Reformation Pratum 2023October 27, 202311 months to go.
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“We are all Christians.”
“Why, we belong to a Christian nation–are we not born Christians?”
“Surely we must be all right–we have always attended our parish church, is not that enough?”
“Our parents were always godly; we were born into the church, were we not? Did they not take us up in their arms when we were little, and make us members of Christ? What more do we lack?”
This is the common talk.
There is no Christian practice, there is no Christian habit–but what has been, or will be before long, imitated by people who have no vital godliness whatever.
A man may appear much like a Christian, and yet possess no vital godliness!
Walk through the British Museum, and you will see all the orders of animals standing in their various places, and exhibiting themselves with the utmost possible propriety. Every creature, whether bird, beast, or fish–remains in the particular glass case allotted to it. But you all know well enough that these are not the living creatures, but only the outward forms of them. Yet in what do they differ? Certainly in nothing which you could readily see, for the well-stuffed animal is precisely like what the living animal would have been. Yet you know well enough that there is a secret inward something lacking, which, when it has once departed, you cannot restore.
So in the churches of Christ, many professors are not living believers, but stuffed believers–stuffed Christians!
There is all the external of religion, everything that you could desire, and they behave with a great deal of propriety, too. They all keep their places, and there is no outward difference between them and the living, except upon that vital point: they lack spiritual life. This is the essential distinction–spiritual life is absent.
It is almost painful to watch little children when some little pet of theirs has died, how they can hardly realize the difference between death and life!
Your little boy’s bird moped for awhile upon its perch, and at last dropped down in the cage. You remember how the little boy tried to set it up, and gave it seed, and filled its glass with water, and was quite surprised to think that birdie would not open his little eye upon his friend as it did before, and would not take its seed, nor drink its water!
Ah, you finally had to tell the poor boy that a mysterious something had gone from his little birdie, and would not come back again.
There is just such a spiritual difference between the mere professor, and the genuine Christian.
There is an invisible, but most real, indwelling of the Holy Spirit–the absence or the presence of which makes all the difference between the lost sinner and the saint.
John 6:63, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing!”
Charles Spurgeon “Life’s Ever Springing Well”
(this was copied from Grace Gems)
The conference that Emmanuel Bible Church is hosting on November 11-12 will dive into the world of Pilgrim’s Progress. Although written centuries ago, this book is applicable for Christians of any era. We will journey together through the book, exploring different aspects of the Christian walk, and equipping ourselves with the tools we need to walk in a way that honors the Lord.
Who should come?
Everyone, children included!
Nursery will be provided for kids under 2 so that parents can attend the conference.
If you have Preschool kids ages 2-5, and grades K-6, please don’t feel like you can’t come, or that your kids will be bored. They will be learning about the same topics as the adults, but in a kid-friendly way. They also will lots of hands-on activities, games, and object lessons. They will have a blast!
- SESSION I: “THE WORLD OF JOHN BUNYAN” – Brett Davisson of Emmanuel Bible Church
- The life of John Bunyan and the historical background of Pilgrim’s Progress.
- SESSION II: “SIN AND SALVATION” – Vladimir Mitsuk of Grace Bible Church
- The City of Destruction through Pilgrim’s entry through the Wicket Gate.
- SESSION III: “PREPARATION & ASSURANCE” – Brian Satern of True Light Christian Church
- The Interpreter’s House through The Hill Difficulty.
- SESSION IV: THE CHURCH & OUR SPIRITUAL BATTLE – Eric Spuur of Mt Angel Bible Church
- The Palace Beautiful through The Valley of the Shadow of Death.
- SESSION V: THE WORLD & TEMPTATION – Grant Clay of Emmanuel Bible Church
- Vanity Fair through Doubting Castle.
- SESSION VI: FINISHING WELL – Michael Tourtellotte of Emmanuel Bible Church
- The Delectable Mountains to The Celestial City.
Carl Trueman gives another thoughtful analysis of the current cultural movement that focuses completely on the self.
Ligonier is offering their Luther documentary for free this month. Check it out here.
Who should come?
Everyone, children included!
Nursery will be provided for kids under 2 so that parents can attend the conference.
If you have Preschool kids ages 2-5, and grades K-6, please don’t feel like you can’t come, or that your kids will be bored. They will be learning about the same topics as the adults, but in a kid-friendly way. They also will lots of hands-n activities, games, and object lessons. They will have a blast!
