Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

John 8:31 Daily Devotion March 02

Devotion March 02

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.

Jesus was being challenged by some Jewish Pharisees concerning His claim that He is the Son of God. However, Jesus quashed their attempts to discredit Him. He never sought to conceal the truth, even in the face of most fearsome opposition. With greater boldness and determination our Lord declared the truth, even though the Jewish leaders were fuming with anger. The more they opposed, the more He testified.

His answers and assertions were so convincing that some of the Jews who heard Him speak believed at once that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. They received His doctrine. Though many of the Jewish leaders became more obstinate and cynical under His preaching, there were also many who repented and believed on Him upon hearing His irrefutable, cogent and compelling proclamation of truth.

The unbelieving and recalcitrant Pharisees often followed Christ to engage Him in debates, and to denounce His teachings. They also wanted to dissuade the people from following Him. Jesus was fully aware of their intentions. So He said to the believing Jews, what true discipleship means. He said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”

It is not uncommon that some hearers, being moved by the reasoning and earnestness of the preacher, manifest a great amount of sympathy and even excitement about the truth expounded. However, their enthusiasm soon vanishes, and they are no more to be found among the adherents of Christ. Such fleeting fervour is not the mark of a true disciple.

The true evidence of a genuine disciple of Christ is that he continues in the Saviour’s Word. This is the true test of Christian character. The apostle John said in 1 John 2:4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” So the apostle also reminds us in 1 John 2:24, “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.” It is to those who persevere in His Word with obedience that Jesus says “then are ye my disciples indeed.” True Christians will always delight in the Word of their Lord; and only such will have the attestation and assurance from the Lord that they are His true disciples.

BIBLICAL SEPARATION


8 Spiritual Blessings of

SEPARATION

Every biblical doctrine is a blessing to those who believe and apply it fully in their lives and ministries. Our Lord Jesus said, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28). God’s truth profits everyone who believes and obeys. Isaiah the prophet said, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit… O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:17-18). God’s truth, regardless of differing opinions, if adhered to passionately, will provide great blessings to the soul. They who believe and obey the truth of God’s Word can be expectant of glorious eternal blessings – “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24).

Every doctrine of the Scriptures is to be received and practised. So, the doctrine of separation, being a clear teaching of God’s Word, must be upheld. Nonetheless, many reject it as an unpleasant, burdensome, useless doctrine. Some refer to it as a “minor doctrine” or “non-essential doctrine”. However, this doctrine is the very channel of divine blessings. Furthermore, it also acts as a shield against errors. To practise the doctrine of separation is to secure the pure and glorious divine blessings for our souls and for our churches.

The Bible records very vividly the blessings that God promised to those who separate themselves from sin, worldliness, false doctrines, false teachers and disobedient Christians.

  1. Separation keeps our souls and congregations from the filthiness of sin. When we practise biblical separation against the sinful pleasures of the world, we will be able to purify and protect ourselves from all the sins of the world. In Ezra 6:21, we have a great example of this – “And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel.” The same truth is found in Revelation 18:4, where a call to separate is given – “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins.”
  2. Separation helps us to be like Christ. In Hebrews 7:26, we are told that Jesus Christ is “such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”. All Christians are to be like Christ; and to be like Christ, they should separate themselves from sin and sinners, just as Jesus did. Of course, this does not mean we should avoid befriending sinners to share the Gospel. Rather, the practice of biblical separation is calling us not to partake in their sinful activities. To be like Christ in this world, separation is necessary.
  3. Separation from ungodly people and their activities helps us to delight in God’s Word. This is the message that we read in Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Ungodly friends can often be a distraction and hindrance to a Christian’s obedient life. So separation from close affiliation with ungodly people will rid us of distractions from God’s Word.
  4. Separation helps us to be worthy servants of God. To be a faithful and good minister of God’s Word, we must refuse tolerating erroneous doctrines and philosophies. The apostle Paul’s words to Timothy prove this truth – “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:6-7).
  5. Separation helps us to be delivered from God’s wrath against unrepentant sinners. Revelation 18:4 affirms that separation will deliver us from sin and also its aftermath – “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
  6. Separation assures us that God will receive us. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Though the world and compromising Christians may reject us, the Lord will receive us. Romans 15:7 teaches us that whomsoever Christ receives, He receives them to the glory of God. What a blessing it is for those who are separated from sin and false doctrines to know that they are vessels of God’s glory!
  7. Separation guarantees the presence and fellowship of God. To those who will not be unequally yoked with unbelief and sin, the Lord promises that “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).
  8. Separation guarantees the abiding love and care of God. To the separated Christians, the Word of God promises in 2 Corinthians 6:17b-18 that “I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty”. Those who will separate themselves for the glory of God are promised His unceasing fatherly love and care.

