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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Favorite Pastor Quotes

Favorite Pastor Quotes


The more bloody--the more lovely!

(Thomas Watson, "The Loveliness of Christ")

"Yes, He is altogether lovely!" Song of Solomon 5:16 

Lost men cannot see the stupendous beauty of Christ. All sparkling beauties are found in Him, but they lack eyes! 

He is infinitely and superlatively lovely! All that we could ever say about Jesus falls infinitely short of His matchless worth. He is pure, unspotted beauty! There is an infinite resplendency, a sparkling luster to His beauty! 

Jesus is most lovely in His sufferings, when He made an atonement for our sins. What, lovely in His sufferings? Lovely when He was buffeted, spit upon, and besmeared with blood?

Oh yes, He was most lovely upon the cross, when He showed most love to us.

He bled love at every vein! 

Those drops were love drops! 

The more bloody--the more lovely!Oh how lovely ought a bleeding Savior be to our eyes! Let us wear this blessed crucifix always in our heart! 

The cross of Christ is the key that opens paradise to us! 

How beautiful is Christ on the cross! 

The ruddiness of His blood, took away the redness of our guilt! 

Christ's crucifixion, is our coronation! 

He left His Father's bosom, that hive of sweetness, to come and live in this poor world. Truly, He exchanged the palace for the dunghill.

"The unsearchable riches of Christ!" Not even the angels can dig to the bottom of this mine! They adore Christ, being ravished with His amazing beauties! 

Jesus is the very extract and quintessence of beauty. He is a whole paradise of delights!

___________________________________

t takes a long and painful process to purge it out!

(James Smith, "The Love of Christ! The Fullness, Freeness, and Immutability of the Savior's Grace Displayed!")

"I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!" Isaiah 48:10 

The love of Jesus will not preserve His people from trials--but rather, assures them of trials! All whom He loves--He chastens! He has a furnace to purge our dross, and refine our souls. His Word and the Spirit reveal to us our defilement and impurity--and His grace and providence co-operate to remove them. "I am the Lord God, who sanctifies you." 

It is divine love which . . .
  prepares the furnace, 
  kindles the flame, 
  brings the Christian into it, 
  superintends the whole process, and 
  brings him out as gold, seven times purified!

"From all your filthiness and from all your idols, I will cleanse you!" He cleanses them in the laver of the Word by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit. But He also cleanses them by a variety of afflictive dispensations, through which He causes them to pass. 

Our sin calls for trials--His love sends them!


Our nature repines at trials--but grace submits to them!

Our flesh is enraged at trials--but the Spirit sanctifies them to our good, and our Savior's glory. 

He makes His people choice ones--in the "furnace of affliction!" He says, "I will put you into the fire--and will purely purge away yourdross." 

Believer, never repine at your trials, nor be over-anxious for their removal. They are appointed by Jesus as your Purifier--and are choice blessings in disguise! 

Seek their sanctification, 
wrestle with God that you may see His love in every stroke, and 
look to Jesus that you may enjoy His presence when passing through the flame! 

Nothing can hurt you--while Jesus is near you; and He is never nearer to you--than when you are in the furnace! For He sits right there as the Refiner . . .
  watching the process, 
  regulating the heat, and 
  waiting to effect a gracious deliverance--when the ends of His love are answered. 

He is only preparing you for fresh manifestations of His glory--and fitting you for larger communications of His love.

In the furnace, you will lose nothing that is worth keeping--but you will obtain what is truly valuable!

The flesh and the soul need constant cleansings--for corruption is so deeply rooted in our nature, that it takes a long and painful process to purge it out! But in reference to the furnace, your Lord says, "The Lord did this to purge Israel's wickedness, to take away all her sin!"

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Self-Denial
Richard Baxter

"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23
You hear ministers tell you of the odiousness and danger and sad effects of sin; but of all the sins that you ever heard of, there is scarce any more odious and dangerous than selfishness; and yet most are never troubled at it, nor sensible of its malignity. My principal request therefore to you is, that as ever you would prove Christians indeed, and be saved from sin and the damnation which follows it—take heed of this deadly sin of selfishness, and be sure you are possessed with true self-denial; and if you have, see that you use and live upon it.
And for your help herein, I shall tell you how your self-denial must be tried. I shall only tell you in a few words, how the least measure of true self-denial may be known: wherever the interest of carnal self is stronger and more predominant habitually than the interest of God, of Christ, of everlasting life, there is no true self-denial or saving grace; but where God's interest is strongest, there self-denial is sincere. If you further ask me how this may be known, briefly thus:
1. What is it that you live for? What is that good which your mind is principally set to obtain? And what is that end which you principally design and endeavor to obtain, and which you set your heart on, and lay out your hopes upon? Is it the pleasing and glorifying of God, and the everlasting fruition of Him? Or is it the pleasing of your fleshly mind in the fruition of any inferior thing? Know this, and you may know whether self or God has the greatest interest in you. For that is your God which you love most, and please best, and would do most for.
2. Which do you most prize—the means of your salvation and of the glory of God, or the means of providing for self and flesh? Do you more prize Christ and holiness, which are the way to God—or riches, honor, and pleasures, which gratify the flesh? Know this, and you may know whether you have true self-denial.
3. If you are truly self-denying, you are ordinarily ruled by God, and His Word and Spirit, and not by the carnal self. Which is the rule and master of your lives? Whose word and will is it ordinarily that prevails? When God draws, and self draws—which do you follow in the tenor of your life? Know this, and you may know whether you have true self-denial.
4. If you have true self-denial, the drift of your lives is carried on in a successful opposition to your carnal self, so that you not only refuse to be ruled by it, and love it as your god—but you fight against it, and tread it down as your enemy. So that you go armed against self in the course of your lives, and are striving against self in every duty. And as others think—it then goes best with them, when self is highest and pleased best; so you will know that then it goes best with you—when self is lowest, and most effectually subdued.
5. If you have true self-denial, there is nothing in this world so dear to you, but on deliberation you would leave it for God. He who has anything which he loves so well that he cannot spare it for God, is a selfish and unsanctified wretch. And therefore God has still put men to it, in the trial of their sincerity, to part with that which was dearest to the flesh. Abraham must be tried by parting with his only son. And Christ makes it His standing rule, "Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).
Yet it is true that flesh and blood may make much resistance in a gracious heart; and many a striving thought there may be, before with Abraham we part with a son, or before we can part with wealth or life; but yet on deliberation, self-denial will prevail. There is nothing so dear to a gracious soul, which he cannot spare at the will of God, and the hope of everlasting life. If with Peter we would flinch in a temptation—we should return with Peter in weeping bitterly, and give Christ those lives that in a temptation we denied Him.
6. In a word, true self-denial is procured by the knowledge and love of God, advancing Him in the soul—to debasing of self. The illuminated soul is so much taken with the glory and goodness of the Lord, that it carries him out of himself to God, and as it were estranges him from himself, that he may have communion with God. This makes him vile in his own eyes, and to abhor himself in dust and ashes. It is not a stoical resolution, but the love of God and the hopes of glory—which make him throw away the world, and look contemptuously on all below, so far as they are mere provision for flesh.

Search now, and try your hearts by these evidences, whether you are possessed of this necessary grace of self-denial. O make not light of the matter! For I must tell you that self is the most treacherous enemy, and the most insinuating deceiver in the world! It will be within you when you are not aware of it and will conquer you when you perceive not yourselves much troubled with it. Of all other vices, selfishness is both the hardest to find out and the hardest to cure. Be sure therefore in the first place, that you have self-denial; and then be sure you use it and live in the practice of it.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Importance and Value of Experience # 2

The Importance and Value of Experience # 2

Experience the Very Quality of Service

Experience is very important because, after all, it is the very quality of service. When we come to real life, and we are really up against things and the issues are of the greatest consequence, we do not want just information, we want experience, and we go where experience can help us. Is that not so? Thus experience is the very body and quality of service and usefulness to the Lord.

