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 91 
 on: May 11, 2017, 08:41:08 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Things We Cannot Do Without

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20)
 
There are many things in life we can well do without, but there are at least seven things a Christian simply cannot do without. These are:
 
1. The Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking of the heathen nations before Christ, Paul said: “At that time ye were without Christ, . . . having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
 
2. Christ’s shed blood. “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, . . . But with the precious blood of Christ” (Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
 
3. Christ’s sinlessness. The Lord Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, He could die for our sins.
 
4. Faith in Christ. “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Hebrews 11:6).
 
5. Faith-generated works. True faith in Christ inevitably produces good works. As our text reminds us, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).
 
6. True holiness. “Follow . . . holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Genuine faith in Christ both receives His imputed holiness and also generates practical holiness in the believer.
 
7. Heavenly chastisement. Unconfessed and unforsaken sin in a Christian’s life must receive chastisement from the Father. “If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye . . . not sons” (Hebrews 12:8).
 
Without saving faith in the Lord, we have nothing of eternal value, but with Him, we have “all things” (1 Corinthians 3:21). HMM

 92 
 on: May 10, 2017, 08:15:58 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
A Test for False Prophets

“Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” (Deuteronomy 13:4)
 
Our text for today seems somewhat out of place, for it is tucked into a passage dealing with false prophets: instructing the people of Israel in ways to detect one who would lead them into false worship. The penalty was death, “because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt” (v. 10). The purpose was both purification and example, for “all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you” (v. 11).
 
The chief test of a prophet was not his ability to perform signs and wonders (v. 1). Elsewhere the test of total, lifelong accuracy was applied. “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously. . . . that prophet shall die” (Deuteronomy 18:22, 20). A more immediate test lay in the absolute harmony of the prophet’s message and deeds with the revealed Word of God, and the wholehearted commitment to the Lord Himself. This test takes the form of the holy standard set forth in our text.
 
Note that an inward attitude will be expressed, as given in the six action verbs. If we are to please God, we must “walk after” or “pursue” Him, and “fear” or “reverence” Him in all things. Furthermore, we must “keep” His commandments, striving to “obey” Him on every issue He addresses. He expects such a one to “serve” Him: to do His bidding. Finally, we must “cleave” or “cling” to Him, holding fast to Him in an ever-deepening relationship. To do less is to fail the test used to discern false prophets, incurring at the least His displeasure; at the most His wrath. JDM

 93 
 on: May 09, 2017, 07:05:50 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
Singing in Adversity
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1930


In the time of the child's need, a true and loving parent yearns with sympathy and with an earnest desire to help. The heart of God is more tender than the heart of a mother. His love is stronger than any human love. In these times of tribulation and trouble, of sorrow or care, of anxiety or foreboding — we should remember that he is waiting to take us into his arms and to comfort us with that comfort which only he can give.

The clouds may seem to hide his face; he may seem far off — but he is not far off. The clouds may prevent us from seeing him — but they do not prevent his seeing us. He does see us and he desires us to turn to him for that support in trouble which we need in order that the heavy load may be borne. He desires that we confide in him, and that we pour out our soul's bitterness and longing to him. He expects us to act as men and women who trust him. He expects us to use what strength we have. But beyond and above our strength, is his abundant strength and help ready to supply whatever deficiency there may be in us. He always sees the way out of our difficulties. He always knows just how much grace we must have. He always measures out to us the needed supply we must have.

No one has ever lived, who has not had his times of discouragement, heaviness, sorrow, and disappointment. Care and anxiety come to all. Unsaved people have to bear their own burdens, meet their own adversities, suffer their own sorrows — without divine help. They get through them in some way in their own strength, and we could do the same without divine help. There would always be a way that we could get through somehow. But God knows a better way than we know, and he will help us into that better way. He will give us the strength and fortitude necessary — if we only trust and go forward courageously.

James tells us, "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds." There is a way to do this. That way is the way Paul took. Paul looked behind the tribulations to the outcome. James exhorts us to do likewise. These tribulations all are fruitful. They are good for us. If we bear them as we should — then we shall look back upon them shortly and rejoice that God let them come.

