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“Just” a Mom and The Great Commission

Ever feel like being “just” a mom and staying home caring for your family is less than the Lord has called you to?

Feel like unless you are serving overseas as a missionary you couldn’t possibly be fulfilling the Great Commission?

Feel pressured that laundry, cooking, cleaning and caring for children is less worthy than other things?

Being Christian wives and mothers is ‘Radical’ today.

This should be encouraging!

Ordinary Christians and a Great Commission by Tim Challies

For a long time now I’ve had a fascination with what we might refer to as ordinary Christianity, Christian living for the rest of us. This kind of a life stands in contrast to the demands of so many of today’s bestselling Christian books, books that tell us we ought to live extraordinary lives, crazy and above-and-beyond lives. Some of these authors tacitly (or even blatantly) suggest that ordinary must be synonymous with apathetic and that all these comparative and superlative terms–this-er, that-er–are synonymous with godly. But when I look to the Bible I just don’t see it.

The Bible gives us those well-known big-picture commands, the meta commands for the time between Christ’s resurrection and return. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” That Great Commission tells us the what but does not give us a lot of instruction on the how. How do we do that in our daily lives? How does this look in the home and in the office and in the church? Can normal people living normal lives do all of this?

Answers come all through the New Testament and I find it fascinating that concern of the biblical writers is how to be ordinary, how to be normal. In their minds being ordinary offers challenge enough and to be normal is to honor God. Ordinary Christians carry out a Great Commission in ordinary ways through their ordinary lives.

….   Be sure to read the rest

 


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Does This Make Sense?

As seen on a local “Christian” college bulletin board.


Part-time Nanny Wanted

  • Earnest Christian faith (however we’re not concerned with where, or even if, you go to church)
  • Now does that make sense?

    Is it even possible?

    Can a earnest Christian not be part of a local church?

    Granted it can be hard to find a good sound church in many areas but does that excuse you from gathering together with other believers in a church? Even when we looked for a new church we were part of church where we were held accountable.

    Does the type of church matter?

    I really think it should.

    Really now we are talking about someone keeping your children.

    Think about it!


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    Dangerous Patience

    Gal 5:22-23 (ESV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

    While we as Christians are called to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, we won’t ever display them perfectly.  Only the Lord can display the fruits of the Spirit perfectly.  We struggle and must strive to exhibit fruit.  Some have trouble even having a little bit of fruit to show.  But others can have overly generous rotten fruits.  Did you realize you can actually exhibit too much of a fruit?  To where it becomes sin?

    Consider “Joy” how could joy be corrupted by displaying too much or displaying it incorrectly?

    What if you are talking with a grieving parent over the loss of a child?  While we can still be encouraging and place our hope in the Lord and His goodness, too much joy exhibited can be hurtful.  We are told to grieve with those who grieve. (Romans 12:15)  That doesn’t take away our internal joy but just maybe it should be tempered with compassion and grieving with others.

    How else might we corrupt the fruits of the Spirit?

    Here is a post that will help you consider if you display corrupt rotten fruit.  Click the link to read the whole article.

    Is Patience Dangerous? by Ed Welch

     …

    Patience can be passive

    If we know anything about ourselves, we know that we are not perfect. We expect to have a long agenda for growth and change. Patience, however, tends to just sit around and wait. It has a keener vision for other people’s sins than it does for one’s own sin and weaknesses. This makes it a hopeless goal because it lacks furvor for daily growth. Instead, it waits to be “tried” by people or events.

    Patience can be silent

    Along with the smug self-righteousness that can seep into patience, another problem is that patience offers no compelling reason to speak with the other person. Patience tends to be silent, and, especially in close relationships, the last thing you want to do is be silent when the other person is being sinful or even irritating. If we are bothered by something that has happened in a relationship, our kingdom instincts should be to speak about the matter in a way that is humble and edifying. From this perspective, I would be so sad if my wife or friends were “patient” with me.

    Patience without a willingness to speak openly and in the best interests of the relationship is cowardice, even hatred.


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    A Place of Healing – Free Audio Book

    A Place of Healing – Free Audio Book

    Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty

    by Joni Eareckson Tada

    In this eloquent account of her current struggle with physical pain, Joni Eareckson Tada offers her perspective on divine healing, God’s purposes, and what it means to live with joy. Over four decades ago, a diving accident left Joni a quadriplegic. Today, she faces a new battle: unrelenting pain.

    The ongoing urgency of this season in her life has caused Joni to return to foundational questions about suffering and God’s will. A Place of Healing is not an ivory tower treatise on suffering. Its an intimate look into the life of a mature woman of God.

    Whether readers are enduring physical pain, financial loss, or relational grief, Joni invites them to process their suffering with her. Together, they will navigate the distance between God’s magnificent yes and heartbreaking no and find new hope for thriving in between.


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    Fruit Bearing

    It is that time of year again.  Time to start the tomato plants from seed or buy baby plants to put out in the next month or so.  Farmers used to plant on Good Friday.  My daughter has set some tomato seeds and she has several baby plants she is tending to.  The baby plants are outside during the warm days and inside when cool or at night.  Before long they will be planted in the garden.  Hopefully, they will bear much fruit (tomatoes are a fruit).  My daughter has a very good green thumb so her plants thrive where mine die.

