Ferrell Griswold – An Earnest Call To The Unsaved

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

CHRIST IS THE REDEEMER OF SINNERS! It is for their salvation He came into the world. For this purpose He left heaven, took upon Himself humanity, and suffered the deepest pain and humiliation. It was for this He went to the cross to die the death of deaths. For this He sits in glory at the Father’s right hand in power. Over the conversion of sinners the angels that surround His throne rejoice. It is for the conversion of sinners that His providence is directed—determining the circumstances that shall fall out unto these for the purpose of bringing them to the end of themselves that they might trust in Him alone for their salvation. His marvellous grace has this as its end. It was grace that moved the Father to choose some before the foundation of the world to be partakers of the benefits of Christ’s atonement. It was grace that moved the Son to become Surety and Mediator for these chosen of the Father, and to purchase their redemption by His perfect obedience to the law and cruel death on the cross. It is by grace that the Spirit comes in power to accompany the Gospel to call these who were chosen by the Father and redeemed by the Son unto spiritual life.

Before sinners will come to Christ for salvation they must be made to see their sinfulness and inability to save themselves. Only those who see their danger of perishing under the curse of sin will see their need of Christ. Only those who are convicted of their lost condition will ever seek mercy from God through Christ. For the purpose of showing sinners their need of redemption, and to drive them to reason with God as they are invited to do in the invitation contained in our text, the responsibility of the creature is laid before us in the context. Listen to these words from verse 16 & 17: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” The command here is far more than a call to outward reformation. God’s call in these verses is far deeper than to leave off certain sins that are outwardly committed by you. In these words the Lord is demanding of you perfection of nature, practice, and satisfaction to the demands of His justice. When He commands you to “make you clean,” it is a call to put away the original corruption of nature. When He calls you to “put away evil from before His eyes” it is a call to meet the holy requirements of His law—that He will not be able to behold any evil within you.

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Douglas Wilson – Psalm 85: The Kiss of Salvation

INTRODUCTION:

God puts sinners back together, and God in His mercy puts backsliders back together again. How He does this is truly remarkable, and as we enter into the spirit of this psalm we find ourselves right at the heart of the gospel.

THE TEXT:

“Lord, thou hast been Favourable unto thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, Thou hast covered all their sin. Selah…” (Ps. 85:1–13)

SUMMARY OF THE TEXT:

The text divides this way. The first three verses recall the Lord’s mercies to Israel in time past (vv. 1-3). In the next section, the psalmist pleads with God concerning Israel’s current afflictions (vv. 4-7). He pauses in the next verse to resolve that he will hear what the Lord says to him (v. 8). And then, in the conclusion of the psalm, he rejoices in the salvation that he knows is coming (vv. 9-13).

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A. W. Pink – Lost: The Real Condition of Human Beings

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“But if our gospel is hid — it is hid to those who are LOST! The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers!” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

What multitudes of people there are who have no concern over, in fact, no consciousness of, their woeful condition! While they do not regard themselves as perfect, yet they are not aware that there is anything seriously wrong with them. They are respectable people, law-abiding citizens, and nothing particular ever troubles their conscience. They consider that they are certainly no worse than their religious neighbors, and though they scarcely ever read the Bible or enter a church, they fully expect to go to Heaven when they die.

Some of them will indeed admit that they are sinners, but imagine that their good works far outnumber their bad ones. Some of them were sprinkled as infants, attended a Sunday school class as children, said their prayers each night, and later joined the church. Nevertheless, to this moment, they have never realized that they are the enemies of God, an abomination in the eyes of His holiness, and that Hell is their just deserts! They see no beauty or glory in the Gospel, no suitableness in it unto their case, and therefore do they despise and reject it.

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Jason Allen – 10 Tips for Leading Kids to Christ

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/lVCHfXn3VME

My greatest stewardship in life is not training a generation of students at Midwestern Seminary. It is training my five young children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I feel the weight — and glory — of this stewardship daily and find immeasurable fulfillment and joy as I see my children taking steps toward Christ.

I am sure many Christian parents feel the same way I do—awestruck by the opportunity and responsibility that is ours. In fact, my wife Karen and I are often asked about building a Christian home and rearing children who grow up to follow Christ. We will be the first to admit that we are far from accomplished. On the contrary, we just keep plugging away, seeking the Lord’s grace in our children’s lives, as in our own.

