Thursday, January 25, 2007


The Long Road Home a funeral meditation

When the children of Israel journeyed toward the sun-rising, they followed the course which they believed would lead them into a land of wider liberty, larger opportunity, richer experience, and nobler service. These were to be entered into at the gates of the sunrise. Alas! for all of us these gates are never reached. Such is life. The pursuit of the ideal is always a long, long trail. Life is made up of many things, but among these there are at least three con­spicuous features which characterize the life of all.
The first is discontent. A well-known French writer referring to himself says: ' There is something in me that has never been satisfied.' This is the experience of the race. We are not content. We were not intended to be content. Contentment means stagna­tion. For two thousand years China has been con­tented. They believed that their ancestors exhausted all the possibilities of knowledge. They worshipped the dead that cannot speak, and the past that cannot inspire. Until the introduction of Western civiliza­tion they suffered from arrested development. Discontent has been the greatest impulse to civiliza­tion known to man. When we were babies, we were given a rattle, and for a time were contented. Then we outgrew the rattle and were given a drum or a doll, and for a time were again contented. Then we were given a profession or a trade, and still we were dis­contented. Ruskin says: 'No picture satisfies us which does not let us out into the horizon.' And no condition of life satisfies us that does not let us into the infinite, that does not open to us a perspective of endless progress.
Our idealism is our greatest asset. It is a ceaseless impulse pushing us up and on. In the long drama of man's history there is no .more illuminative feature than his vivid and painful consciousness of the wide distance between his aspirations and his achievements. Our discontent will not let us rest in ignoble ease. What other creature is capable of such aspiration? Nowhere is the utility of our discontent more clearly seen than in human progress.
what is progress?
When we speak of progress we do not mean the national acquisition of territory or the per­sonal acquisition of wealth. W. J. Dawson reminds us that progress is deliverance. When a people is delivered from ignorance by free education, that is progress. When a nation is delivered from the tyranny of autocratic kings, that is progress. When the working classes are delivered from the pressure of unjust factory laws, that is progress. When fair wages and honest work characterize masters and men in the realm of industry, that is progress. When Christian churches are delivered from unholy jealousies, and Christian ministers are delivered from professional airs and arrogant assumptions, that is progress. Progress is the fruit of a noble discontent. Russell Lowell puts the truth finely in these lines—
Life is a leaf of paper white,
On which each one of us must write
Our line or two, and then conies night.
If thou have time for but one line,
Be that sublime.
Not failure, but low aim is crime.

Let us journey toward the sunrising, even though we never get there. The culture of the soul is the ideal life. The spiritual life is the essential nature, which is capable of endless growth.
Unless above himself he can
Erect himself, how mean a thing is man !

It is the consciousness of our relation to something higher, and of our duty to strive after its attainment, which gives us pre-eminence above all that God has created.
This text suggests another fact in the experience of life, namely disappointment. The bitterness of human life is not its brevity so much as its disappointments. Think of the hopes you have never realized. Think of the plans you have never completed. Think of the tasks you have never finished. What prophet ever fully realized all his dreams? What philanthropist ever achieved all his reforms? What statesman ever
made concrete all his ideals? These men journeyed toward the sunrising, but they never got there. All the same we need to be careful as to what we call failure and what we call success. As a matter of actual fact, failure is a purely relative term. It belongs to the near-sighted view. It is entirely a question of aspect. Think of what we owe to the X-ray. It has revolutionized the science of surgery. It has made the invisible visible, the obscure conspicuous. I have placed two thick ledgers on the back of a friend, and with the aid of this penetrating light have been able to look through them and watch the beating of his heart. And yet the X-ray is in one sense a failure.
It is a ray that was turned out of its direct path through meeting with an obstacle. Obviously its failure is only relative. Much the same may be said of copper. Geologists affirm that copper was on its way to become gold, but got shunted on to the wrong track. Even though it missed becoming gold, it has served a highly useful purpose in the industrial and commercial world. Its failure therefore was only relative.
Take an army about to attack. The commanding officer maps out his scheme of battle. He places one regiment in one place, another in another. His plan, however, includes the disposition of both. In order to withdraw the attention of the enemy from the vital point of attack, he commands one regiment to capture a certain position. He knows, and the men know, that death is inevitable. But up they charge and are badly shaken. Another gallant rush, and again they leave half their number]'either dying1 or dead on the battle nearer their objective, until they are finally wiped out. But while the attention of the enemy has been occupied in this attack, progress has been made on another part of the field and victory has been achieved. Did the first regiment fail? It looks like failure to lie there dying or dead. But when the story of the battle comes to be written, history will assign the place of honour to those who made victory possible for their comrades by accepting defeat for themselves.
Human life is full of illustrations such as this. The fact is that success and failure are so intermingled that one has difficulty in disentangling them and determining which is which. Even though our failure may seem absolute, it is only a coward to whom defeat is final. There is always a future for the courageous man, however ignominiously he may appear to have failed. One historian reminds us that Augustine had the courage and the faith to forget the things that are behind with all their stain and shame and build his life anew. Galileo had the courage to persist in the declaration of scientific truth, though his fellows counted him a heretic and a blasphemer. Disraeli had the pluck to declare himself fitted for the highest office of State, even when a scornful House of Commons thought him an impecunious adventurer. Sorrow, struggle, and failure marked all these lives, and yet they overcame. Their message to all those who 'journey toward the sunrising' is
Stand out in the sunlight of promise, forgetting
Whatever the past holds of sorrow or wrong.
We waste half our strength in a useless regretting,
We sit by old tombs in the dark far too long.
Have you missed in your aim ?
Well, the mark is still shining.
Did you faint in the race ?
Well, take breath for the next.
Did the clouds drive you back ?
Well, see yonder their lining.
Were you tempted and fell ?
Let it serve for a text.
As each day hurries by let it join the procession
Of skeleton shapes that march down to the past,
While you take your place in the line of progression,
With your feet on the path and your face to the blast.

Success is not in the acquisition of money. Success is in the acquisition of character. Character is that solitary possession which defies the havoc of time and the insolence of death and remains the one imperishable thing when all else has passed like The baseless fabric of a dream. Those who live in the region of easy success never come to much. They match themselves against small things. Some lower the jump to the level of their powers. These we speak of as successful. Others Hitch their waggon to a star.
And these the world calls dreamers and failures, It is in attempting great things we come to our best, though we may seem to have failed. The only worthy goal of a true man is that which is at the gates of the sunrise.
This is the truth Browning emphasises when he affirms—
A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for ?
This text also suggests that a third conspicuous feature in the life of all men is its direction. No one can state in terms of distance how far it is from East to West. That which separates 'them is not a matter of distance; it is a matter of direction. And life in its final analysis is not a question of the distance we have travelled towards our goal, but rather the direction in which we have travelled. Achievement may be desirable, but it is not imperative. Achievement does not create character; it only reveals it.
Not on the vulgar mass
Called work must sentence pass.
Things done, that took the eye and had their price,
O'er which, from level stand,
The low world laid its hand,
Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice.
But all the world's coarse thumb
And finger failed to plumb,
So passed in making up the main account—
All instincts immature,
All purposes unsure,
That weighed not at his work, yet swelled the man's account.
Thoughts hardly to be packed Into a narrow act,
Fancies that broke thro' language and escaped—
All I could never be,
All men ignored in me,
That I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped.

God knows our life's purpose, its plan, its direction. The grievous fall we experienced, regrettable as it was, does not necessarily indicate the main direction and purpose of one's life. The Mississippi river flows south for hundreds of miles and empties itself into the sea. There are elbows in it, however, where for a short distance it runs north. But north is not its main direction, and we do not judge its course by these bends. Life is often like such a river. Peter, for instance, once denied his Lord with curses; yet how unfair it would be to this devoted disciple to regard that solitary incident as a sure indication of his attitude to Christ. David also grievously sinned. No one who respects moral standards could condone his act. Nevertheless, it would be manifestly unjust to judge the direction of his life by this bend in the river. For a brief moment David was 'possessed.' Let him cool down. Wait until he comes to himself, then you can determine the direction of his river. Should he laugh at his frenzy, should he treat lightly the moral wreckage his act has produced, you will then know how to classify him. But should he bend his head with grief and shame, should he pass from an agony of remorse and repentance to a sincere endeavour to repair his wrong, you will know whether he is journeying 'towards Sodom' or 'towards the sunrising.' One has only to read David's history from beginning to end, to note his struggles, to observe his penitence, to recall his restitution, in order to discover how much better a man he was than some of his actions suggest. True, the river of his life had an ugly elbow, but its main direction was toward the light of the sunrise.
Admirers of the poet Burns maintain that the late R. L. Stevenson's essay on Burns was most unjustifiable, because he failed in that essay to consider the poet's life as a whole. Stevenson simply dwelt on the black spots of it. Our judgements of each other are usually based on a superficial knowledge of each other. The disciples at one time wanted to separate the wheat from the tares, but Jesus said: 'No; let both grow together till the harvest.' Their powers of discrimination were not fine enough.
Who made the heart 'tis He alone
Decidedly can try us.
He knows each cord, each different tone,
Each spring, each various bias.
For at the balance we are mute,
We never can adjust it,
What's done we partly may compute,
We know not what's resisted.

