CAN YOU BE COUNTED AS A DISCIPLE ??
Did you know the word `Christian` only appears 3 times in the Bible, while the word `Disciple(s)` appears over 240 times? A disciple is one who is disciplined at following their masters teaching – as Jesus said observing all things that He commanded – “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt 28,18-20)
It will pay to read HIs major message for His disciples – the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) – often, deeply, thoroughly and put it all into practice to ensure we are following what He taught closely. Remember that He ended it with this warning:
– Matt 7,24-27… “Therefore whoever HEARS these sayings of Mine, and DOES them, I will liken him to a WISE man who built his house on the ROCK: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and DOES NOT DO them, will be like a FOOLISH man who built his house on the SAND: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT, BUT IT WILL COST YOU EVERYTHING !!
Did they tell you this in church? Or did they just tell the first part and neglect to mention the second part? Did you hear how it is all by grace and as you did nothing to earn it and then so you can do nothing lose it. Or were you earnestly warned on issues that might cost you your soul if left unchecked. Let the scriptures speak on the issue:
— “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph 2,8-9)
— “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? … Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2,14-26)
— Jesus: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9, 23-25)
— Jesus: “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14, 33)
— Jesus: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9, 62)
— Jesus: “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Luke 14, 34-35)
Consider this illustration: When a married couple come together and conceive a baby it is a free gift which they did little to produce or earn, its an amazing work of God. But as any parent knows children are raised at great cost of effort, time, money, trials, endurance, patience, love, many things must be given up & forsaken as one takes up new responsibilities etc. It was a free gift but there are things to do in keeping it alive, healthy, growing, and without such it will die. So it is with true faith if we are to walk the narrow path & follow Jesus to Heaven.
Are there things God is calling you to do, service to fulfil, things He is convicting you to give up, sins to forsake, people to forgive, a daily devotional life of prayer and worship to make consistent, worldly entertainments to renounce, and issues to resolve to ensure Rapture readiness? Remember we cannot serve two masters, Jesus must be Lord of all, if He is to be our Lord at all.
Therefore, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil 2, 12-13)
ARE YOU LIVING A CRUCIFIED LIFE ??
Heb 12:4 … “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”
Beloved of the Lord, many do not like the word ‘striving’ as it implies our own efforts but indeed we are called to make an effort here to strive againt sin, even to an extreme point of sheding blood. But in Christ it is not a self strive but striving yoked with Christ empowered by His Spirit and grace. We can rest assured He will do His part, as we do our part. It is no easy road but a narrow path with difficulties that few will walk.
This is the way of the cross –> YOU denying self, sin, flesh, the world, opinions of men , and YOU obeying Christ at whatever the cost. If you neglect what YOU MUST DO then deception has entered and the broadway has opened before you, watch out & return to obedience – PICK UP YOUR CROSS! Consider:
YOU are called to resist the devil
YOU are called to repent from sin
YOU are called to forgive others
YOU are called to crucify the flesh
YOU are called to live unspotted by the world
YOU are called to worship in Spirit and Truth
YOU are called to pray and seek His face
YOU are called to endure suffering for righteousness sake & for Christ
YOU are called to pursue holiness
YOU are called to go preach the gospel
YOU are called to DO many things
HE is with you always
HE gives much grace
HE empowers by His Spirit
HE will sanctify you as you obey
HE will never leave you or forsake you
HE has given you the Comforter
HE confirms the gospel when preached with signs and conviction
HE is the senior partner in all we are called to do
Luke 9:23-24 … then JESUS said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
Be blessed as you surrender, abide and obey CHRIST
WHO DOES GOD SAY IS BLESSED, GREAT & TRULY LOVES HIM ??
AND WHO DOES HE CALL THE LEAST & A LIAR ??
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who delights greatly in His commandments. (Psalm 112,1) …… Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (JESUS, Matt 5,19) …… Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (1John 2,3-5)
Lets get real with God, walking each day in obedience and in the love and fear of God. Avoid any compromise or watering down of even what some may consider the least of His commandments. Those who fear God don’t look for loopholes to disregard his commands nor teach any such compromise to others, causing them in complacency to stumble off the narrow way. Jesus asked – “When the son of man comes will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18), a searching question indeed. Lets ensure he finds it in us – true obedient faith that is pleasing to Him!
