THE FORTRESS OF FAITH
"THE REFUGE OF LIES"
Burnell D. Johnson
"Behold, I lay in Zion for a Foundation a Stone, a tried Stone, a precious corner Stone, a sure Foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the REFUGE OF LIES." Isa. 28:16-17.
"Other Foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 3:11.
This is a very sick world.
"The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?" Jer. 8:9.
"Distress of nations, with perplexity" is here.
Sin is the root cause; trouble is the fruit.
"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Gal. 6:7.
The world is not worried about its SIN, but is badly worried about the fruits thereof.
TOO PROUD TO REPENT, it staggers blindly on to its impending doom!
Science, education, culture give knowledge, but do not give WISDOM!
Knowledge without wisdom is dangerous.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
A cultured savage is more dangerous than an uncultured one.
Godless education is giving us a generation of cultured criminals.
We are told that the ratio of crime in America has more than doubled in thirty years !
Luxury and sensual indulgence stimulate greed, and greed (covetousness), is at the root of earth's troubles, domestic, economic, national, and international.
Greed is a disease of the heart, and not of the head. The only cure is "a new heart, and a right spirit." Law cannot produce it, Grace does!
Religion without regeneration is worse than open Atheism.
"The end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned." 1 Tim. 1:5.
"How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
"Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh as a desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me, for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them BUT WHOSO HEARKENETH UNTO ME SHALL DWELL SAFELY, AND SHALL BE QUIET FROM FEAR OF EVIL." Prov. 1:22-33.
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my REFUGE and my FORTRESS: my God; in Him will I trust. ...He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. ...Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my REFUGE, even the most High, thy HABITATION, there shall no evil befall thee." Ps. 91:1-10.
"Let the INHABITANTS OF THE ROCK sing ! let them shout from the tops of the mountains!" Isa. 42:11.
"The name of the Lord is a strong Tower: the righteous runneth into it, and IS SAFE." Prov. 18:10.
"God is our REFUGE and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;" Ps. 46:1-2.
"Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. ...The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. ...Fear, and the pit, and the snare are upon thee, 0 inhabitant of the earth. The foundations of earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage: and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it. ...Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee; the city of terrible nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a REFUGE from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones was as a storm against the wall. ...In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city: salvation will God appoint for walls and for bulwarks." Isa. 24, 25, 26.
"BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, WHICH TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD." John 1:29.
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord bath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. ...He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities." Isa. 53.
"The wages of sin is death; but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 6:23. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the WRATH of God abideth on him." John 3:36.
"By Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph. 2:8-10.
"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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Rom. 10:9-10.
This is the "GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY TO ALL PEOPLE!" And IT MEANS YOU!"
Does it mean that whoever hears the Gospel, and believing on Christ, accepts salvation as a FREE GIFT, is saved?
Words could not make it plainer!
If salvation on earth, and a mansion in heaven are so simple and easy of attainment, why doesn't everyone accept it? Why so few real Christians?
READ YOUR BIBLE!
Our Lord was asked the question, "Are there few that be saved?"
He answered: "Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able! ...Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it. Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and MANY there be that go in thereat." Luke 13:23-24; Matt. 7:13-14.
Why do the "MANY" refuse the way of "life" and choose the way to "destruction"?
It is because the believing that saves is from the heart; the inward supreme desire and affection. Any "believing" short
of this is "dead" faith, which devils have! Jas. 2:19, 26.
To believe "with the heart" involves complete surrender of ourselves, and all we have; hands, feet, and tongue! Heart belief enthrones Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Jn. 13:13; therefore, whoever loves this present world, or loves pleasure, or riches, or the praise of men, more than God; or who is too proud to repent of sin, and to renounce his own righteousness, and humbly accept God's free pardon and cleansing through the atoning blood of Christ, DOES NOT, AND CANNOT BELIEVE UNTO SALVATION! 1 Jn. 2:15-17; 2 Tim. 3:35.
Who does not know that most Christian professors are not real Christians?
The leaders of Christendom freely admit it. Says Bishop Ryle: "We must all be aware that the vast majority of professing Christians care nothing at all about decided Christianity. They have no sense of sin. They have no love for Christ. They know nothing of being `born again'."
What are these deceived and unsaved "professors" trusting in? Why do they hope for heaven? and why do they call themselves Christians? What is their "refuge"? In every case, they hide in a "REFUGE OF LIES"!
Ask the average "professor" "Are you a Christian?" Does he joyfully answer, "Jesus Christ is my Savior, and my only hope!"