Manifold Purposes of Christians’ Divine Call – IV

good shepherd-1In this fourth and final article on Christians’ divine call, we will consider three more purposes of our calling. The Bible describes our calling from God in wondrous terms. In Hebrew 3:1, it is described as “heavenly calling”. In 2 Timothy 2:9, Paul describes it as “holy calling”. Philippians 3:14 refers to it as “high calling”. Such glowing descriptions of our calling impress upon us the need to understand and appreciate the call of God that we have received through Christ. That is why Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling.”

10. The Call to Peace

When a person responds to the call of God by the Gospel, he may experience conflict at home. His closest and dearest ones may oppose and reject his faith in the Lord. In 1 Corinthians 7:15, the apostle Paul portrayed a scenario of a believer being abandoned by his unbelieving spouse. In such a case, we are told, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”

Scripture teaches us that Christians ought to be peaceful. We must always prevent contentions and violence. This is to be our grand principle. When Paul suggested letting the unbelieving depart, he was not suggesting that the Christian initiates a separation from the spouse. But if the unbelieving spouse becomes agitated and threatens to part with the believer, the believer is advised to let the unbeliever leave peaceably. If peace cannot be maintained by living together, there should be a peaceful separation. If the unbelieving departs, he should be permitted to do so peaceably without contention and strife, for God has called us to a life of peace.

In Colossians 3:15, we are exhorted to pursue peace in the church, for thereunto are we called. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

11. The Call to Liberty

Christians are reminded in Galatians 5:13 – “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

Firstly, the apostle Paul was referring to the freedom that Christians have from the Jewish rites and ceremonies. The Galatian church was infiltrated by some false Jewish teachers who urged them to go back to the ceremonial practices of the Old Testament. Such adherence to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament was unnecessary and destructive because Jesus has already accomplished a perfect sacrifice for our freedom from sin. The Old Testament ceremonies were only a figure of what Christ would accomplish for us. Since Christ has fulfilled all that the old ceremonies have pre-figured, it was an entanglement to yield to those ceremonies again. So Paul insisted that true Christians have been called unto liberty, and they are not to limit and destroy that liberty. They are never to be in subjection to all the ceremonies of the law of Moses.

Secondly, this liberty from Jewish rites also indicates our freedom from sin. Now through Christ’s work on the cross, we are free, free from the servitude to sin as much as we are free from the burdensome rites and customs. Christians should remember this as a great and settled principle. “Liberty in Christ” is our motto of life.

Thirdly, Christian liberty is not a licence to sin. It is not freedom to do anything that our lusts would have us to do. So Paul said, “Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We are not freed to serve sin. Our liberty is freedom from sin unto the service of fellow brethren and our Lord. Christian freedom is not lawless behaviour but joyful service to the praise of our great Liberator, Jesus Christ.

