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Hope As An Anchor Of The Soul (New Year)

hope as an anchor of the soul, eternal security, new year 2018, assurance of salvation

As we move into 2018 many are hoping for a better year than 2017. Many had a very hard year, even excessively hard. Yesterday I was at a public hospital to see a doctor (thyroid) and get medicine repeats. While at the first stage of the process I got talking with a doctor also waiting in the process. He used to work at that particular hospital but had moved on. As we spoke I asked him what his thoughts were for the new year. He immediately answered that he saw nothing ahead that he felt that he could put his hope in. He is not optimistic about the future.

And in one way or another we will all be looking ahead and wondering what life will be like in 2018, or wondering what will happen in our personal circumstances in the coming year. And with so many changes happening so quickly and unexpectedly in the last 20 years or so. It’s hard to be able to predict what will happen in the coming new year. Life has become very uncertain, very unpredictable, not as it was 30-40 years ago.

What many found to be secure 30 years ago in businesses and careers are no longer secure today. From a spiritual perspective I see a very positive side to the modern insecurity of the temporal life. When businesses and careers were secure people who were resisting God found a comfortable place to hide from the Lord in those ‘secure’ environments. But as our world has so turned from the Lord and each generation turned from Him further than the previous generations. Our world has become more and more insecure as it’s become more and more ungodly. And as the Lord has been left out of modern society more and more, He has not allowed such people, such nations, to prosper as once they did when they acknowledge Him, and the Christian Faith as the one truth faith from Him. Now it is becoming far harder to find the world a distraction ‘from the Lord’. In all levels of society people are very insecure regarding their future, regarding the new year. And that is good! People mustn’t be able to find ‘security’ in the world!

I’m hoping that this will have a positive cause in some irreligious people turning to the Lord. And some religious, lost people, turning properly, Biblically to the Lord. As only the Lord can provide absolutely perfect security regardless of our circumstances. That which the Lord wants to give each of us, our world at it’s best cannot come close to providing…

Hope … As An Anchor Of The Soul

While still in this life, in this world, God’s children have hope, perfect security from God regarding their temporal life, as well as their eternal souls…

Hebrews 6:18-20
18  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
20  Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

As an anchor secures a boat or ship from drifting, so an individual being ‘in-Christ’, being Born Again’, is perfectly secure regarding their eternal soul’s security. And each child of God may have this hope keep them perfectly secure in this world. Even should chaos be happening around them, because their security, their hope is in Christ, their hope cannot be taken away, it cannot be lost! It is in Hebrews 6 promised to be both, “sure and stedfast”…

“Sure”: As in ‘certain’ or ‘unfailing’

“Stedfast”: Will not abandon the child of God before they are living in eternity, at Home in Heaven with the Lord.

This is where our hope for 2018 must be! In Christ! Not in ‘favourible circumstances’ or in ‘things working out better for us in the New Year’. There is no Biblical reason why 2018 will be good as far as temporal things are concerned. Our rebellious societies / cultures give every indication of breaking down even further than they have at this point in time! Get hope from the ONLY source that guarantees hope … Christ!

In Christ’s Hand, In The Hand Of The Father

Those who are truly Christ’s, those who have actually been born again, follow Him. Their life is not their own, they follow their Saviour’s example that He made while in our world…

John 10:27-30
27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30  I and my Father are one.

Christ’s redeemed, His sheep, are absolutely secure in His Hand. As secure as if they were already with Him in Heaven! There is no more secure place than in their Saviour’s Hand! And if that was not enough, the Lord Jesus further comforts His sheep with the fact that they are also in the Father’s Hand! Language cannot express the extent of such security! Words fail us to adequately describe the absolute security of God’s children! And though they will have trials and struggles while still in this sin damaged world, their souls are perfectly secure in Christ for all eternity.

Those Who Know And Keep Christ’s Commandments Are Those Who Are Secure

1 John 2:3-6
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

It is one thing reading, and learning of the perfect security of God’s children. It is another to have such hope, such certainty in one’s heart and mind, giving daily comfort. The irresponsible child of God will not experience the comfort of hope and certainty as they should in their daily walk. The apostle John writes of the eternal security of the child of God who keeps the commandments of Christ faithfully. And this promised certainty strengthens with time. Where on going obedience to the commands of Christ becomes the life of the child of God. Where their life is permanently changed / shaped by the commands of Christ. And (v5) as the, “love of God”, ‘matures’ / ‘is perfected’ in them. Love for God, and then love for their fellow man. These will become blessed indicators of true life with Christ as a child of God. And (v6) they will live according to the same values that the Scriptures teach us that Christ had. Witnessing such change in one self will encourage that one that they have in reality been secured in Christ.

The Inner Working Of The Holy Spirit Gives God’s Children Eternal Security

Here we see that it is the whole Triune Godhead that is involved in the child of God’s hope, their eternal security. Here we are taught the part that the Holy Spirit has…

Romans 8:4  “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

It is through the indwelling Holy Spirit that the obedient child of God is enabled to live righteously, according to the normally impossibly high standards of God’s law. Which happens when they, in obedience to the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit, walk after Him instead of after the sinful passions of their flesh…

Romans 8:13-17
13  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15  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.
16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

V15/ It is by the indwell Holy Spirit that God’s children will love Almighty God as their Father.

V16/ They will know the witness of the indwelling Spirit that thy are indeed children of God.

Again: it is through obediently allowing the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead them that another form of ‘hope’, ‘eternal security’ is realized / known in God’s children’s personal experience. That, “all things work together for good to them that love God…”

Romans 8:28  “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.”

The apostle Paul, after teaching the amazing truths of this chapter in Romans describing the incomparable life of the Spirit led, and Spirit enabled child of God, sums up…

Romans 8:31-32
31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Folks, why be mindlessly foolish by looking to the world, our cultures, and life’s fickle circumstances in the coming 2018 for hope in the coming months of 2018?! Look to the Lord each day, week and month for all your hope in life! Our rebellious world and its ways is going to pass away forever soon (1 John 2:17). Only the ways of the Lord will continue into eternity. Live with the Lord and get used to living according to His values and ways now! And know His hope as an anchor through 2018 and for the rest of your life in this temporal world!

1 John 2:17  “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

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“The Strait Gate” – Sermon by C.H. Spurgeon

“THE STRAIT GATE”

NO. 3560

A SERMON
PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 1917,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24.

(From http://www.spurgeongems.org/ Downloadable copies of this sermon using the following link… “The Strait Gate” – Sermon by C.H. Spurgeon)

THE precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ are dictated by the soundest wisdom. He has given us divine prescriptions for the health of our souls and His commandments, though clothed with sovereign authority, are spoken in such infinite kindness that we may regard them as the advice of a true and faithful friend. This is not a legal, but a Gospel exhortation, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate.” He, Himself, is the only gate, or the door, by which we can find admission, and the way to enter in through Jesus Christ is not by working, but by believing! Then, as to the strife we are urged to carry on, it is an earnest endeavor to steer clear of all the rocks, shoals and quicksands of popular fallacies and deceitful traditions, and to sail in the deep waters with His covenant for our chart, and His Word for our compass, in simple obedience to His statutes, trusting to Him as our pilot, whose voice we always hear, though His face we cannot see. The storm signal may well awaken your fears, but the cry of peril had need excite your caution. The mere mention sounds like a menace. “Many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Listen to that warning, lest you be among the, “many” that founder—perhaps you shall be among the few that escape. Listen to what Jesus tells you shall come to pass with the multitude, that it may never come to pass with you as individuals. Mark now—

I. A GATE WHICH IT IS MOST DESIRABLE TO ENTER

Surely “many” would not seek to enter if they were not convinced of the desirableness of passing through it! The very fact that so many, although they fail, will at least seek to enter, proves that there is a desire, a reason and a motive why men and women should aim to enter.

