Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Morning Humor

Four preachers met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation one preacher said, "Our people come to us and pour out their hears, confess certain sins and needs. Let's do the same. Confession is good for the soul." In due time all agreed. One confessed he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church. The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars and the third one confessed to liking to play cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn't confess. The others pressed him saying, "Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?" Finally he answered, "It is gossiping and I can hardly wait to get out of here."
Source Unknown.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Test of Fellowship (Part 3)

SERMON            GM14-012

SERIES:              Christian Living in a World of Chaos & Contradiction

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 1:8-2:2

SUBJ:                  Fellowship with. God

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Fellowship (Part 3)

SUMMARY:       The Christian life is viewed as a life of fellowship

SCHEME:           To desire fellowship with fellow believers

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Anyone Got a Quarter?

We operate under a jury system in this country, and as much as we complain about it, we have to admit that we know of no better system, except possibly flipping a coin.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jefferson on Jury Duty

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
 jefferson.gif (49459 bytes)    Thomas Jefferson

Author of the Declaration of Independence and third U. S. President

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Test of Fellowship (Part 2)


SERIES:        Christian Living in a World of Chaos & Contradiction

SCRIPTURE:         1 John 1:7

SUBJ:       Fellowship with God

SUBTITLE:       The Test of Fellowship (Part 2)

SUMMARY:       The Christian life is viewed as a life of fellowship

SCHEME:       To desire to fellowship with fellow believers


1B Fellowship is tested on practical grounds (1:5-2:11)

1C Practical grounds of moral like-ness (1:5-7)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Precious Elect of God

Ryle 02 Those whom God has chosen to salvation by Christ, are those whom God specially loves in this world. They are the jewels among mankind. He cares more for them than for kings on their thrones, if kings are not converted. He hears their prayers. He orders all the events of nations and the issues of wars for their good, and their sanctification. He keeps them by His Spirit. He allows neither man nor devil to pluck them out of His hand. Whatever tribulation comes on the world, God’s elect are safe. May we never rest until we know that we are of this blessed number! There breathes not the man or woman who can prove that he is not one. The promises of the Gospel are open to all. May we give diligence to make our calling and election sure! God’s elect are a people who cry unto Him night and day. When Paul saw the faith, and hope, and love of the Thessalonians, then he knew “their election of God.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4; Luke 18:7.)

J. C. Ryle (1816 – 1900)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Missing: The Heart of Joseph

This morning my Bible reading included Genesis 43-45. Most of us are familiar with the story of Joseph. Joseph's mother died during his youngest brother's delivery. He was born late in the life of his father. His father spoiled him making him is favorite which caused his brothers to hate him.

As a matter of fact they hated him so much that one day they plotted to to kill him. When Reuben prevailed upon his brothers not to kill Joseph he was thrown into a deep pit. Joseph was then sold to a traveling company of Ishmaelites who were traveling from Gilead to Egypt.

While in Eqypt he was falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison. In prison he interpreted the dreams of two high level government personnel of whom he begged to be remembered in order to be released from prison. We know that they "forgot" Joseph and did not remember him to the King and he remained in prison for another two years.

Many are familiar with Jospeh's "famous" statement recorded in Genesis 50:20, " for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Genesis 50:20, NKJV). I have quoted this a number times and I have prayed it a number of times when I faced great difficulties. I have thought of Joseph and his situation even as I wept broken hearted from the trials I was experiencing. 

But, I read this morning Genesis 43-45 and I was absolutely "arrested" when I came to 45:5-8. Joseph's attitude almost choked the life right out of me. Allow me to summarize it:

  • Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers
  • Joseph wept for joy and love as he spoke with them
  • Joseph asked for news and information about his father
Now, listen to him as he talks to his brothers:

First, he tells them "I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt."

Second, " not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here." Notice what Joseph says next:

"...for God sent me before you to preserve life." Joseph is telling his brothers, whom he could be extremely angry at and could have them killed, don't be angry at yourselves. You thought you sent me to Eqypt, but you really didn't, God sent me here - and for a purpose.

Then again in verse 8 Joseph says, "So now it was not you who sent me here, but God..." As I type this my eyes have filled with tears, my throat is dry, and my  heart, well my heart, what can I say.

Deprived of his mother, growing up with an aged father, rejected by his brothers, treated roughly and rudely, thrown in a pit, threatened with murder, sold as a slave, falsely accused of attempted rape, thrown in prison, stabbed in the back, and "my brothers, don't be mad at yourselves, you didn't send me to this fate, God did?

