Today in Church History

God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are, (1 Corinthians 1:28; Amplified Bible)


Conversion of Chain Gang Convict, Ed Martin

Conversion of Chain Gang Convict, Ed Martin

The convict nodded as he listened to the pretty girl who was leading him through the steps of salvation on this day, January 9, 1944.

Picking up the beautiful new Bible that she had just given him, Ed Martin wrote the date in the margin of John chapter 3. “I want to write the date here next to John 3:16, although I know I will never forget it.”

A small-time criminal, Edward Martin was considered incorrigible. He was sentenced to a chain gang in Virginia. The one time that he escaped, a reward of $10 was offered for him–dead or alive.

But then something happened. Ed had a sister who was a student at Practical Bible Training School. Edna Martin asked her roommate Alfreda Enders to pray for her brother who was in prison. Alfreda, preparing for the mission field, honored the request. But she did more than that; she wrote letters, explaining the gospel to Ed and giving him Scriptures to look up. Searching for the verses she mentioned in her letters, he learned to find them in camp #6’s very worn Bible. He wrote letters back to her that showed a growing spiritual awareness.

Finally Alfreda visited the prison camp. When she asked him point blank if he was saved, Ed dropped his eyes. “Well, Alfreda, the reason I’ve never said for sure is because I don’t know for sure.”

Alfreda explained the steps of the experience that Christians call the new birth. Being born into God’s family was similar to being born into a human family. First, just as a seed (the sperm) has to be planted in the womb before a child can begin to grow, so a seed (God’s word) has to enter the heart. Second, just as a mother nurtures the unborn child, so God has long planned the conditions for salvation. Third, just as the mother suffers while giving birth, so Christ suffered on the cross to bring us spiritual birth. Fourth, once the baby is born, it begins breathing. In the same way when we cry, “God, be merciful to me a sinner,” we draw our first breath as a spiritual baby.

At that point, Ed bowed his head. In a voice that could barely be heard, he prayed, “God, forgive my sins and save me for Jesus’ sake.” Immediately he believed he was saved. “Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Alfreda,” he said.

Alfreda went on to explain other steps of spiritual growth. After she left, Ed put them into practice. So great was the transformation in him that a guard eventually recommended him for parole. Alfreda and Ed married and began a family. Their married life was lived for God as they pastored a Pennsylvania church and then served as missionaries in Japan. When Ed’s health failed, they returned to the United States and founded a prison ministry called Hope Aglo.

When Ed died in 1994, it was to assume the eternal life he had found fifty years before. Alfreda continued their prison ministry.

Image result for Eph. 2:18Yesterday we looked at Ephesians 4:2-3 Unity of the Spirit there I wrote “If as the Word of God says’ God (the HS) indwells us, having peace with fellow believers should be second nature.” So today I would like to backtrack to Chapter 2 and see just how it is we get to that indwelling peace.

Most simply put it is because we (true born again regenerated believers) are one in or have “unity” in Christ. Paul uses vs. 11-22 to point this out:

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[a] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[b] the Spirit.

Note that Paul has put emphasis on the Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit here. All three persons are involved in the process of salvation. (see my series on the order of SalvationOrdo Salutis“)

Whether you were a Jew or Gentile it does not matter, all have access in the same manner to the father, what matters is Christ. His sacrifice at Calvary paid the way for dividing wall of hostility for abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, for reconcile us both to God, for access in one Spirit to the Father for citizenship in the household of God, for being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.  Further His sacrifice at Calvary paid the way for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

How can we get to that place of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling peace? I have said it many times it is through Grace alone, by Faith alone, in Christ alone to the Glory of God alone.

Today in Church History

PRONE to WANDER

Dan Graves, MSL

Did Robert Robinson Wander as He Feared?

Who was Robert Robinson?

Robert Robinson was just a small boy when his dad died. In 18th century England, there was little in the way of a social welfare system and this meant that he had to go to work while still very young. Without a father to guide and steady him, Robert fell in with bad companions.

