Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our Greatest Need!

"If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior. " - D.A. Carson

Monday, February 21, 2011

Time Has Run Out!

On Saturday night we were diverted for a fatal accident on the Strathalbyn/Wellington road... For one 42 year old Strathalbyn lady 'Time has run out!' Did she get the tract warning her? Did we knock on her door? That I may never know! Could we have done more to reach her and warn her? Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! Let us not be negligent in preaching the gospel to those among us who are still living in darkness!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Get Right With God!

It's not a passing thought, a good suggestion or empty plea... it is the command of God!

God commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed - Jesus Christ (Acts 17:30b-31)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dead To The Law!

"Ye were made dead to the law, through the body of Christ." "Having died to that wherein we were holden, so that we serve in newness of the spirit." Romans 7:4,6.

The believer is not only dead to sin, but dead to the law. This is a deeper truth, giving us deliverance from the thought of a life of effort and failure, and opening the way to the life in the power of the Holy Spirit. "Thou shalt" is done away with; the power of the Spirit takes its place. In the remainder of this chapter (7:7-24) we have a description of the Christian as he still tries to obey the law, but utterly fails. He experiences that "in him, that in his flesh, dwelleth no good thing." He finds that the law of sin, notwithstanding his utmost efforts, continually brings him into captivity, and compels the cry: "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" In the whole passage, it is everywhere "I," without any thought of the Spirit's help. It is only when he has given utterance to his cry of despair that he is brought to see that he is no longer under the law, but under the rule of the Holy Spirit (8:1,2). "There is therefore now no condemnation," such as he had experienced in his attempt to obey the law, "to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." As chapter 7 gives us the experience that leads to being a captive under the power of sin, chapter 8 reveals the experience of the life of a man in Christ Jesus, who has now been made free from the law of sin and death. In the former we have the life of the ordinary Christian doing his utmost to keep the commandments of the law, and to walk in His ways, but ever finding how much there is of failure and shortcoming. In the latter we have the man who knows that he is in Christ Jesus, dead to sin and alive to God, and by the Spirit has been made free and is kept free from the bondage of sin and of death.

Oh that men understood what the deep meaning is of Romans 7, where a man learns that in him, that is in his flesh, there is no good thing, and that there is no deliverance from this state but by yielding to the power of the Spirit making free from the power and bondage of the flesh, and so fulfilling the righteousness of the law in the power of the life of Christ!

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Nineteenth Day)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dead With Christ!

"If we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." --Romans 6:8.

The reason that God's children live so little in the power of the resurrection life of Christ is because they have so little understanding of or faith in their death with Christ. How clearly this appears from what Paul says: "If we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him"; it is the knowledge and experience that gives us the assurance of the power of His resurrection in us. "Christ died unto sin once; but the life that He liveth, He liveth unto God" (ver. 10). It is only because and as we know that we are dead with Him, that we can live with Him.

On the strength of this, Paul now appeals to his readers. "Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus" (ver. 11). The words "even so reckon yourselves" are a call to an act of bold and confident faith. Reckon yourselves to be indeed dead unto sin, as much as Christ is, and alive to God in Christ Jesus. The word gives us a divine assurance of what we actually are and have in Christ. And this not as a truth that our minds can master and appropriate, but a reality which the Holy Spirit will reveal within us. In His power we accept our death with Christ on the cross as the power of our daily life.

Then we are able to accept and obey the command: "Let not sin reign in your mortal body; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead; for sin shall not have dominion over you" (vers. 12,13,14). "Being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness; present your members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification. Being now made free from sin, ye have your fruit unto sanctification" (vers. 18,19,33).

The whole chapter is a wonderful revelation of the deep meaning of its opening words: "How shall we, WHO DIED TO SIN, live any more therein?" Everything depends upon our acceptance of the divine assurance: If we died with Christ, as He died, and now lives to God, we too have the assurance that in Him we have the power to live unto God.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Eighteenth Day)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Righteousness Of God!

"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." "He believed God, who quickeneth the dead." --Romans 4:3,7.

