Lessons For the Tempted


Let us look at temptation from the viewpoint of a great Baptist preacher from the 19th Centurty named John A. Broadus. He was an American contemporary of Charles Spurgeon. One of the reasons we look to those theologians who came before is that we live in a time of rampant apostasy and compromise in our churches and seminaries which has bled over into congregations of spiritually starving sheep. Those of us who desperately want to be fed the pure milk from God’s Word often must resort to sitting under the teaching of long dead men who knew not apostasy and compromise. They may have indeed confronted it in their day, but they did not fall under it. In the conception of those enamored with being part of some form of churchianity, the idea that we would study Tozer, Pink, Chambers, Spurgeon, Broadus, Whitefield, Edwards, Gill, Henry, Owen, Bunyan, Watson, Love, Brooks, Tyndale, Calvin and Luther (to name a few) rather than more modern thinkers, is strange bordering on the absurd. In their eyes we must be stuck in the past in areas where the Holy Spirit has departed and moved on. The problem with that sort of reasoning is that God’s Truth never changes. It doesn’t evolve from one form to another. Therefore, when God’s men get it right and obediently expound it then we must listen, learn and submit to the Lord’s truth. – Mike Ratliff

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Praying in Times of Trouble


In our study of temptation for the believer it has become apparent that our major weapon in this battle is prayer. Jesus told us that we should pray as He showed us in what has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It ends with this, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This is a cry to God that He not allow us to be drawn into temptation which is not the same thing as being tempted. In any case, God has given us this prayer as part of what we do in seeing as we become holy and separate from the world. God allows us to be stressed so that we will pray.

by Martin Luther

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. (Isaiah 37:14-16 ESV)

This chapter is Isaiah contains an interesting story about King Hezekiah. The Assyrians were attacking Jerusalem with a large army and beginning to overpower it. The situation looked hopeless. King Sennacherib ridiculed Hezekiah mercilessly. Sennacherib made fun of Hezekiah’s misfortune by writing him a letter filled with insults about God in order to make the devout king lose all hope. Instead of losing hope, Hezekiah went into the temple, spread out the letter in front of God, bowed down with his face touching the ground, and prayed a heartfelt prayer.

Learning to pray with there’s an emergency or when something is frightening us requires a lot discipline. Instead of praying, we tend to torture ourselves with anxiety and worry. All we can think about is trying to get rid of the problem. The devil often tricks us when temptation or suffering first begins, whether we are dealing with spiritual or physical matters. He immediately barges in and makes us so upset about the problem that we become consumed by it. In this way, he tears us away from praying. When we finally begin to pray, we have already tortured ourselves half to death. The devil knows what prayer can accomplish. That’s why he creates so many obstacles and makes it so inconvenient for us that we never get around to prayer.

On the basis of this story in Isaiah, we should get into the habit of falling on our knees and spreading out our needs in front of God the moment we have an emergency or become frightened. Prayer is the very best medicine there is. It always works and never fails–if we would just us it!

Charles Spurgeon Quote


“A good old saint who lately lay dying told her pastor that she was resting on the ‘justice’ of God. The good man thought that she had chosen a strange point of the divine character to rest on, but she explained, ‘I rest in his justice to my great Substitute, that he would not let him die for me in vain.'”

The Danger of Entering Temptation


by Mike Ratliff

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13 ESV)

Yesterday we looked at the nature of Temptation. Today we will look at the danger of “entering temptation.” There is no doubt that most believers walk in defeat in this battle much of the time. On top of the guilt and self-abhorrence that are natural products of Christians sinning, there is also the battle fatigue that comes upon them which results in more guilt simply for being “tempted” in the first place. Of course, much of this can be blamed on faulty theology and an extreme drought in the area of teaching the Biblical truth about sin and temptation from our pulpits and Bible studies. To understand the danger of “entering temptation” we must first understand what it is and what it is not.

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Caution to Stir up to Watch Against Sin


by John Bunyan

And bring thee safe to life eternal.–AMEN.

The first eight lines one did commend to me,
The rest I thought good to commend to thee:
Reader, in reading be thou rul’d by me,
With rhimes nor lines, but truths, affected be.
8 April 1684

I.
Sin will at first, just like a beggar, crave
One penny or one half-penny to have;
And if you grant its first suit, ’twill aspire,
From pence to pounds, and so will still mount higher
To the whole soul: but if it makes its moan,
Then say, here is not for you, get you gone.
For if you give it entrance at the door,
It will come in, and may go out no more.

