This is a great post and definitely worth reading…. I SHOULD HAVE TOLD YOU EARLIER.
What Kind Of Example Are You (1)
Andrew Murray wrote, “God has no more precious gift than a man who lives as an embodiment of His will and inspires those around him with the faith of what grace can do.” When Paul writes, “Be an example,” he means “to be a role model.” The first car off the assembly line is a prototype of all that follows. Dressmakers study the pattern, then design the garment accordingly. The word ideal sounds lofty, and it is. But even if you don’t achieve the ideal, it should still be your goal. What Paul was saying to youg Timothy was, “When you talk about Jesus, people should see so much of Him in your life that they desire to know Him. When you talk about faith the evidence of it should be so compelling that they want to live by it.
The poet wrote: “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely show the way. The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear, fine counsel is confusing but example’s always clear. And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds, for to see good put in action is what everybody needs. I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done; I can see your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run. And the lectures you deliver may be very fine and true; but I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do. For I may not understand you and the high advice you give; but there’s no misunderstanding how you act and live.
Just a gentle reminder of why it’s important to keep Christ as our focus.
Keep Christ Central in Christmas
It is a principle of art that in the composition of a picture, all the parts shall be so arranged as to lead the eye inevitably to the central figure or feature. Whatever prevents this is a capital defect. Accessories are only important as they help this end.
When Varelst, the Dutch painter, made his tulips so glorious that they drew attention away from the face of James II, in whose portrait he had placed them, he violated this canon. So did Haydon when, in his picture of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, he made the figure of the beast on which the Master rode more attractive than the person of Christ.
So does the theologian or the metaphysician or the logician, who fascinates by his argument and rhetoric, or the preacher and liturgist, who stresses his forms of worship and symbols of religion.
It is not the swaddling-clothes of ceremonialism, but the Christ of the simple gospel story consistently lived, that shall span the continents with love and make Christmas perpetual in the heart of man.
As christians our view of holiness and our occupation with it’s role in our lives says a lot about our witness and relationship with Christ Jesus. If you’ve never given thought to the subject of holiness in your life perhaps it’s time to do so.
“As you therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him: rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
Colossians 2:6, 7
BY simple, close, and crucifying views of the cross of Christ does the Spirit most effectually sanctify the believer. This is the true and great method of gospel sanctification. Here lies the secret of all real holiness, and, may I not add, of all real happiness. For, if we separate happiness from holiness, we separate that which, in the covenant of grace, God has wisely and indissolubly united. The experience of the true believer must testify to this. We are only happy as we are holy-as the body of sin is daily crucified, the power of the indwelling principle weakened, and the outward deportment more beautifully and closely corresponding to the example of Jesus. Let us not, then, look for a happy walk, apart from a holy one. Trials we may have; yes, if we are the Lord’s covenant ones, we shall have them, for He Himself has said, “in the world you shall have tribulation;” disappointments we may meet with-broken cisterns, thorny roads, wintry skies; but if we are walking in fellowship with God, dwelling in the light, growing up into Christ in all things, the Spirit of adoption witnessing within us, and leading to a filial and unreserved surrender-oh, there is happiness unspeakable, even though in the very depth of outward trial. A holy walk is a happy walk: this is God’s order, it is His appointment, and therefore must be wise and good.
Seek high attainments in holiness. Do not be satisfied with a low measure of grace, with a dwarfish religion, with just enough Christianity to admit you into heaven. Oh, how many are thus content-satisfied to leave the great question of their acceptance to be decided in another world, and not in this-resting upon some slight evidence, in itself faint and equivocal, perhaps a former experience, some impressions, or sensations, or transient joys, long since passed away; and thus they are content to live, and thus content to die. Dear reader, be you not satisfied with anything short of a present Christ, received, enjoyed, and lived upon. Forget the things that are behind-reach forth unto higher attainments in sanctification-seek to have the daily witness, daily communion with God; and for your own sake, for the sake of others, and for Christ’s sake, “give all diligence to make your calling and election sure.”
Opportunities should be taken advantage of. This is a reminder that we should give them as well take them when they come.
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
“As thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone” (
Ambassador Wu Ting Fang was one of the most colorful oriental diplomats ever accredited to Washington. He came as the representative of the Chinese Empire and for several years occupied that post in this country. When he was recalled to China, it was announced that he would leave for his native land from New York City at a given date. Noticing that he would be in the metropolis over the Lord’s Day, the pastor of the Chinese Church on the East Side sent him a polite letter inviting him to attend one of their services on that occasion.
The ambassador replied at once. In his letter he told how, when he first came to America, he had been intensely interested in the Christian religion, as he felt that it was in some very definite way the real source of the enlightened civilization of this great country. He said he then and there made up his mind that he would never refuse an invitation to attend a Christian service, if it were at all possible for him to accept. “I have been in this country six years,” he wrote, “and yours is the first such invitation I have ever received!”
What a tragic commentary on the indifference of Christians to the need of those who are strangers to the gospel! Who can weigh aright the guilt of Christians who were acquainted with this great statesman and never once attempted to win him for Christ? Let us all remember the admonition, “Redeeming the time (buying up opportunities) for the days are evil.”