The conference that Emmanuel Bible Church is hosting on October 29-30 will help address some of those issues that have crept their way into the thinking of Christians today. What is the final, ultimate, and sufficient authority in my life? Did the death of Jesus pay for all of my sins, past, present and future, or do I have to do something to earn salvation? Was my salvation dependent on how good a person I was, or was it a free and unmerited gift from God? Is Jesus the only mediator between man and God, or are there other avenues I can pursue to reach the Father? Do I live my life with a wall between the sacred and the secular, or can I glorify God in all that I do? These questions have answers, and the deeper a person delves into these answers the more profoundly it will influence their life and walk with the Lord.
The Reformers of the 16th century had to battle for what we take for granted: that we are saved by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide), in Jesus alone (solus Christus); that Scripture, and not my feelings, nor the church, nor a priest, is my final authority in life (sola Scriptura); and that I can live a life that glorifies God no matter what my role is in the church or in society (soli deo Gloria). These are the five Solas of the Reformation, which we didn’t have to fight for ourselves, but could easily lose if we fail to remember.
So whether you are new to the faith or a mature believer, I encourage you to attend. If history scares you, don’t worry – it will not be all history. We are using the five Solas of the Reformation as a jumping-off point to what the Bible has to say to us. In an increasingly corrupt and hostile world, we need more discernment, more theological depth, a more profound love of Christ, and a better understanding of how our Christian forefathers fought these battles already.
(Thomas Watson, “The Saint’s Desire to be with Christ)
“I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!” Philippians 1:23
It is the desire of a true saint to be gone from this present world, “I desire to depart.” What a wicked man fears — that a godly man hopes for! The worldling desires to live in this present world forever; he knows no other heaven but earth — and it is death to him to be turned out of his heaven. A wicked man does not go out of this world — but is dragged out!
But a soul enlivened and ennobled with a principle of grace, looks upon the world as a wilderness wherein are fiery serpents, and he desires to get out of this wilderness!
The bird desires to get out of the cage, though it is made of gold. Just so, the saints of God have looked upon themselves as imprisoned in the body, and have longed for a jail-delivery. “Oh, that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!” (Psalm 55:6).
It is no wonder that a true saint is so earnest to be gone from this present world — if we consider how beneficial death is to a child of God. Death puts an end to all his evils! In particular, there are nine evils which death will put an end to:
1. Death will put an end to a believer’s SINS.
2. Death will put an end to a believer’s TEMPTATIONS.
3. Death will put an end to a believer’s FEARS.
4. Death will dry up a believer’s TEARS.
5. Death will put an end to a believer’s TROUBLES.
6. Death puts an end to a believer’s CARES.
7. Death will put an end to all our NATURAL imperfections.
8. Death will put an end to the imperfections of GRACE.
9. Death will put an end to a weary PILGRIMAGE.
Though death is a bitter cup, there is sugar at the bottom. Death is the believer’s best friend; for it brings him to Christ, which is far better. “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!”
(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)
“Casting all your care upon Him — because He cares for you!” 1 Peter 5:7
The Lord knows all His people — all their needs, and all their trials.
He thinks upon them — to bless, deliver and supply them.
He keeps His eye upon them — in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances.
He has them in His hand — and will not loosen His hold.
He looks upon them always as His own ‘treasured possession’ . . .
the objects of His eternal love,
the purchase of His Son’s blood,
the temples of His Holy Spirit.
They are precious in His sight!
He knows they are weak and fearful — and that they have many enemies. He teaches them to cast themselves and all their cares into His hands! And He has given them His promise — that He will care for them.
It is a Father’s care which He exercises. It is a wise, holy, tender, and constant care. Therefore all will be well with you — only trust Him.
Believe that He cares for you this day. Carry all your concerns to Him — in the arms of faith! Leave all with Him, persuaded that He will manage all by His infinite wisdom, and bring all to a good outcome by His omnipotent power.
Cast all your cares upon Him — as fast as they come in.
Do not worry about anything.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you! He will never allow the righteous to be shaken!” Psalm 55:22
a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon
1 Corinthians 7:29
IV. THIS ALARMS US, and well it may, on their account.
Let me toll a knell. It is a dismal knell I have to toll for the unconverted man to whom life has been a joy, for he has prospered in the world. You have succeeded in the enterprise on which you set your heart. You have bought the estate that you longed to secure. It is a fine place certainly, but you have only got it for two or three years! Would I have taken it for that term? No, I would not have taken it on a nine hundred and ninety-nine years’ lease. Freeholds for me!
Did I say two or three years? Nay, there is not a man beneath the sun, who can guarantee that you will hold it for three weeks. “The time is short.” Drive down the broad avenue, walk round the park, look into the old feudal mansion, but “the time is short,” very short, and your tenure very limited. You have gained your objective, you are possessed of real property, what next? Why, make your will. The thing is urgent. “The time is short.” But what have you not done?
You have not believed in Christ, you have not embraced the Gospel, you have not found salvation, you have not laid hold on eternal life, you have not a hope to solace you when your strength fails, and you pant for breath. How few the opportunities that remain!
Some of you have attended my ministry all the while I have been in London, I wonder how much longer you will hear me, and yet remain unsaved. Your turn to die will come at length. You ail a little, but your trifling indisposition does not yield to treatment, the symptoms grow serious, the disease is dangerous, your death is imminent. Pain unnerves you, terror distracts you. Your family and your friends look at you with helpless pity.
The doctor has just left you in dismay. Send for the priest, or fetch the parson, but what can they do for you unless you believe in Jesus? ’Tis over, the last struggle! Then picture yourself to yourself—a lost spirit, asking for a drop of water to cool your tongue! That will be your portion, sinner, unless you repent.
Think you, sirs, there is but a step between you and death, a short step between you and hell, unless you believe in Jesus. Do you still imagine that there is time enough and to spare? I beseech you, do not cherish so vain a thought. It may be that you suspect me of exaggerating, that I cannot do in such a case as this. Time is rushing on, swiftly but silently. While I speak, the minutes pass, the hour is soon gone, the day is almost spent. I charge you then, by the ever-blessed Spirit, listen now to the warning, escape from sin, get out of that broad road which leads to destruction, believe in Jesus, lay hold on eternal life. May the Spirit of God arouse you!
May these words be blessed to you! They would be put more forcibly if I knew how. With all the fervor of my soul, I entreat you, for I know your everlasting interests are in imminent jeopardy. God grant that you may not linger longer, lest haply you linger too long, and perish in your lingering! “The time is short.”
In a little while there will be a great concourse of people in the streets. I think I hear someone inquiring, “What are all these people waiting for?” “Do you not know? He is to be buried today.” “And who is that?” “It is Spurgeon.” “What! the man that preached at the Tabernacle?” “Yes, he is to be buried today.” That will happen very soon, and when you see my coffin carried to the silent grave, I should like every one of you, whether converted or not, to be constrained to say, “He did earnestly urge us, in plain and simple language, not to put off the consideration of eternal things. He did entreat us to look to Christ. Now he is gone, our blood is not at his door if we perish.”
God grant that you may not have to bear the bitter reproach of your own conscience! But as I feel that “the time is short,” I will stir you up so long as I am in this Tabernacle, and I do pray the Lord to bless the word every time I preach it from this platform. Oh, that some souls may be saved, that Jesus Christ may be glorified, Satan defeated, and heaven filled with saved ones!
“’Tis not for man to trifle! Life is brief; And sin is here. Our age is but the falling of a leaf, A dropping tear. We have no time to sport away the hours; All must be earnest in a world like ours. Not many lives, but only one, have we,— Frail, fleeting man: How sacred should that one life ever be,— That narrow span! Day after day filled up with blessed toil, Hour after hour still bringing in new spoil.”
a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon
1 Corinthians 7:29
III. “The time is short.” THIS INSPIRES US.
It ought to fire us with zeal for immediate action. The sun hastens on, the sands run down. “Now is the accepted time.” Let those who love the Lord be prompt. The time to do the deeds that you must do, or leave them undone, flies swiftly past. Say not, “I will do this by and by.” Do it at once. Other duties await you, brief is the space allotted you for all. Are your children converted? Pray with them tonight. Let not tomorrow come without putting your arms about their necks, and kneeling down with them devoutly, and praying fervently that God would save their souls. It is the King’s business, and it demands haste. “The time is short” for others as well as for yourself.
A dear brother told me, a week or two ago, that a man who worked for him frequently, brought in goods when they were finished, and he thought that the next time the man came in, he would speak to him about his soul. When he came, however, business absorbed the employer’s attention, and the man passed away. He felt, he did not know exactly why, pricked in his conscience, and resolved that on the next occasion, he would inquire as to his eternal interests, but he was too late. Instead of coming again, a messenger brought tidings that he was dead. Startled by the news, our brother could find no comfort in regrets, though he bewailed as one who could not forgive himself a hundred wasted opportunities in the presence of one keen self-reproach.
Oh, that an inspiration would constrain you to serve the Lord now! Every time the clock ticks, it seems to say “now.” The time is so short that the matter is urgent. Do not wait, young man, to preach Jesus till you have had more instruction, begin at once. You, who mean to do something for the poor of London when you have hoarded up more money, spend your money now, do it at once. You, who mean to leave a large sum to charities when you die, defer it not, be your own executors. Lay out the capital at once, get some joy and comfort out of it yourselves. Now is the time to carry a good purpose into good effect. Before you were saved, the message to you was, “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your heart.” After you are saved, the message to you is, “Today, obey his voice, and serve the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength.” “The time is short,” so make the most of it.
“The time is short.” I want to ring this sentence louder and louder in your ears that it may inspire you to pray for immediate conversions. I have met with many who are hoping to get converted some day, but not now. Is not such procrastination perilous? Dare any of you run the risk of willfully abiding in unbelief another hour? Can you brook the thought of remaining month after month in jeopardy of your soul? Is it safe to tempt the Lord, and provoke the anger of the Most High?
O sirs, while you flatter yourselves with pleasing prospects, you are beguiling your hearts with a reckless presumption! We want you to be converted, and no time can be more suitable than this present time. Forsake your sin immediately. Do not turn back to dally with it a little longer. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and lay hold on the promise of eternal life, without any further delay. You may never see another morrow, or the desire that whets your appetite now may fail you then. This is our prayer, that you may, this very hour, be brought into the fold of Christ.
Then seeing that “the time is short,” let us bear with patience the ills that vex us. Are we very poor? “The time is short.” Does the bitter cold pierce through our scanty garments? “The time is short.” Is consumption beginning to prey on our trembling frame? “The time is short.” Are we unkindly treated by our kinsfolk? Do our comrades revile, and our neighbors mock us? “The time is short.” Have we to bear evil treatment from an ungenerous world? “The time is short.” Do cruel taunts try our tempers? “The time is short.”
We are travelling at express speed, and shall soon be beyond the reach of all the incidents and accidents that disturb and distract us. As we travel home to our Father’s house, the distance diminishes, and we begin to sight the city of the blessed, “the home over there.” It is needless to murmur or repine, why trouble yourselves about what you will do a month or two hence? You may not be here, you may be in heaven. Your eyes will have beheld “the King in his beauty,” you will have seen “the land that is very far off.”
“The way may be rough, but it cannot be long;
So smooth it with hope, and cheer it with song.”
Worldly mindedness ill becomes us who have confessed that we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” “The time is short” in which we can hold any possessions in this terrestrial sphere. Then let us not love anything here below too fondly. We brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Survey your broad acres, but remember that you will not long be able to walk across them. Look on your plenteous crops, but ere long another shall reap the profit of those fields. Count your gold and silver, but know that wealth, greedily as it is sought, will not give you present immunity from sickness and sorrow, neither will it secure your welfare when called to quit your frail tenement.
Trust in the living God. Love the Lord, and let eternal things absorb your thoughts and engage your affections. “The time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.”
Are these gloomy reflections? Nay, dear brethren, the fact that “the time is short” should inspire us, who are of the household of faith, with the most joyous expectations. Do you really believe in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Do you really believe that your head is to wear a crown of life that fades not away? Do you really believe that these feet of yours, all shod with silver sandals, will stand upon that street of pure gold? Do you really believe that these hands shall pluck celestial fruits from trees whose leaves can never wither, and that you shall lie down in the spice-beds in the gardens of the blessed? Do you believe that these eyes shall see the King in that day when He comes in His glory, and that these bones shall rise again from the grave, and your bodies shall be endowed with an incorruptible existence? “Yes,” say you, “we do believe it, and believe it intensely too.”
Well, then, I would that you realized it as so very near that you were expectant of its fulfillment. Who would cry and fret about the passing troubles of a day when he saw the heavens open, beheld the beckoning hand, and heard the voice that called him hence?
Oh, that the glory might come streaming into your soul till you forget the darkness of the way! Oh, that the breeze from these goodly mountains would fan you! Oh, that the spray from that mighty ocean would refresh you! Oh, that the music of those bells of heaven in yonder turrets would enliven you! Then would you speed your way towards the rest that remains for the people of God, inspired with sacred ardor and dauntless courage. But the ungodly are not so. It is to them I must address the last word, “The time is short.”