Tag Archives: Christ Jesus

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48

THERE can be nothing in the Bible adverse to the salvation of a sinner. The doctrine of predestination is a revealed doctrine of the Bible; therefore predestination cannot be opposed to the salvation of the sinner. So far from this being true, we hesitate not most strongly and emphatically to affirm, that we know of no doctrine of God’s word more replete with encouragement to the awakened, sin-burdened, Christ-seeking soul than this. What stronger evidence can we have of our election of God than the Spirit’s work in the heart? Are you really in earnest for the salvation of your soul? Do you feel the plague of sin? Are you sensible of the condemnation of the law? Do you come under the denomination of the “weary and heavy laden”? If so, then the fact that you are a subject of the Divine drawings-that you have a felt conviction of your sinfulness-and that you are looking wistfully for a place of refuge, affords the strongest ground for believing that you are one of those whom God has predestinated to eternal life. The very work thus begun is the Spirit’s first outline of the Divine image upon your soul-that very image to which the saints are predestinated to be conformed.

But while we thus vindicate this doctrine from being inimical to the salvation of the anxious soul, we must with all distinctness and earnestness declare, that in this stage of your Christian course you have primarily and mainly to do with another and a different doctrine. We refer to the doctrine of the Atonement. Could you look into the book of the Divine decrees, and read your name inscribed upon its pages, it would not impart the joy and peace which one believing view of Christ crucified will convey. It is not essential to your salvation that you believe in election; but it is essential to your salvation that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In your case, as an individual debating the momentous question how a sinner may be justified before God, your first business is with Christ, and Christ exclusively. You are to feel that you are a lost sinner, not that you are an elect saint. The doctrine which meets the present phase of your spiritual condition is, not the doctrine of predestination, but the doctrine of an atoning Savior. The truth to which you are to give the first consideration and the most simple and unquestioning credence is, that “Christ died for the ungodly”-that He came into the world to save sinners-that He came to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance-that in all respects, in the great business of our salvation, He stands to us in the relation of a Savior, while we stand before Him in the character of a sinner. Oh, let one object fix your eye, and one theme fill your mind-Christ and His salvation. Absorbed in the contemplation and study of these two points, you may safely defer all further inquiry to another and a more advanced stage of your Christian course. Remember that the fact of your predestination, the certainty of your election, can only be inferred from your conversion. We must hold you firmly to this truth. It is the subtle and fatal reasoning of Satan, a species of atheistical fatalism, to argue, “If I am elected I shall be saved, whether I am regenerated or not.” The path to eternal woe is paved with arguments like this. Men have cajoled their souls with such vain excuses until they have found themselves beyond the region of hope! But we must rise to the fountain, by pursuing the stream. Conversion, and not predestination, is the end of the chain we are to grasp. We must ascend from ourselves to God, and not descend from God to ourselves, in settling this great question. We must judge of God’s objective purpose of love concerning us, by His subjective work of grace within us. In conclusion, we earnestly entreat you to lay aside all fruitless speculations, and to give yourself to prayer. Let reason bow to faith, and faith shut you up to Christ, and Christ be all in all to you. Beware that you come not short of true conversion-a changed heart, and a renewed mind, so that you become a “new creature in Christ Jesus.” And if as a poor lost sinner you repair to the Savior, all vile and guilty, unworthy and weak as you are, He will receive you and shelter you within the bosom that bled on the cross to provide an atonement and an asylum for the very chief of sinners.

 

From “Music For The Soul” by Alexander Maclaren

THE PARADOX OF LOVE’S MEASURE

Of His fulness we all received, and grace for grace. – Joh_1:16

It is the immeasurable measure, the boundless bounds and dimensions of the love of Christ, which fires the Apostle’s thoughts when writing to the Ephesian Church (Eph_3:17-19). Of course he had no separate idea in his mind attaching to each of these measures of magnitude, but he gathered them all together simply to express the one thought of the greatness of Christ’s love.

Depth and height are the same dimension measured from opposite ends. The one begins at the top and goes down, the other begins at the bottom and goes up, but the surface is the same in either case. So we have the three dimensions of a solid here – breadth, length, and depth.

