Tag Archives: christ jesus

Max Lucado – A Heart Like His

 

What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you? His priorities would be governing your actions. His love would be directing your behavior. Would people notice a change? How about your enemies? Would they receive more mercy? Keep working on this for a moment. Adjust the lens of your imagination until you have a clear picture of Jesus leading your life—then snap the shutter and frame the image. What you see is what God wants. Nothing short of a new heart. In Philippians 2:5 it says, to “think and act like Christ Jesus.” He wants you to have a heart like His.

I’m going to risk something here. It’s dangerous to sum up grand truths in one statement, but I’m going to try. God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus!

From Just Like Jesus

Charles Spurgeon – Justification by grace

 

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 10:11-18

God demanded of Christ the payment for the sins of all his people; Christ stood forward, and to the utmost farthing paid whate’er his people owed. The sacrifice of Calvary was not a part payment; it was not a partial exoneration, it was a complete and perfect payment, and it obtained a complete and perfect remission of all the debts of all believers that have lived, do live, or shall live, to the very end of time. On that day when Christ hung on the cross, he did not leave a single farthing for us to pay as a satisfaction to God. The whole of the demands of the law were paid down there and then by Jehovah Jesus, the great high priest of all his people. And blessed be his name, he paid it all at once too. So priceless was the ransom, so princely and generous was the price demanded for our souls, one might have thought it would have been marvellous if Christ had paid it by instalments; some of it now, and some of it then. Kings’ ransoms have sometimes been paid part at once, and part in dues afterwards, to run through years. But not so our Saviour: once for all he gave himself a sacrifice; at once he counted down the price, and said, “It is finished,” leaving nothing for him to do, nor for us to accomplish. He did not drivel out a part-payment, and then declare that he would come again to die, or that he would again suffer, or that he would again obey; but down upon the nail, to the utmost farthing, the ransom of all people was paid, and a full receipt given to them, and Christ nailed that receipt to his cross.

For meditation: Those who attempt to complete or repeat a finished piece of work insult its maker and render it useless to themselves (Galatians 5:2).

Sermon no. 126
5 April (1857)

 

Greg Laurie – Pray about It

 

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.—James 4:2

Have you ever stopped and thought that maybe there are things in your life that haven’t happened because you have simply failed to ask God for them?

Maybe you are ill right now and have never actually prayed about it. Maybe you’ve never said something like, “You know, Lord, I have never asked You to heal me. Maybe I thought that if You wanted to heal me, You would just go ahead and do it. But I’m asking You to heal me.” It just may be that you do not have because you do not ask.

Maybe you have a financial need and have exhausted every resource to meet it. Has it dawned on you that you could actually pray about it? The Bible says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Perhaps you do not have because you do not ask.

Maybe your marriage is starting to unravel, and you don’t know what to do. You have tried everything. You have talked to everyone. But have you actually prayed about your marriage and asked God to intervene? It might be that you do not have because you do not ask.

We should pray because prayer is God’s appointed way for us to obtain things from Him. That is not the only purpose of prayer, but to fail to see this is to miss a lot. The Bible is very clear in pointing out that we “do not have because [we] do not ask” (James 4:2).

That doesn’t mean that God always will answer our prayers the way we pray them. But it does mean that many times He will. So when you have a need, the first thing you ought to do is to pray about it.

 

Charles Spurgeon – The glorious gospel

 

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 5:17-32

Do you see that spirit yonder—foremost among the ranks, most sweetly singing the praises of God? Do you mark it robed in white, an emblem of its purity? Do you see it as it casts its crown before the feet of Jesus, and acknowledges him the Lord of all? Hark! Do you hear it as it sings the sweetest song that ever charmed Paradise itself? Listen to it, its song is this:

“I, the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.”