THUS SAYS THE LORD GOD : “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations”. (Ezekiel 14, 6)
WATCH OUT for modern day Idols – Movies, TV, rock stars, rappers, celebrities, fashion, money, ambitions, entertainment, lust, greed, immodest dressing, your own life plans, vanities and that worst idol of all – self wilfulness. Lets workout repentance, turning away from all vain things, yes deeply repent & forsake all idols, and turning our hearts, lives and affections to seek His face –> Mark 12:30 …”And you shall LOVE the LORD your GOD with ALL YOUR HEART, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first COMMANDMENT.”
WE DONT HAVE TO SIN – JESUS HAS SET US FREE FROM SIN !
Through the work of the Cross Jesus broke the power of sin and set His people free. To Sin now is to choose against our new nature – the new Creation which in Christ was created in true righteousness and holiness, with His divine nature, under the grace of God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and with great and precious promises – as stated “SIN WILL HAVE NO DOMINION OVER YOU” (Rom 6,14). That is our new place, positioned free from sin. Sin still works through the flesh, and the world with temptations, but In Christ we are to have dominion over it, not it over us. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom 6,2)
Now there is God’s part and there is our part to play. God has positioned us free and given us His grace, His Spirit, His word, His divine nature. We access this by FAITH, believing trusting & obeying, through deep repentance and total surrender, abiding in Christ and His word, prayer & worship – victory is ours.
It is God’s will that we do not sin “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.” … but …. “if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins,” (1John2,2-3) …”If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
If we choose to side with sin and continue in it, that is a very dangerous path that in the end leads to Hellfire, to eternal recompense for abusing His grace. “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Rom 6,16) So let us follow only His holy way …”But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you OBEYED from the HEART (faith) that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action (AMP)).” (Rom 6, 17-18)
— 2Peter 1,2-4 … “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
LIVE FREE IN CHRIST !!
WHAT DOES TRUE SAVING GRACE RESEMBLE ?
– By Pastor Mazino
If I tell a woman who is stranded in a desert where terrorists thrive that the only way to escape and be safe is to look out for a red bus with white number plates and a golden roof, and then board that bus but, for whatever reasons, she enters a blue bus with green number plates and silver roof, is she safe? Well, one might say that she is rather foolish, because the descriptions of the safe bus were as clear as crystal. So she probably deserves what she gets for entering the wrong bus. Again, this is a major dilemma facing the Church today: the failure to discern what the true grace that produces salvation looks like. This grave folly and delusion, which is reigning, must be checked.
– Colossians 3:16 …”Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom”
We must walk wisely, gaining a clear knowledge of the grace that God has sent us – not the different kinds of sugary graces being promoted by men with charm, but the true grace which brings real salvation.
– Titus 2:11-15 … “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”
What could be clearer than this description in the scripture above of what the true grace which leads to God’s salvation resembles? We are not only to recognize it, but to teach it, encourage Christians to grow in it and rebuke them if need be, so they don’t lose their way out of this grace.
ASK YOURSELF THESE PERTINENT QUESTIONS, so as to ascertain and ensure that you’re acquired true saving grace. Remember, grace teaches things.
1. The grace you have bought into–does it teach you to say NO to ungodliness?
2. The grace you have bought into–does it teach you to overcome worldly passions?
3. The grace you have bought into–does it teach you to live soberly or Spirit controlled?
4. The grace you have bought into–does it teach you to practice righteousness?
5. The grace you have bought into–does it teach you to live godly in this present world, as Christ did?
6. The grace you have bought into–does it purify you from sin, inspiring you to eagerly desire doing that which is good and right in the sight of God?
7. The grace you have bought into–does it prepare you for the soon coming of Jesus Christ?
8. The grace you have bought into–does it authoritatively speak, exhort and rebuke you in line with these descriptions above or does it just make you feel good and unconvicted about sin and ungodliness?
The description of God’s grace which leads to full everlasting salvation is clear, but why have many boarded another bus? It is because of the power of satanic delusion brought upon the teachers of our time, and an evil scheming wrought to dislodge those professing godliness in this era.
– 2Peter 1,2-3 … Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness
DO YOU KNOW THE WILL OF GOD FOR YOUR LIFE ?
Do not cease to pray … that you may be filled with the knowledge of HIS WILL in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy (Col 1,9-11)
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11,9-10)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12,2)
Beware the Ditches
There is a DITCH on either side of the NARROW PATH of Life. The ditch of the flesh & worldliness on one side, and the ditch of legalism on the other side. Watch out!
Stay on the narrow path by staying focussed on JESUS, who is the author and finisher of our faith, the one who brings grace and truth, obey and abide in His word, and follow the witness of His Spirit – the Spirit of Truth.
