Tag Archives: Truth

Alistair Begg – Of Minor Importance

Alistair Begg

Avoid foolish controversies.

Titus 3:9

Our days are few and are far better spent in doing good than in disputing over matters that are, at best, of minor importance. The old scholars did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our churches suffer too often from petty wars over obscure points and unimportant questions.

After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion promotes neither knowledge nor love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field.

Questions about issues on which Scripture is silent, on mysteries that belong to God alone, on prophecies of doubtful interpretation, and on 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 will find ourselves occupied with so much profitable business that we will have no time to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.

There are, however, some questions that 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 behavior adorn the doctrine of God my Savior? Am I looking for the coming of the Lord and watching as a servant should who expects his master? What more can I do for Jesus?

Such inquiries as these demand our urgent attention; and if we have been given at all to frivolous arguments, let us now turn our critical abilities to a much more profitable service. Let us be peacemakers and endeavor to lead others both by our precept and example to “avoid foolish controversies.”

 

Charles Spurgeon – All-sufficiency magnified

CharlesSpurgeon

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 22:6-16

Christians, beware lest that village in which you have found a quiet retreat from the cares of business, should rise up in judgment against you, to condemn you, because, having means and opportunity, you use the village for rest, but never seek to do any good in it. Take care, masters and mistresses, lest your servant’s souls be required of you at the last great day. “I worked for my master;” they say, “he paid me my wages, but had no respect to his greater Master, and never spoke to me, though he heard me swear, and saw me going on in my sins.” If I could I would thrust a thorn into the seat where you are now sitting, and make you spring up for a moment to the dignity of a thought of your responsibilities. Why, sirs, what has God made you for? What has he sent you here for? Did he make stars that should not shine, and suns that should give no light, and moons that should not cheer the darkness? Has he made rivers that shall not be filled with water, and mountains that shall not stay the clouds? Has he made even the forests which shall not give a habitation to the birds; or has he made the prairie which shall not feed the wild flocks? And has he made thee for nothing? Why, man, the nettle in the corner of the churchyard has its uses, and the spider on the wall serves her Maker; and you, a man in the image of God, a blood-bought man, a man who is in the path and track to heaven, a man regenerated, twice created, are you made for nothing at all but to buy and to sell, to eat and to drink, to wake and to sleep, to laugh and to weep, to live to yourself?

For meditation: The Christian—chosen to do (John 15:16), created to do (Ephesians 2:10), commanded to do (1 Corinthians 10:31), continue to do (Galatians 6:9,10). What?

Sermon no. 346

19 November (Preached 18 November 1860)

John MacArthur – Living a Satisfied Life

John MacArthur

“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. “And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:13-16).

I remember watching in horror and disgust as angry mobs swept through Los Angeles, killing people and setting thousands of buildings on fire. Under the cover of chaos, countless people ransacked and looted every store in sight. I saw entire families- -moms, dads, and little children– loading their cars and trucks with anything they could steal.

That was the most graphic demonstration of lawlessness I’ve ever seen. It was as if they were saying, “I’m not satisfied with the way life’s treating me, so I’m entitled to grab everything I can–no matter who gets hurt in the process.”

Perhaps we don’t realize how selfish and restless the human heart can be until the restraints of law and order are lifted and people can do whatever they want without apparent consequences. Then suddenly the results of our godless “me first” society are seen for what they are. Instant gratification at any cost has become the motto of the day.

That’s in stark contrast to people of faith like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who trusted in God even when their circumstances were less than they might have expected. God promised them a magnificent land but they never possessed it. They were, in fact, strangers and refugees in their own land. But that didn’t bother them because they looked forward to a better place–a heavenly city.

Their faith pleased God and He was not ashamed to be called their God. What a wonderful testimonial! I pray that’s true of you. Don’t let earthbound hopes and dreams make you dissatisfied. Trust in God’s promises and set your sights on your heavenly home.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the blessing of a satisfied heart.

For Further Study:

Memorize Psalm 27:4.

 

Joyce Meyer – Receive the Goodness of God

Joyce meyer

Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven’s lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows.

