"Consider thy ways . . ."-Hag. 1:7
IN THIS ISSUE
He That Trusteth In His Own Heart Is A Fool
Does Repent Really Mean Repent?
To Be Used of God
Cheer for Old Age
Family Camp Meeting
Now Consider This
He That Trusteth In His Own Heart Is A Fool
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be
delivered. (Prov 28:26)
Just the reading of this verse can be offensive to us. Just to think that someone would say that we are a simpleton, foolish, not wise, or ignorant that is offensive to us. But we need to confirm in your mind that GOD SAID IT. Sometimes we attempt to separate the Bible from God by saying things like, "Paul said " or "Luke said " or "Isaiah or Jeremiah said..." The fact is that ALL Scripture is given by the inspiration of God; EVERY word was given by God. God gave the Word, men published the Word, and great was the company of those that published it. There is no private interpretation of the Word of God GOD GAVE THE WORD, and God says that if you trust in your own heart, you are a fool. Now in reality, the fact is that probably close to 100 percent of those who are hearing this message do just exactly what this verse says we are a fool to do.
One of the hardest things to define is the heart. The heart in the Bible is called many different things. The heart can be called the conscience, the mind, or your reasoning. Vines definition for the heart is as follows: " the word came to stand for mans entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements. In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life. The Bible describes human depravity as being in the heart, because sin is the principle which has its seat in the center of mans inward life, and then defiles the whole circuit of its action. On the other hand Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of divine influence. (Romans 2:15, Acts 15:9) The heart, as lying deep within contains the hidden man. It represents the true character, but conceals it. As to the usage in the New Testament, it denotes the seat of the physical life. The seat of moral nature and spiritual life. The seat of grief, joy, desires, affections, perception, the thoughts, the understanding, the reasoning powers, the imagination, the conscience, the intentions, the purpose, the will, and faith." So the Bible is telling us that to trust in your own reasoning, your own will, your own thoughts, your own imaginations, your own desires, your own affections is FOOLISH.
Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. That is very important and everyone should pay close attention to this because, WITH THE HEART MAN BELIEVETH UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS, and the heart is the most easily deceived thing there is. It is deceptive above all things. All your reasoning, your emotions, your desires, your will, your thoughts can be deceiving ABOVE ALL THINGS. Believe me, the master deceiver, the devil, has a bag full of tricks to work on your weakest spot your heart. It is a foolish thing to trust in your own heart, but that is exactly what most of us do.
You must admit that you DO trust in your own heart. You lean on it, you depend on it in spite of the fact that you have caught it lying to you in the past. Your heart has told you something was good when it was really bad. It has told you something was right when it was really wrong. Your heart has lied to you over and over again, but yet you trust it MORE than you trust Gods Word. Your heart has deceived you, it has tricked you, it has lied to you, it has lead you down the wrong road, it has lead you into bad decisions, it has caused you to make foolish mistakes, but yet you TRUST your heart. That just isnt smart. It is foolish to trust your heart.
There are some influences upon the heart that can cause us to be deceived. For example, your eyes are an influence upon your heart. How many times have you bought something because it looked good, but it turned out to be bad? How many times have you looked at something and bought it because your eyes lusted after it? You didnt really have the money, and you really didnt need it, but your eyes convinced your heart to make the decision to go ahead and buy it. Man looks on the outward appearance and then makes decisions in his heart based on what he sees. That is a very foolish thing to do. Eve was influenced by what she saw with her eyes to make a wrong decision; so was Achan; so was Amnon. Job 31:7 says, "If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes..." We look at another person and decide they are good or bad by what we see. If they smile or treat us well we say they are a good person. We then make a decision about another persons character purely by SIGHT. Really, you dont know the character of a person by just looking at them. Have you ever been deceived by a person? You know you have! You have been deceived by hundreds of people. Looks are deceptive. You have a lot of decisions to make in life and if you let your eyes control your heart, you will make wrong decisions and mess up your life. You have trusted in a very untrustworthy source; it is foolish to trust in what you see. If you need a baby-sitter, do you just look a person over and let your eyes make a decision about their character? Do you just sort of look other kids over and decide they would be good playmates for your kids? It is dangerous to trust in what you see. How many people have trusted someone because they looked like a good person and ended up in trouble?
