Friday, 30 April 2010
April 30, 2010
And all the children of Israel murmured.--Numbers 14:2
There are murmurers amongst Christians now, as there were in the camp
of Israel of old. There are those who, when the rod falls, cry out
against the afflictive dispensation. They ask, "Why am I thus
afflicted? What have I done to be chastened in this manner?" A word
with thee, O murmurer! Why shouldst thou murmur against the
dispensations of thy heavenly Father? Can He treat thee more hardly
than thou deservest? Consider what a rebel thou wast once, but He has
pardoned thee! Surely, if He in His wisdom sees fit now to chasten
thee, thou shouldst not complain. After all, art thou smitten as hardly
as thy sins deserve? Consider the corruption which is in thy breast,
and then wilt thou wonder that there needs so much of the rod to fetch
it out? Weigh thyself, and discern how much dross is mingled with thy
gold; and dost thou think the fire too hot to purge away so much dross
as thou hast? Does not that proud rebellious spirit of thine prove that
thy heart is not thoroughly sanctified? Are not those murmuring words
contrary to the holy submissive nature of God's children? Is not the
correction needed? But if thou wilt murmur against the chastening, take
heed, for it will go hard with murmurers. God always chastises His
children twice, if they do not bear the first stroke patiently. But
know one thing--"He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children
of men." All His corrections are sent in love, to purify thee, and to
draw thee nearer to Himself. Surely it must help thee to bear the
chastening with resignation if thou art able to recognize thy Father's
hand. For "whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son
whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as
with sons." "Murmur not as some of them also murmured and were
destroyed of the destroyer."
How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God.--Psalm 139:17
Divine omniscience affords no comfort to the ungodly mind, but to the
child of God it overflows with consolation. God is always thinking upon
us, never turns aside His mind from us, has us always before His eyes;
and this is precisely as we would have it, for it would be dreadful to
exist for a moment beyond the observation of our heavenly Father. His
thoughts are always tender, loving, wise, prudent, far-reaching, and
they bring to us countless benefits: hence it is a choice delight to
remember them. The Lord always did think upon His people: hence their
election and the covenant of grace by which their salvation is secured;
He always will think upon them: hence their final perseverance by which
they shall be brought safely to their final rest. In all our wanderings
the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon
us--we never roam beyond the Shepherd's eye. In our sorrows He observes
us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He marks all
our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful
ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and
penetrate the innermost region of our being. Not a nerve or tissue,
valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the
littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.
Dear reader, is this precious to you? then hold to it. Never be led
astray by those philosophic fools who preach up an impersonal God, and
talk of self-existent, self-governing matter. The Lord liveth and
thinketh upon us, this is a truth far too precious for us to be lightly
robbed of it. The notice of a nobleman is valued so highly that he who
has it counts his fortune made; but what is it to be thought of by the
King of kings! If the Lord thinketh upon us, all is well, and we may
April 30, 2010
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are
sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves,
but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as
ministers of the new covenant. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)
We have been considering some characteristics that God wants to develop
in our lives by His grace: namely, triumphant living, a fragrance of
Christ, godly sincerity, and becoming living letters of Christ. How do
these appear in our lives in an ever-increasing manner? As Paul wrote
on these wonderful descriptions of godly living, his heart was stirred
to ask, "And who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:16).
Paul fully realized that man cannot produce these realities. Human
resources are inadequate.
These heavenly traits grow in us as we live by the terms of the new
covenant (humbly trusting in God, not in ourselves). "And we have such
trust through Christ toward God." Paul's confidence in exhibiting these
spiritual qualities of life was directed toward God, based upon the
relationship that is available in Jesus Christ. This is not
self-confidence; it is God-confidence. God must produce these
There is no room for believers to trust in themselves. "Not that we are
sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves."
We are not the source of any of these wonderful traits of godly living.
They must all come from God at work in us. "Our sufficiency is from
God." When we live in humble dependency, the Lord's supply becomes our
needed sufficiency. "Our sufficiency is from God, who also made us
sufficient as ministers of the new covenant."
Yes, new covenant servants live by the grace of God. Consequently,
their sufficiency is what the Lord Himself supplies! This is precisely
what God promised of old through His prophets. "I will make a new
covenant ...I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their
hearts" (Jeremiah 31:31, 33). God inscribes these spiritual traits upon
the inner man (the heart and the mind) by His grace. The results are
that these characteristics of godliness develop in our lives.
