Posted in Sunday martyr moment, theology

Sunday Martyr Moment: Paul

By Elizabeth Prata*

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book’s purpose was fourfold:

  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.
Paul

 

The Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome in AD 61. and there wrote his prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. His imprisonment ended approximately three years later during the year that Rome burned, which was in May AD 64. (See Acts 28:30). During his brief freedom, Paul may have visited western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor- he also wrote the first Epistle to Timothy and his Epistle to Titus.

At first, Nero was blamed for setting fire to Rome, so to direct the blame away from himself, he blamed the Christians. As a result, a fierce persecution broke out against them. During it, Paul was arrested and put back into prison in Rome. While in prison this second time he wrote his second letter to Timothy. It was his last.

Not long after, he was judged guilty of crimes against the Emperor and condemned to death. He was taken to the execution block and beheaded. It was AD 66, just four years before Jerusalem fell.

85729-the-martyrdom-of-st-paulxlmedium
The Martyrdom of Paul – Tintoretto, c.1556

*This essay first appeared on The End Time in June 2013

Posted in sing, theology

There’s singing, and there’s singing

By Elizabeth Prata

Paul was going about doing his business preaching the Gospel and ministering, and a demon-possessed slave girl kept following them and shouting that they were from God showing the way to salvation. Irked at having a demonic forerunner, Paul finally exorcised the demon from her. However, her owners seeing that their hope of gain was gone, had Paul and his companion Silas arrested and beaten. Paul and Silas were thrown into the inner prison. Continue reading “There’s singing, and there’s singing”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Can We really Do All Things Through Christ?

By Elizabeth Prata*

What Christian isn’t familiar with one of the New Testament’s most famous comfort verses?

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

It is good to be reminded that it’s His strength and not our strength which propels us along in sanctification. It is good to be reminded that He is our all, and that all is possible.

However too many people misunderstand and misuse the verse. It does not mean I can attain whatever desire I have through Jesus. And it doesn’t mean Jesus plops all things or all strength down into us fully formed and ripe for use.

Let’s back up a little and take a look at what came before that verse. There is more to it than what many Christians of today take the verse to mean.

Paul said several times that he learned contentment. Learned it. He had to work at contentment, and learn the skill of practicing contentment over his long road of personal tribulation.

The two verses which precede the all things of verse 13 are:

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” [emphasis mine].

What Paul was learning is the power of Christ as the daily means of sanctification as he strove to holiness, and ultimately, contentment in all circumstances.

Paul had to consciously strive toward contentment through constant practice of cultivating it through reliance on God’s provision and promise. And he is not talking of self-sufficiency here, but of a diminishment of worldly desires as he strove to do all things God would have Him do in the name of Jesus.

Paul had many trials and difficulties. Paul isn’t saying that Jesus plopped down a supernatural contentment to his heart as he took a deep breath and relied on Him to do all things through Him. Not at all. As a matter of fact, Paul admits to dissatisfaction covetousness brings, in Romans 7:8. Through all his varied circumstances, Paul is saying, he had the opportunity to practice being content in the circumstances he found himself in, because those circumstances are divorced from earthly measures of contentment and joy. He had to learn it. This indicates an active participation on the part of the Christian.

Whenever Paul was low or high, had plenty or hunger, abundance or need, didn’t matter, because Christ was strengthening him in love, growth, joy and the other treasures we hold dear. If we divorce our joy or contentment from worldly things, what remains is Christ! Through Christ, all things are possible! Paul learned that. It took him a while and he had to work at it. But what glory for the Savior when we learn it.

So be careful what you are really saying when you say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Are you working at learning how to do all things, apart from our flesh and distinct from the baggage of worldly wants? No matter your circumstances?

Phil Johnson preached on it recently, and this little note is a summary of what I took away from his sermon. I found his sermon exposition to be tremendously enlightening and inspiring. For a full explanation of what that verse means, I encourage you to take a listen and /or look at the transcript.

How to Find Contentment in a World of Discontent

Pastor Johnson ends his sermon this way:

“By the way, verse 13 contrasts wonderfully with Jesus’ statement in John 15:5: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” But “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” If the boundaries for “all things” that you seek to accomplish are set by the express commands of God and the righteous example of Christ, then there truly is no limit to what you can do through His power. That is the secret to true contentment. It’s not really a complex mystery. But the reason it is so difficult to learn is that it entails the mortification of our worldly lusts, our carnal ambitions, our selfish pride, and our ungodly attitudes.