    Me, on the other hand, I struggle to get a few handful of tomatoes.  I don’t know what my issues have been. 🙁  Many, many times I have babied plants, set them out in the garden, and watered away all summer.  But then I end up with large leafy green tomato plants that I must keep staking, tying or propping up to keep them from falling on the ground.  That wouldn’t be a problem except they bear no fruit.  Maybe, just maybe, I get my hopes up because tiny green tomatoes appear yet alas, they fail to develop into those bright red tomatoes that I have looked forward to. 🙁

    Some people who claim to be Christians are very much like my tomato plants.  They look healthy.  They appear to be growing well.  They are full of “good works” (leaves).  Maybe even they start to develop and appear to be producing fruit but by the end their fruit is rotten.   Rotten fruit is worthless.  Our churches are full of people who look healthy yet bear no fruit.

    Matthew 7:15-20 (ESV)
    15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
    16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
    17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
    18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
    19  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
    20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

    Mark 4:20 (ESV) But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

    John 15:2-8 (ESV)
    2  Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
    3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
    4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
    5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
    6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
    7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
    8  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

    John 15:16 (ESV) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

    Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
    23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

    Are you bearing good fruit?

    Are you constantly staking, tying and propping up other believers and yet they don’t bear any fruit?

    Are you forced to baby other believers and they never seem to be maturing?  Do they constantly return to the same issues?


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    Even Judas Served Jesus

    A comment on an old post yesterday questioned whether or not Judas served Jesus.  I thought it might be helpful to share some of it here as to whether or not Judas served Jesus.  Now granted we all know Judas was not ultimately serving the Lord; however, according to all anyone could see Judas served the Lord even better than the average believer today does.  But ultimately it isn’t a matter of service but a matter of the heart.  But for the Grace of the Lord we would all be a Judas even while we serve the Lord.


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


    The general misconception that most Christians have about Judas is that he was noticeably different from the other disciples.  See we have a hard time seeing Judas as he was when he walked with Jesus.  Jesus chose Judas and knew what Judas was and what he would do.  However, the disciples had no clue about Judas.  Judas was an accepted member of the disciples.  Not only that, he was given an honored position by the disciples to be in charge of the moneybag.  You don’t give that job to a known thief.

    John 12:6 (ESV) He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

    We must remember this was written after the fact of the betrayal and suicide of Judas.  Judas was not known to be stealing beforehand by the disciples or, believe me, they would have dealt with it.  These were men who argued over being at the right hand of the Lord in the kingdom.  They would have had no problem pointing out Judas if it was known what he was doing.

    Remember also at the Last Supper that the disciples had no clue who was going to betray Christ.

    John 13:21-30 (ESV)

    21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
    22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.
    23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus,
    24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
    25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”
    26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
    27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
    28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.
    29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.
    30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

    Notice none of the disciples had a clue who would betray Jesus – “uncertain of whom he spoke.” Even when Jesus gave the morsel to Judas and told him to go quickly and do what he was going to do, the disciples had no clue.  The idea that Judas would betray Jesus was foreign to them just as the thought that they would deny Jesus was equally foreign.  Our hearts can and will deceive us.

    We as Christians do ourselves a disservice when we think of Judas as embodying evil and being a totally selfish, self-centered evil person and the other disciples as serving Jesus.  The other disciples where totally selfish, self-centered evil people just like Judas, except for the grace of God every one of them could have done the same as Judas did.   There is nothing to separate us from being a Judas except for the Mercy and Grace of the Lord.

    As a disciple of Jesus this is what Judas did:

    • He followed Jesus. (Matthew 8:21)

    • He had no home to sleep in because he followed Jesus.  (Matthew 8:18-22)

    • He listened to Jesus speaking and teaching, both public and private.  (Matthew 5:1)

    • He was with Jesus when He calmed the storm.  (Matthew 8:23-27)

    • He ate with sinners and tax collectors, just as Jesus did. (Matthew 9:10, Mark 2:15)

    • He saw Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead. (Matthew 9:18-26)

    • He was given authority over unclean spirits and to heal every disease and affliction. (Matthew 10:1)

    • He was sent out by Jesus to preach, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. (Matthew 10:5-8)

    • Rebuked by the Pharisees. (Matthew 12:1-2, Matthew 15:2, Mark 2:23-24)

    • He helped feed the people when Jesus fed the 5,000. (Matthew 14:19)

    • He saw Jesus walking upon the sea. (Matthew 14:26)

    • He wasn’t the only disciple who complained about Mary at Bethany and the extravagance of her gift. (Matthew 26:7-9, John 12:4-6)

    • He may have participated in the first Lord’s Supper of the bread and the cup, albeit unworthily. (Luke 22:17-23)

    • Notice though that Judas was never rebuked by the Lord unlike Peter who was often rebuked.  (Mark 8:33)

    Who of us have done so much?  Service is not the issue; the heart is.

    Matthew 7:22-23 (ESV)

    22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    So see the whole point of this passage is that these rejected people truly thought they were serving the Lord.

    I think it is more helpful to believers to understand that we might be doing everything seemingly “right” and serving the Lord in multitudes of ways. Yet when the final end comes be told to depart from the Lord because He doesn’t know us.

    While it is true that the Bible states that we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), the Bible also states that our hearts are deceitfully wicked and will deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9).  We may deceive ourselves into thinking that we are serving the Lord when in fact we are serving ourselves or another.

    Except for the Grace of God we might all turn out to be a Judas.

    Those in Matthew 7:22-23 we can’t assume that those individuals have intentionally been deceptive.  That they even know they are not serving the Lord.  There are many, many individuals whose testimony points to serving the Lord in all ways possible and giving all they own to serve the Lord yet at some point the Lord opens their eyes to see that they were far from Him.

    Biblical example being Paul who did all he possibly could to serve God prior to being stopped on the Damascus Road.  Paul was not putting on a show but serving at 110%.  Yet he was deceived.  It wasn’t until the Lord opened Paul’s eyes that he could see how wrong he was.

