Bulletin Edition March 2024

Salvation is of the LORD. Jonah 2:9

Where Does Grace Lead?

Some people would have us believe that if we preach pure grace it will lead people to licentious living. They say if we remove the law as a guide or motivation for Christian living, people will have nothing to keep them holy. They say to tell a person to just follow Christ doesn’t provide enough structure and will lead people to careless living. Is that where the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ Jesus leads? Grace preachers have always been, and always will be, falsely accused of this devilish lie. The apostle Paul spent most of his time defending the gospel of grace against this lawmongers view of self- righteousness. “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Rom 6:15 No, grace does not lead to sin, grace leads to Christ.  Truth is; “The strength of sin is the law.” 1 Cor.15:56. Show me a man preaching the law, and I’ll show you a people with no hope for their sin.    

Greg Elmquist


“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”  – Philippians 2:13

    Everything concerning a sinner’s salvation is of God. Nothing is of us. We don’t begin the work of salvation, He does (Phil. 1:6). We don’t perform the work of salvation, He does (Phil. 1:6). We don’t finish the work of salvation, He does (John 19:30, Heb. 1:3). We don’t call on Him, He calls us (Luke 5:32). We don’t seek Him, He seeks us (Luke 19:10). We don’t find Him, He finds us (Luke 15:3-6). We don’t accept Him, He accepts us (Eph. 1:6). We don’t produce our own faith to believe on Him, He puts His own faith in us and causes us to believe on Him (Eph. 2:8). We don’t earn any perfection of our own, He earned it for us (Titus 3:5). It’s not that we loved Him, but that He loved us (1 John 4;10). We don’t keep ourselves in His love, He keeps us there (1 Peter 1:3-5). Salvation is totally of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). 

Gabe Stalnaker

It is the eternal, sovereign, unconditional, and immutable decree of God, whereby according to the wise counsel of His own will and for His own glory, He has selected for Himself some individual sinners from all mankind and of every nation to be redeemed and everlastingly saved by the Lord Jesus Christ.            

Willy Mapote Malawi, Africa

Complicated or Contrary

     The gospel is not COMPLICATED. It is a simple message declaring that, “Salvation is of the Lord” Jonah 2:9. It declares all the sons of Adam as sinful, unable and unwilling to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It declares Jesus Christ as the Sovereign, successful Savior of His elect people. The gospel is wholly of God’s free and sovereign grace. It does not require a superior intellect, or even a good knowledge of the Bible to understand.

     So, why is it so hard for men to hear? The Lord said, “Light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” John 3:19. The gospel is CONTRARY to everything men by nature believe to be true. Rather than forsaking all his ways, he is desperately trying to reconcile what he is hearing to what he has already decided is true.

     One cannot have faith (believe) without repentance (changed mind). Both are a work of grace without which the natural man will continue to complicate the simplicity of the gospel.         

Greg Elmquist

All of Grace

In heaven’s glory we shall forever adore and praise our great God for the wondrous mystery of his grace, by which we are saved. Everything in the great work of salvation sets forth the splendor of the grace of the Most High God. What do we see in election, predestination, redemption, regeneration and preservation, but His grace? The whole work of salvation displays God’s rich, free, almighty, irresistible, sovereign, saving grace in Christ. In salvation, as well as in creation, all things are of God, all things are by God, and all things are for God. He works all our works in us, and in Him alone all praise must be forever!

The Gospel of God

Three times in I Thes. 2, Paul speaks of the gospel as the “Gospel of God”. It is God the Father’s gospel in election. It is God the Son’s gospel in redemption. It is God the Holy Spirit’s gospel in revelation and regeneration. Oh, what good news. In perfect unity, the Triune Godhead cannot fail in making The Gospel of God, our gospel.                                                                                              Greg Elmquist

 You have lately been in the furnace!

“In the world ye shall have tribulation:” John 16:33

Dear friend,
You have lately been in the furnace—and are now brought safely out. I hope you have much to say of the grace, care, and skill of the great Refiner, who watched over you; and that you have lost nothing but dross. Let this experience be treasured up in your hearts for the use of future times. Other trials will come—but you have found the Lord faithful to His promise, and have good encouragement to trust Him again.

