Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – The Almost Christian

October 9, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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The Almost Christian


George Whitefield


Acts 26:28 – “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

The chapter, out of which the text is taken, contains an admirable account which the great St. Paul gave of his wonderful conversion from Judaism to Christianity, when he was called to make his defense before Festus a Gentile governor, and king Agrippa. Our blessed Lord had long since foretold, that when the Son of man should be lifted up, “his disciples should be brought before kings and rulers, for his name’s sake, for a testimony unto them.” And very good was the design of infinite wisdom in thus ordaining it; for Christianity being, from the beginning, a doctrine of the Cross, the princes and rulers of the earth thought themselves too high to be instructed by such mean teachers, or too happy to be disturbed b such unwelcome truths; and therefore would have always continued strangers to Jesus Christ, and him crucified, had not the apostles, by being arraigned before them, gained opportunities of preaching to them “Jesus and the resurrection.” St. Paul knew full well that this was the main reason, why his blessed Master permitted his enemies at this time to arraign him at a public bar; and therefore, in compliance with the divine will, thinks it not sufficient, barely to make his defense, but endeavors at the same time to convert his judges. And this he did with such demonstration of the spirit, and of power, that Festus, unwilling to be convinced by the strongest evidence, cries out with a loud voice, “Paul, much earning doth make thee mad.” To which the brave apostle (like a true follower of the holy Jesus) meekly replies, I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.” But in all probability, seeing king Agrippa more affected with his discourse, and observing in him an inclination to know the truth, he applies himself more particularly to him. “The king knoweth of these things; before whom also I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him.” And then, that if possible he might complete his wished-for conversion, he with an inimitable strain of oratory, addresses himself still more closely, “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest them.” At which the passions of the king began to work so strongly, that he was obliged in open court, to own himself affected by the prisoner’s preaching, and ingenuously to cry out, “Paul, almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – The Almost Christian…


Sermon Sunday – Johnathan Edwards – How to Know If You’re A Real Christian

August 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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How to Know if You are a Real Christian


 Jonathan Edwards

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.” [James 2:19]

How do you know if you belong to God? We see in these words what some people depend on as an evidence of their acceptance with God. Some people think that they are all right before God if they are not as bad as some evil person. Other people point to their family history or church membership to show that God approves of them. There is an evangelism programme in common use that asks people certain questions. One of the questions is, “Suppose you were to die today. Why should God let you into his heaven?”  A very common response is, “I believe in God.” Apparently the apostle James knew people who said the same thing: I know I am in God’s favor, because I know these religious doctrines.

Of course James admits that this knowledge is good. Not only is it good, but it is also necessary. Nobody can be a Christian who doesn’t believe in God; and more than that, the One True God. This is particularly true for those who had the great advantage of actually knowing the apostle, someone who could tell them of his first-hand experience with Jesus, the Son of God. Imagine the great sin of a person, who knew James, and then refused to believe in God!  Certainly this would make their damnation greater. Of course, all Christians know that this belief in the One God is only the start of good things because “anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb. 11:6.)

However, James is clear that although this belief a good thing, it is definitely not proof that a person is saved. What he means is this: “You say you are a Christian and you are in God’s favor. You think God will let you into heaven, and the proof of it is, you believe in God. But that is no evidence at all, because the demons also believe, and they are sure to be punished in hell.”

The demons believe in God, you can be sure of that! They not only believe that He exists, but they believe that God is a holy God, a sin-hating God, a God of truth, who has promised judgments, and who will carry out his vengeance upon them. This is the reason the demons “shudder” or tremble–they know God more clearly than most human beings do, and they are afraid. Nevertheless, nothing in the mind of man, that devils may experience as well, is any sure sign of God’s grace in our hearts.

This reasoning may be easily turned around. Suppose demons could have, or find within themselves, something of God’s saving grace-proof they would go to heaven. This would prove James wrong. But how absurd! The Bible makes it clear that demons have no hope of salvation, and their believing in God does not take away their future punishment. Therefore believing in God is not proof of salvation for demons, and it is safe to say, not for people, either.

Demons Have a Knowledge of God.

This is seen even more clearly when we think about what demons are like. They are unholy: anything that they experience, cannot be a holy experience. The devil is perfectly wicked. “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” (1 John 3:8 ) Therefore the demons are called evil spirits, unclean spirits, powers of darkness, and so on. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12)

So it is plain that anything in the minds of demons cannot be holy, or lead to true holiness by itself. The demons clearly know many things about God and religion, but they do not have a holy knowledge. The things they know in their minds may make impressions in their hearts- indeed we do see that the demons have very strong feelings about God; so strong, in fact, that they “shudder.” But they are not holy feelings because they have nothing to do with the work of the Holy Spirit. If this is true of the experience of demons, it is also true of the experience of men.

Notice this, that it does not matter how genuine, sincere, and powerful these thoughts and feelings are. Demons, being spiritual creatures, know God in a way that men on earth cannot. Their knowledge of God’s existence is more concrete than any man’s knowledge could be. Because they are locked in battle with the forces of good, they have a sincerity of knowledge as well. On one occasion Jesus cast out some demons. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Mat 8:29) What could possibly be a more clear-cut experience than this? However, while their thoughts and feelings are genuine and powerful, they are not holy.

Also we can see that the holy objects of their thoughts doesn’t make their thoughts and feelings holy. The demons know God exists! Matthew 8:29 shows they know more about Jesus than many people do! They are thoroughly that Jesus will judge them some day, because He is holy. But it is clear that genuine, sincere, and powerful thoughts and feelings about holy, spiritual things, is no proof of God’s grace in the heart. Demons have these things, and look forward to eternal punishment in hell. If men have no more than what the demons have, they will suffer in the same way.

Knowledge of God alone is no proof of salvation.

We may make several conclusions based on these truths. First, that no matter how much people may know about God and the Bible, it is no sure sign of salvation. The devil before his fall, was one of the bright and morning stars, a flame of fire, one excelling in strength and wisdom. (Isa. 14:12, Ezek. 28:12-19) Apparently, as one of the chief angels, Satan knew much about God. Now that he is fallen, his sin has not destroyed his memories from before. Sin does destroy the spiritual nature, but not the natural abilities, such as memory. That the fallen angels do have many natural abilities may be seen from many Bible verses, for example Eph 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” In the same way, the Bible says that Satan is “more crafty” than other created beings. (Gen 3:1, also 2 Cor. 11:3, Acts 13:10)

Therefore we can see that the Devil has always had great mental ability and is able to know much about God, the visible and invisible world, and many other things. Since his job in the beginning was to be a chief angel before God, it is only natural that understanding these things has always been of first importance to him, and that all his activities have to do with these areas of thoughts, feelings, and knowledge.

Because it was his original employment to be one of the angels before the very face of God, and sin does not destroy the memory, it is clear that Satan knows more about God than just about any other created being. After the fall, we can see from his activities as a tempter, etc., (Matt 4:3) that he has been spending his time increasing his knowledge and its practical applications. That his knowledge is great can be seen in how tricky he is when tempting people. The craftiness of his lies shows how clever he is. Surely he could not manage his deceit so well without an actual and true knowledge of the facts.

This knowledge of God and his works is from the very beginning. Satan was there from the Creation, as Job 38:47 shows: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. . .while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” So he must know much about the way God created the world, and how He governs all the events in the universe. Furthermore, Satan has seen how God has worked his plan of redemption in the world; and not as an innocent bystander, but as an active enemy of God’s grace. He saw God work in the lives of Adam and Eve, in Noah, Abraham, and David. He must have taken a special interest in the life of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of men, the Word of God incarnate. How closely did he watch Christ? How carefully did he observe his miracles and listen to His words? This is because Satan has set himself against Christ’s work, and it is to his torment and anguish that Satan has watched Christ’s work unfold successfully.

Satan, then, knows much about God and God’s work. He knows heaven first-hand. He knows hell also, with personal knowledge as its first resident, and has experienced its torments for all these thousands of years. He must have a great knowledge of the Bible: at the least, we can see he knew enough to try tempting our Saviour. Furthermore, he has had years of studying of the hearts of men, his battlefield where he fights against our Redeemer. What labours, exertions, and cares the Devil has used over the centuries as he has deceived men. Only a being with his knowledge and experience of God’s working, and the human heart, could so imitate true religion and transform himself into an angel of light. (2 Cor 11:14)

Therefore we can see that there is no amount of knowledge of God and religion that could prove a person has been saved from their sin. A man may talk about the Bible, God, and the Trinity. He may be able to preach a sermon about Jesus Christ and everything He has done. Imagine, somebody might be able to speak about the way of salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of sinners, perhaps even enough to show others how to become Christians. All these things might build up the church and enlighten the world, yet it is not a sure proof of the saving grace of God in a person’s heart.

