Archive for the ‘Book/Film Reviews’ Category

Review of The Good Shepherd Calls by a Calvary Chapel Pastor

The Good Shepherd Calls: An Urgent Message for the Last-Days Church – Lighthouse Trails

I am blessed to have read this book, it’s refreshing. It is so good to hear the truth being told. This man, Roger Oakland, is the watchmen on the wall, and he is crying out, “WAKE UP AMERICA, BEFORE ITS TO LATE.” It is rare that I can read a book and say that I agree 100% with everything that has been said here, but that is precisely the case. I told my congregation that if I could write a book, this is the book I would write. So praise the Lord for the truth. Absolutely a necessity for the discerning Christian. Pastor John Sutherland Calvary Chapel Spring Creek.

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A Beautiful Christian Film – Shiokari Pass

Based on a true story, Shiokari Pass is a moving tale of love eclipsed by sacrifice and tragedy. A beautiful, tragic love story that illustrates: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. A favorite of Lighthouse Trails editors for many years.

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A Film Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – FECKLESS FALSE SAVIORS OF THE STAR WARS DYSTOPIA

By Gaylene Goodroad
Herescope Blog

Like its mega-blockbuster distant sequel, The Force Awakens (2015), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was strategically released to capitalize on the Christmas box office market this year. The movie debuted globally at $270 million over the weekend, nudging Disney Studios over the $7 billion record,[2] which indicates that folks are eagerly buying this particular entertainment product. But, Rogue One, a standalone Star Wars film, tells a dark and foreboding tale of pagan salvation that is diametrically opposed to the Scriptures, as well as the hope of the Christmas narrative given to us in the Gospels.

In this Star Wars tale, the future of the galaxy lies, not in a Savior sent from the one true God, but in the hands of a renegade band of cosmic commandos who commission themselves to steal the design plans of the Imperial Death Star—plans which betray a critical vulnerability detailing how to annihilate the planet-sized battle station from within. These feckless saviors utilize every weapon in their arsenal, including murder and mayhem, in order to fulfill this herculean mission to ultimately deliver the galaxy from the malicious oppression of the Evil Empire once and for all.

This standalone installment fills in various storyline gaps and sets up the first segment of the original Star Wars Trilogy, A New Hope. Hope is a definite casualty following the massive carnage depicted in this motion picture. The fully operational Death Star—manned by ruthless Imperial dictators Grand Moff Tarkin and the notorious rogue Jedi Knight Darth Vader—nearly vaporizes at least two planets, along with their multitudes of inhabitants. A horribly magnificent surgical obliteration shown in its full cinematic and apocalyptic glory. Click here to continue reading.

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Obama is Fulfilling a Prophecy . . .

By Bill Randles

President Obama’s term is almost over (God willing), but in one of his last attempts to express his disdain for the only Democracy in the Middle East, and our Ally, Israel, he has denounced Jewish settlement building in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Normally, the U.S. would veto such a brazen vote (a vote that puts incredible pressure on the state of Israel to “cease immediately all development of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem”).

Within two days of the uniquely conjoined holidays of Christmas and Hannukah, the U.N.security council  voted for a resolution which would criminalize Israeli settlements, subject Jewish soldiers defending their homeland to international tribunals, and cede the entire West Bank, (Judea) to the “Palestinians,” cede East Jerusalem to the Palestinians, and criminalize any construction of Jewish dwellings there, as “obstacles to the two state solution.”

Such insane regulations are proposed regularly in the United Nations, the largest voting block being the Organization of Islamic conference, consisting of 57 Muslim states, not to mention Israel’s other enemies.  But usually these malicious motions are dismissed by the veto of the United States of America. This resolution is the first successful condemnation of the Israeli “settlers” in 37 years.

Indeed, Obama has assured Israel repeatedly that, “we have your back,”  and there is no greater friend to Israel than the United States. This is what made this act of perfidy so treacherous. It is obscene that Obama would do it in the closing hours of his failed presidency, seeking to pre-empt President Trump’s pro-Israel policy.

The implications of this resolution are ominous;  Israel must return to the borders she had before the six day war in 1967, the Temple Mount, Tomb of the Patriarchs, and several other sacred sites are now considered to be illegitimately occupied by Israel; Israel can now be subjected to  international sanctions for violating  these redrawn lines.

