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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Profiting From the Word # 13

3. An individual is profited from the Scriptures when he or she becomes more engrossed with Christ's perfections.  It is a sense of need which first drives the soul to Christ, but it is the realization of His excellency which draws us to run after Him. The more real Christ becomes to us, the more are attracted by His perfections. At the beginning He is viewed only as a Saviour, but as the Holy Spirit continues to take of the things of Christ and show them unto us we discover that upon His head are "many crowns" (Revelation 19:12). Of old it was said, "His name shall be called 'Wonderful'" (Isaiah 9:6). His name signifies all that He is as made known in Scripture. "Wonderful" are His offices, in their number, variety, sufficiency. He is the Friend that sticks closer than a brother, to help in every time of need. He is the great High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is the Advocate with the Father, who pleads our cause when satan accuses us.

Our great need is to be occupied with Christ, to sit at His feet as Mary did, and receive out of His fullness. Our chief delight should be to consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession" (Hebrews 3:1): to contemplate the various relations which He sustains to us, to meditate upon the many promises He has given, to dwell upon His wondrous and changeless love for us. As we do this, we shall so delight ourselves in the Lord that the siren voices of this world will lose all their charm for us. Ah, my reader, do you know anything about this in your own actual experience? Is Christ the chief among ten thousand to your soul? Has He won your heart? Is it you chief joy to get alone  and be occupied with Him? If not, your Bible reading and study has profited you little indeed.

4. An individual is profited from the Scriptures as Christ becomes more precious to us. Christ is precious in the esteem of all true believers (1 Peter 2:7). They count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord (Phil. 3:8). His name to them is as ointment poured forth (Song of Solomon 1:3). As the glory of God that appeared in the wondrous beauty of the temple, and in the wisdom and splendor of Solomon, drew worshipers to him from the uttermost parts of the earth, so the unparalleled excellency of Christ which was prefigured thereby does more powerfully attract the hearts of His people. The devil knows this full well, therefore is he ceaselessly engaged in blinding the minds of them that believe not, by placing between them and Christ the allurements of this world. God permits him to assail the believer also, but it is written, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Resist him by definite and earnest prayer, entreating the Spirit to draw out your affections to Christ.

The more we are engaged with Christ's perfections, the more we love and adore Him. It is lack of experimental acquaintance with Him that makes our hearts so cold towards Him. But where real and daily fellowship is cultivated the Christian will be able to say with the Psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee" (Psalm 73:25). This it is which is the very essence and distinguishing nature of true Christianity. Legalistic zealots may be busily engaged in tithing mint and anise and cummin, they may encompass sea and land to make one proselyte, and yet have no love for God in Christ. It is the heart that God looks at: "My son, give me thine heart" (Proverbs 23:26). is His demand. The more precious Christ is to us, the more delight does He have in us.

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 14)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Seeking A Closeness To God

"Draw near to God" (James 4:8)

The sincerely humble will want a closer relationship with God.

The expression "draw near" was originally associated with the priesthood in Israel. Under the regulations of the Old Covenant, the priests represented the people before God. Prior to coming near God's presence, the priest had to be washed physically and be ceremonially clean. That meant he had to bathe, wear the proper garments, and offer sacrifices that made his own heart right with God. Then he could draw near to God on the people's behalf.

Eventually the Hebrew word for drawing near meant anyone who approached the presence of God in worship and prayer. The term became synonymous even of those whose hearts were far from God when they "worshiped" Him. For example, Isaiah 29:13 says, "This people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote."

But the sincere believer, one who has truly humbled himself before God, knows that God wants worshipers to draw near with true and pure hearts: "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:22). This applies the language of the Old Testament ceremonial system to us and says that as the priests prepared themselves to be near God, we also should prepare ourselves spiritually to worship Him.

So far, we have seen that the humble person will come to God for salvation, submit to Him as Lord, and take a stand against the devil. But the truly humble person will see that his relationship to God is inherently more than those actions. If you claim to be one of the humble, one who has a saving relationship to the Father through the Son, be sure you can also agree with the psalmist Aspah: "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works" (Psalm 73:28).

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His grace and mercy in salvation that make it possible for us to have a close relationship with Him.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 4. What sort of rest is the writer referring to? How does it compare to the rest that the people of Israel sought during Joshua's time?

~John MacArthur~

Profiting From the Word # 12

"They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick" (Matthew 9:12). It is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit, by His application of the Scriptures, to convict sinners of their desperate condition, to bring them to see that their state is such that "from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness" in them, but "wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores" (Isaiah 1:6). As the Spirit convicts us of our sins - our ingratitude to God, our murmuring against Him, our wanderings from Him - as he presses upon us the claims of God - His right to our love, obedience and adoration - all all our sad failures to render Him His due, then we are made to recognize that Christ is our only hope, and that, except we flee to Him for refuge, the righteous wrath of God will most certainly fall upon us.

Nor is this to be limited to the initial experience of conversion. The more the Spirit deepens His work of grace in the regenerated soul, the more that individual is made conscious of his pollution, his sinfulness and his vileness; and the more does he discover his need of and learn to value that precious, precious blood which cleanses from all sin. The Spirit is here to glorify Christ, and one chief way in which He does so is by opening wider and wider the eyes of those for whom He died, to see how suited Christ is fur such wretched, foul, hell-deserving creatures. Yes, the more we are truly profiting from our reading of the Scriptures, the more do we feel our need of Him.

2. An individual is profited from the Scriptures when they make Christ more real to him. The great mass of the Israelite nation saw nothing more than the outward shell in the rites and ceremonies which God gave them, but a regenerated remnant were privileged to behold Christ Himself. "Abraham rejoiced to see my day" said Christ (John 8:56). Moses esteemed "the reproach of Christ" greater riches than the treasures of Egypt (Hebrews 11:26). So it is in Christendom! To the  multitudes Christ is but a name, or at most a historical character. They have no personal dealings with Him, enjoy no spiritual communion with Him. Should they hear one speak in rapture of His excellency they regard him as an enthusiast or a fanatic. To them Christ is unreal, vague, intangible. But with the real Christian it is far otherwise. The language of his heart is,
I have heard the voice of Jesus,
Tell me not of aught beside;
I have seen the face of Jesus,
And my soul is satisfied.

Yet such a blissful sight is not the consistent and unvarying experience of the saints. Just as clouds come in between the sun and the earth, so failures in our walk interrupt our communion with Christ and serve to hide from us the light of His countenance. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21). Yes, it is the one who by grace is treading the path of obedience to whom the Lord Jesus grants manifestations of Himself. And the more frequent and prolonged these manifestations are, the more real He becomes to the soul, until we are able to say with Job, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee" (42:5). Thus the more Christ is becoming a living reality to me, the more I am profiting from the Word.

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 13)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Creation and Restoration # 1

The manner in which the Holy Scriptures open is worthy of their Divine Author. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and that is all that is here recorded concerning the original creation. Nothing is said which enables us to fix the date of their creation; nothing is revealed concerning their appearance or inhabitants; nothing is told us about the modus operandi of their Divine Architect. We do not know whether whether the primitive heaven and earth were created a few thousands, or many millions of years ago. We are not informed as to whether they were called into existence in a moment of time, or whether the process of their formation covered an interval of long ages. The bare fact is stated: "In the beginning God created," and nothing is added to gratify the curious. The open sentence of Holy Writ is not to be philosophized about, but is presented as a statement of truth to be received with unquestioning faith.