– 2Cor11,3 … “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
– Psalm 119,104 … “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”
– Roma 8, 14-16 … “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears WITNESS with our spirit”
Does our faith and service for God COST US ANYTHING ??
While we are not the Apostle Paul, we have our own race to run and cross to carry, but lets be stirred to greater works by his example of obedience, sacrifice, and faithfulness under trials . We have the same grace available to overcome and that is sufficient for our calling.
II Corinthians 11:25-28 .. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
ARE WE LIVING LIVES PLEASING TO GOD ?? LETS SEE …
Colossians 1:10 expresses God’s will that we all “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God”. And especially knowing that soon we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive good or bad according to what we have done in the body and “therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” (2Cor5,9).
Is this also your aim? If so, lets look further at what scripture reveals is pleasing to God:
1) GENUINE FAITH – Heb 10:38 … “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” … and …. Heb 11:6 … “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Hebrews 11:5 …. “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
2) FAITHFULNESS IN MINISTRY – 1 Thess 2:4 “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”
3) WALK IN THE SPIRIT – Rom 8,8 “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
4) DOING HIS WILL – Heb 13:21 “make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.”
5) OBEYING HIS COMMANDMENTS – 1 John 3:22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
6) SACRIFICIAL GIVING – Phil 4:18 “I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.”
7) CHILDREN OBEYING PARENTS – Col 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”
This is just a brief look, the whole Bible reveals much more. But lets make it our aim to be living in faith, walking with God in the Spirit, believing, obeying with good works that correspond to what we claim to believe, going forward not back to worldliness, giving and serving, seeking God, following His will, doing what He commands us to do, repenting from sin, and obtaining a good testimony. amen.
THE NEW COVENANT in Jesus Christ is also called the MINISTRY of the SPIRIT and the Ministry of righteousness.
It also states that the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty (2Cor3). This liberty is not in anyway a lowering of God standards regarding sin or His expectation of holiness for a believer. But rather God has now provided tremendous power to be free from sin, to OVERCOME the world, the flesh and devil, and to be transformed – this is the work of the Holy Spirit.
To see this FRUIT in abundance a believer needs to maintain a vital connection with the Spirit of God through means such as: grace, obedience, thanksgiving, praise, worship, intimacy, prayer, repentance, abiding in the truth, and walking in love being careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Much has been provided to make you an OVERCOMER – just make your connections strong and open the door wide for His rivers of living water.
– 2Cor,317-18 …. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
WHEN YOU ARE FAILING GOD & STRUGGLING WITH SIN
DONT RUN FROM HIM, RUN TO HIM
“Seeing then that we have a Great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, JESUS the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore COME BOLDLY to the THRONE of GRACE, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4, 14-16)
Grace is available to the repentant – come in Jesus name by faith
KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS
We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor3,18)
Its the place of freedom, anointing, glory and transformation. As we are open and transparent & keep looking at Him we are changed, its so simple. The opposite is being consumed with self, either in pride of achievements or in false humility always focusing on your issues and not embracing the cleansing of His blood and gracious power to overcome. Repent & receive, look unto HIM and be changed, from glory unto glory!
KEEP YOUR FAITH CENTRED ON CHRIST
“I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the SIMPLICITY and PURITY of DEVOTION to CHRIST” (2Cor11,3)
Loving Him, worshipping Him, listening & following Him, Obeying His word, spending time in intimacy – keep these top in your devotion to Christ and dont be distracted by anything or anyone
EVERYDAY CHOICES ARE LEADING US TO EITHER …
– Heaven or Hell
– Paradise or the Pit
– Grace and glory or Doom and Gloom
– Holiness and Righteousness or Sin and Defilement
– Love & life or Lust & lies
– the Spirit or the Flesh
– Peace and Purity or Sexual Immorality
– Heavenly mindedness or Worldliness
– a living faith or a lazy Lukewarmness
– Commitment or Complacency
– the Cross or Compromise
– GOD or to satan
– Freedom or Enslavement
– the Heavenly Sea of Glass or the Lake of Fire
– to the Company of Saints or Eternal Torment of the Damned
WHERE WILL YOU SPEND ETERNITY ???
YOU ARE MAKING THAT CHOICE EACH DAY –>“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Josh 24,15) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt 7, 21)
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev 21,7-8)
PERSECUTION … IF IT COMES, ARE YOU READY TO BE FAITHFUL ??