the vital question
The vital question for us is, in which direction are the main currents of our life flowing? What do I most desire? What is the one thing I deem best worth having? What is my ultimate hope or fear? We are missing the best unless our face is toward the sunrise. We must have the sun; no life can function at its highest without the sun. The sun ripens the corn. The sun paints the flowers. The sun creates the morning. The sun sustains the day. Jesus is the Sun. He is the Light of the World. If any man follow Him, he shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The mission of Jesus was to turn the world's face to the light. He called men to repentance. And what is repentance, but a change of direction? Which way then are we facing? That is the supreme question
for each one of us.
One ship goes East, another West,
With the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sail and not the gale
That determines the way they go.
Like the ships of the sea are the ways of men,
As they journey along thro' life,
'Tis the set of the soul that determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Col 2:6-10 When Walking, Don’t Be Taken Captive

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, • walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ. 9 For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

A metaphor is an expression comparing one thought to another by using a verbal picture. mixed metaphors 1. You’re pulling my leg over my eyes.
2. You’ve hit the nail on the jackpot. 3. We’ll be there until the fat lady freezes over.4. Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s too late to close the barn door. 5. He’s not the brightest bulb in the knife drawer. 6. It’s as easy as falling off a piece of cake. 7. Keep your ear to the grindstone. 8. You’ve buttered your bread, now lie in it.
9. It’s like looking for a needle in a hayride. 10. Don’t count your chickens until you see the whites of their eyes.”
A mixed metaphor is a verbal faux paux, but when the Apostle Paul wrote about the Christian life, he intentionally introduced a variety of powerful metaphors. See if you can pick up the different metaphors he employs.
A Walker:
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, • walk in Him,
Walking the Christian life..Bunyn’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
These days in Christianity there are many by-paths that can lead you off the pilgrim road in Pilgrims Progress there was Bypath Meadow
A soldier in danger of being captured.
CH Spurgeon in a sermon "Christ Lifted Up." It is found in volume 3 (p. 260) of the New Park Street Pulpit.
“Again, the theme of a minister should be Christ Jesus in opposition to mere doctrine. Some of my good brethren are always preaching doctrine. Well, they are right in so doing, but I would not care myself to have as the characteristic of my preaching, doctrine only. I would rather have it said, "He dwelt much upon the person of Christ, and seemed best pleased when he began to tell about the atonement and the sacrifice. He was not ashamed of the doctrines, he was not afraid of threatening, but he seemed as if he preached the threatening with tears in his eyes, and the doctrine solemnly as God's own word; but when he preached of Jesus his tongue was loosed, and his heart was at liberty." Brethren, there are some men who preach the doctrine only, who are an injury, I believe, to God's church rather than a benefit. I know of men who have set themselves up as umpires over all spirits. They are the men. Wisdom will die with them. If they were once taken away the great standard of truth would be removed. We do not wonder that they hate the Pope, two of a trade never agree, for they are far more popish than he, they being themselves infallible. I am afraid that very much of the soundness of this age, is but a mere sound, and is not real; does not enter into the core of the heart, nor affect the being. Brethren, we should rather preach Christ than election. We love election, we love predestination, we love the great doctrines of God's word, but we had rather preach Christ than preach these. We desire to put Christ over the head of the doctrine, we make the doctrine the throne for Christ to sit on, but we dare not put Christ at the bottom, and then press him down, and overload him with the doctrines of his own word.
"The only means of unity we shall ever get will be all of us preaching Christ crucified; when that is done, when every minister’s heart is in the right place, full of anxiety for souls — when every minister feels that, be he called bishop, presbyter, or preacher— all he wants to do is to glorify God and win souls to Jesus, then, my dear friends, we can maintain our denominational distinctions, but the great bugbear of bigotry and division will have ceased and schism will no more be known.”
The traps of Mysticism Legalism and Asceticism still entrap many today.
The Perils of charismatism myticism! , and hard Calvinism … being more committed to doctrine than to Christ Himself. I would consider myself reformed, but woe be it that we make such a god of Calvinism as to take us away from Calvin’s God! Or even Baptism… some teach that you need to be baptized to be saved. They have so exalted baptism as to overshadow Christ!
We can become obsessive about some wonderful truths, and miss the One Who Is Truth.
Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.
“See to it that no one takes you captive...” (Colossians 1:8) The word “captive” was a military term for a prisoner of war.
1 You can be CONTROLLED by the wrong thing or viewpoint "takes you captive" (to carry off as spoil - to lead captive -
2. You can be CONVINCED by means of wrong principles and teaching "philosophy and empty deception" "through" (dia - the channel or means)
a.. "the philosophy" love of wisdom (world's kind) used only here and in Acts 17:18 of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers.
b.. "and empty deception" (Granville Sharp's rule connects this with the word "philosophy" as being equal) – that which gives a false impression either by appearance, statement, or influence. It will look good but that does not reveal the whole truth! It is "empty" - nothing to it! cf. problems of modem psychology, etc.
3. You can be CONCERNED about the wrong things ".according to"
a. "the tradition of men" to give or deliver alongside of or over - to hand down from person to person it can refer to the Rabbinical traditions - Gal. 1:14 cf. Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13 (Can be used in a good sense - I Cor. 11: 2)
b. "the elementary principles of the world" It is a spiritual battle –
Following Christ, walking means You Are Like:
A TREE: DIG DEEP TO GROW TALL! Being Founded upon Him.
rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
The Psalmist described this kind of person when he wrote, “He is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3) A
A BUILDING Built well to stand tall
rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Matt 7:24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”
For some of you, it may have been a long time since you picked up your Bible and really read it, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth to you. It may be somewhere in the back of your car or on a shelf somewhere in your home. However, I can tell you right now from any seat in this room, you may be closer to the Word of God than you realize. God reminds us in Deuteronomy 30:14, “…the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” However, simply soaking in God’s Word once a week will not transform your life. We didn’t plant God’s word in the I-beams of this structure in hopes it would transfer to you by osmosis! It doesn’t work that way. God’s Word is near so you will obey it. The reason God wants you to be familiar with and learn about the Bible is so you will make the choice to obey it and put it to use in your daily life—at work, at home, and in your relationships.
One of the greatest Bible commentators of all time was a Puritan named Matthew Henry. Once while on the way home from church, Matthew Henry was accosted by burglars who robbed him. Afterwards, this he wrote about that experience. “I am thankful that: (1) I have never been robbed before. (2) Although they took all I had, it wasn’t much. (3) They took my money, and not my life. (4) It was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed!” That’s what I call overflowing with thankfulness! See if you can find something to be thankful for in every situation!

For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord….”
Receive Christ Jesus!
As Lord!
Experience life change!

Walk in Him
Walk in the Light
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

So you wont be taken captive
So you will experience overflowing joy…
Overflowing with joy

So you will be fulfilled! For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Gal 2:20 Life With A Capital L

I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

A preacher was eloquently quoting Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” With great drama he read:
If you can fill the unforgiving minutes with sixty seconds worth of distance run”
when someone from the back of his congregation called out despairingly, “But what if you can’t”
There is a sense of struggle in our Christian life. Sometimes that struggle is with inward sins that seek to dominate us.
Somewhere in your possession, you probably have something made of gold . If you have a ring, and you look inside of it, you just might see a number followed with the letter K . It refers to the purity of the gold piece – how much is gold and how much is not. A 10 carat piece of gold is 42% gold , A 12 carat piece is 50% gold. And a 24 carat piece of gold is – you guessed it – pure gold. Of course, the more purity, the more value
It’s my experience that there are 10 carat Christians, 12 carat Christians, and 20 carat Christians. One of the Holy Spirit’s tasks is to refine us as believers until we become 24 carat Christians.

