How to Promote the Beauties of Holiness
Or, The Beauty of Holiness (Part 2)
[Read "The Beauty of Holiness" (Part 1) ---New Window by Katie Stewart]
"Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy Power, in the Beauties of Holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth"
by Tom Stewart
essiah Jesus most certainly will see the day of His Power, when He will begin His Earthly Millennial Reign, seated on the "Throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:32-33). However, is He not already seated at the "right hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the Heavens" (Hebrews 8:1)? And, has He not already amazed the Heavenlies with the "Power of His Resurrection" (Philippians 3:10)? King David the Psalmist declared: "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies" (Psalm 110:1-2). Is not the "rod of [Messiah Jesus'] strength" (110:2) the Gospel of the Grace of God, and is it not the "Power of God unto Salvation" (Romans 1:16)? Multiply this with the understanding that Christ's New Covenant has wonderfully pledged the Power of the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit of Almighty God to "whosoever will" (Revelation 22:17). "38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the Promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call" (Acts 2:38-39). Did not even the Old Testament writers comprehend that there would come a day when Pentecost's Promised Blessing of Divine Presence would invigorate all those that repent and turn to Jesus Christ in faith-- and, most importantly, cause us to walk in Perfect Obedience? "26 A New Heart also will I give you, and a New Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
If the LORD Jesus Christ has already begun His "perfect work" (James 1:4) of Salvation and Sanctification in us, then He will not only "perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6), i.e., until Christ takes us Home by death or Rapture; but, He has already begun to work in us "to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). The "Beauties of Holiness" (Psalm 110:3) extolled by the Psalmist are the decorum of the Saints, in the present day of Christ's Gospel Power. The question for those who already understand their need of the "manifold Grace of God" (1Peter 4:10) for Salvation, is: "How can I promote the Beauties of Holiness in my own life (because absolutely nothing is worth sinning against God)?" "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?" (Hebrews 10:29). What cooperation does the Spirit of God require of me to secure me from offending the Father Who loved me, the Saviour Who died for me, and the Spirit Who sought after me? "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). Remember that Holiness means not only separateness or apartness from sin, but consecration or dedication to God. "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD'S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be Holiness unto the LORD of Hosts" (Zechariah 14:20-21).
How to Promote the Beauties of Holiness
Confess All Sin Quickly and Make Restitution Where Appropriate. "3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest" (Psalm 51:3-4). Self-defense of our past, sinful actions must never be present on our lips or in our heart. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (1Timothy 1:15). How can we claim to know the Saving Grace of God, when we are clinging to rebellion against the Throne and Grace of the LORD Jesus Christ? "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in Him" (1John 2:4). Our profession to Sonship must be coupled with an admiration for the "Beauty of Holiness" (1Chronicles 16:29) and a holy hatred for the sin that crucified the Saviour. "And let the Beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it" (Psalm 90:17). Of course, like Zacchaeus, who demonstrated his repentance by restoring four times what he stole (Luke 19:8), we need to make restitution wherever possible, where we have injured others. "15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the Statutes of Life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live" (Ezekiel 33:15-16).
Allow the Holy Spirit to Search Us to Make Us Clean and Keep Us Pure. "23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way Everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24). It is God's business to know minutely the condition of our heart. "Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the Righteous God trieth the hearts and reins" (7:9). Without the Spirit's intervention, any purely human attempt at Holiness must be abortive. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one" (Job 14:4). Holiness must proceed from a Holy God to His people. "Who shall not fear Thee, O LORD, and glorify Thy Name? for Thou only art Holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy Judgments are made manifest" (Revelation 15:4). After the Spirit has revealed our transgressions to us, only He can cleanse us, i.e., "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin" (Psalm 51:2), based upon the Atoning work of Christ on the Cross. "In Whom we have Redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace" (Ephesians 1:7). But, if we have confessed "our sins, He is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9). Therefore, at that time, we have been forgiven, and God has pronounced us holy. "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common" (Acts 10:15).
Never Depend Upon Self. "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). If we comprehend that both Holiness and sin cannot exist in ourselves at the same time, i.e., "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24), then we must appreciate that we are responsible in part for our choice to be sinful or holy. [See "Unity of Moral Action" ---New Window by Charles G. Finney ---New Window, for a systematic exposition of this Scriptural concept of Matthew 6:24.] However, rather than making ourselves the petty rulers of our own fate, we must wisely choose to lay down our wills at the feet of the Throne of the LORD Jesus Christ, for He is worthy. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive Power, and Riches, and Wisdom, and Strength, and Honour, and Glory, and Blessing" (Revelation 5:12-13). Even as the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that he (an Inspired Apostle and Pillar of the Church) along with others, did not "trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead" (2Corinthians 1:9), we need to cast aside the humanistic creed of self-reliance. Understanding that God can only use a vessel that has voluntarily emptied it of itself, we must place ourselves upon the altar of absolute consecration to God. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). Instead of emaciating ourselves through this rejection of humanistic self-reliance, we enlarge ourselves by entering fully into our marriage of trust with the LORD Jesus Christ, who "loved us, and washed us from our sins in His Own Blood" (Revelation 1:5). [J. Hudson Taylor's "Union and Communion" ---New Window expounds the Song of Solomon for understanding of our dependence on the Heavenly Bridegroom.]
