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Im4God Newsletter 08.23.06@

Welcome to the / August 23rd, 2006 Newsletter!
You can email Webservant Peter J. Louie by replying to this message.

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This month's topic is "gutsy guilt."  John Piper, in his book When I Don't Desire God, encourages us to pursue joy by avoiding cheap grace.  Piper notes that cheap grace is common among churches today.

"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.... The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ." - Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship.

Piper encourages us to fight for joy the right way, the way of bold brokenness, the way of gutsy guilt.  Gutsy guilt does not make light of sin.  It realizes the seriousness of it, and then brings it to the cross of Jesus Christ.  An example of the brokenness and remorse of gutsy guilt can be seen in Micah through the following Scripture passage:

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Micah 7:8-9 - Wait for the God of Salvation

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
   when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
   the LORD will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the LORD
   because I have sinned against him,
until he pleads my cause
   and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
   I shall look upon his vindication.

Mark 9:43-50: And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.'  For everyone will be salted with fire.  Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

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Audio Sermons:

Killing Remaining Sin by Joel Beeke
Beeke talks about our problem, our duty, and our encouragement. (Based on Mark 9:43-50.) (59 minutes / 7.1 MB)

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The Godly Man Weeps
By Thomas Watson

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who CONTINUALLY goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Psalms 126:5,6

Christ calls His spouse His "dove" (Song 2:14). The dove is a weeping creature. Grace dissolves and liquefies the soul, causing a spiritual thaw. The sorrow of the heart runs out at the eye (Psa. 31:9). A godly heart grieves that it is not more holy. It troubles him that he falls short of the rule and standard which God has set. "I should", he says, "love the Lord with all my heart." But how defective my love is! How far short I come of what I should be, no, of what I might have been!

A godly man sometimes weeps out of the sense of God's love. Gold is the finest and most solid of all the metals, yet it is soonest melted in the fire. Gracious hearts, which are golden hearts, are the soonest melted into tears by the fire of God's love. I once knew a holy man, who was walking in his garden and shedding plenty of tears when a friend came on him accidentally and asked him why he wept. He broke forth into this passionate expression: "Oh, the love of Christ, the love of Christ!" Thus we have seen the cloud melted into water by the sunbeams.

A godly person weeps because the sins he commits are in some sense worse than the sins of other men. The sin of a justified person is very odious. The sin of a justified person is odious, because it is a sin of unkindness (1 Kings 11:9). Peter's denying of Christ was a sin against love. Christ had enrolled him among the apostles. He had taken him up into the Mount of Transfiguration and shown him the glory of heaven in a vision. Yet after all this mercy, it was base ingratitude that he should deny Christ. This made him go out and "weep bitterly" (Matt. 26:75). He baptized himself, as it were, in his own tears. The sins of the godly go nearest to God's Heart. The sins of others anger the Lord; the godly man's sins grieve Him. The sins of the wicked pierce Christ's side, the sins of the godly wound his heart. The unkindness of a spouse goes nearest to the heart of her husband.

How far from being godly are those who scarcely ever shed a tear for sin! If they lose a near relation, they weep, but though they are in danger of losing God and their souls, they do not weep. How few know what it is to be in an agony for sin or what a broken heart means! Their eyes are not like the "fishpools in Heshbon", full of water (Song 7:4), but rather like the mountains of Gilboa, which had no dew upon them (2 Sam. 1:21).

Others, if they sometimes shed a tear, are still never the better. They go on in wickedness, and do not drown their sins in their tears. Let us strive for this divine characteristic: to be weepers. This is "a repentance not to be repented of" (2 Cor. 7:10). It is reported of Mr. Bradford, the martyr, the he was of a melting spirit; he seldom sat down to his meal but some tears trickled down his cheeks. There are two lavers to wash away sin: blood and tears. The blood of Christ washes away the guilt of sin; tears wash away the filth.

Repenting tears are precious. God puts them in His bottle (Psa. 56:8). They are beautifying. A tear in the eye adorns more than a ring of the finger. Oil makes the face shine. (Psa. 104:15). Tears make the heart shine; tears are comforting. A sinner's mirth turns to melancholy. A saint's mourning turns to music. Repentance may be compared to myrrh, which though it is bitter to the taste, is comforting to the spirits. Repentance may be bitter to the fleshy part, but, it is most refreshing to the spiritual. Wax that melts is fit for the seal. A melting soul is fit to take the stamp of all heavenly blessing. Let us give Christ the water of our tears and He will give us the wine of His Blood!

[From The Godly Man's Picture by Thomas Watson, a Puritan Paperback edition published by the Banner of Truth.]

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