Thursday, July 22, 2010
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
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
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 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
- J.C. Ryle
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
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)
Friday, May 28, 2010
We have had some of Paul's great words to the Galatians about the cross and our being crucified with Christ. Let us now turn to the Master Himself to hear what He has to teach us. We shall find that what Paul could teach openly and fully after the crucifixion, was given by the Master in words that could at first hardly be understood, and yet contained the seed of the full truth.
It was in the ordination charge, when Christ sent forth His disciples, that He first used the expression that the disciple must take up his cross and follow Him.
The only meaning the disciples could attach to these words was from what they had often seen, when an evil-doer who had been sentenced to death by the cross was led out bearing his cross to the place of execution. In bearing the cross, he acknowledged the sentence of death that was on him. And Christ would have His disciples understand that their nature was so evil and corrupt that it was only in losing their natural life that they could find the true life. Of Himself it was true that all His life He bore His cross -- the sentence of death that He knew to rest upon Himself on account of our sins. And so He would have each disciple bear his cross -- the sentence of death upon himself and his evil, carnal nature.
The disciples could not at once understand all this. But Christ gave them seed words, which would germinate in their hearts and later on begin to reveal their full meaning. The disciple was not only to carry the sentence of death in himself, but to learn that in following the Master to His cross he would find the power to lose his life and to receive instead of it the life that would come through the cross of Christ.
Christ asks of His disciples that they should forsake all and take up their cross, give up their whole will and life, and follow Him. The call comes to us too to give up the self life with its self-pleasing and self-exaltation, and bear the cross in fellowship with Him -- and so shall we be made partakers of His victory.
(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Sixth Day)
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Of the flesh Paul teaches us (Romans 7:18), "In me, that is, IN MY FLESH, DWELLETH NO GOOD THING." And again (Romans 8:7), "The mind of the flesh is ENMITY AGAINST GOD; for it is not subject to the law of God, NEITHER INDEED CAN IT BE." When Adam lost the spirit of God, he became flesh. Flesh is the expression for the evil, corrupt nature that we inherit from Adam. Of this flesh it is written, "Our old man was crucified with Him" (Romans 6:6). And Paul puts it here even more strongly, "They that are in Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh."
When the disciples heard and obeyed the call of Jesus to follow Him, they honestly meant to do so, but as He later on taught them what that would imply, they were far from being ready to yield immediate obedience. And even so those who are Christ's and have accepted Him as the Crucified One little understand what that includes. By that act of surrender they actually have crucified the flesh and consented to regard it as an accursed thing, nailed to the cross of Christ.
Alas, how many there are who have never for a moment thought of such a thing! It may be that the preaching of Christ crucified has been defective. It may be that the truth of our being crucified with Christ has not been taught. They shrink back from the self-denial that it implies, and as a result, where the flesh is allowed in any measure to have its way, the Spirit of Christ cannot exert His power.
Paul taught the Galatians: "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God." And only as the flesh is kept in the place of crucifixion can the Spirit guide us in living faith and fellowship with Christ Jesus.
Blessed Lord, how little I understood when I accepted Thee in faith that I crucified once for all the flesh with its passions and lusts! I beseech Thee humbly, teach me so to believe and so to live in Thee, the Crucified One, that with Paul I may ever glory in the cross on which the world and the flesh are crucified.
(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Fifth Day)
Monday, May 24, 2010
What Paul had written in Galatians 2 is here in the end of the epistle confirmed, and expressed still more strongly. He speaks of his only glory being that in Christ he has in very deed been crucified to the world and entirely delivered from its power. When he said "I have been crucified with Christ," it was not only an inner spiritual truth, but an actual, practical experience in relation to the world and its temptations. Christ had spoken about the world hating Him, and His having overcome the world. Paul knows that the world, which nailed Christ to the cross, had in that deed done the same to him. He boasts that he lives as one crucified to the world, and that now the world as an impotent enemy was crucified to him. It was this that made him glory in the cross of Christ. It had wrought out a complete deliverance from the world.
