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?

MORAL CONFORMITY

Babes in CHRIST are carnal-like.  They have little of GOD’s SPIRIT because flesh predominates and the SPIRIT does not “rule their whole life” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p13).

“…my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer 2:13 ESV).

There is a definite distinction between the Gospel and moral conformity. Timothy Keller (ref#123, p69).  The wandering Israelites fell into the trap of “moral conformity.”  Speaking to Israel GOD said: “…in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.  But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God and you shall be my people….’” (Jer 7:22-23 ESV).

FATHER, the carnal babe in CHRIST does what he thinks best [moral conformity] instead of obeying Your voice [Gospel].  Forgive us, LORD, for we all have a natural tendency to go our way without communicating with You.

“How much Christian work there is to-day which has…simply sprung into being by impulse!  In Our Lord’s life every project was disciplined to the will of His Father….saints…are doing work for God at the instigation of their own human nature…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Sept 9th).

“In becoming partakers of the union with Christ, there is a work God does and a work we have to do.  God does His work by moving us to do our work.  The work of God is hidden and silent; what we do is something distinct and tangible.  Conversion and faith, prayer and obedience, are conscious acts of which we can give a clear account while the spiritual quickening and strengthening that come from above are secret and beyond the reach of human sight” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p44).

“There is but one way of being delivered from this life of self.  We must follow Christ, set our hearts upon Him, listen to His teachings, give ourselves to Him every day that He may be all to us; and by the power of Christ the denial of self will be a blessed, unceasing reality” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p37).

“…The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them…” (Rom 11:7-10 MSG).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST THE GLORIFIED ONE

“…when Jesus was on earth, temptation could still reach Him:  in glory, everything is holy, and in perfect harmony with the will of God.  And so the believer who abides in Him experiences that in this high fellowship his spirit is sanctified into growing harmony with the Father’s will” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p200).

“The very secret of Christ’s life was this: He had such a consciousness of God’s presence that whether it was Judas, who came to betray Him, or Caiaphas, who condemned Him unjustly, or Pilate, who gave Him up to be crucified, the presence of the Father was upon Him…man would not touch His spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p47-48).

“When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic.  The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 7th).

“He that abides in Christ the Crucified One, learns to know what it is to be crucified with Him, and in Him to be indeed dead unto sin.  He that abides in Christ the Risen and Glorified One, becomes in the same way partaker of His resurrection life, and of the glory with which He has now been crowned in heaven” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p199).

“[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]” (Phil 3:10-11 AMPC).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

BELIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE

“If Christ finds us willing to trust ourselves and our interests to His love, if in that trust we give up all care for our own will and honour, if we make it our glory to exercise and confess absolute dependence on Him in all things, if we are content to have no life but in Him, He will do for us what the Father did for Him” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p150).

My heart leaps with joy imagining the power of the SPIRIT in JESUS in me but my mind cannot comprehend and is thus frightened.  “The believing surrender to Christ, and the submission to His word to expect what appears most improbable, is the only way to the full blessedness of knowing Him” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p112).

FATHER, now that I know my part in gaining an abiding in CHRIST is small—consisting of surrender and waiting, next I need to find faith enough to believe what CHRIST does.  Change my unbelief into full trust.

 “Receive what you do not comprehend, submit to what you cannot understand, accept and expect what to reason appears a mystery, believe what looks impossible, walk in a way which you know not—such are the first lessons in the school of God” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p112).  “Our Lord said, in effect, to Paul—Your whole life is to be overmastered by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 24th).

“Faith trusts the working of the Spirit unseen in the deep recesses of the inner life.  And so the word of Christ and the gift of the Spirit are to the believer sufficient guarantee that He will be taught of the Spirit to abide in Christ.  By faith he rejoices in what he does not see or feel: he knows, and is confident that the blessed Spirit within is doing His work silently but surely, guiding him into the life of full abiding and unbroken communion.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus; it is His work, not only to breathe, but ever to foster and strengthen, and so to perfect the new life within” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p113).