Worship God With a Growing Understanding of Who He Is and What He Has Done, Is Doing, and Will Do. "But grow in Grace, and in the Knowledge of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Peter 3:18). Life would not frighten us so, if we would but realize that Jesus is the "Prince of Life" (Acts 3:15), Who supremely controls our circumstances, if we would only trust Him. [See Charles G. Finney's "The Relations of Christ to the Believer" ---New Window to learn the relationship between worship and sanctification. Also, "In Christ Jesus" ---New Window by A. T. Pierson ---New Window, explores the Believer's relationship to the Christ that is worshipped.] What is the Sacred History of God's dealing with man, but an ongoing revelation of the character of the Self-Existent God with those to whom He desires to commune? "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you" (Exodus 3:14). Rather than recoiling from the opportunity of acquainting ourselves with our Creator, Saviour, and Maintainer, we ought to rejoice that He has condescended to make Himself known to us. "13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a Man over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And He said, Nay; but as Captain of the Host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the Earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, What saith my LORD unto His servant? 15 And the Captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so" (Joshua 5:13-15). The darkness that surrounds the Professed Church about "things to come" (John 16:13) in Bible Prophecy lies much in the ignorance of the testimony of the LORD Jesus Christ, e.g., "3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto Him, LORD, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (14:3-6). The better we understand what Christ testified about Himself, the greater will we understand Bible Prophecy. "And I fell at his [the angel's] feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy" (Revelation 19:10).
Depend on the Promises of God. "Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:4). If Holiness is both consecration to God and apartness from sin, then the Promises of God most certainly will beautify His people. "For the LORD taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with Salvation" (Psalm 149:4). Promises from the Word of God have been so designed by God to meet an answer to every aspect of our lives, but always through the exercise of our faith. "Having therefore these Promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting Holiness in the fear of God" (2Corinthians 7:1). God already knows that we have particular needs and lacks, so He has prepared the Promises for just such occasions. "20 He staggered not at the Promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform" (Romans 4:20-21). Notice how your countenance is transformed into quiet and peacefulness, after having taken time to dwell upon, consider and trust the Faithful Promises of the Word of God that exactly deal with your circumstances. Is this not beautiful Holiness? "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?" (8:32). [See our article, "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises" ---New Window, to learn more how the LORD has planned His Promises to cause us to escape the world's corruption, making us to become more like Him.]
Expect God Always to Be Faithful to His Word. "Heaven and Earth shall pass away: but My Words shall not pass away" (Luke 21:33). [See our article, "How to Trust God" ---New Window, for encouragement to do what God created us to do-- that is, to trust Him.] The Almighty is the very definition and essence of Faithfulness. "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). Worshipping and extolling God for His Faithfulness and Truth, demands that we place our confidence in Him and sincerely act like we trust Him, e.g., bring an umbrella, if you're praying for rain. "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29). Think of it. When Jesus appears in the sky, returning to begin the Judgment and rule of the Millennial Earth, He chooses to be remembered and identified by the Faithfulness and Truth in which He has called upon all men to confide. "And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war" (Revelation 19:11). Confidence in God that He will perform His Word, will not go unrewarded. "He that putteth his trust in Me shall possess the land, and shall inherit My holy mountain" (Isaiah 57:13). Anyone who separates himself from the world through trusting in God's Word, clothes himself with beautiful robes of Righteousness and Holiness. "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of Salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels" (Isaiah 61:10). God separates NOT Himself from His Word, so much so, that when the LORD Jesus soon appears the Second Time, He further chooses to identify Himself as "The Word" that He faithfully keeps, which at that time judges His enemies, as He has so long and continually warned. "And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:13).
Pray Not to Be Led Into Temptation. (This excerpt is our editorial, "Lead Us Not Into Temptation.") "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matthew 6:13) means, Help us not to sin, i.e., not to succumb to temptation, and thereby sin. Jesus implied that everyone, including His Human Self, has tendencies of habit, circumstances of the flesh, and predispositions of circumstances in the world, that will inevitably cause us to sin unless identified and countered by a strength of God's character, that can be claimed in faith as a Promise. "For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour [literally, help] them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18). For instance, if I understand that I have a tendency to lose my patience with a certain person in a familiar circumstance, i.e., the "sin which doth so easily beset us" (12:1), then it behooves me to seek by prayerful searching of the Word for a revelation of the LORD's strength of patience, that the Holy Spirit may apply to me, should the circumstance arise yet again. "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3). Further, Christ Jesus "pleased not Himself" (Romans 15:3), leaving me the example of patience "for our learning" (15:4); thereby, holding forth the opportunity that the "God of patience and consolation [would] grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus" (15:5). This is the anatomy of praying not to be led INTO temptation. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that ye should follow His steps" (1Peter 2:21). [See our article, "What the Bible Says About Temptation" ---New Window, for an amplification of this subject.]
