Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?

by John Hendryx

First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” Acts 26:20

“I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” Acts 20:21

There is a divergence of viewpoints on this topic that, recently, has led to quite a bit of contention among evangelicals. This has also been known as the Lordship, no-Lordship debate. After we strip away the bark what is left is the difference between the Reformed and a dispensational view of salvation. After doing some serious personal contemplation over this I have personally come to the conclusion that the difference lies in each camps’ understanding of the doctrine of regeneration. Continue reading

Personal Holiness and Intercessory Prayer


by Mike Ratliff

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV)

Much of the spiritual bankruptcy of the Church in our day can be attributed to the dire lack of Biblical discipleship within the Body of Christ. It seems that little is heard of the necessity of being separate from the world and not be conformed to it. That, combined with most professing believers having a very shallow Bible knowledge, creates an environment with very little spiritual discernment and wisdom.

I used to have a prayer requests page on Possessing the Treasure. I had to take it off line. Why? It was receiving hundreds of “requests” a week from people wanting prayer so they could be rich, that they would not be convicted of some crime, that someone on which they had a crush would love them, et cetera. It was as if the prayer requests page had been hijacked by disciples of Benny Hinn.  Continue reading

Suffering Much at the Hands of the Physicians

by Mike Ratliff

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. (Psalms 107:1-7 ESV)

I have been experiencing some “discomfort” in my nether regions for the past year or so. Sometimes it feels as if the parts within my lower abdomen want out and at other times it just burns. Most of the time it is just uncomfortable to sit on hard surfaces. Before I flew to Seattle a few months ago my doctor gave me a prescription for some antibiotics. They helped a lot, but now the pain is back. I went back to the doctor today after work. He poked and prodded in places we will not discuss here. He felt all around my abdomen and had some blood drawn for a PSA test. Then he sent me to Radiology in a different part of the Hospital for a CAT Scan. Continue reading

A Call to Revolution

It is the year 2008. The gospel has been spreading and the Kingdom of Christ has been growing for nearly two thousand years. But not without setbacks. For almost a thousand years, in the middle ages, the gospel was slowly obscured by the corruptions of a satanically-influenced medieval church. The light was almost entirely extinguished. But then God raised up a man, shaken to the core by a sudden insight into the inexpressably glorious truth proclaimed in Romans 1:17, “The just shall live by faith,” and the whole world was again turned upside down with the divine power of the gospel. Two hundred years later, when hypocrisy and self-motivated will-religion had nearly swallowed up the good effects of the Reformation, a diverse and unlikely group of men, including John Bunyan, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and even John and Charles Wesley trumpeted the joyful news that once again shook up the sleeping world, and fueled a missions movement that has reached across the globe for the sake of the Name. And now, more than two hundred years later, the gospel that has once more been attacked and suppressed, and has given way on many fronts to the false gospels of prosperity, self-esteem, inclusivism, and tolerance, is on the rise again. The heavenly insights of Edwards, Owen, and others on the sovereignty of God, his unconquerable grace, and the joy which his glory produces in those who are his has fueled another generation of outnumbered but unfailingly victorious men and women ready to give up their lives for the King. A last, great missions-minded movement is preparing for a final thrust into the heart of unconquered territories, and the trumpet sound which announces that the kingdoms of this world are the kingdoms of our Savior can almost be heard.

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Expository Preaching


by Mike Ratliff

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV)

My wife and I attended an Orthodox Presbyterian Church in our area this morning. I have been a Baptist as long as I can remember and this was my first time in a Presbyterian Church. The congregation was on the small side, but every pew was full. I’m not sure what I expected, but I want to share with you my brethren that this heart worshiped God in spirit and truth this morning. Also, I found myself saying ‘Amen!’ (silently) quite a bit during most of the service. The order of service was something I have never experienced before, at least not like this. It was divided into four parts. Continue reading

Necessity of the Atonement

by John A. Broadus

The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin. I John 1:7

My hearers, what is the most wonderful event that ever occurred on earth, that ever happened in the universe? The history of our race is so full of wonderful events-you might well pause for your answer. My answer would be this: by far the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in the universe, is the atoning death of Jesus Christ the Lord. If without philosophizing, if in simplicity you will take what God’s Word declares concerning it, you will not only see this to be so, perhaps you will feel it to be so. If you will remember who he was-the thought would startle us if we were not so used to it-if you will remember how he died, how the Lord of life and glory, the sinless one, how he died in suffering and shame, and above all if you will remember what he died for, what his death is declared in the Scriptures to mean for the universe and for us, then you will believe that this is the great wonder of all wonders. And yet, God be thanked, it may be the simplest matter of each individual human heart’s everyday experience to rest upon that wonderful thought. There are many things we can never comprehend as to their nature, which are yet unquestionable as facts and essential to our existence. To declare before heaven and earth that all our hopes are turned upon the atoning death of Jesus Christ, a man may do that, may live on that atoning death, although it be a mystery he cannot solve. Continue reading

Religious Externalism

by Mike Ratliff

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “ (Matthew 23:25-28 ESV)

Not long after my wife and I began searching for a new church back in 2006, we visited one just a few blocks from the one had just left. A coworker of mine served there as part of one of their worship teams. This was one of the churches my ex-pastor was continually commenting about because of how small it started out and how big it had become while his church seemed to be stagnant, maybe even declining. The “worship” at this church was what I like to call “show time!” There are all sorts of colored lights with spot lights on those “performing.” Each had their own microphone and were all dressed in the same colors. There was at least 20 musicians on stage playing drums, keyboards, guitars, horns, you name it. The drummer was enclosed in a glass booth. It was all very cool.

After the “worship,” the main pastor walked onto the stage with the spot lights following him. The stage was black. The stairs were black. They worked the lights so that nothing could be seen on the stage except the pastor. He was dressed casually in all black. He was carrying a nice looking cardboard box which he set on the table next to the pulpit. He said a few words to direct our attention to the screen which dropped down silently behind him. Then the auditorium went dark. We watched a movie for about 15 minutes of a glass blower working on a vase. The video took us through the whole process of blowing and shaping the glass. It looked like both hard work and a bit fun. In any case, when the movie ended the spot light came back up revealing the pastor preparing to open the box. Continue reading

Spiritual Worship

by Mike Ratliff

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:19-24 ESV)

Nearly two years ago my wife and I left our old church because the leadership there began the processes to change it to the Purpose Driven Church model. There were warning signs that something was not quite right well over a year earlier. For instance, some couples had left the church because they wanted less “frivolous worship” and more Biblical preaching. About that time the Pastor created care groups. Each of the Deacons was given families to care for.

There is nothing wrong with that, but when I began calling those in my group I came across some of those families which had left. They were nice to me when I called, but firmly told me that they weren’t coming back. I asked the Pastor what was going on. He told me that those folks wanted “only Hymns” and no “Contemporary” music. I looked at him and suggested that perhaps we could have both. He just shook his head and said that nothing could be done and that I should just cross them off my list. Continue reading

What Is Your Only Comfort?

My wife and I are preparing to travel to S.E. Oklahoma tomorrow, returning to the Kansas City area Sunday late. This is our annual trip to Robber’s Cave State Park near Wilburton, OK. I have all of my camera gear ready to go as well as my hiking boots, shorts, and hat. I do not feel as exhausted prior to this trip as I did a few weeks ago when I took the week off, however, I know God will use this time to refresh me and prepare me for what I am to do next week. Sometimes I repost previous articles for times like this, but this time I think I will simply post an article by Dr. Kim Riddlebarger that is in the April 2008 Tabletalk magazine. If you have one, this article is found on pp64-65. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff

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