SUPPLICATION

NON CHRISTIAN Pursuers

[We all have friends and family that sit in our churches but only act like they are Christians. It is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]

THE BOASTINGS OF THE FALLEN NATURE

…FATHER, ____ has heard of You by attending church; (he/she) has read (his/her) Bible, maybe even committed verses to memory, nonetheless Your Word does not produce fruit in (him/her) (Mark 4:19). Even Your truth residing in (his/her) mind is unable to affect (him/her).

It seems ____ is in the business, FATHER, of becoming holy and more holy in (his/her) own strength. Seems (he/she) is working with such intenseness that (he/she) passes over the good news about CHRIST. I think that (his/her) work is so gratifying that (he/she) imagines (he/she) is doing well and getting better and better. But…

 “There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth” (Prov 30:12 ESV). “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong’” (Prov 30:20 ESV).

“The majority of people have their morality well within their own grasp, they do not sense the need of the Gospel” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 17th). FATHER, it seems ____ is pursuing You because (he/she) admires righteousness therefore (he/she) is trying hard to act righteously (ref#33, p110). (He/She) may not know that (his/her) natural flesh can perform good as well as produce sin (ref#33, p110). (He/She) may be confusing (his/her) natural fleshly work with Your HOLY SPIRIT’s work. And, the case is that (he/she) is then unable to be a Christian because it is impossible to receive anything unless it is given to (him/her) from heaven (James 1:17).

It is quite natural to fall into the pattern of searching the Scriptures for commands to keep (John 5:39). By keeping only the commands of (his/her) choosing (he/she) does not need a Savior; (he/she) is saving (himself/herself). FATHER, lead ____ to the understanding that whatever “does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the HOLY SPIRIT, is unquestionably of the flesh”  Watchman Nee (ref #33, p 114).

It seems that ____ is set in (his/her) own ways of righteousness, but I know, FATHER, that You can and will work in due season to call Your sons and daughters according to Your purpose (ref#13, Vol 1, p31 [Mark 2:14]). Please, FATHER, I want You to call ____.

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SABBATH

FINDING GOD’S PRESENCE

“It is man’s sinful nature which makes the Sabbath and its proper observance so hateful to him. The Sabbath calls upon us to discipline our lives” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).

GOD sometimes helps us get into His presence but we have to look for Him. Bishop J. C. Ryle suggests, “Arrange your time on Sunday so that you may have leisure for quiet, sober meditation on eternal things. Avoid the company that would lead you to talk only of this world” (ref#167).

It helps immensely to remind ourselves of how truly in desperate need of GOD’s help we are. All during each day we can pray without ceasing, knowing He is there to help us fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, but Sunday affords opportunity to evaluate our last week’s activities.

There are weekly activities that cause barriers between our FATHER and us. It is our first Sabbath duty to crash through these obstacles.

“…there are certain things that will stand between us and the fellowship that in turn leads to joy. First of all, there is sin—unrighteousness….If we recognize and confess sin, then there is the blood that cleanses, and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:7,9). The second hindrance that John talks about in 1 John 2:3 is lack of love for the brethren….You lose contact with the brethren, and you lose contact with God…The third hindrance is a love of the world,…You cannot mix light and darkness. The last thing that interrupts fellowship with God, he tells us at the end of 1 John 2, is false teaching about the person of Jesus Christ. Obviously if the only way to God is through Christ, if I am in any way wrong about my teaching or doctrine concerning Him, then automatically I sever the communion, and again I lose my joy” Marytn Lloyd-Jones, (ref#189, Sept 18th).

SABBATH

WORK ON THE SABBATH

“Our Lord’s reply…’Though my Father rested on the seventh day from His work of creation, He has never rested for a moment from His providential government of the world, and from His merciful work of supplying the daily wants of all His creatures….I do not break the fourth commandment when I heal the sick, anymore than my Father breaks it when He causes the sun to rise and the grass to grow on the Sabbath’” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. Three, p277, [John 5:16-23]).

