A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 1 – Introduction

Friends as I begin this endeavor today I have a sweet joy of anticipation and excitement.   The more I’ve studied the words of this incredible man the more I see the beauty of God that gifts those whom He chooses to perform His good pleasures.  Joseph Alleine is a man that had a passion for winning souls.  I hope his words will profoundly affect you as they have me.  I will once again encourage you to join with me if you have not.  Here is the link  A Sure Guide to Heaven

Alleine

Biographical Introduction

As I began reading about Joseph Alleine, I’m immediately struck by God’s promises to parents that raise their children in fear and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), that it produces fruit and righteousness (Deuteronomy 6:24-25).  Alleine had a passion for God’s Word from a very young age.  Being born and raised in a Puritan family he desired to pursue a life of ministry.

Alleine’s years at Oxford were characterized by piety and diligent study.  His warm disposition found him many friends, but if their visits interrupted his studying time ‘he had no leasure to let them in, saying, “It is better that they should wonder at my rudeness than that I should lose my time; for only a few will take notice of the rudeness, but many may feel my loss of time.”’  As a chaplain he labored to evangelize country villages around Oxford and also preached ot the prisoners in the gaol every fortnight.  Such was his training for this future ministry.  Not yet twenty-one, he had already learned to be ‘infinitely and insatiably greedy for the conversion of souls and to this end he poured out his very heart in prayer and in preaching’. Page 8

In a day when most Christians spend little time in prayer and little time in study of the word, Alleine was ravenous for the study of God’s Word and the conversion of souls.

When the week began he would say, ‘Another week is now before us, let us spend this week for God’, and each morning, ‘Now let us live this one day well!’  ‘All the time of his health’, writes his wife, ‘he did rise constantly at or before four o’clock, and on the Sabbath sooner, if he did wake; he would be much troubled if he heard any smiths, or shoemakers, or such tradesmen, at work at their trades before he was in his duties with God; saying to me after, “O how this noise shames me! doth not my master deserve more than theirs?”  From four till eight he spent in prayer, holy contemplation, and signing of psalms, which he much delighted in, and did daily practice alone, as well as in his family.’  (Page 8 and 9)

A Sure Guide to Heaven has influenced many of the greatest evangelists of all of time including George Whitefield and Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Speaking of Spurgeon; when he was a child, his mother would often read a piece of Allein’s Alarm to them as they sat round the fire on a Sunday evening, and when brought under conviction of sin it was to this old book he turned.  ‘I remember’, he writes, ‘when I used to awake in the morning, the first thing I took up was Alleine’s Alarm or Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted.  (Page 11)

Introduction – An earnest invitation to sinners to turn to God

We can grasp Alleine’s passion for winning souls in his opening call to his readers.

But from where shall I fetch my argument?  With what shall I win them?  O that I could tell!  I would write to them in tears, I would weep out every argument, I would empty my veins for ink, I would petition them on my knees.  O how thankful should I be if they would be prevailed with to repent and turn. (Page 15)

He quickly turns to the gospel for the answer to his question.

There is no entering into heaven but by the strait passage of the second birth; without holiness you shall never see God (Heb xii 14).  Therefore give yourselves unto the Lord now.  Set yourselves to seek Him now.  Set up the Lord Jesus in your hearts, and set Him up in your houses….

I am not playing the orator to make a learned speech to you, nor dressing the dish with eloquence in order to please you.  These lines are upon a weighty errand indeed – to convince, and convert, and save you.  I am not baiting my hook with rhetoric, nor fishing for your applause, but for your souls.  My work is not to please you, but to save you; nor is my business with your fancies, but with your hearts….

…if we cannot get your consent to arise and come away, you will perish for ever.  No conversion – no salvation!  I must get your good-will, or leave you miserable.  (Page 16 & 17)

In this day of ear tickling, man centered, feel good gospel Alleine quickly gets to the point.  He had no interest in whether they liked the message or not, only to plead with them and to diligently show them the truth.  Without conversion there is no salvation, a message which desperately needs to be heard today just as it needed to be heard in his day.

What is biblical conversion?

Some of you do not know what I mean by conversion, and in vain shall I attempt to persuade you to that which you do not understand.   Therefore for your sakes I will show what conversion is.