Next, our mind can influence our heart to be deceived. Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." We tend think that our reasoning is superior to everyone elses. We put full confidence in our ability to reason things out. This is trusting in our own heart. We think that we have all the information necessary to allow our intellect to make the decision for us. We see faulty reasoning in others, but OURS is sound, and we see no flaws in it. But what if the basis of your reasoning comes from the source of evil? What if you are reasoning and evaluating from a source of humanistic understanding? How do the people who support abortion reason things out and justify in their minds the murder and mutilation of innocent human infants? In their minds they have come to the logical conclusion that it is right to do away with these innocent lives and they apparently feel no guilt or qualms about it at all. Where do they get the basis for such logic? There had to be some sort of a seed or source from which to reason which was not from God. The practice of the evil one is simply to plant a seed thought in your mind and from there it grows naturally and bears evil fruit unless it is stopped by a conscious will that is yielded to God. The devil only suggested to Eve that she look at the fruit and placed a doubt in her mind about Gods purpose in forbidding it. That was all it took and sin was soon brought forth. Yet almost everybody trusts their heart because they think their reasoning is infallible and they couldnt possibly have anything impure or wrong in their logic. Why, most people trust their minds above Gods Word! Who needs God when they have a mind that can discern and decide without error? Thats why you make decisions without praying or searching the Word of God. The best way to make a decision is to get on your knees before your open Bible and with an open heart, pray, "Guide me Father, I dont know the answer, and I dont know the way." That is a broken and contrite heart; that is a heart that has no will of its own; that is not trusting in itself; that is not resistant against God, and not seeking its own.
Most everyone who is hearing this message lets their intellect, their emotions, their feelings guide their lives. They make their decisions based on what they think, reason, feel, imagine, and desire. That is letting your heart be your guide. God doesnt guide your life, He is not your Lord and Master. Your conscience, your imagination, your emotions and desires are your guide. Instead of acknowledging Him in ALL your ways, YOU make the decisions and then you wonder why you get into problems. God says that is foolishness. It could be that a seed was planted by the devil and you progressed with that thought. Did you ever make a bad spiritual decision? You thought you were making a right decision and doing the will of God. Could it be because you leaned to your own understanding? You thought your intellect was sufficient to figure things out. Rare, indeed, is the person who will say, "Im not intelligent enough to guide my own life; Im ignorant; I dont know the way." No one wants to admit they need help.
Wonder why we make bad decisions about our kids? Wonder why we make wrong decisions about our life and make a mess of things? Wonder why we end up in error? We think we are programmed perfect and cant make a mistake by trusting our heart. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man " Do you think that all the people in liberal churches have made up their minds that they just dont want to live right and refuse to obey the commands of Gods Word? Or do you think they have reasoned things out and decided that they are doing the right thing? Of course, they think they are doing the right thing! The question to you is: Are they trusting their minds, or are they trusting Gods Word? People do not believe they need any help. They dont believe they need to be lead around by the hand. They are sufficient within themselves to handle every situation and decision they face. How many people pray for wisdom every day? There is no need for that if all your decisions have proven to be right and everything has always worked out like you thought it would, but we all know that is not the case.
People trust their "gut feelings." Youve heard people say, "Ive just got a good feeling about this thing; I just know it is going to work out, because I feel good inside about it." Isnt that about what most people run on? Where is God involved in it, then?
Your desires will influence your heart to be deceived. Your wants, your interests, your ego. Everybody wants to be loved and accepted and that is a natural affection, not unnatural. Everyone wants everyone to agree with them. This will very easily influence your heart to be deceived.
