TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

DOUBLE MINDED CHRISTIANS

“It is not enough to yield assent to the divine word unless that is accompanied with true and pure affection, so that our hearts are not double or divided” John Calvin (ref#164, March 2nd).

Double minded Christians are “babes.”  They have the right actions but are only actors.  They are yet fleshly but preform spiritually.  They are “…people of the flesh…infants in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1 ESV).

“…you can’t have it both ways, banqueting with the Master one day and slumming with demons the next.  Besides, the Master won’t put up with it.  He wants us—all or nothing.  Do you think you can get off with anything less” (1 Cor 10:19-22 MSG).

“…they flattered him [the Most High God] with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues.  Their heart was not steadfast toward him…” (Ps 78:36-37 ESV).  “…they were carnal, and not qualified to understand the deep mysteries of the gospel…” Albert Barnes (ref#299).

“Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh…” (Ps 78:38-39 ESV).

“…when we come to Jesus, a marvelous exchange takes place….He first lifts our burden and then lays his upon us instead.  But too many people, influenced by the ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ mentality of postmodernism, want the rest without the yoke; they want to lose their burden but not to gain Christ’s.  Yet the two invitations of Jesus [Matt 11:29-30] belong together; we have no liberty to pick and choose between them” John Stott (ref#258, p128, brackets mine).

“It is possible for us to do the right action from a wrong motive…Holiness has to do with more than mere acts.  Our motives must be holy, that is, arising from a desire to do something simply because it is the will of God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p43).

“’Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit….For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:33-34 ESV).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST AND NOT IN SELF

“They that are convinced of their own sin and misery do commonly first think to tame the flesh…to make their corrupt nature to be better-natured and inclined to holiness by their struggling and wrestling with it…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

“…they endeavor to reform their old state, and to be made perfect in the flesh, instead of putting it off and walking according to the new state in Christ….they trust to Christ to help them in this carnal way; whereas true faith would teach them that they are nothing, and that they do not labour in vain” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

The Apostle Paul accuses the Galatian church of this very thing: “O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?…Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh” (Gal 3:1,3 ESV)?

FATHER, for many years now You have impressed upon me that “The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no supernatural power” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p89).

“The answer is in the demonstration of a supernatural religion, and the only way to a supernatural religion is in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God” Samuel Chadwick (ref#161, p190).

You have thoroughly convinced me that my own efforts to be righteous does not stand out in supernatural righteousness at all.  My efforts leave me only prideful, with short-lived joy.  No wonder You call my acts filthy rags (Isa 64:6).  “…self must fail…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p58).

“The…greatest enemy in the abiding life, is SELF….it refuses to give up its will…by its working, it hinders God’s work.  Unless this life of self, with its willing and working, be displaced by the life of Christ, with His willing and working, to abide in Him will be impossible….Are you ready…to give up self entirely to its death of the cross, to be kept there until it be wholly destroyed?…Am I prepared to say that the old self shall no longer have a word to say; that it shall not be allowed to have a single thought, however natural—not a single feeling, however gratifying—not a single wish or work, however right” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p187)?

FATHER, I desire to “live in Your acts of kindness and enjoy Your smiles” Barnes Notes (ref#16, [Ps 89:15]).

PRAYER

MY PRAYER 

FATHER, You are the Vine Dresser, and Your Son is the True Vine.  “He Himself lives in us. Because He prays, we pray too….His meditation on the throne is as indispensable as on the cross.  It engages all His time and powers; it is now His unceasing occupation at Your right hand” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TWENTY-SIXTH LESSON).

CHRIST has made me one of His branches that I may bear fruit (John 15:5).  I can ask whatever I wish and He will do it for me if I abide in Him (John 15:7).  So FATHER, I will form my prayers to You.

Through the cleanness of my hands You will deliver even the one who is not innocent (Job 22:30)! My hands stretched out in supplication can save the wicked.  “It is one of the innumerable blessings of being a child of God thus to be permitted to be the means of…saving sinners from ruin. All the friends of God…should plead without ceasing for the salvation of guilty and dying people” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Job 22:30]).

Francis Chan, realizing the lost-ness of a group of his friends, prayed in anguish: “God, you can’t let these people go to hell.  I love them, Lord.  I love them. Do something please.  I know I can’t do anything for them ultimately.  But you say that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective, and so I want all the sin out of my life.  I want to be as righteous as I can.  I want you to hear me and save these people” John Piper (ref#122, p106).

FATHER, in the Gospel sense I am righteous; I do not love or approve of any iniquity (Ps 66:18).  I purpose to put great thought into my prayers making them energetic, earnest (ref#16, [James 5:16]) and fervent, pouring out of my heart, finding their foundation in faith (ref#18 [James 5:12-20]).  Then they will have great power, being assisted by the HOLY SPIRIT.  Being allowed to pray is the greatest reason to be righteous.

My GOD, I have no power to control You; I cannot dictate or prescribe to You; I cannot resist Your purposes, but I can ask what I desire and expect a blessing from You; You will show me favor (ref#16, [James 5:16]).

FATHER, considering the fate of my loved ones, it is necessary to pray consistently and never quit.  I desire to not to faint or lose heart in prayer (Luke 18:1).

PRAYER

UNABLE TO PRAY ARIGHT 

“…so depraved is the saint that in the hour of need he is incapable of asking God aright to minister unto him.  Sin has so corrupted his heart and darkened his understanding that, left to himself, he cannot even discern what he should ask God for….In nothing do the saints more need the Spirit’s presence and His gracious assistance than in their addresses of the Throne of Grace” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p145).

