Not Logical Captain

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do we worship and love God because of all the things He has done for us? Or do we worship and love Him because it is through logic to worship Him knowing what we know of Him?

Romans 1:18-23 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

No one can legitimately deny the existence of God, or even question it. The creation makes it clear. The fool says in his Heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

The heart is the seat of emotion. Fools make this statement emotionally, because they have allowed their emotions to rule their logic. God’s existence is too obvious.

  • Take away the fact that we have His word. Take away all you have read and heard in your life time about God.
  • Now look at the world through the eyes of a lost soul, could you see God hand in the creation in the daily life as the world turns?

Today we are displeased with the TV programs they are showing. Many are borderline R rated and some I’d toss a small X in there.  But back in 1966 a TV program started and over the years became a hit movie many times.  But from the start they basically took the bible off the desk and stuck it on the self.

The program itself was OK, a little corny but the message it presented said, the bible is lying and man is the Supreme Being.

Star Trex

All through the show, they portray man and his emotions as rulers over all. No matter who the enemy was or what type of creature was trying to kill them, somehow the emotional being of James T Kirk always over came even when Spock the Logical one would say it was impossible.

Logical speaking,

  • there is no way this planet could be as beautiful as it is on its own.
  • There is no way, without the outside influence of God that man could have lived as long as he has without a God watching over us.
  • Who or what is the highest on the food chain? Man
  • What is the smartest most intelligent thing in the world? Man

We are the smartest living thing on this planet but because we allow our emotions to dictate most of our actions, man says we are the supreme and therefore there can’t be a God greater than us.

But Logical speaking, reading one of the greatest history books ever written, seeing with our own eyes the creation, there can be only one true answer and that is. There is a God and He created it all.

  • Logic tells us if the trees are swaying, or the trash cans are rolling down the road that the wind must be blowing.
  • Logic tells us if we go outside, our hair will be messed up
  • Logic also tells us be better go get the trash can now or we may not find it later or have to travel great distance to find it.

But our emotions tell us that to stay inside so we don’t mess up our 80 dollar hair do.

 

Logically speaking:  It makes sense to believe in Jesus since He opened my eyes, So I should follow Him

Emotionally:  Thank you Lord for opening my eyes so I may see

Emotionally speaking:

This falls right in step with 1 John 4:19 “We love Him (back) because He first loved us.”

Emotions are a part of our “soul” (mind, will and emotions) but they can only be redeemed if under the submission of the Holy Spirit.

Before Christ ….we were dead in sins (no spirit) that is why the world teaches Psychotherapy from a Mind/Emotions world view (Soul and Body)

But for a Believer having been made new “born of the Spirit” we see the world via Spirit, body and soul ….God in three persons, the blessed Trinity.

 

In the book of Exodus, We read how the Israelites were taken out of Egypt. How God through Moses did some mighty things for two reasons.

  1. To show Pharaoh how mighty the one true God is and to release His people.
  2. To show the Israelites how mighty their God was.

Logic dictates that if you have witnessed all these things with your own two eyes, we would feel that God has your back. Israel could go around talking smack, “That’s right, We serve a might God and He has our back”   And that is what God wanted.

But what happened? They let their emotions get in the way.

Exodus 14:10-12  As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them. Then the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help. 11 They said to Moses: “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt: Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Study cases have shown, most men are logical thinkers, were women are emotional thinkers and for this reason we can’t figure each other out.

Men: “We have a broken water pipe; I will need this tool and that tool to fix it.”

Women: “We have a leak and it going to ruin our carpet, and I will have to buy new curtains and the chairs will need new covering and new shoes.”

 

So do we discard one for another?  Do we toss our emotions aside and only live with logic or bury logic and keep emotions?

  • The 13th chapter in the book of 1 Cor, the whole chapter is about love. Love is an emotion and Paul tells us it’s the greatest of all.
  • Jesus said to love our neighbors as He has loved us.
  • For God so loved the world.
  • Logic tells us, God should have wiped out the whole earth and started over or maybe abandons this world and move on to better things.

Through the whole bible we have read and seen that had many people back in that time period acted on logic instead of letting their emotions get in the way, things might have turned out differ.

  1. The Old Testament tells of Jesus coming and what to look for in His coming
  2. But still the Jewish leaders allowed their emotions to get in the way. Instead of seeing Jesus for who He really was, they were more worried about losing their power.
  3. Worrying is a emotion, Jesus tells us not to worry in Matt 6:25-30

But logic has its own faults as well, when we lay our emotions aside and build a wall based only on logic. We miss out on the joys God has to offer.

  1. Love, we can worship God in the most strict way but without loving Him He is just a figure head
  2. Happiness: We can say with logic, I must be here in church today. But forced attendances is no fun, I would rather be somewhere I loved to be.

Emotions and logic have to run hand in hand or side by side with each other. When we allow one to rule over the other without truth, we can easily find ourselves out of step with the Lord.

 

The opening question… do we worship God with emotions or logic thinking?

 

God deals with us via the Truth of His Word. When “He comes he will convict the sin, with true righteousness and judgment.”

