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A Good Point of My Job (Intercession)

Paul urged us in 1 Timothy 2:1-7 to pray for all people and specifically because He desires to save all people (v.4). In view of this, one point of my job (driving a truck) is that I pass through many towns and cities.  When I do this, I pray for these towns.  I pray that God will glorify His name in these towns and that He would send forth His gospel that saves sinners.  I pray for God to raise up Spirit-filled evangelists who will preach His Word and declare His truth to a lost generation.  I hunger for God to glorify His name in the midst of these towns.

How wonderful it is to pray for the lost.  We have the assurance of God’s Word that He hears our cries (Hebrews 4:14-16).  We have a Father in heaven who loves us and has demonstrated His love toward us by sending His Son to bear our sins and save us from the wrath to come (Romans 5:8-9).  In light of the gospel, I pray through the gospel for the lost to be saved (Romans 10:1).

I urge you all, if you are saved through grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7) to pray for the lost.  Pray for your family members, co-workers, friends, classmates, and even strangers to be saved.  This is good and pleasing in the eyes of God.

Charles Spurgeon said,

“If we cannot prevail with men for God, we will, at least, endeavor to prevail with God for men. We cannot save them, or even persuade them to be saved, but we can at least bewail their madness and entreat the interference of the Lord. Like Jeremiah, we can make it our resolve, ‘If ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride, and mine eye shall weep sore and run down with tears.’ To such pathetic appeals the Lord’s heart can never be indifferent; in due time the weeping intercessor will become the rejoicing winner of souls.”

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/12/2013 at 6:57 AM

Charles Spurgeon on the Qualifications of an Open Air Preacher

I found the following qualifications from Charles Spurgeon on open air preachers to be interesting.  May God grant us servants of the King who display such a calling to take the gospel to the highways and by-ways (Mark 16:15).

QUALIFICATIONS FOR OPEN-AIR PREACHERS

1.  A good voice.
2.  Naturalness of manner.
3.  Self-possession.
4.  A good knowledge of Scripture and of common things.
5.  Ability to adapt himself to any congregation.
6.  Good illustrative powers.
7.  Zeal, prudence, and common sense.
8.  A large, loving heart.
9.  Sincere belief in all he says.
10.  Entire dependence on the Holy Spirit for success.
11.  A close walk with God by prayer.
12.  A consistent walk before men by a holy life.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/19/2013 at 11:43 AM

Looking to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Today was just a bad day.  If it could go wrong, it did.  I drive a truck for a living and was broke down for over 9 hours.  Then I drove a man’s care back to my work after he came to take over the route for me only to break down in his car with a dead battery.  What should have been a relative easy day turned into one of those bad days.

In comparison, I know there are many more worst things that could have happen.  One man (not a believer by the way) replied to me, “Hey, it could have been worst.  You could have been killed in the truck.”  That put my day into perspective.

Forgive me for my complaining (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Today was one of those days where I just didn’t “feel” saved.  It wasn’t that I was seeking to grieve the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30) but I just wasn’t feeling too sanctified today.  I wanted to just go home and do nothing.  I didn’t want to read my Bible.  I didn’t want to pray.  I didn’t want to do anything.  I just wanted to sit.

Thankfully I have a faithful high priest who understands my struggles (Hebrews 4:14-16).  The more I walk with Jesus the more I realize that I need His grace each and every day.  I need Him to help me live a holy life (Hebrews 12:14).  I need His grace to help me to be a faithful witness for His glory and honor (Titus 2:11-14).  I need His grace to help me when I fall short of the glory of God (Hebrews 7:25; 9:14).  My salvation is based on the work of Jesus and by grace through faith I am saved (Acts 15:11; Ephesians 2:8-9).  This grace is at work in my life to stand firm for the gospel in spite of my flesh, the world, or the devil.  God’s grace is there to help me be more like Christ (Romans 6:1-23).  That is my heart’s cry.  I hate my sins.  I despise my flesh and my laziness.  I long to honor the  Lord Jesus in all that I say or do (Colossians 3:17) but I do fall short of His perfection (Mark 12:29-31).

The cure for all this is to keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).  1 John 1:7 speaks of this daily cleansing like this:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

The Greek tense of 1 John 1:7 is such that this cleansing is not just a one time cleansing but an ongoing cleansing.  The blood of Jesus cleanses me and continues to cleanse me.  He is making me holy by His grace (Hebrews 10:10, 14; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  I hear His call to holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) and I long to be pure and holy.  While I do fall short (James 3:2), His grace is there to help me get up and continue to strive for holiness.