 

quote content poor

*This first appeared on The End Time in January 2013.

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Do believers need the Gospel?

Paul opens his massive and majestic letter to the Romans with effusive rhapsodies of his love for the Roman believers and his gratitude for their faith- which he said is known the world over. He speaks of his intense desire to come to them so that he can be encouraged by their faith. Paul mentions them all the time to everyone. And so on.

First, we note Paul’s ministerial desire for his flocks and his obedient submission to his ordained role as Christian, pastor, sufferer. He is surely a super-Christian, if one such designation existed.

In the iconic movie The Princess Bride, Inigo is sailing a boat with all due speed in attempt to get away with a kidnapping. He looks back at one point and sees a distant boat on the horizon. The breeze is gentle and the night is long, so he has no worries. When he looks up again, he sees the boat is now close. And after a while, closer, then closer… This perplexing phenomenon causes him to utter the well-known line,

I wonder if he's using the same wind we are using.

It’s like that with Paul. We might say, “I wonder if he is using the same Spirit we are using?” and the answer would be “Yes”. I am awed by Paul’s fervor, dedication, diligence and deep obedience never having wavered. He died poured out as a drink offering, a rushing torrent of obedience and love spilling across the altar of his beloved Savior.

Then in verse 15 of chapter 1, Paul says this-

So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (Romans 1:15).

Wait, what?

Hadn’t Paul confirmed the Roman believers’ solid faith, their well-known faith, their doctrinal and loving faith? Yes.

Some could interpret the verse as Paul being anxious to come minister to them, which is definitely true. But he didn’t say only that. He said he is eager to come preach the Gospel at Rome to Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and the foolish, “and also to you.” The Greek word for Gospel in this verse is euaggelizó which means bringing or preaching the full Gospel of Christ.

Some could interpret this as Paul’s eagerness to preach the Gospel indiscriminately to all, and that would also be true.

But do believers need the Gospel?

The answer would be “Yes.”

The Gospel is not a once-for-all mechanism that saves a person from the wrath of God and installs him into the kingdom as a child of God. Not only. It is the launching pad, and the eternal linchpin. It is the indispensable necessity for life eternal in the believer on earth and forever. The Good News is always Good News, and it continues being so, even for believers. Especially for believers.

The Good News is the fullness of Jesus, the encompassing message, the total plan of God, the victory of Jesus over sin, death, and hell. It is a message of resurrection, triumph, power, and abundant life. We all need this message, every day! Paul knew this. The Gospel is the mighty rushing wind of power and sustenance for every believer on earth who lives by the Spirit. We are reminded of the verse from 1 Thessalonians 1:5a

because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.

Paul said in the very next verse, Romans 1:16 these famous and everlastingly glorious words:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,e as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

The faith we live by is that Gospel, Good News of the savior Jesus Christ. We needed it when we were foolish, wise, Greeks, and barbarians. Now that we are saved, it’s a message “And also to you.” The gospel necessity never ends.

gospel

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Straining toward the goal

Straining Toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Straining, pressing, racing, it all gets tiring. Sounds a lot different than the mystical notion of ‘let go and let God’ doesn’t it! Christianity is active. We study, pray, battle the flesh, exhort, preach, build up, and more. Here Paul is saying we must not give up!

The road might seem long but in the end we will look back from our vantage point in heaven and say, ‘that was but a vapor, our life on earth was but a mist of a moment.’ Even this evening I was looking at the Facebook photos of the 8th grade semi-formal dance going on now, and I see handsome and tall young men and lovely ladies who I knew in kindergarten. Their parents write captions such as ‘time slow down’ and ‘where did the time go, he was a baby just yesterday’.

The road might seem long but it’s really short, just over the next rise could come glory

Keep up the good work, sisters, of praying and working for Christ and raising young ‘uns and submitting and worshiping and battling and singing and phew, hang in there!

Here is a bit of encouragement from The Bible Knowledge Commentary,

3:12–14. Though Paul was a spiritual giant in the eyes of the Philippian saints, he wanted them to know that he had not yet attained the goals stated in verse 10. He was still actively pressing on toward them. He had by no means reached the final stage of his sanctification.