    There are pastors, deacons and missionaries who can attest to the fact that they served the Lord as fully as they knew how but until the Lord opened their eyes and changed their hearts they were lost.

    Here is the testimony of a preacher’s wife and missionary who did not question her salvation until years after serving on the mission field and being a pastor’s wife.  She is one of many that did have her eyes opened to the truth to see that her service was as filthy rags to the Lord.  Many, many today have not had their eyes opened to the truth yet.


    Charo Washer – video


    Charo Washer – PDF


    This is given from the perspective of having her eyes opened to the truth.  However, if you had questioned her years before she would have insisted she was serving the Lord in the best way she could and that she was saved.  She was not intentionally deceiving.  We can easily deceive ourselves and others.

    That is why reading or listening to things such as the following are so helpful.  There are many walking around with deceived hearts.


    Ten Tests of True Christianity


    How are You Serving God


    Ten “Christians” God Will Not Allow Into Heaven


    Six Signs of a False Conversion


    We must give the Lord our all.   But many are deceived and think they have.  That is why we are told to test ourselves.

    2 Corinthians 13:5-7 (ESV)

    5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
    6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
    7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.

    We don’t know our hearts perfectly.

    1 Corinthians 8:2-3 (ESV)

    2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
    3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

    Here in the South many, many people are serving the Lord daily by being pastors, teachers, deacons and even missionaries while the Lord doesn’t know them.  They have been deceived by someone or even by themselves into thinking they have given the Lord their all.



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    Would You Have Taken Your Parents Advice?

    In light of the post yesterday about the difference between Lot and Abraham in helping their children choose a spouse, what did or didn’t your parents do?

    Would you have taken their advice?

    My parents had very little input into my marriage, not that I asked for it either.  However, even if they had desired to give advice or share their wisdom I probably wouldn’t have listened.  I came from a broken family and between my parents there were a total of at least four divorces.  So needless to say I wouldn’t have considered their opinion important or useful.  Also neither were actively striving to live as a Christian nor attending church so that would have also played into my decision to not take their advice.  (Not that I had a good understanding of being a Christian myself.)

    My experience shows that we as parents must earn the privilege to assist our children in choosing a spouse.

    Would your children listen to you now?

    What would you have to do to get your children’s heart so that they trust you and your wisdom?



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    Practical Wisdom

    The following from Grace Gems is entitled Practical Wisdom for Calvinists however, much of it applies to whatever denominational beliefs you have.  I think anyone could find several Gems in this.

    Salvation is Broader than …

    Don’t Make the Mistake of Accepting Everything …

    Don’t View Any Period of Church History as Perfect ….  , Nor Any Particular Group of Christians

    Don’t Major on the Minors.

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

    Practical Wisdom For Calvinists

    Practical & Theological Guidelines for Those
    Who Embrace the “Doctrines of Grace”

    The following practical and theological items, although they apply to every believer regardless of their particular theological tradition, are especially directed to those who adhere to Reformed/Calvinistic theology.

    I. Recognize that Salvation is Broader than the Calvinist Camp.

    1. All of us, at one time or another, were Arminian in our thinking. A professing Arminian may be just as unregenerate as a professing Calvinist, but one’s adherence to Arminian theology does not necessarily exclude them from the kingdom of God. It is disturbing to hear some Calvinists assign all Arminians to the lowest abyss while conveniently forgetting that they too, at one time, were Arminians. Although the great 18th century evangelist, George Whitefield, had his differences with the staunch Arminian John Wesley, he was able to see the hand of God in Wesley’s ministry and count him as a brother in Christ. Thus, we must be patient with our brethren and recognize that both ethical and theological maturity takes time. In fact, there are some truths that, for whatever reason, we may not yet be ready to receive – as Jesus told His own disciples, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).

    2. God commands us to accept one another in Christ, in spite of our differences (Romans 14:1; 15:7). If Christ has accepted our Arminian brethren, who are we to reject them? The 19th century Baptist preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, once said:

    We give our hand to every man that loves the Lord Jesus Christ, be he what he may or who he may. The doctrine of election, like the great act of election itself, is intended to divide, not between Israel and Israel, but between Israel and the Egyptians – not between saint and saint, but between saints and the children of the world. A man may be evidently of God’s chosen family, and yet though elected, may not believe in the doctrine of election. I hold there are many savingly called, who do not believe in effectual calling, and that there are a great many who persevere to the end, who do not believe the doctrine of final perseverance. We do hope that the hearts of many are a great deal better than their heads. We do not set their fallacies down to any willful opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus, but simply to an error in their judgments, which we pray God to correct. We hope that if they think us mistaken too, they will reciprocate the same Christian courtesy; and when we meet around the cross, we hope that we shall ever feel that we are one in Christ Jesus (New Park Street Pulpit [London: Passmore & Alabaster, Vol.6] p.303).


    In another place, he also said:

    Far be it from me to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views (cited in Iain Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon [Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1966] p.65).


    3. Most Arminians reject the Doctrines of Grace out of gross ignorance, misunderstanding, or misrepresentation on the part of sincere, but misinformed Calvinist’s. Thus, often they are not rejecting genuine Calvinism, but distortions of it. One’s heart may be right, while one’s head may be wrong.