And I suppose that I may venture to use these expressions with a somewhat different purpose from that for which the Apostle employs them; and to see in each of them a separate and blessed aspect of the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

And that love which thus towers above us, and gleams the summit and the apex of the universe, like the shining cross on the top of some lofty cathedral spire, does not gleam there above us inaccessible, nor lie before us like some pathless precipice, up which nothing that has not wings can ever hope to rise; but the height of the love of Christ is a hospitable height, which can be scaled by us. Nay, rather, that heaven of love, which is “higher than our thoughts,” bends down, as by a kind of optical delusion the physical heaven seems to do, towards each of us, only with this blessed difference, that in the natural world the place where heaven touches earth is always the furthest point of distance from us; and in the spiritual world, the place where heaven stoops to me is always right over my head, and the nearest possible point to me. He has come to lift us to Himself. And this is the height of His love, that it bears us up, if we will, up and up to sit upon that throne where He Himself is enthroned.

So round about us all, as some sunny tropical sea may embosom in its violet waves a multitude of luxuriant and happy islets, so all of us, islanded on our little individual lives, lie in that great ocean of love, all the dimensions of which are immeasurable, and which stretches above, beneath, around, shoreless, tideless, bottomless, endless.

But remember! this ocean of love you can shut out of your lives. It is possible to plunge a jar into mid-Atlantic, further than soundings have ever descended, and to bring it up on deck as dry inside as if it had been lying on an oven. It is possible for us to live and move and have our being in that sea of love, and never to have got one drop of its richest gifts into our hearts or our lives. Open your heart for Him to come in by humble faith in His great sacrifice for you. For if Christ dwell in your heart by faith, then, and only then, will experience be your guide; and you will be able to comprehend the boundless greatness, the endless duration, the absolute perfection, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,

 

From “Day-by-Day By Grace” by Bob Hoekstra

Jesus, the Ultimate Example of Humility

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phi_2:5-8)
In order to live daily by the grace of God, we must be willing to walk in humility. “God . . . gives grace to the humble” (1Pe_5:5). The word of God offers extensive teaching concerning a life of humility. Moreover, in all of the scriptures we will find no greater insight than that which pertains to Jesus, the ultimate example of humility.

Before He came to earth as a man, Jesus had existed throughout eternity past as deity, the eternal Son of God. “Bethlehem . . . out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). Since He was God, claiming deity was not an inappropriate intrusion into another’s domain: “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” Although He would of necessity exist endlessly as God (even during His pilgrimage as a man), He did not go about independently exercising His Godhood: “but made Himself of no reputation.” Instead of manifesting all of His innate glory, He functioned as any human slave would: “taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men.” During His earthly ministry, He Himself would emphasize His servanthood role. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mat_20:28).

In His majestic salvation mission, Jesus, the Son of God, would voluntarily accept the path of humility. “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” This humility involved a yielding to the Father that was so extensive He would even embrace the most abhorrent death of all, a sin-atoning crucifixion. In spiritual agony, He would pray, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Mat_26:39). This humble surrender to the Father’s will is the path that our Lord calls us to walk. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Dear heavenly Father, my heart is humbled as I consider the humbling You accepted in coming to this sinful planet. As God, You deserved all honor and glory. Yet, in order to please the Father and to save sinners,You were willing to become a lowly, human servant. Unlike Your example, I am easily tempted to resist humility, even though I deserve to be totally humiliated. Lord, please work in me a humble heart like You, in Your holy name, Amen.

May I Share A Thought With You

Dear Brother in Christ,

May I please share a thought on this subject with you. I do not mean to cause offense or embarrass anyone, but rather to engage in a meaningful dialogue in which perhaps we can all learn something.

I agree with and think you are absolutely right that you can’t argue anyone into heaven, and equally right that you shouldn’t fall into meaningless dispute, and debate, arguing the word, but we are called to defend, and to take a stand.

The Bible is very clear that when we see a brother or sister in error we are to go to them, and with gentleness confront them in love. We are to correct those who call themselves “Christians” especially when they’re misleading those who are babes in Christ.

If you see your brother or sister in danger would you not stand in front of them, or do what you could to help them? Would you just stand by and let someone beat them, or kill them? Would you not at least raise an alarm, yell, draw attention, beg for someone to call the police?

As Christians, we do not have to debate, but that does not mean that we aren’t to confront and to stand in defense of the Gospel. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who stood and proclaimed the “Word of God.” We are to proclaim God’s truth, and to stand against evil. We shouldn’t go looking for a fight, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that we’re to tuck tail and run.