I doubt not, but you will have your share of trials; but when the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, it sweetens what bitter things the Lord puts into our cup, and enables us to say, “None of these things move me!”

Yes, the life of faith is a happy life, and
  if attended with conflicts—there is an assurance of victory;
  if we sometimes get a wound—there is healing balm near at hand;
  if we seem to fall—we are raised again; and
  if tribulations abound—consolations shall abound likewise.

Is it not happiness—to have an infallible Guide, an invincible Guard, an almighty Friend! To be able to say of the Maker of heaven and earth, “He is my Beloved, my Shepherd, my Saviour, and my Husband!”

Oh the peace that flows from believing . . .
  that all events in which we are concerned, are under His immediate disposal;
  that the hairs of our head are all numbered;
  that He delights in our prosperity;
  that there is a need-be, if we are in heaviness, and
  that all things shall surely work for our good!

How happy to have such views of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, love, and faithfulness—as will enable us to meet every painful dispensation with submission, and to look through the changes of the present life—to that unchangeable inheritance to which the Lord is leading us, when all evil shall cease, and where joy shall be perfect and eternal!

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away!” Revelation 21:4

John Newton

We should be in a bad condition indeed, if our salvation was suspended on conditions of our own performing. God’s everlasting love, His decree of election, and the eternal covenant of redemption, are the three hinges on which the door of man’s salvation turns. When man fell from God, infinite justice put a lock upon the door – a lock which nothing but the golden key of Christ’s blood and righteousness can open. The Holy Ghost is, as it were, the omniscient keeper of the door; and He lets no souls in but such as He Himself has washed and justified and sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by His own efficacious grace. I should as soon expect to be saved by my sins as to be saved by my good works.  

Augustus Toplady

From eternity God already purposed and predestinated what God will do for each of his children.  Whatever God works for us is no new thing with God.  God declared the end from the beginning. But God will have his people enquire of him to work that which God wills.  Prayer is God bringing us to ask our Sovereign to do for us what God already purposed and promised.  Prayer keeps his saints acknowledging that we depend upon God for every gift of grace.

The furnace!

(adapted from Winslow’s, “The Sanctification of the Spirit”)

Are you a child of affliction?

Ah! how many whose eye falls on this question
shall say, “I am the man that has seen affliction!”

This is the path along which all the Lord’s people
are led, and in this path, thorny though it be, they
pluck some of their choicest flowers, and find some
of their sweetest fruits.

God’s people are, “chosen in the furnace of affliction.”

The furnace is needed.

The furnace is needed to consume the dross and
the tin which adhere so closely to the precious ore.

The furnace is needed….
  to burn up the chaff that mingles with the precious grain,
  to purify the heart,
  to refine the affections,
  to chasten the soul,
  to wean it from this poor, empty world,
  to draw it from the creature, and
  to centre it in God.

O the blessed effects of the furnace!

Who can fully unfold them?

That must be blessed indeed….
  which makes sin more exceedingly sinful,
  which weans and draws away from earth,
  which endears Jesus and His precious blood and righteousness,
  and which makes the soul a “partaker of His holiness.”

and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3

Afflicted one, you cannot believe it now!

(John MacDuff, “Ripples in the Twilight” 1885)

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction!” Isaiah 48:10

Afflicted one, you cannot believe it now — but you will come out from that furnace seven times purified in the refining fires of God.

“When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold!” Job 23:10


When we truly realise that the Lord of heaven and earth CHOSE US in Christ to salvation, redeemed us by His blood, and called us by His gospel, it will have a seven-fold effect on us.

1. It will cause us to REJOICE! “O blessed is the man whom Thou choosest and causeth to approach unto Thee.” Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.

2. It will promote HUMILITY! “Who maketh thee to differ?” Grace and pride are incompatible, impossi­ble to exist together. We rejoice in Christ and have no confidence in this flesh.

3. It will COMFORT us in hard trials! “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” Even these work together for our good and His glory. When we trust Him, we don’t have to understand.

4. It will SUPPRESS self and sin! “We are not our own;” we are bought with so great a price. Therefore we desire to glorify our Lord in our souls and in our bodies.

