JESUS’ SUFFERING

“He was both the Lord’s anointed and the Lord’s afflicted” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 31st AM).

“It is the cross that gives God his credibility. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it” John Stott (ref#258, p63)?

“What is your sorrow, compared with Christ’s? What is your grief, gauged by your Lord’s? Your Master has passed before you, flinging the curse and the sin from your path, paving it with promises, carpeting it with love, and fencing it around with the hedge of His divine perfections. Press onward, then, resisting your foe resolutely, bearing your cross patiently, drinking your cup submissively, and learning, while sitting at the Saviour’s feet, or leaning upon His bosom, to be like Him, ‘meek and lowly in heart’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Jan 3rd).

“[A]ll who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12 ESV).

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:16-17 ESV).

“Why should our exalted Lord appear in His wounds in glory? The wounds of Jesus are His glories, His jewels, His sacred ornaments, the cross! There we behold all His beauties in perfection, all His attributes developed, all His love drawn out, all His character expressed” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 23rd PM).

“Behold how every wound of His

A precious balm distills,

Which heals the scars that sin had made,

And cures all mortal ills” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 23rd PM).

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor 4:8-10 ESV).

GOD’S POWER FOR US

“[W]hat the kingdom of Christ bestows upon us raises us even to eternal life, so we can patiently live at present under toil, hunger, cold, contempt, disgrace, and other annoyances. [H]e arms and equips us by his power. [W]e here are clothed with his righteousness, we can bravely surmount al the insults of the world and as he replenishes us liberally with his gifts, so we can in our turn bring forth fruit unto his glory” John Calvin (ref#113, p320).

“His presence gives us the courage to take on evil and win! He enables us to withstand temptation” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p25).

“The fact that we have been saved frees us from guilt and from God’s judgment The fact that we are being saved frees us from bondage to our own self-centeredness. And the fact that we shall be saved frees us from all fear about the future” John Stott (ref#258, p83-84).

“How happy are they who can believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves” John Newton (ref#322, p137)!

“Only be strong and very courageous” (Jos 1:7 ESV).

“Keep listening to the thunder in his voice” (Job 37:2 ESV).

“[B]e strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1 ESV).

SELF-PLEASING

You disobey not because you lack the God-given grace to obey, but because you love something more than the God who’s given you that grace” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Aug 11th).

“Sin is to look away from Him, to be interested in anything that the world can give rather than in Him. Oh, if it is something foul it is ten times worse; but the best that the world can give me is an insult to Him if I put it before Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Mar 29th).

“Sin is the rebellious assertion of myself against the love and authority of God, against the welfare of my neighbor” John Stott (ref#258, p85-86).

“[T]he true nature of sin—opposition against God, expressed in self-pleasing” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p70).

“There is no spiritual love for the true God until self is hated” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p67).

“Sin is an infinite evil because committed against an infinitely great and excellent Being, and so a violation of infinite obligation” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p70).

“The masquerading nature of sin plays to the fickleness of our idolatrous hearts. So what is often is not what we think it is, and the masquerading idol has no power at all to deliver to our hungry hearts what Jesus alone can give us. Only God can give us insight into our hearts and free us from our bondage to the little costume kingdom of one” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 31st).

“[W]ork out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:12-13 ESV).

“Here is a call to be serious about the life that grace has made possible for you. [T]he example reminds you that if you follow, if you obey, and if you do what is right in the eyes of your Savior, you can take no credit whatsoever. This is because your right desires and your right actions exist only because of his indwelling presence and ever-active grace. [W]e do the right that we do because grace is at the moment rescuing us from ourselves” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 17th).

FAUX CONFESSION

“People are optimistic about this world, and they are so because they have never understood the nature of sin” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 11th).

These are people “who are under the impelling urge of variegated, passionate desires, ever learning and never able to come to a precise and experiential knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 3:6-7 Wuest).

“The mere presentation of the cross to the natural eye will awaken no emotion, other than natural ones. Thus, in a contemplation of the sufferings of Christ, there may in minds of deep natural sensibility be emotion, the spectacle may affect the observer to tears—but it is nature only. [B]eware of mistaking nature for grace—the emotions of a stirred sensibility—for the tears of a broken and a contrite heart” Octavius Winslow (ref#365, p46).

