The drive of man to establish himself by his own efforts, even when these efforts are religious in character, belongs to the sphere of the old man. Yet there is a place for good works.
The presence of God is a dreadful and a fearful thing; yes, his most gracious and merciful appearances; how much more then when he shows himself to us as one that dislikes our ways, as one that is offended with us for our sins?
In matters pertaining to his salvation, the unregenerate man is not at liberty to choose between good and evil, but only to choose between greater and lesser evil, which is not properly free will. The fact that fallen man still has ability to do certain acts morally good in themselves does not prove that he can do acts meriting salvation, for his motives may be wholly wrong.
We are dead! Dead is a strong word, but it is not my own coining and invention. I did not choose it. The Holy Spirit told Paul to write it down about the Ephesians: “You hath he quickened who were dead” (Eph 2:1).
It is our deep conviction that the vital question most requiring to be raised today is this: Is man a totally and thoroughly depraved creature by nature? Does he enter the world completely ruined and helpless, spiritually blind and dead in trespasses and sins?
So, I saw that when they awoke, they addressed themselves to go up to the city. But, as I said, the reflection of the sun upon the city—for “the city was pure gold” (Rev 21:18)—was so extremely glorious that they could not, as yet, with open face behold it but through an instrument made for that purpose (2Co 3:18). So, I saw that as they went on, there met them two men in raiment that shone like gold, and their faces shone as the light.
Reader, I want you to go to heaven after this life is over. I want heaven to be very full, and I want you to be one of its inhabitants.—J. C. Ryle
To the worldly and careless they may seem nothing at all. To all who feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of God, they are full of unspeakable comfort. If we hope to be in heaven, it is pleasant to know what heaven is like.
You cannot save that soul of yours…remember that! You cannot make your own peace with God. You cannot wipe away a single sin. You cannot blot out one of the black records that stand in the book of God against you. You cannot change your own heart. But there is one thing you can do: you can lose your own soul.
Hell is a real place. It is not a metaphor or a symbol, not a description of our inner desolation or our present sufferings, no matter how agonising these may be. It is not a state of mind. It is a place with spatial dimensions.
It is a fearful thing to fall into a fire or to be shut up in a fiery furnace on earth. But the terror of these vanishes when we consider how fearful it is to fall into the hands of the living God, which is the lot of the damned. “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
Thus you see it among young and old. Multitudes of youth lead a careless life, taking little care about their salvation. So you may see it among persons of middle age and with many advanced in years, when they certainly draw near to the grave…
Now God says “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. But the world says, “come lie with me and satisfy the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and fulfil the pride of life… you don’t even have to leave the church congregation.” Having intercourse right at the altar like Absalom did to David to shame him – they are now sleeping with other gospels of prosperity, social-economic and dominion spirits that lead the Father’s children astray.
Jesus did talk about tithing as shown in Matthew 23: 23 and Luke 11: 42, but these verses cannot be quoted in our day to encourage Christians to tithe because it was not His intentional message. Although Jesus did not condemn tithing here, we must understand Jesus was still under the Old Covenant as the New Covenant began with His death and resurrection.
This is exactly what has happened to humanity through sin. The human free will is biased toward evil. It really exists, and really can make decisions – just as the loaded scales still work. But instead of giving a balanced judgment, a serious bias exists toward evil. Therefore, human free will really exists in sinners, but that it is compromised by sin.
This lack of personal development is just sheer laziness on the part of many, and as a result, the church is happy just paying someone else to look after their Christianity. We need to address the fundamental issues facing Christendom with Scripture and Scripture alone.
True Christians need to strip the idols from what should be a Christ-centred Christianity. I believe that much incorrect understanding and thinking about God is due to poor teaching, this then leads to “pastors farting on their congregations”. We need to bring people back to the fundamental truths—out of the serious misrepresentation of Christianity—in order to introduce them to true Christianity and not showmanship.
Grace from the Work of Christ is NOT to be understood as grace to be external enlightenment or instruction graciously provided for humanity by God. God does not just demand that human beings should be “perfect”, which is a vague term. Rather, God graciously provides specific guidance as to what form of perfection is required – such as keeping the Ten Commandments, and becoming like Christ. Grace thus informs humanity what its moral duties are (otherwise, it would not know what they were); it does not, however, assist humanity to perform them, because there is no need for such assistance.
Moralism is the default mode for preachers. It’s second nature. But it misinforms the congregation. Why do it then? Maybe it tells them what they really want to hear, which is that they can please God through moral improvement. But moralising cannot save. We must do better than this if we are to escape the rebuke of Christ: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me”
Therefore, those who truly understand the Gospel will not downplay doctrines, to do so is to minimise how much they will know about the Gospel. Could it be that those who are arguing for the “Gospel” at the expense of “doctrines” are simply trying to find a way to justify their opposition to some of our distinctive beliefs or avoiding to disclose their ignorance.
We depart from Biblical teaching when we think that today’s so-called gospel rock, gospel clowns, gospel magicians, and other forms of gospel entertainment can legitimately be employed to communicate spiritual truth. The Scriptures teach that the world is on its own, “without hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:12). Therefore, instead of borrowing worldly methods to reach the world, Christians are sent forth like the apostle Paul, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God”
With the explosion of different sects that claim to honour and follow Jesus, how does one differentiate between true Biblical Christianity and an aberrant religious movement? Just what are “the marks of a cult?”
During the darkest period of my life I had no one to say “Brother, how is your faith? Is Christ alive in your life? Are you lawless and doing your own thing? Brendon do you know that if you are carrying on in your sin and ignore God’s will – Jesus will say to you, ‘depart from me you lawless one – I don’t know you!”.
Jesus took these notions another radical step when he challenged his followers to examine their way of living: “And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back” (Luke 6:34–35).
Christians, by definition, believe Christ to be God- made-man, God-in-the-flesh. His claims cannot be amended, watered down, relativised, negotiated away or nuanced into acceptability. But this exclusivism is not an exclusivism of Christian culture, of Christian ethics or of Christians as the only candidates for heaven.
Should a Christian use some Zen Buddhist meditation techniques? Should Chinese Christians use Confucius as their teacher of social ethics? Should Christian pacifists learn from Gandhi’s methods? Should Jewish Christians celebrate the Jewish holidays? Such questions should be addressed with great care, for religion is the active, actual service of God, gods, spirits or demons.
Chinese New Year is the largest holiday of the year in China and if you are praying for China or joining some Chinese friends during the festival, there are two things that every Christian should know.
Baptismal regeneration is not a biblical concept. Water baptism is the symbol of what has already occurred in the heart of one who has trusted Christ as Saviour (Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is an important step of obedience that every Christian should take, but it is not a requirement for salvation. To make it such is to question the sufficiency of Christ’s death and resurrection.
In summary, as the Son of Man, Jesus followed the pattern laid out for the “one like a son of man” in Daniel 7:13. He had authority; he suffered at the hands of his enemies; and he was vindicated and exalted by God. As the Son of Man he also called on his followers to follow him in this pattern of life. (1) They were God’s chosen people and possessed the authority God gave to his people. (2) Now they must suffer faithfully in their commitment to Jesus. (3) When God brings his purposes to an end and executes judgment on all peoples, they will be vindicated and restored to their rightful place of authority.
After Jesus fed the five thousand, those who came to find Jesus asked him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” (John 6:30). Do not miss the audacity of their questions. They asked Jesus these questions the day after the feeding of the five thousand—after that miracle, after that sign, after that work. They refused to see it.