Social Re-Construction Article

Written by Michael Hobbis on 15/08/2014. Posted in Responsibility

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that
which is born of the Spirit is spirit.John 3:6

There is a disturbing trend among many of the evangelical churches today which has been described as ‘social re-construction’ This has as its motive an understandable desire to see the world living righteously. However well meaning these desires are, a christianised world, is, as C.H.Spurgeon once remarked, ‘a blasphemy’.

Faith or values?
It seems that many evangelicals would encourage the men and women of this world to live their lives according to Christian values and precepts, by presenting to the ungodly the Scriptural practice of divinely ordained marriage between one man and one woman; or by anti-abortion campaigns; or the idea that convicted criminals may be reformed; or street pastoring, or that drug takers and alcoholics should be led into social programmes whereby their addictions can be dealt with. (Let us note that the Muslims have the same type of programmes and objectives too). This is merely dealing with the symptoms in society of a terrible disease which only the Divine Physician can cure.

Yes, we are to be going about doing good and to visit and help the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, but to feed and help prodigals without showing them the way back to their Father’s house may seem to be commendable; but it is to leave them LOST. When Jesus healed a person He pointed them to faith in Himself – and so should we point to Him. Not simply to a better way of living.

It is also commonly held that the Christian can use political pressure and so influence the governments of the day, so as to lead them to govern as if their government were theocratic. Such things will never come to pass until the reign of Christ Jesus our Saviour.

It is undoubtedly true that by the knowledge of the Moral Law of God – the Ten Commandments – and the teaching of the judgement to come; that men are in part, restrained from the grosser acts of evil, just as the fear of going to prison restrains some from committing the crimes their hearts would have a mind to.

We read in Romans 1; 19 – 32; that the uninstructed savage having in himself that knowledge that there is a Creator, would in his sinful ignorance and fear seek to placate his ‘offended gods’ by sacrifices and superstitious practices. Likewise the Jew believes that in his keeping of the laws of God he is righteously acceptable in the sight of his Maker.

However, restraint and self-righteousness are not conversion. For Christians to leave men short of eternal salvation by teaching them moral values, and leaving them in that state is not just mistaken; but monstrously wicked.

Ye must be born again. John 3: 7
The natural man has little desire to keep the law of God, neither can he if he would. For the Bible teaches that by the law is the knowledge of sin and all the world is guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: Only those born again by God the Holy Spirit possess that new heart and new spirit which now seeks to live according to the will of God. When the true Christian can fulfil any part of God’s will – however imperfectly – it is his delight and joy. ‘I delight to do thy will O God’ is in his heart.

Thus it is the REGENERATED CHRISTIAN ALONE with his new nature and living by faith in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, that he/she becomes the salt of the earth and so condemns the wicked by the reproof of a holy life. It is these who live in and by the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ who are persecuted and hated by an ungodly age, and so follow their God incarnate who was wickedly crucified by the men of this world. As spoke the Lord Jesus Christ when He said: ‘Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!’ Luke 6:26; and the apostle John: ‘marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.’

To become friends with the world, and get along side them, or to expect worldly men, women and children to live a life of purity according to the statutes and precepts of God, and to live in a way which pleases Him without the new birth, is not only impossible but ungodly, and a false gospel. Our commission is to tell men that they ‘must be born again’. It is not enough to present a mode of life which is pleasing to God. Nothing but a complete ‘New Man’ is what is required, and this only by applying to Christ in faith.

Preaching not protesting
Moreover, in a large measure it seems, the Christian church today has adopted the world’s demonstration/protest culture and has moved away from the preached Gospel; to protesting to the world at large about their sinful behaviour.

Not by protests, or by moral crusades, or by letters to parliament, will men’s hearts be changed for it was only by the complete gospel preached by men such as John Wesley and George Whitfield, in the 18th century and at other similar blessed times, when this land was shaken by the convincing work of the Holy Ghost and righteousness once more exalted the nation both here and in the USA.

As wrote Paul, the apostle of Christ: ‘It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’. 1Cor.1:21. Preaching not protesting

The term protestant in its original application by the reformers has always applied to those who were protesting to some in the professing Christian church who were perverting Christian doctrine. Nowhere, as far as I know, do we find in the Scriptures the apostles protesting to the world or the governments of this world about their sins; unless it was in the context of preaching the whole gospel; e.g. ‘Ye men of Athens… whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you’. Acts 17:23.

It is not our business to change society by trying to inculcate in men, women and children Christian moral values; God alone can accomplish that if He will; but His method in all ages has only ever been through the changed hearts of those of His elect who have been born again from above by the Word of God; and so become the salt of the earth. The more the salt – the less rotten the society.

Scripture makes a distinct difference when its comes to making an issue of specific sins in believers and unbelievers
Today we have those evangelicals who, however well-meaning, are specifically targeting the people of this world who are practising homosexuality, homosexual marriage, abortion, euthanasia, sex before marriage, paedophilia and other individual sins.

