Jesus doesn’t need your heart (if that’s all you’re giving Him)

Posted March 23, 2010 by Cristian
Categories: Easy believism, flesh, Humbleness, mortification, Paul Washer, Perseverance of the saints, regenerate, Sanctification, self-denial, Worldly

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“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The whole idea of “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is not in the Gospel of Jesus. As a matter of fact, He said just the opposite: “you will know them by their fruit”

We have in our baptist churches this idea that you need to “receive Jesus”, and maybe “in your heart”.
This is, first and foremost, not biblical, and, secondly (but also important) not in the history of the church.
Our salvation is not a process in which God does half of it, and we do the other half. It is a supernatural work of God. It’s not simply jumping out of the way to hell and jumping in the line to heaven.
The moment we are saved we become new creatures (if we are truly saved)
And this change will affect everything in our life. I don’t believe there’s a single area in our existence that will remain untouched by God.
How can we, then, live, talk, think (and, yes, even dress – there are dress codes in the Bible) like the world!?

Today the notion of worldliness is almost lost. And this happens because the doctrine of sanctification is also almost lost.
It doesn’t bother us that we cannot be told apart from the world.
The moment you bring this up in a conversation (“we are Christians, we are not supposed to do that”), you are reminded instantly of the Pharisees. “You don’t know their heart” goes the reasoning further.

This is not a salvation of works. We are saved by faith alone. But this faith is always accompanied by godliness. Not in order to be saved, but as a result of being saved.
“Sola fide” (by faith alone) emerged with the Reformation, as a reaction to the Roman Catholic idea that good works are neccessary for salvation.
But look at what we, the baptists, have done: the Gospel that we are proclaiming holds that it doesn’t matter how we live, as long as Jesus “is in our heart”!
We have reduced the supernatural work of God that transforms us to almost nothing, since we can (presumably) live the way we used to when we were in and of the world.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”

“for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Jesus can, and will look at your heart. But He doesn’t need to.

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

What happened to 1 John, 2 Peter, the sermon on the mountain?
Did we stop reading that? (and preaching that)

How can we say that Jesus is in our heart, but this doesn’t neccesarily affect the whole body?

This is the litmus test:

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?”

We are supposed to take holiness seriously. And also take sin seriously.

A quote by JC Ryle (that we should probably hear more often) :”Perhaps you think the saints of God [are] too strict and particular and serious. You rather avoid them. You have no delight in their society. There will be no other company in heaven”

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The old cross and the new, by AW Tozer

Posted December 22, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Carnal, fight the culture, flesh, grace, Humbleness, politics, regenerate, Sanctification, self-denial, Worldly

ALL UNANNOUNCED AND MOSTLY UNDETECTED there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique-a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.

The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, “Come and assert yourself for Christ.” To the egotist it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.” To the thrill seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.” The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God’s just sentence against him.

What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God’s stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.

To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul’s day to the present. Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God’s approval.

Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power. (A. W. Tozer, Man, the Dwelling Place of God, 1966)

The differences between worldly joys and spiritual joys

Posted November 25, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: blessings, Puritans, Thomas Watson, Uncategorized

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The original link: Grace Gems

The gleanings of spiritual joys, are better than the vintage of the worldly joys.

(1.) Spiritual joys help to make us BETTER, worldly joys often make us worse. “I spoke unto you in your prosperity—but you said, I will not hear.” Jer 22:21. Pride and luxury are the two worms which are bred from worldly pleasures. Wine is the inflamer of lust. As Satan entered in the sop, so often in the cup. But spiritual joy makes one better; it is like cordial medicine, which, as physicians say, not only cheers the heart—but purges out the noxious humours. Just so, divine joy is cordial medicine, which not only comforts but purifies; it makes a Christian more holy; it causes an antipathy against sin; it infuses strength to live and suffer for Christ. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Some colors not only delight the eye—but strengthen the sight. Just so, the joys of God not only refresh the soul—but strengthen it.

(2.) Spiritual joys are INWARD, they are heart joys. “Your heart shall rejoice.” John 16:22. True joy is hidden within, worldly joy lies on the outside, like the dew which wets the leaf. We read of those who “rejoice in appearance,” in the Greek, in the face. 2 Cor 5:12. It goes no farther than the face, it is not within. “Laughter can conceal a heavy heart; when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” Proverbs 14:13. Like a house which has a gilded frontispiece—but all the rooms within are hung in mourning. But spiritual joy lies most within. “Your heart shall rejoice.” Divine joy is like a spring of water which runs underground! Others can see the sufferings of a Christian—but they see not his joy. “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.” Prov 14:10. His joy is hidden manna—hidden from the eye of the world; he has joyful music which others cannot hear. The marrow lies within, the best joy is within the heart.

(3.) Spiritual joys are SWEETER than worldly joys. “Your love is sweeter than wine!” Song of Songs 1:2. Spiritual joys are a Christian’s festival; they are the golden pot and the sweet manna, they are so sweet, that they make everything else sweet! Spiritual joys sweeten health and estate, as sweet water poured on flowers makes them more fragrant and aromatic. Divine joys are so delicious and ravishing, that they put our mouth out of taste for earthly delights; just as he who has been drinking cordials tastes little sweetness in water. Paul had so tasted these divine joys, that his mouth was out of taste for worldly things; the world was crucified to him, it was like a dead thing, he could find no sweetness in it. Gal 6:14.

(4.) Spiritual joys are more PURE, they are not tempered with any bitter ingredients. A sinner’s joy is mixed with dregs, it is embittered with fear and guilt—he drinks wormwood wine. But spiritual joy is not muddied with guilt—but like a crystal stream, it runs pure. It is a rose without prickles; it is honey without wax.

(5.) Spiritual joys are SATISFYING joys. “Ask, that your joy may be full.” Worldly joys can no more fill the heart than a drop can fill an ocean; they may please the palate or imagination—but cannot satisfy the soul. “No matter how much we see—we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear—we are not content.” Ecclesiastes 1:8. But the joys of God satisfy. “Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19. There is as much difference between spiritual joys and earthly joys—as between a banquet which is eaten—and one which is painted on the wall!

(6.) Spiritual joys are STRONGER joys than worldly joys. “Strong consolation.” Heb 6:18. They are strong joys indeed, which can bear up a Christian’s heart in trials and afflictions. “Having received the word in much affliction, with joy.” These joys are roses which grow in winter! These joys can sweeten the bitter waters of Marah! He who has these joys, can gather grapes from thorns, and fetch honey out of the carcass of a lion! “As sorrowing—yet always rejoicing.” 2 Cor 6: 10. At the end of the rod—a Christian tastes honey!

(7.) Spiritual joys are UNWEARIED joys. Other joys, when in excess, often cause loathing; too much honey nauseates. One may be tired of pleasure, as well as labor. King Xerxes offered a reward to him who could find out a new pleasure! But the joys of God, though they satisfy—yet they never glut. A drop of joy is sweet—but the more of this wine the better! Such as drink of the joys of heaven—are never glutted. Their satiety is without loathing, because they still desire more of the joy with which they are satiated.

(8.) Spiritual joys are ABIDING joys. Worldly joys are soon gone. Such as crown themselves with rosebuds, and bathe in the perfumed waters of pleasure—may have joys which seem to be sweet—but they are swift. They are like meteors, which give a bright and sudden flash, and then disappear. But the joys which believers have are abiding; they are a blossom of eternity—a pledge of those rivers of pleasure which run at God’s right hand! “In Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures!” Psalm 16:11


Others May, You Cannot!

Posted November 14, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Acceptance, Humbleness, Perseverance of the saints, Sanctification, Worldly

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—G.D. Watson (1845-1924)

If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to measure yourself by other Christians; and in many ways, He will seem to let to let other good people do things which He will never let you do.

Other Christians and ministers, who seem very religious and useful, can push themselves, pull wires and work schemes to carry out their Christian goals, but these things you simply cannot do. Others may boast of their work or their writings or their success, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you ever try it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but most likely God will keep you poor, because He want you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him and the joy of seeing Him supply your needs day by day out of an unseen Treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and keep you hidden and unappreciated because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work on and on without others knowing how much you are doing; and then, to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will rebuke you for little words or deeds or even feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem to be concerned about, but you must make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and He has a right to do whatever He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in the way He deals with you, but if you will just submit yourself to Him in all things, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and bestow upon you many blessing which come only to those who are very near to His heart.

Settle it then, that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so possessed with the living God that your secret heart becomes pleased and delighted with this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, then you will have entered the very vestibule of heaven itself.

Is Christ our banner?

Posted October 27, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Uncategorized

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Some thoughts by Paul Washer (from one of his podcasts):

A  pastor I know, a dear man of God, called me and said “Brother Paul, I’d like you to come to preach to my church because I believe many of them are lost. And I said “Why do you believe many of your members are lost?” He said “because they are homeschoolers”.

Now I homeschool. So does he. And I said “Brother, you homeschool”. “Yes, I do. But anytime a group of people make homeschooling their banner rather than Jesus, they have gone astray”

You see, you’re off-center, unless it’s all about Christ.

Brother Paul is right. Are we as excited about Christ as we are about yesterday’s game/show on TV? Or our profession/job/hobby?

Do we, as Christians, talk about Him, when we meet? Or do we talk about everything under the sun except Christ?

Our banner, as Christians, shouldn’t be anything except Him. Not homeschooling, not social activism or politics, nothing. Not that these things aren’t good. But when we are more concerned about “voting the right way” or promoting the right values in the public space, something is wrong. We should be perceived as the Christ’s church, rather than as a voting bloc or as being against you-name-it social cause (abortion/same sex marriage/God out of school). I think we should be more concerned about “God back to church” than about “God back to school” or “the 10 commandments back to the law courts”.

The Church Versus the World, by John MacArthur

Posted September 19, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Carnal, fight the culture, John McArthur, Worldly

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The whole article here:

Why do evangelicals try so desperately to court the world’s favor? Churches plan their worship services to cater to the “unchurched.” Christian performers ape every worldly fad in music and entertainment. Preachers are terrified that the offense of the gospel might turn someone against them, so they deliberately omit the parts of the message the world might not approve of.

Evangelicalism seems to have been hijacked by legions of carnal spin-doctors, who are trying their best to convince the world that the church can be just as inclusive, pluralistic, and broad-minded as the most politically-correct worldling.

The quest for the world’s approval is nothing less than spiritual harlotry. In fact, that is precisely the imagery the apostle James used to describe it. He wrote: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

There is and always has been a fundamental, irreconcilable incompatibility between the church and the world. Christian thought is out of harmony with all the world’s philosophies. Genuine faith in Christ entails a denial of every worldly value. Biblical truth contradicts all the world’s religions. Christianity itself is therefore antithetical to virtually everything this world admires.

Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

Notice that our Lord considered it a given that the world would despise the church. Far from teaching His disciples to try to win the world’s favor by reinventing the gospel to suit worldly preferences, Jesus expressly warned that the quest for worldly accolades is a characteristic of false prophets: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

He further explained: “The world . . . hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7). In other words, the world’s contempt for Christianity stems from moral, not intellectual, motives: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20). That is why no matter how dramatically worldly opinion might vary, Christian truth will never be popular with the world.

Yet in virtually every era of church history there have been people in the church who are convinced that the best way to win the world is by catering to worldly tastes. Such an approach has always been to the detriment of the gospel message. The only times the church has made any significant impact on the world are when the people of God have stood firm, refused to compromise, and boldly proclaimed the truth despite the world’s hostility. When Christians have shrunk away from the task of confronting popular worldly delusions with unpopular biblical truths, the church has invariably lost influence and impotently blended into the world. Both Scripture and history attest to that fact.

And the Christian message simply cannot be twisted to conform to the vicissitudes of worldly opinion. Biblical truth is fixed and constant, not subject to change or adaptation. Worldly opinion, on the other hand, is in constant flux. The various fads and philosophies that dominate the world change radically and regularly from generation to generation. The only thing that remains constant is the world’s hatred of Christ and His gospel.

In all likelihood, the world will not long embrace whatever ideology is in vogue this year. If the pattern of history is any indicator, by the time our great grandchildren become adults, worldly opinion will be dominated by a completely new system of belief and a whole different set of values. Tomorrow’s generation will renounce all of today’s fads and philosophies. But one thing will remain unchanged: until the Lord Himself returns and establishes His kingdom on earth, whatever ideology gains popularity in the world will be as hostile to biblical truth as all its predecessors have been.

Paul Washer on worship

Posted September 10, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Paul Washer, Worship

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The book of Psalms is a songbook. Of worship.
So yes, you can sing. But here is something it would be very important for you to understand: if you ever write a book on the doctrine of God, you’re gonna notice something very unusual. What I mean by the doctrine of God is you write a book on all the Bible teaching about the attributes of God. You know what you’re gonna discover? That more than 50 percent of your entire book will come from Psalms. You will find most of the texts about the attributes of God in the book of Psalms.

So our singing ought to be theological. And if you are gonna have a worship leader, he needs to be a theologian. He needs to know God. And he needs to walk in the fear of God and holiness probably even more than he who preaches the Word. It is a terrible thing what we do in churches in regard to worship. Because we do not know the fear of God. A young boy has a guitar and he can sing well…let’s have him lead worship. We ought to realize that in the book of Leviticus God killed two worship leaders. Because they did not worship Him conform to the Scriptures. Worship is a dangerous thing.

Another thing that we need to realize is this: worship is supposed to be didactic. It is supposed to be a tool for teaching. Let me read a text to you. Colossians 3:16:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

So worship springs forth out of someone who is saturated by the Word of God. And and the purpose of singing in the church is first and foremost, to bless God. Secondly, it is didactic, to teach those who are singing, to admonish them, encourage them, and even be, I suppose, a witnessing tool for those who are listening that are unbelievers. This is a problem I have with much of the modern music. Not all of it, but a lot of it. They don’t follow these principles. It’s more about feelings.

I’m gonna be very honest with you. And if you’re gonna get angry with me,  just forgive me.
Much worship in the churches today is nothing more than a celebration of flesh. It is an exercise in emotions. If you begin to feel the presence of God during the high emphatic notes of the song, when the rhythm has been lifted up, and the music is just glorious, and you only feel the presence of God then, it’s not the presence of God you’re feeling. It’s emotion. I have known people, some of the holiest people I know, that would sit down and worship. They have no music. I’m not saying this is the only way to do it. It’s not. But they have no music. Someone would say “Let’s sing hymn number. 52” and they’ll start singing. And then another person will say, after it’s over: “what about hymn 103?” and they’ll start worshiping. They’re some of the godliest people I know on this planet. Who understand worship deeply. And yet you bring people to that church who are all about the music. And they’ll go “boy, this is dead”.  Because their idea of life is not the true presence of Christ. It’s these amazing songs that lift your emotions. There’s not necessarily something wrong with that, but be very careful. Once I was with a group and they said “God is here. Man, the music was going, God’s here!” I said “no, He’s not”. And they said “how do you know?” “Because most of you would be dead if God was here. Because He is a holy God. And you know the sin that is going on in this church. People get so in the flesh because they feel something.

I hear people say “I was shaving this morning and Jesus appeared to me”. Did you stop shaving? They’re so nonchalant about the presence of God. In the Bible when the presence of God showed up “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts”. Isaiah’s experience. You say “that’s Old Testament”. John on the isle of Patmos when Christ appears falls as a dead man. I’m not saying that the presence of God is always like that. But when it’s never like that, when it’s always “bless me, bless me, bless me”, “joy, joy, joy”, “dance, dance, dance”, something is terribly wrong.