Saturday, February 18, 2012


“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Timothy 1:15).

Paul the apostle, whose conversion was a classic example, a pattern, as he said himself in verse 16; was shaken to the very core of his being, and changed from being Saul, a persecutor of the church, a hater of Christ, to the greatest advocate of the Christian faith. His pattern was remarkable, and is clear in the word of God, repeated several times in the book of Acts for all to see. Yet, I have heard preachers and teachers say “God doesn’t force anyone to be saved. He won’t violate their will”. Well, it sure looks like to me that God used a bit of force to save Saul of Tarsus! There was a will involved all right, but primarily it was God’s. Read the account in Acts 9 for yourself, and you’ll see that Saul was “made willing” after being blinded, and knocked down to the earth and hearing a voice saying Saul, Saul Why persecutest thou me?(Acts 9:4). He then said “Who art thou Lord?” (Acts 9:5) When he heard “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5), Saul said “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?”(Acts 9: 5, 6).

I can use more modern words, one of the new translations, if you like, but it is really not necessary. You understand all right! It is crystal clear! Jesus Christ, whom Saul was persecuting, now was revealed as his Lord. Because Saul was persecuting His church, and in doing so, he persecuted Jesus Christ Himself.  Paul later said that Christ was revealed in him. If you are ever saved Christ must be in you.
Note: one quick observation, my friends; when you have a controversy with men, even good men, you may win. But as Saul learned, when you have a controversy with God, YOU LOSE! But in losing, he won!

                                      WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION

This man Saul, who became an apostle better known as Paul, wrote more of the New Testament than anyone. He wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, much that is profound, and that is now the foundation of our doctrinal beliefs. He gave the church most of its teaching on Ecclesiology, on Pnematology, on Soteriology, etc,. but perhaps more important, much of its Christology. But here he uses a simple phrase that captures the essence of the gospel, i.e., the gospel in a nutshell, perhaps more here than anywhere else in the Bible. Paul’s statement is not to be denied. It is to be accepted as complete. Many in this world refuse to hear it, but that does not make it untrue. Everyone from the highest to the lowest must accept this statement, or pay the price. The saying is faithful. This is the first of five times he uses “This is a faithful saying”. He uses it here in I Timothy 1:15, and also in I Timothy 3:1; 4:9; Titus 3:8; II Timothy 2:11. The word faithful (Gr. = pistos), according to Strong’s means trustworthy. It has the reliability of the word of God, spoken by an apostle. He said it is worthy of all acceptance. It is the truth. The statement is worthy (Gr. = axios), or deserving, to be accepted, though all will not accept it. Paul would have never accepted it without God overwhelming him with truth, and then he was never the same. You’ll never be the same either, my friend, after the Holy Ghost overtakes you and arrests you.

                                          CHRIST JESUS CAME
It is very interesting that Paul teaches us so many profound doctrinal things such as election, predestination, justification, sanctification, church order, the calling of preachers and deacons, heaven, hell, prophecy, spiritual gifts, prayer and even evangelism. Yet he speaks of Christ being the primary objective of his teaching. Actually Jesus Christ is the primary objective of the Bible itself, for not only Paul, but Peter, James, and John all center more on Christ than anything else.

A word to preachers: go ahead, Preach election -- it’s in the Bible. Preach on the fullness of the Spirit -- it’s in the Bible. Preach on Biblical inspiration -- the Bible interprets itself and is clearly inspired. Preach and teach on many things, but you had better major on Christ Jesus! When you enter college you have to pick a subject to major in. The major subject of the Bible is Christ. Everything else is a minor, i.e. in second place, or third place, etc... For too long we have “majored on the minors”. Preach Christ, brothers, its all Christ! Remember Mr. Spurgeon told us of Dr. Hawker who found Christ in every verse of the Bible. If that is a fault, it is a good one to have. Preach Christ, Christ and more Christ!  
          Quoting Spurgeon: “Gentlemen, if you want something full of marrow and fatness,                 cheering to your own hearts by way of comment, and likely to help you in giving to your hearers’ rich expositions, buy DR. HAWKER'S POOR MAN'S COMMENTARY.[18] Dr. Hawker was the very least of commentators in the matter of criticism; he had no critical capacity, and no ability whatever as an interpreter of the letter; but he sees Jesus, and that is a sacred gift which is most precious whether the owner be a critic or no. It is to be confessed that he occasionally sees Jesus where Jesus is not legitimately to be seen. He allows his reason to be mastered by his affections, which, vice as it is, is not the worst fault in the world.