This gate—that is, Christ—it is most desirable for us to pass through because it is the gate of the city of refuge. Cities of refuge were appointed for manslayers, who, when they were pursued by the avenger of blood, they might pass the gate and be secure within the sanctuary or city. The gospel of Jesus Christ is intended as a refuge for those who have broken the law of God, whom vengeance is pursuing, who will certainly be overtaken, to their eternal destruction, unless they fly to Christ and find shelter in Him. Outside of Christ the sword of fire pursues us swift and sharp. From God’s wrath there is but one escape—and that is by a simple faith in Christ. Believe in Him and the sword is sheathed, and the energy and the love of God will become your everlasting portion! But refuse to believe in Jesus and your innumerable sins, written in His book, shall be laid at your door in that day when the pillars of Heaven shall reel and the stars shall fall like withered fig leaves from the tree! Oh, who would not wish to escape from the wrath to come! Mr. Whitefield, when preaching, would often hold up his hands and cry, “Oh, the wrath to come! The wrath to come! The wrath to come!” There is more weight and meaning in these words than tongue can tell or heart conceive. The wrath to come! The wrath to come! When past that Gate, like Noah after he had passed into the ark, you are safe from the overwhelming deluge—you are sheltered from the devouring conflagration which shall consume the earth—you are rescued from the death and the doom that await the countless multitudes of the impenitent! Who would not wish to enter where there is salvation, the only place where salvation can be found?

It is desirable to enter this gate because it is the gate of a home. There is sweet music in that word, “home.” Jesus is the home of His people’s hearts. We are at rest when we get to Christ. We have all we need when we have Jesus. Happiness is the portion of the Christian in this life while he lives upon his Savior. I have seen outside in the night refugee crowds of persons waiting an hour beforehand, till the doors were opened. Poor souls; shivering in the cold, but in expectation of being warmed and comforted in a little time, for a little while when they would be admitted. What do you think, O homeless men and women—were there a permanent home for you, a home from which you never could be banished, a home into which you could be introduced as dear children—would it not be worth your while to wait for a long time at the door, and to knock again and again right vehemently, could you but ultimately gain admission? Jesus is a home for the homeless, a rest for the weary, and a comfort for the comfortless. Is your heart broken—Jesus can comfort you! Have you been banished from your family, or one by one have the dear ones been taken to their last resting place? Do you feel solitary, friendless, cheerless, accounting “the black flowing river” to be preferred before this troubled stream of life, and that pitiless society of men and women, all eager for gain and gaiety, reckoning nothing of your griefs or your groans? Oh, come to Jesus! Trust in Him and He will light up a star in the black midnight sky! He will kindle a fire in your hearts that shall make them glow with joy and comfort, even now! It were worthwhile to be a Christian, irrespective of the hereafter. Such present comfort as a belief in Jesus imparts is an inestimable compensation! This is the gate of refuge, and it is the gate of a home.

Moreover, it leads to a blessed feast. We read just now of the supper that was spread. Jesus does not feed our bodies, but He does what is better—He feeds our minds. A hungry stomach is terrible, but a hungry heart is far more dreadful, for a loaf of bread will fill the one, but what can satisfy the other? Oh, when the heart gets to craving, and pining, and yearning after something it cannot get, it is like the sea that cannot rest; it is like the grave that never can be filled; it is like the horseleech whose daughters cry “Give, give, give!” Happy is the man who believes in Jesus, for he becomes at once a contented man. Not only does he find rest in Christ, but joy and gladness, peace and abiding satisfaction are the portion of his lot. I tell you what I do know—and I would not lie, even for the Lord, Himself—I tell you that there is mirth to be found in faith in Christ which cannot be matched! Speak of their buoyant spirits who make merry in the dance, or of the festive glee of those that are filled with wine? It is but the crackling of a handful of thorns under a pot—how soon it is gone! But the joy of the man who meditates on the love of Christ which embraces him; on the blood of Christ which cleanses him; on the arm of Christ which upholds him; on the hand of Christ which leads him; on the crown of Christ which is to be his portion—the joy of such a man is constant, deep, overflowing, beyond the power of expression! The poorest Christian in the entire world—bedridden, living on parish allowance, full of pains and ready to die—when his heart is stayed upon Christ, would not change places with the youngest, brightest, richest, noblest spirit to be found outside the Church of God! No, kings and emperors boast no more of your beggarly crowns—their glitter will soon fade! Your purple robes will soon be moth eaten! Your silver shall soon be cankered—of your palace, not a stone shall be left upon its fellow! Bitter shall be the dregs of your wine cups and all your music shall end in discord! I tell you that the poorest of all the company of the faithful in Christ Jesus excel you, and “would not change their blest estate for all that earth calls good or great.” So abundantly worthwhile is it to come to Christ for the happiness, as well as the repose, which we find in Him.

Well likewise, dear friends, may men desire to pass through the strait gate, knowing it is the gate which leads to Paradise. There was one gate of Paradise through which our father—Adam—and our mother—Eve—went weeping as they left the garden all behind them to wander into the desert world. Can you picture them to yourselves, with the cherubim behind them and the flaming sword bidding them be gone, for Paradise was no place for rebels? Men have wandered up and down the world since then to find the gate of Paradise, that they might enter yet again. They have scaled the peaks of Sinai, but they have not found it there. They have traversed the tracks of the wilderness, weary and footsore, jaded and faint, but they have found no gate to Paradise anywhere in all their expeditions. The scholar has searched for it in the ancient books. The astronomer has hunted for it among the stars. Sages, as they were called, have sought to find it by studying their arts—and fools have tried to find it among their viols and their bowls. But there is only one gate! Look, there it is! It is in the form of a cross, and he that will find the gate of heaven finds the cross and the Man that did hang thereon! Happy he who can come up to it and pass through it, reposing all his confidence in the atonement once made by the Man of Suffering on Calvary’s tree. On earth he is saved, and in the article of death he shall pass through that gate of pearl unchallenged, walk the streets of gold unabashed and bow before the excellent glory without a fear! He is free in heaven. The cross is a mark of a citizen of the skies! Having truly believed in Jesus, everlasting happiness is his beyond all doubt! Who, then, would not pass through the strait gate?

And who would not wish to pass through it when he considers what will be the lot of those outside the gate? How we tremble at the thought of that outer darkness where shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth! There are many enquiries, nowadays, about eternal punishment. Oh, brothers and sisters, do not rashly or carelessly challenge the bitter experience of such condemnation! Speculate as you will about the doctrine, but I pray you do not trifle with the reality. To be lost forever, let that mean what it may, will be more than you can bear though your ribs were iron and your bones were brass. Tempt not the avenging angel! Beware that you forget not God, lest He tear you in pieces and there be no one to deliver you! By the living God, I pray you fear and tremble, lest you be found out of Christ in the day of His appearing. Rest not, be not patient, much less merry, till you are saved! To be in danger of the fire of hell is a peril that no heart can adequately realize, no language fitly paint! Oh, I beseech you, halt not, and give yourself no rest till you have got beyond that danger! Flee for your lives, for the fiery shower will soon descend! Escape! God, in His mercy, quicken your pace that you may escape soon, lest the hour of mercy cease and the Day of Judgment come! Surely these are reasons enough for wanting to pass in at the strait gate! Observe still further what our Lord tells us.

