TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

MISSING: GRACES OF THE SPIRIT

“The Corinthians prided themselves on their wisdom and sought it above everything, Paul said, ‘I thank God that you are enriched in utterance, in knowledge, and in wisdom; nevertheless, you are yet carnal, your life is not holy…You cannot yet take in real spiritual truth” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p15).

“…the graces of the Spirit were noticeably absent.  We may find this in our days as well as in the time of the Corinthians.  I may be a minister of the gospel; I may teach God’s Word beautifully; I may have influence and gather a large congregation, and yet, alas!  I may be a carnal man, a man who may be used by God, and a blessing to others, and yet marked by the carnal life” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p13).

FATHER, it is just like it is now days—the Corinthian Christians were knowledgeable and even possessed spiritual gifts but their actions proved they had yet to possess the graces of the SPIRIT.  Therefore, not having a relationship with You they were not assured of their salvation.

“A Christian living in the daily neglect of self-examination must not marvel if, at a certain period of his religious course, he finds himself trembling on the brink of gloomy despondency, his evidence gone, his hope obscured, and all the past of his Christian profession appearing to his view as a fearful delusion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 10th).

“To say ‘I hope so,’ or ‘I trust so’ is easy and there are thousands in the fold of Jesus who hardly get much further” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 21st AM).

Some distinctions of babes in CHRIST are: “Their pastor and their Christian friends must always be teaching and comforting them.  They go to church, to prayer meetings, and to conventions—always wanting to be helped.  This is a sign of spiritual infancy.  The other sign of an infant is this: he can do nothing to help his fellowman….They take a part in work, as it is called, but there is little exercising of spiritual power and carrying real blessing….the joy of conversion and the first love is gone” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p10-11).

“…anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure…” (Gal 3:9-10 MSG).

“Christianity…is Christ Himself.  He is not only central, He is absolutely vital, and therefore we have to see that we are concerned primarily and always with Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Sept 1st).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

A TRUE CHRISTIAN – A FAUX CHRISTIAN

I realize that the title is misleading because there is no such thing as a “faux Christian.”   The definition I would put on a “faux Christian” is a person who thinks he is a Christian but is not.

A carnal, natural, fleshly person’s actions are very much like a babe, carnal-like Christian.  They are so much alike that no one can tell the difference since we can’t evaluate the heart.  Even the person himself sometimes cannot tell.

“Empty professors [faux Christians] are fatally deluded by a false confidence, a complacent taking for granted that they are real Christians when they have never been born again” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p130, brackets mine).

 “Beware lest there be among you a man…whose heart is turning away today from the LORD…who…blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart’…” (Deut 29:18-19 ESV).

“It is true that many a carnal man is ravished to think that God loves him, and will save him; but in this case, it is not the true character of God which charms the heart; it is not God that is loved….self-love is the source of all his affections” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p67).

“How should divine justice spare the sinner, who knows the right, approves it, and professes to follow it, and all the while loves evil and gives it dominion in his heart” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 14th AM).

The true Christian, possesses a new heart given him by GOD.  He is regenerated; he has now a different motivational direction than his old natural ways.  Yet he may remain a “babe” in CHRIST and not outwardly display any changed actions.  He may appear like a carnal, fleshly person.

With both a true Christian and a faux Christian looking so much alike it behooves us all to search ourselves and see if there is any wickedness in us.

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST’S LOVE

“God gives himself to me, not according to my power to hold Him, but according to His almighty power of love to hold me” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p62).

“When we were united by faith to Christ, we were brought into such complete fellowship with Him that we were made one with Him.  His interests and ours became mutual and identical….What He loves, we love….We have fellowship with Him in His desires….We have fellowship with Christ in His sufferings.  We are not nailed to the cross, nor do we die a cruel death; but when He is reproached, we are reproached.  It is a very sweet thing to be blamed for His sake…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 23rd AM).

“If this love is so divine…then surely I can depend on it to keep me and to hold me fast.  Then surely all my unworthiness and feebleness can be no hindrance.  If this love be…with infinite power…I surely have a right to trust that it is stronger than my weakness; and that with its almighty arm it will clasp me to its bosom, and suffer me to go out no more” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p146).

FATHER, in Your great kindness, You have ordered faith for me—“faith by which utter sinfulness casts itself into the arms of love to be saved, and utter weakness to be kept and made strong.  O Infinite Love!…Love with which the Son loves us!  I can trust thee, I do trust thee.  O keep me abiding in Thyself” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p145-146).

“I have a God to see that each day I become more firmly united to Christ” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p86).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST AND NOT IN SELF_2

“…you do not doubt your salvation; you know that Christ is yours, but you are not feasting with Him.  You understand that you are of vital concern to Him, so that you have no shadow of a doubt of your being His and His being yours, but still His left hand is not under your head, and His right does not embrace you” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 19th PM).

“…it is too sadly a fault with all of us, that we permit Him to be as a wayfaring man tarrying but for a night.  He whom we should make the abiding tenant of our memories is but a visitor therein….It is the incessant turmoil of the world and the constant attraction of earthly things that take away the soul from Christ” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 26th AM).

It is possible that many of us must walk forward a while in the sanctified life of CHRIST before we can grasp greater things.  Dealing with CHRIST’s forgiving our sins comes first.  Once we settle ourselves into having no guilt in sinning we are free to long to abide in CHRIST.

“You bear about with you a nature altogether corrupt and vile, ever seeking to rise up…” (ref#266, p59). “Self is still strong and living, but it has no power over you….His life will take the place of the old life…The power of His holy presence will cast out the old life…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p188,189).

“To seek life, not in itself, but in God is the highest honour of the creature….Jesus Christ becomes your second self…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p185, 188).

FATHER, the words of Charles Spurgeon paint a picture that animates my heart:

“His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me” (Song 8:3 ESV)!  Just thinking of CHRIST holding me makes directing myself not an option.  I am tired of the anxiety and fear and the no peace and rest I experience with doing things my way.  Oh FATHER, prepare me to feast every day with CHRIST!  I am ready for a more intense relationship.

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST THAT I MAY NOT SIN

“We, too, were once dead, and like Lazarus, were stinking in the grave of sin.  Yet Jesus raised us, and by His life we live.  Can we be content to live at a distance from Him” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 21st PM)?

“…there are degrees in the abiding.  With most Christians the abiding is so feeble and intermittent, that sin continually obtains the ascendency, and brings the soul into subjection” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p173).

“…unbelief, or unwatchfulness, opens the door for sin to reign.  And so the life of many believers is a course of continual stumbling and sinning.  But when the believer seeks full admission into, and a permanent abode in Jesus, the Sinless One, then the life of Christ keeps from actual transgression….Jesus does indeed save him from his sin—not by the removal of his sinful nature, but by keeping him from yielding to it….the believer can have sin  and yet not do sin.  The evil nature, the flesh, is unchanged in its enmity against God, but the abiding presence of Jesus keeps it down….’In Him is no sin; he that abideth in Him sinneth not’” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p173-174).

“When Christ commanded us to abide in Him…can He have meant anything but the healthy, vigorous, complete union of the branch with the Vine?…The abiding in Jesus makes it possible to keep from actual sinning; and Jesus Himself makes it possible to abide in Him” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p174-175).

“Do not…let you attention be diverted…Faith has ever only to deal with the present moment…’Jesus keeps me now, Jesus saves me now’…be kept abiding by His own abiding in you…renew your faith in an act of devotion: Jesus keeps me now….Let failure…instead of discouraging you, only urge you still more to seek your safety in abiding in the Sinless One….” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p175).

“Regard it as His work to keep you abiding in Him, and His work to keep you from sinning. It is indeed your work to abide in Him, but it is that, only because it is His work as Vine to bear and hold the branch” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p175).

“Gaze upon His holy human nature as what He prepared for you to be partaker of with Himself…of being filled with His fullness, and made the channel of showing forth His power, His blessing, and His glory” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p175-176).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

 

ABIDE IN CHRIST – FOLLOW COMMANDS

“The progressive renewal of the Holy Spirit leads to growing like-mindedness to Christ; then comes a delicate power of spiritual perception—a holy instinct—by which the soul…knows to recognize the meaning and the application of the Lord’s commands to daily life…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p156).

“Love will assimilate into your inmost being the commands as food from heaven.  They will no longer come to you as a law standing outside and against you, but as the living power…into perfect harmony with all your Lord requires” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p157).

“As we day by day receive grace from Jesus, and more constantly recognize it as coming from Him, we will behold Him in communion with us, and enjoy communion with Him.  Let us make daily use of our riches and ever go to Him as to our own…taking from Him the supply of all we need with as much boldness as men take money from their own pockets” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 15th AM).

“To abide in His love, His mighty, saving, keeping, satisfying love, even as He abode in the Father’s love—surely the very greatness of our calling teaches us that it never can be a work we have to perform; it must be with us as with Him, the result of the spontaneous outflowing of a life from within, and the mighty inworking of the love from above…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p150-151).

“And if even for a moment the commandments appear grievous, just remember whose they are” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p157).  (And commands that seem hard are because I’m thinking of myself—not the One who loves me and I love back).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

CHRIST AS MY WISDOM

“I the Preacher have…applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven.  It is an unhappy business…all is vanity and a striving after wind” (Eccl 1:12-14 ESV).

Woe is me who can never hold very long the easy yoke of CHRIST (Matt 11:29-30).  I lapse back to my own yoke—incomplete and unable t follow You, FATHER.  Using my yoke makes tasks impossible yet over and over I forget that fact.

“Why is it that the Holy Spirit cannot teach us more effectually?  No reason but this: the wisdom of man prevents it…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p59).

“Surrender all your own wisdom…be as a docile learner…Remember that the teaching and guidance come not from without: it is by His life in us that the divine wisdom does His work….” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p54).

“…without…abiding in Christ the knowledge does not really profit, but is often most hurtful.  The soul satisfies itself with thoughts which are but the forms and images of truth, without receiving the truth itself in its power….Man seeks the knowledge first, and often, alas! never gets beyond it.  God gives us Christ, and in Him hid the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p51).

