A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Category Archives: Reformed Theology

Sermons of a man called George Whitefield.

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Some one once said George Whitefield preached a pure gospel, a powerful gospel and a passionate gospel. He was a man of deep prayer, tremendous spiritual fortitude with a burdened heart, burning lips and brimming eyes. A contemporary of Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley, he was an English Anglican preacher who spent most of his life spreading the gospel by preaching in open air and was one of the major instruments of God used in the Great Awakening in Britain and the United States.

He drew great crowds when he preached to people from all walks of life. From a lordly chamber heavy with the pungent aroma of costly perfumes, Whitefield would race off to a street meeting. Catch his joy as he says, “There I was honored with having stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cats thrown at me.”

Now it’s possible to download read and study atleast 59 George Whitefield sermons either as a kindle ebook, pdf or EPub.

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Heinrich Bullinger: The Day Zwingli Died

So, did Pastor Ulrich Zwingli (the Reformer) die hacking and water boarding enemy soldiers in battle as some snidely suggest? I will leave that bit of history for the urban myth busters to refute. However today we will go through the Heinrich Bullinger’s account of the day Zwingli died.

On the battlefield, not far from the line of attack, Mr. Ulrich Zwingli lay under the dead and wounded. While men were looting . . . he was still alive, lying on his back, with his hands together as if he was praying, and his eyes looking upwards to heaven. So some approached who did not know him and asked him, since he was so weak and close to death (for he had fallen in combat and was stricken with a mortal wound), whether a priest should be fetched to hear his confession. …Read More!

Basic Christian Doctrine Quiz

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A friend of mine posted these basic doctrine questions on Facebook and I thought they are interesting. Try and see how many you can answer and then scroll to the bottom of the page for the answers:

Questions About God and Christ (Answer True or False)

1. Jesus was God, but only appeared to be human.

2. Jesus was the first of all God’s created beings.

3. Jesus had a human body and divine soul.

4. In the Old Testament, God was known as the Father, in the New Testament, as the Son, and after Pentecost, as the Holy Spirit.

5. Mary is the mother of God.

6. God chooses people because he knows in advance they will choose him. …Read More!

William Carey: The Doctrines of Grace in Evangelism

When it comes to missionaries to South East Asia or rather India in particular William Carey, a  shoemaker by trade  is the first name that springs up. Born in England in 1761 he spent an active forty-one years serving the Lord in India, including translating the Scriptures. This was after being heckled,”Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”

 To know what William believed I will let this excerpt unfold the story:

William Carey’s greatest contribution to the modern missions movement was his trust in the sovereignty of God in missions.  This fueled his zeal to reach the heathen with the gospel.  In his youth, he was told to sit down by an elder brother, a hyper-Calvinist, who told him that when God wanted to reach the heathen He would do it without him or Carey.  Carey’s Calvinism however, his theological understanding of God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of man, would not allow him to either doubt God’s sovereignty or neglect his responsibility. Read More…

Bruising is required before conversion

hopeQuoting Richard Sibbes:

This bruising is required before conversion that so the Spirit may make way for himself into the heart by leveling all proud, high thoughts, and that we may understand ourselves to be what indeed we are by nature. We love to wander from ourselves and to be strangers at home, till God bruises us by one cross or other, and then we `begin to think’, and come home to ourselves with the prodigal (Luke 15:17). It is a very hard thing to bring a dull and an evasive heart to cry with feeling for mercy. Our hearts, like criminals, until they be beaten from all evasions, never cry for the mercy of the judge. …Read More!

The neglected duty of private prayer

IMG_4982.JPGQuoting J.C Ryle on prayer…

We live in days of abounding religious profession. There are more places of public worship than there ever was before. There are more people attending them than there ever was before. And yet in spite of all this public religion, I believe there is a vast neglect of private prayer. It is one of those private transcripts between God and our souls which no eye sees, and therefore one which people are tempted to pass over and leave undone.
I believe that hundreds of thousands never utter a word of prayer at all. They eat. They drink. They sleep. They rise. They go forth to their work. They return to their homes. They breathe God’s air. They travel on God’s earth. They enjoy God’s mercies. They have dying bodies. They have judgment and eternity before them. But they never speak to God. They live like the animals that perish. They behave like creatures without souls. They have not one word to say to Him in whose hand are their life and breath, and all things, and from whose mouth they must one day receive their everlasting sentence. How dreadful this seems; but if the secrets of men were only known, how common.