II.
Sin, rather than ’twill out of action be,
Will pray to stay, though but a while with thee;
One night, one hour, one moment, will it cry,
Embrace me in thy bosom, else I die:
Time to repent [saith it] I will allow,
And help, if to repent thou know’st not how.
But if you give it entrance at the door,
It will come in, and may go out no more.

III.
If begging doth not do, sin promise will
Rewards to those that shall its lusts fulfill:
Penny in hand, yea pounds ’twill offer thee,
If at its beck and motion thou wilt be.
‘Twill seem heaven to out-bid, and all to gain
Thy love, and win thee it to entertain.
But give it not admittance at thy door,
Lest it comes in, and so goes out no more.

IV.
If begging and promising will not do,
‘Twill by its wiles attempt to flatter you.
I’m harmless, mean no ill, be not so shy
Will ev’ry soul-destroying motion cry.
‘Twill hide its sting, ’twill change its native hue,
Vile ’twill not, but a beauty seem to you.
But if you give it entrance at the door,
Its sting will in, and may come out no more.

V.
Rather than fail, sin will itself divide,
Bid thee do this, and lay the rest aside.
Take little ones (’twill say) throw great ones by,
(As if for little sins men should not die.)
Yea SIN with SIN a quarrel will maintain,
On purpose that thou by it might’st be slain.
Beware the cheat then, keep it out of door,
It would come in, and would go out no more.

VI.
Sin, if you will believe it, will accuse,
What is not hurtful and itself excuse:
‘Twill make a vice of virtue, and ’twill say
Good is destructive, doth men’s souls betray;
‘Twill make a law, where God has made man free,
And break those laws by which men bounded be.
Look to thyself then, keep it out of door,
Thee ‘twould entangle, and enlarge thy score.

VII.
SIN is that beastly thing that will defile
Soul, body, name, and fame in little while;
‘Twill make him, who some time God’s image was,
Look like the devil, love, and plead his cause;
Like to the plague, poison, or leprosy
Defile ’twill, and infect contagiously.
Wherefore beware, against it shut the door;
If not, it will defile thee more and more.

VIII.
SIN, once possessed of the heart, will play
The tyrant, force its vassal to obey:
‘Twill make thee thine own happiness oppose
And offer open violence to those
That love thee best; yea make thee to defy
The law and counsel of the deity.
Beware then, keep this tyrant out of door,
Lest thou be his, and so thy own no more.

IX.
SIN harden can the heart against its God,
Make it abuse his grace, despise his rod,
‘Twill make one run upon the very pikes,
Judgments foreseen bring such to no dislikes
Of sinful hazards; no, they venture shall
For one base lust, their soul, and heav’n and all.
Take heed then, hold it, crush it at the door,
It comes to rob thee, and to make thee poor.

X.
SIN is a prison, hath its bolts and chains,
Brings into bondage who it entertains;
Hangs shackles on them, bends them to its will,
Holds them, as Samson grinded at the mill,
‘Twill blind them, make them deaf; yea, ’twill them gag,
And ride them as the devil rides his hag.
Wherefore look to it, keep it out of door,
If once its slave, thou may’st be free no more.

XI.
Though SIN at first its rage dissemble may,
‘Twill soon upon thee as a lion prey;
‘Twill roar, ’twill rend, ’twill tear, ’twill kill out-right,
Its living death will gnaw thee day and night:
Thy pleasures now to paws and teeth it turns,
In thee its tickling lusts, like brimstone burns.
Wherefore beware, and keep it out of door,
Lest it should on thee as a lion roar.

XII.
SIN will accuse, will stare thee in the face,
Will for its witnesses quote time and place
Where thou committedst it; and so appeal
To conscience, who thy facts will not conceal;
But on thee as a judge such sentence pass,
As will to thy sweet bits prove bitter sauce.
Wherefore beware, against it shut thy door,
Repent what’s past, believe and sin no more.

XIII.
SIN is the worm of hell, the lasting fire,
Hell would soon lose its heat, could SIN expire;
Better sinless, in hell, than to be where
Heav’n is, and to be found a sinner there.
One sinless, with infernals might do well,
But SIN would make a very heav’n a hell.
Look to thyself then, to keep it out of door,
Lest it gets in, and never leaves thee more.

