A Night in Sodom — Procrastination

In a letter I received this week from a Christian friend, occurs this statement: "The world is ripe for judgment; is the Church ripe for rapture?" Now the first statement is absolutely true. The world is ripe for judgment, and it is coming. The nineteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis describes a scene that was ripe for judgment. In the previous chapter many of you will recollect how Abraham, the friend of God, in actual communion with the Lord, was making intercession for Sodom. Why? He knew that judgment was coming on Sodom.

God had revealed His mind to Abraham. In the seventeenth verse of Genesis 18 we read: "The Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?" and so He says to him in verse 20: "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come to me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham stood yet before the Lord."

In a moment Abraham had the sense — that is a doomed place. I must get my nephew Lot out of it. He had relations there. If you have any Christian relations, dear unsaved sinner, do not be amazed if those Christian friends become intensely urgent with you about the salvation of your soul. Why? just because, as Abraham knew in his day that Sodom was doomed, and that the judgment of the Lord was about to fall on that unutterably godless place, so now, we Christians know that the very next thing for the world is judgment. Mark that!

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The next thing for this poor world is God's judgment. Our Lord has told us in the few verses I read just now from the seventeenth of Luke, that exactly "as it was in the days of Lot . . . even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed." Without the slightest warning judgment will fall on a Christless Christendom, just as judgment fell on a godless Sodom. Happy the man that is outside of it! Wretched the man that belongs to it! Happy is the man that is clear of it — the man that has got to the mountain top — the spot of safety. You say, What is the mountain top? It is Christ. It is the knowledge of Christ. The mountain top was God's appointed place of safety from the storm that was about to roll over that doomed city, and engulf every person that was within its precincts.

Mark how troubled Abraham is in regard to Lot and Sodom. Would to God that we Christians were half as troubled! Would to God that we believers in the Lord Jesus Christ were as really in earnest about the blessing and deliverance of the unsaved souls all around us as Abraham was for those in Sodom! You have only to read that eighteenth chapter to see how earnestly he pleads with the Lord. "Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?" (Genesis 18:24) The Lord replies that if fifty righteous be forthcoming, the city shall be saved. And if there be only forty, Lord? Yes! And if there be only thirty? Yes! And if there be only twenty? Yes! And if there be only ten, Lord? Yes! And then he ceases. All the while he was thinking of Lot; and the thought in his heart was — I believe that Lot is a righteous man, though in a wrong position, and there are sure to be a few more like him to make up the necessary ten.

But the only man in all the city that God calls righteous is that man Lot. God, however, understands the deep desire of Abraham's heart, and in the chapter which I have read this evening responds to it. Abraham wants Lot delivered, and God effects it, for we read: "And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered" Whom? Lot? No. He interpreted the prayer of Abraham's heart for Lot, and He "remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt" (Genesis 19:29).

Nothing can be more blessed than the position of the Christian now, who is persistent with God for precious souls in a doomed scene. In the goodness and grace of His heart, even though there were not the number, that Abraham fondly hoped, in that scene, God rejoiced to answer the desire of Abraham's heart, and brought deliverance to Lot.

It is not the question tonight of how few there be saved, or how many there be saved, but this — Judgment is about to fall upon this godless scene; but before it falls a message is sent by God to you to get you morally out of it. Before the judgment fell upon Sodom heavenly messengers entered its precincts, and though they had much difficulty, they got Lot and his family outside. Ah! what a picture of the difficulty that we have to get sinners persuaded now to flee to Jesus from the wrath to come.

There may be a young man in this hall tonight, who has eluded the gospel, from the first hour of his birth to this very moment. He has eluded it — escaped it, and has thought himself uncommonly clever in turning aside the keen edge of the Word of God, from the preacher's lips, or the urgent fervent entreaty of some loving, tender-hearted relation. He has escaped from the gospel as though it were the plague. Are you this young man? God is giving you, my friend, another, possibly your last, chance of salvation. Procrastinate no longer, I implore you. Trifle with the goodness of the Lord no longer, I beseech you; and if you hear of God's way of escape, the Lord help you to tread it.

Remember the scene you are in is doomed. God has "appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). Lay hold of this fact that the day of judgment is coming — not the moment of the great white throne — but the day when the Son of Man will deal with this godless scene. The day is appointed, and the One who is to execute judgment is ordained. God has fixed the day. It is appointed. You may have broken many appointments in your day, friend, but you will not break God's appointment in that day. God has appointed the day, and He will make the world, so to speak, keep the appointment. You had better let His grace save you now.

What is the history of this world? It has broken God's law, murdered God's Son, resisted God's Spirit, despised God's gospel, and is now busy frittering away God's Word. There is nothing left now for the world but judgment, and that certainly will come, in a moment when it looks not for it. Do I hear you say, What then shall I do? Come out of it in spirit. Break with it. Get outside it. That is what the gospel does for a man. It brings him outside of it.

But you may turn to me, and say, I find many a Christian pretty much in the world. I know you do; and I doubt not Lot illustrates that kind of Christian. Lot was a man who undoubtedly possessed faith. He is called in the New Testament "just Lot." I have no doubt he was a man who, when in his uncle's company, had heard a good deal about the things of the Lord. He was, however, worldly-hearted. In the thirteenth chapter we find Lot accompanying Abraham out of Egypt, where I have no doubt the former had learned a good many bad ways, for "evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Corinthians 15:33), and a man is always impressed by the lowest, not the highest company he keeps. When they came out of Egypt there was a little contention between their respective herdsmen, and the result was that Abraham walking in the spirit of grace, said to Lot, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee . . . If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go the left" (Genesis 13:8, 9). Abraham's yieldingness is known to all men.

"So Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan that it was well watered everywhere," and beautifully nourished "even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest to Zoar" (ver. 10). The city of Sodom was a little distance off, and thither he gradually gravitated as "he pitched his tent toward Sodom" (ver. 12).