How about the believer who falls?

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The topic of a believer who falls into sin or renounces his profession is a common one. And from that spring boards the questions Can a believer fall radically? Can a believer fall totally, irretrievably and be lost for all eternity? I hope this post sheds some light on what scripture says…

We may live in a culture that believes everyone will be saved, that we are “justified by death” and all you need to do to go to heaven is die, but God’s Word certainly doesn’t give us the luxury of believing that. Any quick and honest reading of the New Testament shows that the Apostles were convinced that nobody can go to heaven unless they believe in Christ alone for their salvation (John 14:6; Rom. 10:9–10).

Historically, evangelical Christians have largely agreed on this point. Where they have differed has been on the matter of the security of salvation. People who would otherwise agree that only those who trust in Jesus will be saved have disagreed on whether anyone who truly believes in Christ can lose his salvation.

Theologically speaking, what we are talking about here is the concept of apostasy. This term comes from a Greek word that means “to stand away from.” When we talk about those who have become apostate or have committed apostasy, we’re talking about those who have fallen from the faith or at least from the profession of faith in Christ that they once made. …Read More!

God and our tears – He sees our tears!

The Lord Jesus sees our tears, he has compassion on us and says to us: “Do not weep”! Excerpt from Reformation Italy:

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Living on a ground full of thorns and thistles because of sin (Genesis 3:17-19), every day many people are living and sowing “weeping” (Psalm 126:6). Every day people shed many tears: the child who is hurt; the teenager in crisis; the young woman distressed; the frustrated adult; the husband who loses his job; the mistreated wife; children with absent parents; the elderly abandoned and alone… Every day there are those who feel like the Psalmist, calling upon God, saying: “My life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing” (Psalm 31:10). Let us pause to think: in the present evil age, in front of the power of death, pain and unbelief that seized humankind, even Jesus – the Son of God – “wept” (John 11:35).

…Read More!

That Shocking Youth Message by Paul Washer (Transcript)

20120704-221433.jpgOne of the best youth messages I have come across was Paul Washer’s “shocking youth message”. It was a biblical message about what it truly means t o be a Christian. It was so good that he wasn’t welcomed back! (No kidding)

It’s a tremendous privilege for me to be here this afternoon with you. Before we begin with any further speaking, I would also like to go to the Lord in prayer. I would ask you to pray. There is so much going on here this afternoon, so much that you don’t understand, but I’ll tell you where I’m coming from. I’ll preach as a dying man to dying men and women and youth….
Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
Father . . .Father, I am so small and so pitiful, Father, in so many ways. You know, Lord, You know, though dear God, should false fire be the only thing ever placed on Your altar, or could fire come down from Heaven amidst all the noise and the clamor and the activities . . . could fire come down from Heaven and these dead bones live…. Breathe on them. Grant them repentance. Grant them faith. Bring them into Your Kingdom, Lord, for Your own glory, for the sake of Your own great name, do this thing, Lord. As the brother said, let it be so, Lord, so that no man will take credit for it, so that no man will lay his hand to the ark of God and, if he did, that You would strike him down dead, Lord. Oh, God, move among us, please, because we have no other hope. We have no other hope. These children have no other hope except that You move…Amen.
I stand here today . . . I’m not troubled in my heart about your self-esteem. I’m not troubled in my heart about whether or not you feel good about yourself, whether or not life is turning out like you want it to turn out, or whether or not your checkbook is balanced. There’s only one thing that gave me a sleepless night. There’s only one thing that troubled me all throughout the morning, and this is this. Within a hundred years, a great majority of people in this building will possibly be in hell. And many who even profess Jesus Christ as Lord will spend an eternity in hell…

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Puritan Devotionals: Voices From The Past.

If you are looking for a daily devotional as a Christmas or New year present or even birthday gift then look for one that is deep with theology and will spur you to delve deeper into the scriptures. The Puritan devotional Voices From the Past by Richard Rushing should be high on your list and this is why:

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1 Timothy 4:2 … “Whose consciences are seared.”
“Get and keep a tender conscience. Be sensible of the least sin. Some men’s consciences are like the stomach of the ostrich that can digest iron: they can swallow the most notorious sins without regret. A good conscience is very delicate. It feels the least touch of known sin, and is grieved at the thought of grieving God’s Spirit. It will choose the greatest of suffering before the least of sinning.

