Monthly Archives: February 2009

Lose All Your Guilty Stains


There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood (Chapter Nine)

The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20 ESV).

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23 ESV).

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21 ESV).

The biggest problem to experiencing personal revival is sin, individual and corporate. My sin and your sin grieve the Holy Spirit and prevent him from blessing our lives and our ministry efforts on his behalf. Our relationship with God remains in tact, but our fellowship with each person of the blessed Trinity suffers. In chapter ten of The Calvary Road, Roy Hession explains the simplicity of “walking in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25) and maintaining on-going fellowship with God:

The message and challenge of Revival, which is coming to many of us these days, is searching in its utter simplicity. It is simply that there is only one thing in the world that can hinder the Christian’s walking in victorious fellowship with God and his being filled with the Holy Spirit – and that is sin in one form or another (pg. 97).

We all sin and we know that our behavior disappoints God and hurts others. I am wrong because I have broken God’s law; my selfish actions have wounded God’s heart and hurt others. Sin turns the world upside down: it says that everyone and everything should revolve around my desires, needs, and wants. My sin is rebellion toward God and unbelief in his plans and purposes. Sin came into the world through Adam’s fall and continues through my willful rebellion and unbelief.

I have failed as a Christian so what do I do? I try harder. No, I look to the same grace that saved me to forgive me. I must remember that I am accepted by God not based my personal performance, but based on Christ’s infinitely beautiful performance on the Cross. “But  if we walk in the light,  as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and  the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7-8 ESV). I run to the blood of Christ to find forgiveness, cleansing, and renewal.

There is only one thing in the world that can cleanse him from sin with all that that means of liberty and victory – and that is the power of the Blood of the Lord Jesus. It is, however, most important for us that we should see what it is that gives the Blood of Christ its mighty power with God on behalf of men, for then we shall understand the conditions on which its full power may be experienced in our lives (pg. 97).

The blood of Christ is clear confirmation that Christ died a sacrificial death to pay for our release from the captivity of sin and bondage to Satan’s schemes. In other words, we owe our salvation to the death of Christ. His blood removes our guilt before God (1 Pet.1:18-19), cleanses ours stricken consciences (Heb. 9:14), gives us bold access to the Father (Heb. 10:19), on-going cleansing from our sin (1 John 1:7) and conquers all of Satan’s accusations (Rev. 12:10-11). We sinned, the penalty of our sin is death, Christ took our place, and died so that we might live. Jesus’ blood condemns death and in that death, the penalty of our sin was paid in full. In short, the blood of Jesus is the virtue of his death for our sins. That virtue continues to flow even after we become Christians.

How many achievements and how many blessings for men the Scripture ascribes to the power of the Blood of the Lord Jesus! By the power of His Blood peace is made between man and God (Col 1:20). By its power there is forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all who put their faith in the Lord Jesus (Col 1:14; John 6:54). By the power of His Blood Satan is overcome (Rev 12:11). By its power there is continual cleansing from all sin for us (1 John 1:7). By the power of His Blood we may be set free from the tyranny of an evil conscience to serve the living God (Heb 9:14). By its infinite power with God the most unworthy have liberty to enter the Holy of Holies of God’s presence and live there all the day (Heb 10:19) (pg. 98).

How do we experience the full power of the blood of Christ in our lives? Repentance. Repentance is simple, but not easy. It is a change of mind and heart which affects my attitude and alters my conduct. Repentance is not turning inward, but turning around. It is the recognition that God is right and that I am wrong. Repentance renews my fellowship with the Lord that was lost through sin. Repentance opens the door to the forgiveness that was already bought for me on the Cross. Repentance is not trying to get God to forgive, but receiving the forgiveness that Christ released two thousand years ago on Calvary’s hill. That forgiveness, that blood, that joy is flowing, always flowing from Golgotha.

There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,

Lose all their guilty stains.

Forgiveness is not getting even: it is giving away the right to get even. We have committed grave injustices in the world. In fact, we have acted in such a way that we place ourselves above all others. By our behavior, attitudes, and actions we have turned the world upside down by making ourselves the center of attention instead of God and his glory. When God forgives us, he chooses to forget all the wrongs that we have done to him and all damage that we have done to others. Because of Christ’s awesome and bloody sacrifice, God himself gives away the right to get even with us. Forgiveness is always found in the blood of Christ.