Again, we are looking at living by humility and faith. "God... gives
grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Also, faith accesses grace: "through
whom [the Lord Jesus Christ] also we have access by faith into this
grace in which we stand" (Romans 5:2).
O Holy Father, I long to grow in these godly traits. I am not
sufficient to produce them by my resources. My only hope is to be
changed by You from the inside out. I humbly bow before You. With
confidence in You, I ask that You pour Your grace upon my heart and
mind, as I seek You in Your word. Through Christ my Lord, I pray, Amen.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(James Smith, "The Pastor's Morning Visit")
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3
The Lord's people are all poor; they see and feel that sin has stripped them of every excellence; and has left them wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked. They can do nothing of themselves, they can procure nothing for themselves; but free grace has made ample provision for them, and the Gospel informs them that Jesus has everything they need--and that all that He has, is for them!
When they look at, or into themselves--they are discouraged; but when they look to Jesus--they rejoice! He has riches of grace--and riches of glory; and He says, "Every one who asks--receives." He gives liberally, and upbraids not. Here then is the present blessedness of the Lord's poor: Jesus has all they need! And He is their Redeemer and Friend! Those who seek Him shall not lack any truly good thing.
Am I poor? If so, Jesus bids me come to Him--and buy gold, clothing, wine, and milk without price--all that is necessary to comfort and support in time, and render me happy throughout eternity! Poor in self--rich in Jesus! Poor at present--rich in eternity! "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven!"
"All things are yours!" 1 Corinthians 3:21
"And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!" Philippians 4:19
Thursday, 29 April 2010
The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God's Word, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;" and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be "As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer's sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the "green pastures" by the side of the "still waters," but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, "Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen." Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God's saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God's full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.
How comprehensive is the love of Jesus! There is no part of His people's interests which He does not consider, and there is nothing which concerns their welfare which is not important to Him. Not merely does He think of you, believer, as an immortal being, but as a mortal being too. Do not deny it or doubt it: "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in His way" It were a sad thing for us if this mantle of love did not cover all our concerns, for what mischief might be wrought to us in that part of our business which did not come under our gracious Lord's inspection! Believer, rest assured that the heart of Jesus cares about your meaner affairs. The breadth of His tender love is such that you may resort to Him in all matters; for in all your afflictions He is afflicted, and like as a father pitieth his children, so doth He pity you. The meanest interests of all His saints are all borne upon the broad bosom of the Son of God. Oh, what a heart is His, that doth not merely comprehend the persons of His people, but comprehends also the diverse and innumerable concerns of all those persons! Dost thou think, O Christian, that thou canst measure the love of Christ? Think of what His love has brought thee—justification, adoption, sanctification, eternal life! The riches of His goodness are unsearchable; thou shalt never be able to tell them out or even conceive them. Oh, the breadth of the love of Christ! Shall such a love as this have half our hearts? Shall it have a cold love in return? Shall Jesus' marvellous lovingkindness and tender care meet with but faint response and tardy acknowledgment? O my soul, tune thy harp to a glad song of thanksgiving! Go to thy rest rejoicing, for thou art no desolate wanderer, but a beloved child, watched over, cared for, supplied, and defended by thy Lord.
Another significant characteristic resulting from living by grace is that we become living letters of Christ. "You are manifestly an epistle of Christ." The Lord wants to turn our lives into a "walking and talking letter of Him." He wants to make us a living explanation of who Christ is and all that He offers. What a great opportunity this presents. As we go about our daily responsibilities, others are often "reading our lives." While they are observing us, they can actually be learning of the truth and love of our Lord Jesus, as He is working in and through our lives. Although this may sound like too much to hope for, the Lord declares in His word that this process can become very clear to those who are watching us: "You are manifestly [that is, "plainly recognized as"] an epistle of Christ."
Remember, this is what is available for "ministers [servants] of the new covenant" (2 Corinthians 3:6). This is what happens in those who live by the grace of God. This is something that God does in us, not something we manufacture for Him. Certainly, people are involved in the process. We become fully engaged by humbly and dependently seeking after the Lord who wants to work in us. Others also get involved by ministering to us. "You are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us." Paul had ministered God's truth to these saints at Corinth. Yet, these living letters of Christ were not being written by ink, as ordinary letters would be. "You are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God." God's Holy Spirit was at work writing the letters that their lives were becoming.