Change of Fortune

One day his gang of rowdies harassed a drunken gypsy. Pouring liquor into her, they demanded she tell their fortunes for free. Pointing her finger at Robert she told him he would live to see his children and grandchildren. This struck a tender spot in his heart. “If I’m going to live to see my children and grandchildren,” he thought, “I’ll have to change my way of living. I can’t keep on like I’m going now.”

Biblical Warning

Robert Robinson decided to go hear the Methodist preacher George Whitefield. To cover his “weak” urge, he suggested that the boys go with him and heckle the gathering. Whitefield preached on the text: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7). Robert left in dread, under a deep sense of sin that lasted for three years.

Peace with God

Finally, at the age of twenty, Robert made peace with God and immediately set out to become a Methodist preacher himself. Two years later, in 1757, he wrote a hymn which expressed his joy in his new faith:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

This was printed the next year. At first people thought that Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntingdon, a strong Methodist had written this. Eventually it was learned that Robert was the writer.

In the last stanza, Robert had written:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love
Take my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above.

Divine Drifter

Prone to wander Robert was. He left the Methodists and became a Baptist. Later on, having become a close friend of Joseph Priestly, he was accused of becoming a Unitarian. Priestly and other Unitarians denied the full divinity of Christ. However, in a sermon he preached after he supposedly became a Unitarian, Robinson clearly declared that Jesus was God, and added, “Christ in Himself is a person infinitely lovely as both God and man.”

Robert Robinson died on this day, June 9, 1790. Had he left the God he loved? A widely-told, but unverifiable, story says that one day as he was riding in a stagecoach a lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming. He responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Read more about Robinson’s famous hymn on GodTube

It’s a fine thing to see young people singing such great hymns, enjoy: 

 

Spurgeon writes in regards to this verse:

The apostle uses the perfect tense and says, “Who hath saved us.” Believers in Christ Jesus are saved. They are not looked upon as persons who are in a hopeful state, and may ultimately be saved, but they are already saved. Salvation is not a blessing to be enjoyed upon the dying bed, and to be sung of in a future state above, but a matter to be obtained, received, promised, and enjoyed now. The Christian is perfectly saved in God’s purpose; God has ordained him unto salvation, and that purpose is complete. He is saved also as to the price which has been paid for him: “It is finished” was the cry of the Saviour ere he died. The believer is also perfectly saved in his covenant head, for as he fell in Adam, so he lives in Christ. This complete salvation is accompanied by a holy calling. Those whom the Saviour saved upon the cross are in due time effectually called by the power of God the Holy Spirit unto holiness: they leave their sins; they endeavour to be like Christ; they choose holiness, not out of any compulsion, but from the stress of a new nature, which leads them to rejoice in holiness just as naturally as aforetime they delighted in sin. God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but he called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by his workmanship in them. The excellencies which we see in a believer are as much the work of God as the atonement itself. Thus is brought out very sweetly the fulness of the grace of God. Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord is the author of it: and what motive but grace could move him to save the guilty? Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord works in such a manner that our righteousness is for ever excluded. Such is the believer’s privilege—a present salvation; such is the evidence that he is called to it—a holy life. (Morning and Evening)

 

Daily Devotional – Mortification of Sin

by John Owen – February 24th, 2019  

Chapter 7 “RULES FOR MORTIFICATION” Continued 

3). Human efforts fail

   Many men that are vexed with and for sin—by the arrows of Christ for conviction, by the preaching of the Word, or by some affliction having been made sharp in their hearts—do vigorously set themselves against this or that particular lust, wherewith their consciences have been most disquieted or perplexed. But, poor creatures! They labor in the fire, and their work is consumed. When the Spirit of Christ comes to this work, He will be “like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap,” and He will purge men “as gold and silver” (Mal 3:2-3)—that is, take away their dross and tin, their filth and blood (Isa 4:4). But men must be gold and silver at their core, or else refining will do them no good.

   The prophet gives us the sad result of wicked men’s utmost attempts for mortification, by whatever means God affords them: “The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain…Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them” (Jer 6:29-30). And what is the reason hereof? They were “brass and iron” when they were put into the furnace (v. 28). Men may refine brass and iron a very long time before they will be good silver!

   I say then, mortification is not the present business of unregenerate men. God calls them not to it as yet. Conversion is their work, the conversion of the whole soul—not the mortification of this or that particular lust. You would laugh at a man that you should see setting up a great structure and never take any care for a foundation—especially if you should see him so foolish as to continue in the same course after having a thousand experiences of what he built at one time falling down at another. So, it is with convinced persons: though they plainly see that what ground they get against sin one day they lose in another, yet they will go on in the same road still without inquiring where the destructive flaw lies in their progress.

 Excerpts from Mortification of Sin by John Owen from:The Chapel Library •  chapel@mountzion.org

Philippians 4:13 is one of the most abused and misused bible verses today. Folks think it is like some magic code to fix all their woes. Nothing could be further from the truth. See what Thomas Watson had to say about the matter. – Mike

“The Christian’s strength (Thomas Watson, “The One Thing Necessary”)

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

Always labor in the strength of Christ. Never go to work alone. Samson’s strength lay in his hair. The Christian’s strength lies in Christ.

When you are … to do any duty, to resist any temptation, to subdue any lust, set upon it in the strength of Christ!

Some go out against sin, in the strength of their resolutions and vows—and they are soon foiled. Do as Samson did—he first cried to God for help and then having taken hold of the pillars, he pulled down the house upon the Philistines! Likewise, only when we engage Christ in the work, can we bring down the house upon the head of our lusts!

Prayer beats the weapon out of the devil’s hand—and gets the blessing out of God’s hand!”

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 15 May

APOSTATES

Demas hath forsaken me – 2 Timothy 4:10

Them that are turned back from the Lord – Zephaniah 1:6

They went out from us, but they were not of us – 1 John 2:9

It is far easier to write a book of apostates in this age than a book of martyrs. – John Trapp

None can be termed apostates, but such as have previously made a profession of Christ – John Calvin

None sink so far into hell as those that come nearest to heaven, because they fall from the greatest height. – William Gurnall

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. Today topic
WHY JESUS CAME

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 10 May

FAITH ESSENTIAL

Without faith it is impossible to please him – Hebrews 11:6

Even the plowing [lamp R.V.] of the wicked is sin – Proverbs 21:4

Till men have faith in Christ their best services are but glorious sins. – Thomas Brooks

A splendid action without faith is but moral, whereas one of much less glittering is spiritual with it. – Stephen Charnock

Neither is faith without a godly life, neither can a godly life proceed but from faith. – John Calvin

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. Today topic SODOM AND GOMORRAH

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 08 May

ATONEMENT

Our Lord Jesus Christ by whom we have now received the atonement – Romans 5:11

We were reconciled to God through the death of his son – Romans 510 (R.V.)

The blood of Christ is the seal of the testament. – Henry Smith

The enmity between God and us began on our part, the peace which he hath made begins and ends with himself. – John Owen

Foregoing sins cannot be expiated by subsequent duties. Paying of new debts doth not quit the old ones. – Thomas Manton

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent, “Walking with God”, daily devotional. Today topic THE OFFENSE OF CHRIST’S TEACHING

 

If Only I Had Been Saved By Merit! – Tim Challies

Maybe it is worth the strange challenge of asking this simple question: How would I live if I had been saved by merit rather than grace?

Continued at Source: If Only I Had Been Saved By Merit! – Tim Challies

Some Errors Avoided by a Right Doctrine of Sanctification

| April 11, 2017

My sermon betrayed the gospel. I was young, a-theological, and gripped by legalism. That toxic mix led to a litany of don’ts with no hint of the power of the cross, standing with Christ, or certainty of the believer’s sanctification. Instead, it left the hearers with more stuff to do if they desired to be right with God but no hope in the gospel. Unfortunately, that was not the only time that my failure to understand sanctification blurted out in gospel-betraying sermons.

Continued at Source: Some Errors Avoided by a Right Doctrine of Sanctification

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