Praise God for His enabling and powerful grace!

For more on this I recommend the book by Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace.  

What I Have Never Heard

Let me begin with a few quotes from Charles Spurgeon about Arminianism from the book Through The Eyes of C.H. Spurgeon by Stephen McCaskell:

I believe it is a mistake about God himself which has been the root and foundation of all the mistakes in theology.  Our conviction is, that Arminian theology, to a great extent, makes God to be less than he is.  (From Spurgeon’s sermon, Even So, Father, #394).

The basis and groundwork of Arminian theology lies in attaching undue importance to man, and giving God rather the second place than the first. (The Infallibility of God’s Purpose, #406).

I believe that very much of current Arminianism is simply ignorance of gospel doctrine; and if people began to study their Bibles, and to take the Word of God as they find it, they must inevitably, if believers, rise up to rejoice in the doctrines of grace. (Knowledge Commended, #609).

I have heard these arguments above before.  Spurgeon believes, as many Calvinists do, that Calvinism exalts God while Arminianism exalts mankind.  His final point there is that true believers who truly study the Bible will no doubt be Calvinists for, in his mind, Calvinism is all in the Bible.

Ironically I have been saved for over 20 years and have always attended Arminian churches.  In all my years, I have never heard or seen what Spurgeon states in deed or practice (other than prayerlessness which plagues both Arminians and Calvinists churches).   I have never heard an Arminian believer state the following:

  • “I saved myself”
  • “I worked with God to be saved”
  • “God saved me but I am saving myself now”
  • “I was saved by God’s grace but I am kept by my works”
  • “I am so thankful for my own free will that I was able to choose Jesus and be saved”
  • “I exalt me!  I exalt me!”

I have never heard any of that.  Every sermon I have heard, every evangelistic message I have ever heard, every time I have gone out witnessing with other Arminians, I have never heard any of that.  The Calvinist will reply, “Oh you might not hear it but you imply it with your lives by your works.”  Really?  How does good works among Arminians differ with good works among Calvinists?  I go witnessing from time to time with Calvinists.  Is my motivation any different from theirs?  The Calvinist might reply, “Yes because they are going for the glory of God but you are going for your own glory.”  This would be nothing but pure judgment based on a theological bias and not truth.  Only God truly knows a heart (2 Timothy 2:19).

Arminianism is a theology of grace.  Only ignorance (with apologies to Spurgeon above) would lead someone to read the works of Arminius and conclude that he teaches what Spurgeon states above.  I am currently reading Keith Stanglin and Thomas McCall’s excellent book, Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace, and what a solid work.  It shows that Arminius was much in line with the Reformers in his view of salvation and the grace of God in salvation.  Arminius’ focus was completely upon God and looking to Jesus alone to save us from our sins.  While Arminius did teach an unlimited atonement, he did so because of Scripture and his view of God and not beginning with mankind.  It is wrong to teach that Arminianism is based first and foremost on mankind when in fact Arminius exalts Christ as the Savior of the world (John 1:29) as the beginning point of his theology.

I disagree also with Spurgeon’s last point.  I believe that if you hand a person a Bible who just was saved, they will not come back believing in Calvinism.  They will come back believing that Jesus shed His blood for all, that all can be saved through faith in Christ, that Jesus is worthy of worship, etc. but the “doctrines of grace” have to be taught to them.  Who can read John 3:16 or 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and walk away saying “all” doesn’t mean all?  One has to be taught that all doesn’t mean all.

I will admit that much ignorance abounds on both sides.  We are both guilty of misunderstanding each other in the Arminian-Calvinist debate.  In most cases, it is that we only tend to read what we agree with.  I would admit that I would rather read an Arminian theological work than a Calvinist work.  But that only leads to me seeing everything through my Arminianism.  We all come to the Bible with our differences and we all tend to see what we want to see.  May God help us to still love one another (and I do love Spurgeon and even named my second child after him) while not agreeing with each other (John 13:34-35).  Let us agree first and foremost that we are both saved through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-27) and then let us debate the passages from a heart of love and not ignorance toward each other.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/23/2013 at 11:00 AM

Charles Spurgeon on How Sin Shows our Hearts

Here is a great quote from Charles Spurgeon on how sin shows our hearts.  Spurgeon said,

Ah, my friends, those men that say little sins have no vice in them whatever, they do but give indications of their own character; they show which way the stream runs. A straw may let you know which way the wind blows, or even a floating feather; and so may some little sin be an indication of the prevailing tendency of the heart. My hearer, if thou lovest sin, though it be but a little one, thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Thou art still a stranger to divine grace. The wrath of God abideth on thee. Thou art a lost soul unless God change thy heart.