"In the beginning God created." No argument is entered into to prove the existence of God: instead, His existence is affirmed as a fact to be believed. And yet, sufficient is expressed in this one brief sentence to expose every fallacy which man has invented concerning the Deity. This opening sentence of the Bible repudiates atheism, for it postulates the existence of God. It refutes materialism, for it distinguishes between God and His material creation. it abolishes pantheism, for it predicates that which necessitates a personal God. "In the beginning God created," tells us that He was Himself before the beginning, and hence, Eternal. "In the beginning God created," and that informs us He is a personal being,  for an abstraction, an impersonal "first cause", could not create. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and that argues He is infinite and omnipotent, for no finite being possesses the power to create, and none but an Omnipotent Being could create the heaven and the earth.

"In the beginning God." This is the foundation truth of all real theology. God is the great Originator and Initiator. It is the ignoring of this which is the basic error in all human schemes. False systems of theology and philosophy begin with man, and seek to work up to God. But this is a turning of things upside down. We must, in all our thinking, begin with God, and work down to man. Again, this is true of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures.  The Bible is couched in human language, it is addressed to human ears, it was written by human hands, but, in the beginning God - "holy men of God spake, moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). This is also true of salvation. In Eden, Adam sinned, and brought in death; but his maker was not taken by surprise: in the beginning God had provided for just such an emergency, for, "the Lamb" was "foreordained before the foundation of the world" (1 Peter 1:20). This is also true of the new creation. The soul that is saved, repents, believes, and serves the Lord; but, in the beginning, God chose us in Christ (Ephesians 1:4), and now, "we love Him, because He first loved us."

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and we cannot but believe that these creations were worthy of Himself, that they reflected the perfections of their Maker, that they were exceedingly fair in their pristine beauty. Certainly, the earth, on the morning of its creation, must have been vastly different from its chaotic state as described in Genesis 1:2. "And the earth was with form and void" must refer to a condition of the earth much later than what is before us in the preceding verse. It is now over a hundred years ago since Dr. Chalmers called attention to the fact that the word "was" in Genesis 1:2 should be translated "became", and that between the first two verses of Genesis 1 some terrible catastrophe must have intervened. That this catastrophe my have been connected with the apostasy of satan, seems more than likely; that some catastrophe did occur is certain from Isaiah 45:18, which expressly declares that the earth was not created in the condition in which Genesis 1:2 views it.

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 2)

Profiting From the Word # 11

The Scriptures and Christ

The order we follow in this series is that of experience. It is not until man is made thoroughly displeased with himself that he begins to aspire after God. The fallen creature, deluded by satan, is self-satisfied till his sin-blinded eyes are opened to get a sight of himself. The Holy Spirit first works in us a sense of our ignorance, vanity, poverty and depravity, before He brings us to perceive and acknowledge that in God alone are to be found true wisdom, real blessedness, perfect goodness and unspotted righteousness. We must be made conscious of our imperfections ere we can really appreciate the Divine perfections. As the perfections of God are contemplated, man becomes still more aware of the infinite distance that separates him from the most High. As he learn something of God's pressing claims upon him, and his own utter inability to meet them, he is prepared to hear and welcome the good news that Another has fully met those claims for all who are led to believe in Him.

"Search the Scriptures," said the Lord Jesus, and then He added, "for ... they are they which testify of Him as the only Saviour for perishing sinners, as the only Mediator between God and men, as the only One through whom the Father can be approached. They testify to the wondrous perfections of His person, the varied glories of His offices, the sufficiency of His finished work. Apart from the Scriptures, He cannot be known. In them alone He is revealed. When the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto His people, in thus making them known to the soul He uses naught but what is written. While it is true that Christ is the key to the Scriptures, it is equally true that only in the Scriptures do we have an opening up of the "mystery of Christ" (Ephesians 3:4).

Now the measure in which we profit from our reading and study of the Scriptures may be ascertained by the extent to which Christ is becoming more real and more precious unto our hearts. To "grow in grace" is defined as "and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18): the second clause there is not something in addition to the first, but is an explanation of it. To "know" Christ (Phil. 3:10) was the supreme longing and aim of the apostle Paul, a longing and an aim to which he subordinated all other interests. But mark it well, the "knowledge" which is spoken of in these verses is not intellectual but spiritual,  not theoretical but experimental, not general but personal.  It is a supernatural knowledge, which is imparted to the regenerate heart by the operations of the Holy Spirit, as He interprets and applies to us the Scriptures concerning Him.

Now the knowledge of Christ which the blessed Spirit imparts to the believer through the Scriptures profits him in different ways, according to his varying frames, circumstances and needs. Concerning the bread which God gave to the children of Israel during their wilderness wanderings, it is recorded that "some gathered more, some less" (Exodus 16:17). The same is true in our apprehension of Him of whom the manna was a type. There is that in the wondrous person of Christ which is exactly suited to our every condition, every circumstance, every need, both for time and eternity; but we are slow to realize it, and slower still to act upon it. There is an inexhaustible fullness in Christ (John 1:16) which is available for us to draw from, and the principle regulating the extent to which we become "strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1) is "According to your faith be it to you" (Matthew 9:29).

1. An individual is profited from the Scriptures when they reveal to him his need of Christ. Man in his natural estate deems himself self-sufficient. True, he has a dim perception that all is not quite right between himself and God, yet has he no difficulty in persuading himself that he is able to do that which will propitiate Him. That lies at the foundation of all man's religion, begun by Cain, in whose "way" (Jude 11) the multitudes still walk. Tell the devout religionist that 'they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8), and he is at once offended. Press upon him the fact that "all our righteousness's are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:4), and his hypocritical urbanity at once gives place to anger. So it was when Christ was on earth. The most religious people of all, the Jews, had no sense that they were "lost" and in dire need of an almighty Saviour.

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 12)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Genesis: Seed Plot of the Bible # 2

In Genesis we are shown the importance and value of prayer.  Abraham prayed unto God and Abimelech's life was spared (20:17).  Abraham's servant cries to the Lord that God would prosper his efforts to secure a wife for Isaac, and God answered his petition (chapter 24). Jacob, too, prays, and God hearkened.

In Genesis the saints rapture to heaven is vividly portrayed. Enoch, the man who walked with God, "was not," for God had translated him. He did not pass through the portals of death. He was suddenly removed from these scenes of sin and suffering and transported into the realm of glory without seeing death.

In Genesis the divine incarnation is first declared. The Coming One was to be supernaturally begotten. He was to enter this world as none other ever did. He was to be the Son of Man, and yet have no human father. The One who should bruise the serpent's head was to be the woman's "Seed." 

In Genesis the death and resurrection of the Saviour are strikingly foreshadowed. The ark, in which were preserved Noah and his family, were brought safely through the deluge of death on to the new earth. Isaac, the beloved son of Abraham, at the bidding of his father, is laid, unresistingly, on the altar, and from it Abraham "received him back as in a figure from the dead."

In Genesis we also learn of the Saviour's coming exaltation. This is strikingly typified in the history of Joseph - the most complete of all the personal types of Christ - who, after a period of humiliation and suffering was exalted to be the governor over all Egypt. Jacob, too, on his deathbed, also declares of Shiloh that "unto him shall the gathering of the peoples be" (49:10).

