November 2012

Monthly Archive

Advent Anticipation: The Blessed Hope

Posted by on 29 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Advent, Second Coming

Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:13 ESV

The second coming (i.e., Second Advent) takes places when Christ returns in bodily form to receive the church and judge the nations. That coming is personal and real for we, the Christ-followers, will see him face-to-face and rejoice at his appearing. Knowing that one day we will see Jesus visibly, we are powerfully motivated to walk in holiness (1 John 3:2-3).

Christ died on our behalf, the Holy Spirit changed our hearts; as result, God freed us from our bondage to live for him. In gratitude, we desire to please our Savior by our behavior. “No shame,” is the watchword for the expectation of Jesus’ coming (1 John 2:28). We desire our lives, attitudes, and actions to honor Christ upon his return. The advent motivation for purity of heart and pleasing our Lord propels us forward in a world gone mad (2 Pet. 3:11). We await a blessed hope, not a terror in the night, or a tragedy of epic proportion, but a Savior who loves and is ready to receive us into his presence.

The Lord shall come! The Church in the early ages took up the subject as of profoundest and most pressing interest, ‘looking for that blessed hope.’ It was no minor hope to the primitive saints. It cheered them at parting with their Lord, and it comforted them at parting with one another.

It upheld them in evil days; it nerved them for warfare; it gave them patience under persecution; it animated them in their work; it kept alive their zeal; it enabled them to look calmly round upon an evil world, and to face its mustering storms; it showed them resurrection and glory, fixing their eye upon scenes beyond the deathbed and the tomb; it ever reminded them of the day of meeting, when Jesus will gather all His own together, and those who have slept in Him shall awake to glory, honor, and immortality.

Horatius Bonar, The Revelation of Jesus Christ

HT: Of First Importance  

Filled to Overflowing

Posted by on 24 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Alan Redpath, Christ in You, Keswick Convention

 

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Col. 2:9-10

Fullness is being completely filled to the full, nothing lacking, complete in the character of God, but not in the nature of God (Eph. 3:19). Fullness is having all that Jesus was and is living in our hearts now. Jesus indwells our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit and this fullness is available for any need, any ministry, any godly purpose. We lack nothing that we need as live the words of Jesus and trust the Father to perform the works of Jesus.

The fullness of the Holy Spirit is a continuous supply from Jesus Christ himself; a moment-by-moment faith in a moment-by-moment filling and a moment-by-moment cleansing. The moment I begin to believe, that moment I receive, and as long as I go on believing, praise the Lord! I go on receiving.

Charles Inwood quoted in Alan Redpath, “Full of Faith  . . .Grace . . . Power,” Keswick Week 1957 (London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1957), 155.

What Is a Thankful Heart?

Posted by on 22 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Francis Frangipane, Thanksgiving

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph. 5:20

What is a thankful heart? A thankful heart trusts God’s goodness irrespective of whether he or she understands their unexplained difficulties, chronic trials, or persistent obstacles. A thankful heart knows that the Cross has conquered this fallen world and that our troubles are small compared to Christ’s great suffering on Calvary’s tree. Thankfulness says, “yes” to God’s grace knowing that whether good or bad, God can use our circumstances for his glory and our growth.

We have received too much from God to allow ourselves opportunities for unbelief. We have received too many gifts and privileges to allow a grumbling, murmuring heart to disqualify us of our destiny. In contrast, the thankful heart sees the best part of every situation. It sees problems and weaknesses as opportunities, struggles as refining tools, and sinners as saints in progress.

Francis Frangipane

 

Past, Present, and Future Forgiveness

Posted by on 15 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Forgiveness, Keswick Convention, The Cross

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

1 Peter 3:18

Doctrine affects our behavior. Right doctrine promotes, supports, and strengthens the life of holiness. Wrong doctrinal beliefs deceive, mislead, and burden the Christian life. What we believe about God shapes our choices and actions. We must think rightly and Biblically about God or we may mislead ourselves and others concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement.

Several years back, I worked with a ministry that taught that our past sins were covered by the Cross, but our present and future sins were not. This teaching was intended to promote personal holiness by making our behavior a condition for acceptance with God. However, their teaching caused me to lose my joy: the joy of knowing that my salvation was complete in Christ (Gal. 4:15 NIV).

However, I soon discovered that classic Christian doctrine taught otherwise. All my sin and all your sin is forgiven, put away, and overcome in the Cross. “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Every sin committed whether in our past, present, or future is forgiven as we look to Christ in faith. All our present struggles and unknown failures are covered by the blood of Christ. We rejoice for the finished work of Christ on the Cross has met our past, present, and future need for forgiveness (Heb. 10:20-21).

There at Calvary the sin of the world is gathered by the Father, who purposes to save sinners; yes, the sins of the past and the present and the future–because He wants to include you and me who are saved in this great transaction–the sins of the past, present, and future are swept by Almighty power, and as the prophet says, they are caused to meet on the head of His only-begotten Son. The Lord caused to meet upon Him the iniquity of us all. This salvation is rooted in the will of God. We can have boldness to enter into the Holiest through the blood of Jesus, and we can come into the presence of God in the full assurance of faith in the Christ of Calvary.

