ASSURED OF HEAVEN
“It is not one or two good actions, but a consistent conduct, that tells whether a man is a true Christian….A Christian may stumble, he may even fall, but he gets up and walks on in the way of God’s commandments; the bent of his heart is right, and the scope of his life is straight, and thus he is considered sincere” George Swinnock (ref#225, Dec 11th).
A characteristic of a Christian is: “A man who is born again does not use the world’s opinion as his standard of right and wrong. He does not mind going against the world’s ways, ideas, and customs. What men think or say no longer concerns him….He finds no pleasure in things which seem to bring happiness to most people…He fears offending God more than offending man” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).
“I start…from the standpoint that I have been made a child of God by the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am destined for heaven; I have an assurance that I have been called to go there and that God is going to take me there, and it is because I know this that I am preparing now. I must never regard that as contingent and uncertain in order that I may make it certain. It is exactly the other way round: it is because I know I am going to meet God that I must prepare to meet Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p41-42, underlining mine).
FATHER, I am “…spiritually and vitally united to Christ…” Charles Ross (ref#241, p120) therefore I behave like Him. I don’t try to act like Him. I am like Him. In my walk with CHRIST I no more strive to be like Him. That no longer concerns me; CHRIST has taken care of that. Instead my walk is to prepare to meet Him in heaven.
A characteristic of a Christian is: “A man who is born again is careful of his own soul. He tries not only to avoid sin but also to avoid everything which may lead to it. He is careful about the company he keeps. He knows that evil communications corrupt the heart, and that evil is more catching than good…He is careful about the use of his time; his chief desire is to spend it profitable” J.C. Ryle (ref#222). And to spend it profitable is preparing to meet Him in heaven!
“The highest principle with the hypocrite is fear of punishment, and hope of reward (Hos 10:11), their highest end is themselves (Hos 10:1)” Thomas Boston (ref#267).
“To ‘live after the flesh’ is to be in love with sin, to serve it contentedly, to make self-gratification the trade and business of life. It is by no means limited to the grosser forms of wickedness and crime, but includes as well the refinement, morality, and religiousness of the best of men, who yet give God no real place in their hearts and lives” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p111).
“You know the way of salvation. You read it in the Bible, you hear it from the pulpit, and it is explained to you by friends; yet you neglect it and therefore, are not saved….Times of refreshing have come from the divine presence, yet you are without Christ….Affliction and prosperity have both failed to impress you. Tears and prayers and sermons have been wasted on your barren heart” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Dec 31st AM).
“Are you ignorant of the Holy Spirit – unacquainted with his life-giving power?…You are still of the world, and what you need is to have your false peace disturbed, and to be converted to God” Charles Ross (ref#241, p93).
A characteristic of a Christian: “A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).
“What brought deliverance to that poor condemned sinner…in his unconverted state? He felt he could do nothing good of himself….He saw set before him the almighty Saviour and he cast himself into His arms; he trusted himself to that omnipotent love and cried, ‘Lord, have mercy upon me.’ That was salvation” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p22-23).
CARNAL – NOT YET FULL OF THE SPIRIT
“There is a notion today that people can walk up an aisle, pray a little prayer, and do God a favor by making their decision…” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p17). “It will not do to say merely, Christ died but now lives, and therefore I shall live also. There must be a vital union between our souls and him by faith or we must assuredly perish” Charles Ross (ref#241, p103).
“Because of the lack of clear and spiritual views of the freeness of the atonement—the perfectly unconditional bestowment of the blessings of pardon and justification—many are kept, even among those “called to be saints,” from entering fully into the liberty and peace of the gospel. They have been convinced of their need of Christ; they have been made to hunger and thirst for pardon and acceptance; they may have been brought through a deep law work of the soul to stand as on the very borders of the land that flows with milk and honey; but looking more to themselves, and less to Christ,…waiting for some condition to be performed, some fitness to be experienced, or some price to bring, they are kept back from those rich and untold blessings which a closing in with Jesus the Savior of sinners would assuredly bring into their possession” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 18th).
“…if…we desire to enjoy…the Spirit’s power and blessing, we must give Christ the throne of our hearts and crown Him the Lord of our lives” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p45).
“The…mark of the carnal state is a man’s inability to receive spiritual truths….We give…men spiritual teaching, and they admire it, and understand it, and rejoice in such ministry; yet their lives are not practically affected….we dare not say they are spiritual men, full of the Holy Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).
“Therefore, I say that I must never attempt by any means or method to get to know God or to try to make myself love God except in and through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I must avoid every other direct approach to God…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 26th).
Satisfied Christians are “static Christians.” “…there is a carnal root ruling…they are living more after the flesh than after the Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p16).
FATHER, being satisfied is such a dangerous position. Instead of being spiritually united to CHRIST some are outwardly attached to Him, possibly only by a one-time profession of His name and a halfhearted attempt to adhere to His cause (ref#241, p120). I pray for anyone who sees himself in the following words:
“We’re satisfied with a little bit of biblical literacy. We’re satisfied with occasional moments of ministry. We’re satisfied with manageable debt that allows us to put a few coins in the plate. We’re satisfied that we’ve been married for a while and it doesn’t look as if we’ll break up soon. We’re satisfied with a bit of a grasp on the theology of Scripture. We’re satisfied with faithful attendance at the weekend services of our churches. We’re satisfied with quick morning devotions. We’re satisfied with a little ministry experience. We’re satisfied that we don’t act out most of our lust and we don’t communicate most of our envy. We’re satisfied that in our disappointment with God, we don’t walk away. We’re satisfied that we can harness a good bit of our fear of man. We’re satisfied to use most of our material resources to make and keep ourselves comfortable. We’re satisfied to be mere consumers of the work of the church rather than committed participants in it. We’re satisfied with hearts that occasionally wander and with thoughts that contradict what the Bible says is good and true. We’re satisfied with the amount of conflict we have in our lives. We’re satisfied” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 25th).
FATHER, we are creatures that long to be satisfied. I think of the tract I have that reads on the front: “How to go to hell.” On the inside it is blank. If it were up to us we would tread the Christian waters until our strength failed and we would sink into hell. But, praise be to You, FATHER for You make a way for us to swim and not drown.
“…we serve a dissatisfied Redeemer. He knows we still need the transforming work of his powerful grace. Isn’t it wonderful that, in gracious dissatisfaction, he will not relent until every microbe of sin is removed from every cell of every one of the hearts of his children” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 25th)?
PRAYERS IN JESUS’ NAME II
“To pray in the name of Christ is to pray as one who is at one with Christ, whose mind is the mind of Christ, whose desires are the desires of Christ, and whose purpose is one with that of Christ” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p54).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:12-13 ESV).
“…so intimate the communion effected by him between heaven and earth, that, while his disciples pray on earth in his name, he in heaven will act for them…” Charles Ross (ref#241, p88).
“…The works that I do…refers to those miracles like their Lord’s…” Charles Ross (ref#241, p85). “…the conversion of sinners to God is a greater work…than mere bodily cures” Charles Ross (ref#241, p86).
“…the comparison is drawn between the limited sphere…of Christ’s work upon earth, and the…work by His servants’ witnessing work.…the…Christian who can go to a brother’s soul, and by word or life can draw that soul to …Christ…does a mightier thing than it was possible for the Master” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:13]).
“Praying in the name of Jesus is…declared to be the disciples’ part in these greater works” Charles Ross (ref#241, p86). “Making their requests known to the Father in the name of the Son was the means God had ordained of supplying their needs in His service” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p61). “’in My name’…means praying and working as Christ’s representatives in the same spirit in which Christ prayed and worked” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:13]).
“Prayers offered in the name of Christ are scrutinized and sanctified by His nature, His purpose, and His will. They are endorsed by Him” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p55).
PRAYERS IN JESUS’ NAME I
“It is in prayer that we hold up our desire to the light of God’s Holy Will, that our motives are tested, and proof given whether we ask indeed in the name of Jesus, and only for the glory of God” Andrew Murray (ref#19).
“…all our prayers to God ought only to be presented in the name of Christ, as there is no other name which can recommend them” John Calvin (ref#113, p593).
“Christ’s name is the revelation of Christ’s character, and to do a thing in the name of another person is to do it as His representative, and as realising that in some deep and real sense-for the present purpose at all events-we are one with Him” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:12-14]).
“Prayer reaches its highest level when offered in the name which is above every name, for it lifts the petitioner into unity and identify with our Mediator Himself” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p53).
“…whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it….Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do” (John 14:11-14 MSG). “…if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon…” (John 15:5-8 MSG).
“…to ask in the name of Jesus, is to ask as being one with him; it is to renounce all merit of your own; it is to ask as one depending entirely on his divine resources” Charles Ross (ref#241, p87). “We might…close our prayers with the words, ‘I ask these things because I believe that Jesus would request them in this situation’” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p62). “Effective prayer must ask for and desire what Jesus delights in” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2053, [John 14:13]).
“Prayer in the name of Christ is hard to offer….it excludes all self-will and selfishness…the end of the Son’s working is the glory of the Father, that same end, and not our own ease or comfort, must be the end and object of all prayer which is offered in His name….Prayers for other ends than this are excluded; not that it is said that they will not be granted, but there is no promise that they will” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:13]).
THE JOURNEY TOWARD HEAVEN
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2 ESV).