In Genesis the priesthood of Christ is anticipated. The Lord Jesus is a Priest not of the Aaronic system, but "after the order of Melchizedek." And it is in Genesis  that this mysterious character, who received tithes from and blessed Abraham, is brought before our view.

In Genesis the coming anitchrist is announced, announced as "the seed of the serpent" (3:15). He is seen, too, foreshadowed in the person and history of Nimrod, the rebel against the Lord, the man who headed the first great federation in open opposition to the Most High.

In Genesis we first read of God giving Palestine to Abraham and to his seed: "And the Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land" (12:7). And again, "For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever" (13:15).

In Genesis the wondrous future of Israel is made known. "And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered" (13:16). "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (22:18).

In Genesis the judgment of God on the wicked is solemnly exhibited. Cain confesses his punishment is greater than he can bear. The flood comes on the world of the ungodly and sweeps them all away. Fire and brimstone descend on Sodom and Gomorrah, till naught but their ashes remain. Lot's wife, for one act of disobedience, is turned into a pillar of salt.

What a marvelous proof is all this of the Divine Authorship! Who but the One who knows the end from the beginning, could have embodied, in germ form, what is afterwards expanded and amplified in the rest of the Bible? What unequivocal demonstration that there was One super, intending mind, directing the pens of all who wrote the later books of Holy Scripture! May the blessing of God rest upon us as we seek to enjoy some of the inexhaustible riches of this book of beginnings.

(more on the Book of Genesis coming)

Genesis: Seed Plot of the Bible # 1

Appropriately has Genesis been termed "the seed plot of the Bible," for in it we have, in germ form, almost all of the great doctrines which are afterwards fully developed in the books of Scripture which follow:

In Genesis God is revealed as the Creator-God, as the Covenant-God, as the Almighty-God, as well as "the Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth."

In Genesis we have the first hint of the Blessed Trinity, of a plurality of Persons in the Godhead - "Let us make man in our image" (1:26).

In Genesis man is exhibited. First as the creature of God's hands, then as a fallen and sinful being, and later as one who is brought back to God, finding grace n His sight (6:8), walking with God (6:9), made "the friend of God" (James 2:23).

In Genesis the wiles of satan are exposed. We "are not ignorant of his devices," for here the Holy Spirit has fully uncovered them. The realm in which are arch-enemy works is not the moral but the spiritual. He calls into question the Word of God, casts doubt on its integrity, denies its veracity.

In Genesis the truth of sovereign election is first exhibited. God singles out Abraham from an idolatrous people, and makes him the father of the chosen Nation. God passes by Ishmael and calls Isaac.

In Genesis the truth of salvation is typically displayed. Our fallen first parents are clothed by God Himself, clothed with skins: to procure those skins death had to come in, blood must be shed, the innocent was slain in the stead of the guilty. Only thus could man's shame be covered, and only thus could the sinner be fitted to stand before the thrice holy God.

In Genesis the truth of justification by faith is first made known: "And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness" (15:6). Abraham believed God: not Abraham obeyed God, or loved God, or served God; but Abraham believed God. And it was counted unto him for (not instead of, but unto) righteousness. Then, if righteousness was "counted" unto Abraham, he had none of his own. Believing God, righteousness was reckoned to Abraham's account.

In Genesis the believer's security is strikingly illustrated. The flood of Divine judgment descends on the earth, and swallows up all its guilty inhabitants. But Noah, who had found grace in the eyes of the Lord, was safely preserved in the ark, into which God had shut him.

In Genesis the truth of separation  is clearly inculcated. Enoch's lot was cast in days wherein evil abounded, but he lived apart from the world, walking with God. Abraham was called upon to separate himself from idolatrous  Chaldea, and to step out upon the promises of God. Lot is held up before us as a solemn example of the direful consequences of being unequally yoked with unbelievers, and of having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

In Genesis God's disciplinary chastisements  upon an erring believer are portrayed. Jacob is the standing example of what happens to a child of God who walks after the flesh, instead of after the Spirit. But in the end we are shown how Divine grace triumphs over human frailty.

(continued with # 2)

Profiting From the Word # 10

A fuller delight in God's perfections.  That in which a man most delights is his "god". The poor worldling seeks satisfaction in his pursuits, pleasures and possessions. Ignoring the Substance, he vainly pursues the shadows. But the Christian delights in the wondrous perfections of God. Really to own God as our God is not only to submit to His sceptre, but is to love Him more than the world, to value Him above everything and everyone else. It is to have with the Psalmist an experiential realization that "all my springs are in thee" (Psalm 87:7). The redeemed have not only received a joy from God such as this poor world cannot impart, but they "rejoice in God" (Romans 5:11); and of this the poor worldling knows nothing. The language of such is "the Lord is my portion" (Lam. 3:24).

Spiritual exercises are irksome to the flesh. But the real Christian says, "It is good for me to draw near to God" (Psalm 73:28). The carnal man has many cravings and ambitions; the regenerate soul declares, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord" (Psalm 27:4). And why? Because the true sentiment of his heart is, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and thee is none upon earth that I desire beside thee" (Psalm73:25). Ah, my reader, if your heart has not been drawn out to love and delight in God, then it is still dead toward Him.

The language of the saints is, "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation"
(Hab. 3:17, 18). Ah, that is a supernatural experience indeed! Yes, the Christian can rejoice when all his worldly possessions are taken from him (Heb. 10:34). When he lies in a dungeon with back bleeding, he can still sing praises to God (Acts 16:25). Thus, to the extent that you are being weaned from the empty pleasures of this world, are learning that there is no blessing outside of God, are discovering that He is the source and sum of all excellency, and your heart is being drawn out to Him, your mind stayed on Him, your soul finding its joy and satisfaction in Him, are you really profiting from the Scriptures.

6. A larger submission to God's providences. It is natural to murmur when things go wrong, it is supernatural to hold our peace (Lev. 10:3). It is natural to be disappointed when our plans miscarry, it is supernatural to bow to His appointments. It is natural to want our own way, it is supernatural to say, "Not my will, but thine be done." It is natural to rebel when a loved one is taken from us by death, it is supernatural to say from the heart, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). As God is truly made our portion, we learn to admire His wisdom, and to know that He does all things well. Thus the heart is kept in "perfect peace" as the mind is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Here, then, is another sure test: if your Bible study is teaching you that God's way is best, if it is causing you to submit unrepiningly to all His dispensations, if you are enabled to give thanks for all things (Eps. 5:20), then you are profiting indeed.

7. A more fervent praise for God's goodness.  Praise is the outflow of a heart which finds its satisfaction in God. The language of such a one is, "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1). What abundant cause have God's people for praising Him! Loved with an everlasting love, made sons and heirs, all things working together for their good, their every need supplied, an eternity of bliss assured them, their harps of gladness ought never to be silent. Nor will they be while they enjoy fellowship with Him who is "altogether lovely." The more we are increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10), the more shall we adore Him. But it is only as the Word dwells in us richly that we are filled with spiritual songs (Col. 3:16) and make melody in our hearts to the Lord. The more our souls are drawn out in true worship, the more we are found thanking and praising our great God, the clearer evidence we give that our study of His Word is profiting us.