However, the jeering Ishmaels of the world are ready to reproach and laugh it to scorn for its precise scruples. Daily train all your graces for battle. Live in a military posture, both defensive and offensive. Stand constantly by your weapons. Admit no peace with sin. The soldier of Christ must never lay down his arms. Satan never ceases his wiles and stratagems. He will tell you that sin is pleasant. Ask yourself if the gripping of conscience is also pleasant? Ask yourself if it is pleasant to be in hell, and be under the wrath of God? Ask yourself if the pleasures of sin for a season compare with the rivers of God’s pleasures? How do they compare to a weight of glory, an incorruptible crown, and a heavenly kingdom?

Read more of this post

Top Ten Reasons Not To Join A Reformed Baptist Church.

If you are church shopping [this article was first published in OCTOBER 2011] or looking for a local Christian fellowship a Reformed Baptist Church may not be your cup of tea 🙂

Well you see, Dr. James White has (honestly) noted that in a Reformed Baptist Church…

  1. You don’t get to leave after every sermon feeling good about yourself. You may even desire repentance.
  2. You don’t get to hear the sermons in the same way you may be used to. It’s frequently verse by verse, maybe not even relevant to your current situation.
  3. You don’t get to be entertained. We don’t want to entertain you. Read more of this post

Free Reformed Christian E-Books!

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Free Ebooks

Are you looking for good and deep Christian literature? I thought I should share these sites with you. In case you are looking for free Christian ebooks, epub or kindle format you may want to bookmark these links below starting with:
0 Monergism Free Ebooks.

 

 

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood…

saving drowning manOh how the words of some hymns just linger in the recesses of your mind and nourish you with rich spiritual truths. Today I will feature the first two verses and the last verse of William Cowper’s hymn ‘There is a fountain filled with blood’

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains…

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away… …Read More!

O that I would pour out my heart before Him

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Usually God’s children are able to most affectionately pour out their hearts before him in private. Here, they find their affections free to wrestle with God. Here, one finds most communion with God, and enlargement of heart. In private we are wholly at leisure to deal with God in a child-like liberty. Now, will you omit this duty where you may be most free, without distraction, to let out your heart to God? The sweetest experiences of God’s saints are when they are alone with him. ~ Thomas Manton

How should we forgive fallen pastors?

prayingIt’s not that rare now to see Christian leaders sin grossly and within a few months after the publicity has died down to see the very same leaders being restored into public ministry and leadership. Does that mean sinners can never be restored or forgiven? Actually on the contrary – restoration to fellowship is what church discipline is all about but this shouldn’t be confused with restoration into office.  Conservative Christians have a strong legacy of battling for doctrinal purity. But are we now at a point in time when we are losing the battle for moral purity? Should the church lower the standard to accommodate the moral malaise of leaders in our generation?

Grace to You has an interesting article on  the issue of restoration and Christian leadership…

Gross sin among Christian leaders is a signal that something is seriously wrong within the contemporary church. But an even greater problem is the lowering of standards to accommodate a leader’s sin. That churches are so eager to bring these men back into leadership—and to do so relatively quickly—is a symptom of rottenness to the core.

Christians must not regard leadership in the church lightly. The foremost requirement of a leader is that he “must be above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:7). That is a difficult prerequisite, and not everyone can meet it.

Some kinds of sin irreparably shatter a man’s reputation and disqualify him from a ministry of leadership forever—because he can no longer be above reproach. Even Paul, man of God that he was, said he feared such a possibility: “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

…Read More!

Free E-Book: Blood Work by Anthony Carter

FreeEbook-BloodWorkIt’s Easter week….

 In light of this, Reformation Trust is making the ebook edition of Anthony Carter’s Blood Work: How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes Our Salvation free to download until the end of the month. We encourage you to share this resource offer with your family, friends, and church community.

Evangelical Christians often sing and preach about the blessed blood of Christ and the wonderful things it accomplishes for believers. To the uninformed ear, such language can convey the idea that Jesus’ blood had semi-magical qualities. Actually, Jesus’ blood was normal human blood, but the Bible refers to it in metaphorical terms to portray the many benefits that come to Christians because of Jesus’ death.

HT Ligonier Ministries.

Knowing the God of all Comfort

20130805-102257.jpgGod brings different seasons in our lives to teach us different lessons.  There are times of joy, plentifulness and happiness and there are also times of difficulty and trials where our most immediate cry is almost”Lord, how long?”

