CHRIST

PRE-EMINENCE OF CHRIST

JESUS was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times (1 Pet 1:20).  “The story of Jesus doesn’t begin with Jesus.  God had been at work for a long time.  Salvation, which is the main business of Jesus, is an old business. Jesus is the coming together in final form of themes and energies and movements that had been set in motion before the foundation of the world” MSG Intro to Matthew (ref#262, p9).

“…from the beginning I [CHRIST] have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit”(Isa 48:16 ESV, brackets mine).

“…everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled…’Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…” (Luke 24:44,46-47 ESV).

“God has given to Him all power and all authority.  As the Son of Man, He is now Head over all things to His church, and He reigns over heaven, earth, and hell with the keys of life and death” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 27thPM).

“As we are ordained to salvation, so Christ is ordained to be the head of all that shall be saved.  He was chosen eternally, and chosen in time.  He was singled out to the work by God; and all others that are chosen are chosen in Him.  There has been no choosing of men but in Him; for God saw us so defiled, lying in our filth, that He could not look upon us but in His Son.  He chose Him, and us in Him” Richard Sibbes (ref#225, April 25th).

“…we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also completed in Jesus.  Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers.  Nothing could be further from the truth” MSG Intro to Matthew (ref#262, p9).

FATHER, grant me a fuller understanding of You.  In awe I wish to contemplate Your efforts to bring me to salvation through CHRIST and to honor CHRIST properly as my Priest, Savior, and King.

GOD

MY FATHER

My precious FATHER…”my precious”—that sounds like I own Him.  But I do.  He is my FATHER and my FATHER is love—.  My precious LOVE who completely gives Himself—all of Himself, to His lover—me. Me!

“You could do nothing more important than to wake up every morning of your life and remind yourself that the One who created and controls everything that exists has been made, by grace, to be your Father.  He thinks of you with pure and faithful fatherly love.  He acts toward you with the giving, providing, instructing, patient, and forgiving love of a perfect father.  He is always with you.  His hand is always upon you.  He never stops watching you.  His heart is always for you.  He is always at work accomplishing his plans for you and through you.  He lifts your burdens and lightens your load.  He is your God, your Savior, your Friend—your Father. Nothing can ever be the same again because you now live in the Father’s house, where glorious grace decorates every room” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, May 4th).

“It may well be, in fact, that human beings in aggregate and through the centuries have given more attention and concern to divinity than to all their other concerns put together—…But that God is here right now, and on our side, actively seeking to help us in the way we must need help—this qualifies as news….” The MESSAGE (ref#262, p87, [Introduction to Mark]).

“Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation.  He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, ‘Lord, do as You have said.’…It is His delight to bestow favors” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 14thAM).

“…He doesn’t abandon me.  He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him” (John 8:27-29 MSG).

ASSURANCES

REQUIREMENTS FOR SALVATION

“May God give us grace that we may not make a mistake in learning…of godliness…We should learn early the difference between grace and merit, between the purpose of God and the will of man, between trust in God and confidence in the flesh” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p78).

“The gospel does not command us to do anything in order to obtain life, but bids us live by that which another has done; and the knowledge of its life-giving truth is not labour but rest—rest of soul—rest which is the root of all true labour; for in receiving Christ we do not work, in order to rest, but we rest in order to work.  In believing, we cease to work for pardon, in order that we may work from it…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p25).

“…commands…will no longer come to you as a law standing outside and against you, but as the living power which has transformed your will into perfect harmony with all your Lord requires” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p157).

To become a Christian it takes nothing but complete submission—letting GOD take over our life.  It is doing nothing—throwing away all our good works, or bad works—throwing away all our “doing.” We must resign ourselves to letting GOD do what He wants with us.  Remain contrite before Him and He will instantly change us into new people who will do all that He wishes we do.  The moment His commands become the slightest burdensome it is because we have put ourselves back in rule of ourselves and ceased to submit completely to Him.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us…” (1 John 4:10 ESV).

“The gospel is the proclamation of free love; the revelation of the boundless charity of God.  Nothing less than this will suit our world; nothing else is so likely to touch the heart, to go down to the lowest depths of depraved humanity, as the assurance that the sinner has been loved…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p36-37).

“…we are in the Lord vitally and certainly when we come to the Lord Jesus by repentance and faith and make Him our refuge and hiding place” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p79).

“If you now feel your need of a Savior, that is the beginning of the new nature” Charles Spurgeon (ref#320, p32).

“The plan of salvation is simple.  Trust Christ, and you are saved. Rely upon Him, and you will live.  This faith is the gift of God, but remember…God does not believe for you; the Holy Spirit does not believe for you; you must believe, or else you will be lost” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p39).

ASSURANCES

CHECK YOURSELF AGAIN

 “To have grace, and to be sure we have grace…is heaven on this side of heaven.” Thomas Brooks

“Is your belief genuine?…You may be self-proclaimed among His people here on the earth, but you may have to taste of death when the Lord comes.  You may deceive them, but you cannot deceive Him” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p34).

“Do not be too bold or too quick, you who say you are Christ’s.  Never be satisfied until you are absolutely sure.  The best way to be sure is to go again, just as you went at first, and seize eternal life through the power of the blessed Spirit and not by any strength of your own…Get alone with Jesus and…tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death….” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p34-35).

