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).

SCRIPTURE

THE BIBLE, GOD’S GIFT TO ME

“God’s Word has a claim…upon your attention because of its majesty and its condescension” Charles Spurgeon (ref#251, p47).

“Every word that God has given us in this Book claims our attention because of the infinite majesty of Him that spake it…God’s claim to be heard lies also in the condescension that has led Him to speak to us….Thou art so full of lovingkindness and tenderness that Thou wilt stoop out of heaven to converse with Thy sinful creatures” Charles Spurgeon (ref#251, p46-47).

FATHER, You did not speak Your Word to me just to increase my knowledge but that it move me to change my conduct. Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p187)

“…to make progress in all the good things that he gives us, we must have his Word so we may be built upon it and grow more and more through it.  To bring this about, we must be teachable.  From day to day , we must labor to seek help in the Word to strengthen our faith…” John Calvin (ref#164, Oct 12th).

“We don’t see ourselves with clarity, but we think we do, and we don’t know ourselves with accuracy, but we are convinced we do….” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 4th).  “…the mind was designed not to defend what we want, but to discover what is ultimately true….The purpose of the mind is not to rationalize subjective preferences, but to recognize objective reality and to help the heart revel in God” John Piper (ref#220, p261, underlining mine).  “Only when the Word of God is applied to a person’s life does he realize how deep and wide is his corruption” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 13th).

FATHER, I am reminded again what a great gift Your Word is as the SPIRIT convicts me of utilizing my mind all too often to “rationalize subjective preferences.”  How refreshing it is to follow “objective reality” reading Your Scriptures, instead.

“…we all need help.  It comes to us in the gift of God’s Word…” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 4th).

SCRIPTURE

NECESSITY OF SCRIPTURE

“..thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Ps 138:2 KJV).

“…let us become stronger in the Word that God has been pleased to communicate to us…so we might have much greater love for his holy Word and give ourselves wholly to it” John Calvin (ref#164, Dec 31st).

“…the works of creation…while they testify to ‘His power and Godhead’—thus leaving man inexcusable for his atheism—nowhere supply an answer to the momentous question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’…They tell of a fallen, but not of a restored humanity” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p33).

“We do not read anywhere that God delights in the cloud-capped mountains or the sparkling stars, but we do read that…His delights are ‘with the sons of men.’ (Prov 8:31)” Charles Surgeon (ref#34, Sept 21st AM).

FATHER, nature displays Your creative beauty and tells me there is a great and powerful GOD, but Your written words informs me of Your love for me personally.

“As a revelation of the love of God, His Word is inexpressibly precious.  We want to know more than the mind of God.  We are sinners, and we want to read His heart—His loving, gracious, sin-forgiving heart.  We want to know, not only what His thoughts and purposes are, but what His [thoughts] towards us are….And when we approach the subject yet closer…what a transcendent, marvelous unfolding of His love is presented in the gift of His beloved Son” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p36)!

“…There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus….” (2 Tim 3:14-17 MSG).

“Beloved, let this be the one and chief object in your study of the Bible: the knowledge of Jesus.  The Bible is not a history, a book of science, a poem—it is a record of Christ.  Study it to know more of Him, His nature, His love, His work” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).

“Of these Scriptures, He is the…substance, the sweetness, the glory—the one, precious, absorbing theme” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).  “Search the Scriptures, know the Scriptures, love the Scriptures, and live the Scriptures” John Calvin (ref#164, Dec 31st).

“Whatever you neglect, neglect not the Bible” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).

SCRIPTURE

INFLUENCE OF SCRIPTURE

“Our convictions and values will come from society around us (the world), or they will come as our minds are renewed by the Word of God.  There is no third option” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p167-168).

FATHER, like no other book Your words change my very nature.  Externally I conclude, by the actions of the HOLY SPIRIT, that the Bible is unique in that every book in it agrees with every other book in it.  I also grasp the internal evidence.  I feel in my reading that it is Your Word explicitly.  The HOLY SPIRIT too, brings this to me. (ref#189, Dec 14th)

“The human task of thinking about God on the basis of his Word is the place where God ‘grants understanding.’  It is a gift….(Prov 2:2-6)” John Piper (ref#220, p285).

“…the word of God…performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thes 2:13 NASB).

“Many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 19th PM).  “…the Holy Scriptures cannot be penetrated by study and talent is most certain.  Therefore our first duty is to begin to pray, and to pray to this effect that if it please God to accomplish something for His glory—not for yours or any other person’s—He very graciously grant you a true understanding of His words….You must, therefore, completely despair of your own…ability and rely solely on the inspiration of the Spirit” John Piper (ref#220, p291).