    4. Calvinism is not the Gospel. One is not saved by a proper understanding of election, Divine sovereignty, or the extent of the atonement. These issues, no doubt, are important, but they are not the core of the Gospel; they indirectly relate to the Gospel (as do many other Biblical teachings), but are not the essence of it. The puritan, John Bradford, stated: “Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance, before he goes to the university of election and predestination.” In the same way that it is wrong to detract from the Gospel message, so it is wrong to add to the Gospel message one’s particular theology. Once again, this is not to deny that the five-points of Calvinism are not important matters; but simply to point out that the minute one makes mandatory for salvation a correct understanding of election, effectual calling, or the extent of the atonement (regardless of how true they might be), they are guilty of adding to the Gospel. This is usually the error of young, zealous Calvinists (although not always), but to use the words of James, “My brethren, these things ought not to be this way” (James 3:10).

    II. Don’t Make the Mistake of Accepting Everything “Reformed” or “Calvinistic.”

    1. Scripture alone is the final standard of authority for doctrine and practice (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21), not Luther, Calvin, Owen, or any other great Reformed theologian. This is not to deny that these men – and men from other theological traditions – have made great spiritual contributions to the church, but only that they are not the final arbiters of truth. I know that many Reformed people would assent to this, but how many truly practice it? If we accept everything under the banner of “Reformed” or “Calvinistic,” without serious scriptural investigation, are we truly practicing “Sola Scriptura”? Let us not make a pope out of Calvin, Luther, or any other mere mortal (Jeremiah 17:5).

    2. Be very careful about accepting entire systems of theology (e.g., Covenant theology, Dispensationalism). Most often, the truth is found somewhere in the middle – and usually, a system of theology contains a part of the truth, but not the whole of it. It appears that God has spread His truth throughout various theological traditions (Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.) so that we might not put our trust in men or institutions, but in the testimony of God’s Word.

    3. The truth is, some aspects of Reformed theology are erroneous.

    A. Infant Baptism. For a thorough evaluation and refutation of this doctrine, see Paul K. Jewett, Infant Baptism & The Covenant of Grace (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1978); T.E. Watson, Baptism Not For Infants (Worthing, England: Henry E. Walter, 1962); Alexander Carson, Baptism: Its Mode and Subjects (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications [Reprint]); Greg Welty, A Critical Evaluation of Infant Baptism (Fullerton, CA: Reformed Baptist Publications, n.d.).

    B. The Covenant of Grace. For a critique of this view, see Jon Zens, “Is There A ‘Covenant of Grace’?” Baptist Reformation Review (Autumn – 1977, Vol.6/No.3), pp.43-53; Richard L. Mayhue, “Hebrews 13:20: Covenant of Grace or New Covenant: An Exegetical Note,” The Master’s Seminary Journal (Fall – 1996, Vol.7/No.2), pp.251-257.

    C. The Reformed View of the Law. For an evaluation and critique of the traditional view of the Law and its relationship to the believer under the New Covenant, see Douglas J. Moo, “The Law of Christ as the Fulfillment of the Law of Moses: A Modified Lutheran View,” [Chapter 5] in The Law, The Gospel, and the Modern Christian (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993); “‘This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!’: The Foundation for New Covenant Ethics and Ecclesiology,” [ed. Jon Zens] Searching Together (Summer – Winter, 1997, Vol.25/1,2,3); Fred G. Zaspel, “Divine Law: A New Covenant Perspective,” Reformation & Revivial [Journal] (Summer – 1997, Vol.6/No.3); Stephen Westerholm, Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1988); John G. Reisinger, Tablets of Stone (Southbridge, MA: Crowne Publications, 1989).

    D. Theonomy. In fairness, not everyone who is Reformed accepts Theonomy or Christian Reconstructionism. I have noticed, however, that many who embrace the Doctrines of Grace, make the unfortunate mistake of accepting Theonomy. For a critique of this unscriptural system, see Jon Zens, “Moses in the Millennium: An Appraisal of Christian Reconstructionism,” Searching Together (Vol. 17:2,3,4 – 1988); [eds. William S. Barker & W.R. Godfrey] Theonomy: A Reformed Critique (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990).

    E. The Protestant Reformers Persecuted the Anabaptists and Catholics as Well as Sanctioned the Use of the Sword Against their Opponents. The Reformers had no scriptural authority to malign, persecute, and even kill such groups as the Anabaptists and Roman Catholics. While this is no longer a practice among those who are Reformed, there were many prominent Reformation theologians who thought it was perfectly acceptable – even to the point of citing Scripture for its justification (e.g., Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, et al.). This, once again, demonstrates how important it is to not accept everything that comes from the pen of our Reformation heroes since, not only did they err in their interpretation of Scripture at points, but they sometimes engaged in great acts of sin. The late historian, William Warren Sweet, was correct when he said:

    There is a widespread notion among Protestant groups that the separation of church and state, and thus religious liberty, was one of the immediate products of the Reformation, that the early Protestants were advocates of a large tolerance, and that religious liberty was but the logical development of the principles held by all the Reformers. Just where this notion arose is difficult to say, and no reputable historian of our times would endorse it. The fact is that the rise of Protestantism was accompanied by an unprecedented outburst of intolerance (Religion in Colonial America, p.320).

    J.C. Ryle, a favorite author among many Reformed people, was quite candid in stating:

    Any religion, like that of Mahomet, who made converts with the sword, is not from above but from beneath. Any form of Christianity which burns men at the stake, in order to promote its own success, carries about it the stamp of an apostasy. That is the truest and best religion which does most to spread real, true peace (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels [Vol.4], pp.387-388).