Lord, teach us to run to the foot of the Cross that there we might repent and receive the forgiveness bought for us by the blood of the Lamb.

This is God Speaking!


God Lives in the Preacher’s Mouth

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages (Rom. 16:25).

Preaching is not a conversation about some interesting ideas. It is not the moment in which postmoderns hear their own private message in the biblical words, one unique to each one who hears, and then go their own way. No! This is God speaking! He speaks through the stammering lips of the preacher where that preacher’s mind is on the text of Scripture and his heart is in the presence of God. God, as Luther puts it, lives in the preacher’s mouth.

This is the kind of preaching that issues a summons, which nourishes the soul, which draws the congregation into the very presence of God so that no matter what aspect of his character, his truth, his working in this world is in focus, we leave with awe, gratitude, encouragement, and sometimes a rebuke. We have been in the very presence of God! This is what great preaching always does.

David Wells, The Courage to be Protestant (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008), 230.

HT: Unashamed Workman

“The Cross Is Infusion of Heavenly Sweetness”


The Cross Is Life

For the word of the Cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor 1:18 ESV).

In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection from our enemies, in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the Cross is strength of mind, in the Cross is joy of spirit, in the Cross is the height of virtue, in the Cross is perfection of sanctity. There is no salvation of the soul, nor hope of everlasting life, but in the Cross.

Thomas á Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (New York: Image, 1955), 94.

Doulos: Bond Servant of Our Lord


Christ-Centered Servants (Chapter Eight)

Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant . . . (Phil 2:5-7 NIV).

Chapter eight of Roy Hession’s book, The Calvary Road focuses on the meaning of being a bondservant of our Lord and our need for maintaining a Christ-centered servant attitude. A servant is a man or woman who freely and willingly lays down their rights, needs, and desires for the purpose of helping other men and women achieve their hopes and dreams. Christ-centered servants put others first for they trust that Christ can and will meet all their needs and fulfill their heart’s desires (Matt. 6:33). “Our servanthood to the Lord Jesus is to express itself in our servanthood to our fellows” (pg. 91).

Why would anyone want to yield his or her goals for another friend, relative, or even enemy? Our supreme example, Jesus, set aside his status in heaven in order that through his incarnation, death, and resurrection, we could have a relationship with our heavenly Father (Phil. 2:5-7). What motivates servants? Servants are compelled to please their Lord (2 Cor. 5:9). Jesus is the Suffering Servant who took my place and received my just condemnation (Isa. 53:5). Servants love Jesus for his great sacrificial love loved them when they were so very unlovely (Rom. 5:8). Therefore, Christ-centered servants want to serve like Jesus: unconditionally giving love and blessing to others (Mark 10:45).

We shall see more clearly still what our position is to be when we understand that we are to be the bondservants of One who was Himself willing to be a bondservant. Nothing shows better the amazing humility of the Lord Jesus, whose servants we are to be . . . (pg. 90).

How do Christ-centered servants serve? We serve out of heart gladness knowing that his grace enables us to lay down our lives for others. Who serves unselfishly? Only those whose hearts have been transformed by the Cross serve selflessly. They desire to work for things that last for eternity. For that reason, they choose a life of service without hesitation or equivocation. They live not for money, sex, and power, but for people and the kingdom (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Christ-centered servants do not worry about burning-out: they know that their strength will be renewed like the eagle (Isa. 40:30-31). Truly, the joy of the Lord is their strength as they exchange their weaknesses and failings for pleasure, forgiveness, and righteousness in Christ. (2 Cor. 12:1-12; Neh. 8:10).

When do servants serve? Servants do not wait to be seen. They give of themselves without concern for praise or attention. Where do God’s servants serve? They serve anywhere. They are not concerned about formal ministry positions: they overflow with the life of Jesus wherever the Lord places them.

