OR WHEN PRAYER
AND WORSHIP ARE
Text: "I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." (Psalm 66:17,18)
Prayer and praise arc often in vain. God refuses them. Instead of being a rare occurrence, this is a common one. Here the Psalmist tells us one reason this is so.
"IF" - "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Here is a condition: it is not a thing certain that the Lord will not hear me, but in the event I regard iniquity in my heart, this will be the result. Here is cause and effect; and if the effect is here related, may not the contributing cause be found here as well?
"IF" - "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Most people can regard iniquity with apparent impunity, but not the people of God: they cannot regard it even in their heart with impunity. Therefore I cannot get by with it.
"IF I REGARD INIQUITY IN MY HEART" "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Since the word "iniquity" refers to that which is turned out of its proper course, it refers to what is morally perverse. Therefore, if I regard iniquity in my heart, although far removed from the seeing and knowing of others, the Lord will not hear me. Note: He does not say if I practice iniquity, but only if I "regard" it, the Lord will not hear me.
All things are morally perverse that are contrary to the will of God. If I "regard" iniquity so as to approve of it in my heart; if I acknowledge its presence there or have given it a home to lodge there; if I look to it, or pay attention to it --if I find enjoyment in it although only in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
If I regard iniquity in my heart so as to study it or to practice
it secretly; if I entertain it in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Many allow perversity in their heart who have neither the opportunity nor the daring to perform it.
Some people delight to think upon past sins. They remember them without sorrow, and without shame. And what about my sins? If I can look upon them with complacency then I look upon them with approval. Perhaps I have a secret dread of some lust being detected which I do not want to forsake: then God will close His ears to my prayers and ignore my pretended praise. If such is the case, the Lord who is ever-present and almighty, my Father, my Master and my Hope for deliverance "will not hear me." My prayers and my praise will be in vain.
"Can I regard the iniquity of others without being grieved for them? Do I rejoice when they stumble? Am I loath to forgive them?
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord" who hears prayer and receives worship will not receive mine. And, so long as this remains the case He will not hear me. As long as I refuse to do His will, He will refuse my worship and my prayers. Can one who ignores God’s will be "in the Spirit?" Can one who regards iniquity in his heart pray in faith? Can such a person’s prayers or praise be according to His will?
If I offer praise or prayer while I continue to mark iniquity in my heart, then I lack understanding as to the nature of God’s promises. If as Scripture says, "Ye that love the Lord hate evil" (Ps. 97:11) then how can I have a regard for it? Therefore I can know how much I love the Lord by my regard for iniquity.
How deceitful is that man who can regard iniquity in his heart and at the same time pretend to pray against it. Such a man prays for help from God and hopes He does not give it. He prays like Augustine, "Lord, save me, but not yet." Such a person pursues iniquity with sword in hand, but he does not intend to overtake it. But such was not true of the Psalmist, for he says --
"I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: but verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me." (vs. 17-20)
(Preached at the Grace Fellowship Baptist Church, Asheville, and No. Carolina, April 21, 1991 --Bob Doom, Pastor)
EVOLUTION Vs CREATION
Text: "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap. He layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord." let all the inhabitants stand in awe of Him. For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Ps. 33:6-9)
I. The Issue
Christians are "people of the Book." They believe the Bible is the Word of God, and that in the Bible God has expressed what He means to convey. What then does the Bible teach about the origins of the heavens, of the earth, of animals and of man?
First, in Genesis chapter 1, the Hebrew word "create" "bara" and it means, "out of nothing." The Latin translation is "ex nihilo" or "out of nothing." The historic position of Christianity is "Though God formed man of the dust of the earth, yet the earth itself and every earthly material is absolutely created out of nothing."
Second, the Hebrew word for "day" is "yom." When used by itself the word can mean a long period of time, but whenever it is used in context with a number, it always means a 24-hour day. This is the meaning in Genesis chapter1, and for this reason the Greek translation of the Old Testament rendered the word "hemera" and not "aeon" form which we derive the word "eon."
In the New Testament, Hebrews chapter 4 verse 4 speaks of the 7th day of creation and the Greek word used is "hemera."
If God can bring things into being out of absolutely nothing, so that "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Heb. 11:3), why would it be thought incredible that God could do it in 6 literal days? As the angel asked Sarah, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:14)
The reader may ask, "Are there not Bible scholars who do not believe this?" To this we would answer, Yes, and this is the reason we call them ‘unbelievers.’"
Third, the Lord Jesus Christ declared that "...in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." (Matt. 18:16) The historic position of Christianity evidenced by the creeds Christians have issued, Here are some of our witnesses, and some of which are publicly affirmed each Sunday only to be denied on Monday.
The Apostles’ Creed-- "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth..."
The Nicene Creed -- "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible..."
Luther’s Small Catechism -- "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth..."
The Heidelberg Catechism-- "...The Eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them..."
The Westminster Confession -- "In the beginning, it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom and goodness, to create or make of nothing the world and all things therein whether visible or invisible in the space of 6 days and all very good."
The Shorter Catechism (Presbyterian) -- "The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of His power, in the space of six days..."
