Friday, March 25, 2011



These notes came from old Bibles of mine, as well as notebooks that I use to collect ideas. As before, because they were collected years ago, they have slight revisions.

That Practical Sovereignty- Knowledge is to realize it is raining; wisdom is to come in out of it.

The key to Romans 13: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1) Two major points in these verses: 
1. There is no power but of God: the powers ( all of them) are ordained of God. He is totally sovereign, and in absolute control. 
2. Every soul also means kings, queens,emperors, presidents, supreme court justices, magistrates, policemen , soldiers are all subject to God, as well as us. They all have a higher power over them that they must answer to. God is the highest power. This evens up the “playing field”. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). So when these lesser “higher powers” disobey God, as they often do, they shall receive the judgment of God. It is not just we lesser beings that must obey God, but all; even kings!

Jesus Christ was born in a manger; wrapped in swaddling clothes, which was the custom for newborns (Luke 2:7).These swaths of cloth were similar to the grave clothes of the time See John11:44, and notice in the account Lazarus came out of the grave at Christ’s command “bound hand and foot with graveclothes”, which Strong’s Greek says is “ a swathe; that is, winding sheet”.The burial clothes, and birth clothes were much the same, perhaps to remind us that He came to die. (1Corinthians 15:3-4).

One of the greatest sermons in the Bible was by a woman, and was only a sermon of 18 one syllable words. “Come see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29) Verse 39 says that many of the people in that city were converted by her testimony; then many more later converted by Christ Himself (verses 41, 42).

A positive gospel is this negative statement “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3b).

The world loves Jesus Christ. This statement is a lie! So why should Christians love the world, or the things of the world?

As sure as the world. How sure is it? It is sure to be judged. God has decreed this.

Until Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, he was unfit for God’s service.

Thursday, March 17, 2011



( I have placed this one before, but it is one of my favorites. I hope it is a help. Maybe, at least, it will help us to reflect on how we use our time. Use time wisely, dear friends. Comments welcome).
On certain days we are more time-conscious than on other days. For instance, in the spring of the year on a
certain date at 2:00 a.m. it suddenly becomes 3:00 a.m.! Then in the fall on the last Sunday morning in October the process is reversed. At 2:00 a.m. it becomes 1:00 a.m. and we get our time (one hour) that we have had in the "bank" for seven months, returned to us.
Another day, perhaps, we are very aware of time is on February 29th. This date only comes once every four years. The reason being that the earth actually requires 365 and 1/4 days to make one revolution around the sun. So in leap year we have an extra day.

International travelers to the Orient are often confused by crossing the International Date Line when suddenly a whole day is lost or gained, depending on direction.

All these things are man-made divisions in time made for the convenience of living in this present world. The Bible tells of two times in the past that God has stopped time. Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and "for about a whole day'' neither the sun or the moon moved, "freezing time," as it were (Joshua 10:12-14). Hezekiah was allowed to choose, as a sign that God would heal him, whether the sun's shadow would go forward or backward 10 degrees on the dial of Ahaz. Of course, he asked the "impossible" that the sun would come back 10 degrees. Isaiah prayed to the Lord and it was done (2 Kings 20:8-11). Recently I read an article that stated scientists had confirmed both these biblical events by space age computer. Whether they did or not, God's Word still stands!


In Revelation 10:5, 6 we read these words: "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven and sware by him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer."

There you have it. Time is temporary. That commodity that we value so highly—that which with every tick of your wristwatch is moving toward the event—“that time should be no more.” That precious thing that we of Adam's race are so prone to waste as if we had ‘‘all the time in the world.'' But we don't, because we are each warned that even if this event of the end of time is so far off as to be of little concern, now it is still “appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Time for repentance from sin will then be past. As far as this earthly life, it will be over and the judgment will be ahead. The shortness of life, the fragileness of it, is to show us the temporary nature of time.

"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14).

“Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).


In time we find there are many changes taking place. An example is the rising costs we all face in everything we purchase. Items that once cost very little (such as a loaf of bread) are now expensive. One of the factors involved in this change is time. Nothing stays the same. There are so many new inventions replacing the old. The automobile has been both a blessing and a curse. It has certainly reduced the time it takes to get from one place to another. The evangelist George Whitefield once set out on a preaching journey in America traveling mostly by horse from Philadelphia to Savannah. It took him 43 days (counting the time he had to go by ship from Charleston, S. C. to Savannah—a distance of only 100 miles, but there was no road!). Now the same 800 mile journey from Philadelphia to Savannah can be driven by automobile in less than 24 hours!

And what of the airplane? Atlanta to Los Angeles is only four and ½ hours, and half-way around the world takes less than 24 hours! Time has seen some changes! How many other things can you think of that have "changed with the times?"