If we are to be holy, we must not be continually falling prey to sin. "Follow peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14). And, if we seek not to be caught perpetually in the teeth of sin, we need to be continually claiming Promises in prayer not to succumb to temptation. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is Faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Corinthians 10:13). Christians underestimate the necessity of prayer in overcoming temptation, perhaps because they incorrectly assume that God's unwillingness that we commit any kind of sin, prevents Him from allowing the world, the flesh, or the Devil to tempt us. Remember, Christ "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). The purpose of God allowing temptation is to get us to turn to Him for help. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need" (4:16). [R. A. Torrey's "How to Pray" ---New Window gives insight into the basics of prayer.]
Our LORD Jesus Christ was allowed by the Father to be tempted in the wilderness by the flesh (i.e., "2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the Tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread" [Matthew 4:2-3]), and to be tempted by the world (i.e., "8 Again, the Devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me" [4:8-9]). The LORD Jesus countered and overcame the temptation by resorting to the help of the Word of God each time, i.e., "It is written" (4:4, 7, 10). Our victory over temptation is no different. You must also "resist stedfast in the faith" (1Peter 5:9) before Satan "will flee from you" (James 4:7). If the Father saw fit to allow His Only Begotten Son to be tempted, to benefit us by the example of Jesus overcoming by actively and purposely depending on the Word of God, then the Father will also allow us to be tempted to glorify Himself by our overcoming temptation. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man" (James 1:13). Also, remember that the Apostle Peter denied the LORD Jesus after he failed to avail himself of the opportunity to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, because he was tired and did not see the need. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not INTO temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). [Read our editorial, "What Happened in Gethsemane?" ---New Window for more concerning this.]
Do Not Be Surprised at Testings. "12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His Glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding Joy" (1Peter 4:12-13). If we understand that the "trying of [our] faith worketh patience" (James 1:3), then we should be all the more willing to undergo trials. On the one hand, we know that we will not "grow in Grace, and in the Knowledge of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Peter 3:18) without testing; but, on the other hand, we have been created to not hate our "own flesh" (Ephesians 5:29). What are we to do? We are to trust the Father to wisely choose for us when and what is to be the occasion for our testing. "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the Will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a Faithful Creator" (1Peter 4:19). God is the Master Craftsman that knows exquisitely how to achieve the best effects in the "Beauty of Holiness" (Psalm 29:2) in our lives. "But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand" (Isaiah 64:8). Instead of objecting to His right to exert sovereign choice in the occasion and form of our testings, we need to acknowledge that He is worthy "to receive Glory and Honour and Power" because He it is that "created all things" (Revelation 4:11). We trust Him to choose our testings because we love Him. "We love Him, because He first loved us" (1John 4:19).
Expect Suffering as an Instrument for Your Sanctification. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). Modern Christians will most probably be surprised at such talk of suffering as a means of our Sanctification, but the concept is as old as man, for it was our first parents who learned that their sin necessitated the Creator to achieve our Salvation and Sanctification through laboring for our daily bread, as well as laboring for the birth of our children. "16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (Genesis 3:16-17). Even now the effects of childbearing, i.e., puberty, menstruation, and menopause, bring about some of the greatest tests for the Sanctification of the Feminine Saints. "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" (1Timothy 2:15). Likewise, the Masculine Saints will most often find the greatest tests for their Sanctification in their necessity to make physical and financial provision for their families, i.e., "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1Timothy 5:8). As Christ learned obedience through His sufferings, God will beautify us through our sufferings, and not destroy us. "22 It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Pray for Wisdom in All Things. "If any of you lack Wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5). [See our "Promises" ---New Window section of our website for "Promises for Wisdom" ---New Window.] Humanity may think that Wisdom is a poor substitute for the reality of greater material possessions or increased standing in the estimation of the world, but those who know the "Secret of the LORD" (Psalm 25:14), appreciate that "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get Wisdom: and with all thy getting get Understanding" (Proverbs 4:7). If we seek "first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness... all these [necessary material] things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). And, why is Wisdom so principal a thing? Because "Christ the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God" (1Corinthians 1:24) personifies all that our understanding lacks. King Solomon was instructed by his father David that the "fear of the LORD is the beginning of Knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7), and to "get Wisdom: and with all thy getting get Understanding" (4:7). The lacking of Wisdom is prime evidence that we have been created as finite human beings, for even the Son of God, when He "was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), "increased in Wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52). How beautiful it is for a man to comprehend that the "way of man is not in himself: [that] it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23)! We need what only the Father through Christ can give us-- Wisdom. "For in Him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9). Only as the Holy Spirit acquaints us with our great lack of Wisdom and Christ's great supply, will we be motivated to prayerfully "search the Scriptures" (John 5:39) for the Wisdom and Understanding that we need. If we sense our lack of Wisdom, then the Spirit is already teaching us our need. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). Diligently seek through prayer and the Word for the understanding needed, and "it shall be given you" (Luke 11:9). "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (11:10).
