Scriptural baptism is BELIEVER’S baptism, which is only for believers. When the Lord saves a sinner, that sinner will have a heart felt desire to obey the Savior’s commandment and confess Christ publicly in believer’s baptism. This desire does not come from a legal fear (afraid the Lord will punish us for not obeying), but rather this desire is the obedience of a child who finds joy in publicly identifying with our Lord and Savior. It is a desire born from God given belief on the Lord Jesus Christ.
What a joy for a new believer to be able to publicly say “All my hope of salvation is in the Lord Jesus Christ my substitute. When He died, He died for my sin, and I died to the law and justice in Him. When Christ was buried, I was buried in Him. And when Christ arose, I arose in Him.” At the same time, it is a joy for the rest of the body of believers to be able to rejoice with our new brother or sister as they confess Christ.
Many places in religion make the “candidate for baptism” give their testimony and answer questions publicly to be sure the “candidate” is qualified for baptism. How sad! They have missed the point! Believer’s baptism IS our confession and our testimony that all of our salvation is in the doing, the dying, and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This thought is both sobering and encouraging: The Lord has been in our midst, mercifully calling His sheep to Himself. Let us pray that He will not leave us alone, but continue to meet with us and make His power in salvation known.
I believe that all who come to our Redeemer in saving faith Do so PERSONALLY. I wish that I could believe God for my family; but unless a man in his own heart believes on Christ, he will perish. Those who come to Christ will come SINCERELY. A man is not only persuaded that Christ is the way, but in his heart he lovingly and sincerely agrees with God’s terms of salvation. “My son, give me thine heart” (Prove. 23:26). It is the heart or nothing in this heavenly marriage. Also, those who come to Christ do so RATIONALLY, in knowledge and understanding. They know WHAT He saved them from—sin’s curse and condemnation. The know WHO saved them—our Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man. They know HOW He saved the—by His perfect obedience and precious blood. They know WHY He saved them—“according to the good pleasure of His own will” (grace, grace, and more grace). And those who come to Christ come PERMANENTLY, with no intention of ever leaving Him; and, by His grace, with no possibility of ever being forsaken by Him. - Pastor Henry Mahan
The admission of every new member into the visible Church, whether young or grown up, is an event which ought to excite a lively interest in a Christian assembly: it is an event that ought to call forth the fervent prayers of all praying people. - J.C. Ryle
He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord. - Psalm 113:9
And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (II Cor 12:9)
Grace is defined as undeserved, unearned favor from God. The Greek word means: that which affords joy, pleasure, and delight. God’s grace brings the believer joy, pleasure, and delight because God’s grace is not something we earned, but is the free gift of God, and because God’s grace is sufficient in every situation.
God’s grace is sufficient to save from sin. We have the forgiveness of sin according to the riches of God’s grace (Eph 1:7). It is God’s grace that brings salvation to God’s elect (Titus 2:11). And thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient to save even the worst sinners: where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Rom 5:20).
God’s grace is sufficient to call God’s elect to Himself. I am so very thankful that I am not required to effectually call God’s people to Christ. God WILL call all of His people to Himself through the preaching of the gospel. God WILL call all He has saved according to His own purpose and grace in our Lord Jesus Christ (II Tim 1:9). And when God’s purpose for us on this earth is finished, God will call all of His people to eternal glory with Him (I Peter 5:10).
God’s grace is sufficient to make His elect new creatures in Christ. No believer is born of the will of the flesh. The new birth is an act of God’s grace. Saul of Tarsus could only be made into the apostle Paul by the all sufficient grace of God (I Cor 15:10). If you or I are ever used of God for His glory and the good of His people, it will be by the same grace of our God.
God’s grace is sufficient for every trial the Lord sends our way (II Cor 12:9). Every child of God has access to the throne of grace where we find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16). The grace that comes from the throne of God is so sufficient that not only will a believer be enabled to endure the trial, but God given grace will cause us to rejoice, not in the pain of the trial, but in the grace of God given to us during the trial
(II Cor 12:10)
God’s grace is sufficient to give a sinner a good hope of salvation and eternal glory (II Thes 2:16). The only way a sinner can have a sure hope of being cleansed from every sin and expect to spend eternity in the presence of our Savior is through the sovereign grace of God.
It is no wonder that generations of believers have loved to sing “Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me!”
Someone said, “God saved me against my will, with my full consent.” That is well said. Everyone God saves is saved against the will of the flesh. However, everyone God saves is saved with his full consent because God makes His people willing in the day of His power (Ps 110:3) when He gives them a new will that comes from the new nature given in the new birth. No one is forgiven who hates sovereign mercy. No one is given spiritual life who hates free grace. God makes His people willing to repent of everything they are, to completely trust in Christ, to lovingly receive Christ, and to look expectantly for His return.
