Archive for December, 2012

“Yet there is Room!” (Luke 14v22)

December 25, 2012

As far as I remember it was on a cold evening approaching Christmas that I first spotted the lone caravan on a narrow country road close to our home. ‘Travelling folks,’ I thought, as I glanced at it on my way home to prepare dinner. Somehow I knew that the Lord wanted me to talk to the occupants but busy as I was, I hurriedly drove past, resolving to return as soon as possible. I did call several times, only to find them gone and one day (to my dismay) the caravan too had disappeared.

Then the following Easter the caravan returned again to the very same location. This time, despite the fact that no one was in, I left some gifts in a safe place and a little booklet entitled “If you had been the only one… He would still have died for you!” One evening I returned to find the little caravan occupied. Now, at last, I could meet the owners! Parking my car some distance away, I apprehensively walked up and knocked my knuckles on the cold metal door. To my surprise it swung open and a friendly face beamed at me. “Were you the person who left the booklet and the gifts? Thank you so much!  Please do come in… ” Looking over her shoulder at the many faces within, I felt that to get in would be impossible! “Oh, thank you but… it’s o.k.”  I faltered awkwardly. “I just wanted to be sure you got the stuff I left.” I was embarrassed at my own reaction to their overcrowded circumstances, yet at the same time touched and humbled by the hospitality of that traveller lady.

Many years ago my father struck up acquaintance with an elderly Romany Gypsy man who had travelled over from England. The elderly man in question had just one eye, the other having been put out by a briar springing back on him. He was touring Ireland in his old Romany caravan with his middle-aged daughter, both pleasant friendly people, as I recall. I will always remember one evening, seeing the light of the camp-fire as they cooked their evening meal. I thought of my own limited conversation with the travelling folk I had met just recently and compared it to my father’s witness to the Romany gypsies all those years ago. How relaxed he was when he spoke to them!

I don’t remember my precise exchange of words with the lady in the crowded caravan, but I do pray that the Lord took my feeble inadequate words and spoke to that family, as only He can. As a naturally shy person, I often get tongue-tied, especially when trying to talk to people who are of a different background to me but the Lord has taught me that I should not “respect persons.” (James 2v9)  The local Rector or the ‘lord of the manor’ may quite well be more difficult to reach with spiritual truths than someone from the “travelling community!” It is my sincere desire that the Lord would use me; that I would learn to be natural with people, whatever their circumstances – and how differing those circumstances can be! I have encountered those who live in vast mansions, akin to castles, yet the door has been opened but narrowly and reluctantly – if at all. No welcoming voice has invited me in. On the other hand, I have visited a small one-storey dwelling with only one bedroom, one box room and a family of six children and their parents, where the mother has invited me in for tea. Despite education and widespread affluence, there remains that great gulf in our society between rich and poor and the people we meet are as diverse and interesting as the dwellings they live in.

Oh that the Lord would assist me to proclaim His name to all these differing individuals and that these words of St. Paul would be apply to me… “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor. 9v19-22)

That little caravan was so full of people! Perhaps I would have fitted in – perhaps not. Certainly I didn’t want to take anyone’s seat. Unlike Heaven there may not have been room for just one more person. In this context, George Frazer’s hymn “Come, Hear the Gospel Sound” comes to mind. Born in CountyLeitrim in 1840, George found the Saviour in the Great Revival of 1859/60 in the city of Dublin. There was ‘no room’ in the meeting for George on the night that God spoke to his heart, but by climbing up to a second storey windowsill, he was able to hear those life-changing words: “Yet there is room.” (Luke 14v22) After two weeks of deep conviction, he trusted the Lord for salvation. He was then twenty years old and soon he began writing verse to the glory of his new Master. Much later he recalled that night at the crowded gospel meeting where the Lord spoke to him as he sat on a windowsill, and the hymn “Come, Hear the Gospel Sound” was born. How beautifully it fits in with his conversion experience!

Come! Hear the gospel sound –

“Yet there is room!”

It tells to all around –

“Yet there is room!”

Though guilty, now draw near,

Though vile, you need not fear,

With joy you now may hear –

“Yet there is room!”

God’s love in Christ we see –

“Yet there is room!”

Greater it could not be –

“Yet there is room!”

His only Son He gave,

He’s righteous now to save

All who on Him believe –

“Yet there is room!”

“All things are ready: come!”

“Yet there is room!”

Christ everything hath done –

“Yet there is room!”

The work is now complete,

“Before the mercy-seat,”

A Saviour you shall meet –

“Yet there is room!”

God’s house is filling fast –

“Yet there is room!”

Some soul will be the last –

“Yet there is room!”

Yes, soon Salvation’s day

From you will pass away,

Then grace will no more say –

“Yet there is room!”

George West Frazer

(1840-1896)

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The Erroneous Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

December 8, 2012

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One of the first Christmas cards to arrive through our letterbox quotes from that well known verse in Matthew 1v21… “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Therefore, we can see clearly from God’s Word that Mary was most certainly a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus.

We also learn from the Bible that Jesus was born without sin… “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor. 5v21)

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1v14)

God’s Word reassures us that Mary was indeed a blessed person. In Luke 1v28 we read the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary… “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee:  blessed art thou among women.” Without a doubt Mary would have to have been a virtuous woman to have been chosen by God for such a wonderful calling. In Proverbs 31v10 we read… “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Mary was surely such a woman, and yet she too, like every other human being born into this world needed a Saviour.

On first hearing of the “Immaculate Conception” when I was very young, I immediately thought that these words referred to Jesus, because of what the Bible told me about Him. I was therefore amazed to discover that Roman Catholicism applies them to Mary.

In 1854 Rome declared the doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception,” which is celebrated on December 8th. This commonly held doctrine holds that Mary, like Jesus, was born without sin.

Yet nowhere in scripture can we read anything which supports such a view. On the contrary, there are many portions of scripture which reveal that only Jesus was born and lived without sin in this world.

In Romans 5v12 we read… “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Also Romans 3v23 declares: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Note again, an important little word… “all.” With David, the psalmist, each individual born into this world (with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ) can say: “Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51v5) So we see that because of one man, sin entered into the world – but thank God for the Person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, of whom we read that He… “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Peter 2v22-24)

The Bible makes no such claims for any other person in history.

Only the blood of the perfect Son of God “as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Pet. 1v19) was (and is) able to take away sins.

Note too, that in God’s Word we are exhorted to pray to no one, but the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Tim.2v 5&6)

Here too the little word “all” is important, as is the word “one.” This verse clearly dispenses with the view that Mary is a “mediatrix,” according to a lady I spoke to on one occasion.

Jesus is the One and Only Mediator between God and men!

In 1545 Rome decreed that man’s tradition was to be equal in authority to the Bible. Please do not be deceived. Pray directly to God today, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ask Him to show you the truth in its entirety. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8v32)