Tag Archives: human-rights

Alistair Begg – Walk With Christ in White

Alistair Begg

Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

Revelation 3:4

We may understand this to refer to justification. “They will walk in white”; that is, they will enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they will understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow.

Again, it refers to joy and gladness, for white robes were holiday dress among the Jews. They who “have not soiled their garments” will have their faces always bright; they will understand what Solomon meant when he said, “Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white.”1

The one who is accepted by God will wear white garments of joy and gladness while they walk in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus. Why are there so many doubts, so much misery and mourning? It is because so many believers spoil their garments with sin and error, and as a result they lose the joy of their salvation and the comfortable fellowship of the Lord Jesus; they do not walk here below in white.

The promise also refers to walking in white before the throne of God. Those who have not soiled their garments here will most certainly walk in white in heaven, where the white-robed crowd sings perpetual hallelujahs to the Most High. They will possess joys inconceivable, happiness beyond a dream, bliss that imagination knows not, blessedness that even the stretch of desire has not reached.

“Those whose way is blameless”2 shall have all this-not of merit, nor of works, but of grace. They shall walk with Christ in white, for He has made them “worthy.” In His sweet company they will drink from the fountains of living waters.

1 Ecclesiastes 9:7-8

2 Psalm 119:1

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Will Preserve Me

dr_bright

“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18, KJV).

Do you and I have that same kind of confidence in God?

Note that the apostle Paul did not mention the word deathhere, for earlier verses in this chapter reveal that he expected to die – and he was ready. But he was assured that God would keep Paul from apostasy, and from displaying an improper spirit at the time of his death.

In the same way, we can ask the Lord today, in faith believing, for that inner peace we need to face up to all that He allows to happen in our lives. His perfect peace is sufficient for every testing and trial and trouble and temptation.

By keeping us from every evil work, He likewise enables us to reach His heavenly kingdom.

An appropriate time for praise to God is when a person knows he is about to be brought to heaven, and Paul introduces such a doxology here: “to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

The truth is clear: we are protected on every side, and even at death we can sing the doxology, for we are about to meet the altogether lovely One in His heavenly home. To remain in constant fellowship with our heavenly Father will maintain a spirit of joy, love and peace in our lives that nothing can shake.

Bible Reading: Psalm 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Like the apostle Paul, I will confidently expect God to protect me from every evil work and enable me to live the supernatural life for His glory.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Turn or burn

CharlesSpurgeon

“If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.” Psalm 7:12

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12

God has a sword, and he will punish man on account of his iniquity. This evil generation has laboured to take away from God the sword of his justice; they have endeavoured to prove to themselves that God will “clear the guilty,” and will by no means “punish iniquity, transgression and sin.” Two hundred years ago the predominant strain of the pulpit was one of terror: it was like Mount Sinai, it thundered forth the dreadful wrath of God, and from the lips of a Baxter or a Bunyan, you heard most terrible sermons, full to the brim with warnings of judgment to come. Perhaps some of the Puritan fathers may have gone too far, and have given too great a prominence to the terrors of the Lord in their ministry: but the age in which we live has sought to forget those terrors altogether, and if we dare to tell men that God will punish them for their sins, it is charged upon us that we want to bully them into religion, and if we faithfully and honestly tell our hearers that sin must bring after it certain destruction, it is said that we are attempting to frighten them into goodness. Now we care not what men mockingly impute to us; we feel it our duty, when men sin, to tell them they shall be punished, and so long as the world will not give up its sin we feel we must not cease our warnings. But the cry of the age is, that God is merciful, that God is love. Who said he was not? But remember, it is equally true, God is just, severely and inflexibly just. He were not God, if he were not just; he could not be merciful if he were not just.

For meditation: The “meek and lowly” Lord Jesus Christ spoke often of judgment because of his care for the souls of men and his longing for them to repent and find rest (Matthew 11:20-30).

