Past Articles by Pastor Cunningham
Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
What is the Apostle’s doctrine? 1 Tim 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness. The Apostle’s doctrine was “even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What is our doctrine? Church tradition (1 Peter 1:18)? The commandments of men (Matt. 15:9)? Have we concocted a set of doctrines that reflect our depraved sense of justice, or is it thus saith the Lord? Do we trust our “interpretation” of the Bible or believe God?
Doctrine is not salvation, Christ is salvation, but you are not saved without doctrine. Some say things like, don’t preach doctrine, just preach Christ. This is like saying, don’t get in the water, just swim. Doctrine means “teaching.” Christ said, (Matt. 11:29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For you to learn of Christ, someone is going to have to teach you.
WHAT I WOULD
Rom 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Surely every believer knows exactly what it is that Paul means by this solemn acknowledgement. What child of God has not mourned his own case similarly? The more we know the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the more we find that for to will is present with me. But concurrently learning more of the vanity of our flesh, we must cry, how to perform that which is good I find not.
I would worship the Lord Jesus as He is worthy to be worshiped, but I find that when God's people meet and the Gospel is preached, my thoughts are too often filled with vanity and my heart is as cold as a gravestone. I would that every fiber of my being were tuned to the sound of His praises and every beat of my heart a passionate expression of love for Him and thanksgiving for His almighty grace toward me. Yet I find that the best I can muster would shame me to tell of it and forces me to cry with Job, behold, I am vile.
I would pray continually, seeing that the gracious God has condescended to hear sinners such as I, but not only so, has graciously commanded me to come to Him with every woe, or need, or grateful expression of praise for which there is constant and overwhelming cause. I find however that my day's priorities are too often made up of things concerning the flesh and that too much of "my life" is conducted without a God-ward thought.
I would love my brothers and sisters in Christ and think continually upon the things of others, quick to help with every need, first to bear every burden. I would be constant and dependable and selfless, but I find that too often, I am too busy to be concerned with such things. After all, I have my own problems and responsibilities, do I not? Besides, that person never did anything for me. How shamed I am by my Master, Who was rich, yet became poor for my sake. For me, who not only despised and was injurious to Him, but whom He knew never would amount to anything.
No wonder Paul cried, O wretched man that I am! His hope of deliverance from the body of this death, is also my hope: I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
WHAT I WOULD
When Christ's becoming poor for my sake, and all that He did on behalf of this sinner in dealing with my sin, comes to its full fruition, what I would, I shall. What I would be and am not, would do and do not, brings my heart to the dust. Who He is, what He did for me and who I shall be because of Him, causes it to soar to a place this world knows not of.
I shall be like Him. When I see His example now, I am ashamed of myself and lament my own wretchedness. But I must also see the glorious image to which God has predestinated me to be conformed, and rejoice. 1John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
I shall be satisfied. No more disappointment, grief, frustration, fear or sorrow. Ps 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. God the Father is eternally satisfied with Christ, my propitious sin offering and I shall be eternally satisfied with Him, my soul's Delight.
As for the things that I would, my worship then shall be in His very presence. That glorious presence that I have felt only to the degree that my cursed flesh will allow, then I shall experience in its fullness. The pitiful prayers that I pray now will turn into uninhibited and uninterrupted communion with Him. Instead of being concerned with my needs, I will be concerned only with His glory. You and I, instead of being taken up with one another's weaknesses, faults and needs (and mourning our own coldness toward our brethren), will perfectly join soul and voice together as one in the praise of Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own precious blood.
When my hands hang down (Heb 12:12), lift them up with these truths. It is much easier to write them than, in this flesh, to feel them. Yet, I do so by looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2). That which was joy to Him, is now, but one day shall be in an infinitely greater sense, joy to this sinner's heart.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul, in his opening salutation and closing thoughts of most every epistle that he wrote, expressed a desire for peace for those whom he addressed. This is not just a trite saying, but a sincere heart prayer that those whom he loved might enjoy this precious gift from God in abundance.