It also may be seen that for people to merely agree with the Bible is no sure sign of salvation. James 2:19 shows that the demons really, truly, believe the truth. Just as they believe there is one God, they agree with all the truth of the Bible. The devil is not a heretic: all the articles of his faith are firmly established in the truth.

It must be understood, that when the Bible talks about believing that Jesus is the Son of God, as a proof of God’s grace in the heart, the Bible means not a mere agreement with the truth, but another kind of believing. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” (1 John 5:1) This other kind of believing is called “the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” (Titus 1:1) There is a spiritual holding to the truth, which will be explained later on.

Religious experiences are no proof of salvation.

Some people have strong religious experiences, and think of them as proof of God’s working in their hearts. Often these experiences give people a sense of the importance of the spiritual world, and the reality of divine things. However, these, too, are no sure proof of salvation. Demons and damned human beings have many spiritual experiences which have a great effect on their heart attitudes. They live in the spiritual world and see first-hand what it is like. Their sufferings show them the worth of salvation and the worth of a human soul in the most powerful way imaginable. The parable in Luke chapter 16 teaches this clearly, as the suffering man asks that Lazarus might be sent to tell his brothers to avoid this place of torment. No doubt people in hell now have a distinct idea of the vastness of eternity, and of the shortness of life. They are completely convinced that all the things of this life are unimportant when compared to the experiences of the eternal world.

People now in hell have a great sense of the preciousness of time, and of the wonderful opportunities people have, who have the privilege of hearing the Gospel. They are completely aware of the foolishness of their sin, of neglecting opportunities, and ignoring the warnings of God. When sinners find out by personal experience the final result of their sin there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 13:42) So even the most powerful religious experiences are not a sure sign of God’s grace in the heart.

Demons and damned people also have a strong sense of God’s majesty and power. God’s power is most clearly displayed in his execution of divine vengeance upon his enemies. “What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath-prepared for destruction?” (Rom 9:22) Shuddering, the devils await their final punishment, under the strongest sense of God’s majesty. They feel it now, of course, but in the future it will show to the greatest degree, when the Lord Jesus “is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” (2 Thess 2:7) On that day, they will desire to be run away, to be hidden from the presence of God. “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.” (Rev 1:7) So everyone will see him in the glory of His Father. But, obviously, not all who see him will be saved.

Objection #1- People are different from demons.

Now it is possible that some people might object to all this, saying that ungodly men in this world are quite different from demons. They are under different circumstances and are different kind of beings. An objector might say, “Those things that are visible and present to demons are invisible and future to men. Besides, people have the disadvantage of having bodies, which restrain the soul, and keep people from seeing these spiritual things first-hand. Therefore, even if demons do have a great knowledge and personal experience of the things of God, and have no grace, the conclusion does not apply to me.” Or, put another way: if people have these things in this life, it may very well be a sure sign of God’s grace in their hearts.

In reply, it is agreed that no man in this life has ever had the degree of these things as the demons have them. No person has ever shuddered, with the same amount of fear that the demons shudder with. No man, in this life, can ever have the same kind of knowledge that the Devil has. It is clear that demons and damned men understand the vastness of eternity, and the importance of the other world, more than any living person, and so they crave salvation all the more.

But we can see that men in this world can have experiences of the same kind as those of demons and damned people. They have the same mental outlook, the same opinions and emotions, and the same kind of impressions on the mind and heart. Notice, that for the apostle James it is a convincing argument. He claims that if people think believing in one God is proof of God’s grace, it is not proof, because demons believe the same. James is not referring to the act of believing only, but also to the emotions and actions that go along with their belief. Shuddering is an example of emotions from the heart. This shows that if people have the same kind of mental outlook, and respond from the heart in the same way, it is no sure sign of grace.

The Bible does not state how much people in this world may see God’s glory, and not have God’s grace in their hearts. We are not told exactly to what degree God reveals himself to certain people, and how much they will respond in their hearts. It is very tempting to say that if a person has a certain amount of religious experience, or a certain amount of truth, they must be saved. Perhaps it is even possible for some unsaved people to have greater experiences than some of those who have grace in their hearts! So it is wrong to look at experience or knowledge in terms of amount. Men who have a genuine work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts have experiences and knowledge of a different kind.

Objection #2- People can have religious feelings that demons cannot.

At this point, someone might answer these thoughts by saying, “I agree with you. I see that believing in God, seeing His majesty and holiness, and knowing that Jesus died for sinners is not proof of grace in my heart. I agree that demons can know these things as well. But I have some things they don’t have. I have joy, peace, and love. Demons can’t have them, so that must show that I am saved.”

Yes, it is true that you have something more than a demon can have, but it is nothing better than a demon could have. A person’s experience of love, joy, etc., may not be because they have any cause in them different from a demon, but just different circumstances. The causes, or origins, of their feelings are the same. This is why these experiences are no better than those of demons. To explain further:

All the things that were discussed before about demons and damned people, arise from two main causes, natural understanding and self-love. When they think about themselves, these two things are what determine their feelings and response. Natural understanding shows them that God is holy, while they are wicked. God is infinite, but they are limited. God is powerful, and they are weak. Self-love gives them a sense of the importance of religion, the eternal world, and a longing after salvation. When these two causes work together, demons and damned men become aware of the awesome majesty of God, whom they know will be their Judge. They know that God’s judgment will be perfect and their punishment will be forever. Therefore, these two causes together with their senses will bring about their anguish on that judgment day, when they see the outward glory of Christ and His saints.

The reason many people feel joy, peace, and love today, while demons do not, may be more due to their circumstances, rather than any difference in their hearts. The causes in their hearts are the same. For example, the Holy Spirit is now at work in the world keeping all of mankind from being as wicked as they could be (2 Thess 2:17). This is in contrast to demons, who are just as wicked as they can be all the time. Furthermore, God in his mercy gives gifts to all people, such as the rain for crops (Matt 5:45), heat from the sun, etc. Not only that, but often people receive many things in life to bring them happiness, such as personal relationships, pleasures, music, good health, and so on. Most important of all, many people have heard news of hope: God has sent a Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died to save sinners. In these circumstances, the natural understanding of people can cause them to feel things that demons never can.

Self-love is a powerful force in the hearts of men, strong enough without grace to cause people to love those who love them, “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners  love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32) It is a natural thing for a person who sees God being merciful, and who knows that they are not as bad as they could be, to therefore be sure of God’s love for them. If your love for God comes only from your feelings that God loves you, or because you have heard that Christ died for you, or something similar, the source of your love to God is only self-love. This reigns in the hearts of demons as well.

Imagine the situation of the demons. They know they are unrestrained in their wickedness. They know God is their enemy and always will be. Although they are without any hope, still they are active and fighting. Just think, what if they had some of the hope that people have? What if demons, with their knowledge of God, had their wickedness restrained? Imagine if a demon, after all his fears about God’s judgment, was suddenly led to imagine that God might be his Friend? That God might forgive him and let him, sin and all, into heaven? Oh the joy, the wonder, the gratitude we would see! Would not this demon be a great lover of God, since, after all everybody loves people who help them? What else could cause feelings so powerful and sincere? Is it any wonder, that so many people are deceived this way? Especially since people have the demons to promote this delusion. They have been promoting it now for many centuries, and alas they are very good at it.

True Spiritual experiences have a different source.

Now we come to the question, if all these various experiences and feelings come from nothing more than demons are capable of, what are the kinds of experiences that are truly spiritual and holy? What do I have to find in my own heart, as a sure sign of God’s grace there? What are the differences that show them to be from the Holy Spirit?

This is the answer: those feelings and experiences which are good signs of God’s grace in the heart differ from the experience of demons in their source and in their results.

Their source is the sense of the overwhelming holy beauty and loveliness of the things of God. When a person grasps in his mind, or better yet, when he feels his own heart held captive by the attractiveness of the Divine, this is an unmistakable sign of God’s working.

