Saturday, October 29, 2016

REFORMATION DAY--CHARLES WOODRUFF


IT came to me that this article, which I originally posted  in 2011, and again in 2013 is still needed to keep us informed of 499 years of Christian history and development. So with that I decided to review, edit and republish hopefully to aid our understanding. Please read it, copy it, pass it on if you think it is worthy. Please make any comments you wish at this site. I pray God will bless this effort to you all. Ask any questions you like and comment. Thanks, Charles



“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16, 17)

I hope you are having a Happy Reformation Day. I am. Perhaps your reply to that is “Reformation
Day? I thought it was Halloween.” You are correct, but only because some things are not out in the
open, as they should be. You see, on October 31, 1517, a Catholic priest named Martin Luther
nailed 95 theses to the door of his church at Wittenberg, Germany. These writings were items of
concern to him regarding the corrupt direction of the Roman Catholic Church at that time. Some of
his main points had to do with a fantasy called indulgences. It was a scheme promoted in Europe in
order to get money from the faithful. It was a pretense, for the scheme was based on giving money,
or goods to buy someone out of guilt for their sins. The price was set by the priest visiting the town
on behalf of the church to raise this money. There were a number of priests involved in this scheme,
which was widespread.

In Martin Luther’s area of Germany there came a Dominican friar, Tetzel, who was the architect of
the plot and was there to bleed the people dry. Tetzel stated that “As soon as the coin in the coffer
rings the soul from purgatory into heaven springs.” Luther opposed him, and had confrontations with
him. It later resulted in the writing of the 95 theses, which were nailed to the door. This was not a
rare thing. Often the door of the church was an outlet for news and announcements. This batch of
information was different, however. First, it was written in Latin. Most of the people could not read
Latin. Second, it was strictly church matters, and would not likely interest many outsiders. But
because Luther preached on these things, it was spread.

Somewhat earlier the Lord had been dealing with Martin Luther concerning the life of faith. When he
was reading Romans, and came across Romans 1:17, it spoke to him in an urgent and special way.
He was especially attracted by the last part of the verse “As it is written, the just shall live by
faith.” It was obvious that God was already dealing with Luther to instruct Him in the truth. He
struggled with the truth of this verse. He sought advice from other priests. No one had a satisfactory
answer. They all went with the Romanist traditions of interpretation. Luther was not satisfied with
this. His struggles with the gospel were already causing interest from the pope. He had sent letters
of censure to Luther already, so when he nailed these 95 theses to the door, it caused uproar in
Rome. It was the culmination of an ongoing struggle between Martin Luther, and the Catholic
Church over reform, especially so in practice of donations for indulgences. However, there were
other deeper issues that revolved around both theological concerns. On a theological level, Luther
had challenged the absolute authority of the Pope over the Church by maintaining that the doctrine
of indulgences, as authorized and taught by the Pope, was wrong. Luther maintained that salvation
was by faith alone (sola fide) without reference to good works, alms, penance, or the Church's
sacraments. He had also challenged the authority of the Church by maintaining that all doctrines
and dogmata of the Church not found in Scripture should be discarded (sola scriptura).

The turmoil increased over several years, and finally in 1521, Pope Leo X issued the Papal bull
Exsurge Domine ("Arise, O Lord"), outlining 41 purported errors found in Martin Luther's 95 theses,
and other writings related to or written by him. On April 17, 1521 Luther had to appear to answer
charges at Worms, a city some 300 miles away from Wittenberg. It was at that time a journey of 15
days. Luther was guaranteed safety for his travel there and back. When Martin Luther appeared
before the assembly, Johann Eck, an assistant of the Archbishop of Trier, acted as a spokesman for
the emperor, Charles V. Luther was set to explain the meaning of the 95 theses, but Eck demanded
that he either affirm or renounce the writings. Luther was very adamant, though polite, and asked for
24 hours to consider it, which was granted to him.

The next day when appearing before Eck, and the others at that hearing, Luther uttered these
famous words: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures, or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted, and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot, and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against
conscience."
May God help me. Amen.”


It is interesting that Luther is sometimes also quoted as saying: "Here I stand. I can do no other".
Recent scholars consider the evidence for these words to be unreliable, since they were inserted
before "May God help me" only in later versions of the speech and not recorded in witness accounts
of the proceedings.

The result of the Diet of Worms was that Luther was excommunicated and considered an outlaw.
The emperor Charles V stated in the final draft of the Diet of Worms “We want him to apprehended
and punished as a notorious heretic.” It also made it a crime for anyone in Germany to give Luther
food or shelter. It permitted anyone to kill Luther without legal consequence. He had the guarantee
of safe travel, but Luther did not trust in that. Others had been promised safety and were caught and
killed.