—James 1:17 NLT

There was a time when I believed God was good—but I wasn’t sure He would be good to me. I was afraid I hadn’t been good enough to receive His goodness. But He taught me that our inability to do everything right doesn’t cancel out His goodness. Thankfully, receiving God’s goodness is based on His righteousness, not ours.

I now keep a journal to list all the good things God does for me. This gives me a greater appreciation for His provisions and confirms His constant flow of blessings in my life.

God is good, and His goodness radiates from Him like heat radiates from the sun. And those rays of goodness reach out to you every day. Make a list of all His blessings, and you’ll have no doubt about the good and perfect gifts that come from Him.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Open Windows

ppt_seal01

Daniel was a Jewish prophet who was taken to Babylon and trained for the king’s service. He was known for his courage, integrity, humility and spiritual vision. Most of all, Daniel was known for his unceasing prayerfulness. Although he knew there was a law prohibiting prayer to anyone except the king, Daniel chose to serve the King of Kings! In fact, Daniel always prayed with his windows opened toward Jerusalem.

He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God.

Daniel 6:10

Of course, he prayed not out of rebellion toward the king…but out of his love for God. Even Daniel’s enemies knew he would obey God rather than bow to the king’s edict.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” You obviously cannot spend all your time praying. Yet it is possible to have a continuous, prayerful attitude. So always keep your spiritual windows open towards Heaven. Practice frequent and regular communication with your Creator. Remember also to thank Him for the privilege of praying for your nation’s leaders out of godly love for them.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 92:1-9  Click to Read or Listen

 

 

Max Lucado – Jesus Builds the Bridge

Max Lucado

People came to Jesus. My, how they came to Him!  They touched Him as He walked down the street; they followed Him around the sea; they invited Him into their homes and placed their children at His feet. Why?  Because He refused to be a statue in a cathedral or a priest in an elevated pulpit. He chose instead to be—Jesus.

There’s not a hint of one person who was afraid to draw near Him. There were those who mocked Him. Those who were envious of Him. There were those who misunderstood Him. There was not one person who was reluctant to approach Him for fear of being rejected.

Remember that. Remember that the next time you find yourself amazed at your own failures. Or the next time acidic accusations burn holes in your soul.

Remember. It’s man who creates the distance. It is Jesus who builds the bridge!

From The Lucado Inspirational Reader

Charles Stanley – The Promise of the Father

Charles Stanley

Acts 1:1-8

The Bible is a book of promises, each of which is guaranteed by the Lord’s unchanging nature (2 Cor. 1:20). One precious assurance is that those who trust Jesus as Savior will never be alone. Our Father has promised to send His Holy Spirit to take up residence within each believer. Scripture teaches that the Spirit is a member of the Trinity, along with God the Father and God the Son.

The triune nature of God is clear in a number of Bible passages. Genesis 1:1-2, for instance, identifies both the Father and the Spirit as active participants in creation. The New Testament later reveals that Jesus Christ was likewise present when the world was being made (Col. 1:16).

We find another example in John’s gospel. The night before His crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that He was going away but would ask the Father to send “another Comforter” (14:16). The resurrected Christ later commissioned His followers to make disciples and baptize them in the name of all three members of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19).

On the basis of biblical truth, we can know for sure that the Spirit is fully God, just like the Father and the Son. Scripture teaches that we can intimately know the Father and Jesus, and the same holds true for the third person of the Trinity. Because of the Spirit’s importance, Jesus spent much time talking about Him with the disciples.

Do you know the Holy Spirit as well as you do the Father and Son? If not, spend time studying Scripture to gain understanding of His place in your life.

 

Our Daily Bread — Welcome Back

Our Daily Bread

Nehemiah 9:7-21

You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful. —Nehemiah 9:17

Jim decided to follow Christ at the age of 10. Fifteen years later his commitment had faded. He had adopted a live-for-the-moment philosophy and developed some bad habits. Then his life seemed to fall apart. He had problems at work. Three family members died almost simultaneously. Fears and doubts began to plague Jim, and nothing seemed to help—until one day when he read Psalm 121:2, “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” These words cut through the fear and confusion in his heart. He turned back to God for help, and God welcomed him.