 If only I could ever come to have such insight in God's glorious and sovereign character and to be able to view the few petty transgressions against me as Joseph did.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Did Not, I Could Not, and I Would Not

Tis not that I did choose thee
for Lord, that could not be
this heart would still refuse thee
hadst thou not chosen me

Thou from the sin that stained me
hast cleansed and set me free
of old thou hast ordained me
that I should live to thee

Josiah Conder

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography, Two Volumes

Title:  C. H. Spurgeon (Autobiography) – The Early Years Vol 1
          C. H. Spurgeon (Autobiography) –The Full Harvest Vol 2

Author:  Charles Spurgeon

First Copyright:  1962/1973

Type of Book:  Hardback

General Subject Matter:  Autobiography

Special Features:  Black and White illustrations, Appendix

Price:  $32/40/32.40 or 53.10 for two volume set

ISBN:  978-0-85151-076-7/978-085151-182-5

This is a very unusual historical writing. The author did not actually write or complete this autobiography in his life time. From his own words in the publishers preface, Spurgeon would write “something” and then say to the effect, “Here is another part for my autobiography.” It was until sometime after his death that his wife and publishers compiled Spurgeon’s various writings, completed the unfinished parts, and published his story.

Therefore it is very difficult, at least for me to determine the purpose of the writer for this biography. We do know that Spurgeon was passionate about the God whom he served, the gospel that he preached, and the ministry that he rendered. Spurgeon was careful to steer any glory from himself and on to our Lord. If there were a purpose I think we would be safe in concluding that he wrote the story of his life and ministry for the glory of God.

Many would say that the theme of his biography, or the main subject would be Spurgeon himself. As I read these two volumes I discovered that the theme was similar to the theme of what we call The Acts of the Apostles. The theme of that narrative of course is “the Holy Spirit” or “the acts of the Holy Spirit.” This would hold true to these two volumes, the theme is the works of God through the life and ministry of Charles H Spurgeon.

The Thesis of the autobiography can be discerned from the jacket covesr, “He worshipped Him; he adored Him. He was our Lord’s captive. Whatever Spurgeon did he did it for Christ, and this is his controlling aim in his autobiography which, in a natural way, leads our eyes from his service to the Savior he served…” Jesus Christ is to be worshipped and glorified in all that we do!

Spurgeon developed his theme in his own personal words, experiences, and understanding. Spurgeon developed his theme primary with narration sprinkled often with humorous and homespun descriptive commentary. Spurgeon often gave background, details, and information to tell his “tale” complete his purpose, and to benefit the reader.

Spurgeon’s wife and certainly the publishers took great pain and liberty to place most of his autobiography in a semi-chronological order. According to the publisher’s Spurgeon did not write chronologically but as ideas, thoughts, events, and such came to him.

This biography is extremely interesting. They give the reader great insight into this great man of the past. It is easy to see almost all sides of this preacher, soul-winner, pastor, author, and Christ-servant. The reader will find much humor of the author along with moments and events that broke his heart.

This biography is filled with the child-hood and rearing of Spurgeon. It gives much information about his conversion, calling, and confirmation in the ministry. Volume one covers the years 1834-1859 and volume two covers the period of 1869-1892.

Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892) was a British Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the "Prince of Preachers". He was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition, defending the Church in agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith understanding, and opposing the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies in the Church of his day.
It is estimated that in his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people. Spurgeon was the pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London for 38 years. He was part of several controversies with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and later had to leave the denomination. In 1857, he started a charity organization which is now called Spurgeon's and works globally. He also founded Spurgeon's College, which was named after him posthumously.
Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, commentaries, and books on prayer, devotionals, magazines, poetry, hymns and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Each volume contains several black and white illustrations. The layout is easy to read. The font type is of normal size and is modern. The book contains a subject index. There are no footnotes nor endnotes.

I highly recommend these two volumes. They were both a joy to read and I found them to be both stimulating and interesting. I learned a lot of this great man of God.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Test of Fellowship (Part 1)


SERIES: Christian Living in a World of Chaos & Contradiction

SCRIPTURE:   1 John 1:5-7

SUBJ: Fellowship with God

SUBTITLE: The Test of Fellowship (Part 1)

SUMMARY: The Christian life is viewed as a life of fellowship

SCHEME: To desire to fellowship with fellow believers

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Value of Sincerity

Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite.

Charles H. Spurgeon

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Sneak Preview of Sunday's Sermon

The Test of Fellowship (Part 1)
1 John 1:5-6

God is free from darkness (5b)

                             “…and in Him is no darkness at all.”

This added assertion that there is no darkness in God, not even the tiniest or minutest speck of darkness stresses the absoluteness of His nature as pure and holy light.

In God’s being there is not a single trace of darkness.

Keep this in mind, that John never implies that the darkness is simply the absence of light. John believes that darkness has a moral quality. This moral quality that defines darkness is in direct opposition to the moral character and quality of God.

This might not mean much to you but to the pagans and especially the Gnostics, this was a startling statement.

George G. Findlay wrote:

“They [he means the Romans and Greeks] had gods that could cheat and lie, gods licentious and unchaste, gods spiteful and malignant towards men, quarrelsome and abusive toward each other. They had been accustomed to think of the Godhead as a mixed nature like their own, only on a larger scale-good and evil and cruel, pure and wanton, made of darkness and light.” [1]

When men create their own god they create them in their own image. So the gods of men condone evil or allow them to live as they please and might eve participate in sin also.

But the truth of the matter is God cannot have fellowship with anything or anyone that does not share a moral likeness to Himself. God cannot condone or have fellowship with anything that is contrary to His nature.

So, John makes it very clear from the beginning of His letter that there exists two, completely separate spheres or realms that cannot be mixed in any way shape or form. Light and darkness are two distinctly separate spheres that cannot be mixed. They do not overlap.

The Christian life is viewed as fellowship.

This claim to fellowship is tested on practical grounds.

The first test by practical grounds is that of the necessity of moral likeness.

The first truth that we learn about this moral likeness is that:

God is the standard.

[1] George G. Findlay, Fellowship in the Life Eternal, An Exposition of the Epistles of St John, (1909; reprint ed., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), p. 96

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Dead Theologian 1 Year Challenge

Mike Leake from The Borrowed Light Blog issued this challenge:
It’s Thanksgiving. Your mom is begging you for a Christmas list. If you don’t want that ugly sweater again you had better tell her something. Rather than muttering out something that you don’t really need, I want to invite you to ask for something lasting this Christmas.
I’m proposing that you pick one of these four Christians from the past and spend an entire year with them. Today, I will give you the names of the four men, and a list of books you should buy. In the coming weeks, if there is enough interest, I’ll give you a reading plan.
Here are your 4 options (pick one) and the books you ought to buy:
1. John Newton: The Pastor
The Works of John Newton.  (Note: Don’t pay over 120 for this)
Wise Counsel by Grant Gordon
Life of John Newton by Josiah Bull
Letters of John Newton
Total Cost: $120-180
2. John Calvin: The Theologian
Institutes (If possible get the McNeill version)
Letters of John Calvin
Calvin by Bruce Gordon
John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor
Total Cost: $50-90
3. Andrew Fuller: The Missionary
Total Cost: $50-75
4. Richard Sibbes: The Preacher
Total Cost: $120-150
I have decided to participate in this challenge. Even though he said pick one Christian from the past I am going to pick two. The two men that I have picked are not on his suggested list. I have some books already purchased and not yet read. It don't think it would be a good idea to purchase more. 
The two men I am going to pick are:

John Owen

Stephen Charnock

The Works of Stephen Charnock
Volumes 1 -4

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

You Are A God of Mercy!

"Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; For You [are] God, gracious and merciful." (Nehemiah 9:31, NKJV)

This morning during my quiet time I was especially moved by the guide/tool that I use for giving adoration/praise to our glorious God.

Today's suggestion for giving praise and adoration to God focused on God's mercy. The Scripture reference offered was Nehemiah 9:31. 

This reference seemed to go hand in hand with my passage of Scripture this morning, Luke 1:22-25. In that passage we see Elizabeth so eloquently offering praise/adoration to God for:

"Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on [me] to take away my reproach among people." (Luke 1:25, NKJV)

God is indeed a merciful God. He has been extremely merciful to me. "Lord God, I adore you and praise you! You truly are a merciful God."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Do Not Waste the New Year (Part 2)

SERMON            GMT14-009

SERIES:             Topical – New Years

SUBTITLE:        Do Not Waste the New Year (Part 2)

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 13:12a-14

SUBJ:                  The Proper Redemption of the New Year

SUMMARY:       The Proper redemption of this New Year requires specific activity

Saturday, January 4, 2014

There's Nothing Left to Pay!

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He wash'd it white as snow

Elvina M. Hall

Thursday, January 2, 2014

How Do You Begin Each Day?

"I can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization that I am accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal righteousness, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ."

--John Owen

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - 2014!

This Blog, the Gospel-driven Disciples is closed today so that the owner of this blog can enjoy this holiday with his family and friends.

Please resume reading and responding to this blog beginning tomorrow, January 2nd, 2014.

Happy New Year to each and every one of you and all whom you love and cherish deep in your heart!