Message of Grace

PUBLISHED BY GRACE CHAPEL MINISTRIES OF O’BRIEN, FLORIDA

“FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST” EPHESIANS 2 :8

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COMFORTED BY LIES, WOUNDED BY TRUTH

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4


If one thing characterizes the 'churchianity' of our day, it would be the unabashed pursuit of a 'feel good' experience. Preachers of worldly philosophy sell millions of books and grin all the way to the bank. Of course, they throw in a few Bible verses here and there but they wouldn't want folks to be uncomfortable or disturbed in their minds. Serious preaching which leaves men in the dust of conviction is a thing to be avoided. After all, the entire quest is to keep folks coming back for more 'feel good' tonic.


Paul warned Timothy that such a day would come, when those who 'profess' to be the followers of CHRIST would rather be comforted by lies than wounded by truth. It has always been true that there have been some 'professors' who shunned the truth in favor of fables, but never on such a grand scale as we see it unfold around us. These deceivers of men grow bolder by the day as they achieve rock star type fame among their many 'adoring' fans. People become so mesmerized by these charismatic personalities that they do not (or perhaps cannot) analyse their message by comparing it to sound doctrine. In fact most so called 'christians' today are largely ignorant of what sound doctrine is or think that it is unimportant as long as they get their 'feel good' fix. Some of the lies being told include:


Men should follow the LORD for the benefit that they will receive from it. Sometimes the 'gospel'(as they define it) is presented like a business opportunity where the listeners are told what great blessings they will receive by cooperating with GOD. Whether it is an escape from hell, financial abundance, better marriages, or freedom from disease; men are encouraged to let GOD do something for them.


Man's salvation is a cooperative effort between GOD doing HIS part and man doing his. This teaching gives men comfort because they feel that they are in control, after all (they say) GOD can't do anything for us unless we let HIM.


A man can be saved anytime he gets ready by simply praying a certain prayer and asking the LORD for it. The deceivers lead men to believe that they can essentially paint GOD into a corner and force HIM to do something. The LORD is set forth as someone who is so desperate to just get some folks into heaven that HE will be there at their beck and call.


A man can be a true believer in JESUS CHRIST and yet be unchanged in his heart and life. The deceivers tell men that being a follower of CHRIST is an option which brings greater blessings than if one just believes enough to escape hell.



Now these lies are often presented with such soothing words that they bring great comfort to the hearers; very often lulling many to sleep on the enchanted ground of destruction. The truth of GOD is always contrary to that which men by nature delight in. In fact GOD's truth is likened to a sword which pierces deep within a mans very soul, usually wounding him deeply in the process. The reason that this wounding takes place is that men are natural rebels against the kingdom of GOD, loving darkness more than light. But when GOD begins to shine HIS light upon eyes which are accustomed to darkness, pain results. HIS light reveals the natural sinfulness of the human heart uncovering a festering sore.


The truth of GOD in contrast to the lies which are told, is:


There is great benefit in being the sons of GOD, yet the gospel message is the unfolding of the redemptive work of JESUS CHRIST. Many followed CHRIST for the loaves and fishes which HE provided but ultimately they ceased to follow HIM as time went on. Unless a man is convinced of his utter helplessness, sin and ruin by the SPIRIT of GOD, he will not seek the LORD. The fires of hell may scare a man for a season but in time his heart will harden and like a dog returns to his vomit he will depart and walk no more with the LORD.


If GOD in sovereign mercy does not save a man, snatching him out of the pathway of destruction, that man will not be saved. A man has nothing that he can bring before the LORD. The LORD JESUS is the Author and Finisher of the salvation of HIS own. There is no cooperative work involved. HE has obtained eternal redemption for HIS elect. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, he never 'asked' anybody to 'do' anything. He just told men that GOD raised up JESUS CHRIST as LORD of all and the SPIRIT brought conviction to the 'hearers'.


A man can only be saved when GOD gets ready to save him. The LORD said, 'No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.' (John 6:44) It is impossible to force GOD to do anything, HE is an absolute sovereign and does all things according to HIS will. The LORD knows them that are HIS and in HIS own time will call them out.


When the LORD saves a man, HE makes him a new creature. The LORD told Nicodemus that it was necessary for a man to be born again. This new birth is completely the work of the HOLY SPIRIT in the life of a man. HE writes the law of GOD upon HIS children's hearts and causes them to love the LORD JESUS CHRIST. HE teaches them truth and causes them to desire to follow no other master. Rather than following CHRIST being an option, it becomes their chief desire.


The truth of GOD causes pain. Wounds are opened by it which only the GREAT PHYSICIAN can heal. JESUS CHRIST is the SAVIOR of sinners and the healer of the brokenhearted.

mam



THE CONTEMPORARY CHURCH


The true church is not about entertainment, show business, making people feel comfortable, or being in any sense, contemporary. The true gospel is concerned about truth, righteousness, holiness, and most of all, magnifying the God of the Bible. We must not be reading our Bibles rightly if we fail to see these things. Listen: "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).


Let us define "contemporary" first of all. As an adjective, the word means, "belonging to the same period of time; of or having to do with the present time; modern." This is certainly not a definition of the "church" in Scripture. "Church" (ekklesia) means "called out ones," or those whom God has effectually called from sin and darkness into the "marvelous light" of the Son of God (Colossians 1:13; I Peter 2:9). The true church of Christ is out of step with the world.


The true nature of a gospel church is spiritual. It is not carnal or worldly. The gospel makes no sense whatever if regeneration does not effect mighty changes in sinners. And what are those changes, if they are not clear lines of separation from the world and its ways? The problem today is our society is saturated with entertainment, and we want that same environment brought into the contemporary church. This is not to say we should not be relevant, for the true gospel is always relevant (meeting the needs of sinners in any age, culture, and time). We are to be "real people who care" (ad) and loving to all men. But that is not the issue! The issue is the gospel. The issue is the message of the gospel.


The gospel humbles sinners, discloses to them their awful depravity, and reveals to them the mighty grace of God in Christ, which alone can redeem them from their sins. As John MacArthur has rightly said, "There can be no salvation for those who aren't convinced of the seriousness of their sin" (The Vanishing Conscience, p. 60).

W.F. Bell

VOLUME VI

APRIL - JUNE 2005

ISSUE 3