Eleven of those who followed our Lord and Savior were all persecuted and died for their faith and belief in Jesus. Thousands upon thousands of men and women who aren’t living in the USA are martyred, beaten, jailed, and persecuted in all kinds of disturbing and horrific ways.

Are we just to sit by, and pray, “God, I sure hope You help them people.” I’m not downplaying the importance of prayer. Prayer is vital. Prayer is life affirming, transforming, and of eternal importance,” but prayer is not the end of our daily walk is it? Isn’t it the beginning? Then we go out and by giving the “Holy Spirit” our feet, our hands, our mouth, mind, heart, and soul we do as we’re led and go where He leads. Christians, lets certainly be people of prayer, but let’s also be people who put our prayers into practice.

Doesn’t the Bible teach that the “Holy Spirit” gives us all different gifts for the service of Christ. Some to prophecy, some to teach, ect… We as Christians, must believe what the Bible says and all that it says. A careful reading of the Scriptures will reveal much about the “Holy Spirit,” and His work in and through our lives.

 

 

My Prayer to the Father, August 5, 2012

Heavenly Father
I come to You, Father in
Humble spirit, in
Worship and praise;
Exalting Your name with
All  my strength, all my love
As I kneel before Your
Eternal throne.

Heavenly Father
Oh, how I love You, how I adore You,
And yet I realize
It’s only a drop of rain
Upon a parched earth
In comparison to the
Love I wish I could give You,
And that only You are
So worthy of.

Heavenly Father,
I come to You so filled
With gratitude, so thankful
For all the many ways
In which You have blessed
My life, and that of
Countless others.

Oh, the manifold blessings
You shower upon us
In the way of love.
You, who have given us countless
Representations of
The image we bear
In who You are
In spirit and truth.

You, who showed in
All creation
What is written upon the
Heart of man to know
Though he do his
Best to deny
And proclaim
That it isn’t so.

You, who have made it
Perfectly clear
In the form of human flesh
While still retaining
All the rights and privileges
You enjoy.
You, who could have at any time
Called down
Your wrath upon a people
In denial
Chose instead to show love.
You, who could have called
Down ten-thousand angels
Chose to go
Through hell on earth
Alone.

Heavenly Father
I Thank you
From the bottom of my heart
For all that You are,
For all that You have done,
For all You have
Given us
In Your Son, Jesus.
Oh, if we could only accept
And acknowledge
All that we possess
At this very moment
Because of the
Nails thrust into
His flesh
And the crown of thorns
Which He wore.

Heavenly Father
I come to You
And I lay my claim
To what I have been given
When I put my faith
And trust,
And all that I am
In Him.
And, Father, I take
Something else
The responsibility that goes
Along with it.
The responsibility
To proclaim You to all
As You are, in all truth
In all Holiness
In all justice
In all of Your loving Perfection;
To spread Your
Decreed word as You deem so
As the only way You provide
To save the soul of man.

Heavenly Father
I come to You with a plea upon
My lips.
You, Father who have all power
You, who can make
The sun to shine,
And the moon to illuminate
The darkness
Can if You so desire
Bring rain upon this earth
So scorched and dry.
Is it, Father, as I believe
A representation of
Your people’s failure
To declare You
As You are
And Your word
As Your ultimate truth?

Heavenly Father,
I beg mercy, I beg compassion;
I plead with You, Father
To give us water and thus life,
Not for myself, and not for
Those who have scorched
That which you have created
And those You love
With their selfishness and hatred,
But so that Your name
Shall be exalted
And the promises You have given us
Will remain true.

Heavenly Father,
You have told us in Your Holy Word
That if we shall obey
And walk in the light of Your truth
That You shall protect us
With Your might arm.
You will keep us in the secret place;
Will hide us in Your pavilion;
Will place us upon the Rock
That can not be moved.

Heavenly Father
I come to You on behalf
Of a country and a people
Who are unworthy and undeserving
Of what You and only You
Can give, water and life.
We have sinned greatly, Father.
We have done that which
Is perverse and abominable
And that which has
Brought dishonor
To Your Holy name.

Heavenly Father,
Please I implore You, I beg You
To remember those who
Have remained faithful
To Your calling,
Who are true,
And who try to follow as You lead
And do as You desire.
Father, remember these,
And for their sake,
And for the sake of Your name
Give witness that You have
Not forgotten;
Nor ignore
The  cries of Your children.

Heavenly Father
I pray that Your will be done,
Above all,
And in truth, and in the Spirit
Of who You are,
I know that all will be as You decree.
You, Father, by Your word
Have told me that if I pray
 And have all faith
You shall give me the
Desires of my heart.

Heavenly Father,
I pray for those who have lost so much;
For those who are in the midst of the storm,
For those who are living in the shadow
Of doubt.
Father, show them Your mercy,
Show them that You can be tender
And compassionate even
In Your Righteous and Holy anger.

In Jesus name, I pray,
Amen.

“True Christian Union and the Devil’s Counterfeit” by R. A. Torrey…A Voice From The Past

Our Heavenly Father, I come to You, in humble submission with an open heart, and a heart that You have given me to share with others what You have shown me.  Father, I pray in the blessed name of Your, Son, Jesus Christ, that You will use this as You desire to accomplish that which is pleasing to You, and that will give You the honor, and the glory that are Yours always and forevermore.  I pray that You use this to strengthen those who are Yours, that You will use it light a fire of desire within their soul that will never be quenched and create a burning need in their souls to spread Your Word, the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world starving and gone mad with a need for the Bread of Life, and Streams of Living Water, and that You will use this to give notice to those who like ravenous wolves  are among us trying to divert and pervert,  and prevent us from finding the Light shown in Your, Son, Jesus.  Put them on notice that we will know them by their fruit, and that You will deal with them and their father, the father of lies and deception shortly.  In Jesus name, I pray, amen. 

My subject this morning is TRUE CHRISTIAN UNION AND THE DEVIL’S COUNTERFEIT. I have seven texts:

The first is Eph_4:1-3, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ”

The second is Joh_17:20-21, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.”

This third is Gal_3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”‘

The fourth is Amo_3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

The fifth is 2Co_6:14-18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall beat people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

The sixth is 2Ch_25:5-8, “Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield. He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver. But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.”

The seventh is 2Jn_1:9-11, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

True Christian unity is one of the greatest, one of the grandest, one of the most glorious, one of the divinest, one of the most beneficent things on earth. It is the life of God the Father and the Son reproduced in the Church. It greatly delights the heart of God. It is one of the things that our Lord Jesus Himself most emphasized in His high priestly prayer the night before His crucifixion. The devil’s counterfeit of true Christian unity is one of the most abominable and pernicious things on earth. The Bible is full of warnings against it; indeed some of Its most solemn warnings are against the devil’s cunning counterfeit of that unity which God so greatly desires and for which our Lord Jesus so earnestly prayed and which lie laid down His life to make possible. It has always been the devil’s subtle policy to counterfeit God’s work and God’s methods. For God’s true Christ, Christ Jesus, the devil would substitute his Antichrist, who is yet to come; for God’s way of salvation through the atoning blood, resulting in those who accept Him who shed His blood as their atoning Saviour being transformed into His own perfect likeness, the devil would substitute “salvation by character,” a character achieved by our own will and our own moral effort; for God’s revelation of the truth in the written Word, the Bible, and in the Incarnate Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, the devil would substitute a revelation by man-made philosophy and man-made science. And for the true Christian unity that God works out in the body of true believers, the invisible church, in the ways we shall this morning consider, the devil would substitute a unity worked out by all kinds of compromises and cunning devices of men.

Some of the passages from God’s Word which I have just read set forth in a very clear and unmistakable way both the beautiful character and the imperative need of true Christian unity. Other passages from God’s Word which I have just read expose the awful wickedness and ruinous results of the devil’s counterfeit of God’s true Christian unity.

The words unity, brotherhood, love and cooperation are very much in evidence in these great days in which we are living. These words set forth eminently Christian ideas. But these words are today among the most abused and most frequently misused words in the English language. Everywhere one goes throughout the United States, in England, Scotland, Honolulu, Japan, Korea or China, the one word that is written large and forever drummed into our ears is “Union,” “Union,” “Union.”   But the union many are seeking to achieve and to foster is as far from the unity for which our Lord Jesus prayed and which He taught and which was emphasized by Paul and by John, as night is from day, as darkness is from light and as damning error is from saving truth and as the great enemy of God and Man, the devil or Satan, is from our glorious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

TRUE CHRISTIAN UNITY

What are the marks of true Christian unity, the unity for which our Lord Jesus so earnestly prayed, so insistently and constantly taught and which John and Paul and other inspired men so strongly emphasized?

