Saturday, 29 September 2012

Lying in the Church? NEVER!

Lying in the church?  Does this actually happen?  Do people stand up and tell downright lies in the Church? Do they realise what they are doing?  Not just lying to men, but to God the Holy Spirit.  To lie in the presence of the God of all truth is a terrible sin; yet it's done regularly.

Sunday is when Christians worship the Lord corporately.  They stand up and sing words that they just do not believe.  Is that lying?  They will sing words that do not relate to their own spiritual experience and knowledge?  Is that lying? 

When it comes to professing faith in order to have a child baptised, or an older believer, how many lies are told in one of the most solemn occasions in the church's, and individual's, life.  Yet it done with relish, and without compunction.

In what other ways, then, do we lie in church?  Exaggeration and blaming are kinds of lying. In fact, blaming may be described as at least half lying, whatever that is. This church problem was great enough to deserve more than one mention in Paul's letter to the Ephesians. The letter was to be circulated among a whole presbytery, or group of local churches. So this problem wasn't just in the First Ephesus (Presbyterian) Church; it seems to have been almost epidemic in the other churches too.

Just like today; lying in church in order to have a church rite administered to you or a family member is not just a one-church issue; it pervades all of them.  To deny that this is a problem only adds to the problem. To deal with it by admitting it exists in your church is the first step to sorting it out.

That brings me very naturally to another point. We lie in church by what we don't say - the sin of omission. For example, when we avoid facing up to hard truth; or when we deny those dark things that are obvious to other people. The list would also include forms of abuse that churches use such as the abuse of power, the use of guilt to make people feel bad and bring them back into line (with prevailing policy, not necessarily with biblical trust), mismanagement of congregational funds or property, bad leadership of the church or its organisations, and destructive behaviours by church members or leaders. The sad thing is that church leaders often imagine that these things will simply disappear if we don't talk about them out loud.

Does this describe YOUR church today?  Are you a minister in your church and do you recognise truths that are just too close for comfort?  Are you afraid to address and deal with these issues?  What if income dropped and I couldn't get my salary?  What if church authorities took a dim view of a drop in numbers attending the services?

Are you a church member and does this describe your life?  Do you contribute to this problem of ecclesiastical dishonesty?  Do you need to own up and repent of your sin? Do you enjoy the dishonesty that is your church?

That this is a problem in all churches is too obvious to deny.  And that nothing is done about it is also factual.

What do you think ought to be done when such sin envelops the church?

Ulster Evangelists With Romanist Tendencies

It is quite daunting that those preachers who have scandalised other churches for their unfaithfulness to the Gospel have adopted as clear a Roman practice as is imaginable by suggesting to converts or awakened sinners that they come to the 'priest' for spiritual counsel in becoming Christians.

I always believed that the preacher/evangelist's job was to preach the Gospel so that those listening will know exactly what coming to Christ involved and means.  His job is to tell the way the Christ and salvation; to explain in clear and unambiguous language how to become a Christian.  The reformed evangelist will study to keep himself out of the picture as much as possible, and will not want to help the Holy Spirit do His sovereign work of regeneration.

Not so today in Ulster (a practice that has been imported wholesale from USA).  No, no.  The preacher/evangelist's job is to tell part of the story of the Gospel, and leave out the final bit so that the seeker is constrained to come into the back room (inquiry room) in order to helped to become a Christian.  This was a practice adopted by great men of God such as D. L.Moody and Charles Finney.  The Protestant 'priest' has to be involved in the final step of becoming a Christian.  Indeed, so deeply ingrained is this unbiblical thinking in the minds of Ulster evangelicals is this that if anyone wishes to become a Christian, a believer will not lead them to Christ, but first seeks out a preacher/evangelist who alone can do that critical work.  Thus the believer is deprived of the privilege and pleasure of leading others to Christ; and the preacher/evangelist can then boast of his spirituality and faithfulness to the Gospel and accept all the plaudits as an evangelist.

