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)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

THE MYSTERY OF DIVINE MYSTERIES





Occasionally I have enjoyed reading a mystery novel. I have read most of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and greatly enjoyed the late Jeremy Brett in the role when PBS aired most of them in a TV series a number of years ago.  I now have them all on tape so I can view them whenever I like. I also liked some of the Alfred Hitchcock movies, especially the ones with James Stewart. My wife still likes Diagnosis Murder and Murder She Wrote. There is something about a mystery.

The Bible has much to say regarding mysteries. The word “mystery” is strictly a New Testament word, and  is found 22 times in the KJV, and “mysteries” is found 5 times. It is from the Greek word mustērion of which Strong says “to shut the mouth; a secret or mystery.” Young’s Concordance says “What is known only to the initiated.” Vine’s Dictionary says “primarily that which is known to the initiated (Greek= mustēs ).” The word “secret” is used a number of times in the OT, with several Hebrew words and shades of meaning. Most notably for this study is “The secret (Heb. sathar), things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed (Heb.galah) belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Here secret means hidden, or concealed. But “revealed” here means exposed, denuded, disclosed or discovered. Many things were disclosed to God’s children in the OT to encourage them to follow the Lord and obey His law. But many things were not yet revealed in that OT dispensation. In the NT the mysteries are revealed, or will be, to the true Christians.

In the NT there are many different mysteries that are discussed. I have tried to categorize some of the most obvious verses as follows:
1. The kingdom mysteries mentioned by Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; and Luke 8:10; Matthew and Mark say kingdom of heaven, Luke says kingdom of God).
2. The parousia, or second coming mystery (I Corinthians 15:51).
3. The charisma or spiritual gifts mystery (I Corinthians 14:2).
4. The God’s will mystery (I Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:9).
5. The body of Christ mystery (Ephesians 3:1-9; 6:19).
6. The Christ and church mystery (Ephesians 5: 32).
7. The Christ is God mystery (Colossians 2:2; 4:3; I Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:25).
8. The Christian faith mystery (I Timothy 3:9).
9. The mystery of iniquity (II Thessalonians 2:7).
10. The apocalypse mysteries: the mystery of the seven stars (Revelation 1:20); the mystery of God (10:7); the mystery of Babylon (17:5); the mystery of the woman (17:7).

W.E. Vine tells us in his Expository Dictionary of NT Words the following information:
“The word "mystery" in the New Testament does not denote that which is mysterious (as with the English word), but it denotes that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit. In the


ordinary sense a mystery implies knowledge withheld; its scriptural significance is truth revealed”.
In other words these mysteries are mysteries to the uninitiated, i.e., those who have not had the
supernatural, divine revelation. In today’s modern churches, so often everything is by program, by rote, and by repetition. Nothing unusual ever happens. There is no expectation for God to do anything. The service could well go on without God.  Yet the Bible warns us that true salvation must come by supernatural revelation by the Holy Spirit. “Knowing brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you by word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance…” I Thessalonians 1:4, 5). This is the sinner’s “initiation” into the mysteries of God. It requires the new birth, which only God can give (see John 3:3).

The way of salvation, yes, all the ways of God are a mystery to those who are outside, to those who have not been supernaturally called. There are some mysteries that remain for the redeemed child of God because God reveals many things by progressive revelation, not all at once. For instance, we that have been saved for many years do not know all the mysteries of the Return of Christ. There is much in scripture (especially Daniel and Revelation), that remains locked. Remember Daniel was told “Shut up the words, and seal the book even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). John the Apostle was told “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1b), but it wasn’t all totally clear in the book he wrote. It still has many symbols, types and shadows of which we don’t have all the keys yet, though some say they have it “all figured out.” We are told “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy” (Revelation 1:3), so we do need to study this challenging book, as difficult as it can be.

In future issues of Word of Truth, I hope to look into some of the individual mysteries listed here, beginning with the mystery of the NT church which indeed was “hidden” until Christ shed His blood at Calvary. There was, of course, the Old Testament assembly, or congregation; even called the “church in the wilderness” by Stephen in Acts 7:38. But in that form it was a figure, a type which could not be completed without the sacrifice of Christ. He implied this when He said “Upon this rock (Greek= petra), I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The rock was not Peter (petros;a piece of stone), but the petra, i.e., the huge foundation stone; Christ Himself, which was the revelation of the mystery that Peter supernaturally received “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” If this revelation is not first received, I do not care how many professions you have made, how many times you have been baptized, how many times you have received communion, if you saw an angel, a ball of fire, or a premonition of death. It doesn’t matter how elect you think you are, how much you do or do not believe in predestination, or any other doctrine, if you have not had Christ revealed to you supernaturally -- you are lost!