These serious sins can rarely be found among professing believers, but where they are they are to be dealt with by the discipline of the local church.

However, the world of men within these terms are to be left to their Judge – even their Creator. What says the Scripture: 1 Corinthians 5, explains this very clearly in verses 9 – 13; where Paul the apostle of Christ says by inspiration: ‘For for what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth…’

The majority if not all, of the leading commentators are at one on this Scripture. Whether John Gill, Adam Clark, Albert Barnes or Matthew Henry.

John Gill comments: “For what have I to do to judge, &c. To admonish, reprove, censure, and condemn: them also that are without? Without the church, who were never in it, or members of it; to whom ecclesiastical jurisdiction does not reach…”

The Puritan Geneva Bible notes state: “Those who are false brethren ought to be cast out of the congregation. As for those who are outside of it, they must be left to the judgement of God,”

We have no warrant in the New Testament to engage in political activities or to coerce unbelievers into adopting Christian values. Yes, we are to meekly and humbly to reprove sin everywhere we come across it, particularly in fellow believers (‘thou shalt not suffer sin upon him’ Lev 19: 17)

We show ungodly men their sins generally in presenting the gospel; but it is the work of the Holy Ghost to fasten sin to the conscience, and so effectually call out His own elect. ‘There is forgiveness with thee’ Ps. 130; is not just for a specific sin, such as homosexuality, but encompasses all sin; whether by commission or omission.

To endeavour to change society by moral persuasion – even by presenting Scriptural precepts – is futile and erroneous.

‘But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.’ 1 Tim 3:13, 14.

Michael Hobbis

Social Re-Construction Article

Charity-J C Ryle

Written by Michael Hobbis on 28/05/2014. Posted in Articles, Responsibility

by J. C. Ryle


The charity of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody’s conduct. Here is another very common delusion! Thousands pride themselves on never condemning others, or calling them wrong, whatever they may do. They convert the precept of our Lord, “Judge not,” into an excuse for having no unfavourable opinion at all of anybody. They pervert His prohibition of rash and censorious judgments into a prohibition of all judgments whatsoever. Your neighbour may be a drunkard, a liar, a Sabbath- breaker, a passionate man. Never mind! “It is not charity,” they tell you, “to pronounce him wrong.” You are to believe he has a good heart at bottom! This idea of charity is, unhappily, a very common one. It is full of mischief. To throw a veil over sin, and to refuse to call things by their right names – to talk of “hearts” being good when lives are flatly wrong—to shut our eyes against wickedness, and say smooth things of immorality—this is not Scriptural charity

The charity of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody’s religious opinions. Here is another most serious and growing delusion. There are many who pride themselves on never pronouncing others mistaken, whatever views they may hold. Your neighbour, forsooth, may be an Arian, or a Socinian, a Roman Catholic, or a Mormon, a Deist or Skeptic, a mere Formalist or a thorough Antinomian, but the “charity” of many says that you have no right to think him wrong! If he is sincere, it is “uncharitable” to think unfavourably of his spiritual condition! From such charity may I ever be delivered!

At this rate the Apostles were wrong in going out to preach to the Gentiles! At this rate there is no use in missions! At this rate we had better close our Bibles and shut up our churches! Everybody is right and nobody is wrong! Everybody is going to heaven and nobody is going to hell! Such charity is a monstrous caricature. To say that all are equally right in their opinions, though their opinions flatly contradict one another— to say that all are equally in the way to heaven, though their doctrinal sentiments are as opposite as black and white—this is not Scriptural charity.

Charity like this pours contempt on the Bible, and talks as if God had not given us a written test of truth .Charity like this confuses all our notions of heaven, and would fill it with a discordant, inharmonious rabble. True charity does not think everybody right in doctrine True charity cries, “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not” (2 John 10).

I leave the negative side of the question here. I have dwelt upon it at some length because of the days in which we live and the strange notions which abound. Let me now turn to the positive side. Having shown what charity is not, let me now show what it is.

Charity is that “love” which St. Paul places first among those fruits which the Spirit causes to be brought forth in the heart of a believer. “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22). Love to God, such as Adam had before the fall, is its first feature. He that has charity desires to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength. Love to man is its second feature. He that has charity desires to love his neighbour as himself. This is indeed that view in which the word “charity” in Scripture is more especially regarded. When I speak of a believer having “love” in his heart, I mean that he has love to both God and man. When I speak of a believer having “charity,” I mean more particularly that he has love to man.

The charity of the Bible will show itself in a believer’s doings. It will make him ready to do kind acts to everyone within his reach – both to their bodies and souls. It will not let him be content with soft words and kind wishes. It will make him diligent in doing all that lies in his power to lessen the sorrow and increase the happiness of others. Like his Master, he will care more for ministering than for being ministered to, and will look for nothing in return.Like his Master’s great apostle, he will very willingly “spend and be spent” for others, even though they repay him with hatred, and not with love. True charity does not want wages. Its work is its reward.