Let us now look at Paul. It was midnight. He and Silas lay in a Philippian dungeon. Their feet were fast in the stocks. Their clothes were torn, their backs were bleeding from the many stripes that had been laid upon them. It seemed that death might be only a little ahead of them. Under these unfavorable circumstances they did not lament — they prayed (Acts 16:25). After they had prayed, they did something else; they sang praises to God. They did not do this for mere bravado. They did not do it to keep the other prisoners awake. They did it because of the joy that was welling up in their own hearts. They were suffering, so they could not sleep; so they spent the time in the very best possible manner. They spent not a moment in regretting what had happened. They did look for the needed help. Their faith reached out to God — and help came. Their souls were filled with joyful praises — and they sang from full hearts.

There were reasons why they could do this. First, they were innocent. They had a consciousness they had done nothing wrong. They had been trying to do good. Now they were suffering for it. There is "rest" — comfort in being innocent under such circumstances, or in any circumstances. A clear conscience inspires to song. So if our conscience is clear, we can rise above our circumstances if we follow the course taken by Paul and Silas.

Second, they were hopeful Christians. They did not look on the dark side. They looked beyond the present suffering and the threatening circumstances. They neither saw the dungeon nor the stocks nor the executioner's sword. They neither felt their galled ankles nor their smarting backs. They looked to God. They saw his approving smile — and they sang praises.

Third, they exercised definite faith. They believed God knew all about their circumstances. They believed they were in his care. They believed nothing could come to them, without coming through his will. So they rested in full assurance of faith in him — and in their tribulations they sang joyfully. Paul taught others to rejoice, and he set them an example. If we face our adversities as he faced his — we too may sing in adversity.

In adversity we sing a different song than we do when we are untroubled. We must join courage to trust. When we do this, we can sing songs of confidence born of our confidence in God's help. We can sing songs of trust which allay our fears. We can sing songs of anticipation as we look forward to the victories which lie before us, and at the crown at the end of the road. We can sing in joyful remembrance of God's former mercies.

The song of adversity is more difficult to learn, than the song we sing when everything is going pleasantly and prosperously — but these songs are no less joyous in the depths of the heart when they spring from faith. In fact they can often be more truly joyous than the songs of prosperity, because they go deeper into the depths of the heart and rise with fuller trust. But no matter how many tribulations we have, if we trust God, we may be "exceeding joyful" in all those tribulations.

 94 
 on: May 09, 2017, 06:57:24 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
Singing in Adversity
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1930



Life has its adversities. It must needs have them. Adversity, pain, sorrow, and disappointment — are the lathe upon which God shapes us. They are the grinding-wheel which grinds and smoothes us. They are the polishing-wheel which makes us shine. If we can never be happy until we are so situated that nothing which exists may tend to render us unhappy — then we shall have little happiness in life. Happiness does not come from a life of ease and indolence. It is not the result of the absence of obstacles and difficulties. Happiness comes from triumphing over them. Therefore the song of true happiness often arises from the soul which undergoes many adversities.

Paul understood what life must be. He went through the cities of Asia after he had been stoned and left for dead, "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through many hardships and tribulations, enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). He enumerated the things he suffered in his work for Christ. Doubtless you have read that list again and again. Notwithstanding all this, no one has more to say about rejoicing, being filled with joy, and singing the songs of victory — than does this same sufferer of tribulations.

The Psalmist also knew about tribulations. He said, "I will be glad and rejoice in your mercy — for you have considered my trouble; you have known my soul in adversities" (Psalm 31:7). God did not leave him to himself in his tribulations. Being conscious of this, he could rejoice.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." Did he say, "Mourn and weep because of this"? Did he intimate that they should shrink from them? Did he indicate there was something wrong in them which brought these tribulations? Not so. He had already told them that the world would hate them. Now he showed them that as a result of that hatred of the world, and also as the result of natural conditions in life — they would have tribulations. Did he say to them, "This will take away much from your happiness; you will be sad and disconsolate much of the time; you will sorrow on account of these tribulations; it is too bad you are to have them"? No — he said nothing of this kind. He told them plainly what was to come; then added, "But be of good cheer — I have overcome the world."