So, FATHER, to quell fright is to ask You for and to receive from You more faith.  Only You can heal my faithlessness (Hos 14:4; Jer 3:22).

ADIBING IN CHRIST

CHRIST – MY STRENGTH

“It was thus with the disciples….when they were prepared, the baptism of power came.  It was power within and power around.  The power came to qualify for the work to which they had yielded themselves…The power came to set up the Kingdom within them….” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p180).

As it was with the disciples, so it is with us.  “…all our strength is in Christ, laid up and waiting for use….ready to flow in according to the measure in which it finds the channels open….” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p183).

“The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him….The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him.  We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battlings” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 18th).

It is prudent to check often whether we are working or allowing JESUS to work.  Andrew Murray warns: “You are so occupied and filled with other things, religious things, preaching and praying, studying and working, so occupied with your religion that you do not give God the time to make himself known” (ref#272, p47).

“What Christ died for is not that we might help him, but that we might see and savor him as infinitely valuable” John Piper (ref#92, p83).

“…when God and man are spoken of as working together, there is nothing of the idea of a partnership between two partners who each contribute their share to a work.  The relation is a very different one.  The true idea is that of cooperation founded on subordination.  As Jesus was entirely dependent on the Father for all His words and all His works, so the believer can do nothing of himself” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p117).

FATHER, how easy it is for me to skip the step of allowing CHRIST to make Himself known.  It is so much easier to do what I think the boss wants and hope that he likes it, as it is to take the time to directly ask. Keep me fearing You.

ABIDING IN CHRIST

THE SAME DISPOSITION AS CHRIST

“The disposition He manifested in choosing and bearing the cross must be yours.  Like Him, you will have to give full assent to the righteous judgment and curse of a holy God against sin….Like Him, you shall experience that it is only through the self-sacrifice of Gethsemane and Calvary that the path is to be found to the joy…of the resurrection life” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p77).  “…let us…bear the reproach he endured” (Heb 13:13 ESV).

“Like Him, you have to consent to yield your life, as laden with sin and curse, to death, and through it to pass to the new life” (ref#266, p77).  “What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, viz., sacrifice our lives.  Not—I am willing to go to death with Thee, but—I am willing to be identified with Thy death so that I may sacrifice my life to God” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 8th).  Let us present our bodies as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).

FATHER, grant me a disposition to die.  You have put the desire in me; now aid me to bring it to fruition.  I run to Your SON who has died—I run to Him to show me how it is done.  “I must gaze on Him on the Cross…to make me partaker of the full power of His death to sin, and the new life of victory…I must yield myself to Him in an undivided surrender, with much prayer and strong desire, imploring to be admitted into the ever closer fellowship and conformity of His death…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p77).

“…we know that He is in us, if we wait and pray to be filled with Him, He will teach us how to abide.  First, guiding our will to a whole-hearted cleaving to Christ, then quickening our faith into ever larger confidence and expectation, then breathing into our hearts a peace and joy that pass understanding…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p114).

“So the Lamb of God shed his blood that we might defeat the devil by trusting his blood and shedding ours.  Jesus calls us onto the Calvary road.  It is a hard and good life.  Come” John Piper (ref#92, p95).

“’I want the everlasting God to come in and take such hold of me that I may be kept in the hollow of His hand all my life…that every moment He may work all in all in me’” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p45).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDING THROUGH AFFLICTION

“Every sifting comes by divine command and permission” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, June 20th AM).

“God gets us alone by affliction, heartbreak, or temptation, by disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted affection, by broken friendship, or by a new friendship” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 13th).

“Delight yourself in the assurance that closer union with Him, and more abundant fruit through Him, are sure to be the results of trial” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p127).

“…prosperity and enjoyment all too easily satisfy us, dull our spiritual perception, and unfit us for full communion…It is an unspeakable mercy that the Father comes with His chastisement…and for a time lose our joy in what was becoming so dangerous.  He does it in the hope that, when we have found our rest in Christ in time of trouble, we shall learn to choose abiding in Him as our only portion; and when the affliction is removed, have so grown more firmly into Him, that in prosperity He still shall be our only joy….Christian! pray for grace to see in every trouble, small or great, the Father’s finger pointing to Jesus, and saying, Abide in Him” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p124).

“Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill.  Whether it is bitter sorrow or excessive pleasure, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will remove the pain from the one and the imbalance from the other” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 9th PM).

“It is your greatest happiness to be impotent” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p57).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDING BETTER THAN OBEYING

“Friendship is rare on earth.  It means identify in thought and heart and spirit.  The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ.  We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Jan 7th)?

“In order to maintain this friendship…we have to be more careful of our…relationship to Him than of any other thing, even of obedience.  Sometimes there is nothing to obey, the only thing to do is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, to see that nothing interferes with that….the greater part of the life is not conscious obedience but the maintenance of this relationship…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, March 25th).

“Conformity to live with God, is a far higher and more divine life than to live simply in submission to God” E. M. Bounds (ref#54, p51-52).

“From eternity Christ and I were ordained for each other; inseparably we belong to each other; it is God’s will; I shall abide in Christ.  It is of God I am in Christ Jesus” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p47-48).

“Most essential to the abiding in Christ is the daily renewal of our faith’s assurance, ‘I am in Christ Jesus’” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p43).

FATHER, move my thinking toward abiding instead of obeying.  When I think of obeying I default to my natural abilities to carry out Your request.  But if I can keep my eyes on JESUS…  I will gladly obey because of my love for Him.  Obeying is a natural outcome of a loving relationship.

Abiding in CHRIST means to watch and wait—observe and be with Him, and then yield myself to the SPIRIT who will work mightily in me (ref#266, p119).

PRAYER

SPEAK ONLY OF GOD

FATHER, if You give me an occasion to speak of spiritual things to my loved ones who are not yet part of Your kingdom, prompt me to speak only of You.  They do not need to know how they can be saved from hell or how to be moral and made pure; instead, they need to know who it is that owns them (ref#7, May 5th).  “The great sterling test in preaching is that it brings everyone to judgment” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 5th).

“Every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God.  Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 5th).

Quicken me, FATHER, to convince my loved ones that they are unholy just as I am unholy.  And then I may pray that their realization of being unholy will awaken an intense craving.  You came to save them because You created all of us to be holy (ref#7, May 5th).  You alone can put them back into perfect union with Yourself “…not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…” (1 Thes 1:5 ESV).

FATHER, be with my mouth and teach me what You wish to speak to my loved ones (Ex 4:12).  “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV).

PRAYER

DISCERNMENT

“For everyone whose sole diet is milk, is inexperienced in a message which is righteous in quality…solid food belongs to…mature, to those who on account of long usage have their powers of perception exercised to the point where they are able to discriminate between both that which is good in character and that which is evil” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p521, [Heb 5:13-14]).

FATHER, Your Son warns me not to judge (Matt 7:1).  But Your SPIRIT will reveal what is wrong in others for the purpose of intercession (ref#118, p77).

I first ask that You, LORD, keep me from thinking rashly of others; I do not want my intention in prayer to be simply passing judgment—to be the product of my own jealously or ill nature (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).

FATHER, in intercession I want to bear up the life of the one I pray for until You, put the person right.  May I so lay hold of You for them that You enable them to turn away from rebellion and come to You (ref#118, p77).

May I “…get to work and pray, and God will get His chance with other lives;…God has based the Christian life on Redemption, and as we pray on this basis God’s honour is at stake to answer prayer” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Nov 19th).

Even though I cannot know the heart, I can be sensitive to Your SPIRIT.  It is possible for someone to imagine they are Christians when they are not—especially when they decide that being a Christian is desirable.

“Professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever unless there is something more added to it…it is a change that is known…known by works of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 6th AM).

Give me a spirit of gentleness; give me a spirit of humbleness lest I be tempted in like manner as they (Gal 6:1).  Make me candid and charitable (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).  And also give me discernment and the boldness to admonish them, (1 Thes 5:14) when they have a false notion that they are already Christians.