A FRIEND IN HEAVEN

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15 ESV).

“Christ is not only God but man and not only man but God. The Christos, the anointed one, the High Priest of our profession, is in His complex character able to help them that are tempted” Charles Spurgeon (ref#380, p38).

“Oh, throw yourself at the feet of the Savior, Whose mission it is to ‘destroy the works of the devil’ and the devil himself, and beseech Him to rend the chain, to eject the usurper” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p47).

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb 2:18 ESV).

“Satan’s malice is not abated; and though he has met with millions of disappointments, he still, like Goliath of old, defies the armies of God’s Israel: he challenges the stoutest, and desires to have them, ‘that he may sift [them] as wheat.’ Indeed, he is far an overmatch for them, considered as in themselves; but though they are weak, their Redeemer is mighty! They are forever secured by His love and intercession. The Lord knows them that are His, and no weapon formed against them can prosper” John Newton (ref#376, p19).

“[N]o weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.’” (Isa 54:17 ESV).

“Tempted believer in Jesus! Learn thus the paralyzed power of your tempter, so that you do not become disheartened and dismayed. Remember that the Son of God has pierced him, signally and fatally; and that every fiery dart pointed at the believer are tipped with the conquering blood of Christ” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p42).

“Let all true Christians take comfort in the thought that they have a Friend in heaven Who can be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. When they pour out their hearts before the throne of grace and groan under the burden that daily harasses them, there is One making intercession Who knows their sorrows. Let us take courage. The Lord Jesus is not an austere man. He knows what we mean when we complain of temptation and is both able and willing to give us help” J.C. Ryle (ref#374, p12).

REPENTANCE AND MY HEART

“Do not let my heart incline to any evil” (Ps 141:4 ESV).

“We pray, ‘Lord, forgive me my sins’ without getting specific and thus deceive ourselves into thinking we have ‘confessed and been forgiven’ when we have not. True confession of sin follows heart-felt repentance of specifically identified sins. And because the problem is in us, that can’t be done without the Spirit’s help” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p82).

“[W]e must not only correct outward actions but that those must begin with the heart; for though in the opinion of men we appear to change our life for the better, yet we will make little progress if our heart is not changed” John Calvin (ref#164, April 20th).

“[T]he natural product of the heart is changed by the Holy Ghost, when this natural love of sin is cast out, then takes place that change that the Word of God calls ‘repentance’” J.C. Ryle (ref#363, p35).

“The heart of a saint that comes near to God is pained at the memory of old sins; and together with a present sweetness of Divine love, there is a sort of anguish at the thoughts of past iniquities” Isaac Watts (ref#333, p257).

“As every sin has the more need of pardon by how much the greater it is, so God will have the more glory in pardoning it by how much the greater it is” Joseph Caryl (ref#333, p171).

DEATH OF SIN

“[A]bstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Pet 2:11 ESV).

“Do I accept God’s verdict on sin in the Cross of Christ? Have I the slightest interest in the death of Jesus? Do I want to be identified with His death, to be killed right out to all interest in sin, in worldliness, in self—to be so identified with Jesus that I am spoilt for everything else but Him? The great privilege of discipleship is that I can sign on under His Cross, and that means death to sin. Get alone with Jesus and either tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you; or else tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death. 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).

“True repentance, furthermore, shows itself before the world in a thorough breaking off from sin. The life of a penitent man is altered. The course of his daily conduct is entirely changed. What God commands he now desires to practice; and what God forbids he now desires to avoid” J.C. Ryle (ref#363, p36).

“True repentance shows itself by producing in the heart a settled habit of deep hatred of all sin. He comes short of his own desires frequently. He finds in himself an evil principle warring against the Spirit of God. He finds himself cold when he would be hot, backward when he would be forward, heavy when he would be lively in God’s service. He is deeply conscious of his own infirmities. But still, for all that, the general bias of his heart is toward God and away from evil” J.C. Ryle (ref#363, p36).

“Knowing thus the faithfulness and justice of God and the power of the blood of Christ to deliver me and to cleanse me from the guilt and stain of my sins, I can with confidence go forward, knowing that all is clear, my conscience has been cleansed, and I can continue to walk with God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p 134).

WEAPONS OF THE DEVIL

“Your heart may glow with an angelic flame of love for Jesus, yet the devil will try to bring you down to Laodicean lukewarmness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 20th PM).