In the first place, true Christian unity is a “unity of the Spirit,” that is, a unity which the Holy Spirit dwelling in and controlling the hearts of regenerated men, women and children brings to pass.  This is clear from our first text, Eph_4:1-3-“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  True Christian unity is not a unity of man’s making but of God’s making.  It is not a unity that results from a mob of men and women of heterogenous characters and ambitions and beliefs getting together to cooperate to bring about some result in which they are all more or less interested.  It is a unity, as the context clearly tells us, of men and women who have one Lord, the Lord Jesus; and one faith, faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (Joh_20:31; 1Jn_5:1, 1Jn_5:5); and one baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit; and who are thus brought into one body, the real, living, invisible church, the Bride of Jesus Christ (see Eph_4:3-6), a unity, as we have said, which the Holy Spirit Himself brings to pass in those in whom He comes to dwell because they have received and confessed Jesus as their Saviour and their Lord and with the whole heart they believed on Him.

I need hardly say that the union that the Federation of Churches at home and Union Universities on the foreign field are seeking to promote does not bear the faintest resemblance to this true Christian union.

In the second place, true Christian union or unity is a union that results from prayer. This is very clearly evident from our Lord’s own wonderful prayer recorded in Joh_17:20-23 -“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word … that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.”  The unity that our Lord desired for all those who should believe in Him throughout all coming generations was a unity that should be the outcome of His own prayers and the prayers of those who are at one with Him and, therefore, had fellowship with Him in His intercessory work. The unity that Jesus Christ prayed for and taught and that John and Paul emphasized was not a unity that men get up by their cunning contrivances and conscienceless compromises, but a unity that God sends down in answer to the fervent and believing prayer of His own dear Son whom He always hears and of those who are at one with Him through living faith in Him. It is the unity that comes in answer to believing prayer offered in the power of the Holy Ghost. It is not the unity that results from getting together a lot of shrewd ecclesiastical politicians to devise some way to keep men who believe something definite and worthwhile from voicing their convictions, as was done for example at the much-lauded Edinburg Missionary Conference by one of the most astute ecclesiastical politicians of the century and as the steering committee of the huge missionary conference to be held in Shanghai next spring are now trying to do.
While I was in Shanghai awaiting the departure of my steamer for this country, the various commissions preparing for this proposed conference of five hundred missionaries and five hundred native Chinese Christians were in session. The most important committee in many ways is the Committee on the Church’s Message. This was assigned to five Chinese Christians, which looked promising; for taken as a whole, the Chinese converts today seem to be more soundly orthodox than the missionary body as a whole. But on this committee of five were appointed the two most notoriously radical modernists that there are among the Chinese “Christian” leaders, one man whose position was not altogether known and two men of the undoubted conservatives. These two men are in a hopeless minority, and it is doubtful whether they have the strength and decision to stand for their convictions. The evident object was to present as the Message of the Church a message upon which both those who believe only in the “social gospel” and those who believe in the real Gospel, the Gospel of a crucified and risen Saviour as set forth in the Word of God, could unite.

In the third place, true Christian union is a union in Christ Jesus. This is clear from Gal_3:28 -“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Please mark well the words, “in Christ Jesus. “”Ye are all one in Christ Jesus. “This is true Christian union, and it is the only true Christian union, union “in Christ Jesus.”  There can be no Christian union except “in Christ Jesus.”  Many today, when they speak of Christian union, emphasize the word union; the Bible emphasizes the word Christian-“in Christ Jesus.”  There can be no true union between those who are “in Christ Jesus” and those who are not “in Christ Jesus.”  To attempt such a union is to aim at begetting a monster, a monstrosity.

It was union in Himself that our Lord Jesus prayed for so earnestly.  His words are plain: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.  And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.”  Oh, how frequently those who are trying to forge a false unity quote our Lord’s prayer, and how carelessly they read and quote His words, making no attempt to mark exactly for what He prayed! There is no hint here of prayer on our Lord’s part for a union between those who really are in Him (and in whom He is) and those who are not in Him (and in whom He is not).  Not for one moment would our Lord pray for such a monstrous thing.  Indeed, in His prayer for union, He is very careful to say and very emphatic in saying it: “I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine” (v. 9). Why will people who profess to be Bible students and especially students of the words of our Lord Jesus persist in ripping the words of our Lord out of their context and shutting their eyes to their plain meaning and putting upon them a construction which it is as clear as day He never intended they should bear?

