Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Noah's Ark


By Edward Griffin
(1770—1837)

 
"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." Hebrews 11:7
The ark is admitted by the apostle to have been a distinguished type of Christ.
"HE wiped out every living thing that was on the surface of the ground, from mankind to livestock, to creatures that crawl, to the birds of the sky, and they were wiped off the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark!" Genesis 7:23
In that period before the flood, when the age of man was more than 900 years, the temptation to put death out of view was great. A Church there was—but by intermarrying with the wicked world it had become corrupt, and at last almost extinct. This was the first illustration of the fatal consequence of too close a connection between the Church and the world. By these means the Spirit of God was provoked to depart, and general licentiousness ensued. The Church became reduced to a single family, and the rest of the world sunk into infidelity and vice. "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." Genesis 6:5
Thus the universal and complete effect of the fall was publicly ascertained. This done, God determined to cast away the world as ruined, and to make a new beginning on the foundation of grace, commencing a new stock in the family which included the whole church. This rejection of the world is expressed in the following strong eastern figure, "The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain! So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." Genesis 6:6-7
For a hundred and twenty years, "God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved." The history leads us to suppose that the whole of this period was taken up in building the ark. In the infancy of the 'building arts' such a vessel must have cost immense labor, and it was so unpopular an undertaking, that few if any besides the family of Noah would be induced to engage in the the work. Hissons were born about twenty years after the building commenced, and for a long time they could afford him no assistance. Cheered by the society and counsel of his venerable father and grandfather, he wore out the hundred and twenty years in patiently waiting for the fulfillment of the prediction. When the ark was finished, God brought all the creatures into it and shut Noah and his family inside.
The old world is devoted to destruction. The waters are to rise and rage above the highest mountains. No vessel had yet been invented to ride the waves. How can any escape? God only can find out the way. He causes an ark to be constructed, in which his friends find refuge, while the waves of wrath sweep away a wicked world. Who that turns his eye towards this frightful scene, is not reminded of that spiritual ark in which the friends of God are sheltered while the floods of vengeance sweep away an unbelieving world?
This prepares the way for us to meditate on the conduct of Noah while laboring for that refuge, and the conduct of that profligate generation who cast contempt on him. The things most worthy of notice in respect to Noah, are his faith, his obedience, his patience, his self-denial, and his fortitude.
(1.) Noah's FAITH. While he sat at rest in his house, pursuing a life of devotion, and mourning over the abounding wickedness of the times, he heard a voice—a voice declaring that the end of all flesh was at hand—a voice which fixed the event and the manner, but concealed the time. The voice assured him that the wicked would be destroyed, and that the only safety for him was in an ark, which he must at once set about preparing. All this was strange, and different from anything he had experienced. Yet the patriarch believed God. He did not doubt because he had never seen such a thing before, nor because the events predicted might be at a considerable distance. He admitted a realizing belief that the wicked would be destroyed, and that his only safety was in an ark. His faith was sufficient to influence his conductand to lead him to the labor of 120 years. Not knowing how near the deluge might be, and contemplating so vast a work before him, he saw that he had no time to lose. He felt the urgent call for haste, apprehending that if he delayed, the deluge might come before he was ready; at the same time trusting in God that if he was diligent, that the judgment would be deferred until he was prepared. Here were all the trials of faith which good men experience now. O that they could as fully believe the threats and promises of God; and while they feel the pressing need of haste, could trust in him to connect their diligence with the promised salvation. Let them not doubt because the events foretold differ from their past experience, nor because they are many years distant.
Noah believed God, because his mind was not blinded by sin; but his contemporaries were blinded. This was the difference between them. He believed God's threatenings and promises, and they believed not. Hence he could consume the labor of 120 years in building an ark, and they could spend that solemn time in mocking at his sacred toil. They could not have acted thus, had they really believed that a flood was coming on the world. This is the difficulty with sinners now. Though God has foretold the destruction of the wicked—they do not really believe it. Did they truly believe that the destruction would come, and that there is no safety but in the spiritual ark—they could not thus reject a Savior, and sleep out life in worldliness and vain security!
(2.) Noah's OBEDIENCE. God ordained him to provide for his safety by constructing an ark; he did not hesitate a moment—he entered on the work at once, and consumed 120 years in one unbroken course of obedience. And let us who are commanded to secure the spiritual ark, obey, and devote our whole lives to the attainment of this end.
(3.) Noah's PATIENCE. Consider his patience under labors and sufferings, the length of which he could not foresee. There is no account of his impatience under the hardships of 120 years, nor of his complaining that the time was long, though it probably proved much longer than he had expected. Possibly at no time during the whole period did he look upon the flood as far distant; and yet deliverance continued to fly. But his patience never failed. O that Christians could now as patiently submit to the labors and trials of the spiritual warfare half as long, without complaining that their hardships have no end.
(4.) Noah's SELF-DENIAL. He possessed great wealth, or he could not have built such an immense ark. Before this command came, he was probably engaged in extensive business, and found his wealth flowing in from every quarter. But at the command of God he gave up all other employments, and consumed his wealth upon that immense building, which could be of no other use than to save him and his family and the animal tribes from the threatened destruction. He forsook all, and was content to wait for his remuneration in the new world—in the world that followed the flood. This was as great a self-denial as for Christians now to abandon all their possessions for Christ, and to wait for the recompense of the eternal world.
(5.) Noah's FORTITUDE. Except for his father and grandfather and the rest of his own family, he stood alone against a frowning world. It is hard for Christians now, with millions on their side, to stem the torrent of angry opposition, especially in places where that opposition triumphs. How hard then for the patriarch, who had all the sensibilities of a man—to encounter, single-handed, a contending and ridiculing world. He submitted to the scoffs of his acquaintances, his superiors in rank and fortune, his inferiors, his relations, and his enemies! He heard, undismayed, their endless charges of bigotrysuperstitionintolerance, and the like. He was a preacher of righteousness; but he preached without success, and drew taunts instead of tears. He never seems to have made a single convert in 120 years! The uniform tenor of his address must have been that of warning and condemnation. The case admitted of no other.
His daily labor upon the ark carried also the strong language of reprobation, "By his faith he condemned the world." He constantly proclaimed the approaching destruction of the world, for their wickedness.
Such an unheard of enterprise as the construction of an enormous vessel to ride the waves—the construction of it in the midst of the dry land—under the idea that a flood was coming upon the world—was an oddity abounding with apparent folly, and calculated to excite men's scorn as well as their anger; and could not fail to call forth the highest contempt and indignation from the ungodly world. How often was he called a madman and a fool! Those who passed by, would insultingly wag their heads. Others would curse him. The children would mock at him as he walked the streets, and load him with the epithets which they had heard their parents use. All the wit and raillery of the age would be leveled against him! The news of his foolish undertaking would travel to remote nations—and from all quarters derision and reproaches would come in.
All this time he had no man beyond the bounds of his own family to whom he could impart his cares, or on whose bosom he could repose. He could ask no counsel. He could go no where, he could look no where, without meeting theblasting frown of the ungodly world. His character and reputation were totally ruined with every person on earth, except his own family. He was shut out from all society, except what he found at home. The question would often be asked, "Who made YOU wiser and better than all of us?" That question, had he not been supported by faith as well as fortitude, would have crushed him. Losing sight of the divine testimony and commission, and looking only at himself, he would shrink into nothing, and say, "Who am I—to be the reprover of the whole world?"
But faith joined to fortitude, supported him. His unconquered mind rose above the opinion of the united ungodly race. He would not think that sterling which all men approved, nor that vile which all men condemned. He rested on a higher decision.
The reproaches of the wicked would become more and more triumphant and insufferable, the longer the event wasdelayed! To see 'the madman', as they would call him, foretelling destruction year after year, without any prospect of a fulfillment; to see him laboring to build an enormous vessel for ten, twenty, forty, eighty, a hundred years, without any sign of a deluge, though he might have expected it long before, and might have intimated that expectation; how great must their contempt and triumph have arisen! How often would they load him with the titles of 'false prophet', 'impostor', and 'liar'! How often would they tauntingly ask, "Where is the destruction which you have so long foretold? Why, as far back as anyone can remember, everything has remained exactly the same since the world was first created!" But this heroic saint, far from being conquered by reproaches, resolved to believe and obey God, rather than man. With astonishing fortitude, he held fast his integrity for 120 years.