II. THERE IS A CROWD OF PEOPLE WHO WILL SEEK TO ENTER AND WILL NOT BE ABLE.

Who are these? If you look closely at the crowd who seek to pass, I think you will see a considerable difference between seeking and striving. You are not merely advised to seek—you are urgently bid to strive. Striving is a more vehement exercise than seeking. Are you among those who coolly seek admission because, forsooth, they suppose it is the proper thing? Many there are who come up to the gate of mercy and seek to enter, not striving, not particularly anxious, certainly far enough from being agitated. And when they look at the gate, they object to the lintel because it is too low, nor will they deign to stoop. There is no believing in Jesus with a proud heart! He that trusts Christ must feel himself to be guilty, and acknowledge it. He never will savingly believe till he has been thoroughly convinced of sin. But many say, “I will never stoop to that. Unless I have something to do in the work, and share some of the merit, I cannot enter.” No, sirs, some of you are quite unable to believe in Christ because you believe in yourselves! As long as a man thinks himself a fine fellow, how can he think well of Jesus? You eclipse the sun! You hold up your own little hands before the sunlight—how can you expect to see? You are too good to go to heaven, or, at least, too good in your own apprehension. Oh, man, I pray God will prick that bubble, that blown-up bladder, and let out the gas so that you may discern what you really are, for you are nothing, after all, but a poor worm, contemptible, notwithstanding your conceit and pride, in spite of your poverty, an arrogant worm, that dares to lift up its head when it has nothing to glory in! Oh, bow yourself in lowly self-abhorrence, otherwise you may seek to enter, but shall not be able!

Some are unable to enter because the pride of life will not let them. They come to this gate in their carriage and pair, and expect to drive in, but they cannot get admission. There is no different way of salvation for a peer of the realm than for a pauper in the workhouse! The greatest prince that ever lived must trust Jesus just as the poorest peasant does. I recollect a minister once telling me that he attended the bedside of a very proud woman, of considerable wealth, and she said to him, “Do you think, sir, that when I am in heaven, such a person as Betty—my maid—will be in the same place as I am? I never could endure her company here. She is a good servant in her way, but I am sure I could not put up with her in heaven.” “No, Madam,” he said, “I do not suppose you will ever be where Betty will be.” He knew Betty to be one of the humblest and most consistent of Christian women anywhere—and he might have told her proud mistress that in the sight of God, meekness is preferable to majesty. The Lord Jesus, in the day of His coming, will wipe out all such distinctions as may very properly exist on earth, though they cannot be recognized beyond the skies. Oh, rich man, glory not in your richest! All your wealth, if you could take it with you, would not buy a single paving stone in the streets of heaven! Do not trust in this poor stuff! Oh, lay it aside as a crown of glorying, and pass humbly through the gate with Lazarus! Some are unable to enter because they carry contraband goods with them. When you land in France, there stands the gendarme who wants to see what you are carrying in that basket. If you attempt to push by, you will soon find yourself in custody. He must know what is there—contraband cannot be taken in. So at the gate of mercy which is Christ, no man can be saved if he desires to keep his sins. He must give up every false way. “Oh,” says the drunk, “I’d like to get to heaven, but I must smuggle in this bottle somehow.” “I would like to be a Christian,” says another. “I do not mind taking Dr. Watts’ hymns with me, but I should like, sometimes, to sing a Bacchanalian song, or a light serenade.” “Well,” cries another, “I enjoy myself on Sunday with God’s people, but you must not deny me the amusements of the world during the week—I cannot give them up.” Well then you cannot enter, for Jesus Christ never saves us in our sins—He saves us from our sins. “Doctor,” says the fool, “make me well, but I’d like to keep my fever.” “No,” says the doctor, “how can you be well while you keep the fever?” How can a man be saved from his sins while he clings to his sins? What is salvation but to be delivered from sin? Sin lovers may seek to be saved, but they shall not be able—while they hug their sins—they cannot have Christ! Some of you are in this grievous predicament. You have been attending this house of prayer a good long time. I do not know what hinders you, but this I do know, there is a worm somewhere eating out the heart of that fair looking apple. Some private sin that you pamper is destroying your souls! Oh, that you had grace to give it up and to come in by the strait gate, trusting in Jesus Christ!

Not a few are unable to enter in because they want to postpone the matter until tomorrow. Today, at any rate, you are engaged with other plans and projects. “A little longer let me revel in some of the sensual enjoyments of life, and afterwards I will come in.” Procrastinators are among the most hopeless of people! He that has “tomorrow” quivering on his lips is never likely to have grace reigning in his heart.

Others, and these are in the worst plight of all, think that they are in and that they have entered. They mistake the outside of the gate for the inside! A strange mistake to fall into, but many do thus delude themselves. They rub their backs against the posts and then they tell us they are as near heaven as anybody else. They have never passed the threshold—they have never found shelter in Christ—albeit they may have felt wonderfully excited at a revival meeting, and sung as loudly and lustily as any of the congregation—

“I do believe, I will believe.”

There is a considerable show of reformation about them. Although they have not got a new garment, they have mended up the old one. They are not new creatures, but still they are better behaved creatures than they were before! And they are, “all right.” Be not deceived, my dear friends! Beware of mistaking a work of nature for the operation of God’s grace. Do not be taken in by the devil’s counterfeits. They are well made—they look genuine—when they are brand new they shine and glitter like fine gold, but they will not stand the test! Every one of them will have a nail driven through them one day—they will never pass current with God. If you have a religion, let it be real and true, not feigned and hypocritical! Of all cheats, the man who cheats himself is certainly the least wise and, I think he is the least honest. Do not play the knave with your own soul! Suspect yourself too much rather than too little. Better journey to heaven in terror of Hell than dream of the happy land while drifting in the other direction. “Ah, that deceit should steal such gentle shapes!” Be on your guard, every one of you. Let not anyone deceive himself!

Thus it is that a crowd—I had almost said a countless crowd—of people nowadays seek to enter in, but for manifold reasons they are not able to do so. And yet there is a more appalling aspect to the same fact. “Many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” The dying are not able. Panic stricken, the dying man sends for the minister whom he never went to hear when his health was good and hours hung heavy in his hands. The charm of Sundays lay in their dissipation—an excursion up the river, or a cheap trip to Brighton and back—anything, everything, sooner than hear the gospel! He never read his Bible. He never prayed. Now the doctor shakes his head and the nurse suggests that they “fetch a clergyman.” Poor soul! She means right, but what do you think he can do? What can we ministers do for you? What can any man do for his fellow creature? “None of us can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” He begins to seek, when, alas, he cannot think, poor fellow, for he is in articulo mortis, with the throes of his last struggle! His head swims, pains grow at his vitals, a glassy film is over his eyes, rambling words fall from his lips. Could he think, he has got something else to think about than the dread future that awaits him! Look at his weeping wife. See those dear children, brought in to get a last kiss from their father? Were his mind more vigorous, it were not likely to be taken up with spiritual thoughts—there is too much in the solemn farewell to occupy the moments left in preparation for the future. “Pray for me, sir,” he says, with fainting, failing breath. Yes, he is seeking to enter in! In 99 cases out of a 100 I fear the answer is, he shall not be able. Little hope have I for deathbed repentances. Never trust to them, I beseech you!

Such a vestibule as a deathbed you may never have. To die in the street may be your lot. Should you have a deathbed, you will have something else to think about besides religion. Oh, how often have I heard Christian men say, when they have been dying, “Ah, sir, if I had a God to seek now, what a misery it would be! What a blessing it is that, with all the cares that now come upon me, I have a sure and certain hope in Christ, for I found Him years ago.” Oh, dear hearers, do not be among those who postpone and procrastinate, till, in a dying hour, after a fashion, you seek to enter and find you shall not be able!