This, then, is the Way of the Cross. It is the way that God’s lowly Bond Servant first trod for us, and should not we, the bondservants of that Bondservant, tread it still? Does it seem hard and forbidding, this way down? Be assured, it is the only way up. It was the way by which the Lord Jesus reached the Throne, and it is the way by which we, too, reach the place of spiritual power, authority and fruitfulness. Those who tread this path are radiant, happy souls, overflowing with the life of their Lord (pg. 95).

Servants serve because that is what servants do. Servants do not worry about being used because they know that the Lord is their protector. Servants know that God is watching. Servants believe that God sees their efforts and will honor their work. Christ-centered servants live to hear these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23). Servants do not condemn others for not serving: they know that except for God’s great grace, they would be self-absorbed, too. Servants want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world:

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
Compassion on this world
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world
Yours are the hands
Yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes
You are His body
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Words by St. Theresa of Avila: Music by John Michael Talbot

Servants live lives of joy and fulfillment. The Lord refreshes their spirits and they live for the privilege of basking in his pleasure (Psa. 16:11).

Oh Lord, help us to serve as you served: willingly, unselfishly, and graciously.

Private Sin?


Is There Such a Thing As a Sin That Does Not Hurt Anyone?

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned (Rom 5:12-13 NLT).

No sin is private. It may be secret but it is not private.

It is a great error to hold, as some do, that each man’s conduct is his own business unless his acts infringe on the rights of others. “My liberty ends where yours begins” is true, but that is not all the truth. No one ever has the right to commit an evil act, no matter how secret. God wills that men should be free, but not that they be free to commit sin.

Sin is three-dimensional and has consequences in three directions: toward God, toward self and toward society. It alienates from God, degrades self and injures others. Adam’s is the classic example of a secret sin that overflowed to the injury of all mankind. History provides examples of persons so placed that their sins had wide and injurious effect upon their generation.

A. W. Tozer, The Size of the Soul (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1992), 74.

“A Glorious Truth to a Saint”


Abiding and Foreordination

But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! (Jn 15:7 NLT).

If we are abiding in Jesus and His words are abiding in us, then Jesus says God will answer our prayers. Do we recognize that? “But,” you say, “suppose I ask for something not according to God’s will?” I defy you to, if you are fulfilling the abiding in Jesus. The disciple who is in the condition of abiding in Jesus is the will of God, and his apparent free choices are God’s foreordained decrees. Mysterious? Logically absurd? But a glorious truth to a saint.

Oswald Chambers, Our Brilliant Heritage (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1996).

The Loving Lamb


Point Out to Every Heart the Loving Lamb

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 ESV).

Our method of proclaiming salvation is this: to point out to every heart the loving Lamb, who died for us, and although He was the Son of God, offered Himself for our sins … by the preaching of His blood, and of His love unto death, even the death of the cross, never, either in discourse or in argument, to digress even for a quarter of an hour from the loving Lamb: to name no virtue except in Him, and from Him and on His account, to preach no commandment except faith in Him; no other justification but that He atoned for us; no other sanctification but the privilege to sin no more; no other happiness but to be near Him, to think of Him and do His pleasure; no other self denial but to be deprived of Him and His blessings; no other calamity but to displease Him; no other life but in Him.

Nicholas Ludwig Count Von Zinzendorf cited in Moravian Church Miscellany (Bethlehem, PA: The Church of the United Brethren, 1852), 234.

Preaching Is Not Performance


Preaching is the Outflow of Life

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe (1 Cor 1:21-22 ESV).

Preaching is not the performance of an hour. It is the outflow of a life. It takes twenty years to make a sermon, because it takes twenty years to make the man. The true sermon is a thing of life. The sermon grows because the man grows. The sermon is forceful because the man is forceful. The sermon is holy because the man is holy. The sermon is full of the divine unction because the man is full of the divine unction.

E. M. Bounds, Preaching and Prayer

HT: Adrian Warnock

Childlike Dependence


Humility Is Dependence

Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:4 RSV).

Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In his public teaching ministry, Jesus commended humility as the pre-eminent characteristic of the citizens of God’s kingdom, and went on to describe it as the humility of a child …

Many people are puzzled by this teaching, since children are seldom humble in either character or conduct. Jesus must therefore have been alluding to their humility of status, not behavior. Children are rightly called ‘dependants’. They depend on their parents for everything. For what they know they depend on what they have been taught, and for what they have they depend on what they have been given. These two areas are, in fact, the very ones Jesus specifies when he develops the model of a child’s humility.