Pray for God's Help in All Things. "6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). How can we walk in Holiness, while we are in fear for our safety or uncertain of physical provision? "9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the Judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is Great Reward" (Psalm 19:9-11). God's help is God's Grace. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). Who could not be all that he should be, if given God's help in all things? "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). But, the reason we do not have a greater measure of God's help in all things, is that we do not ask Him for that help. "Thus saith the LORD GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them" (Ezekiel 36:37). The Epistle of James teaches us, "Ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2). True, Divinely speaking, we do not know the right objects for prayer, i.e., "we know not what we should pray for as we ought" (Romans 8:26); but, the Holy Spirit has been given to us to lead our minds aright, i.e., "but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (8:26). It is our Gospel privilege to petition the Almighty for help in all things in Jesus' precious Name-- and expect to receive our petition. "And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13).
Love God With All Your Heart. "37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the First and Great Commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38). [Read "The Ten Commandments" ---New Window by D. L. Moody ---New Window, to appreciate better the significance of love, obedience, and the Ten Commandments.] It is only appropriate that the God Who "is love" (1John 4:8) would require of His moral creatures the return of His love to Him. Obedience to His Commandments is "reasonable service" (Romans 12:1) because it is the expression of our love to Him. "If ye love Me, keep My Commandments" (John 14:15). Obedience has always been our bounden duty to God. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His Commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). He created us with the capacity to obey Him, i.e., "God said unto [Adam and Eve], Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the Earth" (Genesis 1:28). Even after the Fall of our First Parents, we still have the moral capacity of obeying God and loving Him with all our heart; but, we never will obey without Divine Assistance. "Teach me to do Thy Will; for Thou art my God: Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness" (Psalm 143:10). This is the purpose for the giving of the Holy Spirit in these New Testament times-- to secure our obedience! "26 A New Heart also will I give you, and a New Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Do Not Fail to Love Your Neighbour as Yourself. "And the Second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:39). Any kind of regard for our neighbour that is not based upon or motivated by the love of God, is mere humanism. "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing" (1Corinthians 13:3). The earthly mission of the LORD Jesus Christ was not to destroy the Law of Love, "but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17) it. Unfortunately, many have mistakenly assumed that fulfilling the Law meant Jesus completed the Law in such a sense that no one else needed to obey it any longer; however, only the Old Testament Ceremonial Law for Temple worship and Ancient Israel's Civil Law are now completed and set aside. "For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God" (Hebrews 7:19). The Saints are still called upon to obey the Law of Love for their neighbour, and especially for their Brethren, as they would that others obey that Law toward themselves. "7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God... 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1John 4:7, 11). Some have also mistakenly assumed that only the Old Testament enjoined the loving of our neighbour, while the New Testament restricted love to exclusively our Brethren in the Faith; but, Jesus clarified that the standard of love toward our neighbour should be just as rightly applied to our enemies. "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). If Jesus only did good to those who are good, then Jesus would never have died for us, for "there is none good but one, that is, God" (Mark 10:18). May God grant that we be beautified in Holiness by loving our neighbour, as we ought. "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another" (1John 3:11).
Labour for the Material Support of Yourself and Your Family. "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1Timothy 5:8). [Read a discourse on "Money" (Chapter 48) ---New Window by Andrew Murray ---New Window, of his extremely useful book, "The New Life: Words of God for Young Disciples of Christ" ---New Window.] As the Saints come even more closely to the Endtime Economy of Antichrist's global control of our ability to buy or sell, the difficulty of Christian husbands and fathers to provide for their families will become increasingly difficult-- "no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:17)-- but, "with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). Willingness for the Christian breadwinner to work and make that provision, is not enough. We need the assistance that only God the Sustainer can provide! "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" (Psalm 127:1). We need to become intimately familiar with the Promises of God for the material support of ourselves and our families, for if His Word caused the universe to be formed, surely He can make provision for us by the Word of His Promises. "O fear the LORD, ye His Saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him" (34:9). Further, if the Father cares for the life of even the sparrow, how much more does He care for the lives of the family entrusted to us? "6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Luke 12:6-7).
Relieve the Wants of Those Who Have Need Around You. "1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. 2 The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the Earth: and Thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies" (Psalm 41:1-2). [John Wesley's classic sermon on "The Use of Money" ---New Window supports the idea of relieving the needs of others, under his sermon's third and final point, "Give All You Can".] The Saints have not been called upon to relieve only the wants of the Saints, but also the needs of all men. "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). The material relief of those outside of the "household of faith" (6:10), may serve the purpose of bringing that person to the loving arms of the Saviour; but, if they still and finally reject the Saviour, God will be even more justified in His Judgment of that rejecter of the Grace of God with "destruction and perdition" (1Timothy 6:9). However, our relief of those around us, is not simply a blank check, waiting for petitioners to fill in the amount, i.e., Is this due them? Do you have the power to do it? "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it" (Proverbs 3:27). If we are right with God, then our giving should be coupled with faith that God is our Storehouse (Malachi 3:10) and our Heavenly Banker, who will more than amply disgorge our deposits with Him, which deposits we made when we relieved those around us. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). How beautiful is this Holiness of giving! "Bring ye all the tithes into the Storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).