All God’s children enjoy the peace with God, that the Lord Jesus Christ has made for them and applied to them through the blood of His cross. A splendid aspect of God’s salvation of us is that He conquered us, we being enmity against Him, and brought us to sweet surrender to His rule, His will, His way and His Word. Now, because of this blood, the holy God, Who otherwise must look upon the sinner only with contempt and wrath, now embraces such worms as dear sons and bestows all of His benefits upon us. Now, because of this blood, the wretched sinner, who otherwise despised and defied his Creator and Ruler, now cries Abba, Father with affection and desire.
All God’s children also enjoy the peace of God, which is the experimental enjoyment of the former. All are partakers of the comfort and sweet rest that is found in the Person, work and arms of the redeeming Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, but not all to the same degree. We all, who are in Christ, have equal reason for peace, but not equal capacity for it. There is no believer which is never troubled about the condition of his soul. We are all too prone to looking within where, "all is dark and vain and wild." We rest to the extent that we keep the eyes of faith on the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us.
I desire for those whom I love, this precious gift as Paul did. May you not only have God’s peace in Christ, but may you greatly feel it as well. Your possession of it does not depend on your constant or mighty feeling of it, but I desire for us that we may indeed rest in the finished work of redemption and in the glorious Redeemer Who finished it for us.
May 2, 2004
His, whatever else I am, I am His. In this context, I am accurately depicted by God as a cursed, loathsome, forsaken, polluted dead baby lying in an open field, and so I was before He passed by me, but I was His dead baby. The Apostle Paul as a believer cried out, O wretched man that I am (Rom 7:24), and I must daily cry with him, but I’m His wretch. The Caananite woman cried to the Lord Jesus for mercy, but He dismissed her as an unworthy dog. Yet, she answered in effect, Truth Lord, but I’m your dog (Mt 15:21-28).
His forever, only His. Who the Lord and me shall part?
April 18, 2004
Psalm 10:6 He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
We have in these two texts the same five word testimony, but with two diabolically opposed meanings. In Psalm 10 is the proud boasting of the unregenerate sinner who enjoys good things in this life. God has allowed him to breathe His air, accumulate His gold, and live in His earth, but the context shows how audaciously the man shuns his Maker and Benefactor. He denies God’s righteous claims upon him and considers himself untouchable. He has made lies his refuge and he is, in his own mind, firmly secure in them.
This is not speaking of some vacuous infidel running through the streets shouting obscenities toward heaven. This is the charter member of the local Baptist Church. This is the little old lady with her long hair wrapped up on top of her head and no make up on. This is any son of Adam who has not thrown down arms and bowed to King Jesus as the sovereign, effectual, Redeemer of sinners, to Whom they are shut up as guilty, vile, helpless, hell-deserving and hell-bound sinners hanging upon His mercy.
To reject God’s "Way" of salvation, the Person and bloody work of His precious, only begotten Son, by taking refuge in one’s own works, is an affront to His law and His grace. To deny Christ the sovereign right to save whom He will, when He will is to fearlessly shake one’s fist in the face of the God of heaven and earth and to expect to get away with it. Not only shall such be moved, but they shall be utterly and deservedly destroyed. 1 Cor. 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
The meaning in Psalm 16 is much different. One key word here is because. There is a very good reason that I shall not be moved. Because my Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who set the Father and His will always before His face, stands at my right hand and pleads His own merit for my case, I shall not be moved even in that great and terrible day of God’s final judgment. With this Peace in my heart and firm Foundation for my soul, I shall not be moved. Cast aside all false hope and flee to the sinner’s only Refuge!
Safe, though the worlds may crumble.
April 11, 2004
Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith.
The “them” is the Old Testament Israelites who, because of their unbelief, fell in the wilderness and perished in their sins. Was the same gospel preached to them, as we preach and hear now? This might surprise some, but how could it be otherwise? Can we think for a moment that God might save sinners a certain way in ancient times and now by another means? How else could a sinner be saved except by grace through faith in Christ, and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?
We are not so naïve as to think that the span of thousands of years did not bring about some differences, based on degree of light given by God, in outward form and manner and such. It is the basic, vital truth of the gospel that has and shall endure timelessly. Ever since there has been a sinner, he has been impressed by God regarding three vital truths.