12. The Call to His Kingdom and Glory

Our calling from God is for the purpose that we may be granted the inheritance of His kingdom and glory. Many portions of the Scriptures testify to this glorious truth. The following are some of these Scriptural attestations of our calling unto His kingdom and glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:14 – “Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 2:12 – “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”

1 Peter 5:10 – “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

2 Peter 1:3 – “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”

By the gracious and efficacious call of God, we are transferred out of corruption and misery of sin into the glories of Christ. We are also no more under the servitude of Satan’s kingdom of darkness. We are called to the hope of the heavenly city that the Lord is preparing for His people. We have now come, because of His gracious call, into the participation of the glory which God has prepared for His redeemed people.

Nothing in this world can stop us from partaking in the glorious eternity in His celestial kingdom. We shall soon be in that eternal glory. While we are in this world of corruption, we can look forward to inheriting a glory that fades not away. It will not be like the glory of this world which is transient, and soon passes away. The glory that awaits us will abide for ever. The saints of Christ are called to obtain a glorious, eternal kingdom that shall not perish.

Manifold Purposes Of Christians’ Divine Call – III

Follow the Shepherd's VoiceWe will consider four more purposes of Christians’ divine calling. Thus far, we have learned six purposes of our calling – (1) “The call to salvation”, (2) “The call to sanctification”, (3) “The call to separation” and (4) “The call to fellowship”, (5) “The call to sonship” and (6) “The call to eternal life and inheritance”.

7. The Call to His Marvellous Light

Scripture declares unto us in 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” We are God’s very special people on earth by virtue of the fact that He has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.

Jesus came to this world “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). He came and called the people who were groping in the blackness of sin and shame. So Matthew 4:16-17 says, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Scripture continues to call God’s people, saying, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14). Christians are also admonished, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

His marvellous light denotes all His goodness, truth and holiness. God’s purpose of calling Christians is that He may communicate to us His marvellous light and that we might abide always in that light. Now, this is no small favour shown to us in that we are called to walk in God’s glorious light, when many people are left in darkness and in the shadow of death. Because His people are called into His marvellous light, Jesus said to them, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

8. The Call to Suffering

Many Christians of our time will be startled to know that they are called by God to suffer because today’s popular “health-wealth gospel”, propagated by the charismatics, declares that God does not want any Christian to suffer. But the Word of God teaches: “When ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:20b-21).

Even though we have lived righteously and are undeserving of cruel treatment, yet we are reminded that we should be willing to suffer injustice done to us, simply because we are called to suffer. Jesus is our example who quietly suffered all hurts and pains.

Jesus declared, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38). In Matthew 16:24, Jesus repeated the call of His disciples to be ready to suffer – “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Christians must expect and accept suffering as it is their calling from God. Jesus reminded His disciples in John 16:33, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Likewise the early Christians were exhorted by the apostles, “that [they] must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Similar exhortations to endure suffering are found in many places in Scripture. Consider Paul’s words to the Philippians: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). Again, 1 Thessalonians 3:3 exhorts, “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” That we should suffer affliction is God’s immutable decree. So let us be patient in suffering. It is our inevitable lot.

Suffering for Christ’s glory confirms our faith, proves our devotion to God, arouses prayers in our hearts and strengthens our desire to be in heaven’s glory.

9. The Call to Inherit a Blessing

The apostle Peter teaches Christians that we are called to bless that we may inherit a blessing. He wrote, “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). We are called both to inherit and dispense blessings.

We should be ready to bless even those who malign, curse and persecute us. Even in hostile situations, we ought to be ready to bless others, be it in words or deeds. We should be ready to bear all their reproaches and even wish them well. Our awareness and assurance of eternal life should make our minds calm, even in adversity. Our prospect of being so exalted in heaven should fill our hearts with compassion and love towards others. To bless is every Christian’s duty, for thereunto is he called.

Manifold Purposes of Christians’ Divine Call – II

gethsemane congregation 1When Scripture says that Christians are “the called”, it is not merely an indication that they are given an invitation or an offer to enter spiritual life and blessings. More importantly, it also denotes that they have been effectually drawn to inherit and experience the spiritual life and blessings which have been promised to them in the Gospel.