Bunyan, in his allegory, has a man called Experience, one of four shepherds on the Delectable Mountains - Knowledge, Experience, Watchful and Sincere - all, of course, parts of one whole ministry, and not to be regarded as separate. There is a knowledge which, if it is in the hands of or in company with experience, is all right, and one does not discount the value of knowledge; but it has to be experimental knowledge, it has to be in the company of experience. And of this Experience, the shepherd, what does Bunyan say? A visitor to the country of the four shepherds described him like this: 'Firmly knit in form and face, a shrewd but kindly eye, a happy readiness in his bearing, and all his hard-earned wisdom most evidently on foot within him as a capability for work and for control', 'hard-earned wisdom'. He was a shepherd, and we know that the Bible idea of the shepherd is different from ours. A shepherd in our land has to go scouring for sheep to try to get them together, using dogs and other means to collect them. A shepherd in Syria only had to go to a certain spot and begin to sing a psalm and the sheep knew his voice and gathered to him, and he could lead them anywhere while he was praying his prayer or singing his psalm. They knew his voice and followed him. And so it is today: leadership is shepherdhood; shepherdhood is leadership. But experience is the shepherd; shepherd, therefore experience is the leader.

Of course, it will entirely depend upon whether we are concerned to be of the greatest value to the Lord and to others, or whether we are self-centered. If we are thus concerned, this matter of experience will make appeal to us, but if otherwise, then what I am saying will not amount to anything. But here it is, the Lord puts value upon the matter of usefulness, and whether we are mentally interested in it or not, and whether or not our hearts have become as yet bound up with it, we cannot get away from the fact that the Lord is actively engaged on this work; He is seeking to make us useful. What is the why and wherefore of experiences, of the difficult and hard way that God takes us, and of the way in which He, so to speak, takes terrible risks with us? He does indeed seem to take risks. He risks our rebellion, He risks our bitterness, He risks our misinterpretations of His dealings with us, He risks our 'kicking over the traces' and breaking away and running off. He risks a lot when He puts us into difficult situations, but He thinks it is worth while for experience; for even our wrong reactions will make for experience in the long run. Even our rebellion and bitterness He will sovereignly control, and we shall come to know we can learn something along that line; we shall be able to help, instruct and advise where such help is acceptable and needed. Yes, He is doing it all to get experience, to make of us not professional pastors but men who are shepherds, 'firmly knit inform and face', with that 'shrewd but kindly eye', that readiness, with all the 'hard-earned wisdom', to be of help to those who need it. That is what the Lord is doing with us, to bring experience.

Experience Practical, Not Theoretical

So experience is the very sum of what is practical. It is experiential, experimental, it is the practical side of knowledge. That is almost too obvious to need saying. Tribulation is very practical, very real, you cannot get away from that. The demand for patience in tribulation in its working of patience is steadfastness, is experience, it is exceedingly good. We may lack many other things, we may not have great knowledge or learning, great capabilities or cleverness, by which the world sets such store. Should it come to our being tested by this world's standards of ability, and we were to answer and say, 'I have only experience', it would not go down at all. They would say, 'What degrees have you, what examinations have you passed?' To say that we have had some experience would not be sufficient, whereas if we had all the other without experience, we should very likely be acceptable in this world. But it is not like that with God. The examinations that are held are on another basis altogether. We may not have many things, we may not be very much, we may be despised when it comes to what we have accomplished in the academic way,what titles we carry, what degrees we have - we may not be much in that world, but remember that God puts a very great deal more importance upon experience than upon all the rest, and that is a thing we can all have. From the least to the greatest, we can all have experience, and because in the sight of the Lord it is so important, He sees fit to let us know a good deal of tribulation. "Tribulation worketh...experience".

Have you got the full meaning of that word that is translated into our English word "tribulation"? Tribulation is a picture word in the Greek - the picture of a farm instrument that we call the harrow; and you know what we mean when we say we have had a harrowing experience. Oh, the tearing and the cutting and the lacerating from the harrow! That is the word here, literally, actually; the harrow going over our backs, and it works experience. Experience is of such value.