True words indeed.  If a person loves sin, though it be but a little one says Spurgeon, your heart is not right in the sight of God.  You are still a stranger to divine grace and the wrath of God abides on you.  You are a lost soul and need God to transform your heart.  1 John 3:4-10 is clear that the righteous saint of God does not abide in sin.  Any theology that comforts your sins is not from God.  Jesus came to deliver us from sin (John 8:31-38) and His very name means salvation (Matthew 1:21).  He makes us new creations in Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we do not go on sinning (1 John 2:1-2).  We look to Jesus for our salvation, for His intercession (Hebrews 7:25) and for Him to help us escape the temptations of this world and the flesh (1 Corinthians 10:13).  There is no sin that is greater than Jesus and He is able to save us from it.

Friend, what sin do you love more than Jesus?  What sin do you want to hold on to that you will not let go.  That sin will damn you.  You’ll love that sin, cherish that sin, and that sin will become your god.  Sin destroys (Romans 6:23).  Always has and always will until Jesus comes and ends this all.  Sin is what keeps us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and sin is what keeps us from salvation (Acts 2:38).  We must hate sin in all its forms whether “small” sins or big.  We must hate all sin.  We must pray for the Holy Spirit to help us to be holy (Galatians 5:16-17) and to avoid sinning (1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).  We must despise all sin and love holiness (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).  Jesus said that the pure in heart would see God (Matthew 5:8).

Is your heart pure before God (1 John 1:7)?

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/14/2013 at 6:38 PM

Spurgeon’s Warning on Entertainment

Charles Spurgeon wrote the following about the lure of entertainment among the Christians of his day.  Sadly we read his words and we think him too hard, too legalistic.  The modern church is so engrossed with entertainment.  We will come to church meetings if they are fun to us, if they benefit us.  We avoid prayer meetings because oh the boredom.  Too much on TV.  Too much fun playing games on my iPod.  I’ve got more important things to do than to seek God.  I must be entertained.  I pray that we read these words are remember that if your church is “winning” people through gimmicks and through the show you call church services, that is what you win them to.  We are not winning the masses to Christ but to the god of fun.  We are not taking people deep into the heart of God by studying His Word and teaching people how to pray.  With this is gone the passion for Jesus, the loss of zeal for the kingdom of Christ, and no passion for the lost.  Who cares about the sinner going to hell when our favorite program is coming on at 8 PM?  We have time to waste on the Internet but we have no time to pray?

Let us weep with Spurgeon’s words:

If our church members fall into the habit of frequenting the theatre, we shall soon have them going much further in the direction of vice, and they will lose all relish for the ways of God. If theatre-going became general among professing Christians, it would be the death of piety. Yet one finds the taste for such things increasing on every hand.

We cannot even enter places once dedicated to science and art without finding ourselves in the presence of something like a theatrical performance. Such gimmickry, though in itself harmless enough, has helped foster the taste which leads ultimately to the theatre and its surroundings.

Who can suppose amusements surrounded with the seductions of vice to be fit recreation for a pure mind? Who could draw near to God after sitting to admire the performances of the debauched (and I am told that some who have dazzled London society are such)?

When behaviour is growing every day more lax and licentious, shall believers lower the standard of their lives? If they do so their spiritual power will depart, and their reason for existence will be over. If there ever could be a time when Christians might relax their rigidity, it surely is not now when the very air is tainted with pollution, and when our streets ring with the newsboys’ cries vending filthy papers.

It is profoundly saddening to hear how people talk about acts of sin nowadays; how young men and women without blushing talk of deeds which deprave and destroy, as though they were trifles, or themes for joking. It is a great pity that the ends of justice should require the publishing of unsavoury details. As for those who not only commit lewdness, but who take pleasure in those who do it—”O my soul, come not thou into their secret.” My heart often cries, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.”

It will certainly be disastrous for the church of God if her members should become impure. In these days we must be doubly strict, lest any looseness of conduct should come in among us. Actual sin must be repressed with a strong hand, but even the appearance of evil must be avoided.

My dear brethren and sisters, whatever your deficiencies, be pure in heart and lip and life. Never indulge an evil imagination, or speak about things which are unclean. Let them not once be named among you, as becometh saints. A lascivious glance, a doubtful word, a questionable act must be strenuously avoided. Anything and everything that verges upon the unchaste must be rejected.