Think of the boldness of Jesus in saying this. Just before him lay Gethsemane. Just beyond that, the trials before the high priest and Pilate, and Calvary awaited him. He knew this very well. He knew he must pass through the bitterest of tribulations. Nevertheless he said, "Be of good cheer — I have overcome the world."

What a wonderful example for us this is. He has overcome the world not merely for himself — but for us as well. As the Psalmist pointed out, he knows our adversities. He knows that lying ahead of us there are adversities and difficulties, perhaps dangers, sorrows, and many things to try the soul. He also knows when we are in those things, when they are pressing hard upon us, when we are tempted to bow down our heads and give up. He knows exactly how we feel, how things seem, how the future looks, how the present troubles us. In spite of it all he is saying to us, "Be of good cheer — I have overcome."

Dear soul, Jesus knows all about your troubles. He knows every heartache, every difficulty, everything you must overcome, everything you must bear. Trusting in his grace, relying upon his help — you shall soon find your heart filling again with melody, for the clouds will pass away.

Paul asks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Then he adds, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us!" (Romans 8:35, 37).

Speaking of our acceptance with God and our justification by faith through grace, Paul says we "rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2). But are the good things of God all in which we can rejoice? No, for he continues, "And not only so but we glory in tribulations also."

Paul could rejoice in the bad things, as well as in the good things. Why could he do this? Was he a mere enthusiast? Was he a man who shut his eyes to the facts? No, he was sober-minded, consistent, and sane. He looked behind the frowning face of circumstances. He saw the results that follow tribulations. He set them down for us that we might consider them and rejoice with him. "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us!" Romans 5:3-5. That was the secret of Paul's rejoicing.

Again Paul tells his experience in 2 Corinthians 7:4, "I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles, my joy knows no bounds." He tells why this is: "God, who comforts those who are cast down, comforts us" (verse 6). "Who comforts us in all our tribulation" (2 Corinthians 1:4). The comfort of God is wonderful. The satisfying, soul-delighting blessedness of it, can be known only by those who have gone deeply into the waters of tribulation. So many in times of trouble, are prone to feel that God does not care for them or to feel that they have offended him. Just when they need him most, and just when he would be most ready to help — they cease to seek that help and feel they must meet their difficulties in their own strength without the help they so much crave.

Right here many are tempted to give up trying. They feel they are unable to overcome or to endure through to better days. They feel that God has forsaken them in their hour of need. Their feelings and their attitude shut them off from that help which God would delight to give them. It is just here that we need to face things squarely. We need to consider God as he is. We need to take a right view of our relationship with him.

 95 
 on: May 09, 2017, 06:46:24 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
The Road to Happiness
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1930



The desire to be happy is one of the most universal of human desires. Few people put anything else ahead of their own happiness. In many a life, this is the most powerful motive. Happiness, like everything else in this world of law and order, is the result of the operation of certain laws. It is a product, the result of certain processes.

One thing should be clearly noted. The road to happiness is not a direct road. If we would arrive at happiness — then we must first go somewhere else. On the road thither — we must pass through the gate of duty, and walking on the way of righteousness, pass through the village of love, descend into the valley of humility, and go over the stony way of loyalty and sincerity, and ascend to the heights of purity. Here, without looking for it — we shall find happiness.

It is a mistake to think that true happiness can come from mere gratification of desire. Gratification has its part — but often pursuit of a worthy motive is a greater factor. Unworthy motives, selfish desires, and sensual gratifications, instead of producing happiness — only disappoint and disillusion. It is a law of our natures that the higher the desire to be gratified, or the higher the motive that we have — the higher and truer is the happiness which results. No truer thing was ever said than that, "If you sow to the flesh — then you shall reap corruption from the flesh." It is the inevitable consequence.

Gratification of the desires of the flesh, may bring physical joy. The drunkard and the ungodly may join in singing their drinking-songs, their sensual love-songs, and the like — but these are not songs of true happiness. A sensual joy poisons itself and dies in the midst of its song. Pure song brings higher forms of joy — and higher and purer inspiration. It springs from pure and innocent love — from the home where love reigns — from the heart that is full of kindness, pity, consideration for others, and love of goodness.