That is in the thirteenth chapter. The next thing you read concerning Lot is in the fourteenth chapter — where you find he has got into the city; and is actually taken prisoner along with the Sodomites, by Chedorlaomer and his allies, but is delivered by the intervention of Abraham. You would think that, after that experience he would surely have learned such a lesson, and so profited by the shaking he got, that he would not go back to that place, either he or his family. That is not so. He had not learned his lesson, so when you come to this nineteenth chapter, that is before us, you find he has settled down quietly in the town, and become a magistrate. Well, you say, Is there anything wrong in a man being a magistrate? I am not saying that. I am thankful for every man who wields the civil power, who is a God-fearing person; but do you not see that what Lot wanted was a position in the world, though doubtless his desire at the same time was to improve the world, and to whitewash Sodom — which God had described as "wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly," in fact unmendably bad, and only ripe for judgment.

Now see what took place. Lot was anxious, and vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds" (2 Peter 2:7, 8). The fact was he was a converted man in the wrong place. He ought to have been entirely separate from it. He gradually got from the plain into the city, and eventually they made him a magistrate. Doubtless he thought that when he was a magistrate, he would do great things; but what was the result? Did he put the world right? No. And do you think the gospel puts the world right? No, nothing will put the world right but judgment. "When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isaiah 26:9). You say, That is a terribly poor prospect for the world. Yes, you are right. The world is rushing on to judgment; but meantime the gospel comes and carries souls out of it, delivering them from the scene through which they have to pass.

The reception of the gospel has present as well as eternal effects for good. Of those who receive it, we read, that they have "escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4). That is what Lot's history does not illustrate. Lot and his family got thoroughly into the world, and were tainted with the moral corruption that lust produced. Long breathing a morally polluted atmosphere deadened conscience, and begot evil and unheard-of ways (see Genesis 19:30-38). That is the lesson I learn from Lot and his children.

Let us now look at the way in which he gets at length delivered out of Sodom. The Lord Jesus bids you and me look at and learn from this scene, otherwise He would not have said so emphatically: "As it was in the days of Lot . . . thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed;" and, lest there should be among His followers any lingering in sin or procrastinating, He adds that sharp, short, trite sentence, that I would to God were burned deeply into the conscience of every lingerer here tonight — "Remember Lot's wife!" She was a person who was almost saved, but was not. She was within sight of the place of safety, but failed to reach it. She was on the verge of getting divinely appointed security, but missed it. Two things worked in her heart to her ruin. Unbelief and disobedience. She did not in her heart believe that God would judge Sodom, and spite of His plain command to the contrary, she would look back, and in that moment she was cut off, and she stands an everlasting beacon of the awful folly of disobeying the Lord.

Ah! my unconverted, world-loving friend, you think you can have your own way. You can; I admit it; but you will repent it for eternity, unless God bring you to deep repentance here. Lot's wife may well warn you. She stands an everlasting beacon, I repeat, to this world of the insensate folly of a soul that might have been saved, but was not, through unbelief and disobedience. Therefore our Lord cries, with the most emphatic language possible — "Remember Lot's wife!" God help you to remember Lot's wife; for if you do not receive Jesus as your blessed Saviour now, you may never have another opportunity; and you will repent in eternity the awful folly of not simply obeying the gospel.

Let us turn to our chapter now, and see how God answers Abraham's prayer. Two angels go to Sodom in the evening. The sun is setting. The shades of night are falling on that city of corruption and lust, as these two messengers, freighted with the thoughts of God, and tidings of deliverance for souls in that doomed city, enter it. I know a man here tonight who has a similar message; and just as these men spoke in Sodom, so I tell you tonight, my friends, that judgment is about to fall; but you yet have time to escape it. You may have salvation just now. I stand here this evening to tell you of the wonderful way of escape that God is pointing out to sinners, through the death and resurrection of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

These two angels — I call them heavenly evangelists, because indeed they were such — enter the city. Lot sees them, and accosts them. He feels that there is something about them to which his heart responds. He wants them to go into his house. But no, they are chary about that. They say, "Nay, but we will abide in the street all night" (ver. 2). They would not enter Lot's house. You say, Why not? I think the reason is very simple. They did not think Lot's house was of good repute. The manners of his house were such that the two messengers felt that they would rather stay outside than enter it. Christians, what a lesson for you and me. What is the atmosphere of your house and mine? Is the atmosphere of your house and mine such that God would like to come into them? Is your house one where Jesus is always to be found, and His disciples always welcome? These servants of God felt that Lot's house had not a good savour about it, and they proposed to stay outside.

However, at length, Lot constrains them, and they come in; and no sooner are they inside than the men of the city gather round about, and the true character of the iniquity and godlessness of the place is made manifest. The crowd demands that the strangers be brought out. Lot expostulates with them. He pleads with them. He is even ready to abase his own children to cover and protect these strangers. At length the riot gets so bad that they say to him, "Stand back." Their anger is aroused, and they cry, "This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge." What moral power has he over them when their passions and lusts are roused? None, and they plainly tell him, "Now will we deal worse with thee than with them." They would have broken in the door; but at that moment the door is opened, and the men draw Lot within.

The next thing we find is that those outside are struck with blindness. Now, mark you, God is striking Christendom with blindness in the very hour I speak — with moral blindness, spiritual blindness. We are drifting with lightning rapidity to the moment of which the second chapter of 2nd Thessalonians speaks, when it says that — "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved . . . for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess 2:10-12).

I quite admit that the full application of that scripture will be consequent on the day when the Lord Jesus has come for His people, and when the Church, then completed, has been taken away, and every Christian has been removed out of the scene. Then will judicial blindness fall upon those who have rejected the light, as well as grace and privilege. But although the moment of the full application of the scripture has not yet come, every man, that looks abroad today, and sees what is going on, cannot but be struck with the amount of what I call moral blindness that is passing over Christendom, and more than in any other place under the sun — the land you and I live in — the British Isles, so favoured of God with His Word.

The Bible is being slowly but surely torn to pieces, and committed to limbo. The very men who should have been the conservators of the Scriptures — the professors, the up to date, but, alas! unconverted professors of theology — have stripped it page by page, and book by book, until, were we to believe these learned infidels, there would not be seven pages of it left for faith to lay hold of, or for the soul to feed upon. Moses, a myth! Isaiah, a fool! Daniel, an impostor! and John not to be believed in! The pseudo-friends of the Bible have been so impregnated with scientific infidelity — with what God calls "profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called" (1 Tim. 6:20) — that their evolutionary theories — in the very face of Scripture — lead ordinary newspaper critics to say, "If Professor's arguments are sound, the Bible of the future will be a good handbook of biology, and common sense will take the place of the Holy Spirit." What a scathing rebuke to a professed friend of the Lord Jesus!

We are not told whether the blindness was removed from the eyes of these people, but this we are told, that they groped to find the door, but could not. And now these evangelists address the people for whom they came. And I, too, turn from those who oppose the Lord, and address any who are wanting salvation, and who, when they hear that judgment is coming, are anxious to escape it. The angels say to Lot, in verse 12: "Hast thou here any besides? son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord has sent us to destroy it" (vers. 12, 13). They have a double commission. They are sent by the Lord to intimate the fact of coming judgment; but, ere the judgment falls, they desire to deliver and bring out, not only Lot himself, but any in whom his heart is interested. How touching are these words "Hast thou here any besides?"

Christian! have you no unconverted sons? Have you no unconverted daughters? Have you no unconverted loved ones? Hear God's solemn query and command of grace: "Hast thou here any besides? son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place."

God warns; faith hears, and acts accordingly. So we read: "And Lot went out, and spake to his sons-in-law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city" (ver. 14). His soul is roused, and he goes forth. He is awakened to solemn realities, and is in earnest. If we have not hitherto been in earnest, may God waken us up. Dear Christian friends, what we want is earnestness! I feel how I want it. I long for it. Oh! that we were all truly awakened to the gravity of the situation around us. What ought to mark every one of us is a sense of the value and the danger of immortal souls, and the urgent necessity of impressing every one of them with the fact that judgment is coming, and that there is a way — and one way only — to escape from it. Are you and I wanting our relations, our friends, our neighbours, to be saved?

There seems to have been a carte blanche given to Lot. "Hast thou here any besides?" He had two daughters in the house, but the angels say, Have you any others in whom you are interested? Go and tell them! He is roused, goes out, and speaks to his sons-in-law. I think I see that scene. It was night, for we are told the morning had not yet come. No, the morning of the day had not come. The morning does not break till the fifteenth verse. It was thus in the dead of night. I think I see Lot. He leaves his house and goes down to the house of his son-in-law. He hammers at the door. He knocks so loudly that every sleeper in the house is wakened. May God wake up every sleeping soul in this hall tonight! Would to God I could waken you, and rouse your godless soul! Lot awoke those he went to. I have no doubt they wondered. "Who knocks?" "I," "You, father-in-law — what is it?" He replies, "Up, get you out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city." What a message! And, coming too, from the man, who had been going to put the city right. "Up, get you out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city," falls on the ears of the suddenly roused ones.

And what now? Does the message produce much effect, when the father-in-law gives it. Now, listen; so much for worldliness; so much for tampering with the world; so much for our hearts being enamoured of the things, and getting engaged with the favours of the world. The men of the world read our lives, and know perfectly well whether we live in the world, and love its things, or not. Lot's family read his life, and here is their comment. Do the sons-in-law mock Lot. Oh, dear, no! They have too much reverence for that. They do not mock him. They listen to his words, hear all he had to say, and draw their conclusion. What is it? "He seemed as one that mocked to his sons-in-law" (ver. 14).

I think they said to one another: What has happened? What has come over him? Has he lost his reason? The man that has come into the city to live, and has got into a position in the municipal government thereof, has given us his daughters in marriage, now in the dead of night comes and tells us that the Lord is going to destroy this place. What absurdity is this? Truly he seemed to them as one that mocked. They thought he was mad, or was playing the fool for a purpose. They did not mock, but judged he was doing so. They declined to believe him, because this message was so totally different from, and out of keeping with all his previous pathway.

That is the point. They could not reconcile the two things. They could not reconcile this startling message, given in the dead of night, with the fact that he had voluntarily come to, and lived in the city, loved its society, its company and its pleasures, and though pained by its sins, nevertheless chose — after being taken once out of it — to remain as a citizen in it. They could not understand this. "He seemed as one that mocked."

What was the effect of Lot's exhortation? I do not believe there was any effect. I think his sons-in-law went back to their beds, to continue the slumber, out of which they were so unexpectedly roused to hear of coming judgment of which they were incredulous, because of the bygone ways of the herald. Lot completely failed in his mission. It is of no use for us to proclaim "judgment to come" to our neighbours, if it be patent and manifest that our hearts are engrossed with the world's things. There is no use in our speaking of the future, if it be plain that we are only living for the present. The effect of such inconsistency must be to rob our testimony for God of all power. Oh! what a lesson to learn in Sodom! May we each heed it.

Lot having failed in his mission, returned to his house. Unbelief destroyed his relations, and procrastination almost destroyed him. This is evident. Manifestly he lingered, and would have stayed yet awhile in Sodom, but we read: "When the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city" (ver. 15). Lot's outside testimony had absolutely failed, and inside the house it was not much better, but his wife and his two daughters evidently are impressed by the testimony of the two strangers. As far as Lot's influence outside was concerned, it had not the weight of a feather. Not one solitary soul in all Sodom believed him, and, I repeat, there is to me in this a most pregnant lesson.

Mercy always rejoices against judgment, and this scene is no exception to this principle. "Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city," was Mercy's voice to Lot. She, so to speak, says to Lot: "You cannot now impress other people. You have had your chance, and you have missed it. You might have been God's witness in Sodom. You have failed in this, and lost your opportunity. Now, ere judgment falls on it, escape yourself." And what does he do? He lingers. He procrastinates. He starts, if I may so say, the sad history of the race of procrastinators of whom you read so much in Scripture, and see so many around you.