Your emotions can influence your heart to be deceived. Many times in a service where the Lord is moving and there is a lot of emotion people will make decisions and commitments, but all decisions made in the heights of emotion are not likely to last. Emotions are not bad, and they are the natural result when the Truth arrives in the understanding and heart of a person, but emotions should never be used as a tool to persuade people to make decisions and commitments to God. They are very untrustworthy.
Many trust their hearts for problem-solving. Many trust their hearts for knowledge of right and wrong. Havent you heard people say, "I dont see anything wrong with that."? Where was the basis of their reasoning that brought them to that conclusion? Was it in the Bible? Of course, it wasnt!
Now, " with the heart man believeth unto righteousness " We must rightly divide the Word of God here. Most, or all, of our relationship with God will be based on our heart. Have you ever wondered why you have doubts or confusion about your salvation? Have you ever felt that God has abandoned you and cant be found? Have you felt that He is far away and isnt listening to you? Those things happen when we begin to trust in our own heart. You think your heart knows you better than God knows you. Youre letting your heart define God instead of letting the Word of God define God. Youre letting your heart be your guide instead of the Holy Ghost being your guide. You are allowing your heart to speak to you instead of allowing the Holy Ghost and the Word of God speak to you. You will always be in confusion and you will always be a FOOL if you trust your heart.
Does Repent Really Mean Repent?
Do you think that ideas about repentance have changed? Do you think that men are teaching repentance to mean the same thing that men through the ages have? Here are the opinions of two of the leading "fundamental" Baptist preachers of recent years:
"There are those who say we have to repent of our sins in order to be saved. No, we have to repent only of the thing that makes us unsaved, and that is unbelief. If a person needs to turn from his sins in order to be saved, what sins does he turn from? Does he turn from pride? Does he turn from selfishness? Does he turn from covetousness? The truth is, nobody can turn from all of his sins until he is raptured and he receives a body like the body of the Saviour.... A person, when he is first saved, does not know all the things that he is doing that are wrong, and if a person has to repent of all his sins, where is growth in grace? Where is being a babe in Christ? Where is being a babe in Christ? Where does the carnal Christian fit in here?" Jack Hyles (Misunderstood Repentance)
"...repentance is not turning from sin." and "...to ask a sinner to repent is to place on him more than he can bear." Curtis Hutson
Besides these words Curtis Hutson diligently edited out almost all references to repentance in the new addition of Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns produced by the Sword of the Lord. For example, "An Old Account Settled" says in the original: "O, sinner seek the Lord, repent of all your sin, for thus He hath commanded, if you would enter in." But in the new "revised" edition it says, "O sinner trust the Lord, Be cleansed of all your sin, For thus He hath provided, For you to enter in." Quite a difference, wouldnt you say?
Now I would ask you to compare what they have said to what some of the most respected preachers down through the ages have had to say on the subject.
The disciples were sent out by Jesus himself and this is what the Bible says they did: "And they went out, and preached that men should repent." (Mark 6:12)
Jesus first words of his first sermon: "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Mat 4:17)
Jesus last words as He ascended back to heaven: "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his (Christs) name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47)
"Grown up among us is a school of men who say that they rightly preach the gospel to sinners when they merely deliver statements of what the gospel is, and of the result of dying unsaved, but they grow furious and talk of unsoundness if any venture to say to the sinner, "Believe," or "Repent." To this school Peter did not belong into their secret he had never come, and with their assembly, were he alive now, he would not be joined. For, having first told his hearers of Christ, of his life and death and resurrection, he then proceeds to plunge the sword, as it were, up to the very hilt in their consciences by saying, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."
"Perhaps there is no better definition of repentance than that
which is given in our little childrens hymnbook
"Repentance is to leave, The sins we loved before, And show that we in earnest grieve, By doing so no more."
"I would sooner lose this hand, and both, than I would give up preaching that it is the duty of men to repent and to believe, and the duty of Christian ministers to say to them, "Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."