Sermon no. 106

7 December (1856)

 

Our Daily Bread — More Than Enough

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 103:1-11

[The Lord] crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies. —Psalm 103:4

When I entertained a large group in my home, I feared that the menu I planned wouldn’t be enough to serve all the guests. I shouldn’t have worried though. Several friends unexpectedly brought additional items and all of us were able to enjoy the surprise surplus. We had more than enough and were able to share out of the abundance.

We serve a God of abundance who is consistently “more than enough.” We can see God’s generous nature in the way He loves His children.

In Psalm 103, David lists the many benefits our Father bestows on us. Verse 4 says that He redeems our life from destruction and crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies.

The apostle Paul reminds us that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing” and “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 1:3; 3:20).

Because of His great love, we are called children of God (1 John 3:1), and His grace gives us “sufficiency in all things” that we “may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8).

God’s love and grace, spilled over into our lives, enables us to share them with others. The God of power and provision is always the God of “more than enough”! —Cindy Hess Kasper

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;

To His feet your tribute bring.

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,

Evermore His praises sing. —Lyte

We always have enough when God is our supply.

Bible in a year: Daniel 3-4; 1 John 5

 

Joyce Meyer – Positive Belief

Joyce meyer

[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, so [numberless] shall your descendants be. He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah’s [deadened] womb. No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.

—Romans 4:18–21

The story of Abraham amazes me no matter how many times I read it. It’s not just the birth of a son when he was a hundred years old. That’s a miracle. But just as amazing is the information that he waited twenty-five years for the fulfillment of the promise. He was seventy-five when God promised him a son.

I wonder how many of us would believe God and live in expectation for twenty-five years. Most of us probably would have said, “I didn’t really hear from God.” “Oh, I guess maybe God didn’t really mean that.” Or, “I need to go somewhere else to get a fresh word from the Lord.”

Sarah and Abraham did have problems holding on to that promise. As a means of attempting to get what they wanted, they had Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar, bear him a son, but God let him know that wasn’t the way it was going to be. I believe their actions delayed the arrival of God’s promised child.

In our impatience, we often take matters into our own hands. I say we get “bright ideas”—plans of our own, which we hope God will bless. These plans open the door for confusion and chaos. Then their results must be dealt with, which often delays our miracle.

When Moses came down from Sinai after having received the Ten Commandments from God, He saw the wickedness of the Israelites who had become impatient in waiting. In anger, he broke the tablets on which God had written the commands. Although we can understand Moses’ anger, we must remember that it was not initiated by God. Therefore, Moses had to ascend Mount Sinai again and once more go through the process of obtaining the Ten Commandments. Moses may have enjoyed a momentary emotional release, but it cost him a lot of extra work. This is a good lesson for all of us. We must pray first and agree with God’s plan, not plan and pray that our plan will work.

It’s often difficult to believe God and hold on year after year after year.

Sometimes after my meetings, people come to me and tell me many sad stories. I encourage them to become positive and upbeat. Some people will listen to every word I say, nod, maybe even smile, and then they say the most negative word of all: “But . . .” With that single word, they are negating everything I’ve said. That’s not the spirit of Abraham.

The Bible gives us promises, hope, and encouragement. God promises good to those of us who serve Him. Despite the adversity of our circumstances—and some people have absolutely terrible situations—God still promises good. Our sense of goodness, however, may not be the same as God’s. Getting what we want immediately may not be best for us. Sometimes waiting is the best thing because it helps develop the character of God in us.

The Lord chooses to do good to us and to make us happy; the devil chooses to do wrong and to make us miserable. We can remain patient and keep believing God’s promises, or we can allow the evil one’s whisper to fill our ears and lead us astray. Too many of us have ignored the fact that God is the originator of miracles. He specializes in doing the impossible: He provided a son to barren Sarah; He opened the Red Sea for the Israelites to walk across on dry land; He destroyed Goliath with a single stone from a slingshot. Those are miracles. That’s the Holy Spirit at work, defying the laws of nature (He made the laws, so He can break them).