Only the pure in heart shall see God. We are all subject to human passions, and this wretched flesh of ours is too easily fascinated by those who would pander to its indulgences. In seconds the soul may be led into captivity. Watch unto prayer, especially in these evil days. Cry, “Lead us not into temptation,” and if the prayer is sincere, you will also keep far from doubtful places. Make a covenant with your eyes that you will not look upon that which pollutes, and stop your ears from hearing about it. Watch your lips lest they spread corruption when speaking of sin. I am not afraid that you will step directly into gross sin, but that you may take a very small step on the road that leads to it. Then it will only be a matter of time.

Augustine tells a story of a young friend of his who had the greatest horror of everything connected with the Roman amphitheatre. A heathen friend tried to persuade him to enter the Colosseum, and as he was very hard pressed and was under some obligation to that friend, he agreed to go just once, but determined to keep his eyes and ears closed all the time. It would seem to be a very small risk to sit there as one who was blind and deaf, but in the middle of the sports the people so loudly applauded a certain gladiator who had pleased them that he opened his eyes and ears to discover what it was all about. From that moment he was spellbound; he looked on, and enjoyed the sight, and though before he could not bear the very mention of it, he came at last to be a regular frequenter of the cruel sports, and a defender of them, and after a short time he abandoned his profession of Christianity.

Beware of the leaven of worldly pleasure, for its working is silent but sure, and a little of it will leaven the whole lump. Keep up the distinction between a Christian and an unbeliever and make it clearer every day.

Oh come out from among them church!  2 Corinthians 6:16-17 (KJV) reads:

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/05/2013 at 5:20 PM

Spurgeon on Prevenient Grace

I found the following quotes interesting from Charles Spurgeon on prevenient grace.  His statements are akin to what we Arminians believe about the prevenient grace of God that enables sinful humanity to be saved despite our total inability to save ourselves.  He states in his sermon (#656) on this subject:

Now let me show you how God’s grace does come to work on the human heart so as to make it good soil before the living seed is cast into it, so that before quickening grace really visits it the heart may be called a good heart, because it is prepared to receive that grace.

I think this takes place thus: first of all, before quickening grace comes, God often gives an attentive ear, and makes a man willing to listen to the Word. Not only does he like to listen to it, but he wants to know the meaning of it; there is a little excitement in his mind to know what the gospel tidings really are. He is not saved as yet, but it is always a hopeful sign when a man is willing to listen to the truth, and is anxious to understand it. This is one thing which prevenient grace does in making the soul good.

In Ezekiel’s vision, as you will recollect, before the breath came from the four winds the bones began to stir, and they came together bone to his bone. So, before the Spirit of God comes to a man in effectual calling, God’s grace often comes to make a stir in the man’s mind, so that he is no longer indifferent to the truth, but is anxious to understand what it means.

With the exception of effectual calling here, the Arminian finds comfort in Spurgeon’s words about the prevenient grace of God.  Spurgeon, in his sermon on the warrant of faith, states:

“If I am to preach faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then the man, being regenerated, is saved already, and it is an unnecessary and ridiculous thing for me to preach Christ to him, and bid him to believe in order to be saved when he is saved already, being regenerate.”

There is no doubt that Spurgeon was a Calvinist.  He stated so himself.  I have read enough of Spurgeon to know that he was a Calvinist but he was not consistent with his Calvinism.  For instance, Spurgeon disagreed with the Calvinists of his day over the free offer of the gospel and he used “Arminian” texts to teach that it is the duty of the Church to preach the gospel to all and to call all to repentance.  Spurgeon battled the hyper-Calvinists of his day (and rightfully so) with a passion to preach the gospel to all and to call all to salvation.  Spurgeon was firm in his view regarding unconditional election but I believed he erred in his approach to evangelism by seeking to argue that God made a bona fide call to salvation to all.  This is simply untrue if God has elected a few to salvation while reprobating the majority.

Yet Spurgeon was correct to argue for a universal call to salvation and he was correct in his views regarding regeneration, that faith leads to salvation and not to the false teaching that God must first regenerate a person in order for them to exercise the gift of faith.  This view is based on Calvinistic assumptions rather than Scripture and Spurgeon was quick to point that out it seems.

For more information, I recommend the article by Bob Ross on regeneration in which he shows Spurgeon’s views regarding this issue.  You can find it here.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/18/2013 at 10:04 AM

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