In the fourth place, true Christian union is a union in the Truth, a union between those who believe the great fundamentals of the Christian faith, and between these alone.  This our Lord Himself clearly indicates in His prayer.  In the words immediately preceding His prayer for oneness or union He says, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth.  As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (Joh_17:17-19). John, who alone records this prayer of our Lord for union, says in his second epistle in Joh_17:9-11, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.

He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.  ” This is the strongest possible prohibition on God’s part of all union with any man or company of men who do not accept absolutely the authority of the teaching of Christ, who do not abide in His teaching, that is, those who throw the words of Christ overboard on any point (for example, rejecting the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and the inerrancy of the whole Old Testament and the historicity of the story of the Flood and of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, all of which our Lord explicitly taught) because some German infidel who claims to be a great scholar teaches differently.  Union with those who do not abide in the teaching of Christ, who reject His absolute authority at any point but go onward to something different that they claim is better, is not Christian union.  It has not the faintest resemblance to TRUE CHRISTIAN UNION.  There can be no union pleasing to the God who is the Author of this Book or pleasing to Jesus Christ, between those who believe the great fundamentals of our faith and those who question any one of them.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THESE FUNDAMENTALS?

The first of all of these fundamentals is the absolute deity of Jesus Christ, His full equality in nature and attributes with the Father, the doctrine that He is a Being to be believed in, honored and worshipped even as God the Father is believed in, honored and worshipped (Joh_14:1 ff.; Joh_5:1-23).  There can be no true Christian unity between us who believe this and those who deny or question it.

The second fundamental is the absolute, final and infallible authority of the Bible.  Jesus taught this in a most expressive, most emphatic and most uncompromising way, and those who question it are of those whom John describes as going onward and abiding not in the teaching of Christ and with whom He forbids in the sternest way any form of union, any fellowship whatever.

Previous to the annual meeting of the Bible Union of China at Kuling, a very prominent missionary, who is supposed to be orthodox, said to my son that the point of division between missionaries should not be upon the authority of the Bible but upon the Cross of Christ, and he went on to tell him how the most notoriously bitter opponent of the Bible Union Movement in China was clear on the Cross of Christ, and that is where the line of division should be drawn. Now, when one carefully considers it, this is utter nonsense.  To try to get those who believe in the absolute, final and infallible authority of the Bible to unite and cooperate with those who deny the absolute, final and infallible authority of the Bible, just because they happen to be clear on the Cross of Christ (if indeed they be clear on the Cross of Christ, as the doctrine of the Cross is taught in the bible) is as foolish as it would have been in the late way to get those who believed in the aims of the Allies to fight in the same regiments with those who were devoted to the damnable schemes of the Kaiser. Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot cooperate with the followers of the Antichrist, even though the Antichrist claims to be, as he always does claim to be, the real Christ.

And whether he knows it or not, everyone who denies the true deity of the Lord Jesus is a follower of, and aider and abetter of, the Antichrist.  What does God say in 1Jn_2:22-23? “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”  And whosoever denies the absolute, final and infallible authority of this Book, the Bible, is also on the side of the Antichrist, and he is a more useful ally to the Antichrist and to the devil if he is in the church than if he were out of it.  Will I unite to fight with him because he is a charming man in many ways and teaches some very beautiful things?  Not 1. If I do, I will bring upon myself the stern condemnation of God as set forth by Him in 2Jn_1:9-11 : “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

The third great fundamental is the substitutionary character of the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.  Anyone who denies this great saving doctrine of the substitutionary character of the death of Christ, that Christ Himself bore our sins in His own body on the cross (1Pe_2:24; 2Co_5:21), is a follower of the Antichrist.