Experience of Eternal Value

What more can one say other than that it must be of eternal value? The value must be eternal, otherwise life is an inexplicable mystery and an enigma. The time may come when you young people, having passed through deep experiences and having bought your experience at great price, and thus having in you possession something of very great value, find that younger people do not want experience, nor think anything at all of it, and never consult you. When what you have through deep experience has very little outlet in this world, a very limited scope for expression, what an enigma! All this you have gone through, all you have bought at so great a price, what is the value of it? It must be eternal. God must be working to get something with a longer range than this poor life. With tribulations increasing perhaps as you get older, what is it all for? Well, He is working with a longer view, and there must be something that counts with Him beyond time, and so He allows the tribulation to produce patience, and patience experience; "Whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away"; but experience shall abide and serve in the eternal ages.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Importance and Value of Experience # 1

The Importance and Value of Experience # 1

"And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh steadfastness; and steadfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope: and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us" (Romans 5:3-5).

Experience Gained Through Tribulation

"Steadfastness (worketh) approvedness".

There are different translations of the word which is here rendered "approvedness" - in the Authorized Version it is "experience", in the Revised it is "probation" and in the American Revised it is "approvedness" - showing that it must be a rich word, a word of some meaning and content. It really means approvedness as the result of testing, and I really think that the Authorized Version gives the best rendering in using the word "experience" - a try-out and the result; and that is just the essence of the word here. "Tribulation worketh steadfastness" (or patience, if you like) and steadfastness (or patience), experience."

In the New Testament, not only in statements but in many ways, experience has a very high place indeed in the work of God and is of very great importance and value in God's sight. Experience really is the quality or essence of stature, of maturity. There is a grave absence of outstanding leaders in our time in every realm, leaders of whom we could say that they are head and shoulders above their fellows. There was a time when it was otherwise. In politics and statesmanship, in art and literature and music, there are great names, but they very largely belong to a past generation. Such men are not with us today, and there is this serious lack of leadership, of men of stature, men who count. The Lord places such great importance upon experience, and shows that there is nothing that can be a substitute for it, and that He Himself is prepared to take very great and serious risks with lives in order to work experience into them.

It does sometimes seem that the Lord is experimenting with us. Whether that is a right way to put it or not, what I mean is right. Because of its very great value and importance, the Lord is prepared to put us into situations in which the most serious consequences may develop, in order to get this one thing; for here is the heart of usefulness and value to him - experience.

Experience Cannot Be Transferred

Experience with God is much more than knowledge. We may be very greatly informed, and have a great deal of knowledge, but, lacking experience, our knowledge will remain purely technical information. Experience is more than knowledge. It is also far more than human cleverness. Clever people may be able to do a lot of things and seem to be successful. The absence of this quality of experience will find that their structures will sooner or later come crashing down, for there is no body there. Experience is something that we can never inherit, nor can it be transferred from one to another in any other way; it has be be bought. It is therefore the sole possession and property of the individual who has it. It is something very personal. If it had been possible for the Father to bring His own Son, the Lord Jesus, to the designed and determined end in any other way, He would have done it. The only way was experience: "...yet learned (he) obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb. 5:8); He was made "perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10). Even Jesus Christ (and I speak in a certain sense) had to buy His experience. He had to come to the full end, or the end of fullness, to be made perfect, made complete, by the way of experience.

The Holy Spirit, with all that the gift of the Spirit means of enduement and endowment and instruction and strengthening, is not a substitute for experience. We are very often found asking that certain things shall be done for us by the Holy Spirit which the Holy Spirit will never do. He has to lead us into experience. It is the only way in which He can answer our prayers. Many prayers are answered through experience. You ask the Lord to do something, and He takes you through experience, and you arrive at the answer in that way. You had not meant that, of course: you wanted the Lord to do the thing there and then as a gift, as an act; but that would have been merely objective, something given, whereas He wants to make it a part of yourself, and so He answers prayer by some experience. 'Steadfastness worketh experience', and if there is no experience, what is the good of anybody or anything?

