Bulletin Edition February 2024

The voice from the cross did not summon men to do, but to be satisfied with what was done, “It is finished.” The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only perfect thing which has ever been presented to God on man’s behalf. “It shall be perfect to be accepted, there shall be no blemish therein” Lev. 22:21. 

 ~Scott Richardson

“They made their hearts as an adamant stone.”

Zechariah 7:12

The Lord God declares that the heart of fallen man is as obstinate and hard “as an adamant stone.” The adamant stone is a legendary stone of impenetrable hardness. It was thought to be harder than flint (Ezekiel 3:9). How hard, how impenetrable, how unbreakable the heart of man must be, if the Lord God compares it to an adamant stone!

Obdurate Hardness

The obdurate hardness of the heart of man is displayed throughout the Scriptures; but it is nowhere displayed more fully than in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night our dear Savior was arrested and led away to the judgment hall. There were among those who “took Jesus, and bound Him, and led Him away” (John 18:12-13) a great mixture of people. Some of them were Roman soldiers. Some were servants of the priests and Pharisees. Among them were Judas and the Pharisees.

But in one thing they were all alike. They all “made their hearts as an adamant stone.” They all saw our Savior’s Divine power forcefully exhibited. The soldiers were compelled, by the mere force of our Savior’s name, “I AM,” to fall backward as dead men to the ground. All saw the miracle our Lord performed when He touched Malchus’ ear and healed him. Yet all remained unmoved, cold, indifferent, insensible, and hard.

Don’t you find that astonishing? They all acted as if they had seen nothing out of the ordinary. — “They made their hearts as an adamant stone!” They saw these things and hardened their hearts, like Pharaoh, and went on coolly with their callous business. — “They took Jesus, bound Him, and led Him away!

Goat’s Blood

Oh, how hard the heart of man is! Nothing can break it! Nothing can penetrate it! — Nothing but omnipotent grace! Bless God, there is hope for such hard hearts! The legendary adamant stone was thought the hardest of all stones, harder than flint (Ezekiel 3:9), harder than the nether millstone (Job 41:24). Fire could not burn it, or even cause it to be heated, except on its very surface. The adamant stone could not be broken by a hammer. Yet, this hardest of all stones, when soaked in a goat’s blood, was melted, dissolved, and broken, like an aspirin in water. So the hardest heart of the most obstinate sinner is melted, dissolved, and broken when sprinkled with the precious blood of Christ, the sinner’s Scapegoat.

      Nothing can break the heart but the almighty, efficacious, irresistible grace of God. Nothing can soften the stony, adamant heart except the precious blood of Christ sprinkled upon it by the Spirit of God, declaring the forgiveness of sin.

Sinner’s Hope

That is my hope and prayer to God for you. If God the Holy Spirit sprinkles your heart with the blood of Christ, if He will apply the blood to you, you will look upon Him you have pierced and mourn. Miracles will never penetrate your hard heart.  Judgments will never break your heart. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, though ever so frightening, will never penetrate the heart of a sinner. Affliction will never break it. The law, with all its threats and curses, will never break the heart of man. Hell itself cannot break the rebel heart of man. But the blood of Christ can!

            The blood of Christ, sprinkled on stony hearts as hard an impenetrable as adamant, breaks the hard heart of man, humbles the sinner, and bows him as a contrite one before the throne of God’s free grace, causing him to cry like the Publican, “God be propitious to me, the sinner. Have mercy upon me through the sin-atoning blood of your dear Son!”

Don Fortner


John 14:9

            There is one word in the Bible which in itself forms an entire library, one word which is the sum and substance of the entire Bible, one word which comprises all truth. That word is “Christ.” He is he uncreated, living, eternal Word, whom to know is life eternal. He is the living Word of whom the written Word speaks.

            When chosen, redeemed sinners are brought out of darkness into light by the irresistible, regenerating grace and power of God the Holy Spirit, when Christ is revealed in the chosen vessels of mercy, when they become savingly acquainted with this Divine Word, they are “made wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (Tit. 3:15).

            As we are led by the Spirit in the life of faith, enabled by his grace to live upon, walk with, and rejoice in the glorious Person and finished accomplishments of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are brought into what the Apostle Paul describes as – “All the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:2-3).

            Our Lord’s own statements with regard to this “mystery of God,” the mystery of the perfect unity and oneness of the Persons in the eternal Godhead are plain and clear (John 10:30; 14:7-9).

            We worship one God in the trinity of his sacred Persons. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7). Yet, we recognize, and the Scriptures undeniably reveal, the fact that the revelation of the holy Trinity is found in Christ alone. Christ, and Christ alone, is the visible Jehovah. The invisible God is seen and known only in him who is “the image of the invisible God”

            “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

            It is never written in Scripture that if a person believes in God, or if he believes in the Holy Spirit, he is saved. It is written throughout the Word of God, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). The fact is – No one believes God and no one has the Spirit of God, except those sinners who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, as he is revealed in the Scriptures, as the Savior of his people. As the all glorious Christ is alone the embodiment and revelation of God, he is also the only Savior of sinners. While we adore our heavenly Father and worship him as our God, and God the Holy Spirit too, we realise that the only way for us to do so is by trusting Christ alone as our Savior.

Don Fortner

False religion

(Horatius Bonar, “False Religion and Its Doom”)

“I will lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols; and
 scatter your bones around your altars.” Ezek. 6:5

There is such a thing as false religion.