“[T]hree favorite weapons of the devil. Unbelief, worldliness, and presumption are three grand engines that he is ever working against the soul of man, and by which he is ever enticing him to do what God forbids and to run into sin. The acts that Satan suggests to us to do are often in appearance trifling and unimportant. But the principle involved in each of these little acts, we may be sure, is nothing short of rebellion against God. Let us not be ignorant of Satan’s devices” J.C. Ryle (ref#374, p13).

“Solitude has its charms and its benefits and may be useful in checking the lust of the eye and the pride of life, but the devil will follow us into the most lovely retreats. Do not suppose that it is only the worldly-minded who have dreadful thoughts and blasphemous temptations, for even spiritually-minded persons endure the same. We may suffer the darkest temptation in the holiest place” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 20th PM).

“Let it never surprise us if we are tempted by the devil. Let us rather expect it as a matter of course if we are living members of Christ. The Master’s lot will be the lot of His disciples. That mighty spirit who did not fear to attack Jesus Himself, is still going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. That murderer and liar, who vexed Job and overthrew David and Peter, still lives and is not yet bound. If he cannot rob us of heaven, he will at any rate make our journey thither painful. If he cannot destroy our souls he will at least bruise our heels (Gen 3:15). Let us beware of despising him or thinking lightly of his power. Let us rather put on the whole armor of God and cry to the strong for strength. ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’” J.C. Ryle (ref#374, p11-12).

“By enduring temptation, you, as a living member of the body of Christ, have the honor of being conformed to your Head. He suffered being tempted. And because He loves you, He calls you to a participation of His sufferings and to taste of His cup: not the cup of the wrath of God—this He drank alone, and He drank it all. But in affliction, He allows His people to have fellowship with Him” John Newton (ref#376, p20).

SCRIPTURE

“Let us learn from this single fact if we learn nothing else. [T]he high authority of the Bible and the immense value of a knowledge of its contents. Let us read it, search into it, pray over it, diligently, perseveringly, unweariedly. Let us strive to be so thoroughly acquainted with its pages that its text may abide in our memories and stand ready at our right hand in the day of need. The Bible is indeed a sword, but we must take heed that we know it well if we would use it with effect” J.C. Ryle (ref#374, p13).

“Learn to meet Satan’s suggestions, to answer his arguments, and to repel his temptations by the ‘sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’ . . .He too can quote and apply Scripture, only to misquote and misapply it” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p42).

“Our whole life is beset with temptations. Satan watches all opportunities to break our peace, to wound our consciences, to lessen our comforts, to impair our graces, to slur our evidences, and to damp our assurances, etc. Oh! What need, then, have we to be always upon our watchtower so that we keep close to God and His Word” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p35).

“Lend not your ear for a moment to a temptation that comes clad in Scripture authority. Suspect Satan. The Word of God is very pure. It is on the side of holiness, of uprightness, of goodness, of love. It teaches the protection, the sufficiency, and the sympathy of Jesus. It unfolds many exceeding great and precious promises; announces many gracious and free invitations; and it is designed to support the tempted, to comfort the mourner, to soothe the sorrowful, to hold out the promise of pardon to the guilty, salvation to the lost, and to reveal the hope of glory to all those who humbly and simply believe in Christ. The moment, then, beloved, that a text of God’s Word is suggested to your thoughts in favor of sin, of distrust of God, of disbelief of Christ, of self-injury, repel it” Octavius Winslow (ref#381, p42-43).

“If you would not be taken by any of Satan’s devices, then walk by rule [of the Word]. When men throw off the Word, then God throws them off; then, Satan takes them by the hand and leads them into snares at his pleasure. He that thinks himself too good to be ruled by the Word will be found too bad to be owned by God” Thomas Brooks (ref#379, p32).

“Labor to remember what you read, Satan would steal the Word out of your mind. [R]eading brings a truth into our head, meditation brings it into our heart. The only cause why you forget so fast as you hear is because you went from sermon to dinner, and never thought any more of the matter” Henry Smith (ref#225, p246).

“He Who was ‘fully of the Holy Ghost’ was yet not ashamed to make the Holy Scripture His weapon of defense and His rule of action” J.C. Ryle (ref#374, p13).

SAINTS WHO SIN

“There never was a child that required schooling or education to learn deceitfulness, sensuality, passion, self-will, gluttony, pride, and foolishness” J.C Ryle (ref#363, p35).

“The fall made us all a danger to ourselves. Because of the sin in us, we think bad things, we desire bad things, we are attracted to bad things, and we choose bad things—and we are blind to much of this going on inside of ourselves. So not only do we need God’s presence and his wisdom to guide and protect us, but we also need his grace to rescue us” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, May 29th).