Hebrews 11 is a chapter about faith and the people of God who dared to believe the promises. “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]” (v. 6).

As I consider that verse, I can see how the devil creeps in. He says to us, “Yes, that’s true. Those were special people. You are nobody. God won’t do anything special for you. Why should He?”

That is a satanic lie—and one that too many easily accept. God loves each of us, and the Bible says He’s our Father. Any good father loves to do good things for his children. God wants to do good things for you and for me.

Expect a miracle in your life. Expect many miracles.

Positive belief in God’s promises yields good results because the Good One sends them to us. Refuse to give up, and you will see the result of your positive belief.

Dear Father in heaven, forgive my lack of belief. Forgive me for allowing Satan to deceive me or make me think I’m worthless or unworthy of Your miracles. I am worthy because You made me worthy. You are the God of the impossible, and I ask You to help me wait on You and never give up. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, I pray. Amen.

 

Our Daily Bread — Eureka Stone

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 13:44-50

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. —Matthew 13:44

In 1867 on a farm in South Africa, 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs saw a stone glistening in the sun. The shining rock was eventually reported to a neighbor, who wanted to buy it from the family. Not knowing its value, Erasmus’ mother told the neighbor, “You can keep the stone, if you want it.”

Eventually, a mineralogist determined the stone to be a 21.25 carat diamond and worth a great sum. It became known as the “Eureka Diamond.” (The Greek word eureka means “I found it!”) Soon the fields near the Jacobs’ farm soared in value. Underneath the land was one of the richest diamond deposits ever discovered.

Jesus said that the value of being part of God’s kingdom is like treasure: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matt. 13:44).

When we put our faith in Christ, a spiritual “eureka moment” arrives. God gives us forgiveness in His Son. It is the greatest treasure that could ever be found. Now all of life can begin to center on the value of becoming a joyous member of His eternal kingdom. It’s our joy to share that valuable discovery with others. —Dennis Fisher

How we need a keen awareness

Of the joys God wants to share!

Priceless treasures found in Jesus—

We are rich beyond compare! —D. DeHaan

God’s kingdom is a treasure meant to be shared.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 47-48; 1 John 3

Alistair Begg – God Has an Elect People

Alistair Begg

I have many in this city who are my people.

Acts 18:10

This should be a great encouragement in proclaiming the Gospel, since among the people in our communities-the disinterested, the rebellious, the careless-God has an elect people who must be saved. When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it, for so the decree of predestination runs.

They are as much redeemed by blood as the saints before the eternal throne. They are Christ’s property, and yet perhaps they are lovers of selfish pleasures and haters of holiness; but if Jesus Christ purchased them, He will have them.

God is not unfaithful to forget the price that His Son has paid. He will not suffer His substitution to be in any case an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be; and this is our comfort when we go to them with the quickening Word of God.

More than this, the ungodly are prayed for by Christ before the throne. “I do not ask for these only,” says the great Intercessor, “but also for those who will believe in me through their word.”1 Poor, ignorant souls, they know nothing about prayer for themselves, but Jesus prays for them. Their names are on His breastplate, and before long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace

The predestinated moment has not struck; but when it comes, they will obey, for God will have His own. They must, for the Spirit is not to be resisted when He comes with the fullness of power-they must become the willing servants of the living God. “Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power.”2 He will “make many to be accounted righteous.”3 “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied.”4 “I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.”5