Let us now, after listening to the words of our Lord Jesus about our fellowship with Him in the cross, turn to St. Paul, and see how through the Holy Spirit he gives the deeper insight into what our death in Christ means.

You know how the first section of Romans is devoted to the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ. After speaking (1:18-32) of the awful sin of the heathen, and then (2:1-29) of the sin of the Jew, he points out how Jew and Gentile are "guilty before God," "All have sinned and come short." And then he sets forth that free grace which gave the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (3:21-31). In chapter 4 he points to Abraham as having, when he believed, understood that God justified him freely by His grace, and not for anything that he had done.

Abraham had not only believed this, but something more. "He believed in God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth the things that are not as though they were." The two expressions are most significant, as indicating the two essential needs there are in the redemption of man in Christ Jesus. There is the need of justification by faith, to restore man to the favor of God. But there is more needed. He must also be quickened to a new life. Just as justification is by faith alone, so is regeneration also. Christ died on account of our sins; He was raised again on account of our justification.

In the first section (down to chap. 5:11), Paul deals exclusively with the great thought of our justification. But in the second section (5:12 to 8:39) he expounds that wonderful union with Christ, through faith, by which we died with Him, by which we live in Him, and by which, through the Holy Spirit, we are made free, not only from the punishment, but also from the power of sin, and are enabled to live the life of righteousness, of obedience, and of sanctification.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Seventeenth Day)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dead To Sin!

"We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?" --Romans 6:2.

After having, in the first section of the Epistle to the Romans (1:16 to 5:11), expounded the great doctrine of justification by faith, Paul proceeds, in the second section (5:12 to 8:39), to unfold the related doctrine of the new life by faith in Christ. Taking Adam as a figure of Christ, he teaches that just as we all really and actually died in Adam, so that his death reigns in our nature, even so, in Christ, those who believe in Him actually and effectually died to sin, were set free from it, and became partakers of the new holy life of Christ.

He asks the question: "We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?" In these words we have the deep spiritual truth that our death to sin in Christ delivers us from its power, so that we no longer may or need to live in it. The secret of true and full holiness is by faith, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to live in the consciousness: I am dead to sin.

In expounding this truth he reminds them that they were baptized INTO THE DEATH OF CHRIST. We were buried with Him through baptism into death. We became UNITED WITH HIM by the likeness of His death. Our "old man" was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away -- rendered void and powerless. Take time and quietly, asking for the teaching of the Holy Spirit, ponder these words until the truth masters you: I am indeed dead to sin in Christ Jesus. As we grow in the consciousness of our union with the crucified Christ, we shall experience that the power of His life in us has made us free from the power of sin.

Romans 6 is one of the most blessed portions of the New Testament of our Lord Jesus, teaching us that our "old man," the old nature that is in us, was actually crucified with Him, so that now we need no longer be in bondage to sin. But remember it is only as the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death a reality within us that we shall know, not by force of argument or conviction, but in the reality of the power of a divine life, that we are in very deed dead to sin. It only needs a continual living in Christ Jesus.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Sixteenth Day)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It Is Finished!

"When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said: 'It is finished.'" -- John 19:30.

The seven words of our Lord on the cross reveal to us His mind and disposition. At the beginning of His ministry He said (John 4:34): "My meat is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and TO FINISH HIS WORK." In all things, the small as well as the great, He should accomplish God's work. In the High Priestly Prayer at the end of the three years' ministry He could say (John 17:4): "I have glorified Thee on the earth, I HAVE FINISHED THE WORK which Thou gavest Me to do." He sacrificed all, and in dying on the cross could in truth say: "It is finished."

With that word to the Father He laid down His life. With that word He was strengthened, after the terrible agony on the cross, in the knowledge that all was now fulfilled. And with that word He uttered the truth of the gospel of our redemption, that all that was needed for man's salvation had been accomplished on the cross.

