TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

CARNAL – NOT YET FULL OF THE SPIRIT

“There is a notion today that people can walk up an aisle, pray a little prayer, and do God a favor by making their decision…” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p17).  “It will not do to say merely, Christ died but now lives, and therefore I shall live also.  There must be a vital union between our souls and him by faith or we must assuredly perish” Charles Ross (ref#241, p103).

“Because of the lack of clear and spiritual views of the freeness of the atonement—the perfectly unconditional bestowment of the blessings of pardon and justification—many are kept, even among those “called to be saints,” from entering fully into the liberty and peace of the gospel.  They have been convinced of their need of Christ; they have been made to hunger and thirst for pardon and acceptance; they may have been brought through a deep law work of the soul to stand as on the very borders of the land that flows with milk and honey; but looking more to themselves, and less to Christ,…waiting for some condition to be performed, some fitness to be experienced, or some price to bring, they are kept back from those rich and untold blessings which a closing in with Jesus the Savior of sinners would assuredly bring into their possession” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 18th).

“…if…we desire to enjoy…the Spirit’s power and blessing, we must give Christ the throne of our hearts and crown Him the Lord of our lives” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p45).

“The…mark of the carnal state is a man’s inability to receive spiritual truths….We give…men spiritual teaching, and they admire it, and understand it, and rejoice in such ministry; yet their lives are not practically affected….we dare not say they are spiritual men, full of the Holy Spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“Therefore, I say that I must never attempt by any means or method to get to know God or to try to make myself love God except in and through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I must avoid every other direct approach to God…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 26th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

RULE-KEEPING

“…you can never make yourself a Christian…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p92).

“…there are…two ways of seeking holiness…The one is the carnal way, in which we put forth our utmost efforts and resolutions, trusting Christ to help us in doing so.  The other the spiritual way, in which, as those who have died, and can do nothing, our one care is to receive Christ day by day, and at every step to let Him live and work in us” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p190).

“Rather resolve to trust on Christ…They…think to tame the flesh, and to subdue and root out its lusts, and to make their corrupt nature to be better-natured and inclined to holiness by their struggling and wrestling with it…” “…they trust in the grace of God through Christ to help them in all such resolutions and endeavours.  Thus they endeavor to reform their old state, and to be made perfect in the flesh, instead of putting it off and walking according to the new state in Christ” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

“…The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him.  Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you….Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping…” (Gal 3:11-12 MSG).

“If you only preach the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ not only do you not solve the problem of mankind, but in a sense you aggravate it.  You are preaching nothing but utter condemnation, because nobody can ever carry it out….” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 2nd).  FATHER, what needs to be preached is CHRIST crucified and the meaning of that event. (ref#189, April 2nd)

“Stop trying to earn something from God.  Stop trying to gain more of his acceptance.  Stop trying to earn his favor.  Stop trying to win his allegiance.  Stop trying to do something that would pay for his blessing.  Stop trying to morally buy your way out of his anger.  Stop trying to reach a level where you will know lasting peace with him.  Just stop trying.  Just stop….It simply cannot work” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, July 3rd).

“…what we do is only the manifestation of what God is doing in us!  The establishing in Christ is His work:  He accomplishes it by stirring us to watch, and wait, and work.  But this He can do with power only as we cease interrupting Him by our self-working” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p82).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

MISSING: GRACES OF THE SPIRIT

“The Corinthians prided themselves on their wisdom and sought it above everything, Paul said, ‘I thank God that you are enriched in utterance, in knowledge, and in wisdom; nevertheless, you are yet carnal, your life is not holy…You cannot yet take in real spiritual truth” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p15).

“…the graces of the Spirit were noticeably absent.  We may find this in our days as well as in the time of the Corinthians.  I may be a minister of the gospel; I may teach God’s Word beautifully; I may have influence and gather a large congregation, and yet, alas!  I may be a carnal man, a man who may be used by God, and a blessing to others, and yet marked by the carnal life” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p13).

FATHER, it is just like it is now days—the Corinthian Christians were knowledgeable and even possessed spiritual gifts but their actions proved they had yet to possess the graces of the SPIRIT.  Therefore, not having a relationship with You they were not assured of their salvation.

“A Christian living in the daily neglect of self-examination must not marvel if, at a certain period of his religious course, he finds himself trembling on the brink of gloomy despondency, his evidence gone, his hope obscured, and all the past of his Christian profession appearing to his view as a fearful delusion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 10th).

“To say ‘I hope so,’ or ‘I trust so’ is easy and there are thousands in the fold of Jesus who hardly get much further” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 21st AM).

Some distinctions of babes in CHRIST are: “Their pastor and their Christian friends must always be teaching and comforting them.  They go to church, to prayer meetings, and to conventions—always wanting to be helped.  This is a sign of spiritual infancy.  The other sign of an infant is this: he can do nothing to help his fellowman….They take a part in work, as it is called, but there is little exercising of spiritual power and carrying real blessing….the joy of conversion and the first love is gone” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p10-11).

