Prayerlessness: the Tell-tale Sign of Unbelief
*Virginia repeals act of Parliament to support Church of England
*Pilgrims attacked by Indians
*Congress calls on States to make a day of Fasting
*Founding Father's quote on First Amendment
*America Appoints a Day of Thanksgiving
*Continental Congress Appoints George Washington
*God sends aid to the Colonists
Text: "...Lord teach us to pray..." (Luke 11:1b)
In the lives of the saints, Prayer shares with the Word of God the place of chief importance. These two: the Word of God and Prayer, comprise the two means of grace; they arc thee two channels God ordinarily uses to dispense His grace. So, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God," and "Those things for which you pray, believe that you have received them and you will see them accomplished." (Romans 10:17; Mark 11:24 French, Segond)
Chrysostom pointed out that Prayer is not only part of the Christianís armor, but it enables us to use the rust; anti added, "It is not only a charm for that crooked serpent Leviathan to enchant him, but a whip to torment him and to put him into another Hell." And, John Trapp declared, "Prayer fetches Christ into the battle."
In the words of James Montgomery,
Prayer is the soulís sincere desire,
Unuttered or expressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near.
Our Lord Jesus Christ spent whole nights in prayer. (Luke 6:12) David said, "Evening, morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud and He shall hear my voice." (Psalm 55:17) And again, "...Early will I seek Thee" (Psalm 63:1b) Daniel also prayed 3 times a day. (Daniel 6:10) This was the practice of the early church. Why then are we so prayerless?
Prayer is the Christianís vital breath,
The Christianís native air;
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters Heaven with Prayer.
How many in our day either perceives no need to pray, or believe there is little benefit to be derived from prayer! Prayerlessness is therefore the most common evidence of unbelief. To the degree that we are prayerless, we are faithless; and all attempts to explain the reasons for it are but excuses expressing our shame.
How often are we seduced into believing the work of faith is accomplished by the diligence of our labor or by the force of our scholarship! But when we work as though everything depended upon us and neglect to pray then who can deny that our confidence is in the flesh? Can we reasonably argue that our trust is in the Lord?
The reason that we depend upon the arm of flesh to accomplish the work of God is because we lean upon our own understanding. No where is this more evident than in our lack of prayer.
Prayerlessness affects some people so as to cause them to become haughty and arrogant, yet it affects other people so as to cause them to become sheepish or wimpy. It is the righteous who are bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1) "The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own."
Prayer is the contrite sinnerís voice
Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice,
And cry, "Behold, he prays!"
Nor prayer is made on earth alone.
The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus on the eternal throne,
For sinners intercedes.
Prayer is the evidence that our trust is in the Lord. In prayer we prostrate ourselves before Him and confess that we will fail unless He delivers us. Prayer is the evidence of faith.
Oh, Thou by Whom we come to God.
The Life, The Truth, The Way;
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod;
Lord teach us how to pray.
ATONEMENT --Part Two
"Brother Fellows, I still have some difficulty with limited atonement. Please, answer the following remarks from Finneyís Heart of Truth, p.228."
9. That it (the atonement) was made for all mankind is evident from the fact sinners are universally condemned for not receiving it.
Brownlow North once said that when a man comes to the Scriptures, he must accept some things he does not like and a great many he does not understand. The Bible does teach particular redemption, yet it also teaches the responsibility of man. Man is accountable to God, and the duty to worship Him because of (1) creation, (2) preservation, and (3) salvation, the gift of God.
I do not profess to be wiser than my forebears in being able to understand how the atonement can be limited in its scope yet God holds men responsible for refusing it. But this I do know, it is a Biblical fact that He does; and that it is error to teach any doctrine to the contrary. Nor does the truth lie somewhere midway between the two doctrines, but it lies rather in the extremes of both. He is most faithful in handling the Word of God who proclaims both, and not he who eliminates one because he cannot understand how both can be true.
The truth of God is two-sided. For this reason some Scripture speaks from Godís vantage-point, while others speak from the standpoint of man and of his responsibility. This is the reason the Apostle Paul speaks of the sinner as being "dead in trespasses and sins", as "having no hope" (Ephesians 2:1,12); while other Scriptures command sinners to "repent," "believe," "come," etc. The question is not "Which is true?" because both are true.
10. If the atonement is not intended for all mankind, God is insincere in making them the offer of salvation through the atonement.
This is the same problem as Finney had in question no. 9. It is a failure to recognize the dichotomy of Scripture between human responsibility and divine election.
Finneyís question here is also the same problem he had in no. 8 where he refused to accept the fact that God has a people He has come to save. Nevertheless, God will save His people from their sins while other people are given the Gospel for their just condemnation. This is the reason the pardon of God is called a "gift", and it is given by His "grace."
God never intended to save all people everywhere. Those who believe He did have a feeble God who is a failure.