Lingerer, you have often thought of coming to the Lord but you have procrastinated. Young man, son of Christian parents, you know perfectly well the deep desire of their hearts for your salvation, and you have felt that you ought to come to the Saviour, yet you linger. Lingerer, procrastinator, you know full well that your only safety and wisdom lie in coming to the Saviour, and you mean to do it some day, but still you linger. What folly is yours. More souls are eternally lost through procrastination in coming to Christ, than by open, glaring sin.

But, to follow our story, we read: "While he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful to him; and they brought him forth, and set him without the city" (ver. 16). Oh, what grace! It is just like God's grace to take a lingerer by the hand. Give me your hand tonight, friend, that I may lead you to Jesus. Let me lead you to the Saviour! Will you not do it? I wish you would do what a woman did once in this very hall. While speaking, I had said, "Oh, give me your hand, and let me lead you to Jesus." As the meeting separated, I met her. Tears ran down her cheeks, as I asked, "Are you decided?" "Thank God, I am," she said. "And when did you come to Jesus?" "Tonight while you were speaking. When you put out your hand and said, 'Give me your hand,' I put out mine, and I came to the Lord on the spot, and He saved me then and there!" Now, that is just what I want you to do tonight. Give me your hand, and let me lead you to Jesus. Oh! be saved tonight! Be won tonight. Be really decided for Jesus tonight! Be on the Lord's side. Procrastinate no longer.

But you may ask, What do you mean by procrastination? I daresay you read it when you were a child at school. Procrastination simply means putting off until tomorrow, what should be done today. Its meaning was burned into me by a copy slip I used in my school days. Hundreds of times I wrote it "Procrastination is the thief of time." I should like a similar copy slip to be put into every school today, and I tell you how I would alter it — "Procrastination is the thief of souls." There is not a man in hell tonight that meant to be there. There is not a single soul lost that ever meant to be so. Each meant to get right with God some day, but put it off just one day too long, and died suddenly in sin. And you mean to come to Jesus some day. Why put it off, then?

Rowland Hill was perfectly right when he labelled it "Procrastination — the recruiting officer of hell." What? "Procrastination the recruiting officer of hell!" Yes. There is nothing leads a man to perdition like procrastination — putting of till tomorrow what should be done today. That is what it means. And what should you do today? Bow at the feet of Jesus. Make up your mind for the Lord. Decide for the Lord. You have thought on many a previous occasion that you would be a Christian; but you could not make up your mind. Oh! tonight, be the Lord's. May the Lord's mercy meet you, as it met Lot. "And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful to him." The infinite mercy of that God has spared you till now, and again gives you the opportunity of salvation through this simple message. I wish from the bottom of my heart that I could draw you to Jesus, and get you morally outside this doomed world, as God's angels eventually led out Lot and his family.

By this time it was morning, and the sun was up. The inhabitants of Sodom were beginning to stir about; and I think I see that company going down the street. It would be a strange sight to the Sodomites, doubtless. Two angels, and each with two captives. One had Lot in one hand, and his wife in the other. The other angel had the two daughters by the hand. They were being fairly dragged out. And is that the way men get converted? you ask. Very often. It was the way I got converted. The Lord really dragged me out of the path of folly and sin I had been so long in. It is really grace that does it. Think of it! I have little doubt the people of Sodom sneered, and the sons-in-law laughed, and that many a joke was made that day as they saw Lot and his family setting forth. Scoffer, you are welcome to your jokes; but you will repent them in the eternal damnation of hell. You will repent your sneers at preacher and preaching, and at Christ my Master, and at God's true people. You will yet repent of all your unbelieving folly, but, let me beseech of you, repent of it ere it be too late.

Yes! without doubt fine fun these Sodomites had, as they saw Lot led to the outside of their city, and then treating his exodus as nothing but a joke, they resumed their ways of sin, and business went on as usual. "They did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded," says our Lord. They held their market; their exchange was opened; business men met in it; and in came the peasants with their produce from the country. The housewives went out to buy the food for the day, and everybody was busy. The sons-in-law would no doubt be there — godless men they were — and they would be telling their friends how the old father-in-law had come in the dead of night, and roused them with a foolish story about their city being about to be destroyed. Why, it never was more prosperous. Look at the sun. It never shone more brightly. Yes, quite true, "the sun was risen upon the earth, when Lot entered into Zoar" (ver. 23), and outwardly all was unchanged in nature, and in the city. "The kingdom of God comes not with observation" or "outward show" (Luke 17:20) is our Lord's remark, which leads to His comment on Sodom's case. Note this, for God is not going to give the world one single bit of warning, when He judges it, any more than He gave Sodom. Its only warning was the angels leading Lot out of it, and that warning they clearly despised, just as careless men despise the fact that God is saving many by the gospel now, just before the Lord comes again.

And now what about Lot? Led outside the city, he and those with him are put on the road to safety; but being on the road is not enough — they must reach the spot of safety. Hence the emphatic injunction that now rings in his ears: "Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (ver. 17). Sinner, have you really escaped to Christ? "Escape for thy life," is the word. "Look not behind thee," do not turn back; "neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." That is also God's monitory word to you, my friend. Have you escaped for your life? Then look not behind. Tarry not. Reach the only spot of safety, Christ. Your life is in danger. Soul, your eternal destiny hangs in the balance tonight. Know this, that there is nothing but judgment for those who tarry in the plain. There is no safety until you reach God's appointed spot at the mountain top. There is no safety except in Christ, in the blessed Saviour, who died and lives again. If you trust in Him, He will save you for time and for eternity.

Fairly outside the city, Lot pleads for a little bit of a respite — a little bit of the world, so to speak. It is a strange thing how the heart clings to what is to be judged. He says, "Behold now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one; oh, let me escape thither . . . and my soul shall live" (ver. 20). He gains his point, and goes to Zoar instead of to the hill-top. And now what do I read? "The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground." As Lot got to the place of comparative safety the doomed places around were destroyed; for "the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:29). Short-lived indeed was Sodom's fate after Lot's departure.