In Matthew 24, in the most complete compilation of Jesus’ teachings on the events leading to the “end of the age and the sign of his coming” Jesus cited many universal signs such as floods, famines, earthquakes, wars, and rumors of wars. Suddenly, he shifts from the universal to the local . . .  “Then let them which be in Judea. . . .” Judea will be the pressure point, the catalyst which provokes “Great Tribulation, such as has never been seen before, nor shall ever be seen again. . . .”

In view of this outrage, I am reposting a teaching from the prophet Joel to demonstrate the stunning relevance of this passage to the current Geo-political situation. This teaching is an excerpt from my 2010 book, A Sword On The land-The Muslim World in Bible Prophecy.

God Sues the Nations . . .  Joel 3

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. (Joel 3:1-3)

Joel, the biblical prophet, who ministered between 835-800 BC, prophesied with amazing clarity Geo-political events that are occurring right before our very eyes.

To demonstrate this, allow me to unpack Joel, chapter three.

*The Time of fulfillment: “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem . . . .” This prophecy is slated for the time when God would bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem; that is, it is going to be fulfilled post 1948.

* I will also gather all nations: The literal possibility for this aspect of the prophecy is only recent, for at no other time in human history has there been even a possibility for the “gathering of all nations” since the Tower of Babel judgment.

All nations have indeed been assembled into a congress, the United Nations, which arose, like Israel, out of the aftermath of World War II in the late 1940s. As Psalm 2 predicts, “the kings of the earth and their rulers take counsel together against the LORD and His Christ.”

bigstockphoto.com

* Valley of Jehoshaphat: “ . . . and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat . . .” The point is not that there is or isn’t an actual geographical valley of Jehoshaphat, the point is that the name Jehoshaphat is part of the prophesy. It means “Jahweh shall Judge,” i.e. God shall judge the nations of the earth.

It could also be a reminder of the story of the siege of Judah in the days of King Jehoshaphat, in which after repentance and a national day of prayer and fasting, the instruction was given not to fear the combined gentile armies of Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites.

This is the battle where Judah, at God’s command, marched the Priests out front of the army, with instruments instead of weapons, and praised the goodness of the Lord! The enemy turned upon itself and was routed.

* “ . . . and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel . . . ” This is not a prediction that God will ask the nations to go easy on Israel. This is legal language. God is going to slap a lawsuit upon the nations; he is serving an indictment, for this is the court of Divine justice!

The indictment has four counts, 1) they scattered God’s people, 2) they parted God’s land, 3) they cast lots for God’s people, and 4) they sold out the children of Israel, for the hire of a harlot, and for wine.

My people, whom they have scattered among the nations— The nations of the world indeed scattered the children of Israel, thoroughly across the world; it is not unusual even to this day to find a tribe in remote China, India, or even black Africa, who keep kosher and observe other practices of the Jews, though cut off for centuries from the rest of the world.

But one could argue that this was exactly what God told Israel would happen should they prove faithless.

And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.(Leviticus 26:33)

So why is there an indictment on the nations of the world for doing exactly what God said they would do? We have to turn to Zechariah for the answer:

And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.(Zechariah 1:15)

God is bringing suit against the nations because though He used them to scatter the children of Israel, and to afflict them, they have taken it further than He wanted.

The nations were “at ease” when holocausts and pogroms were occurring—it didn’t bother them. Hitler was offering shiploads of German Jews to any nation that would shelter them, but there were no takers. He then knew that his “final solution” was possible to undertake without international interference.

All through the 1940s into the 1990s, the word of the nations to Israel, in the midst of intifada and terror campaigns was “don’t rock the boat” and inflame the Arabs, give them “land for peace” so that oil prices would be stable.

The nations could overlook the Palestinian bombings and murder campaigns, the slaughter of children, women, Olympic athletes, etc., for they themselves were “at ease.” This is what is bringing upon the world the final judgment.

The second indictment against the nations of the world is that they have participated in the partition of God’s land. This will bring judgment to the world.

* Israel isn’t the property of the UN, the Vatican, the European Union, or the Arabs; neither is it the property of Israel, for it belongs to God himself.

The land shall not be sold for ever [permanently]: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. (Leviticus 25:23)

Therefore, for the nations of the world to deliberate at the UN, or in Rome or Washington or Cairo as to the disposal of the Holy Land and its borders, as if it were theirs to dispose of is arrogant presumption.

