Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
- Mark 1:14-15

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Warning Professing Christians - Albert N. Martin

The Bible strongly warns us that many who profess to be Christians will not make it into heaven.  Not just a few, but many!  This applies to you or someone you know.  Our country is full of good, upstanding, religious people who profess Christ and do lots of good things but will go to hell!  How is that possible?  Here are some telling sermon notes from Albert N. Martin on the scariest verses in the entire Bible:

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'  "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'”
Matthew 7:21-23

When Jesus said, “Not everyone who says unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,” he is assuming that we understand that the open profession of attachment to Christ is a necessary part of true and saving religion.  However, the sobering prophecy in this signpost informs us that the mere profession of attachment to Christ is no proof of true and saving religion...This is a sobering prophecy and the one most likely to be part of it is the one who treats it lightly...If you go to hell looking at that signpost, these hands are clean of your blood...

Well, who shall enter the kingdom of heaven?  Those who not only say, “Lord, Lord,” but who live in reality as though I truly were their Lord.  They are doing the will of my Father who is in heaven.  They shall enter the kingdom of heaven in its consummate glory at the last day.

There is the simple contrast. He that is doing, present tense, the will of my Father who is in heaven, shall enter the kingdom of heaven...Now what is the will of the Father in heaven? Well, in this very context, it begins with obeying the call to repentance and faith.

You see, in our day we see precious little true repentance and faith because this is the day of self worth and self esteem and self fulfillment and self stroking...How can there be poverty of Spirit?  How can there be mourning?  How can there be meekness?  How can there be hungering and thirsting for righteousness when we have convinced ourselves, “I am ok and you are ok”?

Now listen what they are taught to say. “I am a 10. I am a person of worth, of value, of dignity.  I am special and I have a special destiny.  I am important.  I am interesting.  I am precious and beautiful.  I am priceless.  I am the salt of the earth.  I am the light of the world.  I can do many things well.  I am a good person.  Nothing is wrong with me and nothing ever was wrong with me.  I am a 10.  I see myself a 10 and one of the great joys is to have to help the people around me see their own worth and value as a 10.”  My friends, Jesus said, “No one gets into the kingdom until he is a zero minus.”  That is poverty of spirit.

Jesus said, “No one gets into the kingdom until he is a zero minus.”

The publican in the temple would not so much as lift up his eyes let alone his head and he beats upon his breast crying, “God, be merciful to me the sinner.  I am a zero minus.”  Jesus said, “This man went down to his house justified.”

If your attachment to Christ is not begun on the bass note reverberating through your breast that you are a vile, filthy, helpless, hell deserving wretched son or daughter of Adam, you know nothing of true repentance and therefore of true and saving faith.

As clearly as the Bible says that is how you get in to do the will of the Father, if that professed casting of yourself upon Christ is real, it will never stop there.  It will expand into...a life of universal obedience to the revealed will of God.

Jesus made it abundantly clear in every call to discipleship that if our attachment to him is real, it will be expressed in these simple words: following him.  “If any man will come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”

Look at John 10:27: “My sheep are hearing my voice...and they are following me."  These are the two marks of all of his sheep.  Look at them.  “My sheep are hearing my voice.”  And that hearing does not mean that they simply allow my voice to fall on the outer vestibule of the ear. It means they hear with a view to receiving all that I say because He then goes on to say, “And they are following me.”

"If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee for it is better for thee to enter into life maimed than having two hands to go into hell (Matthew 5:30).”  Are you hearing his voice calling you, young man, to cut off the right hand of lust indulged in the chambers of your mind..?  And are you taking every step necessary to stop feeding your lust? 

Are you doing what Jesus who speaks the words of the Father, are you doing what he says?  Seek first the kingdom of God?  Are you seeking big bucks, big name, big house, big closet full of fancy clothes?  I am not asking do you have these things?  I am saying is that what your heart is set upon?  Jesus said, “Do not set your affection on these things.”