 “[T]here is no one who does not sin” (2 Chron 6:36 ESV).

“[W]e all start out as sinners. There’s nobody living right, not even one. [W]hatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity” (Rom 3:9-20 MSG).

“[T]he heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil” (Ecc 8:11 ESV).

“[Y]ou want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves” (James 4:1-2 MSG).

“The idol of idols really is the idol of self. We make it all about us. We put ourselves in the center of the story” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 3rd).

 “[T]he power of sin has been broken, but the presence of sin still remains inside us and is being progressively eradicated by God’s delivering grace. We all still carry around inside us the darkness of iniquity, transgression, and sin. We have not yet fully escaped the dire danger that is us” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Mar 18th).

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9 ESV).

“Not only the sins I have committed and still commit, but the evil nature, the unworthiness in me, I have to mortify” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p48).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

ASSURED OF HEAVEN

“It is not one or two good actions, but a consistent conduct, that tells whether a man is a true Christian….A Christian may stumble, he may even fall, but he gets up and walks on in the way of God’s commandments; the bent of his heart is right, and the scope of his life is straight, and thus he is considered sincere” George Swinnock (ref#225, Dec 11th).

A characteristic of a Christian is: “A man who is born again does not use the world’s opinion as his standard of right and wrong.  He does not mind going against the world’s ways, ideas, and customs.  What men think or say no longer concerns him….He finds no pleasure in things which seem to bring happiness to most people…He fears offending God more than offending man” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).

“I start…from the standpoint that I have been made a child of God by the grace of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I am destined for heaven; I have an assurance that I have been called to go there and that God is going to take me there, and it is because I know this that I am preparing now.  I must never regard that as contingent and uncertain in order that I may make it certain.  It is exactly the other way round: it is because I know I am going to meet God that I must prepare to meet Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p41-42, underlining mine).

FATHER, I am “…spiritually and vitally united to Christ…” Charles Ross (ref#241, p120) therefore I behave like Him.  I don’t try to act like Him.  I am like Him.  In my walk with CHRIST I no more strive to be like Him.  That no longer concerns me; CHRIST has taken care of that.  Instead my walk is to prepare to meet Him in heaven.

A characteristic of a Christian is: “A man who is born again is careful of his own soul.  He tries not only to avoid sin but also to avoid everything which may lead to it.  He is careful about the company he keeps.  He knows that evil communications corrupt the heart, and that evil is more catching than good…He is careful about the use of his time; his chief desire is to spend it profitable” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).  And to spend it profitable is preparing to meet Him in heaven!

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

HYPOCRITES_4

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: ‘Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?  Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?’  He who walks righteously…” (Isa 33:14-15 ESV).

“There are two kinds of persons among God’s professing people: the one is those who are truly godly, the other kind consist of sinners in Zion, hypocrites…. hypocrites…make a profession of the true religion; they attend God’s ordinances and make a show of being the worshippers of God, but all is in hypocrisy.  Fearfulness will surprise them.  The wrath of God is in His Word manifested against the wicked, but it is ten times as much manifested against those sinners who make the profession and enjoy the privileges of the people of God….The reasons for this are chiefly these: they sin against such professions and vows, and they sin against so much greater mercy” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p59).

“Abstaining from sin.  This abstaining may be from restraining grace, not renewing grace.  Men may leave gross sin and yet live in more spiritual sins; leave drunkenness and live in pride; leave uncleanness and live in malice” Thomas Watson (ref#48, “The Counterfeits of the New Creature”).

“Many a man’s knowledge is a torch to light him to hell.  You who have knowledge of God’s will, but don’t do it, in what way do you excel a hypocrite” Thomas Watson (ref#225, May 23rd)?

“…a mighty supernatural power is needed if I am to come to Him who ‘justifieth the ungodly.’  None but the all-mighty Spirit can lift a stricken soul out of the guilt of despair and enable him to believe to the saving of his soul” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p93).

A characteristic of a Christian is: “He is painfully aware of his indwelling corruption.  He finds an evil principle within himself that is constantly warring against grace and trying to draw him away from God.  But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).  “Sanctification is…dependent on God’s continuing action in the believer, and consisting of the believer’s continuous struggle against sin….Sanctification is…human effort dependent on God” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p1650).

O FATHER, how I want to believe that all I pray for, who are unregenerate, are sinning in a way that does not lead to death and that eventually You will give them life.  I pray their sins are not obstinate sins, and thus, incurable.  Matthew Poole (ref#21, p941, [1 John 5:16]).

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).