The demons and damned in hell do not now, and never will experience even the tiniest bit of this. Before their fall, the demons did have this sense of God. But in their fall, they lost it, the only thing they could lose of their knowledge of God. We have seen how the demons have very clear ideas about how powerful God is, his justice, holiness, and so on. They know a lot of facts about God. But now they haven’t a clue about what God is like. They cannot know what God is like any more than a blind man can know about colors! Demons can have a strong sense God’s awesome majesty, but they don’t see his loveliness. They have observed His work among the human race for these thousands of years, indeed with the closest attention; but they never see a glimmer of His beauty. No matter how much they know about God (and we have seen that they know very much indeed) the knowledge they have will never bring them to this higher, spiritual knowing what God is like. On the contrary, the more they know about God, the more they hate Him. The beauty of God consists primarily in this holiness, or moral excellence, and this is what they hate the most. It is because God is holy that the demons hate Him. One could suppose that if God were to be less holy, the demons would hate Him less. No doubt demons would hate any holy Being, no matter what He was like otherwise. But surely they hate this Being
all the more, for being infinitely holy, infinitely wise, and infinitely powerful!

Wicked people, including those alive today, will on the day of judgment see all there is to see of Jesus Christ, except His beauty and loveliness. There is not one thing about Christ that we can think of, that will not be set before them in the strongest light on that brilliant day. The wicked will see Jesus “coming in clouds with great power and glory.” (Mark 13:26) They will see his outward glory, which is far, far greater than we can possibly imagine now. You know the wicked will be thoroughly convinced of all who Christ is. They will be convinced about His omniscience, as they see all their sins replayed and evaluated. They will know first-hand Christ’s justice, as their sentences are announced. His authority will be made utterly convincing when every knee will bow, and every tongue confess Jesus as Lord. (Phil 2:10,11) The divine majesty will be impressed upon them in quite an effective way, as the wicked are poured into hell itself, and enter into their final state of suffering and death (Rev 20:14,15) When that happens, all their knowledge of God, as true and as powerful as it may be, will be worth nothing, and less than nothing, because they will not see Christ’s beauty.

Therefore, it is this seeing the loveliness of Christ that makes the difference between the saving grace of the Holy Spirit, and the experiences of demons. This sight or sense is what makes true Christian experience different from everything else. The faith of God’s elect people is based on this. When a person sees the excellence of the gospel, he senses the beauty and loveliness of the divine scheme of salvation. His mind is convinced that it is of God, and he believes it with all his heart. As the apostle Paul says in 2 Cor 4:34, “even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” That is to say, as was explained before, unbelievers can see that there is a gospel, and understand the facts about it, but they do not see its light. The light of the gospel is the glory of Christ, his holiness and beauty. Right after this we read, 2 Cor 4:6 “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” Clearly, it is this divine light, shining into our hearts, that enables us to see the beauty of the gospel and have a saving belief in Christ. This supernatural light shows us the superlative beauty and loveliness of Jesus, and convinces us of His sufficiency as our Saviour. Only such a glorious, majestic Saviour can be our Mediator, standing between guilty, hell-deserving sinners such as ourselves, and an infinitely holy God. This supernatural light gives us a sense of Christ that convinces us in a way nothing else ever could.

A true spiritual experience transforms the heart.

When a most wicked sinner is caused to see Christ’s divine loveliness, he no longer speculates why God should be interested in him, to save him. Before, he could not understand how the blood of Christ could pay the penalty for sins. But now he can see the preciousness of Christ’s blood, and how it is worthy to be accepted as the ransom for the worst of sins. Now the soul can recognize that he is accepted by God, not because of who he is, but because of the value God puts on the blood, obedience, and intercession of Christ. Seeing this value and worth gives the poor guilty soul rest which cannot be found in any sermon or booklet.

When a person comes to see the proper foundation of faith and trust with his own eyes, this is saving faith. “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life.” (John 6:40) “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” (John 17:6-8) It is this sight of the divine beauty of Christ that captivates the wills and draws the hearts of men. A sight of the outward greatness of God in His glory may overwhelm men, and be more than they can endure. This will be seen on the day of judgment, when the wicked will be brought before God. They will be overwhelmed, yes, but the hostility of the heart will remain in full strength and the opposition of the will continue. But on the other hand, a single ray of the moral and spiritual glory of God and of the supreme loveliness of Christ shone into the heart overcomes all hostility. The soul is inclined to love God as if by an omnipotent power, so that now not only the understanding, but the whole being receives and embraces the loving Saviour.

This sense of the beauty of Christ is the beginning of true saving faith in the life of a true convert. This is quite different from any vague feeling that Christ loves him or died for him. These sort of fuzzy feelings can cause a sort of love and joy, because the person feels a gratitude for escaping the punishment of their sin. In actual fact, these feelings are based on self-love, and not on a love for Christ at all. It is a sad thing that so many people are deluded by this false faith. On the other hand, a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ causes in the heart a supreme genuine love for God. This is because the divine light shows the excellent loveliness of God’s nature. A love based on this is far, far above anything coming from self-love, which demons can have as well as men. The true love of God which comes from this sight of His beauty causes a spiritual and holy joy in the soul; a joy in God, and exulting in Him. There is no rejoicing in ourselves, but rather in God alone.

Genuine spiritual experiences have different results.

The sight of the beauty of divine things will cause true desires after the things of God. These desires are different from the longings of demons, which happen because the demons know their doom awaits them, and they wish it could somehow be otherwise. The desires that come from this sight of Christ’s beauty are natural free desires, like a baby desiring milk. Because these desires are so different from their counterfeits, they help to distinguish genuine experiences of God’s grace from the false.

False spiritual experiences have a tendency to cause pride, which is the devil’s special sin. “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.” (1 Tim 3:6) Pride is the inevitable result of false spiritual experiences, even though they are often covered with a disguise of great humility. False experience is enamored with self and grows on self. It lives by showing itself in one way or another. A person can have great love for God, and be proud of the greatness of his love. He can be very humble, and very proud indeed of his humility. But the emotions and experiences that come from God’s grace are exactly opposite. God’s true working in the heart causes humility. They do not cause any kind of showiness or self-exaltation. That sense of the awesome, holy, glorious beauty of Christ kills pride and humbles the soul. The light of God’s loveliness, and that alone, shows the soul its own ugliness. When a person really grasps this, he inevitably begins a process of making God bigger and bigger, and himself smaller and smaller.

Another result of God’s grace working in the heart is that the person will hate every evil and respond to God with a holy heart and life. False experiences may cause a certain amount of zeal, and even a great deal of what is commonly called religion. However it is not a zeal for good works. Their religion is not a service of God, but rather a service of self. This is how the apostle James puts it himself in this very context, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?” (James 2:1920) In other words, deeds, or good works, are evidence of a genuine experience of God’s grace in the heart. “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:34) When the heart has been ravished by the beauty of Christ, how else can it respond?

The sight of Christ’s beauty- God’s greatest gift!

How excellent is that inner goodness and true religion that comes from this sight of the beauty of Christ! Here you have the most wonderful experiences of saints and angels in heaven. Here you have the best experience of Jesus Christ Himself. Even though we are mere creatures, it is a sort of participation in God’s own beauty. “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature.” (2 Pet 1:4) “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” (Heb 12:10) Because of the power of this divine working, there is a mutual indwelling of God and His people. “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) This special relationship has to make the person involved as happy and as blessed as any creature in existence. This is a special gift of God, which he gives only to his special favorites. Gold, silver, diamonds, and earthly kingdoms are given by God to people who the Bible calls dogs and pigs. But this great gift of beholding Christ’s beauty, is the special blessing of God to His dearest children. Flesh and blood cannot give this gift: only God can bestow it. This was the special gift which Christ died to obtain for his elect. It is the highest token of his everlasting love, the best fruit of his labours and the most precious purchase of his blood.

By this gift, more than anything else, the saints shine as lights in the world. This gift, more than anything else, is their comfort. It is impossible that the soul who possesses this gift should ever perish. This is the gift of eternal life. It is eternal life begun: those who have it can never die. It is the dawning of the light of glory. It comes from heaven, it has a heavenly quality, and it will take its bearer to heaven. Those who have this gift may wander in the wilderness or be tossed by waves on the ocean, but they will arrive in heaven at last. There the heavenly spark will be made perfect and increased. In heaven the souls of the saints will be transformed into a bright and pure flame, and they will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Amen.

Originally titled True Grace Distinguished from the Experience of Devils by Jonathan Edwards, 1752. This modern language version is Copyright 1994 by William Carson. Permission is granted for reproduction, so long as this file is not altered, this notice is included in any reproduction, and it is not sold for profit.

Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – Christ, the Believer’s Husband

June 5, 2011 at 8:34 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Christ the Believer’s Husband
George Whitefield

Isaiah 54:5 – “For thy Maker is thy Husband.”