“Unto him that loved me, and washed me from my sins in his blood, unto him be glory and honour, and majesty, and power, and dominion, world without end.” And who is that whose song thus emulates the seraph’s strain? The same person who a little while ago was so frightfully depraved, the self-same man! But he has been washed, he has been sanctified, he has been justified. If you ask me, then, what is meant by salvation, I tell you that it reaches all the way from that poor, desperately fallen piece of humanity, to that high-soaring spirit up yonder, praising God. That is to be saved—to have our old thoughts made into new ones; to have our old habits broken off, and to have new habits given; to have our old sins pardoned, and to have righteousness imputed; to have peace in the conscience, peace to man, and peace with God; to have the spotless robe of imputed righteousness cast about our loins, and ourselves healed and cleansed. To be saved is to be rescued from the gulf of perdition; to be raised to the throne of heaven; to be delivered from the wrath, and curse, and the thunders of an angry God, and brought to feel and taste the love, the approval, and applause of Jehovah, our Father and our Friend. And all this Christ gives to sinners.

For meditation: Do you get tired of the simple Gospel? Are you saved?

Sermon no. 184
21 March (1858)

Alistair Begg – All in the Family

 

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. Galatians 3:26

 

The fatherhood of God is common to all His children. Ah, Little-faith, you have often said, “I wish that I had the courage of Great-heart, that I could wield his sword and be as valiant as he! But, alas, I stumble at every straw, and a shadow makes me afraid.” Listen, Little-faith. Great-heart is God’s child, and you are God’s child too; and Great-heart is not one bit more God’s child than you are. Peter and Paul, the highly-favored apostles, were of the family of the Most High; and so are you also. The weak Christian is as much a child of God as the strong one.

This cov’nant stands secure,
Though earth’s old pillars bow;
The strong, the feeble, and the weak,
Are one in Jesus now.

All the names are in the same family register. One may have more grace than another, but God our heavenly Father has the same tender heart toward all. One may do more mighty works and may bring more glory to his Father, but he whose name is the least in the kingdom of heaven is as much the child of God as he who stands among the King’s mighty men. Let this cheer and comfort us when we draw near to God and say, “Our Father.”

Yet, while we are comforted by knowing this, let us not rest contented with weak faith but ask, like the apostles, to have it increased. However feeble our faith may be, if it is real faith in Christ, we shall reach heaven at last, but we shall not honor our Master much on our pilgrimage, neither shall we abound in joy and peace. If then you would live to Christ’s glory and be happy in His service, seek to be filled with the spirit of adoption more and more completely, until perfect love shall cast out fear.

Today’s Bible Reading

The family reading plan for March 18, 2015
* Exodus 29
John 8

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Alistair Begg – Be Strengthened by His Grace

 

Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1

 Christ has grace without measure in Himself, but He has not retained it for Himself. As the reservoir empties itself into the pipes, so Christ has emptied out His grace for His people. “From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”1 He seems only to have all this in order to dispense to us. He stands like the fountain, always flowing, but only running in order to supply the empty pitchers and the thirsty lips that draw near to it. Like a tree, He bears sweet fruit, not to hang on branches, but to be gathered by those who need it.

Grace, whether its work be to pardon, to cleanse, to preserve, to strengthen, to enlighten, to quicken, or to restore, is ever to be had from Him freely and without price; nor is there one form of the work of grace that He has not bestowed upon His people. As the blood of the body, though flowing from the heart, belongs equally to every member, so the influences of grace are the inheritance of every saint united to the Lamb; and herein there is a sweet communion between Christ and His church, inasmuch as they both receive the same grace.

Christ is the head upon which the oil is first poured; but the same oil runs to the very skirts of the garments, so that the meanest saint has an unction of the same costly moisture as that which fell upon the head. This is true communion when the sap of grace flows from the stem to the branch, and when it is perceived that the stem itself is sustained by the very nourishment that feeds the branch. As we day by day receive grace from Jesus, and more constantly recognize it as coming from Him, we shall behold Him in communion with us and enjoy the joy of communion with Him.