Instead of this, he says, "I belong to the Church."
Of course, he is giving the best reason he has for calling himself a Christian. And it is generally accepted as a satis-
What does he mean by "belong to Church"?
In some way, it has come to pass that what all Christendom calls "the Church," the "visible Church," the "organized Church," consists of one, or all of that confused medley of religious corporations that have supplanted and taken the place of "the house of God. which is the Church of the living God,
the pillar and ground of the truth"; in which all believers "as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house." 1 Pet. 2:5. "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:22.
READ YOUR BIBLE!
It will show you that millions are being deceived with false and fraudulent title to a home in heaven, not by accident, but by a great conspiracy of Satan, "the father of lies"; and that he does it by means of a counterfeit Christ, a false Church, a hireling ministry, a mutilated gospel.
He is pitifully blind, who cannot see that the soft, sweet, sin coddling Christ, who all the world delights to honor on Sundays, and especially at Christmas time and Easter, is not the rugged Christ, "whose fan is in His hand," separating the chaff from the wheat; who is "like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap"; whose word, as a "two-edged sword," pierced all hearts, revealing every motive, and roused to mortal madness all religious pretenders and racketeers!
Following is a truthful testimony of a Presbyterian pastor in Toledo recently, as he commented on Rev. 17 and 18, and other scriptures:
The "job" of the servant of Christ is to "preach the Word; be instant, in season, out of season; rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine"; to "declare all the counsel of God.""Satan counterfeits everything God does.
"The organized denominational 'Church' of Christendom
is Satan's counterfeit of God's Church,
which consists only of true believers.
"God is not the author of denominations.
"The great majority of preachers today are not honest!
They do not preach the whole truth of the Bible,
because they're afraid they'll lose their jobs!"
The "job" of the denominational preacher is to build up, in numbers, wealth, and influence, the corporation that hires him for that purpose.
To preach the whole Bible would annihilate every denomination!
"No man can serve two masters." How then can any preacher be a true servant of Christ, and at the same time be an acceptable and successful servant of a denomination?
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE is not the blaspheming atheist, the Communist, the bandit, the rum seller, the crooked politician.
READ YOUR BIBLE.
Against whom did the gentle Savior use the scalding epithets: "Serpents !" "Vipers !" "Wolves !" "Whited sepulchres!" "Fools and blind!"? Matt. 7:15, 23:2-33; Jn. 10:1, etc.
What crime did holy prophets pronounce "Wonderful and horrible"? Jer. 5:30-31, 6:13-14, 23:9-32; Mic. 3:5-12; Isa. 56: 9-11; Ezek. 13:1-16, and 22:25-28, etc.
Of whom did the faithful Apostle warn his brethren "often even weeping"? Phil 3:2, 18, 19.
The preacher who, to keep his job, win popularity for himself, and numbers and money for his "church," "heals slightly" the deadly cancer of sin; uses the sweet consolations of the Gospel to comfort self—righteous hypocrites and ungodly professors, while he hides the sharp convicting truths, and faithful warnings of the Bible, is the world's super-criminal!
Now, as ever, the deadly work of false prophets is accomplished, not by open lies, but by keeping back the needed offensive truth. When folks are wrong at heart, they can never be saved, but by humble surrender to the very truth that condemns and offends them!
READ YOUR BIBLE!"Shall I, to soothe the unholy throng,
Soften thy truth, or smooth my tongue,
To gain earth's gilded toys, — or flee.
The cross endured, my Lord, by Thee?
Awed by a mortal's frown, shall I
Conceal the word of God Most High?
How then before thee shall I dare
To stand, or how thine anger bear?"
"O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes of the desert! ...Have ye not seen a vain vision, and spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith; albeit I have not spoken? ...Because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar: Say unto them which daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, 0 great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. ...I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it." (Read Ezek. 13.)
The very same devil who whispered his pleasing lies in Eden, and used God's sweet promise, "He shall give His angels charge over thee," to tempt our Lord in the wilderness, inspired Israel's false prophets to "speak smooth things" to please the wicked; still prompts the "interdenominational evangelist" to "corrupt" the Gospel of redeeming grace to render it well pleasing to the world.
He may tell you (in effect, if not in words) that if you just believe on Christ, you are eternally saved, "without works," therefore, while you ought to live a godly life, yet, godly or ungodly, you are sure of heaven.
Half truths are the most dangerous lies.
Christ's death on Calvary has not reduced God's hatred of sin, but has aggravated its hatefulness!