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 11 - "The Scriptures and Christ"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Look Again and Think

"Do not worry about your life ..." (Matthew 6:25)

A warning which needs to be repeated is that "the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches," and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22). We are never free from the recurring waves of this invasion. If the front-line of attack is not about clothes and food, it may be about money or the lack of money; or friends or lack of friends; or the line may be drawn over difficult circumstances. It is one steady invasion, and these things will come in like a flood, unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.

"I say to you, do not worry about your life ... " Our Lord says to be careful only about one thing - our relationship to Him. But our commonsense shouts loudly and says, "That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, and I must consider what I am going to eat and drink." Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing yourself to think that He says this while not understanding your circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things to the point where they become the primary concern of our life. Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relationship to God first.

"Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (6:34). How much trouble has begun to threaten you today? What kind of mean little demons have been looking into your life and saying, "What are your plans for next month - or next summer?" Jesus tells us not to worry about any of these things. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the "much more" of your heavenly Father (6:30)

~Oswald Chambers~

Profiting From the Word # 9

3. A deeper reverence for God's commandments. Sin entered this world by Adam's breaking of God's law, and all his fallen children are begotten in his depraved likeness (Genesis5:3). "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). Sin is a species of high treason, spiritual anarchy. It is the repudiation of God's dominion, the setting aside of His authority, rebellion against His will. Sin is having our own way. Now salvation is deliverance from sin, from its guilt, from its power as well as its penalty. The same Spirit who convicts of the need of God's grace also convicts of the need of God's government to rule us. God's promise to His covenant people is, "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God" (Hebrews 8:10).

A spirit of obedience is communicated to every regenerated soul. Said Christ, "If a man love me, he will keep my words" (John 14:23). There is the test: "Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3). None of us keeps them perfectly, yet every real Christian both desires and strives to do so. He says with Paul, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22). He says with the Psalmist, "I have chosen the way of truth," "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever" (Psalm 119:30, 111). And teaching which lowers God's authority, which ignores His commands, which affirms that the Christian s, in no sense, under the law, is of the devil, no matter how oily-mouthed his human instrument may be. Christ has redeemed His people from the curse of the Law and not from the command of it; He has saved them from the wrath of God, but not from His government. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart" never has been and never will be repealed.

1 Corinthians 9:21m expressly affirms that we are under the law of Christ. "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself so to walk, even as he walked" (1 John 2:6). And how did Christ walk? In perfect obedience to God; in complete subjection to His law, honoring and obeying it in thought and word and deed. He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). And our love for Him is expressed, not in pleasing emotions or beautiful words, but in keeping His commandments (John 14:15), and the commandments of Christ are the commandments of God. The earnest prayer of the real Christian is, "Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight" (Psalm 119:35). Just so far as our reading and study of Scripture is, by the Spirit's application, begetting within us a greater love and a deeper respect for and a more punctual keeping of God's commandments, are we really profiting thereby.

4. A firmer trust in God's sufficiency.  Whatsoever or whomsoever a man most trusts in his "god". Some trust in health, others in wealth; some in self, others in their friends. That which characterizes all the unregenerate is that they lean upon an arm of flesh. But the election of grace have their hearts drawn from all creature supports, to rest upon the living God. God's people are the children of faith. The language of their hearts is, "O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed" (Psalm 25:2). and again, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15). They rely upon God to provide, protect and bless them. They look to an unseen resource, count upon an invisible God, lean upon a hidden arm.

True, there are times when their faith wavers, but though they fall they are not utterly cast down.Though it be not their uniform experience, yet Psalm 56:11 expresses the general state of their souls: "In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me". Their earnest prayer is, "Lord, increase our faith." Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Thus, as the Scriptures are pondered, their promises received in the mind, faith is strengthened, confidence in God increased, assurance deepened. By this we may discover whether or not we are profiting from our study of the Bible.

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 10)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Justification and Sanctification

"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Let me show you the essential difference between justification and sanctification. Look at it like this: Justification is an act of God the Father; sanctification is essentially the work of God the Holy Spirit. There is this division of work in the blessed Persons of the Trinity. It is the Father who declares righteous and just. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies.

Second, justification takes place outside us, as in a tribunal; sanctification takes place within us, in our inner life. I stand in the court when I am justified, and the judge pronounces that I am free; it is a statement about me, outside me. But sanctification is something that is worked and takes place within me.

Third, justification removes the guilt of sin; sanctification removes the pollution of sin and renews us in the image of God.

And therefore, last, by definition justification is a once-and-for-all act. it is never to be repeated because it cannot be repeated and never needs to be repeated. It is not a process but a declaration that we are pronounced just once and forever, by God. Sanctification, on the other hand, is a continuous process. We continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord until we are perfect beyond the veil.

So there is nothing quite so erroneous and confusing and unscriptural as to mistake the essential difference between justification and sanctification. That is the whole trouble with Roman Catholic teaching and all Catholic piety. If you confuse sanctification with justification, you will be doubtful as to whether you are justified or not. If you bring in your state and condition and sin that you may commit, then you are querying your justification. But if you realize that justification is forensic, external, and declaratory, you know that you are justified whatever may be true about you.

A Thought to Ponder:

Justification removes the guilt of sin; sanctification removes the pollution of sin.

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~

A Vital Union

"And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16)

We are joined to Christ in a union with Him by means of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. It is a vital union because our spiritual life is drawn directly from the Lord Jesus Christ. We are sustained by Him through the indwelling Holy Spirit. There is nothing more important in the Christian life than to realize that our union with Christ is a vital one. It is a living thing. It is not something mechanical or conceptual; it is not a thought or an idea; it is really a vital, spiritual union.

"And of his fullness have all we received, an grace for grace" (John 1:16). That says it all. That is our relationship to Him, says John; something of His fullness an of His life is passing into us, and we are receiving it.

The trouble with all of us is that we do not realize the truth of these things. But this is the truth given by the Lord Himself. It is His prayer for His people that they may know the meaning of this vital, spiritual relationship. And He does not hesitate to compare it with the relationship that subsists between the Father and Himself: As the Father is in Him, so He is in us, and we are in Him. But consider the statement of this truth that is made by the apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." There is nothing greater than that, and what it does teach is that this is a life-giving relationship; it is a union of life. "Not I, but Christ liveth in me." And then Paul goes on to say, "And the life which I now life in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~

Articles on the True Vine

For those who may be interested in very in-depth articles on: The True Vine - an enlightening, very worthy and readable series on how we are to follow Christ, I have a series entitled "The True Vine" on one of my other blog sites:

I pray that you will read the articles in this series (there are eighteen short articles so far) and become more enlightened as to how we are to follow Christ. He is the Vine, we are the branches, and God is the Husbandman who plants, waters and cares for His "garden". It is a lovely series.

God bless you all!

The Shepherd's Disciple

Look Again and Consecrate

"If God so clothes the grass of the field ..., will He not much more clothe you ...?" (Matthew 6:30)

A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us because we will not be simple. How can we maintain the simplicity of Jesus so that we may understand Him? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life will become amazingly simple. Jesus asks us to consider that "if God so clothes the grass of the field ..." how much more will He clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him? Every time we lose ground in our fellowship with God, it is because we have disrespectfully thought that we knew better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed "the cares of this world" to enter in (Matthew 13:22), while forgetting the "much more" of our heavenly Father.