In God’s providence someone was looking out for Martin Luther. Frederick III, the Elector of Saxony,
had him intercepted on his way home by masked horsemen, and escorted to the security of
Wartburg Castle at Eisenach. During his stay at Wartburg, which he called “my Patmos”; Luther
translated the New Testament from Greek into German, and poured out doctrinal and polemical
writings. Luther was protected by God for the purpose God had ordained for him. He wasn’t a perfect
man, but he was a vessel of honor, used by the Lord in a mighty way to set forth the Reformation. It
was January 18, 1518 when the 95 theses were translated out of Latin into German. It was printed
and widely copied, making the controversy the first in history to be aided by the printing press.

So we must remember Reformation Day. Why do you think the devil has been so enthusiastic about
Halloween? Surely you must know. The date is so obvious. Satan does not want mankind
awakened out of sleep and following Jesus Christ. At all costs he has wanted that door to remain
closed. Luther didn’t have all the light, but he had a lot. Those who came after him were given more.
We need to work while we still have some light, for night is coming when no man can work. We
must preach Christ to the nations. Pray with us about this ministry. It is getting out all over the world.
Pray that God will anoint it, and use it to reach sinners. I am amazed at where letters and emails
come from. We have only scratched the surface. We can do so much more. You can help us to
spread the uncompromised word of God. Will you? Our Sermon Audio work is accomplishing much.
I want it to do much more. Do you? God bless you!! Please keep praying for us.

Published by Charles Woodruff- email: oursong2000@yahoo.com
(Originally published Nov. 1, 2011- Revised  Oct. 31, 2013 and October 30,2016)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

EXAMINING OUR SPEECH---W.F. BELL

SCRIPTURE MEDITATIONS
Examining Our Speech by W. F. Bell

PLEASANT WORDS, EXCELLENT SPEECH

"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24). "Excellent speech becomes not a fool; much less do lying lips a prince" (Proverbs 17:7).

Are our words really all that important? According to our texts, and passages like Matthew 12:33-37, they most certainly are! Our speech problem is actually a heart problem, for without grace in the heart there cannot be good speech. But few seem to care about what they say or how they say it. We have politicians and religious people who use the most horrific language, far from being either "pleasant" or "excellent." May we be stirred now to examine our hearts and our speech, then repent by God's mercy.
  
Public language has changed tremendously since I was young. Things are now said publicly (even by women) that were never heard at all fifty years ago. Television shows, commercials, and movies are "off the charts" when it comes to morality and good sense, aren't they? And what of the coarse language perpetrated by music, novels, magazines, and the Internet? These outward manifestations absolutely prove the depraved hearts of men and women, revealing a debased and debauched society. "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity" (James 3:6).

May we all as Christians become more concerned with our everyday speech, both privately and publicly. We must not expect any child of Adam to speak pleasantly or righteously, for we read: "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness" (Romans 3:14). God's X-ray of sinners reveals that the unconverted cannot speak righteous things because by nature we are all "under sin" from head to toe, "not one" being found truly "righteous" (Romans 3:9-20). But regenerate people, those who know and love Christ, should always be careful to speak the truth, and speak the truth in such a way that is commendable and edifying: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth" (Ephesians 4:29). "Pleasant words" are indeed "as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." Yes, pleasant words are sweet words and healthy words! But "foolish" people do not speak "excellent" words, just as it is unbecoming "a prince" to have "lying lips."

"Be among the spices and you will smell of them," said Thomas Watson. Also, for sure, one cannot listen to suggestive, raunchy, unpleasant words without smelling of moral looseness and licentiousness, for such words are the words of foolish hearts. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34), and no wonder it was rightly said of Him: "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46). Beloved, may we never betray the sinless Lord of glory by our low, contemptible speech, but truly honor Him who died at Calvary by "adorning the doctrine of God our Savior in all things," including "sound speech, that cannot be condemned" (Titus 2:7-10). "The grace of God" that has brought us "salvation" has not appeared to us to make us act and talk like everyone else, but just the opposite! Therefore, the apostle Paul tells us, "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority" (Titus 2:11-15). Note, we are to "speak," "exhort," "rebuke."

QUOTE FOR THE DAY
"The pleasant words here commended must be those which the heart of the wise teaches, and adds learning to (verse 23), words of seasonable advice, instruction, and comfort, words taken from God's Word." Matthew Henry on Proverbs 16:24
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Thursday, December 03, 2015

Dear friends, I know I haven't posted anything in over eight months. Many of you know that I had a stroke almost three years ago, and I have struggled since then. I have been able to maintain our Sermon Audio work continually, plus an occasional writing at twitter, and a few emails. But now if God will help me I want to reopen my blogs and do a periodic entry. I am 73 years old now and do not know how much longer God is giving me to live, so I at least want to try to contribute the rest of my days. Today I contribute something I found at Facebook which I hope is a blessing. Please pray for me.
Thanks, Charles


Monday, March 23, 2015

STRANGE FIRE

          
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD” (Leviticus 10:1,2).

