Tag Archives: The Gospel

The Cross “✟” or the cross “❌”

I am saddened…..No grieved to see just how many “professing Christians” have filled Facebook, Twitter and the rest with endless ramblings on where we need to put the cross “❌” on our ballot papers, Without mention of THE CROSS “✟” on which our whole Salvation and Hope is vital!

Have we really elevated politics to a Saviour level?

We are living in a day when the message of the church is changing. Churches, and even whole denominations, are moving away from the old message of salvation through the blood of Jesus, and are moving toward a message of salvation through social activism and good works. The old bloody message of the cross is quickly being replaced by a bloodless message that lacks power and that lacks hope. Instead of hearing the devastating, but life changing news that men are sinners, people hear a message that tells them, “I’m OK and you’re OK!”

When the Apostle Paul went to the great and intellectual Grecian city of Corinth, he said, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). When Paul described what his message was, he said, “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).

The Christian looks beyond this dying world to his eternal home in glory. The cross of Jesus enables him to soar on high, and leave the world behind him. He looks forward to the glory that is to be revealed in him. He sets his affections on things above. Oh, keep gazing on a crucified Savior, and the world will lose its charms. “Be of good cheer,” says Christ, “I have overcome the world.” We also shall overcome it, through his cross. It is a sight of the cross of Christ that weans the affections from sublunary objects, and centers them on heavenly and divine things. In this wicked world, the Christian thirsts for God, and pants to reach the mansions of glory.

O that every reader would imbibe the spirit of Paul, and boast only in the cross of Christ! The cross of Christ is the Christian’s boast. In every age this has been his song. Every true believer glories in Christ and him crucified. A ray of heavenly light from the cross beams on his soul, filling it with joy unspeakable and full of glory; enabling him to sing in the ways of the Lord and boast in the rock of his salvation. He sees the moral grandeur of the cross; its attractiveness; its dazzling glory. He is thus led to place all his hopes in the cross of the Man of Calvary, and to glory, before an ungodly world, in that atonement made by the blood of Jesus.

“Far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

The Power In The Scriptures

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

The Unfaithful Preacher

The unfaithful preacher

(David Porter, “The Nature and Power of Truth“)

Ministers of the gospel hold a place of immense responsibility to God and the souls of men. If they suppress the truth as it is in Jesus, for fear of offending their hearers; if they substitute laxness of principle, for the doctrines of the cross; dry external morality for practical godliness–they do it at an awful peril. They are not placed on Jerusalem’s wall to amuse the multitude with a mock religion in human attire. They are not sent forth to fabricate new theories, or gloss the truth, to render it less offensive to the carnal heart. For no such end was the Christian ministry instituted. The gospel heralds are not at liberty thus to aspire. They are ambassadors from God to deliver His message in its true spirit and genuine simplicity. If they depart from this, through cowardice or thirst for popular applause, they are no longer ambassadors of Christ–but traitors to His cause. And can there be a higher crime committed against the Supreme Majesty, than coming out under a cloak of friendship for Christ–and then aiming destruction at His throne? Verily God will not hold them guiltless. Such treachery will not escape with impunity!

And with what face will the unfaithful preacher meet his hearers at the judgment bar? He had taught his hearers–but had taught them to disbelieve. He had confirmed them in their guilt–by refusing to expose it. He had blinded their eyes about God–by keeping His character out of sight. He had feasted their pride–when they needed humbling. He had pleased their fancies–at the expense of their souls. He had inflated them with expectations of heaven–when on the brink of destruction; and closed their eyes, giving them God-speed with a lie in their right hand! And how is he to settle this account on the day of final reckoning! How is he to clear himself from the blood of souls!

With what will he frame his plea in self-defense, against his flock thus accusing and upbraiding him? “We were your flock–and you were our shepherd. With you were the treasures of knowledge and truth. And why did you withhold from us the message you were sent to deliver? We are undone forever through your unfaithfulness. You never taught us the character of our Judge–nor the truth of his Word. The doctrines you taught us to despise–we find to be the truth of God. You allowed us to sport with His sovereignty and decrees, and in this, you did awfully deceive us. You reproved us politely for disgraceful crimes, but never described to us the sin of our nature. When we were sometimes alarmed at our state and prospects, you hushed our fears by crying, ‘peace, peace’, whereas God had said, there is no peace to the wicked!” How overwhelmed with guilt and horror, will such preachers be with their deceived hearers–on the great day of account!

A Caged Lion

“The gospel is like a caged lion,’ said the great baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. ‘It does not need to be defended, it simply needs to be let out of it’s cage’ Today, the cage is our accommodation to the secular/sacred split that reduces Christianity to a matter of personal belief. To unlock the cage, we need to become utterly convinced that, as Francis Schaeffer said, Christianity is not merely religious truth, it is total truth- truth about the whole of reality.”

Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #25 ~ Christ’s Pursuit

“Christianity does not begin with our pursuit of Christ, but with Christ’s pursuit of us. Christianity does not start with an invitation we offer to Jesus, but with an invitation Jesus offers to us.”

David Platt, Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.

Man-Made Ministers!

🤔My Thoughts… 

Wow…Spurgeon, the prince of preachers really doesn’t mess about!

Man-made ministers!

From Spurgeon’s, “The Two Effects of the Gospel”

The ministry has been very often degraded into a ‘trade’.

They are ‘selected by man’, they are crammed with literature; they are educated up to a certain point; they are turned out ready dressed; and persons call them ‘ministers’.

I wish them all God-speed, every one of them; for as good Joseph Irons used to say, “God be with many of them, if it be only to make them hold their tongues.”

Man-made ministers are of no use in this world, and the sooner we get rid of them the better.

🎄10 Questions to Ask at a Christmas Gathering 🎄

🤔My Thoughts… 

After reading this interesting post , i thought it would be a nice idea to ask you(the reader) to take on 1,2 or more of these questions and post the questions & answers in the comments below. I’d love to hear a little more about you. I’m off now to think about how i would answer these questions! 😀 

10 Questions to Ask at a Christmas Gathering
(Don Whitney)

Many of us struggle to make conversation at Christmas gatherings, whether church events, work-related parties, neighborhood drop-ins, or annual family occasions. Sometimes our difficulty lies in having to chat with people we rarely see or have never met.

At other times we simply don’t know what to say to those with whom we feel little in common. Moreover, as Christians we want to take advantage of the special opportunities provided by the Christmas season to share our faith, but are often unsure how to begin.

Here’s a list of questions designed not only to kindle a conversation in almost any Christmas situation, but also to take the dialog gradually to a deeper level. Use them in a private conversation or as a group exercise, with believers or unbelievers, with strangers or with family.

1. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?

2. When was your best Christmas ever? Why?

3. What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

4. What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever given?

5. What was your favorite Christmas tradition as a child?

6. What is your favorite Christmas tradition now?

7. What do you do to try to keep Christ in Christmas?

8. Why do you think people started celebrating the birth of Jesus?

9. Do you think the birth of Jesus deserves such a worldwide celebration?

10. Why do you think Jesus came to earth?

Of course, remember to pray before your Christmas gatherings. Ask the Lord to grant you “divine appointments,” to guide your conversations, and to open doors for the gospel. May He use you to bring glory to Christ this Christmas.

Such weather vane preachers are worthless!

Such weather vane preachers are worthless!

A weather vane preacher is any preacher who changes what he preaches or how he preaches when the wind changes direction. The preacher who alters his message or his method because of the ever-changing advice, counsel, and opinions of men is not a leader, but a follower. Such weather vane preachers are worthless! They only do harm to the souls of men, and they need not preach at all. True, gospel preachers are pillars in the church of God — not puppets in the hands of men.

“On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths!” 2 Timothy 4:2-4

(Frank Hall)

Preach till our tongues rot

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“The gospel is preached in the ears of all men; it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it could consists of the wisdom of men. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were mysterious power going with it – the Holy Ghost changing the will of man. O Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Ghost be with the word, to give it power to convert the soul.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Cheapening the Gospel

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“In an effort to gain “converts,” Christians often refrain from telling the full story. We want people to follow, so like cheap salesmen, we share the benefits without explaining the cost. We tell them about Jesus’ promises of life and forgiveness, but we don’t mention His calls for repentance and obedience. We avoid His promise that we will experience persecution. When we do this, we cheapen the gospel.”

Francis Chan, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity

Saviour, Sobbing & Sharing my Testimony ~ Amazing Grace

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I was asked by our Minister Nik if i would share my Testimony in yesterdays parade service. The theme was ‘Faith through Adversity’, Nik said “i can ask you some straight forward questions, it will only take about 5 minutes(or so we thought)” “Yeah, ok, if you think it will help?”.

Sunday 8th May 2016…

Walking into the church building Sunday morning, it was quite full, as it was parade service, the scouts and other uniformed groups were there, but Nik found us seats at the front, then showed me up the steps and where i’d stand to speak, after testing the microphone i remembered the steps and sat back down. 

As i’m blind, i can’t use any notes, so i spent a little time trying to etch some answer headings into my mind, hoping i’d not veer too far off track. I then prayed that i’d use this time to Glorify Him, as i talked about the Truth that sets us free, and how i’m not ashamed of the Gospel, it’s the power of God unto Salvation to all who believe…please make it real(be careful praying this).

It;s time…

Steve, we are looking at people who have showed faith in difficult circumstances and I have asked you to share some of your story with us.

Many people here, even those who have seen you around at various church events may not know that you are blind.

My Testimony…

Nik stood next to me at the microphone and started with the first 2 questions:

Have you always been blind? How and when did you loose your sight?

I explained i’d been fully sighted until i was 24, and after 2 brain haemorrhages(March 2000) that burst my optic nerve, i’m now registered blind and have Severe Hypertensive Retinopathy.

“How did that change your life?”