Jim’s spiritual journey reminds me of ancient Israel’s history. The Israelites had a unique relationship with God—they were His chosen people (Neh. 9:1-15). However, they spent many years rebelling and ignoring God’s goodness, turning away to follow their own path (vv.16-21). Yet when they returned to Him and repented, God was “ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness” (v.17).

These divine qualities encourage us to draw near to God—even after we have wandered away from Him. When we humbly abandon our rebellious ways and recommit ourselves to God’s ways, He will show compassion and welcome us back to closeness with Him. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,

Calling for you and for me;

See on the portals He’s waiting and watching,

Watching for you and for me. —Thompson

God’s arms of welcome are always open.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 8-10; Hebrews 13

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Apologetics for Whom?

Ravi Z

When I was a student fielding attacks on the Bible or the logic of Christianity, feeling threatened by the claims of other religions, or merely finding myself alone in the dark night of my own doubt, the discovery of apologetics was like the discovery of a good friend or a warm blanket. It is infinitely comforting to discover a God who can handle tough inquiry, and more than assuring to realize the truth is not contingent on my making sense of it. And while it is good to discover that we can ask questions and be asked questions without feeling like the tower of faith will come crashing down, apologetics is so much more than a tool for the fearful.

While reading the other day, I happened upon something that alluded to the “Christian arsenal”—those items, ideas, and arguments that “arm” Christians in a hostile world with facts and certainty. Among other things, the author described helpful resources for a world of challenging questions, harsh accusations, and conflicting worldviews. While some of the books in particular were things that I, too, had found helpful, hearing them referenced in terms of weaponry and fear seemed a disheartening incongruity. Like a chorus of self-assured debaters singing “Onward Christian Soldiers,” when apologetics becomes something aimed to help us fight, or to help us feel secure, the gospel itself seems somehow lost in the battle. Sadly for many, the work of apologetics remains far more about ourselves than our neighbors, far more about the Christian arsenal than the love of God and creation. Subsequently, the gospel is not presented as good news, or even average news. On the contrary, the gospel is presented as something that proves: I am right.

When the apostle Paul spoke to the Athenians at the Aeropagus, he did not come with a barrage of clever answers, trite comebacks, and confident Scriptures. In fact, he didn’t quote Scripture at all. In his own words, he told them the story that changed his life. He also told it not in the language and imagery with which he would have most fluent and comfortable, but in a language the Athenians themselves would recognize. While those of the Aeropagus kept themselves current with every new and coming school of thought and religious conjecture, they were likely unfamiliar with the Jewish Scriptures, the story of Israel, and the God who chose them. Thus, Paul began at the beginning, but he did so in a way that invited them to see he was telling their story, too. “Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands” (Acts 17:23-24). His arguments, reasoning, teaching, and commending were all offered in humility, respect, and love.

Of course, this is not to say the apostle’s words were easily embraced or dimly spoken. Before a council that regularly and eagerly heard new teachings, Paul presented a teaching that would not stand beside others, a Logos who would not remain as one lesson embraced among many. His words were controversial, but they were not hurled in battle. While there is indeed biblical imagery that alludes to the conflicts that come when we carry the name of Christ, for the sake of the gospel, Paul strives to be “all things to all people” (1 Corinthians 9:22). While the call of Christ is indeed a call to put on spiritual armor, renounce what is false, and live counter-culturally, none of this imagery is intended to contradict the image Christ gave of one’s neighbors. As Paul reiterates the lesson of Jesus, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14). The danger in seeing the Christian life as a battlefield and the work of apologetics as weaponry is that we begin to see enemies instead of neighbors, obstacles that need to be overcome instead of people we are told to love.