Support the Work of Christ's Church Through Time, Tithe, and Intercession. "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD" (Leviticus 27:30). The Church of the LORD Jesus Christ is constituted of all those who "have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Peter 1:1). Because we have not all had the opportunity of the same circumstances and the same teaching, we may honestly understand (or, think we understand) doctrine differently; but, that does not mean that we are not to attempt to "speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1Corinthians 1:10). Love demands that we support and forbear our brethren "for whom Christ died" (Romans 14:15). Ensuring that the ministry is supported, i.e., "the labourer is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7), and that godly widows and orphans are relieved, is the duty of the Church. "Honour widows that are widows indeed" (1Timothy 5:3). "Pure Religion and Undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27). What we cannot give in time and tithe, we have the privilege to give through intercession. "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine" (John 17:9). The LORD Jesus is our example of intercession for the Church. "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He [Christ] ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).
Witness to the World of Its Need of Christ. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life" (John 3:16). [See A. T. Pierson's "The Heart of the Gospel" ---New Window, to read a sermon preached from C. H. Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle about the glories of the Gospel.] If the Father was compelled by love for the world and respect for His Law of Love, to devise a plan to redeem Lawbreaking Sinners based upon their repentance and the ingenious sacrifice of His Son to satisfy the demands of the broken Law, then how could we not but enter into labour with Him for the Salvation of the world? "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35). The Gospel is the Good News of a second chance of forgiveness for our selfish rebellion against obedience to the "First and Great Commandment" (Matthew 22:38), i.e., "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (22:37), and against the "Second" (22:39) Commandment, i.e., "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (22:39). We are not to preach to the world a Gospel that invites the forgiveness of sins without a return to obedience to the Royal Law. "If ye fulfil the Royal Law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well" (James 2:8). God will still be glorified by a complete exhibition of Christ and His Atonement to the world, whether or not the hearers believe. "14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His Knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ" (2Corinthians 2:14-17). [See Charles G. Finney's "The Gospel the Savor of Life or of Death" ---New Window to see how God "will be as truly honored in the damnation of those who reject, as in the salvation of those who receive Christ... Because it will be known that He did all the nature of the case admitted, to save those who are lost."]
Testify to the Truthfulness of God's Word by Your Life and Deeds. "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men" (2Corinthians 3:2). [D. L. Moody's "The Way to God" ---New Window and "Heaven: Where It Is, Its Inhabitants, And How to Get There" ---New Window are wonderful tools for inquirers to read about the way of Salvation. "All of Grace" ---New Window by C. H. Spurgeon ---New Window, will also greatly enlighten those seeking the way to God.] We are, therefore, signposts that point to Christ, for He is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6). The more we understand that Jesus is the answer to our every need, will we be able to testify of His ability to meet every need of all men. "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ is experiential knowledge of the truth of God's Word, that we may live out daily in the sight of man, but always in the sight of God. "Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22). Even if we are not so privileged to live our lives in plain enough view of the world that they may "see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in Heaven" (Matthew 5:16), "Thou God seest me" (Genesis 16:13), and "thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:18). The world may never read a Bible, hear a Gospel sermon, or study a Gospel tract, but they may still encounter a Real Christian, whose life testifies to the Truth. "13 Ye are the Salt of the Earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the Light of the World. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven" (5:13-16). ["Sermons on Gospel Themes" ---New Window, "The Way of Salvation" ---New Window, and "Sermons from the Penny Pulpit" ---New Window are an extensive library of Gospel sermons from the 19th Century evangelist, Charles G. Finney ---New Window, that may instruct even a 21st Century dweller in Gospel Salvation.]
Meditate Continually Upon the Word of God in Its Application to Your Circumstances. "1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the Law of the LORD; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Psalm 1:1-3). [Visit C. H. Spurgeon's "Faith's Checkbook" ---New Window for daily encouragement from the Promises of the Word of God.] Man's ability to make a moral choice separates him from being merely an animal, and specifically, to meditate upon the Word of God, gives him the opportunity to be like His Creator, Saviour, and Sanctifier. "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Genesis 1:27). Meditation is pondering and considering the Word of God, like a cow chews its cud; but, also like a cow, the Word must be digested to do any good. "Thy Words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy Name, O LORD God of Hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16). Our ability to make the wisest possible application of the Word of God to our circumstances is directly proportional to our willingness to do whatever we discover to be its meaning. "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine" (John 7:17). [See our article, "The Word of God" ---New Window, to learn Who the Word is and what He means to the believer.] Meditation upon the Word of God may occur when we read, hear, memorize, study, or even attempt to minister the Word. Typically, we settle upon some aspect of the Scripture that we do not fully understand or have never considered in that application, then we turn it about in our mind, until we understand it. "15 I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways... 5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands" (Psalm 119:15; 143:5). Sometimes we may be considering the wording of a prophecy of Scripture or a declaration about the character of God that we are attempting to reconcile with our present understanding, then our meditation becomes more like answering a riddle or solving a conundrum. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12). Meditation on the Word causes us "to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29) by making us to mentally travel the same paths as Jesus did, when as a maturing young man, He "increased in Wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52).