 

 

Charity-J C Ryle

Needs of the Times

…Full Article

Written by Ian on 23/03/2013. Posted in Articles, Responsibility

True biblical exposition always seems timeless, no less this from 1 Chronicles 12:32 by J C Ryle.

Needs of the Times

“Men that had understanding of the times” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

These words were written about the tribe of Issachar, in the days when David first began to reign over Israel. It seems that after Saul’s unhappy death, some of the tribes of Israel were undecided what to do. “Under which king?” was the question of the day in Palestine. Men doubted whether they should cling to the family of Saul, or accept David as their king. Some hung back, and would not commit themselves; others came forward boldly, and declared for David. Among these last were many of the children of Issachar; and the Holy Spirit gives them a special word of praise. He says, “They were men that had understanding of the times.”

I cannot doubt that this sentence, like every sentence in Scripture, was written for our learning. These men of Issachar are set before us as a pattern to be imitated, and an example to be followed; for it is a most important thing to understand the times in which we live, and to know what those times require. The wise men in the court of Ahasuerus knew the times (Esther 1:13). Our Lord Jesus Christ blames the Jews, because they “knew not the time of their visitation,” and did not “discern the signs of the times” (Luke 19:44; Matt. 16:3). Let us take heed lest we fall into the same sin. The man who is content to sit ignorantly by his own fireside, wrapped up in his own private affairs, and has no public eye for what is going on in the church and the world, is a miserable patriot, and a poor style of Christian. Next to our Bibles and our own hearts, our Lord would have us study our own times.

Needs of the Times

…Full Article

Article By John Newton in Full

Written by Ian on 14/03/2013. Posted in Articles, Responsibility

Ephesians 4 followed by John Newton’s Article.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

A Guide to Godly Disputation by John Newton

Dear Sir,
As you are likely to be engaged in controversy, and your love of truth is joined with natural warmth of temper, my friendship makes me solicitous on your behalf. You are of the strongest side; for truth is great, and must prevail; so that a person of abilities inferior to yours might take the field with a confidence of victory. I am not therefore anxious for the outcome of the battle; but I would have you more than a conqueror, and to triumph, not only over your adversary, but also over yourself. If you cannot be vanquished, you may be wounded. To preserve you from such wounds as might give you cause of weeping over your conquests, I would present you with some considerations, which, if duly attended to, will do you the service of a great coat of armour; such armour, that you need not complain, as David did of Saul’s, that it will be more cumbersome than useful; for you will easily perceive that it is taken from that great armoury provided for the Christian soldier—the Word of God. I take it for granted that you will not expect any apology for my freedom, and therefore I shall not offer one. For methods sake, I may reduce my advice to three heads, respecting your opponent, the public, and yourself. …………….

Article By John Newton in Full

A LESSON FOR THE DAY (OR YEAR)

Written by Ian on 10/08/2012. Posted in Responsibility

“Learn of me” (Matthew 11:29)

The Lord Jesus, having all things delivered unto Him of His Father, lovingly invites poor, labouring, weary, and burdened sinners to Him, and promises them rest and repose. The very thing we want, Jesus has; and what Jesus has that suits us, He wishes to bestow upon us. Therefore He calls us to Him, and bids us ask of Him. A sinner may have anything from Jesus that suits his case, if he is prepared to receive it as a gift from free and sovereign grace. “If we ask anything according to his will he heareth us,” and “this is his will, even our sanctification.” Jesus desires our happiness, but only through the means of our holiness. On this His heart is set. To effect this all His dealings are directed. To this end the whole of His word points. If we come for rest, He says, “Take my yoke and learn of me. Be my servant, my imitator. Make me your lesson.” Beloved, we must learn of Jesus, if we would walk peaceably with God – if we would pass safely through the world – if we would fearlessly meet death. Be this, then, our daily lesson, and let us, day by day, hear Jesus say to us, “learn of me.”

We must learn to be of His temper. He was meek and lowly of heart. He meekly bowed to His Father’s will – took a servant’s place, suffered the sinner’s doom, – and in all things sought to honour His God. His will was subordinated to His Father’s will. Self in Him was never allowed to bear sway. “I seek not mine own glory,” was His daily rule, “He was reviled, but he reviled not again.” He was persecuted, but He suffered it. He always appears the lamb and not the lion. He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. When there was everything to irritate, provoke and stir up passion, He was calm, patient, and subdued. In the most trying scenes His conduct said, “I am meek.” Let our hearts, then, be set on this, to be of the same temper as Jesus was. Let carnal men talk of their honour, self-respect, and rights – be it ours to be as much like Jesus as possible, seeing He has left us an example that we should walk in His steps.