Illumination

God must open the eyes of our understanding before we can truly know and rightly interpret His truth. His truth is available only to those with a regenerate spirit and in whom His Spirit dwells, for only the Spirit can illumine Scripture. Just as the physically blind cannot see the sun, the spiritually blind cannot see the Son. Both lack proper illumination.

John MacArthur

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Create a Culture of Reading

All Christians should cultivate a reading habit. Besides reading the Bible, we need to read books that elevates our passion for God. Here is a good reading list

Merry Christmas

Look to Christ

From the cross of Calvary, where the bleeding hands of Jesus drop mercy; from the garden of Gethsemane, where the bleeding pores of the Savior sweat pardons, the cry comes, “Look to me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth.” From Calvary’s summit, where Jesus cries, “It is finished,” I hear a shout, “Look and be saved.” But there comes a vile cry from our soul, “No, look to yourself! Look to yourself!” Ah, look to yourself, and you will be damned. That certainly will come of it. As long as you look to yourself there is no hope for you. It is not a consideration of what you are, but a consideration of what God is, and what Christ is, that can save you. It is looking from yourself to Jesus. Oh! there are men that quite misunderstand the gospel; they think that righteousness qualifies them to come to Christ; whereas sin is the only qualification for man to come to Jesus. Good old Crisp says, “Righteousness keeps me from Christ – those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but only those who are sick. Sin makes me come to Jesus, when sin is felt; and in coming to Christ, the more sin I have the more cause I have to hope for mercy. – CH Spurgeon

Are Preachers Preaching or Just Talking?!

“The aim of that kind of expository preaching is to help you eat and digest biblical truth that will make your spiritual bones more like steel, and will double the capacity of your spiritual lungs, and will make the eyes of your heart dazzle with the brightness of the glory of God, and will awake the capabilities of your soul to experience kinds of spiritual joy you did not know existed.”

– John Piper

Those Who Speak for God

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, You have seen well: for I am ready to perform My word.” –  Jeremiah 1:11, 12.

OBSERVE, first, dear Friends, that before Jeremiah becomes a speaker for God, he must be a seer. The name for a Prophet, in the olden time, was a “seer”—a man who could see—one who could see with his mind’s eye, one who could also see with spiritual insight, so as vividly to realize the Truth of God which he had to deliver in the name of the Lord.

Learn that simple lesson well, O you who try to speak for God! You must be seers before you can be speakers.The question with which God usually begins His conversation with each of His true servants is the one He addressed to Jeremiah, “What do you see?” I am afraid that there are some ministers, nowadays, who do not see much. Judging by what they preach, their vision must be all in cloudland, where all they see is smoke, mist and fog. I often meet with persons who have attended the same ministry for years—and when I have asked them even very simple questions about the things of God, I have found that they do not know anything. It was not because they were not able to comprehend quickly when the Truth was set forth plainly before them, but I fear that it was, in most cases, because there was nothing that they could learn from the minister to whom they had been accustomed to listen.

The preacher had seen nothing and, therefore, when he described what he saw, of course it all amounted to nothing. No, my Brother, before you can make an impression upon another person’s heart, you must have an impression made upon your own soul. You must be able to say, concerning the Truth of God, “I see it,” before you can speak it so that your hearers shall also see it. It must be clear to your own mind, by the spiritual perception which accompanies true faith, or else you will not be able to say with the Psalmist, “I believed, therefore have I spoken.” Let me say again that sentence which I uttered a minute ago—the speaker for God must first be a seer in the Light of God.

DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, APRIL 7, 1881.

What is The Power Behind a Pulpit?

The pulpit drives the health of the congregation.  When the pulpit is weak, the spiritual health of the congregation is weak. What makes a strong pulpit? What makes a strong pulpit is expositional preaching. Without true expositional preaching, the congregation will contract all kinds of disease.  Diseases that will eventually lead to death.  The life source of a congregation is in the power of God’s word. Congregation needs a consistence diet of true expositional preaching. Expositional preaching motivates the congregation to see the holiness of God and see the sinfulness of man. True expositional preaching exalts Christ and not man.

Eric Davis posted a great article on Church-Planting and Pulpit-Priority.  Eric emphazised the importants of expostional preaching and how it relates to church planting. Here are some points taken from the article:

  • Nothing is more sacred than sound exposition of the God-breathed word before the redeemed, where every morsel of the mind of God is unpacked to the church. They gather together because the pulpit ministry is not lesser community, or in opposition to it, rather, it is the pinnacle of biblical community.
  • Accurate exposition pumps life into the church so that the word richly dwells within them, launching the saints to use their gifts and do the work of the ministry with all wisdom. Strip the church of expository preaching, and you cripple God’s people from using their Spirit-gifts. The Spirit-inspired word is what gives power to right use of spiritual gifts.
  • A rich pulpit ministry is not hindering from mission, it equips for it. Exposition is not in conflict with evangelism, it is evangelism. When the Bible speaks, God speaks.
  • exposition evokes evangelism, and not the opposite. God’s people need to feast. The lost need to know God from all angles, in all his glory, through exposition, and see his regenerate people committed to transforming community. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). Give yourself to exposition and watch Spirit-filled community and evangelism take off.
  • When the exposition of the word is de-emphasized, the flock will not only have little content, but little direction for evangelism. Little pulpit, little evangelism.
  • Exposition assumes the message is extracted from careful exegesis, interpreting the passage in its grammatical-historical context, then applied. The pastor actually gets out of the way by submitting to every jot and tittle through exposition. Reading the passage then discussing around the topic in the passage is not necessarily expositing the passage
  • Exposition ensures that God, not men, are speaking. With every verse unleashed, the Spirit casts more light on Christ himself. After all, that is what the flock needs; for comfort in struggle; motivation to press on; meaningful community, and God-glorifying evangelism.
  • “If you want to be relevant, become an expositor.”