Aaron was God’s first appointed high priest. He had four sons, who were also priests. All five of them, as well as other Levites who were appointed certain duties in the tabernacle, had just received detailed instruction from the Lord through Moses on exactly what was required in the sacrificial offerings. Two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, chose to do things their own way. Either they were not paying attention, or wanted to cut some corners. Either way, they blew it -- big time! So God slew them right on the spot.

As part of their training they had been told “And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Leviticus 6:12,13).  This was the fire that the Lord  Himself started. They understood that no new or unauthorized fire was to be started by man for any sacrifice at the altar. That is why it is called strange fire.

It also seems from the text that they wanted glory for themselves, for they were taking up Aaron’s duty. He was in charge of the sacrifices, and only when he designated them could Nadab and Abihu participate. They both put fire in their own censers, and came presumptuously to offer before Jehovah. Evidently they wanted to “be somebody”. This is under the Old Testament economy of law, yet similarly we see this today in the churches. There are those with a Diotrephes spirit (see 3 John 1:9), who want to be somebody at all costs, whether it is God’s way or not. This is not the religion of Jesus -- it is the religion of Jesse. Jesse Jackson used to pump people up by getting them to say  “I am somebody.” Actually, we are all nobodies, and only God can make somebody out of us.

As for me, I do not want to proclaim, declare, or exalt myself, but only Christ. Sadly, there are many in the ministry who are in effect saying “Look at me, look what I have done”. This is like the spirit of Nadab and Abihu. We need to say “Look at Christ, look what He has done. Scripture says it this way “Look unto me, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth; for I am God and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22). This is the verse that God used to grip the heart of 15 year old Charles Haddon Spurgeon and save him. He became one of the spiritual giants of the New Testament church. He being dead yet speaks today! Actually I do not want to listen to, read after, or otherwise attend any preacher that exalts himself. Give me Christ! Exalt Him! Don’t exalt your creed, your denomination or statement of faith, good as they may be. Exalt the Savior!

Beloved, God will not truly bless anything He did not originate. I realize there are great differences in the OT and NT. The old was types and shadows largely, but was foundational. Included in it were the civil laws of the nation of Israel. Violations such as picking up sticks on the Sabbath, or cursing one’s father or mother, brought swift and sure judgment. “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:17).

They didn’t have to wait for the Great White Throne; it was on the spot! The OT is the NT typified, the New is the Old  realized. Yet God always establishes an exact pattern. (see Hebrews 9:23). Even the “fire” of Calvary was lit by God. Evil men put Christ to death, but it was in the divine purpose of Jehovah “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him” (Isaiah 53:10). “But He was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). It was “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).

Men today don’t want the fire, the blood, the “slaughterhouse religion”, as they call it. They want a nice, tidy, easy believism gospel.  A gospel of man’s making, i.e., strange fire. In most churches the old paths are gone. Long ago they took the blood out of most of the hymnbooks. But you better leave it in there, for “Without the shedding of blood is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). The only sacrifice God will accept is the one He ordained. It was “not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4), yet Christ’s once for all offering did this for all believers. "He is the way, the truth and the life" (see John 14:6).
Just as great fear came upon the NT church when Ananias and Sapphira were slain by the Holy Ghost, so fear came on Aaron’s other two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar. After their brothers died, at first they feared to even eat the sin offering, which was their right and duty.(see Leviticus 10:16-20). In a later OT example Uzziah the king didn’t want to go God’s way either, but usurped the office of the priesthood in much the same way as Nadab and Abihu, and Uzziah was made a leper until his death. (see 2 Chronicles 26:16-21). “Thus those who hate to be refined by the fire of divine grace, will undoubtedly be ruined by the fire of divine wrath” (Matthew Henry).
There is a warning given those who presume to take communion unworthily. (see 1 Corinthians 11:27). Yet, none of us are  worthy, except in Christ. “A humble communicant who comes ‘not in his own righteousness, but in the Lord’s mercy’ needn’t be discouraged; for He (God), knows how to distinguish between presumptuous rashness or contemptuous disobedience” (Thomas Scott). Do remember, brethren, there is such a thing as a healthy fear of God, for “Our God is a consuming fire”


Published by Charles Woodruff- email: oursong2000@yahoo.com








Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ICHABOD

Dear friends,

Likely you have noticed that I have published nothing so far in 2015. Hopefully tonight that has changed. I am sending a slightly revised version of my message on Ichabod. I should tell you that the major reason I haven't published is problems I had with my printer and computer. It seems okay now so hopefully I can publish again, at least every two weeks. Please pray for me. Our Sermon Audio ministry is continually growing, for which I thank God. We have a good number of listeners around the world. Pray that Sermon Audio and the Word of Truth ministry will grow. So many in this world need Christ. I also still have the blogs, though have not done so much with them in some time. Pray about that also please. I try to remember to pray for all of you regularly.