This disposition should characterize every follower of Christ. The mind that was in Him must be in us -- it must be our meat, the strength of our life, TO DO THE WILL OF GOD IN ALL THINGS, AND TO FINISH HIS WORK. There may be small things about which we are not conscientious, and so we bring harm to ourselves and to God's work. Or we draw back before some great thing which demands too much sacrifice. In every case we may find strength to perform our duty in Christ's word "It is finished." His finished work secured the victory over every foe. By faith we may appropriate that dying word of Christ on the cross, and find the power for daily living and dying in the fellowship of the crucified Christ.

Child of God, study the inexhaustible treasure contained in this word: "It is finished." Faith in what Christ accomplished on the cross will enable you to manifest in daily life the spirit of the cross.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Fifteenth Day)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Death Of The Cross!

"'Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.' And having said this, He gave up the ghost." --Luke 23:46.

Like David (Psalm 31:5), Christ had often committed His spirit into the hands of His Father for His daily life and need. But here is something new and very special. He gives up His spirit into the power of death, gives up all control over it, to sink down into the darkness and death of the grave, where He can neither think, nor pray, nor will. He surrenders Himself to the utmost into the Father's hands, trusting Him to care for Him in the dark, and in due time to raise Him up again.

If we have indeed died in Christ, and are now in faith every day to carry about with us the death of our Lord Jesus, this word is the very one that we need. Just think once again what Christ meant when He said that we must hate and lose our life.
We died in Adam; the life we receive from him is death; there is nothing good or heavenly in us by nature. It is to this inward evil nature, to all the life that we have from this world, that we must die. There cannot be any thought of any real holiness without totally dying to this self or "old man." Many deceive themselves because they seek to be alive in God before they are dead to their own nature -- a thing as impossible as it is for a grain of wheat to be alive before it dies. This total dying to self lies at the root of all true piety. The spiritual life must grow out of death.

And if we ask how we can do this, we find the answer in the mind in which Christ died. Like Him we cast ourselves upon God, without knowing how the new life is to be attained; but as we in fellowship with Jesus say, "Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit," and depend simply and absolutely upon God to raise us up into the new life, there will be fulfilled in us the wonderful promise of God's Word concerning the exceeding greatness of His power in us who believe, according to the mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.

This indeed is the true test of faith -- a faith that lives every day and every hour in absolute dependence upon the continual and immediate quickening of the divine life in us by God Himself through the Holy Spirit.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Fourteenth Day)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Sacrifice Of The Cross!

"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" -- "I thirst." -- "It is finished." --Matthew 27:46, John 19:28,30.

The first three words on the cross reveal love in its outflow to men. The next three reveal love in the tremendous sacrifice that it brought, necessary to deliver us from our sins and give the victory over every foe. They still reveal the very mind that was in Christ, and that is to be in us as the disposition of our whole life.

"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" How deep must have been the darkness that overshadowed Him, for not one ray of light could pierce, and He could not say "My Father"! It was this awful desertion breaking in upon that life of childlike fellowship with the Father, in which He had always walked, that caused Him the agony and the bloody sweat in Gethsemane. "O My Father, let this cup pass from Me" -- but it might not be, and He bowed His head in submission: "Thy will be done." It was His love to God and love to man -- this yielding Himself to the very uttermost. It is as we learn to believe and to worship that love that we too shall learn to say: "Abba, Father, Thy will be done."

"I thirst." The body now gives expression to the terrible experience of what it passed through when the fire of God's wrath against sin came upon Christ in the hour of His desertion. He had spoken of Dives crying "I am tormented in this flame." Christ utters His complaint of what He now suffered. Physicians tell us that in crucifixion the whole body is in agony with a terrible fever and pain. Our Lord endured it all and cried: "I thirst"; soul and body was the sacrifice He brought the Father.

And then comes the great word: "It is finished." All that there was to suffer and endure had been brought as a willing sacrifice; He had finished the work the Father gave Him to do. His love held nothing back. He gave Himself an offering and a sacrifice. Such was the mind of Christ, and such must be the disposition of everyone who owes himself and his life to that sacrifice. The mind that was in Christ must be in us, ready to say: "I am come to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." And every day that our confidence grows fuller in Christ's finished work must see our heart more entirely yielding itself like Him, a whole burnt offering in the service of God and His love.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Thirteenth Day)

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Love Of The Cross

"Then said Jesus: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'" --Luke_23:34.