If it comes to you, as it has in many parts of the world where believers face real threat of brutal beheadings for standing for Christ, we need to understand how Jesus said to be faithful in such testings. Consider HIS WORDS … my words of commentary in ((brackets))
— Matt 10, 27… “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. ((Keep preaching the gospel faithfully, dont go silent)) 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. ((Fear God much more than any terrorist or threat, knowing your eternal accountability)) 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. ((trust God knowing His will & care))
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. ((You must stand for Christ, deny him under pressure and you place yourself in eternal danger, so love not your life))
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
((He didnt come to give a false peace but to separate men from satan to God, and this will cause persecution and a backlash, but so be it, stand strong in the Lord and trust your soul to Him, do His will come what may))
BE FAITHFUL AND FRUITFUL … CONSIDER ETERNITY
THE COST OF BEING A TRUE CHRISTIAN – by J.C.Ryle
“Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not down first sit down and count the cost?” (Luke 14:28)
The scripture which heads this page is one of GREAT IMPORTANCE. Few are the people who are not often obliged to ask themselves, “What does it cost?”. Let there be no mistake about my meaning. I am not examining what it costs to save a Christian’s soul. I know well that it costs nothing less than the blood of the Son of God to provide an atonement and to redeem man from hell. The price paid for our redemption was nothing less than the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary. We “are bought with a price.” “Christ gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Tim. 2:6). But all this is wide of the question. The point I want to consider is another one altogether. It is what a man must be ready to give up if he wishes to be saved. It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ. It is in this sense that I raise the question: “What does it cost?” And I believe firmly that it is a most important one.
It does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a man in an armchair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.”
Let us see particularly, one by one, the things that his religion will cost him.
1. TRUE CHRISTIANITY WILL COST ONE HIS SELF–RIGHTEOUSNESS.
He must cast away all pride and high thoughts and conceit of his own goodness. He must be content to go to heaven as a poor sinner saved only by free grace and owing all to the merit and righteousness of another (Christ). He must really feel …that he has “erred and gone astray like a lost sheep,” that he has “left undone the things he ought to have done, and that there is no health in him.” He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality, respectability, praying, Bible reading, church–going, and sacrament receiving, and to trust in nothing but Jesus Christ.
2. TRUE CHRISTIANITY WILL COST A MAN HIS SINS.
He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it and labor to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say or think. He must do this honestly and fairly. There must be no separate truce with any special sin which he loves. He must count all sins as his deadly enemies and hate every false way. Whether little or great, whether open or secret, all his sins must be thoroughly renounced. They may struggle hard with him every day and sometimes almost get the mastery over him. But he must never give way to them. He must keep up a perpetual war with his sins. It is written, “Cast away from you all your transgressions.” “Break off your sins . . . and iniquities.” “Cease to do evil” (Ezek. 18:31; Dan. 4:27; Isa. 1:16).
This sounds hard. I do not wonder. Our sins are often as dear to us as our children: we love them, hug them, cleave to them and delight in them. To part with them is as hard as cutting off a right hand or plucking out a right eye. But it must be done. The parting must come. “Though wickedness be sweet in the sinner’s mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; though he spare it, and forsake it not,” yet it must be given up, if he wishes to be saved (Job 20:12, 13). He and sin must quarrel if he and God are to be friends. Christ is willing to receive any sinners. But He will not receive them if they will stick to their sins.
3. ALSO, CHRISTIANITY WILL COST A MAN HIS LOVE OF EASE.
He must take pains and trouble if he means to run a successful race toward heaven. He must daily watch and stand on his guard, like a soldier on enemy’s ground. He must take heed to his behavior every hour of the day, in every company and in every place, in public as well as in private, among strangers as well as at home. He must be careful over his time, his tongue, his temper, his thoughts, his imagination, his motives, his conduct in every relation of life. He must be diligent about his prayers, his Bible reading, and his use of Sundays, with all their means of grace. In attending to these things, he may come far short of perfection; but there is none of those who he can safely neglect. “The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Prov. 13:4).
This also sounds hard. There is nothing we naturally dislike so much as “trouble” about our religion. We hate trouble. We secretly wish we could have a vicarious Christianity, and could be good by proxy, and have everything done for us. Anything that requires exertion and labor is entirely against the grain of our hearts. But the soul can have “no gains without pains.”