“…let us be content to possess Christ, to dwell in Him, to make Him our life, and only in a deeper searching into Him,…find the knowledge we desire” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p51).

“We often forget that the Author of our faith must also be the Preserver of it….He who built the world also upholds it….He who made us Christians must maintain us by His Spirit….it is His own work of grace that we ask Him to strengthen…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 15th PM).

“God has brought you out in conversion; it was God’s own life given you.  But you have defiled it with disobedience and unbelief.  Give it all up.  Give up all your own wisdom and thoughts about God’s work” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p59).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDING THROUGH AFFLICTION

“Every sifting comes by divine command and permission” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 20th AM).

“God gets us alone by affliction, heartbreak, or temptation, by disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted affection, by broken friendship, or by a new friendship” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 13th).

“Delight yourself in the assurance that closer union with Him, and more abundant fruit through Him, are sure to be the results of trial” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p127).

“…prosperity and enjoyment all too easily satisfy us, dull our spiritual perception, and unfit us for full communion…It is an unspeakable mercy that the Father comes with His chastisement…and for a time lose our joy in what was becoming so dangerous.  He does it in the hope that, when we have found our rest in Christ in time of trouble, we shall learn to choose abiding in Him as our only portion; and when the affliction is removed, have so grown more firmly into Him, that in prosperity He still shall be our only joy….Christian! pray for grace to see in every trouble, small or great, the Father’s finger pointing to Jesus, and saying, Abide in Him” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p124).

“Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill.  Whether it is bitter sorrow or excessive pleasure, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will remove the pain from the one and the imbalance from the other” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 9th PM).

“It is your greatest happiness to be impotent” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p57).

PRAYER

GRATITUDE 

“Satan presses his agenda by sowing seeds of ingratitude….By focusing Eve’s eyes on the one thing God hadn’tgiven her, Satan was able to distract her attention from all He had given her” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p102-103).  This is disastrous.  We run into much trouble because we don’t take the time to give GOD our gratitude!

“When done well, prayer is a most powerful tool in God’s service.  For that very reason, it is a prime target of Satan.  As temporary Prince of This World, [I love that descriptive word for satan—‘temporary prince.’] he attacks prayer quite successfully by raining down discouragement and distraction on God’s children.  The timebelievers need to pray can be eroded by a flood of ‘essential’ activities.  And the still, small voice of the Spirit calling Christians to commune with their Father can easily be drowned out by the rushing cacophony of busy schedules.  And the hope that should draw us often to God’s throne in prayer can be immersed in anxieties produced by life’s pressures” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p100, brackets mine).

“His throne…is to be approached with devout joyfulness.  If I find myself favored by divine grace to stand among those favored ones who frequent His courts, shall I not feel glad?…Shall not my thankfulness ascend into joy, and shall I not feel that I am honored and that I am made the recipient of great favors when I am permitted to pray” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p29)?

“The umbrella of gratitude concentrates our attention on the goodness of God.  It fills our minds with His glory (adoration), humbles our souls with His grace (confession), and inspires our hope with His promises (supplication)” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p103).

“…receive all his benefits with true gratitude and thanksgiving…having obtained what we asked…we are led to long more earnestly for his favor…have greater pleasure in welcoming the blessings which we perceive to have been obtained by our prayers….” John Calvin (ref#113, p565).

“If our prayers are to function as God intended, they must be shielded from environmental bombardment that dilutes devotion and washes away hope.  The umbrella of gratitude serves that purpose well” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p100).

“…how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you….you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help….Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD” (Ps 31:19,22,24 ESV).

PRAYER

DISCERNMENT

“For everyone whose sole diet is milk, is inexperienced in a message which is righteous in quality…solid food belongs to…mature, to those who on account of long usage have their powers of perception exercised to the point where they are able to discriminate between both that which is good in character and that which is evil” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p521, [Heb 5:13-14]).

FATHER, Your Son warns me not to judge (Matt 7:1).  But Your SPIRIT will reveal what is wrong in others for the purpose of intercession (ref#118, p77).

I first ask that You, LORD, keep me from thinking rashly of others; I do not want my intention in prayer to be simply passing judgment—to be the product of my own jealously or ill nature (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).

FATHER, in intercession I want to bear up the life of the one I pray for until You, put the person right.  May I so lay hold of You for them that You enable them to turn away from rebellion and come to You (ref#118, p77).

May I “…get to work and pray, and God will get His chance with other lives;…God has based the Christian life on Redemption, and as we pray on this basis God’s honour is at stake to answer prayer” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Nov 19th).

Even though I cannot know the heart, I can be sensitive to Your SPIRIT.  It is possible for someone to imagine they are Christians when they are not—especially when they decide that being a Christian is desirable.

“Professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever unless there is something more added to it…it is a change that is known…known by works of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 6th AM).

Give me a spirit of gentleness; give me a spirit of humbleness lest I be tempted in like manner as they (Gal 6:1).  Make me candid and charitable (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).  And also give me discernment and the boldness to admonish them, (1 Thes 5:14) when they have a false notion that they are already Christians.