Let us make daily use of our riches and constantly come to Him as our own covenant Lord, taking from Him the supply of all we need with as much boldness as men take money from their own wallet.

1) John 1:16

Today’s Bible Reading

The family reading plan for March 15, 2015
* Exodus 26
John 5

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Thank Him for Answers

 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7).

Some years ago there was an occasion when my world was crumbling. All that my associates and I had worked and planned for in the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ was hanging by a slender thread which was about to break.

Because of a series of unforeseen circumstances, we were facing a financial crisis which could bankrupt the movement and result in the loss of our beautiful facilities at Arrowhead Springs, California, acquired just a few years earlier.

Already thousands of students and laymen from all over the world were receiving training which would influence millions of lives for Christ. Now we were in danger of losing it all.

When the word came to me that everything we had planned and prayed for was in jeopardy and almost certain to be lost, I fell to my knees and began to give thanks to the Lord. Why?

Because many years before I had discovered that thanksgiving demonstrates faith, and faith pleases God. When we demonstrate faith through thanksgiving, as an expression of obedience and gratitude to God, He releases His great power in our behalf so that we can serve Him better. Miraculously, God honored our faith and what could have been disaster and tragedy turned to victory and triumph. The end result was that we were stronger financially than we had ever been.

God fights the battles for those who trust and obey Him.

Bible Reading: I Timothy 2:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  With God’s help, my life will be characterized by praise and thanksgiving to God as an expression of my faith in Him and obedience to His commands. Today I will share the goodness and trustworthiness of God with at least one other person

Greg Laurie – All Your Need

 

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:19

Some preachers today have hijacked the words prosper and prosperity. They say that God wants everyone to be wealthy and healthy, and so you are to just speak it out, and God will give it to you. That is their focus. And that is wrong.

There is a place for prosperity—biblical prosperity. It may be monetary. God may bless you with a lot of work or a lot of resources. But we want to be careful with the resources that God gives to us. The Bible says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). But let’s not misunderstand this verse. Behind every promise there is a premise. Verse 19 is embedded within the context of Philippians 4.

Are you in need because you were foolish with what God gave you? Then don’t be so quick to invoke this promise. The assumption, contextually, is that you are living the way Paul speaks of in Philippians 4.

Also, this verse applies to more than just money. If your marriage is in trouble, God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. If you are single and looking for that right person, God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus If you need a physical touch from God, He will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. And yes, if you have a financial need, He can supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

But let’s be wise stewards with what He has given us now. And let’s remember that happiness and contentment does not come from stuff; it comes from a relationship with God.

Alistair Begg – The Complete Perfection of His Glory

 

He is altogether desirable.  Song of Solomon 5:16

 

The superlative beauty of Jesus is all-attracting; it is not so much to be admired as to be loved. He is more than pleasant and fair–He is lovely. Surely the people of God can fully justify the use of this golden word, for He is the object of their warmest love, a love founded on the intrinsic excellence of His person, the complete perfection of His glory.

Look, the disciples of Jesus know the sweetness of his voice and are able to say, “Do not His words cause our hearts to burn within us as He talks with us on the road?” You worshipers of Immanuel, look up to His head of much fine gold, and tell me, are not His thoughts precious unto you? Is not your adoration sweetened with affection as you humbly bow before that face that is as excellent as the cedars of Lebanon? Is there not a beauty in His every feature, and is not His whole person fragrant with such a savor of His goodness that we love Him? Is there one aspect of His being that is not attractive–one facet of His person that is not a blessing to our souls and a strong cord to bind our hearts?

Our love is not as a seal set upon His heart of love alone; it is also fastened upon His arm of power, nor is there a single part of Him upon which it does not fix itself. We worship His whole person with the sweet fragrance of our fervent love. We would imitate His whole life and character. All other beings are incomplete; in Him there is all perfection. Even the best of His favored saints have had blots upon their garments and wrinkles upon their brows; He is nothing but loveliness. All earthly suns have their spots: This fair world has its wilderness; we cannot love the whole of the most lovely thing. But Christ Jesus is gold without alloy, light without darkness, glory without cloud.

