A Golden Chain of Grace

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Donald S. Fortner

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28)

Here is a golden chain of grace with five unbreakable links by which our souls are anchored with Christ in Glory.

“My Sheep”

My sheep” — That is our election. The Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees standing before him, “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” With these two words, “my sheep,” our Lord Jesus Christ declares the gospel doctrine of sovereign election and describes all his people. It is not very flattering to be compared to sheep. Sheep are truly “dumb animals.” They are weak, helpless, defenseless creatures. But there is beauty in these words, “my sheep.” The Lord Jesus Christ identifies himself with and owns all of his people. He says, “I am the Good Shepherd.” Then he points to us and says, “These people are ‘my sheep.’”

Christ’s sheep are those people who were chosen Continue reading

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ISAIAH

Isaiah 53

“OUR CONFESSION OF FAITH”

Isaiah 53

 The Works of Henry Mahan, Volume 1 containing The Gospel According To Isaiah, Chapter 20

Someone asked an old minister of the gospel, “Is your creed in print?” He replied, “Yes, you will find it all in Isaiah, Chapter 53.” Here is the gospel of God’s grace in one chapter.

(Vs. 1) “Our report” is our message of the love, mercy, and grace of God in Christ Jesus. It is the testimony of Cod concerning Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1-4). There has never lived a prophet who did not mourn the fact that men would not believe the good news of grace.

“The arm of the Lord” is Christ Jesus, the wisdom and POWER of God; for the gospel of Christ is the power of Cod unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Natural men do not see, hear, nor understand how God can be just and justifier, righteous and merciful to sinners through the obedience and death of Christ, the substitute (I Cor. 2:8-14). He must be revealed to the heart by the Holy Spirit.

(Vs. 2) “A tender plant”signifies His lowly entrance into the world. He came not full grown in the pomp and glory of men but as a tiny, frail, helpless infant, born of a woman (Gal. 4:4-5).

“A root out of a dry ground” reveals the condition of David’s house and the nation of Israel at this time. There was nothing left of the glory of David’s kingdom, only dry ground, its king an unlikely son of a carpenter (John 6:42).

“No form … no comeliness … no beauty.” In sending our Redeemer into the world, the Lord God rejected and refused all fleshly, human attraction. Anything that would attract the eye of the flesh or support of the natural mind was refused. “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 1:10-11). Continue reading

Needful Exhortations and Warnings

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By Don Fortner  (Selected Commentary on selected books, Chapter 16) 

Needful Exhortations and Warnings

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

           (Mat_7:1-29)

In this chapter, our Lord Jesus concludes his Sermon on the Mount. Throughout this sermon (Matthew 5-7), our Savior draws a clear, unmistakable distinction between true and false religion, between outward ceremonialism and inward godliness, between religious hypocrisy and true spirituality. In chapter 5 he showed us the character of his people and the necessity of holiness. In chapter 6 he showed us the character of true worship and the necessity of faith. Here in chapter 7 he brings his sermon home to all who heard him (and to all who read his words today) by making general, but pointed, exhortations and warnings, that we all need to be reminded of continually. May God the Holy Spirit, who has preserved these exhortations and warnings for us upon the pages of Holy Scripture, graciously apply them to our hearts.

Kindness

This chapter opens with a gracious exhortation to kindness (Mat_7:1-5).

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

I do not know of any text in all the Bible that has been more twisted, abused, and misapplied by men than Mat_7:1. Those who despise absolute values, absolute standards of right and wrong, absolute doctrinal truths and dogmatism, even if they cannot quote any other text in the Bible, recite these words to condemn as divisive bigots all who press upon them the doctrinal and spiritual demands of Holy Scripture. With sweet sounding piety and complete seriousness they will look you right in the eye and say, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Continue reading

The Great Commission

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Don Fortner 

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
(Mar_16:15-18)
These words are given to us by Inspiration as our Lord’s final words to his church, his final words to you and me, as he was leaving this world. Here he tells us what our privileges and responsibilities are as his servants in this world. These are not the privileges and responsibilities of the apostles alone, or of gospel preachers alone. These are the privileges and responsibilities of all God’s people, his servants, in this world.

It is the great privilege and responsibility of every child of God to do what he can for the furtherance of the gospel in his generation, to preach the gospel (and see to it that the gospel is preached) to all the world in the generation in which we live for the glory of Christ and the salvation of God’s elect.

The Great Commission
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mar_16:15). — It is utterly impossible for me to state emphatically enough the importance, the comprehensiveness, and the depth of meaning there is in these words. Our Lord’s charge to us in this one sentence is generally called “The Great Commission.” This is our commission from our God as long as we live in this world; and it is great!

It is called “the great commission,” because there is a great need. Our Lord commands us to go into all the world preaching the gospel, because all are lost without the gospel. In every corner of the earth the sons and daughters of Adam are the same. All are fallen, lost, without Christ, without God, without hope, and utterly ignorant of God, his grace, his Son and his salvation. Civilized or uncivilized, in Africa, China, or Great Britain, Mexico, California, or Kentucky, all who are ignorant of the gospel are in a state of wrath and condemnation. Continue reading

GET ANGRY! It’s the deeply offensive Bishop of Rome (Part 3)

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Grant Swart

Roman Catholic doctrine steeped in pagan tradition, and the Roman Catholic Pope, also known as the Bishop of Rome, should present every Christian saved by the grace of God with good reason to get angry. Angry? Really, should a Christian get angry over this?

Certainly, very angry indeed, as our Lord instructs. The three articles which follow below will explain. In the light of the fact that tolerance of all religious systems is taking precedence over truth, millions, if not billions of people are being duped into believing that there are many roads which lead to God, and that all religions worship the same God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading

GET ANGRY! It’s the deeply offensive Bishop of Rome (Part 2)

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Grant Swart

Roman Catholic doctrine steeped in pagan tradition, and the Roman Catholic Pope, also known as the Bishop of Rome, should present every Christian saved by the grace of God with good reason to get angry. Angry? Really, should a Christian get angry over this?

Certainly, very angry indeed, as our Lord instructs. The three articles which follow below will explain. In the light of the fact that tolerance of all religious systems is taking precedence over truth, millions, if not billions of people are being duped into believing that there are many roads which lead to God, and that all religions worship the same God. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When it comes to defending the truth of the Gospel, Christians should stop being such limp-wristed, quivering, overly cautious, meek little men, uttering whimpered politically correct complaints. We have the protection of the One Almighty Omnipotent Father God, we partake in the nature of the bravest of Sons ever to walk the earth, we have the examples set by those early saints who stood immovably for the Faith and who were martyred in the most gruesome ways imaginable, so why are we so sickeningly tolerant of the world which is clearly in opposition to our Faith? Speak up, man, get angry, be a courageous Follower of Christ, not Arminian will-worshippers, use the Scripture which is your sword, stand squarely and immovable.

The “human right” to worship all forms of false gods, Continue reading

SANCTIFICATION: Why & how can God accept sinners into His Presence?

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Grant Swart

DEFINING A BIG WORD: SANCTIFICATION

Firstly, we should define what the word sanctification means. Put simply, sanctification is the act or process of being made or becoming holy. To sanctify is literally ”to set apart for special use or purpose”, figuratively “to make holy or sacred”, and etymologically from the Latin verb sancitificare which in turn is from sanctus (holy), and facere (to make).

The fancy word, etymology, simply means the study of the history of words and where they originated from, but of course you knew that, didn’t you?

Sanctification means taking something that is common and ordinary and setting it apart, for God’s purpose and for His service alone. According to the Scriptures and the experience of saved believers, sanctification is an act of God, not something which is done by man.

In Scripture sanctification is mentioned in many places, underlining the importance of the sanctified condition. Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of sanctification in John 17 while He prayed: 16-19 “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” Continue reading

A PERSON IS SAVED WHEN IT PLEASES GOD TO SAVE HIM

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By Don Fortner 

When is a person saved?

The Apostle Paul tells us that A PERSON IS SAVED WHEN IT PLEASES GOD TO SAVE HIM. “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his graces to reveal his Son in me.” “When the fulness of time was come … God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father”. My friends, “Salvation is of the Lord”, Salvation comes to men according to God’s sovereign pleasure. He says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy”. God saves whoever he is pleased to save; and he saves them whenever it pleases him to do so. When is a person saved? Mark it down.

A PERSON IS SAVED WHEN IT PLEASES GOD TO SAVE HIM.

When is a person saved? I can tell you this – Salvation is something more than walking down an aisle at the end of a church service and saying “the sinner’s prayer”. Salvation is an operation of the grace of God upon a man’s heart. Salvation is a living union with the living Lord. The Word of God makes it very clear that salvation is not something you do for God, it is something God does for you. Salvation is not accomplished by man, not by the works of man, not by the decision of man, and not by the free-will of man. Salvation is not a co-operative program in which God does his part and you do your part. “SALVATION IS OF THE LORD”. It is God who quickens, regencrates and gives life to dead sinners. It is God who redeemed, justified, and pardoned his people. it is God who chose his own elect, determined to save them, and predestinated them unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ. Salvation is not by man’s decision, but by God’s decision. Salvation is not by man’s power, but by God’s power. Salvation is not by man’s work, but by God’s work. Salvation is not by man’s will, but by God’s will. Continue reading

“To Him Give All the Prophets Witness” Acts 10:43

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“To Him Give All the Prophets Witness” Acts 10:43

Peter in Acts 2, Stephen in Acts 7, and Paul in Acts 13 delivered sermons that summarized the entire history of the Old Testament. And the subject of each of their sermons was the Lord Jesus Christ. How I wish that all men and women could see this blessed fact: — Jesus Christ and him crucified is the theme of Holy Scripture! — “To him give all the prophets witness!” And to him give all the apostles witness. Every book of the Bible speaks of Christ. Let me show you just one thing revealed about Christ in each of the 66 books of Holy Scripture. Christ is the theme of every text, the subject of every page, and the message of every subject set forth in Holy Scripture. But space will permit me to show you just one thing revealing Christ in every book of the Bible.
Continue reading

Internet investigators, Conference fashionistas and Tattle-tale heroes

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Grant Swart

   

(1 Ti 4:16) “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine;    continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

   

                     (2Ti 2:14-17) Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.

       (Eph 4:29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

       (Eph 4:12-14) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

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 PREACH WHAT GOD HAS TAUGHT YOU:

Make it your business to know the doctrine of the Holy Bible. Make it your business to proclaim the amazing grace of God, glorify God by speaking the Gospel of His Son, not by spending the majority of your time mentioning names of false and deceived men who are spreading their falsely charismatic messages based on demonic and secular motivation. Teach only simple, clear and considered Biblical Truth to those whom you wish to guide. You cannot expect the immature and the misguided to recognize falsehoods, which you think you have so cleverly have uncovered by your following the tabloids and the adverts stuck on the walls of foyers of worldly churches, unless they FIRST fully understand the Truth. The Truth is not based in our opinions, or in the opinion of the speakers we tend to idolize, but in Scripture.

In this regard, let your discussion, correspondence and intentions be centered around only the inspired doctrine of God. Don’t add to that the opinions of men. Let those who by the providence and Grace of God have excess time on their hands, expend their priceless excess energy and time on edifying and supporting other believers with absolute facts about our sin, God’s grace and Christ’s atonement. Be like the sheep who hear the voice of the Shepherd, the voice which speaks with perfect clarity from the Scriptures, don’t act like those who partake in riotous demonstrations Continue reading

WHAT IS IT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL?

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  To preach the gospel is SIMPLY TO DECLARE IT AND DECLARE IT SIMPLY. God never called a preacher to defend the gospel, apologize for the gospel, explain the gospel, or adorn the gospel. It is my job to declare the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4) in such plain, simple terms that its doctrine cannot be mistaken.

 

To preach the gospel is to DECLARE IT AS GOD’S MESSAGE. Our gospel is the gospel of God, not the gospel of the Reformers, the gospel of the Puritans, the gospel of the Calvinists, or even the gospel of the Baptists. If the message I preach to you is just my message, then you may hear it or not hear it without consequence. But if the message I deliver to your soul is God’s message, then you must hear and heed it, or suffer the consequences of ignoring and disobeying God. Continue reading

Man’s Need of Salvation: Total Depravity and Man’s Inability

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By: Brian Schwertley

 

We begin our study of God’s sovereign grace in salvation with the biblical teaching regarding the effect of the fall upon man and the doctrine of original sin. This teaching is crucial for understanding the doctrine of salvation because one’s understanding of the effects of the fall upon mankind will largely determine one’s view of salvation. In other words, a person’s view of man’s state resulting from Adam’s sin is foundational to that person’s concept of how man appropriates salvation. Obviously, a person who views man as spiritually dead and unable to do anything that meets with God’s approval will view salvation differently than a person who believes that man is sick and weakened but is still able to cooperate with God in the salvation process.

What Happened When Adam Sinned? Continue reading

Forgiveness: A Strong Doctrine

Forgiveness

 By Don Fortner 

“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”  (Luke 17:1-5)

 

These few verses contain the strongest doctrine set forth in Holy Scripture. Here are the deep things of God. There is nothing here but strong meat. By comparison, the things taught here make predestination, election, reprobation, limited atonement, and efficacious grace appear to be mere milk for newborn babies in the kingdom of God.

Certain Offenses

Then said He unto the disciples.” ― The Master is addressing His disciples, those who trust Him, believe His doctrine, follow His Word, serve Him and seek to honor Him. Our Lord’s words, then, are to you and me, people who profess to be His disciples, who claim to be washed in His blood, robed in His righteousness, and saved by His grace. Now, watch what He says…

It is impossible but that offences will come.” ― What are the offenses He is talking about? How is it that these offenses must come? Let me answer the second question first. Continue reading

Free-willism is clearly Blasphemy and Idolatry

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Grant Swart

Free-Willism, Legalism, Arminianism, Blasphemy and Idolatry are some of the parts which combine to form the body of a dreadful and monstrous beast which runs fiercely and defiantly through the church.

A vile and detestable thing exists, a pestilence and disease which causes festering sores to form on the belief system of many who congregate in so many churches today. Grotesquely seething and bubbling, it places a burden of immeasurable weight onto the backs of those who become infected by it. It is a virulent disease carried by a beast of biblical proportions, and which can only be eradicated by the dedicated and correct application of the Word of God. Such correct application as can only be facilitated by means of God’s free and Sovereign grace.

The phenomenal and odiferous beast has been proliferated from within the teachings of certain men Continue reading

Getting Past the TULIP

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Michael S. Horton

“Like Christ’s redeeming work, then, faith is not merely offered but is actually conferred, by sheer grace and without any obligation to grant it.”

Just as Luther’s followers preferred to be called “evangelicals” but were labeled “Lutherans” by Rome, around 1558 Lutherans coined the term “Calvinist” for those who held Calvin’s view of the Supper over against both Zwingli and Luther. Despite self-chosen labels such as “evangelical” and “Reformed” (preferred because the aim was always to reform the catholic church rather than start a new one), “Calvinism” unfortunately stuck as a popular nickname.

No Central Dogma  Continue reading