Some years ago I was awakened about three o’clock in the morning by a sharp ring of the doorbell. I was urged without delay to visit a house not very far off London Bridge. I went and up two flights of stairs I was shown into a room, the occupants of which were a nurse and a dying man. There was nobody else. “Oh, sir,” she said, “Mr. So-and-So, about half an hour ago, begged me to send for you.” “What does he want?” I asked. “He is dying, sir,” she replied. I said, “I see that. What sort of a man was he?” “He came home last night, sir, from Brighton. He had been out all day. I looked for a Bible, sir, but there is not one in the house. I hope you have got one with you.” “Oh,” I said, “a Bible would be of no use to him, now! If he could understand me, I could tell him the way of salvation in the very words of Holy Scripture.” I spoke to him, but he gave me no answer. I spoke again—still there was no reply. All sense had fled. I stood a few minutes gazing at his face, till I perceived he was dead—his soul had departed. That man in his lifetime had been known to jeer at me. In strong language he had often denounced me as a hypocrite. Yet he was no sooner smitten with the darts of death than he sought my presence and my counsel, feeling in his heart, no doubt, that I was a servant of God, though he did not care to acknowledge it with his lips. There I stood, unable to help him. Promptly as I had responded to his call, what could I do but look at his corpse and go home again? He had, when too late, sighed for the ministry of reconciliation, sought to enter in, but he was not able. There was no space left him, then, for repentance—he had wasted the opportunity. Therefore, I pray and beseech you, my dear hearers, by the near approach of death—it may be much nearer than you think—give earnest heed to these things! I look round in this building and note the pews and sittings from which hearers, whose faces were once familiar to us have gone—some to glory, some I know not where. God knows. Oh, let not the next removal, if it is yours, vacate the seat of a scoffer, or of a neglecter, or of one who, having been touched in his conscience, silenced the secret monitor and would not turn! As the Lord lives, you must turn or burn! You must either repent or be ruined forever! May God give you wisdom to choose the better part!

It appears from Scripture that even after death there will be some who will seek to enter and shall not be able. I do not attempt to explain what I cannot understand, but I find the Master represents those on the left hand asking a question, “When saw we You hungry, and fed You not?” As if they had some glimmering hope that the sentence upon them might be reversed. And I read in another place of those who will come and knock at the door, and say, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” But the Master of the house, having already risen up and shut the door, will answer, “Verily, I say unto you, I know you not.” Is there, then, such a thing as prayer in hell? When the soul has passed out of the body without hope, will it seek for hope hereafter? Perhaps so; did not the rich man pray to Abraham to send Lazarus? It is but natural to expect that, as they doubted God’s promises on earth, they may doubt God’s threats in hell, and may hope, perhaps, that there will be a way of escape. They will seek, they will seek, but they shall not be able, not able to enter heaven! They said they were not able on earth—they shall find they are not able in hell, either! Non possumus is the sinner’s cry. “We are not able to leave our sins! We are not able to believe! We are not able to be serious! We are not able to be prayerful!” And then, how it will be thrown back into their teeth! Not able to enter heaven, not able to escape from torment, not able to live, not able to die—not able because the gate of heaven admits no sinner who has not been washed in the Redeemer’s blood! Back with you, sir! You would not come to the fountain, you would not wash! Back with you! You are not able! Not able because heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, and you never thought of preparation! Away with you, sir! How can you enter when you are not prepared? Heaven is a place for which a fitness is needed. Men cannot enjoy that which would be contrary to their natures. Away with you, sirs! You could not enjoy heaven if you were admitted, for you are not changed in heart! Away with you!

What? Do you linger? Do you cry? Do you pray? Do you weep? Do you entreat? Away with you! No, the angels shall sweep you away, for is it not written—You yourselves shall be thrust out—unceremoniously driven and scourged away from the gate of glory because you would not come to the gate of grace? These are terrible things to utter. I well might shrink from speaking thus, were it not that fidelity to your souls makes such demands that I must ring the warning. If you die without faith in Christ, behold there is a gulf fixed between you and Heaven. I do not know what that means, but I know what idea it gives to me, and should give to you. Between heaven and hell there is no traffic! None ever passed from hell to heaven—

“There are no acts of pardon passed
In the cold grave to which we hasten!
But darkness, death, and long despair

Reign in eternal silence there!” They would gladly pass the gulf—were it fire, they could be glad to pass it! Were it full of torments, many and manifold as a Spanish Inquisition could invent—they would be glad to bear them—could they but hope to cross the gulf. But no, the voice is heard—an angel’s voice—“He that is filthy, let him be filthy still; he that is unjust, let him be unjust still.” The wax has cooled—you cannot alter the impression. The die is cast—you cannot remold it. The tree has fallen—there it lies.

I wish I could speak now in words that would burn their way right into your inmost hearts. Alas, I cannot. I must, however, just repeat the text again, and leave it with you. “Many shall seek in that dread day to enter, but shall not be able.” Oh, enter then, enter! Enter now, while yet the gate stands wide open and mercy bids you come! Make haste to enter while yet the avenging angel lingers, and the angel of mercy stands with outstretched arms and cries, “Whoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.” May God, the ever-blessed Spirit, without whom no warning can be effectual, and no invitation can be attractive, sweetly compel you to trust Christ tonight! Here is the gospel in a few words—Jesus suffered the wrath and torment we justly merited. He doubtless bore the penalty of your transgressions if you penitently believe in His Sacrifice. When you trust in Him for pardon, it is proof your sins were laid on Him for judgment! You are, therefore, a forgiven man! A pardoned woman! You are saved—saved forever! If you have a simple, child-like trust, you may go home singing for joy of heart, knowing that you have already entered the strait gate! And grace on earth and glory in heaven lie before you! May God bless you richly, and may you adore Him gratefully, for His dear name’s sake. Amen.

(From http://www.spurgeongems.org/)

Downloadable copies of this sermon…

“The Strait Gate” – Sermon by C.H. Spurgeon

Elijah And The Four Hundred Prophets Of Baal – Which Is The True God?

This morning my devotional reading reached 1 Kings 18 and 19. Chapter 18 has always greatly encouraged me, as we have a classic demonstration of the difference between truth and error. That Truth works, and error is only superstition in the mind…

(Read all of 1 Kings 18)

1 Kings 18:17-41
17  And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
18  And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.
19  Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.
20  So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
21  And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
22  Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23  Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
24  And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
25  And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.
26  And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
27  And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
28  And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
29  And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
30  And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
31  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
32  And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
33  And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
34  And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
35  And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
36  And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
37  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
38  Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
40  And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
41  And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.

The LORD again, in His mercy and grace, reached out to wicked Israel – who had again turned from Him to baal – and through His prophet Elijah gave them a living demonstration of the difference between Himself and baal. The difference between Truth and error, the difference between spiritual reality and superstition that is only in the mind, and not in reality.

Today, in the Church age, we do not have fire coming down from Heaven experiences to go by, but the blessed Holy Spirit reaching out to us. Reaching out to the lost to woo them to be repentant toward God, and have faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21 KJV). And then to those who respond to the work of the Holy Spirit and are born again, each have the Holy Spirit living inside of them (Romans 8:9 KJV). Living inside of them to give them personal enabling to live a godly life with their Father, Almighty God. And to change them, as they faithfully obey the indwelling Holy Spirit’s leading, to be more and more live their blessed Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every one of God’s children can, and should have, more than the one outward experience witnessed by Israel in 1 Kings 18. They can daily have their God’s personal empowering and guidance in their walk with Him. They just have to, in honesty and in integrity, respond to Him, to His Spirit within them with whole hearted obedience.