    In light of these statements, one wonders what Ryle, and even Reformed people today, would think of Calvin, who had Michael Servetus burned at the stake, or of Zwingli’s complicity in the drowning of the Anabaptists? These men, indeed, should have known better than to commit such evil deeds against other humans – particularly in the name of the Prince of Peace! But, as the old adage goes, “The best of men are men at best.” For more on this, see Leonard Verduin, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1964); Leonard Verduin, The Anatomy of A Hybrid (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1976); William R. Estep, The Anabaptist Story (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans [Revised], 1996).

    F. Rigid Clericalism/Unscriptural Ecclesiology. The Protestant Reformers as well as most Reformed churches today, have been unable to break with the strict clericalism which they have inherited from both Rome and Constantine. The Reformers were right in their soteriology (doctrine of salvation), but wrong in their ecclesiology (doctrine of the church). They rediscovered the Gospel, but were unable to fully recover the ecclesiology of the New Testament. Thus, in many respects, the Reformation was only a partial reformation. Not only did the Reformers fail to break with the rigid clericalism of their past (including the error of infant baptism), but church attendance in Protestant territories was compulsory. Thus, believers and unbelievers were forced to gather together under the same church membership:

    It is one of the incredible paradoxes of history that the Reformers, who so boldly and effectively recaptured the Gospel of grace from its medieval distortion and restored the central message of justification by faith, should have retained the mass church of the mixed multitude, the territorial church of the Constantinian compromise, in which real faith was not a requirement for membership (H. Bender, These Are My People, p.70).

    Unfortunately, much of the ecclesiology within our historic Reformed denominations is fraught with practices and cherished traditions which run counter to the New Testament. For further study, see Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership (Littleton, CO: Lewis & Roth Publishers, 1986); William A. Beckham, The Second Reformation (Houston, TX: Touch Publications, 1995); Greg Ogden, The New Reformation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990); Frank A. Viola, Rethinking the Wineskin (Brandon, FL: Present Testimony Ministry, 1997); Alex R. Hay, The New Testament Order for Church and Missionary (Published by the New Testament Missionary Union, 1947).

    III. Don’t View Any Period of Church History as Perfect (e.g., the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century), Nor Any Particular Group of Christians (e.g., the Reformers, Puritans, Anabaptists).

    1. We must value the spiritual contributions of different men and different periods of time within church history, but never idolize them.

    2. We must be willing to look at both the good as well as the faults of our spiritual and theological heroes.

    3. We must seek to guard ourselves from the error of a party-spirit as well as from making a virtual pope out of Calvin or Luther – something which, by the way, the apostle Paul explicitly told us not to do (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-6; 4:1).

    4. When we fail to realize the faults of our spiritual/theological heroes, or when we are guilty of idolizing the past, we end up:

    A. Making man the measure or standard of righteousness, instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    B. We fail to see the progression of church history and end up chained to the past – not recognizing that each period of history has its own unique contribution and blessing (including ours in the twenty-first century).

    C. Romanticizing the past (“the good-old days”). We end up viewing history from a romanticized perspective, rather than from reality, which includes both great achievements as well as great down-falls. If even the Bible records the failures and sins of the greatest saints (e.g., David, Peter, et al.), why should we then ignore the faults of lesser saints throughout church history (e.g., Calvin, Luther, et al.)? Perhaps one of the major reasons why God allowed the failures of various biblical characters to be recorded, is so that we would not idolize such persons nor form theological parties around them. For those willing to look at the faults of our Reformation and Puritan heroes – not for the purpose of discrediting them, but for the purpose of seeing a true picture – I recommend the following: Thomas N. Smith, “The Perils of Puritanism,” Reformation & Revivial [Journal]: Puritanism I (Spring – 1996, Vol.5/No.2), pp.83-99; Jon Zens, “What Can We Learn From Reformation History?” Baptist Reformation Review (Autumn – 1978, Vol.7/No.3), pp.1-13; Leonard Verduin, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1964).

    IV. Because We Have Been Given Greater Scriptural Insight, Calvinists Should Be the Model of Humility and Love.

    1. Consider the grace and blessings which God has lavished upon you: He could have chosen to create you into a mouse or even a cockroach but, instead, chose to make you into a member of the human race; He could have chosen to plant you in the most remote and harshest place on this planet but, instead, chose to plant you in the free and prosperous land of America; He could have left you in sin and darkness but, instead, chose to redeem you and adopt you as His child through Christ Jesus; And He could have left you in your Arminian confusion but, instead, chose to graciously reveal the Doctrines of Grace to you. Therefore, do you have any excuse for pride or arrogance toward others – particularly toward our Arminian brethren? As the apostle Paul says, “For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).

    2. Because of the tendency to become prideful over the Doctrines of Grace (1 Corinthians 8:1), we must continually remind ourselves of the words of our Lord: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35; cf. John 15:12,17; Romans 12:3,10; 1 Corinthians 13:4,13; Ephesians 4:1-3,32; Philippians 2:1-4; Colossians 4:6; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 John 3:14-18; 4:11). For further study, I highly recommend: Jonathan Edwards, Charity and its Fruits (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust [Reprint], 1969).

    3. Seek to cultivate and improve such spiritual characteristics as patience, kindness, and non-retaliation. Robert Chapman, whom Spurgeon considered to be the most saintliest man he ever knew, once said: “There are many who preach Christ, but not so many who live Christ. My great aim will be to live Christ” (Robert L. Peterson, Robert Chapman: A Biography [Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1995] p.29). This, likewise, should be the goal of the Calvinist (or any believer for that matter).

    4. The only way to reverse the common assumption that Calvinists are haughty and proud, is to simply not behave in this way.

    5. Although those who adhere to the precious Doctrines of Grace should be ready always to articulate and explain their beliefs, we must be careful to not go looking for debates or disputes with our Arminian brethren – as Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:3, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Let us also remember that we do not always have to have the last word, nor is it necessary to always “win the debate” – as Spurgeon wisely warned his own students at The Pastor’s College:

    In all probability, sensible conversation will sometimes drift into controversy, and here many a good man runs upon a snag. The sensible minister will be particularly gentle in argument. He, above all men, should not make the mistake of fancying that there is force in temper, and power in speaking angrily. A heathen who stood in a crowd in Calcutta, listening to a missionary disputing with a Brahmin, said he knew which was right though he did not understand the language – he knew that he was in the wrong who lost his temper first. For the most part, that is a very accurate way of judging. Try to avoid debating with people. State your opinion and let them state theirs. If you see that a stick is crooked, and you want people to see how crooked it is, lay a straight rod down beside it; that will be quite enough. But if you are drawn into controversy, use very hard arguments and very soft words. Frequently you cannot convince a man by tugging at his reason, but you can persuade him by winning his affections (Lectures to My Students [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Reprint, 1977] Vol.1, p.188).

    6. Christian love, however, does not exclude a proper and humble boldness. Proverbs 28:1 reminds us that “the righteous are bold as a lion” (cf. Acts 4:29,31; Philippians 1:14).


    V. Don’t Major on the Minors. Be very Careful Where You Plant Your Flag.

    1. There are some issues or controversies not worth getting involved in – at least not to the point of disrupting the unity and peace of the church.

    2. If you end up majoring on things not truly essential, you will either ignore those that are important and worthy of your efforts – or – people will tend to not take you seriously on vital matters because of your propensity to make a big deal over insignificant issues. This would be the spiritual or theological counterpart of “crying wolf.” I am amazed at how many Christians are obsessed with reclaiming America as a “Christian Nation” or who spend most of their available time warning other Christians of the threat of secular humanism or the latest conspiracy theory, yet cannot define the doctrine of justification (Martin Luther believed that justification was the article by which the church stands or falls). Many of these same people want the Ten Commandments to be the moral basis for our country, yet cannot even name them! Quite frankly, if the Devil can divert you to endlessly chase unedifying or non-essential issues, he has won the day.

    3. Don’t allow others to drag you into their personal theological controversies.

    4. In many cases, those who are in constant friction with others over relatively minor theological issues, do so because: (1) They are spiritually immature; (2) Lack discernment in recognizing what is essential or non-essential; and (3) They engage in unimportant disputes because they’re not truly engaged in genuine spiritual warfare. It’s akin to soldiers, during peace-time, who concentrate on the relatively petty details of shining shoes or making certain that their uniforms are always starched because there’s no real war to fight. Thus, they spend much of their time concentrating on insignificant duties. Actually, the Christian who pursues “fruitless discussions” (1 Timothy 1:3-7) stands under the disciplining hand of God since, unlike the soldier who serves during peace-time, our war is not over, but continues to rage on until Christ returns (2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Peter 5:8-9).

    VI. Recognize That You Can Learn From Those Who Are Outside of the Reformed Camp.

    A number of years ago, a young Calvinist fellow told me, “I only read Reformed authors!” My immediate response was, “Why limit yourself?” Apparently, he thought that God only teaches those who are Reformed or that they are the only ones who have anything worthy to say. The truth is, God can use the lowliest or most uneducated saint to teach us His truth – including our Arminian brethren. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to agree with everyone we converse. It does mean, however, that we must be willing to listen to those outside of our theological tradition and to accept that which agrees with Scripture and reject that which doesn’t. Don’t limit the avenues which are available for your instruction and sanctification.

    VII.  Seek to Be A Man/Woman of the Text of Scripture.

    That which separates the men from the boys, theologically speaking, is the ability to define and defend one’s theology from the biblical text. Some Christians argue their case from philosophy or general theological assumptions, but the Christian who is able to articulate his views from Scripture itself will stand head over everyone else because, not only does he have a proper starting-point, but his arguments will carry greater weight because they come from God’s Word. Instead of speaking in vague generalities about spiritual or theological matters, they are able to precisely and exegetically support their opinions because they are daily studying the contents of Scripture. To his own students, Spurgeon wisely advised:

    There is one book which you all have, and that is your Bible; and a minister with his Bible is like David with his sling and stone, fully equipped for the fray. No man may say that he has no well to draw from while the Scriptures are within reach. In the Bible we have a perfect library, and he who studies it thoroughly will be a better scholar than if he had devoured the Alexandrian Library entire. To understand the Bible should be our ambition; we should be familiar with it, as familiar as the housewife with her needle, the merchant with his ledger, the mariner with his ship. We ought to know its general run, the contents of each book, the details of its histories, its doctrines, its precepts, and everything about it . . . A man who has his Bible at his fingers’ ends and in his heart’s core is a champion in our Israel; you cannot compete with him: you may have an armory of weapons, but his Scriptural knowledge will overcome you; for it is a sword like that of Goliath, of which David said, “There is none like it” (Lectures to My Students [Vol.1], pp.195-196).

    VIII. In Purchasing Books, Be Selective and Purchase Only the Best.

    A man’s library is a good indicator of his thinking and theology. The wise believer, therefore, should not waste his money or time on the sensational and shallow. Although the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:12 are true (“the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body”), this does not undermine the value of securing profitable books which help to inform our minds and clarify the meaning of Scripture (2 Timothy 4:13).


    IX. The Calvinist, Above All Others, Should Seek to Be Productive in His Walk For Christ.

    1. Knowledge brings accountability. The more knowledge that one has of the Word of God, the more accountable they are to live in obedience to it and to manifest the fruits which spring from that knowledge. Thus, there is no excuse for an unproductive and lazy Calvinist. Don’t be a spiritual fat cow!

