Articles

Articles

Cities – Their History and Destiny

Phil Coulson writes an enlightening and insightful article about the character, history and future of the world’s cities, in contrast to the “city of the great King”. A vital, counter-cultural read. The first city ever built on earth was the city called Enoch, and it was built as a monument of rebellion against God. As a consequence of slaying his brother, and for his unrepentant spirit, Cain was consigned by God to a life of wandering. The ground would not…

An Outline of Dispensational Truth

Harry Bell (1905-1976) was a mighty expositor of the Word of God. Between 1943 and 1973 – when blindness finally overtook him – Harry Bell preached the Word of God full-time throughout all parts of the United Kingdom. A tall man with a photographic memory and a gracious manner, Harry Bell was much used of the Lord in the edification of the people of God. The following is an edited transcript of a sermon Harry Bell gave to a large…

Should Christians Vote?

The question is often asked “Is it right for a Christian to take part in politics? Should he vote in parliamentary and municipal elections, and otherwise share in the political affairs of the town or kingdom wherein his lot is cast?” There is much diversity of opinion among Christians on the subject. Some think it to be their duty to enter into politics, and to use their influence and vote to elect Christians, or at least moral men, as rulers…

Hair: How Long is Long? How Short is Short?

Who said: “There they were in America [in the early 1960’s] all getting house-trained for adulthood with their indisputable principle of life: short hair equals men, long hair equals women. Well, we got rid of that small convention for them”? The words are Paul McCartney’s1 and the “indisputable principle of life” he claims the Beatles overthrew, is that which is outlined in the Bible by Paul the apostle: “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long…

7 Ways to Kill a Prayer Meeting

Whatever happened to the “prayer meeting”? While the early Christians  “continued steadfastly in…the prayers” (Acts 2:42), mid-week congregational prayer meetings have, in many places, become a thing of the past. Much of the blame lies at the door of those of us Christians who, by our actions and attitudes, have precipitated its decline and demise. So, consider: 7 Ways to Kill a Prayer Meeting: Don’t go If you go, go late Go, but don’t pray If you pray, pray long…

The Family Altar

Author and preacher Franklin Ferguson (1866-1957) from New Zealand, who for 30 years edited The Treasury magazine, wrote a helpful article on the vital subject of “the family altar”, a term once widely employed to describe the habit of Christian families reading and praying together daily. His exhortations provide wise counsel for 21st century families too: “There can be nothing of more importance in a Christian household than the daily reading of the Holy Scriptures, followed by prayer. Morning and evening seem…

Doing or Done – Which is It? (Poem)

How clear is the sound which the trumpeter gives, That when a poor sinner believeth, he lives; He has done with his nature, condition, and birth, No longer belongeth to Adam or earth; He is born of the Spirit, because he has heard The truth of salvation, as preached in the Word; Received in his heart all its gladness and peace, And life incorruptible, never to cease! Never to lose what our God once imparts Is indeed a rich comfort to…

The Last 21 Days of the Convict Daniel Mann

Paul J. Loizeaux (1841-1916)  was a Bible teacher and evangelist, and founder of the Loizeaux Brothers Publishing House in New York. In 1870, while preaching in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, he visited the local jail and found a convict by the name of Daniel Mann under sentence of death for murder. He shared the gospel with him and later published a book called The Lord’s Dealings with the Convict Daniel Mann. The book was so blessed that Paul Loizeaux felt it accomplished…

5 Poems on the assurance of salvation

Samuel Whitelock Gandy (1780-1851) I hear the accuser roar, of ills that I have done; I know them well, and thousands more; Jehovah findeth none. Sin, Satan, death, press near, to harass and to appall; Let but my risen Lord appear, backward they go and fall. Before, behind, around, they set their fierce array, To fight and force me from my ground, along Immanuel’s way. I meet them face to face, through Jesus’ conquest blest; March in the triumph of…

The Advocacy of Christ

by Robert A. F. Kingscote (1811-1888) The question often arises in the minds of the Lord’s people, especially of those who are young in the faith, “What is to be done with the sins we commit after we have been saved?” Many a child of God has said, “I know that I have believed in Christ, and see that my sins were put away by His blood; but what troubles me is the sins I commit now, and what am I to…

Was there a genuine offer of the Kingdom to Israel?

