TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

ENTHUSIASTIC SPECTATORS

“A man may go to hell with baptismal water upon his face” John Trapp (ref#225, Aug 21st).

“Because the story of Jesus is so impressive—God among us!  God speaking a language we can understand!  God acting in ways that heal and help and save us!—there is a danger that we will be impressed, but only be impressed.  As the spectacular dimensions of this story slowly (or suddenly) dawn upon us, we could easily become enthusiastic spectators, and then let it go at that—become admires of Jesus, generous with our oh’s and ah’s…” The MESSAGE Bible, “Introduction to Acts” (ref#262, p278).

“Do not satisfy yourself with external ceremonies, with the observance of days and frequent communions, with tithing and charities.  Is Christ dwelling in your heart by His Spirit” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 3rd)?

“It is not enough to make use of ordinances, but we must see if we can find God in them.  There are many that hover about the palace, and yet do not speak with the prince; so possibly we may hover about ordinances, and not meet with God there…come to the ordinances with the desire of finding the living God” Thomas Manton (ref#225, Aug 21st).

“There can be no true following of Christ as our example if we lose sight of Him as a suffering Christ and a cross-bearing Savior.  There must be fellowship with Him in His sufferings.  In order to enter fully and sympathetically into the afflictions of His people, He stooped to a body of suffering; in like manner, in order to have sympathy with Christ in His sorrows, we must tread the path He trod in some degree.…mutual sympathy…The afflicted child of God who is led to view his Father’s discipline in the light of a privilege will be happy….They…know the honor of suffering with Christ or being made conformable to His death” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 25th).

“Look honestly and fairly at your condition.  Discouraging and repelling as it may appear, look it fully in the face, and lay it open before God exactly as it is…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 10th).

“…if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach….” (Matt 7:26-27 MSG).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

FANATICISM

“Rightly did Jonathan Edwards affirm, ‘Many have been the mischiefs that have arisen from that false and delusory notion of the witness of the Spirit, that it is a kind of inward voice, suggestion, or revelation from God to man, that he is beloved of Him, and that his sins are pardoned—sometimes accompanied with, sometimes without, a text of Scripture; and many have been the false and vain (though very high) affections that have arisen from hence.  It is to be feared that multitudes of souls have been eternally undone by it.’  Especially was this so in the past, when fanaticism made much of the Spirit witnessing to souls” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p138).

Samuel Chadwick defines this as ‘will-worship.”  “…a kind of will-worship, by which man substitutes his own enthusiasms for the will of God” (ref#195, p126).  These thoughts came from a spirit all right, but it was an unholy spirit and not the HOLY SPIRIT.

“…They tripped over what little they knew about him [JESUS] and fell, sprawling….” (Mark 6:3 MSG).

“He who is seldom with Jesus in private will only exhibit, in all that he does for Jesus publicly, the fitful movements of a mind urged on by a feverish and unnatural excitement” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 17th).

“Man-made enthusiasm and emotionalism is superficial and cheap.  In real revival emotion is not produced or manipulated by man.  It is a response to the unsought, unexpected, but powerful working of God’s Spirit upon the inner depths of people’s souls” Wesley Duewel (ref#341, p12).

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?

INOCULATED CARNAL CHRISTIANS

Christians who keep GOD at arms length are in much peril.  Satan finds many ways to convince wanta-be Christ-followers that the way he choses to be a Christian is an adequate way.  This satisfaction can be labeled “inoculation” for it makes him feel safe that all will turn out well in the end.  The enemy makes his life pleasant enough.

“It may impart just enough light to the mind to leave its atheism without excuse, but it cannot impart enough light to convince the soul of its sinfulness, guilt, exposure to the wrath of a holy God, and its need of a Savior” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 25th).

Carnal Christians have a zeal for GOD but do not walk in tandem with Him.  They consider themselves inoculated and thus not in need of CHRIST the Physician.  “They work for Christ in a certain way, but we can scarcely recognize the true sanctification of the Spirit…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p14).

“One grain of the truth of God experienced in the heart is more valuable and precious than the whole system in the head only….Welcome whatever makes you more acquainted with God…Welcome the cross, though it may be heavy; welcome the cup, though it may be bitter…welcome the wound, though it may be deep.  Welcome to your heart whatever increases your knowledge of God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 10th).

“The bedrock in Jesus Christ’s kingdom is not sincerity, not deciding for Christ, not a determination to serve Him, but complete and entire recognition that we cannot begin to do it” Oswald Chambers (ref#83, p86).

“No matter what your experience or profession, no matter how certain of your conversion or how orthodox your belief: ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting’ (Gal 6:7-8).  O the madness of men in courting eternal death rather than leave their sinful pleasures and live a holy life” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p111).

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 CHRISTIANS OR FAUX?

DEFINING TERMS

In 1 Corinthians Paul addresses the saints in Corinth – “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” (1 Cor 1:2 ESV).  He speaks to the entire church but later he calls some ‘babes” and some “spiritual” saints.

“…in the church of Christ there are two classes of Christians: (1) Those who have lived many years as believers and yet always remain babes; (2) Those who are spiritual men because they have given themselves up to the power and the leading of the Holy Spirit…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p8).

“The SPIRITUAL were those who, after conversion, had continued to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, no longer continuing as ‘babes in Christ.’”  James Burton Coffman (ref#298).  Babes “were in Christ, and so were new creatures…though babes and weaklings in it” John Gill (ref#300).  Babes were carnal “…those who were continuing to live like the unconverted…” James Burton Coffman (ref#298).

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.…For while there is jealously and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way” (1 Cor 3:1,3 ESV)?

Backsliders: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you:…” (Jer 3:14 KJV).  “…we do not speak of the destruction of the root principle in your soul, but of the decline of its power…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 22nd).

The terms “backslider,” “people of the flesh,” “carnal,” “babes” can depict a Christian (a not-advancing Christian) or a non-Christian since no one but GOD knows the condition of the heart, but in 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul uses these terms to address Christians.

PRAYER

PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING 

“…You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest…” (Isa 62:6-7 NIV).  “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4:2 ESV).

“…definition of prayer is: ‘practicing the presence of Jesus.’  Prayer is recognizing that the Lord is seated (or standing) right beside us…all the time, and having fellowship with him at all hours…Often we talk…often we are silent.  Sometimes we ask him for things…more frequently we simply want to tell him how grateful we are for his blessings….never say, ‘Lord, we come into thy presence.’  We should be in his presence all the time.  We should never leave his presence” Warren Wiersbe (ref#54, p 89-90)!

“The constant exercise of prayer makes light of every burden and smoothes every rugged step of a child of God.  It is this only that keeps down his trials;…he may pray down his crosses; prayer will lessen their number, and will mitigate their severity….Where this is honored, there is the divine blessing; where it is slighted, there is the divine curse” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, March 15th).

The prayer life does not consist of perpetual repetition of petitions. The prayer life consists of life that is always upward and onward and Godward.  The passion of the heart is for the kingdom of God; the devotion of the mind is to His will; the attitude of the spirit is conformity thereto; and the higher we climb in the realm of prayer, the more unceasing will prayer be, and the fewer will be the petitions….prayer with the whole desire Godward brings an answer….” George Campbell Morgan (ref#212, p130).

“We are to recognize that our entire life is to be lived in an attitude and atmosphere of prayer, of constant communication and connection with God so that we remain in a position to think God’s thoughts of infinite wisdom and feel God’s emotions of infinite compassion and love” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p66).

“Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 26th).

PRAYER

UNSTAGGERING CONFIDENCE

“…if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:15 ESV).

“…the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship.  Never disassociate yourself from the burden” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Apr 13th).

“…the believer requires constant exhortation to the sweet and precious privilege of communion with his heavenly Father….Christians…without the exercise of prayer…cannot live…this is the breathing of the divine life…the spiritual nature requires constant supplies of spiritual nourishment; and…the only evidence of its healthy existence is its constant rising toward God….if they cease to pray, their grace withers, their vigor decays, and their comfort dies” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 8th).

“He provides in everything for the life of His redeemed ones by giving His own life in them: He cares for their life of prayer, by taking them up into His heavenly prayer-life, by giving and maintaining His prayer-life within them.  Let us each find out what the work is, and who the souls are entrusted to our special prayers; let us make our intercession for them our life of fellowship with God, and we shall not only find the promises of power in prayer made true to us, but we shall then first begin to realize how our abiding in Christ and His abiding in us makes us share in His own joy of blessing and saving men” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TWENTY-SIXTH LESSON).

“…the right spirit in which to approach the throne of grace is that of unstaggering confidence…With our God before us in all His glory sitting on the throne of grace, will our hearts dare to say we mistrust Him” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p31).

PRAYER

INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD

“The wonder is not that God hears prayer, but that He is our Father” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p63).

“Though we have God’s promises in the Bible and full liberty to take them, the spiritual power is lacking unless God himself speaks them to us” Andrew Murray (ref#11, p72).

“Prayer that comes as holy fire from God, and that rises as holy incense to God; prayer that takes me, with every want and infirmity, with every sin and sorrow, to the arms of the Father through the smitten hands of the Son; prayer that sweetens my solitude, calms my agitated spirit, weakens the power of sin, nourishes the desire for holiness, and transports the soul through anticipation beyond the region of winds and storms and tempests into the presence of God, where all is sunshine and peace—oh, what a wondrous privilege is this” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 3rd)!

“…when we are in His immediate presence and behold Him in all the glory of His throne of grace.  There, surely is the place for the child to trust its Father…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p32).

“There is nothing secret about communion with God.  If we live a holy life before God, broken of our pride and self-will, crying out for grace, then we will be in communion with God.  It is really that simple” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p247).

FATHER, I think of being in communion with You only when I pray.  But, of course we are together every moment that I am working out my salvation by making the effort to allow You to work Yourself into my actions which takes broken pride, self-will and crying out for grace.  Thank You for initiating constant communion.

“Hearts must be pure and hands clean that dare shut the door and be alone with God” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p29).

PRAYER

INTERCESSION

“Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty.  To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people)” (Eph 6:18 AMP).

“However living and sympathetic we try to be, however sound our psychology, however frank and open our behavior, we cannot penetrate the incognito of the other man, for there are no direct relationships, not even between soul and soul.  Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbours through him.  That is why intercession is the most promising way to reach our neighbours, and corporate prayer, offered in the name of Christ, the purest form of fellowship” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (ref#10, p98).

“In intercession you bring the person, or the circumstance that impinges on you before God until you are moved by His attitude towards that person or circumstance….put yourself in God’s place” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 13th).

“Let converting, sanctifying, restraining grace be the one constant petition presented at the footstool of mercy…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 13th).

“His delivering mercy depends upon intercessors—people who will put their shoulders under the burdens of others” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p109).

“You don’t realize to what extent you prevail with God for the prevention of national judgments.  When other means fail, prayer may yet prevail” John Collins (ref#225, Dec 13th).