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The Parables #52

The Parable of the two sons – Part 2.

Matthew 21:28-32.

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You must understand boys and girls that there are only the SAVED and the LOST! As there was Abel and Cain, as there was Jacob and Esau so there is only two types of people before God. “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad,” Matthew 12:30. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,” John 3:36.

It is God who initiates contact and communion with sinful men, not the other way round. “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, . . . . and he came to the second, ” Matthew 21:28, 30.

The first action of sinful man. “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Genesis 3:8-9.

The Parables #51

The Parable of the two sons.

Stream or download The Parables #51

“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him,” Matthew 21:28-32.

“But what think ye?”

1. The Lord Jesus wants us all to think! He wants us to use the faculties with which we were born.

2. He especially want us to think about eternal things. “Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you,” Matthew 21:31.

3. Men do not of themselves think on such things. The mind of the unsaved cannot mount upward to spiritual things of themselves. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him, John 6:44.
“Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me,” John 6:45.
“And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father,” John 6:65.
“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts,” Ps 10:4.

What is a Christian?


Scripture: Acts 11:26

Preached in Penticton FPC, April 22nd, 2018.

Stream or download What is a Christian?

“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch,” Acts 11:26

Here in our text is the origin of the title which all true believers wear with honour. It can be seen immediately that the name Christian is that used of those who before were referred to as disciples. A disciple is one under instruction, a learner. A disciple of Christ is one who, having met with and obeyed Christ is now under His direction and tutelage.
While that may explain the meaning of the terms what we want to discover is what is a Christian? There is no title more abused and misused today. I believe that it is likely that 99% of those in this world who claim to be Christians are very sadly mistaken! “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22-23. I recall the parable of the lost sheep in which one sinner repented while 99 deemed repentance unnecessary! “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance,” Luke 15:7. Please recall that these remained in the wilderness wasteland, verse 4!!
I am going to give you three things that a Christian is.

What the Christian used to be many still are. “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” Ephesians 2:3. This gives us the likeness of what the believer used to be like. “He was a child of wrath even as others.” He was a sinner under condemnation of God’s holy law for his breaking of it repeatedly.
But he has been changed, wonderfully changed since then.

1. No one is more aware of this change than himself. “He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see,” John 9:25.
Paul’s testimony: “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities,” Acts 26:9-11.

What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
I have light in my soul which so long I had sought
Since Jesus came into my heart!

2. This change has been seen by others also. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” 2 Cor 5:17. It would hardly amount to much if others did not see it. “But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men,” Matthew 9:8.

3. Above all, there is a change in God’s eyes.
No longer condemned but forgiven. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” Rom 8:1.
No longer an enemy by wicked works but reconciled. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled,” Colossians 1:21.
No longer a stranger but a citizen of heaven. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God,” Ephesians 2:19.
No longer afar off but made nigh. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ,” Ephesians 2:13.
No longer unclean but washed. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” 1 Corinthians 6:11.

There has been a complete turn about, a change of direction. That is the meaning of “repentance”!

1. He is travelling in the opposite direction. He is moving against the stream of this world. He finds himself in contradiction to the views, ideas, delights, pleasures and ambitions of this world. He can no longer agree with those with whom he formerly sped down the road of sin. “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you,” 1 Peter 4:1-4.

2. He is travelling to a different destination. Not for him the city of destruction. Now he is going to the Celestial city. Abraham, “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God,” Hebrews 11:10.

3. He is travelling in new company. There is a people which are called his people, his own company. “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts,” Psalm 119:63. “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them,” Acts 4:23. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God,” Ruth 1:16.
Here is where the Christian now feels at home.

1. How poor the unsaved man is. “But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God,” Psalm 40:17. Spiritually we are only beggars!

2. The discovery of such riches is through the gospel. “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me,” Acts 26:17-18.

3. Such riches are not subject to decay or loss. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” 1 Peter 1:3-5.

4. He has a title and an estate to go with his riches. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together,” Romans 8:16-17. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins,” Colossians 1:12-14.
A crown. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing,” 2 Timothy 4:8. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away,” 1 Peter 5:4.
A Throne. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,” Revelation 3:21. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years,” Revelation 20:4.

