Archive for the ‘Sobering Thoughts’ Category

Sobering Thoughts 8

October 7, 2016

Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…A second proof of it is that of the parable of the virgins in St. Matthew. See what a progress they make, how far they go in a profession of Christ.
1. They are called “virgins.” Now this is a name given in the Scripture, both in the Old Testament and the New, to the saints of Christ. “The virgins love Thee”; so in the Revelation, the “one hundred forty and four thousand” that stood with the Lamb on Mount Zion are called “virgins.” They are called virgins because they are not defiled with the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Now, these here seem to be of that sort, for they are called virgins.
2. They take their lamps, that is, they make a profession of Christ.
3. They had some kind of oil in their lamps; they had some convictions and some faith, though not the faith of God’s elect, to keep their profession alive, to keep the lamp burning.
4. They went. Their profession as not an idle profession. They performed duties, frequented ordinances, and did many things commanded. They made a progress—they went.
5. They went forth. They went and went out; they left many behind them. This speaks of their separation from the world.
6. They went with the “wise virgins.” They joined themselves to those who had joined themselves to the Lord, and where companions of them who were companions of Christ.
7. They went “forth to meet the bridegroom.” This speaks of their owning and seeking Christ.
8. When they heard the cry of the bridegroom coming, “they arose and trimmed their lamps.” They professed Christ more highly, hoping now to do in with the bridegroom.
9. They sought for true grace. Now, do not we say that the desires of grace are grace? And so they are, if true and timely, if sound and seasonable. Why, here is a desire of grace in these virgins, “Give us of your oil.”

It was a desire of true grace, but it was not a true desire of grace. It was not true because not timely; unsound, as being unseasonable; it was too late. Their folly was in not taking oil when they took their lamps. Their time of seeking grace was when they came to Christ. It was too late to seek it when Christ came to them. They should have sought for that when they took up their profession. It was too late to seek it at the coming of the Bridegroom. And, therefore, they were shut out; and though they cried for entrance, “Lord, Lord, open to us,” yet the Lord Christ told them, “I know you not.

You who are professors of the gospel of Christ, stand and tremble. If they who have gone beyond us fall short of heaven, what shall become of us who fall short of them? If they who are virgins, who profess Christ, who have some faith in their profession, such as it is, who have some fruit in their faith, who outstrip others who seek Christ, who improve their profession and suit themselves to their profession—nay, who seek grace; if such as these are but almost Christians, Lord, what are we?  (Matthew Meade, The Almost Christian Discovered, International Outreach)

While some may quarrel with some of the ways that the author interpreted the Parable just above, the points he makes can still be made from other Scriptures. These are indeed very sobering words. What we see is that there are many who are professors of Christ and think that they are okay, but the reality is that they are not. They were satisfied with their preparations and they were satisfied with their convictions and they were satisfied with their religion and their religious actions. These people knew enough of religion to know that they needed grace, so they sought grace in some way. But they did not realize that they needed grace alone and that they needed grace to change their hearts and make them new creatures in Christ.

It certainly appeared to them and to others that they were seeking Christ (the Bridegroom), but they were not seeking Him with a whole heart and they were not seeking Him in truth and love. They were seeking Him in accordance with their own desires and in accordance with their own ability and works. While they thought they were seeking grace and even true grace, they were not seeking it at the appointed time. Religious professors in the modern day should take this to heart as well. Are we satisfied with the things of religion rather than Christ Himself? Are we satisfied with seeking Christ to some degree and yet not seeking Him with all of our being? Are we satisfied with seeking a form of grace and yet seeking it as we please? When Christ speaks the words “I know you not,” it will be over. Let us take this to heart and seek the Lord.

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Sobering Thoughts 6

September 29, 2016

Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…The young man in the gospel is an eminent proof of this truth. There you read of one who came to Christ to learn of Him the way to heaven. “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Our Lord Christ tells him, “If thou will enter into life, keep the commandments”; and, when Christ tells him which, he answers, “Lord, all these I have kept from my youth up, what lack I yet?”

Now, see how far this man went.
1. He obeyed, he not only heard the commands of God, but he kept them; now, the Scripture says, “Blessed is he that hears the Word of God and keeps it.”
2. He obeyed universally; not this or that command, but both this and that. He did not halve it with God, or pick and choose which were easiest to be done and leave the rest. No, but he obeys all. “All these things have I kept.”
3. He obeyed constantly; not in a fit of zeal only, but in a continual series of duty. His goodness was not like Ephraim’s, “like the morning dew, that passes away.” No, “All these things have I kept from my youth up.”
4. He professed his desire to know and do more, to perfect that which was lacking of his obedience;, and, therefore he goes to Christ to instruct him in his duty. “Master, what lack I yet?” Now, would you not think that this was a good man? Alas, how few go thus far! And yet, as far as he went, he went not far enough. He was almost and yet but almost a Christian, for he was an unsound hypocrite. He forsook Christ at last and cleaved to his lust. This, then, is a full proof of the doctrine [There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians].                                                   (Matthew Meade, The Almost Christian Discovered, International Outreach)

The young man (Rich young ruler) could stand for many in our day. He was trained to keep the moral law. He was trained to be polite. Apparently he was fervent in some way and was very religious. He was concerned about eternal things. We can imagine that a man like that in our day would attend church every time the doors were open and would be busy and active in the activities of the local church. We can imagine a man like that as being on councils of the church and even an elder. We can imagine a man like that being the pastor. We can imagine a man like that being a denominational leader. However, his man was at best almost a Christian.

Scripture takes this man who was so given to external obedience and holds him up as a man who was so close in one sense and yet so far away in another. In appearance this man was all that glittered, but in his heart he was a selfish man who held on to his riches. In his heart he was a man who preferred the externals of religion to the heart issues that Christ spoke of. He was willing to go a long way in external obedience, but he was not willing to go far down the road in terms of his heart. It appears that he was unwilling to seek humility and lowliness in the presence of God. He wanted to rule his own life rather than bow to Christ. He wanted to trust in his riches (a form of self-sufficiency) rather than look to Christ alone. He preferred his works to the free-grace of God.

Sobering Thoughts 5

September 20, 2016

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

It is imperative to understand that the words in these texts of Scripture are pointed to religious people who are doing religious things and think that they are on the road to life or enter the kingdom. Not everyone who calls Christ Lord will enter the kingdom. Not everyone who believes in the deity of Christ will enter the kingdom. Not everyone who has sound theology will enter the kingdom of heaven. Not everyone who prophesies or preaches in the name of Christ will enter the kingdom. Not everyone who casts out demons in His name will enter the kingdom. Not everyone who performs many miracles in His name will enter the kingdom of heaven.

Again, this should sober our hearts. If we take the passage from Luke and the earlier passage in Matthew and look at the numbers in them, we could say rather safely that it may be few of those who call Jesus Lord who will enter the kingdom. It may be that only few of those who preach and or prophesy in His name will enter the kingdom. It may be that only few of those who cast out demons will enter the kingdom. It may be that only few of those who performed many miracles will enter the kingdom. Oh how these people will cry and look to their miracles and their works that they thought were demonstrative actions that showed that they were saved. These people cry out to Christ and ask Him to look at the religious things that they have done, but He tells them that He never knew them and to depart from Him. “DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”

On judgment day those words will sink the hearts of those who receive them into utter and total despair and they will never be in anything else but total despair. Only those who do the will of the Father will enter into the kingdom. Only those whose life can be described as not in the practice of lawlessness will enter in. These are not academic points, these are points of eternal value and importance. Jesus told us that if we love Him we will obey His commandments. In other words, those who will enter life will not be religious in their own way and follow themselves in the things of religion, but they will love God and follow Him.

This is again quite vital. We must be sobered up by this hard teaching, yet we must never think that we can earn our way into heaven. The only way into heaven is by the free-grace of God. The only way is by Christ and Christ alone. In other words, all the religious people in the world can never obtain life in all the religious things they do. Instead of obtaining life by them, they are living in lawlessness because they are living in clear disobedience to God. Instead of picking and choosing the things we want to do, we must bow before God and ask for His grace to do all He commands. However, instead of doing them in the flesh and religious zeal, we must have true love for God in order to do anything that is acceptable to Him. However, let us never forget that the love we have for God is given to us by His free-grace. It is only when we live in love for Him and guided by His will and receive all from Him by grace that we truly keep the law. All else will end is building a house on sand and the coming storm of judgment will destroy it with a great fall.

Sobering Thoughts 1

September 16, 2016

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

“You have here one of the saddest considerations imaginable presented to you, and that is how far it is possible a man may go in a profession of religion and yet, after all, fall short of salvation; how far he may run and yet not so run as to obtain. This, I say, is sad, but not so sad as true; for our Lord Christ plainly attests it: “Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

“…who have a name to live and yet are dead, being busy with the form of godliness but are strangers to the power of it. These are the proper subjects of this treatise, and may the Lord follow it with His blessing wherever it comes, that it may be an awakening word to all and, especially, to that generation of profligate professors with which this age abounds, who, if they keep to their church, bow the knee, talk over a few prayers and, at a good time, receive the sacrament think they do enough for heaven and, hereupon, judge their condition safe and their salvation sure, though there is a hell of sin in their hearts and the poison of asps under their lips.

“If eternal life is so easy attainment, and to be had at so cheap a rate, why did our Lord Christ tell us, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be what find it?” And why should the apostle perplex us with such a needless injunction to give diligence to make our calling and election sure?

“Take heed of resting in a form of godliness, as if duties ex opere operato could confer grace. A lifeless formality is advanced to a very high esteem in the world, as a “cab of dove’s dung” was sold in the famine of Samaria at a very dear rate. Alas! The profession of godliness is a very sandy foundation to build the hope of an immortal soul upon for eternity. Remember, the Lord Jesus called him a foolish builder who founded his house upon the sand.”

Matthew Meade, The Almost Christian Discovered (International Outreach)