Category Archives: Truth

Preaching By The Numbers

This was originally posted several years ago on the Reformed Baptist Fellowship:

Recently I had to take one of my daughters to the local Hobby Lobby to pick up some supplies for an art class that she is taking. While she was looking for her supplies, I wondered off a bit and found myself in the aisle where they stock the Paint By Numbers kits.  For those not familiar with the Paint By Numbers kits, they contain a canvas with a drawing etched upon it.  Within the lines of the drawing are numbers corresponding to a variety of containers of paint. The goal is to apply the paint within the lines according to the number.  By the end, you will have a painting that looks exactly like the one on the box and exactly like those who follow the same basic rules.  Painting by numbers is regarded as a bit of joke by anyone in the art community.  There are no “paint by numbers” specialist or art shows.  They do not hang the results of a paint by numbers kit in any museum!  Art is about originality, doing something new.

As I stood looking at the kits, my mind was drawn to the thought that I want to be a paint by numbers preacher.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that God has called me to be a steward and that in that stewardship there are no rewards for originality, only for faithfulness.

In his last letter before facing death, the Apostle Paul seems quite anxious to pass on his heart to Timothy who will follow in his stead.  He writes, 2 Timothy 1:13-14   13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.  14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.  

Timothy, there is a pattern already laid out.  This is a rich deposit of truth which I have given to you.  Your job is to hold fast to it. Not to add to it, not to dilute it, not to make it more palatable, but to hold it fast, never let it go.  Timothy, these sound words are a good thing which has been entrusted to you–guard it!   This is what you must teach to others, this is what must be handed down from generation to generation. 

There are many temptations to make a name for ourselves, to stand out as “original artists”, to be the man who is not simply repeating the same old truths which people have heard for thousands of years.  This temptation must be resisted with all our being.  The lines have been drawn, the numbers have been given, the paint has been provided.  Let us paint, within the lines, to the glory of God!


New Push to Universalism


The Reformed blogosphere has had much to say in the last few days about a new book by one of  America’s most popular ‘pastors’  (Rob Bell) in which he denies the reality of  hell.   On one post a man quoted our esteemed friend, Mr. Ryle.  His words, as is so often the case, are powerful:

“Beware of new and strange doctrines about hell and the eternity of punishment. Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none.”

Test All Things….

“Test all things; hold fast what is good.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21

“I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church.  How then could I unite with this wild idolater in worshipping his piece of wood?  But what is worship? … To do the will of God___that is worship.  And what is the will of God?___to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me.  … Consequently … I must turn idolater.” –Ishmael, in Moby Dick

Have you ever been amazed to behold a Christian talk himself out of a solid and long-held conviction?  __some man or woman with an established walk within the context of a faithful local church?  When questioned they offer their reasoning for making what you perceive to be a dangerous departure from sound belief and practice.  But their thinking is as confused as that of Ishmael, the leading character in the classic novel Moby Dick, who talked himself into worshipping an idol ostensibly to obey the Lord!

If we follow Ishmael’s line of reasoning whereby he concludes that he must worship the idol, we find that his first step was his undoing.  “But what is worship?…to do the will of God … is worship.” It seemed both plausible and pious, and was no doubt sincere, but his sincerity notwithstanding he was most seriously wrong.

To do the will of God encompasses everything a man does; yet not everything a man does is worship.  Let us have the humility to realize that whenever we find that we are rationalizing ourselves away from orthodox and established doctrine and practice it is then that we need to confer with our elders and other mature brethren in the faith.

“O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.”    1Timothy 6:20-21


Pastor Bob Brown

59 Things Every Christian Should Know (and do!)

1. “…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
2. “…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
3. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
4. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

5. “…Love one another…” (John 13:35)

6. “…Love one another…” (John 15:12)

7. “…Love one another” (John 15:17)

8. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)

9. “…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

10. “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)

11. “…Love one another…” (Romans 13:8)

12. “…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)

13. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)

14. “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)

15. “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16:16)

16. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (I Cor. 11:33)

17. “…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25)

18. “…Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20)

19. “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (II Corinthians 13:12)

20. “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

21. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.”

(Galatians 5:15)

22. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:26)

23. “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)

24. “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

25. “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)

26. “…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)

27. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)

28. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

29. “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

30. “Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9)

31. “Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)

32. “…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)

33. “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)

34. “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)

35. “…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)

36. “…Love each other.” (I Thessalonians 4:9)

37. “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)

38. “…Encourage each other…” I Thessalonians 5:11)

39. “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)

40. “Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13)

41. “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

42. “…Encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)

43. “…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)

44. “Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9)

45. “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)

46. “…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)

47. “…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)

48. “…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8)

49. “…Love each other deeply…” (I Peter 4:8)

50. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9)

51. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)

52. “…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”(I Peter 5:5)

53. “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (I Peter 5:14)

54. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:11)

55. “…Love one another.” (I John 3:23)

56. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:7)

57. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:11)

58. “…Love one another.” (I John 4:12)

59. “…Love one another.” (II John 5)

The Apostle’s Creed

From CHS

This is the apostle’s creed: salvation is all of grace from first to last, and the channel of that grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved, and lived, and died, and rose again for our salvation. Those who preach mere morality, or set up any way except that of trusting in the grace of God through Christ Jesus, preach another gospel, and they shall be accursed, even though they preach it with an angel’s eloquence.


Sovereign Grace

From a sermon preached by C.H. Spurgeon  on Acts 15:11

“By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of  works, lest any man should boast.” This is the old reformation doctrine. This is the doctrine which will shake the very gates of hell, if it be but faithfully preached. O for an army of witnesses to publish abroad the gospel of grace in its sovereignty, omnipotence, and fullness. If you are ever to get comfort, believe me, dear hearer, you must receive the doctrine of salvation by free grace into your soul as the delight and solace of your heart, for it is the living truth of the living God. Not by ritualism, not by good works, not by our own unaided free will are we saved, but by the grace of God alone.

Old Apostolic Weapons

Mark what I say. If you want to do good in these times, you must throw aside indecision, and take up a distinct, sharply-cut, doctrinal religion. If you believe little, those to whom you try to do good will believe nothing.

The victories of Christianity, wherever they have been won, have been won by distinct doctrinal theology; by telling men roundly of Christ’s vicarious death and sacrifice; by showing them Christ’s substitution on the cross, and His precious blood; by teaching them justification by faith, and bidding them believe on a crucified Saviour; by preaching ruin by sin, redemption by Christ, regeneration by the Spirit; by lifting up the brazen serpent; by telling men to look and live—to believe, repent, and be converted.

This—this is the only teaching which for eighteen centuries God has honoured with success, and is honouring at the present day both at home and abroad. Let the clever advocates of a broad and undogmatic theology—the preachers of the gospel of earnestness, and sincerity and cold morality—let them, I say, show us at this day any English village, or parish, or city, or town, or district, which has been evangelized without “dogma,” by their principles. They cannot do it, and they never will.

Christianity without distinct doctrine is a powerless thing. It may be beautiful to some minds, but it is childless and barren. There is no getting over the facts. The good that is done in the earth may be comparatively small. Evil may abound, and ignorant impatience may murmur and cry out that Christianity has failed. But, depend on it, if we want to “do good” and shake the world, we must fight with the old apostolic weapons, and stick to “dogma.” No dogma, no fruits! No positive evangelical doctrine, no evangelization! (Ryle, J.C. Holiness, 355-356)