Yes, “he is altogether desirable.”

Today’s Bible Reading

The family reading plan for March 9, 2015
* Exodus 20
Luke 23

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – No Longer Under Law

 

“So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

What an exciting fact! We are no longer under the law. We have been liberated from the bondage of trying to please God through our self-effort.

What is our motivation under grace? Under law our motivation was fear, and desire for reward and blessing; under grace, our basic motivation is an expression of gratitude – an inward appreciation and response to God’s love and grace.

Why do we do what we do as Christians? We should respond because we, like the apostle Paul, are constrained by the love of Christ. We live for the glory of God. You will remember that the apostle Paul had been beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, starved, buffeted, criticized and condemned, yet he said, “The love of Christ constrains me.”

Even if there were no rewards for those who live godly lives and obey our Savior, the reward of knowing Him as our God and Father, being forgiven of sin and cleansed from all guilt, is more than just enough; it is unfathomable. We can know Him, love Him, worship Him and serve Him by faith – here and now!

A young man I know is writing a book on how to become rich in the kingdom of God. He is basing his theme on the rewards that will be his by winning souls. “I want to be rich in heaven,” he says.

That may be a worthwhile goal, but it is not mine. Mine is gratitude and love. I love Him because He first loved me – died for me, liberated me, set me free.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:2-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will sing praises and give thanks in my heart to the Lord upon every remembrance of the liberty and grace that is mine in Christ Jesus, and I will tell everyone who will listen that we are no longer in bondage to sin, for Christ has set us free.

 

John MacArthur – Acknowledging the Ultimate Source of Everything

 

“Joyously giving thanks to the Father” (Col. 1:11-12).

Joyous thanksgiving acknowledges God as the giver of every good gift.

The inseparable link between joy and thanksgiving was a common theme for Paul. In Philippians 4:4-6 he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” He told the Thessalonians to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16- 18).

As often as Paul expressed thanks and encouraged others to express theirs, he was careful never to attribute to men the thanks due to God alone. For example in Romans 1:8 he says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” He thanked God, not the Roman believers, because he knew that faith is a gift from God.

That doesn’t mean you can’t thank others for the kindnesses they show, but in doing so you must understand that they are instruments of God’s grace.

Thanking Him shows humility and acknowledges His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Those who reject His lordship and refuse to give Him thanks incur His wrath (Rom. 1:21).

Only those who love Christ can truly give thanks because He is the channel through which thanks is expressed to the Father. As Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Hebrews 13:15 adds, “Through [Christ] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

As one who is privileged to know the God of all grace, be generous in your praise and thanksgiving today. See everything as a gift from His hand for your joy and edification.

Suggestions for Prayer;  Recite Psalm 136 as a prayer of praise to God.

For Further Study; From Psalm 136 list the things that prompted the psalmist’s thanksgiving. How can that psalm serve as a model for your own praise?

Joyce Meyer – Sit Down

 

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.- Ephesians 2:4–6 NKJV

Today’s scripture says that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. I read past that passage one day, and the Holy Spirit stopped me. After His resurrection and ascension, Jesus is often depicted as being seated at the right hand of the Father.

Do you know what people do when they sit? They rest. To be seated in heavenly places with Jesus is to enter an “inner rest.”

Sometimes when you start to get nervous and upset, anxious or worried, tell yourself, “Sit down.” That does not mean just your physical body; it also means your soul—your mind, will, and emotions. It is important to let your entire being rest and just wait on God. Wait expectantly for God to do what you cannot do. Don’t worry, get frustrated, or become fearful while you rest. We often feel that we should always be “doing” something. The promise of God’s peace is not made to those who work, struggle, and strive in their own strength, but to those who enter God’s rest.

