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)