Frederick A. Tatford (1901-1986) took a special interest in eschatology and wrote widely on prophetic subjects. On the issue of the “kingdom offer” to the nation of Israel Dr. Tatford helpfully wrote the following: “When our Lord was born into this world, there was no doubt regarding His status as King. Even prior to His birth, in the annunciation to Mary, Gabriel declared, “He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord…

The Two Natures

by Robert F. Kingscote (1811-1893) There are many Christians who, after having seen that their sins have been forgiven them, are very much troubled to find the workings of sin within – old lusts and desires constantly rising up, which they find they cannot get rid of. “I thought,” say they, “that after I was converted I should not sin any more, and that I should have nothing but joy all the way along.” Perhaps, coming down one morning, something puts…

Could Christ Have Sinned? and if not, How Can He Sympathise?

Biblical scholar and author William Kelly (1821-1906) penned a helpful 62 page book entitled Christ Tempted and Sympathising in which he gets to grips with Hebrews 2:18 “For in that he [Christ] himself  hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb 2:18). In the course of his remarks, Kelly addresses such questions as: Was Christ tempted to sin? What was the nature of Christ’s humanity? Did Christ have both a human and a divine…

Breaking Hedges

On a speaking tour of New Zealand, Harold St John (1876-1957), British missionary, author, Bible teacher and father of children’s author Patricia St John, gave a sermon on “breaking hedges”, based on the obscure Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 10:8 “Whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him”. Here is an abridged version of that unique, effective and poignant address: Every farmer knows the value of hedges; they keep the sheep from straying in wilder lands and protect them from marauders. They…

Did You Pray This Morning?

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day; I had so much to accomplish that I didn’t have time to pray. Problems just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task. “Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered. He answered, “You didn’t ask.” I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak; I wondered why God didn’t show me. He said, “But you didn’t seek.” I tried to come into…

The Christian’s “5-a-day”

For the good of your health, the World Health Organisation recommends that you eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Tom Armstrong, from Derriaghy, Northern Ireland, outlines a spiritual 5-a-day diet for Christians, from Proverbs Chapter 3: The book of Proverbs was largely written by the very wise King Solomon. The many plain and yet powerful proverbs were written for the blessing of his sons and of his people. They were written in days of great prosperity…

How to Pray

Author and preacher Franklin Ferguson (1866-1957) from New Zealand, who for 30 years edited The Treasury magazine, writes a helpful article on “How to Pray” based on Ephesians 6:18-19a: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me…” He broke the verses down into 7 sections as follows: The Season of Prayer – “Praying always” Most of us have set times for prayer, morning and evening,…

Dress for Christians in Today’s World

by Michael Browne (1930-2016) It is frequently argued by way of excuse that dress is not the most important thing when attending meetings of God’s assembly. It is not so much the outward appearance that God looks for, we are told, but inward reality and sincerity of heart — so, hiding behind this argument, those who use it wear the most casual, often slovenly and even unlaundered (young men), clothing. This is a spurious argument made to justify (a) a…

The Secret of the Christian Life

From “Notes on the Pentateuch”, in comments on Deuteronomy Ch 25, Charles Henry Mackintosh (1820-1896) wrote the following profound words: “Earnest and constant occupation with Christ is the true secret of all practical Christianity. It is not rules and regulations that will ever make us Christ-like in spirit, manner and ways. We must drink into His spirit, walk in His footsteps, dwell more profoundly upon His moral glories, and then we shall, of blessed necessity, be conformed to His image.…

What is God’s Ultimate Purpose?

What is the ultimate purpose of God? To what goal is history heading? Commenting on Ephesians 1:19-23, W.W. Fereday (1866-1959) puts it as succinctly as it has ever been put: “Before the ages of time God, in His infinite wisdom and love, purposed to place the whole universe under His beloved Son in manhood, with the Church in union with Him as His body. The grace of this is overwhelming, for the body is composed of sinners, some of them of…

The Christian’s Pilgrim Character

As Christ was a stranger here, His people are to be “strangers and pilgrims” on the earth, not citizens or rulers in it, as if their calling were to earth, either to renovate it or to govern it. It is not that the Christian is to be heedless of the world’s need, or deaf to its cry; indeed, he cannot be, for the groan of creation without finds its response in the experience of his spirit within. But he knows…

5 Poems for Troubled Times

I Cannot But God Can I cannot but God can, Oh balm for all my care! The burden that I drop, His hand will lift and bear. Though eagle pinions tire, I walk where I once ran, This is my strength to know, I cannot, but He can. I see not but God sees; Oh all sufficient light! My dark and hidden way to Him is always bright. My strained and peering eyes may close in restful ease, And I…

How George Muller Started His Day

George Muller (1805-1898), one of the best known Christians of all time, was married Mary Groves, sister of the outstanding pioneer missionary Anthony Norris Groves (1795-1853). The story of the Mullers’ life’s work in feeding, clothing and evangelising thousands of orphans in Bristol, England, depending entirely on the Lord to provide the funds, remains hugely inspirational and deeply challenging. When George Muller died the Daily Telegraph’s obituary said he “had robbed the cruel streets [of Victorian England] of thousands of…

A Simple Request – “This Do in Remembrance of Me”

The request is about as simple as it could be. There’s no deep theology to ponder; there’s no ambiguity to make us wonder. The Lord Jesus plainly said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” Yet as simple as the request is, is it equally as simple to do? Can a believer come each Lord’s Day, meeting with the local assembly where they are in fellowship, and take part honourably at the Lord’s Supper by simply “showing up”? And having done…

Are Women to be Silent in Local Church Meetings?

In our secular, western world, any restrictions upon women suggests the worst sort of misogyny and sexism. The radical feminist movement and other equal rights advocates argue that any form of gender discrimination in leadership or public participation is both morally wrong and potentially illegal. And in the environment of a church, as a symbol of morality and righteousness, this burden, they argue, is particularly acute. But God’s assembly is not just any society or any church. It is a…

Fret Not

I have a confession to make. There is a Bible word I have read many times without actually knowing what it meant. How can it be, you ask, that having spent somewhat more than 45 years on this planet (give or take a few months) I am just now learning the meaning of this word? It’s not that I glossed over it, uninterested in its meaning. It’s that I read it, thought I knew what it meant, and consequently missed its application…

Hold the Fort, for I am Coming!

It was October 5, 1864. The US Civil War was raging and Union Major General William T. Sherman was determined to end it as early as possible by crushing resistance in the southern state of Georgia. Storing vital supplies at a Federal Garrison near Cartersville, Georgia, Sherman left Brigadier General John M. Corse in charge of protecting these provisions. Confederate Major General Samuel G. French, realizing the importance of the supplies to the Union cause, and determined to hinder Sherman’s…

Is Anyone Able to Help Us?

2020 has been a challenging year. As I write this it is Christmas Eve here in Ontario, Canada, and for many, this Christmas will not be particularly merry! There are heavy hearts, struggling spirits, anxious minds and questioning souls. Some have been hit much harder by events in the past months than others – but none of us have totally escaped the unique challenges which have crashed uninvited into our lives in these most unusual times. In working my own…

Do Appearances Really Matter?

We seem to be incurable creatures of extremes. Apogee and perigee have a strange appeal to us. That holds true as to the subject of this article. Some people act as though outward appearance means nothing, insisting that it is what God sees that counts. Others behave as though outward appearance means everything, that it is what the world sees that matters. As contradictory as it may sound, we tend to find extremes comfortable – they are easy to enforce.…

The Value of the Assembly’s Gospel Meeting

The gospel pioneers, who came to my home country of North America with a burning passion to win lost souls, called the buildings in which they preached gospel halls. They never taught that Christians belonged to the gospel hall; rather it belonged to Christians, and was used for the preaching of the gospel. We are saddened and even baffled that many places that once preached the gospel as a regular practice have ceased to do so. The two most-often-heard excuses…

Contributing to Your Local Assembly Bible Reading

Understanding the importance of the assembly Bible reading should cause us to have greater diligence in our preparation. Knowing the charge given to the elders at Ephesus to “feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28), should give us a greater sense of responsibility to prepare. While all do not have the same ability to contribute, each one in the fellowship should make some preparation for the Bible reading. Read the Passage Many…

Lockdown Longings

The lockdown longings of the Lord’s people in England in November 2020 were eloquently put into words by the sons of Korah many centuries ago: “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars,…

Isn’t Everyone Gathered to His Name?

Isn’t everyone gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus? If you have ever tried explaining to one of your friends that you are part of a group of believers who do not take any denominational name but gather to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you have probably been confronted by this challenge. In their sincerity and simplicity, many take Matthew 18:20 to apply to any and every time that two or three believers meet. It hardly…

Few Sophisticated People Believe the Bible – Here’s Why

Psychologist, author and Harvard professor Steven Pinker is one of the world’s leading atheists. In his book, Enlightenment Now (Penguin, 2018), he says: “Few sophisticated people today profess a belief in heaven and hell, the literal truth of the Bible, or a God who flouts the laws of physics.” Pinker is undoubtedly correct, and I say that as a person who believes in heaven and hell, in the literal truth of the Bible and in the miracles recorded in Scripture. Stung…

Arriving in Good Time

I’ll never forget the sight of an exasperated British Airways stewardess, shouting across JFK airport at a Rabbi who, though a few minutes late for his flight to London, England, wasn’t making haste. The ‘final call’ had long passed and he was the last passenger on her clipboard list. As he exited the men’s room and started sauntering towards the gate, the stewardess went into meltdown. “HURRY UP! You’re keeping over 300 people waiting.” I wish I had videoed it…

Social Drinking?

The title of this article will perhaps pique the interest of a variety of readers. I write to stimulate thought and spiritual exercise in the minds and hearts of those who are genuinely searching for Scriptural guidance in this critical area of modern living. There are many young people fueled by curiosity and intense peer pressure to “try a few beers” with their friends – the rationale being that “there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you don’t get…

My Reasons for not Being Free to Engage in Inter-Denominational Service

This is a transcript of a powerful and persuasive message given in 1954 in Motherwell, Scotland, by the evangelist and Bible teacher William Trew (1902-1971) entitled “My reasons for not being free to engage in inter-denominational service”.  Scripture readings: Matt 28:16-20, Acts 20:17-38, 1 Cor 9:1-23 The saints who have gathered here today to hear this statement of my reasons for not being free before the Lord to serve inter-denominationally, will believe me when I say that I have not lightly…

What Kind of Mask Are You Wearing?

Once the fringe activity of a cautious minority, mask wearing – with the encouragement of HM Government – has now gone mainstream. Yet, the truth is, long before COVID-19 we were already masters at wearing masks, albeit of a very different kind. If your response to the question “Do you believe in God?” is “I’m an atheist”, then yours is a secular mask. Mask? Yes, the Bible is clear; atheists aren’t for real, they’re pretending. Romans 1:20 describes humanity’s history…

The Conversion of J.G. Deck (in Verse)

Evangelist James George Deck (1807–1884) is best known for his numerous deeply spiritual hymns. “Lamb of God our Souls Adore Thee”, “O Lord When We the Path Retrace” and “The Veil is Rent Lo Jesus Stands” are representative of many other worthy compositions. He also wrote a poem describing his own conversion to Christ, which makes most interesting reading. He titled it “The Word of God”: Some tell me that the Bible Is not God’s sacred Word, And brand as…

The Most Common Objection to God – Answered

The most common objection to the God of the Bible is not “how did Noah get all the animals onto the ark?”, nor even “Where did Cain get his wife?”. Ask the average atheist why he doesn’t believe in God and he’ll simply say, “There’s no evidence.” The Bible challenges that claim in Acts 14:17, stating that throughout history “God has left not Himself without witness.” God has left a trail of evidence behind Him for all to see. In…

You Can Know The Truth

It’s impossible to deny the existence of truth without at the same time affirming it. How come? Well, think about it: to say “truth does not exist” is to make a truth claim! So, what is truth?  Truth is what corresponds to reality. Simply put, truth is “what is”, as defined by God. God is a God of truth; all truth is God’s truth; and no truth exists apart from Him. In His Word, the Bible, God has revealed His…

A Doubter’s Story

The age of traditional letter writing has almost gone and we are all the poorer for it. It was common in a former era, after the death of a well known person, to publish his or her letters. How strange that sounds, now that texting and tweeting have bulldozed thoughtful hand-written communication out of our world. How delighted we should be that one very special letter from Clement Read Vaughan (1827-1911) to Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898) has survived and has…

The New Smooth Cross

This anonymous article has been around for many years, but it contains a message as relevant and needy as ever. It contrasts the biblical gospel with the “modern gospel” – the old rugged cross with the new smooth cross: All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different; the likenesses are superficial, the differences fundamental. From this new cross has sprung a new…

Prayer Changes Me

“Prayer changes things” is a statement most Christians are familiar with, but “prayer changes me“? Now, that’s a very different angle! In this helpful article, Gary Woods expands our thinking about God’s wider purposes in prayer. Have you ever wondered why Christians pray, when God already knows everything before they ask? Consider this. We tend to think in terms of “Prayer changes things”, but God in His word reveals another angle; “Prayer changes me”. If prayer is seen as nothing…

Is Breaking Bread at Home (or virtually) an Option?