“…anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure…” (Gal 3:9-10 MSG).

“Christianity…is Christ Himself.  He is not only central, He is absolutely vital, and therefore we have to see that we are concerned primarily and always with Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Sept 1st).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

CULTURAL HOLINESS

“Many Christians have what we might call a ‘cultural holiness.’  They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them.  As the Christian culture around them is more or less holy, so these Christians are more or less holy” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p22).  “…those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith…” (Matt 8:10-12 MSG).

“…the present generation has been brought up to believe in the doctrines and religious customs of their ancestors…that…makes it more difficult, and calls for a more careful self-examination, to ascertain whether or not he has been taught of the Lord” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p103-104).

“…these…rest upon their intellectual knowledge of the Truth, and mistake it for a saving experience of the same.  And it is this class which…is the hardest to reach: it is much more difficult to persuade such to examine themselves as to whether or not they have been taught of God, than it is those who make no profession at all” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p104).

“…there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and deceiving talk.  Those who were brought up religious and ought to know better are the worst….They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words….” (Titus 1:10-16 MSG).

“I would issue a strong warning…to…moral, civil, well-natured people, good-livers, as we call them….when this virtuous, natural disposition has the advantage of a godly education, these sort of people come quickly to look very well; and, therefore, they ought to take great care….” Robert Traill (ref#225, March 27th).

“Moral, civil people are in great danger…they think they have sufficient assets of their own and therefore, they do not borrow from Christ” Robert Traill (ref#225, March 27th).

FATHER, these long-time pew-sitters are in great danger indeed.  They are “babes in CHRIST” that are lulled to contentment in virtue of their good actions and spiritual knowledge.  But they are static babes, presently stagnant in their growth toward holiness having no idea that “moral conformity’” is vastly different than the “Gospel.” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p69)   I pray for these who find themselves in this quote: “…I have been brought up as a Christian; I have always tried to do good.  I have never been conscious of the fact that I am a sinner, that I need repentance, and that I must be converted” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Sept 26th).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

TEMPORARY CONVERSION

“There is the possibility of a joyful conversion proving to be temporary” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 21st).

This title is misleading as well as the statement above for conversion is permanent.  I’ve labeled this post “temporary conversion” because for some there is a short-lived excitement toward Christianity, but in the end they fall short of it.  “…this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy…endures for a while, and…falls away” (Matt 13:20-21 ESV).

“He seems to have received the Word, he is full of joy, but he has no root in him, and that is why he ends up with nothing at all….there is the possibility of this very joyful ‘conversion,’ and yet there is nothing there in a vital, living sense, and it proves temporary” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 21st).

“Instead of believing God, he believes the contradiction of his own ungodly heart; and hopes to be saved whether God wills it or not” Richard Baxter (ref#225, Aug 25th).

“Judas was in the company of the apostles all along, he really belonged to the world, and the fate of the world is to perish….The end of the non-Christian, even though he may be highly religious, is perdition, which means perishing” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, March 14th).  “…Not everyone who talks about God comes from God….” (1 John 4:1 MSG).

“He is not a true Christian who only bears the visible badges of Christianity, but he who, with the visible badges, also partakes of the invisible grace (Mark 16:16)” Thomas Watson (ref#48, “The Counterfeits of the New Creature”).

“…we want an experience with God…You don’t experience God; you get to know him.  You submit to him.  You enjoy him, He is, after all, a person” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p21).

PRAYER

HOW TO RECEIVE

“…whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matt 21:22 ESV).

“God means prayer to have an answer, and that it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what God will do for His child who gives himself to believe that his prayer will be heard” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIRST LESSON).

“Jesus teaches us to ask and we will receive (Luke 11:9-10), he does so only after telling us that those who believe in him ask for the will and purpose of God above all things…” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p52).

The conditions of true prayer are: “…the first thing—we must be utterly and entirely free from a sense of condemnation….the second condition…confidence…we must have boldness and assurance and confidence in our access….I must have assurance with regard to my petitions” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p128-129).

“One can only expect to obtain answers to prayers which are according to the mind of God; and even then, patience and faith may be exercised for many years…” Andrew Murray (ref#19, THIRTEENTH LESSON).

PRAYER

ANSWERED PRAYER

“So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD.  And the LORD did as Moses asked…” (Ex 8:30-31 ESV).

“Prayer…cannot request too much because the Father desires to glorify his Son as much as possible” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p97).

“God…satisfies his appetite for joy by answering prayers….he gets his satisfaction by magnifying the glory of his riches by filling up the deficiencies of people who pray” John Piper (ref#220, p216).

“…prayer may and must expect an answer.  Thou dost assure us that this is the fellowship of a child with the Father: the child asks and the Father gives” Andrew Murray (ref#19).