Jesus said “They that worship me will worship me in Spirit and Truth.”

We can get emotional and not be worshipping truthfully.

The Apostle Paul stated through divine revelation after many years in his walk that through growing in grace and knowledge that he came to know that “in my flesh no good thing dwells.” This is TRUTH

But for it to be TRUE worship it will require my utter devotion to “come clean” about who I am (sinner) in need of THE Savior in all areas of my walk.

Logically speaking: He is the creator and deserves our worship

Emotionally speaking: We love Him because He loved us first.

This is truth

Lonely as a Goose

Rejection and loneliness, they often times walk hand in hand

One can open the door for the other and each one may turn the key so Satan can bring someone to their knees.

They can both be a learning tool, a stop sign that is telling us maybe we are heading down the wrong path and need to turn around,

Lamentations 1:1-4 How[a] she sits alone, the city once crowded with people! She who was great among the nations has become like a widow. The princess among the provinces has been put to forced labor.

She weeps aloud during the night, with tears on her cheeks. There is no one to offer her comfort, not one from all her lovers.[b] All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.

Judah has gone into exile following[c] affliction and harsh slavery; she lives among the nations but finds no place to rest. All her pursuers have overtaken her in narrow places.

The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to the appointed festivals. All her gates are deserted; her priests groan, her young women grieve, and she herself is bitter.

Have you ever felt that way?

  • Everyone has abandon you, friends, family even the dog lays in the other room.
  • The whole world is against me and all I have is this celery stick to keep me company.

Reading these 4 verses, we can sense the pain of loneliness; feel the torture being placed on Judah because of her past boastfulness, her sinfulness and her wiliness to do it her way and forget everyone else, including God.

 

God had rejected their lifestyle and the self preservation they had for themselves.

  • We can do it our way
  • We don’t need anyone help

 

God’s plan for our lives doesn’t include loneliness? It doesn’t include for us to set around feeling sorry for ourselves while the rest of the world travels on by.  But when we place ourselves before His will, His plan can include some form of rejection just like Israel.

He wants our humble hearts not our boastful minds.

Jesus said He would never reject us and this is true but when we like the Israelites start to feel as if we don’t need God, we can do it on our own, and I will live the life style I choose.

Well God has shown many times He will step back and allow us to lead ourselves right snack into a wall.

Proverbs 16:4 The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose even the wicked for the day of disaster.

Loneliness is a side dish to rejection, when we feel rejected, our lonely meter starts to peg and soon we feel as if the whole world is against us. “Nobody cares, I don’t matter to anyone.”

And soon the pity party is in full swing and me, myself and I are the VIP’s.

No one likes being rejected. When we are rejected one of the first things we do is try to rationalize as why we were rejected in the first place and that is when our survival instincts kick in.

“I am right, they are wrong” and soon we are standing in the dark trying to paint a precious painting with a bucket of paint and mop head.

In Genesis 2:15-2, we read where and how God created Adam and how God knew Adam needed a mate so he wouldn’t be lonely.

But can you image how Adam would have felt if after the first time Eve met Adam, her first comments went something like:

  • Really, this is it; I’m supposed to start a world with this guy?

Rejection is a powerful tool to the mind, we all have felt it and I’m sad to say we have all probable done it.

Once we join the family of God, we will never be lonely again spiritual but humanly we can still build a wall of rejection and loneliness.

You want to know what loneliness looks like. Visit a funeral home or a cemetery when the dead has no one to come say good by.

Looking back in the bible, we see where it was the sins and wrong doings of Judah that brought this on them.

Proverbs 16:2-5 All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives.Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved. The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose even the wicked for the day of disaster. Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord; be assured,[b] he will not go unpunished.

Now I’m not saying everybody who is feeling lonely has committed sin and is living the life as a wicked person. But when we start to feel down and think nobody loves me, everybody hates me, it is a good time to evaluate our life and see if there is anything the Lord wants us to change.

  • The Lord wants us to fellowship
  • Spend time with family
  • Make new friends

Even if that means you make or take the first step.

Loneliness is a dark, dark place no one should have to visit for a moderate amount of time.

Setting around all day long doing nothing by yourself, talking to your self is ammo for Satan.

Proverbs 16:27 (Living bible) Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.

 

SO how do we fight loneliness,

  • If your family will not come visit, go visit them
  • If old friends are too busy for you. Make new ones
  • If you are living at home, get out and visit people living in nursing homes or hospitals

It is natural and most common to feel loneliness when we lose a friend or loved one, we can feel as if our very hearts were ripped into.

And this is OK because this is love and the pain that goes with it. But to withdraw from friends and family just because we might be set in our ways is not ok and we need to seek out the Lord to show us a path out of the darkness we are finding ourselves in.

When we start to sense the darkest close around us that is the time we need to cry out to the Lord and ask for the light of friendship.

I’m not saying go out and find another women or man to fill the companionship but simply having friends to call or visit will help to keep the light shinning.

Now I will admit I am the worse of calling on friends or family, but I do try to keep in contact with them at some pace. If for no other reason than to know if something was to happen to my wife, I could still have a ear to listen to me.