This doctrine of the perfect atonement made by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary is the doctrine that the devil hates and that the devilish pride of the natural heart hates above almost any other doctrine.  A man, some of whose devotional books have had a large sale and who is in great demand at many so-called Bible conferences, is reported on apparently good authority, the authority of one who sat in his classroom within a year or two and took down in black and white what he said, as saying,  “The doctrine of the blood atonement is nauseating to me.”  Shall I cooperate with him because he is a delightful man and seems to teach many things that I believe?  Never.  It was on the question of atoning blood that there was the first great separation, a separation that God Himself brought to pass, between the one whom God accepted and the one whom God rejected, between Abel and Cain (Gen_4:3-5).

Again, anyone who denies the doctrine of the literal resurrection of the body of Jesus Christ from the dead is a follower of the Antichrist.  If he is right in his decision that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was simply a spiritual resurrection, then according to God’s own Word our preaching is vain and our faith also is vain (1Co_15:13-14).  Can I cooperate with one who denies this great fundamental of the Christian faith, the actual, literal resurrection of the body of Jesus Christ from the dead?  Not unless I am an utterly blinded fool.

Still again, anyone who denies the virgin birth of our Lord is a follower of the Antichrist.  His virgin birth was one of the chief points of attack by the first great scholarly enemy of our Lord Jesus Christ, Celsus; and most of the enemies of Jesus Christ from that day to this have followed in Celsus’s wake.  Any one who denies the virgin birth of our Lord makes Him out to have been a bastard, at least by implication, as Celsus frankly said in plain words.  Shall I cooperate with anyone who even indirectly casts this appallingly blasphemous implication upon my Lord?  How would you, feel toward anyone who cast such a reflection on your own mother’s virtue and on yourself?  How then do you feel toward the one who casts such an aspersion on the “blessed” mother of our glorious Lord?  I for one burn with indignation toward every dastardly scoundrel that does it.  Will I cooperate with him in Christian work and call it Christian union?  Not for one briefest moment.  Yet even Presbyterians in China send their Chinese candidates for the ministry to Union Theological Seminaries where this infamous doctrine of the denial of the virgin birth of our Lord is openly or secretly held and taught; and if any one dares to protest against such folly and wickedness, he is called hard names and is bitterly accused of introducing division in the forces of Jesus Christ.  Forces of Jesus Christ?  Never.  He is separating the forces of Jesus Christ from the forces of Antichrist, and they ought to be separated.  Has not God Himself said in 2Co_6:14-18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?  Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?  For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

Between those who believe what this Book tells us in the plainest possible terms about the virgin birth of our divine Lord and those who deny His virgin birth and thus make Him out by implication at least to have been a bastard, there should be war, and war to the hilt.

Some one of you may say that this is an appeal to sentiment. Yes, it is in part an appeal to holy sentiment, but why not appeal to sentiment if it is holy, sound, Christian sentiment?  Ought we not in our actions as well as our feelings be moved by the sentiment of love to our Lord who died upon the cross for us and a sentiment of intense indignation toward those who cast vile aspersions upon His holy Person and holy name?  We should be more deeply sensitive to our Lord’s honor and good name than to our own.  Those who deny or question the virgin birth of our Lord sometimes do not realize, indeed oftentimes do not realize, what they are doing; but they should be made to realize it, and if they persist in pursuing their monstrous course we ought to bid adieu to them, and we ought to let them know with just what sentiments we regard them.

In the fifth place, true Christian unity is a unity of men and women who believe in Jesus Christ, a union of regenerated men and women. This our Lord Himself clearly indicates in His much quoted prayer.  He says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one” (Joh_17:20-21 a).  That is plain enough, is it not?  Union between those who are united to Christ by living faith and those who are not thus united to Christ is not Christian union.  A union between men and women who have been born again and have thus become children of God, and those who have not been born again and thus remain children of the devil, is not Christian union.  It is the devil’s counterfeit and a mighty poor counterfeit at that; and yet, poor as the counterfeit is, it passes current today as the genuine coin of the kingdom among many who consider themselves very intelligent Christians.  Oh, let us have done with this nonsense and this clamor for something that this Book condemns in no uncertain terms.

THE DEVIL’S COUNTERFEIT

I intended when I began to take up the marks of the devil’s counterfeit of the true Christian union.  But it is not necessary.  The marks of true Christian unity which we have just indicated reveal by contrast the marks of the devil’s counterfeit.  The devil’s counterfeit of true Christian unity is a man-made unity.  It is a mere outward unity; it is a union out of Christ,- it is a union between those who disagree on fundamental doctrines; it is a union between the forces of Christ and Antichrist, it is a union between those who are born again, thus becoming children of God, and those who are unregenerated and, therefore, children of the devil. It is a union of the forces of Christ and the forces of antichrist.

