HOW TO OVERCOME SIN

“We must recognize that we have developed habit patterns of sin. We have developed the habit of shading the facts a little bit when it is to our advantage. We have developed the habit of giving in to the inertia that refuses to let us get up in the morning. These habits must be broken but they never will till we make a basic commitment to a life of holiness without exceptions” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p92).

“Jesus was tempted in the same way that we are: although Jesus was tempted, He never sinned; therefore, it is not necessary for us to sin. Jesus was a man, and if one Man endured these temptations and did not sin, then in His power, the members of His body may also refrain from sin. There is no sin in being tempted, only in yielding to temptation” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 3rd PM).

“The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power. If we sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p80).

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Rom 6:6 ESV).

“[W]e must have conviction. [C]onvictions are developed through exposure to the Word of God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p85).

“The Holy Spirit is the effective Helper. Men may employ the aids of inward rigor and outward severity, and they may for a time stifle and suppress their evil habits; but unless the Spirit of God work in us, nothing can amount to true mortification. The Christian is not passive, but active in this work. We are bidden to ‘cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit’ (2 Cor. 7:1). We are exhorted to ‘build up yourselves on your most holy faith’ and ‘keep ourselves in the love of God’ (Jude 20, 21)” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p114).

“[N]ot allowing sin to reign in our mortal bodies—is something we have to do” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p52).

THE NEW BIRTH

“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed our cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer 2:13 ESV).

“How wonderful is the love of God in giving his Son to die for such wretches! And how strong and absolute is the necessity of a new birth, if we would be happy. The propensities of fallen nature are not eradicated in the children of God, though by grace they are made partakers of a new principle, which enables them, in the Lord’s strength, to resist and mortify the body of sin, so that it cannot reign in them. [E]vil is latent in the hearts of the best men” John Newton (ref#322, p111).

“[W]e know that we are children of God when we are deeply aware of sin within. Next there is a desire for God and a desire for the things of God and a desire to walk in the ways of God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p28).

“[T]hough believers still have this indwelling propensity to sin, the Holy Spirit maintains within us a prevailing desire for holiness (1 John 3:9). The believers struggles with the sin God enables him to see in himself” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p60).

“[P]ut off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:22-24 ESV).

“In every believer’s heart there is a constant struggle between the old nature and the new. The old nature is very active, and it loses no opportunity of plying all the weapons of its deadly armory against newborn grace; while on the other hand, the new nature is ever on the watch to resist and destroy its enemy. Grace within us will employ prayer, faith, hope, and love to cast out the evil. It takes to it the ‘whole armour of God’ (Eph. 6:11) and wrestles earnestly” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 2nd AM).

“The spiritual healing of the Great Physician is only ever esteemed by those who acknowledge that they still suffer from the spiritual disease of sin” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 24th).

“[P]ut on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom 13:14 ESV).

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” Dane Ortland (ref#382, p190).

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TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

HYPOCRITES_3

“Many in these days of easy profession are likely to prove to be tares, and not wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the true-born children of the living God” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 26th PM).

Initial or preparative grace may fail: “’…those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,’ may fall away; such as illumination, external reformation, temporary faith, some good beginnings. Some die in the pangs of the new birth and are stillborn.  Plenty of blossoms do not always foretell a store of fruit” Thomas Manton (ref#225, Sept 28th).

“…enter into the spiritual state…know that there is such a spiritual life to be lived…the first thing…to do is to study and to believe God’s Word until in faith our hearts are filled with the assurance that there is such a life possible….the second step: A man must see the shame and guilt of his not having lived such a life….A man does not get converted without having conviction of sin….a man…must be convicted of his particular sin….Until this conviction of the wrongness of our carnal state as believers comes to each one of us; until we are willing to get this conviction from God, to take time before God to be humbled and convicted, we never can become spiritual men” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p16-20).

We become a brand new person inside.  Our new life has begun (2 Cor 5:17)—a life fashioned after CHRIST, renewed from the inside and able to work itself into our conduct as He accurately reproduces His character in us (Eph 4:24).  This metamorphosis is called, “sanctification” and we will keep changing for the better until the day we die (Phil 2:12).

A characteristic of a Christian is: “He may have fears and doubts.  He may sometimes tell you that he feels as if he had no faith at all.  But ask him if he is willing to trust in anything instead of Christ, and see what he will say.  Ask him if he will rest his hope of eternal life on his own goodness, his own works, his prayers, his minister, or his church” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).

FATHER, all that I pray for I pray they are not refusing Your diagnosis of their need and Your offer of forgiveness (ref#56, p1828, [1 John 1:10]).  I pray they are not chronically disobedient to Your commands (ref#125, p2437, [1 John 5:16]). For continuing in such a state leads to permanent death.

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

HYPOCRITES_2

“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).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

PHARISEES

“…others…have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 18th AM).

“…few people are aware how far an individual may go—not merely in an outward change of character and an external union to Christ, but in a strong resemblance to the positive and manifest evidences of the new birth—without actually possessing any of them….the soul…the will…and the heart…are all unrenewed by the Holy Spirit….It is surprising how far an outwardly moral individual may seem to progress—spiritual knowledge, eminent gifts, and even great usefulness—while yet retaining the carnal mind, the rebellious will, the unhumbled and unbroken heart….we should be perpetually beguiled into the belief that a head filled with rational, theoretical truth must necessarily be connected with some degree of divine grace in the heart… let no man be so deceived as to substitute knowledge for grace” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 7th).

An outward man may have occasionally slight works of the SPIRIT.  The SPIRIT may be present to convict him by not convert him.  “True conversion and repentance consists of a true and thorough change of the whole man, whereby not only some actions are changed, but first and chiefly the whole frame and disposition of the heart is changed.  He is now set aright toward God, from evil to good, as well as from darkness to light (Eph 4:22-24)” Henry Scudder (ref#225, Oct 11th).

A characteristic of a Christian is: “He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appearing in both his words and his actions….But…his whole nature does not consent to them” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).

“The believer’s calling is to think and feel and will just what Jesus thought and felt and willed” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p154).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

BACKSLIDERS – CARNAL-LIKE BUT SAVED


“…Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back…”
(2 Pet 2:20-22 MSG).

“All backsliding has its commencement in the neglect of prayer…do you tremble at the possibility of ever becoming a backslider?  Do you dread the thought of wounding Jesus?  Then do not restrain prayer before God….A distant walk from God will induce distant thoughts of God….The more we know of God, the more we love Him; the more we try Him, the more we confide in Him….In order to reap the proper fruit of the Lord’s dealing with the soul, it is necessary that they should be viewed in the light of His faithfulness and love.  The moment they are interpreted otherwise, the soul heads away from God and wraps itself up in gloomy and repulsive views of His character, and government, and dealings” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 5th, underlining mine).

“…the great difficulty in a backsliding soul is to bring it to the necessary, spiritual duty of self-scrutiny….Perhaps nothing tends more to unhinge the soul from God and engender distrust, hard thoughts, and rebellious feelings than to doubt thus His loving-kindness and faithfulness in the discipline He is pleased to send” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 16th).

“Trouble is often the means whereby God delivers us.  God knows that our backsliding will soon end in our destruction, and, in mercy, He sends the rod….our trouble has been the means of delivering us from far greater evil” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 24th AM).

“…faith…anchoring itself on divine truth and the unchangeable love of God, is sure to strengthen and increase by every storm that beats on it….Is it the enchantment of the world that…caught you with its glitter, and overwhelming you with its crushing cares?…He was never known to cast out anyone who in lowliness and brokenness of heart sought His compassionate grace” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 16th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

SPIRIT CHECK_5

“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness” (Luke 11:35 NLT).

Am I willing to consider ideas about Christianity that are not spelled out in the Bible?

 “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind” (Col 2:18 ESV).  “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls….” (Jer 6:16 ESV).

Do I compare myself to other people?

“…I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers…” (Luke 18:11 NIV).  “…’None is righteous, no, not one…no one does good, not even one.’” (Rom 3:10,12 ESV).

Do I let GOD guide me all day long?

“God fills the whole universe; therefore, there is no room for another god.  If He reigns in my heart, there will be no space for another reigning power….If this is not the case, O Lord, pardon my sad offense and unite my heart to fear Your name” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 14th AM).

Do I really “know” CHRIST or just know of Him?

“I am not asking whether you believe certain things; that is possible intellectually. Rather, I am asking have you life, are you in the realm of life, do you know God, do you know the Lord Jesus Christ?…When you pray, do you know that you are speaking to God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p90)?

Is serving GOD more important than loving everyone around me?

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels…If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge…if I have a faith that can move mountains…If I give all I possess to the poor…but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:1-3 NIV).

“If your faith does not reshape your life, it is not true faith” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 5th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

SPIRIT CHECK_3

“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness” (Luke 11:35 NLT).

In church do I have the fear of GOD?

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.  To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools…Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth….” (Eccl 5:1-2 ESV).

Do I love to hear about JESUS on Sunday but forget about Him during the week?

“It is not enough to hear about Jesus; mere hearing may tune the harp, but the fingers of living faith must create the music” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 28th PM).

Do I find keeping GOD’s commands difficult?

“…The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome” (1 John 5:1-3 MSG).

Have I trembled sometimes under the powerful exhibition of the truth? “So did Felix, and yet he never truly repented” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 7th)!

Have I heard the gospel gladly and, under its momentary influence, done many things?

“So did Herod, and yet he kept Herodias and beheaded John” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 7th)!

Do I testify to others and say, “I believe in JESUS?”

“…with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom 10:10 ESV).

Do I judge myself better than others?

“…some…were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else…” (Luke 18:9 NIV).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

KNOWLEDGE BUT NO ACTION

“If saving faith were nothing more than a mere mental assent to the contents of John 3:16, then any man could make himself a true believer whenever he pleased—the supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit would be quite unnecessary” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p82).

“…in the whole question of practicing and living the Christian life, how easy it is to be content only with thoughts and with feelings and with expressions of what we believe and feel, and to fail utterly and entirely to put it into practice.  How easy it is to fall in love with loving instead of actually loving” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p111)! “…the doing, says our Lord, is absolutely vital and essential” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p113)

“…let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18 ESV).

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal 5:25 ESV).

“The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith.  He who rightly understand these is not far from being a master in practicing theology, for they are vital points to a Christian” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 18th AM).

“If you’ve forgotten who you are in Christ, what are you left with?…Christless Christianity, which is little more than a system of theology and rules.  And…if all you needed was theology and rules, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, April 12th). 

“Continue in the things revealed in the doctrine of the Gospel, and you shall have a satisfactory experience that they are true, and that they are of God.  Cease not to act in faith regarding them, and you shall enjoy their effects” John Owen (ref#225, Oct 7th).

“With the great blessing of gospel light comes great responsibility to steward that light” John Calvin (ref#164, May 1st).

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).