In his message to the Athenians, Paul not only established a common ground, he grounded their differences in thoughts that included philosophers they respected. He saw them as neighbors with valuable thoughts and minds. “As even your own poets have noted,” we are “God’s offspring,” and therefore, not distant material byproducts of an unknown maker. God is far nearer than we realize, far closer than handmade idols contend, or obstructive altars permit. Within this crowd of first century Greek philosophers, the unique apologetic challenges were many. But Paul’s presentation was deftly suited to their specific worldviews, pursuits, and ideals. Far from using apologetics, the gospel, or persuasion as weaponry, Paul spoke gently and respectfully to crowd who had invited him to answer their questions. He spoke not to obstacles or enemies, but to men and women made in the image of the very God he stood before them to proclaim.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Alistair Begg – Heart of a Believer

Alistair Begg

A spring locked, a fountain sealed.

Song of Songs 4:12

In this metaphor, which has reference to the inner life of a believer, we have very plainly the idea of secrecy. It is “a spring locked.” Just as there were springs in the East over which an edifice was built, so that no one could reach them except those who knew the secret entrance, so is the heart of a believer when it is renewed by grace: There is a mysterious life within that no human skill can touch.

It is a secret that no one else knows, which the individual who is the possessor of it cannot tell his neighbor. The text includes not only secrecy but separation. It is not the common spring, of which every passer-by may drink; it is one kept and preserved from all others; it is a fountain bearing a particular mark-a king’s royal seal, so that all can perceive that it is not a common fountain, but a fountain owned by a proprietor and placed specially by itself alone.

So is it with the spiritual life. The chosen of God were separated in the eternal decree; they were separated by God in the day of redemption; and they are separated by the possession of a life that others do not have.

And it is impossible for them to feel at home with the world or to delight in its pleasures. There is also the idea of sacredness.

The locked spring is preserved for the use of some special person: And such is the Christian’s heart. It is a spring kept for Jesus.

Every Christian should feel that he has God’s seal upon him-and he should be able to say with Paul, “From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”1

Another idea is prominent-it is that of security. How sure and safe is the inner life of the believer! If all the powers of earth and hell could combine against it, that immortal principle must still exist, for He who gave it pledged His life for its preservation. And who or what can harm you when God is your protector?

1Galations 6:17

Charles Spurgeon – The Holy Spirit—the great Teacher

CharlesSpurgeon

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” John 16:13

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 25:4-14

If I give myself to the Holy Spirit and ask his guidance, there is no fear of my wandering. Again, we rejoice in this Spirit because he is ever-present. We fall into a difficulty sometimes; we say, “Oh, if I could take this to my minister, he would explain it; but I live so far off, and am not able to see him.” That perplexes us, and we turn the text round and round and cannot make anything out of it. We look at the commentators. We take down pious Thomas Scott, and, as usual, he says nothing about it if it be a dark passage. Then we go to holy Matthew Henry, and if it is an easy Scripture, he is sure to explain it; but if it is a text hard to be understood, it is likely enough, of course, left in his own gloom. And even Dr Gill himself, the most consistent of commentators, when he comes to a hard passage, manifestly avoids it in some degree. But when we have no commentator or minister, we have still the Holy Spirit. And let me tell you a little secret: whenever you cannot understand a text, open your Bible, bend your knee, and pray over that text; and if it does not split into atoms and open itself, try again. If prayer does not explain it, it is one of the things God did not intend you to know, and you may be content to be ignorant of it. Prayer is the key that openeth the cabinets of mystery. Prayer and faith are sacred keys that can open secrets, and obtain great treasures. There is no college for holy education like that of the blessed Spirit, for he is an ever-present tutor, to whom we have only to bend the knee, and he is at our side, the great expositor of truth.

For meditation: We sometimes hold up our own spiritual education by failing to believe and obey what we have already been taught (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:11-14). Are you a difficult pupil?

Sermon no. 50

18 November (1855)

John MacArthur – Looking to the Future

John MacArthur

“By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised; therefore, also, there was born of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore” (Heb. 11:11-12).

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful Christian heritage. In fact, I’m the fifth generation of preachers in our family. The faith of my predecessors has had an enormous impact on my life– either directly or indirectly. I have the same responsibility they did to influence others for good–as do you.

Hebrews 11:11-12 gives a very personal example of how one man’s faith influenced an entire nation. Verse 11 is better rendered: “By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise” (NIV).

God had promised Abraham that he would become the father of a great nation (Gen. 12:2). But Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had always been barren, and both of them were advanced in years. At one point Sarah became impatient and decided to take things into her own hands. She persuaded Abraham to have a son by her maid, Hagar (16:1-4). That act of disobedience proved to be costly because Ishmael, the child of that union, became the progenitor of the Arab people, who have been constant antagonists of the Jewish nation.

Despite his times of disobedience, Abraham believed that God would keep His promise. God honored Abraham’s faith by giving him not only Isaac, the child of promise, but descendants too numerous to count. One man’s faith literally changed the world.

Similarly, the faith you exercise today will influence others tomorrow. So be faithful and remember: despite your failures, God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for those who have had a righteous influence on you.

Pray for greater opportunities to influence others for Christ.

For Further Study:

Read the account of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18-21 and 23.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Stay in God’s Presence

Joyce meyer

And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

—Psalm 27:6

The psalmist David said that the thing he wanted most was to be with God and to dwell in His presence all the days of his life (See Psalm 27:4). David loved God for who He is, not just for what He did for him.

The Word says that if we abide in the presence of God, He will defeat our enemies, and hide us in the day of trouble (See v.5). God’s attention is on us, but we must keep our attention on Him to enjoy the fullness of His presence in our lives. We must invite God to be involved in everything we do, and then remember to praise Him for His goodness.

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Wonderfully Comforts

dr_bright

“What a wonderful God we have – He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).

Whatever God does for you and me is without merit on our part and by pure grace on His part, and it is done for a purpose. Here the apostle Paul tells the Corinthian believers why God so wonderfully comforts and strengthens them, and us, in our hardships and trials.

This scriptural principle is a good one to remember: God never gives to or benefits His children solely for their own selfish ends. We are not comforted and strengthened in our hardships and trials just so that we will feel better.

Eleven out of the 13 Pauline epistles begin with the exclamations of joy, praise and thanksgiving. Second Corinthians, obviously, is one of those. Though Paul had been afflicted and persecuted, he had also been favored with God’s comfort and consolation.

Paul delighted in tracing all his comforts back to God. He found no other real source of happiness. The apostle does not say that God’s comfort and strength is given solely for the benefit of others, but he does say that this is an important purpose. We are not to hoard God’s blessings.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 13:15-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: As I live in the supernatural strength of the Lord God, I will make an effort, with His help, to share that strength (and other blessings) with others

 

 

Greg Laurie – Barriers to Answered Prayer

greglaurie

These people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men. —Isaiah 29:13

You may have heard the old adage that says there are no atheists in foxholes. Actually, I think there may be some. But when the chips are down, most people will pray.

Remember the story of Jonah? He ran from God and boarded a boat that was going in the opposite direction of Nineveh, where God had told him to go. A great storm came, and the terrified sailors started calling on their gods. Meanwhile, Jonah had found his way to the ship’s hold and was sound asleep. The captain found Jonah and said, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish” (Jonah 1:6).

That is the way most people are. When we are in danger, we will call on God. But it is possible to pray all day long and never communicate with God. We can fervently say our prayers and never be heard. In Luke 18 we find a story Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector who went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee “stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men’ ” (verse 11). Meanwhile, the tax collector prayed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (verse 13). Jesus said that God heard the prayer of the sinner rather than the words of the self-righteous Pharisee.

You can pray and never really have a relationship with God. You can offer up prayers and never really pray. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” You can pray with all the passion and consistency in the world, but if your sin has not been confessed to God, then it won’t do you any good.

Max Lucado – Accepting God as Your Father

Max Lucado

I can’t assure you your family will ever give you the blessing you seek, but God will! Let God give you what your family doesn’t.

How do you do that? By emotionally accepting God as your father. It’s one thing to accept Him as Lord, another to recognize Him as Savior, but another matter entirely to accept Him as Father.

To recognize God as Lord is to acknowledge that he is sovereign in the universe.

To accept Him as Savior is to accept His gift of salvation offered on the cross.

To regard Him as Father is to go a step further. Ideally, a father is the one in your life who provides and protects. That’s exactly what God has done!

God has proven Himself as a faithful father. Now, let God fill the void others have left. You’re His child and “God will give you the blessing He promised!” (Gal. 4:7).