The point I am making is that the Protestant 'priest' must be involved to ensure that the seeking sinner is lead properly to the Saviour.  It is a form of 'last rights' that assures entrance into the Kingdom of God.  In order to be sure that you have made it into the Kingdom of God, the 'priest' has to be present and ministering, otherwise it might be a 'still birth.'

But look.  Why should we be so concerned to do the work of the Holy Spirit when He is quite able to do it Himself and to do it properly?  There is a conviction abroad within Ulster evangelicalism that often carnel appeals have to be made to bring the sinner to Christ.  Nothing could be further from the truth, of course.  When God the Holy Spirit shows a person their spiritual and eternal need, that person will trust Christ as his Saviour and Lord.  He will flee to Him, nothing standing in his way.  He will seek out the Saviour out of a deep desire to be saved for time and eternity.  Nothing will stop such an awakened sinner.

So carnal appeals are unnecessary and indeed may even inhibit the work of the Holy Spirit.  The one thing that we do not wish to see is the work of the Holy Spirit interfered with by overly enthusiastic preachers who are wanting to chalk up how many conversions occurred under their ministry, or how many sinners they led to Christ.  Preach the Gospel passionately, faithfully, personally, from the heart, and let God do His own work.  Appeal with sinners in the message to get right with God, by all means; but do not have this kind-of add-on at the end of the service where emotional music and singing are done in order to make it easy for sinners to come to the Saviour.

What lies behind this is the need for 'priests' (and as someone wisely said, "Presbyter is just Priest writ large."  We are not Roman Catholics nor are we Anglo-Catholics, therefore we do not believe in that kind of priesthood.  What we do believe in is the priesthood of all believers, so every believer is a priest unto God.  That means that any Christian ought to be able to point a sinner to Christ for salvation.  There is therefore no need for a 'priest' in this respect.

I know one thing: the evangelical priests in Ulster will go spare at this posting.  They will see themselves as being made redundant in the work of evangelism.  And they do not like that one little bit.  They have a psychological need to be in the centre of things, running the entire show.  If they are not involved at the heart of it, it cannot be right or good.  In their mind, 'priests'are indispensable to the work of evangelism; no priests, no salvation.

And what do you call that?  Unadulterated Romanism.

Any comments?

Friday, 28 September 2012

How to End Well - Dr Charles Stanley

Many people think about the last years of life as an opportunity to just relax. But this does not 
align with God's purpose for us; He wants us to serve Him all the days of our lives.
Let's look at the apostle Paul's journey and explore what it means to finish well. He spent time 
pouring into others until the very end of his life. Consider the letters he wrote to Timothy from a 
prison cell prior to being executed. In every season of life, God calls us to serve others.
And notice how, when writing about his life, the apostle chose words descriptive of a battle. He 
understood the human struggle against sin as well as the challenges of pain and persecution in the 
trials we all face--even in doing kingdom work like preaching Christ to a fiercely resistant society.
This godly servant's life was also marked by surrender. His mindset is obvious in these words: 
"present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service 
of worship" (Rom. 12:1). He was not afraid of Nero, nor was he struggling to stay alive. Paul trusted 
God to determine everything about his life, including where he would go, what he would do, and 
when he would die. Death did not scare him, because he knew he would dwell with Jesus forever.
God doesn't require our lives to be perfect in order to finish strong. We can live life fully and be 
ready to meet our Maker by surrendering, walking victoriously with Christ, and serving others. If 
Jesus called you home today, would you--like Paul--be confident that you lived well until the end? 
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit 
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Essential Knowledge For Evangelists

It is surely true to say that unless one has a true understanding of sin he will never really understand salvation.  Indeed, he will never understand the need for salvation until he realises that man by nature is spiritually dead.