How very different the relation of Christians to the world in our day! They agree that they may not commit the sins that the world allows. But except for that they are good friends with the world, and have liberty to enjoy as much of it as they can, if they only keep from open sin. They do not know that the most dangerous source of sin is the love of the world with its lusts and pleasures.
O Christian, when the world crucified Christ, it crucified you with Him, When Christ overcame the world on the cross, He made you an overcomer too. He calls you now, at whatever cost of self-denial, to regard the world, in its hostility to God and His kingdom, as a crucified enemy over whom the cross can ever keep you conqueror.
What a different relationship to the pleasures and attractions of the world the Christian has who by the Holy Spirit has learned to say: "I have been crucified with Christ; the crucified Christ liveth in me!" Let us pray God fervently that the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ offered Himself on the cross, may reveal to us in power what it means to "glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world had been crucified unto me."
(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Fourth Day)
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The thought of fellowship with Christ in His bearing the cross has often led to the vain attempt in our own power to follow Him and bear His image. But this is impossible to man until he first learns to know something of what it means to say, "I have been crucified with Christ."
Let us try to understand this. When Adam died, all his descendants died with him and in him. In his sin in Paradise, and in the spiritual death into which he fell, I had a share: I died in him. And the power of that sin and death, in which all his descendants share, works in every child of Adam every day.
Christ came as the second Adam. In His death on the cross all who believe in Him had a share. Each one may say in truth, "I have been crucified with Christ." As the representative of His people, He took them up with Him on the cross, and me too. The life that He gives is the crucified life, in which He entered heaven and was exalted to the throne, standing as a Lamb as it had been slain. The power of His death and life work in me, and as I hold fast the truth that I have been crucified with Him, and that now I myself live no more but Christ liveth in me, I receive power to conquer sin; the life that I have received from Him is a life that has been crucified and made free from the power of sin.
We have here a deep and very precious truth. Most Christians have but little knowledge of it. That knowledge is not gained easily or speedily. It needs a great longing in very deed to be dead to all sin. It needs a strong faith, wrought by the Holy Spirit, that the union with Christ crucified -- the fellowship of His cross -- can day by day become our life. The life that He lives in heaven has its strength and its glory in the fact that it is a crucified life. And the life that He imparts to the believing disciple is even so a crucified life with its victory over sin and its power of access into God's presence.
It is in very deed true that I no longer live, but Christ liveth in me as a Crucified One. As faith realizes and holds fast the fact that the crucified Christ lives in me, life in the fellowship of the cross becomes a possibility and a blessed experience.
(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Third Day)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Paul here tells us what that mind was in Christ: He emptied Himself; He took the form of a servant; He humbled Himself, even to the death of the cross. It is this mind that was in Christ, the deep humility that gave up His life to the very death, that is to be the spirit that animates us. It is thus that we shall prove and enjoy the blessed fellowship of His cross.
Paul had said (ver.1): "If there is any comfort in Christ," -- the Comforter was come to reveal His real presence in them -- "if any fellowship of the Spirit," -- it was in this power of the Spirit that they were to breathe the Spirit of the crucified Christ and manifest His disposition in the fellowship of the cross in their lives.
As they strove to do this, they would feel the need of a deeper insight into their real oneness with Christ. They would learn to appreciate the truth that they had been crucified with Christ, that their "old man" had been crucified, and that they had died to sin in Christ's death and were living to God in His life. They would learn to know what it meant that the crucified Christ lived in them, and that they had crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. It was because the crucified Jesus lived in them that they could live crucified to the world.
And so they would gradually enter more deeply into the meaning and the power of their high calling to live as those who were dead to sin and the world and self. Each in his own measure would bear about in his life the marks of the cross, with its sentence of death on the flesh, with its hating of the self life and its entire denial of self, with its growing conformity to the crucified Redeemer in His deep humility and entire surrender of His will to the life of God.
It is no easy school and no hurried learning -- this school of the cross. But it will lead to a deeper apprehension and a higher appreciation of the redemption of the cross, through the personal experience of the fellowship of the cross.
