We will vote next Sunday on whether or not to commit regular financial support of a true Gospel mission in Malawi, Africa. It is a mission that I truly believe is worthy of our support. If you have not read the handout I prepared, please ask for a copy. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. If any of you are opposed but do not want to express this in the meeting, call or e-mail me and explain your reasons why. —Pastor Bill Parker
WHERE IS YOUR REFUGE?
It is a peculiar happiness to observe that in matters of spiritual concern, the philosopher and the ploughman (if truly regenerate) have the same feelings, speak the same language, and they all eat of the same spiritual meat, drink of the same spiritual Rock that follows them, and that Rock is Christ. Hence, this is that sameness of experience, or to speak figuratively, that strong and striking family likeness which exists among the converted people of God in every period of time and in every nation under heaven. They all, without exception, take refuge in the righteousness and cross of Christ and unite in ascribing the whole praise of their salvation only to the free grace and sovereign mercy of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. —Augustus Toplady
THE THINGS THAT ARE FREELY GIVEN
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). When God the Holy Spirit gives spiritual life to dead sinners and brings us to faith in Christ and true repentance, He brings us to “know the things that are FREELY given to us of God.” What are these things FREELY given to us? They are all the spiritual and eternal blessings that God has FREELY provided for us by His grace through the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:32). God gave His Son, and He FREELY gives us all that His Son has earned and merited for us by His death on the cross. It is full salvation and all blessings of salvation conditioned on Christ Who fulfilled all conditions as our Surety, Substitute, and Redeemer. Not one blessing of grace is conditioned on our works or our decisions. The moment a sinner believes he gains or earns even one blessing by his meeting certain conditions, he denies Christ and all the things that are freely given to us of God. —Pastor Bill Parker
WHAT IS JUSTIFICATION?
It is an act of God’s free grace, whereby He pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, and received by faith alone. Justification is the very hinge and pillar of Christianity. An error about justification is dangerous like a defect in a foundation. Justification by Christ is a spring of the water of life. To have the poison of corrupt doctrine cast into this spring is damnable.
GOD IS NOT WILLING By John Kershaw
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
God the Father is not willing that any of His little ones should perish (Matthew 18:14). He purposed or decreed in His own eternal mind that they shall be saved in Christ with an everlasting salvation (Isaiah 45:17). This is called “the mystery of His will according to the good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself” (Ephesians 1:9). It is also called “the purpose of God according to election,” which shall stand. “My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).“The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:11).“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Proverbs 19:21).
So you see, it is the will, counsel, and determination of Jehovah the Father that His people should not perish, but be brought to repentance here and to glory hereafter. For “whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). This passage has often been called the golden chain of salvation; and, it rejoices my soul that a link of it cannot be broken, neither by sin, the world, men, devils, death, nor hell, for these are all vanquished foes – “Our Jesus nailed them to His cross, and sung the triumph when He rose.” “Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).