Wednesday Testimony- John Owens and the Country Preacher

Beloved, we all enjoy a good testimony, the kind that brings tears to our eyes as we see all the ways Gods grace can change a cold heart of stone. John Owens (1616-1683) conversion has a special kind of sweetness to it.

Owens, having achieved his Masters by the age of 19, is beyond a doubt one of the most intelligent men to lead Gods sheep. However, it was not until he was 26 that he had a moment where he felt assurance of his salvation. This is the main point I’d like to share with you all. Owens, the Puritan giant, was going to see a well known preacher with his cousin in 1642. That preacher was not there that morning, so a country preacher had been brought in. A no name. In fact, Owens never recalls that mans name. He did, however, recall that the message was on Matthew 8:26.

Owens was forever changed that morning as the faith he taught others became a reality in his own life. Assurance of salvation is a beautiful thing, it can carry you through the roughest seasons of your life. I want to encourage you today, beloved, that you can make a greater difference than you imagine. The man who changed Owens life was a country preacher with a tiny flock. He was faithful to Gods Word, and through his obedience God was able to use him. Often our weakness is Gods strength in this darkened world. Continue in obedience, dear brethren!

I have one last thought, beloved. Why do you have assurance? When I sin I often have the doubtful thoughts that my faith is false. Then I remember the chains of sin that have been broken. I was so held down by my wretched flesh before salvation that I rarely had a minutes rest. The night I cried out to God for forgiveness, that changed. I woke up the next day and everything was new. My friend, if you are still bound to the sin you love, please work through your salvation with fear and trembling. A true convert to Christianity can and will sin, but we hate that sin. It is vomit to us. The things we once hated, like fellowship, prayer, and Gods Word, we now love. If that’s not a reality in your life, please humble your heart and cry out to God.

My beloved brethren, I hope you are encouraged by the conversion of John Owens and the simple instrument God used in his life. As always, dearest friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.


The Difference

We live in a culture, beloved, where being different is celebrated, so long as you’re not set apart for God. In the West, at least, we see that if you are a young woman who wants to grow out their armpit hair and dye it lime green, your congratulated on being so bold. However, if you are a young lady who wants to wait until their wedding day for your first kiss, and dress moderately, no one is going to celebrate you, you weirdo! Yes, it’s a strange world we live in, where Godliness is cultish behavior and green armpit hair is where it’s at.

Should we really expect anything different? No. Not according to the Bible. We’re told very specifically that we will be hated by the world. This week I have been explaining to a greater degree the reason why I write what I write about on different days. At the beginning of this blog Friday’s use to be about Young Earth Creation. I needed a day for just my thoughts, and so I made some changes. Now Fridays are here to highlight the difference, to encourage the body of Christ to be set apart.

Is there a difference in you? Are you any different from the unsaved relative or friend you spend time with? If you were in court, charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict? What about your church? Is it any different than a rock concert followed by a self help speech?

God’s masterful design is that His people would be a set apart people. Salt and light. Wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove. In this way we show that there is a great God, and one way to the Father, through the Son. What glorifies God more than a changed heart, and life? It only cost God a week to create the entire universe. On the other hand, it cost Him His only begotten Son to reconcile lost, and fallen, people.

If you are reading this and you see no difference in yourself and the unsaved please work through your salvation with fear and trembling. If you are reading this and you think you are different because of all the hard work you’ve put into your religion please work through your salvation with fear and trembling. If you are reading this and you’ve never been reborn in Christ, cry out to God for today is the day for salvation. Repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ alone. If you have any questions about salvation please feel free to ask.

If you are reading this and you know that you are different, set apart, reborn a new creature in Christ, by the grace of God alone, give God the glory! And as always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – John Mark

Beloved, in continuing my week of grounding this blog again, I want to discuss an amazing Biblical testimony that is a prime example of what Wednesday Testimony is supposed to be about. John Mark was a missionary with Paul and Barnabas. You’ve all read, I’m sure, how he chickened out and went back home. This led Paul and Barnabas to split later, when Barnabas wanted to give John Mark another chance and Paul thought it was a bad idea.

There’s so much here, what a rich text we have! Many get discouraged when believers argue or separate. It took several years, and a good deal of time spent with Peter, before Paul and John Mark were reunited in fellowship. There’s going to be times when we disagree, and those disagreements might lead us in different paths. Like Wesley and Whitfield, Paul and Barnabas continued their work, the disunity with one another didn’t mean one had to back down while the other succeeded. I think there’s an important example there, when we find ourselves at a crossroad with a true believer.

We also see in John Mark a clear picture of redemption. He would go on to such boldness as to write one of the four Gospels. We know from early church literature that the Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark based on Peters first hand witness. We’ve all had that moment when we know we need to stand firm, we know we need to witness, we know we need to do the right thing and we falter. It feels like we’ve let down the triune Godhead. We can sit with or head in our hands and consider all Gods done for us, salvation, sanctification, justification, purification…all of the ‘ications’. There’s no doubt that God is good, merciful, gracious, just, loving, righteous, and perfect in all His ways. There’s also no doubting that we are not. The only good thing in me is Christ, all I can boast of is His grace.

Wednesday Testimony is grounded in this truth, that God saves imperfect people. Imperfect people like John Mark can fail miserably and still be used mightily by the God of Strength. I’ve never, and will never, write a testimony of a perfect man. Only one has ever lived, and He didn’t need salvation, He is salvation, He is the truth, the life, and the way. When we hear about these men who were weak, wretched vessels in the hands of the Almighty God, I pray we all find encouragement. When we put our faith in Christ alone, by the grace of God we are saved, and become the weak, wretched vessels God will use today.

I had a difficult time last week, a believer I respected lied to me. It was heart wrenching. They are an imperfect vessel, and so am I. When I place myself in the correct perspective I can look on God’s holiness, and rather than anger or offense feel sorrow for the person who faltered in temptation. I can give grace, because I have received so much grace. This is not to say that we accept sin, or make excuses for sinful behavior, but that we lovingly pray for the believers who have given into the temptation we all feel from time to time. Many of you have been believers far longer than I have, and I welcome your advice on how you handle situations where another believer has lied to you, or hurt you. As Brother Washer likes to say “many of you have forgotten more about the Bible than I’ll ever learn.”

As I continue to get grounded again this week, I look to the elders of the body of Christ. You are blessings to me, and to know you are there and I have the ability to ask, to learn from, to sit at the feet of your wisdom and glen from what you write, is something I ceaselessly thank God for. I pray God uses Wednesday Testimonies to encourage and edify you, dear friends. And as always, my most beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony- David Brainerd

The following excerpt is from the Life and Diary of David Brainerd, which I hope to review for you tomorrow, beloved. This is the testimony of how one lost wretch, working day and night to earn his salvation, was found by the grace of the sovereign God.

“I knew that I never had seen before any thing comparable to it for excellency and beauty; it was widely different from all the conceptions that ever I had of God, or things divine. I had no particular apprehension of any one person in the Trinity, either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost; but it appeared to be divine glory. My soul rejoiced with joy unspeakable, to see such a God, such a glorious Divine Being; and I was inwardly pleased and satisfied that he should be God over all for ever and ever. My soul was so captivated and delighted with the excellency, loveliness, greatness, and other perfections of God, that I was even swallowed up in him; at least to that degree, that I had no thought (as I remember) at first about my own salvation, and scarce reflected there was such a creature as myself.

Thus God, I trust, brought me to a hearty disposition to exalt him, and set him on the throne, and principally and ultimately to aim at his honor and glory, as King of the universe. I continued in this state of inward joy, peace, and astonishment, till near dark, without any sensible abatement; and then began to think and examine what I had seen; and felt sweetly composed in my mind all the evening following. I felt myself in a new world, and every thing about me appeared with a different aspect from what it was wont to do. At this time, the way of salvation opened to me with such infinite wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever think of any other way of salvation; was amazed that I had not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this lovely, blessed, and excellent way before.If I could have been saved by my own duties, or any other way that I had formerly contrived, my whole soul would now have refused it. I wondered that all the world did not see and comply with this way of salvation, entirely by the righteousness of Christ.

David Brainerd’s testimony is one that is very similar to many of ours, dear friends. Once we knew there was certainly a God, and that we would be held accountable to Him on judgment day, we set forth in attempting to earn His forgiveness. I confess I did a very bad job of this, before getting saved. It was laughable to have assumed the little effort I put into it would have saved me. Then again, it’s laughable to think any effort can save. Brethren, we all now know and see, owing to the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, that salvation can come only by grace alone. We are not saved by merit, good works, obedience to the law, speaking in tongues, or sacraments. We are saved by faith in Christ Jesus, because of the grace of a just and loving God.

Friend, if your reading this and have never experienced what Brainerd described, I implore you to work through your salvation through fear and trembling. Today is the day of salvation! We have sinned against an infinite God, thus our due judgment is infinite. The Good News of the Gospel is that God became man, lived a sinless life, died in our place, had the wrath of God poured out on Himself, rose from the dead for our justification, and is now making intercession for us in heaven. Repent of your sins, place your trust in Christ alone, flee from the wrath to come.

As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – John Newton

Sunday I posted a hymn by John Newton (1725-1807), and realized that I hadn’t written about his testimony yet. Most know Amazing Grace, but how many of us know the tremendous weight behind the words? When you hear the story you’ll never sing the song lightly again.

John Newtons mother was a Puritan, who taught him scriptures, until she died when he was 7. His father, who was a sea captain, remarried and Newton fell into bad company. His Christian learning stopped, and if not by the grace of God, it all would have been lossed.

His life was plagued by near death experiences, each one leading him to attempt a life of piety only to lapse into more wickedness than before. He eventually became a slave trader, professing there was nothing after life, no God, no eternity. 

His last close call with death came during a storm at sea, when he was heading up to the top deck and someone called down for him to go find a knife. He did, but the man who went up in his place was immediately swept out to sea. The storm raged on, the ship was tossed too and fro for four weeks. Newton entered that ship a lost, blind, wretch. He left it a new creation in Jesus Christ!

From slave trader to preacher…John Newton was saved by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Newton’s testimony is prescious to those of us with lost loved ones who seem too far gone to turn. Those who have been forgiven much, love much. I pray the Lord will encourage you all today, dear brethren, with the story and song Amazing Grace! As always, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Foreknown

When I found this testimony, and watched it, I wept. We’ve been going through this series on the miracle of life, and I can think of no better Testimony this week then two people who were forgiven for taking innocent lives. Why? Because God’s grace is irresistible. Because God’s forgiveness is attainable. Because Christ came, for the sins of all who believe, and had the wrath of God poured out on Him that day on the cross. Because by grace through faith in Christ alone we can be saved. 

I pray you will each be blessed by this testimony, and the knowledge that forgiveness is real, God’s love is genuine. He is also a God of justice, one who is angry at sin everyday. If you’ve come to see the Christian God as some Santa clause genie who gives to all without requiring repentance then you will find yourself on judgement day facing this thrice holy God which you spent your life sinning against, and you will stand condemned of worshipping a false idol. Repent, dear friend, and work through your salvation with fear and trembling. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.