(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - Second Day)
CE: God what about my house, and paying my...
God: Well sell your house. Seek first My kingdom and righteousness and these things will be given to you as well.
CE: But God, what about my Job...
God: Well quite your job, I am your provider.
CE: But my children's education, they...
God: Well home school them.
CE: But how do I know you really want me to go...
God: It is already written, I said 'Go'
CE: But I’m not qualified, how can I...
God: Lean not on your own understanding, trust in me
CE: But God, it might cost me my...
God: Well make the payment!
(I read this on a mates blog and had to re-post it! He is due to arrive in Thailand in about 11 hours with his family to begin work with orphaned children. Please keep them in your prayers... you can follow their journey here: http://missionthailand.yolasite.com)
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Scripture teaches us that there are two points of view from which we may regard Christ's death upon the cross. The one is the REDEMPTION OF THE CROSS: Christ dying for us as our complete deliverance from the curse of sin. The other, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE CROSS: Christ taking us up to die with Him, and making us partakers of the fellowship of His death in our own experience.
In our text we have three great unsearchable thoughts. The law of God has pronounced a curse on all sin and on all that is sinful. Christ took our curse upon Him -- yea, became a curse -- and so destroyed its power, and in that cross we now have the everlasting redemption from sin and all its power. The cross reveals to us man's sin as under the curse, Christ becoming a curse and so overcoming it, and our full and everlasting deliverance from the curse.
In these thoughts the lost and most hopeless sinner finds a sure ground of confidence and of hope. God had indeed in Paradise pronounced a curse upon this earth and all that belongs to it. On Mount Ebal, in connection with giving the law, half of the people of Israel were twelve times over to pronounce a curse on all sin. And there was to be in their midst a continual reminder of it: "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Deuteronomy 21:23, 27:15-20). And yet who could ever have thought that the Son of God Himself would die upon the accursed tree, and become a curse for us? But such is in very deed the gospel of God's love, and the penitent sinner can now rejoice in the confident assurance that the curse is forever put away from all who believe in Christ Jesus.
The preaching of the redemption of the cross is the foundation and center of the salvation the gospel brings us. To those who believe its full truth it is a cause of unceasing thanksgiving. It gives us boldness to rejoice in God. There is nothing which will keep the heart more tender towards God, enabling us to live in His love and to make Him known to those who have never yet found Him. God be praised for the redemption of the cross!
(Andrew Murray - Secrets Of The Cross - First Day)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Some in their understanding, assent to the way of salvation--yet do not consent to it with their will. In judgment they are for Christ--but in affection they are for other things. There is only a part of their soul that is for Christ. Others would have the benefits that are from Christ--but have no love for the person of Christ.
Some would have Christ only as a Savior--but not as a Lord. They desire Him only as a Priest to offer a sacrifice for their sins--but not as a Prophet to instruct them, nor as a King to rule over them. So that it is but part of Christ, that they would receive.
But both of these courses are equally dangerous; for, if we would be saved, we must cleave to Christ with all the faculties of the soul--with will, judgment, affection, etc. And so, again, we must cleave to the whole of Christ--Christ in His natures, person, offices, etc. If, therefore, you would rightly receive Christ, see that your whole soul receives a whole Christ.
(Thomas Sherman, "Aids to the Divine Life--A Series of Practical Christian Contemplations" 1680)
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation - Luke 2:28-30
Here we see a physical expression of a spiritual truth. As Simeon took up Christ in his arms and gazed upon him, so also must we lay hold of Christ and look to him and him alone for our salvation - as it were - through our eyes of faith.
I remember when I was desperately searching for the answer to the question echoed in Acts 16 by the Jailer at Philippi - What must I do to be saved?
