About the Author

Thomas Ray Floyd was born in 1953 in Simpson County, Mississippi, the son of Roy Thomas Floyd and Lina Sue Shows Floyd. Thomas Ray's mother was a member of a Primitive Baptist church, and he cut his teeth on the doctrines of distinguishing grace.

When he was a small boy, his father was converted to Christ and became a member of a Missionary Baptist Church. Thomas Ray joined the church of his father when he was 13 years old, and thought of himself as a Christian. The doctrines of grace that he had heard as a child continued to be precious to him and when he became an adult, he joined a Primitive Baptist Church. When he was 27, Thomas Ray made his first effort to preach the gospel in public and was ordained to the full functions of the ministry in 1985. In 1986 he was convinced under the preaching of Rolfe Barnard (by tapes from Mt. Olive Tape Library), the written sermons of Spurgeon, and the ministry of Elder Zack Guess that he had been a false professor and cried out in agony of soul to the Lord Jesus Christ to have mercy and truly save him. And He did! Floyd then began to preach the gospel as he had been taught of the Lord.

Floyd has pastored churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee and until recently was pastor of a church plant known as "Particular Baptist Fellowship." He and his wife Brenda presently attend Zion Baptist Church at Polkville, Mississippi, pastored by Elder Glen Hopkins. The pulpit ministry of Zion Baptist Church can be heard at Sermonaudio.com.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Beware of False Prophets

(Article for publication week of 12-31-2008 AD)

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:16). One of the great difficulties in true conversion is the great number of false prophets who are deceiving people and leading them astray. Please note the context in which our Lord gives this solemn warning. After the Lord instructs us to enter into the strait (or difficult) gate that leads to the narrow way that leads to life, he warns us of false prophets. Do you see the picture? Positioned right near the strait gate (John Bunyan’s “wicked gate’ in “Pilgrim’s Progress”) , there are the false prophets.

So we see the true meaning of a false prophet. A false prophet is not one who disagrees with us on prophecy. Nor is a false prophet one who holds to a different view of church government and order. A false prophet is not one who belongs to another Christian denomination. But a false prophet is one who tells men they do not have to enter the strait gate of conversion to be saved. False prophets obscure the true way of salvation which is grace alone, faith alone and that in Christ Alone. False prophets , like Worldly Wiseman in Pilgrim’s Progress just tell people to be moral or religious and everything will be all right. False prophets never warn sinners of the wrath to come. They never call on sinners in plain terms to repent. And they do not insist that faith in Christ is the only way of salvation.

False prophets are not always easy to recognize. They have on sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. False prophets are often disguised in clerical garb. Sometimes they are disguised in a fashionable suit. They have on all sorts of clever disguises, but beware , lest they lead you into hell. Friends , you had better be very careful who you listen to for directions in salvation. A false prophet is more dangerous than a “quack” doctor. A “quack’ doctor can only harm your body, but a false prophet will destroy your very soul.

False prophets are often very congenial men. They can get along with everybody. False prophets are often very popular in the community and well thought of. They would never be considered as the “off scouring of the world”, like the apostles. “They (love) the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).

The prophet Isaiah warned of false prophets in chapter 56, verse 10, calling them “dumb dogs, they cannot bark.” The intruder is coming in to hurt those inside, but the dumb dog does not bark. Like a dumb dog, a false prophet knows when to keep his mouth shut. He may preach many things that are true, but he will neglect some of the most needful things of the hour if he knows his job is on the line. Martin Luther once said something along the lines that if a man preaches all the truth except the truth being attacked, he does not preach the truth.

False prophets are blind leaders of the blind, and they and their followers will finally fall into the ditch. The Apostle Paul warned in II Corinthians 11:13, “for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” You see, false prophets are very sneaky. They are talented “wordsmiths” who can craft clever little messages that their hearers never even understand the heresies they are preaching. They can appear to be “apostles of Christ.

Dear friends, beware of false prophets. Test what you hear by the word of God. And may the Lord deliver His people from false prophets.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Difficulty of True Conversion

(Article for publication week of 12-24-2008 AD)

“Enter ye in at the strait gate…” (Matthew 7:13). We have been considering the doctrine of conversion as illustrated by our Lord here in Matthew chapter 7. The word ‘strait” is an archaic word which means “difficult.” Our Lord is illustrating for us here how that true conversion is indeed a difficult thing.

Contrary to popular opinion, salvation is not an easy thing. We fear that many of our readers are indeed deceived in the matter of their own soul salvation because they have been told that getting saved is an easy thing. By using an illustration comparing true conversion to a “strait” or difficult gate, our Lord is telling us that salvation is a very difficult thing. John Bunyan in his classic “The Pilgrim’s Progress” , teaches this truth by the “wicket gate”. If you have not read it, you ought to. The wicket gate, or the strait gate, is a little gate that is very hard to get through.

How many here in Simpson County are deceived and being deceived by telling themselves and others that getting saved is an easy thing. It is widely believed that salvation is just “saying a prayer.” Now, no sinner is ever saved apart from prayer, but a prayer will not save you, for salvation is in Christ Alone. Many think they were saved by “deciding to accept Jesus.” And then I know a few who dangerously presume that salvation is a matter of just hoping they might be one of God’s elect. How many erroneously think that salvation is very easy.

Now conversion is a very simple thing. It is so simple that a little child can be saved when the Holy Spirit is please to work effectually. Salvation is so simple that people of very small intellect can be saved when the Holy Spirit immediately performs regeneration in their soul. Salvation is simply repenting of your sin and trusting in Christ Alone for your whole and sole righteousness. But see here now. There is a great difference in ease and simplicity. Getting saved is simple, but not easy.

The first thing that makes conversion a difficult thing is that the poor sinner is dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1). The dead can do nothing. Conversion is so difficult that it is indeed impossible without a miracle from the Lord. The one thing needed by those that are dead is LIFE! Unless the Lord is pleased to give spiritual life, no sinner would ever be converted. In John 6:44 our Lord said no man can come to Him except he be drawn of God. We fear that many people we know have been drawn by a preacher who have never been drawn by God.

Another thing that makes conversion difficult is that a poor sinner’s will is averse to God and the things of God. The Lord said in John 5:40 “ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” Not only is a sinner unable to come to Christ, he is unwilling. And I might put in here that the thing that is so terrible about the sinner’s plight is his stubborn rebellion. Friend, God is not going to send you to hell for your inability, but for your awful and inexcusable rebellion. Unless your will is changed and you are made willing in the “day of (HIS) power (Psalm110:3), you will perish in your sins and be doomed and damned for eternity.

