John MacArthur – Grace to You
May 21, 2010
Many Christians today are greatly concerned about the rising influences of communism, humanism, secularism, and social injustice. Yet those evils, great as they are, do not together pose the threat to Christianity that false shepherds and pastors do. Throughout the history of redemption, the greatest threat to God’s truth and God’s work has been false prophets and teachers, because they propose to speak in His name. That is why the Lord’s most scathing denunciations were reserved for the false teachers of Israel, who claimed to speak and act for God but were liars.
In an increasingly secular and ungodly culture, many Christians wonder about their role and duty. Should we lobby for rights that have traditionally belonged to us? Should we make every effort to implement a Christian agenda? Should we completely reform the government? The Bible speaks clearly about our duty, and it’s all about governing our character.
Over a quarter of a century ago the late apologist and Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer asked the question, “How should we then live?” in his landmark book of the same title. The relevance of that question has not changed. If anything, it has only become more urgent for believers at the dawn of a new century and millennium.
Society has taken a nosedive into greater and greater evil, debauchery, violence, and corruption, and outside the church, the landscape seems filled with “modern barbarians.” The temptation is strong for believers to jump into the cultural fray as self-righteous social/political reformers and condescending moralizers. All the while those self-styled Christian activists forget or ignore their true mission in the world and completely miss the answer to Schaeffer’s question–an answer that God’s Word spells out quite clearly.
Taken from CH Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, 1 March, Evening
“He is precious.” – 1Peter 2:7
As all the rivers run into the sea, so all delights centre in our Beloved. The glances of his eyes outshine the sun: the beauties of his face are fairer than the choicest flowers: no fragrance is like the breath of his mouth. Gems of the mine, and pearls from the sea, are worthless things when measured by his preciousness.
We are going to begin this morning a study of a brand new book in the New Testament, the book of Philemon. And I want you to turn to it, it’s just very brief, one chapter, 25 verses, a lesson on forgiveness. The little book of Philemon, for those of you who are wandering around in the index of your Bible, is tucked between Titus and Hebrews.
Of all of the human qualities that make men in any sense like God, none is more divine than forgiveness. God is a God of forgiveness. In fact, in Exodus chapter 34 God identifies Himself in that way. Verse 6 says, “Then the Lord passed by in front of Him and proclaimed,” this is the Lord speaking of Himself, “The Lord, the Lord God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness and truth who keeps loving kindness for thousands who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.” He says I am the God of forgiveness. That is who I am.
Solomon said, “It is a man’s glory to overlook a transgression,” Proverbs 19:11. Man is never more like God than when he forgives