Lamentations 1:7 During the days of her affliction and homelessness Jerusalem remembers all her precious belongings that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into the adversary’s hand, she had no one to help. The adversaries looked at her, laughing over her downfall.

The Lord gives us Friendship and families so we have someone to turn to when thing go haywire and things start to fall apart in our lives.

Yes we can turn to the Lord and draw closer to Him, but even Moses had Aaron, Paul had Timothy, and Mary had Mary and the other Mary.

 

Helping one in need

How do we act, what do we say when we have a friend that has started to build a wall? Block by block they place them around themselves and it looks as if all is lost in the world.

  1. Call them more often, talk about new stuff as well as the old
  2. Visit with them
  3. Take them out for a ice cream or a new celery stick

But do something, we don’t know how many blocks each wall holds, we don’t know at what point, the tweed will snap and those who are lonely or feel rejected will feel a long sleep might be better than a long walk.

Some have placed that last block in place and there is no hope but when we ask the Lord to intervene the blocks will start to crumble.

Are these all the answers to all the questions on loneliness? No but unless we face the fact that we are seeking the dark instead of the light, unless we are willing to help a friend, brother or sister there will be only one question left to ask?

Who will carry my casket?

Daily Passage

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them.

 

James 3:17-18 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.

All I can say is WOW…

In a way it is funny how the Lord will bring a person back to their beginnings so they can regroup, reorganize, and get ready to make the next big jump in life.  My beginnings meaning this blog before Facebook, tweeter and all the other social media out there.

For a while I got caught up in the media world to the point where it was consuming all my time.  Had to check and post at least every half hour to make sure I was in tune with my friends and family.

Luckily,  the Lord sent someone and as painful as it was, I had to get off Facebook because I wasn’t obeying their polices.

Since that time, I have jumped head first back into His word and have spent more time writing my Sunday messages with more knowledge and meaning.

Thank you Lord.

As for the new beginning, over two years ago, I started standing in the pulpit, filling in as need be, which was a eye opener and a job I would have never ever thought I would do.

Knowing the Lord is one thing, working for Him in different ways is one thing, but to stand up in front of His sheep and share His word is a whole different animal.   It has been fun, scary,  fulfilling but above all, a blessing.

Just over a year ago, I became the intern at New Trace Baptist Church.  A very small country church with good old country folks who are a lot of fun and full of love.

A few months ago, they licensed me, and asked that I become Ordained.  WOW!!!!

Ordained?  Me… I’m just a laymen who loves talking about the Lord, I didn’t go to collage, I’m no bible expert, my words, are not shinny or powerful like most preachers.  Who was I to be ordained?

After fighting with this for awhile, talking to a good Iron friend (Tim Cameron) and listening as the Lord talking to me which finally having to shout at me, His message came clear.  You are nobody to the world but to me, you are someone I can use.

Like Moses, I couldn’t speak but He could.

So………..  On June 11th, Preachers and Pastors from around my area will come and ask me questions and get a feel for my calling.  After, they will present me to the church which will call and vote.

I am no longer scared and welcome the inquirer, as I truly feel in my heart, body and spirit that the Lord will give me the answers they seek.

If you happen to be reading this, you are someone I bet I call friend.  I thank you for your words of encouragement, prayers and comfort through the years, and ask you continue as I cast off the mooring lines of this ship and set sail for unknown places the Lord has for me.

YBIC

Jack

Matthews 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before man, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your FATHER in heaven.

To all fathers, dads or any man out there.  You are or can be a father figure to someone you may never know.  Whatever the case, let your light shine so others may see the Lord through you.

 

Beware of Spiritual Pride

by William Gurnall

Pride was the sin that turned Satan, a blessed angel, into a cursed devil. Satan knows better than anyone the damning power of pride. Is it any wonder, then, that Satan sows pride among saints, that he so often uses it to poison them? Spiritual pride is one kind of pride that Satan uses to assault the saints.

One kind of spiritual pride is pride of gifts. By gifts I mean those spiritual abilities the Holy Spirit dispenses to Christians for the edification of the body of Christ as a whole. The apostle tells us of the great diversity of gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-11). Just look around you at the different species of plants and flowers, and you will have some idea of God’s love for infinite variety. He has been no less creative with the human personality. Every child of God is unique and important for the proper functioning of the body of Christ.

But when pride creeps in, we begin to create hierarchies among the brethren and among gifts. This inevitably leads to divisions and disputes. Satan knows it and labors to taint every single gift with pride. In so doing he can hurl two stones at once. With one, he strikes the unity of the body as a whole; with the other, he cripples the individual saint.

Consider the possibility that pride is the reason we do so little good for others with our gifts. When pride prevails, we pray, preach, comfort, or console to be thought good-by others, rather than to do good to others. We set ourselves upon a spiritual pedestal and, in a manner of speaking, expect those we serve to worship at the shrine of our good works. Will God honor such efforts? He has told us in no uncertain terms that He will not share His glory with anyone else (Isa. 48:11). The humble man may have Satan at his right hand to oppose him, but the proud man will find himself in a worse fix. God Himself will be there to resist him. If you doubt it, read His Word: “[He] resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Jas. 4:6).