Notice where the Lord was inscribing these living letters: "not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart." The old covenant message of law was written on stones. The new covenant message of grace is written on the hearts of all who walk in humble dependence upon God. This heavenly work changes us from the inside out, making us living letters of Christ!
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
From the Pastor: Dr. M. J. Seymour, Sr.
“And behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.” (Matt. 20:30-31)
When a woman of Canaan sought help for her daughter she cried out to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David.” (Read Matt. 15:21-28) Jesus did not respond, the disciples said send her away, and Jesus said He came only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but the woman persisted and worshipped Him. Jesus responded by saying it is not right for Him to take “the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs.” The woman with great humility of heart and determination said, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” The woman was not about to give up and Jesus knew it, so with heavenly compassion Jesus replied, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
Too often our prayers are shallow with very little substance and are detached from any real commitment. We receive not because there is no solidness to our petitions before God. It seems as if the common attitude in prayer is, “if we get it ok and if not that is ok too,” then it is washed with “but not my will but thine be done.” There is a tremendous absence of absolute determination to be heard and to have mercy from the Lord. As a result, we are not receiving the mercy we so desperately need, all because of the lack of humble determination. The Lord responds to those who are determined to “have mercy.” How determined are you in your prayers?
The Scripture say, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) When is prayer powerfully effective? It is when the righteous have a passionate determination to receive mercy from the Lord. Weak ill-conceived prayers have no power to draw the attention of the Father and the Son. Yes, we may be as unworthy as dogs, but even a mangy dog can receive compassion and mercy if he touches the Master’s heart with his worship and persistent pleading. Pant after the Lord with humility and passionate determination – He may yet grant you His mercy!!!
A Study of The Book of Romans
By Pastor Randy Johnson
Lesson 49 Chapter 8:1 – 4
- Verse 1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
- “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” That is to then who believe that the blood of Christ cleanses all sin. All others regardless what they believe are condemned already.
a. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – He who knew no sin became sin for us by taking our sin and nailing it to the cross.
b. John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – Nothing about works, baptism, or etc. just faith.
c. John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
d. Once God has saved us it is impossible to loose us because that would mean God changed and God cannot change.
- “…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
a. Not because of the walk but because of the reason we walk in the Spirit.
- Verse 2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
- “For the law of the Spirit…” The word “law” here means something that governs something – so here our life is governed by the Holy Spirit, this is verse 1 ended “…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Because everyone saved should have their life governed by the Holy Spirit.
- “…the Spirit of life…” Means He (the Holy Spirit) is the giver of life. He is also the giver of fruits in our life like meekness, love, hope, and etc.
a. Let us not forget Romans 3:11 “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” This is biblical proof man will never on their own choose Christ so the Holy Spirit causes that repentance by changing our will.
b. Isaiah 11:2 “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”
- “…the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The giver of life (the Holy Spirit) only gives it in Christ Jesus; there is no life any other way.
a. Setting us free from the rule of sin and death.
b. John 8:36 “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
- Verse 3 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”
- “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh…” – Here biblical proof the law does not save. The law condemns is therefore it cannot save is because it can not both condemn and justify.
a. The only way to live by the law is not to break the law which is impossible since we were made sinners in Adam before we were born.
b. The law is not weak, but we in the flesh are weak, the law showed us our weakness. However the law is weak in that it cannot save, it is a law it condemns.
c. The law is simply a law it is not a Saviour.
- “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh…”
a. Not in sinful flesh but in the likeness of sinful flesh. Christ knew no sin.
b. Christ was flesh but without a sinful nature. This does not belittle His human nature at all.
c. 1 Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
- “…and for sin…” – This is why God sent His Son, to die for our sin. God could not pardon sin by the law because it was weak but Christ Jesus was not weak.
- “…condemned sin in the flesh:” – Jesus Christ death condemned sin in the flesh.
a. Sin must be paid for. God does not overlook sin He pardons sin when the proper price has been paid, for the condemned lost that will be eternal hell, but for us who are saved it was the death of Jesus Christ.
b. 2 Peter 2:6 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;” That God punishes sin.
- Verse 4 “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
- “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us…” not that we could ever fulfill it on our own, but we have in Christ because by His blood we are pardoned from all sin as though we never broke the law.
- Who walk after the spirit, not in sinful lust but in the new life given by the Spirit.
