SAVED BY HIS LIFE

J.C.-RyleJ. C. Ryle:

Reader, you would do well to study the words of the Apostle in the 5th chapter of Romans: “Much more then,” he says, “being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Mark the connection: “Being already justified by His death, we shall be saved,”–and saved by what? “By his life:” by His ever living to make intercession for us. Wise and beautiful is the comparison made by that master of allegory, John Bunyan, in the “Pilgrim’s Progress.” He tells us how Christian was taken into the Interpreter’s house, and how the Interpreter showed him many things wonderful and instructive. In one place he took him into a room where there was a fire burning, and showed him one ever pouring water upon that fire, and yet the water did not quench the fire. However much water he poured on, still the fire went on burning steadily. Then said the Interpreter, “Knowest thou what this means?” When Christian did not know, he took him behind the fire, and showed him one pouring on oil out of a vessel. This oil fed the fire, and made it burn more fiercely, notwithstanding all the water that was poured upon it. Then the Interpreter told him that this was a picture of Jesus Christ’s intercession. That fire was the fire of grace in the believer’s heart. He that poured on the water was the enemy of souls, the devil. But He that poured on the oil, standing behind the fire, was the Lord Jesus Christ, who by continual intercession and the supply of His Spirit, secretly and unseen by man, kept alive His own work in the believer’s heart, and did not allow Satan and all his agents to get a victory over Him. (“Able to Save”)

THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD

Christian FictionBeloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. … They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. (1 John 4:1 & 5 ESV)

“Don’t believe everything you hear.” (Aesop) You should carefully examine what you are taught by teachers and preachers who claim you can have everything you want now. Not everyone who teaches and preaches about God comes from God.

When we test something, we are trying to decide what is true. Only very gullible people believe every claim they hear or find in books or on the internet. We should be more like the Bereans who Luke praises in Acts: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11 ESV) The Bereans were not as lazy as are many Christians today; they actually studied the Scriptures. Continue reading

THE ESSENCE OF SALVATION

John Stott

John Stott:

“For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God [Gen. 3:1-7], while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man [2 Cor. 5:21]. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.” (The Cross of Christ)

HE DID NOT DIE IN VAIN

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed” (Isaiah 53:10)

Our Lord Jesus has not died in vain. His death was sacrificial: He died as our substitute, because death was the penalty of our sins; and because His substitution was accepted of God, He has saved those for whom He made His soul a sacrifice. By death He became like the corn of wheat which bringeth forth much fruit. There must be a succession of children unto Jesus; He is “the Father of the everlasting age.” He shall say, “Behold, I and the children whom thou hast given me.”

A man is honored in his sons, and Jesus hath His quiver full of these arrows of the mighty. A man is represented in his children, and so is the Christ in Christians. In his seed a man’s life seems to be prolonged and extended; and so is the life of Jesus continued in believers. Jesus lives, for He sees His seed. He fixes His eye on us, He delights in us, He recognizes us as the fruit of His soul travail. Let us be glad that our Lord does not fail to enjoy the result of His dread sacrifice, and that He will never cease to feast His eyes upon the harvest of His death. Those eyes which once wept for us, are now viewing us with pleasure. Yes, He looks upon those who are looking unto Him. Our eyes meet! What a joy is this! (Faith’s Checkbook)

PRAY FIRST

Humble PrayerCharles H. Spurgeon:

It does not say that Nehemiah set a watch and then prayed, but, ‘nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch.’ Prayer must always be the fore horse of the team! Do whatever else is wise, but not until you have prayed! Send for the physician if you are sick, but first pray. Take the medicine if you have a belief that it will do you good, but first pray. Go and talk to the man who has slandered you, if you think you ought to do so, but first pray.

‘Well, I am going to do so and so,’ says one, ‘and I shall pray for a blessing on it afterwards.’ Do not begin it until you have prayed! Begin, continue and end everything with prayer, but especially begin with prayer. Some people would never begin what they are going to do if they prayed about it first, for they could not ask God’s blessing upon it. (Faith’s Checkbook)

JOB DECISIONS LED BY GOD

work ethicsCommit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3 ESV)

The Holy Spirit guides you by the Word of God and His providential care. Between the two, they guide you to the right decision on many issues. After prayer and giving serious thought to a matter, your choice should be in accord with the Word of God and the talents God has given you. If your choice is in accord with the Word of God and allows you to walk in holiness and honor God; a good decision has probably been made.