Not even the Jews have the right to trade land for peace, although the leadership of Israel being for the most part secular in their outlook, would desperately love to do so if it would bring peace.

Currently, this prophecy is being fulfilled by the insistence of the UN that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders (rendering it indefensible), as well as the pressure everted to cede the Gaza, and the so-called “West Bank” territory, which is biblically named “Judea and Samaria.”

The United States, under the Obama administration, has been insisting upon a “No Natural growth” policy for Judea, which means that the number of Jewish settlers there is to be “capped,” allowing for no further growth in population. This would effectively strangle the existing population, forcing the remaining Jews to leave.

While Arab leaders, International statesmen, “human Rights” champions of every stripe, the Pope, the presidents of the free world, UN delegates, and a host of other parliamentarians the world over heatedly debate the “status” of Jerusalem and the “legitimate” borders of Israel, the Holy God of the Bible observes.

It would be well to remember the Words of the prophet Ezekiel in his prophecy to the “West Bank,” that is the mountains of Judea:

Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord: 2 thus saith the Lord God; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession: 3 therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people:

Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;

Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.

Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: therefore thus saith the Lord God; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. . . .

But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: 10 and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded. (Ezekiel 36:1-10)

 

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The Shack to Return as Top Production Movie

The best-selling book, The Shack, by William Paul Young, is coming out as a full production movie in March of 2017. After viewing the trailer, we believe this movie is going to have a very big impact on many people’s lives. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a harmful impact. Lighthouse Trails has published several articles and one booklet by Warren B. Smith on The Shack book, and if you have any doubts about the dangers of The Shack, we hope you will read some of this material. Our coverage includes several aspects of the book including the author’s universalistic beliefs, his rejection of substitutionary atonement, the New Age implications woven throughout the book, the black Madonna/Father-goddess theme included in the story, and much more.

Below are links to some of our coverage. Below the links is the trailer to the film. Please warn your family members, friends, and church members about this upcoming movie. The movie will pull at the heart strings of people’s emotions, but it will be pulling them in the wrong direction – away from the Cross and toward a universalistic, panentheistic false “Christ.”

Links:

In Case You Still Aren’t Sure About The Shack and Its Author

BOOKLET – The Shack and Its New Age Leaven by Warren B. Smith

Quantum Physics, The Shack, and the New Spirituality by Larry DeBruyn

The twisted “truths” of The Shack & A Course in Miracles by Berit Kjos

New Age Similarities, Popularity Continues, and Calvary Chapel Gives Official Statement

The Shack Author Rejects Biblical Substitutionary Atonement by John Lanagan

The Shack: Father-goddess Rising  by John Lanagan

Thomas Merton and The Shack 

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“Bus Ride to the Future” by Caryl Matrisciana

One of the photos from Caryl’s book, Out of India

Photo: From Out of India

By Caryl Matrisciana

When I was twenty years old, my family returned from India, where I was born and lived for most of my life, to England, our homeland. It was during the turbulent sixties, and I was about to be introduced to a movement that didn’t even have a name yet. How could I have possibly known then that the strange and mystical religion I had been surrounded by in India would someday be at the heart of a spirituality that would influence millions around the world?

I will never forget that hot, muggy day in London in the summer of 1966 when I was twenty years old. How could I forget? After all, it was the day that changed my life forever.

Perhaps if I had been out in the English countryside or beside the sea, that hot, stifling day would have been bearable—but in the city it was miserable. Oh, to be in a garden with its soothing assortment of colorful flowers, my feet dangling in a cool spring!

Reality was all too blatant. The British capital was steeped and simmering in its own crowded bustle, intense noise, and pandemonium of traffic. By day’s end I could hardly bear the sound and sweat of it all as I was jostled along in an overcrowded, red, double-decker bus through rush-hour traffic.

Still, in spite of all the unpleasantness, a breathless anticipation filled my soul. That surging excitement was my only motivation to struggle across blistering-hot London. I knew I was on my way to a marvelous experience.

Eventually the bus rounded Piccadilly Circus and honked impatiently at the myriads of pedestrians overflowing onto the streets. The sidewalk vendors and little shops were teeming with hundreds of tourists. T-shirts hanging on shop canopies sported the slogan “swinging London,” along with coffee mugs, postcards, and dozens of other souvenir items.