Sometimes we forget that as brothers and sisters in Christ it’s as important to look out for their reputation and their well being as it is our own. The thing that distinguished the early christians was their love and commitment to each other. It was the witness of that love that propelled christianity across the globe. We must give witness to that same kind of love for each other in our lives.
“Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity boasts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
TRUE Christian love will excite in the mind a holy jealousy for the Christian reputation of other believers. How sadly is this overlooked by many professors! What sporting with reputation, what trifling with character, what unveiling to the eyes of others the weaknesses, the infirmities, and the stumblings of which they have become cognizant, marks many in our day. Oh! if the Lord had dealt with us as we have thoughtlessly and uncharitably dealt with our fellow-servants, what shame and confusion would cover us! We should blush to lift up our faces before men. But the exercise of this divine love in the heart will constrain us to abstain from all envious, suspicious feelings, from all evil surmisings, from all wrong construing of motives, from all tale-bearing-that fruitful cause of so much evil in the Christian Church-from slander, from unkind insinuations, and from going from house to house retailing evil, and making the imperfections, the errors, or the doings of others the theme of idle, sinful gossip-“busy-bodies in other men’s matters.” All this is utterly inconsistent with our high and holy calling. It is degrading, dishonoring, lowering to our character as the children of God. It dims the luster of our piety. It impairs our moral influence in the world. Ought not the character of a Christian professor to be as dear to me as my own? And ought I not as vigilantly to watch over it, and as zealously to promote it, and as indignantly to vindicate it, when unjustly aspersed or maliciously assailed, as if I, and not he, were the sufferer? How can the reputation of a believer in Jesus be affected, and we not be affected? It is our common Lord who is wounded-it is our common salvation that is injured-it is our own family that is maligned. And our love to Jesus, to His truth, and to His people, should caution us to be as jealous of the honor, as tender of the feelings, and as watchful of the character and reputation, of each member of the Lord’s family, be his denomination what it may, as of our own. “Who is weak,” says the apostle, “and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” Oh how graciously, how kindly does our God deal with His people! Laying His hand upon their many spots, He seems to say, “No eye but mine shall see them.” Oh! let us in this particular be “imitators of God, as dear children.” Thus shall we more clearly evidence to others, and be assured ourselves, that have “passed from death unto life.”
I just finished watching the last five minutes of the Denver Broncos and New York Jets football game. The first fifty-five minutes weren’t anything special, but those last five minutes were spectacular, but as good as they were, it was the after the game review that just blew me away. The quarterback for the Broncos is Tim Tebow, and he draws a lot of criticism. People either love him or hate him, but the funny thing is I don’t think it’s him. I think it’s who he represents. Tim always gives all the credit to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to his teammates and his coaches. He says very little about himself.
Here he was sitting in the midst of a group of legends in the realm of NFL football, and yet he talked and showed his faith in God, in his teammates, and in his coaches. I’m sure to the dischantment of a lot of people the men he was sitting in the middle of found themselves talking more about his faith, and who he was, than about football. His witness was so beautiful, so touching, it made me cry, and thank my God and praise Him for working through this kid.
This is the kind of Christian who makes a difference, who turns the world in which he lives on its head simply by showing people what they haven’t seen before. Tim Tebow isn’t perfect, and I’m not placing him on a pedstal, but I’ll tell you this. He’s the kind of person we should want our children to know about, and to want to be like. In a world that lives to destroy people like Tim Tebow, we as christians should pray daily for him, and for the many, many people who do the same kinds of things he does on a daily basis without fanfare, but with a sincere and loving heart. Sometimes we forget that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, but we are. Let’s pray for and support each other, and show our love one to another. It’s our love for each other, and for our Lord that will draw the lost to our Lord. Let us not forget it.
The following is a video clip of a great song that gives a powerful message, and puts things in perspective for me. Perhaps it will for you as well.
Among the many things all people should possess a good conscience should be paramount. If you have a good conscience then take time to praise God for it is a witness to the relationship between you and He.
The glory of a good person is the testimony of a good conscience. A good conscience is able to bear very much and is very cheerful in adversities. An evil conscience is always fearful and unquiet. Never rejoice except when you have done well. You shall rest sweetly if your heart does not accuse you. Sinners never have true joy or feel inward peace, because ‘there is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord (Isaiah 57:21). The glory of the good is in their consciences, and not in the tongues of others, The gladness of the just is of God, and in God; and their joy is of the truth.
A person will easily be content and pacified whose conscience is pure. If you consider what you are within, you will not care what others say concerning you. People consider the deeds, but God weighs the intentions. To be always doing well and to esteem little of one’s self is the sign of a humble soul. For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends, ‘says Paul (2 Corinthians 10:18). To walk inwardly with God, and not to be kept abroad by any outward affection, is the state of a spiritual person. Conscience is that faculty in me which attaches itself to the highest that I know, and tells me what the highest I know demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what it regards as the highest authority. If I am in the habit of steadily facing toward God, my conscience will always introduce God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The point is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I walk without offense. I should be living in such perfect sympathy with God’s Son that in every circumstance the spirit of my mind is renewed. The one thing that keeps the conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside. When there is any debate, quit. There is no debate possible when conscience speaks.
C.F.H. Henry, Christian Personal Ethics, Eerdmans, 1957, p. 509ff