There are times when providence may make your present job or profession very uncomfortable. It may become unprofitable or impractical for you to continue in your present work. You may lose your job – which is a very common problem now. In such conditions you must seek to alter your circumstances. If your present employment is enjoyable and profitable, you probably wish to keep up your current status. However, what do you do if your employer makes changes in your job which violate the Word of God? Should you be willing to resign if the circumstances cannot be changed?

Suppose you are offered employment in two places and after researching the companies, much prayer, and consideration of biblically related issues, you discover that the company which offered you the most money engages in unethical moral practices; what do you do? Which job should you take? What if you are offered two great jobs with companies whose business practices do not conflict with the God’s Word? Should you not consider first the job where you can honor God most with your ability and talents? Continue reading

PIETY

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

“The whole lives of Christians ought to be a kind of aspiration after piety, seeing they are called unto holiness (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:5). The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty. For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.” (Institutes III, 19, 2)

ALWAYS PRAY

Martyn Lloyd-JonesMartyn Lloyd-Jones:

“Always respond to every impulse to pray. The impulse to pray may come when you are reading or when you are battling with a text. I would make an absolute law of this – always obey such an impulse. Where does it come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil 2:12-13). This often leads to some of the most remarkable experiences in the life of the minister. So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy. Give yourself to it, yield to it; and you will find not only that you have not been wasting time with respect to the matter with which you are dealing but that actually it has helped you greatly in that respect. You will experience an ease and a facility in understanding what you were reading, in thinking, in ordering matter for a sermon, in writing, in everything which is quite astonishing. Such a call to prayer must never be regarded as a distraction; always respond to it immediately, and thank God if it happens to you frequently.” (Preaching & Preachers, 170-171)

THE IMPORTANCE OF READING YOUR BIBLE

The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. (Proverbs 15:14 ESV) Bible Study

It is very sad that most people, including Christians, never read their Bibles on a consistent basis. George Gallop once said, “Americans revere the Bible – but, by and large, they don’t read it.” I am also afraid that, of those who do read their Bibles, very few study it with the intention of becoming more like Christ. Should we not seek to grow in the knowledge of God?

Consider this: In a country where the Bible, Christian literature, and the publication of Biblical study-helps abound, we are becoming a nation of Bible illiterates. Can you name the four Gospels? Can you name six of the 12 disciples? Can you name five of the Ten Commandments? I really do not believe you have to be a Bible trivia expert to grow as a Christian, but I do believe that Bible illiteracy is fast becoming the norm in America. Perhaps, you too have heard people repeating verses or condemning something in the Bible which, in reality, are not even in the Scriptures. How many times have you heard someone say, “The Lord helps those who help themselves,” believing it to be a Bible verse? Continue reading

HOW CAN WE MAKE WORSHIP MORE MEANINGFUL?

WorshipGod is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24 ESV)

Modern churches seem to constantly be in a self-evaluation mode to decide the best ways to meet the needs of the congregation. One popular question is “How can we make worship more meaningful?” There is, however, a fundamental problem with this question. The true worship of God is not discovered by asking how the average Christian feels about a variety of worship approaches or creating a new worship formula. God is worshiped in spirit. It is only through the gospel of Jesus Christ that worship is possible. Worship in spirit includes a spiritual sense of God and spiritual communion with God. True worship is the result of revealed truth. Truth is the reality of God as witnessed by Jesus. Truth begins with God. The Gospel proclaims it and through it God calls men to salvation.

The efforts to impose modern culture on the practice of worshiping a holy God will bring nothing but disappointment and failure. When we impose worldly culture on the worship of God, we also impose characteristics of the fallen world that God is calling us to abandon. We live in the world, but we are not to be of this world. We separate ourselves from worldliness because we hunger for truth and righteousness. If we base our worship practices on popularity instead of scriptural truth, we are not worshipping God at all. Continue reading

MORE GRACE

Robert Murray M'CheyneRobert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843)

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6 ESV)

The soul of a believer needs grace every moment. “By the grace of God I am what I am.” But there are times when he needs more grace that at other times. Just as the body continually needs food; but there are times when it needs food more than at others — times of great bodily exertion, when all powers are to be put forth.

Sometimes the soul of a believer is exposed to hot persecution. Reproach breaks the heart; or it beats like a scorching sun upon the head. “For my love they are my adversaries.” Sometimes they are God’s children who reproach us, and this is still harder to bear. The soul is ready to rest or sink under it.