Whatever your especial need may be, you may readily find some promise in the Bible suited to it. Are you faint and feeble because your way is rough and you are weary? Here is the promise—"He giveth power to the faint." When you read such a promise, take it back to the great Promiser, and ask Him to fulfil His own word. Are you seeking after Christ, and thirsting for closer communion with Him? This promise shines like a star upon you—"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Take that promise to the throne continually; do not plead anything else, but go to God over and over again with this—"Lord, Thou hast said it, do as Thou hast said." Are you distressed because of sin, and burdened with the heavy load of your iniquities? Listen to these words—"I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will no more remember thy sins." You have no merit of your own to plead why He should pardon you, but plead His written engagements and He will perform them. Are you afraid lest you should not be able to hold on to the end, lest, after having thought yourself a child of God, you should prove a castaway? If that is your state, take this word of grace to the throne and plead it: "The mountains may depart, and the hills may be removed, but the covenant of My love shall not depart from thee." If you have lost the sweet sense of the Saviour's presence, and are seeking Him with a sorrowful heart, remember the promises: "Return unto Me, and I will return unto you;" "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee." Banquet your faith upon God's own word, and whatever your fears or wants, repair to the Bank of Faith with your Father's note of hand, saying, "Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.."
Are there no exceptions? No, not one. Even the favoured race are thus described. Are the best so bad?—then what must the worst be? Come, my heart, consider how far thou hast a share in this universal accusation, and while considering, be ready to take shame unto thyself herein thou mayst have been guilty. The first charge is impudence, or hardness of forehead, a want of holy shame, an unhallowed boldness in evil. Before my conversion, I could sin and feel no compunction, hear of my guilt and yet remain unhumbled, and even confess my iniquity and manifest no inward humiliation on account of it. For a sinner to go to God's house and pretend to pray to Him and praise Him argues a brazen-facedness of the worst kind! Alas! since the day of my new birth I have doubted my Lord to His face, murmured unblushingly in His presence, worshipped before Him in a slovenly manner, and sinned without bewailing myself concerning it. If my forehead were not as an adamant, harder than flint, I should have far more holy fear, and a far deeper contrition of spirit. Woe is me, I am one of the impudent house of Israel. The second charge is hardheartedness, and I must not venture to plead innocent here. Once I had nothing but a heart of stone, and although through grace I now have a new and fleshy heart, much of my former obduracy remains. I am not affected by the death of Jesus as I ought to be; neither am I moved by the ruin of my fellow men, the wickedness of the times, the chastisement of my heavenly Father, and my own failures, as I should be. O that my heart would melt at the recital of my Saviour's sufferings and death. Would to God I were rid of this nether millstone within me, this hateful body of death. Blessed be the name of the Lord, the disease is not incurable, the Saviour's precious blood is the universal solvent, and me, even me, it will effectually soften, till my heart melts as wax before the fire.
God not only wants our lives characterized with godly sincerity toward His word, He desires to mark our lives with godly sincerity in general. "We conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity…and more abundantly toward you." As the Apostle Paul and his missionary team evangelized throughout the known world, and as they ministered among the churches, they functioned in both arenas with simple, Christlike genuineness.
The world is filled with pretense and attention to outward appearances. Many within the Lord's church have yielded to temptation in these directions. The flesh of each of us is enticed to develop an exterior image that does not match what is going on inside. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day for such an attitude. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation" (Matthew 23:14). These men were actually taking advantage of helpless widows. Yet, they stood in public and made long prayers, hoping to be considered as godly in the eyes of the people.
Their hypocrisy was not only a matter of observable, contradictory behaviors, but the very core of their being was drastically different from what they appeared to be outwardly. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matthew 23:27-28).
Our Lord loves sincerity and hates hypocrisy. Still, it takes the working of God's grace to effect the sincerity that God desires. "We conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God." Human ingenuity cannot produce the genuineness that God wants to see in our lives. God's grace is the only sufficient resource to bring about this godly characteristic of life. God's grace works within our hearts, where true sincerity must be formed. "First cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also" (Matthew 23:26).