    2. Don’t settle for low levels of grace within your life. Seek to excel in your Christian walk – as Paul urges us in Romans 12:11, “not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; Hebrews 6:10-12).

    3. Practice disciple-making. It amazes me how many people grow in the Doctrines of Grace and who excel in their grasp of God’s revelation, but who never make any effort to disciple others. Think of the many experienced and older Christian men who never impart their wisdom and knowledge to younger men. In my opinion, this is a waste of the rich spiritual and intellectual resources which God has given to each one of us, as well as disservice to the body of Christ. For more on mentoring and disciple-making, see Paul D. Stanley & J. Robert Clinton, Connecting (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1992); Bill Hull, The Disciple Making Church (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1990).

    4. Be optimistic about your future and service unto Christ – as was William Carey, the founder of modern missions, who said: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

    5. The Calvinist should seek to be the model of hospitality and charity (Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9).

    6. Be generous and liberal in your giving to others (Deuteronomy 15:10; 2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 9:7). William S. Plumer, “He who is not liberal with what he has, does but deceive himself when he thinks he would be more liberal if he had more.” Henry Ward Beecher, “In this world it is not what we take up but what we give up that makes us rich.”

    X. Develop A Theology of Listening.

    1. So often, when we converse with other believers, we tend to talk past each other because we have not learned the value and discipline of listening. James 1:19 tell us, “But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”

    2. I am persuaded that most of our doctrinal controversies throughout church history could have been solved or perhaps eased had Christians been more willing to listen carefully to one another.

    3. Learn to be patient with the verbal blunders of others – “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well” (James 3:2).

    4. As hard as it may seem, learn to value the criticism that you receive from others. Spurgeon wisely advised his own students at the Pastor’s College in London to not view criticism as necessarily a bad thing:

    You must be able to bear criticism, or you are not fit to be at the head of a congregation; and you must let the critic go without reckoning him among your deadly foes, or you will prove yourself a mere weakling. It is wisest always to show double kindness where you have been severely handled by one who thought it his duty to do so, for he is probably an honest man and worth winning . . . The best of people are sometimes out at elbows and say unkind things; we should be glad if our friends could quite forget what we said when we were peevish and irritable, and it will be Christ-like to act towards others in this matter as we would wish them to do towards us . . . A sensible friend who will unsparingly criticize you from week to week will be a far greater blessing to you than a thousand undiscriminating admirers if you have sense enough to bear his treatment, and grace enough to be thankful for it. When I was preaching at the Surrey Gardens, an unknown censor of great ability used to send me a weekly list of my mispronunciations and other slips of speech. He never signed his name, and that was my only cause of complaint against him, for he left me in a debt which I could not acknowledge. I take this opportunity of confessing my obligations to him, for with genial temper, and an evident desire to benefit me, he marked down most relentlessly everything which he supposed me to have said incorrectly. Concerning some of these corrections he was in error himself, but for the most part he was right, and his remarks enabled me to perceive and avoid many mistakes. I looked for his weekly memoranda with much interest, and I trust I am all the better for them (Lectures to My Students [Vol.2], pp.169-170,175).

    5. Criticism Will:

    A. Keep you humble. Criticism helps to deflate swollen-egos.

    B. Inform and educate you.

    C. Keep you dependent upon your heavenly Father.

    D. Help to confirm that you are not a man-pleaser – as Jesus warned His own disciples: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26).

    XI. Don’t Allow Your Past Failures to Hinder Your Service to God.

    1. It’s important to remember that the greatest of men within redemptive history have had their short-comings and failures, yet we still used by God. Therefore, “Let us press on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1; cf. Philippians 3:12,14).

    2. Don’t allow yourself to fixate on the failures and sins of your Christian life, but look to the greater work of sanctification that God is doing in your life. Soldiers don’t quit! John Owen, “Think of the guilt of sin, that you may be humbled. Think of the power of sin, that you may seek strength against it. Think not of the matter of sin . . . . lest you be more and more entangled.”

    3. While it is granted that a Christian may act hypocritical at times, a genuine believer will not continuously live a life of hypocrisy (1 John 3:9-10). Henry Scudder, in his classic work, The Christian’s Daily Walk, writes:

    Uprightness being part of sanctification, is not fully perfect in this life; but is mixed with some hypocrisy, conflicting one against the other. It has degrees, sometimes more, sometimes less . . . A man is not to be called an upright man, or a hypocrite, because of some few actions wherein he may show uprightness or hypocrisy: for a hypocrite may do some upright actions, in which he does not dissemble, though he cannot be said to do them in uprightness; as Jehu destroyed the wicked house of Ahab, and the idolatrous priests of Baal, with all his heart (2 Kings 10). And the best man may do some hypocritical and guileful actions, as in the matter of Uriah, David did (1 Kings 15:5). It is not the having of hypocrisy that denotes a hypocrite, but the reigning of it, which is, when it is not seen, confessed, bewailed, and opposed. A man should judge of his uprightness rather by his will, bent, and the inclination of his soul, and good desires, and true endeavors to well doing in the whole course of his life, than by this or that particular act, or by his power to do. David was thus esteemed a man according to God’s own heart, no otherwise; rather by the goodness of the general course of his life, than by particular actions: for in many things he offended God, and polluted his soul, and blemished his reputation (pp.159-160).