The highest happiness comes from the use of our highest faculties. The exercise of these faculties blossoms forth in the truest and purest joy. Joy of mind and of heart, rather than enjoyment of the flesh — inspires the heart with rejoicing. The song that has no minor strain is the song of purity, at peace with God and with its fellow-men. Selfish desires and selfish living build an impassable barrier between ourselves and true happiness. The poet spoke truly when he said,

Tell me not then of the pleasures that sting
Coiled under roses of pride;
None but the holy and innocent sing,
Out of a bosom where pleasures abide.

Innocence need not be a thing which we associate only with childhood. It may be mature. It may be a characteristic of middle age and of gray hair. Innocence is the result of right relations with God and with man. Right relations can exist only when a right attitude is maintained. A right attitude may be maintained only when behind it lie right desires and right purposes.

Happiness is the fruit of harmony. Harmony results from conformity to the laws of our being. The law of God revealed in the Bible, is the law of harmony. The holy are most truly happy, because they are most truly harmonious. Both their inner lives and their outer lives are harmonious. Their relations with God and with man are harmonious. The elements of strife and warfare are absent.

Happiness is not the result of where we live, or of our surroundings, or of what we possess. It is the result of what we are. No matter how favorable our situation, nor how much, nor how many things we possess that should make us happy — if we do not have within our own breast the elements that produce happiness — then we shall never be happy.

We have already noted that true happiness is associated with purity. There is nothing from which greater happiness springs than an inner consciousness of being pure before God. It is a singular thing that a great number of Christian teachers have taught that it is impossible for a Christian to live in purity before God. The unhappy effects of this doctrine, have been to rob the Christian life of many of its joys — and to make many people look upon it as an unsatisfying life, a losing battle.

It has been taught that Christians must sin continually day by day. Believing this doctrine it is no wonder that many Christians are unhappy and live far beneath their privileges. Their outlook is one of defeat, of constant shortcoming, of repeatedly enduring a sense of condemnation. Now, such teaching is assuredly not in harmony with the teachings of the Scriptures, particularly of the New Testament. The Christian life there is pictured to be a joyful life. The command is "Rejoice evermore." How can one rejoice evermore, when he is conscious of being guilty before God? Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart." If there are no such persons — then Christ's words are mockery.

What is the New Testament picture of a Christian? It is of a man or woman forgiven of their iniquities, cleansed from their guilt, walking in righteousness before God. Or, as Paul puts it, "Therefore being justified by faith — we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you." The joyful fellowship that Paul had with Christ, manifested in all his epistles, is a thing inconsistent in its entirety with the sort of life often said to be the Christian life.

"But," one may say, "How about the seventh chapter of Romans?" I do not think Paul was very happy when his life corresponded to the seventh chapter of Romans. Paul passed out of the seventh chapter into the eighth chapter that day on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him.

From that day there was a new song in Paul's heart and in his mouth. He lived a new life, the life pictured in the eighth chapter. The seventh chapter is not the picture of a Christian life. It is the picture of a man without grace trying to live up to the law of God and finding himself continually failing. It is a continuation of his argument extending from the third to the sixth chapters, of the failure of works and of the efficacy of grace. Real Christians do not live in the seventh chapter of Romans. It is not the reflection of a Christian experience.

Christians live in fellowship with God. God is their Father. They are not rebellious sons — but obedient sons. Sin is a thing of the motive and of the will. Mistakes, blunders, weaknesses, failures, and unintentional shortcomings — are not sins. To treat them as sins, is to make a vital error. The Bible does not treat them as sins. Sin is willful disobedience. It is rebellion against God, and nothing but things of this character may properly be called sins, or be treated as sins. These other things often called "sins" do not produce the effects of sin. The real Christian experience, is a walk with God. There is mutual understanding between the soul and God. There is earnest desire to please God — and an earnest endeavor to do so.