Our pride is also the reason we receive so little good from the gifts of other Christians. Pride fills us with notions of our own spiritual sufficiency. We think we are too good (or too holy) to need the help of most other saints. We find few preachers who are “spiritual” enough to minister to us. And if someone offers a word of correction, we close our ears.

Pride fools us into thinking we “are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Rev. 3:17). Alas for us! How long can a soul thrive if it steadfastly refuses wholesome nourishment, and will only sit down to a “choice dish” of high-sounding theory? Just as simple food is healthier for our physical bodies than an elaborate feast, so a steady diet of plain truths and God’s ordinances is better for our souls than dipping in the lordly dishes of man’s theological assumptions.

If you are one who holds yourself in high spiritual esteem, hear this: Many humble Christians, of low estate by the world’s standards, have much to offer you if you are not too proud to receive spiritual food at their hands. Pride always destroys love and separates saints. Without love for all the brethren, we are bound to lose much that God wants to give. The Bible says every saint has been given gifts to benefit the body of Christ.

Here is a word to you who think your gifts are inferior to those of other members of the body: Be content with your condition. Great gifts lift a saint up a little higher in the eyes of men, but they also tempt him to pride. Do not envy those with great gifts; instead, pray for them. It is hard for them to escape the error of supposing that God’s grace in them is their own doing. You have a real advantage over them, for you have the help of their gifts but not the temptation of their pride.

Words of Caution

Here, now, are some words of caution for you to whom God has given more or better gifts than ordinary.

Pride wants to grow where the best gifts have been bestowed. So beware of pride! The only thing that will keep you from it is your humility. Remember whom you wrestle with, spiritual wickedness. Their ploy is to lift you up high in order to give you a harder fall. They will try to convince you that your spiritual accomplishments are a result of your own efforts and that you deserve the credit for them. Surely you know this is not true! In case you have forgotten, think back to what you were like before the Holy Spirit came to you with gifts from God’s storehouse. How can you be proud of another’s bounty? You may be able to impress other men with your gifts, but you will not impress God. He knows where they all came from.

Where pride flourishes, the body of Christ suffers. Had God-given you gifts merely for your own pleasure or edification, the sin of pride would not be quite so bad. But when you use your gifts to lift yourself up, you tear down the body of Christ. Your gifts are necessary to the health of the whole body, but they must be administered properly. You must be careful to acknowledge that Christ is the Great Physician; you are only the assistant who uses His instruments and carries out His orders.

Where pride grows, grace withers. Here is another reason to be humble if you have great gifts: every proud thought you entertain costs you a measure of grace. There is not room for both to prosper in the Christian’s heart. Indeed, when grace and pride sit down at the same table, pride shows itself a glutton, and grace leaves the table unfed. Pride must have the most and best of everything to satisfy its appetite. This voracious lust will devour your spirit of praise. When you should be blessing God, you will be applauding yourself. It will eat up Christian love and cause you to disdain the fellowship of other Christians. It will keep you from acknowledging the gifts of others, because that would take away some of the glory you want for yourself. Ultimately, pride so distorts our taste that we can relish nothing drawn from another’s dish.

Where pride reigns, God chastens. God will not allow such a weed as pride to grow in His garden without taking some course or other to root it up. He may let you fall into a sin that will humiliate you before men and God, and force you to come crawling home in shame. Or He may use a thorn in the flesh to prick the balloon of your pride. If your pride has placed His honor in jeopardy, expect to feel God’s rod of correction. Most likely it will be applied to the very spot where your pride is rooted. Hezekiah boasted of his treasure; God sent the Chaldeans to plunder him (Isa. 39:1-8). Jonah was proud of his gourd; God sent a pestilence to destroy it (4:6-11). Can you expect Him to wink at this sin in your life when He has dealt so firmly with it in His other children?

Where gifts are bestowed, God calls an audit. Suppose a friend died and named you executor of his estate. But instead of dividing his inheritance according to the instructions left in his will, you took the money and put it in your own bank account, then went around town bragging about how rich you were. How long could you fool people with your false prosperity? Sooner or later the rightful heirs would show up and not only take what is theirs, but probably sue you as well. In a spiritual sense, you are only God’s executor. He has given you gifts, and specific instructions on how to dispense them. By the time you have paid all the legacies, you will see little left for yourself to brag or boast of. Never forget for a moment that you will be held accountable for the talents left in your care.

Now perhaps you do not keep your gifts from others, but serve the church tirelessly. That sounds commendable. But let me ask you this: who gets the credit for your activities? Suppose a man who was named executor of an estate paid out the legacies as instructed but he pretended they were gifts from himself. Would we not label him a thief and a swindler? A proud soul who takes the credit for his good works is just as much a thief. What is worse, he steals from God Himself!

Warning Signals of Pride

How can you know when you are in danger of committing the sin of spiritual pride with respect to your gifts? Here are some warning signals.