Read the Word of God Continually to Become Familiar With the Voice of the Holy Spirit. "14 I am the Good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine... 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:14, 27). [We invite you to listen online to the KJV Audio Bible read by Alexander Stephen Johnston ---New Window, which is only one of many ways God has provided for us to become "doers of the Word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22).] Familiarity with the Word of God will not breed contempt because it is the Voice of God, just as it was originally with Adam and Eve, when "they heard the Voice of the LORD God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8). If we walk with God, Scripture should not intimidate us; but, "if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" (Genesis 4:7), and we will not be able to bear the hearing of the Voice of His Word. We are privileged to have the Greatest Resource Imaginable to Mankind, which is the Word of God, complete with its own Illuminator, Teacher, and Mentor, who is the Holy Spirit. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). If we sometimes wish that we could have been with Jesus during His earthly ministry, then we have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to be able to hear exactly what He said and meant, when He walked the dusty roads of Israel some 2,000 years ago. "He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:14). Unfortunately for many, other things have been attached to the voice of the Holy Spirit that contradict or diminish the clear Word of God, that being "filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) no longer means abiding in Him, who is the Word of God. "If ye abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).
Especially Study the Offices, Relations, Names, and Capacities of Christ in His Relationship to the Believer. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29). [See our exposition, "An Urgent Call to Christian Perfection" ---New Window, where Christian Perfection is simply to "appropriate Christ by faith in all of His offices, capacities, and relations to meet our every need in life."] Beautiful Holiness must comprehend the relations of Christ to the Believer for the Believer to avail himself of all that Christ is. "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption" (1Corinthians 1:30). The Believer must understand that we are unable to succeed against the world, the flesh, or the Devil without the intervention of the LORD Jesus Christ in all of His offices, relations, names, and capacities. For example, as the Overcomer of the World, Christ invites us to stand in His victory through faith. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1John 5:4). Another illustration, in our victory over the flesh, Christ furnishes us His Spirit to mind not the "things of the flesh" (Romans 8:5), i.e., "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" (8:5). "9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His... 11 But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (8:9, 11). An additional example of how a capacity of Christ meets our need of overcoming the Wicked One, the LORD Jesus Christ is the Binder of the Strong Man, where the strong man is the Devil. "25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27 No man can enter into a strong man's house [Satan's house], and spoil his goods [Captive Sinners], except he [Christ] will first bind the strong man [Christ bound the Devil through His Cross]; and then he will spoil his house" (Mark 3:25-27). When we "resist the Devil" (James 4:7), "stedfast in the faith" (1Peter 5:9), which is the "faith of the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20), then the Archenemy "will flee from you" (James 4:7). As you can see, the LORD Jesus claimed to be the very capacities that we most desperately need. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6).
Learn the Importance of Sound Doctrine, But Be Careful Not to Become Contentious With Honestly Differing Brethren. "But speak thou the things which become Sound Doctrine" (Titus 2:1). [See our "Topical Links on Sound Doctrine" ---New Window for more on Sound Doctrine, of which the Spirit and not man must persuade us.] The only Sound Doctrine is the teaching of the Word of God. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2Timothy 3:16). And, the purpose of Sound Doctrine is the Perfection of the Saints. "That the man of God may be perfect" (3:17). The result of Sound Doctrine's perfection is the Wholesome Conduct of the Saints, i.e., "throughly furnished unto all good works" (3:17). Man is such a small thing in the Grand Scheme of Things, i.e., "LORD, what is man, that Thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that Thou makest account of him!" (Psalm 144:3); yet, the humanist, like a fool, takes the greatest pride "that his heart may discover itself" (Proverbs 18:2), instead of devoting His life to mining the "Unsearchable Riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8) that may be found only when the Blessed Spirit teaches a man "every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 8:3). Even when we have been taught Sound Doctrine by God Himself, our glory is not to be in ourselves or our learning, but in God Himself. "23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD which exercise Lovingkindness, Judgment, and Righteousness, in the Earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:23-24). As much as the study of Sound Doctrine will separate us from the foolishness of man, our desire must be for harmony in the Body of Believers, "in Earth, as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10). "Now I beseech you, Brethren, by the Name of our LORD Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1Corinthians 1:10). As willing as we must be to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the Saints" (Jude 3), "holding fast the Faithful Word as [we have] been taught, that [we] may be able by Sound Doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers" (Titus 1:9), we must prayerfully distinguish between Sinful Gainsayers and Honestly Differing Brethren, and never strive, debate, or argue the Scriptures with Honest Brethren, for the LORD Himself must do the persuading, if they are to be convinced. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).
Study Scripture for Understanding of How to Live. "This Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Joshua 1:8). [See Ian Paisley's "Seven Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is the Word of God" ---New Window for a greater appreciation of what the Scripture is.] The world looks for beauty in itself, while the Saints seek for the Beauty that is in Christ alone. "10 My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand... 16 His mouth is most sweet: yea, He is Altogether Lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, O daughters of Jerusalem" (Song of Solomon 5:10, 16). It is only fitting that the Saints see life and living through the perspective of the Beautiful Son of God. "13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp Twoedged Sword [The Word of God]: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in [its] strength" (Revelation 1:13-16).