“…the Sabbath was not meant to be a day of total idleness, and of entire cessation from all kinds and sorts of work. ‘The Sabbath was made for man,’ for his benefit, comfort, and advantage” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. Three, p280, [John 5:17]).

“This Sabbath is kept holy…when men…are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“Works of piety are to be performed on the Lord’s Day, yea, on this day especially, as being the proper works of the day. And such are not only those that consist in the internal operations of the soul, as heavenly meditations and spiritual affections; but such also as consist in the external actions of the body, as oral prayer, reading of the Scriptures, and preaching of the Word” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

“Not only works of piety, but works of necessity—and of great convenience—may also be done on the Lord’s Day. And [these] are such without which we cannot subsist or not well subsist. Therefore, we may quench a raging fire; prevent any great and notable damage that would happen either to our persons or estates…without being guilty of the violation of this day…And not only those works that are of absolute necessity, but those likewise that are of great convenience may lawfully be done on the Lord’s Day: such as kindling of fire, preparing of [food], and many other particulars too numerous to be mentioned” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

“Another sort of works that may and ought to be done on the Lord’s Day are the works of charity and mercy….God prefers mercy before sacrifice….Works of mercy, therefore, are to be done even to beasts themselves, whatsoever labor may be required to the doing of them. How much more, then, [should we do] works of charity to men like ourselves! [This] charity is to be shown either to their souls or their bodies, for both many times are extremely miserable” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). We will not break the Sabbath law if we follow His example of acting responsibly and compassionately.

SABBATH

THE SABBATH AND ITS LENGTH

“There is a threefold rest or Sabbath spoken of in Scripture: (1) temporal; (2) spiritual, which is an internal soul-rest in ceasing from sin (Heb 4:3); (3) eternal, celebrated in heaven (Heb 4:9, 11), where the saints rest from their labors. It is the first of these, the weekly Sabbath that is here meant” Thomas Boston (ref#179).

“It was designed to meet the physical, moral, spiritual, and social wants of men’ to afford a suitable time for the public moral and religious instruction of the people and the public and private worship of God; and to afford a suitable period of rest from the wear and tear of secular labor” Archibald A. Hodge (ref#181).

“Our duty with respect to the Sabbath is to keep it holy. God has made it holy, set it apart for holy exercises, and we must keep it holy, spending it in holy exercises” Thomas Boston (ref#179).

“The quantity of time to be observed as a Sabbath of rest [is] a day—a whole day of twenty-four hours, and one day in seven….Our Sabbath is held in memory of Christ’s resurrection, and it is certain that Christ rose early in the morning of the first day of the week…the day to be kept holy is one whole day—not a few hours, while the public worship lasts, but a whole day” Thomas Boston (ref#179).

“I once heard a man say about the observance of the Lord’s Day. He said he had come to the conclusion that the Lord’s Day, like the Lord Himself, was in danger of dying between two thieves, the two thieves being Saturday night and Monday morning! He said that, increasingly, Saturday night was extended and extended and blended into Sunday, and then people started their Monday morning quite early on Sunday evening. Sunday becomes just a few hours during the morning, and then we think, ‘Well, that is enough now; we have been to church once.’ Thus, our Lord’s Day has been lost between two thieves” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#185).

“Rise early, and let your first thoughts and aspirations be directed to heaven. Meditate much and profoundly on divine things, and endeavor to acquire a degree of spirituality on this day which will abide with you through the whole week” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

“My advice to all Christians is to contend earnestly for the whole day against all enemies, both without and within. It is worth a struggle…” J. C. Ryle (ref#178).

SABBATH

THE SABBATH – TO REVIVE US PHYSICALLY

“The Sabbath is given as a gift to man (for physical…refreshment)” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1897, [Mark 2:27-28]).

“…this day…has been instituted in order that we might withdraw from all earthly anxieties, from all business affairs, to the end that we might surrender everything to God” John Calvin (ref#168).

“This day is a gift from God to be experienced as a delight and a joy—a day that shapes and frames your life, creates purpose, and structure and order and cohesion and a day that goes a long way to relieving panic ad stress” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon #2097, “The Delight of the Sabbath,” July 18, 1999).