Love Yourself Today: “Lord, teach me how to sit down in Your holy rest.”

John MacArthur – Cultivating the Fruit of Righteousness

 

“Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11).

Bearing spiritual fruit is the acid test of a true believer.

After facing life-threatening situations, people often say, “I saw my entire life flash before my eyes.” That’s the picture we get in Philippians 1:11.

“The fruit of righteousness” refers to what is produced in you as you operate in love, pursue excellence, and maintain your integrity. It includes every attitude and action consistent with God’s standard of what is right.

“Having been filled” speaks of something that happened in the past with continuing results. At your salvation the seed of righteousness was planted within you. It bears righteous fruit throughout your lifetime. On the day of Christ that fruit will confirm your salvation.

Fruitfulness has always been the acid test of true salvation. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). When John the Baptist admonished his followers to “bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8), he was speaking of good deeds (vv. 10-14). Paul said we are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10) John said that all who profess Christ should live as He lived (cf. 1 John 2:6).

Bearing spiritual fruit is not something you can achieve on your own. It “comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11). Jesus Himself said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

You were redeemed to glorify God through righteous deeds. Make that your priority today.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Psalm 71 is a psalm of praise to God for His righteousness and faithful provisions. Read it and meditate on its truths. Then praise God for His righteousness toward you.
  • Ask for opportunities to demonstrate righteousness to others today.

For Further Study

Read Proverbs 11:1-9, 15:8-9, and 21:2-3, noting the characteristics and benefits of righteousness.

Charles Spurgeon – How to keep the heart

“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 4:35-41

Cast your troubles where you have cast your sins; you have cast your sins into the depth of the sea, there cast your troubles also. Never keep a trouble half an hour on your own mind before you tell it to God. As soon as the trouble comes, quick, the first thing, tell it to your Father. Remember, that the longer you take telling your trouble to God, the more your peace will be impaired. The longer the frost lasts, the more thick the ponds will be frozen. Your frost will last till you go to the sun; and when you go to God—the sun, then your frost will soon become a thaw, and your troubles will melt away. But do not be long, because the longer you are in waiting, the longer will your trouble be in thawing afterwards. Wait a long while till your trouble gets frozen thick and firm, and it will take many a day of prayer to get your trouble thawed again. Away to the throne as quick as ever you can. Do as the child did, when he ran and told his mother as soon as his little trouble happened to him; run and tell your Father the first moment you are in affliction. Do this in everything, in every little thing—“in everything by prayer and supplication” make known your wants unto God. Take your husband’s headache, take your children’s sicknesses, take all things, little family troubles as well as great commercial trials—take them all to God; pour them all out at once. And so by an obedient practice of this command in everything making known your wants unto God, you shall preserve that peace “which shall keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ.”

For meditation: If the God of peace is with you (Philippians 4:9), you have open access to the peace of God—but check carefully all the conditions in Philippians 4:6.

Sermon no. 180
21 February (1858)

Greg Laurie – So Far to Go

 

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:13–14

When my friend John Collins, who is one of our pastors at Harvest Christian Fellowship, met Billy Graham for the first time, he thanked him for his faithfulness to the Lord.

Billy Graham replied, “I wish I could have done more.”

John thought, If Billy Graham says that, what about me?

Billy Graham wasn’t saying that to be humble. He really meant it. And that shows he is a real man of God, because he realizes he has so far to go.

The apostle Paul felt the same way. He said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). Here was one of the greatest Christians in human history saying that he had not arrived spiritually. He was saying he had so far to go.

Talk about bragging rights. Can you imagine a bunch of guys getting together and hanging out with Paul?

One guy might say, “Hey, you know what? The Lord spoke through me today.”

Another might say, “Well, the Lord led me to share my faith.”

Paul could say, “Well, God gave me inspired letters, called the Epistles, which basically take up half of the Bible.” Okay. Who can top that? But in actuality, Paul never said things like that, although it was the reality of his life. He was so close to God. And if anyone could rest on his laurels, it would have been Paul.