Yes, the true believer is saved "without works," but if not saved "unto good works," he IS NOT SAVED! Eph. 2:1-10 explains salvation.
Truly, Christ's perfect righteousness is "IMPUTED" to the vilest sinner that "believes," but also, His life is IMPARTED and the godly living inevitably follows and proves it! Rom. 4:6-8, 24; 1 Jn. 5:11, 18.
No one still living in sin—cursed flesh has absolute perfection in behavior and conduct, but every Christian has the love of God in his heart, "the righteousness which is of God by faith"; "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus"; "the perfect law of liberty"; the "law of Christ," by which every believer stands approved and justified before God. "The end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned." 1 Tim. 1:5. Its fruit is "all goodness and righteousness and truth"; and it is attained only by the miracle of regeneration!
"Be not deceived!" Don't mistake religion for salvation!
Salvation is "not in words only" (an empty profession), "I believe," etc., "but in power!" 1 Thess. 1:5. Not bare escape from a future hell, but from present enslavement to sin's dominion and power! Read Rom. 6:2, 12-14, 8:2-4, 9, 14; 1 Cor. 6:9-11, 13:1-3; Eph. 5:55-56; Gal 5:6, 19-24.
"And He began to say to His disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is HYPOCRISY!"
Who's responsible for the "crime wave"; for the social, economic and political corruption, infidelity, Atheism, Communism, and Barbarism that is engulfing the world?
Not Ingersol, Paine, Marx, and Lenin!
According to the Scriptures, it is anti—christian Christianity; that "visible Church," whose visibility consists, not in the precious "fruit of the Spirit," but in costly temples, pious formalities, mystic rites, empty professions, lip-service; doing "many mighty works in His name," having great zeal to "win souls" (outsiders, who don't contribute, but quite indifferent to the welfare of souls of the worst of all sinners, and most neglected, who fill the pulpit and pew!)
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth." pi. 4:24. Such worship is impossible without the miracle of regeneration. "Ye must be born again." All other religion and worship is idolatry, hypocrisy, mockery, the very root and essence of all sin! This, and this only called forth all the burning "woes" of the Son of God.
Every real Christian is saved and kept by the power of God in personal union with Jesus Christ, by faith. This experience joins him in holy affinity with all others "of like precious faith"; and this constitutes the true Christian Church. I Thess. 1;1, 2 Pet. 1:1.
The false Church is Satan's school of hypocrisy. Its definite purpose, and only use is to maintain the profession and form of godliness in those who have not its power and reality! It is his most effective agency to sear conscience, destroy respect for God, drag the very name of Christ in the mire and make it contemptible!
Every student of past and current history knows that the carnival of blood and tears in Russia, in Germany, in Spain is
directly traceable to the undermining of faith, by a wicked, apostate Church, that plundered and exploited the people in the name of Jesus Christ, and enriched itself by merchandising God's "unspeakable gift," and the souls of its dupes!
The Bible pictures the false Church in illicit union with the world, as the harlot woman, "having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication." That cup contains the precious truths of the gospel, well mixed with the traditions of men, and with every sort of carnal attraction that appeals to the tastes and desires of an ungodly world. She wins souls to religion, but not to Christ!
With her Babel of clashing creeds and divisions, her insatiable greed for filthy lucre, her man-pleasing, money-controlled clergy, she is truly "Babylon," the city of confusion. "She saith in her heart, I sit a Queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath." Thus will God soon judge the false Church "which did corrupt the earth with her fornication"; for by her "sorceries were all nations deceived !" Rev. 17-19.
The stately temples, called "churches," that adorn the streets of all our cities, are splendid mausoleums, where lie in peaceful slumber the spiritually dead; secure from all disturbance by the awakening truth God has put in His word for that purpose. For they have "heaped to themselves teachers," trained to use "wisdom of words," that the cross of Christ should be made of none effect, and the sleepers may sleep on!
Sad to say, Christians are sometimes found in these spiritual mortuaries!
Of course, God calls them to "Come out," that they "be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues!" And their willingness to do so is the best evidence that they are saints; for real Christians do not feel at home in such places.
Even now, as the heavens gather blackness with the storm of impending wrath; as under the shadow of their fine "churches;' the angry nations are feverishly fabricating the cruel implements for mutual extermination, the weeping Savior pleads: "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." And still there is REFUGE, SAFETY, PEACE, and JOY UNSPEAKABLE FOR YOU, IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ROCK OF AGES!
Burnell D. Johnson
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