"So is it with the sin of Gods people when removed by Jesus blood, it is all gone and gone for ever. But rest assured it cannot be removed except there be repentance and conversion as the result of faith in Jesus, ... it would not be moral; it would be pulling up the very sluices of immorality to tell men that they could be pardoned while they went on in their sins and loved them. What, a thief pardoned and continue to thieve! A harlot forgiven and remain unchaste! The drunkard forgiven and yet delight in his tankards! Truly, then, the gospel would be the servant of unrighteousness, and against us who preach it morality should make a law. But it is not so, impenitent sinners shall be damned, let them boast what they will about grace. My hearer, thou must hate thy sin, or God will hate thee. Thou must turn or burn. Thou canst not have thy sins and go to heaven. ... The door is shut and fast bolted to every man who will keep his sin, but it is wide open even to the biggest sinner out of hell, if he will not leave his sin and lay hold of Jesus and put his trust in him."
"... the only way under heaven to this religion is to "repent and believe the gospel;" or, (as the Apostle words it,) "repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ."
"And as to the first acceptance or pardon, does not all experience as well as Scripture prove, that no man ever yet truly believed the gospel who did not first repent? Repentance therefore we cannot deny to be necessarily previous to faith."
"Thus it is essential to Christianity that we repent of our sins, that we be convinced of our own sinfulness, and that we are sensible we have justly exposed ourselves to Gods wrath, and that our hearts do renounce all sin, and that we do with our whole hearts embrace Christ as our only Savior; and that we love him above all, and are willing for his sake to forsake all, and that we do give up ourselves to be entirely and forever his, etc. Such things as these do as much belong to the essence of Christianity, as the belief of any of the doctrines of the gospel."
"Some bless themselves that they have a stock of knowledge, but what is knowledge good for without repentance? It is better to mortify one sin than to understand all mysteries. Impure speculatists do but resemble Satan transformed into an angel of light. Learning and a bad heart is like a fair face with a cancer in the breast. Knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to hell."
"Repentance is necessary: 'except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish' (Luke 13.5). There is no rowing to paradise except upon the stream of repenting tears. Repentance is required as a qualification. It is not so much to endear us to Christ as to endear Christ to us. Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet."
"He commandeth all men every where to repent' (Acts 17.30). Repentance is not arbitrary. It is not left to our choice whether or not we will repent, but it is an indispensable command. God has enacted a law in the High Court of heaven that no sinner shall be saved except the repenting sinner, and he will not break his own law Though all the angels should stand before God and beg the life of an unrepenting person, God would not grant it."
"If God should save men without repentance, making no discrimination, then by this rule he must save all, not only men, but devils."
True repentance is absolutely the only hope for our church, our country,
and our world. No one is going to call men to repentance unless the men standing behind
the pulpits do, and they are arguing whether repentance really means to turn from sin or
not. It is truly an evil day in which we live. We dont need for men to change their
minds, they MUST change their actions. A gospel that doesnt call men to forsake
their sins is a powerless gospel whose only influence is to encourage men to go deeper in
sin. Dont even entertain the idea that there could be a revival anywhere, in
any church, unless it begins with the call to repentance, and a repentance that includes
the forsaking of sin. To do so is nothing but foolishness. It is the first word of the
gospel and the first condition of Gods help and blessings to a wayward people.
People must stop their lying, their adultery, their covetousness, their dishonesty
with God and others, and give control of their heart and life to God to have any hope to
see Gods power and blessing. Any person, especially a man who stands behind a
pulpit, who gives people the idea that they can continue in their sin and waywardness and
still have Gods blessing and the promise of heaven is nothing more than a low-down
liar, according to the Bible, and should be exposed for what he is.
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: Titus 2:1
To Be Used of God
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more
abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. (2 Cor 12:15) He that
findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find
it. (Mat 10:39)
It seems these days that most people want to use God instead of letting God use them. There are really very few who are willing to "spend and be spent" for the sake of the Gospel and the work of God. There are many people who are ready to "do a great work" for God ... that is IF they are pretty sure they will be a big success and recognized by their peers as SOMEBODY. But upon reading the Bible and reflecting on the history of the church it seems that a real work of God doesnt seem to exalt a man and make a hero out of him for his peers. Have you ever noticed that the greatest heroes are those who are already dead? That is right and that is the way it should be. They have finished their course and we are able to see the END of their conversation. Also, being dead, they are not able to boast in what they have accomplished. "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." Proverbs 27:2 Most of these heroes were SPENT for the Lord and his work. Most of them were not revered or esteemed very highly during their lifetime at all.