2 Tim 2:20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver bowls, but also those of wood and earthenware, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21 So if anyone purifies himself from these things, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Now, this process is never completed in this life but it carries on continually.
And it has to have a place to start! 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
Present tense verbs, all things in process of passing away and becoming new. The doctrine of salvation and sanctification.. Bible uses the word so find out what it means. No sanctification, no salvation. He changes everyone He saves. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
God has put a want to in my heart. A want to be holy. 14 He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a special people, eager to do good works.
embraced is false. But they want to know that it works. But they see little difference between average Christian and pagans. We’re to tell this story that changes lives! If your saved it will show!
Paul says of the Corinthians: (1 Corinthians 6:11) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
He gives us an initial break with sin and we become new creatures

1. The Extinguishing Of The Old Life
Convicted let’s start at the beginning
Before you believed in Christ, what were you like? You were probably a very nice person. Your mother probably loved you You probably had friends and compared to other people, you were probably a morally upright person.
If you ask the average person on the street, they would have to say that they were hoping to go to heaven because they’ve tried their best to obey God. But here’s the catch : God’s opinion is completely different
(John 16:8) When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9) in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10) in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11) and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
The Holy Spirit begins to work. Here’s the reality he brings to our attention:
(Jeremiah 17:9) The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
(Romans 8:6) The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
(Romans 8:7) the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
(Romans 8:8) Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
A Past Event Aorist in these verses:
Gal 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Col 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may • walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims.
A Present Experience
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
Deny self Mt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
A. W. Tozer wrote: “If I see right, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is rather a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity… The old cross slew men: the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it… The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before that cross it bows and toward that cross it points with carefully staged histrionics-hut upon that cross it will not die. and the reproach of the cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.”
Oswald Chambers The imperative need spiritually is to sign the death warrant of the disposition of sin, to turn all emotional impressions and intellectual beliefs into a moral verdict against the disposition of sin, viz., my claim to my right to myself. Paul says - “I have been crucified with Christ”; he does not say - “I have determined to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will endeavour to follow Him” - but - “I have been identified with Him in His death.” When I come to such a moral decision and act upon it, then all that Christ wrought for me on the Cross is wrought in me. The free committal of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the chance to impart to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.
“... nevertheless I live....” The individuality remains, but the mainspring, the ruling disposition, is radically altered. The same human body remains, but the old satanic right to myself is destroyed.
“And the life which I now live in the flesh ...,” not the life which I long to live and pray to live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh, the life which men can see, “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” This faith is not Paul's faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith that the Son of God has imparted to him - “the faith of the Son of God.” It is no longer faith in faith, but faith which has overleapt all conscious bounds, the identical faith of the Son of God.

2. The Relinquishing To The New Life
Oswald Chambers “No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being any thing, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration. Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
There is always a sharp painful disillusionment to go through before we do relinquish. When a man really sees himself as the Lord sees him, it is not the abominable sins of the flesh that shock him, but the awful nature of the pride of his own heart against Jesus Christ. When he sees himself in the light of the Lord, the shame and the horror and the desperate conviction come home. If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.
His Incoming
His Indwelling

“His life is a person, the Lord Jesus living in Paul.”
Like Walvoord says, The self-righteous, self-centered Saul died. Further, death with Christ ended Paul’s enthronement of self; he yielded the throne of his life to Another, to Christ. But it was not in his own strength that Paul was able to live the Christian life; the living Christ Himself took up His abode in Paul’s heart: Christ “lives in me.” Yet Christ does not operate automatically in a believer’s life; it is a matter of living the new life “by faith in the Son of God.” It is then faith and not works or legal obedience that releases divine power to live a Christian life. . . “If He loved me enough to give Himself for me, then He loves me enough to live out His life in me.”

3. The Distinguishing Of The Christ centred Life
Devoted The son of God loved me and gave Himself for me
Motivated by gratitude for the cross
Consecration must be definite. When a man took upon himself the vow of the Nazarite, he had to be very definite. He had to abstain from strong drink, to keep away from dead bodies, and to let his hair grow long (Numbers 6:3-8). As the Nazarite abstained from all that had to do with the vine, so there must be with us the separation from all that would tend to excite nature and add fuel to the fire of passion. As the Nazarite was to keep away from dead bodies, so must we keep away from all those who are dead in trespasses and sins; in a word, from the world and all that is in it—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Remember the word of the Lord on this—"Awake, 0 sleeper, and arise from the dead" (Ephesians 5:14 RSv); and again, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing" (2 Corinthians 6:17). The Nazarite was to let his hair grow long as a sign of his being under the authority of God. Paul reminds the Corinthians that long hair is a sign of subjection (1 Corinthians 11:10-15), so are we to be under the control of Him whom we call Lord. Let us understand what definite dedication means. The whole being is open to the sunshine of God's presence; the whole nature is under the sway of Christ; and spirit, soul, and body are to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Let us count the cost, as definite dedication claims from us: The mortification of the old nature (Colossians 3:5; Romans 8:12, 13).The expulsion of all evil habits (Colossians 3:9; Galatians 5:24).The denial o/sei/ (Luke 9:23,24).The enthronement of Christ in the heart (Ephesians 3:17; 1 Peter 3:15, rsv)Satisfaction in Christ alone (Matthew 11:29; Psalm 73:25).Delighting to do God's will (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Psalm 40:8).Aiming always for God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Consecration must be continuous.A boy was once asked if his father were a Christian, and he replied, "I think he was once; but he has not been working at it lately." The boy's answer may describe too many professors, who live an up-and-down life, because they do not maintain their attitude cowards God as His consecrated ones; for bear in mind, consecration is an attitude maintained, as well as an act done once for all. As I remember a good Irish brother aptly put it, "Consecration is an act once for all, and repeated forever afterwards."
consecration must be entire. There must be no withholding pare of the price (Acts 5:3). The Lord will not be satisfied, even though you present the greater part. He will have all or none. How many there are whose lives might be summed up, after the manner of the announcement placed in the window of an ironmonger's shop, "The bulk of our stock is of English manufacture." Yes. The bulk, but not all. The Lord wants all. He claims all. Let Him have all: then your life and being shall be to His glory. You will be like a well-tuned instrument, upon which the Lord will play to His praise. As a good Yorkshire Christian often said: "I am an instrument of ten strings; two eyes to look to Him; two ears to listen to His voice; two hands to work for Him; two feet to run on His errands; a tongue to speak His praise; and a heart to love Him alone."

Dependant I live by faith
Every virtue we possess, And every victory won And every thought of holiness Are His alone.
The Lord imparts unto us that primary strength of character which makes everything in life work with intensity and decision. We are "strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." And the strength is continuous; reserves of power come to us which we cannot exhaust.
"As thy days, so shall thy strength be"—strength of will, strength of affection, strength of judgment, strength of ideals and achievement. "The Lord is my strength" to go on. He gives us power to tread the dead level, to walk the long lane that seems never to have a turning, to go through those long reaches of life which afford no pleasant surprise, and which depress the spirits in the sameness of a terrible drudgery.
"The Lord is my strength" to go up. He is to me the power by which I can climb the Hill Difficulty and not be afraid.
"The Lord is my strength" to go down. It is when we leave the bracing heights, where the wind and the sun have been about us, and when we begin to come down the hill into closer and more sultry spheres, that the heart is apt to grow faint. I heard a man say the other day concerning his growing physical frailty, "It is the coming down that tires me!"
"The Lord is my strength" to sit still. And how difficult is the attainment! Do we not often say to one another, in seasons when we are compelled to be quiet, "If only I could do something!"
When the child is ill, and the mother stands by in comparative impotence, how severe is the test! But to do nothing, just to sit still and wait, requires tremendous strength. "The Lord is my strength!" "Our sufficiency is of God."
1. Give God permission to change you.
You’ve got to decide if you really want this heart transformation to happen and if you do, then give God permission to do it. Because God’s a gentleman. He’s not going to force Himself on you if you don’t want Him. If you choose to reject Him and His ways, then He’ll respect that decision. You will have to face the consequences of that decision, but it’s a decision you’re free to make.And it’s not a new decision that people are faced with today. 3000 years ago, King David was confronted with an area of sin and weakness in his own life. He had done some pretty bad things. He had even committed adultery and then arranged for the woman’s husband to be killed so that he could her for himself. And it all came from a heart of selfishness and lust. And David realized that it needed to be changed. And he knew he couldn’t do it on his own. So this became his prayer… he repented for what he had done, and then he prayed…Psalm 51:10 (NLT) Create in me a clean heart, O God.Is that the prayer you need to pray today? A prayer that gives God permission to change you? Wouldn’t be a bad prayer for each one of us every day, would it?
2. Cooperate with what God is doing in you.
You see, here’s the key: You can’t change yourself. Only God can perform this heart transformation. He created you in the first place, and He’s more than capable of re-creating you. But again, He’s not going to do it without your permission and your cooperation.In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, there’s a prayer where someone says…Isaiah 64:8 (NLT) We are the clay, and you are the potter.What’s that saying? It’s saying, “God, You’re in charge. You form me and transform Me as You see fit.” Is that the prayer you need to pray today?
3. Allow the inner changes to be expressed outwardly.

Saturday, January 13, 2007



Over the last year I have primarily only ever used this blog for positive affirmations of the gospel and the scriptures.
I feel a need today to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints."

Yesterday I received the Hillsong Conference 2007 Special Guests announcement.

I was staggered to see that TD Jakes is the keynote speaker.

TD Jakes comes from a United Pentecostal background. He pastors The Potter’s House (Dallas, Texas) one of America’s fastest-growing megachurches. He is also a leader and elected bishop of the “Higher Ground Always Abounding Assemblies,” a network of Oneness Pentecostal churches.

For a detailed understanding of Jakes position by CRI please read:

I have included a small part of their article below.

In the third century, orthodox Christians rejected modalism (also known as Sabellianism, after Sabellius, its most influen­tial teacher) — the teaching that the Son and Holy Spirit are the same Person as the Father — as a denial of the faith. Early in the twentieth century when Oneness Pentecostalism reared its head, the Assemblies of God rejected it as heresy. Yet, in our own day of nebulous, experience-driven theology, many charismatic Christian leaders are strongly inclined to accept Oneness Pentecostals as brothers and sisters in Christ simply because they speak in tongues, engage in rousing Pentecostal-style worship, and write ardent hymns. Since these “Trinitarians” themselves do not have a firm commitment to credal Christianity, they are willing to compromise even on doctrines as historically sacrosanct as the Trinity for the sake of “unity in the Spirit.’’
Oneness believers have historically labeled the Trinity a pagan doctrine and counted Trinitarian believers as lost. In recent years, however, a new Oneness approach to orthodoxy has emerged — paralleling a recent movement in Mormonism — that seeks to downplay the differences and sell Oneness as an acceptable Christian alternative. Charisma magazine quotes Pentecostal historian Vinson Synan as observing, “Many people consider this a matter of semantics.... And there is a sincere desire — especially on the part of Oneness Pentecostals —to bridge the gap on this issue.”
As we have seen, one of these “many people” is Jakes himself. If the differences between Oneness and Trinitarian believers were “a matter of semantics,” it would mean that they use different language but believe the same thing. But Oneness Pentecostals have articulately expounded their belief that there is only one person in the Godhead: For Trinitarians, a defining feature of the biblical God is a subject-object love relationship eternally existing within His own Being. For Unitarians (of all stripes, not just the sect by that name), until He created the angels and the world, God was one solitary Subject — absolutely alone. Such radically different conceptions of God cannot be harmonized. Whether it is the Arian god of Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Sabellian god of Oneness Pentecostals, a Unitarian god is not the biblical God (e.g., John 17:5; 24). Since the attributes of God include both love (1 John 4:16) and self-sufficiency (e.g., John 5:26), it follows that His loving nature must be fulfilled within His own Being. The biblical revelation of the Trinity explains how this is so.
Some Christians assume that because Oneness believers confess that Jesus is God, their error is less lethal than that of Jehovah’s Witnesses or other pseudo-Christian cults that deny His deity. The opposite can be true! Modalism is no less false than Arianism but not so obviously false, and therefore it is potentially more lethal. Just as a godhead that is not defined by the selflessly loving relation­ship of three eternal Persons is not the Godhead of the Bible, so a Jesus whose very existence is not defined by a subject-object relationship with His Father bears no resemb­lance to the Jesus of the Bible (e.g., Matt. 26:39; John 4:34; 6:38). And there is no biblical basis for believing that those who trust in a “different Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:3—4,13—14) can be saved (especially when one adds the “different gospel” that typically accompanies him — as with the common Oneness teaching that one must both be baptized in Jesus’ name alone and speak in tongues in order to be saved).
No doubt some Oneness Pentecostals are saved, due to earlier biblical influences in their lives. With his Baptist upbringing, this is easy to imagine in the case of Jakes. But this would be despite and not because of Oneness teaching.
The only remaining question should then be: Does T. D. Jakes believe in a Oneness or Trinitarian view of God? Theologically untrained readers of Jakes’s response to our article may have had their minds set at ease. In reality, Jakes said nothing to relieve their concerns.
Christians should understand that there are two ways heretics can deny the Trinity. The first is to outright deny it, as do Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, and classic Oneness Pentecostals. The second is to claim that one believes in the Trinity while redefining it to mean something entirely different than what the church has historically believed, as do Mormons, Christian Scientists, and the new breed of Oneness Pentecostals that Jakes apparently represents.
It also needs to be pointed out that nothing Jakes said contradicts modalism or commits him to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. Theologians recognize two distinct conceptions of the Trinity: the ontological Trinity, which refers to the existence of three distinct Persons within the Godhead apart from any relationship to the creation, and the economic Trinity, which refers to the distinct roles the three Persons assume in relation to creation. Modalism essentially teaches that the economic Trinity is the only Trinity there is. Their God, who ontologically is not Triune, assumes three distinct modes or roles in relation to creation. They are convinced that to confess God is three Persons is to confess the existence of three Gods — even though that’s not what the doctrine of the Trinity states (this is their main stumbling block in approaching orthodoxy).
In his rebuttal Jakes never affirms an ontological Trinity but only an economic one. He speaks of different functions the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit perform, but then he clarifies that he does not believe in three Gods, by which it is fairly clear he means Persons. Even the illustration of H20 taking the forms of ice, water, and steam says nothing about three persons, only three manifestations, and is in fact a common illustration used by modalists to explain their view.
The key tip-off that Jakes is a dyed-in-the-wool modalist is his unwavering insistence — both before our article was published and even in response to our article — on using the word manifestations rather than persons in regard to the Trinity. Sabellius consistently avoided the use of the term “persons” (Greek: hypostasis) in favor of the term “manifest­ations.”8 Louis Berkhof explains that “he distinguished between the unity of the divine essence and the plurality of its manifestations....According to him the names Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are simply designations of three different phases under which the one divine essence manifests itself. God reveals Himself as Father in creation and in the giving of the law, as Son in the incarnation, and as Holy Spirit in regeneration and sanctification.”9 By contrast “Oneness Pentecostalism is a form of simultaneous modalism that, unlike Sabellianism, regards all three manifestations as present at the same time, not in successive revelatory periods.”10 Hence Jakes is able to affirm the coexistence of Father, Son, and Spirit without in any way betraying his Oneness allegiances.
When Jakes cites 1 Timothy 3:16 (he mistakenly cited 3:15) to justify his use of the term manifestations, he simply falls back on the classic prooftext Oneness Pentecostals have always used to argue for their view, as the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements explains: “The threefold divine reality is defined as ‘three manifestations’ of the one Spirit in the person of Jesus. Taken from the Christological hymn in 1 Timothy 3:16, the term ‘manifestation’ bars the threeness from God’s nature and restricts it to his self-revelation. As a form of modalism, it preserves the radical monarchy of God and affirms the triune revelation.”
Actually, all of the passages Jakes cites that use the term “manifestation” refer to the Incarnation of Christ (the “manifestation” of the Second Person of the Trinity in human form), except 1 Corinthians 12:7, which speaks of the “manifestation” of the Spirit; that is, the charismatic gifts. None of them are concerned with the doctrine of the Trinity per se, and therefore they do not use the word “manifestations” in the way that Jakes and Oneness teachers use it.
In light of all this, it is hard to believe Jakes when he says that the language in his ministry’s doctrinal statement does not derive from modalism. If in fact he believes in the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, then he can clear this controversy up and satisfy all Trinitarians by simply affirming in his doctrinal statement and in all of his ministry’s teachings that not only does he believe in the Trinity, but he also believes the Trinity comprises three eternally distinct Persons, who together are the one and only Almighty God. If he cannot bring himself to do that and yet still insists that he holds to the Trinity, then evangelicals should understand that it is he, and not his critics, who uses clever semantics to obfuscate the truth. Indeed, if he is so intent on holding to modalism because he believes it is the truth, to be consistently truthful he should openly identify himself as a modalist. Then, as the price of his convictions, he should willingly relinquish any claim to leadership in the contemporary evangelical church, where belief in the Trinity (properly defined) is not, and should never be, considered optional.
Jakes’s sentiment that “there are a few things I would die for; a few more I would argue strongly; after that I am too busy trying to preach the Gospel to split hairs” would be admirable if only he correctly identified the things for which it is worth dying. The cour­ageous church father Athanasius would have certainly advised him that the doctrine of the Trinity is one of those things, since he fought against seemingly the entire world to establish it permanently in the church. Thanks in no small part to his efforts the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) has been preserved for the past 16 centuries so that untold billions of souls could believe unto salvation. In our own generation, contrary to Jakes, many “are dying without knowing God” not only for “lack of love,” but also for “lack of theology” — the essential doctrines of the Christian faith that are inseparable from the gospel of salvation.

May I express my concern publicly here, and ask you to avoid this conference.
The greying over of essential beliefs is dangerous to the gospel in these confusing days.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


6 telltale signs of phony leaders

I picked this up somewhere around.. it is a great warning,

Jesus reserved his most stern rebukes for hypocritical, egotistical spiritual leaders. He had little patience with those who used religion to promote their own agendas. Mark 12:38-40 records Jesus’ warning to his disciples not to follow phony religious leaders who crave attention. According to Christ, some of the telltale signs:
1. They dress to impress: "They like to walk around in flowing robes."
There is no virtue in a spiritual leader looking like an unmade bed when teaching the Bible. But there is something pompous and repulsive when a teacher flaunts his material wealth or scholarly achievements.
2. They encourage adulation: "They love to have everyone bow to them as they walk through the markets" (The Living Bible.)
The most authentic leaders may have people who idolize them. Yet it’s a sign of rank egotism when leaders encourage and delight in inappropriate praise.
3. They love status symbols: "They like to have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets."
A good leader will receive occasional perks. Jesus took Peter, James, and John into his inner circle and gave them special opportunities. Paul received granted favor because of his Roman citizenship. But beware of the leader who maneuvers for position and demands honor.
4. They insist on titles. Matthew’s gospel adds, "They love to have men call them Rabbi" (Matt. 23:7).
Spiritual leaders should be treated with respect. But when people introduce themselves as "Doctor," "Reverend," "Professor," "Major," "President," or even "Brother," it should raise a warning flag.
5. They practice duplicity: "They devour widow’s houses."
A flamboyant lifestyle achieved by exploiting the disadvantaged is a sign that a leader isn’t really following the one who had nowhere to lay his head.
6. They exploit prayer: "And for a show make lengthy prayer."
Some are more gifted to lead in public prayer than others, but beware the religious leader who uses prayer to impress people.
Demonstrating humility
In his early years of television reporting, Phil Donahue covered a mine disaster in the Appalachian Mountains. There he overheard a country preacher offer a very moving, comforting prayer with an anxious family.
Donahue approached the preacher and asked if he would repeat the prayer so he could get it on film. When the minister refused, Donahue said, "I’m a TV reporter. I represent 260 stations. Millions of people will be able to see you and hear your beautiful prayer."
The minister again said, "No."
"Perhaps you don’t understand," Donahue added. "I’m not representing some local TV station. I’m with CBS. The whole nation will be able to see this."
The old country preacher repeated, "No," turned his back and walked away.
Donahue later realized he had witnessed something called "integrity." He wrote: "The man wouldn’t showbiz for Jesus. He wouldn’t sell his soul for TV, not even for national TV, not even … for CBS!"
The world respects a leader who is authentic. Christian people should be perceptive enough to discern the difference.
Example of grace
I like the way The Message paraphrases Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount: "When you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?"
"Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God and you will begin to sense his grace." (Matt. 6:6, The Message).How graceful are you?

Monday, January 08, 2007


'Avoid Foolish Questions' (Titus 3:9)

I came across this reat devotional from CH Spurgeon from "Morning and Evening".
It speaks to the necessity of keeping the man thing the main thing.
Sometimes being "right" on a minor matter is not as important as keeping our focus on the main game. The current division caused by mistrust by a small minority of decisions made over many years by their International Mission Board's Trustees is case in point (if there is a "right" in the debate).

CHS says:

OUR days are few, and are far better spent in doing good, than in disputing over matters which are, at best, of minor importance.
The old schoolmen did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions. After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion no more promotes knowledge than love, and it is foolish to sow
in so barren a field. Questions upon points wherein Scripture is silent; upon mysteries which belong to God alone; upon prophecies of doubtful interpretation; and upon mere modes of observing human ceremonials are all foolish and wise men avoid them. Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether; and if we observe the apostle's
precept (Titus 3.8) to be careful to maintain good works, we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.
There are, however, some questions which are the reverse of foolish, which we
must not avoid, but fairly and honestly meet, such as these:
• Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
• Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind?
• Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?
• Am I growing in grace?
• Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour?
• Am I looking for the coming of the Lord, and watching as a servant should do who expects his master?
• What more can I do for Jesus?
Such enquiries as these urgently demand our attention; and if we have been at
all given to cavilling, let us now turn our critical abilities to a service so much more profitable. Let us be peace-makers, and endeavour to lead others both by our preceptand example, to 'avoid foolish questions'.

Friday, January 05, 2007


the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The life I now live in the flesh…We all live have and live by our world views…
Mum’s schizophrenia.. her world view was described on tv, having on and seeing through the wrong set of glasses.
Her glasses were that she was obsessed with paranoid understandings of her world.
Her world was a fearsome place with people seeking to murder her at every turn.
Most people know that most people in the world could care less about the other people in the world.
If someone tries to hurt me in some way, my first thought is, “oh they just don’t know who I am. I am the most cuddly person they will ever meet. I have the greatest personality, and the warmest smile, and the most dazzling looks and the greatest.. hey Mohamed Ali, move over.. I am the greatest!! Oops my wife and kids are here.. They know me … sigh! And so does Tal” hmmm.. so do you all! Well at least I do know that no one lays awake at night thinking of new a\ways to torment me. (At least I hope not.. if you do please tell me so I can get an avo out on you.)
God calls for our thinking and our world view to be changed.
“. . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” - Matthew 22:37
Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to
God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .- Romans 12:1-2
We think in fragments We think in images. We think in sounds.
“I think a lot of people are losing their religion. Definitely. Even me, I know that when I grew up, I used to go to church every Sunday, and now it’s become holidays. But I think as long as you have your own thing, whether it’s meditation—anything that centers you in life is good. Do I pray? Yeah, I do.”- Actress Kirsten Dunst, Rolling Stone, May 23, 2002, p. 69. “First I was ‘angry’, then ‘spiritual’. Now I don't know what I am.”-Alanis Morissette from Rolling Stone’s daily e-mail April 29, 2002.
What is a Worldview? “A worldview is first of all an explanation and interpretation of the world, and second, an application of this view to life.”
Your behaviour and values are built on your world view.
Our world view affects the way we see life and the way we see everything about life, and how we respond to life.
FACT: The Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 was because Sioux Indians believed they were given shirts that would stop US Cavalry bullets. The Boxers in China had a similar faulty faith.
There is another name for “world-view”. It’s the word “faith”.
Everybody lives by some faith, whatever it may be.
It affects the cultural forms around us in our society.
God Theism Christian faith
Christianity is Christ. . .Take Christ from Christianity, and you disembowel it; there is practically nothing left. Christ is the center of Christianity, all else is circumference. John Stott
We Christians live by the Christian faith. What does it mean to say that we Christians live by faith?
Making sense of the world.. by faith.
I live by faith…
Unfeigned faith
Unwavering faith

This solves the problems of Significance
The Son Of God who Loved me
The death of Christ is not only the demonstration of God’s love (John 3:16), it is also the supreme expression of Christ’s own love for all who receive it as their treasure. The early witnesses who suffered most for being Christians were captured by this fact: Christ “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). They took the self-giving act of Christ’s sacrifice very personally. They said, “He loved me. He gave himself for me.”
Surely this is the way we should understand the sufferings and death of Christ. They have to do with me. They are about Christ’s love for me personally. It is my sin that cuts me off from God, not sin in general. It is my hard-heartedness and spiritual numbness that demean the worth of Christ. I am lost and perishing. When it comes to salvation, I have forfeited all claim on justice. All I can do is plead for mercy.
Then I see Christ suffering and dying. For whom? It says, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
And I ask, Am I among the “many”? Can I be one of his “friends”? May I belong to the “church”? And I hear the answer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43). “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). “Whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
My heart is swayed, and I embrace the beauty and bounty of Christ as my treasure. And there flows into my heart this great reality – the love of Christ for me. So I say with those early witnesses, “He loved me and gave himself for me.”
And what do I mean? I mean that he paid the highest price possible to give me the greatest gift possible. And what is that? It is the gift he prayed for at the end of his life: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory” (John 17:24). In his suffering and death “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). We have seen enough to capture us for his cause. But the best is yet to come. He died to secure this for us. That is the love of Christ. John Piper.

