Freedom without transcendent and fixed moral values to regulate conscience and govern practice is not freedom at all, rather it is lawlessness that promotes selfishness which leads to the disregard of others and the despising of authority.
In the Bible the nature of leaven is used to illustrate the pervasive power of evil.
The Lord Jesus told His disciples "to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matt 16:11). He was warning against the destructive and corrupting influence of their false teaching and hypocritical lifestyle (Matt 16;12; Lk 12:1).
The apostle Paul, when addressing the problem of gross sexual immorality within the church at Corinth, challenged the believers with these words: 'Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?' (1 Cor 5:6). They had failed to grasp, like many professing Christians today, that moral corruption spreads like a plague and contaminates everything it touches.
Any society tolerating and celebrating immoral practices of whatever kind, soon discovers that the corrosive influence of corruption spreads to every level and aspect of life with ugly and dire consequences such as those described by the apostle Paul in Romans 1: 28-32.
Do you care? We do have a choice. We can either allow ourselves to be deceived and corrupted or we can repent and believe the gospel.
'The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses from all sin' (1 John 1:7).
Leaven is yeast, the ingredient in bread that causes the process of fermentation which makes the dough 'rise' or 'fill out.'
"My grace," 'tis the God of all grace who hath spoken,
Whose word in the heavens forever is set;
Whose covenant promise hath never been broken;
Who never can fail or forget;
Who knoweth my needs and who seeth my sorrows,
However so many and great they may be;
Who heareth my prayers for the days and the morrows;
His grace is sufficient for me.
"My grace;" all His blessings this work is unfolding,
His love and His power in harmony blend;
'Tis grace that hath saved me, and grace that is holding,
And grace that will keep to the end;
'Tis grace that hath written redemption's glad story,
And grace all the song of the ransomed shall be;
'Tis grace that transforms me from glory to glory;
That grace is sufficient for me.
"My grace is," not "was," and not "will be;" 'tis flowing
Each hour and each moment my need to supply,
The deeper I dip, still the deeper 'tis growing,
No drought can diminish or dry;
My heart from the future no trouble shall borrow;
Eternal this present provision shall be,
Assured for today and as sure for tomorrow,
Such grace is sufficient for me.
"My grace is sufficient." Oh, help without measure!
An ocean of riches no plummet can sound,
A storehouse unfailing of infinite treasure,
A gift without limit or bound;
Exceeding abundant for all His creation,
Enough for the thorn that is buffeting me,
The fulness of God for earth's brief tribulation -
"My grace is sufficient for thee."
"Sufficient for thee," for my utmost salvation,
As though ne'er another had owed Him a debt;
For my special grief and my special temptation,
My cares and my sins that beset;
He giveth more grace for my humble endeavour;
I am praising Him now, I shall praise Him forever;
His grace is sufficient for me.
Annie Johnson Flint
'God's grace is sufficient for anywhere his providence places us.'
'As it has been beautifully said, If God sent two angels to this world, one to rule an empire and the other to sweep a crossing, they would never think of arguing on the way as to which was the more important work. Each is equally important, because He appoints it. May we learn the lesson!'
From 'His Workmanship' G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945)
Westminster Pulpit Vol. 1
'Truth becomes hard if it is not softened by love; love becomes soft if it is not strengthened by truth. The apostle calls us to hold the two together which should not be difficult for Spirit filled believers, since the Holy Spirit is Himself "the Spirit of truth, " and His firstfruit is "love." There is no other route than this to a fully mature Christian unity.'
John Stott (1921-2011) The Message of Ephesians
'The safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.'
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) The Screwtape Letters
'We have been told quite recently that in these days men do not want to hear about sin, that men are putting sin out of their vocabulary as a word, and are attempting to put it out of their thinking as a fact; but they cannot put it out of their experience. Drop it out of your vocabulary if you will be so foolish. Cease taking account of it in your arrangements if you will be so mad. It will be the madness of the ostrich that hides it head in the sand of the desert and dreams it is unseen because it cannot see.'
G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945)
'Amazing Love' Westminster Pulpit
We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors .
And the Russians would be sure to follow.
We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.
We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.
We believe in the rejection of creeds,
And the flowering of individual thought.
If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky
and when you hear:
"State of Emergency!"
"Sniper Kills Ten!"
"Troops on Rampage!"
"Whites go Looting!"
"Bomb Blasts School!"
It is but the sound of man
worshipping his maker.
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
Martin Luther, 1529 translated from German to English by Frederic H. Hedge, 1853.
We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone
to the best of your definition of "hurt",
and to the best of your definition of "knowledge".
We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.
We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.
We believe there's something in horoscopes,
UFO's and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher though we think
His good morals were very bad.
We believe that all religions are basically the same-
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.
We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then its compulsory heaven for all excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn
We believe in Masters and Johnson
What's selected is average
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.
'Unbelief hath more phases than the moon, and more colors than the chameleon.'
C. H. Spurgeon 'The Sin of Unbelief'
Jan 14 1855, New Park St Chapel
The Grace of God
The Spread of Leaven
A mighty fortress is our God
Creed by Steve Turner
Louis XIV (1715), as he lay dying, called the Dauphin to his bedside and said:
"My son, I might have lived a better life; profit by my errors; and remember this - kings die like other men."
From All the Last Words of Saints and Sinners Herbert Lockyer
'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.'
'Life is history in the Making.'