Unlike Simeon, who set his eyes solely upon the Saviour, I thought surely there are a great many things I must do to present myself acceptable to the Lord. I tried to satisfy the laws requirements. I tried to increase in virtue and good character. I tried to present myself acceptable before a just and holy God. I tried, as Charles Finney says, “to build dams of sand across the current of my own corruption”. Just when I thought I’d stopped up one vile stream, the dam wall would burst and greater river of sin would spill forth. I would cry out to God for help - for help to overcome this one sin or another so that I might be saved. And there would be no answer. I was trying to save myself by keeping the righteous requirements of the law of God!
But the law of God can do only one thing. Kill a fallen man! Condemn him to die! And slowly but surely, like a man hanging on the cross with his life draining away, I found myself nailed to the rigid, inflexible law of God slowly dying to self - all hope and confidence in my flesh bleeding out and draining away.
I can’t tall you how many times I went to services where they would have an alter call, and go forward and say the “sinners prayer” as it is commonly called. Unlike Simeon who’s hope and confidence were in the Lord, I put my hope and confidence in going forward, in saying the sinners prayer, in the sincerity of how I prayed, in the plea bargains I would make with God, in the preacher preaching, in my many tears… I looked to so many things to save me - but no one ever told me to look to Christ! I never looked to Christ!
It is vitally important that this point is understood! You must look to Christ and Christ alone for salvation! He is the only one who can save you, and it is only through faith (a complete dependence upon, a complete trust) in Christ that you will be saved!
Friday, April 30, 2010
Poor in self--rich in Jesus!
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3
The Lord's people are all poor; they see and feel that sin has stripped them of every excellence; and has left them wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked. They can do nothing of themselves, they can procure nothing for themselves; but free grace has made ample provision for them, and the Gospel informs them that Jesus has everything they need--and that all that He has, is for them!
When they look at, or into themselves--they are discouraged; but when they look to Jesus--they rejoice! He has riches of grace--and riches of glory; and He says, "Every one who asks--receives." He gives liberally, and upbraids not. Here then is the present blessedness of the Lord's poor: Jesus has all they need! And He is their Redeemer and Friend! Those who seek Him shall not lack any truly good thing.
Am I poor? If so, Jesus bids me come to Him--and buy gold, clothing, wine, and milk without price--all that is necessary to comfort and support in time, and render me happy throughout eternity! Poor in self--rich in Jesus! Poor at present--rich in eternity! "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven!"
"All things are yours!" 1 Corinthians 3:21
"And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!" Philippians 4:19
(James Smith, "The Pastor's Morning Visit")
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Just so, the whole life of Christ is photographed in this one little phrase, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
He did not come to be served--if this had been His aim, He would never have left heaven's glory, where He lacked nothing, where angels praised Him and ministered unto Him. He came to serve. He went about doing good. He altogether forgot Himself. He served all He met, who would receive His service. At last He gave His life in serving--He gave it to save others, to redeem lost souls.
You say that you want to be like Christ. You ask Him to print His own image on your heart. Here then, is the image: "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."
It is not a vague dream of human greatness which we are to think of, when we ask to be like our Master.
The old monks thought that they were becoming like Christ--when they went into the wilderness, away from men, to live in cold cells. But surely, such a dream of uselessness is not the thought which this picture suggests. "To serve--to give our life" that is the Christ-like thing! Instead of fleeing away from people--we are to live with others, to serve them, to live for them, to seek to bless them, to do them good, to give our lives for them--that is the meaning of the prayer for Christ-likeness.
(J. R. Miller, "Devotional Hours with the Bible" 1909)
Friday, February 26, 2010
Can anyone ever say to God - you didn't do enough to save me! You didn't do enough to turn my heart! What more could he have done for you? Is the atoning sacrifice of His beloved Son on account of your wickedness and rebellion not enough to move you? Is your heart so hard that His selfless, sacrificial love does not even melt it to its rotten core?
Are you one of the many who would say, "I'd know that He loves me if he gives me this such a thing or that - some earthly benefit or delight, or some easing of a great pain!"
What more do you need from God? Is what he did for you through the cross not enough? Does the washing away of your sins by the blood of His dear Son not cause you to cry out - "Lord, you have loved SO much!"