So then, experience is of greater importance than being delivered from tribulation. 'Tribulation worketh experience.' Oh, how often we have asked the Lord why He allowed this and that, or why He did not do this or that. Why did He not hinder Adam from sinning? Why has He not stopped the world in so many things that have had most terrible results? Experience is very largely the answer.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2 - Experience the Very Quality of Service)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Let Us Press On Unto Full Growth # 3

Let Us Press On Unto Full Growth # 3

Jesus was not loved by the world nor by the Jewish nation, and those who were His were suffering with Him. So, "Let us therefore go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach" (Heb. 13:13). But many were saying that they did not know whether they were going on any further. It was too costly for them and they thought they would save themselves a lot of trouble if they did not go on. And it was to those that the letter was written.

Read this letter through and note how many times the phrase "Let us" occurs. "Let us fear" (Heb. 4:1), "Let us...lay aside every weight" (Heb 12:1), "Let us run" (Heb. 12:1), "Let us go on" (Heb. 6:1). Look them up and you will see how much of the book is summed up in that phrase, "Let us."

So, let us go on! 

There is another little word that is used. I will not take time to turn to all the references now, but you will find it everywhere in the book, so I will mention it. It is the word "lest". Study it for yourself. "Let us give diligence lest..." (Heb. 2:1). We have got to be very watchful. This verse is a word picture of a ship coming into harbor. I used to have a boat and come into harbor in it. I used to steer in the direction of the moorings and when I got near them, I would get hold of my boat-hook and try to hook up my moorings. Perhaps the tide would be running fast and the wind would be strong and I would drift past my moorings and not get them. And what a lot of trouble that meant. I had to start up the engine again and go out to sea and come round and try all over again. That is the picture here. Give  diligence lest you miss that for which God has called you and have to start all over again. Those who have drifted away from the Lord are the most miserable people, so this word says: don't be the most miserable people. Just go right on with the Lord. And if you have missed the way, come back; He waits to receive you and has not given you up. He says to us all: "Let us go on."

We can say all that has been said in a few words and in a short time, but it will take all our lives to live it out. We go on all our lives, but the fullness is only at the end. But there can be more of Christ all the way along. That is a wonderful thing to say.

May I give you my testimony? What we say ought to be true of ourselves. There was a  time in my life when I was preaching a lot and many people were calling me to preach. And the whole thing was becoming a terrible burden. I was working day and night to find something to preach about. I had a library of two thousand books - all the latest ones - and the preaching business was a great burden to me. I felt like the poor Israelites when Pharaoh told them that they would have to find the straw to make their bricks with; I was looking everywhere for straw.

The day came when I said that I could go on like that no longer. People might have thought me a good preacher, but they never knew how miserable the preacher was. So one day I went into my room and shut the door. I got down on my knees and told the Lord that I could go on no longer, unless He did something for me greater than He had ever done before. If not, I was going to give up the preaching. And I meant it. I should have sent in my resignation for I was a minister of a church.

The Lord did do something. He led me to my Bible, to Romans 6. And I read the first four verses. There were no new words to me; I knew them quite well. As a Bible teacher I could tell you what was in any book of the Bible and I knew Romans and could have quoted the verses. But the Lord spoke to me that day and it was as though He put His finger on those words and said: "Do you know that when I died, you died, and not only as a sinner, but as a man and not only as a man, but as a preacher. It has been you who have been doing all the preaching, and not I who have been doing it. You have been doing it all by yourself. You looked up a certain subject and thought it was a good thing to preach about it and so you preached on it. So I have left you to it. But when I died you died. It ought not now to be you, but Me. I should decide what you preach about; I should give you your messages; I should be your wisdom and your power in your ministry."