The seven words on the cross reveal what the mind of Christ is, and show the dispositions that become His disciples. Take the three first words, all the expression of His wonderful love.

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." He prays for His enemies. In the hour of their triumph over Him, and of the shame and suffering which they delight in showering on Him, He pours out His love in prayer for them. It is the call to everyone who believes in a crucified Christ to go and do likewise, even as He has said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which persecute you." The law of the Master is the law for the disciple; the love of the crucified Jesus, the only rule for those who believe in Him.

"Woman, behold thy son!" "Behold thy mother!" The love that cared for His enemies cared too for His friends. Jesus felt what the anguish must be in the heart of His widowed mother, and commits her to the care of the beloved disciple. He knew that for John there could be no higher privilege, and no more blessed service, than that of taking His place in the care of Mary. Even so, we who are the disciples of Christ must not only pray for His enemies, but prove our love to Him and to all who belong to Him by seeing to it that every solitary one is comforted, and that every loving heart has some work to do in caring for those who belong to the blessed Master.

"Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." The penitent thief had appealed to Christ's mercy to remember him. With what readiness of joy and love Christ gives the immediate answer to his prayer! Whether it was the love that prays for His enemies, or the love that cares for His friends, or the love that rejoices over the penitent sinner who was being cast out by man -- in all Christ proves that the cross is a cross of love, that the Crucified One is the embodiment of a love that passes knowledge.

With every thought of what we owe to that love, with every act of faith in which we rejoice in its redemption, let us prove that the mind of the crucified Christ is our mind, and that His love is not only what we trust in for ourselves, but what guides us in our loving intercourse with the world around us.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Twelfth Day)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Please Pray With Us...

On Saturday 17th July we are planning to begin an outreach in Strathalbyn, South Australia.

Over the second half of this year we are hoping to deliver gospel literature to around 2500 houses monthly as well going 1-2-1, door-2-door, witnessing to the risen Christ and distributing outreach bibles, DVD's or CD's with the gospel message...

Lord willing, we also hope to put together a 15-20 minute gospel presentation on DVD (recorded around the town and drawing on local landmarks and history) to reach those who'd rather watch something than read! It'll be short, sharp and to the point!

Finally, and once again Lord willing, we'd also like to hold a series of gospel meetings over the course of many nights, weeks or weekends... calling the residents of Strathalbyn to repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ!

Please join with us in prayer that the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ will be proclaimed boldly and clearly, and that there might be a turning of many hearts in this town to Christ... May the Lamb that was slain receive the full reward of His suffering!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thy Will Be Done!

"O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou will." --Matthew 26:39.

The death of Christ on the cross is the highest and the holiest that can be known of Him even in the glory of heaven. And the highest and the holiest that the Holy Spirit can work in us is to take us up and to keep us in the fellowship of the cross of Christ. We need to enter deeply into the truth that Christ the beloved Son of the Father could not return to the glory of heaven until He had first given Himself over unto death. As this great truth opens up to us it will help us to understand how in our life, and in our fellowship with Christ, it is impossible for us to share His life until we have first in very deed surrendered ourselves every day to die to sin and the world, and so to abide in the unbroken fellowship with our crucified Lord.

And it is from Christ alone that we can learn what it means to have fellowship with His sufferings, and to be made conformable unto His death. When in the agony of Gethsemane He looked forward to what a death on the cross would be, He got such a vision of what it meant to die the accursed death under the power of sin -- with God's countenance so turned from Him that not a single ray of its light could penetrate the darkness -- that He prayed the cup might pass from Him. But when no answer came, and He understood that the Father could not allow the cup to pass by, He yielded up His whole will and life in the word: "Thy will be done." O Christian, in this word of your Lord in His agony, you can enter into fellowship with Him, and in His strength your heart will be made strong to believe most confidently that God in His omnipotence will enable you in very deed with Christ to yield up everything, because you have in very deed been crucified with Him.