You are in danger of spiritual pride if you catch yourself dwelling on the thoughts of your gifts with a secret kind of contentment, always taking them out to look at and admire. A proud man is consumed with love for himself. He is the apple of his own eye. The great subject and theme of all his thoughts is who he is and what he has that is better than someone else’s. Before you protest that you could never fall into the hands of pride, let me tell you that no one is beyond its bounds. Bernard, that great old saint, confessed that even in the middle of one of his sermons, pride would be whispering in his ear, “Well done, Bernard, well done!”

How can the Christian escape those persistent self-promoting thoughts? Run from them as you would from an enraged bear. Do not stand still to listen to these lies, or soon the devil will have you erecting a monument to yourself with the glory of your God-given gifts. Remind yourself daily how weak you are and how utterly dependent on God for every good and perfect gift.

Another indicator that you are caught in the trap of spiritual pride is envy of others’ gifts. Keeping our hearts and envy separated is as difficult as keeping two lovers from meeting. It is the sin that shed the first blood: Cain’s envy hatched Abel’s murder.

Envy is an affront to the character and person of God. When you envy you are questioning God’s right to administer His gifts as He sees best. You are also maligning the goodness of God. You are angry that God wants to bless someone besides you. Would you not have God be good? You might as well say you would not have Him be God, for He can no more cease to be good than He can cease to be God! When your envy prods you to belittle the gifts of other Christians, you are really belittling God who gave them.

Envy, like its mother, pride, is the scout for a whole host of other sins. This sin of the heart goes before and sets the stage for all kinds of sins of the flesh. Saul, Israel’s first king, fell so low as to plot the murder of the very man who had saved his kingdom. From the day he heard David preferred above himself in the women’s songs, he could not get the sound out of his head. Envy brought him to hate, which carried him on to plot David’s death (1 Sam. 18:6-9).

Later on, what did envy do to David’s own heart but make him covet the wife of his trusted soldier, Uriah, and lead him through a maze of lust, lies, adultery, and murder? (2 Sam. 11:1-27). Not one of these would have been committed had it not been for that rabble-rouser, envy. It is a bloody sin, the womb wherein a whole litter of other sins is formed (Rom. 1:29). Therefore, unless you are willing to welcome the devil and his whole train, resist the sin of envy.

To gain mastery over this sin, you must call in help from heaven. We have a sure promise that the foundation of our grace is stronger than that of our lust, but only if we enlist the Holy Spirit in our behalf: “The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy. But He giveth more grace” (Jas. 4:5-6). Do not challenge envy to a duel with your own resolve; you are not strong enough or smart enough to win. But God can give you more grace than you have sin, more humility than you have pride. If you are humble enough to ask for His grace, He will make sure you are not so proud as to envy His gifts or grace in others.

Future Punishment And The Bible

Future Punishment And The Bible
By Samuel Logan Brengle

Joseph Cook, one of America’s soundest and clearest thinkers, said to me a generation ago, ‘Let the Churches banish from their pulpits the preaching of Hell for a hundred years, and it will come back again, for the doctrine is in the Bible, and in the nature of things.’ And he said in his great lecture on the ‘Final Permanence of Moral Character’: ‘The laws by which we obtain supreme bliss are the laws by which we descend to supreme woe. In the ladder up and the ladder down in the universe, the rungs are in the same side pieces. The self-propagating power of sin and the self-propagating power of Holiness are one law. The law of judicial blindness is one with that law by which the pure in heart see God.’

There is but one law that can save me from ‘the law of sin and death,’ that is ‘the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.’ If I refuse to submit to that law, I abide eternally under the law of sin and death and endure eternally its dread penalties.

‘Every sinner must be either pardoned or punished.’

I once heard these words uttered by The Army Founder in the midst of an impassioned appeal to men to make their peace with God; and they have remained in my memory, always representing a tremendous truth from which we can never get away.

The Atonement opens wide the door of pardon, of uttermost Salvation, and of bliss eternal to every penitent sinner who will believe on Christ and follow Him, while it sweeps away every excuse from the impenitent sinner who will not trust and obey Him.

The Atonement justifies God in all His ways with sinful men.

The holiest beings in the universe can never feel that God is indifferent to sin, when He pardons a believing sinner, lifts up his drooping head and introduces him to the glories and blessedness of Heaven, because Christ has died for him. On the other hand, the sinner who is lost and banished to outer darkness, cannot blame God nor charge Him with indifference to his misery, since Christ, by tasting death for him, flung wide open the gateway of escape. That he definitely refused to enter in will be clear in his memory for ever, and will leave him without excuse.

We do not often encounter now the old-fashioned Universalist, who believed that all men, whether righteous or wicked, enter into a state of blessedness the moment they die. But others, with errors even more dangerous, because seemingly made agreeable to natural reason and to man’s inborn sense of justice, have come to take his place and weaken men’s faith in the tremendous penalties of God’s holy law; in fact, there seems to be a widespread and growing tendency to doubt the existence of Hell and the endless punishment of the wicked.