…without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5
A current oracle of wisdom adorning the sign in front of a “church” near my home reads “If God is your co-pilot, swap seats!” I really do my best to completely ignore such nonsense, but now and then one, such as this, displays in a remarkable way the depth of religious error apart from revealing grace.
Even this “correction” of a previously conceived masterpiece-“God is my co-pilot”, is a weakly disguised declaration of the humanism that is the new age gospel of anti-Christ.
If your God needs a co-pilot, you are in deep trouble. If you cooperated in any way whatsoever with God in the matter of your salvation, then there is no grace for you and you have no Savior. Christ is all and in all (Col 3:11), the Alpha and Omega (Rev 21:6), the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). There is no need for any sinner to swap seats with God because there is only one seat. It is the throne of the universe, and Christ sits upon it (Rev 4:2). My only hope is to sit there in Him (Eph 2:6), and this happens only at His sovereign, gracious, saving discretion.
If men and women are ever made to see how utterly dependent we are upon Christ, then certainly we would fly to Him. We hang utterly upon His mercy. He will save us or damn us as it pleases Him. But whether pilot or co-pilot, grace is no more grace (Rom 11:6). If I have any hand in it, then it is disaster. I am nothing, I have nothing, I can do nothing, and I like it that way. Christ is all, is not a slogan or a saying we put on our church sign. It is the indisputable message of holy scripture.
Neither salvation nor sanctification are in any way a cooperative effort. When Peter was sinking beneath the waves, he didn’t say, “Lord, nothing is going to happen today that you and I together can’t handle.” He said, “Lord, save me.”
Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
If sinners are not saved by the preaching of the truth of Christ, they will not be saved by the telling of lies. If “all the counsel of God” (His character, our condition, Christ’s person and work) has no effect on sinners, our toning down the truth or mixing it with human works will not bring them to God. There is but ONE GOSPEL for all purposes and for all people; the very gospel that comforts the saint is the gospel which saves the sinner. Some have the idea that we get men saved by whatever means, then we teach them “the doctrines of grace.” Not so! It is grace that saves, grace that motivates, and grace that comforts.
Pastor Henry Mahan
SPURGEON ON CALVINISM
I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified unless you preach what now-a-days is called Calvinism. I have my own ideas, and those I always state boldly. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel and nothing else. I do not believe that we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in this dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the peculiar redemption which Christ made for His elect and chosen people; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets sinners fall away after they are called and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having believed. Such a gospel I abhor. The gospel of the Bible is not such a gospel as that. We preach Christ and Him crucified in a different fashion; and to all gainsayers we reply, “We have not so learned Christ.”
My wife and I recently took our daughter to the airport where she would leave on a trans Atlantic flight. I would have liked to see the pilot so I could tell him that I was committing to his care one of the most precious things in the world to me. I also would have liked to see if he looked like he had done this before: did he have the experience to take my baby across the ocean? Did he have the wisdom to know what details should be checked? Did he have the patience to check and double check every detail? Did he have the ability to handle that aircraft in a variety of weather conditions? Did he have the knowledge of the maps they would use so he knew the proper route to take so they would arrive safely? I am sure he had all of that and more.
As we were leaving the airport, I thought how thankful I am that our Savior is worth trusting. Sinners can confidently put all of their hope of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Does Christ our Savior have the experience to save a sinner like me? Yes, He is the eternal Savior, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Christ has been the Savior of sinners longer than there have been sinners. Does Christ have the wisdom to save a sinner like me? Yes, His very name is Wisdom, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:3) He not only knows how to save His people, He knows His sheep and calls His sheep by name. Does Christ have the ability to save a sinner like me? Yes, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:25) Does Christ have the patience to save a sinner like me? Yes, Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (Ps 86:15) Does Christ know the route to salvation and ultimate glorification for a sinner like me? Yes my friend He does, for Christ IS the way of salvation.
How thankful I am to have such a Savior in whom I can entrust my most precious possession: my soul. I say with the apostle Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
“I am a debtor both to the Greeks and the Barbarians: both to the wise and unwise.” By that, Paul meant he was indebted to all men. And what was the debt he owed them? The preaching of the Gospel! His reasoning was, since God had saved the very chief of sinners in saving him, he was obligated to tell other sinners that “faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” This we know. No sinner will be saved apart from hearing and believing the Gospel. And we have been given this mandate, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Oh, that God would give us a sense of indebtedness toward men that creates a desire for them to hear and be saved by the same Gospel that saved us. May we all say and feel “I am a debtor.”
The God-Man was at the cross accomplishing the salvation of His people. Hear the man Christ Jesus cry, “I thirst.” Hear the man cry, “My God, My God why hast thou forsake me?” It is the man Christ Jesus, the Substitute for sinful men, who said, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger.”