1 John 17:20

2 Psalm 110:3

3 Isaiah 53:11

4 Isaiah 53:11

5 Isaiah 53:12

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Dilemma and deliverance

CharlesSpurgeon

“Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Psalm 9:10

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 23

If we could but once believe the doctrine that the child of God might fall from grace and perish everlastingly, we might, indeed, shut up our Bible in despair. To what purpose would my preaching be—the preaching of a rickety gospel like that? To what purpose your faith—a faith in a God that cannot and would not carry on to the end? To what use the blood of Christ, if it were shed in vain, and did not bring the blood-bought ones securely home? To what purpose the Spirit, if he were not omnipotent enough to overcome our wandering, to arrest our sins and make us perfect, and present us faultless before the throne of God at last? That doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints is, I believe, as thoroughly bound up with the standing or falling of the gospel, as is the article of justification by faith. Give that up and I see no gospel left; I see no beauty in religion that is worthy of my acceptance, or that deserves my admiration. An unchanging God, an everlasting covenant, a sure mercy, these are the things that my soul delights in, and I know your hearts love to feed upon them. But take these away, and what have we? We have a foundation of wood, hay, straw, and stubble. We have nothing solid. We have a fort of earthworks, a mud hovel through which the thief may break and steal away our treasures. No, this foundation stands sure —“The Lord knoweth them that are his;” and he will certainly bring them all to his right hand at last in glory everlasting.

For meditation: If the truly converted man can be lost, Jesus must have meant “lend” when he said “give”, “temporary” when he said “eternal” and “perhaps” when he said “never” (John 10:28). Uncertainty is the hallmark of man-made religion.

Sermon no. 287

4 December (1859)

Joyce Meyer – Use Your Authority Well

Joyce meyer

Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever desires to be first among you must be your slave—just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free].

—Matthew 20:26–28

God desires to restore us to our rightful position of authority in Christ. But first, we must learn to respect authority before we are fit to be in authority.

We all have authorities to whom God expects us to submit. Our government, our law officers, and even our merchants have the right to set rules for us to follow. If we are not submitting to God’s appointed authority, it will soon be revealed.

Keep a submissive attitude in your heart, and enjoy the authority you have been given to spend time in God’s presence today.

 

Max Lucado – Jesus–Born Crucified

Max Lucado

Jesus’ death was not the result of a panicking, cosmological engineer. The cross wasn’t a tragic surprise. The death of the Son of God was anything but an unexpected peril!

Jesus’ death was part of a plan.  A calculated choice.The cross was written into the script. It was no accident. Jesus was born crucified. Whenever he became conscious of who he was, he also became conscious of what he had to do. It explains the resoluteness in his words:  “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life, only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:18).

So call it what you wish.  An act of grace. A plan of redemption.  A martyr’s sacrifice. But whatever you call it, don’t call it an accident. It was anything but that!

From God Came Near

Charles Spurgeon – Consolation in Christ

CharlesSpurgeon

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies.” Philippians 2:1

Suggested Further Reading: John 16:7-15

The Holy Spirit, during the present dispensation, is revealed to us as the Comforter. It is the Spirit’s business to console and cheer the hearts of God’s people. He does convince of sin; he does illuminate and instruct; but still the main part of his business lies in making glad the hearts of the renewed, in confirming the weak, and lifting up all those that be bowed down. Whatever the Holy Spirit may not be, he is evermore the Comforter to the church; and this age is peculiarly the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in which Christ cheers us not by his personal presence, as he shall do by-and-by, but by the indwelling and constant abiding of the Holy Spirit the Comforter. Now, mark you, as the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, Christ is the comfort. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the consolation. If I may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Christ is the medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ’s name and grace. He takes not of his own things, but of the things of Christ. We are not consoled today by new revelations, but by the old revelation explained, enforced, and lit up with new splendour by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit the Comforter. If we give to the Holy Spirit the Greek name of Paraclete, as we sometimes do, then our heart confers on our blessed Lord Jesus the title of the Paraclesis. If the one be the Comforter, the other is the comfort.

For meditation: Many of the errors taught about God the Holy Spirit would come to nothing if God’s people understood the Scriptural teaching on the relationships between the three persons of the Trinity. May the Holy Spirit help us to grow in the knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (John 17:3).

Sermon no. 348

3 December (Preached 2 December 1860)

 

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Leave God Out of the Loop

Joyce meyer

I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!