Take it the other way.  If a sinner does not realise his need of salvation, it is because he has not understood the nature and effects of sin in his heart.  Or, if he does not see that he is spiritually dead, he will not appreciate what salvation is or what it can do for the spiritually dead sinner.

This explains the reason why defective evangelism is being conducted in the name of Christianity.  It is so glib, so superficial, so inane.  It has degenerated into a farce with evangelists doing his comedians stunt before preaching with a view to conditioning the congregation to receive the Gospel message.  Entertainment is used to soften people up, or to win their confidence, or to prepare them for the Gospel.

But these ploys are resorted to because of a fundamental flaw in their theological understanding of the Gospel message.  Were they to believe with Paul that unconverted sinners are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph.2:1), they would depend totally upon God the Holy Spirit to do His sovereign saving work in the sinner's heart.  Until he grasps the fact that the unconverted sinner is governed by this world and its thinking; and until he sees that his life is governed by the principle of evil that is working in this world and which in turn is governed by the "prince of the power of the air," his evangelism will be flawed.

Preachers must grasp the reality of what it is they are dealing with when they evangelise.  What they ought to be seeking God for is a spiritual resurrection in those to whom they preached the good news.  This is essential basic understanding that will determine our approach to evangelism, as well as enabling us to understand why the world is as it is today. 

Preaching Engagements

May I inform my readers that I am available for preaching appointments in your church or community.

You can contact me at jehlynch[at] if I can be of use to you in your work for the Kingdom of God.

I have experience in conducting two-week evangelistic missions, teaching weeks for believers, etc.  My approach is to preach the biblical Gospel in a direct, pointed and personal way.  It is to bring sinners to see their need of the Saviour of the world.  God blesses such preaching.

Incipient Atheism

It is amazing how we can be tempted to put our trust in the skills of the medical profession, indicating that perhaps this has become a substitute god for us.   

Sometimes we have emphasised statistics – how many people come through this type of surgery with flying colours.   

While I have no desire to minimise what medical practitioners can do and have done, it is important to affirm that no matter how good these professionals might be at their job, our trust is in the Lord our God.  To leave Him out of the equation is atheism, and we are not into that.   

But to see the skills of medical practitioners as being the gifts of God for the benefit of mankind and a demonstration of His common grace to all, is to view them in their proper perspective, for then we can pray to God the Father to use and bless the gifts He has given to men for the benefit of those we are concerned about.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Overcoming Fear - Dr Charles R. Swindoll

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
—Psalm 23:4
Lord God, fear threatens to overtake us, to hinder us from trusting You. We often seek to rely on ourselves, trusting in our own strength to accomplish our own desires. Because we recognize the realities and the dangers of this distressed world, we thank You for making Your plan clear to ultimately remove all fear and anxiety and worry. Thank You for communicating the truth about fear in terms we can grasp. Thank You for challenging us to trust You as You unfold Your plan in the teaching of Scripture. Give us a commitment to Your truth, so that we live differently and think differently. Help us to be passionate about what matters so that we care more about the eternal and less about the temporal.
Shake us awake, our Father, with the reality that the world is heading in the wrong direction. Remind us that we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people, despite the lawless times . . . if we would but trust You. Deliver us from fear that holds us back, that we might magnify the name of Jesus Christ, regardless of our work, our calling, and our involvements. For Jesus's sake we pray. Amen.

Wanted - General Manager

That day is not far away when churches will be advertising for the above post, rather than a minister of the Word and Gospel.  Churches today have become primarily business enterprises organised and run along the lines of a supermarket, where clients (members) can get everything they need 'under one roof.'  There is something for women and something else for men.  There are numerous activities for children of both genders and all ages, both uniformed and non-uniformed, each having to be appropriately manned.  There is timetabling and scheduling to be done to ensure not only that each organisation has use of church facilities, but that the facilities are fully and properly used.