"Thy will be done" -- let this be the deepest and the highest word in your life. In the power of Christ with whom you have been crucified, and in the power of His Spirit, the definite daily surrender to the ever-blessed will of God will become the joy and the strength of your life.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Eleventh Day)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Time Is Running Out!

According to the United Nations Population Institute, over 155,000 people die every day around the world! This means that by the time you finish reading this tract, over five hundred people will have ceased to exist! Gone! Finished! No More! What if you happen to be one of them?

For the next five minutes, I want you to imagine what it would be like if these were your last moments alive! It’s a shocking thought, but more than thirty people in South Australia will step out from time into eternity today... then what?

Well, when you die, someone will place a sheet or a blanket over your head. An ambulance may take you to the hospital for an autopsy. The undertaker will be called, and arrangements will be made to place you in a grave. People will come to the funeral and shed tears over your lifeless body. They will look at your cold, blank face and mourn, but you will be gone. They will slowly drive to a cemetery with their headlights on and your body in a casket. At the cemetery, they will carry your coffin to a hole in the ground and lower it down. People will cry. The men will cover you with dirt and set a tombstone in place. Your name, the date of your birth, and the date your heart stopped beating will be on the stone. The people will leave, recover from their grief, and perhaps someday, forget that your body is even there. Not a pleasant thought, but true nonetheless!

Question is – if your heart were to give way right now - would you be ready? When your time is up, do you know where you are going? We know where your body is going, but what about your eternal soul? Have you thought about that? Do you think you will go to heaven? More importantly, do you know that you will? Take a moment to think about it...

The bible is very clear about what awaits a man when he dies... the judgement of a just and holy God! "It is appointed unto to men once to die, and after this the judgement" It is on this day that the Lord will "execute judgement on all and convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness they have done, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him". He "will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness, and will disclose the purpose of the heart". What will God expose in your heart on that day?

If you are like the majority of people, who see "all their ways as pure in their own eyes" you will no doubt be thinking to yourself "I should be alright, I’m a pretty good person". But God doesn’t just settle for pretty good, he demands sinless perfection! Trouble is all you’ve ever done is sin! It’s like the bible says: "there is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who seeks God, all have turned away; there is no one who does good, no not one!"

To prove the point, let’s examine ourselves against God’s perfect standard - the Ten Commandments - but before we do, please be honest with yourself and listen to you conscience! The 9th commandment says, "You shall not lie", yet how many countless lies have you told in your life? The 8th commandment says, "You shall not steal", yet if you think hard enough you’ll begin to remember the things you have stolen! The 7th commandment says, "You shall not commit adultery", Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever looks at someone lustfully has committed adultery with them already in their heart". Have you ever looked at someone with that desire; someone in the street, a neighbour or co-worker, or an actor or actress steaming up the screen?

The verdict: like the rest of us, you are a lying, thieving, adulterer at heart in the eyes of God and deserving of hell!

Think about it: your soul, in hell, for eternity! Does that concern you? It should terrify you! But there is hope!

Even though God knows what you have done (and what you have become) he is not willing that you should perish - so he made a way by which you can be saved from his judgement!

Two thousand years ago, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and the punishment we deserve! It was God’s plan that Christ would live a perfectly sinless life (something you and I have not done) and then lay down his life for those who would come to him to be saved. And that’s exactly what happened! Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life before God and man and then was condemned to die by crucifixion on a cross. Three days later he arose from the dead, defeating death, showing that he has the power to give life to all who would come to him! But how does He save us? Well, you could say it like this… we broke God’s law and Jesus has paid our fine! He bore our sins in His body on that cross! He suffered and died in our place! God punished Him for our sins so that we could be pardoned. Make no mistake friends, God will punish every single sinner who has ever been, now is, or will yet be! He is a holy and righteous God and will see to it that Justice is done! But he is also loving and merciful! For those of us who repent (turn from our sin, our rebellion, our unbelief) and believe (call on, trust in) Christ to save them - Christ will be punished in their place as their substitute. For those who refuse to humble themselves and repent - there will be no substitute. They will be punished for their unbelief and rebellion! What will it be?

Look to him for salvation or die in your sins and spend eternity in hell. The choice is yours.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Grain Of Wheat!