Besides being in harmonious relations with God and our fellow-men — unselfish devotion to the highest things for their own sake, is the surest way to be happy. It is the tree whose fruit is happiness. It bears "twelve manner of fruits" and always has the fragrant blossoms and the luscious fruits. The Scripture that says, "The wages of sin is death," is not a threat. It is a simple statement of an inescapable fact — now and here, as well as hereafter. Evil always has its own reward, and we begin to draw its dividends the moment we are guilty of it. It never goes bankrupt. Its dividends continue to increase as the years go by. On the other hand, the dividends of righteousness are never passed. They are always paid in golden coin.

Disobedience to our best and highest impulses, aspirations, and desires — must inevitably result in blighted hopes, an accusing conscience, regret, and a sense of failure. It is a poison injected into the cup of happiness. If we would have the song of happiness in our hearts — then we must learn that the secret of the singing heart is to be pure, to be true to the best there is in us, to be living on a plain above the mire of sin, of selfishness, and of sensual gratification.

 96 
 on: May 09, 2017, 06:44:47 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

How shall I follow in His steps?

(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)

"Leaving an example for you to follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

How shall I follow in His steps?

The first requisite is a personal relationship to Him. I cannot wear the loveliness of Jesus--until I drink deep of the forgiveness of Jesus. From the Cross where He has saved me--I set out on the pilgrim-road of imitation.

It is necessary, also, that love for Him leaps and flames in my soul. No amount of intellectual comprehension is enough. The heart must enthrone Him, must adore Him, must turn to Him with the inevitableness and the trust of the sunflower turning to the sun. I can only resemble Him, if my affection for Him is profound, controlling, and pervasive.

And there must be intimacy with my Lord. I am to share His thoughts, His temper, His motives, His decisions.

I must dwell much with Himself in prayer.

I must often meditate on the story of His life and death.

These are some of the modes in which I shall touch and grasp and imitate the grace and the wisdom and the loveliness and the gentleness and the splendor of Jesus Christ.

"Whoever says he abides in Him, ought to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself." 1 John 2:6 (Amplified Bible)

 97 
 on: May 09, 2017, 06:43:32 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

As the tree falls--so must it lie!

(J. R. Miller, "Devotional Hours with the Bible" 1909)

"Let him who does wrong--continue to do wrong; let him who is vile--continue to be vile" Revelation 22:11

The character with which men reach the final judgment--will be their permanent character forever. The man who lives in sin unto the end--is making his own destiny. Habits of sin--make the whole life sinful. It is this that gives such solemnity to life. The seeds of our future eternity--lie in our present.

   Sow a thought--and you will reap an act;
   sow an act--and you will reap a habit;
   sow a habit--and you will reap a character;
   sow character--and you will reap a destiny!

Everyone goes to his own place--that is, the place for which he is fitted by his life on the earth. He who has always sinned here on earth--will continue to sin forever. Eternal death--is simply eternal sin, along with the punishments and consequences thereof. The punishment of the wicked will not be an arbitrary punishment--but the natural result of their own choices and acts in this life.

   As the tree falls--so must it lie;
   As the man lives--so must he die!
   As a man dies--such must he be;
   All through the ages of eternity!

It makes a great difference, therefore, how we live in this world. There is an false impression in some people's minds, that they can live in sin all their days, and then by a few tears of penitence and a cry for mercy in a dying hour--can change all the course of their life and spend eternity in Heaven. This verse does not favor such a view. The future life--is but the harvest of this present life.

Men will be judged by their deeds. The New Testament everywhere teaches the same solemn truth. This does not mean that salvation is by works. We are saved by grace--but grace changes the life and makes us holy.

"To die is gain"--only to those who can sincerely say, "To me, to live is Christ!"

 98 
 on: May 09, 2017, 06:36:23 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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More Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

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Three Men in the Book of Psalms
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

It is the introduction to Psalm 32 that Paul cites in Romans 4:6-8, as David’s description of those to whom God imputes righteousness without, or apart from, works.