Although believers by nature, are far from God, and children of wrath, even as others, yet it is amazing to think how nigh they are brought to him again by the blood of Jesus Christ. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of any man living, fully to conceive, the nearness and dearness of that relation, in which they stand to their common head. He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Behold, says the blessed Jesus in the days of his flesh, “my mother and my brethren.” And again after his resurrection, “go tell my brethren.” Nay sometimes he is pleased to term believers his friends. “Henceforth call I you no longer servants, but friends.” “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.” And what is a friend? Why there is a friend that is nearer than a brother, nay as near as one’s own soul. And “thy friend, (says God in the book of Deuteronomy) which is as thy own soul.” Kind and endearing applications these, that undoubtedly bespeak a very near and ineffably intimate union between the Lord Jesus and the true living members of his mystical body! But, methinks, the words of our text point out to us a relation, which not only comprehends, but in respect to nearness and dearness , exceeds all other relations whatsoever. I mean that of a Husband, “For thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – Christ, the Believer’s Husband…

Harold Camping, the church, and the world

May 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This past Saturday, after months and years of warning people about the Day of Judgment, Harold Camping was proven to be a false teacher. After months of laying out the specific mathematical calculations he used to determine that the rapture would happen on May 21st, 2011; after spending millions of dollars on billboards all across the country (and around the world) warning drivers of their impending doom and having his followers hand out t-shirts and buttons telling people of the rapture to happen, Mr. Camping’s supposed final moments came and went with little fanfare (well, from Mr. Camping anyway). Continue Reading Harold Camping, the church, and the world…

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion

May 22, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | 2 Comments
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Authentic Religion
J. C. Ryle

“Rejected silver” (Jeremiah 6:30)

“Nothing but leaves” (Mark 11:13)

“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”
(1 John 3:18).

“You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1)

If we profess to have any religion at all, let us be careful that it is authentic.  I say it emphatically, and I repeat the saying: Let us be careful that our religion is authentic.

What do I mean when I use the word “authentic.”  I mean that which is genuine, and sincere, and honest, and thorough.  I mean that which is not inferior, and hollow, and formal, and false, and counterfeit, and sham, and nominal.  “Authentic” religion is not mere show, and pretense, and skin-deep feeling, and temporary profession, and works only on the outside.  It is something inward, solid, substantial, intrinsic, living, lasting.  We know the difference between counterfeit and authentic money–between solid gold and tinsel–between plated metal and silver–between authentic stone and plaster imitation.  Let us think of these things as we consider the subject of this paper.  What is the character of our religion?  Is it authentic?  It may be weak, and feeble, and mingled with many defects.  That is not the point before us today.  Is our religion authentic?  Is it true?

The times in which we live demand attention to this subject.  A want of authenticity is a striking feature of a vast amount of religion in the present day.  Poets have sometimes told us that the world has passed through four different states or conditions.  We have had a golden age, and a silver age, a brass age, and an iron age.  How far this is true, I do not stop to inquire.  But I fear there is little doubt as to the character of the age in which we live.  It is universally an age of cheap metal and alloy.  If we measure the religion of the age by its apparent quantity, there is much of it.  But if we measure it by its quality, there is indeed very little.  On every side we want MORE AUTHENTICITY. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion…


June 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Often, when we are hearing about events that took place in the gospels, we are told about the enemies of Jesus. Those people who opposed Him and tried everything they could to show Him to be a charlatan. Of all the groups that did this, the one that Christians are most familiar with are the Pharisees. Because of the often simple light in which this group is painted, many people don’t realize the dangers inherent in what they said and did. To understand this, it is important to understand where the Pharisees came from.
The group of Jews known as Pharisees arose during the reign of John Hyrcanus. They came from the Hasidism, which was a militant religious community that was focused on obedience to the Law and worship to God. They began around 168 B.C. (before Christ!…). The name Pharisee means “separated one” and was applied to this group because they separated themselves from the Hellenistic influence brought in through the Greeks. At the time of Jesus, it is believed that there were around 6,000 Pharisees in Israel. The Pharisees saw the entire Old Testament as authoritative, but accepted oral tradition as authoritative as well. They believed in the existence of angels and demons. They believed in life after death and bodily resurrection. They believed that the study of the Law was worship. They strove to live holy by keeping the Law and saw the Law as determining what was clean and unclean. They felt very strongly about obedience to the Law and developed a set of regulations to help save people from breaking the Law. There are 613 laws in the Old Testament and the discussions that they had were as specific as whether or not a person should eat an egg laid on the Sabbath. The Pharisees lived for the Law and sought to use it in all situations. Continue Reading Pharisees…

America’s Answer

April 19, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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As we watch the federal government grow to an unheard of size, taking liberties and freedoms with it, we keep hearing talk about answers. The president says that his plans are the answers for America’s problems. He tells us as often as possible how great his plans are and how lucky we are to have him as our president. The problem is that the math doesn’t add up when you look at the numbers and just about everything that the president has said to the American people has been a lie. He has broken almost every promise and took steps to make things extremely worse for not only us but future generations of Americans as well. Our grandchildren will have no idea what America used to be like (unless they have an honest history teacher) unless we stop this progression.
But, if the president’s plans aren’t the answer than what is? Many talk about cutting taxes and reducing spending. Those will both work economically, but they aren’t the answer to restoring the moral fabric of the country. Personally, I will be surprised if the Republicans do any better than the Democrats when they get the majority again. They seem to be Democrat lite to me… The answer to our country’s problems doesn’t lie in economic plans or government programs. It doesn’t fall on the president, Congress, or big business to fix our situations (they all proven many times over that they are too incompetent to do this anyway). America’s answer lies in One person. God. Continue Reading America’s Answer…

What has God done for me?

March 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Many people today, inside and outside the church, have become focused on self. They are all about them and what they can do. They often don’t know or care what God has done for them. Those who aren’t professing Christians can’t see that their very life is a gift from God. Sadly, this affects the gospel. When people don’t understand what God has done for them or why He did it, is cheapens the gospel and lessens the effect the good news can have in a person’s life. When pastors don’t preach the true gospel, the people listening don’t receive what they need to hear to help them understand who God is and what He’s done for them. Continue Reading What has God done for me?…

The voice of change? (long)

January 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I realize that there won’t be many who read this and there probably won’t be many who agree either, but this is something that I feel I need to write. Our nation is fawning over its new president, but it seems that there are few people who are listening to what he actually says. Below is a transcript of the inaugural speech given by Barack Obama as well as my response.


My fellow citizens:


I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.


I wonder if president Obama really understands sacrifice? Does he understand our nation’s history (not the revised version) and the trials they went through to forge this nation? Does he really understand humility? This is the same man who wrote a “private” letter to his daughters that was somehow printed in national newspapers. He thanks the former president that he spent the last two years attacking and that he will again attack in this very speech. What is that all about? Is no one paying attention to the man and not just his words?


Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.


So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.


Obama talks about peace, prosperity, and storms. I wonder if he really understands. He talks about the skill and vision of those in “high office”, but when I look around, I see the skill, vision, and morality of the “high office” dwindling at an alarming rate. It is being replaced with shallow people in vacuous positions speaking empty words. I wonder if Obama was trying to subtly refer to himself and those he’s chosen to lead our nation. He claims that “We the People” have been “faithful to the ideals of our forbears”, but the majority of “the People” don’t have any inkling of what our forbears stood for. They don’t know the history of our nation, but have instead mired themselves up to their eyeballs in the revised fairy tale that has very little relation to reality. He says that we’ve remained true to our documents. Coming from someone who is supposed to be versed in Constitutional law, it seems that our new President hasn’t read the documents he’s talking about. Our founding fathers laid out a foundation based on God and morality. They set up the government of this country to be “by the People”. All our president has to do is look at what is going on in our nation (and be honest about the very things that he himself promotes and supports) to see that we’ve fallen away from both our nation’s documents and it’s scriptural foundation. Our judicial branch no longer upholds the law it creates it. The “People” have very little to say in the way our nation is run. President Obama needs to be a little more honest and a little less naïve (or deceitful)…


That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.


