Stephen Charnock – God’s Regard for His Own Glory, Seen in the Saving of Sinners

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.” 1 Tim. 1:15

1. The glory of his patience. We wonder, when we see a notorious sinner, how God can let his thunders still lie by him, and his sword rust in his sheath. And, indeed, when such are converted, they wonder themselves that God did not draw his sword out, and pierce their bowels, or shoot one of his arrows into their hearts all this while. But God, by such a forbearance; shews himself to be God indeed, and something in this act infinitely above such a weak creature as man is: ‘I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man,’ Hosea 11:9. When God had reckoned up their sins before, and they might have expected the sentence after the reading the charge, God tells them, he would not destroy them, he would not execute them, because he was God. If he were not a God, he could not keep himself from pouring out a just vengeance upon them. If a man did inherit all the meekness of all the angels and all the men that ever were in the world, he could not be able to bear with patience the extravagances and injuries done in the world the space of one day; for none but a God, i.e. one infinitely long-suffering, can bear with them.

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Mike Leake – How a Fish Can Help You Answer the Question of Whether or Not You Know Jesus

How do I know that I’m saved?

This was a question that plagued me in my early walk with Christ. As a pastor, it’s also a question that I’m continually trying to help people work through. I think it’d be much easier to have confidence if we never sinned. What brings difficulty to new believers is often that first season in the valley.

After falling into sin we hear words of condemnation. “If I was really a Christian then I wouldn’t do such a thing.” But I’ve argued for a long time that better evidence of our regenerate heart isn’t so much whether or not we do or do not do things of unbelievers, but rather it’s evidenced by doing things which only believers do.

I can illustrate this with a dead fish.

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Sinclair Ferguson – Faith & Repentance

When the gospel is proclaimed, it seems at first sight that two different, even alternative, responses are called for. Sometimes the summons is, “Repent!” Thus, “John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt. 3:1–2). Again, Peter urged the hearers whose consciences had been ripped open on the day of Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). Later, Paul urged the Athenians to “repent” in response to the message of the risen Christ (Acts 17:30).

Yet, on other occasions, the appropriate response to the gospel is, “Believe!” When the Philippian jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved, the Apostle told him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

But there is no mystery or contradiction here. Further on in Acts 17, we discover that precisely where the response of repentance was required, those who were converted are described as believing (Acts 17:30, 34).

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Thomas Boston – Ye Must Be Born Again

“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” John 3:7

For your conviction, consider these few things:

REGENERATION IS ABSOLUTELY necessary to qualify you to do any thing really good and acceptable to God. While you are not born again, your best works are but glittering sins; for though the matter of them is good, they are quite marred in the performance.

Consider, that without regeneration there is no faith, and “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). Faith is a vital act of the new-born soul. The evangelist, showing the different entertainment which our Lord Jesus had from different persons, some receiving Him, some rejecting Him, points at regenerating grace as the true cause of that difference, without which never any one would have received Him. He tells us, that “as many as received him,” were those “which were born of God” (John 1:11-13). Unregenerate men may presume, but true faith they cannot have. Faith is a flower that grows not in the field of nature. As the tree cannot grow without a root, neither can a man believe without the new nature, whereof the principle of believing is a part. Without regeneration a man’s works are dead works. As is the principle, so must the effects be: if the lungs are rotten, the breath will be unsavoury; and he who at best is dead in sin, his works at best will be but dead works. “Unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, is nothing pure being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:15,16). If we could say of a man, that he is more blameless in his life than any other in the world, that he reduces his body with fasting and has made his knees as horns with continual praying, if he is not born again, that exception would mar all. As if one should say, “There is a well-proportioned body, but the soul is gone; it is but a dead lump.” This is a melting consideration. You do many things materially good; but God says, “All these things avail not, as long as I see the old nature reigning in the man,” “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Gal. 6:15).

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Thomas Boston – Am I Really a Christian?


Eight Doubts Answered

True Christians sometimes have serious doubts. Here are eight different kinds of doubts they sometimes have.

1. Not knowing exact time of conversion

I doubt I am really born again because I do not know the exact time of my conversion. Neither can I trace the steps that led me to becoming a Christian.

Answer: Though it is desirable to be able to describe the beginning of the Lord’s work in your life and the gradual growth you’ve enjoyed, this is not necessary to prove that you truly are a Christian. We must remember that the work of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. In the Gospel of John, we read about Jesus healing a blind man. This man simply said, “One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). When we see a flame, we know there is a fire, even if we don’t know how it began.

Even so, we can know we are Christians, even if we do not know how or when it all happened. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you repented from your sins? Has there been a change in your soul? Does your mind have light? Do you want to obey God in everything for the sake of Jesus, Who died on the cross? Do you love other believers? Do you flee from the evils in this wicked world? If you answer “yes” to such questions, then you do not need to trouble yourself with this doubt.

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Chad Ashby – How to Stop Flirting with Sin

Sometimes we get confused about the way salvation works.

Almost by accident, we can fall into a gospel that’s heavy on encouraging one another in God’s forgiveness and grace and mercy, but woefully light on warning one another of the dangers of diving headlong into sin. This kind of gospel has no word for the brother or sister who gives in to temptation over and over again — who “makes a practice of sinning” (1 John 3:8).

Over time, we avoid the Old Testament with all of its narratives of God’s judgment, cherry-pick through the sermons of Jesus and the letters of Paul, then skip passed the harsh warnings of Hebrews and James. We select only the passages that tell us of God’s love and forgiveness and joy. But are these warnings in Scripture not a part of God’s plan to save, too?

Let’s admit the hard truth: Many of us are failing in the fight against daily temptation.

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Michael Boling – Major Themes of John’s Gospel and Their Application


John provides the reader of his gospel with six major themes which, when understood within their context, have multifarious applications for the modern reader and to the body of Christ at large. The six major themes of the Gospel of John are God, the Christ, salvation, the Spirit, the new covenant community, and last things. Each has subsumed within it thematic elements which transcend John’s Gospel and which, perhaps more importantly, can be related to the holistic message revealed throughout Scripture.

Andreas Kostenberger avers that God as outlined in John is chiefly characterized by two overarching concepts: “the one who sent Jesus and as the Father of the Son” [1]. These conceptualizations of God are important to understand as the focus of John’s Gospel is relayed through the modality by which John presents God. The focus of John’s Gospel is not on God Himself, but instead on His Son. The Jewish people were cognizant of and had a devout belief in a monotheistic God. This is evidenced by the Shema, the chief prayer of Judaism and an “affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God” [2]. The purpose of John’s writing was not to develop additional theology concerning God. His purpose was to reveal, initially to the Diaspora Jews and Jewish proselytes and eventually to the world, that Jesus was the Messiah; a belief which unfortunately has largely not taken root among many Jews. Modern believers can take heart that Jesus took the form of man, experienced all the issues that humanity has to deal with on a daily basis and yet was still without sin. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins and thus has provided us with a modality by which we can have a relationship with God the Father. This is a message which the church today needs to explicate more than ever not only to the members of the congregation but to the world at large. Continue reading “Michael Boling – Major Themes of John’s Gospel and Their Application”

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Erroll Hulse – The Only Savior

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

This is an uncompromising, aggressive assertion by the apostle Peter before the leaders of Jerusalem, concerning their demand that he tell them by what power or name he had healed the man crippled from birth, a cripple who was a familiar figure because every day he had been placed at the gate called Beautiful.

Peter and John had been arrested and now stood before the rulers and elders of the people. Peter focused attention on Jesus and boldly declared that it was by His name that the miracle had been done. Those Jewish leaders were responsible for their part in His crucifixion. But He had been raised from the dead. Peter quotes Psalm 118:22-23 as finding fulfillment in Jesus. He was the stone they, the builders, had rejected. Now God had exalted Him to be the capstone.

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Michael Horton – Man

Secular humanism has no way of explaining either the greatness or the tragedy of human existence. However, the biblical story of creation and the fall provides the basis for affirming both human dignity and depravity. We are born into the world “in Adam,” that is, as glorious traitors.

Glorious in Every Way

God created us for His glory. We exist for Him, not He for us. And yet, unlike the rest of creation, we were created in God’s image for a special relationship with Him, naturally “endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image; having the law of God written in [our] hearts, and power to fulfill it” (Westminster Confession of Faith 4.2). According to Scripture, human beings are neither semi-divine nor demonic, but creatures who have been given a royal dignity as God’s viceroys.

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Lee Roy Shelton, Jr. – The Saving Work of the Holy Spirit

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” — John 16:8-11

1. Its Necessity

In prayer for the Holy Spirit’s leadership as to the need of our hearts, I have been impressed to give a series of messages on the theme: the saving work of the Holy Spirit, specifically, in the salvation of the saints. We find much spoken today about the Holy Spirit, much written about the Holy Spirit, and we hear of those — many in fact — who are seeking the Holy Spirit; but we see little of the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst — the true work, the primary work for which He was sent into the world: “To reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me [Christ]; of righteousness, because I [as the sinner’s perfect righteousness] go to my Father;…of judgment because the prince of this world [Satan] is judged” (John 16:8-11), as well as all those who are controlled by him.

To continue reading Lee Roy Shelton Jr.’s booklet, click here.

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