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit. He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." --John 12:24-25.

All nature is a parable of how the losing of a life can be the way of securing a truer and higher life. Every grain of wheat, every seed throughout the world, teaches the lesson that through death lies the path to beautiful and fruitful life.

It was so with the Son of God. He had to pass through death in all its bitterness and suffering before He could rise to heaven and impart His life to His redeemed people. And here under the shadow of the approaching cross He calls His disciples: "If any man will serve Me, let him follow Me." He repeats the words: "He that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."

One might have thought that Christ did not need to lose His holy life ere He could find it again. But so it was: God had laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, and He yielded to the inexorable law: Through death to life and to fruit.

How much more ought we, in the consciousness of that evil nature and that death which we inherited in Adam, be most grateful that there is a way open to us by which, in the fellowship of Christ and His cross, we can die to this accursed self! With what willingness and gratitude ought we to listen to the call to bear our cross, to yield our "old man" as crucified with Christ daily to that death which he deserves! Surely the thought that the power of the eternal Life is working in us, ought to make us willing and glad to die the death that brings us into the fellowship and the power of life in a risen Christ.

Alas, how little this is understood! Let us believe that what is impossible to man is possible to God. Let us believe that the law of the Spirit of Christ Jesus, the risen Lord, can in very deed make His death and His life the daily experience of our souls.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Tenth Day)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Follow Me!

"Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him, and said: 'One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'" --Mark 10:21.

When Christ spoke these words to the young ruler, he went away grieved. Jesus said: "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" The disciples were astonished at His words. When Christ repeated once again what He had said, they were astonished out of measure, "Who then can be saved?" "Jesus looking upon them said, 'With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.'"

Christ had spoken about bearing the cross from the human side, as the one condition of discipleship. Here with the rich young ruler He reveals from the side of God what is needed to give men the will and the power thus to sacrifice all, if they are to enter the kingdom. He said to Peter, when he had confessed Him as Christ, the Son of God, that flesh and blood had not revealed it unto him, but His Father in heaven, to remind him and the other disciples that it was only by divine teaching that he could make the confession. So here with the ruler He unveils the great mystery that it is only by divine power that a man can take up his cross, can lose his life, can deny himself and hate the life to which he is by nature so attached.

What multitudes have sought to follow Christ and obey His injunction -- and have found that they have utterly failed! What multitudes have felt that Christ's claims were beyond their reach and have sought to be Christians without any attempt at the whole-hearted devotion and the entire self-denial which Christ asks for!

Let us in our study of what the fellowship of the cross means take today's lesson to heart and believe that it is only by putting our trust in the living God, and in the mighty power with which He is willing to work in the heart, that we can attempt to be disciples who forsake all and follow Christ in the fellowship of His cross.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Ninth Day)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Be Comforted: Christ Knows You Well!

"Be comforted, all you who are tried and buffeted with difficulties in your way towards heaven, difficulties from without and difficulties from within, difficulties abroad and difficulties at home, grief for your own sins and grief for the sins of others: the Good Shepherd Jesus knows you well, though you may not think it. You never shed a secret tear over your own corruption, you never breathed a single prayer for forgiveness and helping grace, you never made a single struggle against wickedness, which He did not remark and note down in the book of His remembrance. You need not fear His not understanding your needs, you need not be afraid your prayers are too poor and unlearned to be attended to; He knows your particular necessities far better than you do yourselves, and your humble supplications are no sooner offered up than heard."

- J.C. Ryle

He Cannot Be My Disciple!

"If any man cometh unto Me, and hateth not his own life, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE. Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after Me, CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE. Whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE." Luke 14:26-33.

For the third time Christ speaks about bearing the cross. He gives new meaning to it when He says that a man must hate his own life and renounce all that he has. Thrice over He solemnly repeats the words that without this a man cannot be His disciple.