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
It is strange how little use we make of the spiritual blessings which God gives us, but it is stranger still how little use we make of God Himself. Though He is "our own God," we apply ourselves but little to Him, and ask but little of Him. How seldom do we ask counsel at the hands of the Lord! How often do we go about our business, without seeking His guidance! In our troubles how constantly do we strive to bear our burdens ourselves, instead of casting them upon the Lord, that He may sustain us! This is not because we may not, for the Lord seems to say, "I am thine, soul, come and make use of me as thou wilt; thou mayst freely come to my store, and the oftener the more welcome." It is our own fault if we make not free with the riches of our God. Then, since thou hast such a friend, and He invites thee, draw from Him daily. Never want whilst thou hast a God to go to; never fear or faint whilst thou hast God to help thee; go to thy treasure and take whatever thou needest—there is all that thou canst want. Learn the divine skill of making God all things to thee. He can supply thee with all, or, better still, He can be to thee instead of all. Let me urge thee, then, to make use of thy God. Make use of Him in prayer. Go to Him often, because He is thy God. O, wilt thou fail to use so great a privilege? Fly to Him, tell Him all thy wants. Use Him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded thee, use thy God as a "sun;" if some strong enemy has beset thee, find in Jehovah a "shield," for He is a sun and shield to His people. If thou hast lost thy way in the mazes of life, use Him as a "guide," for He will direct thee. Whatever thou art, and wherever thou art, remember God is just what thou wantest, and just where thou wantest, and that He can do all thou wantest.
Jesus Christ is no despotic claimant of divine right, but He is really and truly the Lord's anointed! "It hath pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell." God hath given to Him all power and all authority. As the Son of man, He is now head over all things to His church, and He reigns over heaven, and earth, and hell, with the keys of life and death at His girdle. Certain princes have delighted to call themselves kings by the popular will, and certainly our Lord Jesus Christ is such in His church. If it could be put to the vote whether He should be King in the church, every believing heart would crown Him. O that we could crown Him more gloriously than we do! We would count no expense to be wasted that could glorify Christ. Suffering would be pleasure, and loss would be gain, if thereby we could surround His brow with brighter crowns, and make Him more glorious in the eyes of men and angels. Yes, He shall reign. Long live the King! All hail to Thee, King Jesus! Go forth, ye virgin souls who love your Lord, bow at His feet, strew His way with the lilies of your love, and the roses of your gratitude: "Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all." Moreover, our Lord Jesus is King in Zion by right of conquest: He has taken and carried by storm the hearts of His people, and has slain their enemies who held them in cruel bondage. In the Red Sea of His own blood, our Redeemer has drowned the Pharaoh of our sins: shall He not be King in Jeshurun? He has delivered us from the iron yoke and heavy curse of the law: shall not the Liberator be crowned? We are His portion, whom He has taken out of the hand of the Amorite with His sword and with His bow: who shall snatch His conquest from His hand? All hail, King Jesus! we gladly own Thy gentle sway! Rule in our hearts for ever, Thou lovely Prince of Peace.
Godly sincerity concerning God's word is another characteristic with which the Lord desires to mark us by His grace. "For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity…we speak." The manner in which we relate to the word of God is a high priority to our Lord. In the early church, some were already relating wrongly to God's word: "peddling the word of God." They were using the Scriptures for self-gain.
The Bible warns us about the temptations people face concerning inappropriate uses of the word. "There are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain" (Titus 1:10-11). Titus was warned of many in the church world who were rebelling against the message of God's word. They were into the meaningless chatter and religious deception that came from the legalists, who loved to coerce people by means of the law. It was necessary that these men be silenced with the truth, because they were undermining the spiritual well-being of entire families. They were teaching things that were biblically unacceptable. Their motivation was the financial advantage they could acquire by peddling deceptions. So many today are tempted to go after the material gain that can be obtained from those who will embrace religious schemes.
Paul also warned about others who would be motivated by the power and influence that a cleverly distorted message might produce. "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves" (Acts 20:29-30). True disciples follow the Lord Jesus. Furthermore, a true disciple wants to assist others in their quest to follow Jesus. These deceivers wanted others to follow them. This threat would be two-fold. Ruthless unbelievers would "come in" from outside the church. Also, "from among yourselves," men with an adulterated message would arise inside the church.
Godly sincerity is to characterize our treatment of the Scriptures. We are to proclaim the truth. "But as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ." We are to proclaim the biblical message that is from God, and do it in genuineness, knowing our God is watching.
Monday, 26 April 2010
The fragrance of Christ is one of the great characteristics that God wants to build into our lives by His grace. "Now thanks be to God who… through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge." This spiritual aroma, which results from getting to know the Lord, blesses the heart of God. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ." The Father loves to see the life of His Son being expressed in and through our humanity, even though this requires our dying to self. "For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:11).
As we are getting to know the Lord more and more, our God is not the only one who is impacted. This spiritual aroma of Christ impacts every person we meet. "God…through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place." This includes both the saved and the unsaved. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."