It must not be concluded from this that David understood, as Paul later did—and as we should—the finished work of Christ as the basis for such imputation. Nor should it be supposed that he believed that works, in his day, were not required for salvation. He rather saw that works did not, in themselves, save from sin, but only the mercy of God. David lived under the dispensation of the Law, and had he said, “We are not under the Law,” as Paul did in Romans 6:14, or had he, like Paul, forbade the offering of blood sacrifices for sins, he would have been stoned to death (Deut. 27:26; Lev. 24:16).

David did, however, see that the works of the Law, as such, could not save, but only the mercy of God, and he, as a sinner, had experienced this mercy. Thus he wrote, with a glad and grateful heart:

    “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 1

    “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psa. 32:1,2).

Note, he says, “in whose spirit there is no guile.” The Psalm concerns an honest dealing with sin.

CONVICTION

In Stanza 1 of this Psalm, we find David under intense conviction of sin. Though physically strong and well, he feels and acts like an old man. This is because he is hiding his sin, or seeking to hide it, from God:

    “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring 2all the day long” (Ver. 3).

But, king or no king, he is no match for God! He goes on to testify:

    “For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah” (Ver. 4).

As long as the king continued in rebellion and pride he felt the heavy hand of God upon him by day and night. That hand, he knew, could crush him. This is doubtless why Peter wrote by inspiration, centuries later:

    “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

    “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God” (I Pet. 5:5,6).

David’s sin was finding him out. Acting like a man old long before his time, complaining and grumbling as he felt the pressure of the hand of God upon him, his “silence” began taking a heavier toll. His body began to be dehydrated, his “moisture was turned into the drought of summer.” He found it hard to converse. His throat and lips were parched and dry.

How typical of the experiences of those who have been brought, sometimes quite suddenly, under the conviction of sin!

The word “Selah,” in the Psalms, indicates simply a pause in the music—a time to meditate. Dr. Wm. L. Pettingill, when coming upon the word “Selah” in the Psalms, would read simply, “Think of that!” As we read Psalm 32:3,4 we indeed do well to “think of that,” to meditate on the grave consequences of “keeping silent” about our sins when they ought to be confessed to God.

CONFESSION

This dreadful sense of guilt, this conviction of sin and its consequences, however, finally had its effect—a salutory effect—upon David. Hear his testimony:

    “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (Ver. 5).

How blessed! Sin no sooner confessed than forgiven! Thus God waits only for the sinner to come to the end of himself, to stop defending himself. He does not ask us to be anything or do anything to be saved. He asks us only to acknowledge our lost and sinful condition, and to “call upon the name of the Lord” (Rom. 10:13).

RELIEF

When this writer was a young man the console of a pipe organ included among its “stops” a “relief stop.”

As we come to Verses 6 and 7 of Psalm 32, it seems that a forgiven David has indeed pulled out the “relief stop.” Hear him sing!

    “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

    “Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah” (Vers. 6,7).

For what shall the godly man pray? Obviously for a contrite heart and the forgiveness that follows. David had learned by experience that the moment He sought the Lord, confessing his sin, in that moment he was forgiven. For this shall godly men pray, and doing so they will find that the floods of sin and guilt will not overwhelm them.

Now, rather than David hiding sin, we find God hiding David from the consequences of sin, so that he is preserved from trouble and compassed about with songs of deliverance. What relief confession brings! How it turns groaning into a song!

INSTRUCTION

Stanza 4 of this Psalm has God speaking in the first person:

    “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye” (Ver. 8.).

He does not say, “I will command thee and compel thee.” He says, “I will instruct thee and teach thee.” This is how God deals with the forgiven sinner. He assumes that the sinner, so graciously forgiven, will now look to Him for guidance. As he does this just a glance will suffice: “I will guide Thee with Mine eye”; a sign which only those in close communication with God can interpret.

Sad to say, all redeemed sinners do not have their eyes fixed on God for guidance. Hence the closing words of this stanza:

    “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee” (Ver. 9).

Those who are not in close communication with God must be led by the painful “bit and bridle.”

CONCLUSION

Finally, the great climax:

    “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about” (Ver. 10).