It would take a complete hermit or idiot to fail to see that we’re in a crisis. The problem is that while we’re in a crisis, no one seems to want to admit or express the reason we’re where we are. We are in the situation we’re in because of the sins of both nation as a whole, and the individual people in it. We are here because we’ve removed morality (Christian morality) from just about every aspect of America. We don’t teach our kids morality in schools, so they fornicate and have babies. Because we don’t teach them how precious life is, they can go down the street and kill the baby inside them. We give them ready-made excuses like they’re not ready or it would be burden to the child. If we really wanted to allow abortions, then why not be truthful about it? Allow the child to be born, clean it up, dress it in it’s first clothes, and then send the mom and/or dad into the room with a knife and tell them not to come out until they’ve aborted their baby. It’s really no different than what’s happening now, but at least this way the mom’s would be a little more honest… We neglect to teach our kids ethics or morality at home. Like the government, our response has become “throw money at it”. So we’ve created a generation of disrespectful, detached kids who are happier and feel more loved with their friends than with their families. We’ve created generations of “fathers” who can impregnate any number of women but have absolutely no idea of the responsibility they have to the lives they’ve helped bring about. We continue to promote “alternative lifestyles” like they are equal to what God has ordained. We have been everything BUT true to what our forbears believed! And we’re too prideful and self-righteous to admit it…


Our nation is at war because of what it once was, not because of what it is now. Those who hate us do so because of the Christian morals we used to have. We have fought the war against the “network of hatred” on foreign shores because we had experienced people leading us that knew that it is better to fight the war over there than it is to allow it to come over here. We no longer have that experience. Instead, we have a man who seems sympathetic to our enemies and is more than willing to sit down with them to talk. Our economy is badly weakened by greed – period. Obama seems to want to point the finger at the corporations (while still throwing them money) but I wonder if he includes the government in the “some” whose greed has caused us to be where we are. We wouldn’t need bailouts and stimulus packages if the government actually cared about, represented, and worked for the people who put them into office. Instead, they waste America’s money on ludicrous pork barrel agendas, rarely accomplish anything productive, and still manage to vote themselves a yearly raise in spite of the current economic problems. It is not our collective failure to make hard choices that has gotten us here. It is our failure to make right choices and respect God and His Word and live by it that has gotten us here. The choices really aren’t that hard, but to make them would have to mean choosing to sacrifice our greed and selfishness to see our country return to God. We shouldn’t be trying to prepare our nation for a “new age”. We should be repenting and return to doing what God says we should have been doing all along…


Many have lost homes, but it is their own fault. Many of the people who bought homes only to lose them knew they couldn’t afford them in the first place and so did the government. But, in our desire for everyone to live the “American dream”, the government completely botched the entire system and is now paying for it. Jobs have been lost because companies can’t afford the overhead to run their own businesses here anymore. The unions charge an outrageous amount. Businesses can find cheaper work overseas. It’s no one’s fault but our own… Healthcare is costly, but to be honest, I think that it is not the priority that people are making it. Our schools have failed since we’ve removed the Bible and morality from them. We no longer teach kids for them to succeed, we teach them so that our schools can get money. They are being taught by teachers who lack morality like they do. A growing number of teachers can’t pass their own subjects! The way we use energy is another red herring that we are spending too much time and money focusing on. I would love to see biofuels and “green energy”, but without morality in our country, it’s not really going to matter…


These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.


I disagree with the president that the “sapping of confidence” is less measurable. It is evident that many wonder about America’s decline, but what should we expect? They lack confidence in our nation because its leaders have consistently shown in recent years that they’re untrustworthy. Worse than that, the “leaders” of our nation have removed the only true hope that America has. They’ve helped mock the One who could heal our nation and they’ve taught generations to do the same. Why should Americans trust the empty words and promises of those who say they have their best interests at heart and then act in ways that show the opposite. The next generation is almost forced to “lower its sights” because our nation has trusted in a new “god”, money, and it’s prophet man. Without something greater than what our “leaders” currently offer us, we can do nothing but decline…


Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.


Duh. The challenges have always been real, but the plans offered to deal with them are fanciful and without any backbone or understanding. The challenges have also always been serious, at least to those truly concerned about our nation. To the rest, they’ve been nuisances, or hazy events on the edges of vision, or political “causes” used to increase one’s status or reputation. America’s problems have never been easily met. President Obama says they’ll be met and that’s what bothers me. They will be met by greedy, inexperienced, shallow men and women who hate God and His Son. They will be met with the best man has to offer and those efforts will ultimately fail. In the meantime, “the People” will be told how wonderfully things are going and, sadly, many will believe it.


On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.


President Obama has said that he was elected because America has “chosen hope over fear”, but what hope does he offer? Unless he’s the Messiah (like some profess him to be) his talk of hope is just another example of emotionally charged drivel. If the “hope” that Barack Obama offers is not that of repentance to God and salvation through Jesus Christ so that God will heal our land; then the President doesn’t know the meaning of hope. If we are “unified” for any purpose that is not solely focused on Christ, if we are not focused on our entire nation repenting in sackcloth and ashes, then we will not be unified. The conflict and discord our country faces have come from the fact that everyone is doing what is right is his or her own eyes. We have all gone our own way and, unfortunately, we’re just doing what comes natural to sinners. The president seems to imply that he can somehow erase the conflict and discord. I doubt it…


On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.


Who is proclaiming and end to petty grievances and false promises? The government? All of America? Forgive me for sounding skeptical Mr. President, but we’ve heard all this before from people that are much more qualified than you. Which “petty grievances, false promises, worn-out dogmas, and recriminations” are we ending? Could you be more specific? Are you including the newly made ones in this statement? It seems to me that our new president has his focus misplaced. It’s not about what’s strangling our politics. It’s about the sin that has strangled “the People”. Until this is changed, it doesn’t matter what kind of politics we have (like socialism) because it won’t fix the problem…


We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.


Up to this point, I’ve rolled my eyes a lot, but this angers me. I wonder if the president knows where his little snippet of scripture from. Ironically, it comes from 1 Corinthians 13. This is the “love” chapter. But, the love that Paul talks about is not the eros (physical) love. It’s not the “fuzzy feelings” love. It is the self-sacrificing, responsible love called agape. This love is more concerned about others than self. Obama calls us a young nation who needs to put away childish things. This sounds awfully funny coming from a man who is playing president and trying to talk tough and compare himself to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr. because he has no identity of his own. If Obama says we should put away childish things, then he should lead by example. He should stop acting like he knows what he’s doing. He should stop trying to sound intelligent and just admit that he’s in “above his pay grade”. He says that it’s time to reaffirm our enduring spirit. What enduring spirit? While I believe that there are those who have an enduring spirit, I believe many of them are the same people who saw the world wars… In our current time, if we aren’t instantly satisfied in our endeavors, we give up. How is this enduring?


He then says that we should choose our better history. How? You can’t choose history because it’s in the past. Unless of course he’s talking about the rewritten history of our nation and which is the best version. He then invokes God again, showing his misunderstanding. He says that all are equal, free, and deserve a “chance to pursue their full measure of happiness”. I disagree with this Mr. President. I agree, in one respect, that all are equal. We are all sinners who deserve to be sent to hell. But, we’re not all equal in the sense that those who have repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ will not go to hell. Second, we are not all free. Not one of us is free. The Bible calls us slaves and we serve one of two masters. We either serve sin or we serve God. Sadly, our nation continues to choose sin over God and I believe that the people that are coming to power in our country are part of His judgment and will encourage the nation’s sin even more. Finally, while I think that we have the opportunity to pursue happiness, that opportunity only extends as far as it doesn’t conflict with God’s law. If that pursuit of happiness includes something that God defines as sin or an abomination, then we have no “right” to pursue it although we have the ability to.


In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.


For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.


For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.


For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.


While I love my country, I’m honest enough to say that the greatness of our nation is not what it used to be. We can reaffirm it all we want, but that doesn’t make it true. Our nation was great because the men and women who lead our country were God-fearing and truly understood that God is the reason our nation was even in existence. Greatness is not a given but it is not earned either. God gives it. It is God who raises up kings and brings them low (Daniel 2:21), and He will NOT raise up a nation that so openly rebels against Him.


The president says that our “journey” has never been one of short cuts. I disagree. Maybe it wasn’t that way years ago, but today that’s all it’s about. In today’s American society, it’s all about getting everything we can as fast we can. It’s about finding the quickest way to fame, fortune, and your name in lights. I could use the president and his political career as an example of this. He says that our journey has not been the path for the faint-hearted who seek leisure, riches, and fame. Has the president been in hiding? I am truly amazed that he said this while a growing number of corporations are going under because their CEOs and other management have gotten a lion’s share of wealth on the backs of others. And, what’s worse is the government is bailing them out! The government is giving the CEOs more money to put in their pockets without any kind of accountability (which is something that will supposedly change…). Who is the president trying to fool?