“The Sabbath is good for man’s mind….The testimony of the famous philanthropist, Wilberforce, on this point is very striking. He declared that he could only attribute his own power of endurance to his regular observance of the Sabbath Day…he was satisfied that in every such case of mental shipwreck the true cause was neglect of the Fourth Commandment” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167).

“The Sabbath is good for man’s body. We all need a day of rest. On this point…all medical men are agreed. Curiously and wonderfully made as the human frame is, it will not stand incessant work without regular intervals of repose” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167).

SABBATH

THE SABBATH – TO REVIVE THE SOUL

“The Sabbath is given as a gift to man (for…spiritual refreshment)” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1897 [Mark 2:27-28]). “’The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’ (Mar 2:27). It was made for the profit and for the comfort of our souls” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).

“…there must be a special day set apart; there must be a regularly recurring time for examining the state of our souls; there must be a day to test and prove us, whether we are prepared for an eternal heaven. Take away a man’s Sabbath, and his religion soon comes to nothing” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167). “It is but a few steps from ‘no Sabbath’ to ‘no God’—J. C. Ryle” (ref#185).

“…our Lord only asks that this day be spent in hearing his Word, in offering common prayers, in confessing our faith, and in observing the sacraments…And when we have spent Sunday in praising and glorifying the name of God and in meditating on his works, then, throughout the rest of the week, we should show that we have benefited from it” John Calvin (ref#168).

God’s objective in commanding this day of rest is for the development of our spiritual nature. Therefore, it is a day set apart from even our words and thoughts about our worldly employments and recreations [Westminster Confession of Faith] Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993). Can you imagine speaking only about spiritual things before and after the church service?

SABBATH

IS THE SEVENTH DAY SATURDAY, SUNDAY, OR ANY DAY?

“…Genesis 2 contains nothing whatever that enables us to determine which day of our week this primal “seventh day” was….All we do know—and it is all that is necessary for us to know—is that the seventh day was the day that followed six days of manual work…” Arthur W. Pink (ref#177).

“…the holy rest day should be one out of every seven….The command is simply work six, rest one. Every seventh day should be a Sabbath” John Piper (ref#169). So to keep the Sabbath means that one day a week we do not do our normal work. Since some people have jobs that include working on Sunday, they are free to choose another day, however every effort should be made to make their Sabbath the day their local Christian fellowship meets to gain the benefit of corporate worship.

“The Lord Jesus kept the Sabbath day. The change from the seventh to the first day of the week rather confirms than abolishes this divine institution. Call it the Lord’s day in preference to the Sabbath, if you so desire. The term “Lord’s day” rather enforces than diminishes our obligation to its proper observance” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).

“…the apostles were divinely inspired to make that change, and at the same time wisely directed to make no public decree about it. The decree would only have raised a ferment in the Jewish mind and caused needless offence; the change was one that it was better to effect gradually, and not to force on the consciences of weak brethren. The change did not interfere with the spirit of the Fourth Commandment in the smallest degree: the Lord’s Day, on the first day of the week, was just as much a day of rest after six days’ labor, as the seventh-day Sabbath had been” J. C. Ryle (ref#178).

The Old Testament saints looked forward to CHRIST, while we look back to CHRIST. GOD rested after completing creation. (It is the Jewish Sabbath.) CHRIST rested after completing redemption. (It is the Christian LORD’s Day.) And CHRIST’s return (second coming) is heaven—our final rest (ref#169)!

 

SABBATH

TRUTH BE KNOWN

Truth be known, I find it life-saving to hear from GOD. Yet I find myself not interested in Him when life goes smoothly. It certainly is a knee-jerk reaction to handle life when I can handle it. However, when I perceive I need help I look to GOD.

Believing scripture when it says that GOD’s thoughts are not my thoughts (Isa 55:8), I must conclude that seeking GOD’s presence when I’m overwhelmed with a life situation may not be the only time I benefit from His presence. Indeed, it’s true all His commands are for my protection lest I injure myself living with only my thoughts.

