ARMINIANISM wrests Scripture to teach that it is possible for the true believer to fall from the grace of salvation (Gal. 5:4); and that each believer is provided with sufficient ability to persevere and preserve himself, if only he will: (“And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40). It all depends on the choice of man’s will, whether he will persevere or not. (This denies everything thus far so irrefutably declared!) The error continues: Continue reading
The First Twelve Preachers
“And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house. And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.” (Mark 3:13-21)
Here the Holy Spirit describes the calling of the twelve Apostles by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is an event, which ought to always be remembered and studied with deep gratitude. No twelve men in history have been so important as these twelve. None have done so much good. None have been of such benefit to us. J.C. Ryle wrote…
“What a vast amount of benefit these few men have conferred upon the world! The names of a few Jewish fishermen are known and lived by millions all over the globe, while the names of many kings and rich men are lost and forgotten.”
These apostles were a special order of men. The apostolic office was in existence for only a very brief period of time, during which the canon of Holy Scripture was completed. They had distinct gifts of healing, tongues, and inspiration, which no one has possessed since the Apostolic Era. They were men specifically chosen, gifted, and ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ to preach the gospel during the earliest days of Christianity and to write the New Testament, explaining by divine inspiration the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. They had no successors. When they died, their office died. And when the Apostles died, all the gifts and signs accompanying apostleship died as well.
Twelve Men Continue reading
“Our Lord tells us to let the tares grow with the wheat. We are never to attempt to separate them. Why? Because we do not have the ability to know the one from the other. If the task of separating them were ours, we would pull up the wheat and keep the tares every time. None of us knows who is saved and who is lost. Those who pretend to have such knowledge are as arrogant as they are ignorant.”
DISCERNING BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
My subject tonight is Discerning Between the Righteous and the Wicked. — Our Lord Jesus tells us plainly that in every age, wherever the righteous are found the wicked will be found among them. In every field of wheat, there tares grow and thrive. Wherever sheep find pasture, goats will be found grazing beside them. He also tells us to let the tares grow together with the wheat and let the goats graze with the sheep. We are never to try to separate them. That is the Lord’s work, and he will do it by the gospel.
We must never try to separate the tares from the wheat; and we must never try to separate the wicked from the righteous. But that does not mean that they be discerned and will not be separated. In Malachi 3, the Lord God makes a very clear discernment and assures us that, when he has finished all things, we shall with him — “discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” Continue reading
“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what signwill there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:1-24)
We are living in troublesome times. These are perilous days. These are difficult days for everyone. But they are particularly difficult for people who believe God and seek, in all things and above all things, to honor Him. I know that your minds are constantly full of questions, for which there seems to be no answer. Moral decadence, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and the pedophilia that it spawns are not just tolerated, but actively promoted in our public schools and by law. The brutal slaughter of unborn babies is as common as the removal of warts. By some perverse logic, the same people who want to protect rattle snakes from extinction and weep over the misuse of laboratory rats tell us that the murder of a baby is a matter of choice! Domestic violence is epidemic. War is an everyday activity. And the religion of the day is nothing short of men worshipping themselves. When I think about these things, three passages of Scripture come to my mind (Deuteronomy 31:17; Psalm 10:4; Galatians 6:7). Continue reading
Always endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Bend over backwards to get along with God’s saints. Make allowances for one another’s faults, failures, and offenses. Never be guilty of alienating a brother, or refusing to graciously embrace one who is a child of God. But this brotherly kindness is not to be extended to those who are “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?” (II Chr. 19:2; Ps. 139:21-22; Gal. 1:6-9). Continue reading
Don Fortner – Discovering Christ in all the Scriptures
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ”
It has been my singular object in these surveys of the Bible to show clearly that the singular subject, theme, and message of the entire Book of God, the Old Testament and the New, is the Person, work, and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. As in creation, providence, and redemption, so in the Holy Scriptures, it is the purpose of God “that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col_1:18).
The Book of God is a book all about Christ (Luk_24:27; Luk_24:44-48). The Bible is a Him Book. It is all about Him. All the promises and blessings of God given to sinful men and women are in Christ (Eph_1:3). Apart from Christ, God promises nothing but wrath; and every supposed blessing will prove to be a curse. All the love, mercy, and grace of God is in Christ. All the revelation and knowledge of the triune God is in Christ. Christ is not only the central message of Holy Scripture; he is the message of Holy Scripture. To understand that is to have the key that opens the Word of God and reveals its treasures.
That which is true of the whole Volume of Inspiration is especially and gloriously true of the last, closing chapters of the Volume, the Book of Revelation. This last book of the Bible is Christ’s revelation of himself to his servants. This Book is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev_1:1). It is not the revelation of St. John, but “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” given to and recorded by John. It is not the book of revelations (plural). It does not contain many revelations. It contains one revelation seen in many things. It is “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Continue reading
“In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 4:6
Here is the law of Christ’s church and kingdom. This is the believer’s rule of life. And this must be the principle by which we function as a church. “This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (I John 3:24). Being united to Christ by faith and to one another in the bond of love, let us endeavor always to demonstrate these two graces.
1. WE LIVE BY FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. “The Just shall live by faith.” First and foremost, this means Continue reading