From  The Lucado Inspirational Reader

Charles Stanley – When Temptation Knocks

Charles Stanley

What makes a person successful at resisting temptation? I believe the best way to discover how to overcome temptation is to look at the One who dealt with every temptation successfully and consistently. The writer of Hebrews wrote of Christ:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Since Jesus successfully overcame temptation, we would do well to study his strategy for dealing with it. Unfortunately, we have only one clear passage of Scripture describing Christ’s encounter with temptation. We know from the Hebrews passage cited above that He was tempted more often than this, but the Holy Spirit chose not to include these in the Gospels.

Strangely enough, Jesus’ approach is so straightforward and simple that many believers tend to overlook it entirely. Others, after hearing it, make the most ridiculous excuses as to why they can not follow His example.

What was His strategy? After 40 days of fasting in the desert, Jesus used Scripture, and only Scripture, to resist Satan’s temptation (Matt. 4:1-11). This is hard for me to comprehend. The Son of God—the One who knows all things and has the power to do all things, the One whose words we study, memorize, and meditate on—never made an original comment during the entire interaction.

He never drew on his own wit. He never even relied on His own power. He simply responded with the truth of God’s Word. That’s all it took. Nothing fancy. Just the plain truth directed at the deception behind each of Satan’s requests. Jesus verbally confronted Satan with the truth, and eventually Satan gave up and left.

There are four primary reasons why a well-chosen passage or verse of Scripture is so effective against temptation.

First of all, God’s Word exposes the sinfulness of what you are being tempted to do. One of Satan’s subtle snares is to convince you that sin is really not so bad after all. God’s Word allows you to see things for what they really are.

A second reason the Word of God is so effective against temptation is that you gain God’s viewpoint through it. Since many temptations carry a strong emotional punch, you tend to get caught up in your feelings. Once you identify with the feelings temptation evokes, it becomes increasingly difficult to respond correctly. The truth of Scripture allows you to separate yourself just far enough mentally to deal with it successfully.

Another reason for turning to God’s Word in times of temptation is what one pastor calls the principle of displacement.1 This principle is based on the premise that it is impossible not to think about a seductive topic unless you turn your attention elsewhere. When you turn your thoughts to the Word of God during temptation, you do just that (Phil. 4:8).

If you don’t shift your attention away from the temptation, you may begin some form of mental dialogue: I really shouldn’t. But I haven’t done this in a long time. I am really going to hate myself later. Why not? I’ve already blown it. I’ll do it just this once, and tomorrow I’ll start over. When you allow these little discussions to begin, you’re sunk. The longer you talk, the more time the temptation has to settle into your emotions and will.

The fourth reason the Word of God is so effective against temptation is that you are expressing faith when you turn your attention to His Word. You are saying, “I believe God is able to get me through this; I believe He is mightier than the power of sin, my flesh, and Satan himself.” Nothing moves God like the active faith of His people.

To effectively combat the onslaughts of the enemy, you need an arsenal of verses on the tip of your tongue. Verses so familiar that they come to mind without any conscious effort on your part. If you have to dig them up from the caverns of your memory, they will do you no good. There isn’t time for that in the midst of temptation.

Begin memorizing scriptures that address the area that troubles you the most. Quote them audibly when you are tempted. When you speak the truth out loud, it’s as if you have taken a stand with God against the enemy. When I do this, I often feel a sense of courage and conviction sweeping over me. Remember, if the perfect, sinless, sovereign Son of God relied on Scripture to pull Him through, what hope do you have without it?

1. Bud Palmberg, “Private Sins of Public Ministry,” Leadership magazine (Winter 1988)

Adapted from “Winning the War Within: Facing Trials, Temptations and Inner Struggles by Charles F. Stanley, 1988.

 

Our Daily Bread — Hero Over Sin

Our Daily Bread

1 John 1

Create in me a clean heart, O God. —Psalm 51:10

Not long ago, someone asked me a very tough question: “What is the longest you have gone without sinning? A week, a day, an hour?” How can we answer a question like that? If we’re truthful, we might say, “I can’t live a day without sinning.” Or if we look back over the past week, we might see that we haven’t confessed to God even one sin. But we would be fooling ourselves if we said we hadn’t sinned in our thoughts or actions for a week.