Let us not conclude from the above that the redeemed do not experience many sorrows. The point is that those who trust in the Lord are “compassed about,” or protected, by God’s mercy. They are not—surely need not be—overwhelmed by outward circumstances, or by the guilt of sin. God has forgiven them and will not impute iniquity to them.

Little wonder the Psalmist closes with the glad refrain:

    “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (Ver. 11).

To David, of course, the “righteous” were those who sought to do right, and the “upright in heart,” those who sincerely strove for such righteousness.

The believer today, however, can rejoice in the greater blessings of Romans 3:

    “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (Rom. 3:21).

    “Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

    “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

    “To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

    “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith” (Rom. 3:24-27).

Notes:

1 -    David did not yet know the blessed truth of II Corinthians 5:21 and Ephesians 1:7.
2 -    Beautiful rendering! It describes not merely the groaning of one oppressed, but the ill temper of a rebellious king, hiding a serious secret sin.

 99 
 on: May 09, 2017, 06:29:00 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Three Men in the Book of Psalms
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The Book of Psalms concerns just three men: The Good Man, The Bad Man and The Forgiven Man. Or, we might call them The Perfect Man, The Ungodly Man and The Forgiven Man. The very first Psalm strikes a contrast between the good man and the bad man, and Paul, in Romans 4:6-8, cites Psalm 32 as a classic description of the forgiven man.

PSALM 1

Many Bible commentators believe that Solomon wrote Psalm 1 as an introduction to the Psalms of his father, David. We tend toward this view for the following reasons: (1) Psalm 1, especially in Verses 1 and 2, employs the kind of language so often used by Solomon in his Proverbs. (2) The word “scornful,” or “scorner,” occurs only here in the Book of Psalms, but often in the Proverbs. (3) It would be very natural that Solomon should write an introduction to the Psalms, most of which were composed by his illustrious father. (4) In Acts 13:33 some old MSS quote Psalm 2 as Psalm 1, because they considered Psalm 1 to be only an introduction to what was really the first Psalm. We believe they were mistaken, for not all the Psalms were written by David and, indeed, the introduction to the Psalms, though written by Solomon, is itself also a Psalm. Thus we believe the Authorized Version is correct in rendering Acts 13:33, “as it is also written in the second Psalm.” The above fact, however, indicates that the belief that Psalm 1 was written by Solomon is by no means new.

THE PERFECT MAN

The writer of Psalm 1 first shows us the negative side of the good man; he tells us what the good man will not do:

    “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” (Ver. 1).

Note how sin has a tendency to deter one from making moral and spiritual progress. The Psalmist shows how the blessed man is not influenced by this deterrent. He does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly and then, as a result, stand in the way of sinners, so that soon he is found sitting in the seat of the scornful. He seeks his counsel from God and continues to make progress, morally and spiritually. This, the positive side, is found in Verse 2.

    “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Ver. 2).

Mark well, he does not merely submit to the law of God; he delights in it, meditating in it day and night so as to understand it more perfectly—with a view to carrying out its instructions more acceptably. David and Solomon, of course, were under the Mosaic Law, but the principle applies equally to the man who, under any dispensation, sincerely seeks to do the will of God. Such a man, says the Psalmist,

    “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” (Ver. 3).

The man who desires and seeks to do God’s will is indeed like a tree planted by the riverside, where its roots can run deep and be assured of abundant nourishment, so that its leaves may remain green and its fruit may be depended upon. Jeremiah 17:7,8 confirms this principle:

    “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

    “For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

Yet, in the final analysis we must ask ourselves how many of us have consistently avoided even listening to the advice of the ungodly, and have rather delighted in the revealed will of God, meditating in His Word day and night? How many of us have consistently borne fruit to God’s glory? The answer is: Only one, the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect Man. In Psalm 40, a Messianic Psalm, we have the words of our Lord:

    “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea Thy law is within My heart” (Ver. 8.).

And while He was on earth, He said:

    “…I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29).

Thus the “blessed man” of Psalm 1 is the perfect Man, the God Man, our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE UNGODLY MAN

Now, by contrast, the Psalmist writes of the ungodly man, but just what is an ungodly man? An ungodly man is simply a man who is not godly. Many people equate ungodliness with immorality, blasphemy and evil deeds, but these are merely the fruits of ungodliness.