Others cherish secret hopes of mercy, though they continue as they are.  For them I must show the necessity of conversion

Others are likely to harden themselves with a vain conceit that they are converted already.  To them I must show the marks of the unconverted

Others, because they feel no harm, fear none, and so sleep as upon the mast.  To them I shall show the misery of the unconverted

Others still sit still, because they do not see the way of escape.  To them I shall show the means of conversion

And finally, for the quickening of all, I shall close with the motives to conversion.

If this is a new concept for you, I plead with you to continue in this exploration with me and let’s understand this thing called the second birth and biblical conversion, if you are saved or if you think you are saved I urge you to look critically at your own life and examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Is there anything that could possibly matter more?

Kevin

2013

Happy New Year!  Thank you for reading Uncommon Faith this past year.  God has taught me much through the writing of these blog posts and I’m hopeful you have enjoyed what I’ve had to say.  I’m grateful for this small platform to have an opportunity to share what God is doing in my life and what I hope He will do in the lives of others through the thoughts He has given me.

With that being said, I wanted to share something I desire to accomplish for the upcoming year.  Every day I wake up with new topics that I wish to discuss.  They always seem so rich and real in my life and I don’t have enough time to write about them all.  I’m grateful that God refocuses my mind to the things I believe He wants me to discuss.  Sometimes those are topical; sometimes they are a brief series or occasionally just random musings.

sure guide

Next week I’m going to begin a series on the book called A Sure Guide to Heaven by Joseph Alleine.  Consistent readers of this blog will notice I speak of Alleine and this book often.  My church family will know I speak of Alleine and this book often.  Why?  Because I believe it’s one of the most significant writings next to the Bible that exists today.  If you are ever going to read any Puritan writings I would recommend this along with John Bunyon’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Quoting from A Sure Guide to Heaven:

Countless editions of this book have been issued since it first saw the light in 1671.  Dr. Calamy wrote concerning it in 1702: ‘Multitudes will have cause for ever to be thankful for it.  No book in the English tongues (the Bible only excepted) can equal it for the number that hath been dispersed; there have been twenty thousand sold under the title of the “Call”, or “Alarm”, and fifty thousand of the same under the title of the “Sure Guide to Heaven”, thirty thousand of which were sold at one impression.’

Practically I want to write about this little book because many people will never pick it up despite urgings to do so, also I’ve personally seen two people come to saving faith this past year in response to Alleine’s writing.   I don’t say his writing saved them, but God used his words along with His Word to show these two their sin and the need for a remedy through Jesus Christ.  There are countless professions of just this same thing happening all over the world through this powerful book.

My desire is to post once a week about A Sure Guide to Heaven and then a more traditional post my other day.  For those newer to my blog, I typically post on Tuesday and Friday.  I can’t stress enough how beneficial this book can be to those in the church that are truly redeemed and those that are falsely converted.  Because of sin’s deceitfulness how can you test your faith?  What are the signs of true conversion and false conversion?  Alleine explores all these topics in such a wonderfully, powerful way.   The writing is a little difficult to read but is certainly worth the effort.

In an age of uncertainty when institutions regarded as “churches” preach a man focused theology there needs to be a call to look at the doctrines of regeneration and “true” biblical conversion.  These “churches” are in a wretched state and nothing short of God’s grace can save them and those that attend.  Without an understanding of the difficulty of salvation more will be lead to hell on that wide road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).  This flies in the face of the “easy to believe” methods of today.  I may be speaking to you today if your testimony includes any of the following.

“I accepted Christ…”

“I prayed the sinner’s prayer…”

“I walked the aisle and prayed at an altar call…”

“I made a decision and asked Jesus into my heart…”

Friends these are NOT biblical conversions, nowhere is this modeled in scripture.

I encourage you to read along with me as we explore what it really means to be “saved”.  You can find A Sure Guide to Heaven available online for free if you follow this link

A Sure Guide to Heaven

I would encourage you to print it out as I believe you will want to take lots of notes.  It is also available from many online book retailers for about $7.00 per copy.  You might want to have several copies on hand to give out to friends and those professing Christ.

As Paul calls us to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5)  and this is a wonderful place to start.  Nothing of value comes easy and I believe if you invest some time into something that is this important God will bless your efforts.

Perverse sinner, will you begin where you should end?  Is not the word before you?  What saith it? ‘Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.’  ‘If you mortify the deeds of the body you shall live.’  ‘Believe and be saved’ (Acts 3:19: Romans 8:13; Acts 16:31).  What can be plainer?  Page 30 A Sure Guide to Heaven

Kevin