But then as we read on in Matthew 7 we see another difficulty in conversion- there are many false prophets misleading people (see verse 15). There are many false preachers and teachers who are telling people they can be saved without going through the strait gate of conversion. Our Lord warns us to beware of such. Unless a man faithfully and constantly points men to the gate of entrance into salvation, he is a false prophet. Anybody who tells men there is a way of salvation that goes around the Door of Christ is a false prophet. I wish you would read the whole 7th chapter of Matthew and see how the false prophets are right there at the strait gate telling people they don’t have to go through that difficulty to get to heaven. Beware of such my friend, if you value your never dying soul.

Yes , true conversion is difficult. But thanks be to God all things are possible with Him. I pray He may give you grace to get through the gate of conversion and into the narrow way that leads to life.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Urgency of True Conversion

(Article for publication week of 12-17-2008 AD)

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate , and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate , and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14). In this passage our Lord Jesus Christ is illustrating for us the doctrine of true conversion. And the very first thing we notice in the text is our Lord’s urgency in calling men to the narrow way.

My friends, I want to press upon your minds this week the great urgency of salvation. These words of our Lord Jesus Christ have a note of awful urgency about them. It is an urgent matter for you to attend to, the state of your never dying soul. Our Lord says here that conversion is an urgent matter, for if you are not converted by getting through the gate that leads to life, you are headed for eternal destruction. It is apparent that our Lord is speaking here of eternal destruction in hell for we read on in the rest of Matthew chapter 7 about unfruitful trees being hewn down and cast into the fire (Verse 19). Further down (verses 21-23) our Lord tells us of a great Day of Judgment when false professors must hear their awful doom, “depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Do I seem as one who speaks as idle tales to you? Oh! My friends please do not dismiss me as a crank. I am labouring for your never dying soul and beseeching you to consider the urgency of getting out of the broad way that leads down to hell, and entering through the strait gate into the narrow way that leads to heaven. Heaven and hell are not idle tales. Heaven is a real place where the saved by grace shall live in eternal bliss with the Lord Jesus Christ. Hell is a real place where multitudes are already weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth. Hell is a real place where you will spend eternity unless you are truly converted to Christ. Unless you go through Christ the Door to be saved you must spend eternity in hell.

If I were you I would not do anything else until I had found the way of salvation and entered in. What is more urgent than the state of your soul? Will you be like Felix who would wait for a more convenient season to be saved? (Acts 24:25). As far as we know that poor sinner never found a convenient time to call for the Apostle Paul to come back and tell him the way of salvation through Christ. Paul laboured for Felix’ soul as I am for yours and told Felix of the Dear Saviour Who is able, willing and ready to save the chief of sinners and Felix trembled but waited for a more convenient season. He waited too late and as far as I know that old sinner has been in hell well nigh two thousand years now. Oh! I think I hear Felix cry from the burning pit for a convenient season, but he will never have another opportunity to hear Paul preach Christ again. His doom is sealed for eternity and so will yours be unless you get through the gate that leads to life, and that gate is Christ himself.

Or will you be like Agrippa who was “almost persuaded “ to become a Christian (Acts 26:28). Like Agrippa some of you are almost a Christian , but you are still lost. You have been shown the way of salvation but you have never entered in by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Almost but lost” will be your cry as God casts you into hell. I weep as I consider how awful the day of judgment will be for most of you. You are “almost” a Christian. You have your church membership (and that is good if you are saved and are a member of a Bible believing church), but you have never gotten through the gate of conversion. Some of you read these articles every week and you have been almost persuaded, but you are still lost. Some of you may have a faithful pastor who calls on you faithfully to come to Christ, but you have told yourself you’re all right but deep down inside you know things still are not right between you and Christ. Some of you have heard a man of God warn sinners of lost profession and you said to yourself, “he must be talking about my neighbour“, but friend he was talking about you! Salvation is too urgent to wait for a convenient season or be almost persuaded. Repent and come to Christ now is my urgent call to you today.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christ, the Only Way

(Article for publication week of 12-10-2008 AD)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, ‘He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbed up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1). One of the most soul damning lies being advocated in your day and mine is the lie of “inclusivism.” The false prophets who advocate this awful lie say that everyone who is religious and sincere will finally be in heaven. These false prophets say that Christians, Jews , Moslems, Buddhists , Hindus and everything else all actually worship the same god. But my friends, the Lord Jesus Christ did not preach that. He said the only way to get to heaven is through Him, and that everyone who is trying to get to heaven some other way is a “thief and a robber.” Further down in John 10 (verse 7), our Lord said, “I Am THE Door of the sheep.” all who think they may be saved without faith in Christ are nothing but thieves and robbers and they will be eternally disappointed in the Day of Judgment.

Nor is this an isolated or ambiguous text concerning Christ being the only way to God. Acts 4:12 plainly says “Neither is there salvation in any other , for there none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” My friends Mohammed cannot get anyone to heaven. Bhudda can’t get you to heaven. Moses cannot get you to heaven. Your good works cannot get you to heaven. Your church membership cannot get you to heaven. No religious system can get you to heaven. Every Christless religious system is leading folks down to hell. Christ is THE WAY and the only Way to heaven . In John 14:6 our Lord Jesus Christ said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Christ is not one of many ways, but he is the One and Only Way of salvation.

Christ is the only way of salvation because he is the only one who has made a real and full atonement for sinners. God’s justice requires that sinners against His Holy Law must be punished. Neighbour, you and I have sinned against God and broken His laws and unless our sin is atoned for, we must bear the terrible punishment ourselves. But I want you to know that Christ took the sins of believers upon Himself (I Peter 2:24) and made a full and a real atonement for all who come to Him in faith. The Lord Jesus Christ was wounded for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). The Lord Jesus Christ was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5:21). The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Substitute for sinners that there will ever be, and unless you have Him for your Substitute, you must bear the heavy guilt of sin yourself and be punished eternally in Hell. But everyone who truly trusts in Christ as their Substitute will be saved from the wrath to come.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation because he is the one and only Mediator between God and men. Go read it in I Timothy 2:5. My friend, you cannot go to God on your own. You are a sinner, and God is too Holy to let people like us into His Holy Presence (Habakkuk 1:13). To get to God we must have one to be our “go between.” This the Lord does this for sinners who come to him begging for mercy. The Lord Jesus Christ is this very moment interceding in heaven for the chief of sinners, and He has said He will in no wise cast out any who come to Him. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Person in the universe who is fully God and fully man. He is the GOD-Man. He is the Daysman Who takes sinners by one hand and lays hold on God with the other hand. No one who trusts in Him alone for salvation shall ever be disappointed.