1.God is Holy. The One Who made me and gave me life is high and “apart.” He instructs us plainly regarding this character of His when He says, “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me” Is 46:9. When His holiness is spoken of, it is proper to consider His “apart-ness” in His perfect righteousness. This is why His holiness is said to justly require the punishment of our sin.
2. Man is sinful. We are diabolically opposed to God by nature. Everything that He is, we are not. He is holy, we are defiled. He is good, we are wicked. He is generous and giving and we are selfish and uncaring. He is merciful and we are vindictive and ruthless. We have despised and broken His holy law in our father Adam and with our every thought, word and deed -- not to mention our utter lack of any worthy thoughts, words or deeds. Because God is holy and we are defiled, God must, He is obligated to consign us to hell. We have but one hope.
3. God is gracious to sinners in Christ. God has a chosen people whom He loves in Christ and has always set forth Christ as the Way to God. He said, “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat” Ex 25:22. There is still only one place where God will meet with and commune with a sinner: the Mercy Seat, our Lord Jesus Christ. Make no mistake, it was by faith in Christ that Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, and it was the reproach of Christ that Moses preferred to the riches of Egypt. Job’s hope was that he knew that his Redeemer lived.
Matthew 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
My family and I were recently invited to come to dinner in the home of some good friends. As is customary, Vicki asked if there was anything we could bring and was told, no thank you but just come and enjoy. As the date approached, we asked again, are you sure we can’t bring anything? And the answer was clear. Just come with an appetite and nothing else.
In the kingdom of Heaven, the King has bidden us come, having all things ready. There is nothing to be done by us, but come and enjoy the bountiful affluence of the King. There is not only plenty, but food worthy of the highest royalty. This of course pictures Christ and how that all things are ours in Him. All blessings necessary for our comfort and edification on this earth, and to enjoy throughout eternity, are plenteous in Him.
If we had, in spite of plain instructions, yet brought a dish of some kind to our friends’ house, they would have been offended at the very least. The parable Christ told here deals with spiritual and much more serious matters. If anything is brought, to be added to that which is “made ready,” then you are not welcome to His marriage. The “all things made ready” signify that in Christ we have all we need and are complete in Him. This includes the wedding garment (vs 11, 12) which pictures the believer’s standing before God, Christ having washed all our sins away in His precious blood and having lived a perfect righteousness as our great Representative.
To this feast and preparation, you must come, or you shall suffer eternally for counting the blood and righteousness of Christ as a light thing (vs 5). If you bring so much as a crumb you do so in defiance of God’s revealed righteousness (Rom 10:3) and must appear before God alone, without an advocate, a representative, a mediator, any righteousness, nor therefore any hope (Gal 5:2).
Lest you think that at least the coming to the feast was something necessary on the part of the guests, look to the text and see that it is not so. They had to be gathered (drawn like fish in a net) and brought to the feast (vs 10). Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
What amazing mercy that the Son of God would sit down on a rock on the side of a mountain and teach a bunch of sinners the things of God. God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, and who is interested? Those to whom the arm of the Lord is revealed. Those that have ears to hear.
Are you teachable, or do you already know everything? I know some who, though they put on a feeble show of false humility, evidence that they are Bible experts and that there is no use trying to teach them anything. The context of our verse says that when Christ sat down, His disciples came unto Him. They gathered around to hear what He would say. This was not a session of debate, it was the Master speaking and they silently surrounded Him and drank in the everlasting truth.
The Son of God speaks yet on this earth, through those whom He has sent, and who will hear? His disciples still come "unto Him." The multitudes gather elsewhere, but Christ's sheep will listen for the voice of the Shepherd and gravitate to the heavenly sound. Is there anything that you would rather do, or anything you deem of more value, than to hear a true servant of God open his mouth and speak the glories of Christ?
He speaks to those who are richly worthy of eternal wrath and torment and says, blessed, blessed, blessed . . . Truly does grace overflow from His lips. We had nothing but revilings and cursings for Him, but He speaks blessings upon sinners. Blessings for which He has fit His people by His own righteousness and blood. It is not just "nice" to hear the Gospel preached, but our very bread. Ps 28:1 Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. May we this morning hear the voice of the Master and be taught and worship at His blessed feet.
Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
This is not the only time the Master asked this same question. What a scathing insult to those who prided themselves on knowing the scriptures. Have you ever heard anyone say, "Well, if I know my Bible . . ." and then proceed to prove otherwise? These Sadducees were such. Everyone it seems is a Bible scholar these days, though they evidently have never read it. The consequences our Lord pointed out here of being ignorant of the scripture are so suitable to our religious generation, namely, ye do greatly err.
I don't need to tell those who will read this that those who presume to speak for God in our day and those who believe them, do greatly err. Dead men and women are addressed as though at any time they please they can get up from their graves and start pleasing God, before whom their best deeds are filthy rags, and decide to love God Who by nature they despise. They are told that if they make a decision, all is well between them and a holy God and they have their ticket to heaven. The blessed atonement of our Redeemer is reduced to God's best effort to help man out of the mess he's in but that without man's cooperation is of no value. People are threatened (with hell) and bribed (with rewards) into serving the "god" they believe in, yet have no interest in, except as he will get them to heaven. Heaven in their minds is the place where they will finally have all the gold, recognition and the mansion they never quite attained in this world. Ye do greatly err, because ye know not the scriptures.
The world, especially religion, is blindly running to their eternal damnation without the slightest regard for what God has said to sinners, and I fear many of us who have the priceless truth are too busy or complacent to spend much time in the word of God. May God yet empower, enliven and use us to call His sheep out of darkness, into His marvelous light. May we use what energy and means we have from God to proclaim or support the proclamation with tongue, life and pen, the glorious truth of the sovereign, victorious Redeemer.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
When a brother or sister needs comfort, what will do so like these words? Not only the specific context of this verse, but the word of God alone can be a comfort to a believer. It is a blessing to know that my family in Christ suffers with me and hurt when I hurt, but what can they say that will help like pointing to Christ in "these words?" The blessed Lord Jesus has loved me and washed me from my sins in His own precious blood, and He is touched with the feeling of my infirmity. He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee and has bid me cast all my care upon Him, for He cares for me. Christ is on the throne and rules all things, moves every object, turns every heart and sets every scene upon earth for the good of His dear sheep. This same Jesus Who is all and in all, is coming to receive me unto Himself, that where He is there I may be also, and soon I will be changed.
If "these words" will not comfort a man, then he cannot be comforted. Believer in your darkest hour, you have a King Who has ordained this very hour for you, Who doeth all things well, and a Friend Who will not leave your side. We could not watch with Him in His sorrow for one hour, but He watches with us unceasingly. When your sin becomes a stench and a grief to you that you cannot endure, you have an Advocate Who pleads efficaciously for you, One Who has dealt with your sin, so that it is gone from before the very face of God. He says to you, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. When your faith is hard to find, its blessed Object is steadfast and sure. When you have lost that which you think you could not bear to lose, you have all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. All of God's glorious promises to the believer are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Next time you're at the hospital or graveside or just sitting next to a broken-hearted friend, and you are wondering what can I say? nothing will do like "these words."
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill . . . 1 Samuel 2:8
Begging is something that is repulsive to the proud nature of man. When a person is reduced to begging physically, we don't even like to look at them. There is a shamefulness associated with it that we dread and avoid. My flesh fears this condition even worse than death. Being unable to work, having nothing, and being dependent upon the mercy of others is unthinkable.
Spiritual begging is something to which sinful man is even more opposed. Inability, bankruptcy, and utter dependence upon another, spiritually speaking is absolutely unthinkable, especially to religious people. When our father Adam rebelled against God, he gained an insidiously evil attribute that we are all born with: PRIDE! In this spiritual pride, we fear and despise worse than anything, the idea of being unable to please God and utterly dependent upon His mercy. Pride deludes us and tells us that we are quite capable of taking care of ourselves, thank you very much! Me and "the man upstairs" have an understanding. Sure, I've sinned like everybody else, but I'm doing the best I can. I'm not a religious fanatic or anything you know, but I blah, blah, blah, . . .