A theory often advanced is the annihilation, or extermination, of the wicked. It is said that there is no eternal Hell; and that the wicked do not enter into a state of punishment after death, but are immediately or eventually blotted out of existence.

Then there is the doctrine of ‘eternal hope.’ This asserts that the wicked will be punished after death, possibly for ages, but that in the end they will all be restored to the favor of God and the bliss of the holy. The words of our Lord to the traitor appear to be an unanswerable refutation of this doctrine. If all are to be saved at last, would Jesus have said of Judas, ‘It had been good for that man if he had not been born ‘? For what are ages of suffering when compared to the blessedness and rapture of those who finally see God’s face in peace and enjoy His favor to all eternity?

There is something so awful about the old doctrine of endless punishment, and such a seeming show of fairness about these new doctrines, that the latter appeal very strongly to the human heart, and enlist on their behalf all the sympathies and powerful impulses of ‘the carnal mind’ which is enmity against God,’ and which is ‘not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’

In forming our opinions on this subject we should stick to the Bible. All we know about the future state is what God has revealed and left on record in ‘the law and ….. the testimony,’ and ‘if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Human reason, as well as human experience fails us here, and we can put no confidence in the so-called revelations of spiritualism nor in the dreams of sects who pretend to be able to probe the secrets of eternity. If the Bible does not settle the question for us, it cannot be settled.

The Bible teaches that there is punishment for the wicked after death, and that of this punishment they are conscious. In the record of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus says: ‘The rich man also died,….. and in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said,….. Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.’

Some labor hard to strip this Scripture of its evident meaning and to rob it of its point and power, by declaring that it is only a parable. On the contrary, the Saviour’s statements are given as facts. But even though we admit the account to be a parable, what then? A parable teaches either what is or what may be, and in that case these words lose none of their force, but stand out as a bold word-picture of the terrible doom of the wicked.

Over and over Jesus speaks of the wicked being cast into ‘outer darkness,’ where ‘there shall be weeping’ and ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth.’ Three times in one chapter He speaks of the worm that dieth not and the fire that is not quenched.

Paul says, ‘Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish,’ shall come upon the wicked. And John, in the Revelation, says they are in torment.’

What can all this mean but conscious punishment?

Let a man who never before saw the Bible, read these words for the first time, and he would at once declare that the Bible teaches the conscious suffering of the wicked after death. He might not believe the teaching, but he would never think of denying that such was the teaching of the Bible.

The punishment mentioned in the Bible must be felt, must be conscious, otherwise it is not ‘torment,’ ‘tribulation and anguish.’ The ‘second death,’ the death of the soul, must be something other than the destruction of its conscious existence.

Jesus has defined for us eternal life as the knowledge of God: ‘This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.’ (John xvii. 3.) If then this blessed knowledge constitutes eternal life, what is the death which sin imposes but just the absence of this knowledge, with consequent wretchedness and misery? To lose God, to sink into outer darkness, to lose all fellowship with pure and loving souls, to be an outcast for ever, this is ‘the second death,’ this is ‘torment and anguish,’ this is ‘Hell,’ and this is ‘the wages of sin.’

The Bible further teaches that the punishment of the wicked after death will be endless.

There are distinguished teachers and preachers who have declared that the Bible does not teach the eternity of sin and of punishment. But if we examine for ourselves, we find this teaching as clear as human language can make it. In the Revised Version we read: ‘Whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin,’ and eternal sin will surely be followed by eternal woe. While sin lasts misery lasts.

The strongest terms that can be used have been used to teach eternal punishment. When we say a thing will last for ever we have put it strongly, but when we duplicate the phrase and say it will last for ever and for ever, we cannot add to its strength — we have said all that can be said. This is just what the Bible does in speaking of the punishment of the wicked.

The phrase ‘for ever and ever ‘ is the strongest term by which the idea of eternity is expressed in the Bible. It is the phrase used to express the eternal life and glory of the righteous: ‘And they shall reign for ever and ever.’ Paul used these words when he prayed for the continuance of God’s glory: ‘To whom be glory for ever and ever.’ (Galatians i. 5; see also Philippians iv. 20; 2 Timothy iv. 18; Hebrews xiii. 21.) It is also the very phrase used to assert the eternal existence of God Himself — Who ‘liveth for ever and ever.’ (Revelation iv. 9, 10; x. 6; xv. 7.)

This phrase, which is used to declare the endless life and glory of the righteous and the existence of God Himself, is also used to declare the endless punishment of Satan: ‘The Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.’ (Revelation xx. 10.) In verse 15 we are told that the wicked are to share the punishment of the Devil himself. And Jesus, in foretelling the sentence of the wicked at the Judgment Day, declares: ‘Then shall He also say to them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels ‘; thus showing that the wicked are to share the punishment of the Devil, which is ‘for ever and ever.

Did not Jesus mean to teach endless punishment when, three times in six short verses, He warned His hearers in the most solemn manner to cut off hands and feet and pluck out eyes, rather than to go into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched’? (Mark ix. 43- 48.)