The London Baptist Confession (1689) -- "In the beginning pleased God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom and goodness to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of 6 days, and all very good."
The Philadelphia Confession of Faith (Baptist) --(It reads same as "The London Confession.")
II. The Debate
Question No. 1 --"What difference does it make whether one believes in evolution or creation?" Answer: To people to whom the knowledge of God and Truth are unimportant, it makes no difference, but to men and women who know that "To fear God and to keep His commandments is the whole duty of man" (Eccles. 12:13b) such knowledge is the difference between life and death.
It is owing to this fact: that God made man (Gen. 1) that God has the right to be the Lawgiver (Gen. 2); and it is owing to this fact: that God is the Lawgiver, that He has the right to be the Judge of men (Gen. 3).
The reason men debate the doctrine of creation at all is that since the time Adam and Eve sinned (Gen. 3), and Adam begat a son in the likeness of his fallen nature (Gen. 5), men in the natural have been at war with God. If men can repudiate the work of God as Creator, they can dismiss the rights of God to be their Lawgiver and Judge. As George Bernard Shaw wrote, "The world jumped at Darwin at the thought of being rid of God."
Question No. 2 -- "Why can’t a person believe God used evolution in forming the worlds, and in the development of the animals and man?" Answer: Let Thomas Huxley, one of the giants among evolutionists tell you why. He said, "The purpose of evolution is to do away with God." The belief in God and the belief in evolution are mutually exclusive. The proof this is so is nowhere seen more clearly than in the American school system. The teaching of evolution cannot tolerate the teaching of God, or of His moral law.
Reader, you will note that the teaching of Carl Sagan, and the philosophy of such magazines as Parade, and The National Geographic are opposed to the teaching of the Bible, because at the heart of men’s argument for evolution is their denial of the authority of God’s Word.
Knowing that a Christian accepts the Bible as what he should believe and how he is to behave himself, reader, are you truly a Christian? Has God "begun a good work in you?" (Phil. 1:6) Has He worked in you "to will and to do of His good pleasure?" (Phil 2:13)
(The above article appeared in the Augusta Chronicle and Augusta Herald. April 3, 1991)
GOD HATH SPOKEN--"If I believed there was any validity to the machinations of the higher critics, I could not hold forth the Book of God and say, ’Thus saith the Lord.’ I would instead be like most of the academic experts who wander in the maze of uncertainties. This is the reason I wrote "God Hath Spoken." $6. Ppd.
CHURCH HISTORY NOTES --75 typewritten pages in notebook --$20.
AN INQUIRY --Robert Champagne of Dorea Ministries writes, "Recently I witnessed to a friend of a highly-placed Roman Catholic prelate. I gave him (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs). Only a short time later, a book dealer told me that Foxe’s book had recently been banned from Canada. If anyone has confirmation of this, please let me know." Dorea Ministries/ P.O. Box 2284, Sherbrooke, Quebec 31J 3Y3, Canada.
A STUDY OF THE ATONEMENT --Part V
"Brother Fellows, I still have some difficulty with limited atonement. Please answer the following remarks from Finney’s Heart of Truth. p. 228.
10. "... The atonement itself does not secure the salvation of anyone, but the promise and oath of God that Christ shall have a seed to serve Him does."
Why then, does the Apostle Paul say, "In Him we have redemption through His BLOOD, even the forgiveness of sins?" (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14)
I thought you believed what you have often sung,
I am saved by the blood of the crucified One.
There is a Fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
What are we to do? Are the songs of the blood false and Finney right?
Second, In what is the "promise and oath of God" rooted if not in the atonement? Are they rooted in our works?
Third, In one sense Finney’s statement is true: the atonement by itself does not save, but it is an essential part of the "ordo salutis", or the "order of salvation." (Rom. 8:28-30)
In Closing, let me direct your attention to two passages. The first is to Romans chapter 8:28-30. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, TO THEM WHO ARE THE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.
"For whom He did foreknow" --i.e. know intimately beforehand, even as Adam "knew" his wife Eve; so the wanderings and goings astray by Israel are called her whoredoms, because God had married her. The word "foreknow" does not denote a simple knowledge ahead of time, but a personal knowledge, as God told Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (1:5)
And again in Jeremiah 31:3 we read, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
But to return to Romans 8:29 --"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." The word "predestinate" means to "destinate ahead of time", but it also speaks of a personal "destinating."
"Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified." (30)
Can you not see the security here? How can a person get anything other than particular redemption out of this? The words "whom He" and "them He" shows a continuity that stretches from eternity past until it is consummated in eternity future.
(Brother), here is a study I have used for several years with the Pastors’ class dealing with predestination or The Decrees of God. Instead of re-typing them, I am enclosing them herewith. I trust they will be a blessing to you.
I must close. May God be pleased to testify of His truth to your soul, and not allow you to flounder upon the wide ocean of uncertainties. (Signed)
THOUGHT: "Mark the person who sings ‘Spirit-filled’ choruses but who allows his children to go to the Devil. Such a person is not ‘spirit-filled.’