At Zoar Lot had safety, but he had not quietude, for he had not implicitly obeyed the Lord. The soul that turns to God in a half-hearted way is safe, but he is not very happy. Many a man who believes in Jesus is not at peace, I will tell you why. He does not fully follow the Lord. He has not got enough energy of soul, perhaps. You have just enough of Christ to make you miserable. There are many men of that sort, and Lot illustrates them. He is safe, but not at rest in Zoar, so presently he goes on to the mountain top, to the real place of safety (ver. 30). The real place of safety for you and me is to be in Christ, and then to be occupied with Christ, to be delighting in Christ, as He now is accepted in glory. We need not only to trust Him, not only to believe in Him, not only to rest in the work that He finished for us, but to have the heart occupied with Christ, and Christ alone.

The man who simply looks to Christ in faith for salvation, and does not break thoroughly with the world, is never very happy. You will find him troubled by doubts, and fears, and uncertainty. That was what happened to Lot. He was saved, but he was not happy till he went to the spot to which God bade him go.

And now one word about Lot's wife. We read that she "looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." Half-hearted soul! "Remember Lot's wife." Nearly saved, but not quite! Near to the place of safety; but not in it. Are you almost converted, but not quite? To be "almost persuaded" is of no avail. "Remember Lot's wife!" if such be your state.

It is quite possible that you may have been impressed, and been made somewhat anxious, before today. Possibly you have been brought under the sound of the gospel by some Christian friend against your will. Do you believe its tale? It is true. But you say, I cannot believe that God will judge a scene like this. "Remember Lot's wife." That was the thought, I believe, that Lot's wife indulged in as she walked along. She lingered a bit behind her husband, and then came up this thought — I do not think the Lord will judge the place after all. Although her body was outside Sodom, her heart was within it. Thus thinking she determined — spite of the word, "Look not behind thee" — to have a little bit of a look, and just at the moment she was entering Zoar, the place of safety, she disobeyed God, and judgment overtook her. This foolish woman disobeys the plain command of the Lord, "Look not behind thee." Unbelief led to disobedience. She evidently did not believe that God would judge Sodom, and harbouring the thought, Was it true? she turned, and "she became a pillar of salt."

Friend, have you learned the lesson of the pillar of salt? A stranger travelling through that scene afterwards, and looking over the blackened country as he journeyed, would, with surprise, be attracted by the bright and shining pillar, untouched by smoke, which met his view. Small wonder if he said, "What means this?" Lot's wife did not fall in the judgment of Sodom. It was a distinct judgment by the hand of God on unbelief, which He always judges sooner or later. Disobedience, too, He always judges.

And there that pillar of salt stood, a witness to the awful folly of the soul that disobeys God. My dear unsaved friends, may God cause you to learn the proper lesson from that beacon. And what is it? Be whole-hearted. Be simple and sincere. Do not procrastinate. Believe in Jesus fully. Receive Him, and let Christ, the heavenly Saviour, be the object of your heart, and from this moment set out to serve Him. "Remember Lot's wife." You must push on in faith and be saved, or you will be cut down in unbelief shortly. You must reach the spot of safety, or be cut off. She was very near the place, but not in it; and how she resembles lots of souls in Christendom today!

Perhaps you say, Whom do you mean? Unsaved friend, "thou art the man." Thou hast been moved, touched, reached, almost saved, but thou art still outside the place of safety. Possibly your friends think you are all right, but God knows, and you know also in your conscience, that you are not all right; and the future will show that, too, if you die in your sins. Oh! God give you just now to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, to be Christ's fully, and to walk in His service till He come? I trust that whatever you and I forget, we shall each of us, day by day, "remember Lot's wife."

W T P Wolston (1896)
Night Scenes of Scripture Seventeen Bible Night Scenes, illustrating and elucidating various truths of the Gospel.
24 Nov 2019

 

Jesus Loves Even Me!

I am so glad that our Father in Heav’n
Tells of His love in the Book He has giv’n;
Wonderful things in the Bible I see,
This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.

Refrain:
I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me;
I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves even me.

Tho' I forget Him and wander away,
Still He doth love me wherever I stray;
Back to His dear loving arms would I flee,
When I remember that Jesus loves me.

Oh, if there’s only one song I can sing,
When in His beauty I see the great King,
This shall my song through eternity be,
“Oh, what a wonder that Jesus loves me!”

Jesus loves me, and I know I love Him;
Love brought Him down my poor soul to redeem;
Yes, it was love made Him die on the tree;
Oh, I am certain that Jesus loves me!

If one should ask of me, how can I tell?
Glory to Jesus, I know very well!
God’s Holy Spirit with mine doth agree,
Constantly witnessing Jesus loves me.

In this assurance I find sweetest rest,
Trusting in Jesus, I know I am blest;
Satan, dismayed, from my soul now doth flee,
When I just tell him that Jesus loves me.

Phllip P Bliss (1875)
22 Sep 2019

 

Earth's Sorrows Gone (in the Eternal State)

“And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall not exist any more, nor grief, nor cry, nor distress shall exist any more, for the former things have passed away,” (Revelation 21:4)

It is only in the eternal state that the effects of sin, physical and moral, are completely removed. The millennial era is not, as we have seen, a perfect condition, and hence even under the beneficent sway of the Lord tears will be shed on earth. The words, “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes,” is verbally repeated in Revelation 7:17. There, however, it is a millennial scene; here it is in the everlasting state. The wiping away of tears is not an action ascribed to the Lamb either here or in the earlier scene. God does this. If He wipes away every tear, then He removes every cause and occasion of sorrow. The tear-drop will never again glisten in the eye. The eye is said to be “the fountain of sorrow,” but God shall wipe it dry.

Death shall cease. The physical dead of the madly rebellious gathered under Satan covered the old earth, at least in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and the eternal inhabitants of the new earth had witnessed the awful sight (Revelation 20:7-9). But it exists no more.