This is an excerpt from an article of a man who learnt of the comfort that only comes from the God of all comfort when he and his family went through a very tough time:

I had known throughout my ministry, of course, that God comforts His own. I had taught about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our paraclete, who was sent by Christ to help us. And I had seen that the reading of the Bible brings solace to sorrowing hearts and peace to those in great turmoil.

But now my wife and I are experiencing God’s comfort for ourselves. In the months since Elsie’s stroke, we have known daily the comfort of the Savior, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the precious Word of God…

The faith of the Christian should grow stronger in times of trial and trouble. Trials have a way of digging up the soil of our hearts and turning up weeds. That is good for us, for it is not in the sunshine but in the storm that we discover the depth of our need. Someone has said, Great soldiers are not made in the barracks nor on the parade ground, but on the battlefield where the going is tough.

Trials provide opportunities for us to get to know God better. In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul assured the Christians that he was praying for them on a regular basis. Included in the list of things for which he prayed was the request that they might be increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). Paul knew that one of the secrets to a full and blessed life is getting to know God better.

…Read More!

To be born again – a Regenerate.

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What is conversion to Christ? How does one become born again? To answer these very vital questions here is an excerpt from a book I am currently reading by John Caldwell:

Conversion to Christ is not turning over a new leaf; it is the implanting of new life. This new life is the very life of God, Jesus referred to it as the new birth. Regarding the new birth, RC Sproul says, ‘The term born again is a popular synonym for the theological term regenerate .’ There are two essential things we need to understand about regeneration: the first one is that regeneration is how someone becomes a Christian.
If a person has not experienced regeneration, they are not a Christian. Jesus put it in the following terms while discussing the issue with the Pharisee Nicodemus: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) The second essential thing we need to understand about regeneration is that only God can produce the rebirth in a person’s life. …Read More!

Picture two Jews on the night of the first Passover

Whatever you do, spare atleast 3 minutes and 28 seconds today, and watch a wonderful and powerful illustration from Don Carson at the recent Bethlehem College & Seminary Pastors Conference:
HT: The Gospel Coalition.

SHOULD OUR CHURCH DO OPEN OR CLOSED COMMUNION?

This is a common question especially when a church is beginning to define it’s rules and how things will be conducted. Here is some help:

Lords-SupperThe Bible’s teaching on Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is found in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and promotes “open” participation for believers. All those who are true believers in God through personal faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, are worthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper by virtue of the fact they have accepted the death of Christ as payment for their sins (see also Ephesians 1:6-7).

The actual reasoning behind some churches practicing “closed” communion seems to be that they want to make sure everyone partaking is a believer. This is understandable; however, it places church leadership and/or church ushers in a position of determining who is worthy to partake, which is problematic at best. A given church may assume that all of their official members are true believers, but even this is not necessarily always true. …Read More!

It’s October…Reformation day is upon us again!

On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting against the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which came to be known as The 95 Theses. So what else was enshrined in the Theses? Here we go:

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1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one’s heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.

4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties beyond those imposed either at his own discretion or by canon law. …Read More!

Why don’t men come to Christ -because they will not or cannot?

On man’s moral responsibility…

Scripture invariably treats us as morally responsible agents. It lays upon us the necessity of choice… Why is it that people do not come to Christ. Is it that they cannot, or is it that they will not? Jesus taught both. And in this ‘cannot’ and ‘will not’ lies the ultimate antinomy between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. But however we state it, we must not eliminate either part. Our responsibility before God is an inalienable aspect of our human dignity. Its final expression will be on the day of judgment.~John R. W. Stott & Timothy Dudley-Smith (Authentic Christianity)

Questionable methods in Church.

20140802-170755-61675763.jpg“The problem in our day, which gives rise to highly questionable church growth methods, is twofold:

On the one hand, we are seeing a waning confidence in the message of the gospel. Even the evangelical church shows signs of losing confidence in the convincing and converting power of the gospel message. That is why increasing numbers of churches prefer sermons on family life and psychological health. We are being overtaken by what Os Guinness calls the managerial and therapeutic revolutions. The winning message, it seems, is the one that helps people to solve their temporal problems, improves their self-esteem and makes them feel good about themselves.

Read more of this post

Church membership: Reasons to (or not to become) a member.