He says that it is the doers, risk-takers, and makers that have carried us “up the long rugged path to prosperity and freedom”. Is the president that blind or is he just naïve? America as we know it today is neither prosperous nor free. Yes, there are people making money, but our nation has a debt that is trillions of dollars! It is close to the point where there is no way we will ever be able to pay it off! And yet, we seem to have billions of dollars for bailouts, etc. that will supposedly help us. Isn’t the mishandling and poor decision making concerning money one of the things that got us where we are to begin with? How is that going to help us? That’s the definition of insanity! America is no longer free either. The freedoms we once held dear are slowly fading away. They are being replaced by whatever the current government thinks will get them re-elected. Our American rights are no longer inalienable… To say that the people who came here to live did so for us is a farce and misrepresentation of the people. The people that founded our nation did so as a haven for Christians. They didn’t toil for us, they toiled because it was necessary. They understood Scripture, which says if you don’t work you don’t eat. Most today wouldn’t survive if that were implemented here. They were willing to accept the work and the toil because they could openly worship the Lord in a country that didn’t tell them how they could do it.


Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.


The men and women who built this nation saw America the way they did because they loved her. They struggled and sacrificed to make this nation what it was because they loved God. Today, those words mean nothing to most Americans. Many wouldn’t know struggle or sacrifice if they saw it. America was greater than individuals because those individuals held to Christian morals and knew that without God they would have nothing. No other religion could have done it. The people of our nation had a “better life” because they gave that life to the Lord in service, trust, and obedience.


This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.


Again, I have to disagree. We don’t continue the “journey” of our founders/builders. Honestly, I don’t even think we’re on the same page. Our nation is neither the most prosperous nor the most powerful. We have strong armies, sure, but armies alone don’t make a nation powerful. Our nation is filled with uneducated, immoral, unmotivated people in all levels of leadership. To say that our workers are no less productive is to ignore both the growing unemployment rate and the number of people who refuse to work. Our minds may be just as inventive, but they will not stay that way. We have multitudes of kids graduating high school who can’t even read the diploma they’ve been handed. There are clever people and inventors in America, but they aren’t enough. Our goods and services are mostly handled by the foreign countries we’ve outsourced the work to. Our companies are going out of business, people are losing their jobs and that diminishes capacity. Our president’s solution for the nation is to “remake” America. I don’t think that we need to remake America. We need to REPENT America! We don’t need to remake anything. What we need to do is return to the foundation our country was built on. All the emotional pep talk won’t fix the problem our country faces…


For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.


There is always work to be done! The state of the economy and other “issues” are just symptoms of a deeper problem. Without fixing the deeper problem, the symptoms will go away for a while, but they’ll be back. Obama wants to lay a new foundation. I believe that our nation needs to restore the foundation it already has. All the talk in the world about roads, grids, technology, and health care makes for a good speech but that’s all. Obama says that we’re going to do all these things, but how? Where will we get the money? And, how will doing any of these things fix America’s real problem – sin? I also can’t help but wonder what the president thinks that science’s “rightful place” is? Basically what he seems to be saying here is that we’ll be able to snap our fingers and science and technology will somehow save us. It’s done so well so far. It’s done some great things for us like medicine but it’s also done some really ridiculous things. It’s got full-grown men spending all their time listening into space for signs of life. It’s got millions of people believing a fairy tale that we somehow came from nothing billions of years ago when there is no proof of it. I hear what the president is saying and I can’t help but shake my head. All he needs is a couple of dragons and a princess in distress and he’ll have the makings of a great story. Unfortunately, no matter how many times he says it can/will happen, that doesn’t make it so, especially if God has decided something different…


Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.


I don’t just question the scale of ambitions I question the ambitions themselves. It seems that the president has forgotten what our country has already done. He seems to only know history as it’s been revised or made up. Our country doesn’t need imagination (wouldn’t that be a “childish thing” that we’re supposed to give up?). What our country needs is for its people, all of them, to take responsibility for it’s sin. We need our nation to own up to the fact that man’s ways don’t work, and realize that the only thing that can save us is God. The thing is, our “system” doesn’t need “big plans”. It only needs one plan.


What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.


What cynics is he talking about? If he’s talking about those who are cynical of him and his ideas, I have to ask him what he expects? I’m very cynical of him and his proposals because I don’t think that there is an ounce of truth to them. I see what he’s said and see it’s empty. It’s not about stale political arguments. The ground has not “shifted” beneath anyone. The problems we face today are the same problems we’ve always faced. What’s “shifted” is how we’ve dealt with them. Before, men and women used common sense to make decisions based on the Biblical principles our nation was built on. They took responsibility for their actions and made amends for their mistakes. Today, that doesn’t happen. There is no shame. No matter what is done, no one is ashamed. People buy houses they can’t afford, blame others for their mistakes, and kill their unborn children. The president says that it’s not about whether government is “too big or too small”, but I disagree. If the government is too big, then it’s no longer “by the People”, which would mean that we’re not staying “true to our founding documents”. What the president seems to gloss over is the fact that government isn’t working. It’s not providing jobs, it’s allowing companies to go elsewhere. The wages of many are below average because of the government. The government has tried and failed numerous times to “fix” things or “bail out” companies and it’s not worked. It’s manipulated situations (like real estate) and caused many of the crises we now face. But, like I’ve said already, even if the government could create “millions of jobs” at “decent wages”, or affordable health care, or “dignified retirement” (what exactly does that mean?), it’s not going to fix America.


The president continues to push programs, but they won’t work. They haven’t yet. He then says that those of “us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account”. Does this include the government? Will we finally get to see the government held accountable? He says that they will be held accountable to spend wisely. Really? Accountable to whom? Is this the end of pork barrel spending? Is it the end of automatic raises for members of congress? Does the government even know what it means to spend wisely? While this may sound good to some, it seems to me that, like a number of other things the president has said, he’s blowing smoke. He says they’re going to “reform bad habits” too. I think he’s lying. Look at his plans. He’s going to bail out companies who’ve shown they cannot handle money. Does that sound like a good habit? Does it sound like spending wisely? I don’t think so. Without a Biblical understanding, the country’s money problems will continue to grow. But they will pale in comparison to the other problems that we’ll face if we continue to rebel against God. If the president wants to reform things, then he’ll need to put prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments back into prominence. It will take a few generations of school kids to start showing, but it will work. The president also talks about “doing business in the light of day” and transparency. Does that mean that his life and the lives of those in Congress will be an open book? Does it mean that there will be no more secret meetings to try and pass legislation under the public’s radar? Obama wants to restore trust between the People and their government but it doesn’t make a difference what he says. Our nation is comprised of 85% Christians (I personally don’t think it’s that high) and yet the president is taking actions that go directly against what the majority of the nation professes to believe. How exactly does that earn our trust?


Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.


Again, we see that America’s “god” is money. The news has been dominated by the economy. I’m not sure I understand why the president is speaking about the market. Have a large number of people been arguing about it? How does the market “expand freedom”? I can’t help but wonder whose watchful eye the president is talking about? His? The person he put in charge (who had difficulties handling his own money)? Mr. Obama clearly doesn’t understand prosperity. The only way a nation can truly prosper is if it fears, reveres, and “favors” God. Scripture is filled with evidence of this. When Israel obeyed God, they prospered (just like He promised!). They were a righteous nation and God blessed them. When they disobeyed God, they suffered in many ways. You can see the same thing in America’s history. Our country was founded in 1776. For 187 years, our nation feared and revered God. The men and women who lead the nation obeyed Him and ordered their lives after His Word. God was first. He was obeyed and our nation was protected and prosperous. In 1963, God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were removed from our schools and many public places. In 36 years, our nation has fallen horribly from where it used to be. We lift up homosexuality as at least equal, if not better than, heterosexuality even though it’s an abomination to God and a sin. We promote the murder of unborn children by their moms as an issue of choice and rights, even though the rights of the child are completely ignored. We pay billions of dollars to produce and watch movies that are full of immorality, blasphemy, and rebellion against God. We continue to flounder and fall behind. The success of our economy has depended solely on our obedience to God, but that shouldn’t be our focus. Our focus should be on the fact that we’ve rebelled against God and that should grieve us. Unless we repent and return to God, we will continue to fall. The surest route to “our common good” is found in Scripture. Any other route is a detour and a lie.


As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.


