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Tag Archives: Fanny Crosby

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 2)

disastro“The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”

Good old Fanny Crosby – she knew what she was talking about when she wrote the above words back in 1872, in her famous hymn, “To God be the Glory.”  And yet, so many Christians through the years have been determined to prove her wrong, saying that what they had done was too vile to be forgiven and receive a pardon.

Their reasoning has often come from Matthew 12, where the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan. And after assailing their foolish logic, Jesus launches into these memorable words:

“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Matthew 12:31, 32 (ESV)

With that, here is the first of three reasons (and there are more) that Christians who are concerned about having committed some sort of unpardonable sin…need not worry:

1. Regarding Matthew 12, consider that Jesus would have never said that the Holy Spirit is somehow more important than He or the Father. Each Person of the Trinity is fully God.  So what does the Lord mean, then, when He says that you can speak against Son and be forgiven but not against the Spirit?

A famous Lutheran theologian, C.F.W. Walther, is helpful.  He writes:

“Now it is certain that the Holy Spirit is not a more glorious and exalted person than the Father and the Son, but He is coequal with them.  Accordingly, the meaning of this passage cannot be that the unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the person of the Holy Spirit; for blasphemy against the Father and the Son is exactly the same sin. The blasphemy to which our text refers is directed against the office, or operation, of the Holy Spirit; whoever spurns the office of the Holy Spirit, his sin cannot be forgiven. The office of the Holy Spirit is to call men to Christ and keep them with Him.”

The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, Dr. C.F.W. Walther

Surely this is right. For Jesus said…

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me…”

John 16:7-9 (ESV)

It is only through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit that we come to believe, so to speak against the Holy Spirit is to speak against His convicting work so as to resist His call to believe in Jesus.  This explains the passage very well, because the Pharisees certainly did not believe in Jesus –  they were accusing Him of doing miraculous works by the power of Satan.  Therefore, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is at root the sin of unbelief.  It is resisting the Holy Spirit and refusing to believe in Jesus.  And this fits in well with the next reason…

concluding tomorrow, Sunday, January 18

Let me offer the same encouragement as in part 1: if you would like to read more, please consider reading the excellent treatment of the subject by Martyn Lloyd Jones in this article, called “That One Sin”.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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