That is the mark of a true and good church, so it goes.  Plenty of activity and plenty going on, especially for the younger members of the congregation.  That none of it has nothing much to do with the primary work of the church does not seem to occur to ministers and elders.  They want an organisation that is full of activity, regardless of it usefulness to the promotion of the Gospel.

Then there is the whole matter of public relations and keeping the public informed about what the congregation is doing.  This is also the role of the 'manager.'  Attending endless meetings that have no consequence for Gospel work is a time-consuming and wearying exercise, and all it succeeds in doing is pumping up the notions of self-importance that many ministers have. 

Indeed, young Christian parents decide which church to go to depending on what is on offer for the children.  Not whether or not the Gospel is preached clearly and passionately. 

Now the question is, what need is there for a minister of the Gospel when what is needed in fact is a general manager!  I was once considered and interviewed for a large and growing church in one of our provincial towns, and coming away it struck me that that congregation was not looking for a minister but for a manager, and didn't know it.  A friend of mine was called there. 

But while congregations want to have their own minister, what they expect him to be is a general manager who runs the organisation, while the elders are the directors who have power to sack the manager if his performance is not what they expect it to be.  He needs to show profit at the end of the year, demonstrate increased giving and attendances at church services, prove that he is preaching what the people want to hear and who does for them whatever it is the people want him to do (the sacraments come to mind here).  And if he cannot thus prove his worth to the congregation, sorry, organisation, at the end of the year, then he has to go.  Some ministers have become so expert at pleasing the people that they can get off with murder in their congregations.  They run a good enterprise and promote a good public image that the primary task of the church goes by the by.

This is a short-term expedient.  The day will come when the church's true books will be opened and an account will have to be given by all concerned, especially the minister.  That day will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Then, rewards will be given and many faces will be buried in profound shame.

Minister or manager?  What have you become?  What are you?  What were you called by God to be?  Then be it, and forget the worldliness that has invaded many churches today, and not least those that call themselves evangelical.

You Shall Die In Your Sins

The Puritan commentator, Matthew Henry, wrote:

"Many that have long lived in sin are through grace, saved by a timely repentance from dying in sin; but those who go out of this world of reprobation into that of retribution under the guilt of sin unpardoned and the power of sin unbroken, there remains no relief...

"If we have not this faith [in Christ alone for salvation], we shall die in our sins.  Without faith, we cannot be saved from the punishment of sin when we die, for the wrath of God remains upon them that believe not, Mk.16:16.  Unbelief is a damning sin; it is a sin against the remedy."

These words are so serious and solemn that it is the height of folly to ignore their import.  Yet many do just that!  The remedy for sin - the only effective remedy for sin and sin's dire conseqiences - is present freely in the everlasting Gospel, yet men in their blindness and hardnes of heart reject it.  They are rejecting the only One Who can do their souls eternal good. Jesus Christ.  Only deep-seated unbelief will cause a sinner to reject Christ.  "Unbelief in a damning sin," says Henry.  Your unbelief will damn you forever.  "Begone, unbelief; my Saviour has come."

1. Begone, unbelief; My Saviour is near,
And for my relief Will surely appear;
Tho’ dark be my way, since he is my guide,
‘Tis mine to obey, ‘tis his to provide.

2. His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Oh, can he have taught me to trust in his name
And thus far have brought me, to put me to shame?

3. Why should I complain of want or distress,
Temptation or pain? He told me no less;
The heirs of salvation, I know from his word
Thro’ much tribulation, must follow their Lord.

4. How bitter his cup no heart can conceive
That the wretched might hope, and the dying might live;
his way was much rougher and darker than mine,
Did Jesus thus suffer and shall I repine?

5. Welcome all that I meet, I am saved by his blood,
And trial is sweet, since it works for my good;
Tho' painful at present, ‘twill cease before long, 

And then, Oh how pleasant the conqueror’ song! 