4. LASTLY, TRUE CHRISTIANITY WILL COST A MAN THE FAVOR OF THE WORLD.
He must be content to be thought ill of by man if he pleases God. He must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, persecuted and even hated. He must not be surprised to find his opinions and practices in religion despised and held up to scorn. He must submit to be thought by many a fool, an enthusiast and a fanatic, to have his words perverted and his actions misrepresented. In fact, he must not marvel if some call him mad. The Master says, “Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than his Lord.’ If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20).
I dare say this also sounds hard. We naturally dislike unjust dealing and false charges and think it very hard to be accused without cause. We should not be flesh and blood if we did not wish to have the good opinion of our neighbors. It is always unpleasant to be spoken against and forsaken and lied about and to stand alone. But there is no help for it. The cup which our Master drank must be drunk by His disciples. They must be “despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53:3). Let us set down that item last in our account. To be a Christian, it will cost a man the favor of the world.
Considering the weight of this great cost, bold indeed must that man be who would dare to say that we may keep our self–righteousness, our sins, our laziness and our love of the world, and yet be saved!
Moreover, I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But what sane man or woman can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A RELIGION THAT COSTS NOTHING IS WORTH NOTHING! A CHEAP CHRISTIANITY, WITHOUT A CROSS, WILL PROVE IN THE END A USELESS CHRISTIANITY, WITHOUT A CROWN.
— Taken From the chapter ‘The Cost` from the book ‘Holiness’ by J.C.Ryle (1816-1900)
Seek to become more acquainted with our Lord Jesus Christ – JCRyle
This is, indeed, the principal thing in Christianity. This is the cornerstone of Christianity. Till you know this, my warnings and advice will be useless, and your endeavors, whatever they may be, will be in vain. A watch that does not keep time is as useless as religion without Christ.
But don’t let me be misunderstood. It is not the mere knowing of Christ’s name that I mean, it is the knowing of His mercy, grace, and power, the knowing of Him not by the hearing of the ear, but by the experience of your hearts. I want you to know Him by faith, I want you, as Paul says, to know “the power of his resurrection; becoming like Him in His death” (Philippians 3:10). I want you to be able to say of Him, He is my peace and my strength, my life and my consolation, my Physician and my Shepherd, my Savior and my God.
Why do I make such a point of this? I do it because in Christ alone “all His [God’s] fullness dwells” (Colossians 1:19), because in Him alone there is a full supply of all that we require for the needs of our souls. Of ourselves we are all poor, empty creatures, empty of righteousness and peace, empty of strength and comfort, empty of courage and patience, empty of power to stand, or go on, or make progress in this evil world. It is in Christ alone that all these things are to be found—grace, peace, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It is just in proportion as we live upon Him, that we are strong Christians. It is only when self is nothing and Christ is all our confidence, it is only then that we shall do great exploits. Only then are we armed for the battle of life, and shall overcome. Only then are we prepared for the journey of life, and shall move forward. To live on Christ, to draw all from Christ, to do all in the strength of Christ, to be ever looking to Christ; this is the true secret of spiritual prosperity. “I can do everything,” says Paul, “through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Young men, I set before you Jesus Christ this day, as the treasury of your souls; and I invite you to begin by going to Him. Let this be your first step—go to Christ. Do you want to consult friends? He is the best friend: “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Do you feel unworthy because of your sins? Do not fear: His blood cleanses from all sin. He says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Do you feel weak, and unable to follow Him? Do not fear: He will give you the power to become sons of God. He will give you the Holy Spirit to live in you, and seal you for His own; He will give you a new heart, and He will put a new spirit within you. Are you troubled or beset with a strange bent to evil? Do not fear: there is no evil spirit that Jesus cannot cast out, there is no disease of soul that He cannot heal. Do you feel doubts and fears? Throw them aside: “Come to Me,” He says; “whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” He knows very well the heart of a young man. He knows your trials and your temptations, your difficulties and your foes. In the days of His flesh He was like yours—a young man at Nazareth. He knows by experience a young man’s mind. He can understand the feeling of your temptations—because He Himself suffered when He was tempted. Surely you will be without excuse if you turn away from such a Savior and Friend as this.
Hear the request I make of you this day—if you love life, seek to become acquainted with Jesus Christ.
Try to get a clear view of the evil of sin – JCRyle
Young men, if you did know what sin is, and what sin has done, you would not think it so strange that I exhort you as I do. You do not see it in its true colors. Your eyes are naturally blind to its guilt and danger, and therefore you cannot understand what makes me so worried about you. Oh, don’t let the devil succeed in persuading you that sin is a small matter!