Is not endless punishment implied in the parable of the cruel and unforgiving servant, who, owing ten thousand talents (or one million eight hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds), with nothing with which to pay, was delivered to the tormentors till he should pay all that was due? Does not Jesus mean to teach that his debt was beyond his power to cancel; and that, since he proved wickedly unworthy of mercy and forgiveness, he was buried for ever beneath the burden and torment of his vast debt?

And this parable but pictures the moral and spiritual debt of the sinner — illimitable and ever-increasing, unless, in penitence and obedient faith, he finds release through the Blood of Christ before the final sentence of judgment is passed and the prison gates have closed upon him.

We learn from Josephus, the Jewish historian, that the Jews believed in endless punishment; and when the Son of God came into the world to teach men the truth, He did not deny and combat that belief, but spoke fearfully plain words which would confirm and strengthen it.

Well does one writer say: ‘They who deny that any of the words used of future punishment in Holy Scripture express eternity, would do well to consider whether there is any way in which Almighty God could have expressed it, which they would have accepted as meaning it.’

God did not trifle when He inspired those dreadful warnings. Take heed, then, that you do not trifle when you read them, but rather fear and tremble at the Word of the Lord. For just in proportion as you, in the secret of your own heart, doubt the endless punishment of the wicked, in that proportion you will lose power to resist sin and desire to save your own soul or that of others around you.

Two powerful motives which the Holy Ghost uses to lead men to accept the Saviour and renounce all sin, are the hope of everlasting blessedness and the fear of eternal woe. These motives may, in time, in the heart of a Christian be swallowed up in a higher motive of love and loyalty to God, but they always remain as a frame work. No preacher through all the ages has appealed so simply, so constantly, so powerfully, and with such even balance to these motives as did the Saviour. The whole of Matthew xxv. is an illustration of His method of appeal.

Eternity furnishes these motives. They balance each other like the two wings of a bird, the two wheels of a carriage, right and left, upper and lower, right and wrong, and this balance is never lost, but evenly held throughout the Bible from the blessing and cursing of Deuteronomy (xxx. 19) to the final fixedness of moral character as ‘ filthy or ‘ holy ‘ in Revelation (xxii. 11).

Deny one of them and your strength against sin is gone. You may live a life most beautiful in its outward morality, but those secret girdings of the will which in the past impelled you to resist sin unto death, will weaken, and you will find yourself making secret compromises with sin. You will lose your power to discern ‘the exceeding sinfulness of sin.’ You will be ensnared by Satan as ‘an angel of light,’ and some day you will become ‘a servant of sin.’

The sinner is not alarmed by the thought that death ends all. He will say, ‘Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.’ It is not death he fears, but that which follows death. Nor does he care for punishment after death if he can only believe it will end sometime he will still harden himself in sin and mock God. But preach to him the faithful Word of God, until the awful fact of endless punishment, set over against the endless blessedness of God’s approval and favor, pierces his guilty conscience and takes possession of his soul, and he will go mournfully all his days until he finds Jesus the Saviour.

Such has always been the effect of the doctrine when proclaimed in power and pity and love with the fire-touched lips of holy men and women. But let men in their folly imagine themselves wiser and more pitiful and just than God, and so begin to tone down this doctrine, then conviction for sin ceases, the instantaneous and powerful conversion of souls is laughed at, the supernatural element in religion is called fanaticism, the Holy Ghost is forgotten, and the work of God comes to a standstill.

But some one objects that God is not just to punish a man for ever for the sins he commits in the short period of a lifetime. And thus speaking he thinks of certain acts of sin such as lying, cheating, swearing, murder, or adultery. But it is not for these sins that men are sent to Hell. God has pardoned multitudes who were guilty of all these sins, and has taken them home to Heaven.

All men are sent to Hell by the weight and pull of their self-chosen evil and discordant nature and character, because they will not repent and turn from sin to God, but choose to remain filled with unbelief, which begets pride and self-will; consequently they are out of harmony with, and are in antagonism to God and all His humble, obedient servants; they will not come to Jesus, that they may be saved from sin and receive a new heart and life. They are dead in trespasses and sins, and they refuse the Life-Giver. Jesus says: ‘Ye will not come unto Me that ye might have life.’ Again He says: ‘This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.’

If sinners would come to Christ and receive the gracious, loving life He offers, and allow Him to rule over them, God would not impute their trespasses to them, but would forgive all their iniquities, and their sins would drop off as the autumn leaves from the trees in the field.

But men will not come. They refuse the Saviour; they will not hear His voice; they turn away from His words; they remain indifferent to His entreaties; they laugh or mock at His warnings; they walk in disobedience and rebellion; they trample on His holy commandments; they choose darkness instead of light; they prefer sin to holiness, their own way to God’s way; they resist the Holy Spirit: they neglect and reject Christ crucified for them — and for this they are punished.

All this stubborn resistance to God’s invitations and purposes may be linked to a life of external correctness and even apparent religiousness. Not until all His judgments and warnings, His entreaties and dying love have failed to lead sinners to repentance and acceptance of the Saviour, and not until they have utterly refused the eternal blessedness of the holy, does God cease to strive with sinners and to follow them with tender mercies.