Through the usefulness of the Wisdom of the Old Testament Book of Proverbs and the New Testament Epistle of James, the encouragement for the heart of the Psalms, the instruction of example of the Pentateuch, the Old Testament Historical Books, and the New Testament Book of the Acts of the Apostles, the helpful explanations of doctrine of Paul's epistles, the emphasis of love of John's epistles, the practicality of suffering and glory of Peter's epistles, and the understanding of the future through the Old Testament Prophets, the Book of Daniel, and the New Testament Book of Revelation, our LORD gives us a complete set of instructions about how to live our life. "And thine ears shall hear a Word behind thee, saying, This is The Way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:21). Whatever we need to understand to live our life, is found in the Scriptures. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Our ignorance of God's Word deprives us of the benefit of God's Power on every aspect of living. "According as His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto Life and Godliness, through the Knowledge of Him that hath called us to Glory and Virtue" (2Peter 1:3). Education, vocation, and daily living require us to master a body of knowledge to properly function, but all of this temporarily useful knowledge pales by comparison to the eminently more valuable knowledge of God. "7 The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the Testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The Statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the Commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The Fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the Judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is Great Reward" (Psalm 19:7-11).
Study Prophecy to Comprehend What the Church Ought to Do in These Last Days. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the Words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Revelation 1:3). [See our "Commentary on the Book of Revelation" ---New Window for a more comprehensive perspective on Biblical Prophecy.] With all the interest in knowing tomorrow's news today, the world still does not pay heed to the prophetic Scriptures; but, the prophecies have no moral benefit than to the extent that they are believed. "For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews 4:2). Not only may the prophecies of impending doom "warn them that are unruly" (1Thessalonians 5:14), but they are intended to guide the Righteous. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25). Some argue that too much emphasis upon the Prophetic Scriptures will cause the Saints to be so focused on the Coming of the LORD Jesus that they will not pay enough attention to the affairs of this life; but, this is to neglect the fact that the Spirit of God has covenanted Himself to guide the Church in the way it should go in light of Christ's Soon Return. "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come" (John 16:13). It appears that our LORD intended us to have this mindset of "Occupy Till I Come" (Luke 19:13), because both the Ordinance of the LORD's Supper and obedience to the Great Commission hinge upon the continual remembrance of His Soon Return, i.e., "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the LORD's death till He come" (1Corinthians 11:26), and "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:20).
As far as the Saints' having a greater sense of understanding of the "times and the seasons" (1Thessalonians 5:1)-- to the Wicked, the End will come as "sudden destruction... and they shall not escape" (5:3), while the Saints "are not in darkness, that that day should overtake [them] as a thief" (5:4). How the Spirit may make this understanding known to the Watching and Waiting Saints, may mean that the Spirit may resort to the use of Modern Prophets in conjunction with His Prophetic Scriptures; but, both must be in agreement, for the "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). "16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 and it shall come to pass in the Last Days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 and on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 and I will shew wonders in Heaven above, and signs in the Earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the LORD come: 21 and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the LORD shall be saved" (Acts 2:16-21).
Separate Yourself From Sinning Professed Brethren, But Always Pray and Labour for Their Restoration. "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed" (2Thessalonians 3:14). [See our article, "How to Deal With Backsliders" ---New Window, for more background on this matter of Church Discipline.] Lukewarm Laodicea is the description of the Church Age, i.e., "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" (Revelation 3:15-16), at the time the LORD Jesus Christ is outside the door ready to return, i.e., "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me" (3:20). "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the Judge standeth before the door" (James 5:9). Professed Christians have become disobedient to the plain commands of Scripture, specifically in their toleration of sin, and allowing for abortion, etc., and consequently, have incurred the displeasure and wrath of Almighty God. "If ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:20). [See our article "What the Bible Says About Abortion" ---New Window, for an explanation of why God is displeased.] "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the Earth?" (Luke 18:8). The purpose of separating from Sinning Brethren is for their restoration. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). If they do not repent now, then they may miss the Pre-Tribulational Rapture, and enter the Tribulation Week-- to be reformed then. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). [See our article, "Must There Be a Pre-Tribulational Rapture?" ---New Window, for understanding of this Scriptural event.]
Be Willing to Stand Alone With Christ. "Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach" (Hebrews 13:13). [See our editorial, "Alone , But Not Lonely" ---New Window, to see how loneliness is impossible to those who walk with God. Also, "The History of Protestantism" ---New Window by J. A. Wylie ---New Window, introduces Christians to their past struggles with the Harlot of Rome. Our series, "Babylon the Great" ---New Window, brings the readers current with the great struggle of the Saints with its great spiritual foe.] Since Holiness is separating unto Christ from sin, then we must stand alone, if no one else will stand with us. "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake" (Luke 6:22). At times, our separation may be simply because the world will have no part of us, but at other times it is because we cannot have any part of the world. "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" (1John 2:15-16). When Professed Brethren depart from obedience to the LORD, we cannot be walking in fellowship and agreement with them. "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed" (2Thessalonians 3:14). We cannot walk with Disobedient Brethren because it would be agreement with their disobedience. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). But, we have the Promise that our Sinning Brethren will be restored, if we deal with them in faith. "4 In the Name of our LORD Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the Power of our LORD Jesus Christ, 5 to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the LORD Jesus" (1Corinthians 5:4-5).