My Bible says those who enter are those who do the will of the Father.  I didn’t say it.  Christ said it. “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.”  “If we say we know him and keep not his commandments, we lie and we do not the truth.”

‘Our Father who art in heaven...Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.”  That is our goal.  He is not saying we do the will of the Father in heaven perfectly.  It is not perfect obedience.  But it is conscious, purposeful, self denying, universal obedience.  There is no area of life from the deepest recesses of motive and desire and thought to the most visible outward deeds observed by all in which our hearts’ desire is not to do the will of God.

"Nobody is perfect," that is the hypocrites couch. He lies back, no serious determination to do the will of God. He says, “Nobody is perfect.”  The true child of God, no one is perfect, it is my bed of thorns.  Wretched man that I am.  Now, my friend, it can’t be both.  It is one or the other.

Who will enter the kingdom?  He that is doing the will of my Father, that will begins with obedience to the call to repent and to believe the gospel.  But it expands into the call to universal obedience.  And though it is not a perfect obedience, it is conscious, purposeful and universal.

Furthermore, it is not a legal, but an evangelical obedience.  “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loeveth me.”  “If a man love me, he will keep my words.”  "What is the first requirement of the law?  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul and strength."  It is not a perfect obedience, no.  It is not a legal obedience, but it is evangelical.  It grows out of the disposition of gratitude to God for His mercy to us in Christ.

It is not a perfect obedience, no...It grows out of the disposition of gratitude to God for His mercy to us in Christ.

The cross does not give us a minor shift or two with regard to a few of our ethical and moral and religious values.  The cross radically disrupts the very center and citadel of your life from self to Christ and if the cross has not done that, you are not a Christian.

I am not laboring to make respectable Reformed Baptists hypocrites who will be damned in the last day...“Not everyone who says unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that is doing the will of My Father who is in heaven.”  If you go to hell having looked at that sign post, these hands are clean of your blood.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

We just started reading the book, Pilgrim's Progress, in Sunday School.  The book was written by John Bunyan while he was in prison during the 17th century and it is one of the most popular books in the English language.  I had read the book before and thought it was good, but I did not realize how really, really good it was and how much of the gospel is packed in it.  I had read the version "In Today's English" previously, but the old version is so much better that it is not even close.  It is a free download on Amazon.com for Kindle.  Go get it here: 

Here is an excerpt from the book's second chapter, which is a dialogue between Interpreter and the book's main character, Christian:

Inter.  Then he took him by the hand, and led him into a very large parlor, that was full of dust, because never swept; the which after he had looked at it a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep. Now, when he began to sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about that Christian had almost therewith been choked. Then said the Interpreter to a girl that stood by, "Bring hither water, and sprinkle the room;" the which when she had done, it was swept and cleansed with ease. 

Chris. Then said Christian, "What means this?" 

Inter. The Interpreter answered , "This parlor is the heart of a man that was never made pure by the sweet grace of the Gospel. The dust is his sin , and inward evils that have defiled the whole man. He that began to sweep at first is the law; but she that brought water, and did sprinkle it, is the Gospel. Now , whereas thou sawest that, as soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did fly so about that the room could not by him be cleansed, but that thou wast almost choked therewith; this is to show thee, that the law, instead of cleansing the heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive, put strength into, and increase it in the soul, even as it doth discover and forbid it, for it doth not give power to overcome. Again, as thou sawest the girl sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with ease; this is to show thee, that when the Gospel comes, in the sweet and gracious power thereof, to the heart, then, I say, even as thou sawest the maiden lay the dust by sprinkling the floor with water, so is sin vanquished and subdued, and the soul made clean through the faith of it, and, consequently, fit for the King of Glory to dwell in."

Bunyan, John (2012-12-18). The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (Kindle Locations 343-352).  . Kindle Edition.  

Some deep stuff, check it out and let me know what you think.