11. If the atonement is not for all mankind, God is partial.
Of course He is. (A) Physically, all do not have equal eyesight, or length of life, or the same amount of wealth. (B) Mentally, all do not possess the same degree intelligence. (C) Spiritually, do all have the same measure faith? (I Corinthians 12:11) Do all receive the same rewards?
Why is it wrong for God to choose Abel and not Cain? Isaac and not Ishmael? Jacob and not Esau? Israel and not Philistia? Paul and not Herod? "Can I not do with my own as I will?" Is it wrong for God to make of the same lump a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?
When the Scripture says, "God is no respecter of persons," it simply means that God is not impressed with a manís credentials, and He cannot be bribed with a manís wealth. -To Be Continued-
5, 1776 --VIRGINIA. The First Republican Legislature of Virginia repeals the Acts of Parliament which render any form of worship criminal that is not according to the Church of England. Dissenters are exempted from paying taxes to support the clergy, and the laws are suspended which compel Episcopalians to support their own church. The common law that
punishes with dismissal from all offices for the first offence those who deny the existence of God, the Trinity or the truth of Christianity is not repealed. For a second offence, such people are denied the ability to sue, to act as a guardian, or administrator, or as an executor, or to receive a legacy, and are imprisoned for 3 years.
6, 1620 --MASSACHUSETTS. The Governor and fifteen companions leave the Mayflower and go ashore. The weather is dreadful with alternating rain and snow. This morning they are attacked by Indians, but return safely to the ship, cheerful, and giving thanks to God. The vessel will be steered to the Southwest for 45 miles, when Saturday night a storm will wrench away the rudder and drive the poor ship, partly with the aid of the pilot, into the Bay at Plymouth. Tomorrow, being the Lordís Day, the day is spent in worship.
11, 1776 --PENNSYLVANIA. The Congress of the United States calls upon the individual states to appoint for themselves a day of fasting and humiliation.
15, 1791 --PENNSYLVANIA. PHILADELPHIA: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is recognized today. Under it, religious liberty is secured to all citizens of the United States. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story will write, "The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohometism, or Judaism, or infidelity by protracting Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government."
18, 1777 --UNITED STATES. The American colonies struggling for their independence from England today unite in a general thanksgiving to God because of the recent downfall of General Burgoyne, their common enemy.
22, 1775 --MASSACHUSETTS. The Continental Congress it after long debate carries a resolution authorizing George Washington "to attack Boston in any manner which he might deem expedient, notwithstanding the town might thereby be destroyed." John Hancock forwards the resolution adding, "May God crown your attempt with success. I most heartily wish
it, though individually I may be the greatest sufferer."
Washington declares, "For more than two months past I have scarcely emerged from one difficulty before I have been plunged into another; how it will end, God, in His great goodness, will direct; I am thankful for His protection to this time."
In describing his army, he declares, "They were indeed at first a band of undisciplined husbandmen; but it is under God, to their bravery and attention to duty that I am indebted for that success which has procured me the only reward I wish to receive, the affection and esteem of my countrymen."
26, 1778 --MASSACHUSETTS. This fall, British soldiers gained control of Marthaís Vineyard and seized their arms and ammunition besides 300 cattle and 1000 sheep and nearly everything the land had produced.
Today, a snowstorm of great intensity and cold drives a vast number of bass into a creek and provides the people with as many as they want. Then, a British vessel was cast upon the island and provided the inhabitants with a large supply of rice. Such acts of Godís providence were so singular, that four people came under a sense of their sin and danger, and were converted in the spring of 1780. "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." (Romans 2:4)
WE HAVE FORSAKEN THE GOD OF OUR FATHERS.
YOU NEED "OF WHOM THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY" - -3 VOLS. --$45.
*Excerpts from a speech given by John Swinton to the American Press Association in 1914
There is no such thing as an independent press in America, if we except that of little country towns. You know this and I know it. Not a man among you dares to utter his honest opinion. Were you to utter it, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid one hundred and fifty dollars a week so that I may keep my honest opinions out of the newspaper for which I write. You too are paid similar salaries for similar services. Were I to permit that a single edition of my newspaper contained a an honest opinion my occupation - like Othelloís - would be gone in less than twenty-four hours. The man who would be so foolish as to write his honest opinion would be in search of another job. It is the duty of the New York journalist to lie, to distort, to revile, to toady at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or what amounts to the same thing, his salary. We are the tools and the vassals of the rich behind the scenes. We are marionettes. These men pull the strings and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our capacities are all the property of these men - we are intellectual prostitutes.
"Political rights, however broadly framed, will not elevate a people individually depraved. Even freedom, exercised by a debased people, would come to be regarded as a nuisance, and liberty of the press but a vent for licentiousness and moral abomination." --Samuel Smiles, Character, 1872