Certainly sin hasn't changed although we are seeing it manifested in a greater way now. It is more open, more widespread, perhaps more ugly.

"In the last days perilous times shall come. Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud," etc. (2 Timothy 3:1-2).

There is One who has not changed, neither has His hatred of sin.This One is the Lord God! "I am the LORD I change not (Malachi 3:6) Although time is transitory, and things change in the course of time, there is an unchangeable God called "The Ancient of Days" who does not change. He does not dwell in time, but in eternity. "From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalm 90:2b). He is the Creator of time and the Lord of time.


You have probably heard the expression "Time will tell.'' This goes with an attitude of "wait and see." Often in our earthly circumstances this is what we in great patience must do, wait and see because time will tell. We look at things in this way that we have no control over. Everything from new marriages to serious operations are placed in that category. The plans of men and nations, of kings, presidents and paupers must all be put to this test. Only time will tell about someone's professed conversion. Too often we see those who "did run well" that later fall by the wayside. There are so many spurious conversions today. Many say they will follow Christ, but these have not counted the cost. Many profess with their mouth, but the heart is left untouched. Many, many have had some kind of church related experience, but few, relatively speaking, are really born from above! Many are called—few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

It is popular now for movie stars, sports figures, politicians, etc. to declare "I am born again." We can only say "Time will tell!"

How close are we to the second coming of Christ? We seem to be in those "perilous times" previously mentioned as being in the last days. John said in his epistle that we were in the last days and that was over 1900 years ago. Surely we are now in the last days of the last days! But wait—no date setting! Time will tell!


"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:14-16).In this passage we are clearly told to redeem the time. This means to buy up the time, to use it wisely for the Lord. "Ransoming the Opportunities" is a rendering given by some. Since God is timeless, He is not the One concerned with redeeming time. It is we mortals that are told this. But you cannot buy up time if you are sleeping it away.


"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Romans 13:11).

Here, saints are told it is high time to awake. This is addressed to those that "know the time"; not to lost, unregenerate men, but to the saints. Our current day crop of Christians would rather “kill time'' than redeem it! People are bored today if they don't have something exciting to do. That is why it is no problem to fill the football stadium, the dance halls, and the amusement parks, but you have great difficulty getting anyone to just about any church during the middle of the week (or even Sunday night in most cases). Even in weeks of so-called "revival meetings" it is hard to get folks to come unless you offer some give-away program or award. Brethren, these things ought not to be! The professing church is asleep as sure as the five virgins in Matthew 25 and it is going to take a loud call to awaken it!


The nations are seemingly unconcerned that (as Karl Marx said) “A spectre is haunting Europe [and now the world], the Spectre of Communism”. When in Moscow in 1978, 1 saw banners that proclaimed in Russian, "Our Goal is Communism." This goal was not just for Russia and east Europe, but for the entire world. Communism is still a danger, don’t be fooled. But in our new century there has arisen a danger that may be greater at this time. The danger of radical Islam that seeks not only to destroy Israel, but America and the western nations as well. No one is exempt from their goals. They say in their own words they will destroy the White House, and even the United States. How far will God let them go? I don’t know, but America is being judged for her collective sins, and unless there is a turning to God I fear for her. (See my article “What Is a True Revival?”. (Link to The Highway at this URL: ; then Calvinism and the Reformed Faith; then click on Evangelism).Our own nation seems to be asleep, unheeding to the danger. May God shake her as only He can. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6)


They that are "of the night" are said to be asleep and only the voice of God can awaken them. (See I Thessalonians 5:4-8). Just as Lazarus was said by the Lord Jesus to be asleep (John 11:11). Sinners are not only asleep; they are “dead”, and even “stinking” in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).Men are commanded to preach the gospel and trust God to awaken the sinner. We are not to use human manipulation and psychology to get “converts”, but believe that God's Word will not return void. His hand is not shortened. It would behoove each of us that are awake to cry unto the Sovereign of the universe to “give us children lest we die” (Gen. 30:1), but we are content to be barren! Often we are not doing our job of persevering in prayer and a strong gospel witness. God will save, but we must pray.