Learn to Discern the Holy Spirit's Leading in His Day-to-Day Providence. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). What could we ask more than to be led by God's Spirit Himself? "And I will bring the blind by a Way that they knew not; I will lead them in Paths that they have not known: I will make darkness Light before them, and crooked things Straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them" (Isaiah 42:16). Life is not a series of accidents for the Christian, but learning to read the leading of the Spirit's Providence in our day-to-day circumstances. "I being in the way, the LORD led me" (Genesis 24:27). It takes patience and faith to keep on our course, because we are most prone to become "weary in well doing" (Galatians 6:9), but "in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (6:9). Discerning the will of God must be a certainty for the Saints, or how can we ever hope to walk consistently in the path of righteousness? "Teach me Thy Way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain Path, because of mine enemies" (Psalm 27:11). How tragic to watch as Professed Christians vacillate between sin and Holiness-- sometimes sinning, then repenting and turning back to Holiness, then back again! "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot" (Revelation 3:15). As we approach the End of the Church Age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find Consistent Christianity that knows the will of God and performs it; but, the LORD will not leave Himself without a "remnant according to the election of Grace" (Romans 11:5). May God grant us the Grace to know and do the will of God! "23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the Way Everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).
Pray and Labour for the Soon Return of the LORD Jesus Christ. "And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the End come" (Matthew 24:14). [See our article, "Meet Mr. Philadelphia" ---New Window, to read about one of the major figures of the 1800's, who promoted the evangelization of the world by 1900-- Arthur T. Pierson ---New Window.] Scoffers mock that many (including this writer) expected to be Raptured before the turn of this last century, but the history of Christianity is replete with examples of the 1st Century, the First Millennium (Year 1000), etc. where Christians have been persuaded that they would be seeing the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ or be Raptured. However, the LORD is only disappointed in us when we leave off praying and labouring for His Return. "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). Scoffers will always mock us, when we honestly engage ourselves in doing the will of God, so we must seek only that God is comfortable with us, rather than ourselves to be comfortable with the scoffers, for "evil men and seducers [will only] wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2Timothy 3:13). Not so strangely, our Brethren, e.g., A. J. Gordon and A. T. Pierson, from the late 1800's discovered a truth from the Scriptures that propelled the Modern Missionary Movement, that when the Gospel of the Kingdom would be "preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Matthew 24:14), only "then shall the End come" (24:14). Instead of accommodating the scoffers with a retreat into secret enclaves, these holy visionaries launched out to attempt to complete the spread of the Gospel to the entire world in their generation! "And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me" (Hebrews 2:13). May God use the World Wide Web to complete the process! "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the Words of this Law" (Deuteronomy 29:29). [Read A. J. Gordon's poem about the return of the LORD, "The King Draws Near"---New Window.]
The Power of prayer to hasten the return of the LORD Jesus Christ is underestimated because it has taken close to two millennia of prayer like that to get this far. "Thy Kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). But, how much longer would it be had the prayer never gone forth? "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God" (2Peter 3:12). [See our article, "Hastening the LORD's Return" ---New Window, for a development of the idea that we have any effect upon how quickly our LORD returns.] Our Sovereign God most certainly knows the most pregnant time for His Return and our escape, but still He commands us, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). If we would but remember to pray for the Brethren the same things that we pray for ourselves, we would do much toward ensuring that our Heavenly LORD has a worthy host to escape, when He sounds the call. "Brethren, pray for us" (1Thessalonians 5:25). And, if we could but be encouraged to pray for mercy on our Lost Neighbours, Eternity alone will tell how much our prayers availed. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16). [Read E. M. Bounds ---New Window for encouragement to pray, in his books, "Power Through Prayer" ---New Window, "The Necessity of Prayer" ---New Window, "The Possibilities of Prayer" ---New Window, and "The Weapon of Prayer" ---New Window.]
s you can see, we may be beautified by Holiness, but it is inescapable that our beautification cannot be but a boon to the Church and the World. "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" (Genesis 12:2). Only with the greatest Wisdom will the All Wise God honour us with the "Beauties of Holiness" (Psalm 110:3), for He knows all too well that we must be first and continually metamorphosized by faith, before growth in His Holiness becomes us. "5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the Knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ" (2Peter 1:5-8). Never on Earth or in Heaven will we truly say that the Holiness with which we have been graced, is our own, but the LORD's that purchased us. "1 Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD Glory and Strength. 2 Give unto the LORD the Glory due unto His Name; worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness" (Psalm 29:1-2).
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