Read the entire post here

Freeness of Grace

“I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, ‘You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for Myself.’ My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will.” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Two Free Downloads

An Earnest Word with Those
Who Are Seeking Salvation
by the Lord Jesus Christ

Here is a true classic—the first Christian pocket-paperback published in the United States and a best seller ever since. C.H. Spurgeon, “the prince of preachers,” presents the message of salvation—man’s need and God’s unique provision—simply and sincerely, for honest seekers and zealous witnesses alike. Download here for free

 

“The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the
string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the
bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an
angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the
arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.”

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is arguably the most famous sermon in American history. Its author, Jonathan Edwards, is considered by many historians – both religious and secular – to be the greatest philosopher and theologian the nation has ever produced. Jonathan Edwards was an 18th century preacher in Northampton, Mass. who help to ignite the Great Awakening of that time. This sermon is one of his most popular proclamations from the pulpit. For more than two centuries, Jonathan Edwards’ messages have brought conversion, hope and spiritual awakening to the generations. Download here for free.

Baptist Cameos – James P Boyce


James P. Boyce was born January 11, 1827, in Charleston, S.C., of Mr. and Mrs. Ker Boyce, considered the wealthiest man in South Carolina. He was of Scot-Irish and Presbyterian descent on his father’s side, his mother’s family being the Johnston family which produced many lawyers, judges and statesmen in the Carolinas. Charleston was the most cultured American city of that day, and young Boyce entered the best homes and had the best education available at Charleston College, Brown University (R.I.) and Princeton Seminary (N.J.)

As a child, the good natured and rotund Boyce was always inclined toward books rather than athletics. He was raised hearing some of the greatest preachers in America: Basil Manly, Sr. (under whom Boyce’s mother was converted and became a Baptist in 1830), Richard Fuller (whose preaching influenced Boyce’s conversion while home from Brown) and James Henley Thornwell, that great Presbyterian preacher and theologian. While a young man, Boyce once attended a Presbyterian church because he was enamored with a young girl. However, Boyce recalls that Thornwell preached so powerfully that he was held spellbound for one hour, forgetting about the girl. Boyce and Thornwell evidently became friends later during Boyce’s first pastorate in Columbia, S.C. Boyce was greatly affected by Thornwell’s Discourses on Truth published in 1854.

(from Abstract of Systematic Theology, James P. Boyce)

How came it (the Bible) to be written?
God inspired holy men to write it.

Did they write It exactly as God wished?
Yes; as much as if he had written every word himself.

Oughtn’t it, therefore, to be believed and obeyed?
Yes; as much as though God had spoken directly to us.

James P. Boyce
First President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
President, 1872-79, 1888
From A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

Baptist Cameos _ Annie Walker Armstrong

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Annie Walker Armstrong

(b. Baltimore, Md., July 11, 1850; d. Baltimore, Md., Dec. 20, 1938). Woman’s Missionary Union leader. Daughter of James D. and Mary (Walker) Armstrong, she did not become a Christian until she was 19, after which she was baptized by Richard Fuller into the Seventh Baptist Church of Baltimore, Md. She left Seventh Church with 117 others, joined Eutaw Place Baptist Church at its organization, Feb. 20, 1871, and taught the infant class there for at least 30 years.

She led in framing the constitution of Woman’s Missionary Union which made the organization auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention instead of an independent body with power to collect and administer its own money and send out its own missionaries. Never discouraged, “Miss Annie” wrote, spoke, planned indefatigably. In 1899, while corresponding secretary of Woman’s Missionary Union, she was absent from the Mission Rooms, which served as the Woman’s Missionary Union office, for nearly two weeks due to sickness, and it was the first time this had occurred in 11 years. “The clerk made daily visits to the home-and the work was continued.” She refused to accept a salary from 1900 until her resignation in 1906, when the union voted that the corresponding secretary must be paid. The fact that she did not approve of establishing the W.M.U. Training School in Louisville added to her reasons for resigning.

Caring for her own travel expenses until 1901, Miss Armstrong traveled great distances-3,300 miles in 21 days, visiting 19 places, and making 26 addresses. Besides writing leaflets for Woman’s Missionary Union, Miss Armstrong, at the request of the editors, started a young people’s Scripture department in Kind Words, a “Folks and Facts” column, and two departments in The Teacher. She was a frequent contributor to the two mission publications, Foreign Mission Journal and Our Home Field. In 1888, after conference with Henry Allen Tupper, secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, Miss Armstrong wrote by hand letters to all the societies, asking them to contribute to the first Christmas offering, which resulted in $2,833.49 for Lottie Moon in China. She led Woman’s Missionary Union to enlarge its efforts in providing organizations for Negro Baptist women and children and in publishing literature for them.

As memorials to Miss Armstrong, Woman’s Missionary Union voted in 1907 to give $5,000 to a Home Mission Board mountain school and $5,000 to a hospital in China. The Annie Walker Armstrong building, erected at Burnsville, N. C., was dedicated in 1908 in appreciation of her service. More permanent memorials are the Annie Armstrong Offering for Home Missions and the structure of Woman’s Missionary Union, which she led in establishing.

Evans, Elizabeth Marshall. Annie Armstrong, 1963.
Sorrill, Bobbie. Annie Armstrong dreamer in action, 1984.
“Annie Armstrong”, Shapers of Southern Baptist Heritage pamphlet series. Southern Baptist Historical Society.

Archival sources in Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives:
Compere, Ebenezer Lee. Papers, 1852-1945. AR. 2.
Frost, James Marion. Papers. AR. 795-109.
Lawrence, Una Roberts. Collection, 1839-1974. AR. 631.

© 1998, Southern Baptist Historical Library & Archives

  

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