A New Spiritual Gospel
The phrase “swinging London” had recently been splashed across the world’s newsstands by Time magazine1 and had captured an atmosphere that really did permeate the London air. I basked proudly in the energy that surrounded me, enchanted with the good fortune to live and work in this pulsating metropolis.

The bus changed gears noisily and puffed out dirty diesel fumes. We moved slowly down Shaftesbury Avenue, the heart of theater land, in Soho. My pulse pounded harder. The next stop was my destination.

I pushed my way through the crowded bus and jumped off with a spurt of enthusiasm. Renewed vigor had me effortlessly nudging my way through throngs of theater goers who crowded the sidewalks. At last I arrived! I stood still for what seemed to be an endless moment, absorbing the glowing neon advertisements that assured me I was at the right place. The theater marquee carried but one word. The name of the show was Hair.2

Soon I was to experience the musical blockbuster that the whole world was singing about. The people milling around me were quite different in appearance from those on the bus. Denim jeans, casual Indian cotton shirts, and hippie informality identified almost everyone. Hairstyles ranged from long to longer to longest. I grinned to myself, realizing I too looked like the in generation. At the same time, it was a relief to know that my parents couldn’t see me now. How they would argue that I was not conforming to the “required London theater dress.”

I had waited months for tonight. Tickets for Hair were nearly impossible to buy. I clutched mine protectively, waiting to squeeze through the door. Scanning the crowd, I searched for the friends I was to meet.

The air buzzed as people hummed various songs from the score that was about to begin. Never before had I gone into a show already so familiar with its lyrics and tunes. For months the airwaves had carried those melodies around the world.

Still, I could not have imagined the impact the show itself was to have on my life and thinking. I would not have guessed how religiously I would follow this new spiritual “gospel.” I was about to be “converted” by the message of Hair, along with thousands of other people of my generation.

We shuffled inside and located our seats. The theater darkened. The rustle of programs stilled. Chills and goose bumps spread through the audience as the orchestra began to play. There was heavy, loud rock music as magnificent, full voices swelled in harmony. There were colors, lights, and sounds. Everything mingled together to draw me willingly, passionately, into the phenomenon. Never before had I known such intense involvement in a theatrical production.

With exciting extravagance, the show animated and popularized outrageously impudent and risqué ideas. Tricky little songs whipped us into attitudes of rebellion and promiscuity. We cheered and applauded the demise of family, society, government, and country. We decried the past and its values. We sang about the hopeless state of our planet; we coughed and choked for the pollution and wept over the sadness of war.

Every person in the audience was transformed into a mystical searcher through the song lyrics. Everyone contemplated the plaintive question asked in, “Where Do I Go?” That particular song had us following everything, nothing, and even myself. It had us asking the eternal question posed in the lyrics, “And will I ever discover why I live and die?”3

Like many other people my age, I had never considered that topic before, but I was to do so a thousand times in the days and months to come. That evening’s performance was to lead me, and countless others, on a spiritual quest.

Having disparaged the past and present and looking grimly into the emptiness of no solution, Hair suddenly gave a glimmer of hope. We whooped ecstatically through the marvelous escape presented in “Hashish.” This gleeful song promoted the wow experience one could achieve through no less than twenty-five different highs.
In the years to come, I would get hooked on one particular high and try several others. I would understand all too well the appeal of replacing realism with psychedelia.

A New Way of Thinking
L ittle did I comprehend at the time that through this musical I was being subtly introduced to a new religious system. One song ridiculed the faith of my youth. It encouraged us not to believe in God per se, but instead, to see that we ourselves were like gods. Joyfully we sang the immortal words of the great poet William Shakespeare, taken from his play Hamlet:

What a piece of work man is!
How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty.
In form and moving, how express and admirable, In action how like an angel,
In apprehension how like a god.4

My perception of the world was about to change. From here on I was being introduced to a new alternative to my old way of life—one that in the future was to jealously lead me into an uncompromising spiritual dimension. “Let the sunshine in,” the cast vocalized.5

“Let the sunshine in!” we responded at the tops of our voices. Oh yes, oh yes! Let the sunshine in! My heart ached with hope. How I longed to experience this new “opening” and its promised sensation. In any case, it would have been hopeless to struggle against the overpowering emotional, mental, and sensual seduction taking place. (To read this entire chapter one of Out of India, and for endnotes and credits, click here – picks up on p. 17.