"If a man hate not his own life." And why does Christ make such an exacting demand the condition of discipleship? Because the sinful nature we have inherited from Adam is indeed so vile and full of sin that, if our eyes were only opened to see it in its true nature, we would flee from it as loathsome and incurably evil. 'The flesh is enmity against God"; the soul that seeks to love God cannot but hate the "old man" which is corrupt through its whole being. Nothing less than this, the hating of our own life, will make us willing to bear the cross and carry within us the sentence of death on our evil nature. It is not till we hate this life with a deadly hatred that we will be ready to give up the old nature to die the death that is its due.

Christ has one word more: "He that renounceth not all that he hath," whether in property or character, "cannot be My disciple." Christ claims all. Christ undertakes to satisfy every need and to give a hundredfold more than we give up. It is when by faith we become conscious what it means to know Christ, and to love Him and to receive from Him what can in very deed enrich and satisfy our immortal spirits, that we shall count the surrender of what at first appeared so difficult, our highest privilege. As we learn what it means that Christ is our life, we shall count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. In the path of following Him, and ever learning to know and to love Him better, we shall willingly sacrifice all, self with its life, to make room for Him who is more than all.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Eighth Day)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Will Never Tire Of The Gospel!

I will never tire of hearing the gospel preached! I am a sinner who deserves the wrath of a Just and Holy God. If He were to send me to hell, I would deserve it - for I have broken His laws, ignored his commands, rebelled against his authority and sought to establish my own throne. For most of my life I have lived for self, done what I want, when I want, with little or no regard for God or his creatures (humanity). Such anarchy, such treason, such rebellion deserves to be punished! Yet, even though I was an enemy of God, living after the pleasures of this world - he did not crush me in His anger, or cut me off in His wrath. Instead he sent His Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die on the cross in my place - to take the punishment that I deserve. Though I broke His law, I found that Jesus was willing to pay my fine! I am humbled by such love and mercy! Make no mistake - God is a just God and will not let sin go unpunished! For those who refuse to repent, to turn and call upon the Lord for salvation - there will be no hope. For those who refuse to cry out for mercy and die in their sins - there will be great suffering in hell. There will be just punishment for sinners. But for those who repent, who turn and call upon the Lord for mercy, who trust in Him to save them - there will be joy unspeakable! They will be ransomed! Christ will surely save them! They will be pardoned, set free, forgiven - and will dwell with their God forever! Can a pardoned sinner ever tire of hearing such good news preached? I can’t!

Self Denial!

"Then said Jesus unto His disciples, 'If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'" --Matthew 16:24.

Christ had for the first time definitely announced that He would have to suffer much and be killed and be raised again. "Peter rebuked Him, saying, 'Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall never be unto Thee.'" Christ's answer was, "Get thee behind Me, Satan." The spirit of Peter, seeking to turn Him away from the cross and its suffering, was nothing but Satan tempting Him to turn aside from the path which God had appointed as our way of salvation.

Christ then adds the words of our text, in which He uses for the second time the words "take up the cross." But with that He uses a most significant expression revealing what is implied in the cross: "If any man come after Me, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross." When Adam sinned, he fell out of the life of heaven and of God into the life of the world and of self. Self-pleasing, self-sufficiency, self-exaltation, become the law of his life. When Jesus Christ came to restore man to his original place, "being in the form of God, HE EMPTIED HIMSELF, taking the form of a servant, and HUMBLED HIMSELF even to the death of the cross." What He has done Himself He asks of all who desire to follow Him: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself."

Instead of denying himself, Peter denied his Lord: "I know not the man." When a man learns to obey Christ's commands, he says of HIMSELF: "I know not the man." The secret of true discipleship is to bear the cross, to acknowledge the death sentence that has been passed on self, and to deny any right that self has to rule over us.

Death to self is to be the Christian's watchword. The surrender to Christ is to be so entire, the surrender for Christ's sake to live for those around us so complete, that self is never allowed to come down from the cross to which it has been crucified, but is ever kept in the place of death.

Let us listen to the voice of Jesus: "Deny self"; and ask that by the grace of the Holy Spirit, as the disciples of a Christ who denied Himself for us, we may ever live as those in whom self has been crucified with Christ, and in whom the crucified Christ now lives as Lord and Master.

(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Seventh Day)