J. A. Motyer, “One Sacrifice for Sins Forever,” Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Year’s Daily Readings, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 358.

Your Problems, His Concern

Posted by on 14 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Jesus Christ, Keswick Convention, Prayer

But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

Heb. 7:24–25 NLT

Jesus Christ is our continuously praying intercessor (Rom. 8:8:34; Heb. 7:24-25). He is always praying for you and me. Jesus’ prayer life reflects his priorities: Jesus is personally concerned about your personal concerns (1 Peter 5:7). He is not like an earthly priest who tires, lacks knowledge, fails occasionally (or numerously), and can only bear a few burdens. Our high priest, Jesus Christ, never wearies in praying for us, he knows all, never sinned, and can carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Jesus is praying for us and our concerns: without hesitation he is praying that we will make it. Every prayer that Jesus has ever prayed has always been answered by the Father. Therefore, the prayers of Jesus that you will persevere to the end will be answered. You will make through all your struggles while glorifying God the Father. How? Christ is praying for you every day, every hour, every minute. Your problems are his concern.

But I see the basic, wonderful truth here, that day by day the Lord Jesus Christ is ministering in heaven on my behalf, and yours. . . . May I put it pointedly: all the aspects of your Christian life are His concern. Your great high priest is concerned about your prayer life: He knows all about it; He is concerned about it, and His loving concern is that your prayer life might be rich and full.

He is concerned about your spiritual babyhood, if that is true of you. He is also lovingly concerned that you should go on to maturity. . . .

He is concerned about your particular problems. Maybe you think nobody is concerned about your problem: it is too difficult to share with anybody. I say that the Lord Jesus Christ all about it, and He is concerned about it.

He most lovingly wants that problem dealt with; and His whole ministry in heaven concerns you, in all the loneliness of your spiritual problem, which you can share with nobody. You have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Doesn’t that encourage you? Open your heart to Him.

K. A. A. Weston, “Our Great High Priest,” Daily Thoughts from Keswick: A Years’s Daily Readings, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980), 94.

True Spiritual Wealth

Posted by on 10 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Sam Storms, Trials

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich . . . .

Rev. 3:18 ESV

We live in a materialistic age: all the commercials, movies, and television shows declare that we will be happier if we use, buy, or own a certain product. We are persistently told that the more money we possess, the more happiness we will enjoy. But, the Bible speaks of a true spiritual wealth that fills the heart with a joy that never fades, a love that never falters, and a satisfaction that never grows empty.

True spiritual wealth, the sort that cannot rust or be stolen or suffer from a Wall Street crash or plummeting interest rates, is the gold that is purified of all dross and rid of every alloy by the refining fires of suffering (cf. Job 23:10; Prov. 27:21; Mal. 3:2–3; 1 Pet. 1:6–9). This is the gold of knowing Christ, enjoying Christ, savoring Christ, treasuring Christ, prizing Christ, and finding in him alone the fullness of joy that will never fade or lose its capacity to please.

Sam Storms, To the One Who Conquers: 50 Daily Meditations on the Seven Letters of Revelation 2-3 [Kindle] (Crossway, 2008).

I Know That I Know

Posted by on 07 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: John Stott, The Cross

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

Eph. 1:13

When I wake up in the morning and all the demands of the day flood upon my soul; I look to the Cross. There I know that I am forgiven, there I am healed, there I am made free from my selfishness and pride, and there I know-I know that I know-I am accepted by God.

The first and fundamental ground of our assurance, because it is the sole ground of our salvation, is ‘the finished work of Christ’.  Whenever our conscience accuses us, and we feel burdened with guilt, we need to look away from ourselves to Christ crucified.  Then again we will have peace.  For our acceptance with God depends not on ourselves and what we could ever do, but entirely on Christ and what he has done for all on the cross.

John Stott, Authentic Christianity (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1995), 211.

Who Is a Saint on All-Saints Day?

Posted by on 01 Nov 2012 | Tagged as: Cardinal Ratzinger, Church Calendar, Pope Benedict XVI, Saints

 

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.

1 Cor. 1:2 ESV

Who is a saint on All-Saints Day? Let’s break down each term.

Who is a saint? You are, if you have given your life to Christ receiving him both as your Savior and Lord.

What is a saint? A saint is not someone who is perfect, but a sinner who looks to Christ for life-transforming grace in their chronic weaknesses and on-going struggles. Saints are not those who perform adequately in the spiritual life, but are those who most available to the Holy Spirit’s gifts and power. Saints are needy, they know they cannot live the Christian life by their own energy and resources. Biblical saints look constantly to Christ for help. They know their need for Christ. True saints are not the most adequate, but the most desperate for Christ and his love.

What is All-Saints Day? All-Saints Day is celebrated every year on November First, a day set aside to honor those men and women of the past who trusted Christ though want, need, rejection, and persecution.

To be holy does not mean being superior to others: the saint can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. Holiness is this profound contact with God, becoming a friend of God: it is letting the Other work, the Only One who can really make the world both good and happy.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger