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The One who was there! (on the cross). Think of Jesus, the blessed Vessel of divine grace…He was God’s salvation for sinful men
Think of the One who was there! (on the cross). Think of Jesus, the blessed Vessel of divine grace…He was God’s salvation for sinful men; the One anointed to preach glad tidings to the poor; the One who said that He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance! He was indeed the Creditor, but here to announce a frank forgiveness to all His debtors! The Samaritan freely expending divine wealth and resources in compassion on the misery of man ruined by sin and Satan! The One who told of the great supper of grace, and of the blessed inviting and compelling of divine love! The Shepherd who would go after the sheep which was lost until He found it! The One who as the Vessel of all the grace of heaven told of the joy of God in receiving a repenting prodigal! The One who by the grace of God tasted death so that the river of that grace might flow forth for worldwide blessing through a channel of divine righteousness.
Golden Nugget Number 305
(C A Coates, Letters, pp384-5)
Just a thought. This morning (our time) I was at what they call the South Pacific Zoom Reading. Jeremy from Auckland set the reading on, on various scriptures on sight. One was Bartimeus (Mark 10). He said ‘It was a greater thought that the Creator of the Universe could stop in mercy to give sight to a blind beggar, than that the sun could stop for a day.’
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Why are you indifferent to that which is of vastly greater importance than plagues like coronavirus — your eternal salvation?
Please God, the worst of Corvid-19 may be over. The death rate is falling; in many countries lockdown is being eased – hopefully soon in Britain where at the time of writing over 30,000 people have died. But there is a deadening plague which continues and by its very nature is ignored – spiritual apathy. How many millions have it – and those of us who have a living relationship with the Lord, how many of us just acquiesce?
This is an abridged version of a paper by Charles Coates[i]. It is undated, but indications are that it was in the late 1930’s. Britain had come through the great depression and things were pretty good. There were worrying developments in Germany, but they were not causing problems in Britain. Chamberlain had a meeting with Hitler, signed a treaty and said, ‘It’s peace in our time’ (See 2 Kings 2:19). How can you make peace with an evil man? Yesterday we celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Coates was taken to be with the Lord five months after VE Day; I was born four weeks after that day.
It has been estimated that over seventy-five per cent of the inhabitants of this country have no concern about the salvation of their souls. They are not atheists or infidels, nor do they make any profession of being saved; they are simply indifferent to the whole matter. If the thought of having to do with God comes into their minds, they solace themselves by a comparison of their own state with that of their fellows, and they conclude that as they are not worse than others, and perhaps better than many, there is no reason why they should have any concern as to their spiritual state. Any occasional alarm is speedily stilled by the thought that God is merciful — a sentiment which in the mind of an indifferent sinner means that he likes to think of God as One whose judgment of sin is not much more severe than his own. It is to this large body of people, and to each individual in it, that the following plain words are addressed.
Then why so indifferent to that which is of vastly greater importance than all these things put together — your eternal salvation? A friendly voice asks you the question which once rang on the startled ear of Jonah — ‘What meanest thou, O sleeper?’ (Jonah 1:6).
Beware! The signals of Holy Scripture are all against you, and another warning reaches you now as you speed along to eternity. ‘When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them … and they shall not escape’ (1 Thessalonians 5: 3).
In the year of the Great Plague (1665) 90,000 persons died in London. With the earliest symptoms of the disease all indifference fled. Many went mad with terror and ran screaming through the grass-grown deserted streets, as if to escape from the pursuit of death. Have you no symptoms that might justly fill your conscience with alarm? ‘The thought of foolishness is sin’ (Proverbs 24:9). ‘To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin’ (James 4:17). ‘God shall judge the secrets of men’ (Romans 2:16). The plague of sin is in your heart; your members are yielded as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; and the end of these things is death. Have you never been astounded at the evil thoughts of your own heart? or are you so thoroughly accustomed to them as to be ‘abominable and filthy’, and to drink ‘iniquity like water’? (Job 15: 16). In any case it is high time for indifference to be thrown off as a dangerous and deadly thing.
Sad, sad, that bitter wail — ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved’ (Jeremiah 8:20).
‘God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent’ (Acts 17: 30).
‘God … will have all men to be saved’ (1 Timothy 2: 4). It is at an infinite cost that God has secured for Himself in righteousness the title of SAVIOUR GOD. The Son has been given; Jesus has died; and the whole universe can see at the cross of Christ that God is neither indifferent to sin, nor to the need of His poor creature who has fallen under its power. Then let indifference be banished from your heart. Turn in true repentance to God, and receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. For your life hangs on a thread; the record of your sins is on high; and the blackest midnight is brighter than the darkness of a Christless grave. ‘If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved’ (Romans 10: 9).
If 75% of Britons were not concerned about salvation in the 1930’s. What is the percentage of spiritual apathy now?
What word is going out to people? Are they hearing the gospel? We don’t hear much, but then almost all the media is secular, liberal and anti-Christian. But concerned Christians are speaking out. They see the gospel under attack, and they are not afraid to say so. Of course, I have not seen or read every message, but a surprisingly large group of voices are from within the Church of England – even from bishops and members of the Synod. Others are from evangelicals – Baptists and Free Church. What I don’t see are similar messages from charismatics and community churches. Like Sardis (Protestantism) – ‘Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead’ (Revelation 3:1) – concerned with form, liturgy, organisation and outward works. I have just listened to a well-known American preacher[ii]. describing the Church of Scotland as an ecclesiastical corpse. Thank God that in Sardis there were a few genuine Christians who had not defiled their garments.
We hear platitudes. Yes, by all means talk about the love of God. But first lay the conviction of the need of man – lost, sinful and deserving eternal judgment. Met by the One who died – not just a sacrifice for our sins, but to settle the whole question, knowing that man in the flesh cannot please God.
Some preacher pointed out – Preachers say ‘Chose for Jesus and pray’ – No! ‘Cry to Jesus in faith and repent’. ‘There is joy is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth’ (Luke 15:10).
More Christians worshiped, prayed, and shared Scripture online in the past week than ever before, as COVID-19 precautions shut down in-person church gatherings across the US and around the globe. – When God Closes a Church Door, He Opens a Browser Window – Christianity Today 15 March 2020
In the thick of COVID-19 concerns, Bible publishing companies report increased sales . . . yndale reports that engagement on its New Living Translations Facebook page – home to Bible verse memes – has tripled since last March and is up 72% from just last month. LifeWay Christian Resources also saw an increase in sales of 62 percent last week compared to the previous year. “We believe this is no accident, as people often go to the Bible as a source of hope in times of crisis and uncertainty,” said Ben Mandrell, LifeWay CEO. “People draw hope from Scripture because in it they see a God who is with us during our suffering – Christian Headlines 8 April 2020
Christian Zoom Meetings
In these very unusual times, we cannot gather together normally. But the Lord
loves His church and will not let His sheep go unfed. My wife and I have found blessing in attending ‘Zoom meetings’. They cannot be regarded as formally constituted assembly occasions according to 1 Cor 14:23 – ‘The whole church be come together into one place’ – (of course, due to the breakdown it can only be a few Christians gathering in the light of the whole). We enjoy bible readings with up to 20 screens, or larger scale preachings. Many recipients of this letter attend a preaching of the gospel (16:30 BST Lord’s Days) arranged by some in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland where last week about 120 screens (maybe 300 persons) streamed in, and we were able to see one another over several pages. Some we had not seen for a few years, from the UK and Continental Europe, North America and even Australia and New Zealand. Also audio only – Preachers Corner, arranged by some in Worthing, Sussex (18:00 BST Lords Day. If you are interested in the ‘Zoom meetings, please send me a private email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I trust you have found these thoughts encouraging – and comforting. May you be kept well, and free of Covid 19.
Charles Andrew Coates (affectionately known by his initials CAC) was born in Bradford, England, on the 7th. Dec. 1862. He died in Teignmouth, Devon, on 7th. Oct. 1945. For many years he broke bread in Rebecca St. Hall, Bradford. C A Coates never enjoyed robust health and the many occasions when he was laid aside through illness were put to good use in prayerful meditation and the study of Holy Scripture. One of the many books that CAC wrote, “The Believer Established,” was a great help to the writer of these notes [and also to myself – Sosthenes].
A story told about C A Coates is well worth repeating. Some brethren were gathered together to consider the sad case of a brother who had been declared bankrupt. They all expressed how sorry they were for the brother’s plight. Coates placed a £10 note on the table and said, “Dear brethren I am £10 sorry. How sorry are you?” A good practical example and it is to be hoped that it was readily adopted.
Early in life C A Coates showed that he had poetical ability. When he was 16 years old he composed this poem on his conversion:
Henceforth my lips and pen
Shall seek to spread His fame:
My hands and feet shall swiftly move
To glorify His Name.
I seek no earthly place;
My joy is all in Him;
My thirsty soul shall drink no more
From fountains stained with sin.
And when He takes me home
To gaze upon His face,
More loud, more sweet my soul shall sing
The riches of His grace.
The Lord never exhorted people to do what was not exemplified in Himself.
It has been said that we are never asked to do anything that has not been already done; we are not entitled to ask others to do what we ourselves are not doing. If I exhort another, I must examine myself. Paul never exhorted people to do what was not exemplified in himself. The Lord Jesus exhorted the disciples to do what had already been seen in Himself. The true servant says, “Follow,” not “Go.”…That is the difference between law and grace. The true servant takes the lead and says, “I will show you the way.” Look at the references Paul makes to his own life and service and spirit! It is astonishing. The apostle could present himself and his ways as a model. No one could say that those things were impossible. If only we gave the true Isaac His place all would be well. Paul gave Christ His place from first to last. Christ reigned in his heart, and his ways and teaching were of Christ. If Christ has His place all will be right.
(C A Coates, Outline of Mark, p364)
Golden Nugget Number 266
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The Lord selects lowly material for the testimony. The testimony of the rights of Christ is an important subject and derives its character very much from the kind of material that is taken up to carry it. The blessed God
is looking for the sort of material that will glorify Him, so He does not call the great, the wise, or the noble, but the calling is marked by a calling of persons of no account. Not that the wise and noble are excluded, because Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:26, “not many mighty, not many noble.” Lady Huntingdon said that she was saved by the letter M. But it is not the character of the testimony, for God chooses the poor of this world. He is looking for persons of broken spirit, of humble and contrite heart – those are the ones who are attractive to Him. That character of persons lends itself to the testimony; what is great and pretentious and proud does not suit the testimony.
Golden Nugget Number 212
(C.A.C. Outline of Luke p239)
Golden Nuggets are published by Saville Street Distribution, Venture, Princes Esplanade, Walton on the Naze, CO14 8QD UK