In the last article, we have considered the first two of the manifold purposes of Christians’ calling, (1) “The Call to Salvation” and (2) “The Call to Sanctification”. In this article, we will consider four more purposes of divine calling that believers received from God.

3. The Call to Separation

God calls all His people to come out of every form of false belief and ungodliness. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). In the verses prior to this call to be separate from everything impure, the word of God expressly tells believers, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (vv. 14-16).

A similar call is given in Revelation 18:4, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” This is a call to the people of the last days to separate themselves from the great spiritual harlot (“The Great Babylon”), which is the syncretic religion of the last days.

Those who continue in close fellowship with those who are in error will be partakers of their sins. As a people redeemed by the grace of God, it is most fitting that we keep ourselves undefiled from all uncleanness. We must be unpolluted temples of our holy God. So every Christian is called to separate himself that he may be pure from the corruptions of unbiblical belief and practice. A solemn call is issued by God to all genuine believers to leave every form of unbelief and ungodliness.

4. The Call to Fellowship

According to 1 Corinthians 1:9, God has given a distinctive call to Christians to have fellowship with Christ – “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” Christians are marked out by their distinctive partnership with the Son of God.

“We are made partakers of Christ” (Hebrews 3:14), even, “partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). This is the design of the gospel call, that Christ may become ours, and that we may become His. We abide in Him and He abides in us, that we may be partakers of all His grace, wisdom, power and goodness (cf. John 15:4-9).

In Christ, we are called to partake of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 6:4), holiness (Hebrews 12:10), suffering, glory and joy (1 Peter 4:13; 5:1).

Now when the Father gives His Son to us as our possession, He also communicates Himself to us without reservation. As John had written, “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).

5. The Call to Sonship

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,” declares 1 John 3:1, “that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. It is all because of God’s love in Christ that we have the right to be called children of God.”

We were naturally rebels and enemies of God. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). It is His singular love that calls us to His sonship and not any merit in us. His great love is declared in His Word to assure all true Christians that “ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).

To affirm His calling of us unto sonship, God also gave us His Spirit who teaches us to lay claim to our position as children of God by addressing God in the most endearing manner. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:14-16). This joyful truth is repeated in Galatians 4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

6. The Call to Eternal Life and Inheritance

God calls His people unto a higher and nobler inheritance than all that this world can offer. Some people speak of God’s call for them as a call unto gaining earthly riches and fame, and they struggle to lay hold on the material wealth and comfort. But in 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul reminded Timothy to “lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called.” The call of God makes us heirs of eternal life, God’s most wondrous gift. Eternal life is deliverance from eternal death, the doom of a burning hell. It is the blessing of a spiritual, abundant and heavenly life that God gives to His people through Jesus Christ. It also guarantees the pardon for the guilt of sin, and freedom from its tyrannous power. O how we should cherish this gift of God!

We are also told in Hebrews 9:15 that we are called to receive an eternal inheritance through Jesus Christ – “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” The curse of the law (the first testament) is taken away by Christ through His blood which He shed on the cross on our behalf. Now by His new covenant, we are called to receive an eternal inheritance instead of eternal damnation.

Eternal inheritance refers to all the eternal blessings that every Christian is promised in the Bible. It includes such promises as eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9; 9:12), eternal life, eternal home (2 Corinthians 5:1), eternal joy (Matthew 25:21,23; 1 Peter 4:13; Jude 1:24), eternal rewards (Matthew 5:12; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Colossians 3:23-24) and eternal glory (2 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Peter 5:10). Peter explains the eternal inheritance that we are called to receive as “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:4-5).

Manifold Purposes of Christians’ Divine Call – I

called of GodGod’s Word speaks of Christians as “them who are the called” (Romans 8:28). Every Christian is called of the Lord; he hears and follows His voice. As Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27; cf. vv. 4, 16). So Paul reminded the Roman believers that “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6). Every sheep in His flock responds to His call by following Him.