God uses people that is a fact, but his Purpose is that his Kingdom goes forward, the Gospel is preached, and souls are saved not that men are exalted above measure. To be spent means to be used up, finished, consumed, to wear away. We are no more than wood to the fire, fuel to the automobile, and oil to the lantern. If our life is to be used for God it will be consumed in the process. As we are spent for God and his works sake, we will grow less and less visible and He will grow more and more visible in our lives. He will increase, but we will decrease. If it is any other way, it is very probably not the work of God, even if the whole world says it is. Men are supposed to see our good works and glorify God not us.
Christians today seem to be so success-minded that they think differently than our spiritual ancestors did. To the martyrs we would say that they should do whatever is necessary to stay alive because, after all, what good will you be able to do for God if you are dead? They were willing to be SPENT our modern Christianity knows very little about such a thing. Their blood was the seed of the church, but it required that they be SPENT. There is no glory or exaltation to be enjoyed here when we are being spent for the cause of Christ. Our modern idea of the work of God rejects such thinking. John and Betty Stam prepared for years to go to China as missionaries. They sacrificed and labored and prayed, only to have their heads cut off one month after they reached their place of service in China. Were they in the will of God? It is hard to think otherwise when you read about their holy lives and their walk with God. Adoniram Judson spent his life in Burma and buried his wife and children there. He spent much time in prison and laid up sick and didnt see one soul saved for the first seven years, and not many after that. He was SPENT for the cause of Christ and his work prepared the way for others to follow, but his was a life of obscurity and suffering in a faraway land, alone much of the time. Hudson Taylor wasnt well known in his day. He, too, buried his wife and children halfway around the world in a foreign land far away from the recognition and praise of all the brethren and other men. When he was all used up someone else buried his body in China where he was SPENT for God.
We could talk about others who " ... had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us ..." Heb 11:36-40
Are you willing to be a NOBODY for Christ? Are you willing to let your life and strength be USED UP for God and for others? Even if no one will ever know about it? Though human logic says it is a complete waste? Would you give your life to go around the world for just one soul? Do you think that would be worth it? Jesus crossed the sea for ONE soul remember the poor maniac of Gadera? We are the light of the world, but as the candle gives its light it is consumed. If our light is to shine it must mean that we will be consumed in the process, too. Our spiritual ancestors were spent for us! Jesus was SPENT for you! Will you then be exalted? Wont you be spent for Him? Not grudgingly or out of duty, but VERY GLADLY, will you spend and be spent for Christ and others?
A missionary, seeing a Chinese strewing rice over the graves of his ancestors, asked, "When do you expect your departed one to come back and eat this rice?" The Chinese replied, "At about the same time your ancestors come back to smell your flowers."
Cheer For Old Age
They call it going down the hill
When we are growing old,
They say in mournful accents
That our "tale is told;"
They sigh when talking of the past,
The days that used to be,
As if the future were not bright
Bur, oh, it is not going down;
Its climbing high and higher,
Until we almost see the mansions
That our souls desire;
For if the natural eye grows dim,
It is but dim to earth,
While the eye of faith grows keener
To perceive the Saviours worth.
Who would exchange, for shooting blade,
The waving golden grain,
Or when the corn is fully ripe,
Would wish it green again;
And who would wish the hoary head,
Found in the way of Truth,
To be again encircled with
The sunny locks of youth?
For though, in truth, the outward man
Must perish and decay,
The inward man shall be renewed
By grace from day to day.
They who are planted by the Lord,
Unshaken by their root,
Een in old age shall flourish still,
And still shall bring forth fruit.