“The divine order…is first pardon, then holiness; first peace with God, and then conformity to the image of …God….For…likeness to God is produced by beholding His glory (2 Cor 3:18), and as we cannot look upon Him till we know that He has ceased to condemn us, and as we cannot trust Him till we know that He is gracious; so we cannot be transformed into His image till we have received pardon at His hands.  Reconciliation is indispensable to resemblance; personal friendship must begin a holy life….first peace, then holiness—peace is the foundation of holiness…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p32).

“The evidence that believers are in Christ is that the power of sin has been broken in their lives by the work of the Holy Spirit” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2170, [Rom 8:2]).  “The proof that your old man is crucified with Christ is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 23rd).

“Commit yourself totally into His hands, so that you may be as sure of your salvation as of your existence” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p95).

 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Rom 8:16 ESV).

ASSURANCES

FALSE HOPE OF SALVATION

“…let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12 ESV).

“It is better to have no repentance than a repentance that needs to be repented of.  It is better to have no faith than a false faith.  It is better to make no profession of belief than to make an untruthful one” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p77-78).

“I fear there are some who secretly think, ‘Everything is now complete.  I have experienced the necessary change; I have been to see the elders and the pastor; I have been baptized and received into the church. Thus, everything with me is right forever.’  That is a false view of your condition” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p88).

“It is a very good thing for Christians to be in the church.  However, if you are in the church before you are ‘in the Lord,’ you are out of place.  It is a good thing to be engaged in holy work.  But, if you are doing holy work before you are ‘in the Lord,’ you will have no heart for it, and neither will the Lord accept it” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p78).

“…they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness” (Rom 10:2-3 ESV).

“…they failed to submit to God’s righteousness and instead attempted to be righteous before God on the basis of their own works” ESV Study Bible(ref#125, p2174, [Rom 10:3]).

“…zeal and sincerity does not lead them to salvation….many sincere, ‘religious’ people are wrong in their beliefs” ESV Study Bible(ref#125, p2174, [Rom 10:2]).

ASSURANCES

NO MORE FEAR OF GOD BEING AGAINST US

 …FATHER, Your “…work in our souls will be carried on until it ends in ultimate perfection and glory….’Whom he called, them he also justified; and whom’—you see the jump—‘he justified, them he also glorified.’  If He starts, He will finish; so if the life is in me, I can be certain of the glory” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 19th)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, I give them eternal life, and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 6:27-28 ESV).

“If you’re God’s child, you can rest assured today that both your standing before God and his rule on your behalf are sure and secure….His love will never fail, and his rule on your behalf is eternal” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, March 5th).

“…if any man…be one of those whose names are written in the book of life, his enemies may contend, but they shall never prevail against him.  He muststand whom the Lord ordains to hold; and if God determines his salvation, neither mortal nor infernal power shall prevail to destroy him.  On this account, we may boldly say with the apostle, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’” Charles Spurgeon (ref#238, p 45).

We can be assured of our godliness if, “…a loss and absence of the sense that God is against us…”is present (ref#189, Nov 28th).

“He is for us…with all the omnipotence of His love…with all His boundless wisdom…He is for us—eternally and immutably for us(ref#238, p48)! “…a loss of the fear of God, while a sense of awe remains…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 28th)—this is one of our assurances.

ASSURANCES

THE HIGHEST JOY

“The richest, the most celestial, the most transporting joy that mortal mind can know is a full assurance of the love of God” C.H. Spurgeon (ref#255, p27).

How can we be assured GOD loves us?  It will do us no good to assure ourselves that we love GOD.

“The picture of the Bible is not that people are ever seeking for God because they love Him. That is the popular theology—that men and women are seeking God and that God responds to their request.  Not at all (ref#255, p23)!  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us…”(1 John 4:10 ESV).

GOD convinces us that He loves us through His written Word and through His Word lived out in His Son: To us, the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us has been his sending his only Son into the world to give us life through him. We see real love, not in that fact that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to make personal atonement for our sins”(1 John 4:9-10 Phillips)

“The more thy glories strike my eyes

The humbler I shall lie;

Thus, while I sink, my joys shall rise

Unmeasurably high” Isaac Watts (ref#224, song, 475).

CONFESSION

THINKING OF JESUS, NOT MYSELF

The SPIRIT reminds me that I am nothing, and that CHRIST is all. How can I even pretend I might be something worthwhile. Even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in Your eyes, LORD, much less man who is a maggot and a worm (Job 25:4-6).

You, FATHER, put all things under the feet of CHRIST and give Him as head over all. You seated Him at Your right hand far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. He is above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. He fills all in all (Eph 1:20-23).

CHRIST is altogether superior yet my default thinking centers on myself that spurs constant judging. “I don’t have enough faith; I don’t repent enough; I’ll never be able to make it to the end.” And when I think about myself, the introspection spurs constant planning—“I need to pray more; I need to do more; I need to feel more.”

“…it is not your hold of Christ that saves you; it is Christ. It is not your joy in Christ that saves you; it is Christ. It is not even your faith in Christ, though that is the instrument, but it is Christ’s blood and His merits that save you; therefore, do not look as much to your hand, with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 28th AM).

FATHER, I want my thoughts to rest on CHRIST—“His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, and His intercession…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 28th AM). SPIRIT, satisfy the desire of my heart; let the action of my thoughts turning inward remind me to stop, refocus, and think on CHRIST.