LTRP Note: In December of 2016, Caryl Matrisciana went home to be with the Lord. While she will be terribly missed by so many family members, friends, and co-workers in ministry, her tireless work in defending the Christian faith will live on.

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New Booklet: Substitution—He Took Our Place!

NEW BOOKLET: Substitution—He Took Our Place! by Harry Ironside is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet.  The Booklet is 10 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet.  To order copies of Substitution—He Took Our Place!, click here. 

Substitution—He Took Our Place!

By Harry Ironside

Although the word substitution is not in the Bible, it stands for a great truth that runs through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. That is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, in infinite grace, took the place of poor, lost, guilty sinners, and made it possible for a holy God to reach out in mercy and save all who would come to Him in the name of His beloved Son.

I do not have one particular text in mind, but I have been thinking of five different passages in the New Testament where we get the same expression—He “gave himself”; and I want you to think with me of these Scriptures. The One who gave Himself was our Lord Jesus Christ, and I should like you to notice what it was for which He gave Himself.

HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME
In the Epistle to the Galatians, the apostle Paul writes:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20; emphasis added)

Note the individuality of it. Paul, who had been a bitter persecutor of the people of God, who had been an enemy of the Cross of Christ, one day had his eyes opened, and he suddenly realized that the One who had died on that Cross went there for him, that He had taken his place, that it was love that led Him to go to that shameful death. From that moment the heart of Saul of Tarsus went out in adoration gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ; and until the very end of his days, he found his greatest joy in trying to give some evidence, by a life of service, of his love for the One who had thus loved him.

THE WORD IS NOT IN THE BIBLE—BUT THE DOCTRINE IS
Notice how Paul speaks of Him: “The Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” There you have the very heart of the Gospel—“Himself for me.” That is substitution. Some people tell us, because we do not find the actual word “substitution” in the Bible, that the truth of it, the fact of it, is not there. And so they talk of atonement by other means than by substitution—atonement by example or atonement by reconciling love, that leads men to turn to God adoringly, simply because of the goodness that He showed in seeking them out in the person of His Son. But no, the Word of God makes it very definite. The work that took place on Calvary was a substitutionary transaction. It was the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s own blessed, eternal Son, who became man for our redemption, giving Himself on our behalf.

“The Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me.” That is the language of faith. When a poor, needy sinner looks at that Cross and sees, as it were, the blessed Savior hanging there, he says, “He was there for me; it was my sins that put Him there; it was in order that I might be fitted for the presence of God that He went into the darkness and endured the judgment of God. He is my Substitute. The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR US
But it is not only for me, it is also for us. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we read:

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. (Ephesians 5:2; emphasis added)

I am so thankful that in my thinking I do not have to limit the gift of God’s grace in the person of His Son to just some little group, as though it were just for a small elect company that Jesus died. “He gave Himself for us.” I can look out over the whole wide world, whether men are saved or unsaved, and say to them on the authority of the Word of God that “He gave himself for us”—for everyone of us. Whether you be Jew or Gentile, whether you be very religious or have no time for religion, I would say to you, “ The Son of God gave himself for us.” He saw us in our lost condition, and He went to Calvary’s Cross in order to redeem us. That is how the prophet Isaiah puts it. He looked on down through the centuries, and by faith he saw the very scene of Calvary, and he cried out, “[H]e was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

THE GOSPEL FOUND IN THE OLD TESTAMENT: ALSO, “YOU KNOW THE GOSPEL, DON’T YOU?”
I remember a number of years ago, I went over to a town in Minnesota to hold some meetings. My wife and our eldest son, just a little child at the time, went with me. When we got there, a big, burly highland Scotsman met us. He said, “Now you come along with me; I am going to take you to my house. We are going to sleep you there, and then across the way at the McKenzies, they will eat you.” Of course, I new he didn’t mean anything cannibalistic, and I was glad to accept the provision made. We went to his house and settled ourselves and then went over to the McKenzies for our meal.