Then my friend, hear God cry, “It is finished!”. Hear the voice of sovereign God say, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Then, when salvation was accomplished, hear God the Son cry, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
John wrote in I John 3:1, “BEHOLD!” Take notice, with wonder and astonishment, what matchless, amazing and wonderful love, the Father has given freely and graciously to us. “THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED SONS OF GOD.” This is the privilege and blessing that exceeds all others. Because our Lord loved us and gave Himself for us, children of wrath are now children of love, rebels and traitors are now sons, enemies are now sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ. How can we comprehend such love and grace? This our song of rejoicing now and ever shall be. “THEREFORE THE WORLD KNOWS US NOT, BECAUSE THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT.” The reason the people of this world do not recognize and acknowledge us as the children of God is because they do not know God. “He was in the world and the world knew Him not.”
Though the world does not recognize us as sons of God, though our present condition is very short of God’s glory, though our bodies are flesh and old age and death are before us, though we are subject to many miseries, temptations, and trials, though we are aware of sin and evil which still dwell within us, “NOW” at this very moment, “WE ARE THE SONS OF GOD.” It would be foolish to estimate what we shall be by what we are now. “But we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him: for we shall see Him as He is.”
From the first day the Lord visited me in grace and was pleased to make me acquainted with myself and to make me to know the sin of my own heart, I have been UNLEARNING what I had before been studying with so much care—how to recommend myself by human merit to the Holy God! But when the Lord in mercy brought me to Christ, He inverted this order; and I was led to see ONLY HIS WAYS and His holiness and NONE OF MY OWN!
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil 4:13)
What a blessing it would be to us to learn these two things. Without Christ, I can do nothing. I cannot think a right thought; I cannot muster up a right motive. I cannot perform a good deed. I cannot repent, believe, or love without Him enabling me to. I cannot turn myself toward Him. I cannot even hear the Gospel! It is a blessing to realize this because it causes us to go to Him for these things. I may not be able to come to Christ with faith, but I come to Him for faith! The second verse is equally true. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The man with the withered hand could not stretch it forth. But when Christ commanded him to, he could. The impotent man could not get himself into the pool. But when Christ commanded him to rise and walk, he could. With men all things are impossible, but with God all things are possible. There is nothing we cannot do with Christ strengthening us. Oh that we would simply believe these two things.
Faith is necessary for salvation. But, we do not look to our faith to save us; rather, in faith, we look to Christ. Repentance is necessary for salvation. But we do not look to our repentance to save us; rather, in repentance, we turn to Christ. There are graces, which God works in us as He saves us. But these graces are never to be the object of our trust, confidence or hopeful gaze. All the graces God gives us in salvation are to be used to look to, turn to, appreciate and lay hold of Christ, who is our salvation!
It is not wrong to love God for WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US! Not to do so would be ingratitude. David's love for the Lord showed itself in NOT FORGETTING ALL HIS BENEFITS (Psa. 110). "He forgives our iniquities, heals our spiritual diseases, redeems our lives, crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies, and satisfies our mouths with good things." Some theologians tell us that the highest kind of love is to love God FOR WHAT HE IS rather than for what He has done in us and for us. Someday I may be able to identify with this highest kind of love; but until then, "I love Him BECAUSE He loved me and sent His Son to be the propitiation for my sins."
Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. Psalm 69:6
God’s saving grace to sinners will cause those sinners to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Salvation gives a new heart that desires to worship with God’s people whenever possible. That is not to say that God’s grace only affects the hearts of God’s children on Sundays and Wednesdays. God’s grace affects the believer’s walk EVERYDAY.
Each day part of our prayers should be that the Lord will keep us from saying anything that would bring reproach on the name of the Lord (Psalm 141:3). Since our actions speak louder than our words, we should also pray that the Lord will keep us from DOING anything that would offend our brethren, cause our brethren to stumble, or give the heathen a reason to blaspheme the name of the Savior.
You cannot separate faith and conduct. Our conduct should be a matching bookend to our doctrine. Perhaps that was what Brother Mahan meant when he wrote the following article.
BALAAM’S ASS SPOKE THE TRUTH BUT HE WAS STILL AN ASS!
I assume that you are Calvanistic in creed, fundamental in faith, and moral in manners or you would not be identified with this people. But has the grace you profess made you gracious? Has the love of God you claim made you a loving, tender, and kind person? Has the forgiveness of your sins taught you how to forgive? Has your friendship with “THAT GREAT FRIEND” taught you how to be a true and loyal friend? Having received the heavenly gifts freely from God’s merciful hand, have you learned to give to others freely and generously? You have studied the person and work of Jesus Christ, but HAVE YOU LEARNED CHRIST? The only true evidence that you or anyone else has of the fact that you know Christ and have truly been with Christ, is that you demonstrate in attitude and action the ways and will of Christ. Is this not what Paul is saying in I Corinthians 13? One may have the orthodoxy and knowledge, and gifts of religion; but if he does not have LOVE, he is NOTHING! Don’t just tell men about the grace of God; show them what His grace has done for you. Don’t just preach the love of God; demonstrate it! My friends, a contentious, unloving, ungracious person is a stranger to the grace of God; for the grace of God makes men and women gracious and loving in all areas. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Balaam’s ass spoke the truth, but he was STILL AN ASS! SPEAKING the truth does not necessarily change one; LEARNING THE TRUTH DOES!