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Nine Marks has an interesting article on why you should become a church member and even when you have an excuse for not joining one church you must look for another and BECOME A COMMITTED CHURCH MEMBER. Check this out….

REASONS TO JOIN THE CHURCH

These more deliberate conversations veer back and forth between the biblical and the practical. Typically, I generally encourage a person to join the church

# For the sake of the pastors. It lets the pastors know who you are, and makes them responsible for you (see Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17).

# For the sake of obedience to Jesus. Jesus did not give you the keys of the kingdom for binding and loosing. He gave the keys to the apostolic local church (Matt. 16:13-20; 18:15-20). You don’t have the authority to baptize yourself or feed yourself the Lord’s Supper. It requires a church to affirm your profession of faith, which is what membership is at its very heart (see Acts 2:38).

# For the sake of other believers. Joining makes you responsible for one local congregation, and they for you. You now own or have a share in their discipleship to Christ. That is, you are now responsible for their growth and professions of faith, insofar as you are responsible for the church’s faithful gospel preaching (Gal. 1) and that individual’s discipline (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5).

…Read More!

What can the church in the West learn from the church in Africa?

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This is an excerpt from a Table Talk (TT) magazine interview with an African pastor (Conrad Mbewe) of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia…

TT: What are two important lessons that Western Christians can learn from the African church?

CM: Western civilization has lost a lot of its interpersonal virtues. It has become overly individualized—if you see what I mean. Issues like hospitality, respect for authority and the elderly, being more people-conscious than time-conscious, and so on are largely lost. This has affected not only the society generally but Christians as well.

Western Christians have filled their lives with too many things (toys?) that have robbed them of eternal perspectives. Electronic gadgets, holidays, sports, recreation, and so on have almost become idols. Even church must be about having fun.

…Read More!

Jesus is mighty to save those who repent…

                  “Mighty to save.” -Isaiah 63:1

spurgeonBy the words “to save” we understand the whole of the great work of salvation, from the first holy desire onward to complete sanctification. The words are multum in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word. Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but He is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but He is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of His name to bend the knee before Him.

…Read More!

Beware of the smiling world and it’s deadly embrace

The smiling world is meeting and embracing some. It is casting into their lap plentifully, and still they have prospect of more. But O! take heed to the dangerous embraces, lest it hug you to death, as surely it will, if you do not shake yourselves loose of it, “For the turning away of the simple, shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” ~Thomas Boston

HT The Old Guys

Modern day preaching and it’s “slick schtick”

To summarise a lot of modern day preaching ….
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Excerpt from “The Kind of Preaching God Blesses” by Steve Lawson

Pleading with Africa’s unreached to come, come to Christ!

Reaching Africa’s Unreached (R.A.U) has been relentlessly preaching, pleading and imploring the heathens in Northern Western Uganda plus refugees from Southern Sudan to be reconciled with God. The message is the same every day …Come to Christ:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:20-21)

20140427-080931.jpg Jacob Lee of Reaching Africa’s Unreached at one of their preaching points in Moyo, Uganda.
Follow R.A.U on Facebook here.
Visit R.A.U online here.

Quote of the day: Ulrich Zwingli…

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“The Christian life, then, is a battle, so sharp and full of danger that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss…” -Ulrich Zwingli, 16th Century Swiss Reformer

Scripture is superior to human wisdom

Quoting John Calvin:

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Scripture is superior to all human wisdom. Unless this certainty, higher and stronger than any human judgment, be present, it will be vain to fortify the authority of Scripture by arguments, to establish it by common agreement of the church, or to confirm it with other helps. For unless this foundation is laid, its authority will always remain in doubt. Conversely, once we have embraced it devoutly as its dignity deserves, and have recognized it to be above the common sort of things, those arguments—not strong enough before to engraft and fix the certainty of Scripture in our minds—become very useful aids. What wonderful confirmation ensues when, with keener study, we ponder the economy of the divine wisdom, so well ordered and disposed; the completely heavenly character of its doctrine, savoring of nothing earthly; the beautiful agreement of all the parts with one another—as well as such other qualities as can gain majesty for the writings. ~John Calvin

HT The Old Guys

Easter: Did the stone have to be rolled back before Jesus exited the grave?

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Joseph R. Nally answers…

Matthew 28:1-2: After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Mark 16:2-5: Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

No, not necessarily. Jesus in his new resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:35-49) could go through walls and doors (John 20:19, 26; compare Acts 12:10). So, I do not feel a stone was any kind of obstacle that he could not go through. The stone could have been rolled back strictly as evidence that he had risen (and rise he did, Acts 2:32; 1 Cor. 15:1-4), not that it had to be moved so he could rise.

…Read More!

Whoa! This guy bleeds the gospel!

Listen to this clip….
Dr Steve Lawson and Todd Friel. …Read more!

The problem with false Evangelism

“The trouble with all false evangelism is that it does not start with doctrine, it does not start by realising man’s condition… If you and I realised that every man who is yet a sinner is absolutely dominated by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, if we only understood that he is really a child of wrath and dead in trespasses and sins, we would realise that only one power can deal with such an individual, and that is the power of God, the power of the Holy Ghost. …Read More!

9 signs your church is growing in the right direction

church growthMark Dever in his book, What Is a Healthy Church? writes, “When you peer into the life of a church, the growth of its members can show up in all sorts of ways.”   Here are just a few good examples – though of course this is not an exhaustive list :

  1. Growing numbers being called to missions—“I’ve enjoyed sharing the gospel with my neighbors from South America. I wonder if God is calling me to …”
  2. Older members getting a fresh sense of their responsibility in evangelism and in discipling younger members—“Why don’t you come over for dinner?”
  3. Younger members attending the funerals of older members out of love—“As a single man in my twenties, it was so good to be taken in by Mr. and Mrs.…”
  4. Increased praying in the church and more prayers centered on evangelism and ministry opportunities—“I’m starting an evangelistic Bible study at work and I’m a little nervous. Would the church pray that …”
  5. More members sharing the gospel with outsiders. …Read More!

Robert Flockhart the soldier who became a passionate open air street preacher.

A Street Preacher...

A Street Preacher…

A remarkable sinner who became a remarkable convert, was an extraordinarily gifted man and fearless street preacher in the Edinburgh of the mid-1800’s. It is said Robert Flockhart (1778-1857) had sinned much, but he had been forgiven much, and so he loved much. Where Robert in Satan’s service had often exposed himself to disgrace, danger, and death itself, but after his conversion, “… If there had been need for it, I believe there was no man in Edinburgh who would have gone to the stake or scaffold for Jesus Christ with a firmer step or nobler bearing than this brave old soldier of the cross.”

Flockhart was converted in India, while a soldier, he became a fearless as a street preacher – often in the face of unruly crowds. In a tribute to Robert Flockhart, Charles Spurgeon said:

I must linger a moment over Robert Flockhart, of Edinburgh, who, though a lesser light, was a constant one, and a fit example to the bulk of Christ’s street witnesses. Every evening, in all weathers and amid many persecutions, did this brave man continue to speak in the street for forty-three years. Think of that, and never be discouraged. When he was tottering to the grave the old soldier was still at his post. “Compassion to the souls of men drove me,” said he, “to the streets and lanes of my native city, to plead with sinners and persuade them to come to Jesus. The love of Christ constrained me.”

Neither the hostility of the police, nor the insults of Papists, Unitarians, and the like could move him; he rebuked error in the plainest terms, and preached salvation by grace with all his might. So lately has he passed away that Edinburgh remembers him still. There is room for such in all our cities and towns, and need for hundreds of his noble order in this huge nation of London—can I call it less?

Lectures to my Students, Charles Spurgeon.

Learning by paradox: The way down is the way up.

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Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
You have brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths, but see you in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold your glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

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When a man came to Spurgeon with a “brand new revelation”.

preacherIs the truth that which I imagine to be revealed to me by some private communication? Am I to fancy that I enjoy some special Revelation and am I to order my life by voices, dreams and impressions? Brothers and Sisters, fall not into this common delusion! God’s Word to us is in Holy Scripture. All the Truth that sanctifies men is in God’s Word! Do not listen to those who cry, “Lo here!” and, “Lo there!” I am plucked by the sleeve almost every day by crazy persons and pretenders who think that they have Revelations from God. One man tells me that God has sent a message to me by him—and I reply, “No, Sir, the Lord knows where I dwell and He is so near to me that He would not need to send to me by you.” Another man announces, in God’s name, a dogma which, on the face of it, is a lie against the Holy Spirit. He says the Spirit of God told him so-and-so, but we know that the Holy Spirit never contradicts Himself. If your imaginary Revelation is not according to this Word of God, it has no weight with us! And if it is according to this Word, it is no new thing! …Read More!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Spiritual Depression