5. It gives us ASSURANCE!    If God foreknew us, predestinated us to be like Christ, justified us, called us by His Spirit, if Christ redeemed us, in­tercedes for us and is for us, who can be against us?

6. It makes DYING easier! The eternal covenant of grace in Christ was David’s pillow of rest and peace when he lay dying (II Sam. 23:1-5). He sought no other source of comfort and hope than the sover­eign love of God in Christ.

7. It will assure us that our PREACHING IS NEVER IN VAIN! “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa.55:11). This cannot be applied to all preaching, ONLY TO THE PREACHING OF HIS WORD!  

Henry Mahan

Divine love chastens because it sees the necessity for the correction. The Lord’s love is not a blind affection. It is all-seeing and heart-searching. When has He ever shown Himself blind to the follies of His people? When has His love been ignorant of their sinful departures? Was He blind to the unbelief of Abraham? He chastened him for it. Was He blind to the deception of Jacob? He chastened Him for it. Was He blind to the impatience of Moses? He chastened him for it. Was He blind to the self-applause of Hezekiah? He chastened him for it. Was He blind to the adultery and murder of David? He chastened him for it. Was He blind to the idolatry of Solomon? He chastened him for it. Was He blind to the disobedience of Jonah? He chastened him for it. Was He blind to the self-righteousness of Job? He corrected him for it. Was He blind to the denial of Peter? He rebuked him for it. It is our mercy to know that love marks our iniquity, and that love and not justice, grace and not vengeance, holds the rod and administers the correction.

     Do you think, O chastened child of the Lord, that your Father would have touched you where your feelings are the acutest, where your anguish is the deepest, had He not seen a real necessity? Had He marked no iniquity, no flaw, no departure, no spot, you would have known what the “kisses of His mouth” were, rather than the strokes of His rod. And yet believe it, for he has declared it, those stripes of His rod are as much the fruit and the expression of His love as are the “kisses of His mouth;” “For whom the Lord loves he chastens.”                  

Octavious Winslow

Unfailing love!

From Spurgeon’s, “God’s People in the Furnace”

“I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.”

God’s love to his people is immutable–

I chose you before you were here; yes, I chose you before

you had a being, and when all creatures lay before me in the

pure mass of creatureship, and I could create or not create as

I pleased, I chose and created you a vessel of mercy

appointed unto eternal life.

And when you in common with the whole race, had fallen,

though I might have crushed you with them, and sent you

down to hell, I chose you in your fallen condition, and I

provided for your redemption.

In the fullness of time I sent my Son to die for you.

I chose you at your birth, when as a helpless infant

you slept upon your mother’s breast.

I chose you when you grew up in childhood with all your

follies and your sins. Determined to save you, I watched over

your path when, as Satan’s blind slave, you did sport with death.

I chose you when, in manhood, you sinned against me with a high hand;

when your unbridled lusts dashed you on madly towards hell.

I chose you, then, when you were a blasphemer

and a swearer, and very far from me.

I chose you, then, even when you were dead in trespasses and sins.

I loved you, and still your name was kept in my book.

The appointed hour came– I redeemed you from your sin;

I made you love me; I spoke to you, and made you leave

your sins and become my child; and I chose you then again.

Since that hour how often have you forgotten me!

but I have never forgotten you.

You have wandered from me; you have rebelled against me;

yes, your words have been exceeding hot against me,

and you have robbed me of my honour;

but I chose you even then.

And now that I put you into the furnace,

do you think that my love is changed?

Am I a summer friend fleeing from you in the winter?

Am I one who loves you in prosperity and then cast you off in

adversity? No; hearken to these my words, you furnace-tried one;

“I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.”

Do not think, then, when you are in trouble

that God has cast you off.

O blessed reflection! let it comfort us:

his love does not change;

it cannot be made to alter;

the furnace cannot scorch us,

but not a single hair of our head can perish.

We are as safe in the fire, as we are out of it.

He loves us as much in the depths of tribulation

as he does in the heights of our joy and exultation.

Rejoice then, O Christian, in that God’s love does not fail in

the furnace, but is as hot as the furnace, and hotter still.

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