—Psalm 91:2

When we are frustrated, it is often because we are trying to do something in our own strength, instead of putting our faith in God and receiving His grace and help. Let us learn to pray for what we would like to be changed, and then cast our care on God. If He leads you to take some kind of action, then do it; but if He doesn’t, then wait with peace.

I had to practice trusting God for a lot of things, but particularly finances. At one point in the beginning of my ministry, God asked me to trust Him to provide for my family financially without my working outside the home. I knew that I needed time to prepare for the ministry He had called me to. And working full-time in addition to being a wife and mother to three small children didn’t leave much time to prepare to be an international Bible teacher.

As an act of faith, and with my husband’s consent, I quit my job and began learning to trust God to provide for us. Dave had a good job, but his salary was forty dollars a month less than our bills. This meant we had to have a miracle from God every month.

I remember what a struggle it was to not go back to work—after all, I was a responsible woman and wanted to do my part. But I knew that God was asking me to keep preparing for the ministry He was calling me to and to trust Him for provision. Each month, He provided for our financial needs, and seeing His faithfulness was exciting, but I was accustomed to taking care of myself—all this “walking by faith” was crucifying my flesh big time.

Trusting God for the forty dollars a month we needed to pay our bills and for anything extra we needed was often difficult, but it helped us gain a strong foundation of faith that has helped us throughout our lives. I strongly encourage you to obey God and trust Him in every area of life. Each victory you have will increase your faith for the next challenge you face.

Trust in Him: Little faith can become great faith when we see the faithfulness of God as He meets our needs. You can become a person who enjoys great peace by trusting God.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K.- Called to Give

ppt_seal01

In the first days of the early church, there was an emergency in the Christian community, and Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” was called to be one of seven to direct assistance for the needy (Acts 6:2-6). It was an unexpected task that Stephen readily accepted. His willingness gave the apostles time to pray and preach, as God had called them to do, so that the church of believers would grow…both in number and in spiritual maturity.

The word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly.

Acts 6:7

Growing in faith happens as the Holy Spirit communicates God’s truth through Scripture. As Bible commentator Lawrence Richards writes, “The Word of God is a living and active power, a timeless moment at which, in our own time and space, we can meet the living God personally…It is content, giving shape and form to reality, and it is confrontation, the moment of meeting God that calls for our personal response of faith.”

The only gift that counts this Christmas is one you are called to give – God’s truth and saving grace through His Word and your Savior. Pray for this nation, that its people will see His love for them through you…and accept Him.

Recommended Reading: II Corinthians 5:14-21

 

Max Lucado – Your Share of Sighing

Max Lucado

No doubt you’ve done your share of sighing. If you have teenagers, you’ve sighed. If you’ve had your motives questioned or your best acts of love rejected, you’ve been forced to take a deep breath and let escape a painful sigh!

I realize there’s a sigh of relief, a sigh of expectancy, even a sigh of joy.  The apostle Paul spoke of this sighing. He said that Christians will sigh as long as we’re on earth and long for heaven. All these sighs come from the same anxiety; a recognition of pain never intended, or of hope deferred. Man was not created to be separated from his creator; hence he sighs, longing for home.

And God sighs, he groans for his people. He groans for the day when all sighs will cease, when what was intended to be—will be!

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – When God’s Spirit Is in Charge

Charles Stanley

James 1:2-4

A Spirit-filled life does not mean one that is problem-free. Christians who are under the control of the Holy Spirit will still make mistakes, have difficulties, and fall into sin. But there are two definite characteristics that distinguish Spirit-filled followers of Christ from other Christians and from unbelievers.

First, they are not controlled by their circumstances, and second, they refocus quickly after having sinned.

When the Holy Spirit is in charge, our attitude will not be determined by what’s going on around us. In other words, life doesn’t have to be stress-free in order for us to know peace—our spiritual joy won’t diminish even if we should meet with disappointment.