XIV.
No match hast sin save God in all the world,
Men, angels it has from their stations hurl’d:
Holds them in chains, as captives, in despite
Of all that here below is called Might.
Release, help, freedom from it none can give,
But he by whom we also breathe and live.
Watch therefore, keep this giant out of door
Lest if once in, thou get him out no more.

XV.
Fools make a mock at SIN, will not believe,
It carries such a dagger in its sleeve;
How can it be (say they) that such a thing,
So full of sweet, should ever wear a sting:
They know not that it is the very SPELL
Of SIN, to make men laugh themselves to hell.
Look to thyself then, deal with SIN no more,
Lest he that saves, against thee shuts the door.

XVI.
Now let the God that is above,
That hath for sinners so much love;
These lines so help thee to improve,
That towards him thy heart may move.
Keep thee from enemies external,
Help thee to fight with those internal:
Deliver thee from them infernal,

Are you born of God?


The following is an excerpt from John Bunyan’s last sermon. I pray that you will examine yourself as we are commanded to do. – Mike Ratliff

‘Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’– John 1:13

The first use is this, To make a strict inquiry whether you be born of God or not; examine by those things I laid down before, of a child of nature and a child of grace. Are you brought out of the dark dungeon of this world into Christ? Have you learned to cry, ‘My Father?’ (Jer 3:4). ‘And I said, Thou shalt call me, My Father.’ All God’s children are criers–cannot you be quiet without you have a bellyful of the milk of God’s Word? cannot you be satisfied without you have peace with God? Pray you, consider it, and be serious with yourselves; if you have not these marks, you will fall short of the kingdom of God–you shall never have an interest there; ‘there’ is no intruding. They will say, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us; and he will say, I know you not.’ No child of God, no heavenly inheritance. We sometimes give something to those that are not our children, but [we do] not [give them] our lands. O do not flatter yourselves with a portion among the sons, unless you live like sons. When we see a king’s son play with a beggar, this is unbecoming; so if you be the king’s children, live like the king’s children; if you be risen with Christ, set your affections on things above, and not on things below; when you come together, talk of what your Father promised you; you should all love your Father’s will, and be content and pleased with the exercises you meet with in the world. If you are the children of God, live together lovingly; if the world quarrel with you, it is no matter; but it is sad if you quarrel together; if this be amongst you, it is a sign of ill-breeding; it is not according to the rules you have in the Word of God. Dost thou see a soul that has the image of God in him? Love him, love him; say, This man and I must go to heaven one day; serve one another, do good for one another; and if any wrong you, pray to God to right you, and love the brotherhood.

Lastly, If you be the children of God, learn that lesson–Gird up the loins of your mind, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former conversation; but be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Consider that the holy God is your Father, and let this oblige you to live like the children of God, that you may look your Father in the face, with comfort, another day. – John Bunyan

The Law and Sin


by Mike Ratliff

I finde then that when I would doe good, I am thus yoked, that euill is present with me. For I delite in the Law of God, concerning the inner man: But I see another Law in my members, rebelling against the Lawe of my minde, and leading me captiue vnto the lawe of sinne, which is in my members. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliuer me from the body of this death! I thanke God through Iesus Christ our Lorde. Then I my selfe in my minde serue the Lawe of God, but in my flesh the lawe of sinne.
(Romans 7:21-25 Geneva)

I was reading the profile of a Bible expositor that I greatly admire not long ago and was struck by this description of himself, “I am a notable sinner!” As I read that I reflected on my own spiritual condition and would have to agree with that statement as a description of me as well. There are times that I wonder what God sees in me for I see nothing good. There are times that my flesh seems to rule and reign in my heart instead of the power and peace of my Lord Jesus Christ. It is heartbreaking! I long to be free from this body of sin and death.

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Kingdom Surge


Jesus commanded us, the Church, to make disciples from all nations. He also said that He would be with us to the end. We live in a time that still has many people who remain unreached with the Gospel. The new Blog Kingdom Surge is dedicated to the cause of reaching them with the Good News. I pray that we will all commit ourselves to obeying our Lord in all things and that He will return soon.