Published by Charles Woodruff- email: oursong2004@charter.net


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

GOD'S ANATHEMA



                                  GOD’S ANATHEMA

“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).

Oh, what solemn words to speak! “Removed to another gospel and under the Divine curse.” It is the revelation again of the law of the curse, and the only hope of escape at Calvary. If he will not have Christ as the curse for him, then he comes under the curse for himself. In truth the curse is already upon him, and it is only awaiting the working out of its blighting results. Think of the man who preaches something other than the Gospel of the Cross of Calvary! It is blight in itself to blight other people’s lives with falsehood, which ends them in a hopeless eternity. It is a blight to have professing Christians in other lands turning aside from the atoning work of Jesus Christ, because men in England preach “another gospel” than the Gospel of Calvary. It is an awful thing for preachers and ministers to deepen the curse on men by failure to preach the one Divine Gospel of the Cross. “Let him be accursed!” Let the curse he will not see upon the Lamb of God come to its fruition in himself! Oh, how solemn! God’s Word has declared it, and shows us that these things are working today, whether we see them or not.
 -Adapted from J. Penn-Lewis, in James A. Stewart’s daily devotional guide Drops from the Honeycombs, reading for Feb. 7th.
                                                          
                             WASTED YEARS -CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Yes those wasted years over which we sigh shall be restored to us. God can give us such plentiful grace that we shall crowd into the remainder of our days as much of service as will be some recompense for those years of unregeneracy over which we mourn in humble penitence.
The locusts of backsliding, worldliness, lukewarmness, are now viewed by us as a terrible plague. Oh that they had never come near us! The Lord in mercy has now taken them away, and we are full of zeal to serve Him. Blessed be His name, we can raise such harvests of spiritual graces as shall make our former barrenness to disappear. Through rich grace we can turn to account our bitter experience, and use it to warn others. We can become the more rooted in humility, childlike dependence, and penitent spirituality, by reason of our former shortcomings. If we are the more watchful, zealous, and tender, we shall gain by our lamentable losses. The wasted years, by a miracle of love, can be restored. Does it seem too great a boon?
Let us believe for it, and live for it, and we may yet realize it, even as Peter became all the more useful a man after his presumption was cured by his discovered weakness. “Lord, aid us by thy grace” (Faith’s Checkbook)
                                  
                                  SOMETHING TO REMEMBER
Remember the German pastor and theologian Martin Niemoller. As a staunch anti-Communist concerned about the spread of Bolshevism, he initially supported Adolf Hitler. But when Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state over religion, Niemoller became the leader of a group of clergymen opposed to Hitler and his increasingly alarming policies. Hitler detested Niemoller and had him arrested and sent to a concentration camp. Along with hundreds of others, he was liberated from Dachau in 1945 by the Allies.
His sobering words regarding apathy need to be heard and heeded by Christians everywhere today:
“In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . .
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”
-Quoted by Hank Hanegraaff, Christian Research Institute (Thanks to Wylie Fulton)
                                
                                     MAN TOTALLY INCAPABLE
"Man is totally incapable, he is without any strength at all in the matter of his salvation... Man as he is born into this world is totally unable to please God. His righteousness is but as filthy rags. Man does not like to be told that, and he does not believe it."- Martyn Lloyd-Jones via Monergism Books
                                 
                                     TIDBITS ABOUT THE BIBLE
"The Christian is bred by the Word, and he must be fed by it." - William Gurnall
"The Scripture is the library of the Holy Ghost; it is a pandect of divine knowledge, an exact model and platform of religion. The Scripture contains in it the 'credenda' (the things which we are to believe) and the 'agenda' (the things which we are to practice)." - Thomas Watson

"Our object should not be to have scripture on our side but to be on the side of scripture; and however dear any sentiment may have become by being long entertained, so soon as it is seen to be contrary to the Bible, we must be prepared to abandon it without hesitation." William Symington.

“Since most things mankind learns is from books, why would men say that God's book is untrue? The burden of proof is on them, for they are saying some other writings by Bible denying atheists are more true than the Bible. They are actually saying in effect that other books are greater, more accurate, more infalliable than the Bible. The Bible claims to be the word of God; accurate; infalliable. Put it to the test!” -Charles Woodruff

 “If we compare the present state of the New Testament text with that of any other ancient writing, we must... declare it to be marvelously correct. Such has been the care with which the New Testament has been copied - a care which has doubtless grown out of true reverence for its holy words.... The New Testament is unrivaled among ancient writings in the purity of its test as actually transmitted and kept in use.” Benjamin Warfield

 "Compare Scripture with Scripture. False doctrines, like false witnesses, agree not among     themselves."- William Gurnall
    Published by Charles Woodruff- email: oursong2000@yahoo.com