“Think, how many times the prayers of the saints have prevailed with God…Moses’ prayer prevailed to deliver Israel, when the Egyptians so closely pursued them….Asa’s prayer prevailed against Zerah and his Ethiopian army, and Jehoshaphat’s against the Ammonites.  And if prayer has been so prevalent, why may it not be so still?  It is an old, proven means, which has not used to fail….” John Collins (ref#225, Dec 13th).

“We see prayer perfectly…in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  Look at Him.  He obeyed God’s commandments perfectly, and He received the Holy Spirit without measure.  He was led and guided of the Spirit. He had put aside His own eternal glory, and He came to live as man.  Then He received the Spirit and was guided and led by the Spirit and thus He lived this life of prayer….His supreme object and desire was to do the will of His Father, and as long as that is our supreme will and desire, as long as we are concerned about that and are submitting to the leading of the Spirit, our requests will be granted as His requests were granted” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p131).

“Never make the blunder of trying to forecast the way God is going to answer your prayer….Over and over again God has to teach us how to stand and endure, watching actively and wondering” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Jan 15th).  “…you may discover that your real need was not to know the next step but to have a new revelation of God Himself” Lorne Sanny (ref#302, p195).

PRAYER

WE ASK, GOD GIVES

“’You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13 ESV).

“…the faults of the petitioner himself shall not prevent the success of his prayer” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).

“…when you can do least yourselves, you may engage God, by prayer, to do most” John Collins (ref#225, Dec 13th).

“And if there should be grave defects in our spirit and failures in the fervency or in the humility of the prayer, though these should not be there and are much to be deplored, grace overlooks and forgives all this, and still its merciful hand is stretched out to enrich us according to our needs” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p37).

“Blessed be God, neither the faults of the prayer nor yet of the suppliant shall shut out our petitions from God who delights in broken and contrite hearts” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).

“He does withhold His aid when we forget our need of it and do not ask Him for it” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p145).

“…as the father likes the child to keep on coming because he likes the personal contact, so God desires us to come into His presence….we must know that God is much more ready to give than we are to receive” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#212, p83).

“If I cannot find words in which to utter my desires, God in His grace will read my desires without the words….God…will dive into the soul of our desires and will read there what we cannot speak with the tongue” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).

PRAYER

HOW PRAYER AFFECTS GOD

“The answering hand of God waits for the lifted hand of man…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p17).

“That which is true of the promises’ of God is equally true of the purposes of God.  We might say that God does nothing without prayer.  His most gracious purposes are conditioned on prayer.  His marvelous promises in the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel are subject to this qualification and condition: “Thus says the Lord GOD: This…I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them…” (Ezek 36:37 ESV) E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p37-38).

“God’s ultimate will is unchanging, but the way in which he chooses to realize this will is dependent on the prayers of his children” Donald Bloesch (ref#31, p31).

“Prayer affects God more powerfully than His own purposes.  God’s will, words, and purposes are all subject to review when the mighty potencies of prayer come in.  How mighty prayer is with God may be seen as He readily sets aside His own fixed and declared purposes in answer to prayer” E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p38).

“The God who determines the end determines the means; and if God in His infinite wisdom is determined that He is going to bring certain things to pass as a result of and in answer to the prayers of His people, I ask with reverence, why shouldn’t He Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 21st)?

“That it can alter His purpose, effect any change in His will, or afford Him information, no one supposes for a moment.  And yet, that it should be an ordained medium by which finite weakness seems to overcome infinite strength, a human will seems to turn the divine will, and man’s shallow mind seems to pour knowledge into the fathomless mind of God; that it should arrest a threatened judgment, remove an existing evil, or supply for a present need—these are marvels in which, like all others of divine revelation, I submit my reason to my faith, receiving and adoring what my reason cannot completely comprehend, unless I were God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135. June 3rd).

PRAYER

MEDITATE UPON THE LORD

“…Make me know the way I should go…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!  Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Ps 143:8,10 ESV).

“…thinking right thought about God…that is essential to praying good prayers” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p9).

“…take more time to be still before God without saying one word….We are not ready to offer our petition until we are fully conscious of having secured the attention of God” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p48).

“It is difficult to steadfastly and unweariedly persevere in prayer….as fuel must frequently be added to preserve a fire, so prayer requires helps so that it will not languish and at length be extinguished….by meditating on…truth” John Calvin (ref#164, Feb 13th).

“A short, unhurried meditation on some fragment of Scripture and then silence quickens the spirit of devotion” William E. Sangster (ref#212, p157).

“We must meditate upon Him [CHRIST], upon what He is, what He has done, His love to us, and God’s care for us who are His people….we must look at ‘these things’ (John 17:13) that He speaks of, these truths that He unfolded.  Let us meditate upon them, contemplate them, dwell upon them, revel in them, and I will guarantee that as we do so, either in our own personal meditation or in reading books about them, we will find ourselves experiencing a joy we have never known before” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, March 13th, brackets mine).