May God bless you.  Charles

ICHABOD
“And she named the child Ichabod, saying, the glory is departed from Israel: because the ark
of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. And she said, The glory
is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken"
(1 Samuel 4:21, 22).
Most people of my generation have heard the name Ichabod from Washington Irving’s famous
short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The story was set in upstate New York in the 1790’s.
In the story a schoolmaster named Ichabod Crane was pursued by a phantom called the Headless
Horseman. Washington Irving was one of the first American writers to gain acclaim in Europe.
He also wrote the short story Rip Van Winkle. These were two of my favorite childhood stories.
Ichabod is a Bible name found in our text above. According to Strong’s Concordance it is
Hebrew for “there is no glory”. In reading the entire account, we see the corruption of the
Aaronic priesthood, especially of the high priest Eli’s evil sons, Phinehas and Hophni. Also we
read about the death of Eli. Eli himself was a faithful priest, except in his weakness of ruling his
corrupt sons. Eli was the high priest, so he not only had authority as their father, but as their
priest. Yet Eli failed to reign them in. He attempted to correct them when they were committing
evil acts, which included having sex with women that came to the tabernacle (See 1 Samuel
2:22). Eli’s corrections were only ignored words, since he did not use his authority to remove his
sons from the priesthood as he should have done.
 
God sent a prophet to rebuke Eli and warn him of coming judgment (1 Samuel 2:27-36). This
man of God told Eli that there would be a sign to him -- that both of his sons, Phinehas and
Hophni, would die on the same day. This is exactly what happened! The Philistines overran the
Israelites, and the ark was taken by the Philistines, and truly the glory of the Lord was departed
from Israel, which meant that God’s presence was removed from them for a time of judgment.
As all this was happening, Phinehas’ wife was giving birth to the son who was to be named
Ichabod, and she died giving birth to him. This was an ominous warning to Israel of much worse
things to come. Earlier Jehovah had spoken to the very young prophet, Samuel that this judgment
was coming “And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both
the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all
things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For
I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because
his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto
the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering
for ever” (1 Samuel 3:11-14).

 
This Old Testament example has application to us in the New Testament church. Throughout the
NT, especially in the epistles, we are warned of forsaking the “Faith once delivered unto the
saints” (Jude 3). T
he little book of Jude warns of apostasy (falling away from the faith), and its
consequences. Just as departing from the true way brought judgment on Eli, his sons and the
nation of Israel, it brings judgment on the NT church as well. In our day there are many
“ministers” of a false gospel leading people away from the true faith. They are not following the
admonitions of the Lord given by Christ and the apostles to “walk in the Spirit”. Revivalists used to speak of Ichabod being written “over the doorposts” of many churches. In our day here in
North America, Ichabod would have to be written on the doorposts of most churches, for the
glory has departed along with the true gospel. God is not going to bless deviation from His
explicit instructions and commands, rather He curses it! God says through Paul‘s inspired words
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto
another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert
the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto
you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him
be accursed”(Galatians 1:6-9). 
 
It is not modern methods of preaching such as the internet,television, satellite radio, mail outs, etc. that God opposes. What God opposes is changing the gospel message! Perhaps never before in American history have we had so many who claim to be preaching the gospel, but are not really preaching the true, uncompromised, message.
 
The pressure to accept any religion as true as long as it has faithful followers is evident as never
before. It is not ecumenism that is the major thrust now, but acceptance and working in harmony
with all religions. But Christians cannot be in harmony with idolatry! The Bible, God’s inspired
word, tells us clearly that there is only one savior and one true religion! This makes some
people angry, but it is the truth! Jesus did not say He was one of several ways, but He said “I
am the way, the truth and the life: No man cometh unto the father but by me” (John 14:6).

 
With this in view, why does Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren, who is perhaps the most
influential pastor in the world, advocate that all the various religions of the world (whom he calls
“people of faith”), work together with governments of the world to support health care, and other
needs? Warren said this at Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative meeting in New York on September
26, 2008. These “people of faith” Rick Warren speaks of are Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus,
Shinto’s, etc. He regards all religious people as people of faith. But faith in what? Warren
deviates dangerously from God’s word. I am not making this up! 
 