Think for a moment what the Bible says about sin; how it dwells naturally in the heart of every man and woman alive (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23), how it defiles our thoughts, words, and actions, and that continually (Genesis 6:5; Matthew 15:19), how it renders us all guilty and abominable in the sight of a holy God (Isaiah 64:6; Habakkuk 1:13), how it leaves us utterly without hope of salvation, if we look to ourselves (Psalm 143:2; Romans 3:20), how its fruit in this world is shame, and its wages in the world to come—death (Romans 6:21, 23). Think calmly about all this. I tell you this day, it is just as sad to be dying of cancer and not knowing it, as it is to be a living man, and not know it.
Think what an awful change sin has worked on all our natures. Man is no longer what he was when God formed him out of the dust of the ground. He came out of God’s hand upright and sinless (Ecclesiastes 7:29). In the day of his creation he was, like everything else, “very good” (Genesis 1:31). And what is man now? A fallen creature, a ruin, a being that shows the marks of corruption all over, his heart like Nebuchadnezzar, degraded and earthly, looking down and not up, his affections like a household in disorder, calling no man master, all extravagance and confusion, his understanding like a lamp flickering in the socket, impotent to guide him, not knowing good from evil, his will like a rudderless ship, tossed to and fro by every desire, and constant only in choosing any way rather than God’s. What a wreck man is, compared to what he might have been! We may understand such figures being used as blindness, deafness, disease, sleep, death, when the Spirit has to give us a picture of man as he is. And man as he is, remember, was made so by sin.
Think, too, what it has cost to make atonement for sin, and to provide a pardon and forgiveness for sinners. God’s own Son must come into the world, and take upon Him our nature, in order to pay the price of our redemption, and deliver us from the curse of a broken law. He who was in the beginning with the Father, and by whom all things were made, must suffer for sin the just for the unjust—must die the death of a criminal, before the way to heaven can be laid open to any soul. See the Lord Jesus Christ despised and rejected of men, scourged, mocked, and insulted—look at Him bleeding on the cross of Calvary—hear Him crying in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Note how the sun was darkened, and the rocks shook at the sight; and then consider, young men, what must be the evil and guilt of sin.
Think, also, what sin has already done on the earth. Think how it threw Adam and Eve out of Eden, brought the flood upon the old world, caused fire to come down on Sodom and Gomorrah, drowned Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, destroyed the seven wicked nations of Canaan, scattered the twelve tribes of Israel over the face of the earth. Sin alone did all this.
Think, moreover, of all the misery and sorrow that sin has caused, and is causing, to this very day. Pain, disease, death, strifes, quarrels, divisions, envy, jealousy, malice, deceit, fraud, and cheating, violence, oppression, robbery, selfishness, unkindness, and ingratitude; all these are the fruits of sin. Sin is the parent of them all. It is sin that has so marred and spoiled the face of God’s creation.
Young men, consider these things, and you will not wonder that we preach as we do. Surely, if you did think of them, you would break with sin forever. Will you play with poison? Will you sport with hell? Will you take fire in your hand? Will you harbor your deadliest enemy in your arms? Will you go on living as if it mattered nothing, whether your sins were forgiven or not, whether sin had dominion over you, or you over sin? Oh, awake to a sense of sin’s sinfulness and danger! Remember the words of Solomon: “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright” (Proverbs 14:9).
Hear, then, the request that I make of you this day, pray that God would teach you the real evil of sin. If you would have your soul saved then get up and pray.
BEWARE OF HYPOCRISY
“WOE TO YOU, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” – JESUS (Matt 23,27-28)
We can put on a convincing outward show to man but God is not fooled. He sees the lust, the envy, the greed, self righteousness, the rebelliousness, pride, vanityand other inner sins hiding behind the religious show. What frightening words of rebuke Jesus gave to such duplicity and hypocrisy. Oh may we seek to live what we believe, being doers of the word, not hearers only deceiving ourselves. And to walk transparently before God knowing He sees all and we will one day answer to Him.
May our prayer be: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. ” (Psalm 139,23-24)
The SIN of not practicing what we preach is a DEADLY STATE before God, and leads unbelievers to blaspheme the Lord’s name because of our hypocrisy. Terrible!! It is better to have never known the way of righteousness, than to know it and turn away to practice sin. Lets rather humbly hear God’s word and diligently obey, and shine forth an upright life that instead leads others to glorify God
— Rom 3,21-24 … “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.”
— James 1, 22 … “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
— Matt 5,16 … “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”