This solves the problems of Security
The Son of God who Gave Himself for me
We cannot relate to God with confidence unless we know he accepts us as we are, with all of our sins. (Reflect on Romans 8:1- "...there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.") Also, Christians who don't know their security in Christ remain superficial in their awareness of their sinfulness or defensive about it—they can't bear this light because their acceptance before God is still practically based on their righteousness. (GO BACK TO THE RIGHT-HAND COLUMN OF ATONEMENT WORDS CHART. These terms all elaborate on our security in Christ.)
(Richard Lovelace) "'I am accepted' - accepted as though my life displayed the spiritual perfection of the Messiah himself - ought to be the automatic response of our hearts whenever we wake, like the compass needle that always points north. This is a response which is always relevant to our current spiritual condition. We never make such progress in sanctification that we can depend on it for (God's) acceptance. And our continuing record of sin and failure never expands beyond the limits of the love of Christ, who has covered our debts for all time, past, present, and future . . . Most Protestants have therefore concluded that assurance of salvation is necessary for healthy spirituality. Christians need to know that they have a secure status as adopted sons and daughters of God in order to behave naturally in his presence. For us to be phasing in and out of sonship according to our behavior, constantly testing our experiences to make sure we are in a 'state of grace,' short-circuits the reality of grace." (Richard Lovelace, Renewal as a Way of Life, pp. 142,143.)
Jesus died for sinners, in their stead, bearing their punishment, so that He could secure their salvation. Toplady put it well:"Complete atonement Thou hast made And to the utmost farthing paid Whate'er Thy people owed. How then can wrath on me take place,If sheltered in Thy righteousness And sprinkled with Thy blood?"
"Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (v. 18). It is God Himself who can thus purge the leper from all his uncleanness, and justify the ungodly from all his guilt. And He does it, not at the expense of righteousness, but in a perfectly righteous way."'Tis in the Cross of Christ we see How God can save, yet righteous be;'Tis in the Cross of Christ we trace His righteousness and wondrous grace.The sinner who believes is free, Can say, the Saviour died for me;Can point to the atoning blood And say, That made my peace with God."
So it is Isaiah who, above all other prophetic writers, sets forth the work of the Cross. He looks on by the eye of faith to Calvary, and there he sees the Holy Sufferer dying for sins not His own. He exclaims, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:5,6).Have you ever thoughtfully considered these remarkable statements? If not, I beg you to ponder over them now: It was Jesus that the Spirit of God brought before the mind of Isaiah. He would have you gaze upon Him, too. Take each clause separately and weigh its wondrous meaning:"He was wounded for our transgressions." Make it personal! Put yourself and your own sins in there. Read it as though it said, "He was wounded for my transgressions." Do not get lost in the crowd. If there had never been another sinner in all the world, Jesus would have gone to the cross for you! Oh, believe it and enter into peace!"He was bruised for our iniquities." Make it personal! Think what your ungodliness and your self-will cost Him. He took the blows that should have fallen upon you. He stepped in between you and God, as the rod of justice was about to fall. It bruised Him in your stead. Again, I plead, make it personal! Cry out in faith, "He was bruised for my iniquities."Now go farther: "The chastisement of our peace was upon him." All that was necessary to make peace with God, He endured. "He made peace through the blood of his cross." Change the "our" to "my." "He made my peace.""He bore on the tree The sentence for me,And now both the surety And sinner are free."Now note the last clause of this glorious verse, "With his stripes we are healed." Do you see it? Can you set to your seal that God is true, and cry exultingly, "Yes, I a poor sinner, I a lost, ruined soul, I who so richly deserved judgment, I am healed by His stripes"?" It is not that God ignores our sins, or indulgently over-looks them; but on the cross all have been settled for. In Isaiah 53:6, He has balanced the books of the world. There were two debit entries:"All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned every one to his own way."But there is one credit item that squares the account:"the Lord hath laid on him (that is, on Jesus at the cross) the iniquity of us all."
The first debit entry takes into account our participation in the fall of the race. Sheep follow the leader. One goes through a hole in the fence and all follow after. So Adam sinned and we are all implicated in his guilt. "Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."But the second entry takes into account our individual wilfulness. Each one has chosen to sin in his own way, so we are not only sinners by nature, but we are also transgressors by practice. In other words, we are lost - utterly lost. But "the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). By His sacrificial death on the cross, He has paid to outraged justice that which meets every charge against the sinner.
"Payment He will not twice demand, First at my bleeding Surety's hand, And then again at mine."
There is an apparently authentic story told of the great Queen Victoria, so long ruler of Britain's vast empire. When she occupied her castle at Balmoral, Scotland, she was in the habit of calling, in a friendly way, upon certain cottagers living in the neighborhood. One aged Highland woman, who felt greatly honored by these visits and who knew the Lord, was anxious about the soul of the queen. As the season came to a close one year, her Majesty was making her last visit to the humble home of this dear child of God. After the good-byes were said, the old cottager timidly inquired, "May I ask your gracious Majesty a question?""Yes," replied the queen, ''as many as you like.""Will your Majesty meet me in heaven?"Instantly the royal visitor replied, "I will, through the all-availing blood of Jesus."
Will you be in heaven?
This solves the problem of Sanctification
We cannot relate to others appropriately unless we prioritize God's acceptance of us.
God's acceptance and forgiveness of us is the dynamic that motivates us to accept and forgive others. Unless we are secure in Christ, we will tend to take our security from others' acceptance of us—which leads to a host of relational dysfunctions.

I live by faith…
The Taking of Christ
John 1:11 He came to His own,and His own people did not receive Him. 12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood,or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man,but of God.

AB Simpson wrote the hymn
I clasp the hand of Love divine,
I claim the gracious promise mine,
Add to His my countersign;
I take, He undertakes.
I take Thee, blessèd Lord,
I give myself to Thee;
And Thou, according to Thy Word,
Dost undertake for me.

The Yielding to Christ

The Resting In Christ

Do you live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Colossians 1:24-27 The Hope Of Glory

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church. 25 I have become its minister, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, 26 the • mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints. 27 God wanted to make known to those among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this • mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

In the New Testament the Spirit of God reveals two mysteries of surpassing wonder and greatness. On Paul's lips, the word " mystery " meant almost the opposite of what it does to-day. He borrowed the word from contemporary religions which used it to indicate " a truth or rite reserved only for the select circle of the initiated." By it he meant a sacred secret, long kept hidden, and while so hidden, abso­lutely impenetrable to man, who could learn it only by divine revelation. Heathen " mysteries " could be known only by the favoured few, but in verse 28 of this chapter Paul says these mysteries are open to " every man in Christ," and not for a spiritual aristocracy only.
What then are these two mysteries ?
First, the incarnation of God in the human nature of Christ. " Great is the mystery of godliness . . . God was manifest in the flesh." i Tim. 3 : i6. " God was in Christ." 2 Cor. 5 : 19. Mystery of mysteries, the Infinite becomes an infant, ".made in the likeness of men."
Second, and a greater mystery still, the incarnation of Christ in the life of the consecrated believer. " Jesus Christ is in you." 2 Cor. 13 : 5. " Christ liveth in me." Gal. 2 : 20. It seems as though Paul is speaking with bated breath as he unveils this marvellous mystic secret.
The first mystery, Christ FOR. us, is the basis of our salvation.
The second mystery, Christ IN us, is the basis of our sanctification.
The hope of glory.
Glory for an athlete.. win over all the rest and take the podium. Top 3 athletes at Olympic games versus hundreds of elite athletes to stand on the podium.
The hope of glory.
More than just mortal glory here.
The glory of God, in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. At His return!
2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.
But as we run this race, there are obstacles.

1. We struggle With Issues.

Jesus warned us. He said, "Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." [John 15:20].

Paul goes into some detail about his sufferings in 1 Corinthians 11,
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Notice that Paul identifies several sources of suffering. There is overwhelming physical suffering. He was attacked, beaten and left for dead. All this because of his proclamation of the gospel. This may not happen to churchgoers in our country very often but it is happening in other countries. The world is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian message. And as we have seen, people are resorting to violence to address their grievances more and more. Paul tells us that he is also threatened by the Gentiles. In other words, he faces the subtle antagonism of non-believers.. Here is something we should be able to relate to. Every time we take a stand for Christ, we become a target. If you take a leadership position, you become a bigger target. This is often much more subtle and subversive. People will exclude you, ridicule you, criticize you behind your back.
He faces suffering from false brothers. These are Devastating attacks from within the church. In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Caesar is killed by a group of assailants. A famous line is "et tu, Brutè?" Caesar was stunned that one he thought was a friend would turn on him. Anyone who has served in the church for any length of time understands this feeling. Some of the most painful blows come from these "false brothers" the ones we thought were our friends. It would be nice if everyone in the church applied God's commands to love, kindness and encouragement. It would be nice, but it is not the way it is.

Participation in the work of salvation.
2 tim 2:10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Paul identifies one other source of suffering: "I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?" One of the most painful aspects of Christian leadership is the heartbreak of sharing people's pain. It's tough to listen to the heartache that goes on in so many lives. It's devastating to see someone who is acting out of rebellion to the Lord. It hurts every time I stand at a casket as a family says their final goodbyes. The closer I am to the family. The more it hurts.
Sometimes I wonder if we’ll make it. Sometimes the pressures get too extreme. Sometimes the pressure of the world in the church gets me down.
Sometimes life is just so difficult if you are going to be a fair dinkum Christian and live by His Word. And you wonder, where can you muster the courage and the strength to go on. There is an answer.

2. We Survive By His Indwelling
Consistently Taught in the Scriptures.
It was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. " I will dwell in them, and walk in them." Lev. 26 : 12 ; 2 Cor. 6: 16.
It was Foretold by Christ Himself, but when He began to reveal the mystery in the words, " He . . . dwelleth in me and I IN HIM," John 6 : 56, His disciples could not grasp His meaning. And why ? " The Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7 : 39. And we shall be just as impotent as they to grasp the glorious fact that Christ actually, literally, really indwells the true Christian, if Jesus is not enthroned in our hearts, and unless the Holy Spirit takes of His things and reveals them unto us.
Listen to our Lord's words spoken on that memorable eve in the upper room. Listen simply, and as though you had never heard before. " At that day"—when the Spirit is given—"ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me and I IN YOU." John 14 : to, " Abide in Me and I IN YOU." John 15 : 4. " He that abideth in Me and I IN HIM." John i<; : 5. " That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I IN THEM." John 17 : 26.
The Lover of our souls will not rest content with mere exterior contact with the objects of His love. He must dwell within the heart that returns His affection.
It is Developed in the Epistles, especially of Paul, to whom its unfolding was entrusted. " If Christ be IN YOU, the body is dead because of sin" Rom. 8 ; lo. " Know ye not that Jesus Christ IS IN YOU." 2 Cor. 13 : 5. " Christ LIVETH IN ME." Gal. 2 : 20. " That Christ may DWELL IN YOUR HEART by faith." Eph. 3 : 17.
" Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory" Col. 1 : 27.
" Greater is HE THAT IS IN YOU than he that is in the world." l John 4: 4.
What an imposing array of Scripture testimony to this glorious secret. Have you learned it ? Do you enjoy the experience of " Christ in you ? " Have you only an external Christ Who lives in a far away heaven. Who graciously pays you occasional visits, and on Whom you call in time of emergency ? Do you think of Him as doing His saving work in you from the outside ? Does this beautiful yet tragic hymn of Dr. Bonar's describe your experience ?
" Sometimes I catch sweet glimpses of his face, But that is all.
Sometimes He speaks a passing word of peace, But that is all.
Sometimes I think I hear His loving voice Upon me call.
" And is this ALL He meant when thus He spake,
Come unto Me ? Is there no deeper, more enduring rest
In Him for Thee ? Is there no steadier light for thee in Him ? 0 come and see."