“We may repent of our sins outwardly and even respect God’s Word, absorbing its teaching week after week at church and in Bible study, and getting a certain amount of joy from it. But if we repeatedly succumb to temptation without heart-sorrow and fail to change our ways, even when we are reprimanded by other godly people, we should beware lest our faith be only temporary” John Calvin (ref#164, June 25th).

“The unsound covert takes Christ by halves. He is all for the salvation of Christ, but he is not for sanctification. Jesus is a sweet Name, but men do not love the Lord Jesus in sincerity. Every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering, but they do not desire to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved, but still would have their lusts. O be infinitely careful here; your soul depends upon it” Joseph Alleine (ref#225, Oct 16th).

“[I]t is most important that we should distinguish between mock mortification and true, between the counterfeit resemblances of this duty and the duty itself. There is a pagan ‘mortification,’ which is merely suppressing such sins as nature itself discovers and from such reasons and motives as nature suggests. This tends to hide sin rather than mortify it. It is not a recovering of the soul from the world unto God, but only acquiring a fitness to live with less scandal among men” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p113).

“Nobody is free who is unforgiven. If I were not sure of God’s forgiveness, I could not look you in the face, and I certainly could not look God in the face. I would want to run away and hide” John Stott (ref#258, p84-85).

“God isn’t at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will” (John 9:30-33 MSG).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

NO SHORTCUTS

“False teaching is easily identified by the fact that it is willingly received by all, and is to everyone’s liking.” John Calvin

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God.  The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time.  Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.  The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention” (Matt 7:13-14 MSG).

“We can be committed to a set of Christian values or to a lifestyle of discipleship without being committed to God Himself” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p149).

“When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me” John Piper (ref#220, p124).  “If we love Christ, it is because he loved us first (1 John 4:19).  If we are Christians at all, it is not because we have decided for Christ, but because Christ has decided for us” John Stott (ref#258, p18).

FATHER, it is so easy for us to choose our own work we are going to do for you.  Caution us when we find our choice doable and satisfying—even if it is “difficult and meticulous at times” it still can be our own choosing.  John Fischer (ref#3, p10).  The standards we tend to set for ourselves in work choices are just “difficult enough to weed out the undesirables but not so difficult as to become overly burdensome” John Fischer (ref#3, p10).  The sin of pursuing Christianity by human methods disguised itself so easily as spiritual activity.  FATHER, prompt us to recognize the subtlety of working for ourselves instead of following GOD’s choice.

 “…self is the cause for every sin, every shortcoming, all failure, and all that has been dishonoring to God…let us allow Jesus Christ to take entire control of our life, in the faith that His life can be ours” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p38).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

DOUBLE MINDED CHRISTIANS

“It is not enough to yield assent to the divine word unless that is accompanied with true and pure affection, so that our hearts are not double or divided” John Calvin (ref#164, March 2nd).

Double minded Christians are “babes.”  They have the right actions but are only actors.  They are yet fleshly but preform spiritually.  They are “…people of the flesh…infants in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1 ESV).

“…you can’t have it both ways, banqueting with the Master one day and slumming with demons the next.  Besides, the Master won’t put up with it.  He wants us—all or nothing.  Do you think you can get off with anything less” (1 Cor 10:19-22 MSG).

“…they flattered him [the Most High God] with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues.  Their heart was not steadfast toward him…” (Ps 78:36-37 ESV).  “…they were carnal, and not qualified to understand the deep mysteries of the gospel…” Albert Barnes (ref#299).

“Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh…” (Ps 78:38-39 ESV).

“…when we come to Jesus, a marvelous exchange takes place….He first lifts our burden and then lays his upon us instead.  But too many people, influenced by the ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ mentality of postmodernism, want the rest without the yoke; they want to lose their burden but not to gain Christ’s.  Yet the two invitations of Jesus [Matt 11:29-30] belong together; we have no liberty to pick and choose between them” John Stott (ref#258, p128, brackets mine).

“It is possible for us to do the right action from a wrong motive…Holiness has to do with more than mere acts.  Our motives must be holy, that is, arising from a desire to do something simply because it is the will of God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p43).

“’Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit….For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:33-34 ESV).

JESUS

CHRIST’S INTERCESSION

FATHER, Your Son is at Your right hand, interceding for us (Heb 7:25).  But this interceding is not “as if the Lord Jesus Christ were there pleading for us before an unwilling God…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 2nd).  He is not “trying to persuade the Father…in getting Him to change His opinion” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 2nd).