“…there is not only an outward preparation of the place for the people, but also an inward preparation of the people for the place. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people….Jesus is…preparing the place for the people…at the same time prepares the people for the place” Charles Ross (ref#241, p71).
“This life ought so to be spent by us as to be only a journey toward heaven. We ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72). “We ought to make use of worldly enjoyments and worldly business as shall best forward our journey heavenward, and no otherwise” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p73). “We ought to seek heaven by traveling in the way that leads there. The way is the way of holiness” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).
“God rests in the unchangeableness of His love towards His saints. Nothing can move Him from it…He foresaw and foreknew all that was in them….In this day of easy and abounding nominal Christianity; this day when human authority is exalted above the Word of God; this day of error, rebuke, and blasphemy; this day of rapid and excited action; this last solemn dispensation of the world, the events of which are rapidly ushering in the coming of the Son of Man; let us, under the influence of more simple faith, more fervent love, and brightening hope, “ go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach (Heb 13:13). Let us rest from our conflict and toil where the Father rests, where the sinner rests, where we may rest—in Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 23rd).
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil 3:14 NLT).
“…Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!…” (1 Pet 1:3-5 MSG).
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV).
“…it is not said merely this is the way to eternal life, but this is life eternal itself – ‘to know thee.’ Eternal life then, is not mere conscious and unending existence, but it is ‘to know thee.’…that living, personal, and experimental knowledge – that knowledge, which includes oneness in will with God, and partaking of his nature; it is the knowledge, love, and enjoyment of him” Charles Ross (ref#241, p206).
FATHER, how easily I skip over a relationship with You as satan constantly puts in my head the importance of working for You. Work now and rest in heaven is such a logical thought to me.
But, in fellowship with You I feel its solid, unchangeableness —its eternalness. “Eternal life really means that we are sharers of the life of God and are in communion with Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 28th).
This is just another reminder to put relationship with GOD at the top of my priority list and not evangelism or Christian service or any activity that I can accomplish on my own. FATHER, alert me when I fall into glorifying myself with Christian things and guide me to Your presence where I see and glorify You.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33 ESV).
“…the Kingdom of God!…How shall we make it more than a phrase? We cannot look at the words without turning to Him Who spoke them. We Christians, to find our knowledge of the Kingdom of God, must look to Christ our King” James Nisbet (ref#296).
“Everything Jesus revealed about the Kingdom, He was actually revealing about God Himself” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).
“Jesus Christ made God known. In every action, every word spoken, He displayed the character of the Father. For Christ to say that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, was not just to say that God was near, but to say that His heart—the King’s heart—was being offered. Think about this…it was the very hand of God that extended the Kingdom of God. That extension was not one of conquest or subjugation, but one of invitation. God, through Jesus Christ, offered us His heart” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).
FATHER, when I think of a King, I think of power yet JESUS did not depict You wielding power.
“God is holy and just, as well as almighty—since God is love—the true revelation of him could not be a mere outward sign; it must be a living Person, manifesting in words and deeds the very character of God” Charles Ross (ref#241, p81).
“…the purpose of seeking the Kingdom is not to find it, but to find myself in it….The search for God has never been a distance issue, or even an understanding issue. It has always been a surrender issue….to seek first the Kingdom is not to seek for it, but more appropriately it is to search out what has already been laid open to us. It is to search out the heart of God….we discover His heart, and we discover who we are in Him” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).
THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE CHURCH
“It is for the church to explore the resources of the Spirit; the resources of the world are futile” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p19).
“…the Church of God has two Paracletes, or Advocates – one in heaven with the Father, Christ, and the other on earth, in the heart of the believer, even the Holy Spirit” Charles Ross (ref#241, p90).
“The Father gave Him [CHRIST] the gift, and He passes it on to us;…The gift of the Holy Ghost to the Church is also, then, the absolute proof of the sufficiency of the work of Christ and of its acceptance with God….’I accept your work, it is sufficient; You have died for the redeemed, they are Your people. So I will give you My Spirit to give to them, and then they will know that they are Your people and My people…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p138).
“ He [the SPIRIT] has come to reign over each and all. Jesus Christ had defined His mission and outlined His program. He was to unify them into one Body, guide them into all truth, and strengthen them for all service. In the Church He is the supreme executive, but He has His seat in the soul. He directs all things from the spiritual center of the inner life” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p44). “His objective is to produce holiness…But His ultimate work is to make us a holy people…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 2nd).
FATHER, I know that the HOLY SPIRIT will create in all of us who CHRIST claims as His bride, holiness and purity. Your perfect will is to bring us a life of prayer and brokenness before Your throne. I hunger to be secluded with You in the secret closet waiting for You to bring Your remnant church into one mind—living only for You. David Wilkerson (ref#138, p165).