" He's real to me. He's real to me, My blessed Lord is real to me, A living bright reality, My blessed Lord is real to me."

Do you wish it to be true ? Then believe the consistent testimony of Scripture. Do you say, " I have no conscious­ness of the Indwelling of Christ ? " Remember that this is not an attainment slowly achieved, it is instantly received.
Then, again, the fact of Christ's Indwelling has been—

Continually Experienced by Saints
What was it transformed the timid, cowardly, jealous, self-seeking disciples into courageous, self-effacing, tireless ambassadors for Christ ? Pentecost, when the Risen Christ was made vividly real to them by the Holy Spirit. Hear
them preach now ! How real Jesus is to them. Where is now their cowardice and self-seeking ? It has been expelled from the hearts in which the Risen Christ has been invited to dwell.
When did Paul's career, in all its flaming grandeur and sacrifice, really begin ? When he was blinded by the brilliance
of the revelation of Christ, on the Damascus road ? No 1 It did not begin with the exterior revelation of Christ, but with an interior revelation. " But when it pleased God to reveal His Son IN ME." Gal. 1 : 16.
We must have an interior as well as an exterior revelation of Christ to the soul. From the moment of that revelation,
Paul's life took a new direction. He was possessed and controlled by a power far transcending even his outstanding
mental and physical powers. He henceforth protested : " I no longer live . . . Christ lives in me." Now he is able to conquer sin, endure hardness and accomplish unbelievable work, not through his human talents, but through " Christ in him."
Is it not just here that so many of us fail as Christian workers ? Be it noted that in Paul's experience " Christ liveth in me " was preceded by " I have been crucified with Christ." Your life is a fresh incarnation of Christ only insofar as you yield the old life to the death of the cross. When your eyes are opened to see that your old sinful self was nailed together with Christ to His Cross, and you consent to live a crucified, self-denying life, then the Holy Spirit will delight to reveal the Lord Jesus within, no longer an external Christ but an indwelling Saviour.
If the old Paul no longer lived but Christ lived in him, we can expect him to act like his indwelling Guest. Was his Lord consumed with love for the lost'? Then it is not surprising to hear Paul saying, " I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren." Rom. 9 : 3. " Neither count I my life dear unto myself." Acts 20 : 24. Did Christ live a life of unappreciated self-sacrifice ? His bondslave likewise partakes of His spirit and says, " I will very gladly
spend and be spent for you, though the more abundantly I love you the less I be loved." 2 Cor. 12 : 15. Paul's union with Christ was no mystical and mythical thing, but a fact of real and momentary experience. So entirely one with Christ did Paul become in his inner experience, that in describing his life he said, " to me to live is— CHRIST." Not to be Christ-like, or to serve Christ, or to have Christ's help, but " CHRIST." Their lives had merged the one into the other in an indissoluble union of thought and feeling and action. Christ had constituted Himself Paul's very life. " Christ liveth in me."
J.Hudson Taylor, M.D. was a missionary to China, and the founder of the China Inland Mission. Here is the inward joy and power that Hudson Taylor found in Christ. What was the secret? The simple, profound secret of drawing for every need, temporal or spiritual, upon "the fathomless wealth of Christ." " . . . God made me a new man! God has made me a new man!"
Horatio Bonar wrote a hymn
Yes, in me, in me He dwelleth
I in Him and He in me!
And my empty soul He filleth
Now and through eternity.

Dr. F. B. Meyer wrote:: " It is my confident belief that there is not a single man or woman who believes in Christ who has not Christ in the heart. But remember, that as the heavy veil hid the holy of holies from the holy place, so Jesus Christ may be in your heart; but because you have never recognised that He is there, because you have made no use of His presence there, because you have been unbelieving, and maybe indolent to respond to His appeal, though He has been in your heart ever since you were regenerate. His presence has been hidden from your eyes ; it has been veiled. I pray God that the two hands that rent the veil of the temple in twain from the top to the bottom, may rend the veil in your inner life that the Christ who is there may be revealed in you."

Dr. A. B. Simpson, the great preacher, poet and missionary leader ;
" This. is my wonderful story, Christ to my heart has come ;
Jesus, the King of glory, finds in my heart a home"
" Not a brief glance I beg—a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples Lord,
Familiar, condescending, kind and free,
Come not to sojourn but abide with me."

Almost everyone has heard of Mr. Heinz whose "57 varieties" of pickles have distinguished his name. One day after an evangelistic service the speaker turned to him and said, "You are a believer, but with all your energy why aren't you up and at it for the Lord?" Heinz went home in anger. That night he couldn't sleep, however, and at 4 o'clock in the morning he prayed that God would use him to lead others to the Savior. A day or so later at a meeting of bank presidents, he turned to the man next to him and told him of his joy in knowing Jesus. His friend looked at him in surprise and said, "Because I knew you were a Christian, I've wondered many times why you never spoke to me about salvation." That gentleman became the first of 267 converts -- people of different varieties, from all walks of life -- that Mr. Heinz eventually won to Christ!


Galatians 2:20 A New Year’s Theme

"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am cruci­fied with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:19, 20).

What a sad life it would be if it were always the old year and never the new! Time, of course, does not know the divisions we give it. It is man who rings bells, blows horns, and throws confetti to usher in the new year. We do this because we, of all God’s creatures alone, have an awareness of time. And, we long for times of new beginnings.
Louise Fletcher Tarkington expressed the longings of many when she wrote:
“I wish there were some wonderful place
Called the land of Beginning Again
Where all our mistakes, and all our heartaches,
And all our selfish griefs
Could be cast like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.”

In a short time the new year will be on our hands. No thoughtful person can approach such a time without some introspection. We are bound to ask, “What will it mean to me?” “What can I do with it?” These are thoughts which come naturally with each year end.
While we cannot know what the future holds, we do know this, it will largely be what you and I and God make of it.
It is appropriate, therefore, that in this last day of the old year that we plan for the first days and the three hundred and sixty-five successive days of the new year.

One seldom begins a vacation without carefully plotting his intended course of travel. Un­fortunately, too many people do not consider life as an adventure to be carefully mapped out prior to "take-off." As Christians we need to ask ourselves what we expect from life for the coming year and, more im­portantly, what we expect to give to life during the months ahead.
No two people look upon life in exactly the same fashion. Some see it as pessimistically as did Macbeth in William Shakespeare's play by that name when he cried out, "Life ... is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying noth­ing." Somewhat less pessimistic, but in much the same vein are the words of the great Seneca, philoso­pher, dramatist, and statesman of ancient Rome, "Life is neither a good nor an evil; it is simply the place where good and evil exist." A more optimistic concept of life was presented to his pupils in Athens some four hundred and twenty-five years prior to Christ's birth by the great Greek philosopher, Socrates, who taught that "The end of life is to be like God, and the soul follow­ing God will be like him." It re­mained for Paul, however, in the words of our text to present the thoroughly Christian teaching of what life for the believer is all about, "... I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20b)