“Nor grief,” the same word as in Revelation 18:15, “wailing,” or mourning, the outward expression of the heart’s deep sorrow.

“Nor cry,” the voice of hopeless misery (Isaiah 65:19).

“Nor distress,” or pain within, no internal trouble or weariness, no pain from without or from within. These things which together make up the volume of human misery exist no more, neither does that which caused them — sin. All have passed away. “The former things,” of which those mentioned are part, “have passed away.”

Walter Scott
01 Sep 2019

 

THERE REMAINS THEREFORE A REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD

Hebrews 4:9

Context

The passage before us today comes from the Letter (Epistle) to the Hebrews (Hebrews 4:9), written clearly to Christian Jews who needed to deal with the old way of life, under the Law of Moses, and the new and living way of life under Christ (Heb 10:20). For a Christian today, looking back, it appears so obvious; however for the Jew on accepting Christ, some 2000 years of history needed to be dealt with – and this was not an easy task. One aspect the Jew needed to grapple with was the priesthood, and, in particular the role of the High Priest. The book of Hebrews sets forth the fact that Christ is superior in all ways to Aaron, as Great High Priest, and furthermore, Christ is not only a priest – the role he currently occupies – but is also a king[1]. And further, if the priesthood of Christ is superior to Aaron, what of the people of God, who were promised a rest in the land of promise (Hebrews 3) – but failed due to their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19). The conclusion – the wrath of God will be greater for those that fail in belief in the Son of God, who is greater than Moses (or Aaron). If the writer stopped here, misery would ensue; but the writer continues in Chapter 4 with God’s promise, which will be fully realized by the one, not in obeying the law, or in what Aaron could do, but through Christ through faith (a term used in 34 verses in Hebrews).

Rest

We first see rest in Genesis 2:2 with God resting from His work. God created the world and all that it is in it, and it was good – and thus He rested. Note here for future reference – His rest was from work that produced perfection – everything he did was good. Also note rest did not end on the seventh day, but it commenced on the seventh. Here we need to described rest – it is not idleness, although it includes enjoyment, for God could not be idol, nor is it rest due to fatigue – God’s work was not toil in the sense He had to work to survive as did all the decedents of the fallen Adam. Indeed man cannot understand what the rest of God entailed and accomplished, because of Adam’s fall – humans have never experienced such rest – but there is a time when believers will; the subject of the verse that headed this message (Hebrews 4:9).

In the fallen world rest is a rest from weariness – just as the arc that carried Noah and 7 other souls was tossed on the waves of the flood – it rested on Ararat (Gen 8:4). It is rest because we have nowhere safe to reside as the dove that Noah sent forth (Gen 8:8, 9). We cannot hide from our sin-nature and sin-ravaged bodies. Indeed the word the writer to the Hebrews uses is the equivalent to the words Moses uses to in narrating the experience of Noah.

Rest Unobtainable

I will not dwell on all the passages that describe the inadequacy of rest or the inability to achieve rest in the experience of men and woman as compared with that of our Father in Genesis 2. However, as has been pre-empted, that rest was mightily disrupted when Adam sinned, as was the life of Adam and Eve.

Prior to the fall Adam worked – for this is the lot of all living organisms – but this was not toil which is a work that is fatiguing, troubling, never ending and cannot save us; it merely delays the inevitable - death. Don’t believe the movies that indicate that humans were made for pleasure – and portraying heaven as a time of idleness and pleasure, for I have my doubts that this could possibly be the case – but rather we will be in the state that Adam was in chapter 2 of Genesis. Adam’s work was ordered by God; as is ours – his charge was to rule the earth; not rape it for all its worth, destroying all that God has given, but rather tending it as a farmer tends his crops with loving care. Thus, Adam and Eve were placed into the Garden of Eden to dress and keep it (Genesis 2:15) – and the Garden provided the necessities of life. In essence Adam and Eve’s job was to exercise care over the garden; “to keep it”. They were not battling drought or disease or weeds, or seeking salvation from the wrath of God but rather, serving God in tending His creations. However after the fall, where Eve was deceived and Adam sinned (Rom 5:12), all changed and man and God (John 5:17) could not possibly rest. Jehovah tells all of humanity through Adam:

Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:17-19)

In this passage we can see:

  1. God cursed Satan (Genesis 3:13, 14). His destiny would be hell.
  2. Because Adam listened to the deceived Eve (2 Cor 11:3) and carried out her request the life of all humans was changed.
  3. Spiritual death entered the world (Genesis 2:17).
  4. God cursed the earth;
    1. He did it for the sake of Adam
    2. Adam would toil all the days of his life
    3. To eat, the ground needed to be worked all his life, meaning that without work, one could not have food
    4. The earth was to battle those that attempted to tame it; weeds would become a far-reaching problem limiting production unless attended to.
    5. Adam was to eat what was grown (herbs) in the fields he worked
    6. The work would be hard, causing sweat (a picture of fatigue and exhaustion)– and without work there would be no bread
    7. Adam would die – spiritually he was separated from God.
    8. The body of humans would return to the ground and turn into dust.
  5. God brought sorry into child bearing; thus although God commended Adam Eve to have children, it would be with the pain. And although children are a blessing to all (Psa 127:3), it would cost the mother.
  6. The role of women would change: men would rule over their wives; noting that in the Garden of Eden Eve was a ‘help meet’ for Adam – a co-partner in the enterprise of God’s garden. The ruling would bring its own pain through all generations.

Thus rest became something that Adam could aspire to but never reach – without work he would starve and his work would he hard and never ending. Women were no longer free, but under the rule of man and bearers of pain in childbirth. Sin befell man, and every aspect of his life – affecting all generations thence forth. Death, both physical and spiritual became a reality. Adam could not rest from being under the punishment of God; nor could he rest from producing food, because the Garden of Eden, which provided his food, was no more his domain (Gen 3:24)– he had to strive with the earth in order to survive.