Those sound like words, but it you had been in my condition, it would have been more than words. Those verses that I knew so well became new to me. I said: "It can be no longer me, Lord, but it must be You. I will never preach again unless You give me the message!" And the Lord did that. It was over thirty years ago. I have done much more preaching in those thirty years than ever before. My testimony is that never in thirty years have I had to work to get a message. Yes, I have studied the Bible and worked hard with the Word of God, but God has been giving the messages. Often I begin and I could go on and on and it would be a joy to do so. You see, we can have the fullness of Christ all the way along.

In my New Testament there is one part which is more marked than any other portion and that is the epistle to the Ephesians. I have talked more about that letter than any other part of the Bible. Yet while that is true, and I have been thinking about the letter for many years, I feel as though I know nothing about it. Something more comes to me every time I go back to it. And you know that this is the letter about the fullness of Christ. We shall never exhaust that. We can know something of Him all the way along. That is how it ought to be. Let us go on to full growth. There is much more before us than we have any idea of.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Let Us Press On Unto Full Growth # 2

Let Us Press on Unto Full Growth # 2

The second picture is in 1 Corinthians 15. This is one of the most wonderful chapters in the Bible. There we see what God intends man to be like and what he intended the first Adam to be. There we are told what we are going to be like in Christ. The moment is coming when the body of corruption is going to be put away and we are going to be clothed upon with a body like His glorious body, just like the body of the Lord Jesus when He was transfigured. That is a very wonderful thing. Is it too wonderful for you? It is not so wonderful to you as you think it is. You look at any born again child of God. Before they were saved, what miserable faces they had! Now look at their faces. Now look at your own faces! I have never seen faces like this in unsaved people. So something of the glorifying of our mortal bodies has already begun. Isn't that just what you say about Christians? What a glory about this one! Something about their very looks is different! Something of the glory is in their faces. Now that is only the beginning. It is impossible for us to describe what we shall be. John writes: "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God... It is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if He shall be manifested, we shall be like Him" (1 John 3:1-2). That is, we shall be like the Lord Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, like Jesus with His glorified body.

But we have got to go right back to the first Adam. That is what God intended for him and he missed it all because he did not go on with God. He stopped, he did not go on to full growth. The Bible, right through, is all about that. God is trying to get His people to come on to maturity. He sent them priests whose work was to bring the children of God to full growth. He sent them kings for the same purpose. And when these too failed, He sent them prophets. Their work was to bring God's people on to His full thought for them. And then He sent His Son and Jesus represents God's full thought for us. The purpose of God is that we should be transformed, conformed to the image of His Son. There are going to be a lot of people who come to that. God's purpose cannot be defeated. And when God has things as He intended them to be, what will things be like? Everywhere we look we shall see the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone will remind us of the Lord Jesus. We shall see nothing but Him in people. Won't that be a wonderful time? The Word of God says that Jesus is going to fill all things. We shall not meet all the unpleasant things we meet in one another now. We shall only meet the Lord Jesus in one another. God's whole universe will be full of Him. Now, He has commended to do that in you and me.

When we meet now we meet something of the Lord Jesus in one another, but I am afraid it is true that you don't meet only the Lord Jesus in me. There is very much of me still there and very much of you still there, very much that is not Christ at all. But, thank God, He has begun to do something in us and He says: "Let us go on to full growth." Never be satisfied with having a little of the Lord Jesus, with being just saved. "Let us go on."

There is a need of this word to be said to us. When Israel was in the wilderness there were many things to stop them going on into the land of promise, things outside and things inside of themselves.

This little phrase "Let us" appears often in the book of Hebrews. Twice in chapter 12 we find: "Let us lay aside every weight...let us run with patience." The writer sums it up in the picture of a race. Now, young people can appreciate this. You all know what is necessary to win a race. If a man came to run a race with all his clothes on and a bundle under each arm and another on his head, you would say that he could never win. There would be no hope for him. We would say, "Now young man, you get rid of those bundles and all the clothes you can spare". You "lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset you."

That is what the apostle is talking about. First, let us go on and in order that we do that, we must lay aside every weight. And then, let us run. When people run, they usually have a reason. If you saw a young man or woman running, you might wonder what it was all about. But if you saw an old man or woman running, you would think that there must be something very important or serious. And when the apostle says, "Let us run" he means that there is something very important and we have got to realize how important it is. It is a very important thing that  we should come to the fullness of Christ. So we must be like these people who run and say that they are going to let nothing prevent them from running.