This fragrance affects those who know the Lord: "the fragrance of Christ…among those who are being saved." For those who are enjoying life in Christ, that heavenly scent in our lives is "the aroma of life to life." Christ's fragrance in us draws them to seek abundant measures of that life which they have already entered.
This spiritual scent also influences those who do not yet know our Lord: "the fragrance of Christ…among those who are perishing." To them it is "the aroma of death to death." They are dead in their sins, and this aroma makes them more aware of their deadness, more aware of their need for Christ.
When this fragrance is emanating from our lives, we are not the cause. God is the active agent, working in and through us to bring forth this heavenly scent. "Now thanks be to God who…through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge." This work of God's grace is available to us every day we live and every place we go: "the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."
In addition to the characteristic of triumphant living, God also wants to develop in our lives the fragrance of Christ. "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge."
Just as there are physical fragrances that can be noticed by our physical senses, there are also spiritual fragrances that can impact us spiritually. If a woman generously applies perfume to herself, others will certainly notice the fragrance of that perfume. If a person consistently presses on to know the Lord, others will definitely be impacted by the "fragrance of His knowledge." This is described as the "fragrance of Christ." This is that spiritual aroma that emanates from the lives of those who are getting to know the Lord. It is a validating reality that the Lord Jesus Christ is dwelling in their lives and is being evidenced through their lives.
As we are getting to know the Lord more and more, this spiritual aroma of Christ blesses even God Himself. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ." Yes, God is the first one who savors this Christlike fragrance.
Our ministry and testimony is always primarily unto the Lord. We who believe in Jesus Christ are to be "finding out what is acceptable to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:10). We are not here on earth to please ourselves. "Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10). We are here to please our God. "Brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God" (1 Thessalonians 4:1).
What ultimately pleases our heavenly Father is His beloved Son. When the Father looked down from heaven at the baptism of His Son, He exclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). When our Father looks down upon our lives today, He wants to enjoy the fragrance of His Son emanating forth from our lives. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ."
Sovereign Grace Missionary Baptist Church
1217 Dillon Texarkana, Texas 75501
Elder Randy Johnson, Pastor Bro. Ronnie Henderson, Song Director
"Where The Truths Of God’s Word Are Still Taught"
You Were Asked To Pray For:
All of Our Military, Their Family’s & All the Civilian Workers in The Middle East, Zee Mink Fuller and Family, Her son’s Bryan Armstrong and Hunter Hackie, Daughter Shannon, and Brother Philip & Sondra Thornsberry, Virgil & Alice Hoskins, Grandchildren, and his daughters Liz Janis and Debbie Gray, Alecia Clements, Bryndon Thomas, Frank & Dawana Reigel, Andrew Preston, Helen Maggard, Renee Jackson, Larry Mollette, Larry Mollette II & Family, Kirby Mollette, Kerry Pennington, Kim Butler, Danny & Nita Mollette, Verna Mae Allen, Wendell Henderson, Judy Dunn, Joshua Kidd, Matthew Kidd, Kevin Henderson, Ronnie Henderson Jr., Vickie Sims, Debbie and Morgan Farmer, Jim Stagner, Bro. & Mrs. Hammond, Don & Neil Hammond, Charles Hammond, Eric Hammond, Archie & Barbara Griffin & son Daniel, Bro. & Sister Bob Keller, Wanda Fowler, Kathy Rosinbaum, Brenda Galusha and Jewel, Mary Ramsey, Donna Johnson, Fay Johnson, Luann Reynolds, Bro. & Sis. Curtis Pugh, Timothy and Nathan Fails, Jacob Ramsey, Jim & Linda Meier, Brother David & Sister Anne Shortt, Brother Manuel Seymour & Family, Doris Hammock, Letha Langford, Brother & Sister Kelley Hinson and Kelley Lee, Billy and Jo Hobbs, Jerry Hughes, Sister Nita Bookout and her Niece, Roger Bookout, Pastor G. L. Burr, Melody Carr, Betty, Janie Capps, Scott and Gina Sillivan, Katie Norton, An unnamed child, Imajo Tracy, Mike Hux, and Bro. Sergey Mochalov and the Churches in Russia.