LORD, send “the [Holy] Spirit…in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication…” (Rom 8:26 AMPC).

“…because we are so blinded by self-love…we are unable to discern what will be most for God’s glory, what will best promote the good of our brethren…and what will advance our own spiritual growth” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146-147).

“We are poor, and needy, and ignorant, and blind…But in the midst of our feebleness we may look to God for the aid of his Spirit, and rejoice in his presence, and in his power to sustain us in our sighings, and to guide us in our wanderings” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Rom 8:27]).

“…the Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints, not by supplication to God on their behalf, but by directing and qualifying their supplications in a proper manner, by his agency and influence upon their hearts…” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Rom 8:27]).

“He [the SPIRIT] instructs and inspires all true prayer.  There is no truer word than that ‘we know not what we should pray for as we ought.’  There is no realm in which we so soon come to the end of what we know as in that of prayer.  Our petitions urge wants that are immediate, obvious, and urgent.  We cannot see deep enough or far enough to know what is our real need.  Most people would like good health, home comfort, congenial conditions, happy friendships, a little more money, and better success…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p60, brackets mine).

PRAYER

THE SPIRIT HELPS

“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness…” (Rom 8:26 ESV).

“[Maketh intercession]…it simply means that the Holy Spirit greatly assists or aids us: not by praying for us, but in our prayers and infirmities. [With groanings]… [Which cannot be uttered]…This does not mean that the Spirit produces these groanings; but that in these deep-felt emotions, when the soul is oppressed and overwhelmed, he lends us his assistance and sustains us…’The Spirit greatly aids or supports us in those deep emotions, those intense feelings, those inward sighs which cannot be expressed in language, but which he enables us to bear, and which are understood by Him that searcheth the hearts’” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Rom 8:26]).

“’The Spirit…helpeth our infirmities.’…the least that we can do is to seek His aid, to definitely ask Him to undertake for us” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146).

“We must not sit still, and expect that the Spirit should do all; when the Spirit goes before us we must bestir ourselves.  We cannot without God, and he will not without us” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Rom 8:26-28]).

“He who prays, receives help from the Spirit of God; but he who prays not receives no such help.  Whatever our strength may be, we must put it forth, even while more implicitly depending on the strength of God himself” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Rom 8:26]).

2ND COVENANT

THE SECOND COVENANT

“Fallen man was to be raised, lost man was to be recovered, sin was to be pardoned, the sinner was to be saved, and God was to be eternally glorified.  Now the treasures of wisdom, hid in Christ for ages, were brought out…It brings to Him the richest glory and secures for its subjects the rich bequest of grace and eternal happiness, inconceivably great” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 2nd).

“The law in its morality was blameless…but in saving us is was defective…” Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown (ref#284).  “If the first covenant had made a provision for and actually conferred pardon and purity, and given a title to eternal life, then there could have been no need for a second; but the first covenant did not give these things, therefore a second was necessary…” Adam Clarke (ref#285).

“God…foretold the abrogation of the old covenant and had from the first intended to abolish it….true and total forgiveness was likewise a foreordained purpose of the new institution….consequences of sin are threefold: debt which required forgiveness, bondage which requires redemption, and alienation which requires reconciliation.” All of these, forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation are found in Jesus Christ” James Coffman (ref#286).

“The greatest change will be in regard to the administrator of the covenant.  No longer will this one be a Moses, a David, a high priest, or a great prophet like Isaiah.  Jesus Christ who had been typified by these Old Testament mediators, will be the Mediator of the covenant.  He will inaugurate, fulfill, and permanently establish the renewed covenant” Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (ref#287). “…the obedience rendered will not be external.  The law of the new system will have living power, and bind the faculties of the soul to obedience” Albert Barnes (ref#288).

“…We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ….Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah…” (Gal 2:15-16 MSG).

“We can’t get too much of God…But religion—the well-intended efforts…can very well get in the way of what God is doing for us.  The main and central action is everywhere and always what God has done, is doing, and will do for us.  Jesus is the revelation of that action.  Our main and central task is to live in responsive obedience to God’s action revealed in Jesus.  Our part in the action is the act of faith” MSG Bible (ref#262, p538, “Introduction to Hebrews”).

1ST COVENANT

OLD COVENANT LAW

“The LORD was pleased for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious” (Isa 42:21 ESV).

“To understand the Old Covenant aright we must ever remember its two great characteristics — the one, that it was of Divine appointment, fraught with much true blessing, and absolutely indispensable for the working out of God’s purposes; the other, that it was only provisional and preparatory to something higher, and therefore absolutely insufficient for giving that full salvation which man needs if his heart or the heart of God is to be satisfied” Andrew Murray (ref#279).

“The dispensation of the old covenant was one of distance….When He [GOD] manifested Himself on Mount Sinai to His own chosen…one of the first commands He gave was, ‘Set bounds about the mount’ (Exod 19:23)….It was as if the Lord…wanted to teach man that sin was…utterly loathsome to Him…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 15th PM, brackets mine).

“A…use of the Law is to curb sinners….not only the reprobate, but also of the elect, previous to regeneration” John Calvin (ref#113, p218).

“God’s end in giving us the law was, that we might be fitted for Christ, and obtain justification by believing in him” Matthew Poole (ref#282).  “People see that they are condemned; they are convinced by the Law that they cannot save themselves…Hence, the importance of preaching the Law still;…it is needful that people should be made to feel that they are sinners, in order that they may be prepared to embrace the offers of mercy” Albert Barnes (ref#280).