I have no doubt that those pastors and churches who follow Rick Warren’s philosophy have
become Ichabod, for truly the glory of the true God, our Jehovah-Jesus, has departed from them.
We are so weak in our human nature that we are often distracted. Were it not for God’s grace we
would be destroyed. The mercy of God is so overwhelming that we must praise Him often. The
simplest thing I can tell you is to keep looking to Jesus. He does love us more than we could
know. When you get knocked down, get back up, dust yourself off and start all over again. God
is faithful. Don’t you see it is his will, not ours, that keeps us and picks us up when we fall?
Please keep looking unto Jesus. Next time I may resubmit the excellent article titled Looking
Unto Jesus
by Theodore Monod. It speaks such a great power when read with an open heart

Published by Charles Woodruff- email: oursong2000@yahoo.com
Snail mail: 90 Raymond Ray Street, Newnan, GA 30265-1611

Sunday, December 07, 2014

REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR---CHARLES WOODRUFF


Today the industrious Japanese people are known for making electronics and automobiles, and being a close ally of the USA. Only 72 years ago this week very few in the USA had ever heard of Sony, or Toyota, but on December 7, 1941, we sure learned they could make airplanes and bombs! President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to it as “A day that will live in infamy”, and it has. Long before 9/11/01 became a focus of national unity (for a short time); Pearl Harbor became a focus of national unity for four years of America’s involvement in World War II. Many of our fathers and grandfathers fought in that war, many at the cost of their lives. There are few survivors still alive now. (See link- find good pictures on this site) http://worldwar2database.com/html/pearl.htm    
I was not born yet, but I am a “war baby”, born November 1942. I remember the war, and Pearl Harbor, more from history than living it. But, remarkably, I remember seeing back then on our recently bought Admiral television, with the small round screen, and in black and white; the signing, aboard the battleship USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, of the peace treaty between the USA.and Japan. I do remember it, although in September 1945, I was just under three years old! So it is possible what I saw was a replay a few years later, but I remember my father pointing out what was happening on the television at that moment. So it made an impression on me at a very young age. (See link) http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/japansur/js-8.htm    
I was glad that this year all the major networks seemed to honor the few still living, and those heroes who died there in Hawaii on that Sunday morning; those sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and coast guardsmen who scrambled to bring some order out of the chaos that was at Pearl Harbor that day. The nation came together, and it was good that God in His Providence brought us through, or you and I ( if alive at all), might not only be driving Nissans and Toyotas, watching Panasonic and Sony TVs, listening to Onyko and Yamaha stereo systems; using Nikon and Olympus cameras-----but we would likely be speaking Japanese, or German!
While we commend the courage of “The Greatest Generation”, and all our military today, as well, who put their lives on the line for this country, our military might will not save us. We cannot trust in our might and armaments “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help ; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are  very strong; but they look not
unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!” (Isaiah 31:1) Apply this verse spiritually, and see the urgency of it!  Their armaments were horses and spears; today it is tanks and planes. It will take the sovereign mercy of God to turn around a nation that has come so far down the slippery slope since the days of World War II. We have enemies that have sworn to destroy us, and America’s leaders do not know how to handle them. They are bad, but if God becomes your enemy, you know it’s all over! When I see that God is a God of justice, I tremble for my grandchildren, and yours, should the Lord tarry. I for one, pray-- “God, please, in Your Sovereignty, send a revival or--- better yet, come soon, Lord Jesus!” (See Habakkuk 3:2 and Revelation 22:20).
Of course, war is not a new problem for the Christian to consider. Look at the                London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, Chapter 24
                  Of the Civil Magistrate
1   God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained
civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory
and the public good; and to this end hath armed them with the power
of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good,
and for the punishment of evil doers.   (Rom. 13:1-4)
2 It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a
magistrate when called there unto; in the management whereof, as
they ought especially to maintain justice and peace, according to the
wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end
they may lawfully now, under the New Testament wage war upon just
and necessary occasions.   (2 Sam. 23:3; Ps. 82:3,4; Luke 3:14) 
