Sunday, July 27, 2008
There is much talk about "change" in this election year of 2008. Some are saying "we are getting a new start" because George Bush will retire as president, and we will either have Obama or McCain. I have been alive long enough to know that change does happen. I have seen much change in my own lifetime. Yet, as a Christian, I see that, sadly, much of the change has not been good. As far as new starts, I have seen a few of these too. This article is sort of a new start. I have not placed a new article here in over three weeks. So today I am starting over.
Actually, in our lives we start over every day. For many of us, today will be no different from tomorrow.That is also sad, because there is not much worse in life than "getting in a rut". This is especially true if you are in the "rut" of sin. One of the worst things about sin is that you are born in it, and you cannot change that. We are told in Romans 3:23 "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". Every human being is a sinner. You may not want to admit it, but you know it is true.One proof -- have you ever broken one of the ten commandments? Maybe you don't know what they are. They are found in Exodus chapter 20. One of them is "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7. Broken that one? or what about this one "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). Broken that one? Okay, there are eight more. You have broken at least one, likely more than once. What does the Bible say about this? "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law" (James 2:10,11).
So, based on this, wouldn't you agree that you are a sinner?
Perhaps you have even tried to change from being a sinner. You have tried to make that new start, but have been unable to do so. You are not alone. Millions are there with you. You can't change yourself from a sinner to a saint. You do not have this power. By now the average person has turned me off, maybe saying "he just wants to give us this Bible stuff, but I don't want to hear it, it is just "kid stuff". You may even say the Bible is not true. I will give you one example to prove its truthfulness. It is a truth that man would "change" immediately if it were possible to do so. Hebrews 9:27 says "And as it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment." You cannot deny the first part of this verse and be considered rational. Everyone knows that we all die -- it is just a question of when. Now, you know that the first part is true, so why not the second part "after this the judgment." People do not want to believe that, yet the one who told us why men have to die (because of sin), as Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." The same Bible that tells why we die tells us that God may give us eternal life. Many have testified over the centuries that indeed God has given them this eternal life.
You cannot buy this life. You cannot just pick it up on your own. You cannot just change, or make a new start and acquire this life by your own efforts. You cannot earn it, or make a deal to get it. Yet it is obtainable. I can't give it to you! No preacher, or priest, or pope, or rabbi, or guru can give it to you! There is only one that can give it to you. "The gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ". It is a gift to those whom He chooses, yes, those whom He has chosen "from the foundation of the world". (See Ephesians 1:4). You ask how you may know that you are one of these. If you are interested in this change, this salvation, it may be that God has put the desire in your heart. There is nothing I can find in the Bible about a sinner who wants to be saved whom God will not save. If He has moved in your inner being (your heart), to draw you, and made you willing to confess and forsake your sins, even those sins you love dearly, I can tell you "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9) . There is the answer for your new start in life, right from God's word. My friend, it still works in the 21st century. Christ died to pay the price nearly 2000 years ago,and even in our time when many scoff at God, He still saves to the uttermost those who come to Him. If He has convicted your heart, why not ask Him to save you -- yes YOU! He can and will do it!
If you still have questions, and are interested, read the entire book of Romans--slowly. It is only 16 chapters. I have read it many times, and it is the heart of gospel truth. It can change your mind and heart about God. If you still want to ask questions you may ask short ones here, or please email me with longer ones at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will assist you if I can. God bless you. (CW)
Sunday, July 06, 2008
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 a Communist country. 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 pretence 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" (Isaiah 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 4:29-31).
"It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they (the wicked) have made void thy law" (Psalm 119:126)."