Come to Christ today without delay. There is salvation in Him and in no other. I promise you , you will not be disappointed in Christ. He is able, willing and ready to save all who come to Him in faith. May the Holy Spirit quicken you and draw you effectually to the Dear Saviour and may you find salvation in the only Saviour of sinners. Come into the sheepfold through the only Door- the Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Gate of Conversion

(Article for publication week of 12-3-2008 AD)

“”Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” ( Matthew 7:13-14). In this section of the Sermon on the Mount our Lord illustrates for us two vital doctrines- true conversion and true perseverance. For the next several weeks we will be considering more of the doctrine of conversion as given here by our Lord.

First of all , I call your attention to the truth that there are only two ways set before us- the narrow way, leading to life, and the broad way leading to death. There is no middle ground here. All of us are right now at this moment in one of two ways, either the narrow way or the broad way. We are either on our way to heaven or we are on our way to hell. Neighbour does that disturb you in the least. I grieve in my soul for my neighbours and kindred that go on day by day heed less of eternity. Dear ones, please wake up to the fact that if you are not in the narrow way you are lost and headed for hell.

Secondly , I call your attention to the way our Lord speaks here. He does not use some of the modern jargon we hear. I think it will do us well to imitate our Lord in our evangelism. Rather than asking people if they are “saved”, it would be better to ask them if they are in the narrow way. Here in our part of the world, it is hard to find any one who is not saved (to hear them tell it). You think because you prayed a prayer or made a decision you are saved. But friend , are you in the narrow way? Be sure if you are not in the narrow way, you are not saved, and you are lost and on your way to hell.

Thirdly, please note there is only one way into the narrow way, and that is through the strait gate. Now we need to note that the word strait is an archaic word that we seldom use. (Some would suggest that we should discard our reliable authorized translation since it has archaic words and replace it with modern versions translated from the corrupt Alexandrian texts, and the corrupt text by Westcott and Hort, but we should rather reacquaint ourselves with the language of our ancestors and keep our reliable Authorized Version translated from the Textus Receptus). The word strait means “difficult”. Salvation is not as easy as most people think. True conversion, getting saved is a very difficult thing. We are reminded of our Lord’s words in Matthew 19:24, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle , than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The gate of salvation is hard to get through. It is so hard that you will not get through it except by Divine Grace.

The strait gate is the exclusive way of salvation. Our Lord said in John 14:6, “I am THE way.” we read in Acts 4;12, “Neither is there salvation in any other”. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 10:1 “He that entereth not by the door of the sheepfold, but cometh up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Christ is the exclusive door of salvation. You will not get into the narrow way that leads to life any other way except by faith in Him.

Fourthly, we see in this text that there must be a conscious entering in to salvation. The idea that God saves people and leaves them in their ignorance is shown to be a great error by this text; or the idea that you can just complacently wait for the Lord to save you as some vainly suppose; or the idea that you can use salesmanship or psychology to get people saved without them hardly even knowing what happened. No my friend, if you have not consciously pressed through the strait gate, you are not saved. Now may the Lord give grace that someone may seek, find and enter the strait gate of conversion today.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Except You Be Converted

(Article for publication week of 11-26-2008 AD)

“…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18: 3). Our Lord spoke these words to His disciples when they were squabbling about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. By these words our Lord warned them that the important thing is to be sure we are in the kingdom. Striving about preeminence is not of the spirit of Christ and we must ever be on guard against such a spirit in ourselves. So our Lord told His disciples they better search their hearts if they were really converted men. And of course we know one of them, Judas Iscariot at last proved he had never been converted and had never been part of Christ’s kingdom. If our Lord’s twelve needed such warnings, how much more do you and I!

“Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” First of all let us be sure we understand what the Lord means by being in the kingdom of heaven. Some have come up with fanciful ideas concerning what the kingdom of heaven is. Some have advanced the idea that the kingdom is the visible church state. Others have speculated such things as the millennial reign of Christ on earth and other unscriptural ideas. By comparing parallel passages in the gospels we will see that the “kingdom of heaven’ (generally used by Matthew) and “ the kingdom of God” (generally used by the other evangelists), is the kingdom that our Lord told Nicodemus in John 3:1-8 that we must be reborn to see or enter. It is the kingdom that we must be translated into by the sovereign, irresistible power of the Lord (Colossians 1:13). Every one of us are in one of two kingdoms, the kingdom of Christ or the kingdom of darkness. Simply put, to be in the kingdom of heaven is to be saved. If you are not in the kingdom of heaven you are in the power of darkness and lost, unconverted and unsaved.

Now, the Lord says here that the kingdom must be entered by true conversion. Theologically, conversion is the human response to regeneration. In regeneration, we are passive, but in conversion we are active. To enter the kingdom, you must be regenerated (John 3:5). But the regenerate person does indeed actively and consciously enter into the kingdom. Jesus spoke in John 10:1 and following of Himself as the door of salvation. Friend if you will be saved you must enter through the door of Christ Himself. Again, in Matthew 7:13 the Lord Jesus Christ tells us that to be saved we must enter in at the strait gate. You see dear ones, if you will be saved, you must actively and consciously enter through the door. Some of you have seen the door, but you have yet to get through. Unless you get through the door of conversion you must be forever lost. And be sure you understand that Christ is that door, the only door that will get you into the kingdom.

And I want you also to notice that our Lord tells us that to be converted is to become as little children. What does he mean by this? Well , we know He cannot possibly mean anything like infant purity. Psalm 51:5 makes it clear that we have a sin nature as soon as we are conceived. But our Lord does teach an important lesson about salvation by the little child He took in His arms on this occasion. Little children are very trusting of their parents. So, a converted person is a person who has trusted Christ for everything he needs for salvation. We also see a kind of simplicity in a child that is indicative of those who are Christ’s children. Let a person be brought to know Christ in salvation and he will give up his grandiose ideas of Himself and be like a little child in the presence of Christ and His children. We note also the smallness of the little child as a picture of how Christians feel themselves to be small. Those who still have grand ideas of themselves are not giving much evidence of being saved. I urge you to become like a little child and come to Christ for salvation this day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Repent and be Converted

(Article for publication week of 11-19-2008 AD )

“Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord “ (Acts 3:19). In previous articles we have been showing forth the evidences of regeneration. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught in John 3:8 that when a person is born again you will see the evidence for “the wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof.” We set forth that the first and indispensable evidence of the new birth is faith in Christ (I John 5:1). Then we set forth another indispensable evidence is repentance (II Corinthians 7:10; Matthew 5:4; Luke 13:5). Now we come to consider another vital evidence of regeneration, and that is conversion. Our text says that the repentant person is a converted person.