1. The Context Of This Verse. Gal 2:1-20
a. The Objective Reality Of Your Salvation
Michael Bausch tells a great story about archaeologist Howard Carter. In 1922 Carter was completing nearly fifteen years of digging in the famous Valley of the Kings in Egypt. He was hoping to find the royal tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. Having found nothing, his days of digging were coming to an end. Money was running out. Then workers discovered sixteen stairs leading into the earth. Thousands of baskets filled with rocks and sand had to be carried away, but eventually a door was found at the end of a long passageway. Carter drilled a small hole in the door and stuck an iron-testing rod into a dark, blank space. He then inserted a candle into the hole and peered in. As his eyes grew accustomed to the light, details emerged into his view, and he saw strange animals, statues, and everywhere the glint of gold. He wrote of that moment, "For the moment, I was struck dumb with amazement."
A partner asked, "Can you see anything?" And Carter's reply was, "Yes, wonderful things.” The Lord gives us some reasons you and I can look into this New Year and see wonderful things. He gives us reasons why we can look forward with anticipation instead of anxiety.
Peter was demonstrating his freedom in Christ by eating with Gentiles but, when "certain men from James" arrived, he withdrew and separated himself from them. He did so because he feared the "party of the circumcision," according to Paul. This should come as no surprise. Peter often had problems with what other people thought about him. He was afraid of doing things that were contrary to public opinion. At one point during his ministry, Jesus told him, in response to what Peter deemed a good idea, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's" (Matt 16:23). It was fear that drove Peter to deny the Lord three times before the cock crowed. Then, by the Sea of Galilee, although Jesus penetrated his heart with the question, "Do you love me more than these?" (John 21:15), Peter was concerned about the apostle John and what would happen to him. Here it says that he feared the "party of the circumcision." Even though Peter was a new man in Christ, he still had a tendency to be a man-pleaser, because he feared the disapproval of his peers.
Once again we see that one of the main causes of legalism is people's fear of being disapproved of by their peers. Many Christians succumb to living under the law because they base their sense of identity and approval on how others view them. This was the very thing that was causing trouble in the churches of Galatia. Gentile Christians, who had no history of Judaism, were being seduced by agitators and troublemakers, because these new believers desired that sense of belonging and acceptance that came with Jewish identity markers.
They were missing the greatest treasure of the gospel, the free gracious pardon of God through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus. Oh they wouldn’t have denied it directly. They just went about adding things to make you saved. You had to be with their party. You couldn’t associate with gentiles. Do you know the freeness of the grace and mercy of God that there is in Jesus Christ?
I remember talking once with a deacon’s wife who was trying and ever trying to be accepted by God. She couldn’t understand this truth of Justification by faith.
Look at verse 16. Theologically speaking, justification means that Christians are declared righteous before God, because their sins are covered. Emotionally, justification means that Christians no longer have to prove themselves by doing things in order to have God approve of them. At the heart of legalism lies the notion that Christians, although they have been justified in Christ, still have to do something to be approved and accepted. We could say therefore that legalism is Christ plus works. Christians often live this way in relation with God, because this is how they relate to their peers.
How sad and cruel life is to such who do not see the grace and mercy of God in Christ.

F. F. Bruce writes: 'Whoever after the coming of Christ pleads the validity of the law, denies the saving significance of the death of Jesus Christ and nullifies God's grace' (H.J. Schoeps) ...For there are two ways of nullifying God's grace, or receiving it 'in vain': one, by receiving it and then going on as though it made no difference by continuing to live 'under law', and the other, by receiving it and then going on as though it made no difference, by continuing to sin 'that grace may abound' (Rom. 6:1). In neither way does Paul nullify the grace of God: he refuses to return to legal bondage but at the same time he repudiates the suggestion that freedom from law means freedom to sin...had the works of the law been sufficient to achieve this end, the death of Christ was superfluous.

In 1901 Professor Max Muller, Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford, said this in his speech to the British and Foreign Bible Society:
"I may say that in my forty years fulfilling my obligations as Professor of Sanskrit... I have dedicated myself to the study of the holy books of the East as much as any other person in the world. And I venture to say of this collection, what I have found to be the key-note, the one agreement of all of these so-called holy books of the East -- whether the Veda of the Brahmins, the Puran of the Siva and Vishnu, the Koran of the Muslims, the Zend Avesta of the Zoroastrians -- that the key-note, the one agreement, which one sees throughout all of these, is that salvation is through works. They all teach that salvation must be purchased and that the purchase price is one's own works and merit. Our own holy book from the East, our Bible, is from beginning to end a protest against this doctrine. Good works are, to be sure, required in this holy book from the East, indeed, demanded more emphatically than in any other of these holy books, but they are only the outpouring of a thankful heart. They are only a thankoffering, only the fruit of our faith. They are never the ransom price of the true disciple of Christ.' Let us not shut our eyes to what is noble and true, and what is sound in those other holy books, but let us teach the Hindus and the Muslims and the Buddhists, that there is only one holy book of the East, in which they can put their trust in that weighty hour in which they must cross alone into the invisible world. It is that book that contains the certainly true message, worthy of all acceptance, that is valid for all mankind, men, women and children and not merely us Christians, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." [Cited in Bavinck, GD, iii, 553n.

b. The Subjective Reality Of Your Salvation
It was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. " I will dwell in them, and walk in them." Lev. 26 : 12 ; 2 Cor. 6: 16.
It was Foretold by Christ Himself, but when He began to reveal the mystery in the words, " He . . . dwelleth in me and I IN HIM," John 6 : 56, His disciples could not grasp His meaning. And why ? " The Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7 : 39. And we shall be just as impotent as they to grasp the glorious fact that Christ actually, literally, really indwells the true Christian, if Jesus is not enthroned in our hearts, and unless the Holy Spirit takes of His things and reveals them unto us.
Listen to our Lord's words spoken on that memorable eve in the upper room. Listen simply, and as though you had never heard before. " At that day"—when the Spirit is given—"ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me and I IN YOU." John 14 : to, " Abide in Me and I IN YOU." John 15 : 4. " He that abideth in Me and I IN HIM." John i<; : 5. " That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I IN THEM." John 17 : 26.
The Lover of our souls will not rest content with mere exterior contact with the objects of His love. He must dwell within the heart that returns His affection.
It is Developed in the Epistles, especially of Paul, to whom its unfolding was entrusted. " If Christ be IN YOU, the body is dead because of sin" Rom. 8 ; lo. " Know ye not that Jesus Christ IS IN YOU." 2 Cor. 13 : 5. " Christ LIVETH IN ME." Gal. 2 : 20. " That Christ may DWELL IN YOUR HEART by faith." Eph. 3 : 17
" Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory" Col. 1 : 27
Dr. Alexander Maclaren, the prince of expositors : " Let me say in the plainest, simplest, strongest way I can, that the dwelling of Christ in the believing heart is to be regarded as being a plain, literal fact. . . . It is not to be weakened down into any notion of participation in His like-ness, following His example or the like. A dead Plato may so influence his followers, but that is not how a living Christ influences His disciples. . . . This indwelling may be a per- manent and unbroken one. . . . Oh ! what a contrast to that idea of a perpetual unbroken inhabitation of Jesus in our spirit and to our consciousness is presented by our ordinary life ! We might with unbroken blessedness possess Him in our hearts, and instead we have only visits short and far between. God means and wishes that Christ may continuously dwell in our hearts. Does He to your own consciousness dwell in yours ? "

2. The Challenge Of This Verse
A Decision
I used to think that the blue mountains were something big. I remember standing at the scenic lookout and wondering. I hate heights, getting on a step ladder gives me the willies, and the Three sisters lookout or the scenic railway at Katoomba.. wow that was too much. Until I went to Colorado. Now those are mountains. They start at 5000’ and they grow up another 14,000’ That’s 19,000’ or 6000 metres. . The blue mountains at 3000’ 1000 metres for you folk under 40, are tiny little hills by comparison.

You need to make a decision. Will you accept the righteousness by faith the God offers in Jesus Christ, a perfect righteousness, accounted to you for free? Or will you stick with your own righteousness, decrepit and faulty as it is?
No condemnation now I dread: Jesus, and all in Him is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine, Bold I approach th' eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Will you accept the indwelling Christ to empower your day by day living? Or will you stand with your own meagre New Year’s resolutions that wont cut it in the end, and will last you about as long as it takes to get home today?
Its your decision. What will you do about it?

A Dilemma
You see the bottom line is I am weak but He Is strong!
Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I am weak because of my sinful nature. There are things I do I don’t want to do. They affect others. They affect me.
It’s a dilemma you don’t have to live with.

Some one wrote:
Once there lived another man within me,
Child of earth and slave of Satan he,
But I nailed him to the cross of Jesus
And that man is nothing now to me.
Now another man is living in me,
And I count his blessed life is mine.
I have died to all my own life,
I have risen to all his life divine.

A Dynamic
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
John 14:17 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21 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. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Dr. A. B. Simpson, the great preacher, poet and missionary leader ;
" I am crucified with Jesus,
And the Cross hath set me free ;
I have risen again with Jesus,
And He lives and reigns in me.
'' Mystery hid from ancient ages,
But at length to faith made plain,
Christ in me, the Hope of Glory ;
Tell it o'er and o'er again."

He states in prose his experience of this glorious truth " It is the great secret, a secret -which has been to me, 0, so -wonderful. A good many years ago I came to Him burdened with guilt and fear ; I took that simple secret, and it took away all my fear and sin. Years passed on, and I found sin overcame me, and my temptations were too strong for me. I came to Him a second time, and He whispered to me, ' Christ in you,' and I had victory, rest, and such sweet blessing ever since."
3. The Common sense Of This Verse.
John 12:20 The corn of wheat And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. John 15:5 The Vine and the Branch
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. A car only moves if it has a driver in it.
The tea and the teabag transforming plain water into something refreshing.
" 0 to be saved from myself, dear Lord,
0 to be lost in Thee,
0 that it may be no more I
But Christ that lives in me"

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