God’s call to Christians is not based on the merit of their works, but based on His grace and His own purpose – “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9). The source of both our calling and our salvation is His gracious purpose. Romans 8:28 also reminds us that we are “the called according to his purpose”.

His Word also teaches us that God’s call to Christians is unto several divine purposes. Without any distinction, every Christian is called to manifest the purposes of His call. “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:23–24). The purpose of God’s gracious call is not only confined to the Jews, but it is also opened to non-Jews, that all believers without discrimination may become vessels of His glorious purposes.

In the next few posts, I shall endeavour to explain to my readers, the manifold purposes of His call. May the Lord renew your hearts by the knowledge of the truth of His call to you.

1. The call to salvation

God, who has elected us before the foundation of the world, calls us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul mentions our calling unto salvation by the Gospel in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, “…God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Gospel preaching is a call of God to sinners to come to salvation He has prepared in Christ Jesus. So all of us who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation are the called of God.

The truth of God’s call unto salvation is also expressed clearly in Romans 8:28-30, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose… Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” The election of God is effected in our hearts when He calls us by the Gospel of Christ, hence it is said, “whom he did predestinate, them he also called.” When we respond to that call by faith, we are justified – i.e. we are declared not guilty – for Christ has cancelled our sins and guilt by His suffering and death on our behalf.

2.   The call to sanctification

In Romans 1:7, the apostle Paul reminded the believers in Rome that they were “called to be saints”. In fact, Paul has reminded believers in other places too that they are called to be saints (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2). God’s people are those whom God has called out of their sinful lives to live as saints of God. So God’s call to Christians is to live a sanctified life. “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7).

Have you been yielding to the temptations of sin? Are you cultivating a close relationship or friendship with the ungodly? Do you go to places of sinful temptations? How sad it is that many church-goers have yielded themselves to the allurement of sins. Worldliness and carnality are seen even in the church leaders. Fornication, immodesty, enjoyment of pornography and sensual movies, pubbing and clubbing, covetousness, self-prominence, selfishness, being unforgiving, jealousy, deceitfulness, hypocrisy and many more such sins are rampant in the lives of many who attend churches today. They seem to be at complete ease with sin and worldliness. Many seem to adhere to the notion that God has given them grace to continue in sin. What a malady! What a tragedy!

Dear reader, if you are a Christian, then know this: that God has not called you to an unsanctified life, but to a saintly life. You must repent and turn away from your sins at once. Linger no more in sin. Pull away from your sins, and pray for God’s forgiveness and for His strength and wisdom to live a sanctified life. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1–2).

The Lord who has called you is also a holy God. Therefore, His calling to you is to live a holy life. Peter clearly declared this truth about our calling unto holiness in his first epistle – “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15–16). Our God is thrice holy. Isaiah 6:3 says of our Lord, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts.” Revelation 4:7 says, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” How can you praise Him if you live an unholy life?

The Lord who has called you unto sanctification is also a faithful God. If you have heard His Gospel call, you can now fully trust Him for the help you need to live a holy life. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24).

Likewise, in 2 Peter 1:3–4, the Lord promises His divine power to overcome the corruption of lust that is within us and to live unto glory and virtue. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Turn a deaf ear to the temptations of sins, lest you neglect the call of God unto holiness. But open your ears and hearts to take heed to His voice that calls you through His Word and His Spirit. If you obey His voice, you shall be holy.

Why Memorise the Bible Verses?

be mighty in the Word t-shirt

Why should we go to the trouble of memorizing the Bible? Here are some reasons:

1. God has commanded us to memorize His Word – “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6). Likewise, God says in Deuteronomy 11:18: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul . . .” Memorizing God’s Word is our God-given duty. Therefore, every obedient child of God should engage in learning and remembering God’s Word.