At length, the long expected day arrived which was to show that his labors and hopes were not in vain—which was to put an eternal end to the scoffs and exultations of his enemies.
Finally, the frightful morning began! The heavens gathered blackness. Angry tempests conflicted in the skies. The lightnings flashed in the skies! Word was spread, that Noah and his family had entered into the ark. The ungodly then began to fear!
Before long, floods of water poured from the sky. Some now began to turn their eyes towards the ark; others stood doubting; others still dared to scoff!
The waters go on to increase. The rivers fill—and start to overflow. The waters begin to rise in the streets. Some flee into their houses; others, more intimidated, hasten to the hills! Others are now convinced, and with dreadful fright, are seen wading towards the ark!
The fountains of the great deep are now broken up. The waters rise more rapidly, and begin to rush with impetuous force. With difficulty they stand against the stream. They struggle for their lives to reach the ark! Thousands come—some wading, some swimming, some sinking, some hanging onto the ark with the grasp of death—all screaming for admission!
But it is too late! Time was, when the ark was open and they might have entered in—but that time is past! Where are now those tongues which derided the enormous vessel and the man who built it? Now what do you think of him—who for more than a century has borne the character of a fool and madman! They would give a thousand worlds—to be in his condition now!
Those nearest to the ark, cry and plead for admission, but in vain! The waters roar! The ark is lifted up! They sink and are seen no more!
By this time, every wretch on earth is thoroughly convinced. Hear their cries from the tops of the houses, which are answered by wails from those on the hills. See the multitudes who have fled to the mountains. How like frightened sheep they crowd together! Now the waters, roaring and foaming, have reached their feet! They flee up to the highest ridge—but the floods pursue them there! Some are able to climb the lofty oaks—and the waves overtake them there! They flee to the highest branches, and for a moment have time to reflect on their former madness: "How could I disbelieve the Lord's prophet? Where is now the ark which I scorned? Where am I going? O eternity! eternity! What a dreadful God have I despised!" On the topmost bough, the impetuous torrent sweeps them. Their hold is broken—and they sink to rise no more!
The ark floats by—and sails over the heads of the revilers and persecutors! Only that blessed family in the ark, are safe!
The same terrors will seize an unbelieving world when Jesus comes again! "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and swept them all away! That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man!" Matthew 24:37-39
When we reflect on the wretched antediluvians, we perceive their folly in not believing God, and are ready to say with the Jews, "If we had lived in their days—we would not have done thus!" But sinners repeat the same folly now! God has told them that he will destroy the world—that shortly, all the wicked of the present generation shall be overwhelmed in a flood of wrath! To convince them that the destruction is coming, he has set forth a spiritual ark. He has sent outpreachers of righteousness to warn them. Every circumstance is the same. The destruction is as certain—it is as near—and there is no escape but in the ark! But sinners will not believe. They spend their time perhaps in scoffing at the serious apprehensions of Christians, and in despising the ark. Greater madness never existed before the flood!
The time is coming when Christians will not be deemed mad men for their concern to secure a saving interest in Christ; when it will appear that they did not believe and labor and bear reproaches in vain. The time is coming when those who are now as secure, as healthy, as those foolish wretches before the flood, would give ten thousand worlds—for the place of the lowest Christian whom they now despise. When the door of the kingdom shall be shut, and there is no more entering in; when they shall stand outside and say, "Lord, Lord, open to us!" and he shall answer, "I never knew you!" when the sluices of infinite vengeance shall be unstopped; when the heavens shall be on fire above their heads, and the earth shall rock beneath their feet; when the sea shall rage and rise and flood the distant land; when all the elements shall make war on man; when they shall flee from the waves—and the flames shall devour them; when they shall flee from the wonders in the heavens—and the opening earth shall engulf them; when they shall stretch out their hands to God—and find him only a consuming fire; when more piteous shrieks shall be heard from every quarter—than were heard in the days of the flood; when they shall see the Noahs whom they despised riding above their heads—and themselves sinking in an ocean of fire!
Ah, what will be their dread then!
O sinners—believe God's Word! Now is your time to avoid the terrors of that dreadful day. Enter the ark—Jesus Christ! By all the solemnities of that coming scene—I entreat, I beseech you to hasten into the ark! Come, for the floods are rising! Come quickly, or the next hour may be too late!