What sweet words of encouragement are these to the believer's heart!  Here is the remedy for every unconverted sinner in the world.  Christ died for you to provide you with a fail-proof remedy for your sin and sins.  If you do not immediately avail of this divinely provided remedy, "you shall die in your sins," and that without remedy.  And you are depriving yourself of the comforts of salvation.  The moment you obey the Gospel call to repent of your sins and trust Christ alone for salvation, you will be saved, because God through Christ has provided for the salvation of the world.  Your are "of the world" therefore He died for you.  He died for sinners, therefore He died for you.  Trust Christ now for your eternal well-being, or you will die alone with none to confort and guide and bless.  You will go out into a lost eternity, and have all the problems and pains and sufferings of this life intensified beyond description.  "You will dies in your sins."

My dear friend, this need not happen to you.  There is a way of escapre that God Himslef has provided and its in Christ alone.  Forget about church and religion and  priests and ministers and sacraments and good deeds and all that.  Ther are fine in their own place, but they will not save a single soul from hell.  Come to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, NOW, and get spiritual matters sorted out NOW.  I beg you in Christ's name, "Be reconciled to God."

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Some Hindrances to True Worship

Worshipping the Lord is the highest activity that anyone can engage in on this earth.  Praising His holy Name is the most exalted thing we can do.  To meet God in living encounter is what makes worship worship.  And when we come to church, we are coming to give to God the honour that is due to His Name.  In heart we are taken up with His glory and majesty.  Indeed our very hearts and souls are moved deeply by the presence of God by His Spirit.  When we are worshipping the living God, we find ourselves "lost in wonder, love and praise" (Isaac Watts).  Nay, we find that we have nothing to say in the presence of the Almighty.  Every mouth stopped. Struck by the awesome holiness of God.  Silent.

But that doesn't happen much in many of today's churches.  Rather, when you enter the church for the public worship of God, it is like being at the local horse fair.  Then before the service starts, you cannot even get a time of quiet to prepare your heart to worship this awesome God - and in the church is where you'd expect a quiet and solemn atmosphere where Christians can focus their hearts on what they are about to do.  When the service actually starts, whether or not the singing pleases me is not the issue; the point is that the very singing and choice of 'worship songs' are contra-indications of what it is to worship God in spirit and in truth.  The unsingable songs are a hindrance to worship which some can overcome but others find utterly distracting.  Musicians roving about the church hardly able to out one foot past the other and dressed to look more like clowns that worshippers of God.

So when I go to church, I do not go primarily to get something from the service - though hungry sheep do need to be fed - I am there to give my heart up to God in the worship of His holy Name.  I am not there to support the church; I am there to be supported by the church.  What use is a church to anybody if that church has to be supported by those who need its help, the weak, the suffering, the depressed, the anxious, and so on!

I think that while the emphasis is right that we go to church to give worship to God, and not primarily to get for ourselves, it is also true that the sheep need to be fed and the goats need to be turned into sheep.  Yet the more we give in worship the more we get from it.

A Mature Faith - Dr James Dobson

A Mature Faith

We will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Ephesians 4:15
Judy did everything she could to ensure the spiritual well-being of her son Kevin. She taught him the Word, took him to church, and prayed for him regularly. But when Kevin reached his teens, Judy despaired as she realized that he was turning away from God. Then, two months before his high school graduation, she learned he was hooked on drugs. Kevin soon moved to another state. It was a desperate period for Judy. She was forced to let go of her son at a time when every fiber of her being demanded that she step in and “fix” his faltering faith. Instead, she resolved to love and pray for her son from a distance.
Though you must do everything possible to encourage a living faith in the Lord during your children’s youth, it is important not to push your children too hard spiritually once they reach the latter years of adolescence. They must develop their own personal belief in God to achieve the mature faith described by the apostle Paul: “We will no longer be infants.… We will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:14–15).
Judy’s prayers for her son were answered after two years. Kevin entered a Christian drug rehab program and recommitted his life to the Lord. Our hope is that when you let go of your sons and daughters, your prayers for faithful children will be answered, too.
Before you say good night…
  • Are you placing enough emphasis on spiritual matters at home? Are you pushing too hard?
  • Are you willing to put the faith of your older children in God’s hands?
Father, thank You that You love my children even more than I do. Because of Your trustworthiness, I know You will be faithful to work in their lives. Help me to depend on You to establish my children in their faith. Amen.