Many Christians are self-satisfied because they compare themselves with other Christians. But that isn’t what they ought to be doing. If the apostle Paul could say of his life, “Not that I have already attained,” then certainly we all have a long way to go.

Max Lucado – Who Can Accuse You?

 

Romans 8:33 and 34 asks, “Who can accuse the people God has chosen? Who can say God’s people are guilty?”

The answer is no one, because Christ Jesus died, he was raised from the dead, and now is on God’s right side, appealing to God for us. The accusations of Satan sputter and fall like a deflated balloon.

Then why, pray tell, do we, as Christians, still feel guilt? God uses appropriate doses of guilt to awaken us to sin. His guilt brings enough regret to change us. Satan’s guilt, on the other hand, brings enough regret to enslave us. Don’t let him lock his shackles on you.

Remember, your life is hidden with Christ in God. Whenever God looks at you, he sees Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God covering you. So, whom do you trust…your Advocate or your Accuser?

From GRACE

Charles Spurgeon – None but Jesus

 

“He that believeth on him is not condemned.” John 3:18

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 15:5-11

When I stand at the foot of the cross, I do not believe in Christ because I have got good feelings, but I believe in him whether I have good feelings or not.

“Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come.”

Mr Roger, Mr Sheppard, Mr Flavell, and several excellent divines, in the Puritan age, and especially Richard Baxter, used to give descriptions of what a man must feel before he may dare to come to Christ. Now, I say in the language of good Mr Fenner, another of those divines, who said he was but a babe in grace when compared with them—“I dare to say it, that all this is not Scriptural. Sinners do feel these things before they come, but they do not come on the ground of having felt it; they come on the ground of being sinners, and on no other ground whatever.” The gate of Mercy is opened, and over the door it is written, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Between that word “save” and the next word “sinners,” there is no adjective. It does not say, “penitent sinners,” “awakened sinners,” “sensible sinners,” “grieving sinners,” or “alarmed sinners.” No, it only says, “sinners” and I know this, that when I come, I come to Christ today, for I feel it as much a necessity of my life to come to the cross of Christ today as it was to come ten years ago,—when I come to him, I dare not come as a conscious sinner or an awakened sinner, but I have to come still as a sinner with nothing in my hands.

For meditation: We have no more right to complicate the Gospel than we have to water it down. Feelings are good and proper, but Satan can use them not only to give false assurance of salvation, but also to make sinners feel too bad to obey the Gospel and come to Christ.

Sermon no. 361

17 February (1861)

John MacArthur – The Joy of Glorification

 

God will perfect His work in you “until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

Someday God will glorify and reward every believer.

For Christians there’s an element of truth to the bumper sticker that reads, “Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet.” We aren’t what we used to be, but there’s much to be done to make us all He wants us to be. Yet God’s work within us is so sure and so powerful, Scripture guarantees its completion.

Pondering that guarantee led Bible expositor F.B. Meyer to write, “We go into the artist’s studio and find there unfinished pictures covering large canvas, and suggesting great designs, but which have been left, either because the genius was not competent to complete the work, or because paralysis laid the hand low in death; but as we go into God’s great workshop we find nothing that bears the mark of haste or insufficiency of power to finish, and we are sure that the work which His grace has begun, the arm of His strength will complete” (The Epistle to the Philippians [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1952], p. 28).

The completion of God’s work in you will come at a future point in time that Paul calls “the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Scripture also speaks of “the day of the Lord,” which is the time of God’s judgment on unbelievers, but “the day of Christ Jesus” refers to when believers will be fully glorified then rewarded for their faithful service (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10-15). All your earthly cares will be gone and God’s promise to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in His presence blameless with great joy will be fully realized (Jude 24).