015 – THE SPIRITUAL LIFE – THE LORD’S GOAL FOR MAN 15

The Lord has given us His Word in order for us to know with certainty what life with Him is in reality. And with our world so far from God with endless mixed ideas of Who He is, and what His Truth is in all matters. We MUST do a responsible study of the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15-16), relying on the Spirit’s leading (Romans 8:14), in order to learn God’s perspective of life – His Truth!

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

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Why did the Lord create man? According to what the Lord has revealed to us through His Word, the Bible, man was created to have life with Him. That they would have a full, secure and purposeful life with their Creator. And that the Lord created them to NEED Him in order to have a full, secure and purposeful life. So that those who CHOOSE life WITH Him, would learn to know Him, and therefore love Him with all of their being. And motivated by love, glorify Him in all that they do.

I. WHAT IS THE LORD’S GOAL FOR MAN? (STATED)

A. That Man Would Have Life WITH Him (See studies 001 – 002)

B. That His Children Would Learn To Know Him (See studies 003 – 007)

C. That His Children Would Therefore Love Him With All Of Their Being (See studies 008 – 010)

D. That Motivated By Supreme Love, His Children Would Glorify Him In All That They Do (See study 011 – 014)

E. That His Children Would Be “Spiritually Minded”

We have seen that the God’s children, when led by the Holy Spirit, learn to love Him with their whole being: body, soul (mind), and spirit. The soul, or mind, is the person inside of the body. And the spirit is the new ‘part’ of them that enables them to have spiritual life with their Father (John 3:6 KJV). How does the child of God love their Father with all of their mind? What does that mean in the daily reality of life?

The Lord reveals two polar opposite types of minds, mindsets, in the world. Those who are, “carnally minded”, and those who are, “spiritually minded”.

Romans 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

1. “Carnally Minded”

We all start life separated from God by sin…

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

And living in sin makes man, “carnally minded”, and in conflict, “at enmity”, with God and unable to know life with Him, or please Him in any way. We are in, humanly speaking, an impossible situation…

Romans 8:6-8
6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Man is in sin, and therefore separated from God, but not only separated from Him morally, but in their whole being. And as we have seen, and that is so tragic, is that man is separated from the Lord in his very thinking. Man cannot understand God, nor His ways. And while he resists the Lord’s efforts to draw him to Himself, man remains in spiritual darkness…

1 Corinthians 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Lord sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, into the world on the day of Pentecost to begin His ministry of the Church dispensation (Acts 2 KJV). Reaching out to lost man is one of His blessed ministries…

John 16:7-8
7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

And until the individual responds to the correct preaching of the Gospel, and is repentant toward God, and is brought to true, honest faith in Christ, they remain in the mental and spiritual darkness that they were born with. They remain, “carnally minded”, and at, “enmity against God”.

Acts 20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

What we have been looking at in this point is the Lord’s perspective of man in his sin, and his disastrous position before Almighty God. And no one, before allowing themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to being born again, sees or appreciates their spiritual position before the Lord. Many are very religious, but not with religion of God, because though religious many have not been born again…

Matthew 7:21-23
21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Another example is Matthew 13 where enthusiastic, great multitudes gathered to see and hear Christ. But, as this passage reveals, only the Lord’s disciples – minus Judas as we get to find out later – have responded to the Lord as He requires man to do in order to be born again. And so the carnally minded may claim to be atheistic, or they may be very religious but not born again.

To download an MS Word file of the above study…

001 INTEGRITY DISCOVERING GOD’S TRUTH FOR THE CHURCH INTRODUCTION

It must be said right from the beginning that there is no magic formula to quickly discover God’s Truth. It takes a life dedicated to the Lord, and to the discovery, and obedient response to God’s Truth as we discover it for ourselves.

The Outline of this mini series of studies will be along the following lines:

  • The Bible is perfectly accurate
  • God’s Truth is in the Bible only
  • The Bible must be taken literally, except where it says otherwise
  • God’s specific Truth for the Church is found in the New Testament, while still learning from the Old Testament
  • The Holy Spirit has been commissioned by the Lord to lead us to discover His Truth.
  • It takes honest, responsible reading, studying and meditating on God’s Word, with the goal of not simply trying to understand what we find there, but asking the Lord to guide us into His Truth.

Our daily studies will be introducing a number of very large subjects and often will need additional study to properly examine that which is only introduced by the morning studies. I will be making addition, more extensive materials available for more thorough examination of the subjects that we cover.

THE BIBLE IS PERFECTLY ACCURATE

It would not be possible to discover God’s Truth for the Church age if there were no access to that Truth for us to read, study and meditate on. So that we can learn it, understand it and then obey it. Praise the Lord that He has made certain that we can learn His Truth and be able to say, as the Old Testament believers did, “Thus saith the Lord!” i.e. Be able to know with absolute certainty what God’s will is, and what life and service with and to Him is today.

The Lord Has Given Us The Bible By Inspiration

2Timothy 3:16 ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

“ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God”. Not one word of the Bible is not the product of God’s inspiration. What does the Lord mean by “inspiration of God”? These 3 words come from one Greek word θεοπνευστοςmeaning ‘God breathed’ – literally. Meaning spoken by God – His Words.

2Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Spirit chose certain holy men to reveal Truth / doctrine though. Scripture is not simply what was thought wise or good by God’s people in the past. Scripture (the bible) is truth / doctrine directly from God. As we have seen the Lord has always been very particular about His children keeping His will for them, exactly as He has instructed them. The only way that this is possible is for us to have His will recorded, so that we can learn it from an infallible source – His Book, the Bible.

The Extent Of God’s Inspiration Is Not Conceptual, But Verbal – The Very Words Were Inspired By God

Psalms 12:6-7
6  The WORDS of the LORD are PURE WORDS: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7  Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Proverbs 30:5  EVERY WORD OF GOD IS PURE: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Matthew 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall not pass away.

Because it is so important to the Lord that we have access to His Truth for us, He has taken great care in its deliver to us. That the fallible men that He gave it to us through, would not taint, or spoil it by their natural, human weaknesses. If we look at how it could be possible that the writers of the Bible could write perfect books from how reliable each were. Then we will naturally be skeptical in being able to completely trust the books of the Bible completely. But when we consider that the Bible is God’s revelation to man, and that He is the One behind the giving of His revelation to us. And that He is the One behind its accuracy. Then that is a different world altogether.

Through the Lord men and women have done the impossible. Moses parted the Red Sea for the children of Israel to cross on dry land. Peter walked on the sea! Not humanly possible unless the Lord enables them to.

And so with the transmission of His Truth to us, the Lord – in His own interests, and purposes to man – was behind the perfectly accurate recording of His Truth. So that we may be able to – after responsible – reading, studying and meditating on His Truths, and being led by His Spirit. To be able to know with certainty, “Thus saith the Lord!”, in all areas of His Truth.

Next we will have a look at how the Lord perfectly preserved His Word for us to still have it in our hands today.

To download an MS Word file of the above study click on the below link…

001 INTEGRITY – DISCOVERYING GOD’S TRUTH FOR THE CHURCH-final

008 Introducing The Virtue Of Integrity

BE SURE TO LOOK TO THE LORD TO OPEN THESE TRUTHS OF HIS TO YOU…

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

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I. INTEGRITY (See Lessons 001 – 003)

II. UPRIGHTNESS (See Lessons 004 – 005)

III. HONESTY (See Lesson 006)

IV. SUMMING UP CONCLUSION

With integrity, uprightness and honesty so highly valued by the Lord and mature children of God. These virtues must surely have a very important role today in God’s children’s spiritual lives? And so in these concluding ‘summing up’ studies, we will very briefly introduce the vital areas of God’s dealings with man that these virtues play an essential role.