“The Word of God…is the weapon that God designs to use in penetrating the kingdom of darkness and gathering the children of light…His whole redemptive plan for the universe hangs on the success of his word…” John Piper (ref#220, p222).  “The great design…is to reveal the love of God to His people, and thereby recover their love to God, that they may love Him again who first loved them” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p128).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE SPIRIT’S SENSIBLE PRESENCE

FATHER, save me from being content with a little measure of the SPIRIT, thinking that is all I am expected to have.  So often I feel His absence and act using my own human spirit.  Grow in me a desire for the power of His presence all the time The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p29).

“The Holy Spirit is no temporary gift; He abides with the saints.  We have but to seek Him aright, and He will be found by us.  He is jealous, but He is compassionate.  If He leaves in anger, He returns in mercy.  Gracious and tender, He does not weary of us, but He waits to be merciful still” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 12thPM).

Through sin and worldliness I lose the consciousness of the SPIRIT’s presence. I don’t lose You, SPIRIT, but You are behind my conscious awareness (ref#30, p115).  For instance, no matter how eager or clever I am in sharing the Gospel, it is insufficient without Your presence.  What I need is to experience continual power to be obedient to You, SPIRIT, Who alone truly teaches me (ref#33, p86).

“God is determined to have His child as pure and clean and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will prevent none of the working of His spirit” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, June 30th).

FATHER, sensitize me to watch for the SPIRIT.  In Him is the only way I can remain spiritual. (ref#101, p28).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS SPIRIT KNOWLEDGE

“…all that has been done by God the Father and by God the Son will be of no value to us unless the Spirit reveals these things to our souls” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 29thPM).

 “’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.  For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God”(1 Cor 2:9-10 ESV).

“…our conviction of the truth of Scripture must be derived from a higher source than human conjectures, judgments, or reasons; namely, the secret testimony of the Spirit” John Calvin (ref#113, p33).

“When the Holy Spirit…comes, he shall guide you into all truth.  For he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard….” (John 16:13 TLB).

“God’s truth comes to us through three essential processes: revelation, inspiration, and illumination” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).

“Revelation involves the actual disclosure of God’s truth…” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70). “By revelation is understood those truths made known by supernatural means, because they lie beyond the power of man to discover” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p102).

“Inspiration is concerned with the means and processes by which these truths are made known” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p102).  “…inspiration has to do with recording divine revelation perfectly and completely…” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).

“…illumination is what enables us to understand that truth” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).   “…The Bible can neither be accounted for nor interpreted but by His [the SPIRIT’s] guidance…Revealed truth can be known only through the Revealer” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p15, brackets mine).

FATHER, since human reasoning is my default way of thinking, I ask Your help that I may train myself to be aware of the SPIRIT’s activity in giving the Truth.  I recognize my head knowledge has no ability to spawn appropriate spiritual actions.

HOLY SPIRIT

THE SPIRIT AS A GUARANTEE

“In him you…were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it…” (Eph 1:13-14 ESV).

“…in this word ‘sealed,’…is a message of safety and security in God’s love and power.  God sends the Holy Spirit as a preserving seal to lock in our faith, as an authenticating seal to validate our sonship, and as a protecting seal to keep out destructive forces. The point is that God wants us to feel secure and safe in his love and power” (ref: John Piper, Sealed by the Spirit to the Day of Redemption, https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/sealed-by-the-spirit-to-the-day-of-redemption).

“…By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete”(2 Cor 1:20-22 MSG).

“…in most cases, the sealing of the Spirit is a…gradualwork.  It is a work of time.  The soul is placed in the school of deep experience and is led step by step, stage by stage.

The knowledge of self and of Christ increases,

deeper views of indwelling sin are discovered,

the heart’s treachery is more acutely felt,

the devices of Satan are better known,

the mystery of God’s gracious and providential dealings with His children are more clearly unfolded and better understood—

and all this may be arrived at through a process of deep and painful, yet sanctified, discipline…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 14th).

FATHER, how precious it is to possess the SPIRIT.  For I know I need Him every minute of my unstable, always-changing life.  Move me to realize each trial You craft for me is so I might grasp the SPIRIT and find security only in You.

“How independent of outward circumstances the Holy Spirit can make the Christian” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 8th, PM)!

 

 

 

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).