There is always such a savour of the Lord Jesus Christ in Dr. Hawker that you cannot read him without profit. He has the peculiar idea that Christ is in every Psalm, and this often leads him totally astray, because he attributes expressions to the Saviour which really shock the holy mind to imagine our Lord's using. However, not as a substantial dish, but as a condiment, place the Plymouth vicar's work on the table. His writing is all sugar, and you will know how to use it, not devouring it in lumps, but using it to flavour other things”. Commenting and Commentaries, Online edition, Lecture One: A Chat about Commentaries. First published in 1876.

Why in our text and in several other places is He called “Christ Jesus”- not “Jesus Christ”? Why not simply “Jesus”- or “Christ”? Jesus was his human name. There were many named Jesus in Judea during our lord’s lifetime. According to Origen, the first name of Barabbas was Jesus. Barabbas (son of the father or son of the rabbi), was his surname.  This would make Pilate’s question more striking: Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas or Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:17). In other words, which Jesus? But this is an entirely unique “Jesus” we are speaking of- this is Christ Jesus- Messiah Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. “A common name, but so exquisitely rare now that the Saviour bore it” (from Guy King; A Leader Led, Christian Literature Crusade edition, 1983).
                                      INTO THE WORLD

The word is ‘that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-- the whole gospel in a sentence -- and, indeed, but a slightly modified form of the original announcement made to Joseph, ‘Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:21; from Patrick Fairbairn, in Pastoral Epistles, 1874)

He came into this world. He is not of this world. He was rich, but for our sakes became poor. He said of His disciples whom He chose in His great high priestly prayer “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). Yet “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

                                            TO SAVE SINNERS

He came into the world to do just this-- save sinners. He did not come to make it possible to save sinners, but to save sinners. As in Matthew where he says “He
shall save”, here it says He came to save. Not that He might save, or will probably save, but He completed the work. No doubt the mission was accomplished when at the cross He cried “It is finished” (John 19:30).

“Jesus did all that is included in the great word "save." He did not come to induce us to save ourselves, or to help us to save ourselves, or to enable us to save ourselves. He came to save us. And it is therefore that His name was called Jesus -- because He should save His people from their sins. The glory of our Lord, surpassing all His other glories to usward, is just that He is our actual and complete Saviour; our Saviour to the uttermost” (B.B. Warfield; The Person and Work of Christ).

What kind of sinners did he come to save? All kinds.  Since Paul sincerely said he was the chief of sinners, Christ surely has completed the work for lesser sinners. The word “chief” here means “the worst”. If Christ’s sacrifice covered this blasphemer, this persecutor, this self righteous Pharisee, surely He has no problem saving anyone else.  But, you may say to me “haven’t you preached that Christ only atoned for the elect and none else?” That’s correct. I believe scripture teaches that. Then you may say “how can I be sure I am elect, and that Christ died for me?”  My friend, do you sense that you are a hell deserving sinner? Do you feel the weight of conviction for your sins? Is there a desire in your heart to be forgiven? Are you willing to repent of your sins and trust only in Jesus Christ?

If all this is true of you, election and predestination are not problems for you. Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners. Are you as a sinner able to take Him at His word? He says “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). So what is important is your coming to Christ. Not to an altar, not to shake a preacher’s hand, not trusting in your works, baptism, keeping the law; but trusting Jesus Christ. Then if He has made you willing to come to Him by His Holy Spirit, His will is not to cast you out, but to save you. That is why He came. Trust Him now with all your being. He is the only Saviour of sinners, and He only saves sinners.
by Charles Woodruff -  

Monday, February 13, 2012


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!

It was not a defeat for Christ. He conquered death, hell and the grave! In Him we conquer all that
too, yes “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). And He
loved us before the foundation of the world! Yes on that hill outside Jerusalem called Golgotha
(place of the skull); death came to Christ but could not hold Him. But, the death blow was given
to Christ’s enemies, and God will manifest that as it pleases Him.

For us it is our victory over death (I Corinthians 15:1-7).
For us it is our victory over the world (Galatians 6:14).
For us it is our victory over self (Galatians 2:20).
For us it our victory over the flesh (Galatians 5:24).
For us it is our victory over the devil (Colossians 2:15; cp. with Ephesians 6:12).