I wonder who said that we have to choose between safety and ideals? In all honesty, our safety will be determined by our ideals. Our founding fathers were faced with perils we can’t imagine (yet), but there are two major differences between them and us. First, the majority of the problems they faced were due to a government that had too much hand in their personal lives. The problems they faced were not of their own making. Today, our problems are totally our own making. Second, the founding fathers trusted in God. They believed in Him and obeyed Him. They understood sacrifice because they understood the cross. They actually knew what agape meant. They “drafted a charter” to assure the rule of God’s law and the rights of man (even the unborn ones). Only the blood of those who understood what they did and believed the same way has expanded this charter. I disagree that the ideals the founding fathers still light the world. To be honest, I believe that they are dimming even in this nation. The ideals that the founding fathers held to were Christian ones. The majority of the world hates God and those who truly follow Him (although they seem to like the squishy compromisers). Even in America, where 85% are supposedly Christian, those ideals are hard to recognize in the “believers”. To make a blanket statement about peace and dignity seems a little proud and presumptuous (at least he’s consistent). America is not, and shouldn’t be, the friend of all those who seek peace for a very good reason. All who seek peace do not do so the same way. Muslims seek peace through the submission of all to the will of Allah. Are we ok with that? I fear that the majority might be, as long as it’s not Christianity… Others seek peace through the death of Christians. Are we friends to them? I wonder how many would still profess Christ if it came down to their lives? Also, the idea that we “are ready to lead once more” is ridiculous. Our nation can’t even handle the majority of the issues in our own borders, how can we lead other nations, especially when many of those nations already have a low view of America?


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.


The president talks about how others faced down communism while he tries to bring it into our borders! The things that our nations “faced down” were done because of the enduring convictions based on Christianity. Our “power” is nothing. It is more of a hindrance than a benefit. I say this because we look to our power as a nation as some sort of indication of how great we are. It supposedly represents how “great” we are. We have ignored the fact that it is God and He alone that gives us strength and protects us. Our power alone is worth nothing. It is God’s power that protects us. And if we continue to rebel against God, that power that once protected us will be brought to bear against us. Our power doesn’t grow because of anything that we do. God grows our power as we continue to humble ourselves before Him and to order our lives and our nation according to His Word. Also, our security comes from God. Our justness of cause is relative unless it’s based on Scripture. If it’s not, then justice will change depending on the whim of those in charge. For instance, it will soon be ok to kill your child because it’s an inconvenience, unless of course it’s already born (well, unless it’s just partially born). It will soon be ok to live a homosexual lifestyle. Many would see this as justice. It’s not, but that’s how many will see this.


I wonder what kind of force the president is talking about? And what example? The example of rebellion against God? How forceful can our example be when it diametrically opposes the will of God? I find it ironic that the president talks about humility here but has built his campaign on how he is the agent of change and will bring about the change that America needs. Is that humility? Is walking in humility telling someone that disagrees with you that you won and that will “trump him or her any day”? And who will restrain the president? “the People”? Will they be given the opportunity?


We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.


All you have to do is look at our recent history to see that we’ve failed to keep the legacy of those who have come before. We have not been guided by the principles of our forefathers because we’ve ignored them! He talks about greater cooperation and understanding between nations, but many of these nations want to see America destroyed. He talks about old friends and former foes, but what indication do we have that this will be the case? Many of our “old friends” have abandoned us in Iraq and many of our “former foes” still don’t hold us in high regard. Again, the president talks about the nuclear threat and global warming (which is still unproven and unlikely). But he has nothing to show that he’s able to handle these conflicts.


What really amazes me is what the president said next. He talks about how we won’t apologize for the way we live (even though it is a stench in God’s nostrils) nor waver in it’s defense. But how will we defend ourselves against God? What will we do when He has finally had enough? Where will the president and the government be when this happens? What kind of measures with they take against the God of the universe? Then, the president has the unmitigated gall to say that those who advance their aims by the slaughtering of innocents will be defeated. I think that the president is right, but I don’t think that he realizes that he’s talking about America… He says that our spirit is stronger, but is it really? We can’t even fight an ongoing war without a majority of people whining about it. We don’t have the spirit, the stomach, or the guts to follow through with what needs to be done and other countries know this. How we will defeat those who are doing the same thing we’re doing (on a lesser scale than we are) is beyond me. Many talk about our war losses. We’ve lost about 4,000 people in 5+ years in Iraq. We kill that many babies in a single day in America. If we’re talking about “innocents”, there can be no one more innocent…


For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.


We may have a “patchwork heritage” but until recently, we’ve not had a patchwork foundation. We were once built solely on Christian principles. Now, we’re trying to “remake” our foundation to include conflicting ideas. While we may be a nation of numerous religious and ethnic heritages, we are (by the founders view) a Christian nation. If we change this, then we are doomed. We may see things (inventions, etc.) from people of other religions, but we have been shaped by Christ and Christian doctrine. It is because we were founded on Christianity that other religions have been able to practice their belief system (or lack thereof) freely. No other belief allows this. During the civil war we were led by a president who fully stood firmly on Christian principles. We were still a country that feared God. We are that no longer. During the times of segregation, we still had leaders that feared God and followed Him. We have that no longer. What the president fails to understand is that “old hatreds” have never ceased and, according to Scripture, they won’t. He doesn’t seem to understand that the Bible has already dissolved the “lines of tribe” (although I’m not quite sure I understand the point that he’s trying to make with this statement) by claiming that we are “one blood” (Acts 17:26). And, if the president were to actually pay attention to himself and others on the planet, he would see that our “common humanity” has also been revealed. Scripture says that there is none that is good and that we are all sinners. This is our common humanity and the result of that “common humanity” is death and hell. America can only play a role in a “new era” of peace if it follows the Prince of Peace. This new era of peace will never be global and will not be easy. It will only be permanent when Christ returns to judge the world in righteousness and destroy the enemies of God. To think that we can somehow bring peace without God is a delusion of the highest order and one that the new president prides himself on. I wonder what role the president thinks that America should play to “usher in a new era of peace”?


To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.


I am not surprised at this statement at all. I would suspect that even though the president is trying to be all things to all people, he knows that this is a lie. There is nothing common between Islam and Christianity (although this may not be a problem with the America of today). Christians and Muslims don’t have mutual interest or respect for each other and Christian nations should hold the same view for Muslim ones. This will grate on the nerves of many people, but it’s the truth. I’ve already written about why Christianity and Islam are incompatible, but suffice it to say that there is no common ground between people who believe that Jesus is the Son of God and those who deny Him.


To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.


What does he mean when he says that the people will judge their leaders on “what you can build not what you destroy”? Those who sow conflict will not care how their people judge them. To point a finger at those who “cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent” when the leaders of this nation do the very same is hypocrisy. To say that they are on the wrong side of history doesn’t make any sense. Is there a side of history? Which side of history is the right one? The one that agrees with you? How does the president determine this? How is he sure that America isn’t on the “wrong side of history”? History is not the determining factor of wrong and right. History is (supposed to be) just a record of what man has already done. The determining factor of right and wrong is God’s truth. If you do not comply with God’s truth, then you are wrong. If you do, you are right. It’s that simple. Also, where is the line drawn that will decide when we “extend a hand” to those who cling to power? What will it take for us to reach out to them? How are we to recognize when they’ve unclenched their fists and who will decide what will be done with the relinquished power? Not only that, but how much silencing of dissention will be done in respect to our new president? How many will be viewed as racist for disagreeing with him?


To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.


Again, I can’t help but wonder why the people of “poor nations” would believe our offers of help when we can’t even help ourselves? Will we teach them to throw money at their problems even when they don’t have it? It’s great that we want to help those who some would consider poor, but unless we do it with the right attitude (the Christian one), it means nothing. What will we be feeding the hungry minds? Will it be the same poor material that our children are taught in public schools? Will we try to remove the scriptural foundation that other “poor” countries may have due to the work of Christian missionaries? I wonder whom the president is talking to when he talks about “indifference to suffering”? Unless I’m mistaken, Christians are still the ones who are doing the most to take care of those who are suffering inside and outside our borders. I adamantly disagree with the idea that we need to change with the world. We need to change when and how God tells us to. The world is not going to change that way. The world is not going to change according to God’s will and if we decide to change “with the world” instead of according to the will of God, we will suffer with the world. We need to stand for absolute truth and that’s something that the world will never accept.


As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.


The majority of those who lie in Arlington feared God and I believe that the majority of those who protect our nation today also fear God. They tell us that the only real sacrifice was seen on the cross, and those who have given their lives as sacrifices for our nation are just a reflection of that which was shown on the cross.