Rest Obtainable

Don’t get caught up with just the physical aspects of the punishment of Adam – although we cannot miss the extraordinary effect of sin which went far beyond just the realm of Adam and Eve, affecting all of creation (Rom 8:22). Note clearly the spiritual consequences. Adam and Eve could no longer seek Jehovah’s company because there were no longer holy, but rather soiled by sin; and indeed physically covered up to hide their shame. They had no place to rest!

And the covering Jehovah (Yewah) provided, we see a glimpse of the grace and mercy of our God – the coverings came by the slaughter of animals, and thus there was a shedding of blood (Gen 3:21). Thus we see the miserable Adam and Eve driven out of the Garden of Eden and forced to work in order to say alive – there was no rest. They were covered with animal’s skins after the cursed earth was saturated with the animal’s blood (Deut 15:23) for the first time. But we also see a way for salvation where faith in God, who would deal once for all with Satan, would be the way a way of salvation (Gen 3:15) – not works.

Thus from the very earliest we have a picture, seen in the covering of Adam and Eve with skins of animals, of the way to salvation – through the shedding of blood, and in this a way forward to an everlasting rest (Heb 9:22). And this is the message of the Letter to the Hebrews – there is a way of salvation; accomplished by a perfect, and once-for-ever sacrifice, of the Son of God who bore our sin for our sakes(Heb 9:28; seen in the Lord’s supper Luke 22:20). In this, salvation acts upon us now – we are saved - but the rest is to come – we will be taken into his glory;

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  
(1 Peter 5:10)

A Heavenly Rest

Just one more thing; where is this rest going to take place? Unlike the Children of Israel, who looked forward to an earthly rest in the Land of Canaan, for the one who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, our rest is heavenly. As Paul points out to the Corinthian Church, we have been saved into the spiritual realm (1 Cor 15:42-49; Phil 3:21). On death we will bear a heavenly character – the image of the heavenly Man – which is Christ Jesus. Thus we come the full circle – Adam is created in the image of God, which is corrupted by sin – the risen believer will have the character of the image of God as did Adam – perfected.

Currently we are pilgrims – a word that Peter uses (1 Peter 1:1) – on this earth. The ravages of sin are still evident in our flesh (Romans 7) – we thus must toil all of our life; but we CAN rest from being troubled about our salvation (Matt 11:28 - 30) – because believers are saved, and cannot be lost (John 17:12; Romans 10:13; Eph 2:8; 1 Tim 2:4 and many more).

Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  (Matthew 11:28-30)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,  (Titus 2:11-13)

[1] Confusion in the modern church arises when they treat Christ as King – yes he is a King, but is seated on the right hand of the Father, rather than on the throne; thus he is not acting as King. A time will come where he will occupy the throne (Zec 9:9; Luke 1:32 etc), but right now he is our advocate before the Father (Heb 8:1; 1 John 2:1) – thus is in the role as priest as the surety over the new covenent.

David L Simon (17 August 2019)
\BeingChristian\The Rest which Christians Shall Enjoy

How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Refrain:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art!"

Stuart K Hine (1899 - 1989) [Using the words of a poem by Carl Boberg]
04 Aug 2019

 

Israel Has Not Been Replaced by the Church

Romans 11:25-27

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS."

Main Idea

Much of the church appears to believe that Israel has been replaced by the church, that is superseded it. This erroneous doctrine, termed replacement theology or the doctrine of supersessionism by some (sounds more scientific, but isn’t), states the original promise to Abraham of land, seed and blessing cannot be fulfilled for the people of Israel. This is wrong. The illogical nature of this doctrine, if true, would make the gospel unstable and unreliable.

Paul in verses 25 & 26 states categorically that Israel has not been lost.

Background

Paul, in chapters 9-11 of Romans is answering a great soteriological question: if God is able to save us, as he says he is, what evidence is there that he indeed keeps his promises? Paul proves God is able to because God has not forgotten Israel. God will complete the work he set out to do (Philippians 1:6), and Paul answers emphatically, to the question – has God cast off Israel? “God forbid” (11:1) – the most pronounced negative exclamation a Jew can offer. Chapter 11 sets out the fact that Israel has not been cast off in five parts:

1.       Rejection of Israel is not total – it is partial

2.       Israel’s rejection is to bless the gentiles

3.       Israel’s covenants are guaranteed

4.       Israel is certain of restoration

5.       Doxology

Gentiles are like wild olive branches graphed into the true olive tree (11:16-21)

In Chapter 11 Paul gives the example of the Olive Tree because Israel is represented by the olive tree throughout Scripture. Gentiles certainly have been revealed the mystery of the church in that “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). However, he warns gentile believers not to be proud or boastful of the fact they have been grafted into the olive tree. This is because gentiles are aliens to the Kingdom of God, and are like wild olive, and contrary to nature have been grafted into the olive tree (11:17). That is, it is against the gentile nature to want to be partakers of Yeshua, the messiah; however, through the work of the Christ, this is accomplishable by faith in Jesus Christ. And it is this latter point Paul is getting across. The gentiles cannot boast, because it is not the wild grafted in branch that supports the root but the root of the tree that supports the wild grafted branch – Jesus Christ, who is a Jew. And if God is able to graft in branches contrary to nature, how much easier will it be for Him to graft in olive branches – that is Jews. Israel therefore is not lost or forgotten – they have been cut from the root (Jesus Christ), so provoke them to action (11:14-17).

 

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The fact that Israel’s promises are on hold is a mystery, now revealed (11:25)

Why the promises of Israel were withheld was hidden from Israel through their blindness. Jesus clearly stated they would be cast out, but the leaders of Israel did not listen:

“‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Note the underlined portion of the verse. The rejection of Yeshua as the Messiah doomed Israel to being left desolate as outline in Matthew 12:41 when the Jews blasphemed the Holy Spirit, a prophecy fulfilled in A.D. 70. Paul speaks of this as being a mystery – where the term mystery is explained in Romans 16:25,26 – as something that has been hidden, like a curtain that hides a precious stone, but is drawn back revealing it. Hence the mystery has been revealed as to why the promises made to Abraham have not been fulfilled.