A. Integrity – Uprightness – Honesty Needed For…

1. Man’s Spiritual Birth (See Lesson 007)

2. God’s Children’s Spiritual Life With Him

In Romans 8 we have seen in this course that Paul teaches us the practical, day-to-day spirit life by contrasting it to the carnal life of those who have not been born again:

Romans 8:1-8
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Paul lists the two polar opposite lives that our world is divided into according to the Lord. This is because, from the Lord’s perspective, spiritually these are the two possible lives that all of mankind are divided into. Those who are God’s children and who are walking with the Him in integrity, and those who have not been born again and are not living in integrity – they are living in rebellion against the Lord.

The Lost – Live Without Integrity

The lost “walk after the flesh”, and they therefore “mind the things of the flesh”. i.e. Their lives are shaped by their fleshly / sinful passions (See 1 John 2:15-17 KJV). And therefore they are “carnally minded” – not only are their lives shaped by their sinful flesh, but so are their minds (Romans 8:6-7 above)! The carnal mind is at “enmity (in conflict) against God” (verse 7). This is because they are “not subject to the law of God”, neither can they be subject to the law of God. Not surprisingly they cannot please God! The Lord sees their lack of integrity. These lack integrity with the Lord primarily because they resist the Holy Spirit’s attempts to woo them to repentance toward God, and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21; John 16:8 KJV).

God’s preacher…

Acts 20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

The inner working of the Holy Spirit…

John 16:8  And when he [HOLY SPIRIT] is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Romans 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

The lost sinner either responds to the duel efforts to win them to turn them in integrity to be repentant towards God, and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, or they don’t. It’s up to each individual!

Those Who Have Been Born Again – Living With Integrity

The Spirit led child of God doesn’t walk after their sinful flesh, they WALK AFTER the Spirit (Romans 8:14 KJV). For this reason their lives ARE SHAPED by the Holy Spirit’s leading (“they mind the things of the Spirit” – meaning literally that they have a favourable leaning towards that which is valued by the Spirit / the Lord.) And therefore they are “spiritually minded”, which is “life and peace” with the Lord. Life that is infinitely higher than any other life possible in this world!

Those Who Have Been Born Again – Lacking Integrity

When a child of God does not live with integrity with the Lord, their lives are more like those who have not been born again. Through their initially having integrity with the Lord, they were brought to be repentant toward God, and have faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ. This brought about their being born again. Then through careless in their spiritual walk, they ‘drifted’ into sin, perhaps little by little. And so little by little they lost their integrity with their Lord. Example: The Loadicean church, and our Laodinean age today. They made their Saviour sick to His stomach with their lukewarmness (See Revelations 3:15-16 KJV).  They are not walking after the Spirit, but the flesh. And so they mind the things of the flesh instead of the Spirit, and their lives are filled with the temporary things of this sinful world, instead of eternal things that are valued by their Father. The result is that, because they are not living in integrity with the Lord, they through rebellion, are in conflict with the Lord! They are “carnally minded” like the lost, and like the lost are not subject to the law of God, neither can they be! What a terrible place for a child of God to be! In conflict with their Father!

One of the serious consequences of such a wicked life is that these question their salvation. They don’t have the Spirit of God witnessing with their spirit that they are children of God anymore. And those who love them, and care for their spiritual lives, are also uncertain if they ever were born again! And this is what we have today. Churches that are filled with mostly lost, but also carnal born again. And no one but the Lord can tell the difference. The remedy for both is to respond to the inner working of the Holy Spirit, with integrity, and allow Him to lead them to be repentant towards God.

Conclusion

Without integrity the spiritual birth is not possible, and neither is the spiritual life of the child of God possible. All future spiritual progress hinges on whether or not we continue with integrity in our walk with our heavenly Father. And there is nothing more important than our spiritual life with our Father!

 

Use the following link to download an MS Word file of the above study…

007 Introducing The Virtue Of Integrity

BE SURE TO LOOK TO THE LORD TO OPEN THESE TRUTHS OF HIS TO YOU…

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

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I. INTEGRITY (See Lessons 001 – 003)

A. Definition

There are two Hebrew words translated “integrity” in the Old Testament; ‘tome’ which means ‘complete’ or morally ‘innocence’; and ‘toom-maw’ which means ‘innocence’. (From Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries).

Read 1 Kings 9:2-7 KJV.

A person is not ‘innocent’ before the Lord if they are casual towards sin. They are not ‘innocent’ before the Lord if they are careless, and casual, in their attitude towards the Lord Himself. The mature ‘innocent’ person is the one whose mind is made up that sin is not an option. Doing what they know offends the Lord is not an option!

II. UPRIGHTNESS (See Lessons 004 – 005)

A. Definition

The Hebrew word for “upright”, “uprightness” is ‘yashar’ which means ‘straight’. In the KJV it is translated ‘right’ (54x), ‘upright’ (43x), ‘righteous’ (8x); ‘pleased’ (7x); ‘convenient’ (x3); ‘equity’, ‘just’, ‘meet’, ‘meetest’, ‘please’, ‘pleaseth’, ‘uprighty’, ‘uprightness’.

Proverbs 11:3  The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

i.e. The ‘innocence’ (“integrity”) of the ‘straight’ (“upright”) shall guide them. The consistently obedient child of God is morally ‘innocent’, or morally ‘simple’, in their morally ‘straight’ walk with the Lord.

III. HONESTY (See Lesson 006)

Luke 8:15  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

A. Definition

There are 6 Greek words for “honest”, and “honesty”. 1. ‘kalos’ which means ‘morally good’ or ‘virtuous’ (See Luke 8:15; Romans 12:17; 2 Corinthians 8:21; 13:7; 1 Peter 2:12). 2. ‘martureo’ which means ‘to bear witness’ ‘to have a good testimony’ (See Acts 6:3). 3. ‘euschemonos’ an adverb which means ‘decorously’ translated ‘honestly’ (x2), ‘decently’ (x1); (See Romans 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12). 4. ‘semnos’ translated ‘honest’ (x1) (See Philippians 4:8). 5. ‘semnotes’ translated ‘honesty’ (x1) and ‘gravity’ (x2); ‘honestly’ (See 1 Timothy 2:2). 6. ‘kalos’ (‘o’ is omega in this case) which means ‘well’ morally usually; ‘honestly (x1) (See Hebrews 13:18).

IV. SUMMING UP CONCLUSION

With integrity, uprightness and honesty so highly valued by the Lord and mature children of God. These virtues must surely have a very important role today in God’s children’s spiritual lives? And so in these concluding ‘summing up’ studies, we will very briefly introduce the vital areas of God’s dealings with man that these virtues play an essential role.

A. Integrity – Uprightness – Honesty Needed For…

1. Man’s Spiritual Birth

In John 3 we have seen that the Lord Jesus taught Nicodemus about man’s vital need for a spiritual birth, in order for him to see and enter the kingdom of God. And that the spiritual birth takes place when anyone believed in Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross by faith, with hearts of integrity.

John 3:14-15
14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:19-21
19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

i. Lacking Integrity

Those with no godly integrity do not come to believe in Christ for the spiritual birth (verse 20), “every one that doeth evil hateth the light (Christ)”. “Doeth evil” is plural number (grammatically) meaning that it is referring to multiple acts of evil, or habitual evil / sin. There is no “repentance toward God” in such a person (Acts 20:21 KJV). Their lack of godly integrity, in the eyes of the Lord, keeps them from responding to the offer of Christ to save them from the condemnation of their sin, or at least responding to Christ ‘in such an acceptable manner’ as to bring about their spiritual birth. These may even become active in a local church, but because of their lack of integrity, their lack of repentance towards God, the Lord sees their unacceptable ‘response’ to Christ as one of rejection, “hateth the light”.

ii. With Integrity

Those with godly integrity do come to believe in Christ and therefore have a spiritual birth (verse 21), “he that doeth truth cometh to the light” (Christ). “Doeth truth” is singular number (grammatically) and therefore speaks of a single action. Meaning that this person is an honest person, they are consistently honest. They consistently do what they believe to be right because they are people of integrity. And when presented with the Gospel of the substitutionary death of Christ for them, they respond – as they always do – with integrity. With their whole hearts! And are therefore born again.