A Thought From Pastor Johnson:
Every Knee shall one day bow to The Lord Jesus Christ
As I drive down the road I see many vehicles with many different types of bumper stickers and I must admit most religious bumper stickers are truly hard to look at. One that comes to mind is the one with a child kneeling at a cross and the words read “every knee shall bow”. Well the statement is so very true, but the image is wrong, every knee will one day bow to the man Christ Jesus but not on the cross but rather at the Great White Throne Judgment. Folk’s the cross is worthless, it is true our Saviour died on a cross but the cross is not to be an image of worship; it is cursed because of its involvement in the crucifixion. The cross is what God calls a false graven image and don’t the Ten Commandments tell us not to worship any graven images? In fact I believe it is the second of ten, the first commandment tells that God will not honor any other gods and the second says “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” Exodus 20:4. We are not to have “…any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath…” which would include images of angels, Jesus, heaven, hell, demons, Satan, and yes even the cross. The cross is not our Saviour, it is not Divine, it will not save your soul from eternal damnation, and no, man will not bow to the cross, they will bow to Jesus Christ the Saviour of mankind, the Eternal God and He is not on the cross. A cross of any kind is a false graven image; yes even the one on your church building if they have one. This is true also of pictures of Jesus; they also are false graven images because there are no true pictures of Jesus. There are no pictures of the Lord’s last supper, or etc. Some may ask “what are we to use to make our point about Jesus Christ”? Well I will tell you the same as I would tell these church that have the readable signs in front of their church buildings and put up all of these ignorant saying, how about scripture? What is wrong with simply using scripture on the bumper stickers, or on the signs in front of the church buildings? Why must there be picture’s involved? So you may ask “what makes them false graven images”? Well, they cause you to further break God’s commandment “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” Exodus 20:5.
Here we see that one day every knee shall bow before the man Christ Jesus in whose hand is put all judgment, of the saved and of the lost. Two separate judgments, with this one happening at the great white throne. Christians have already bowed to the Saviour and will for all eternity, but the lost have yet to do this but will someday. This includes every soul that has ever lived on this earth that was not saved. When they stand before the Lord Jesus Christ recognizing Him for the power, authority, and dignity He is due they will recognize His Majesty and as God, they will recognize His power over them, and they will recognize His authority over them when He cast them into eternal destruction for ever. This will not (like the tribulation period) be a time for grace and mercy but a time for condemnation. They failed to worship the Lord Jesus Christ here on this earth, but at this time they will worship Him as God, only to His pleasure. All of those that mock His blessed name, refuse His majesty, and refuse Him as Saviour will one day admit that He is. EVERY ONE!
But Now The Tune Is Changed:
Conversion turns the bent of the affections. These all run in a new channel. Christ is now his hope. This is his prize. Here his eye is—here his heart. He is content to cast all overboard, as the merchant in the storm about to perish—so that he may but keep this jewel.
The first of his desires is not after gold—but grace. He hungers for it, he seeks it as silver, he digs for it as for hidden treasure. He had rather be gracious than great. He had rather be the holiest man on earth than the most learned, the most famous, the most prosperous. While carnal, he said, 'O if I were but in great esteem, rolling in wealth, and swimming in pleasure—then I would be a happy man!' But now the tune is changed. 'Oh!' says the convert, 'if I had but my corruptions subdued, if I had such a measure of grace, and fellowship with God—though I were poor and despised, I would not care, I would account myself a blessed man!'
Reader, is this the language of your soul?
Condition Of Blessing:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it," Mal. 3:10
Many read and plead this promise without noticing the condition upon which the blessing is promised. We cannot expect Heaven to be opened or blessing poured out unless we pay our dues unto the Lord our God and to His cause. There would be no lack of funds for holy purposes if all professing Christians paid their fair share.
Many are poor because they rob God. Many churches, also, miss the visitations of the Spirit because they starve their ministers. If there is no temporal meat for God's servants, we need not wonder if their ministry has but little food in it for our souls. When missions pine for means, and the work of the Lord is hindered by an empty treasury, how can we look for a large amount of soul-prosperity?
Come, come! What have I given of late? Have I been mean to my God? Have I stinted my Saviour? This will never do. Let me give my Lord Jesus His tithe by helping the poor, and aiding His work, and then I shall prove His power to bless me on a large scale.
By Charles Spurgeon from his “Faith’s Checkbook”
Saturday, 24 April 2010
When considering the triumphant Christian life, we may wrongly think that victory depends upon getting out of impossible situations. Actually, we are already "more than conquerors" even while we are in the midst of the impossibilities.