If thou, Lord shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. Psalm 130:3-4
GOD READY TO PARDON
God ready to pardon is a God prepared to pardon. Everything is prepared by which God can forgive sin. The road used to be blocked up. But Christ has, by the blood of his cross, tunneled every mountain, filled every valley, bridged every gulf and cleared away every obstacle. Now all things are ready. God, for Christ’s sake, is “a God ready to pardon.”
A God ready to pardon is a God who can easily pardon. Though he could never pardon sin without the satisfaction of his justice, now that justice has been satisfied by the death of Christ as the sinner’s Substitute, God can easily pardon us for Christ’s sake. It takes nothing but his word. — “Thy sins are forgiven thee!”
A God ready to pardon is a God who quickly pardons. There is no need for any sinner to wait, even for a moment, for pardon. The pardon of sin is an instantaneous work (1 John 1:9). In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, God gives pardon to the believing sinner.
A God ready to pardon is a God who cheerfully pardons. Can you grasp this? — “He delighteth in mercy!” As God loves a cheerful giver, he is a God who cheerfully pardons guilty sinners for Christ’s sake. It is more the nature of God to forgive sin than it is the nature of man to commit sin. His forgiveness is infinite! — “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Can you imagine that? — The triune God singing because of us whom he has pardoned! What a thought! As God pardons sinners, he bursts into a song! This is “a God ready to pardon!” — And he is our God!
Pastor Don Fortner
CHRIST IS ALL
If salvation depends upon our being or doing anything, we shall inevitably be lost. Thank God, it does not; for the great fundamental principle of the Gospel is that Christ is all; man is nothing. It is not a mixture of Christ and man – it is all of Christ. The peace of the Gospel does not rest in part on Christ’s work and in part on man’s work; it rests wholly on Christ’s work, because that work is perfect, perfect forever; and it renders all who put their trust in Him as perfect as Himself! Christ must either be a whole Savior or no Savior at all. The moment a man says, “Except you be this or that, you cannot be saved,” he totally subverts the Gospel; for in the Gospel I find Christ coming down to me, just as I am – a lost, guilty, self-destroyed sinner; and coming, moreover, with a full remission of all my sins, and a full salvation from my lost estate, all perfectly wrought by Himself on the cross.
My heart is grieved to see how often many other things of this life take precedence over seeking Christ, reading God’s Word, and being in the public worship service. But my heart is thrilled when I see someone who is seeking Christ out of a...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
ACCESS Ephesians 2: 18: For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Brethren, try to grasp the truth of this amazing statement. We have open, welcome access to God. When God created Adam upright in the garden man...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
ONE MEDIATOR Believers rejoice because “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5). A sinner wants only Christ to be our mediator with God. A sinner does not want Mary or any other dead...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
THE SAVIOR MUST BE GOD Men who are dead in sin like to argue that the Lord Jesus is not God but only a mere man who was only a prophet of God, but not God manifest in the flesh. They insist on this because fallen man has always rebelled...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Please stay after the service today to eat lunch and enjoy a time of fellowship as we celebrate Frank Tate’s 50th birthday. ***** Christ is not valued, nor His grace appreciated until men have genuine knowledge of their misery,...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
If anyone is interested in participating in one of the services here in Merida, you can go to http://mensajedegracia.com/ and click on the live webcast button at 11 AM or 7 PM today (1/11/2015) to listen to the live stream of today's services in...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Please plan to stay for lunch after the service next Sunday when we will celebrate Frank Tate’s 50th birthday. ***** We welcome Brother Bob Coffey to the pulpit this morning. Bob is a dear friend of this congregation. He will be...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Our monthly ladies lunch will be Friday January 10th at 11:30 a.m. at Panera Bread in the Ashland Town Center Mall. ***** We will have a church dinner after the service Sunday, January 18th to celebrate Frank Tate’s 50th birthday. *****...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
There will be no service on Wednesday, December 24th so everyone will have plenty of time to enjoy the holiday with family and friends. I hope all of you have a very merry Christmas! ***** We will have New Year’s Eve service at our normal...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Our sincere sympathy is extended to Earlein Meadows and Lorelei Holschuh in the recent death of their father Earl Henderson. ***** There will be no service on Wednesday, December 24th so everyone will have plenty of time to enjoy the holiday...[ abbreviated | read entire ]