We must not concentrate overmuch upon our feelings. Do not spend too much time feeling your own pulse taking your own spiritual temperature, do not spend too much time analyzing your feelings. That is the high road to morbidity.—Martyn Lloyd-Jones. (Spiritual Depression)

St. Augustine on the gift of faith

Why the Gift of Faith is Not Given to All…Faith, then, as well in its beginning as in its completion, is God’s gift; and let no one have any doubt whatever, unless he desires to resist the plainest sacred writings, that this gift is given to some, while to some it is not given. But why it is not given to all ought not to disturb the believer, who believes that from one (Adam) all have gone into a condemnation, which undoubtedly is most righteous; so that even if none were delivered therefrom, there would be no just cause for finding fault with God. Whence it is plain that it is a great grace for many to be delivered, and to acknowledge in those that are not delivered what would be due to themselves; so that he that glorieth may glory not in his own merits, which he sees to be equalled in those that are condemned, but in the Lord. But why He delivers one rather than another,-” His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out –St. Augustine of Hippo

 

What God begins, he finishes…

On the perseverance of the saints…

Psa 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Ecc 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
Isa 46:4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.
Jer 32:40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Phi 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safety into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Of all whom he has called and brought to Christ, none will be lost

Joh 6:39-40 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Joh 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Rom 8:28-31 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? …Read More!

John Calvin on wisdom…

“He therefore…is a fool in this world, who, renouncing his own understanding, allows himself to be directed by the Lord, as if with his eyes shut – who, distrusting himself leans wholly upon the Lord, places his whole wisdom in him, and yields himself up to God in docility and submission. It is necessary that our wisdom should in this way vanish, in order that the will of God may have authority over us, and that we be emptied of our own understanding, that we may be filled with the wisdom of God.”-John Calvin

What would John Flavel say about MTV (and Miley Cyrus)?

“If you neglect to instruct (your children) in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No; if you will not teach them to pray, he will to curse, swear, and lie; if ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring.” – John Flavel

Samuel Rutherford on Affliction

The secret formula of the saints: When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines. —Samuel Rutherford

Thomas Watson on Afflictions

To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that all things which fall out shall co-operate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy till they run over. —Thomas Watson

False doctrine…worse than Division.

Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity.- But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching which is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin.
The old saying must never be forgotten, “He is the schismatic who causes the schism”… Controversy in religion is a hateful thing… But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation. …~Iain Murray

The church in Legionowo (Poland)

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This year the Grace Baptist Mission church planting group in Legionowo, Poland opened their new meeting place. They have had a number of breakthroughs in their work.

Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. After years of being a Soviet satellite state, labour turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union “Solidarity” that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A “shock therapy” program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, but Poland still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. Poland remains a strongly Roman Catholic country with more than 90% of the population claiming allegiance to that church.
…Watch Video Below

Preaching as never sure to preach again…as a dying man to dying men

saving drowning manOn the office of a preacher…

“The preacher must be a serious man; he must never give the impression that preaching is something light or superficial or trivial….What is happening [in the act of preaching] is that he is speaking to them from God, he is speaking to them about God, he is speaking about their condition, the state of their souls. He is telling them that they are, by nature, under the wrath of God…that the character of the life they’re living is offensive to God and under the judgment of God, and warning them of the dreaded eternal possibility that lies ahead of them. …Read More!

Heart Corruptions…I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself.

O God, may Thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to thee. I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me. I am undeserving, but I look to Thy tender mercy. I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; Thou art full of grace.

I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my wilful sin; all my powers of body and soul are defiled: a fountain of pollution is deep within my nature. There are chambers of foul images within my being; I have gone from one odious room to another, walked in a no-man’s-land of dangerous imaginations, pried into the secrets of my fallen nature.

I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree, unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt. Lord, dost Thou have mercy on me?

Thou hast struck a heavy blow at my pride, at the false god of self, and I lie in pieces before Thee. But Thou hast given me another master and lord, Thy Son, Jesus, and now my heart is turned towards holiness, my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to Thee. Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride. Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life, from everything that is natural to fallen man, and let Christ’s nature be seen in me day by day. Grant me grace to bear Thy will without repining, and delight to be not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long, and lifted from the quarry to the upper air, where I may be built in Christ for ever. ~Puritan Prayers

Alistair Begg on Contemporary Worship Music

This is worth a listen:

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