John Stott, “Pride, Humility and God” in Alive to God, ed. J. I. Packer and L. Wilkinson (Downers Grove: IVP, 1992), 118.

HT: Langham Partnership International

Correction and Confrontation


The Speck and the Plank (Chapter Seven)

We continue in our study of The Calvary Road by Roy Hession with some reflections on personal correction and one-on-one confrontation in the Christian life.

Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and  with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but  do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matt 7:1-5 ESV).

Matthew 7:1-5 is one of the most misused, misunderstood, and misappropriated passages in the entire New Testament. These verses found in the heart of the Sermon of the Mount have been used to justify my right to sin, “you should not judge me” and my right to reject correction, “you have more faults than me,” and my right to be defensive, “you have no right to speak to me about my failings.” Yet, these unique verses which describe, “specks” and “planks” are God’s gift to not only bring personal revival to the offender, but also to the offended.

Now we all know what Jesus meant by the mote (speck) in the other person’s eye. It is some fault which we fancy we can discern in him; it may be an act he has done against us, or some attitude he adopts towards us. But what did the Lord Jesus mean by the beam (plank) in our eye? I suggest that the beam in our eye is simply our unloving reaction to the other man’s mote. Without doubt there is a wrong in the other person. But our reaction to that wrong is wrong too! The mote in him has provoked in us resentment, or coldness, or criticism, or bitterness, or evil speaking, or ill will – all of them variants of the basic ill, unlove. And that, says the Lord Jesus, is far, far worse than the tiny wrong (sometimes quite unconscious) that provoked it. A mote means in the Greek a little splinter, whereas a beam means a rafter. And the Lord Jesus means by this comparison to tell us that our unloving reaction to the other’s wrong is what a great rafter is to a little splinter! (pg. 81).

Jesus has allowed a fault of another to touch our sensitivities: we are offended, our hurt is real or imagined, and we long for some type of justice. We want the offender corrected, but as Hession stated, our reaction, in many instances, is many times worse than the original offence. God by his sovereignty is exposing a flesh pattern in my life: playing the martyr, sorrow for the victim, and pity for the wounded.

It is some fault which we fancy we can discern in him; it may be an act he has done against us, or some attitude he adopts towards us. But what did the Lord Jesus mean by the beam in our eye? I suggest that the beam in our eye is simply our unloving reaction to the other man’s mote. Without doubt there is a wrong in the other person. But our reaction to that wrong is wrong too! The mote in him has provoked in us resentment, or coldness, or criticism, or bitterness, or evil speaking, or ill will – all of them variants of the basic ill, unlove. And that, says the Lord Jesus, is far, far worse than the tiny wrong (sometimes quite unconscious) that provoked it (pg. 83).

So, what exactly is the plank in our eye?

The first beginning of a resentment is a beam, as is also the first flicker of an unkind thought, or the first suggestion of unloving criticism. Where that is so, it only distorts our vision and we shall never see our brother as he really is, beloved of God. If we speak to our brother with that in our hearts, it will only provoke him to adopt the same hard attitude to us . . . (pg. 84).

To help our brother or sister in Christ, we must first go the Cross with our offense and find the peace of Christ concerning that offense.

Very often bystanders will tell us, and sometimes our own hearts, that the sin we are confessing is not nearly so bad as the other’s wrong, which he is not yet confessing. But we have been to Calvary, indeed we are learning to live under the shadow of Calvary, and we have seen our sin there and we can no longer compare our sin with another’s (pg. 85).

We gain freedom from sin by taking our attitude to the Cross and then we gain a friend who now knows that we care about their needs and blind spots. Notice, the text does NOT say notice your faults and give up on correcting and confronting your brother or sister. The text does say, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt 7:5 ESV). After God deals with us, then we are equipped by the Holy Spirit to help others with their spiritual lives. The offenders will now be able to receive the correction that the Lord has been longing to give him or her, but God could not confront because of our bad attitude.

He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored (Prov 13:18 NIV).

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself (Gal 6:1-2 NLT).

My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins (James 5:19-20 NLT).