May God uses the services as a tool to glorify His name!
We have been working to improve the quality of the audio recordings of our worship services. We hope this has been remedied with a piece of new equipment.
May God uses the services as a tool to glorify His name!
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.--Psalm 139:23-24
The philosopher Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." If a common philosopher could think that, how much more we Christians ought to listen to the Holy Spirit when He says, "Examine yourself." An unexamined Christian lies like an unattended garden. Let your garden go unattended for a few months, and you will not have roses and tomatoes but weeds. An unexamined Christian life is like an unkempt house. Lock your house up as tight as you will and leave it long enough, and when you come back you will not believe the dirt that got in from somewhere. An unexamined Christian is like an untaught child. A child that is not taught will be a little savage. It takes examination, teaching, instruction, discipline, caring, tending, weeding and cultivating to keep the life right. Rut, Rot or Revival: The Condition of the Church, 43.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen"
The following post is from one of my favorite Pastors, Theologians, and Teachers. His name is Sinclair Ferguson, and he is Scottish. It is as much of a joy to read his works as it is to listen to him, provided you love the Scottish accent.
This blog appears on Ligonier's website, and it deals with how to tell the difference between God's leading and the leading of your own desires or an attempt by the evil one. I heartily commend it to you.
How do we distinguish the promptings of the Spirit of grace in His guiding and governing of our lives from the delusions of the spirit of the world and of our own sinful heart? This is a hugely important question if we are to be calm and confident that the spirit with whom we are communing really is the Holy Spirit.
John Owen suggests four ways in which the Spirit and the serpent are to be distinguished:
Owen here writes in sharp contrast to those who spoke of release from the influence of indwelling sin and struggle through the liberty of the Spirit. Precisely because He is the firstfruits and not yet the final harvest, there is a sense in which the indwelling of the Spirit is the cause of the believer’s groaning: “We ourselves who have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:23) The presence of the Spirit brings us already a foretaste of future glory, but also, simultaneously, creates within us a sense of the incompleteness of our present spiritual experience. This, for Owen, is how communion with the Spirit—understood biblically—brings joy into the life of the believer and yet a deep sense that the fullness of joy is not yet.
This excerpt is taken from The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen by Sinclair Ferguson.
Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened....--1 Corinthians 5:6-7
No sin is private. It may be secret but it is not private.
It is a great error to hold, as some do, that each man's conduct is his own business unless his acts infringe on the rights of others. "My liberty ends where yours begins," is true, but that is not all the truth. No one ever has the right to commit an evil act, no matter how secret. God wills that men should be free, but not that they be free to commit sin....
Coming still closer, we Christians should know that our unchristian conduct cannot be kept in our own back yard. The evil birds of sin fly far and influence many to their everlasting loss. The sin committed in the privacy of the home will have its effect in the assembly of the saints. The minister, the deacon, the teacher who yields to temptation in secret becomes a carrier of moral disease whether he knows it or not. The church will be worse because one member sins. The polluted stream flows out and on, growing wider and darker as it affects more and more persons day after day and year after year. The Size of the Soul, 74,77.
"Lord, this is especially true of us who are leaders in the church. Show to me and my fellow-servants this morning the horror of the consequences of our sin. Keep us pure and faithful, for Your glory. Amen."
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled. --Hebrews 12:15
In the course of scores of conferences and hundreds of conversations I have many times heard people say, "I resent that." But I repeat: I have never heard the words used by a victorious man. Resentment simply cannot dwell in a loving heart. Before resentfulness can enter, love must take its flight and bitterness take over. The bitter soul will compile a list of slights at which it takes offense and will watch over itself like a mother bear over her cubs. And the figure is apt, for the resentful heart is always surly and suspicious like a she-bear.
Few sights are more depressing than that of a professed Christian defending his supposed rights and bitterly resisting any attempt to violate them. Such a Christian has never accepted the way of the cross. The sweet graces of meekness and humility are unknown to him. He grows every day harder and more acrimonious as he defends his reputation, his rights, his ministry, against his imagined foes.
The only cure for this sort of thing is to die to self and rise with Christ into newness of life. Of God and Men, 105-106.
"Lord, I have all too often seen the destruction caused by resentment that has turned into bitterness—or bitterness turned into resentment. Keep me, I pray, in the way of the cross, the way of meekness and humility. Amen."
The following words were originally published by A.W. Tozer in 1948, 66 years ago!!! Tozer died in 1963, but oh how these words are so relevant today!
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.--Galatians 2:20
To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins—egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion—are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the church visible. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to exite little notice....
Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction. We may as well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment. The Pursuit of God, 43-44.
"Oh Lord, do that 'work of God in destruction' within me today. I am indeed 'crucified with Christ.' I pray this morning that the cross would obliterate the self-sins in my life and let me live only for Jesus Christ and His glory. Amen."
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.--Ephesians 4:31
Dispositional sins are fully as injurious to the Christian cause as the more overt acts of wickedness. These sins are as many as the various facets of human nature. Just so there may be no misunderstanding let us list a few of them: Sensitiveness, irritability, churlishness, faultfinding, peevishness, temper, resentfulness, cruelty, uncharitable attitudes; and of course there are many more. These kill the spirit of the church and slow down any progress which the gospel may be making in the community. Many persons who had been secretly longing to find Christ have been turned away and embittered by manifestations of ugly dispositional flaws in the lives of the very persons who were trying to win them....
Unsaintly saints are the tragedy of Christianity. People of the world usually pass through the circle of disciples to reach Christ, and if they find those disciples severe and sharp-tongued they can hardly be blamed if they sigh and turn away from Him.... The low state of religion in our day is largely due to the lack of public confidence in religious people. Of God and Men, 84-85.
"Oh Lord, may I never be an 'unsaintly saint!' Give me a pleasant disposition today, not that people would be attracted to me, but that through me they may be irresistably drawn to Christ. Amen."
A holy antipathy against sin
(Thomas Watson, "Doctrine of Repentance")
There is no better sign of true repentance, than a holy antipathy against sin. Sound repentance begins in love to God--and ends in the hatred of sin.
How may true hatred of sin be known?
1. When a man's HEART is set against sin. Not only does the tongue protest against sin--but the heart abhors it. However lovely sin is painted, we find it odious--just as we abhor the picture of one whom we mortally hate, even though it may be well drawn.
Suppose a dish is finely cooked and the sauce good--yet if a man has an antipathy against the meat, he will not eat it. So let the devil cook and dress sin with pleasure and profit--yet a true penitent has a secret abhorrence of it, is disgusted by it, and will not meddle with it.
2. True hatred of sin is UNIVERSAL. There is a dislike of sin not only in the judgment--but in the will andaffections. Many a one is convinced that sin is a vile thing, and in his judgment has an aversion to it--yet he tastes sweetness in it, and has a secret delight in it. Here is a disliking of sin in the judgment--and an embracing of it in the affections! Whereas in true repentance, the hatred of sin is in all the faculties, not only in the mind--but chiefly in the will: "I do the very thing I hate!" (Romans 7:15). Paul was not free from sin--yet his will was against it.
3. He who truly hates one sin--hates all sins. He who hates a serpent--hates all serpents. "I hate every false way!" (Psalm 119:104). Hypocrites will hate some sins which mar their credit. But a true convert hates all sins--gainful sins, complexion sins, the very stirrings of corruption.
4. A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution. Sin leaves a stain upon the soul. A regenerate person abhors sin not only for the curse--but for the contagion. He hates this serpent not only for its sting--but for its poison. He hates sin not only for Hell--but as Hell.
Those who have no antipathy against sin, are strangers to true repentance. Sin is in them--as poison in a serpent, which, being natural to it, affords delight. How far are they from repentance who, instead of hating sin--love sin! To the godly--sin is as a thorn in the eye; to the wicked--sin is as a crown on the head! "They actually rejoice in doing evil!" (Jeremiah 11:15).
Loving of sin is worse than committing it. What is it, which makes a swine love to tumble in the mire? Its love of filth. O how many there are--who love the forbidden fruit! They love their sin--and hate holiness.
There should be a deadly antipathy between the heart and sin. What is there in sin, which may make a penitent hate it?
Sin is the accursed thing, the most deformed monster! Look upon the origin of sin, from whence it comes. It fetches its pedigree from Hell: "He who commits sin is of the devil!" (1 John 3:8). Sin is the devil's special work. How hateful is it to be doing that which is the special work of the devil--indeed, that which makes men into devils!
Who cares for pebbles--when jewels glitter before him?
(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)
"To rule a kingdom, is a nobler matter than to play with marbles."
What, then, is the folly of the worldling's choice, when he prefers to be contending among men for earthly toys--instead of seeking those things which are above!
How great is the degradation of professing Christians, when their minds are taken up with fashionable trivialities--instead of living alone to glorify their God, and acting as those whom Jesus has made to be kings and priests!
Who cares for pebbles--when jewels glitter before him?
Who would choose toys and rattles--when the wealth of the Indies is offered him?
Let us be no longer children or fools--but act as men who have put away childish things.
"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth!" Colossians 3:1-2
Oh the depth of the evil of sin!
If the death of Christ was that which satisfied God for our sins--then there is infinite evil in sin, since it could be not expiated but by an infinite atonement.
Fools make a mock at sin, and there are few who are duly sensible of its evil. But certainly, if God should exact the full penalty of you--your eternal sufferings could not satisfy for the evil there is in one vain thought. You may think it severe, that God should subject His creatures to everlasting sufferings for sin; but when you have well considered that the Being against whom you sin is the infinitely blessed God, and how God dealt with the angels that fell--you will change your mind. "These he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day!" Jude 1:6
Oh the depth of the evil of sin! If ever you wish to see how great and horrible an evil sin is, measure it in your thoughts, either by the infinite holiness and excellency of God, who is wronged by it; or by the infinite sufferings of Christ, who died to atone for it--and then you will have deeper apprehensions of its enormity.