It is a spirit - the spirit of people who mean business. We will have nothing less than all God means by our salvation. Now this is a very serious matter and I think I can illustrate how serious it can be.

We have a big and sad illustration in the world today. We look at the great land of China. There were very many Christians in the land of China when the Communists came in and the persecution of Christians commenced. Many were thrown into prison and a large number killed. Almost everywhere the Christians were made to suffer. And it is like that now. Well, what has happened? The sad thing is that a great number have let go their love for the Lord. On the other hand there are those who have gone right on and have stood firm. What made the difference? Those who have gone back from the Lord are those who were not going on with Him. At a point they said that they were not going on with Him any further. They loved their own lives more than the Lord. But the others said that it did not matter if they lost their lives; they would go on with Him.

It does matter whether we are going on with the Lord. Such a day may be very near for us, when it may be much more costly to belong to the Lord than it is now. That is exactly how it was when the apostle wrote this letter. These Christians to whom he wrote were suffering because they belonged to the Lord. The reproach of Christ was coming upon them. 

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Let Us Press On Unto Full Growth # 1

Let Us Press On Unto Full Growth # 1

Hebrews 6:1

I have divided these words into two parts: The first is: "Let us press on", and the second part: "to full growth." That means that we are not just to go on being Christians. I am not speaking to you about just continuing to be Christians in the sense that you just do not give up being a Christian and go back. That may be very important, but is not what this passage in Hebrews is talking about.

We may just go on being Christians, or Christian workers, or being missionaries, but that is not what is meant here. My boyhood home was in Scotland and out of my window I could see some mountains. When I was quite a little boy, I looked out of the window and saw those mountains. I was up there two weeks ago and am an old man now. I looked and saw those same mountains and they had not moved or grown or changed shape. There was no difference between them then or now. That is like some Christians. They have been Christians for many years, but they are just the same now as at the beginning. Yes, they are still Christians, but they have neither moved nor grown in all the years. That is all right for mountains, but there must be something very wrong when Christians are like that.

So our passage says this: "Let us go on..." not just being Christians, but "unto full growth" - that is, unto the purpose for which we are Christians. For when the Lord brought us to Himself that was not the end of everything, but only a beginning. It is a wonderful thing to be a Christian. God had to put forth very great power to make us Christians. But there is still a more wonderful thing for us in being Christians.

You must first see where this letter to the Hebrews fits in. It was written to Christians, but where were these Christians to which this letter was written? They were in the position that the children of Israel were in when they were brought out of Egypt. Do you remember what a great miracle it was to get the Israelites out of Egypt? Read the story of it again. It is the story of the exceeding great power of God. For ten times everything sought to stand in God's way. God did one great thing, but Pharaoh would not let them go. Then God did a second, but still Pharaoh would not let them go. And so nine times God did great things and when you get to the ninth, you say surely he would let them go this time, but Pharaoh said "No!" What a tremendous resistance to God's will this was. And then God did it a tenth time and that time He broke Pharaoh's will. He broke the power of Egypt and later had to drown the whole Egyptian army in the Red Sea. All this was necessary to get His people out of Egypt. What great power that was!

Well, I was saved with an exceeding great power; and God has exercised His exceeding great power in saving each one of us. He has broken the whole power of satan to save us. It is a wonderful thing to belong to the Lord. And yet when all that had happened in the case of Israel, all but two of the whole nation died in the wilderness. That is not what God had brought them out for. God had worked by His mighty power for something more than having people saved. God's purpose was that they should go in and inherit the land. When they were out of Egypt they were in figure and in type "In Christ". But God's thought for them was entry to the land - a type of the fullness of Christ. They did not come into the fullness of Christ because they did not go on. They were in type Christians; they were saved people. But God had a great purpose in saving them. And that is what this letter to the Hebrews is all about. It is not only about people being saved. I would say to everybody here today who is not saved that you are missing the most wonderful thing that God has done for man. For it is a very great thing. But when we have said all we can say of that, there is this message to those who are saved. There is something much greater for you than you at first imagine in your salvation and it is what God has called you unto. When God's Word says: "Let us go on to full growth...", then there must be something very much more in God's will for us. If He says "full growth", then full growth is His will for us.