"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and swept them all away! That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man!" Matthew 24:37-39

Come out from among them

“Numbers of our good brethren remain in fellowship with those who are undermining the Gospel, and they talk of their conduct as if it were a loving course which the Lord will approve in the day of His appearing. We cannot understand them. The bounden duty of a true believer towards men who profess to reject the fundamentals of the Gospel, is to come out from among them. Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against.
When will Christians learn that separation from evil is not only our privilege, but our duty?” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

HT-mywordlikefire

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The world called him mad

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to Heaven — You are there. If I make my bed in the depths — behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea — even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You!" Psalm 139:7-12
 
We cannot shake off the presence of God! When our doors are shut, and curtains drawn, and all is still, and darkest night fills our chamber, and we are left alone to the companionship of our thoughts — it might keep them pure and holy to say, as if we saw two shining eyes looking on us out of the darkness"You, O God, see me!" 

The world called that man mad, who imagined that he saw God's eye looking on him . . .
 out of every star of the sky,
 and every flower of the earth, 
 and every leaf of the forest, 
 from the ground which he trod upon, 
 from the walls of his lonely chamber, 
 and out of the gloomy depths of night! 
Mad! It was a blessed and holy imagination!

May God help you to feel yourselves at all times in His presence!

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account!" Hebrews 4:13


Thomas Guthrie

No cross, no crown

It is no easy thing to be a Christian! If words have any meaning, there are great and painful sacrifices which are required of those who are willing to take Christ on His own terms: 
"If any man will come after Me — let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." 
"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into Hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into Hell." 

God does not indeed put all His people to such a trial as Abraham's, saying, "Take now your son, and offer him for a burnt offering," nor does Christ lay on all his disciples an injunction so hard as this, "Go, sell all you have, and give it to the poor." Still the adage holds true as ever, "No cross — no crown!

To mortify the lusts of the flesh, 
to be crucified to the world, 
to overcome the devil, 
to die daily to sin and live daily to righteousness, 
to be meek and gentle and patient and generous and kind and good
 — in one word, to be Christ-like, is a work beyond, far beyond our ability! Yet God promises to perfect his strength in our weakness, and is "mighty to save."


Thomas Guthrie

"Without the shedding of Blood..."

According to the Law given to Moses by God Himself daily sacrifices of various animals were to be offered to God, both on a regular basis and on special occasions---the greatest of such special occasions is the Passover. There are multiple references to the instructions for the manner in which the animal is to be killed and specific instructions for what is to be done with the body and blood of the sacrifice. Lev. 1:1-17 spells out the selection, place, manner of death, and the disposition of entire sacrifice. Note verse five especially for the importance of the blood of the sacrifice, it is not spilled on the ground and soaked up by the dust, but collected for a specific and highly symbolic (of Christ's blood) use by the priest and for the people. See also Lev. 3:2 and 17:6. The first Passover inaugurated the keeping of and specific use of the blood of the sacrifice (Ex. 12:1-13). Verse seven leaves no doubt as to the necessity and use of the blood of the sacrifice: "And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it." The very specific reason for the blood to be applied in the prescribed manner is seen in verse thirteen: "Now the blood shall be a sign for you in the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will Passover you..." [Have you ever had even a drop or two of your own blood drip to the ground? It turns the dry dirt into a gooey mess, and the blood disappears, and you are left with moist dirt with no evidence that it was your own blood in the dirt.] The blood of the animal was collected and used in the manner given in order for the Angel of death to pass them by. This is all highly symbolic of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and an integral part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The importance of the specific collection and application of the Blood of Jesus Christ cannot be annulled, altered, or hijacked and the Gospel remain the Gospel. Going further, Len. 17:11 says: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for your soul." Note carefully the phrase "it is the blood that makes atonement for your soul" and not merely a death without the shedding of the life blood.

Jesus Christ is our High Priest (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 5:6 & 10) and as such has fulfilled His High Priestly duties to perfection. Note in Lev. 1:3 some of the requirements, a male (Jesus Christ was a Man), without blemish (He was without sin), He offered Himself as did those in Moses' day offer their animals in sacrifice, of His own free will (John 10:17 & 18). Perhaps the most important duty of the High Priest was to bring the blood of a sacrifice into the Holy of Holies once a year (Heb. 9:7). Note he went in alone and "not without blood." As High Priest, Christ did the same thing as He entered the heavenly tabernacle (not made with hands) as seen in Heb. 8:2 ("the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man") and Heb. 9:11 "But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is not of this creation." [The Tabernacle in the wilderness, Solomon's temple and the rebuilt version were symbols of the heavenly Tabernacle "made without hands" and were not worthy of the High Priestly Person and Office of Christ.] Heb. 9;12 continues on to say that when Christ entered the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Tabernacle it was "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." In Heb. 9:24 we find "For Christ has not entered the Holy Place made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."

