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.