It may be earnest and zealous, yet false.

No amount of sincerity or zeal will make
that true, which is in itself false.

False religion is the worship of a false god,
or the false worship of the true God.

We worship the true God untruly when we
give him only half a heart, half a soul.

Do not think that the utterance of some true
words, or the expression of a little sentimental
devotion, is the true worship of the true God.

False religion is useless.
It profits nothing and nobody, either here or hereafter.
It is not acceptable to God.
It will not be counted a substitute for the true.
It does not satisfy the conscience.
It does not make the man happy.
It does not fill the heart.
It does not remove burdens.
It will not stand the fire.
It is but wood, and hay, and stubble.
The judgment will sweep it all away.
It is useless both for time nor eternity,
  both for earth nor heaven. 

It is irksome and unprofitable, only cheating
the poor worshiper into the belief that he has
felt or performed something good and worthy.

God abhors false religion.
It has not one feature that is pleasing to Him.
It is merely external.
It is untrue.
It is against His revelation.
It is dishonouring to Him.
It is self exalting.
It is pure mockery.
It is rottenness and death.
It is a mouthful of words, a handful of dust and ashes.
Therefore God abhors it.

“I will lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols; and
 scatter your bones around your altars.” Ezek. 6:5

Form or Power?

Spurgeon, “The Form of Godliness Without the Power”

“Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Tim 3:5

A mere form of godliness joined to
an unholy heart is of no value to God.

The swan, although its feathers are
as white as snow, yet its skin is black.

God will not accept that ‘external morality’
which conceals ‘internal impurity’. There
must be a pure heart as well as a clean life.

The power of godliness must work within,
or else God will not accept our offering.

There is no value to man or to God in
a religion which is a dead form.

Sad is that man’s plight who wears the
name of Christian but has never been
quickened by the Holy Spirit.

There is no use in a mere formal religion.
If your religion is without spiritual life, what
is the use of it? Could you ride home on a
dead horse? Would you hunt with dead dogs?

Is false religion any better?

In the depth of winter, can you warm
yourself before a ‘painted fire’?

Could you dine off the ‘picture of a
feast’ when you are hungry?

There must be vitality and substantiality,
or else the form is utterly worthless; and
worse than worthless, for it may flatter
you into deadly self conceit.

How shameful will such a fruitless, lifeless
professor be in eternity, when the secrets
of all hearts shall be revealed! What shame
and everlasting contempt will await him when
his falsehood shall be detected, and his
baseness shall fill all holy minds with horror!

What will be the hell of the false professor!

“Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Tim 3:5               Their religion is hollow, unsubstantial, and unreal

(From Winslow’s, “Christ’s Intercession for Tried Faith”)

The most beautiful ritual,
the most accurate creed,
the most costly religion,
the most splendid profession,
without Christ in the heart,
is but as fuel preparing for the
final and eternal conflagration.

What, my reader, if your religion
should prove to be nothing but chaff?
Does the bare probability startle you?

Ah! there are multitudes whom it might well
startle; for multitudes are thus deceived.

Not a grain of saving grace is found in their souls.

There is….
no vitality in their faith,
no solidity in their profession,
no substance in their religion.

Before every wind of false doctrine they bend, and
by each blast of temptation they are carried away.

The stubble of the field, and the chaff of the
threshing floor (fit emblems of their profession),
are not more unsubstantial and fleeting than it.

All is woeful deception!

They have substituted….
a form of godliness for its power;
union to the church for union to Christ;
the baptism of water for the regeneration of the Spirit;
gospel ordinances for sanctifying grace;
works of benevolence for faith in the Lord Jesus.

And thus their religion is hollow, unsubstantial, and
; possessing a “name to live, they are dead.”

And what will be the end of such?

Departing into eternity in this state of soul deception;
building their hope of heaven upon this false foundation;
in their sad experience must be realized the awful
description which the evangelist gives of the judgment
power of Christ; “whose fan is in his hand, and he will
thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his
barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Thus will perish….
all human religions,
all false hopes,
all hollow professions,
all soul destroying doctrines;
the ‘wood, the hay, the stubble,’ of a
form of godliness, destitute of the power.             Preserving grace before regeneration

(J.C. Philpot, “Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers”)

“To them that are sanctifiedby God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” Jude 1

What a mercy it is for God’s people, that before they have a ‘vital union’ with Christ, before they are grafted into Him experimentally — they have an ‘eternal union’ with Him before all worlds. It is by virtue of this eternal union, that they come into the world . . .
   at such a time,
   at such a place,
   from such parents,
   under such circumstances
 — just as God has appointed.

It is by virtue of this eternal union, that all the circumstances of their lives are ordained. By virtue of this eternal union, they are preserved in Christ before they are effectually called.

They cannot die — until God has brought about a vital union with Christ!

Whatever sickness they may pass through, whatever injuries they may be exposed to, whatever perils assault them on sea or land — die they will not, die they cannot — until God’s purposes are executed in bringing them into a vital union with the Son of His love.

Thus, this eternal union watched over every circumstance of their birth, watched over their childhood, watched over their manhood — watched over them until the appointed time and spot, when “the God of all grace,” according to His eternal purpose, was pleased to quicken their souls, and thus bring about an experimental union with the Lord of life and glory!

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