Friday, February 03, 2012


Paul was different from simply an average preacher in that he was an apostle. An apostle is a delegate; a commissioner of the gospel; literally one sent forth. The original ones who saw the Lord, as Saul did, had miraculous powers, as is stated in the gospels.  Since being intercepted by Christ on the Damascus road, and being called to the service of the Lord, Saul of Tarsus became as zealous a preacher of the gospel as he was a persecutor of it before that interception. Saul, (later called Paul), was called to be an apostle as “one born out of due time” (Greek=ektromah; as an untimely birth, or an abortion. (See 1 Corinthians 15:8). Many scholars believe his conversion was around 37 A.D., seven years after Christ was crucified. From that day until Paul’s death between 64--66 A.D., he only lived to serve the living Christ whom he had met on the Damascus road. As he said in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Saul knew what he was doing in his role as a prominent persecutor of Christ’s followers (not yet called Christians, but usually referred to as “that sect”). Saul’s passion was to wipe out these followers of this sect which followed Jesus, the despised Nazarene, through their imprisonment, and even death if necessary. This was the case with Stephen. Then later, after his conversion, the great apostle Paul knew what he was doing and in whom he believed.
                                  WHAT IS PREACHING?
Paul spent time in every city to which he primarily addressed his letters. I say primarily because I believe, at least in his later years, that Paul knew these epistles were meant for churches in more than just the immediate cities. He certainly did with Ephesians.  Most scholars believe it was a circular letter, going to Laodicea, Ephesus, and then other churches in other cities. Of course, every epistle in the New Testament ultimately goes to the entire church, the body of Christ. In a very real sense the writing of these letters of Paul was preaching. To preach is not only to verbalize, though it primarily means that. The Greek word for preach is euaggelizo= to announce good news. This can be done verbally, or in writing. Paul did both, as many do today.

Preaching is different in some ways from a speech. True preaching involves good news. Speeches may not. Teaching and preaching are similar, though the goal of preaching is to announce and stir, while teaching has the primary goal of educating. Preaching also may involve announcing and educating. Our word for preaching in Greek has several forms, but it especially applies to announcing the Gospel. God said preaching is foolishness to unbelievers, but He has ordained the “foolishness of preaching” to save them that believe. (See 1 Corinthians 1:18; 21)
                                 WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
Actually the definition for gospel is Greek euaggelion=good news, good tidings, and is actually a variation of the word for preach. There is another similar Greek word euaggelistce=evangelist, which is preacher, or good news bearer. So preach, gospel, preacher or evangelist are all related words in Greek, and in English. They have to do with the good news of Christ’s sacrifice for sinners. As to the origin of the English word gospel, it comes from God spell as those that were converted were said to be under a spell. So we may say that the gospel is the evangel which evangelicals and evangelists must preach. To preach anything else, as so many are today, is not true bible preaching. As Charles Hodge once said “The gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.” That is a profound, but very true statement. We must remember that, and apply it.

This gospel must be preached in power. Paul said, it is the power of God unto salvation “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 (Romans 1:16).  The Greek word for power here is dunamis. We get our word dynamite from this word. It takes this power to save a sinner. It is the same power that raised Lazarus from the tomb. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. The gospel is dynamite, preacher. Be careful how you handle it!

It is true that the apostles (all of them), were following Christ’s final marching orders from Mark 16:15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” They were commanded to do so, and so are we in the successive ages. By the way, these verses are still in my bible! Then in Matthew 28:19, 20 Jesus said Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

                                               WHAT IS SALVATION?
As I have already said, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. I don’t really think most people know what salvation is. In the New Testament, it is often the Greek word σωτηρία, or soteria; which means to deliver, to rescue, or to save. That is exactly what it means in Romans 1:16. It means rescue; deliverance, save. It is the ultimate of rescue! God has rescued His children from sin, death and hell. What Jesus did by giving His life, was the grandest rescue ever! No one else could have accomplished what Christ did, because no one else was sinless and perfect. Once Paul realized this, he taught it with great zeal. He was willing to give his own life in the cause of Christ, and he ultimately did so in Rome. Many have done the same since then.

You see my friend, our salvation was costly. It cost the saviour His life, and His blood. It cost Paul and most of the apostles their lives also. Over the centuries, many others have given their lives for Christ as well. Some seem to think the cost was not so great, but it was the most costly transaction we can ever think of. If you go to your death ignoring, or successfully resisting what Jesus did, you will regret it for all eternity. Just think friend, Jesus paid it all for you. If you will hear His voice, and repent and turn to Him, I promise you, He will save you. Please do it before it is too late for you. This is the most important thing you will ever do. Do it this very minute! If you will trust Christ, He will save you. Will you do it this very day? I have been saved over forty years, and I have never regretted it. You won’t either. Jesus is going to return soon, and you had better be ready. If you are not, eternity in hell awaits you. You cannot now say you have never heard the truth. You have. If you will contact me, I will talk further with you. God help you!

Published by Charles Woodruff- email: