Birthdays: Jennifer Vanzandt – June 20th , Mark Pannell – June 24th
THE GOSPEL OF NO EFFECT
The Amplified Bible renders I Corinthians 1:17: "For Christ, the Messiah, sent me out not to baptize but (to evangelize by) preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel): and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain -- fruitless, void of value and of no effect." The Apostle Paul is saying that there is a way of preaching the gospel that is not really preaching the gospel at all!
The gospel is often cloaked and concealed from men in the lofty phrases of intellectualism. True things are preached but in a way to impress men rather than to save them. The gospel is made of no effect by detailed word studies that show the preacher's learning or by words that the average hearer has no understanding of. The message of the text is lost in the detail of the elements studied. The sermon is full of historical information, laden with references to the old creeds, confessions and writers and dotted with numerous clever illustrations. It is void of any heart-felt declaration of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus.
Likewise many sermons are simply the platform for the advancement of a social cause or the defense or denial of a social or political issue. Preachers speak much of being "Christ-like." They denounce with great fervor the moral errors of our day. But they don't preach Christ. They don't preach the gospel which God alone uses to produce all true godliness. There is always a "fight" to challenge the people to take up. Sadly, even many good things become the enemy of the best.
It is also true that many have made the gospel of no effect to their hearers by an emphasis on prophetical subjects. The coming of Christ becomes more important than the Christ who has already come, accomplished salvation for His people and Who will come again. Various prophetic positions are taught in great detail involving much time and the Gospel of Christ goes wanting one to proclaim it.
Then there is the matter of emotionalism. Often, how something is said is more important that what is said. Men look more at how one preaches than what he preaches. Loud and dogmatic is thought to be the Spirit's empowerment. Any truth that might be preached cannot be heard for the loud displays of fleshly enthusiasm. What men call spiritual has nothing to do with the Spirit of God who testifies of Christ.
Lord help us not to preach a gospel of no effect! Paul said, "I am determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified." The gospel plainly, repeatedly and without distractions or enhancements alone is used of God to save His people. A gospel that by these things is made of no effect is no gospel at all!
--- Gary Shepard
THE CAUSE OF ELECTION
These maxims are certainly true and indisputable: (1) That nothing in time can be the cause of what was done in eternity. To believe, to do good works, and persevere in them are acts in time, and so cannot be causes of election, which was done in eternity. And (2) That nothing out of God can be the cause of any decree or will in Him. He is no passive Being, to be wrought upon by motives and inducements outside of Himself. If His will is moved by anything outside of him, that must be superior to Him, and His will must become dependent on that; which to say of God is to speak very unworthily of Him. God wills things because it so pleases Him. Predestination is according to the good pleasure of His will. Election is according to His foreknowledge, which is no other than His free favor and good will to men (Eph. 1:5; I Pet. 1:2;). No other reason can be given of God's will or decree to bestow grace and glory on men, for His own glory, and of His actual donation of them, but what our Lord gives: "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight" (Matt. 11:25,26)
--- John Gill
COME TO THE LORD JESUS
Our Lord often spoke of coming to Him. "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink" (John 7:37). "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). "No man can come to Me except the Father which hath sent Me draw him" (John 6:40). Are you guilty? Come to Him for a full and unconditional pardon. Are you impure? Come to Him whose blood cleanses the foulest. Do you see the worthlessness of your self-righteous rags? Come to Him for perfect righteousness and beauty. Are you ignorant? Come to Him to be taught for He is the Wisdom of God. Are you cut off from God? Come to Him for restoration. O that you would be brought by the Spirit of grace to understand there is no life, no righteousness, no salvation, no forgiveness and no acceptance for any sinner outside of the dear Savior. Coming to Him is a movement of the soul, not the body; it is believing on Him. Come to Christ, but don’t move a muscle (as in walking the aisle).