2. God’s Children’s Spiritual Life With Him

(Continue in next study…)

 

Use the following link to download an MS Word file of the above study…

 

006 Introducing The Virtue Of Integrity

BE SURE TO LOOK TO THE LORD TO OPEN THESE TRUTHS OF HIS TO YOU…

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

_____

I. INTEGRITY (See Lessons 001 – 003)

A. Definition

There are two Hebrew words translated “integrity” in the Old Testament; ‘tome’ which means ‘complete’ or morally ‘innocence’; and ‘toom-maw’ which means ‘innocence’. (From Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries).

Read 1 Kings 9:2-7 KJV.

A person is not ‘innocent’ before the Lord if they are casual towards sin. They are not ‘innocent’ before the Lord if they are careless, and casual, in their attitude towards the Lord Himself. The mature ‘innocent’ person is the one whose mind is made up that sin is not an option. Doing what they know offends the Lord is not an option!

II. UPRIGHTNESS (See Lessons 004 – 005)

A. Definition

The Hebrew word for “upright”, “uprightness” is ‘yashar’ which means ‘straight’. In the KJV it is translated ‘right’ (54x), ‘upright’ (43x), ‘righteous’ (8x); ‘pleased’ (7x); ‘convenient’ (x3); ‘equity’, ‘just’, ‘meet’, ‘meetest’, ‘please’, ‘pleaseth’, ‘uprighty’, ‘uprightness’.

Proverbs 11:3  The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

i.e. The ‘innocence’ (“integrity”) of the ‘straight’ (“upright”) shall guide them. The consistently obedient child of God is morally ‘innocent’, or morally ‘simple’, in their morally ‘straight’ walk with the Lord.

III. HONESTY

Luke 8:15  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

A. Definition

There are 6 Greek words for “honest”, and “honesty”. 1. ‘kalos’ which means ‘morally good’ or ‘virtuous’ (See Luke 8:15; Romans 12:17; 2 Corinthians 8:21; 13:7; 1 Peter 2:12). 2. ‘martureo’ which means ‘to bear witness’ ‘to have a good testimony’ (See Acts 6:3). 3. ‘euschemonos’ an adverb which means ‘decorously’ translated ‘honestly’ (x2), ‘decently’ (x1); (See Romans 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:12). 4. ‘semnos’ translated ‘honest’ (x1) (See Philippians 4:8). 5. ‘semnotes’ translated ‘honesty’ (x1) and ‘gravity’ (x2); ‘honestly’ (See 1 Timothy 2:2). 6. ‘kalos’ (‘o’ is omega in this case) which means ‘well’ morally usually; ‘honestly (x1) (See Hebrews 13:18).

Deacons must be men known for their honesty. Of the few qualifications required, having a testimony of being honest is listed…

Acts 6:3  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report (one Greek word), full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

The child of God must be honest before for all people. Honesty must be their reputation…

Romans 12:17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Honesty is to be a marked difference between themselves and the world…

Romans 13:13  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

As God’s children we have been changed. We have been turned from dishonesty and deceit, and have shown ourselves to be truthful before our fellow man, “in the sight of God.” If this is not our personal testimony then we are either sinfully resisting the leading of the Holy Spirit, or we have not been born again. Paul lists the very important example of honesty with the Word of God. The fact that Paul mentions this particular example of our need to be honest, means that this is an area of challenge for the child of God. We WILL be challenged in our walk to keep our selves honest in our handling of the Word of God. The biggest challenge will come from our sinful flesh. We will be tempted to be lazy in our reading, studying and meditating on God’s Word (1 Timothy 4:13, 2 Timothy 2:15-16, Joshua 1:8). And therefore not know His Word as we ought to. When discussing or debating certain truths in God’s Word we will be tempted to simply defend our belief than honestly considering the other person’s explanation. And there are many who care more about holding to their opinions than finding God’s Truth from the Word of God. We must be both honest before God and man. Lastly, when reading and studying we need to be asking the Lord to guide our understanding of His Word. Otherwise we will be limited to understanding what God’s Word means to us. We MUST learn what the Lord wants us to understand, believe and live from His Word. Do you see the difference? The difference between our own understanding and God’s actual Truth?

2 Corinthians 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Here honesty is listed among godly virtues that need to be in each child of God…

Philippians 4:8  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.

It is one thing to have a reputation of being honest by others, but it is another when we are honest in the eyes of the Lord, Who sees everything, as we as when we have a “good conscience” in our dealings with people…

Hebrews 13:18  Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

See also 2 Corinthians 8:21; 2 Corinthians 13:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Peter 2:12.

 

Use the following link to download an MS Word file of the above study…

005 Introducing The Virtue Of Integrity

BE SURE TO LOOK TO THE LORD TO OPEN THESE TRUTHS OF HIS TO YOU…

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

_____

I. INTEGRITY (See Lessons 001 – 003)

A. Definition

There are two Hebrew words translated “integrity” in the Old Testament; ‘tome’ which means ‘complete’ or morally ‘innocence’; and ‘toom-maw’ which means ‘innocence’. (From Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries).

Read 1 Kings 9:2-7 KJV.

A person is not ‘innocent’ before the Lord if they are casual towards sin. They are not ‘innocent’ before the Lord if they are careless, and casual, in their attitude towards the Lord Himself. The mature ‘innocent’ person is the one whose mind is made up that sin is not an option. Doing what they know offends the Lord is not an option!

II. UPRIGHTNESS

Psalms 15:2  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart [INTEGRITY].

A. Definition

The Hebrew word for “upright”, “uprightness” is ‘yashar’ which means ‘straight’. In the KJV it is translated ‘right’ (54x), ‘upright’ (43x), ‘righteous’ (8x); ‘pleased’ (7x); ‘convenient’ (x3); ‘equity’, ‘just’, ‘meet’, ‘meetest’, ‘please’, ‘pleaseth’, ‘uprighty’, ‘uprightness’.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines ‘uprightness’ in its moral use as ‘honesty; integrity in principle or practice; conformity to rectitude and justice in social dealings.’

Proverbs 11:3  The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

i.e. The ‘innocence’ (“integrity”) of the ‘straight’ (“upright”) shall guide them. The consistently obedient child of God is morally ‘innocent’, or morally ‘simple’, in their morally ‘straight’ walk with the Lord. It could also be said that the consistently obedient child of God is morally simple and straight in character. i.e. Not just in outward action but right down to their character they are upright, and people of integrity. This is what is to be aimed from in spiritual growth. This is what the Holy Spirit is attempting to lead every child of God to in their walk / life with Him.

B. The Lord’s High View Of Uprightness (See Lesson 004)

C. Uprightness In God’s Children

When we see that God’s children understand the Lord’s very high value of “uprightness”, we expect to read of their very high value of ‘uprightness’ as well…

1. Job

Job valued the virtue of “uprighteness” and we see him claim that his heart, that his inner being is upright…

Job 33:3  My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.

2. King David

King David’s response to the Lord’s high value of “uprighteness” in His children is passionate. Definitely not careless! …

2 Samuel 22:24-25
24  I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.
25  Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.

