF THE TRUTH”. Faith in Christ, who is the Truth, is as essential to salvation as election, redemption, and regeneration. And this faith in Christ, who is the Truth, is inseparably connected with believing the truth of God revealed about Christ in the gospel. We believed on the Son of God only “after that we heard the Word of truth, THE GOSPEL of our salvation”.

God chose “you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, WHEREUNTO HE CALLED YOU BY OUR GOSPEL.” It is absolutely essential that we understand the teaching of Holy Scripture in this regard. Chosen, redeemed sinners are brought into the blessed experience of God’s grace in salvation only by the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, which comes only through the preaching of the gospel.

Don Fortner

“I Am The Truth”             

John 14:6

     When I was nineteen years old Bro. Henry Mahan came to my hometown for a series of meetings, and I went to hear him. I remember distinctly some of the messages he preached. How blessed of God they were to my heart! I also remember a statement he made, which seemed to me to be out of order and confusing. He said, to the congregation, “You don’t arrive at Christ through doctrine. You arrive at doctrine through Christ.” As a young theology student, with what I proudly assumed was a head full of knowledge, I thought, “That is not right. A man has to know doctrinal truth before he can know Christ.”

     Today, I understand the meaning of my dear friend’s words. And I see their importance. “YOU DON’T ARRIVE AT CHRIST THROUGH DOCTRINE. YOU ARRIVE AT DOCTRINE THROUGH CHRIST.” That is exactly what the Lord Jesus said when he declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Christ is the Way to God. Without him there is no going. Christ is the Truth of God. Without him there is no knowing. And Christ is the Life. Without him there is no living. If you would go to God, you must be in THE WAY, which is Christ. If you would have eternal life, the gift of God, you must have THE LIFE, which is Christ. If you would know the truth of God, you must know THE TRUTH, which is Christ.

     All divine truth, all spiritual knowledge, comes to men only by divine revelation. And God reveals his truth to faith. We know and understand the truth of God only by believing the testimony of God (Heb. 11:3). And that begins with believing the Son of God. “He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true” (John 3:33).

     True gospel knowledge, true doctrinal knowledge is not the result of diligent study and precise reasoning. It is not a position we come to by following a path of precise, intelligent logic. Rather it is that which we know and understand through faith, by reading, hearing and believing the Word of God. Believing Christ, we be- lieve everything revealed in and by Christ, no matter how inconsistent his revelation may be to man’s per- verted reason and experience. And believing, we under- stand. Knowledge is given to those who believe. “You don’t arrive at Christ through doctrine. You arrive at doctrine through Christ,”who declares,”I AM THE TRUTH.”

Don Fortner

It is only by the Spirit’s teaching

(William Tiptaft)

As a child of God, you are not of the world, but
are chosen out of it. You are only a stranger and
a pilgrim here.

You will meet with many professing to love the
true doctrines of the gospel; but, alas! they at
the same time love their sins, and too evidently
show themselves to be . . .
  lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

The gospel conforms God’s people to the
image of His dear Son.

It is only by the Spirit’s teaching that we learn to
be humble, meek, and lowly of heart; we see our
helpless and lost state by nature, and are surprised
to find our hearts so unclean and sinful.

It is not opinions that man needs—it is truth.
It is not theology that man needs—it is God.
It is not religion that man needs—it is Christ.
It is not literature and science that man needs—but the knowledge of the free love of God in the gift of His only-begotten Son!

Horatius Bonar

The brain and spinal cord of Christianity!

Charles Spurgeon

 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us!” Galatians 3:13

What could be better than the divine plan of substitutionary atonement? God must punish sin—He could not be God unless He did. It is a necessity of His nature, that He should hate sin with an infinite hatred, and He must punish it! Yet, as He had loved His people with an everlasting love, how could He better show His love to them, and His hatred of sin—than by giving up His well-beloved Son to die in place of them! This seems to me to be the most beautiful thing I ever heard of, and it delights my soul to preach it!

The false doctrine of universal redemption—that Christ died for the damned in Hell, and that He suffered the torment of those who afterwards are tormented forever—seems to me to be . . .
  subversive of the whole Gospel, and
  destructive of the only pillar upon which our hopes can be built!

Christ stood in the place of His elect; for them He made a full Atonement; for them He so suffered, that not a sin of theirs shall ever be laid at their door. As the Father’s love embraced them—so the death of His Son reconciled them.

Christ’s atonement gives such an exhibition of the guilt of sin, as is not to be seen anywhere else—no, not even in the flames of Hell!

The heart of the gospel is redemption—and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. Those who preach this truth—preach the gospel. But those who do not preach the atonement, whatever else they declare—have missed the soul and substance of the divine message. To deny the great doctrine of substitutionary atonement by the blood of Jesus Christ—is to hamstring the gospel, and to cut the throat of Christianity!

What the sun is to the heavens—that the doctrine of a vicarious satisfaction is to theology. Substitutionary atonement is the brain and spinal cord of Christianity! Take away the cleansing blood, and what hope is left for the guilty? Deny the substitutionary work of Jesus—and you have denied all that is precious in the New Testament!

He who understands the mystery of Christ’s substitutionary atonement for His people, is a master in Scriptural theology!

Comments are closed.