Heb. 10:4 states "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins." They were symbols and foreshadows of the eternal work of Christ accomplished by His death and resurrection and not the vehicle by which our sins are forgiven/removed . These animal sacrifices prescribed by the Law were the true precursor, pointing to Christ and His sacrifice as seen in Heb. 9:22, "And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission." This clearly indicates that a death without the shedding of the blood of the sacrifice is not acceptable to the Lord and therefore no sins will be forgiven if no blood is shed. The beginning of this is seen in the unacceptable offering made by Cain in Gen. 4:3-8 which resulted in the first murder. Abel's offering of a sacrifice from his flock was "respected" by the Lord.

There are over forty references to the blood of Christ being the instrument of choice to save sinners. Not just His death (without blood shed), but specifically death with the shedding of His Life's blood. One of these is 1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." This is continuing action, all day, every day, never failing, "when I see the blood..." (Ex. 12:13). This is the explicit reason why the Lord Jesus brought with Him into the Holy of Holies in heaven His own blood---all of it. An interesting statement is made by the Lord recorded in Luke 24:39, "...Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." No mention of His blood, since He had already delivered it to His Father in the heavenly tabernacle.
Col. 1:14 "In Whom we have redemption through His blood..."
Eph. 2:13 we have been "brought near by the blood of Christ"
Eph. 1:7 "In Whom we have redemption through His Blood"
Rom. 5:9 "...having now been justified by His blood"
Acts 20:28 "...which He purchased with His own blood"
1 Peter 1:18 &19 "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things...but with the
              precious blood of Christ"
Rev. 1:5 "...To Him who loved us and washed from our sins in His own blood"
Rev. 5:9 "...And have redeemed us to God by your blood..."
Rev. 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb..."

What a great and wondrous thing the Lord has done: freely giving His Life, His blood, (Lev. 17:11)that we might live unto Him.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"...and God gave them over..."

Three times this edict comes from the mouth and throne of God as seen in Romans 1 (vs. 24, 26, & 28). We have seen the effects of the first two play out in America over the last several decades, but with recent events in my home town of Baton Rouge, LA, the third "and God gave them over" has become a stark reality. The horror of last Sunday morning is still very much in play, the shock, disbelief, pain, hurt, anger, confusion, and a thousand other thoughts and emotions still roar. The brief statements given by the wives of two of the slain officers will rip your heart out, it's difficult enough to read the transcript, much less listen to their voice. [As an FYI, over 150 officers from surrounding parishes are here now to augment the three local agencies.]

But all this, as senseless and horrific as it is, should be seen as the outcome of what happens when God gives people over to their own wicked desires. BR is a highly "religious" town, home to Jimmy Swaggart (yeah, he's still at it) and all the other many charismatic types, about 50 SBC/masonic goat barns, and an untold majority of catholics. They all flounder around with their hand holding, 'let's find common ground', cum-bah-yah love fests that last about two seconds after they disband. No one knows the real problem and therefore cannot call for a solution. The real problem is that lost humanity hates God, and will find every way under to sun to show that hatred, especially the religious elites no matter the flavor of "Christianity" they espouse. There is not one of the descriptive terms found in Rom. 1:28-32 that has not been on display here, some more prominent than others. Beginning with "a debased mind" (can't think straight) and "being filled with all unrighteousness" then moving on to "maliciousness" and "murder" "strife" and "deceit" to "backbiters" and "haters of God" to "unloving" "unforgiving" "unmerciful" and perhaps the last straw, they "not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."

There is so much at play here, but the most needed thing is absent: a call to repentance and a plea for mercy from only One who can grant mercy, the Lord Jesus. It seems no one is willing to pray as Daniel prayed (chapter nine); its always the "other guy" who is at fault and must seek the forgiveness of those offended. It's the 'other guy' who must acquiesce to the demands of those who wear the victim T-shirt. This is the mantra we find fueled by the arrogance of a hard heart and a stiff neck, and the product of the debased mind that is the judgment of God. It never enters the mind of these people to think that all their actions, words, and thoughts have offended Almighty God, the One that created them, nor do they consider that consequences await their unforgiven sins. They love only themselves and therefore must hate God. It will continue on for them and grow worse unless and until God intervenes and saves them.

Please remember the wives, children, and loved ones of the slain.