A stubborn spider.

Many years ago we had in our home a stubborn spider that kept building a web against our house. No matter how many times we swept it away, the spider and its web would reappear the next morning. One day I enlisted the help of one of my sons, as well as a small stick and a can of insect spray. I had my son gently tap the stick on the web while I tried to sound like a fly in distress. The hungry spider came out of its hiding place, and that is when I killed it with the insect spray.

There is a stubborn web of sin that continually plagues mankind. It is the web of violence, corruption, rape, greed, wars, theft, etc. We try to sweep it away through political means. Yet these crimes continue, and the root cause of the problem remains in hiding. We must use the stick of God’s Law to gently tap on the human heart. Suddenly, the cause of sin appears. And that is when sin can be put to death with the power of the gospel. So hold still while I “tap” you with God’s Law to see if we can find the spider. Do you consider yourself to be a good person—have you kept the Ten Commandments?

Isaiah 59:5 They hatch vipers eggs and weave the spiders web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.

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God’s promises.

“Some think that these promises will not have accomplishment in full, till the general conversion of the Jews in the latter days. Also this promise is applied to the gospel, and the bringing in both the Jews and Gentiles to it, by St. Paul, Ro 9:25,26, and by St. Peter, 1Pe 2:10. To believe in Christ, is to have him for our Head, and willingly to commit ourselves to his guidance and government. And let us pray for the coming of the glorious day, when there shall be one Lord through all the earth.” Matthew Henry

Hosea 1:8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9 Then God said: Call his name Lo-Ammi, For you are not My people, And I will not be your God. 10 Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, There it shall be said to them, You are sons of the living God. 11 Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!

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“How do you respond when someone says, ‘Well, no one is perfect’?”

Agree with him. The person is seeking to justify his sinful heart by spreading the blame around all of humanity, and at the same time inferring that the standard God requires is too high. Say, “That’s right; you are not perfect. You are a self-admitted liar, thief, etc., and you have to stand before a perfect God whose Law you have violated and give an account of your actions. What are you going to say? You can’t justify yourself. And you are right about no one being perfect. We have all sinned, and we are all heading for hell.”

The person’s words reveal a subtle form of self-righteousness, and you have to chop that out with the sharp axe of the Law. So cut deep and get it all out. You want to bring him to a point of acknowledging, “I have sinned against God.” His sin is personal. Study Paul’s use of the Law in Rom. 2:21–23. He stirred the conscience and made it personal. Nathan did the same thing with David when he said, “You are the man!” Study the opening verses of Psa. 51 to see how personal David knew his transgression was—knowledge that came from the prophet’s rebuke. His actions weren’t “imperfect”; he calls what he did “evil.”

Ephesians 4:13 … till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

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Words that might offend.

Do we remove words that might offend, such as “repentance” and “hell” to make the message more acceptable, or to make ourselves acceptable to a God-hating world? God forbid that our concern should be for our own comfort, rather than for the eternal welfare of the world.

“From Athens to Los Angeles, first century to twenty-first century and everywhere in between, repentance may not be popular, but it’s still the gospel.” John MacArthur 

Ezekiel 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord God. Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.

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Poison and antidote.

If the enemy cannot use apathy to cause us to cease from our labors on behalf of the gospel, he will use intimidation. Fear is his poison, but faith is the antidote.

“Let those who are tempted to idle merry meetings by vain companions, thus answer the temptation, We have work to do, and must not neglect it. We must never suffer ourselves to be overcome, by repeated urgency, to do anything sinful or imprudent; but when attacked with the same temptation, must resist it with the same reason and resolution…Nehemiah lifted up his heart to heaven in a short prayer. When, in our Christian work and warfare, we enter upon any service or conflict, this is a good prayer, I have such a duty to do, such a temptation to grapple with; now, therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Every temptation to draw us from duty, should quicken us the more to duty.” Matthew Henry 

Nehemiah 6:8 Then I sent to him, saying, No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

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Failing to listen to God.

“Listen to no man who fails to listen to God. No man has any right to counsel others who is not ready to hear and follow the counsel of the Lord. True moral wisdom must always be an echo of God’s voice. The only safe light for our path is the light which is reflected from Christ, the Light of the World.” A. W. Tozer 

Joshua 9:14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord.

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Weeping for the lost.

It was love that drove Hagar to cry out to God for the child. How can love not compel us to lift up our voices and weep, given the impending deaths of multitudes around us? God has opened our eyes to see the wells of salvation in Christ, so we must lead sinners by the hand to Him who cried, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37).

“I could abundantly justify compassion for perishing men, even on the ground of natural feelings. A mother who did not, like Hagar, weep for her dying child—call her not ‘mother,’ call her ‘monster.’ A man who passes through the scenes of misery which even this city presents in its more squalid quarters, and yet is never disturbed by them, I venture to say he is unworthy of the name of man. Even the common sorrows of our race may well suffuse our eyes with tears, but the eternal sorrow, the infinite lake of misery—he who grieves not for this, write him down a demon, though he wear the image and semblance of a man.” — Charles Spurgeon 

Genesis 21:16 Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot; for she said to herself, Let me not see the death of the boy. So she sat opposite him,and lifted her voice and wept.17 And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.

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