The gospel of John is written with plain language to communicate profound truth concerning the Son of God. The opening words of the gospel are simply majestic and majestically simple:
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God’ (Jn 1:1-2 KJV).
The Word is an eternal title of our Lord Jesus Christ. As such He is the one who expresses, reveals, and communicates the glory of God. He did so by creation:
‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’ (Jn 1:3).
He has done so by incarnation:
'And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1:14).
The hymn writer said it well:
O the glory of the grace,
Shining in the Savior's face!
Telling sinners from above,
"God is light" and "God is love."
Yet, the wonder and tragedy is:
‘He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not’ (Jn 1:10).
The Eternal Word
Now I saw in my Dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was
fenced on either side with a Wall, and that Wall is called Salvation. Up this
way therefore did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty,
because of the load on his back.
He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that
place stood a Cross, and a little below in the bottom, a Sepulchre. So I saw
in my Dream, that just as Christian came up with the Cross, his Burden
loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to
tumble, and so continued to do, till it came to the mouth of the Sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, He
hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death. Then he stood still
awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight
of the Cross should thus ease him of his Burden. He looked therefore, and
looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters
down his cheeks. Now as he stood looking and weeping, behold three
Shining Onescame to him and saluted him with Peace be to thee; so the
first said to him, Thy sins be forgiven: the second stript him of his Rags,
and clothed him with Change of Raiment; the third also set a mark in his forehead, and gave him a Roll with a Seal upon it, which he bid him look on
as he ran, and that he should give it in at the Coelestial Gate. So they went
Who's this? the Pilgrim. How! 'tis very true,
Old things are past away, all's become new.
Strange! he's another man, upon my word,
They be fine Feathers that make a fine Bird.
Then Christian gave three leaps for joy, and went on singing,
Thus far did I come laden with my sin;
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in
Till I came hither: What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss?
Must here the Burden fall from off my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me crack?
Blest Cross! blest Sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me.
Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan (1628-1688)
Christian at the Cross
'The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.'
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
'Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.'
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
'It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.'
'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.'
'The question is not, who uses faith and who uses reason? Everyone uses both. The question instead should be, who has the most reasonable faith?'
J. F. Baldwin
The apostles of the Lord Jesus were particularly careful to stress and unequivocally state the historical and experimental foundations of the Christian faith. The gospel they preached and the person they presented did not belong to the category of myths so prevalent in the cultures of the ancient world. Writing his second epistle, Peter reaffirms the factuality of what he had previously shared about the kingdom glory of the Lord Jesus: ‘We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty’ (2 Peter 1:16). In other words - we didn’t invent the story. Also, John writing about the apostles’ personal knowledge and experience of Jesus states: ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life —the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us’ (1 John 1:1-2). John confirms the reality of His person - He was physically and tangibly real, not imaginary.
The circumstances and events foundational to Christianity happened in real time involving real people being demonstrated by real evidence and verified by real witnesses. Yes, these events, such as the miracles of Jesus and His resurrection, were the work of God not men, but that doesn’t make them imagery, rather it proves the reality of God present in history. Sadly, though, history and evidence regarding these things doesn’t seem to matter to a secular mindset. You just dismiss it all as nonsense and lies for there is simply no place for God in a secular and material view of the world.
‘Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding’ (Proverbs 23:23) is sage advice in any and every generation.
I sing of my Saviour's first coming to earth
To Bethlehem's manger, so lowly His birth;
Court, palace, nor inn would give Him a place;
O Jesus my Saviour, how wondrous Thy grace.
Fear not, said the angel, 'tis tidings of love
'Tis pleasure to men, highest glory above,
'Tis peace upon earth! O, what joy to proclaim,
O Jesus my Saviour, Thy wonderful name.
Inspite of rejection, and hatred and loss,
Thy love led Thee onward to Calvary's cross,
Through waves and through billows, through darkness and pain,
O Jesus my Saviour, love's triumh to gain.
All finished Thy toil, crowned with honour Thy brow,
A man in the glory how worthy art Thou;
Made head over all things, Thous dost life impart,
O Jesus my Saviour, to the bride of Thy heart.
J. Wilson Smith (19th Cent.)
Final authority for the Christian is the Bible, the word of God. It governs belief, life and practice. Therefore, on every subject the believer refers to scripture, and accepts its teaching as absolute. The Bible, however, is not only relevant in its truth to Christians, what it says speaks to the world. God reveals Himself as Creator, moral lawgiver and Judge of all. He is the Supreme ruler of the universe and His word is final.
We live in a time when final authority for so many people is themselves. Sadly, being arrogant, self-opinionated and demeaning to others with whom you disagree appears to be an increasingly prevailing attitude. Now, by means of modern communication platforms along with powerful media outlets, people at every level of society can freely express their opinion in the most aggressive and dismissive manner to the widest possible audience. The result is that society is becoming more hostile and intolerant and nothing is sacred anymore while respect diminishes.
The loss of a final authority and a standard to which all can appeal and by which all can live is detrimental for it also means the loss of moral and social values that restrain sin and enhance life. Christians often have not been the best advertisement for the truth they claim to believe, but that should never be a reason to abandon the essential values, necessary standard and universal relevance of final authority – the word of God.
'To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.'
'A Sermon without Christ as its beginning, middle and end is a mistake in conception and a crime in execution.'
'I looked for the church and I found it in the world; I looked for the world and I found it in the church.'
'The little place by the side of the road' - Currien Gospel Hall, Florence Court Co Fermanagh NI