(1)
Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office during his fourth term as president. Succeeding him was Vice-president Harry S. Truman (A Baptist from Missouri). I’ll leave it to your own study to decide if you think President Truman was a good Baptist. He was called “give ’um hell Harry”, and didn’t mind cussing once in a while. One thing for sure, he had inherited his job from a good war time president. There are a lot of things I do not like about my Grandfather Smith’s favorite president, Mr. Roosevelt, but he knew how to hold the country together in a very necessary war.
President Truman wanted to carry on the legacy. After the Germans surrendered, he had to make an awful decision for a professed Christian. The fanatical Japs were not going to surrender, and perhaps would carry the war on for many more years. Normandy had cost may lives, but was the beginning of the end for the Nazis. To do the same thing in Japan, invade them, would cost many more allied lives, as well as Japanese. The atomic bomb had been secretly developed in New Mexico. So with much apprehension and after warning the Japanese to surrender, ‘or else’, Truman ordered two of them dropped; one on Hiroshima and one on Nagasaki in August, 1945. These cities were devastated, many Japanese lives were lost, many maimed for life. Yet the war ended swiftly after that. The Imperial government of Japan surrendered quickly, to be formally signed as stated earlier, on the USS Missouri in September, 1945.
Did Truman do right? He thought he did. In spite of many naysayers, In spite of the awfulness of what was done, history has proven that Harry S. Truman evidently did the right thing. A horrible thing to end a horrible war that began for the USA on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. (See link-Look carefully however, some of the photos are a bit heart wrenching).
Will it ever come to that in the Middle East? Would any American president in this day of weak kneed political correctness ever do such a thing to save thousands, even millions, of American lives? It is a terrible decision, but this is the challenge our current president or one to come later, may well have to face if things proceed on their present course. May God help us, for only He can. It’s always been that way, but perhaps we see it clearer now. Oh, let us trust him!
Why do we have wars? Why do people and nations want to kill each other?
Here are some words to help us to grasp it better from the late minister, Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who pastored in London during WWII.
So our first reply to the question “Why does God allow war?” is to ask another question— “Has God ever promised to prevent or to prohibit war?”
(2) Our second answer may also be put in the form of a question: “Why do we expect God to prohibit war?” or “Why should God prevent war?” Apart from the theoretical reason that God should prevent war because it is sinful, with which we shall deal in the next section, there can be no doubt that the real reason why people expect God to prevent war, is that they desire a state of peace, and feel that they have the right to live in a state of peace. But that immediately raises another question, which, in a sense, is the funda­mental question with respect to this whole matter. "What right have we to peace?"
"Why do we desire peace?” How often, I wonder, have we faced this question? Has not the tendency been to take it for granted that we have a right to a state and condition of peace? (2)
And again Dr. Lloyd-Jones says
The question that needs to be asked is not "Why does God allow war?” but rather, "Why does God not allow the world to destroy itself entirely in its iniquity and its sin? Why does He in His restraining grace set a limit to evil and to sin, and a bound beyond which they cannot pass?"  Oh, the amazing patience of God with this sinful world! How wondrous is His love! (3)
And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8).
                                                         notes
(1)London Baptist Confession of 1689, Chapel Library edition, Pensacola, FL, no date. Free copies: 2603 W. Wright St, Pensacola, FL 32505, or see
http://www.chapellibrary.org/    phone: (850) 438-6666
(2) Why Does God Allow War? D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; Originally published 1939, Hodder and Stoughton; 1986 edition, Evangelical Press of Wales, page 91
(3) ibid; page 101
                                  A CHRISTIAN NATION
How shall we think of our own nation? Our nation has never been a pure Christian nation, any more than Israel was ever entirely godly. But our nation certainly had strong Christian roots, and God, truth, the Bible, and morality were revered even if not consistently obeyed or practiced in those early days. The Puritans, who were an unusually strong force in our nation’s founding, looked upon America as a new Israel and regarded their venture as an “errand into the wilderness,” much like the Jews’ desert journey toward the Promised Land. Isn’t it right to say that America was blessed in its early history because in a large measure its God was the Lord? I think that is obvious. Large numbers of our people sought God fervently, and God heard them and blessed them with peace and prosperity.