Who knows the hand of God in their life? Who knows the blessing of being blessed by being aware of the presence of the Lord? …

Psalms 15:1-2
1  A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

… the child of God who walks / lives “uprightly” before the Lord, and shows this spiritual virtue by doing good (“worketh righteousness”), and being truthful in their inner being (“speaketh the truth in his heart”).

3. Solomon

King Solomon was very aware that his father, King David, was close to the Lord. And that he was loved by the Lord because of his ‘uprightness of heart with Him’ … among other godly virtues in his character.

1 Kings 3:6  And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

D. To Not Walk In Uprightness Is To Walk In Darkness

Keep in mind that we are looking to understand the Lord’s view of life and ourselves…

Proverbs 2:13  Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

Leaving the ways of “uprightness”, being morally straight, is to walk in spiritual, and moral darkness. That is disastrous! No real child of God is okay with that!

Proverbs 10:9  He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

The child of God who lives “uprightly” before the Lord is on solid ground. The Lord Himself makes certain of that. The alternative is being someone who perverts their way, their life (morally, and spiritually crooked in the eyes of the Lord!).

Proverbs 11:3  The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

As we saw before: if we are not His children who are people of “integrity” and “uprightness” before Him, then we heading for destruction because of our perverseness, our moral crookedness.

The alternative is that perverseness, moral and spiritual crookedness – according to the Lord – WILL destroy us! In the Lord’s view: those who are not upright and people of integrity are morally and spiritually destroyed, morally and spiritually wrecked! This is not talking about a child of God losing their salvation, but being completely spiritually defeated! And having no walk with the Lord at all! This view will not be according to the common person, who will see the morally, and spiritually destroyed person as someone just like themselves. Just a normal person. The Lord, we need to understand, we need to get into our thinking, has His own view of us. And the reality is that according to Him most people are destroyed in their character. That most of His children are lukewarm and make Him sick to His stomach! (Revelation 3:15-16 KJV). Their hearts and minds are very far from Him. They do not understand Him and His ways! They are passionately against Him and His ways!

In the New Testament Paul describes this same thing as being “carnally minded”

Romans 8:6-7
6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

This is the danger of ‘going-with-the-flow’ around us. And unless we PURPOSE IN OUR MINDS – EACH DAY, to make certain that we ARE going to walk with Him that particular day, we too will be caught up in the rebellious ways of the world. We will find, through carelessness, that we are not able to resist the rebellious passions of the flesh.

The Lord warns us of loving the “the things of the world” which in 1 John 5 are the three sinful passions / lusts of the flesh. Note the Lord’s warning about ‘loving them’, and note the future, the lack of a future, for the world and the sinful lusts of the flesh! …

1 John 2:15-17
15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Choose sides wisely! And not just in your head, but in your heart, mind and soul! So that your whole life reflects clearly which side you are on!

(To be continued…)

 

Use the following link to download an MS Word file of the above study…

004 Introducing The Virtue Of Integrity

BE SURE TO LOOK TO THE LORD TO OPEN THESE TRUTHS OF HIS TO YOU…

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

_____

I. INTEGRITY (See Lessons 001 – 003)

A. Definition

There are two Hebrew words translated “integrity” in the Old Testament; ‘tome’ which means ‘complete’ or morally ‘innocence’; and ‘toom-maw’ which means ‘innocence’. (From Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionaries).

Read 1 Kings 9:2-7 KJV.

A person is not ‘innocent’ before the Lord if they are casual towards sin. They are not ‘innocent’ before the Lord if they are careless, and casual, in their attitude towards the Lord Himself. The mature ‘innocent’ person is the one whose mind is made up that sin is not an option. Doing what they know offends the Lord is not an option!

II. UPRIGHTNESS

Psalms 15:2  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart [INTEGRITY].

A. Definition

The Hebrew word for “upright”, “uprightness” is ‘yashar’ which means ‘straight’. In the KJV it is translated ‘right’ (54x), ‘upright’ (43x), ‘righteous’ (8x); ‘pleased’ (7x); ‘convenient’ (x3); ‘equity’, ‘just’, ‘meet’, ‘meetest’, ‘please’, ‘pleaseth’, ‘uprighty’, ‘uprightness’.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines ‘uprightness’ in its moral use as ‘honesty; integrity in principle or practice; conformity to rectitude and justice in social dealings.’

Proverbs 11:3  The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

i.e. The ‘innocence’ (“integrity”) of the ‘straight’ (“upright”) shall guide them. The consistently obedient child of God is morally ‘innocent’, or morally ‘simple’, in their morally ‘straight’ walk with the Lord. It could also be said that the consistently obedient child of God is morally simple and straight in character. i.e. Not just in outward action but right down to their character they are upright, and people of integrity. This is what is to be aimed from in spiritual growth. This is what the Holy Spirit is attempting to lead every child of God to in their walk / life with Him.

B. The Lord’s High View Of Uprightness

As we previously saw how proud the Lord was of Job in the following Scripture, here the Lord describes Job as being blameless in character and behaviour before Him. And the Lord also uses the word, “upright”, to communicate His pleasure in Job’s morally ‘straight’ life before Him.

Job 1:8  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Again, a familiar Scripture 1 Kings 9:4, where we looked at the challenge the Lord gave to king Solomon at the beginning of his reign over Israel. Where along with Integrity, Solomon is challenged with walking ‘uprightly’ before Him. These character virtues are very, very important to the Lord for the character of the man who would lead His chosen people. Solomon would need to be able to lead the Lord’s people to keep their focus on the Lord Himself, and not just on religious practice. And that would take an accurate witness before them. A witness who walked in “integrity of heart” and in “uprightness” before the Lord and before the Lord’s people. Who can calculate the value of such a witness in the Lord’s purposes?!

1 Kings 9:4  And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:

In 1 Chronicles 29:17 King David worshipping the Lord acknowledges that he knows that the Lord has pleasure in His children’s moral uprightness. And knowing that the Lord sees the truth of his heart, claims that he worshipped the Lord in uprightness. i.e. David’s worship was pure – as the Lord required His children’s worship to be. Here we have more than the Lord’s approve in uprightness, but that the Lord has pleasure in uprightness! No wonder it so was important to king David that he was upright in heart before the Lord Whom he loved so much!

1 Chronicles 29:17  I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.

The upright child of God will stand out in today’s world where there is less and less restrain in the indulgence of fleshly pleasure. This kind of child of God will stand out in the local church today! Where the Lord is sick to His stomach of His lukewarm children today…

Revelation 3:15-16
15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

In Revelation 3:13-22 the Lord gives His counsel to the Laodicean, last day’s church. And in verses 15-16 the Lord rebukes the spiritual state of His children! This is what today’s child of God is up against. Not just making sure that the wicked world around them does not drag them down in its wicked, fleshly ways. But to also not allow the wicked, fleshly ways of typical church folk to not dictate their spiritual walk either!

The lines are drawn! On which side do we live? On the Lord’s side of integrity and uprightness, or the world, carnal Christians, and lost church folk? Today’s child of God very often must be willing to walk alone with the Lord. There being little or no support and fellowship with others who will be led by the Holy Spirit into a walk of integrity and uprightness! Our Father is worthy of our living alone with Him in our spiritual lives if need be. The faithful child of God will find life, alone with the Lord, is far more blessed that in the company of many carnal fellow believers. Believers whose constant carnal company makes it impossible to walk in integrity and uprightness with the Lord.

This does not mean that we do not attend a Biblical, local church. It only means that we limit our fellowship time with those who will not turn from living in disobedience to their Father.

(To be continued…)

 

Use the following link to download an MS Word file of the above study…