However much we deny and avoid the fact, our true position before God is that we are dirty, shameful, worthless, miserable BEGGARS! Like the bum on the street, we are unable to work. Whatever we do to earn favor with God only puts us deeper in debt. We also have nothing to our account. Some who are unable to work physically, yet have personal worth due to an inheritance or previous labors, but not us! We inherited nothing but debt and have never been able to do anything of any merit. We are utterly dependent upon MERCY!
I have heard this objection to this truth: You don't have to beg God to save you, He is ready to pardon. I agree that God is willing, ready and delights to show mercy, but He has never done so to anyone but a beggar. God is not so anxious to clothe sinners that He will not first strip them of their self-righteous rags. He is not so ready to lift up that He will not first bring low. No sinner has ever been shown his condition that has not flown to the Mercy Seat, the Lord Jesus Christ, and pleaded for forgiveness and favor. No true beggar has ever come to Christ in vain.
There's mercy for beggars. Are You a beggar?
Psalms 119:162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
What an inexhaustible mine of knowledge the word of God is. I can't see into another man's heart, but I know much of what is there by the word of God. My own heart is deceitful and desperately wicked so that I cannot know it, but I know much of what is in it by the word of God. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? the scriptures ask (Rom 11:34). We could not comprehend God even if He made known all His mind to us now, but we know that He is holy and that He must punish sin. We also know that He is longsuffering, full of compassion and plenteous in mercy. We know that He has purposed to save sinners and that all He purposes is as good as done. How do we know these things? They are revealed in the word of God.
The riches of God's grace are unfathomable. I cannot begin to explain the great mystery of Godliness, but I know that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). The Person of Christ in all His offices and attributes is beyond my capacity to fully comprehend and those who know Him, long most to know Him (Philippians 3:10). I know that He is God and Man. I know that His perfect righteousness is imputed to sinners by grace through faith in Him and that His sin-atoning blood is the only sacrifice for sin that God will accept. I know that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:11,12).
How do I know these things? By the Word, revealed and made effectual to me by the Holy Spirit, I know Who God is, what I am, that I desperately need a Saviour, Who that Saviour is and what He did for sinners. I also know why He did it, where He is and what He is doing now. All of this is vital to my soul. Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. We delight to know that God delights in these things, as the Psalmist said, I rejoice at Thy Word, as one that findeth great spoil.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
There is a story of a young preacher who was sent to the battle front in World War I to preach to a group of soldiers about to go into combat. He, wanting to be well received, gave the men a choice as to whether he would preach to them or just tell them funny stories. A wise young soldier stood and said, if you've come all this way to speak to these men, some of whom will be in eternity in three days, and you don't know whether to preach the Gospel or tell jokes, then you may as well say something funny. I fear that most so-called preachers in our day may as well be comedians.
The truth is we are all a step away from eternity. We who have the true Gospel of Christ must preach as dying men to dying men. Preaching the Gospel is the most urgent and vital of all business. There is no time for idle stories and sentimental sermonettes. God has given us a message to tell sinners, and we are just voices to speak that glorious message.
If I were to speak my last words to you, God forbid that I speak of anything other than Jesus Christ, Who came into this world to save sinners. Or if I speak to you for another 50 years, what else would I say? In season or out, it is God's Word of grace in and through the death and merits of the Lord Jesus that we must preach.
We must do so with all longsuffering. Never expect a sinner to be anything but a sinner. The Gospel is offensive to the flesh, it reproves and rebukes, and we must never compromise, but we must exhort, though we offend, with love and understanding.
We must do so with all doctrine. The whole council of God is our message. Nothing more or less than what God says. Christ in all of His glory, all of His offices, all of His attributes, all of His doctrine is that in which we delight and are constant. Entertainment and flatteries have we none, but such as we have, give we thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth . . .
Throughout his life, David pictures our Lord Jesus Christ in many ways and we have before us a blessed example. We of course, are represented by these distressed, discontented debtors who have forsaken the kingdom of this world to join ourselves to a greater Captain. Better to dwell in a cave with God's anointed King than in the very palace of the prince of this world. These were not the cream of the crop which David attracted. Nor are we who have fled for refuge to the Lord Jesus, but rather we are the weak, foolish, base and despised (1 Cor. 1:27, 28).