But now? Now we have a remnant of believing people and have no doubt been spared many great tragedies because of them. But our country is not Christian anymore. It is militantly secular. God is not sought out, nor is his word honored. I fear to think what is coming for the United States of America, whose god no longer is the Lord. America’s real god is money. And yet, the blessings of God surround his people, even in a godless or fiercely secular environment, and it is right to remember them.

James Montgomery Boice
Compiled by Charles Woodruff- Email:oursong2000@yahoo.com  

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Sunday, October 05, 2014

A CALL FOR REFORMATION--W.F. BELL



                    A Call for Reformation            
by W. F. Bell
There is a heart hunger in the true people of God in our day for a new and thorough reformation of the church. We firmly believe that many Christians and preachers of various denominations and churches are earnestly beseeching Almighty God to send a vital, spiritual awakening within the present generation. We thank our Lord that we have personal acquaintance with several preachers and brethren who are sincerely and regularly meeting for prayer to pray for this very Reformation!
There are many reasons why we need this new Reformation and Revival. The following are listed as a few of the major ones, which we ask you to consider carefully:

1. The widespread coldness and indifference in most churches. No one with any spiritual comprehension about them at all is going to deny this. The average church service in our day (anywhere in the world) is as dry, formal, and unspiritual as a May Day parade in Communist Russia. The churches we have attended through the years have largely convinced us that the chief elements in the lives of religious people are "pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness" (Ezekiel 16:49). How stuck-up is the average church-goer: no friendliness and no vital holiness, but plenty of worldliness; no real attentiveness to the preaching of the Word (if indeed the Word is even preached). What pretense and sham is in the average church. We can't wait until the last "Amen" to get to our dinners, view a ballgame, or do some other frivolous and idle thing. For those who think this too strong, this just proves what we are saying! We need and must have a change - a Reformation.
2. The unscriptural and God-dishonoring preaching of most preachers. It seems as if the modem preacher does not even know what he believes, listening to his sermons. Someone has said, "If you hear a man preach several times, and still do not know what he believes, either you did not listen carefully or the minister doesn't know himself what he believes." Is not this the sad case in multitudes of churches across our world? The churches are fed constantly on a diet of man, man, and more man. But, what of God? Who declares that God Almighty is Who He says He is: "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy" (Isa. 57:15)? Where are the declarations thundering forth from modern pulpits that God is absolutely Sovereign: "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" (Dan. 4:35). This is indeed a strange and unknown God to most modern religious people.
3. The denial of Christ's Lordship. Well did that great prophet of the Lord put it more than twenty years ago: "We modern evangelicals need to learn the truths of the sovereignty of God and the Lordship of Christ. God will not play along with Adam; Christ will not be used by any of Adam's selfish brood. We had better learn these things fast if this generation of young Christians is to be spared the supreme tragedy of following a Christ who is merely a Christ of convenience and not the true Lord of glory after all" (A.W. Tozer). Have not the prophet's words come true? With great sorrow we say that the "Christ" of modern religion is not the Sovereign Christ of Scripture! The Lord Jesus Christ is not a beggar, but a King. Christ is not trying to save men, but actually saving "His people" (Matt. 1:21). To preach a defeated Saviour is to preach no Saviour at all. The Bible declares Christ to be King, Lord, and Prince (Luke 23:2; Acts 2:36; Acts 5:3 1). James A. Stewart hits the nail on the head, "So great has been the perversion (of the Gospel) that many congregations are astounded when they hear the true Gospel of the Lordship of Christ. They believe that we are preaching a new Gospel."
4. The appalling disrespect for God's name, His church, His word, and His people. This is heartbreaking, to say the least. Where once many were restrained in their language of filth and cursing, now the world curses God publicly. National television spews forth blasphemy daily. Radio stations across the world belch out hard rock around the clock, with its cynicism and mockery of God. We even hear many preachers (yes, the devil's ministers) telling off-color jokes and "tickling the ears" of people with the world's smut (which makes these preachers ever so popular with the worldlings). Pornographic literature is rolling off the presses in incredible numbers. Oh, it is time to sound an alarm! "Set the trumpet to thy mouth" (Hosea 8:1). "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand" (Joel 2:1).

Let us cry to God! Let us weep! Let us confess and truly repent of our transgressions and sins! If we have no burden to do so, this is all the more cause to weep. May God grant that we can pray in our day as the early church did: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word, By stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus." And if God does indeed deign to send us a Reformation, this will undoubtedly be one of the results: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:29-3 1).
"It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they (the wicked) have made void thy law" (Psa. 119:126)."

Also Read these words by a couple of others.     
“Through prayer and meditation on the Word, become willing to let God have all the glory if any good is accomplished by your service. If you desire honor for yourself, the Lord must put you aside as a vessel unfit for the Master’s use. One of the greatest qualifications for usefulness in the service of the Lord is a heart that truly desires to honor Him.” George Muller

"Who would not prefer to have his affairs in the hands of a God of infinite power, wisdom, holiness and love, rather than to have them left to fate, or chance, or irrevocable natural law, or to short-sighted and perverted self? Those who reject God's sovereignty should consider what alternatives they have left” Loraine Boettner

"Let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child to my heart, embrace him with undying faith, exulting that he is mine and I am his. In him thou hast given me so much that heaven can give no more." -from The Valley Of Vision, “The Gift of Gifts" (page 16)

VARIOUS THOUGHTS by mostly CW



                              THOUGHTS ON TRUTH
Does truth remain the same, or does truth change? “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). This has not changed since Christ said it almost 2000 years ago. He has not changed in His essence from eternity. His word hasn’t changed - His way of salvation hasn’t changed!
“I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). Many talk today of an “emergent church” as if to say we need some new methods, some new plan - the grand old gospel isn’t good enough. Paul said “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).   PREACH THE WORD!!  PRAY FOR GOD TO BLESS IT!!  NOTHING ELSE WILL DO!!! (CW)