(The Perilous Times) (Author unknown)
Family Camp Meeting
Our Family Camp Meeting was very well attended this year and the Lord blessed the preaching and the services, for which we are very thankful. We had a few souls saved and continue to pray and work with them that they will be faithful and continue in the Word they have received. All the messages and music from the meeting are available upon request from the church. The complete set of tapes will be sent to you for $30.00. All the messages were exceptionally good, but we suggest that everyone should hear at least these two:
True Grace; a message preached by Bro. Jeff Plemons on the attributes of grace and what true grace does in the work of salvation and in the life of the believer. It is a very good message that powerfully refutes the popular idea that grace is a license to continue in sin. We recommend it very highly.
Bro. Johnny Jones preached a message on Wednesday night called "Building Out of the Rubbish." He dealt with the fact that Nehemiah built the wall up halfway without many problems, and quickly, but then the loose stones were all used up and they had to start digging them out of the rubbish one at a time. He made the application to the work of God in our day and how hard it is to build out of the rubbish of our day. The fact is brought out that we are living in a different day than we were twenty years ago and it is much harder to accomplish the task God has given us. It is one of the most encouraging messages you will ever hear.
See page 11 for phone number and address of church.
Plenty of Time
Near to the fold - but not safely in! Almost resolved to give up your sin! Almost persuaded to count the cost, Almost a Christian - and yet youre lost! Anon.
We will NEVER surrender! Sir Winston Churchhill
NOW CONSIDER THIS: A clergyman who is "employed" as a Pastor or Priest in that "other" Denomination is required to subscribe to and teach that particular doctrine that you know cannot be supported from the Bible. One day, as he is reading the Bible, he notices one of those verses that outright contradict that doctrine. This troubles him somewhat, so he decides to do a full scale investigation into the matter: but, the more he looks into the matter, the more apparent it becomes that the Bible contradicts the "official doctrine" of his Denomination. He has now SEEN and KNOWN something which contradicts the "party line"; but nobody knows what he has seen and known but himself and God, so far. You have always known about THAT verse; and you also know that anyone who reads the Bible very much will come across that verse, or others like it. You simply cannot imagine how any honest man could read that verse and many other verses that you know about, and continue to teach that false doctrine! Now this clergyman has seen that verse; and during his investigation, he ran across all those other verses that you know about. He has become thoroughly acquainted with all your reasons for believing what you believe. and now, if this clergyman is going to continue to teach that same doctrine just as he always has; he must conspire to distort or conceal the information; which would, if revealed, appear to challenge or contradict the official doctrine of his Denomination....right? But if this clergyman comes right out and disagrees with or denounces the official doctrine of his Denomination; he gets "fired" and loses his "job"...right? So there he is ... sitting at his desk in the privacy of his office, with his Bible open; staring in perplexity at that verse that you know about. What do you think that he will do? And what if he just decides to pretend that he didn't understand that verse, and all those other verses that you know about? And what if he decides to just "forget" that he ever saw those verses that you know about? And what if he just goes on preaching that same old false doctrine as if he never had a reason to question it? And what if he ALSO begins to compose some kind of long-winded bogus argument for the defense of his "Official Doctrine", just in case someone in his congregation brings up that verse? Would you respect such a man? Do you think that such a man actually fears God and loves Truth? Let me "clear the air" for you on these questions ... Any man who is willing to distort or conceal certain facts in order to "prop up" or leave unchallenged certain "doctrines" for the sake of his own career or popularity cares neither for the Glory of God, NOR for the welfare of the people he preaches to. Jesus said: The Truth will make you FREE (John 8:32). Such a man DOES NOT CARE whether his congregation hears the Truth or not; and he also does not care whether they experience that freedom Jesus promised or not: his rightful place is in the lake of fire. The Great Dream
Provoking Thoughts is a publication of Midway Bible Baptist Church, P.O. Box 419, Fishersville, VA 22939.
Pastor Owen OR Bro. Mike Miller
Midway Bible Baptist Church
P.O. Box 419
Fishersville, Virginia 22939
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