Paul’s salvation experience had taken place about 30 years before he wrote to the Philippians. He had won many spiritual battles in that time. He had grown much in those years, but he candidly confessed he had not obtained all this, nor was he yet made perfect (v. 12). He still had more spiritual heights to climb. This testimony of the apostle reminded the saints at Philippi—and it serves to remind believers today—that there must never be a stalemate in their spiritual growth or a plateau beyond which they cannot climb.

Paul pursued Christlikeness with the enthusiasm and persistence of a runner in the Greek games. Unlike the Judaizers, whose influence was prevalent among the Philippians, the apostle did not claim to have attained spiritual maturity. He was still pressing on, pursuing that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him. Nor had he yet taken hold of it, that is, he had not yet attained perfection or ultimate conformity to Christ. But he was determined that he would forget the past and, like a runner, press on toward the goal. Paul refused to be controlled or absorbed by his past heritage (vv. 5–7) or his attainments (v. 8).

Vigorously and with concentration Paul sought to win the prize to which God had called him heavenward (v. 14). Again the Greek games must have been on his mind as he wrote of the prize. The winner in those games was called to the place where the judge sat in order to receive his prize. Paul may have referred to ultimate salvation in God’s presence, or to receiving rewards at “the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Lightner, R. P. (1985). Philippians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 661). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thoughts: Romans 11 and the full number

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25).

John MacArthur on that verse in the sermon Has God Cancelled His Promises to Israel? part 6

The fullness of the Gentiles, that is when the full number of Gentiles are redeemed, the fullness of the Gentiles will bring the salvation of Israel. Follow now; the fullness of Israel will bring the kingdom.  So you have the fullness of the Gentiles and then they’re raptured out, God redeems Israel and when the fullness of Israel is redeemed, the kingdom comes.  And so with great joy does Paul predict this tremendous event that will bring about what it says in verse 26, “And so all Israel shall be saved,” after the fullness of the Gentiles have entered in.

At a certain point in earth’s history to come, it is promised to us that Jesus will lift His church composed of Christians dead and alive, into heaven to be with Him. Then he will hurl His stored-up wrath upon earth to punish the unbelieving nation Israel, and the sinful Gentile world. Some people say there will be no rapture at all. Others say that it will happen at the end of or in the middle of the time of wrath (AKA the Tribulation, or Time of Jacob’s Trouble). Since the rapture is in the Bible, and since it is a single even that is promised to occur, it can’t happen both before the Tribulation and at the end. Therefore one of those positions is right and one of them is wrong.

Scripture supports this stance that the rapture will happen before Jesus begins the last days punishments. Paul taught this in his treatment of the subject in 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians 15:42-57, it’s in Revelation, as well as being taught implicitly throughout other books of the Bible.

The event is supposed to be a hope to believers, and an encouragement, said Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:18. When you look around the dark world with its sin and evil, take hope in the knowledge that Jesus has a plan. His plan includes filling a quota for His Church (Romans 11:25). When that occurs, He will remove His Bride from the wrath, because we are not appointed to it. (Revelation 3:10). We will appear before His Bema seat to receive rewards for our service to Him while we were on earth, (2 Corinthians 5:10), and then enjoy the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:7–10). Meanwhile on earth, the Tribulation will have begun.

It is a joy to understand that God has not cancelled His promises to Israel and will return His attention ot his chosen nation in due time. He will fulfill His promises, sadly, the wrath, then joyfully, the bliss.

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Feeling weak and weary? It’s OK. Even Timothy needed urging

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

Has your zeal waned? I’m not talking about the normal subsiding of a fervency that first ignites in the heart upon salvation but then matures to a steady fire. I’m talking about the day to day, month to months or year to year faith that, if left untended or un-nurtured, diminishes to an ember, with cold ashes all around. Or the faith that is timid and retiring, waiting for igniting or just fearful.

It happens.

As we see in the verse above, Paul was urging Timothy to fan into flame his gift (of faith). One who already has a flame doesn’t need someone to urge him to fan it. Only someone who is dimming needs such encouragement. Paul knew this was true of Timothy, so Paul wrote to encourage Timothy to nurture his faith.

Barnes’ Notes:

The idea is, that Timothy was to use all proper means to keep the flame of pure religion in the soul burning, and more particularly his zeal in the great cause to which he had been set apart. The agency of man himself is needful to keep the religion of the heart warm and glowing. However rich the gifts which God has bestowed upon us, they do not grow of their own accord, but need to be cultivated by our own personal care.

We all need that exhortation. Fan into flame the gift of God.

OK. How? What are the actions we should take when we sense our spiritual walk is slowing?

In the Spurgeon sermon Our Gifts and How to Use Them, we note that to stir up one’s faith requires action.  Spurgeon here has some ideas. The following are excerpts from the above link ‘Our Gifts and How to Use Them.’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And this brings us, secondly, to the consideration of HOW WE ARE TO STIR UP OUR GIFTS.

EXAMINE YOUR GIFTS
First, we should do it by examination to see what gifts we really have. There should be an overhauling of all our stores to see what we have of capital entrusted to our stewardship.

STIR UP YOUR GIFTS
The next mode of stirring up our gift is to consider to what use we could put the talents we possess. To what use could I put my talents in my family? Am I doing all I could for the children? Have I labored all I ought for my wife’s conversion; my husband’s conversion? Then about the neighborhood: is there nothing more that I could do for the salvation of my poor godless neighbors?

… Are you doing all you can for Jesus? Come, answer like an honest man! Having done so, I have more for your self-inspection! Will you examine yourself in every relation in which you stand? As an employer, stir up your gift in reference to those you employ; as a servant, stir up the gift towards your fellow servants; as a trader, and stir up your gift in reference to those with whom you come in contact… If our churches were in a right state of spiritual health, men would not first say, “What can I do to make money?” but, “What can I do to serve Christ, for I will take up a trade subserviently to that.”

ACT IN AND THROUGH YOUR GIFTS
But, next, stir it up not merely by consideration and examination, but by actually using it. We talk much of working, but working is better than talking about working. To get really at it, and to do something for soul-winning and spreading abroad the glory of God is infinitely better than planning and holding committees. Away with windbags! Let us get to acts and deeds! … Work, work, and the tool that is blunt will get an edge by being used! Shine and the light you have shall grow in the very act of shining! He who has done one thing will find himself capable of doing two, and doing two will be able to accomplish four; and having achieved the four will soon go on to twelve, and from 12 to fifty! And so, by growing multiples, he will enlarge his power to serve God by using the ability he has.

IMPROVE YOUR GIFT
We have for years endeavored to stir up the young Christians of this congregation to educate themselves. … I think every man ought to feel, “I have been Christ’s man with a talent; I will be Christ’s man with 10 if I can; if now I do not thoroughly understand the doctrines of His gospel, I will try to understand them; I will read, and search, and learn.” We need an intelligent race of Christians, not an affected race of boasters of culture—mental fops who pretend to know a great deal, and know nothing! We need students of the word, adept in theology like the Puritans of old!

PRAY OVER YOUR GIFTS
—that is a blessed way of stirring them up, to go before God and spread out your responsibilities before Him. … It stirs one up to preach with all his might when he has laid before God in prayer, his weakness; and the ability which God has given him, and asked that the weakness may be consecrated to God’s glory, and the ability accepted to the Lord’s praise. Should we not do just the same, whatever our calling is—take it to the Lord and say, “Assist me, great God, to live for You; …

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

End Spurgeon. Don’t you love his bluntness? ‘Don’t just talk about working, actually work. Away with windbags!’ Lol.

Does the flame of faith in your bosom need fanning? It is not sin, not yet. Fainting youths and weary soldiers give opportunity for stronger brothers to come alongside and exhort and encourage. Perhaps that strong soldier will need fanning one day, and you can return the favor. In addition, we are pitiful human creatures, stained with a sin-drenched mind always attempting to get the better of the Mind of Christ that is given to us. Or, our timid hearts stray to the back of the crowd. Or, our spotted souls seek to grow the spots instead of slay them.

The battle is long and the fight is tiring. It was for Timothy. What a blessing the Bible includes the weaknesses and flaws of our fainting brethren who came before us. See? You’re weak. I’m weak. It happens.