This is definitely not an article about “success, and how we have achieved it.” Rather, as the old adage goes, we are beggars telling other beggars where we have found some bread. If you are seeking to influence little ones toward Christ, you might find these ten tips helpful:

1. Remember, children do not have to become like adults to be saved; adults have to become like children. When Jesus made this point in Matt. 18, he was not referring to spiritual innocence. Rather, he commended a spirit of humility, dependence, and deference—virtues which are common in children and essential for whoever would follow Christ.

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Paul Helm – The Two Callings

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What made the difference? What explains the division between those who accept and those who reject the preaching of the good news? It is tempting to look for an explanation of the difference in the way we explain other differences between people, in terms of class, or occupation, or age or personality. But the evidence provided by the New Testament does not lend any support to such an approach, for an examination of the lives of those who became Christians reveals a great variety of backgrounds, not one common factor. Some Christians were rich (Luke 19:1-10) and some were poor (I Cor. 1:26). Some were free (Gal. 3:28), others were slaves (I Pet. 2:18). There were young and old, men and women, Jews and Gentiles. Besides, there is not the least suggestion that the apostles thought that their message was for a particular group or type, nor that they believed that what they said was tailored to be more acceptable to some than to others.

So what makes the difference? Why is it that some believe the good news and some do not? What explanation does Scripture itself offer?

Scripture teaches that besides the general ‘call’, the preaching of the gospel to all alike, there is a further ‘call’, a call from God which itself brings a response from those who are called, the response of repentance and faith in Christ and of sincere obedience to what God requires. Not all who are called are called in this sense. Not all who are called by the general preaching of the gospel are called by God in such a way as to ensure the appropriate response.

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David Hack and Jason Hauffe – Slaves of Christ

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When the New Testament writers describe salvation under the figure of being “redeemed,” they are borrowing a metaphor from the first-century practice of slavery. Christ purchased believers so that they can no longer claim to be their own (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Revelation 5:9.). As slaves of Christ, we identify Jesus as our Lord and Master (Romans 6:22; 10:9; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Peter 3:15).

A first-century slave belonged to his owner, lived as part of his master’s household, was equipped and trained to be used for the master’s purposes, and carried out the will of his lord alone. This is the way the New Testament exhorts believers to live and to think about themselves in the spiritual realm. In Romans 8:16, Paul teaches that everyone is a slave of the one whom we obey–either of God or of sin. This means that if we are not obeying God as His slaves, whatever we are doing, no matter how “good” that might be, it is sin, rebellion, and a misuse of the gift of righteousness and life and He has given us. Jesus taught that we can only serve one master, either money or God (Matthew 6:24; Luke16:13.). Peter tells us that since we were bought with such a costly price, we ought to live in obedience and fear the God who purchased us–the God and Father who will judge our every deed (1 Peter 1:17-19).

In the Scriptures, the most important example of a slave, however, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Philippians 2:5-8, the Apostle Paul charges believers to have the same “mind” as that of Christ Jesus who, even though He was equal with God, took the form of a bondservant and was obedient to God to the point of a shameful, torturous death on a cross. Given Christ’s example of obedience, there is nothing in Scripture that God commands us to do or to relinquish that we could ever deem to be too much. We have our redeemed lives on this earth to learn to follow Him in obedience as we press on to glory.

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Richard Phillips – He Came to Save Sinners

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There are times when we have to seize the moment. In football, the quarterback sees his wide receiver breaking free from the defenders and knows that the time has come to throw the ball. In romance, a young man reaches for a phone to ask a pretty girl out for dinner, knowing that the opportunity will never come again. The same is true in evangelism. God presents us with opportunities to point others to Jesus, and it is important that we know what to say when those opportunities arise.

I had this experience recently while sharing the gospel in a small town outside Kampala, Uganda. Several Ugandan Christians and I were walking through an impoverished neighborhood when we came across a group of women boiling stew on their porch. When we approached, they invited us inside their home. In some ways, it was a difficult situation. The women, along with a couple of men inside, were Muslims. Only one of them spoke English, so I had to speak with them through an interpreter. But when we brought up Jesus Christ, they were eager to talk and asked many questions. How important it was that I was able to share briefly and clearly who Jesus is and what He did for our salvation. God blessed that conversation, and it resulted in six Muslims professing faith in Jesus Christ.

Even more dramatic was the opportunity presented to John the Baptist when Jesus returned to the area where John was preaching. John had spoken of One greater than himself who would come, and now here He was. Seizing the moment, John cried out, “There He is!” As part of this important witness, John made clear and essential statements about Jesus’ person and work, statements that make up Christianity’s essential message of hope to the world. We need to be able to make such statements if we are to present the gospel’s message of hope.