I remember one Sunday we left to go down to the meeting in the afternoon, and it happened that there was one daughter in the family who had not yet received the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. The mother said, “Will you pray for Jean? She knows the way, but somehow she doesn’t seem to want to come. She says she is young yet, and she wants to have her fling before she settles down.” Well, we did pray for her, and some way or other as I preached that afternoon in the big tent, I couldn’t help seeing Jean way in the back, eagerly listening to the message. When it was over, I thought she might be one who would move to the front when the invitation was given, but instead of that, I saw her get up and hurry away, and I felt a little bit disappointed. When I finished speaking, I felt a little bit disappointed again.

When I finished talking with those who had come forward, I went on home, and when I got there, I found, as I opened the front door, my wife was sitting with an open Bible and Jean beside her. My wife turned to me and said, “Come and join us. I am trying to show Jean that Christ died in our place, but someway or other she can’t seem to grasp it.” So I sat down with them and said something like this: “Jean, you know the Gospel, don’t you?”

“Yes,” she said, “I think I do.”

“What is the Gospel?”

“Well, it is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

My wife said, “I have been showing her Isaiah 53.”

The Bible was open at that chapter so I said, “Look, you have it right here, ‘But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.’ Don’t you see, Jean? Christ died for you, He took your place, He bore God’s judgment against your sins.”

“I see what is written there,” she replied, “but somehow I can’t get hold of it for myself. It doesn’t seem to mean anything to me.”

So we got down on our knees and prayed that the Spirit of God Himself might make the great truth of the substitutionary work of the Cross real to her; and then I said to her, “Jean, while we are here on our knees, I want you to read the words for yourself, and we will pray that the Holy Spirit will open them up to you.”

And so she read them: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Then she said, “Yes, I see it, but I don’t seem to be able to make it my own.”

CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE GOSPEL?
“Perhaps it would be different now if you will just read it again and change the pronoun, putting it into the first person singular. Read it like this: ‘He was wounded for my transgressions’; because you see, Jean, it really means that. He was wounded for the transgressions of all of us, yours and mine. Read it that way.”

She started to read, “He was wounded for my transgressions.” She stopped as the tears began to flow. She wiped them away and read on, “He was bruised for my iniquities,” and again she stopped; and then she read, “The chastisement of my peace was upon Him,” and then she fairly shouted, “Oh, I see it! With His stripes, I am healed.” And in a moment, the light had shone into her darkened heart. She saw that the Lord Jesus was her substitute; He had taken her place. We gave thanks, and then she said she must go and tell her mother. She didn’t know that all the while her mother had been standing outside the window and had heard the whole thing. Out the front door she went and down the garden path and around to the side, and she ran right into that mother’s arms, “Oh Mother, Mother, I’m saved; by His stripes I am healed.” What joy that brought to the mother’s heart, and what a happy time of rejoicing we all had then!

You see, that is substitution. That is the very pith and marrow of the Gospel. He gave Himself for our sins.

HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR THE CHURCH
Next we do have a special group mentioned for whom He gave Himself. In the last part of the fifth chapter of Ephesians, we read:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. (Ephesians 5:25; emphasis added)

When we get home to Glory, when we who have been redeemed to God by His precious blood are presented faultless in the presence of our heavenly Bridegroom, we shall look up into His face, and we shall be able to say, “The Son of God loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.”

You remember the story that is told of one of the generals of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, and the one who overthrew, in God’s providence, the mighty Babylonian Empire. One of his generals came home from a campaign and was shocked to find that in his absence his own wife had been arrested and was languishing in prison, charged with treachery against her country, and the trial was to be held that very day. The general hastened to the court of Cyrus, and the guards brought in his own beloved wife. She, poor woman, pale and anxious, tried to answer the charges brought against her, but all to no avail. Her husband, standing near, heard the stern voice of the Persian ruler pronounce the death sentence. In a moment, as they were about to drag her away to behead her, he ran forward and threw himself down at the feet of the Emperor. “Oh sire,” he cried, “not she, but me. Let me give my life for hers. Put me to death, but spare my wife.” And as Cyrus looked down upon him, he was so touched by his deep devotion and his love for his wife that his heart was softened. He remembered, too, how faithful this servant had been, and he gave command that the wife should go free. She was fully pardoned. As her husband led her out of the room, he said to her, “Did you notice the kind look in the eyes of the Emperor as he pronounced the word of pardon?”

She said, “I did not see the face of the Emperor. The only face I could see was that of the man who was willing to die for me.”