Those words don’t depict a scene of CHRIST simply sitting beside You either, FATHER.  He does not just sit; He does not just speak.  He does not just craft words to convince You to act in our favor.

CHRIST is not talk but action.  On earth He performed Your will (John 4:34).  Now He lives in us that we might perform Your will.

I know, FATHER, that CHRIST is my permanent guest.  By the SPIRIT He resides in my personality, subdues my sinful desires and transforms me into His likeness (2 Cor 3:18) John Stott (ref#258, p86) so that You, CHRIST, and I all have the same desires.

 “Christ…is to intercede for his people:…the things he intercedes for are…

the consolation of distressed ones;

fresh discoveries of pardoning grace to fallen believers;

renewed strength to oppose sin, exercise grace, discharge duty, and bear up under temptations, and deliverance out of them;

perseverance in faith and holiness, and eternal glorification…” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, [Heb 7:25]).

Thus, His intercession is sweet.  “Christ will…treat you as his dear friend…you shall always be where he is” (John 12:26), “and shall behold his glory, and dwell with him, in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment (1 John 3:1-3; Rev 21:1-7)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Christ is our life…We are…chosen, adopted, pardoned, justified, and quickened people.  This is our present state; this is our present character.  We bear about with us the life of God in our souls” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 7th).

JESUS

CHRIST DOES EVERYTHING

“…Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me [JESUS].  And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go….” (John 6:35-38 MSG, brackets mine).

FATHER, You call me into fellowship with JESUS (1 Cor 1:9).  And JESUS employs Himself to my aid.  He enriches me in every way in all speech and all knowledge (1 Cor 1:5).  He maintains me with gifts while I wait for His physical appearance again (1 Cor 1:7).  He also sustains me until the end, guiltless (1 Cor 1:8).  He is my all.

“…the Father has given all power to the Son, that by his hand he may govern, cherish, sustain us, keep us under his guardianship and give assistance to us.  Thus, while we wander far as pilgrims from God, Christ interposes, that he may gradually bring us to full communion with God” John Calvin (ref#113, p321).

“…we have a double need: on the one hand cleansing from defilement, and on the other a new heart with new desires and aspirations….For Christ died to make us clean, and by the inward working of his Holy Spirit he can make us new” John Stott (ref#258, p78-79).

“…many ways Jesus loves his own…visiting them with his gracious presence, instructing and guiding them by his Word and Spirit, preserving them in his providence, strengthening them by his grace, comforting them with his love, and maturing them for his eternal glory” Charles Ross (ref#241, p19).

CHRIST constantly pulls me out of the God-ignoring flames of this earth.  He doesn’t just help me stand every once in a while when I think I need help but constantly rescues me.  O FATHER, I am so thankful.

“…Christ has entered…into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf”(Heb 9:24 ESV).

JESUS

THE SINLESS LIFE

JESUS exposes the works of the devil by His sinless life: He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth”(1 Pet 2:22 ESV).  “Jesus…was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”(Heb 4:14-15 NKJV).

“He committed no act of sin” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p54).  “He remained free, uncontaminated and uncompromised” John Stott (ref#258, p62).

JESUS who knew no sin exposes sin.  “He exposes the perversion and the twistedness of evil—the foulness and ugliness of sin.  In His teaching He is undoing the lie, the works of Satan….He gets down to the depth…In the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, He says, ‘You do not have to commit sin; just to look with lust in your eyes is sufficient’ (Matt 5:28)” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p67).

FATHER, this proves to me that committing acts of sin are only symptoms; the disease is my depraved nature .  This is not a fact I figure out on my own.  In the words of Scripture delivered by JESUS I find the Truth.

“Jesus…said, ‘I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind’”(John 9:39 MSG).

“He has established…once and for ever, that the only life worthy to be called life is one which is lived in utter, absolute conformity to the commands of the holy God; in His life He denies the lie of the devil” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p67).  “This was his victory.  The devil could gain no hold on him and was obligated to concede defeat” John Stott (ref#258, p62).

“…the blessed hope that faces us as Christian people is that He will destroy these works of the devil utterly, completely and finally; evil and sin will be finally destroyed out of existence, burnt, destroyed for ever” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p69).

FATHER, I desire to contemplate this sinless life of CHRIST knowing that it is thoroughly He that restores my life.  Though through His death on the cross I am no more a captive of sin, still sin entangles me.  Therefore I need CHRIST to cloth me in His righteousness lest I die before You, Holy FATHER.