Do you meet this description? Do you have grounds for calling yourself a Christian.

The benefits of having the Bible

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,” 
Psalm 119:130.
As a people we revere the Bible. It is given a prominent place in our services and in our lives. We preach its doctrines and contend for its truths. We seek to live by its precepts.
The word BIBLE comes from a Greek word BIBLOS = The BOOK. This is the BOOK for us.
My text is one suited to this subject. Please consider its teaching.
Here is why we revere the Bible. It is the Book of God. Let me tell you some things about this Bible.
1. It is the record of God’s law. “I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing,” Hosea 8:12. God’s moral law for all men in all ages is found in the Bible and in the Bible ALONE. It must govern our views, our thoughts, our words and our actions.
The anarchy of today stems from the abandonment of God’s Word in pulpit, pew and parliaments.
2. It was given by the Holy Spirit.  “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” 2 Peter 1:21. The penmen were mere humans but the One Who ‘moved’ (carried) them to write the Holy Scriptures was the Third Person of the Trinity – God the Holy Ghost. It is God’s production.
3. It is eternal. “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you,” 1 Peter 1:25.
What changes a lifetime brings! What changes we have seen in the affairs of the nation. Men whose words gripped and thrilled the populace have passed away and their words are forgotten. But not the Word of God! That which gave hope to the prophets, the apostles and the reformers gives hope and comfort to poor sinners still today.
4. In hearing and reading it there is a blessing.  “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it,” Luke 11:28. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand,” Revelation 1:3. Some books please some people while providing nothing for others. But this BOOK is one with universal appealand blessing for all who will believe its simple truths. It provides a blessing, oh such a blessing to all of every tribe and nation, who embrace by faith its sweet and precious doctrines.
5. Every word is true. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth,” John 17:17. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. Men have sought since sin made its entrance to find an error, a contradiction, a lie in the Bible. Hallelujah, man has utterly failed!
Books that prove to be false soon fall in popularity. The Bible remains at the top of the ‘Best Sellers List.’
Were it a fraud and a deceit that would not be the case
6. It is God’s means of giving life. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls,” James 1:21. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever,” 1 Peter 1:23. What life it produces! What a change is wrought through the influence! “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
7. It is the Book which shall judge men. “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust,” John 5:45. Men will be judged by the Law that God gave by Moses, which is expounded and applied throughout the Bible, one day. Whether or not we believed its message will determine our eternal destination.
Hear Christ’s invitation. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.
Heed the Bible’s message of salvation today.
Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20. Only the seed that entered into the good ground bore fruit. The benefits of the Gospel are for those who receive it into their hearts.
1. The Word has to be received.  “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost,” 1 Thess 1:6. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,” 1 Thess 2:13.
The word ‘received’ means ‘to take hold of, to grasp with the hand’. Make sure you get a hold of God’s Word by faith tonight.
2. It must be received no matter what the consequences or pressures are . The Thessalonicans received the Word of God amidst much affliction. But receive it they did to the saving of their souls. The devil will try to steal, man will persecute,and the world will allure all with the purpose of robbing you of eternal life by hindering you receiving, believing God’s Word.
3. It is received by believing the message. The old definition of ‘Faith’ stands true: “Faith is just believing what God says He will do.”
The words ‘receive’ and ‘believe’ are interchangeably, John 1: 11-12. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” To receive the Lord Jesus as your Saviour is to believe what the Bible says about Him. John 9:35-38.
GIVETH – ‘Light’, ‘Understanding’. This principle is true of believers and unbelievers. The Christian must continue to give entrance to God’s Word.
1. There is a coming of light. Light is “given.” What a light has come into those nations which have received the Bible! The course of human history is a record of the benefits that the light of God’s Word has brought with it. It is given to the “simple”. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting (turning back) the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple,” Ps 19:7.
2. We gain an understanding of God. We know little about God through nature though great and wonderful is it record! It is the Bible alone which reveals God for it is His self-portrait. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not,” John 1:10-11. The Saviour said: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” John 14:9.
The Lord Jesus is the revelation of the Father. He is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” Hebrews 1:3.
Christ is God “manifest in the flesh.” (1 Timothy 3:16).
3. We gain an understanding of ourselves.“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. That picture of man’s corrupt heart is given us ONLY in the Bible. The philosophies of men regarding the curing of mankind’s ills are based upon a false diagnosis. Man is not seen for what he truly is. Only the Bible gives that picture and men generally reject its wisdom. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man,” Matthew 15:19-20.
This diagnosis is one men do not wish to receive and thereby they miss God’s cure for sin.
4. We gain an understanding of salvation. The Bible points us to Christ. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them,” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. Salvation is not found in a church or in a creed but it is found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12. Paul said: “But we preach Christ crucified,” 1 Corinthians 1:23.
That is the message of the Bible. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name,” John 20:30-31.
This blessed BOOK is the key to life. Obey it and it will reward you well. May you heed its call to Christ today!

Josiah’s reaction to the reading of the Law

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Josiah’s reaction to the reading of the Law: A lesson for today

“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of  Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king’s, saying, Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book,”
2 Chronicles 34:19-21.

The events of this chapter took place just a few years after the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry. I have no doubt that what Josiah initiated by way of reforms was a direct result of the early preaching of Jeremiah. “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images,” 2 Chronicles 34:3.

It was the influence of Jeremiah’s early preaching that prompted this desire to launch a programme of reforms.

We must note in the light of our text that:


1. There can be no doubt that Josiah was a good man. From a very early age he showed evidence of grace. “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images,” 34:2-3.
And yet the revelation of the sins of the land and the anger of God was a shock to him! He rent his clothes!  Gen 37:34.

2. The natural heart cannot see how wicked the world is without the aid of God. A hidden Bible means only one thing: IGNORANCE! The devil, the world and the human heart are a trinity of deceit for which we are no match. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.
* David was deceived by his own heart. “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man,” 2 Samuel 12:7.
* Ezekiel the prophet required God’s teaching. Eze 8:1-3, 6-12, 13-18.

3. This will certainly be so in the last days. Rev 17:1-2, 8. Even the saints of God will fail to see the wickedness. ‘Wondered’ Matt 8:10. Be it understood that you Christian are not wholly aware of todays’s sins.


“When the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.”

1. The great need of the hour is the rediscovery of the plain preaching of God’s Word. I mean expository preaching where the plain meaning of God’s Word is set before the people. Nehemiah 8:1-8. “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading,” Nehemiah 8:8.
There is too much topical preaching without any reference to the context of the verse selected. Such preaching may very often make little or no reference to the contextual setting in which the verse is found! This leads to what it is God is specifically saying in the passage being missed.

2. Such preaching, blessed by the Holy Spirit, produces a spiritual awareness amongst God’s people.
1 John 2:20-21, 27. Having been taught the truth and enjoying the ministrations of the Holy Ghost there is an awareness amongst them, a strengthens all the powers and faculties of the soul of the issues that faced them.

3. Paul is an example of such spiritual awareness. Acts 13:9-11.


1. An understanding of the state of the nation as seen by God will bring distress and alarm amongst God’s people. That is not how it is today! “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jer 5:31.
Perfectly content to sit amidst the apostasy and do not wish to be disturbed!! Isaiah 30:9-11; 2 Tim 4:3-4. (“latitudinarianism” – B W Newton.)

2. Brokenness of heart. Verse 27. Josiah wept! That is what caused Christ to weep over Jerusalem, Luke 19:41-44. “Known” = “Perceive.”

3. A seeking of God for what should be done. “Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah,” 34:21. We need instruction and it is plainly given us. Verses 29-33.


1. There was a staying of judgment for the sake of Josiah’s prayer. Verses 27-28.
2. A reviving of the remnant took place. 35:18. May we hunger as did Josiah that we may see a breath of old-time religion amongst us.
3. When the judgment came, there was a people who had understanding of the times and knew what to do. It was about 45-46 years later that Jerusalem was overrun by the Babylonians. An opportunity was given to the obedient to instruct their offspring and prepare them to submit to God’s Word and the judgment that was coming. Those who obeyed lived. Jer 37:7-9, 16-17, 38:14-17. The prophet was able to inform of what was coming and what they should do. He called a for an acknowledgement of their sin and a humble submission unto God and a trusting in His mercy.

Therein is the very essence of the gospel message:— Submission and Trust!