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Ashley Madison and the Secrets of Your Soul

AshleyAshleyMadison.com is in the news. If you hadn’t heard, it’s the go-to website for married folks interested in a “discreet encounter”. The tagline is “Life is short. Have an affair,” and in the fine print, it says, “Ashley Madison is the most recognized and reputable married dating company.” (By the way, you’re supposed to laugh out loud at the irony of a “reputable married dating company.”)  But alas, AshleyMadison was hacked, and if a user’s cheating heart wasn’t clever enough to put in a non-traceable email address (you know, one without a name in it), their “secret” life was exposed. Sadly, suicides and divorces are happening all around.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones speaks insightfully about secrets and human nature in his sermon, “Facing Reality,” based on Jeremiah 17:9…

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (ESV)

Lloyd-Jones writes…

“There are certain things of which we never speak to anyone except ourselves. Has this final and ultimate loneliness of your own nature and personality ever struck you? We are born into families and communities and yet how markedly individual we all are. We have secrets that our parents, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and children will never know and never discover. When someone tells you that he or she has told you all his or her secrets you can always be sure that that is never the case. However frank and open a person may be there is always something which is held back and reserved.

“…All the time that we continue being satisfied with the thought that these secret actions, thoughts and ideas of ours are unknown to anyone but ourselves, we forget the presence and the existence of God.…We can hoodwink and fool the whole world, can appear as one thing before it and be in reality something else, but how vain and foolish it is to do so. What is the point and object of doing that when all the time God knows the full facts about us?

“…Is it surprising that the prophet should have prayed, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved”? He had suddenly realized what a fraud his life was and how unsatisfactory it was, and prayed to be released from it once and for all. No longer content with fooling and satisfying others, this man faced himself and God. He looked at himself in the mirror and was horrified. There was nothing solid in his life, nothing lasting, nothing on which he could depend.

“…Oh, that we also might see ourselves as this man saw himself. Oh, that we might see the madness of thinking that we are clever and smart when we are not found out. Oh that we might see the deception and trickery that is within our own souls, and above all, see that our case is so desperate, our plight so terrible that there is no human agency which can save us and rid us of our baser nature. For it is only those people who have realized all that who utter this prayer and who, having prayed it, are healed and saved to all eternity through and by the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Apostle Paul’s AshleyMadison-type life

The Apostle Paul would have agreed. He looked inside…and he saw the AshleyMadison-type sewage. No, not sexual immorality, I suppose, just murder and that sort of thing. Anyway, he called himself the foremost sinner, or as the King James puts it, the “chief.” But praise God, Paul said more than that…

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15, 16 (ESV)

Maybe you’ve never been to AshleyMadison.com, or then again, maybe you have; either way, today you might be thinking that your secrets are worse than everyone else’s. If so…think again. Paul the blasphemer and Christian killer said his secrets and openly evil deeds were on record as the worst. And yet when he repented and placed his faith in Christ, he was gloriously saved as an example for the rest of us with sludge in our souls.

For tomorrow, Thursday, August 27th, 1 Timothy 2

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Comfort for those who believe they have committed an unpardonable sin (Part 3)

disastroWe’ve been discussing the trouble Christians have with believing they have somehow done something beyond the grace of God.  Part one is here and part 2 is here.

Here is the second reason Christians need not worry…

2. The gospel. Over and over again, Scripture makes it clear that justification (God declaring us righteous) comes by faith, not works. Christ takes our sins on Himself on the cross and gives us His righteousness. If somehow salvation or damnation came by what we said or did, then the whole of Christianity would be turned on its ear and would cease to be Christianity.

So Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

Or consider the first letter of the Apostle John, where he writes:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 (ESV)

As someone once said, “I looked up the word ‘all’ in the Greek, and it means…all.”  He cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness. And then finally…

 3. The example of the Apostle Paul. Look at his autobiographical story in 1 Timothy chapter 1:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:12-16 (ESV)

The meaning here is clear.  Paul is saying that he really was the worst of sinners…a blaspheming, Jesus-hating, Christian-killing, absolutely nasty religious dude. In short, Paul was the worst man who ever lived, and yet God saved him…but with a specific purpose – to show a watching world that no one, not a single person would ever be beyond His grace.  If God saved Paul, He can save you too.  You must simply believe.

And that leads to the most convicting consideration of this whole matter, given by Martyn Lloyd Jones in the article to which I have referred in the previous two posts.  He says that if after considering all this, you still think that you have committed the unpardonable sin, then your real problem is that you don’t believe the Word of God. And for this you should simply repent. If you have trusted in Christ alone for salvation, not in your own works of righteousness, then you are a Christian.  Tell God you are sorry that you have not believed His Bible. Tell Him that you are sorry that you have not believed this statement from Jesus:

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 5:24 (ESV)

Amen…and Hallelujah!

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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