Concentrating on what is wrong in your life might depress you, but focusing on the glorious day of Christ should excite you. Don’t be unduly concerned about what you are right now. Look ahead to what you will become by God’s grace.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Reflect on the joy that is yours because you belong to an all-powerful God who is working mightily in you. Express your joy and praise to Him.
  • Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 as a prayer of praise to God.

For Further Study

Read Revelation 7:9-17 and 22:1-5. What glimpses do those passages give you of the activities of glorified believers in heaven?

John MacArthur – The Joy of Faithful Service

 

“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:1).

A faithful slave fulfills the will of his master.

The metaphor of Christians as slaves to Christ is common in Paul’s writings. It is one his readers would have readily understood because of the prevalence of slavery in the Roman Empire.

Peter, James, John, and Jude used the same metaphor of their own ministries, as did Jesus in Mark 10:45: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” In Philippians 2:7 Paul refers to Christ as a bond-servant who set aside the glory He was due and humbled Himself to the point of death.

The Greek word translated “bond-servant” in Philippians 1:1 was commonly used of those who, out of devotion to their masters, chose to remain as slaves when having the opportunity to be released. They were also known as love slaves because they served out of love, not compulsion.

That is a beautiful picture of the believer. We are God’s bond-servants (Rev. 1:1), having been freed from sin and enslaved to Him (Rom. 6:22).

While slavery brings to mind deprivation and inhumane treatment of one’s fellow man, slaves in the Roman Empire usually were treated with dignity and respect. Although most had no personal possessions, their masters supplied everything they needed for life and health. Additionally, many were entrusted with significant responsibilities in their master’s home.

A disobedient or self-willed slave was of no use to his master, but faithful slaves, who set aside their personal interests to accomplish their master’s will, were a precious possession.

Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). As God’s bond-servant that should be your goal as well. Be faithful so God can use you mightily.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the privilege of serving Him.
  • Seek wisdom to appropriate your spiritual resources as you perform the tasks God has entrusted to you.

For Further Study

Philemon is a letter Paul wrote to accompany Onesimus, a runaway slave, whom Paul had led to the Lord and was now returning to his master, Philemon.

  • Read Philemon.
  • What was Paul’s desire for Onesimus?
  • What does this letter reveal about Philemon’s character?

 

John MacArthur – The Joy of Exalting Christ

 

“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:1).

If exalting Christ is your goal, anything that furthers the gospel will bring you joy.

Next to the Lord Himself, Paul is perhaps the greatest illustration that joy is not necessarily related to one’s circumstances.

Paul wrote to the Philippians from a prison cell, yet he spoke of joy and contentment. His life was a series of difficulties and life-threatening situations (see 2 Cor. 11:23-33). In fact the Lord, shortly after confronting him on the road to Damascus, said, “[Paul] is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16). Yet in every situation Paul found cause for rejoicing.

His compelling desire to exalt Christ drove him to endure trial after trial. When Christ was exalted, Paul rejoiced. That was evident in Philippi where, after a brief ministry in which God redeemed a businesswoman named Lydia and expelled demons from a slave girl, Paul and Silas were falsely accused, unjustly beaten, and thrown into prison. Even that didn’t stifle their joy, for at “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).

That was such a powerful testimony to the joy of the Lord that soon afterward the jailer and his entire family believed the gospel and were saved.

Even when imprisonment prevented Paul from ministering as effectively as he desired, and when others usurped his apostleship and preached Christ out of envy and strife, he remained undaunted (Phil. 1:18). His circumstances were secondary to the priority of exalting Christ.

Is that your perspective? It can be! If your priority is to exalt Christ in every circumstance, whatever furthers that purpose will bring you joy.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask the Lord to help you maintain the priority of exalting Christ in every area of your life.
  • If you feel envy or resentment toward others who proclaim the gospel (Phil. 1:15-17), confess that and learn to rejoice whenever Christ is exalted.

For Further Study

Read Exodus 15:1-21 and Psalm 99. How did Moses, Miriam, and the psalmist exalt the Lord?