Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Missionary Quotations: The Prince of Preachers

“The way of God’s precepts! Does not that mean that we ought to be acquainted with the relative position which the precepts occupy, for it is very easy brethren, unless God gives us understanding, to preach up one precept to the neglect of another.  It is possible for a ministry and a teaching to be lopsided, and those who follow it may become rather the caricatures of Christianity than Christians harmoniously proportioned.

O Lord, what foolish creatures we are! When you do exhort us one way, we run to such an extreme therein that we forget that you have given us any other counsel than that which is just now ringing in our ears….

Is fidelity to the truth your cardinal virtue? Take heed of being unloving.

Is love to God and man your highest aspiration? Beware lest you become the dupe of false apostles and foul hypocrites…

Oh how easy it is to exaggerate a virtue until it becomes a vice.

There is a way about the precepts: there is a chime about them in which every bell gives out its note and makes up a tune.  There is a mixture, so much of this and that and the other; and, if any ingredient were left out, the oil would have lost its perfect aroma.

So is there an anointing of the holy life in which there is precept upon precept skillfully mingled, delicately infused, gratefully blended, and grace given to keep each of these precepts, and so the life becomes sweet like an ointment most precious unto the Lord…” (emphasis mine)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, aka The Prince of Preachers

From “The Student’s Prayer” sermon, delivered 1877 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Are you unbalanced?

 


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The Old-Time Gospel Vs Seeker-Sensitive Model

You can’t adopt the Church Growth model Hillsongconf instagramand remain faithful to the truth of the gospel.

You can’t be “seeker sensitive” and fear God at the same time.

Seeker Sensitive Movement:

  • no talking about divisive, uncomfortable topics such as hell, sin, judgement, the blood, the cross or repentance;
  • contemporary music;
  • 20 minute sermons on relevant topics such as Self, motivational talks or psychology;
  • facilities, facilities, facilities

Even though one of the founders of the movement, Bill Hybels, has since repented of his part in creating this model, it has infiltrated and influenced the church across the Western world. Many younger people have no other experience of church but this hyper-loud, blacked out, motivational system.

We need to decide: who do we serve? God or mammon? Who do we seek to please ? Christ or man? Who do we follow? Jesus Himself or some dude with a business model.

The man in the street can see it, but sadly Christians can’t. The man in the street (ie Twitter) is asking why Hillsong charges $379 per ticket for their conference. With over 20,000 people in attendance this week millions of dollars has been raised. When there is that much money and power changing hands over a period of a few days it is necessary to question, critique and judge whether this movement is godly or Biblical.

We are told to “judge righteous judgement “ by Christ. Does this movement stand up to the scrutiny of the Word of God? At the Hillsong conference did they preach the gospel? Was sin addressed? Were thousands of people told the truth about heaven and hell?

And how does it compare to revivals of the past? (Did the Welsh revival charge an exorbitant ticket price to gain entrance?)

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:5

I’m over it. I just want Christ. I want the truth of the gospel: the bloody, gory, self-sacrificial truth of someone having to die for sinners on a cross. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.  I just want to see Him glorified. He who is ascended to the right hand of the Father, the One who is coming back and whom will rule the earth. I want to hear about Him, not a church, a system or self.

Friends, the gospel works. The old rugged cross, death to self, Christ and Him crucified: this is what saves people, regenerates people, transforms people. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen prostitutes come to Christ, people saved out of the occult, out of drugs. Not through some self-help motivational psycho-babble but through the truth of the shed blood of a Saviour who came from heaven to earth to save sinners!

It’s time now to make a stand for the truth for which Christ died.  We are at a significant point in the history of humankind, whereby we need to decide whom we really serve: man or God?

I don’t know about you but this is what I want to hear one day when I stand before the judgment seat of Christ,

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25:21

 

 

 

 

 


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Finding the Balance of Grace and Truth in an Increasingly Dark World

scalesJesus said that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. As society continues on its rapid descent into darkness the church is called to be salt in the earth, a preserver from evil. But we also are to be a light in the darkness – a place to where people are drawn away from evil and unto good. The thing is, because this world, its value systems and philosophies, is so quickly changing into a post-Christian mind-set, Christians are often seen as the enemy rather than the light. We are the enemies of progress, enemies of other religions, enemies of certain groups of people, such as homosexuals.

Is this right? Should this be the case?

Today Christians have to contend with issues that were never mainstream issues years or decades ago in a society based on Christian values. Today we are post-modern and post-objective truth.   Thus what was unacceptable years ago – adultery, fornication, porn, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, occult practices – is now acceptable.  It even may be argued that we have gone beyond mere acceptance and that these practices are now actively promoted.

In response to the post-Christian world around us one tends to find that Christians generally go one of two ways: They either accept society’s evolving standards, deny the truth, and be perceived as loving, (the “light”), in order to try to save some; or they go the other way and become so angry at the changing world and the fact that other Christians have denied the truth that they dismiss grace and preach the truth but with no love (the “salt”).

The thing is, we need to be both light and salt. We need to find the balance of grace and truth.

Okay, so this is what I can make of it: We absolutely, resolutely need to remain faithful to the truth of God’s Word. To change His Word, to faithfuldismiss parts of it, to pick and choose the easy bits is just not an option. What this world needs more than ever is clear, decisive, objective truth. As this world is decaying we need to be the salt that slows the corruption. We need to either take all of His Word or none of it. We can’t have it both ways. We need to be resolved because we will be tested on this time and again. Know that if you are going to stand by the truth of God’s Word then at times you will be perceived as sounding harsh, unloving, intolerant. For a Christian to just simply speak the truth now is an act of hate. And here’s the worst bit: Most Christians feel the same. (Generally speaking) Christians now, rather than denouncing the sinful acts, denounce the preacher who is denouncing the sinful acts.

But…..and this is a big BUT…. It all comes down to the state of our heart. As Christians we need to understand this. There is no point preaching the truth, or trying to live by the truth of God’s Word if our heart is not right.

I have seen preachers, street-preachers, Christians who seem to hate the people they are trying to save. They are so angry at them. They yell, they point their fingers at them. “It’s God righteous anger” they say. Well, maybe it is, but let me ask you this: are you so full of the Holy Spirit that you are absolutely, positively sure it is God’s anger and not your own that you’re venting?

Are we angry at our son, our daughter, our sister, our friend because of their sin? Because they haven’t done what we want them to do?  Are we angry at the world for changing around us?

As we stand for the truth are we full of spiritual pride because we are right and they are wrong?

Have we let a religious or a legalistic spirit take hold of us?

Listen my friends, this is really important as we stand for the truth of God’s Word. Because sinners know. They know I tell you. They know if you hate them. They know if you are angry. THEY know if your heart is not right.

They know the anointing of the Holy Spirit too. They don’t know what to call it but they see it and feel it.

They feel the difference between someone who is telling them the truth because the love of God constrains them to and someone who is telling them the truth because they have a religious spirit.

God sent me two homosexuals the very first night I street-preached. These two young men mocked me at first, they kissed in front of me (shock horror!), they laughed at me. But God loved those boys. His love shone through me to them and they stayed with me for one and a half hours. I told them the truth. I told them what they are doing is an abomination to God. Yes I used those words, but not in anger or contempt, and God’s love held them fast. I shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. At the end we all hugged, cried and I prayed for them. One fell to the ground crying, the other clutched his chest and begged me to stop praying. Six years later I am still in touch with the one who fell to the ground. He calls me his favourite Christian. He calls on me for help when he needs it and when he does I still speak the truth to him in love. I am believing that he will be saved one day.

The thing with grace and truth is that people in the world need the truth, oh how they are starving for it! And they need the grace of God to menorah-300x183temper it. It is speaking the truth in love that makes the difference. It is the truth that sets people free. Not one person will be truly saved by a  gospel that’s been sanctioned by this world. But not one person will be saved by speaking the truth in hate.

Let’s get our hearts right before our King and be full of His Spirit. Then His light shining through us will attract others to us so that we can speak the truth to them in love.

God bless!


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God’s Prescription for Persecution

1160_doctors_prescriptionWhen Jesus sent out His disciples two by two He knew he was sending them out as sheep amongst wolves. He knew that they would be met with persecution and rejection along the way.   He knew the hearts of the people had by and large grown callous in their religiosity.

Yet He still sent them out.

Jesus gave them one prescription to be able to withstand the ongoing rejection and persecution He knew they were to encounter :

“…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

He taught them the fear of God.

This is God’s prescription for persecution.  This is the only way ongoing rejection and persecution can be met with strength and courage and be withstood.

Jesus still sends out His disciples today.  He has given all of us the Great Commission.  He knows that we will be rejected and persecuted for the message we bring to the world, yet He still sends us.  And the prescription that was good for the early disciples is still good for us today too.

You see as God’s mouthpiece in a fallen world, above all else we must fear God.

You cannot simultaneously fear both God and man.2014_03_16-PM-The-Fear-of-God-vs-The-Fear-of-Man-580x200

We all fear either one or the other.

The one you fear will be the one who dictates your life. The one you fear will determine where you stand.

Why did Jesus command us to fear God?  Because He knows that:

“The fear of man brings a snare.” Proverbs 29:25

  • The fear of man contaminates pure truth.
  • The fear of man leads to bondage.
  • The fear of man brings fear of rejection.
  • The fear of man shuts your mouth when you should speak.
  • The fear of man changes the truth of God’s Word into something more palatable.
  • The fear of man brings compromise.

And thus the fear of man cannot please God.

God’s prophets are those who will stand in the midst of rejection. These are ones whom will not stop speaking truth even in the face of resistance, hostility and open aggression. They will not bow to the pressure of man. God’s mouthpieces are those who understand the consequences of speaking on His behalf, and may even be afraid to, yet they will still speak it.

God’s ambassadors are those He sends forth in the fear of Him.fear

You cannot simultaneously please both God and man.

Choose which one you are going to fear, because that is the one you are going to serve.  The one whom you try to please is the master to whom you bow.

If you want to get far in this world, to be accepted, promoted, have lots of Facebook friends, to be asked to speak at conferences, if that’s what ultimately motivates you, then you fear man.

But if you are willing to let it go: the popularity, friends, followers of your blog, even family, if you are willing to follow Christ whatever the cost, to please Him, to obey Him, to be faithful to Him. If what motivates you is to one day hear these words:

“Well done my good and faithful servant…”

then you fear God.  And no matter what persecution comes your way, even unto death, you will have the courage and the strength to withstand.

 

Blessings, Belinda

 

Next post….       

  • How to overcome the fear of man
  • How to get the fear of God


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Where Have all the Warriors Gone?

source: hdw.eweb4.com

source: hdw.eweb4.com

The battle field is empty
The soldiers all gone
Weapons discarded
Unused, forgotten, alone

A tired old banner hangs,
sad and forlorn
And I stand and look and wonder:
Where have all the warriors gone?

The belt of truth, I see
It lays forgotten in the field
Look, at those brave soldiers’ boots
That used to tread out
The gospel of peace

What to make of this?
What on earth has happened?
I look beyond the hill
And I see the enemy-
He still advances

His banners read “Peace
We want no war with you”
Another:
“Go home,
put your feet up
And we will leave you alone”

Alas I now can see it:
The warriors – why they’ve gone,
They’ve believed the propaganda
And they’ve all headed home

Comfort, convenience,
Relevance, Reputation.
These are the only things
For which the “church” will fight
In this last generation.

The sword is at my feet….
Dare I….?
What can one person do?
And (the big one):
What WILL they think?
in my mind, these make a to-do

I don’t care anymore
I’ll do it!
I lift up the sword!
In my hands it is powerful, alive
The eternal Word of God

As I lift it up
Those ancient words
In my heart revive
“for to whomsoever i shall send thee
Thou shalt go
And whatsoever i command thee
Thou shalt speak”

I stand

My son's work, 7yo

My son’s work, 7yo

The fear of man all gone
In its place – the fear of God
It surrounds me
And propels me forward
Where those before me trod.

My daughter's work, 10yo

My daughter’s work, 10yo

Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.” John Wesley


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Street Preaching Tonight

It was different tonight than it’s ever been.flinders st

It began pretty much the same as usual, but at some point I noticed the Hare Krishna’s dancing their noisy way towards us.

Great

With their colourful clothes, tambourines and dancing they make it all but impossible to preach the gospel.  They usually pull up in a wide circle in front of where we are preaching and dance and sing for sometimes 10-15 minutes.

Usually we get pushed to the sidelines amongst all the colourful chaos and the tourists bustling to take photos of them.  Standing on the sidelines politely waiting for them to finish their worship ceremony to their false god is absolutely frustrating.  It feels like Satan has got one over on us.

Something I’ve learnt: if you give Satan an inch – he will take a mile.

We are in a spiritual battle and being on the city streets you cannot forget it.

So tonight as they approached I grabbed the microphone and began preaching. As they came up to us I kept going.  They waved to me, I waved back.  I was polite, but not polite enough to stop. I preached:

“Jesus said ‘I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by Me”.

They kept going.  I kept going: “There is no other name under heaven by which man can be saved, than the Name of Jesus!”  Sometimes I just called out “Jesus! Jesus!” over their noise.

They stayed for maybe two minutes then gave up and left.

But then it happened…

bourbonstreet1As I was preaching, I began weeping.

Yes, weeping.  In front of lots of people. It was weird. I couldn’t stop it. I felt God’s heart breaking for these lost sinners.  I felt Him yearning for them to come home.  It wasn’t me being emotional or sad – it was Him calling to them through me.  I wept as I preached to them His heart.

But then I stopped preaching because I began to think.  That can be a problem whilst preaching.  The anointing lifts off when you start to really think, especially if you wonder what people are thinking of you.  Now I kind of wish I kept going because that’s never happened to me before and I think I probably stopped it before God was done.  Sorry Lord.

Important point: I believe God wants to raise up preachers who are broken for the sins of the people.

You see, there are preachers who preach the cold, hard truth of the gospel.  They want the authority that gives them, but they don’t take any responsibility for the people.

Then there are preachers who in response to the above have taken out most of the truth of the gospel and replaced it with psychology or self-help or something else human.  They want to take responsibility for the people, yet they have no God-given authority to do so.

God is raising up those who will “speak the truth in love”.  We can get rid of neither love nor truth, and that is what so many have done.

God gives authority to those who will take responsibility.  And being willing to take street_preaching in chicago 1930responsibility for others brings authority.

We need to speak the whole truth of the gospel – yes, including sin, the law, hell and judgment.  BUT we need to speak the truth from a heart that has been broken for the people’s sins.  We have no right to be preaching to people about whom we couldn’t care less. That is not God’s heart.  That has never been His way.  Think of Moses, Samuel, Jesus, Paul…  We need to be willing to take responsibility for them by standing in the gap and interceding.

Preaching and intercessory prayer go hand-in-hand

Just as:

Authority and responsibility go hand-in-hand

May our mighty God bless you!

If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one GO there UNWARNED and UNPRAYED for.” Charles Spurgeon