Should we just have the Breaking of Bread at home? by Alasdair G. Baijal (Cape Town, South Africa) 2nd May 2020 Believers around the world are experiencing severe restrictions on their physical gatherings. Many assemblies of believers have realised that technology can be put to good use, to ensure that believers receive teaching and encouragement. Some have even found a benefit in meeting for prayer via video and telephone links. We give God thanks for the technology He has provided.…

Every Day Expressions from the Bible

English speaking people around the world quote the Bible millions of times daily without realising it. How come? Because previous generations, who knew their Bibles better, made dozens of biblical expressions part of their every day lives, and it stuck. Here are some of the most well-known ones, in alphabetical order: A All things to all men (1 Corinthians 9.22) Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4.9) Apple of my eye (Deuteronomy 32.10) Armageddon (Revelation 16.16) Ashes to ashes, dust…

Are You Content?

29th April 2020 by Andrew Ussher “I have learned, in whatever situation I am, to be content.” (Phil 4:11 ESV) “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:10 ESV) If you are anything like me, contentment has always been one of those challenging, searching, somewhat humbling exhortations in Scripture that you know you are supposed to pursue, but which you feel a constant…

Who is in Control?

It was a December day in 1931, crisp and cool in New York City. Absent-mindedly, a man stepped off the curb to cross Fifth Avenue. Although preoccupied with his thoughts, he had checked for traffic first, and saw no cars coming. One step…and the next moment the car he had not seen plowed into him at 30 mph (48 kph). He was nearly killed; he suffered serious head and thigh injuries, and needed to spend a number of weeks in bed recuperating. His description of…

Where is God in the Midst of COVID-19?

As of Easter weekend this year, 184 nations had felt the power of this marauding virus that snatches breath, crushes lungs, and kills indiscriminately. Thousands have died and many thousands more are ill. We can pore over the statistics all we like, examining its lethality compared to other pathogens and comforting ourselves as we explain its comparative benignity. But when it is your son or daughter who has died or your spouse who is gone, ‘comparative’ is meaningless and statistics…

Isolation

4th April 2020 Many people feel great distress because they are “isolated”, “quarantined” and “stuck at home”. During this COVID-19 crisis, when many are dying, the biggest inconvenience to some unconverted men and women, sad to say, is that their weekend partying has been restricted. They are “suffering” because Netflix doesn’t have enough binge-worthy programs to watch. They are b-o-r-e-d because football season is in jeopardy. “Internet influencers” (modern man really is mad, isn’t he?) lament that their influence is…

Worry

1st April 2020 I know I am not supposed to worry, that it accomplishes nothing. But here’s the thing about worry – it seems so pointless in other people…until it hits us! We know all the promises; we try to “rest in the Lord”; we try to “wait patiently for Him”; we try to “fret not” and to “fear not.” “We’re too blessed to be stressed” is a great saying – until the stress comes. Sometimes waves of worry can…

Fear, Frailty and Faith in a COVID-19 World

Fear, Frailty and Faith in a COVID-19 World 21st Mar 2020 The busy jovial self-employed painter I met yesterday in the decorating supplies shop was having none of it. “I won’t be getting the virus. I’m immune to everything. I’m even immune to work!” I smiled at his dark British humour, inwardly wondering if he was really more worried than he was letting on. The Romanian cleaner I met earlier in the day was, I think, more honest. “We are…

A Biblical Perspective on COVID-19

Dr. A. J. Higgins M.D. (New Jersey, USA) draws key lessons to be learned from the Covid-19 outbreak: It is inherent in human nature to always search for a “meaning” to everything. To feel a victim of random, meaningless events, to be a cork bobbing in the sea of life’s uncontrollable events, is to be reduced to a sense of futility and near despair. While I would not profess to find meaning in the events which are occurring over COVID-19,…

Quotes of C.T. Studd

C.T. Studd (1860-1931) was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Coming from a wealthy family, and privileged with an education at Eton and Cambridge, C.T. Studd would eventually play cricket for England’s national team. However, God intervened in his life in saving grace. He was converted to Christ as a young man and, rather than pursue wealth, fame and worldly honour, he devoted his life to Christ on the mission field – for the glory of God and in…
Cali, Columbia, South America

Where Are We?

On December 20th 1995, an American Airlines Boeing 757 took a regular scheduled flight (AA965) from Miami, Florida, to Cali, Columbia (photo above), carrying passengers mainly returning for the Christmas holidays. Captain Nicholas Tafuri, age 57, and First Officer Don Williams, age 39, were highly experienced and skilled pilots, but through a tragic navigational mix up they erroneously put the aircraft on a collision course with the 3,000-metre El Diluvio mountain 38 miles north of Cali, instead of the Cali…