If you need fanning, no matter. Stir up your gifts, the basis is which is the gift of God of faith and repentance, the gift of knowledge of our own sin, and so seek to revive that flame to a burning love giving light and warmth to fellow soldiers and to the cold and wandering lost.

flame

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Paul’s warm letters

These are the openings of all of Paul’s letters, except Galatians. Please don’t skip, read them through.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6).

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. … Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:2,7)

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers… (Ephesians 1:15-16).

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5).

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:203).

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. (2 Thessalonians 3-4).

To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Timothy 1:2).

To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. (2 Timothy 2:2-4).

To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. (Titus 1:4).

To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 1:1-7).

A hallmark of Christianity is love.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35).

Barnes Notes says of the John verse,

That is, your love for each other shall be so decisive evidence that you are like the Saviour, that all people shall see and know it. It shall be the thing by which you shall be known among all men. You shall not be known by special rites or habits; not by a special form of dress or manner of speech; not by special austerities and unusual customs, like the Pharisees, the Essenes, or the scribes, but by deep, genuine, and tender affection. And it is well known it was this which eminently distinguished the first Christians, and was the subject of remark by the surrounding pagans. “See,” said the pagan, “see how they love one another! They are ready to lay down their lives for each other.” 

I think it’s clear that Paul genuinely loved his people and cherished his overseers. His letters were full of approbation for them. He had high regard for his fellow workers, and wasn’t shy about saying so.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to receive a letter like Paul’s? Wouldn’t it be great to be received in person the way that Paul greets his friends? It would, on both counts. I fail the standard Paul sets here, both in reaching out with loving, personal messages to warmly encourage as Paul does, and in displaying a genuine love in person for the believers “in the common faith.”

How about you? Is there something more you can do to ‘boast of a friend’ to other friends? To pray for them earnestly? To visit with them in love, exulting in your common love of Christ?

Please re-read the letter introductions, and think of someone you can love and encourage today. I know I will.

Posted in poetry, Uncategorized

Kay Cude: Paul and the scales on our eyes

Kay Cude poetry. Used with permission. Click to enlarge. Artist’s Statement:

There is not one of the Apostles of Christ whom I do not love, and I am so grateful for their love and dedication to Christ, as well as to us the redeemed who have loved the truth of their teachings about our Lord and Saviour.

But there is one Apostle whose enduring love and willingness to give of himself to us, beyond measure, the profound greatness of Christ’s love and the Sovereign, loving heart of God to forgive and reconcile mankind (and me!) to Him, brings my heart to bow and praise God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Paul.

And then there is C.H. Spurgeon, although not an Apostle, reminds me of Paul by his intellect and abiding love of Christ and his desire that all mankind receive Christ as Lord and Master. When I began composing, I kept returning to how blind we can be, even when access to God’s Word is so easily accomplished–there are Bibles everywhere! (At least at present; I’m not sure when the government of this nation will ban the Bible as “hate” material, but surely it will.)

Then my thoughts jumped to those many false teachers, preachers and prophets who give false instruction and promote their vain imaginings to the lost, the deceived and the spiritually immature–to those with “scales” over their eyes. This is a burdensome ache in the hearts of those who have allowed Christ to remove the blindness, to witness “those” who name Christ as their “Lord,” when He is not, while they spout heresies about Him, His Nature, His Will and He and The Father’s predetermined plan to rescue mankind eternally.

This present age now witnesses the too many evangelical churches that are led and taught by preachers and teachers accepting the “imaginings” of false doctrine to be valid; they promote “another” gospel without recognizing that “another” gospel is man’s vanity (self). These deceptions are cleverly intertwined with “some” Scripture, but manipulated by “add-to’s and “removed from’s.” This is confusion and the unwary can be easily deceived. “Personal” interpretations abound, yet they are without the evidence of God’s Breathed Word, His Holy Word.

I’ve added Spurgeon’s “Scales Taken From the Eyes,” No. 3205, Vol. 56 (www.spurgeongems.org) as a reference source. This sermon is so to-the-point and packed so tightly with truth that I cannot imagine anyone reading it and not experiencing a shouting of “Amen” within their spirit, or a change in attitude, even a correction in one’s life-style and heart-thoughts. It surely affected me…

THE MATTER OF THE EVIDENCE
THE MATTER OF THE EVIDENCE