Anyone can be loving, kind, and self-controlled in seasons of blessing. But what happens to our attitude in trying times? The real test of who we are occurs not when things are going our way but when misfortune shows up. If the Spirit is in charge, we will learn to do four things: to love when we want to hate; to practice kindness when we are accused; to respond gently when others are harsh; and to have self-control when temptation strikes hard.

None of us will do all of this perfectly because there is still “self” within us. But when we sin, we will respond quickly to the Spirit’s prompting. He won’t have to work hard to get our attention, because we are under His authority. We will recognize our wrong action, confess it, and refocus on God’s ways.

If you are a Christ-follower, who is in control of your life?

 

 

Alistair Begg – A Beautiful Bride

Alistair Begg

You are altogether beautiful, my love.

Song of Songs 4:7

The Lord’s admiration for His Church is very wonderful, and His description of her beauty is very glowing. She is not merely beautiful, but “altogether beautiful.” He views her in Himself, washed in His sin-atoning blood and clothed in His meritorious righteousness, and He considers her to be full of attraction and beauty. No wonder that this is the case, since it is simply His own perfect excellency that He admires; for the holiness, glory, and perfection of His Church are His own glorious garments worn by His well-beloved spouse.

She is not simply pure or well-proportioned; she is positively lovely and fair! She has actual merit! Her deformities of sin are removed; but more, she has through her Lord obtained a meritorious righteousness by which an actual beauty is conferred upon her.

Believers have a positive righteousness given to them when “he chose us in him” (Eph. 1:4). Nor is the church barely lovely-she is superlatively so. Her Lord styles her “most beautiful among women.”1 She has a real worth and excellence that cannot be rivaled by all the nobility and royalty of the world.

If Jesus could exchange His elect bride for all the queens and empresses of earth, or even for the angels in heaven, He would not, for He puts her first and foremost! Like the moon she far outshines the stars. Nor is this an opinion that He is ashamed of, for He invites all men to hear it. He sets a “behold” before it, a special note of exclamation, inviting and arresting attention. “Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!” (Song of Sol. 4:1). He publishes His opinion widely even now, and one day from the throne of His glory He will declare the truth of it before the assembled universe. “Come, you who are blessed by my Father” (Matt. 25:34) will be His solemn affirmation of the loveliness of His elect.

1 Song of Solomon 1:8

 

Charles Spurgeon – Christ our passover

CharlesSpurgeon

“For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7

Suggested Further Reading: John 6:25-35

Some of you, my friends, who are true Christians, live too much on your changing feelings, on your experiences and evidences. Now, that is all wrong. That is just as if a worshipper had gone to the tabernacle and begun eating one of the coats that were worn by the priest. When a man lives on Christ’s righteousness, it is the same as eating Christ’s dress. When a man lives on his feelings, that is as much as if the child of God should live on some tokens that he received in the sanctuary that were never meant for food, but only to comfort him a little. What the Christian lives on is not Christ’s righteousness, but Christ; he does not live on Christ’s pardon, but on Christ; and on Christ he lives daily, on nearness to Christ. Oh! I do love Christ-preaching. It is not the doctrine of justification that does my heart good, it is Christ, the justifier; it is not pardon that so much makes the Christian’s heart rejoice, it is Christ the pardoner; it is not election that I love half so much as my being chosen in Christ before the worlds began; it is not final perseverance that I love so much as the thought that in Christ my life is hid, and that since he gives unto his sheep eternal life, they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of his hand. Take care, Christian, to eat the Paschal Lamb and nothing else. I tell thee man, if thou eatest that alone, it will be like bread to thee—thy soul’s best food. If thou livest on anything else but the Saviour, thou art like one who seeks to live on some weed that grows in the desert, instead of eating the manna that comes down from heaven. Jesus is the manna.

For meditation: This communion sermon reminds us that if we sideline Christ in our Christianity, we are left with little more than an inanity—the best of what remains, even the Lord’s Supper or the doctrines of grace, will be empty if in them we fail to “remember Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:8).

