Bulletin Edition May 2024

If salvation depends upon our being or doing anything, we shall inevitably be lost. Thank God, it does not; for the great fundamental principle of the gospel is that Christ is all: man is nothing. It is not a mixture of Christ and man—it is all of Christ. The peace of the gospel does not rest in part on Christ’s work and in part on man’s work; it rests wholly on Christ’s work, because that work is perfect, perfect forever; and it renders all who put their trust in Him as perfect as Himself! Christ must either be a whole Savior or no Savior at all. The moment a man says, “Except you be this or that, you cannot be saved,” he totally subverts the gospel; for in the gospel I find Christ coming down to me, just as I am–a lost, guilty, self-destroyed sinner; and coming, moreover, with a full remission of all my sins, and a full salvation from my lost estate, all perfectly wrought by Himself on the cross.                

~C. H. Mackintosh

“EVEN THOUGH our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

  —II Corinthians 4:16-18

The Apostle Paul suffered a great many hardships: he was beaten, stoned, left for dead, attacked by an angry mob, shipwrecked three times, his life threatened, he was arrested, imprisoned, bitten by a viper, persecuted by other Christians, and, he was tormented by a “thorn in the flesh”, and though we are unsure exactly what that was, we know it was long-lasting and troubled him greatly. And yet, in verse 17, he calls these things “light afflictions”. That almost seems laughable in light of what he suffered, doesn’t it? But in fact, they were, when compared to the glory which would be revealed in him after death. Oh, that I might have the same attitude, and bear up as Paul, and many other godly men and women have—looking ahead to those things that are eternal. Be strong in the Lord, Christian—one day you will look back upon these things and smile.

“He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.”

Isaiah 40:11

Who is he of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is the Good Shepherd. Why doth he carry the lambs in his bosom? Because He hath a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts his heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of his flock draw forth his compassion. It is his office, as a faithful High Priest, to consider the weak. Besides, he purchased them with blood, they are his property: he must and will care for that which cost him so dear. Then he is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. Moreover, they are all a part of his glory and reward.

But how may we understand the expression, “He will carry them”? Sometimes he carries them by not permitting them to endure much trial. Providence deals tenderly with them. Often they are “carried” by being filled with an unusual degree of love, so that they bear up and stand fast. Though their knowledge may not be deep, they have great sweetness in what they do know. Frequently he “carries” them by giving them a very simple faith, which takes the promise just as it stands, and believingly runs with every trouble straight to Jesus. The simplicity of their faith gives them an unusual degree of confidence, which carries them above the world.

“He carries the lambs in his bosom.” Here is boundless affection. Would he put them in his bosom if he did not love them much? Here is tender nearness: so near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. Here is hallowed familiarity: there are precious love-passages between Christ and his weak ones. Here is perfect safety: in his bosom who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first. Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!

—C. H. Spurgeon

Restraining Grace

John MacDuff

“Satan hath desired to have you-that he may sift you as wheat.
 But I have prayed for thee-that thy faith fail not.” Luke 22:31, 32

What a scene does this unfold!
Satan tempting-Jesus praying!
Satan sifting-Jesus pleading!
“The strong man assailing”-“the stronger than the strong” beating him back!

Believer! here is the past history and present secret of your safetyin the midst of temptation! An interceding Savior was at your side, saying to every threatening wave, “Thus far shall you go-and no farther!” God often permits His people to be on the very verge of the precipice, to remind them of their own weakness; but never farther than the brink! The restraining hand and grace of Omnipotence is ready to rescue them, “Although he stumbles-yet he shall not be utterly cast down.” And why? “For the Lord upholds him with His right hand!”

The wolf may be prowling for his prey; but what can he do, when the almighty Shepherd is always there, tending with the watchful eye that “neither slumbers nor sleeps!”

Who cannot subscribe to the testimony, “When my foot slipped, Your mercy, O Lord, held me up!” Who can look back on his past pilgrimage, and fail to see it crowded with Ebenezers, with this inscription: “You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling!” My soul, where would you have been this day-had you not been “kept” by the power of God?

“Hold Thou me up-and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117

“The poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5


What is the gospel? Is not the gospel a proclamation of pure mercy, of super-abounding grace? Does it not declare the loving-kindness of God in sending his only-begotten Son to bleed and die, and, by his obedience, blood, and merit, to bring in a salvation without money and without price? Is not this the gospel? Not clogged by conditions, nor crippled by anything that the creature has to perform; but flowing freely forth as the air in the skies? The poor to whom the gospel is preached, value it; it is suitable to them; it is sweet and precious when the heart is brought down. But if I stand up in religious pride, if I rest upon my own righteousness, if I am not stripped of everything in the creature, what is the gospel to me? I have no heart to receive it; there is no place in my soul for a gospel without money and without price.

But when I sink into the depth of creature poverty, when I am nothing and have nothing but a mass of sin and guilt, then the blessed gospel, pardoning my sins, covering my naked soul, shedding abroad the love of God, guiding me into everything good, and leading me up into enjoyment with a Three-One God, becomes prized. When such a pure, such a blessed gospel comes into my heart and conscience, has not my previous poverty of spirit prepared me for it? Has not my previous beggary and necessity made a way for it, made it suitable to me, and when it comes, makes it precious to me? We must, then, sink into poverty of spirit, that painful place, in order to feel the preciousness, and drink into the sweetness and blessedness of the gospel of the grace of God.

All true sanctification

(Octavius Winslow)

“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us
 from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar
 people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14

There is no victory over the indwelling power of sin, and
there is no pardon for the guilt of sin, but as the soul deals
with the blood of Christ. The great end of our dear Lord’s
death was to destroy the works of the devil. Sin is the great
work of Satan. To overcome this, to break its power, subdue
its dominion, repair its ruins, and release from its condemnation,
the blessed Son of God suffered the ignominious death of the
cross. All that bitter agony which He endured, all that mental
suffering, the sorrow of His soul in the garden, the sufferings
of His body on the cross–all was for sin.

See, then, the close and beautiful connection between the death
of Christ–and the death of sin. All true sanctification comes
through the cross!
 Seek it there. The cross brought into your
soul by the eternal Spirit will be the death of your sins. Go to the
cross! Oh, go to the cross of Jesus! In simplicity of faith, go with
the strong corruption; go with the burden of guilt; go to the cross!
You will find nothing but love there, nothing but welcome there,
nothing but purity there. The precious blood of Jesus “cleanses us
from all sin.” And while you are kept low beneath the cross, your
enemy dares not approach you, sin shall not have dominion over
you, nor shall Satan, your accuser, condemn you!

“Without Me ye can do nothing.”

John 15:5

We should apply these words of our Savior as broadly as possible to all things spiritual. — “Without me ye can do nothing!” “Without me ye” cannot believe. “Without me ye” cannot pray. “Without me ye” cannot watch. “Without me ye” cannot learn, know, or understand anything spiritual. “Without me ye” cannot know the meaning of my Word. “Without me ye” cannot preach. “Without me ye” cannot worship. “Without me ye” cannot hear me speak by the gospel.  “Without me ye” cannot persevere. “Without me ye” cannot withstand the devil. “Without me ye” cannot resist temptation. “Without me ye” cannot resist sin. “Without me ye” cannot stand. “Without me ye” cannot recover when fallen. “Without me ye can do nothing!” — “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16).

            Outward circumstances, unaccompanied with inward grace, leave men just as they find them. Only Christ can change the heart. Only Christ can convert the sinner. Only Christ can save. . — “Without me ye can do nothing!

            As these words apply to all men, believers and unbelievers, they are especially applicable to preachers. Let every gospel preacher understand that the Lord Jesus is speaking to him, when he says, “Without me ye can do nothing.

Don Fortner

Square me! Prune me!


“There is more hewing, and hacking, and squaring used on a stone which is to be set in the wall of a stately palace — than that which is placed in a rock wall. Just so, the vine is carefully pruned — when the bramble is untouched.”

This should reconcile believers to their chastisements. It is a well-worn figure; but it is well put.

Brambles certainly have a fine time of it, and grow after their own pleasure. We have seen their long shoots reaching far and wide, and no knife has threatened them as they luxuriated upon the wastelands.

The poor vine is cut down so closely, that little remains of it but bare stems. Yet, when clearing-time comes, and the brambles are heaped together for burning — who would not rather be the vine?

Ah, Lord! Let me never sigh for ease, but always seek for usefulness.
Square me
 until I am fit for a place in Your temple!
Prune me
 until I yield my utmost fruit!

“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15:2

A gracious influence

(J. C. Philpot, “Jesus, the Great High Priest“)

The love of Jesus has a gracious influence on the life,
conduct, and conversation of a true believer. The tree
is known by its fruit; and those branches alone which
bring forth fruit unto God, are in manifest union with
the only true Vine.

Love to Jesus is the constraining principle of all holy
 “If you love Me, keep my commandments,”
was His dying injunction to His disciples. As, then, His
bleeding love is experimentally known, there will be . . .
  a conformity to His image,
  an obedience to His will,
  a walking in His footsteps.


            I have noticed that the main issue that men grapple with over the doctrine of election is not whether or not the Scripture teaches it.  Any honesty at all will make a man admit the Scriptures do teach this doctrine. What men grapple with is whether or not it is essential to believe this doctrine and preach this doctrine.  Most preachers will admit the Bible does teach election, but they relegate it to a doctrine of secondary importance. (Judgment day will reveal the motive behind such actions.)

            But will the Scriptures support such a position?  In Exodus 33:18, Moses said to God, “Show my Thy glory….”To which God replied,  “…. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.”    Paul quotes this in Romans 9 to answer the carnal mind’s objection to election (Romans 9:14-15).  According to Scripture, God’s glory and election go together.  If the glory of God can be thought to be a doctrine of secondary importance, so can the doctrine of election.  But we know the glory of God is of primary importance. What does that make God’s electing mercy in Christ?                                                   – Henry Mahan 

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