I said “I can only scratch the surface this morning, but if ever you see me walking around here or in town, please ask me anything. But now i’ll try and sketch you a quick picture and give you a flavour of what happened…”

“I went to the gym 6-7 days a week, played football most evenings and was quite violent, acting the tough guy.  I wasn’t a Christian, i hadn’t been born again, or even been inside a church building…so… as i stepped out of the eye consultants office after being told i’d be blind for the rest of my life, i collapsed on the floor crying out….and this was the easy bit”.

“Following this was pure isolation… all my football mates left me, i lost my job, my car…everything, i was completely broken, and on top of that i was left to my acusing thoughts “Nobody wants you, you’re useless now, unwanted, rejected, unloved and unlovable!!”

Suddenly…

It was about this time where my mouth was silenced, an image of Jesus in Glory(Revelation 1) filled my mind, it was so clear(not blurred by my blindness) I could see His flaming eyes of judgment…then…the image changed, it was Jesus on the cross, now His eyes were filled with Mercy, Compassion & Grace, and while looking down straight at me he said “I did this for you, so that you can live. I…LOVE…YOU!!!

I started sobbing uncontrollably…i’d never sobbed like this in my entire life, and it took a couple of minutes for me to try and start talking again….but more sobbing…i was completely undone.

I knew He’d given His life so i could live. He’d come down so far to save me it is immeasurable. His blood washed me clean, white as snow. He’s forgiven me all my sins, past, present and future, and there is no more condemnation for me(or you), it is finished!

I’d been  praying for so long for God to “Break my heart for what broke His” and sang the songs many times, but never had i caught a glimpse of the true cost of His Love, and His free gift of Grace to those who Repent and Believe in Him. I knew He wanted me to share the True Gospel to people listening(and now reading), as it alone is the only Hope. It is the Power of God unto Salvation for anyone that believes.

Still sobbing, i continued…

My every word was a different pitch but i said “My pit was so dark, my accusing thoughts were too heavy, and this led to a daily cycle of waking up and trying to kill myself…failing, which made me feel worse…then drinking so much i could drown them out for the rest of the day, until i woke the next day, then it started again. 

I didn’t have the strength to kill myself, and i didn’t have the strength to live…i was without God, and without Hope!

Nik, who’s hand was rested on my shoulder asked question 4 “I know you were deeply unhappy at the time, what changed that?”

The world followed it’s pattern and sent me to Counselling, then Psychotherapy & finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they didn’t work, they all had no answer for me, they couldn’t reach far enough down to pull me out. I needed a Saviour, I needed the light of the Gospel! 

The Good News & Lovely Sarah

Meeting Sarah changed my life! I have no idea how she’s put up with me. She’s  been so patient and long suffering as i tried attacking her Faith and this Jesus! But she kept on loving me. Sarah always seemed to have a rock she was standing on no matter how bad things got for her, she always had this Blessed Hope that i didn’t,

Jesus worked through Sarah to shine the light of the Gospel, the Good News i was dying for.

Words failed me as i was trying to describe how much i love Sarah, so when my mind filled with thoughts of how far we’ve grown together in love…i broke down again. 

The sobbing was still making me pause every few words, but mentioned Jesus doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but he pursues you, He has come to seek and save that which is lost. He loves you and no matter how bad or hopeless you think you are, He’ll keep coming with His free gift of Salvation!

Nik asked Question 5 “some people would say that your life must be worse now, would you agree with them?”

I’d gone way over my time slot, and i was almost pulled away from the mic as i was so overwhelmed…BUT i knew these tears were not about me, or my losses. I had 1 focus and that was to share the Truth that sets us free. I had no feeling of sorrow or pain. I knew it must have seemed like this to the congregation, and i thought they’d stick me in a counselling room when i’d finished!

The Holy Spirit was filling me like never before, and made the Power of the Gospel so real to me i almost exploded.

I continued “I wouldn’t agree with anyone who thinks(or measures) life by how good our circumstances are. I’d lead them to 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 where it talks about living by Faith, not by Sight, and now that we are born again in the Spirit, we should walk by the Spirit. Not living for things that are seen which are temporary(like my sight loss), but living for the unseen which is Eternal”

“I used to hate this song, but now i’d play it every service if i could…have you heard Amazing Grace, the Chris Tomlin version? If you pass me in the street you’ll normally hear me singing or humming these words:”

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace”.

Nik then walked me back to my seat next to Sarah. The church was completely silent, it had been silent since i first started sobbing. I could feel Sarah was upset as she didn’t react for a while, then she said “People kept on running up and passing me tissues”. Nik sat down next to Sarah, and Sarah said “You’re not borrowing him again to speak”. 

After the service people came over and said they really connected with the things i said, although i think everyone thinks i’m back in dark depression again.

He showed me the reality and Power of transformation in His Gospel, and how vital it is to share it, as Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation for Eternal Life in Heaven.

John 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

I felt i needed to share this post to try and explain a little more of what was happening to me, and maybe reach out to someone who is struggling with the creeping death called Depression,or who is just simply lost and without God, and without Hope.

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