                                           CALVARY WAS A VICTORY
This world sees Christ as a fool, the Bible as a lie and God as a myth. None of this surprises us. Most in Hollywood see Christ as either unimportant or as a fool. The politicians see Him as a fool, because practically all of them are “Christians” when it comes time to run for office, no matter what positions inconsistent with the Christian faith they may take, or how grossly sinful their lives have been. Yet, our generation was not the first to see Calvary as a defeat. Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Corinthians 2:8). Satan didn’t know (not being omniscient as God is), or he would have opposed the crucifixion. The prophecies were there telling of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, but I doubt that Satan understood them. Calvary was a defeat for Satan, and the resurrection sealed it forever!  (CW)

                                     ACCOUNTABILITY TO GOD
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
“It was the belief in the accountability of man to his maker that made America a great nation. Among those earlier leaders was Daniel Webster whose blazing eyes and fiery oratory often held the Senate spellbound. In those days the Congress was composed of strong, noble statesmen who carried the weight of the nation in their hearts and minds.”

“Someone asked: ‘Mr. Webster, what do you consider the most serious thought that has ever entered your mind?’ ‘The most solemn thought that has ever entered my mind is my accountability to my maker,’ he replied. Men like that cannot be corrupted and bought. They do not have to worry if someone listens to their telephone calls. What they were in character and in deportment resulted from their belief that they would finally be accountable to God.” 

"Lord, help me to live my life today in such a way that, should You call me tonight to stand before You and give account, I would have nothing of which I would need to be ashamed. Amen.” (from A.W. Tozer, Echoes from Eden, page 130).

Oh how we need men and women today with the godly character and courage of A.W. Tozer and Daniel Webster. Men like Spurgeon and Ryle and M’Cheyne. Women like Amy Carmichael, and Susanna Wesley and Fanny Crosby. Oh God, please send us revival!
“Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation” (Psalm 85:6, 7).
“O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). (CW)

                                           THE AUTHOR OF SALVATION
"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" Hebrews 2:10).
A Captain in today's U.S. military is a high ranking officer. In the U.S. Navy the rank of Captain is equivalent to U.S. Army Colonel, which is higher up the ladder than the Air Force, Army or Marines’ Captain. So when we see the King James phrase "captain of their salvation" we realize it is an officer of high rank in the military. But, actually the same Greek word is translated "author" in Hebrews 12:2. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Some versions say "leader", "originator", "founder", "author", etc... Jesus Christ is all that. He is the author, leader, originator of this life changing event, this thing, this joy, which we call salvation. Our following of this leader is not to simply be going forward in a congregation one time to make a confession of faith, but is a lifetime of endeavoring to follow Him who is the Good Shepherd. The sheep do follow Him. I remember well the hymn we sung so often in my Southern Baptist childhood "Where He Leads me I will Follow". (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/e/wherehlm.htm). To sum it up, a captain is a leader. There is much more we could say, but that is beyond the purpose of this short meditation. As His sheep, we should be prepared to do as the old hymn says, and follow Him today wherever He leads and "Go with Him, with Him, all the way". (CW)

                 ABSOLUTES: BIBLE TRUTHS VERSUS HUMAN LIES
The world says: “There are no absolutes, no moral black and white, but shades of grey”.
The Bible says: “For ever O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119: 89); also says: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

The world says: “That is your truth, mine is different”. The Bible says: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

The world says: “There are many roads to heaven”. Many have said it, including Martin Luther King Jr. in Strength to Love; Pocket Books; 1963. The Bible says: “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). (CW)

                                    PROBLEMS AND PRESSURES
Do you ever feel like God is sifting you? Are you puzzled by the purpose of pressures and problems in your life? None of us are without them. Some have more and some have less. If we are Christians we have to keep in mind Romans 8:28; "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" These blessed words are written only for Christians. It has been a comfort for believers since Paul wrote the inspired words nearly 2000 years ago. The unbeliever knows nothing of this, and could not claim this truth (if he would even be interested), without first being regenerated. It is a blessed tonic for the children of God, called a "Divine Cordial" by the Puritan, Thomas Watson, in his classic book on the subject. (It can be purchased cheaply at Amazon.com).

There are many things in our lives that do not seem to be working for our good, but God says through His apostle that they indeed do work for good. Often we cannot see the good when going through a trial. We may even ask God to remove the trial, and often He does not. We are called according to His purpose, and He has a purpose in our trials and tribulations. Jesus said "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"(John 16:33). (CW)