    XII. Recognize That Your Greatest Power is Found in Prayer.

    E.M. Bounds once said, “To give prayer the secondary place is to make God secondary in life’s affairs.” In his book, The Weapon of Prayer (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Reprint, 1991), he further stated:

    The men to whom Jesus Christ committed the fortunes and destiny of His church were men of prayer. To no other kind of men has God ever committed Himself in this world. The apostles were preeminently men of prayer. They gave themselves to prayer. They made praying their chief business. It was first in point of importance and first in results. God never has, and He never will, commit the weighty interests of His kingdom to prayerless men, who do not make prayer a conspicuous and controlling factor in their lives. Men who do not pray never rise to any eminence of piety. Men of piety are always men of prayer. Men who are not preeminently men of prayer are never noted for the simplicity and strength of their faith. Piety flourishes nowhere so rapidly and so rankly as in the closet. The closet is the garden of faith (p.33).

    Written by Darryl M. Erkel (1998)



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    These Sayings Of Mine

    The passage in Matthew 7:24-28 is a very familiar passage.

    Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)
    24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
    25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
    26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
    27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

    I couldn’t guess how many sermons I’ve heard on this passage.  I’ve heard them with a wise and foolish slant, a geology slant, a weather slant, and even from a construction slant.  Children’s lessons abound on this passage.

    But I can’t ever remember a sermon focusing on the whole point of the passage.

    What’s the point?

    Matthew 7:24 (ESV) “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man … .”

    The building a house on the rock or sand is the commentary, the parable, the visual picture; yet the most important portion is hearing and doing these words of Jesus.

    What words of Jesus is this speaking of?

    The Sermon on the Mount?

    More?

    Every command given by God?

    Just New Testament Commands?

    Have you even thought about this in specifics?  or just the general obey God?




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    Are You Raising Up Praise Worthy Fathers?

    What your young men are today is very likely what they will be as Fathers. 

    Are they selfish and self-centered?

    Are they given to pleasure and shun work?

    Are they impatient with others?

    Do they listen to those in authority over them?

    J.C. Ryle in Thoughts for Young Men

    What young men will be, in all probability depends on what they are now, and they seem to forget this.

    Youth is the planting time of full age, the molding season in the little space of human life, the turning point in the history of man’s mind.

    By the shoot that springs up we can judge the type of tree that is growing, by the blossoms we judge the kind of fruit, by the spring we judge the type of harvest coming, by the morning we judge the coming day, and by the character of the young man, we may generally judge what he will be when he grows up.

    Young men, do not be deceived. Don’t think you can, at will, serve lusts and pleasures in your beginning, and then go and serve God with ease at your latter end. Don’t think that you can live with Esau, and then die with Jacob. It is a mockery to deal with God and your souls in such a fashion. It is an awful mockery to suppose you can give the flower of your strength to the world and the devil, and then put off the King of kings with the scraps and remains of your hearts, the wreck and remnant of your powers. It is an awful mockery, and you may find to your loss that the thing cannot be done.

    I dare say you are planning on a late repentance. You do not know what you are doing. You are planning without God. Repentance and faith are the gifts of God, and they are gifts that He often withholds, when they have been long offered in vain. I grant you true repentance is never too late, but I warn you at the same time, late repentance is seldom true. I grant you, one penitent thief was converted in his last hours, that no man might despair; But I warn you, only one was converted, that no man might presume. I grant you it is written, Jesus is “Able to save completely those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). But I warn you, it is also written by the same Spirit, “Since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you” (Proverbs 1:24, 26).

    Believe me, you will find it no easy matter to turn to God whenever you please. It is a true saying of the godly Leighton, “The way of sin is down hill; a man cannot stop when he wants too.” Holy desires and serious convictions are not like the servants of the Centurion, ready to come and go at your desire; rather they are like the unicorn in Job, they will not obey your voice, nor attend at your bidding. It was said of the famous general Hannibal of old, when he could have taken the city he warred against, he would not, and in time when he would, he could not. Beware lest the same kind of thing happens to you in the matter of eternal life.

    Why do I say all this? I say it because of the force of habit. I say it because experience tells me that people’s hearts are seldom changed if they are not changed when young. Seldom indeed are men converted when they are old. Habits have deep roots. Once sin is allowed to settle in your heart, it will not be turned out at your bidding. Custom becomes second nature, and its chains are not easily broken. The prophet has well said, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). Habits are like stones rolling down hill–the further they roll, the faster and more ungovernable is their course. Habits, like trees, are strengthened by age.  A boy may bend an oak when it is a sapling–a hundred men cannot root it up, when it is a full grown tree. A child can wade over the Thames River at its fountain-head–the largest ship in the world can float in it when it gets near the sea. So it is with habits: the older the stronger–the longer they have held possession, the harder they will be to cast out. They grow with our growth, and strengthen with our strength. Custom is the nurse of sin. Every fresh act of sin lessens fear and remorse, hardens our hearts, blunts the edge of our conscience, and increases our evil inclination.

    Young men, you may fancy I am laying too much stress on this point. If you had seen old men, as I have, on the brink of the grave, without any feelings, seared, callous, dead, cold, hard as stone–you would not think so. Believe me, you cannot stand still in your souls. Habits of good or evil are daily strengthening in your hearts. Every day you are either getting nearer to God, or further off. Every year that you continue unrepentant, the wall of division between you and heaven becomes higher and thicker, and the gulf to be crossed deeper and broader. Oh, dread the hardening effect of constant lingering in sin! Now is the accepted time. See that your decision not be put off until the winter of your days. If you do not seek the Lord when young, the strength of habit is such that you will probably never seek Him at all.


    What habits have we let develop that will be a detriment to our sons in their Fatherhood and soul later in life?



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