First of all, I cry with Paul, who is sufficient for these things? To preach the Gospel is to be involved in matters of eternity, of life and death. We have children and loved ones who are lost, and God's sheep must be fed. In the face of "these things" all other matters pale into insignificance. I am highly honored and privileged, but I am also staggered and bowed. Without Me Christ said, you can do nothing. John 15:5 I begin to know the meaning of this.
Secondly, I cry from my heart for God's guidance and blessing. Feeling my own insufficiency, I lean all of my weight, and that of my burdens, upon Him. No man is sufficient, but God said, "My grace is sufficient." There is only one answer to Paul's question: "who is sufficient?" It is the one that Ezekiel returned when asked a similar one. "O Lord GOD, thou knowest." (Ez 37:3) The only One Who can answer the question is the One Who alone can give the sufficiency (the strength, courage, wisdom, faith – all the things I utterly lack without Him). But He can and does so that we must also say with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13)" and "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ (2 Cor 2:14)."
Thirdly, I strongly desire and ask the prayers of God's people. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified. (2 Thess 3:1) When you bow before our Lord, remember West Harpeth Grace Church and this needy sinner God has called to lead them, for who is sufficient for these things?
1 Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Some of what we say and write is negative, in the form of a refutation of error. The Apostles did and God's preachers today must defend the pure truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus from specific attack, but this is not the primary concern. Many are taken up with nothing else but a campaign of denial and argument to the exclusion of the positive setting forth of the gospel of Christ. More often we should say what is the truth instead of only pointing out what is not the truth. Surely there can be no better way of refuting error, than to combat it with that glorious Message (Christ) which is the very power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). Whether or not I am ever conversant in the various heresies that are believed by men and named by their opponents, may it be said of me: John 10:41 but all things that John spake of this man were true.
This verse in 1 Timothy is a forthright declaration of the gospel that we believe and preach and it is beautiful in its depth and clarity. Jesus of Nazareth is identified as God in flesh, coming to His world to save a people from their sins. Volumes could be gleaned from this rich mine and it must yet be left unexhausted. The word "worthy" means "having weight," and surely this marvelous truth is weightier than all of the deepest thoughts and sayings of the wisest men.
This is a saying that can be trusted. Not only the truth of it, but the hope that it gives can be laid hold of and rested in by the most wicked and hopeless of wretches.
It is God's Anointed Who has come, Him Who alone is able to please God and pay my inestimable debt to God's justice.
His coming into the world speaks of His becoming bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, that He might represent us and be our Substitute.
Praise Him forever that He came to save, not to offer or attempt anything. I know that if it is to save me that He came, then saved I shall be.
Since it is sinners He came to save, then even I can come without hesitation and eat, drink, bow, embrace and live.
I can think of no weightier thing than that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, even this one.
Ex. 33:21, 22 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.
There is a place, which Moses, after speaking often with God face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend (33:11), yet begged God that he might enter. There is a place than all besides so much more sweet as to make the most delightful of all other retreats to seem a miserable hell. There is a place to which, if necessary, all earthly ties and relationships must dissolve if they hinder the going.
Paul and Silas were in this place, when though beaten, bleeding and imprisoned, they joined in a gospel song of praise to the One Who had put them there. Thousands of men throughout the ages have submitted to being burned at the stake, dragged to pieces, and tortured in many horrible ways, rather than to be moved from this place. Job was there when he cried out to God, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:5,6). The Apostle Paul counted everything else in the world but loss and dung that he might be found in this place (Philippians 3:8,9).
This is a place where God shows men His great glory and a blind sinner may behold the very face of God. This is a place where the vilest, most hellish of sinners is a precious and beautiful son of God. In this place, God has blessed His people with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Eph. 1:3).
Here are fullness of joy and pleasures evermore (Ps. 16:11), to be, as Moses was, hidden by God in Christ and standing upon Christ. Christ is the place where God reveals Himself to sinners and where He will be gracious and show mercy (33:19). He is the Rock upon Whom we stand and the Rock in Whom we are hidden from the terrible wrath of God which we deserve for our sins. He is the place where, by His precious sin-atoning blood and spotless imputed righteousness, we stand, not only safe, but highly favored of God. Are you in this place? If so, then you can say with Paul, For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,