Now, if you take up your Bible, you will find that that is what the Bible is all about. You begin the Bible with the story of Adam. Although Adam was a wonderful creature when he was created, he was not perfect, but was capable of development. He could become a very much greater man than he was. So God put him to a test. Would he believe and obey God? Everything depended on that. And because he did not believe and obey God, he never came to be the man God intended him to be. Do you want to know what kind of a man God intended Adam to be? Well, we have two pictures of that man. The first is on the mount of Transfiguration with the Lord Jesus. Jesus is called by Paul the "Second Man". The Last Adam, Paul says, took the form of a servant. And He called Himself the Son of man. Now look at Him on the mount of Transfiguration. This is the Son of Man glorified, the Last Adam as God intended the first Adam to be.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Bible Truths Illustrated # 3

Bible Truths Illustrated # 3

Through one sin, angels left their proper habitation (Jude 6).

Through one sin, man was banished from paradise - and the eternal curse and its punishment rested upon him and his descendants.

Sin is a clenched fist - and a blow in the face of God! Sin is the only thing which God abhors! All sins, great or small, are objects of intense aversion to God.

Nothing speaks louder concerning God's hatred of sin - than Calvary! Surely, he who asserts that sin is a trivial thing, a mere ripple on the ocean of God's love - has never looked upon the Cross! In view of what it cost Jesus to atone for it - sin is heinous, hellish, and damnable! It required nothing less than the suffering and death of the Son of God on the Cross!

Suppose a man should come to the dinner table and it should be told to him: "This is the knife that cut the throat of your child!" If he could now use that knife as any other knife, would not we say, "Surely there was but little love to the child!"

Oh, with what detestation would a man fling away such a knife!

In the same way, when there is temptation to any sin - this is the knife...
which was the cause of Christ's sufferings,
which cut the throat of Christ,
which pierced His side,
which mad Christ to be a curse!

Now, will you not look on that as a cursed thing - which made Christ to be a curse? With what detestation should a Christian renounce sin - for that, and that alone, was the cause of the death of Christ!
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Conformity to the world has in all ages proved the ruin of the church! It is utterly impossible to live in nearness to God - and in friendship with the world.
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You call Me Master - and obey Me not,
You call Me light - and see Me not,
You call Me the way - and follow Me not,
You call Me Life - and desire Me not,
You call Me wise - and acknowledge me not,
You call Me fair - and love Me not,
You call Me rich - and ask Me not,
You call Me eternal - and seek Me not,
You call Me gracious - and trust Me not,
You call Me noble - and serve Me not,
You call Me mighty - and honor Me not,
You call Me just - and fear Me not,
If I condemn you - blame Me not.
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Not a single sigh for past sins, escapes His ears;
not a groan of the heart, but is heard by Him;
not a tear falls to the ground, but He puts it into His bottle.

Not a breathing of the soul after His holiness;
not a loathing of our own unholiness;
not an act of self-abasement, or humbling ourselves for sin;
not a yearning of the soul for a purity which it has not,
not an act of mercy, done in hopes that we may obtain mercy;
not an act of self-denial,in token of our displeasure
and self-condemnation at our offences - but we shall find there.

Every fragment of our poor sorrow and service - we shall find there gathered and stored up, nothing lost.
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Some look upon the Bible as a garden of spices, in which you may walk, and at your leisure pluck the flowers and gather the fruits of the Eden of God.

Most truly is it a mine, in which you must dig and labor - the wealth of which is not to be obtained without labor. The Bible is a mine rich in gold and precious things, but it must be wrought day and night in order to produce them.

~J. C. Pittman~

(The End)