Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ALL OUT WAR

ALL OUT WAR

Ephesians 6:10-18        Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.


            An army that goes to war makes elaborate preparations. They begin by gathering all the resources and people they will need. In gathering resources, the army determines its own weaknesses. Preparations and strategies are put in place to maximize their strengths and shore up their deficiencies. Every soldier is given a specific duty and equipped for their role. The enemy themselves are studied. What is their strengths, weaknesses and resources. Where is the enemy located, what are their strategies and plans. When the army is ready they move forward into the enemies territory. You can only defeat an enemy when their territory is overrun and occupied. The army takes the offensive. Each individual involved in battle is fighting for their life. This requires determination, watchfulness and diligence on the part of every combatant.

            The Christian, too, is in a war. They battle against principalities and powers in the physical and spiritual realms. Preparation begins by gathering the resources God has provided. The Scriptures are studied and applied to each soldier. Roles are assigned to each Christian according to God’s gifting of them. Prayer, Bible study and Christian counsel are used to prepare and equip each person for personal engagement with the enemy. Inventories of strengths and weaknesses in each person’s life are reviewed. Spiritual leaders direct the army of believers assigned to him. Goals and plans are assigned according to each person’s area of life responsibility. Each person is fitted with the full armor of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

Prayer:     Lead us our great Jehovah. Cradle us in your arms as we do battle against our foes. Empower our weaponry in order to destroy the strongholds of Satan. Allow us to see victory in the lives of those who were once lost, but who are now found in Christ.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SAVING FAITH IN CHRIST

SAVING FAITH IN CHRIST

1Timothy 1:15-16 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.


            When Christ is presented to lost men in the proclamation of the gospel, it is as Saviour he is presented, as one who ever continues to be the embodiment of the salvation he has once for all accomplished. It is not the possibility of salvation that is offered to lost men but the Saviour himself and therefore salvation full and perfect. There is no imperfection in the salvation offered and there is no restriction to its overture – it is full, free, and unrestricted. And this is the warrant of faith.

            The faith of which we are now speaking is not the belief that we have been saved but trust in Christ in order that we may be saved. And it is of paramount concern to know that Christ is presented to all without distinction to the end that they may entrust themselves to him for salvation. The gospel offer is not restricted to the elect or even to those for whom Christ died. And the warrant of faith is not the conviction that we are elect or that we are among those for whom, strictly speaking, Christ died but the fact that Christ, in the glory of his person, in the perfection of his finished work, and in the efficacy of his exalted activity as King and Saviour, is presented to us in the full, free, and unrestricted overture of the gospel. It is not as persons convinced of our election nor as persons convinced that we are the special objects of God’s love that we commit ourselves to him but as lost sinners. We entrust ourselves to him not because we believe we have been saved but as lost sinners in order that we may be saved. It is to us in our lost condition that the warrant of faith is given and the warrant is not restricted or circumscribed in any way. In the warrant of faith the rich mercy of God is proffered to the lost and the promise of grace is certified by the veracity and faithfulness of God. This is the ground upon which a lost sinner may commit himself to Christ in full confidence that he will be saved. And no sinner to whom the gospel comes is excluded from the divine warrant for such confidence.


Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1955, pg.109.

Monday, February 20, 2017

THE IMAGE IN MAN

Genesis 1:1-3 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.


            Primarily, the initial test, the characteristic of the revelation of the Bible, the first crucible, in a sense, of the Christian faith, is that it starts with God. We are silenced, we are put into the background, we are not considering man first and foremost. It is God, it all starts with Him – ‘In the beginning, God’ – and He is at the center. The very term theology should remind us of that. Theology does not mean knowledge concerning man; primarily it is knowledge of God.

            So this is of supreme importance to us as we come to consider the whole question of fellowship and walking with God and of enjoying the life of God. Most our troubles are due to our self-centeredness and concern for ourselves. The psychologists are aware of that and they have their own way of dealing with it, but they do not really meet the situation and the problem. They are only temporarily successful, because the whole time they are pandering to this self within us. No, the way to be delivered from self-centeredness is to stand in the presence of God.

            According to the Bible the initial cause of man’s ills is that, having been created in the likeness and image of God, instead of living a life in subservience to God, man, alas, suddenly exalted himself and claimed a kind of equality with God; and it is his own self-assertion that has led to all his perplexities. Is not the position in which we find ourselves the same situation as that of the people who have gone before us in all ages and at all times? We begin to see that our fallacy is to exaggerate our own twentieth century with its problems. We see we are paying too much attention to our environment and conditions, and we suddenly come back and face this ultimate, absolute truth – that we are all ultimately in the presence of God.




Life In Christ: Studies in 1 John, By Martyn Lloyd-Jones, pg. 96.


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