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.
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
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.”
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.
“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.”
By Pastor David Carson
For the past hundred years or so the Evangelical fraternity have believed a lie which has been devastating in its consequence. The lie I refer to is that “Religion and politics don’t mix.” While it is true that the body of the professing church, as an institution, should not be involved in politics, it is equally true that the individual Christian most certainly ought to be. It is difficult to know why this “Opt Out” mentality came to be so widely established in the true church. One suspects that the rise of Dispensationalism had a lot to do with it. This particular teaching has, in its various guises, greatly influenced Evangelical teaching for many years. At one extreme is the Brethren movement, whose adherents don’t vote at all, while other Believers who do vote seem to think that their responsibility ends there.
By A. W. Pink – 1886-1952
The dawning of a new year is a fresh call unto each of us to put first things first, and it is only by heeding this call that we are prepared to start it aright. The greatest tragedy of life is that the vast majority of our fellows are dissipating their energies on secondary things, spending their strength for that which satisfies not. Alas, how much time have we wasted in the past! But a new year affords us another opportunity to mend our ways: how much of it, then, are we going to improve and conserve for eternity? The answer to that question will be determined by how far we put first things first.
By Rt. Revd. Dr J Barry Shucksmith, Royal Navy (retired)
We live in momentous days. The Christian “religion” has been in a state of decline for many decades. However, our nation – until the end of the Second World War – was still giving some public respect to its Protestant Settlement. Since then we have seen, both in State and National Church, a great departure from Christian belief and practice. Even a quarter of century ago, we would not have thought it possible to have an Archbishop of Canterbury who would blasphemously refer to God as “a spastic child who can communicate nothing but his presence and his inarticulate wanting”. He also quotes approvingly these heretical words: “the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Pentecost of his Spirit do not mean that Jesus Christ is henceforward the answer to everything” (1). The departure from Christian truth is well advanced in most of the denominations, where fundamental Christian beliefs are being jettisoned in the interests of expediency; but false religions now also grow and multiply. Many professing Christians are being duped into giving recognition to multi-faith religion – and some will eventually be found supporting a “one-world-religion”. Indeed, the need for the Lord’s people to be watchful and engaged in prayer, has never been more urgent.
By Rt. Revd. Dr J Barry Shucksmith, Royal Navy (retired) – March, 2004
There is a familiar saying, “some Christians are so worldly-minded as to be of no earthly use and others are so earthly-minded as to be of no heavenly use”. What, then, is the teaching of Holy Scripture about the world; and how, then, are Christians to view their place in it?
What is the biblical view of God’s created world?
The Old Testament account of creation is found in Genesis 1:1 through to Genesis 2:4 and Genesis 2:4-7. There are numerous other related passages, such as Job 38:1-41; Psalm 104:1-35; Proverbs 8:22-31 and Isaiah 45:18. All these, and many other passages, maintain the distinction between God and His creation. They also set forth the absolute dependence of the created order upon God. In the New Testament the term most frequently used for ‘world’ is cosmos. This word is used in three distinct ways: