AFFLICTION – TO CHASTEN THE SOUL

“[T]he whole soul, wrapped up in carnal delights, seeks its happiness on this earth. To counteract this, the Lord by various and severe lessons of misery, teaches his children the vanity of the present life” John Calvin (ref#313, p68).

“Virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue” Lord Francis Bacon (ref#333, p123).

“We suffer a serious loss when we dwell so much in the region of present clouds, and so little in the meridian of future glory. We look too faintly beyond the midnight of time, into the daylight of eternity. We are slow of heart to believe all that is revealed of the bliss that awaits us, and do not sufficiently realize that in a little while—oh, how soon!—the day will break, the shadow will flee away, and we shall bathe our souls in heaven’s full, unclouded, endless light” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 2nd).

“Afflictions quicken us to prayer. They are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world” John Newton (ref#322, p173).

“Trial is part of the education given in the school of Christ, to purify God’s children from the dross of earthliness. It is because God is leading His children that trying experiences come to them. Trials and obstacles are His chosen methods of discipline, and He is appointed conditions of success” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p524).

“All your heaven-blessed trials, all your sanctified temptations, all the covenant transactions of God with you in the way of afflictive providences, are designed only to fit you more perfectly for your inheritance” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 28th).

“[H]e does not afflict to destroy or ruin us, but rather to deliver us from the condemnation of the world” John Calvin (ref#313, p54).

REASONS FOR CONFLICT

“In every age and in every land, God’s messengers have been called upon to meet bitter opposition from those who deliberately chose to reject the light of heaven” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p179).

“So great is the insensibility of men that they cannot be aroused unless they are chastised and made to feel the blows” John Calvin (ref#164, April 9th).

“The furnace is a necessary process of sanctification. If not, why has God ordered it? It is necessary to purify the heart, to refine the affections, to chasten the soul, to wean it from an empty world, to draw it from the creature, and to center it in God. Blessed indeed is anything that makes sin more exceedingly sinful; that weans and draws away from earth; that endears Jesus and that makes the soul a partaker of His holiness” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 7th).

“You are not sick, lonely, or sorrowing because there is wrath in God, for all that wrath was borne by your redeeming Savior. You are in your situation because God is love. Jesus bore away the curse and the sin so that God now brims the cup He emptied with a love that passes knowledge” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 3rd).

“He has appointed that sanctification should be effected, and sin mortified, not at once completely, but by little and little; and doubtless he has wise reasons for it. Therefore, though we are to desire a growth in grace, we should, at the same time not be discouraged or despond, because we feel that conflict” John Newton (ref#322, p181).

“[T]he Lord tries us by adversities so that our salvation may thereby gradually advance. Those evils that do in a manner promote our happiness then cannot render us miserable. [W]e are pressed and seem to be nearly consumed, we do not yet cease to feel God’s favor toward us. Grace that can teach us patience in tribulation is certainly amazing” John Calvin (ref#164, July 30th).

SUFFERING THAT GLORIFIES GOD

“We need to learn that chastisement is a part of His great plan and that under the rod of affliction the Christian may sometimes do more for the Master than when engaged in active service” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p481).

[A] person who suffers but remains unswervingly true to God brings glory to God in such a grand way that the suffering is not only permissible but also justifiable” Doug Newton (ref#166, p79).

“’My grace is sufficient for thee’ (2 Cor 12:9). The tried believer must always remember that supporting grace, during trial, is a greater mercy that the removal of the trial itself. The Lord Jesus did seem to say to His servant Paul, ‘I do not see that it would be for your good to grant your prayer, but I will enable you to bear the infirmity without complaining: I will so support you and so manifest my strength in your weakness and my all-sufficiency in your nothingness, that you will not desire its removal’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 24th).

“God’s love is more seen in comforting and strengthening under trouble, than in delivering from it” James Fraser of Brea (ref#333, p236).

“It is God’s recognition of the saint’s inner conflict as an indispensable process of discipline, as a development of the contrast between light and darkness, as an exhibition of the way in which God is glorified in the infirmities of His saints, and in their contests with the powers of evil” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p69).

“[I]t is in their tribulations that the saints give forth their excellencies” Gregory the Great (ref#333, p37).

“Jesus did not pray that you would be taken out of the world. It is far better to meet the difficulty in the Lord’s strength and to glorify Him in it. The enemy is always on watch to detect inconsistency in your conduct; therefore, be very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are on you, and that more is expected from you than from other men” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 5th AM).

CHOOSING WRATH

“Vessel of clay! He who made thee has a right to destroy; far from seeking thy destruction, He labours to avert it. He menaces in mercy; and, if thou perishes, thou are self-destroyed” Francios Fenelon (ref#333, p244).

“They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds. Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against me” (Hosea 7:14-15 ESV).

“The reason why sinners die, is not because there is no mercy for them in God, nor because Jesus Christ is either unable or unwilling to save them, but because they are not willing to come up to the terms on which the salvation is offered. He would, but they would not. He was willing to save them, but they were not willing to be saved by Him; this they may thank themselves for” Matthew Henry (ref#333, p252).

“[D]ominated by their own personal cravings, they shall receive a moral twist which will cause them to believe that which is fictitious. [H]aving set a high value upon this present age [they have] come to love it” (2 Tim 4:4,9 Wuest).

“The wrath of God is not declared against unrepentant sinners merely because of the sins they have committed, but because, when called to repent, they chose to continue in resistance, repeating the sins of the past in defiance of the light given them” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p62).