If I should introduce an unsaved but self-righteous friend to another and say, “He is an ungodly man,” he might well be offended. Yet, if I should introduce him as “a godly man,” would he not be embarrassed? Well, if he is not godly, is he not ungodly?

Psalm 14 speaks of the ungodly man. He is “the fool,” who “says in his heart…no God.” He keeps God out of his business (“Business is business.”). He keeps God out of his politics (“One should not mix politics and religion.”). He keeps God out of his social relationships (“One has to have some fun.”). He keeps God out of his educational systems (“The mind is the highest court of appeal.”).

Psalm 14 does not refer to the atheist, as some have supposed. The words “there is,” in Verse 1, appear in italics in our King James Version, indicating that they are not contained in the original. Also, it does not say that “the fool” does not believe there is a God. He says in his heart, “No God.” Finally, Verses 2,3 make it clear that all men are included in this category.

    “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

    “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Thus the Psalmist proceeds in Psalm 1:

“The ungodly,” he says, “are not so” (Ver. 4). They are not like trees planted by the waterside, bearing luscious fruit consistently and in abundance. They are rather like the Roman believers once had been. Of these Paul later asked:

    “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?” (Rom. 6:21).

“The ungodly,” the Psalmist continues, “are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Ibid).

If immature believers tend to be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14), how much more is this so of the ungodly! They are indeed as “the chaff which the wind driveth away.” As the wheat is flailed on the thrashing floor, the grain remains, but the slightest breeze blows the chaff away.

This contrast is further drawn for us in the words of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:12 where, speaking of Christ, John says:

    “Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner [barn]; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

From all this it is clear that ungodliness is itself sin, the root from which other evils grow. Indeed, this is also evident from the words with which the Psalmist closes this meditation:

    “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

    “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Vers. 5,6).

Thus the ungodly are not only useless, carried away like the chaff with the faintest breeze; they are also guilty and will, like chaff, be burned with the unquenchable fire of God’s judgment.

THE FORGIVEN MAN

Ah, but the forgiven man! He, like the Perfect Man, is also called blessed. David well knew the forgiven man. He himself was one, and his vivid and exquisite description of the forgiven man is cited by Paul in Romans 4:6-8.

In addition to being the inspired Word of God, Psalm 32 is a classic in literature. It is a poem (in the Hebrew) containing an introduction (Vers. 1,2), four stanzas on the conviction, the confession, the forgiveness of sins, and the new relationship to God (Vers. 3-9), and finally a conclusion, or summation (Vers. 10,11).

 100 
 on: May 09, 2017, 06:26:32 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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The Mystery
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In Eph. 3:1-3 “the dispensation of the grace of God” is specifically called “the mystery” (i.e., secret). It is thus designated for two reasons:

1.  It had been “kept secret since the world began, but now,” through Paul, had been “made manifest” (Rom. 16:25). “In other ages” it was “not made known” (Eph. 3:5). Rather, “from the beginning of the world” it had been “hid in God” (Ver. 9), “hid from ages and from generations, but now… made manifest to His saints” (Col. 1:26).

2.  It was at the same time the explanation, the key, to all God’s good news, including that which had been proclaimed in ages past. It explained how it was that Abel could be declared righteous by bringing an animal sacrifice, “God testifying of his gifts” (Heb. 11:4), how Noah could become “an heir of… righteousness” by building an ark (Heb. 11:7), how anyone could be saved under the dispensation of the Law, and how it is that we can be saved today by grace through faith alone.

Thus we have in Paul’s epistles, not only the gospel [good news] of “the secret” (Eph. 3:1-3), but at the same time, “the secret of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19,20).

This great secret, revealed to and through Paul, has rightly been called the capstone of divine revelation, for it concerns God’s eternal purpose in Christ. Through Paul, the chief of sinners saved by grace, God has now made this glorious secret known to us (Eph. 1:9) that we, in turn, might make it known to others (Eph. 3:9).

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