By obstinate persistence in sin men come to hate the thing that God loves, and to love the thing that God hates; thus they become as dead to God’s will, to holiness, and to His plans for them, as the child destroyed by smallpox or diphtheria is dead to the hopes and plans of its mourning father and mother. And as such parents in sorrow put away the pestilence-breeding body of their dead child, so God puts sinners, in their utter spiritual corruption, away from His holy presence ‘and from the glory of His power.’

How could God more fully show His estimate of sin, together with His love and pity and longing desire to save the sinner, than by dying for sinful man?

God in Christ Jesus has done that. Bless His holy name! But the sinner tramples on Christ’s Blood, rejects His infinite mercy, resists His infinite love, and so hardens himself into an eternal sinner; hence he deserves eternal punishment, which will follow sin as surely as night follows day.

Is sin only a mild infirmity that we need not fear, and that will yield to gentle reproof? Was the Son of God only playing at being a Saviour when He came down and died for us? Or is sin an awful crime against God and all His creatures, that can only be remitted by the shedding of blood? Is it a crime for which men are responsible, and of which they ought to repent? Is it a crime that tends to perpetuate itself by hardening men in evil, and that culminates in eternal guilt when men finally resist the Holy Ghost, and totally and for ever turn from Jesus the Crucified, rejecting Him as their Saviour and Lord?

If sin is such a crime — and the Bible teaches that it is — then God, as moral Governor of the universe, having provided a perfect way, and having done all He could to persuade men to turn from sin, is under obligation, if He meets only with determined resistance, to place sinners under sentence of punishment, to oppose them and put them away for evermore from His holy presence, and from the society of holy men and angels, where they can no more breed moral and spiritual pestilence, nor disturb the moral harmony of God’s government and people. And when God does so my conscience takes God’s part against my sensibilities, against my own soul, and against a guilty world, and pronounces Him just and holy.

We live in a stern universe where fire will not only bless us but burn us; where water will both refresh and drown us; where gravitation will either protect or destroy us; we must not look at things sentimentally. If we love God and serve Him all things will work for our good; but if we despise or neglect Him we shall find all things working for our eternal undoing and misery. God does not send people to Hell who are fit for Heaven. The standard of fitness is made plain in the Bible, and God’s tender and pitying love has provided for every sinner pardon for past sins through the death of Jesus, and purity, power, and abundant help for the present and future through the gift of the Holy Spirit; so that there will be excuse for none.

If one whom I love commits some terrible crime, violating all the righteous and gracious laws that safeguard society, and consequently is cast into prison, my sorrow — if I myself am the right kind of man — will spring not from the fact that he is in prison, but rather f rom the fact that his character makes him unfit to be out of prison; and if he should go to Hell, my sorrow would be due, not to the fact that he was in Hell, but rather to the fact that he so neglected and despised infinite love and mercy that he was unfit for Heaven. Such a person would possibly be more unhappy in Heaven than in Hell, just as a man who has terribly inflamed eyes is more unhappy in the light of broad day than in the darkness of midnight.

Finally, for a man to say, ‘I believe in Heaven, but I do not believe in Hell,’ is much as though he should say, ‘I believe in mountains, but not in valleys; in heights, but not in depths.’

We cannot have mountains without valleys, we cannot have heights without depths, and we cannot have moral and spiritual heights without the awful possibility of moral and spiritual depths; and the depths are always equal to the heights. The high mountains are set over against the deep seas, and so Heaven is set over against Hell. If Heaven is topless, Hell is bottomless.

Every road leads two ways. The road which leads from New York to Boston also leads from Boston to New York. A man can go either way as he chooses; so with the roadway of life. The man who chooses the things God chooses, loves the things God loves, and hates the things God hates, and who, with obedient faith, takes up his cross and follows Jesus, will go to the heights of God’s holiness and happiness and Heaven; but the man who goes the other way will land in the dark, bottomless abysses of Hell. Every man chooses his own way.

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side; Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight, Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right, And the choice goes by for ever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.

Joseph Cook closed his address, at the Chicago ‘Parliament of Religions,’ on ‘The Certainties of Religion,’ with these words, ‘I bought a book full of the songs of aggressive evangelical religion, and I found in this little book words which may be bitter indeed when eaten, but which, when fully assimilated, will be sweet as honey. I summarize my whole scheme of religion in these words, which you may put on my tombstone Choose I must, and soon must,

Holiness, or Heaven lose.
If what Heaven loves 1 hate,
Shut for me is Heaven’s gate.
Endless sin means endless woe,
Into endless sin I go,
If my soul from reason rent
Takes from sin its final bent
As the stream its channel grooves,
And within that channel moves;
So does habit’s deepest tide
Groove its bed and there abide.
Light obeyed increaseth light;
Light resisted bringeth night.
Who shall give me will to choose,
If the love of light I lose?
Speed, my soul, this instant yield,
Let the light its sceptre wield
While thy God prolongs His grace,
Haste thee to His holy face.
‘HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE, IF WE NEGLECT SO GREAT SALVATION?’
‘WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP.’