"Look at the birds of the air ..." (6:26). Their function is to obey the instincts God placed within them, and God watches over them. Jesus said that if you have the right relationship with Him and will obey His Spirit His Spirit within you, then God will care for your "feathers" too.

"Consider the lilies of the field ... " (6:28). They grow where they are planted. Many refuse to grow where God plants us. Therefore, we don't take root anywhere. Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the "much more" He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him? Consecration is the act of continually separating myself from everything except that which God has appointed me to do. It is not a one-time experience but n ongoing process. Am I continually separating myself and looking to God every day of my life?

~Oswald Chambers~

Profiting From the Word # 8

God's claims are now recognized, His rightful dominion over us is acknowledged, He is owned as God. The converted yield themselves "unto God, as those that are alive from the dead," and their members as "instruments of righteousness unto God" (Romans 6:13). This is the demand which He makes upon us: to be our God, to be served as such by us; for us to be and do, absolutely and without reserve, whatsoever He demands, surrendering ourselves fully to Him (Luke 14:26, 27, 33). It belongs to God as God to legislate, prescribe, determine for us; it belongs to us as a bounden duty to be ruled, governed, disposed  of by Him at His pleasure.

To own God as our God is to give Him the throne of our hearts. It is to say in the language of Isaiah 26:13, "O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us; but by thee only  will we make mention of thy name." It is to declare with the Psalmist, not hypocritically, but sincerely, "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee" ( Psalm 63:1). Now it is in proportion as this becomes our actual experience that we profit from the Scriptures. It is in them, and in them alone, that the claims of god are revealed and enforced, and just so far as we are obtaining clearer and fuller views of God's rights, and are yielding ourselves thereto, are we really being blessed.

2. A greater fear of God's majesty.  "Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him" (Psalm 33:8). God is so high above us that the thought of His majesty should make us tremble. His power is so great that the realization of it ought to terrify us. He is so ineffably holy, and His abhorrence of sin is so infinite, that the very thought of wrongdoing ought to fill us with horror. "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be said in reverence of all them that are about him" (Psalm 89:7).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10), and 'wisdom' is a right use of 'knowledge'. Just so far as God is truly known will He be duly feared. Of the wicked it is written, "There is no fear  of God before their eyes' (Romans 3:18). They have no realization of His majesty, no concern for His authority, no respect for His commandments, no alarm that He shall judge them. But concerning His covenant people God has promised, "I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me" (Jeremiah 32:40). Therefore do they tremble at His Word (Isaiah 66:5), and walk softly before Him.

"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil" (Proverbs 8:13). And again, "By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil" (Proverbs 16:6). The man who lives in the fear of God is conscious that 'the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good' (Proverbs 15:3), therefore is he conscientious about his private conduct as well as his public. The one who is deterred from committing certain sins because the eyes of men are upon him, and who hesitates not to commit them when alone, is destitute of the fear of God. So too the man who moderates his language when Christians are about him, but does not so at other times, is devoid of God's fear. He has no awe-inspiring consciousness that God sees and hears him at all times. The truly regenerate soul is afraid of disobeying and defying God. Nor does he want to. No, his real and deepest desire is to please Him in all things, at all times, and in all places. His earnest prayer is 'Unite my heart to fear thy name' (Psalm 86:11).

Now even the saint has to be taught the fear of God (Psalm 34:11). And here, as ever, it is through the Scriptures that this teaching is given us (Proverbs 2:5). It is through them we learn that God's eye is ever upon us, marking our actions, weighing our motives. As the Holy Spirit applies the Scriptures to our hearts, we give increasing heed to that command, "Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long" (Proverbs 23:17). Thus, just so far as we are awed by God's awful majesty, are made conscious that "Thou God seest me" (Genesis 16:13), and work out our salvation with "fear and trembling" (Phil. 2;12), are we truly profited from our reading and study of the Bible.

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 9)

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Bible: More Than a Volume of Facts

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

Charles G. Finney believed that Bible teaching without moral application could be worse than no teaching at all and could result in positive injury to the hearers. I used to feel that this might be an extreme position, but afters of observation have come around to it, or to a view almost identical with it.

There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Theology is a set of facts concerning God, man and the world. These facts may be and often are set forth as values in themselves; and there lies the snare for both the teacher and for the hearer.

The Bible is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon these facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God as set forth in its pages.

Actually, no man is better for knowing that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. The devil knows that, and so did Ahab and Judas Iscariot. No man is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption. In hell there are millions who know that.

Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action - an action from our heart, an inward action of the soul.

~A. W. Tozer~

Profiting From the Word # 7

As it was in the Jewish world, so it is in Christendom. Multitudes who 'believe' in the Holy Trinity are completely devoid of a supernatural or spiritual knowledge of God. How are we so sure of this? In this way: the character of the fruit reveals the character of the tree that bears it; the nature of the waters makes known the nature of the fountain from which they flow. A supernatural knowledge of God produces a supernatural experience, and a supernatural experience results in supernatural fruit. That is to say, God actually dwelling in the heart revolutionizes, transforms the life. There is that brought forth which mere nature cannot produce, yea, that which is directly contrary thereto. And this is noticeable absent from the lives of perhaps ninety-five out of every hundred now professing to be God's children. There is nothing in the life of the average professing Christian except what can be accounted for on natural grounds. But in the genuine child of God it is far otherwise. He or she is, in truth, a miracle of grace; he is a 'new believer in Christ Jesus' (2 Corinthians 5:17). Their experience, their life, is supernatural.

The supernatural experience of the Christian is seen in his or her attitude toward God.  Having within him/her the life of God, having been made a 'partaker of the Divine nature' (2 Peter 1:4), he or she necessarily loves God, loves the things of God, loves what God loves; and, hates what God hates. This supernatural experience is wrought in them by the Spirit of God, and that by means of the Word of God. The Spirit never works apart from the Word. By that Word He quickens. By that Word He produces conviction of sin. By that Word He sanctifies. By that Word He gives assurance. By that Word He makes the saint to grow. Thus each one of us may ascertain the extent to which we are profiting from our reading and studying of the Scriptures by the effects which they are, through the Spirit's application of them, producing in us. Let us enter now into details. He who is truly and spiritually profiting from the Scriptures has:

1. A clearer recognition of God's claims.  The great controversy between the Creator and the believer has been whether He or they should be God, whether His wisdom or theirs should be the guiding principle of their actions, whether His will or theirs should be supreme. That which brought about the fall of Lucifer was his resentment at being in subjection to  to his Maker: "Thou has said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne about the stars of God ... I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:13, 14). The lie  of the serpent which lured our first parents to their destruction was, "Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). And ever since then the heart-sentiment of the natural man has been, 'Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?" (Job 21:14, 15). 'Our lips are our own; who is Lord over us/ (Psalm 12:4). 'We are lords; we will come no more unto thee' (Jeremiah 2:31).