Promises of God are Irrevocable

Before examining the reason why Israel has not received her promises, we need to state that God’s promises are irrevocable. Paul states: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (11:29). That is due to God’s unchanging love, grace and the sovereign will; his promises are sure, secure, firm and inviolable. If there were not, as 1 Corinthians 15 points out, we would be people “most miserable” because we could not have hope - for faith in something that is unsure is a false hope. God’s promises therefore are immutable and unalterable.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Romans 11:25 NKJV

Israel seeks not the Messiah because of blindness or hardening

Only a small remnant seeks Yeshua and have found him. These Messianic Jews are very small in number – most Jews reject Yeshua and God. Their hearts are hardened, they are blind to the fact Yeshua has died for their sin as well as those of the gentiles.

The blindness is only in part, that is temporary

There is a time limit on the partial blindness, because the next word indicates that the action continues until something else happens.

The blindness is until

This word is missed by too many. The blindness is temporary – until something else happens.

When the predetermined number of gentiles have been saved, their blindness will be lifted.

The phrase “until fullness of the Gentiles has come in” means that until the last remaining gentile who will be saved is saved, the condition on Israel remains. Only after this, will, Israel will be saved.

If Israel is to be saved (11:26,27), then Israel cannot have been replaced by something else

Paul writes: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

These are quotes from Isaiah 59:20 indicating the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16) will be fulfilled – Yeshua, is the deliverer and will occupy Mount Zion; Isaiah 59:21 indicating the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17 etc., Deuteronomy 28, Leviticus 26) will be fulfilled (Land, Seed and Blessing) and Jeremiah 31:31-34 indicate a new covenant will be established; “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people”.

Conclusion

Israel has been knocked down so they look up

It looks as Israel is no longer in view of God, but this is the plan of God! He is using the gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (11:11), meaning salvation has come to the gentiles, forcing Israel to look to God for salvation.

The Church is NOT Israel: National Israel will be restored, and the promises made good after all the time of the gentiles has be fulfilled.

References

Arnold Fruchtenbaum (2010) Replacement Theology and the Epistle of I Peter Ariel Ministries http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Fruchtenbaum-ReplacementTheologya.pdf

David L Simon
02 Jun 2019

 

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
[ originally, For such a worm as I?]

Refrain

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature's sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
'Tis all that I can do.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
(Ralph E. Hudson refrain 1885)
28 Apr 2019

 

Pride must be dealt with!

Samuel Rutherford writes..

Dear Sir, I always saw nature mighty, lofty, heady and strong in you; and that it was more for you to be mortified and dead to the world than for another common man. You will take a low ebb, and a deep cut, and a long lance, to go to the bottom of your wounds in saving humiliation, to make you a won prey for Christ.  Be humbled; walk softly. Down, down, for God’s sake, my dear and worthy brother, with your topsail.  Stoop, stoop! it is a low entry to go in at heaven’s gate.

Samuel Rutherford
06 Jan 2019

 

Don't make the Bible say what it does not!

Reading the Bible

  • Cleave to the literal sense of Bible words, and beware of departing from it, except in cases of absolute necessity.
  • Beware of the system of allegorizing and spiritualizing, and accommodating, which the school of Origen first brought in, and which has found such an unfortunate degree of favour in the Church.
  • In reading the authorized version of the English Bible, do not put too much confidence in the “headings” of pages and “tables of contents” at beginnings of chapters, which I take leave to consider a most unhappy accompaniment of that admirable translation. Remember that those headings and tables were drawn up by uninspired hands.
  • In reading the Prophets, they are sometimes not helps but real hindrances, and less likely to assist a reader, than to lead him astray. Settle it in your mind, in reading the Psalms and Prophets that Israel means Israel*, and Zion Zion, and Jerusalem Jerusalem.
  • And, finally, whatever edification you derive from applying to your own soul the words which God addresses to His ancient people, never lose sight of the primary sense of the text.[1]

Further words on reading prophecy

It is high time for Christians to interpret unfulfilled prophecy by the light of prophecies already fulfilled.  The curses of the Jews were brought to pass literally; so also will be the blessings.  The scattering was literal; so also will be the gathering.  The pulling down of Zion was literal; so also will be the building up.  The rejection of Israel was literal; so also will be the restoration. [2]

What I protest against is, the habit of allegorizing plain sayings of the Word of God concerning the future history of the nation of Israel, and explaining away the fullness of the contents in order to accommodate them to the Gentile Church. I believe the habit to be unwarranted by anything in Scripture, and to draw after it a long train of evil consequences.[3]

Cultivate the habit of reading prophecy with a single eye to the literal meaning of its proper names.  Cast aside the old traditional idea that Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Jerusalem, and Zion must always mean the Gentile Church, and that predictions about the second Advent are to be taken spiritually, and first Advent predictions literally. Be just, and honest, and fair.  If you expect the Jews to take the 53rd of Isaiah literally, be sure you take the 54th and 60th and 62nd literally also.  The Protestant Reformers were not perfect.  On no point, I venture to say, were they so much in the wrong as in the interpretation of Old Testament prophecy. [4]

 

* My emphases

[1] J.C. Ryle, Prophecy 149

[2] J.C. Ryle, Are You Ready For The End Of Time? p. 49

[3] ibid., p. 107-108.

[4]  . 157-159.

J C Ryle (1816 - 1900) [Various sources]
27 Nov 2018

 

Be Careful; Flee from Evil

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry [evil].

1 Corinthians 10:12-14
15 Dec 2017

 

Using this website

The weakness of any Christian website is the failure of the author to truly know the mind of God. His weakness due to sin (and there will be weaknesses) can always be revealed if checked against the Bible. Therefore, it is urged that anyone using this website must check the information against the Holy Scriptures - for the test of any such information, by any person, is measruing it against the Canon. For this reason the Canon is called simply that - deriving its name from 'cane' meaning measuring stick. Even the early Christians checked what the Apostle Paul had spoken against Scripture in order to test its veracity. You need to do the same.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

Furthermore, we must test all things:

Test [prove] all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

11 Feb 2017