“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Eph. 5:15). The Christian life is often spoken of as a walk. We walk through this world and leave a testimony everywhere we go. We are told here to see that we walk circumspectly. The Greek word translated “circumspectly” here is rendered in most of the modern translations as “accurately”, “carefully,” etc. Here I think we have a good example of the God-given wisdom of our King James Version translators. The Greek word here can be rendered "exactly" and be true to the Greek, but it loses some of the force of "circumspectly." The Latin origin of the word is evident: "circum" (around); "specere" (to behold or look). So what you have is to walk—looking about on all sides. To be aware. This is consistent with other scripture. "Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Because "we are not ignorant of his (Satan's) devices" (2 Cor. 2:11), we have to be extremely careful on all sides for the enemy is working night and day. (Research mostly from Vine's and Strong's dictionaries)

Also these words from the Puritan, Paul Bayne (died 1617): "That we walk avoiding every extremity (both to the right and left); for this circumspection doth keep us, that we fall not into one vice while we fly another. Walking cautiously, that we be not deceived with false colors, for the devil doth sometimes dye vice in the color of virtue. Walking providentially; for he that walketh circumspectly must be double faced; he must not only see things present, but have eyes behind eyes to look before him, to procure and provide good things, to prevent evil, impediment to good—again, circumspection" (Commentary On Ephesians).

See how much rich thought is involved in the word "Circumspectly." It is a great mistake of modern Christians to be so quick to change the KJV. Sure, there are some archaic and obsolete words in the book, but most of the problem is that our 20th Century English has deteriorated and we are too lazy to study unfamiliar words. This is to our shame and detriment! From verse 15 here, and also from verse 17 we see that to redeem the time you must understand the will of the Lord. You must be aware. Awareness (spiritual understanding), comes from study of the Word of the Living God.


“And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

We looked at awareness, which comes not from reading the newspaper. That will only give you awareness of the world. We need awareness of God to understand His will. This also requires being Spirit-filled. As in 1 Cor. 2:14: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”

I have already stated that a sinner must be awake. The Holy Spirit awakens him and comes to dwell. Every believer is baptized by the Spirit into the body, the church. Every believer is not filled, but every believer is commanded to be! The same God that says it is sinful to be drunk says it is sinful not to be filled with the Spirit (this means to be controlled by the Spirit). You see, a drunk is controlled by wine or other liquor. Have you ever seen a truly drunk person alert? Of course not! On our highways one of the greatest dangers we face is getting in an accident because of some drunk. Drunks are the opposite of alert. You had better stay out of their way!

When we are Spirit-controlled the world may count us as more unusual than drunks, perhaps more dangerous, because if we are preoccupied with God we are a threat to the complacency of the world. But God says to be drunk is excess. It opens the door to all kinds of sin. By contrast, being filled with the Spirit opens the door to spiritual alertness and enables us to truly redeem the tune. The evidence of this Spirit-fullness, this alertness, is not said to be speaking in tongues! The evidence of the Spirit filled walk is found here in Eph. 5 as follows:

1. The inward evidence, verses 19, 20—a singing heart.

2. The churchward evidence, verse 21—patience and submissiveness.

3. The homeward evidence, verse 23—God's proper order as in the church, so in the home. Husbands who

are leaders and love their wives (w. 25, 28) and wives that reverence their husbands.

ARE YOU REDEEMING THE TIME? Originally published for Free Grace Broadcaster in 1982 and revised by the author for this issue of Word of Truth 11/25/2006. Re-edited 8/3/2009 and 3/11/2011

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

GRACE--By Charles Woodruff

If you have already read my article on Grace, bear with me. I revised it a little with a better format than before. I hope it helps someone. I last published it in 2007.
“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2: 8-10).

Dr. James A. Stewart referred to Ephesians as the Alps of the New Testament Surely the teaching found here in chapter two is very lofty. Every evangelical Bible teacher in the world teaches on this passage, and on the subject of grace. All of us say we believe in salvation by grace “plus nothing, minus nothing.” This is the core of fundamental and evangelical doctrine, but do we really grasp its full meaning?

We must examine the meaning of the Bible word grace. The Greek word for grace is charis. Most of us simply say grace is unmerited, undeserved favor. The definition is good, if incomplete. Strong’s Greek Dictionary gives this definition: “Figuratively, literally and spiritually, especially the divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life.” Grace bestowed from God is a free gift of divine favor in contrast to doing good works seeking to find favor with God. It is even in contrast from the works of the law, freely forgiving the sinner who has broken the law, solely on the merits of another who kept the law perfectly. Remember, law allows no failures, no mistakes: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2: 10).

I was privileged to preach a series on the book of Ephesians at the Lakewood Presbyterian Church in Atlanta about 25 years ago. It is over 50 messages, and is on our Sermon Audio site. (You can find them, beginning with Ephesians One, Alps of the New Testament by clicking the link at bottom). Most of my ministry has been as a missionary worker, and evangelist, with some supply pastor work. As such, most of my preaching has not been in series on certain full books of the Bible, or continuing themes. So it was a real thrill for me to do a somewhat detailed exposition at that time. In the course of two years I was able to cover Ephesians, as well as study of the Seven Churches of Revelation. I enjoyed it immensely. In that time I was not able to exhaustively study Ephesians, but we covered much ground even though they only had me at that church an average of two or three times a month. (I am trying to cover Philippians now).

There are basically three types of preaching. The first is textual preaching. This is where you take a text from the Bible, and either explore (expound) the text, or build a theme around it. The second is subject preaching. You take a Bible subject and preach a message on it from all over the Bible, and other resources. The third is expository preaching which takes a book of the Bible, or a chapter, or good sized portion, and attempts to mine the material as deeply as is practical in the allotted time. This is the best kind for a pastor to use because the people can learn much about the Bible this way. Of course, there are many variations on these types of sermons, but these are the basics. To study the subject of grace, the second chapter of Ephesians is perhaps the best place to be. These verses encapsulate grace showing us what it is, and what it isn’t, in relation to law, works, death, life, God and man. It is not of yourselves. Nothing you could do from yourself to merit this salvation. You may say “What about faith? Isn’t that something I do?” You exercise faith as the vehicle to reach for salvation, but the context of the verse indicates that even the faith is a gift of God. It is not of works lest any man, or woman, should boast.

Paul, as in all his epistles, tells us from the start to whom he is speaking. In Ephesians 1:1 he says to the saints. Paul says it is by grace that we are saved. Sinners are made saints by the Lord. They are saved. This is another great Bible word. It means deliverance. It means life in contrast to the death he talks about in verse one. He says “You hath he (God), quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sin (the broken law)” (Ephesians 2:1). He is speaking of spiritual death here, and in the past tense. You were dead! Things are different now. You have been made alive! Our verse {by grace are you saved}, is also past tense. Inverting the words brings it clearer: by grace you are saved through faith. This is the meaning of the text.

John R.W. Stott puts it this way: “You were saved through faith, and even this faith by which you are saved is God’s gift. Theologically, this is true. We must never think of salvation as a kind of a transaction between God and us in which He contributes grace, and we contribute faith. For we were dead and had to be quickened before we could believe. No, Christ’s apostles clearly teach elsewhere that saving faith too is God’s gracious gift.” (e.g. Acts 18:27; Philippians 1:29). From The Message of Ephesians; IVP, Downers Grove, Illinois; 1979 edition (Emphasis mine).

Matthew Henry’s commentary on our text says: “Note, every converted sinner is a saved sinner. Such are delivered from sin and wrath; they are brought into a state of salvation, and have a right given them by grace to eternal happiness. The grace that saves them is the free, undeserved, goodness and favor of God; and He saves them, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, by means of which they come to partake of the great blessings of the gospel; and both that faith and that salvation on which it has so great an influence are the gift of God.” (Emphasis mine).

Paul says in Ephesians 2:1: “You have been made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins”. He goes on to tell us that these dead sinners were “dead men walking” according to the world system, which is against God, and following “the prince of the power of the air”, which is Satan. These dead also had “their behavior in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (verse 3). In other words, the apostle is saying that these saints mentioned in chapter one started out as everyone else, all “children of wrath” under God’s curse. In contrast to now being saved, they were lost.

He goes on in verses four and five to reiterate the quickening of God so that they are no longer dead in sin. Nowhere in these two chapters does he give one iota of credit to man regarding their salvation. It is all of grace! The making alive, the undeserved favor, the faith, the union with Christ, the good works that follow as God’s purpose, after salvation, are all the gift of Almighty God! Note that it has brought them (and all of us who are saved), to a position in heavenly places spiritually with Christ. In the entire Bible you do not find any scripture that indicates that any man or woman can be saved without Jesus Christ! This goes for elect and non-elect! In the OT; He is the coming Messiah. In NT: He is the realized Messiah. You see this “making alive” this grace, this faith we have been discussing has an objective, and the objective is Jesus Christ. This grace leads us to Him, who as Savior had to die for us. He procured our salvation for us. He is the salvation that this grace and faith lead us to. His very name, Jesus, means salvation. Remember: “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).

“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 grace leads people to Christ, and none other, and it is absolutely necessary to “look unto Him” by faith to be saved. The goodness of God exhibited in His Grace, leads us to repentance, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 2:4). There is no other way! Praise to His Name! So we can say grace is:
1) Free Grace---the gift of God.
2) Saving Grace---it brings us to eternal salvation.
3) Sovereign Grace—not of ourselves, but by God’s sovereign will.
4) Sustaining Grace—created in Christ Jesus unto good works. He ordained beforehand that we should walk (move forward) in them.
(Written by Charles Woodruff May 27, 2006, and revised March 11, 2007, and Feb 5,2011)

Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see

T’was grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun
(Song by John Newton in 1779. The world’s best-known hymn. These are the four most commonly used verses, of possibly ten, six of which were definitely written by Newton. Click link for more. These are the ones we know so well in most churches in the South.) also see this site for more: