Acts: Just a Coincidence
March 10th, 2019
Scipture Reading: Acts 8:26-40
Guest Speaker: Rev. Bud Fuchs
Pastor Cosand: March 2019
THE GROAN OF A CONTRITE HEART
meditation on Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
It is not often that the confession of sins is a part of our prayers. This is certainly true of public prayers and is probably true of most private prayers. We usually begin our prayers with a brief statement of thanksgiving for the day and perhaps for some other blessing. And then we often launch into our considerable list of requests, ranging from someone’s serious sickness to asking for good weather because we have an outing planned.
But what about the element of confession of sins in our prayers? It is a part of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 . . . "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Mt 6:12). In Luke’s version the wording is more forceful . . . "And forgive us our sins . . ." (Lk 11:4). Confession of sins should be as much a daily part of every Christian’s prayers as asking for a family member or church friend to be healed.
The New Testament speaks of God's forgiveness of our sins in two ways. One use refers to the judicial forgiveness of God, the Judge. The other use refers to the parental forgiveness of God, our Father. Judicial forgiveness takes place at the time of an unbeliever’s conversion, when there is repentance for sins and trust in Christ. It is the unique occasion when the penalty for sins is taken away and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to that person. This is justification and it only happens (and only needs to happen) once. To the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears He said, "Your sins have been forgiven . . . your faith has saved you" (Lk 7:48,50). This is the judicial forgiveness of justification.
But there is another use of the word 'forgive' in the New Testament. It is the parental forgiveness of God, as Father, granted to His children. The New Testament speaks of believers repenting of their sins and asking for forgiveness. To the believers in Corinth, Paul writes, "I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance" (2 Cor 7:9). To the church in Ephesus, the Lord says, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place -- unless you repent" (Rev 2:5; cf. Rev 3:19). It is a pattern for prayer for His disciples that Jesus taught them to pray to the Father "forgive us our sins" (Lk 11:1,4).
A heartfelt sensitivity toward their sins and the regular, indeed daily, confession of those sins was the experience of the great men of God from the past. In a sermon on 1 John 1:9, the great English preacher, C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, "The daily exercise of faith in Jesus Christ is a confession of sin. . . . I beseech you, dear hearer, try to fix your eye on Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, and live as a believer in Him, and this will make you live as a constant confessor of sin; for when the wounds of Jesus speak peace, they also preach penitence; and when the atonement gives us rest, it also makes us meek and lowly in heart under a sense of abiding faultiness. As you see what Jesus suffered, you will see how you sinned, and as you observe the glory of His merit, you will see the horror of your own demerit. Thus may you daily, as long as ever you live, confess sin and find cleansing from all unrighteousness."
This was also the experience of another English pastor, Charles Simeon (1759-1836). "By constantly meditating on the goodness of God and on our great deliverance from the punishment which our sins have deserved, we are brought to feel our vileness and utter unworthiness . . . and while we continue in this spirit of self-degradation, everything goes on easily. We shall find ourselves advancing in our course; we shall feel the presence of God; we shall experience His love; we shall live in the enjoyment of His favor and in the hope of His glory. You often feel that your prayers scarcely reach the ceiling, but oh, get into this humble spirit by considering how good the Lord is and how evil you are, and then prayer will mount on wings of faith to heaven. The sigh, the groan of a broken heart will soon go through the ceiling up to heaven into the bosom of God."
New England pastor, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) wrote the following as a mature believer in Christ. "Very often for these many years, these expressions are in my mind and in my mouth: ‘Infinite upon infinite - infinite upon infinite!’ When I look into my heart and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell. . . . It is [amazing] to think how ignorant I was, when a young Christian, of the bottomless, infinite depths of wickedness, pride, hypocrisy, and deceit left in my heart."
David Brainerd (1718-1747), missionary to the American Indians in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, wrote the following in his diary. "In my morning devotions my soul was exceedingly melted and bitterly mourned over my exceeding sinfulness and vileness."
The daily confession of sins is a necessity for us to maintain a spirit of humility before God (and each other) and for us to constantly revel in the glory of the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. The great Puritan theologian, John Owen (1616-1683) wrote, "Confession is every day’s work. I don’t see how any peace with God can be maintained without it." The fact that the penalty for our sins has been taken away by the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, should not result in a carelessness onour part over the darkness that still remains in our hearts and lives. The paradox is worth our consideration. The more heartfelt our brokenness over our sins, the deeper our delight in Jesus Christ. It is only the person who cries out "O wretched man that I am! Who will free me from this body of death?" who knows the indescribable pleasure of the ensuing declaration "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom 7:23,24).
Desperate for God's grace,
Joseph A. Teisan - March 2019
HOW IS GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL WISDOM
MICRO-MANAGING MY LIFE?
Some people say that God has no plan at all. Others believe that God has a very general plan for their lives. There is a third group of Christians who believe that God has an exact plan and that His plan extends to the smallest detail in the life of a Christian. Am I the master of my own life or am I fitting myself into God’s great Master Plan for His eternal glory and for my eternal happiness? What do you believe? What does God’s Holy Word say?
Before looking at Scripture, consider these questions: Do you make plans? Are they in detail? Do parents have exact plans for the training of their children? Does it take detailed planning to run a home, drive a car, go to school or work at your job? Does God plan any less than we do? Is it possible for God to plan and control all the great events in general, if He does not plan the smallest events in particular? Does the Bible give evidence that God has an exact point by point plan for each of His children? Did God know my name and write it in the Lamb’s book of life “from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 17:8)?
“Through His providence God controls the universe (Ps. 103:19), the physical world (Mat. 5:45), the affairs of nations (Ps. 66:7), man’s birth and destiny (Gal. 1:15), man’s successes and failures (Lk. 1:52), and the protection of His people (Ps. 4:8) . . . Man is not free to choose and act independently from God’s will and plan, he chooses and acts in accordance with them. In His sovereignty, God controls man’s choices and actions (Gen. 45:5, Dt. 8:18, Prov. 21:1). God’s actions, however, do not violate the reality of human choice or negate man’s responsibility as a moral being . . . God permits sinful acts to occur, but He does not cause man to sin (Gen. 45:5, Rom. 9:22). He often overrules evil for good (Gen. 50:20, Acts 3:13).” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Ed. By H. Lockyer, article on Providence, p. 883, 1986).
MEMORY VERSES SHOWING GOD’S DETAILED PLANS FOR MY LIFE
“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Ps. 37:23). Christ, “is the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power” (Heb. 1:3, Amplified Bible). Christ “is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17, NIV). “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). “You are Lord alone; you have made heaven . . . and all things that are therein . . . and you preserve them all” (Neh. 9:6).
“Being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will . . . that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Eph. 1:11-12).
“Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shall You restrain” (Ps. 76:10). “And God said to him in a dream . . . I also withheld you from sinning against Me: therefore I did not let you touch her” (Gen. 20:6). “And Joseph said to them . . . But as for you, you intended evil against me; but God intended it for good to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:19-20). “This Jesus, when delivered up, according to the definite and fixed purpose and settled plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified . . . by the hands of lawless and wicked men” (Acts 2:23, Amplified Bible).
Joseph A. Teisan
(1931 – 2018)
Joseph A. Teisan - February 2019
ARE WE PROCLAIMING THE TRUE GOSPEL OF SALVATION BY FAITH IN CHRIST, OR REJECTING IT FOR THE SOCIAL GOSPEL OF BRINGING THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO EARTH BY SOLVING
THE SOCIAL PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD?
Sadly, I was upset at hearing a missionary explaining his work among the poor in Eastern Europe. Saying nothing about salvation, he focused on the social, medical, economic, educational, political, racial, and other problems of the people. Instead of following the New Testament examples of Christ and Paul, in spreading the Good News of faith in Christ, the Social Gospel addresses social, national, and international issues. They say social betterment is the way to bring the Kingdom of God to earth without talking of a future Millennial.
These views, widely accepted by liberal assemblies, are sponsored by the Federal Council of Churches. Liberal Theology holds to the ethical teaching of a humanized Christ, and God in all men’s hearts. The scientific method and natural laws are their guiding lights. Then say no, and brush aside, miracles, prophecies, original sin, the atonement of Christ, and all supernatural events in the inspired God breathed Holy Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17) (Christianity Through the Centuries by E.E. Cairns, Zondervan, 1967, pp. 462-464).
Are you thinking of Matthew 7:15-20? “Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are hungry wolves. You shall know them by their fruits.”
These erroneous views are taught in seminaries to ministers who proclaim them from the pulpit. Without following the Great and Glorious Commission commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, the Social Gospel has as its only theology, the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and the ethical teachings of Christ. They are following the wrong way for salvation! Jesus is saying, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6).
The Social Gospel is a denial of our urgent spiritual need of salvation in Christ, and forgiveness of sins. The Lord tells us in Scripture that a sinner is amazingly transformed by faith in Christ and the new birth (Rom. 10:9-13, 4:1-8). The only real improvement in fallen human nature is Christlikeness, “to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). But, in rebellious, hopeless, and odious contrast, the Social Gospel proclaims we are “perfected through change in society” (Dictionary of the Christian Church, Ed. By J.O. Douglas, Rev. 1978, Zondervan, pp. 911-912).
Joined today to destructive Biblical criticism and liberal churches, they believe “Man is essentially good, and his sins are quite curable” (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Ed. by W.A. Elwell, Baker, 1984, pp. 1028-1029).
Joseph A. Teisan
(1931 – 2018)