God has done all that need be done in order to demonstrate His great love for us! But if that is not enough for you then you are to be sorely pitied, for if the love of His dear Son cannot reach your heart - nothing will!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The murder of two young street preachers in Florida by a teenager whom they shared the Gospel with is “alarming,” said a spokesperson for a religious freedom watchdog group.
Eighteen-year-old Jeriah Woody, whose street name is “Plug,” is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Woody allegedly shot and killed Tite Sufra, 24, and Stephen Ocean, 23, on Jan. 30 after they shared about Christ with him during the 15 minutes they talked.
Woody’s phone reportedly rang and he turned and walked away to take the call. But then he turned around again and started walking towards the street preachers. Sufra approached him and Woody allegedly shot him in the head. Ocean tried to run away, but police said Woody allegedly shot him in the back and then walked up to him and shot him again in the head at point-blank range.
The police account is based on the third street preacher that was with Sufra and Ocean when they talked to Woody. The unidentified third minister had escaped by running in the opposite direction.
Woody turned himself in on Feb. 3 and remains in jail without bond.
“We are concerned that the hate crimes against Christians could be increased in the United States,” said Jonathon Racho, regional manager for Africa and South Asia at International Christian Concern, to The Christian Post Monday. “This is very alarming.”
He added, “We hear this kind of thing happening in other countries like India, Nigeria, China, North Korea, where Christians are being killed, imprisoned and so forth. But for Christians to be killed for preaching the Gospel here in the United States, it is very, very alarming.”
Several Christian organizations have wondered out loud why there has been so little media coverage despite the incident occurring more than two weeks ago.
"If this had been two Muslims out sharing the Quran and talking to people about Mohammad and they were shot and killed, there would be marches, there would be protest, there would be 24-hour coverage,” said Todd Nettleton, a spokesperson for the Voice of the Martyrs, to Mission Network News. “As a Christian, that's a frustrating thing that the media doesn't seem to want to pay attention to incidents where Christians are targeted."
Police have not identified Woody’s motive for killing the street preachers.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
But after nearly four billion years of trying, evolution has still failed to come up with a workaround for death! Now that's a bit disappointing!
Mr & Mrs Evolutionist, you'd better hope that it finds a solution in the next 50 odd years or you're stuffed!
Monday, February 8, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Light is the chariot which carries the influence of the sun. So the knowledge of Christ brings with it influences of His grace into the heart. And how did Peter expect people to grow in the knowledge of Christ unless they read Scripture, the only book where it can be found? How wrong for teachers to want the people to learn this knowledge solely from their preaching, and not from the Bible! How can a congregation be sure they are hearing truth unless they have Scripture, the only touchstone to try the purity of the doctrine? God Himself directs His Word not to any one honored group-not to a select few-but to every man (Romans 1:7; 2 Corinthians 1:1). Why are laws made if they cannot be declared? And why was Scripture ever written if not to be read and known of all men? By the same authority with which the apostle wrote his epistles, he commanded them to be read in the church. Did ministers of the early church hide God's word from the people instead of encouraging them to hide it in their hearts?
It is true that some men wrest Scripture to their own destruction, just as occasionally somebody chokes on a piece of bread if he is not careful when he eats. But must everyone starve for fear of getting choked? Some hurt themselves with sharp weapons; must the whole army then be disarmed, and only a few officers be allowed to wear the sword? If this argument were enough to seal up the Bible, we must deny it to intellectuals as well as to common men; for it is a known fact that the grossest heresies have bred in the finest minds. Whenever proud men insist on being wiser than God, their foolish minds get darker and darker until they become so accustomed to the blackness that they can no longer see His sovereignty.
From The Christian In Complete Armour by William Gurnall First Published in 1665 Published by Moody Press Chicago, IL 1994
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
First sin startles him,
then it becomes pleasing,
Then the man is impenitent,
then resolves never to repent,
and then he is damned!
"For the wages of sin is death!" Romans 6:23
- Jeremy Taylor