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A. W. Pink – Doctrine of the New Birth

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The subject of the believer’s salvation needs to be considered from two viewpoints — the divine and the human. God’s work is to regenerate, to justify, to sanctify, and ultimately to glorify. Our responsibility is to repent, to believe, and do good works.

Regeneration is solely the work of God and man has no part or lot in it. This from the very nature of the case. Regeneration is termed a new birth, or birth from above (Joh 3:3), and birth excludes altogether any effort or work on the part of the individual who is born. Personally, we have no more to do with our spiritual birth than we had with our physical. Again, regeneration is likened unto a spiritual resurrection (Eph 2:1; Joh 5:24). Clearly, resurrection is outside man’s province. No corpse can quicken itself. No man and no number of men can reanimate a dead body. Only the living God can speak the word which will call forth a Lazarus from the tomb; and He alone can quicken into newness of life one who, spiritually, is dead in trespasses and sins. Once more, regeneration is denominated a new creation (2Co 5:17; Gal 6:15). Here again we enter God’s domain. He alone can bring into being that which previously had no existence. We repeat, regeneration is solely the work of God, and man has no part or hand in it.

Because regeneration is the work of God it is a miraculous thing. The new birth is no mere outward reformation, no mere turning over a new leaf and endeavoring to live a better life. The new birth is very much more than going forward and taking the preacher’s hand. The new birth is a supernatural operation of God upon man’s spirit. It is a transcendent wonder. All God’s works are wonderful. Physical birth is a marvel. The world in which we live is filled with things that amaze us. But from several standpoints the new birth is more remarkable still. It is a marvel of divine grace. It is a marvel of divine wisdom. It is a marvel of divine beauty. It will prove an eternal marvel, for it is a miracle performed upon and within ourselves, and of which we are personally cognizant. It is a miracle which is being repeated all around us every day.

Because regeneration is the work of God it is a mysterious thing. All God’s works are shrouded in impenetrable mystery. Life, natural life, in its origin, its nature, its process, baffles the most careful investigator. Much more is this the case with spiritual life. The Existence and Being of God transcend the finite grasp. How then can we expect to be able to understand the process by which we become His children? Our Lord, Himself, declared that the new birth was a thing of mystery: “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (Joh 3:8). The wind is something about which the most learned scientists know next to nothing. Its nature, the laws which govern it, its causation, all lie beyond the purview of human inquiry. So it is with the new birth. It is profoundly mysterious.

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Archibald Alexander – Sinners Welcome to Come to Jesus Christ

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Our blessed Lord knew how prone convinced sinners are to unbelief as it regards the reception which he is disposed to give them if they come to him, and therefore he graciously uttered, and has left on record this precious encouragement, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” No, though your sins are very great, the kind Redeemer will not cast you out; even if that were true which you sometimes think, that you are the greatest sinner who ever lived upon earth, he will not cast you out. “His blood cleanseth from all sin.” It is as easy for him to save a great as a small sinner. No one was ever saved because his sins were small; no one was ever rejected on account of the greatness of his sins. Where sin abounded, grace shall much more abound. If your guilt is very enormous, the greater honor will redound to that Deliverer who plucks such a brand from the burning. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

But is there not one sin which never has pardon, neither in this world nor in that which is to come? There is; but no one who committed that sin ever desires to come to Christ; and even that sin world not be unpardonable, if the sinner who is burdened with its guilt should come to him. It is not unpardonable because the blood of Christ has not adequate efficacy to remove it, but because the miserable blasphemer is abandoned by the Spirit of God to his own malignity, and therefore never does nor can desire to believe on Christ.

Christ will not cast you off because you have long continued to sin against God, though it be even to gray hairs and the decrepitude of old age. It is indeed a wicked thing to continue one day in rebellion against the King of heaven; and no one can calculate the debt of guilt incurred by spending a long life in continued acts of transgression. But however long you may have continued in rebellion, and how ever black and long the catalog of your sins, yet if you will now turn to God by a sincere repentance, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall not be cast out. He that cannot lie hath declared, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” I heard a preacher declare from the pulpit that there was no example in the Bible of anyone being converted in old age; but he was undoubtedly under a mistake. Was not Manasseh, one of the wickedest men who ever lived, brought to repentance in old age? The ages of those converted on the day Pentecost and at other times are not given. It is enough for us to know that the aged no more than the young are excluded from the free invitations of the blessed Savior. He invites all the laboring and heavy-laden, and of course those who are burdened with the infirmities of declining years as well as of unnumbered sins.

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

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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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