Building Bridges to the Kingdom - Dr Charles Stanley

Building Bridges to the Kingdom

Matthew 25:31-34 

Scripture refers to "the kingdom of God" frequently, but many people are unclear as to its 
meaning. Let's look at the past, present, and future reality of this concept.
The first thing we must realize is that the heavenly kingdom refers to everything under Christ's 
control. At the moment of salvation, we are transferred from the reign of darkness to the bright 
authority of Jesus. And we are eternally secure in Him.
As today's verses explain, Jesus' kingdom and reign have been planned since the foundation of the 
world. From the beginning, God has been preparing mankind for what is to come. One way was by 
using prophets to foretell how He would redeem humanity and sovereignly rule over heaven and earth.
Once Jesus came and gave His life, He established the "present" kingdom. This isn't a geographical 
locale; it's a term describing the heart, where God's Holy Spirit indwells believers to guide, counsel, 
and empower.
But there is also a future aspect of the kingdom, which we can anticipate with excitement. You are 
probably familiar with the words "Thy kingdom come" from the Lord's Prayer (Luke 11:2, KJV). This 
speaks of the new heaven and new earth, where we will enjoy freedom from pain and sin. There, we 
will worship Jesus with gladness and joy for all eternity.
As God's kingdom ambassadors, we who are His children have the responsibility and privilege of 
sharing the good news: Through Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, all who trust in Him are forgiven 
of sin and assured of eternal life with God. Whom can you tell about this amazing gift?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Christ Removed From Contemporary Christianity

Is it possible that the evangelical church today has left Christ out of Christianity altogether? Is it true to say that the faith and practice of British Christians today is more American than Christian? These are provocative questions that need to be asked and answered.  While we invoke the name of Christ (sometimes), too often Christ and His Gospel are pushed aside. The result is a message and a faith that are"trivial, sentimental, affirming, and irrelevant" (Dr Michael Horton). This is an alternative "gospel" to the biblical one that generations of believers cherished but which today's modern 'Christians' have subjected to a reductionist process, and have rendered it a message of moralism, personal comfort, self-help, self-improvement, and individualistic religion.  Such a message as is practiced in today's church trivialises God, and makes Him a means to our selfish ends. This is the problem facing the contemporary church and there is only one solution: a return to the unadulterated gospel of salvation as revealed in the pages of Scripture.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


"Preaching is not so much about getting something out of your head as it is about getting something into your hearer's heads."

If this truth were taken seriously by preachers there would be fewer theological lectures and Bible studies presented on Sundays to hungry Christians who want only to meet with God and to hear a message from Him.  Such an attitude and practice betrays the preacher's self-interest and displays an absence of interest in the eternal well-being of those who listen to them.

Preaching is surely the highest form of communication known to mankind.  And the communicator par excellence is God Himself, and His Son Jesus Christ.  When Father and Son communicated with us, Their concern was not just to get something out of their heads, but a soul-saving message into ours.  And He did what was needed in order to do that very thing.  He humbled Himself and became man in order to redeem man, and also so that the message He would bring would be relevant to man's spiritual needs.

What point would there have been in Jesus Christ speaking in high sounding language to ordinary people who had not been to the schools, and expect them to understand what He was saying to them.  Spiritually they had enough problems in grasping what the Son of Man was saying, but their problems were spiritual and moral not intellectual. 

Preaching must be plain and simple enough to be able to lodge in the mind of every listener, and at the same time stretching enough to encourage spiritual growth. 

Let all who preach study to be clearly understood and labour to get the message home to every heart and mind.