For us to be ultimately defeated, we would have to be separated from Christ's love for us. We would have to be cut off from the loving care of our victorious Lord. Can any foe or any situation accomplish that? "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" This question is answered in verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
No spiritual foe can enforce such a separation between God and His redeemed children. Neither can any circumstance of impossibility separate us from our loving God. Verses 35 and 36 list some of the impossibilities that make us feel as though we are being defeated. "Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 'For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'" When troubles and pressures arise, when we are attacked or are lacking resources, we may be tempted to think that victory is no longer available. When our experience is like a lamb being led to the slaughter, we may think that victory could never be ours. Nevertheless, the truth is that "in all these things we are more than conquerors."
Yes, right in the middle of the impossibilities of life, we are already more than a spiritual victor. Actually, we have already been made participants in a mighty, eternal, abundant victory, the victory that Christ accomplished on the cross and in the resurrection. "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Our victorious position in any situation is not circumstantial. It is relational. We are united by faith to the victorious one, the Lord Jesus Christ! "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Friday, 23 April 2010
From the Pastor: Dr. M. J. Seymour, Sr.
It is written: “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us. And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:8-11)
When the blind lead the blind, they both fall in to the ditch. For thousands of years the spiritually dead have groped in the abyss of darkness, attempting to lead others into the Light, where they personally have never been, and into that freedom which they have never experienced. The results have been devastating for both the leaders and the followers, because neither has ever found rest for his soul. He has never escaped the bonds of death or the confines of eternal condemnation. Only the eyes of the Holy Spirit can lead the blind into the Light, where the shackles of sin are broken off and liberty unto life everlasting is bestowed through the grace of the Lord Jesus.
The Apostle Peter was saying that God put no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, but the fact of the matter is God has never offered more than one way of salvation. From Adam and Eve until the end of time, salvation has been and shall always be secured by purifying hearts of men by faith through grace, “plus nothing and minus nothing.” There is no other authorized process. A mere drop of another thought would utterly pollute grace and dilute faith; the consequence would be no salvation at all. What was true for patriarchs, the prophets, the Apostles, and the saints of old is equally true for this generation; heaven wrought salvation is by faith, and this gift of faith is a gift all of His sovereign grace. God put no difference between them and us; salvation is by GRACE, GRACE, ALL OF GRACE!
All things considered, I am thrilled that the way of salvation has never been changed. It would indeed be perplexing to figure out what way of salvation was being used this day or this hour. God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore; and so is His great salvation ever by faith through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will be saved, there is no difference; it must be by faith through His grace.
We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Take your sins to Christ's cross, for the old man can only be crucified there: we are crucified with Him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus. To give an illustration—you want to overcome an angry temper, how do you go to work? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted Him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way? It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, "Lord, I trust Thee to deliver me from it." This is the only way to give it a death-blow. Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil so long as you please, but if it be your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell Him, "Lord, I have trusted Thee, and Thy name is Jesus, for Thou dost save Thy people from their sins; Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!" Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears—the whole of them put together—are worth nothing apart from Him. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints either. You must be conquerors through Him who hath loved you, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane.
Why should our exalted Lord appear in His wounds in glory? The wounds of Jesus are His glories, His jewels, His sacred ornaments. To the eye of the believer, Jesus is passing fair because He is "white and ruddy" white with innocence, and ruddy with His own blood. We see Him as the lily of matchless purity, and as the rose crimsoned with His own gore. Christ is lovely upon Olivet and Tabor, and by the sea, but oh! there never was such a matchless Christ as He that did hang upon the cross. There we beheld all His beauties in perfection, all His attributes developed, all His love drawn out, all His character expressed. Beloved, the wounds of Jesus are far more fair in our eyes than all the splendour and pomp of kings. The thorny crown is more than an imperial diadem. It is true that He bears not now the sceptre of reed, but there was a glory in it that never flashed from sceptre of gold. Jesus wears the appearance of a slain Lamb as His court dress in which He wooed our souls, and redeemed them by His complete atonement. Nor are these only the ornaments of Christ: they are the trophies of His love and of His victory. He has divided the spoil with the strong. He has redeemed for Himself a great multitude whom no man can number, and these scars are the memorials of the fight. Ah! if Christ thus loves to retain the thought of His sufferings for His people, how precious should his wounds be to us!
"Behold how every wound of His
A precious balm distils,
Which heals the scars that sin had made,
And cures all mortal ills.
"Those wounds are mouths that preach His grace;
The ensigns of His love;
The seals of our expected bliss
In paradise above."