The thief! ~ Alexander SmellieRick BatesWed May 25, 202211:39 PMThen he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise!" Luke 23:42-43
"Twas a thief," Robert Browning writes, "who said the last kind word to Christ."
In the morning the thief was OUT of Christ: far from God and far from righteousness, the helpless captive of sin, the child of despair and death.
At noon the thief was IN Christ: remembered graciously by the Savior of the lost, redeemed with an everlasting redemption, endowed with the new heart, and freely and perfectly justified.
In the evening the thief was WITH Christ: gazing on the glories of paradise, safe at home with his good Shepherd and adorable Redeemer.
What a crowded and memorable day this was in his history! So much was pressed into these few hours. Such a glorious and unprecedented transition they brought, from the cruel cross--to Heaven's glory!
OUT of Christ, then IN Christ, then WITH Christ!
Nature, then grace, then glory!
Hopelessly lost in the far country, then safe under the Savior's wings, then beside the Lord on His glorious throne!
Are these the three stages in my spiritual biography?
I know the first only too well. Am I growing more and more familiar with the second? Is it my joy to look forward to the third?
"I ask not the favor given to Paul," Copernicus said, "I seek not the grace bestowed upon Peter--but I beg the mercy granted to the thief on the cross!"
The Love of God ~ John MacArthurRick BatesSun May 22, 20229:36 PMIn this message preached at a Ligonier Conference 7 years ago, John MacArthur biblically explains God's love and also explains God's predestination of the elect. I hope it blesses you as it did me to the glory of God.
David looked through secondary causes to the first cause, and was silent. The sight of God in an affliction is irresistibly effective to silence the heart, and to stop the mouth of a gracious man. It is the duty of gracious souls to so act under the greatest afflictions and saddest providences.This is a prudent and holy silence. It sees God, and acknowledges Him as the author in all our afflictions: The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away Job 1:21. If Job had not seen God in his affliction, he would have cried out, O these wretched Chaldeans, they have plundered and spoiled me! Job discerned God's commission in their hands and laid his hand upon his mouth. Aaron, beholding the hand of God in the untimely death of his sons, held his peace Lev. 10:3. The sight of God in this sad stroke is a bridle both to his mind and mouth. Joseph saw the hand of God in his brothers selling him into Egypt Gen. 45:8. Men that do not see God in an affliction are easily cast into a feverish fit. They will quickly be in a flame, and when their passions are up, they will begin to be saucy, and make no bones of telling God to his face that they do well to be angry Jon. 4:8-9 Those who see the hand of God in their afflictions, will, with David, lay their hands upon their mouths 2 Sam 16:11-12. If God's hand is not seen, the heart will fret and rage under affliction. Aaron saw God's sovereignty, and it silenced him. Job saw God's majesty, and it stilled him. Eli saw God's authority, and it quieted him 1 Sam. 3:11, 19. When afflictions arrest us, we shall murmur and grumble and struggle until we see that it is God that strikes. We must see him as King of kings, and Lord of lords and stoop under His almighty hand.
YOU CAN’T LEGISLATE MORALITY” You probably have heard the cliché that you can’t legislate morality. Well, that has to be one of the most foolish statements anyone has ever made. If you can’t legislate morality, pray tell me, what should you legislate? Immorality? We have some in our country today who would like to do that, and they have made their attempts. Congress continues to wrestle with this, as do the courts. But historically speaking, you can’t and shouldn’t legislate immorality, and we have not, historically speaking, legislated anything but that which is moral. In every nation law is built upon morality and ethics, and ethics flow out of religion. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pointed out that at the very least, the law could be used to prevent immorality: “While the law cannot change the heart, it can certainly restrain the heartless.” The late great Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer said, “Show me the laws of any nation, and I will tell you its religion.” It’s just that simple. If you want a classic example of this, go to Lebanon. If you commit a crime in Lebanon, which is partially Christian and partially Muslim, they will ask you, “Do you want a Christian trial or a Muslim trial?” because they know there is a vast difference between the two. And there would probably be, depending on the crime, a vast difference in the outcome. All legislation is based upon ethics and morality, and all morality stems from religion. What has happened in this country for the last half century is that the religion of secular humanism has been pushing aside the religion of Christianity upon which this nation was based, from which its ethics arose, and upon which its legislation was framed. So now today we have a dual foundation, and our legislators don’t know whether they are voting for laws based upon humanism or based upon this nation’s Christian foundation. The humanists have done an amazing job in bringing this to pass. They have succeeded in passing into law many of their particular religious tenets and documents, such as abortion, gambling, free divorce, the freedom to have sex with any consenting person (no longer consenting adult), and many such things as that. You see, it is always some morality that is being legislated into law, and you will find that the person who is screaming the loudest, “You can’t legislate morality” is with his other hand busily engaged in promoting the legislation of his own morality into law behind your back. That is what has been happening in America today. The people who have been most active in legislating humanist morality into law have also been the most vocal in screaming that you can’t legislate morality. Do you begin to get some idea that a bit of a con game has been going on in our nation?
Love is not a rule, but a motive.chestnutmareFri May 20, 20225:04 PMLove is not a rule, but a motive. Love does not tell me what to do; it tells me how to do it. Love constrains me to do the will of the beloved one; but to know what the will is, I must go elsewhere. The law of our God is the will of the beloved one, and where that expression of his will withdrawn, love would be utterly in the dark; it would not know what to do. It might say, I love my Master, and I love his service, and I want to do his bidding, but I must know the rules of his house, that I may know how to serve him. Love without law to guide its impulses would be the parent of will-worship and confusion, as surely as terror and self-righteousness, unless upon the supposition of an inward miraculous illumination, as an equivalent for law. Love goes to the law to learn the divine will, and love delights in the law, as the exponent of that will; and he who says that a believing man has nothing more to do with law, save to shun it as an old enemy, might as well say that he has nothing to do with the will of God. For the divine law and the divine will are substantially one, the former the outward manifestation of the latter. And it is "the will of our Father which is in heaven" that we are to do Matt. 7:21; proving by loving obedience what is that "good and acceptable, and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2). Yes, it is he that doeth "the will of God that abideth forever" 1 John 2:17; it is to "the will of God" that we are to live 1 Peter 4:2; "made perfect in every good work to do his will" Heb. 13:21; and "fruitfulness in every good work," springs from being "filled with the knowledge of His will.