Oh, when we get home, when we see the face of the Man who did die for us, how our hearts will praise Him! How we will rejoice in His presence as we say, “The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR OUR SINS
We need to realize that He died not only to deliver us from the judgment due to our sins, but He died for us in order that we might be delivered from the power and pollution of sins right here and now in this life. In Galatians 1:4, we have these words:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. (emphasis added)

He gave Himself for our sins, not simply that we might have our past sins forgiven, nor that we might stand justified before Him as to the future, but in order that the power of sin might be broken in our lives, that we might no longer be subject to Satan’s authority, that we might be free men and women, living here to the glory of the Lord Jesus.

This is one of those truths I do want to press upon you who have but recently been brought to a saving knowledge of Christ. Dear young Christian, do not be satisfied to know that you are saved from Hell, blessed as that is, but oh, go on day by day to a fuller walk with God, that you may be saved from sin, and that your whole life may be lived to His glory.

HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR ALL
Somebody might raise the question, “Well, it is perfectly true that it says He gave Himself for us, and He gave Himself for the church, and He gave Himself for our sins; but are you really sure that it applies to everybody? May He not, after all, have had just some particular elect company in view when He thus gave Himself, and if we do not belong to that company, what right have we to come to Him at all and to expect Him to do anything for us?” For the answer, will you look at the first Epistle to Timothy, chapter 2, verses 5 and 6:

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (emphasis added)

Oh, dear friends, do not allow anything to narrow down your conception of the inclusiveness of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. “[He] gave Himself a ransom for all.” Do not try to read into that what it does not say. Some people say, “Well, of course, you know we must understand the words ‘the elect’ to come in there. He gave Himself a ransom for all the elect.” Oh no, God does not need you and me to help Him out. He knows what to say, and He means what He says. When He writes, “He gave Himself a ransom for all,” He means us to understand the words exactly as they are written.

They used to tell a story about a certain professor of theology at Princeton Seminary in the days when Princeton was pretty rigid as to what they called “a limited atonement.” One day, one of the students looked up and said, “Professor, just what is our stand in this seminary on the atonement?”

The teacher replied, “Well, we stand with Dr. _____; we preach the theology of Dr. _____, and he taught a limited atonement—that Christ died only for the elect.”

Then said the student, “And over at New Haven, Connecticut (At that time New Haven was a very sound seminary), what do they teach there? What is Dr. Taylor’s theology?” The professor said, “Over there they teach that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

“Oh,” said the student, “well, I’ll accept that because that is what the Bible says. That is not just Dr. Taylor’s theology nor New Haven doctrine; that is the Word of God.”

And so we say to you, whoever you may be, the Lord Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all. On Calvary’s Cross, He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. In other words, when He presented Himself there as a substitute for guilty humanity, He finished the work that satisfied every righteous demand of the throne of God and met all the claims of His holy nature, so that on the basis of it, any poor sinner in all the world who comes to Christ and puts in his claim will be saved on the basis of the substitutionary work of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the doctrine of the atonement as we have it in the Bible. There is no other in this blessed Book, and so we put the question to you: have you put in your claim? There are a lot of people who know all about it, but they have never believed and acted upon it.

THE TRAGEDY OF FAILING TO CASH IN GOD’S PROMISES
There is a story of a veteran of the Civil War who was found living in wretched poverty. The city authorities found him in such a deplorable state that they thought all they could do was to take him to the county poor farm. One of them happened to notice something on the wall. It wasn’t exactly a picture; it looked more like a document of some kind. He took it down and looked at it, then he asked, “What is this, my friend?”

The poor old man replied, “That was sent to me by Abraham Lincoln himself, and I kept it because it has his signature on it.” It turned out to be a check. I forget the amount of money, but it was really a pension check signed by the President and sent to this man years ago. Instead of cashing it, the poor man had kept it all the time and had framed it and hung it there on the wall. In the meantime, he got poorer and poorer, until he was a candidate for the county farm. They found that the government at Washington would still honor the check, although it was years old, and so they had enough to take care of the man comfortably until he died.

Oh, do not be content just to have the statement of the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus, but come to Him for yourself, trust Him as your own Savior. Cash in on it. He gave Himself a ransom for all.

To order copies of Substitution—He Took Our Place!, click here. 

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