A pathetic sight….

Here’s a great combination of biblical insights from Arthur Pink, (“The Rest of Christ”)….

Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden–and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I will give you rest.” What a claim to make! To impart rest of soul to another, lies beyond the power of the most exalted creature. Neither Confucius, Buddha, nor Mohammed ever made such a claim as this!

As Christ is the only One who can bestow rest of soul–so there is no true rest to be found apart from Him. The creature cannot impart it. The world cannot communicate it. We ourselves cannot, by any efforts of our own, manufacture it. One of the most pathetic sights in this world, is to behold the unregenerate, vainly seeking happiness and contentment in the things of time and sense–and finding that these are all broken cisterns which can hold no water. They are like the poor woman mentioned in Mark 5:26, who “had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better–she grew worse!”

What is the nature of this “rest” which Christ gives to all who truly come to Him? It is a spiritual rest, a satisfying rest, “rest for the soul” as the Savior declares later in this passage. It is such a rest as this world can neither give–nor take away.

garbage1It is a rest from that vain and wearisome quest, which engages and absorbs the sinner, before the Spirit of God opens his eyes to see his folly–and moves him to seek after the true riches. It is indeed pitiful–to behold those who are made for eternity–wasting their time and energies wandering from object to object, searching for that which cannot satisfy them–only to be vexed by repeated and incessant disappointments. And thus it is with all–until they come to Christ, for He has written over all the pursuits and pleasures of this world, “Whoever drinks of this water–shall thirst again!” (John 4:13)

Forcibly was that fact exemplified by the case of Solomon, who was provided with everything which the carnal heart could desire, and who gratified his lusts to the full, only to find that, “Behold, all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind!” (Eccl. 1:14). It is from this vexation of spirit, that Christ delivers His people, for He declares “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him–shall never thirst!” (John 4:14)

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Don’t mumble, mask or mangle the good news

Dever book

In his smart new book, THE GOSPEL AND PERSONAL EVANGELISM, Mark Dever makes the following point — in the very manner he is commending!

Clarity with the claims of Christ certainly will include the translation of the gospel into words that our hearer understands but it doesn’t necessarily mean translating it into words that our hearer will like. Too often, advocates of relevant evangelism verge over into being advocates of irrelevant non-evangelism. A gospel that in no way offends the sinner has not been understood.

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What’s the Good News?

Mark Dever’s answer…

“Here’s what I understand the good news to be: the good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law in himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust him. He rose agin from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us has been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.”

— page 43, The Gospel & Personal Evangelism, Crossway, 2007

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T4G Wednesday AM

This is a great conference — with in depth teaching, sweet songs of praise and hymns of worship (before and after each session) and good times of spiritual fellowship throughout the day. Unfortunately, my friend and roommate Ron is sick with a bad cough/cold, and has missed a session or two. Please pray for his health to improve.

There were four speaker sessions today, and three panel discussions. I can’t post more than a few thoughts from each session, but have been deeply affected and instructed by these godly men who have been preaching to us.

Session #3 — John MacARTHUR
The first of the speakers today was John MacArthur, who received a standing ovation as he walked to the pulpit. His assignment was: The Sinner Neither Able nor Willing: The Doctrine of Absolute Inability (or total depravity). Moving through two dozen NT passages, he built a strong biblical case for this often neglected doctrine. He said a denial of this doctrine is at the heart of liberalism, and, that an “incipient Arminianism” had overrun evangelicals. Somehow too many preachers today believe that better methods on Sunday (everything from lighting, power-points, to informality of talk) makes sinners more likely to respond to the gospel. This is not the case, for man’s problem is (in my own words) not spiritual disinterest, but spiritual death. Man is unable and unwilling to turn to God, until the grace of God comes upon him. Depravity is a hard doctrine, but (as MacArthur said) ‘hard preaching makes soft people.’

Session #4 — Mark DEVER
The second speaker of the morning was Mark Dever, with a powerful expose of varous wrongs done to the gospel in our own day, by professing Christians. His address was titled: Improving the Gospel? Exercise in Unbiblical Theology. Dever summarized five ‘cries’ presently raised about how we ought to “improve” the gospel.

(1) Some wrongly cry, “Make the gospel public”
(2) Some wrongly cry, “Make the gospel larger”
(3) Some wrongly cry, “Make the gospel relevant”
(4) Some wrongly cry, “Make the gospel personal”
(5) Some wrongly cry, “Make the gospel kinder”

Each of these refers to a grouping of efforts to add to, amend or even change the very content of the gospel message in a given direction. The first cry refers to efforts to replace the message of the cross and the call to conversion with social action and efforts to influence the culture. Granted that individual believers ought to be active in mercy ministries and in molding our public policies — but these things are not of the essence of the gospel message. The second cry refers to those who blur the implications of the gospel with the content of the gospel (or, the ‘fruit’ with the ‘root’). Charles Colson was named in this group, for confusing “doing the gospel” with the message we must believe to be saved. The last few points were also powerful in their analysis of our modern culture and their wrong-headed attempts to change our precious gospel.

T4G Tuesday evening

Tuesday, Session #2 — Thabiti ANYABWILE (from Grand Cayman Islands)

This brother is a dynamic speaker, with such a fresh perspective on many things. I had heard him speak last year at the Desiring God Pastor’s Conference (from Ezekiel 8-9) which inspired me to preach a sermon on “Holiness–Lite” at CPCC.

This evening Thabiti spoke on this premise: There is no such thing as ‘race’ the Bible. There is only the one human race, with various ethnicities evident around the world. Key to this is understanding race as a BIOLOGICAL explanation for the differences noticed among groups of human beings. He spoke from several different Scriptures to explain how the concept of race is not only foreign to the Bible, but causes difficulties with various doctrines — including the gospel! If this strikes you as novel, I suggest you look online for the mp3 of the talk, or watch for its publication. My notes are pretty good too, and I’d be happy to review them in the near future.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS
I should also mention that for nearly every public address at the conference, there is a panel discussion afterwards with the 4 primary hosts (Dever, Mahaney, Mohler and Duncan) and the speaker from the recent session. They ‘chat’ publically and toss questions to each other, while 5,000 of us listen in. There are some great laughs and some sobering conclusions. These panel discussions are most interesting.

— Pastor David Bissett

Gospel Growth Conference

Register for the Gospel Growth vs. Church Growth conference!

I plan to attend (DV). Consider coming — or at least praying for the conference.
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