For a true Christian unity let us pray and let us labor and let us make every necessary sacrifice.  As to the devil’s counterfeit of true Christian unity, let us fight it to the last ditch, knowing that it is the devil’s great strategic masterpiece for the defeat of our Lord’s work in the world.  The enemies of Jesus Christ are far less dangerous when openly fighting against us than they are when they claim to be one with us and seek our cooperation in the substitution of any other gospel, the “social gospel” for example, for the saving Gospel of the once crucified, now risen and soon returning Lord.

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

“SAY NO!”

When you don’t learn to say no, you end up disliking yourself, as well as the people you are trying to please.  In some cases we have difficulty saying no because we’re afraid people may not like us.  In other cases we believe that to be “a good Christian” we must always say yes.  Jesus said, “Let… your no be {a simple} no, so that you may not sin.”  Only when you have the courage to say no will you manage to mature, be able to address your own unmet needs, and start respecting yourself.  And in time, others will too.  So do these three things: (1)  Think before you respond.  If you need to, say, “Can I get back to you?”  Don’t make commitments without consulting God, your calendar, and your family.  “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you” (Jas 1:5 NLT).  (2)  When your plate’s full, say so.  Responding to so-called emergencies, caused by somebody else’s poor planning and sloppy habits won’t do either of you any good.  Limit what you say yes to, then stick with it.  Don’t take on more because you feel pressured, guilty or indispensable.  You’ll discover your only indispensable until you say no-or die!  (3)  Go with your gifts.  God has given us each unique talents.  If you’re to choose between singing in the choir, or sitting on the finance committee, go where your talents will be best utilized.  Is this always easy?  No, but unless you learn to do it you’ll end up investing too much time and energy in what seems urgent, and neglect what’s important.

From “Daily Meditation” by Rev. Geo. Bowen

Give this some thought…

” He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.” – Pro_28:13.

Almost all men are intent upon appearing better than they really are. If a man cannot be what he ought to be, he attempts at least to appear so. His days are spent in a fraudulent attempt to pass himself off as something better than he is. The same amount of energy devoted to the purification of his character, might result in something good. What watchfulness! What circumspection! What attention to circumstances! What study of men’s characters! What perseverance! What self-command! Were these qualities and habits devoted to the legitimate end of appearing well in the sight of God, what magnificent results would be witnessed. These are the very things that God requires of us: watchfulness, carefulness, perseverance, self-control. Man shows that he is capable of these things; but he exercises them in seeking not the essence, but a fiction; not the favor of God, but that of man.’

The habit is so inveterate that few are conscious of it. They suppose they are acting naturally, and have no conception of the measure of their insincerity. I speak not of the hypocrite, commonly so styled; but of all. The man who says, ” I thank God, I make no profession to be better than others;” he. too, is playing a role, though he cheats himself with the contrary idea.

Insincerity in religion, the endeavor to obtain and perpetuate a reputation for piety, is something exceedingly offensive. There is something monstrous about the idea of offering prayer in such a way as to secure the commendation of man.

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; for while he covers them he cannot possibly get rid of them; and their presence will vitiate all prosperity. Let us endure the shame of confessing them, that we may have the abiding glory of being delivered from them. Let us act out our true characters, and take our true place; then we may expect to make progress of the most desirable kind. If man deride, no matter; we have something that they have not. Our position is a more promising one than theirs; for truth is now on our side.

From Wayne Augden’s collection of Quotes and Illustrations

 

Daily Actions

 

“It is the bubbling stream that flows gently,” observes Barnes, “the little rivulet which runs along day and night by the farm-house, that is useful, rather than the swollen flood or warring cataract. Niagara excites our wonder; and we stand amazed at the powerful greatness of God there, as He pours it from the hollow of His hand. But one Niagara is enough for the continent of the world, while the same world requires thousands and tens of thousands of silver fountains and gently flowing rivulets, that water every farm and meadow, and every garden, and shall flow on every day and night with their gentle, quiet beauty. So with the acts of our lives. It is not by great deeds, like those of the martyrs, good is to be done, but by the daily and quiet virtues of life.”