I’ve concluded that I need GOD more often than I think I do. Yet, I forget that. So I am challenging myself this new year to explore His command of keeping the Sabbath. I have begun to examine scripture references and comments from SPIRIT-filled authors on the subject and conclude it is a VITAL part of spiritual growth.

“We may rest assured that national prosperity and personal growth in grace, are intimately bound up in the maintenance of a holy Sabbath” J. C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. One, p42, [Mark 2:23-28]).

Therefore, I am ready to learn more. So I shall put myself to the task of obeying this command publicly through this blog. Sundays I will blog information about the command and Mondays I’ll post a journal entry dealing with the results experienced communing with GOD.

“The Sabbath command is in fact a command to experience joy” John Piper (ref#169).

SABBATH

THE SABBATH DEFINED

“…remembering the Sabbath by keeping it holy is integral to…life as the people who are sanctified (or ‘made holy’) by the Lord…” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p 196, [Ex 31:12-17]).

“…actual intent of the Sabbath – to bring rest and well-being…” (ref#125, p1844, [Matt 12:8]).

“The Sabbath is given as a gift to man (for physical and spiritual refreshment)” (ref#125, p 1897, [Mark 2:27-28]).

“…the Sabbath was not meant to be a day of total idleness, and of entire cessation from all kinds and sorts of work. ‘The Sabbath was made for man,’ for his benefit, comfort, and advantage” J. C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. Three, p280, [John 5:17]).

“Our Lord’s reply…’Though my Father rested on the seventh day from His work of creation, He has never rested for a moment from His providential government of the world, and from His merciful work of supplying the daily wants of all His creatures….I do not break the fourth commandment when I heal the sick, anymore than my Father breaks it when He causes the sun to rise and the grass to grow on the Sabbath’” (ref#13, Vol. Three, p277, [John 5:16-23]).

“The Sabbath is a covenant sign that represents a lifestyle of devotion to the Lord, for it requires the practical reorganization of every week around him (cf. Ex 31:12-17; Ezek 20:18-20)” (ref#125, p1342, [Isa 56:2]).

SUPPLICATION

We all have friends and family that sit in our churches but only act like they are Christians. It is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.

THE BOASTINGS OF THE FALLEN NATURE

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 12.33.30 PM…FATHER, ____ has heard of You by attending church; (he/she) has read (his/her) Bible, maybe even committed verses to memory, nonetheless Your Word does not produce fruit in (him/her) (Mark 4:19). Even Your truth residing in (his/her) mind is unable to affect (him/her).

It seems ____ is in the business, FATHER, of becoming holy and more holy in (his/her) own strength. Seems (he/she) is working with such intenseness that (he/she) passes over the good news about CHRIST. I think that (his/her) work is so gratifying that (he/she) imagines (he/she) is doing well and getting better and better. But…

“There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth” (Prov 30:12 ESV). “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong’” (Prov 30:20 ESV).

“The majority of people have their morality well within their own grasp, they do not sense the need of the Gospel” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 17th).

FATHER, it seems ____ is pursuing You because (he/she) admires righteousness therefore (he/she) is trying hard to act righteously (ref#33, p110). (He/She) may not know that (his/her) natural flesh can perform good as well as produce sin (ref#33, p110). (He/She) may be confusing (his/her) natural fleshly work with Your HOLY SPIRIT’s work. And, the case is that (he/she) is then unable to be a Christian because it is impossible to receive anything unless it is given to (him/her) from heaven (James 1:17).

It is quite natural to fall into the pattern of searching the Scriptures for commands to keep (John 5:39). By keeping only the commands of (his/her) choosing (he/she) does not need a Savior; (he/she) is saving (himself/herself). FATHER, lead ____ to the understanding that whatever “does not issue from waiting upon God, from depending upon the HOLY SPIRIT, is unquestionably of the flesh” Watchman Nee (ref #33, p 114).

It seems that ____ is set in (his/her) own ways of righteousness, but I know, FATHER, that You can and will work in due season to call Your sons and daughters according to Your purpose (ref#13, Vol 1, p31 [Mark 2:14]). Please, FATHER, I want You to call ____.