We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.


Jesus gave us the example of service when the Son of God knelt down before the sinful men He would eventually die for and washed their feet. This is service. When the One who had all authority disregarded His position and gave Himself for those who hated Him, it wasn’t about finding meaning in “something greater” because there was nothing greater. It was about self-sacrifice. It was about selflessness. Those who founded the nation didn’t have the “spirit of service” they had the Spirit of God. This is the Spirit that must inhabit us if we are to be anything other than more of the world.


For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job, which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.


But whose faith are we talking about? The faith of the Jews? The faith of the Muslims? The “faith” of the atheists? Or is it the faith of the Biblical Christians? We cannot put our faith in the government. We must put our faith in the God of the Bible and in Him alone. It doesn’t matter how determined we are, if we are against God, we are wrong. The kindness that “takes in a stranger when the levees break” (?) and the selflessness that the president is talking about only come from a Christian worldview. Without the Christian worldview, you won’t have these things. Looking at our nation today, these things are fading and it’s because those who hate God are eroding the foundation that our nation was built on. Without restoring that foundation, we won’t have kindness, selflessness or anything else that we take for granted. It is not courage or willingness to nurture that decide our fate. What decides our fate is whether or not we will choose to fear, respect, and obey God. If we will choose to fear, respect, and obey God then He will keep His promise to protect and help us. He will deliver us from the trials and tribulations that we now face. If we choose not to fear, respect, and obey God then He will keep His promise to bring plagues, disease, and judgment to our nation. THAT is what decides our fate.


Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.


This is the price and the promise of citizenship.


Our challenges are far from new. The “instruments” that we meet them with shouldn’t be either. If we truly want to overcome these challenges, then we will return to Scripture for our answers. I just realized that the president has only talked about meeting the challenges. Anyone can meet the challenges, but so what? The president says that the values of hard work, honesty, courage, fair play (who determines what is fair play?), tolerance (according to whose definition?), curiosity (?), loyalty (to whom?), and patriotism are old. This is somewhat confusing. What he is saying is that he wants a new America based on old Christian values. How exactly does this work? He says they are the truth. But, according to whom? How does he define tolerance? He says that our success depends on these values, but why doesn’t our success depend on the source of those values? He says that we must return to these truths, but how can we without returning to the source of these truths? The president says that a new era of responsibility is required of us. What does that mean? If he’s calling us to take responsibility for our actions then I agree. But how does he define the duties of each American? Where does he draw the line between the person and the government? He says that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit as giving our all to a difficult task. Is that so? Has the president never shared the gospel with someone? Has he never preached the truth of the gospel to someone else? I say that there is nothing so satisfying as preaching the truth and witnessing to someone who is lost. Again, I have to say, it doesn’t matter how much we “give our all” to a task. If the work that we give our all to is work that goes against God, then we may be satisfied in our sorry human emotion and think that it defines our character (which it does, but not how we think), but we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are what we are not. We delude ourselves into thinking that we are somehow accomplishing the things that are most uplifting and righteous because they feel good, when they are most reprehensible to the Lord that sees it all.


This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.


THIS is the source of our confidence? The source of whose confidence? It isn’t the source of my confidence. He says that the source of his confidence is that God has called him to shape an uncertain destiny. If he were a Biblical Christian, then the source of his confidence would be different. The source of confidence for a Christian is the fact that even though they are a filthy sinner they have been saved by a wonderful God who has every right to send them straight to hell but instead showed mercy to them and died for their sins. God doesn’t “call us to shape an uncertain destiny”. He calls us to repent of our sins before Him humbly. He commands us to tell others the same. God is the only one that shapes “destiny” and for Him it is not uncertain. The source of our confidence could also be the fact that while things are falling down around us (due to our rebellion against God) God is still willing to heal our land and restore us if we are willing to repent of our sins.


This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.


It was only a matter of time before the president played the race card. It’s great that men and women and children of every race and faith can join together in celebration, but it’s not the answer. It’s great that Barack Obama can take a “most sacred oath” when his father might not have been served at a local restaurant. But, what does this have to do with whether or not he will be able to lead the nation? What does this have to do with whether or not God will once again look on this nation with something other than anger and judgment? What does a number of different people that believe a number of different things coming together in celebration have to do with whether or not this nation will repent and turn back to God? Nothing.


So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:


“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”


If we’re going to remember who we are and how far we’ve traveled, then how about we remember it the way it actually happened? He compares himself to George Washington leading the nation back from the brink of destruction. George Washington was a great Christian man who took the Scripture seriously and ordered his life according to it. Washington’s hope was in Jesus Christ. That is why hope could survive. They came forth to meet the danger of the nation under the hand of God. They knew that they would win if God allowed it. The reason they were united is because they believed in the same God and had the same moral values. They held God in high esteem (like they should have) and they desired to “forge” a nation that was solely dependent on Him. I can’t help but ask why the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration should be marked as a day of remembrance? What makes his inauguration a special day of remembrance? I may be a little jaded but it sounds like the new president is saying that he is the standard bearer for leading us back to a new era… The problem is the new president is not a Christian and doesn’t hold to the same values as the founding fathers did. He doesn’t hold God in high esteem. He doesn’t fear God or obey Him. Why does he think that he will somehow change America for the best? Why does he think that God will use him to restore America when his life and values oppose Him? Unless the president repents and leads this nation to a place of repentance, he will be another in a long line of men who have tried to lead this nation under their own strength. He will be a carbon copy of the Bill Clintons and Jimmy Carters. He will be another man who will do nothing of any significance and America will have wasted another four years putting its hope in man instead of in God.



America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.


We have “common dangers” because we are a nation. We have a “winter of hardship” because we are sinful and rebellious toward God. The “timeless words” that we are urged to remember are those spoken by a God fearing man who knew that it was only on his knees in prayer that he could stand and lead our nation. It is an attitude long missing from our leadership and our nation at large. We are a nation of complacent sheep who love to be entertained. We have people who play sports, race cars, or pretend to be something other than what they are in movies that make millions of dollars while our nation’s economy continues to fail. We dole out unheard of amounts of money for “childish things” while the things that our country needs continue to go by the way side. We continue to shake our fist at God because He’s not blessing us, instead of weeping because He’s judging us. We look to weak-willed men who have little backbone and no faith to lead our nation back to where it once was when they don’t even know the way. Our country is filled with “Christians” and non-Christians who walk the broad path to destruction and ignore the few voices who still preach the truth. They block out the echoes of sins past by singing their “worship” and following their unimportant and sorry causes. They save animals while they kill their children. They support abominable lifestyles and can’t figure out why their sins are killing them. Our leaders are not leading. They are selfish, self-centered men and women who couldn’t make change for a dollar much less make change for a nation. They hide behind their sturdy oak doors so that the people they are supposed to care about can’t see their latest greed driven debacle. All the while they forget that their sins are laid out before the eyes of the just Judge.


There is very little that our nation has to be proud of anymore. We are rewriting our history to erase God at the whim of a few dysfunctional, attention-seeking atheists who have nothing better to do than ridicule and attack those they see as unreasonable and unintelligent. Our country is filled with “churches” that preach lies and deceit to their growing congregations. They entertain their attendees and feed them line after line of doctrines of demons to keep them coming back and giving money. They despise the gospel, mock the death of the One they call Lord, and ignore the warning that God has given them. They teach that all roads lead to heaven, even though the Bible says otherwise. We have little to be proud of, but we have a lot to be ashamed of.


It might seem that I don’t like America very much because of the things that I’ve said. On the contrary, it’s because I love my country that I’ve said the things that I have. Unless we start talking honestly, we will never begin to move in the right direction. I’m not proud of where my nation is today. This becomes even more profound when I look at where are nation started from. I still believe that we can see our nation change through repentance, but Barack Obama is not the one to do it. The only One that can help our nation now is God.  The president tells us to keep our eyes “fixed on the horizon”. The Bible says that we should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). The president tells us that God’s grace is on us, but the Bible says that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).


I will pray for the president. I will do it not because I like him, or because I agree with anything he says, but because God tells me to. I pray that our nation would stop its decent into sin and darkness. I pray that we would start to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God and lift up the chains of our bondage to the Lord that He might, in His great and gracious mercy break those chains. I would rather have our children say that this generation was the one that turned fully and whole-heartedly back to the Lord. It is not about us and until America realizes that and understands that it only through God and Him alone that we will ever see our country truly change, we are only fooling ourselves. Jesus is our only hope…

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