Sin has alienated man from God (Ephesians 4:18). His heart is averse to Him, his will is oppose to His, his mind is at enmity against Him. But, salvation means being restored to God;  "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Legally that has already been done; experimentally it is in the process of accomplishment. Salvation means being reconciled to God; and that involves and includes sin's dominion over us being broken, enmity within us being slain, the heart being won to God.  This is what true conversion is; it is a tearing down of every idol, a renouncing of the empty vanities of a cheating world, and taking God for our portion, our ruler, our all in all. Of the Corinthians we read that they 'first gave their own selves unto the Lord' (2 Corinthians 8:5). The desire and determination of those truly converted is that they 'should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again' (2 Corinthians 5:15).

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 8)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Basics of Faith

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." ( Hebrews 11:6)

Until we discover what it means to have faith, we cannot begin to walk by faith. Faith in God is more than just believing He exists; it is living with confidence that He will fulfill all His promises and bring salvation to us. We must discover whether we have placed our faith in God or if we only are wishing His Word is true. As our faith is tested, the true spiritual state of our hearts is revealed.

A situation is presented before us where we can act within our own strength, doing whatever we can to manipulate the outcome, or we can trust in God's strength, taking our hands off the problem and allowing Him to enter the scene.

As we begin to walk by faith, there will be times when we stumble and fall. However, falling and getting up is part of learning how to walk. Once we get up and dust ourselves off, we take our next step with more wisdom, more strength, more faith.

Walking by faith is a lifestyle, a way in which we conduct ourselves. As God molds and shapes us more into His image, He desires for us to live a life of faith, a life that relies upon Him for everything we need. Paul wrote, "For we walk by faith, not by sight ... Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him" (2 Corinthians 5:7, 9).

Lord, guide me to that place where I go beyond just believing You are real but, rather, rely on Your wisdom for every detail of my life. Amen

~Charles Stanley~

Am I Looking to God?

"Look to Me, and be saved ..." (Isaiah 45:22)

Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says, "Look to Me, and be saved ... "  The greatest difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and His blessings are what make it so difficult. Troubles almost always make us look to God, but His blessings tend to divert our attention elsewhere. The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ. "Look to Me..."

Many of us have a mental picture of what a Christian should be, and looking at this image in other Christian's lives becomes a hindrance to our focusing on God. This is not salvation - it is not simple enough. He says, in effect, "Look to Me and you are saved," not "You will be saved someday." We will find what we are looking for if we will concentrate on Him. We get distracted from God and irritable with Him while He continues to say to us, "Look to Me, and be saved ..." Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God.

Wake yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter how many things seem to be pressing in on you, be determined to push them aside and look to Him. "Look to Me ..." Salvation is your the moment you look.

`Oswald Chambers~

Profiting From the Word # 6

The Scriptures and God

The Holy Scriptures are wholly supernatural. They are a Divine revelation. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16). It is not merely that God elevated men's minds, but that He directed their thoughts. It is not simply that He communicated concepts to them, but that He dictated the very words they used. "The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). Any human "theory" which denies their verbal inspiration is a device of satan's, an attack upon God's truth. The Divine image is stamped upon every page. Writings so holy, so heavenly, so awe-producing, could not have been created by man.

The Scriptures make known a supernatural God. That may be a very trite remark, yet today it needs making. The "god" which is believed in by many professing Christians is becoming more and more paganized. The prominent place which "sport" now has in the nation's life, the excessive love of pleasure, the abolition of home-life, the brazen immodesty of women, are so many symptoms of the same disease which brought about the downfall and death of the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. And the twentieth-century idea of God which is entertained by the majority of people in lands nominally "Christian" is rapidly approximating to the character ascribed to the gods of the ancients. In sharp contrast therewith, the God of Holy Scriptures is clothed with such perfection and vested with such attributes that no mere human intellect could possibly have invented them.

God can only be known by means of a supernatural revelation of Himself. Apart from the Scriptures, even a theoretical acquaintance with Him is impossible. It still holds true that "the world by wisdom knew not God" (1 Corinthians 1:21). Where the Scriptures are ignored, God is "the unknown God" (Acts 17:23). But something more than the Scriptures is required before the soul can know God, know Him in a real, personal, vital way. This seems to be recognized by few today. The prevailing practice assumes that a knowledge of God can be obtained through studying the Word, in the same way as a knowledge of chemistry may be secured by mastering its textbooks. An intellectual knowledge of God maybe, not so a spiritual one. A supernatural God can only be known supernaturally (i.e. known in a manner above  that which mere nature can acquire), by a supernatural revelation of Himself to the heart. "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). The one who has been favored with this supernatural experience has learned that only "in thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).

God can only be known through a supernatural faculty. Christ mad this clear when He said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). The unregenerate have no spiritual knowledge of God. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). Water, of itself, never rises above its own level. So the natural man is incapable of perceiving that which transcends mere nature. "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God" (john 17:3). Eternal life must be imparted before the 'true God' can be known. Plainly is this affirmed in 1 John 5:20, "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true." Yes, an "understanding," a spiritual understanding, by a new creation, must be given before God can be known in a spiritual way.

A supernatural knowledge of God produces a supernatural experience, and this is something to which multitudes of church members are total strangers. Most of the "religion" of the day is but a touching up of "old Adam." It is merely a garnishing of sepulchres full of corruption. It is an outward "form". Even where there is a sound creed, only too often it is a dead orthodoxy. Nor should this be wondered at. It has ever been thus. It was so when Christ was here upon earth. The Jews were very orthodox. At that time they were free from idolatry. The temple stood at Jerusalem, the Law was expounded, Jehovah was worshiped. And yet Christ said to them, "He that sent me is true, whom ye know not." (John 7:28). "Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should hae known my Father also" (John 8:19). "It is my Father that honoreth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God. Yet ye have not known Him" (John 8:54, 55). And mark it well, this is said to a people who had the Scriptures, searched them diligently, and venerated them as God's Word! They were well acquainted with God theoretically, but a spiritual knowledge of Him they had not.

A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 7)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Convert's First Prayer

My Father,
I could never have sought my happiness in Thy love, unless Thou had first loved me.
Thy Spirit has encouraged me by grace to seek Thee, has made known to me Thy reconciliation in Jesus, has taught me to believe it, has helped me to take Thee for my God and portion.

May He grant me to grow in the knowledge and experience of Thy love, and walk in it all the way to glory.

Blessed for ever be Thy Fatherly affection, which close me to be one of Thy children by faith in Jesus: I thank Thee for giving me the desire to live as such.

In Jesus, my brother, I have my new birth, every restraining power, every renewing grace.

It is by Thy Spirit I call Thee Father, believe in Thee, love Thee; Strengthen me inwardly for every purpose of my Christian life; Let the Spirit continually reveal to me my interest in Christ, and open to me the riches of Thy love in Him; May He abide in me that I may know my union with Jesus, and enter into constant fellowship with Him;

By Thy Spirit may I daily live to Thee, rejoice in Thy love, find it the same to me as to Thy Son, and become rooted and grounded in it as a house on rock;

I know but little - increase my knowledge of Thy love in Jesus, keep me pressing forward for clearer discoveries of it, so that I may find its eternal fullness;

Magnify Thy love to me according to its greatness, and not according to my deserts or prayers, and whatever increase Thou give, let it draw out greater love to Thee. Amen

~A Puritan Prayer

Profiting From the Word # 5

It is not sufficient merely to assent to the veracity of the Scriptures, they require to be received into the affections. It is unspeakably solemn to note that the Holy Spirit specifies as the ground of apostasy, "because the love of the truth they received not" (2 Thess. 2:10). 'If it lie only in the tongue or in the mind, only to make it a matter of talk and speculation, it will soon be gone. The seed which lies on the surface, the fowls in the air will pick up. Therefore hide it deeply; let it get from the ear into the mind, from the mind into the heart; let it soak in further and further. It is only when it hath a prevailing sovereignty in the heart that we receive it in the love of it - when it is dearer than our dearest lust, then it will stick to us' (Thomas Manton).

Nothing else will preserve from the infections of this world, deliver from the temptations of satan, and be so effective a preserving against sin, as the Word of God received into the affections, "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide" (Psalm 37:31). As long as the truth is active within us, stirring the conscience, and is really loved by us, we shall be kept from failing. When Joseph was tempted by Potiphar's wife, he said, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9). The Word was in his heart, and therefore had prevailing power over his lusts. The ineffable holiness, the mighty power of God, who is able both to save and to destroy. None of us knows when he may be tempted: therefore it is necessary to be prepared against it. "Who among you will give ear ... and hear for the time to come?" (Isaiah 42:23). Yes, we are to anticipate the future and be fortified against it, by storing up the Word in our hearts for coming emergencies.

7. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word causes him to practice the opposite of sin.  "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). God says, "Thou shalt," sin says "I will not"; God says "Thou shalt not," sin says "I will." Thus, sin is rebellion against God, the determination to have my own way (Isaiah 53:6). Therefore sin is a species of anarchy in the spiritual realm, and may be likened unto the waving of the red flag in the face of God. Now the opposite of sinning against God is submission to Him, as the opposite of lawlessness is subjection to the law.  Thus, to practice the opposition of sin is to walk in the path of obedience. This is another chief reason why the Scriptures were given: to make known the path which is pleasing to God for us. They are profitable not only for reproof and correction, but also for instruction in righteousness.

Here, then, is another important rule by which we should frequently test ourselves. Are my thoughts being formed, my heart controlled, and my ways and works regulated by God's Word? This is what the Lord requires: "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22). This is how gratitude to and affection for Christ are to be expressed: "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). For this, Divine assistance is needed. David prayed, "Make me to go in the path of thy commandments" (Psalm 119:35). "We need not only light to know our way, but a heart to walk in it. Direction is necessary because of the blindness of our minds; and the effectual impulsion's of grace are necessary because of the weakness of our hearts. It will not answer our duty to have a naked notion of truths, unless we embrace and pursue them" (Manton). Note it is "the path of thy commandments"; not a self-chosen course, but a definitely marked one; not a public road, but a private path.

Let both writer and reader honestly and diligently measure himself, as in the presence of God, by the seven things here enumerated. Has your study of the Bible made you more humble, or more proud - proud of the knowledge you have acquired? Has it raised you in the esteem of your fellow men, or has it led you to take a lower place before God? Has it produced in you a deeper abhorrence and loathing of self, or has it made you more complacent? Has it caused those you mingle with, or perhaps teach, to say, I wish I had your knowledge of the Bible; or does it cause you to pray, Lord give me the faith, the grace, the holiness Thou hast granted my friend, or teacher? Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear unto all" (1 Timothy 6:15).

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 6 - "The Scriptures and God")

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Our Love to Christ

"Jesus Christ, whom not having seen, ye love: in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8)

What a wonderful description  of the Christian life! People who had never seen Christ yet truly loved Him and believed on Him, so that their hearts were filled with unspeakable joy. Such is the life of Christians who really love their Lord.

We have seen that the chief attribute of the Father and of the Son is love to each other and love to man. This love should be the chief characteristic of the true Christian. The love of God and of Christ is shed abroad in his heart and becomes a well of living water, flowing forth as love to the Lord Jesus.

This love is not merely a blessed feeling. It is an active principle. It takes pleasure in doing the will of the beloved Lord. It is joy to keep His commandments. The love of Christ to us was shown by His death on the Cross; our love must be exhibited in unselfish, self-sacrificing lives. Oh that we understood this: In the Christian life love to Christ is everything!

Great love will beget great faith: faith in His love to us, faith in the powerful revelations of His love in our hearts, faith that He through His love will work all His good pleasure in us.

The wings of faith and love will lift us up to heaven, and we shall be filled with joy unspeakable. The joy of the Christian is an indispensable witness to the world of the power of Christ to change hearts and fill them with heavenly love and gladness.

O ye lovers of the Lord Jesus, take time daily, in the inner chamber of the heart,  with Him anew to drink in His heavenly love. It will make you strong in faith, and your joy will be full.

~Andrew Murray~

Profiting From the Word # 4

5. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word causes a forsaking of sin.  "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2 Timothy 2:19). The more the Word is read with the definite object of discovering what is pleasing and what is displeasing to the Lord, the more will His will become known; and if our hearts are right with Him the more will our ways be conformed thereto. There will be a "walking in the truth" (3 John 4). At the close of 2 Corinthians 6 some precious promises are given to those who separate themselves from unbelievers. Observe, there, the application which the Holy Spirit makes of them. He does not say, "Having therefore these promises, be comforted and become complacent thereby," but "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (2 Corinthians 7:1).

"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3). Here is another important rule by which we should frequently test ourselves: Is the reading and studying of God's Word producing a purging of my ways? Of old the question was asked, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" and the Divine answer is "by taking heed thereto according to thy word." Yes, not simply by reading, believing, or memorizing it, but by the personal application of the Word to our "way." It is by "taking heed" to such exhortations as "Flee fornication" (1 Corinthians 6:18), "Flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:14). "Flee these things" - a covetous love for money (1 Timothy 6:11), "Flee also youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22), that the Christian is brought into practical separation from evil; for sin has not only to be confessed but "forsaken" (Proverbs 28:13).

6. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word fortifies against sin.  The Holy Scriptures are given to us not only for the purpose of revealing our innate sinfulness, and the many, many ways in which we "come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), but also to teach us how to obtain deliverance from sin, how to be kept from displeasing God. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against  thee" (Psalm 119:11). This is what each of us is required to do: "Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart" (Job 22:22). It is particularly the commandments, the warnings, the exhortations, we need to make our own and to treasure; to memorize them, meditate upon them, pray over them, and put them into practice. The only effective way of keeping a plot of ground from being overgrown by weeds is to sow good seed therein: "Overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21). So the more Christ's Word dwells in us richly, the less room will there be for the exercise of sin in our hearts and lives.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 5)

Monday, May 21, 2012


"Obey My voice ... and I will be your God" (Jeremiah 11:4)

God gave this command to Israel when He gave them the law. But Israel had no power to keep the law. So God gave them a "new covenant" to enable His people t live a life of obedience. We read (Jeremiah 31;33), "I will write My law in their hearts" (Jeremiah 32:40), "I will put My fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from Me." (Ezekiel 36:27), "I will cause you to walk in My statutes." These wonderful promises gave the assurance that obedience would be their delight.

Let us listen to what the Lord Jesus says about obedience (John 14:21-23). "He that keepeth My commandments, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and We will make our abode with him." And in John 15:10, "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love." These words are an inexhaustible treasure. Faith can firmly trust Christ to enable us to live such a life of love and of obedience.

No father can train his children unless they are obedient. No teacher can teach a child who continues to disobey him. No general can lead his soldiers to victory without prompt obedience. Pray God to imprint this lesson on your heart: the life of faith is a life of obedience. As Christ lived in obedience to the Father, so we too need obedience for a life in the love of God.

Alas, the thought is too common: "I cannot be obedient, it is quite impossible." Yes, impossible to you, but not to God. He has promised to cause you to walk in His statutes." Pray and meditate on these words, and the Holy Spirit will enlighten your eyes so that you will have power to do God's will.

Dear Father, let my fellowship with Thee and with the Lord Jesus Christ have as its one aim and object - a life of quiet, determined, unquestioning obedience. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Profiting From the Word # 3

The Scriptures and Sin - continued

4. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word produces in him a deeper hatred of sin. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil" (Psalm 97:10). "We cannot love God without hating that which He hates. We are not only to avoid evil, and refuse to continue in it, but we must be up in arms against it, and bear towards it a hearty indignation" (C. H. Spurgeon). One of the surest tests to apply to the professed conversion is the heart's attitude towards sin. Where the principle of holiness has been planted, there will necessarily be a loathing of all that is unholy. If our hatred of evil be genuine, we are thankful when the Word reproves even the evil which we suspected not.

This was the experience of David: "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:104). Observe well, it is not merely "I abstain from," but "I hate"; not only "some" or "many", but "every false way"; and not only "every evil", but "every false way." Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:128). But it is the very opposite with the wicked: "Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee" (Psalm 50:17). In Proverbs 8:13, we read "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil," and this godly fear comes through reading the Word: (see Deuteronomy 17:18, 19). Rightly has it been said, "Till sin be hated, it cannot be mortified; you will never cry against it, as the Jews did against Christ, Crucify it, Crucify it, till sin be really abhorred as He was" (Edward Reyner).

5. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word causes a forsaking of sin.  "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" ( 2 Timothy 2:19). The more the Word is read with the definite object of discovering what is pleasing and what is displeasing to the Lord, the more will His will become known; and if our hearts are right with Him the more will our ways be conformed thereto. There will be a "walking in the truth" (3 John 4). At the close of 2 Corinthians 6 some precious promises are given to those who separate themselves from unbelievers. Observe, there, the application which the Holy Spirit makes of them. He does not say, "Having therefore these promises, be comforted and become complacent thereby," but "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all the filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (2 Corinthians 7:1).

~ A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 4

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Indwelling Holy One

"You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold Your manna from their mouths, and You gave them water for their thirst." (Nehemiah 9:20)

Here in Nehemiah both intelligence and goodness are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. There are those who say that the personality of the Holy Spirit is in the New Testament but not in the Old Testament, but this is hardly the case. This verse also clearly indicates the doctrine of the Trinity which some claim as not being in the Old Testament. In actual fact the doctrine of the Trinity is found hundreds of time in the Old Testament. "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30). Here grief  is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit is not a mere impersonal influence or power that dwells in your heart and mine. No, He is a Person who is holy and intensely sensitive against sin, a Person who recoils from sin in what we would call its slightest forms as the holiest person on earth never recoiled from sin in its grossest and most repulsive forms. And He sees whatever we do, hears whatever we say, sees our every thought; and if there is anything impure, unholy, immodest, uncharitable, untrue, false, censorious, bitter, or unChristlike in any way, in word or thought or act, He is grieved beyond expression. This is a wonderful thought, and it is to me the mightiest incentive that I know for a careful walk, a walk that will please this indwelling Holy One in every act and word and thought.

Bearing this thought of the Holy Spirit in our mind will help us to solve all the questions and gray areas that perplex our day. If there is any question about whether an action we are about to take is right or wrong, we need only to consider that if we go, the Holy Spirit will go, too, for He dwells in our heart. Are we going to a place or thinking a thought that is congenial to the Holy Spirit? If not, let us stop it immediately.

Father God, I marvel at the infinite personalities of Your Son and of Your Spirit. But if these words that I understand with my mind are going to make a difference in my life, they must penetrate my inner heart. Breathe Your life into me and change  me, Lord. Amen

~R. A. Torrey~

Profiting From the Word # 2

The Scriptures and Sin - # 2

Such conviction that brings home to the heart the awful ravages which sin has wrought in the human constitution is not to be restricted to the initial experience which immediately precedes conversion. Each time that God blesses His Word to my heart, I am made to feel how far, far short I come of the standard which He has set before me, namely, "Be ye holy in all manner of conversation" (1 Peter 1:15). Here, then, is the first test to apply: as I read of the sad failures of different ones in Scripture, does it make me realize how sadly like unto them I am? As I read of the blessed and perfect life of Christ, does it make me recognize how terribly unlike Him I am?

2. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word makes him sorrow over sin.  Of the stony-ground hearer it is said that he "heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself" (Matthew 13:20-21); but of those who were convicted under the preaching of Peter it is recorded that they were pricked in their heart" (Acts 2:37). The same contrast exists today. many will listen to a flowery sermon, or an address on "dispensational truth" that displays oratorical powers or exhibits the intellectual skill of the speaker, but which, usually, contains no searching application to the conscience. It is received with approbation, but no one is humbled before God or brought into a closer walk with Him through it. But let a faithful servant of the Lord (who by grace is not seeking to acquire a reputation  for his "brilliance") bring the teaching of Scripture to bear upon character and conduct, exposing the sad failures of even the best of God's people, and, though the crowd will despise the messenger, the truly regenerate will  be thankful for the message which causes them to mourn before God and cry, "Oh, wretched man that I am." So it is in the private reading of the Word. It is when the Holy Spirit applies it in such a way that I am made to see and feel my inward corruptions that I am really blessed.

What a word is that in Jeremiah 31:19: "After that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded."! Do you, my reader, know anything of such an experience? Does your study of the Word produce a broken heart and lead to a humbling of yourself before God? Does it convict you of your sins in such a way that you are brought to daily repentance before Him? The paschal lamb had to be eaten with "bitter herbs" (Exodus 12:8); so as we really feed on the Word, the Holy Spirit makes it "bitter" to us before  it becomes sweet to our taste. Note the order in Revelation 10:9, "And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, 'Give me the little book.' And he said unto me, 'Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.' This is ever the experimental order: there must e mourning before comfort (Matthew 5:4); humbling before exalting (1 Peter 5:6).

3. An individual is spiritually profited when the Word leads to confession of sin.  The Scriptures are profitable for 'reproof' (2 Timothy 3:16), and an honest soul will acknowledge its faults. Of the carnal it is said, "For every one that loveth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved" (John 3:20). "God be merciful to me a sinner" is the cry of a renewed heart, and every time we are quickened by the Word there is a fresh revealing to us and a fresh owning by us of our transgressions before God. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). There can be no spiritual prosperity or fruitfulness while we conceal within our breasts our guilty secrets; only as they are freely owned before God, and that in detail, shall we enjoy His mercy.

 There is no real peace for the conscience and no rest for the heart while we bury the burden of unconfessed sin. Relief comes when it is fully unbosomed to God. Mark well the experience of David, "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture is turned into the drought of summer" (Psalm 32:3-4). Is this figurative but forcible language unintelligible unto you? Or does your own spiritual history explain it? There is many a verse of Scripture which no commentary save that of personal experience can satisfactory interpret. Blessed indeed is the immediate sequel here: "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin" (Psalm 32:5).

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 3)