Sometimes it is flattery that tempts the soul. The world speaks well of us, and we are tempted to pride and vanity. This is still worse to bear.

Sometimes Satan strives within us, by stirring up fearful corruptions, till there is a tempest within. Oh, is there a tempted soul that reads these words? Jesus prays for thee. You need more peace. Nothing but the oil of the Spirit will feed the fire of grace when Satan is casting water on it. Send up this cry, “Wilt thou not revive us again?” (“The Cry for Revival”)

HE WILL LOVE YOU TO THE END

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“For the Lord will not cast off forever” (Lamentations 3:31)

He may cast away for a season, but not for ever. A woman may leave off her ornaments for a few days, but she will not forget them, nor throw them upon the dunghill. It is not like the Lord to cast off those whom He loves: for, “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” Some talk of our being in grace and out of it, as if we were like rabbits that run in and out of their burrows: but, indeed, it is not so. The Lord’s love is a far more serious and abiding matter than this.

He chose us from eternity, and He will love us throughout eternity. He loved us so as to die for us, and we may therefore be sure that His love will never die. His honor is so wrapped up in the salvation of the believer that He can no more cast him off than He can cast off His own robes of office as King of glory. No, no! The Lord Jesus, as a Head, never casts off His members; as a Husband, He never casts off His bride.

Did you think you were cast off? Why did you think so evil of the Lord who has betrothed you to Himself? Cast off such thoughts, and never let them lodge in your soul again. “The Lord hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2). “He hateth putting away” (Malachi 2:16). (Faith’s Checkbook)

PILGRIMS BLESSED

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

For that grace of God, that bringeth salvation unto all men, hath appeared, And teacheth us, that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live soberly and righteously, and godly in this present world, Looking for that blessed hope, and appearing of that glory of that mighty God, and of our Savior Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purge us to be a peculiar people unto himself, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:11-14 Geneva Bible)

After holding forth the grace of God to animate us, and pave the way for His true worship, he removes the two greatest obstacles which stand in the way, viz., ungodliness, to which we are by nature too prone, and worldly lusts, which are of still greater extent. Under ungodliness, he includes not merely superstition, but everything at variance with the true fear of God. Worldly lusts are equivalent to the lusts of the flesh. Thus he enjoins us, in regard to both tables of the Law, to lay aside our own mind, and renounce whatever our own reason and will dictate. Then he reduces all the actions of our lives to three branches, sobriety, righteousness, and godliness. Continue reading

THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN

Bishop J. C. RyleBishop J. C. Ryle:

Reader, would you know the security for the perseverance of God’s own people? Would you know why it is that Christ’s sheep shall never perish, and none shall ever pluck them out of His hand? It is a miraculous thing. When you look at the believer’s heart, listen to the believer’s prayers, mark the believer’s confessions,–when you see how a just man may fall, sometimes seven times,–when you see, with all this, the believer’s perseverance, it is a marvel indeed. To carry a candle upon a stormy night, when winds and gusty blasts are blowing from every quarter,–to carry it still burning, steadily burning, along the street,–this is a wonderful achievement. To go over a stormy sea in a little boat,–to mount billow after billow, and not see the waves breaking over the boat, and overturning it,–this is well-nigh a miracle. To see a little child tottering along the crowded street, a child some three or four years old –to see it tottering on and making its way in safety, from one end of a long street to the other,–this is a mighty marvel. But, after all, what is this, but the life, and history, and experience of every true Christian? Though he falls, he rises again; though he is cast down, he is not destroyed. He goes on from one position to another, like the moon upon a stormy night, plunging from one cloud into another, yet by-and-by shining out again and walking in brightness. What is the secret of it all? It is the continual intercession of a mighty Friend at the right hand of God: a Friend that never slumbers and never sleeps: a Friend who cares for the believer morning, noon, and night. The intercession of Christ is the secret of the perseverance of the Christian. (“Able to Save”)

THE GREAT DESTROYER OF MAN

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“The great destroyer of man is the will of man. I do not believe that man’s free will has ever saved a soul, but man’s free will has been the ruin of multitudes. ‘You would not,’ is still the solemn accusation of Christ against guilty men. Did He not say, at another time, ‘You will not come unto Me, that you might have life’? The human will is desperately set against God and is the great devourer and destroyer of thousands of good intentions and emotions which never come to anything permanent because the will is acting in opposition to that which is right and true.” (1894, Sermon #2381)

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