God knows our hearts and whether we’re sensitive to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. If we really know ourselves, we take 1 John 1:8 to heart, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We certainly don’t want verse 10 to be true of us, “If we say that we have not sinned, . . . His word is not in us.”

A more encouraging question to ask might be: “What is God’s response to our admission of sin and need for forgiveness?” The answer: “If we confess . . . , He is faithful and just to forgive us” (v.9). Jesus has taken our sin problem upon Himself by dying in our place and rising again. That’s why He can create in us “a clean heart” (Ps. 51:10). My young friend Jaydon is right when he says, “Jesus is the hero over our sins.” —Anne Cetas

No one can say he doesn’t need

Forgiveness for his sin,

For all must come to Christ by faith

To have new life within. —Branon

Christ’s forgiveness is the door to a new beginning.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 5-7; Hebrews 12

 

Alistair Begg – A Desire for God’s Glory

Alistair Begg

To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:36

To him be glory forever.” This should be the single desire of the Christian. All other wishes must be subservient and serve as tributaries to this.

The Christian may wish for prosperity in his business, but only inasmuch as it may help him to promote this-“To him be glory forever.”

He may desire to attain more gifts and more graces, but it should only be that he may declare, “To him be glory forever.”

You are not acting as you ought to do when you are moved by any other motive than a single focus on the Lord’s glory. As a Christian, you are “from him and through him,” and so you must live “to him.” Do not let anything set your heart beating so fast as love for Him. Let this ambition fire your soul; may this be the foundation of every enterprise upon which you enter, and your sustaining motive whenever your zeal would grow cold.Make God your only object. Depend upon it-where self begins, sorrow begins; but if God is my supreme delight and only object,

To me ’tis equal whether love ordain

My life or death-appoint me ease or pain.

Let your desire for God’s glory be a growing desire. You blessed Him in your youth; do not be content with such praises as you gave Him then.

Has God prospered you in business? Give Him more as He has given you more.

Has God given you experience? Praise Him by stronger faith than you exercised at the beginning. Does your knowledge grow? Then sing more sweetly.

Do you enjoy happier times than you once had? Have you been restored from sickness, and has your sorrow been turned into peace and joy? Then give Him more music; put more coals and more sweet spices into the censer of your praise.

Practically in your life give Him honor, offering the “Amen” of this doxology to your great and gracious Lord by your own individual service and increasing holiness.

Charles Spurgeon – The work of the Holy Spirit

CharlesSpurgeon

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3

Suggested Further Reading: John 3:1-8

It is simple enough for a man that hath the Spirit in him to believe, when he hath the written Word before him and the witness of the Spirit in him; that is easy enough. But for the poor, tried sinner, who cannot see anything in the Word of God but thunder and threatening—for him to believe—ah, my brethren, it is not such a little matter as some make it to be. It needs the fulness of the power of God’s Spirit to bring any man to such a faith as that. Well, when the sinner has thus believed, then the Holy Spirit brings all the precious things to him. There is the blood of Jesus; that can never save my soul, unless God the Spirit takes that blood, and sprinkles it upon my conscience. There is the perfect spotless righteousness of Jesus; it is a robe that will fit me and adorn me from head to foot, but it is no use to me till I have put it on; and I cannot put it on myself; God the Holy Spirit must put the robe of Jesus’ righteousness on me. There is the covenant of adoption, whereby God gives me the privileges of a son; but I cannot rejoice in my adoption until I receive the spirit of adoption whereby I may be able to cry, “Abba, Father.” So, beloved, you see that every point that is brought out in the experience of the new-born Christian, every point in that part of salvation which we call its beginning in the soul, has to do with God the Holy Spirit. There is no step that can be taken without him, there is nothing which can be accomplished aright without him.

For meditation: It is impossible to begin in the flesh and end up with the Spirit (John 6:63-64; Romans 8:9).

Sermon no. 178

17 November (Preached 5 November 1857)