Every sermon ought to be prepared and preached
as if the preacher knew that
all who hear him are on the brink of eternity.
Anyone who vainly imagines that he can distinguish
between wheat and tares usually goes about the business
of weeding the Lord’s garden and pulling up tares
with such fervor that the only stalk of wheat left
standing in the garden is himself.
Don Fortner, Grace Bulletin September 12, 2010
Your conscience is the undying echo of God’s holy law in your soul.
Mock and laugh if you dare; but you know that is the truth. You may never acknowledge it this side of eternity; but you do not even question that fact. You know it is so. Your conscience is the undying echo of God’s holy law in your soul.
If I am not mistaken, conscience is the most powerful part of our constitution as moral creatures. Conscience cannot save anyone. Conscience can never bring anyone to Christ. Every man’s conscience is, by reason of sin, blind, ignorant and misdirected. Yet, the conscience raises a loud testimony and protest in the soul against sin. It makes the guilty soul uneasy. It causes the transgressor to tremble. It is the consciousness of guilt and sin that causes all men to fear death, judgment and eternity.
Here’s something to ponder.
Unbelief a Choice; Faith a Gift – Don Fortner
Unbelief is a choice men make, a decision of the rebel will of unregenerate souls. Again and again we read this accusation against the wicked in the Book of God: — “Ye will not believe.” In fact, this is set before us as the very core of wickedness in fallen man. — “They believe not on me” (John 16:9). The wicked perish because they choose not to trust the Son of God. Men and women shall justly bear the judgment of God forever in hell because they will not to believe.
But faith in Christ is never spoken of in Scripture as a decision people make. Faith is never represented as something men will to do. Faith in Christ is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). It is the operation of God the Holy Spirit in us (Colossians 2:12), born in us by that same omnipotent, resurrection power of God that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:19). Faith in Christ is the fruit of life bestowed. As the new born infant finds himself breathing, so the heaven born soul finds himself believing.
If you now find yourself believing on the Son of God, it is because He has given you everlasting life. If you will not to believe, it is because the wrath of God abides on you (John 3:36).
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
We know that no man can serve two masters. — “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). But isn’t that what Paul is saying that he does here? No, remember that Paul identifies two “I’s” in this context. “If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” (16). The “I” that Paul says does the evil that the other “I” would not do, is the one that serves the law of sin. The “I” which he describes in verse 17, is the one who serves the law of God.
It is not one man serving two masters, but two “men,” the old man and the new man, each serving their own master. They just both happen to be me. One is born of the flesh, the other is born of the Spirit. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5).
One is willing and able to watch with Christ, the other cannot watch for even one hour. “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40).
Notice the words, “I, myself.” These two natures are not some foreign entities that possess our bodies and act out independently, using our members. They are me. When Paul says in verse 17, “it is no more I, but sin that dwelleth in me,” understand he is not excusing his sinfulness by claiming that sin acts independently of him. We are sin. In verse 16 he confesses, it is “I” that do the things that the other “I” would not. Paul either had two distinct natures, or he was a victim of advanced schizophrenia. But understand, the old nature is personified as “sin that dwelleth in me,” but when it acts, it is “I myself” that is complicit in the act.
Likewise, we know that the new man consists of “Christ in us” (Colossians 1:27), the “Spirit that dwelleth in us” (Romans 8:11), but understand that He does not possess us as a foreign entity, but becomes one with us in such a way that it is “I myself,” that loves, serves, worships and believes on Christ. The flesh can do none of these things, and so Paul says, “not I, but Christ that dwelleth in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Christ did not ask Peter, “does the Spirit love me?” Nor did Peter answer for Someone else, but for himself. Yet, we know that it was not Peter’s flesh that loved Christ. The flesh only loves self, and never improves. We live unto God (Galatians 2:19), and we do love Him; yet it is not us (flesh), but it is Christ that dwelleth in us. All glory goes to Him without Whom we can do nothing (John 15:5), but through Whom, we can do all things (Philippians 4:13).
Chris Cunningham, Pastor
College Grove Grace Church
College Grove, Tennessee (USA)
Sent to me by Don Fortner
Don Fortner in his Sunday Morning Bulletin
Web Page: Don Fortner
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor
2734 Old Stanford Road
Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438