“Anything That Drives Me To My Knees is Good”

“Often does it happen that the enmity of the world drives the Christian nearer to his God. How many prayers have been offered up as the result of persecution that would never have been offered else, heaven alone can tell! How many a groan, and sigh, and tear, acceptable to God, have been forced from true hearts by their sufferings, God alone knows! Ah! in the soft days, the summer days of peace and prosperity, we are apt to gad abroad after vain delights; but when the winter comes, with its keen and cutting blast, we haste to our own abode, we cleave to our own hearth, we love to dwell with our own kindred. Even so right frequently, with hearts all chill and cheerless, we have sought the house of our Father and our God, drawn near to his altar, and found a refreshment we fain could wish that we might never leave. Why, oh! why, are we so fickle? If we could find succor and solace apart from the Rock, away from the Sun, absent from our Lord, our wayward hearts would do so; but when the waters of affliction have covered all the earth, then we fly back to our Noah, our ark, and find rest for the sole of our foot. The friendship of this world is enmity to God. It rivals God’s friendship, it deceives and deludes many hearts; but when the world frowns, it is a blessed frown that makes me seek my Savior’s smile. Anything that drives me to my knees is good. Anything that makes me trust in the promise, and wait only upon God because my expectation is from him, is healthful to my soul, infuses courage, and inspires confidence, and invests her with fresh strength. O brethren, the very glory of the church is to live nearer to God. The more she thinks of her great and glorious Head, and the more she leans upon the invisible arm of the Eternal, the more invincible she is persecution in driving her to her stronghold is overruled to her help.”

Charles Spurgeon

You can read the entire sermon here.

The Church and the World

“There is and always has been a fundamental, irreconcilable incompatibility between the church and the world. Christian thought is out of harmony with all the world’s philosophies. Genuine faith in Christ entails a denial of every worldly value. Biblical truth contradicts all the world’s religions. Christianity itself is therefore antithetical to virtually everything this world admires.

Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

Notice that our Lord considered it a given that the world would despise the church. Far from teaching His disciples to try to win the world’s favor by reinventing the gospel to suit worldly preferences, Jesus expressly warned that the quest for worldly accolades is a characteristic of false prophets: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

He further explained: “The world . . . hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7). In other words, the world’s contempt for Christianity stems from moral, not intellectual, motives: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20). That is why no matter how dramatically worldly opinion might vary, Christian truth will never be popular with the world.

Yet in virtually every era of church history there have been people in the church who are convinced that the best way to win the world is by catering to worldly tastes. Such an approach has always been to the detriment of the gospel message. The only times the church has made any significant impact on the world are when the people of God have stood firm, refused to compromise, and boldly proclaimed the truth despite the world’s hostility. When Christians have shrunk away from the task of confronting popular worldly delusions with unpopular biblical truths, the church has invariably lost influence and impotently blended into the world. Both Scripture and history attest to that fact.

And the Christian message simply cannot be twisted to conform to the vicissitudes of worldly opinion. Biblical truth is fixed and constant, not subject to change or adaptation. Worldly opinion, on the other hand, is in constant flux. The various fads and philosophies that dominate the world change radically and regularly from generation to generation. The only thing that remains constant is the world’s hatred of Christ and His gospel.

In all likelihood, the world will not long embrace whatever ideology is in vogue this year. If the pattern of history is any indicator, by the time our great grandchildren become adults, worldly opinion will be dominated by a completely new system of belief and a whole different set of values. Tomorrow’s generation will renounce all of today’s fads and philosophies. But one thing will remain unchanged: until the Lord Himself returns and establishes His kingdom on earth, whatever ideology gains popularity in the world will be as hostile to biblical truth as all its predecessors have been.”

– John MacArthur

Source: Grace to You

Upholding a Biblical View of Forgiveness in Light of the Charleston Church Massacre

A small prayer circle forms nearby where police are responding to a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 17, 2015. Reuters/Randall Hill
A small prayer circle forms nearby where police are responding to a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 17, 2015. Reuters/Randall Hill

I am very moved by the testimony coming from some of the Charleston church victims’ families. My heart is bound with them because they wear the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and they are suffering. However, I think it’s very important for Christians to uphold a biblical – not a conventional view of forgiveness at a time like this. Offering forgiveness to the unrepentant is not biblical. Contrary to popular thinking (and a lot of mainline Evangelical thinking) the Bible does not teach unconditional forgiveness. The Bible teaches repentance. Ephesians 4:32 says that we are to forgive one another “as God in Christ forgave you.” In other words, only those who repent and have saving faith in Jesus Christ are forgiven. When we offer forgiveness to the unrepentant, as I see some hurting and well-meaning Christians doing right now, we are in danger of cheapening the grace of God.

Of course, this topic cannot be sufficiently addressed in a tiny post. If you truly want to learn more about what the Bible has to say on this, I recommend “Unpacking Forgiveness” by Chris Brauns.  Chris has written one of the most important books on this topic. As he explains, “Unpacking Forgiveness” presents “the beauty of God’s grace and the necessity of forgiveness. But it will also teach the reader that forgiveness must take place in a way that is consistent with justice. We must move beyond a ‘feel-good doctrine of automatic forgiveness.’ Christians must always have a willingness to forgive or an attitude of forgiveness. But this does not mean that forgiveness always takes place.“

On a personal note, I will tell you that getting hold of the biblical truths laid out in this book, marked a spiritual turning point for me. I cringe whenever I read anything I’ve written a long time ago but in 2009, I wrote a review of “Unpacking Forgiveness” on my blog. Click here to read.

Prove it All in the Crucible of the Bible!

john wycliffe“The true Christian was intended by Christ to prove all things by the Word of God, all churches, all ministers, all teaching, all preaching, all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices. These are his marching orders. Prove all by the Word of God; measure all by the measure of the Bible; compare all with the standard of the Bible; weigh all in the balances of the Bible; examine all by the light of the Bible; test all in the crucible of the Bible. That which cannot abide the fire of the Bible, reject, refuse, repudiate, and cast away. This is the flag which he nailed to the mast. May it never be lowered!”

– John Wycliffe

“Light From Old Times,” John Ryle, Wycliffe House, 1902, p. 3