2. The habit of remembering and meditating on the Word of God in our minds helps us to obey it. Deuteronomy 30:14 says: “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”

3. The memorization of God’s Word would prevent us from sinning against God. Psalm 119:11 declares: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Likewise, Psalm 37:31 promises that the keeping of God’s Word in our hearts will prevent us from backsliding from God – “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.”

4. Learning God’s Word by heart has the promise of great blessings, even spiritual and physical prosperity. Joshua wrote: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

5. It prevents our mind from vain and sinful thoughts by filling it with the truth of His Word. Since memorizing and recollecting the Scripture would require much exercising of the mind on the Word of God, it will crowd out less edifying thoughts. Through Scripture memorization, one can easily obey Paul’s exhortation: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

6. It equips us to fight off the temptations that the devil would bring to us. Christ is our example on this point. In Matthew 4 and Luke 4, He resisted Satan’s temptations each time by citing Scripture. Paul states that the Word of God is a weapon in spiritual warfare: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

7. It increases our understanding of the verses that are memorized. To memorize, one must know every single word and dwell on every single word. While doing this, one naturally asks oneself, “Why this word?” Meditation on each word will, through the Spirit, give one a deep understanding of the verse and reveal meanings that are hidden in a cursory reading. Psalm 119:99 affirms this spiritual benefit, when it says: “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.”

His resurrection secures our salvation (Rom 8:34)

garden tomb“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us”(v.34).

Paul here begins with a rhetorical question. It is also forensic or legal in nature – “Who is he that condemneth?”

The ultimate Judge who would condemn the sinners is Jesus Christ. God has appointed Christ to be the Judge (John 5:22, 27; Acts 17:31).

Is it not amazing that the judge has done everything to secure our deliverance? Firstly, He died to pay the ransom for our redemption. Then He rose again from the grave, and ascended to the right hand of God to intercede for us.

The Judge Himself secures our deliverance from all charges and condemnation! He that will condemn the world has become our Saviour and Advocate, thus any chance of us being condemned is absolutely eradicated.

If Christ is for us, He certainly will not condemn us. Far from condemning us, He is right now at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf.

Christ’s present place “at the right hand of God” is indicative of His honourable position of acceptance by God as His people’s intercessor. The apostle tells us that He “maketh intercession for us.” He represents us perfectly before God to secure our salvation. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Not only does the Spirit intercede for us (Rom 8:26) but the glorified Christ as well. We are safe in the blessed triune God.

A Meditation of the Cross

A song born out of my meditation of the humiliation, suffering and murder of the Lord Jesus.

meditation

“That Ye Bear Much Fruit” (John 15:8)

ye bear fruit - grapes  1 jpgIt is almost impossible for anyone who reads John 15:1-8 to miss Jesus’ expectation of spiritual fruit from every true Christian.

John 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

John 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

In view of all the above statements of Christ, is there any possibility for any one to think that He is a Christian without bearing spiritual fruit. Even if it means a horrible chill coming upon your heart, let me tell you that if you are without spiritual fruit, you are not at all a Christian. Because, according to Christ, spiritual fruit is the natural outcome of one being joined to Christ, and, hence, the proof of one’s true relationship with Christ.

You may be a member of a sound, biblical church, perhaps an elder, perhaps a deacon, possibly a full-time worker in one of the ministries of the church, and so you appear to be in the vine (Christ); but are you bringing forth the fruits of holiness?

What is the use of my going up to the pulpit to preach if I am without Christ?

Is it a mere association with the church, or is it a living, supernatural union with Christ?

Unless we are joined to the Lord Jesus ourselves, we cannot take His spiritual blessings to others. Unless within us, we have the living water springing up unto eternal life, there is no possibility of rivers of living water flowing out of our hearts.

Christ intents a grand outcome through the lives of all who are joined to Him; and it is that they will be a fruitful people – yea, “that ye bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

(Excerpts from the last Lord’s Day sermon. You can listen to the sermon at http://gethsemanebpc.com/index.php/resources/english-sermons/sermons-2010.html)

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