Here is an excerpt from the first post by Zioneer, one of the founders of this very important ministry:

‘As we launch this project, by which we hope in the grace of God to contribute something profitable for the ongoing expansion of the Kingdom of Christ, we are poignantly aware of the need for specificity in our purpose and clarity in our expression: what is it precisely that we hope to accomplish in this forum, and how might we best communicate that precise intent from the beginning stages? Although other posts will be soon forthcoming (Lord willing), in which we will address in more detail what we mean by “facilitating and finishing the Great Commission,” as well as the nature of the Great Commission itself, we thought it best at the outset to explain what we intend to communicate by our name, “Kingdom Surge”; and why we chose as our key text Habakkuk 2:14: “Because the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”. ‘

Burdens Cast on Him


by Charles Spurgeon

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee; he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)

It is a heavy burden; roll it on Omnipotence. It is thy burden now, and it crushes thee; but when the Lord takes it, He will make nothing of it. If thou art called still to bear, “he will sustain thee.” It will be on Him and not on thee. Thou wilt be so upheld under it that the burden will be a blessing. Bring the Lord into the matter, and thou wilt stand upright under that which in itself would bow thee down.

Our worst fear is lest our trial should drive us from the path of duty; but this the Lord will never suffer. If we are righteous before Him, He will not endure that our affliction should move us from our standing. In Jesus He accepts us as righteous, and in Jesus He will keep us so.

What about the present moment? Art thou going forth to this day’s trial alone? Are thy poor shoulders again to be galled with the oppressive load? Be not so foolish. Tell the Lord all about thy grief and leave it with Him. Don’t cast your burden down and then take it up again; but roll it on the Lord and leave it there. Then shalt thou walk at large, a joyful and unburdened believer, singing the praises of thy great Burden-bearer.

Christ is . . .


by J. C. Ryle

“Christ is all.” Colossians 3:11

True Christians have trustful thoughts of Christ.
They daily lean the weight of their souls upon
Him by faith–for pardon and peace.

They daily commit the care of their souls to Him
–as a man commits a treasure to a safe keeper.

They daily cling to Him by faith–as a child in
a crowd clings to its mother’s hand.

They look to Him daily for . . .
  mercy,
  grace,
  comfort,
  help,
  strength,
  guidance.

Christ is . . .
  the rock under their feet,
  the staff in their hands,
  their ark and their city of refuge,
  their sun and their shield,
  their bread and their medicine,
  their health and their light,
  their fountain and their shelter,
  their portion and their home,
  their advocate and their physician,
  their captain and their elder brother,
  their life,
  their hope,
  their all.

Who is the antichrist?


by Mike Ratliff

18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. (1 John 2:18-20 ESV)

The other day when Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that the Roman Catholic Church was the only true church while all others are false, a new emphasis on the person and character of the antichrist seemed to exude from every Protestant corner. The word that is translated from the Greek that is rendered as “antichrist” in the New Testament is “Antichristos.” It is made up of two words, “anti,” which means “instead of or against,” and “christos,” which means “anointed one.” The “anti” prefix may be reference to “substitution or opposition.” The word “antichrist” is found only in 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 1:7. Paul refers to a man whom he calls “the man of sin, the son of perdition, and wicked one” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8. He refers to “the one opposing” in 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Most believe that John’s antichrist is the same man that Paul is referring to. This man will attempt to assert the fulfillment of God’s Word in himself and will attempt to set up his own throne.

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The Enduring Word A Living Stone and A Holy People


by Mike Ratliff1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1 ESV) Not everyone who claims the name of “Christian” is truly part of the genuine Church. Many of those claimants see Christianity as simply a religion and their religiosity within it as that which assuages their guilty consciences that condemn them for their fleshly lifestyles. Others strive with their entire being to do good and not sin while being very active in their churches. In this they believe that they are in the “group” that God will accept and proclaim righteous. There are others who believe that they are Christians because at some point in the past they “asked Jesus to come into their life or heart.” However, they were taught that that “act of faith” is all that Jesus requires of them. They are now “saved” and should not doubt their salvation. In the late 15th and early 16th Centuries Martin Luther was a very well educated monk in an Augustinian order in Germany. He deeply desired to have assurance of his salvation, but all that he was taught told him to be religious, to be obedient to the demands of the Church in Rome, to obey the Pope and that was all he needed. However, he had a problem. Continue reading