Now we live in a generation that is so dead spiritually that few ever have heard of true conversion, much less have experienced it. We hear a little bit about people “accepting” Jesus or “deciding” for Jesus, but we seldom hear of any who have been converted to Christ, and even more seldom do we find any who give evidence that they have been genuinely converted.

By conversion we mean the inevitable turning of one who has been regenerated by the sovereign , irresistible, immediate work of the Holy Spirit. In my text this week here in Acts 3:19, the Apostle Peter was preaching and calling on sinners to repent and be converted. He was calling on them to turn from their sins and bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ Whom they had killed , but He was now risen and was at the right hand of God. The Greek word translated “converted’ in my text this week is translated “turned” in I Thessalonians 1:9 where Paul said he knew the Thessalonians to be of the elect for they had “turned from idols to serve the living and true God.” conversion is the turning of a sinner from his sins , renouncing his sins and embracing the Lord Jesus Christ as the rightful owner of himself and all that is his.

Now, no person ever turns to Christ of his own free will, but mark it down friend, when the Lord turns a sinner that sinner surely turns (Jeremiah 31:18). Conversion is the certain and inevitable turning of an elect sinner that has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. In regeneration the Holy Spirit gives spiritual life; In conversion the elect sinner lives. In regeneration the Holy Spirit gives faith; in conversion the elect sinner believes in Christ. In regeneration the Holy Spirit grants repentance; in conversion, the elect sinner repents. In regeneration the Holy Spirit draws an elect sinner to Christ; in conversion that sinner comes to Christ. The Lord turns, and we turn. That is conversion concisely stated.

Regeneration and conversion are two sides of the same coin. Where there is one, there will of necessity be the other. The scriptures speak nowhere of a person being regenerated without also being converted. By the same token, the scriptures speak nowhere of sinners being converted unless the Holy Spirit works antecedently in them. We may think of regeneration as the Divine side of salvation and conversion as the human side of salvation. No sinner is ever saved apart from the Sovereign power of God. But be sure you understand, the sinner who has that great power wrought in him will inevitably be converted.

Friend, have you been converted? I am not asking you if you ever decided for Jesus . I am asking you has the Lord turned you so that you were turned to Him? I as the Apostle Peter call on you today to repent and be converted. Turn from your idols and serve the Living God. May the Lord turn some of you today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Repentance Impossible

(Article for publication week of 11-12-2008 AD)

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6). One of the most solemn truths we face in scripture is the truth that there are many who can’t be saved. Now I know that in this age of “easy-believes that sounds very strange to some of you. But please hear me out.

First , it is a solemn truth that the devils can’t be saved. Christ made no atonement for devils. His atonement was for men , not devils. No one can be saved apart from the atoning death of Christ, and since Christ did not die for fallen angels (AKA “devils”), none of the devils can ever be saved. The devil and his angels are doomed to everlasting chains in the Lake of Fire. There is no possibility of repentance and salvation for devils .

Secondly, reprobate men can never be saved. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith, “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death” (III:3). The scriptures plainly teach the awful doctrine of reprobation. For example we read in Romans 9:13, “Jacob have I loved , but Esau have I hated.” Before the foundation of the world, God chose Jacob to be saved and appointed Esau to eternal damnation. Paul goes on in Romans 9 and says in verse 22, “What if God willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” The unsaved are called “vessels of wrath.” They are ordained to destruction. Then we read in Jude 4 “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” The solemn , untwisted, plain truth of this text is that God has ordained some to condemnation. That ought to scare you to death. That solemn truth ought to drive you to your knees before the merciful Lord Jesus Christ Who is able and willing to save the chief of sinners. But sadly, such truths provoke few to fear God nor to tremble before His word. Some of you will probably just try to laugh this truth away and just count me a crank. Some of you will probably say to yourself, “well, if that is true then there is nothing I can do about it anyway.” And so you will use the truth of God to seal your own damnation. But I am giving you the awful truth of God; many cannot be saved because they are reprobate.

Now, no man may know of his election in grace without faith in Christ. So we call on all men to repent and flee to the Saviour of sinners. And no man knows he is reprobate until He has rejected the Saviour of sinners finally. The persons spoken of in our text fall into a class who have willfully and finally rejected Christ. The folks spoken of in Hebrews 6 are people who had made a profession of faith in Christ and were numbered visibly with the saints of God. But then they renounced their profession. They fell away, not from salvation, for it was never theirs, but from a false profession. They proved themselves to be reprobate and ordained of old to condemnation.

Now the Book of Hebrews is a book of warning against those who renounce their profession of faith. It is better to have never professed Christ, than to renounce Him after having professed Him. Sinners are in a great strait! Those who will be saved must profess Christ (Matthew 10:33-34). But to make a false profession is the most frightening of sins (Matthew 7:21). But possibly the most frightening of all is to renounce Christ after you have professed Him. We ought not be so quick to rush into a profession, nor to rush others into profession, seeing such solemn warnings. As always, I urge you on to Christ Who is able to keep you from falling.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

That All Should Come to Repentance

(Article for publication week of 11-5-2008 AD)

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to uswards, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9). In our most recent articles we have been dealing with the doctrine of repentance. Repentance is an evidence of a gracious state (II Cor. 7:10; Matt. 5:4). None are saved apart from repentance (Luke 13:3,5). All men are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30). And repentance is the sovereign and gracious work of God (Acts 11:18).

God is not willing that any of His elect should perish, but that all of His elect should come to repentance. The “any” and the ‘all” of II Peter 3:9 is understood by Peter’s introduction in II Peter 1:1 to “them that have obtained like precious faith.” Actually God is willing that those who are in rebellion against Him and refuse to repent of their sins finally perish in their sins and be sent to hell. God is of “one mind “ and none “can turn Him” (see Job 23:13). Whatever God purposes, He shall bring to pass (Isaiah 46:11). He will do all His pleasure (Isaiah 46:10). God is absolutely Sovereign and He will not be disappointed nor frustrated in His Holy designs. God is willing that the unsaved perish, and they will perish and that for eternity. But God is not willing that a single blood bought heir of promise perish, and none shall.

God is longsuffering with his elect while they are unregenerate. We were children of wrath even as others and we despised God, His grace and His gospel until He regenerated us and brought us to repentance and faith. There is a set time when God will call all His elect to the knowledge of His Son (Psalm 102:13). “There is a period known to God, when all His sheep redeemed by blood, shall leave the hateful ways of sin, turn to the fold and enter in.”(Kent). And God suffers long with us until that day appointed by Himself when he shall effectually call us. Believer , are you not thankful that the Lord suffered long with you. He could have cut you down while you were in your sins, but He suffered long until you were converted.

And God suffers long with the wicked until His sovereign purposes in this present order of things are all accomplished. God suffered long with the antediluvian world until the ark was finished and Noah and His family were safely aboard (I Peter 3:20). God withheld His Holy judgment and wrath for the sinners of the old world until all of Noah’s family were brought into the ark. And so God is longsuffering with the world until all His elect are converted to Christ and safe in Him the True Ark of their souls.

All of God’s chosen elect will certainly be brought to repentance. In His sovereign mercy and by His sovereign grace, He will grant repentance and faith. Not one chosen in the covenant of grace shall ever perish. Not one bought with the blood of Christ shall ever perish. All those blood bought heirs of promise shall be called by the Holy Spirit . Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” you know what our Lord was saying there in John 6:37. Why He was saying that God has chosen a vast number in Christ from all eternity and that he (Christ) came to die for them and they are predestinated to be called savingly to Himself. What God has decreed must come to pass. It is impossible that any of these should ever perish for they are fenced in by Jehovah’s “shalls and wills.” Jesus said in John 10:28 concerning His sheep “they shall never perish.”

Thus we see the meaning of II Peter 3:9 who it is that God is not willing should perish. He is not willing that any of His elect should perish. He is not willing that any of His sheep shall ever perish. He is not willing that any believer perish. He is willing that they all come to repentance and believe in His Son, and they shall. This world shall not come to an end until God’s purpose of grace is accomplished. Just as God was longsuffering with the old world in the days of Noah, so He is being longsuffering with the world until all His elect are saved. Praise the Lord for His mercy, His grace and His longsuffering and His promise to grant repentance to all His elect.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mourners Comforted

(Article submitted for publication the week of 10-29-2008 AD)

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4). Last week we pointed out that the mourning described here by our Lord Jesus Christ has nothing to do with mourning at a funeral or mourning because you lost your stock investment or anything like that. Our Lord is describing those who have been regenerated and granted repentance . They have been taught by the Holy Spirit that they are great sinners . They have come to love the precious Redeemer, and have seen that He was pierced for their sins (Zechariah 12:10). It is a blessing to be such a mourner for it is the evidence that one is a child of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ promises that these mourners shall be truly comforted.

First of all, the Lord Himself is their Comforter. We read in Luke chapter four an occasion when our Lord was preaching in the synagogue and He read from Isaiah 61 and said the passage was about Himself . He said He was sent “to heal the broken hearted.” Our Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) and when a poor sinner is enabled to believe in the Dear Saviour slain for sinners, oh! What a comfort it is! Trusting in Christ Alone for your salvation is true comfort for those who have seen what terrible sinners they indeed are. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the sinners Friend, and he can comfort your soul as no other. Do I write to one whose heart is broken for sin! Look to Christ Alone poor sinner and He shall wipe your weeping eyes. “Weeping sinners, dry your tears; Jesus on the throne appears. Can you slight such heavenly charms? Flee, Oh! Flee to Jesus’ arms!

And then the Holy Spirit is our Comforter. In John 14:16 when our Lord was telling His disciples that he was going away, He promised them He would pray His Father Who would give then Another Comforter, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit , who is the Third Person of the holy Trinity and Who is One with the Father and the Son, and co-equal with the Father and the Son (I John 5:7), is our Blessed Paraclete Who comes along beside us to comfort us. The Holy Spirit comforts God’s people by indwelling them (John 16:17). He is our Comforter because He teaches us and guides us into the truth of God’s word (John14:26; John 16:13). The Holy spirit is our Comforter because he testifies of Christ (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit is our Comforter for He pours the love of God into our hearts (Romans 5:5). “The Blessed Spirit like the wind moves when and where He please…. He sheds abroad the Father’s love, applies redeeming love.” The blessed Holy Spirit teaches the children of God that their Heavenly Father loves them with an everlasting love which had no beginning and shall have no end. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16). Only the Holy Spirit can give true assurance to us. In fact, it is wrong for us to try to assure any they are the children of God. Only the Holy Spirit can do this blessed work of assuring God’s elect experimentally that they are truly His. I pray the Holy Spirit by His indwelling and teaching and witness may give to some poor mourner blessed assurance this week.

And then the Lord has appointed the means of the gospel to give comfort to His mourning people. In Isaiah 40:1, we read, “Comfort ye , comfort ye my people saith the Lord.” It is only the Lord’s people who will derive any comfort from the gospel. The unregenerate worldling has never had his heart broken in repentance and the gospel of our Lord’s saving work is of no interest to him. And then I will tell you that only the true gospel will be of any comfort to heaven born souls. Works religion, and exhortations to human effort and lectures on sinners’ ability and psychology will never bring any comfort to those who mourn in Zion. But the good news that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification is a message that heals the wounds of those who have been pricked in their hearts by conviction. The true gospel is a comfort and blessing to those who have been born again, because it declares that Christ was a great success in the work of redemption and that He finished the work the Father gave Him. The true gospel is a comfort to mourners for it tells them not what they can do, but rather what Christ has done. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed Mourners

(Article originally published the week of 10-15-2008 AD)

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” ( Matthew 5:4). The Christian life and experience is a great paradox that the world can never understand. The word blessed in our text means “happy”. How strange that one should be a happy mourner! Yet that is what our Lord said in Matthew 5 as He describes the citizens of His Kingdom.

Now the mourning described in out text has nothing to do with sadness because of earthly concerns. Our Lord is not speaking here of those who mourn at a funeral or because of some other sad event in their life. Nor is our Lord speaking of those who may be emotional by nature and are easily stirred to tears. Our Lord is speaking of nothing of nature , but is rather speaking of those who mourn because of their spiritual poverty (MATTHEW 5:3).