“[I]f we go on sinning willfully after having received a full knowledge of the truth, no longer for sins does there remain a sacrifice, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which is about to be devouring the adversaries” (Heb 10:26-27 Wuest).

“In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD” (2 Chron 28:22 ESV).

“None can come to Jesus except the Father draws them. Yet sinners do not perish because they cannot come, but because they will not come” John Berridge (ref#333, p280).

The cross reveals sin for what it is and pronounces doom on the whole world. Only CHRIST’s death reconciles me to God. Believe in CHRIST or suffer GOD’s wrath. There is only two choices. (ref#189, Feb 21st).

“God is infinitely compassionate and infinitely ready to forgive so that it ought to be ascribed exclusively to our unbelief if we do not obtain pardon from him” John Calvin (ref#382, p160).

SATAN

“[T]he god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4 ESV).

“Man was made perfect by God, but he was tempted and fell, and the result has been that the whole world has been polluted” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p109).

“This world has become the kingdom of Satan” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p318).

“The devil tempteth many millions of souls with the offers of the kingdom of heaven itself” Richard Baxter (ref#333, p 195).

“There is no greater curse than for a man to get his will and desires in the world” James Fraser of Brea (ref#333, p236).

“Satan is putting forth desperate efforts to ensnare the world. He is devising many plans to occupy minds and to divert attention from the truths essential to salvation. In every city his agencies are busily organizing into parties those who are opposed to the law of God. The arch deceiver is at work to introduce elements of confusion and rebellion, and men are being fired with a zeal that is not according to knowledge” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p219).

“Satan himself changes his outward expression from one that comes from his inner nature and is representative of it, to one that is assumed from without and not representative of his inner being, masquerading as a messenger of light” (2 Cor 11:13-14 Wuest).

“Satan attacks the church’s perseverance and purity through violent persecution, through deceptive teaching, and through affluence and sensual pleasure” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2455).

“Wickedness is reaching a height never before attained, and yet many ministers of the gospel are crying, ‘Peace and safety.’ But God’s faithful messengers are to go steadily forward with their work. Clothed with the panoply of heaven, they are to advance fearlessly and victoriously, never ceasing their warfare until every soul within their reach shall have received the message of truth for this time” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p220).

“We are not to flee from Satan, but to resist, that he may flee from us” Lady Powerscourt (ref#333, p353).

PEW SITTERS

When brought up in a Christian family and taught morality, sin doesn’t make such an impact. It gets watered down to: “churchgoers don’t have sin problems and non-churchgoers do.” They are bad and need to be saved, thus the emphasis is on evangelism—getting people into the church. Sin is so much in the background and not considered that scripture addressing sin is looked over in favor of the “Great Commission.”

This is probably one of the main reasons that the generation that is big on evangelism sees the next generation not interested in evangelizing even themselves. To them, their parent’s religion seems just another way of being bigoted.

“It is not opposition of the world that most endangers the church of Christ. It is the evil cherished in the heart of believers that works their most grievous disaster and most surely retards the progress of God’s cause. There is no surer way of weakening spirituality than by cherishing envy, suspicion, faultfinding, and evil surmising” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p549).

“[A] believer may lead a fairly normal Christian life on the outside while wrestling with a steady barrage of sinful thoughts on the inside: lust, envy, greed, hatred, apathy, etc. I see about 65 percent of all Christians living at this level of spiritual conflict” Neil T. Anderson (ref#90, p107).

“[H]ow many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family. So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud—just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend—woven around church (mostly). This is life for millions of people. Wasted life” John Piper (ref#2, p119).

“[W]e do not just have to submit and resign ourselves in order to be made perfect. [I]f I am a child of God, God has started to work in me. He will go on, and He will bring it to perfection. But He does so by opening my mind and understanding; He reveals sin to me; He tells me to put these things into practice, to press on and to strive; and He gives the final assurance that if I confess my sin He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness . . .” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p80-81).

FALSE TEACHERS

“[C]ertain people have crept in unnoticed, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4 ESV).

“None of the letters of St. Paul were written simply to maintain kindly relations with the various churches. Each of them was evoked by what appeared at the time to the Apostle a very pressing need. His objects in writing were [t]o correct false impressions which were working mischief in churches [t]o reform abuses which threatened to sap the morality of a church [t]o crush heresies in the germ, especially those relating to the person and office of Christ, and the relation of the Church to Him [t]o combat the party of Judaism which constantly labored in the church by insisting that faith in Christ was insufficient for salvation, without conformity to the ritual of the Mosaic Law” Arthur S. Way (ref#38, p1).

The Corinthians had been overcome by temptation. Deceived by the ingenious sophistry of teachers who presented errors under the guise of truth, they had become confused and bewildered” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p385).

“Hence practices—whether of ritual, of self-abasement, or of asceticism—founded on false beliefs are to be scouted. Instead of these there must be love and mutual helpfulness, and the fulfillment of the duties of daily life”Arthur S. Way (ref#38, p164).

“[T]here will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2 Pet 2:1 ESV).

“In the Galatian churches, open, unmasked error was supplanting the gospel message. Christ, the true foundation of the faith, was virtually renounced for the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p385).

“To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life is still as pleasing to the unrenewed nature as it was in the days of these Jewish teachers” Ellen S. White (ref#331, p387).

“It is Satan’s studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God. [A]t the present time he induces many professing Christians, under pretense of honoring Christ, to cast contempt on the moral law and to teach that its precepts may be transgressed with impunity” Ellen G. White (ref#331, p 387).