Sermon no. 54

2 December (1855)

 

John MacArthur – An Unlikely Heroine

John MacArthur

“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace” (Heb. 11:31).

Our final Old Testament hero of faith is an unlikely addition to the list. Not only was she a prostitute, she also was a Gentile–and a Canaanite at that.

The Canaanites were an idolatrous, barbaric, debauched people, infamous even among pagans for their immorality and cruelty. Yet in the midst of that exceedingly wicked society, Rahab came to faith in the God of Israel.

Joshua 2:9-11 records her confession of faith to the two men Joshua had sent into Jericho as spies: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And when we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (emphasis added).

Rahab demonstrated the genuineness of that profession by risking her life to hide the spies from the king of Jericho, who sought to capture them.

Because Rahab lied to protect the spies (vv. 4-5), some people question the validity of her faith. Surely genuine believers wouldn’t lie like that–or would they? Abraham did. Sarah did. Isaac did. Jacob did. But the important thing to understand is that God honored their faith, not their deception.

As with all the heroes of faith before her, Rahab’s faith wasn’t perfect, nor was her knowledge of God’s moral law. But because she trusted God, she was spared during Jericho’s conquest, then given an even greater honor. She became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, the great-great-grandmother of David, thereby becoming an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God for receiving even the vilest sinner who turns to Him in faith.

For Further Study:

Read all about Rahab in Joshua 2:1-24, 6:22-25, and James 2:25.

 

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Pester Power

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Last holiday season the British charity Mother’s Union proposed a ban on one of the most enduring Christmas traditions: the Christmas list. Parents should ditch the list, the charity said, because they create disappointment at what should be a time of happiness for all the family. The charity’s research showed that a majority of parents had been pressured into buying gifts beyond their budgets or inappropriate for the child’s age. Noting the influence of “pester power” on her son from relentless advertisers, one supporter of the campaign noted that “the world just seems full of people wanting to make money out of him.”

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.

Philemon 1:4

Too often, your prayers are little more than Christmas lists in which you pray for the things you want while forgetting the blessings God has already given. The apostle Paul was imprisoned when he wrote his epistle to Philemon, but look at the focus of his prayer: he was expressing gratitude, not soliciting gifts.

Today as you pray for America’s leaders and the concerns of the day, balance your petition with words of thanks for the blessings already received – especially for friends who, like Philemon, have brought “much joy and comfort” to your life. (Philemon 1:7)

Recommended Reading: John 15:9-17

 

 

Our Daily Bread — How To Enjoy Things

Our Daily Bread

Ecclesiastes 5:13-20

As for every man . . . to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. —Ecclesiastes 5:19

In his book Daring To Draw Near, Dr. John White writes that several years earlier God had made it possible for him to acquire a lovely home with many luxuries. His feelings about the house fluctuated dramatically.

When he reminded himself that it was a gracious gift from God, he felt joy and thanksgiving. But when he would begin to compare it with those of his friends, he would feel proud because he had such a fine house and his joy would evaporate. His home would actually become a burden. All he could see were the many hedges and trees to care for and the endless odd jobs to do. White said, “While vanity clouds my eyes and burdens my heart, gratitude clears my vision and lightens my load.”

The writer of Ecclesiastes saw God at every turn in the enjoyment of material things. The power to eat the fruits of our labors and even the strength to receive and rejoice in them is from Him (5:18-19).

From beginning to end, all of life is a continuous gift-giving by God. We deserve nothing. He owes us nothing. Yet He gives us everything. If we remember this, we need not feel selfish or guilty. Whatever material blessings we have are a gift from our gracious God. —Dennis J. DeHaan

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts

My daily thanks employ;

Nor is the least a cheerful heart,

That tastes those gifts with joy. —Addison

God, who has given so much to us, gives one more thing—a grateful heart. —Herbert

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 33-34; 1 Peter 5