When God the Holy Spirit begins the good and gracious work of regeneration in one of His elect, that sinner becomes a mourner. Regeneration is a painful work. It is called “circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:28-29; Deuteronomy 30:6). When the Lord begins the good work of grace in His people’s hearts, he cuts into their very soul and it is a painful experience. In Acts 2:37 we read of those who were converted on the day of Pentecost and it says they were “pricked in their heart.” As the word of God came to them , not in word only, but in the power of the Holy Ghost they were deeply affected. They were pricked in their heart. They felt the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God like it was stabbing them in their hearts. And they began to cry out, ‘what must we do?” The Holy Spirit granted them repentance and they repented. As Peter preached to them and confronted them with their sins, they began to mourn as they looked on Him Whom they had pierced. They became keenly aware that they had sinned and come short of God’s glory. Those who are mourning as described in our text , mourn as they perceive that the Lovely Redeemer was pierced for them.

My dear friend, do you know anything of such mourning? Can you remember in your experience that day when your hard heart began to melt under the power of regenerating grace? Have you ever been pricked in your heart? All those who have been born again know something of my text. “blessed are they that mourn.”

But now our text says “Blessed Are they that mourn“, not “mourned.” those who are truly converted become continual mourners. Hear the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am!” After Paul had been a Christian for a good while he still felt himself to be a ruined wretch in and of himself. Hear him mourning in I Timothy 1:15, ‘sinners, of whom I am chief.” Those who are born again are continual mourners as they see themselves as vile, and putrid and loathsome in the sight of the Thrice Holy God. To be a child of God is to be a spiritual mourner all your days until the Lord finally wipes away all tears.

Now hear the blessing of our text. They that mourn shall be comforted. Jesus said He came to “heal the broken hearted.” (Luke 4:18). Christ has commissioned His ministers to “comfort ye my people.” The gospel is a message of comfort to those who have had their hearts broken under the power of regeneration. And here is that message of comfort. Christ has accomplished our warfare. He fought the hard battle and won. We have received double for all our sins. Our iniquity is pardoned (Isaiah 40:2). I pray that poor mourners in Zion may be comforted by the gospel of Christ.

The Lost Son

(Article originally published the week of 10-8-2008 AD)

“And the son said unto him ,’ Father I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.’ “ (Luke 15:21). Our Lord Jesus Christ illustrates repentance in Luke 15 by a parable of a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. Lost sinners are like a lost sheep. They have wandered out of the way and do not know how to get to God. “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). A Sovereign and Almighty Shepherd must come and save the lost sheep. Worse than that, lost sinners are like a lost coin. They are lifeless and cold. Lost sinners are powerless to do anything to save themselves or help save themselves. But worst of all, we are like the son that we call the prodigal. We have all left the Father’s house. Lost sinners are not only wandering out of the way with no sense of direction. Lost sinners are not only dead in trespasses and sins. But lost sinners are in willful rebellion against the LORD.

The parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most misunderstood parables in the Bible. It has been generally used in our part of the country in regards to those who are said to have “backslidden.” Actually, most of the people known as “backsliders” in our day are people who have never been truly saved, but that is a subject for another column. The Lord’s parable of the Prodigal Son is not about “backsliding” (so-called), but about lost sinners being brought to repentance. Our Lord gave this parable when He was criticized by the Pharisees and scribes for receiving sinners(Luke 15:2). Religious people who murmur against Christ and His gospel of salvation for sinners are like the elder brother who claimed he had never transgressed his father’s law. The elder brother in Luke 15:11-32 represents those who have never been brought to see that they are indeed lost rebels. The ‘prodigal’ son represents those who have “come to themselves” and felt with great pain in their souls that they have indeed sinned against the Father and Heaven and are not worthy to be called a son. The parable of the Lost Son ought to awaken our conscience that we have indeed left the Father’s House in sinful and willful rebellion against Him.

When a sinner repents it is because the Lord Jesus Christ like a Great Shepherd has gone and found that sinner. When a sinner repents it is like lost coin being found as Christ in His Sovereign Power searches diligently until He finds that sinner, gives him life, grants him repentance and draws that sinner to Himself. But a repenting sinner is also like a returning prodigal. He comes to himself and acknowledges his great sin against God. The lost sheep and the lost coin teach us the Sovereignty of God in salvation, that is that no sinner can or will repent until the Lord grants repentance. The returning prodigal teaches us that when God grants repentance, sinners really do repent.

Now my dear readers, I ask you, are you , are you like the prodigal son or like the elder son? Do you vainly imagine you have never transgressed the Law of God? Or, do you like the Prodigal son confess that you have sinned against heaven and against God and are not worthy to be called a son of God?

Now remember this. Christ only saves those who are utterly lost. If you think like the elder son, you are not lost and you are not one that Christ will save. But if you by God’s sovereign grace have come to yourself and seen that you are a lost rebel, there is hope for you. Now to you who are lost (oh1 I hope someone out there is lost!), I point you to Christ Who receives sinners. He has promised that He will cast out none who come to Him. Come to Him now awakened sinner! Come to Him like a returning prodigal. Come with your filthy rags and he will give you the best robe, the robe of His Own righteousness. Come to Him and confess that you wasted all He gave you. Come as a lost sinner to Christ. “Come Ye sinners poor and wretched, weak and wounded sick and sore. Jesus ready stands to save you , full of pity, joined with power. He is able; He is willing; doubt no more.”

The Lost Coin

(Article originally published the week of 10-1-2008 AD)

“Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it.”( Luke 15:8).

In Luke chapter 15 the Lord Jesus Christ gives us a parable to illustrate the truth of repentance. It is the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. Each of these illustrate something very significant about repentance. Today we turn our attention to the lost coin.

Our Lord says that a lost sinner is something like a lost coin. A woman had ten coins and lost one and she sought diligently till she found it. Lost sinners are like a coin, lifeless and cold. Our Lord is illustrating for us the doctrine of total depravity by the lost coin. The Bible says that by nature we are all dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The dead can do absolutely nothing. The only way a lifeless coin will ever be found is if someone searches diligently until it is found. Like the woman in the parable, the Lord Jesus Christ searches diligently until He finds His people that are lost. Our Lord is illustrating the truth that repentance begins with God taking the initiative in our salvation. When a sinner repents it is because God has granted repentance to that sinner (Acts 11:18). Sinners can no more come to God by their own power than a lost coin can return to a woman’s purse by its own power.

As the woman sought diligently till she found her coin, so the Lord seeks diligently until He finds His own. Repentance flows from the diligent work of the Saviour. Christ left heaven to come to this low ground of sin and sorrow on a mission to save His own and bring them to repentance. Like the woman in our parable, the Saviour never gives up until He finds the object of his search. The diligence of Christ is shown by His sufferings on the cross to make an atonement for all His elect family. Christ sends His ministers to call men to repentance by the preaching of the word. And he sends His Spirit from above into the hearts of those for whom He died granting them repentance and drawing them unto Himself.

Now here is the joy of heaven. The three part parable of Luke 15 illustrates for us the rejoicing in heaven at the repentance of a sinner. Heaven rejoices when a sinner repents because of the great success of Christ in finding lost sinners. The Father , Son and Holy Spirit rejoice as the purpose of God in salvation is worked out in the calling out of all those the Father chose, for whom the Son died, and whom the Holy Spirit calls. Angels in heaven rejoice and worship God because salvation is all of Him. Saints in heaven and on earth as the work of salvation is accomplished in the granting of repentance to all those the Saviour seeks. There is joy in heaven when a sinner is saved because all the glory of salvation belongs to God. “Salvation is of the Lord”!

The Lost and Found

(Article originally published the week of 9-24-08)

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it.” (Luke 15:4). Our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 15 illustrated evangelical repentance by use of a parable. It is a three part parable. A man had a sheep that was lost. A woman had a coin that was lost. A father had a son that was lost. In each instance, something or somebody was lost; the lost was found; and there was rejoicing when the lost was found.

Friend have you ever been lost? I ask you not if you have ever been saved, but I ask you if you have ever been lost. Mark it down , if you have never been lost, you certainly have never been saved. Herein lies the great error in modern day “evangelism” and “soul-winning”. A great effort is being made to get folk “saved”. But the challenge of our generation is to get folks lost. Multitudes think they are saved who have never had their heart broken in deep repentance. It is no trick at all to get folks to “accept Jesus”, but only the Holy Spirit can convince a poor sinner that he is utterly lost. The vast majority of religious folks in our day are exactly like the Pharisees and scribes in the beginning of Luke 15 who felt they were just persons who needed no repentance. That is the point of our Lord’s parable of the lost being found and the rejoicing when sinners repent.

Now , I am praying some of you will get the point this week and see that you are living with a false hope of salvation if you have never been lost. Most of you “church members “ have a profession of some kind and some notions in your head, but you have never had a broken heart on account of your sinful and shameful record in the sight of a thrice Holy God . Somebody , perhaps a preacher asked you if you wanted to “accept Jesus” and get out of going to hell and he told you it was quite an easy thing, and you did and you haven’t doubted your salvation since. My friend, if something like that is what you think is salvation, you are unconverted, unsaved and still on your way to hell. Some of you were brought up that you ought to be a good person and join the church. And so you thought about it some and you decided that would be a very respectable thing to be a “church member”. Why, there are some of you who are very proud of the fact that you are the fourth or fifth generation in your clan to belong to your particular church. You have your spot picked out in the church yard where you will be buried among your ancestors and you think you have it made for eternity because you joined the church and when you die you will go to heaven because you were a nice “church member.” The sad fact is that sort of thing has you comfortable on the way to hell. You joined the church, but you have never been savingly joined to Christ .

In our passage in Luke 15 (if you value your never dying soul, go read it) our Lord tells us that repentance is like a lost sheep being found. Can you identify with that? Have you ever been like a lost sheep? Have you ever realized you were so far from God that only a Sovereign Savior could save you? Have you ever wandered up and down with no sense of direction, crying and weeping that you were utterly lost? Have you ever been in such distress of soul that you felt ready to perish unless a Mighty Shepherd came and found you? Have you ever realized that you were so lost, there was no way you could ever get to Christ unless He came and saved you? Have you ever been in complete despair concerning your soul? These are the characters that Jesus goes after until He finds them. Have you been saved by Jesus like a lost sheep being found?

Oh! What joy flooded my poor soul when I was able by faith to look up into the precious face of Jesus like a lost sheep that had been found! Lost sinners are like lost sheep. They are helpless to get to the Shepherd unless He would come and find them. Oh! How wonderful the words of our text- “until He find it”! The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven to save sinners who are like lost sheep. He is determined to seek until He finds all His lost sheep. May the Lord deal with someone this week to show you you are lost. And may you be found by the seeking Savior.

Repentance, the Cause of Joy in Heaven

(Article originally published the week of 9-17-2008 AD)

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). In recent articles, I have been labouring to set before you the Biblical doctrine of repentance. Repentance is one of the main and indispensable evidences of regeneration. All men are commanded to repent, yet God must grant repentance. Jesus began His earthly ministry calling on sinners to repent. No one is saved apart from repentance, yet repentance itself does not save. Only the atoning work of Christ can put away sin. A sinner could cry the Gulf of Mexico full of tears, and it would not be enough to wash away his sins. But the precious blood of Christ will wash away the foulest and blackest of sins.

Now here is a wonderful truth about repentance- there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents. In the fifteenth chapter of Luke, our Lord Jesus Christ gives us a parable to illustrate His doctrine of repentance. Actually , it is a three part parable. The first part of the parable is the part of the man who had a hundred sheep and one was lost. Then the second part is the woman who had ten pieces of silver and lost one. And then the third part of the parable is that we call the Parable of the Lost Son. Each of these parables is teaching us something significant about repentance.

First of all let us note the occasion for which Jesus spoke this parable (or parables). At the beginning of Luke 15 we read that the publicans and sinners drew near to Jesus to hear Him. Because of this, the Pharisees and Scribes murmured against Jesus. They were astounded that Jesus received sinners and ate with them. My poor sinner friend, are you not indeed glad that Jesus receives sinners? Why, here is the good news of the gospel- Jesus receives sinners! But the religious people could not rejoice in that because they did not perceive they were sinners. So Jesus began to speak the parable of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son. He illustrated His grace that brings salvation as like a man who had a hundred sheep and one was lost. The man left the ninety and nine “in the wilderness” (Note, “in the wilderness” , not in the fold), and went to find the lost sheep. And when he had found it , he called his friends to rejoice with him, for he found his lost sheep. And so he says there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, than over ninety and nine persons who “need no repentance.”

Now here is the first point we need to see from the parable. There are no “ninety and nine persons who need no repentance.” The Pharisees and scribes certainly thought they were in the category of folks who need no repentance, but they were dead wrong. And so Jesus always leaves such folks right where they are- “in the wilderness” , in their own self righteousness to go on to hell with their smug self satisfaction. But, praise be to His sovereign grace, He goes and finds those who are His lost sheep, those who are sinners and know it. The ninety and nine sheep in the parable illustrate for us all those who feel good about themselves and have no need of a Saviour because they are (as they suppose, though eternally wrongly), “just persons which have need of no repentnace. ”The one lost sheep illustrates for us those to whom Christ grants repentance and goes and finds them and saves them.

Now my dear readers, how do you see yourself? Are you a lost sheep who needs a sovereign Saviour to come and find you, or are you a “just person who needs no repentance” ? May the Holy Spirit give you the answer.

Jesus Preached Repentance

(Article originally published the week of 9-3-2008 AD )

“From that time Jesus began to preach , and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “ (Matthew 4:17). The Lord Jesus Christ, the King of preachers, began His earthly ministry calling on men to repent. There is something most significant about this, and calls for our serious consideration.

The first thing I would note is the reason stated in His call for us to repent. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The “kingdom of heaven” is a spiritual kingdom. It is contrasted with the “power of darkness” ( Colossians 1:13). Everyone is in one of two kingdoms, the kingdom of Christ, or the kingdom of darkness. To be in the kingdom of darkness is to be unconverted, unsaved, unregenerate, without Christ, and on your way to hell. Most of you are in this kingdom. Then there is the kingdom of Christ. To be in the kingdom of Christ means to be converted, saved, regenerated , in union with Christ, and on your way to heaven. The call to repentance is a call to renounce the kingdom of darkness , and embrace the kingdom of Christ. The person who is saved, comes under the rule of Christ which he loves. The call to repent is a call to admit that you have been in rebellion against Christ your lawful King, cease from that rebellion and surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ will not accept anything less than a total surrender to Him. You cannot have Christ and salvation through Him and remain wedded to your sins. Mark it down neighbors and friends and kindred, if Christ is not your Lord, He is not your saviour. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. The King demands that you surrender your will absolutely to His. Christ demands that you quit doing things your way and start doing things His way. If you are determined to live like you want to , then you will end up in hell. But if you love King Jesus and want to live His way, then you will be delivered from the power of darkness, be translated into the kingdom of Christ, and live with Him eternally in heaven.

The second thing I would note is that since the Lord Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry calling on us sinners to repent, it shows He is willing and able to save all those who will indeed repent of all their sins and believe in Him Alone for salvation. It would be absurd to suppose that Christ would call on you to repent, and then reject you when you do repent. Jesus said in John 6:37, “him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” Coming to Christ is believing in Christ (see John 6:35). Those who come to Christ are repenting ones. The Lord Jesus Christ gladly receives all those who will repent and believe in Him. But mark it down sinner friend, if you refuse to repent, you must perish in the sins you love so much and be rejected by Christ for eternity.

But then the next thing I gather from our Lord’s call for repentance is an example for all those who preach the gospel. The man who does not continually call on people to repent is not one of Christ’s ministers. A gospel that does not include the demand for repentance is not the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The message of easy believeism that does not demand that you turn from your idols and worship the Christ that you believe in, is not the true gospel. If you value your never-dying soul, shun the “preacher” that does not call on you to repent, even as Jesus called on people to repent.

I conclude today as my Lord preached and call on you my dear readers to repent. There is no salvation for you except you repent. I press the claims of my Lord upon you again. His kingdom is at hand. It is of eternal urgency that you get out of the kingdom of darkness and get into the kingdom of God’s Dear Son. You cannot get out of the kingdom of darkness without repentance. And you cannot get out of the kingdom of darkness without being translated out by Someone more powerful than yourself. May the Sovereign Lord grant someone repentance and transfer you into His Kingdom.

The Granting of Repentance

(Article originally published the week of 8-27-2008 AD )

“…Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). Dear friends, did you know that you are helpless to repent evangelically unless the Lord grants you repentance. You cannot repent of your own “free will”, any more than you can savingly believe on Christ. Repentance unto life is a work of God’s sovereign grace as much as any other part of salvation. As further proof look at II Timothy 2:25: “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God will peradventure give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” You see, God must give repentance to sinners, or they cannot truly repent, evangelically.

Oh! What a strait poor sinners are in! You are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30), and you will perish unless you repent (Luke 13:3), but you cannot repent unless God shows mercy to you and grants you repentance that you might not perish. Poor sinner you are helpless. There is only one thing for you to do and that is cry out to God Who Alone has the power to grant you repentance and give you faith (Ephesians 2:8).

Poor sinners cannot repent without a work of grace first of all because they are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). Until the Holy Spirit regenerates a poor sinner, that sinner is dead spiritually. Those who are spiritually dead can do nothing of a spiritual nature. What you need my poor unconverted friend is for the Holy Spirit to regenerate you and make you alive spiritually. If that ever happens to you, you will begin to mourn before God on account of your sins. Repentance is a result of regeneration.

And sinners cannot repent of their own free will because they do not have a heart for repentance. The natural heart is hard as the millstone. When God has mercy on a poor sinner, He gives them a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). But a hard-hearted, unregenerate, unconverted sinner will never repent with Godly sorrow for his sins. He may have the sorrow of the world and a legal repentance, but is absolutely at the mercy of the Sovereign God to give him a new heart that he might repent and turn to Christ for salvation from his sins. Friend, has the Sovereign Lord given you a new heart? If he has, then you know something of repentance that only God can grant.

The fact of the matter is that God is absolutely sovereign in the salvation of sinners (Romans 9:15), as he is in all things (Ephesians 1:11). God will do with you as seems Him best (Matthew 11:25-26). If he leaves you in your sins , and in love with your sins and lets you go on to hell, He is just and holy in doing so. After all , unconverted one, you love your sins and despise holiness. You don’t want to be holy do you? No, you love the world and you have no intention to forsake your worldly ways. So if God lets you go on as you are going, He is simply leaving you to your own “free will” as you loudly insist you want. But if he shows mercy to someone else and grants them repentance, He will be doing you no injustice as He leaves you right where you want to be.

Now I have a word to you who have been granted repentance. As you mourn your wretched condition, rejoice at the same time, for it was all of God’s grace “you were brought to obey, while others were suffered to go, the road which by nature we choose as our way, which leads to the regions of woe”! And as you repent before God for your sins, look to His Son Who is the only One that can do poor sinners good. He can comfort all that mourn for their sins, and He does. Christ Alone! Christ Alone!