NO MORE SACRIFICE

Christ came as the high priest of the good things we now have. HEBREWS 9:11

Even a casual student of Scripture notes the connection between blood and mercy. As far back as the son of Adam, worshipers knew “sins cannot be forgiven without blood” (Hebrews 9:22).

With a field as his temple and the ground as his altar, Abel became the first to do what millions would imitate. He offered a blood sacrifice for sins.

Those who followed suit form a long line: Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Samson, Saul, David … They knew the shedding of blood was necessary for the forgiveness of sins. Jacob knew it too; hence, the stones were stacked for the altar …

But the line ended at the Cross. What Abel sought to accomplish in the field, God achieved with his Son. What Abel began, Christ completed. After Christ’s sacrifice there would be no more need to shed blood.

from HE CHOSE THE NAILS

How to Stabilize Wavering Faith

Matthew 21:18-22

Allowing our faith to waver closes us off from God’s blessings. He cannot violate His own principle and answer a doubter’s prayer. In contrast, believers who have chosen steady faith can expect the Lord to give them what they ask—or something even better.

Stabilizing unsteady faith requires two actions. First, decide to believe that the Lord is trustworthy. Insecure feelings are tied to our circumstances, but our mind and heart can be tethered to the Lord instead. “I refuse to doubt my God any longer” should become the battle cry for Christians facing difficulty and pain. When the Deceiver whispers discouragement, we can tell him that we know who our God is and that He will do what He promises. Satan cannot argue with steadfast faith.

Second, get into God’s Word and meditate on His promises. When we ponder the Lord’s assurances, we absorb them into our daily life. As our mind and spirit fill with the Father’s thoughts, we begin to think as He does. Anytime we are feeding on Scripture, whether through a sermon, group Bible study, or personal reading, we should write notes and take time to meditate on the passage. Then, whenever harsh circumstances confront us and our faith begins to waver, we can recall God’s promises and stand firm in our decision to trust Him.

Believers who stabilize their faith pray specifically, in accordance with God’s promises. And from the moment the first prayer goes heavenward, we can live in anticipation of how He is going to answer. Faith is a great adventure.

Mortified

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13)

To mortify something means to put it to death. Paul taught in our text and in other passages that the “deeds of the body,” or its fleshly actions and appetites, all that pertains “to the old man,” should be mortified, or put to death.

This mortification is first of all judicial—Christ having been put to death in our stead. “Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).

But the mortification must not stop there, with only a positional death. It must also be an actual mortification in practice, for “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25). “For as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Romans 6:19).

Elsewhere, Paul identifies specific deeds and attitudes that must be mortified. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [or evil desires], and covetousness” (Colossians 3:5). The first four listed will be recognized as various forms of sensual sins, indicating how detrimental this category of sin is to spiritual life. The fifth is covetousness, or inordinate love of money and material things. These five comprise deadly sins to men and women of any historical age—particularly our own. If they are not put to death, they bring death, “for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh” (v. 6).

The choice is clear! It will be either death to the flesh, or death to the spirit. JDM

I know Him, that He will command His children

“I know him, that he will command his children.” (Gen. 18:19.)

GOD wants people that He can depend upon. He could say of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command his children… that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken.” God can be depended upon; He wants us to be just as decided, as reliable, as stable. This is just what faith means.

God is looking for men on whom He can put the weight of all His love and power and faithful promises. God’s engines are strong enough to draw any weight we attach to them. Unfortunately the cable which we fasten to the engine is often too weak to hold the weight of our prayer; therefore God is drilling us, disciplining us to stability and certainty in the life of faith. Let us learn our lessons and stand fast.—A. B. Simpson

God knows that you can stand that trial; He would not give it to you if you could not. It is His trust in you that explains the trials of life, however bitter they may be. God knows our strength, and He measures it to the last inch; and a trial was never given to any man that was greater than that man’s strength, through God, to bear it.

Men ought always to pray

“Men ought always to pray.” Luke 18:1

If men ought always to pray and not to faint, much more Christian men. Jesus has sent His church into the world on the same errand upon which He Himself came, and this mission includes intercession. What if I say that the church is the world’s priest? Creation is dumb, but the church is to find a mouth for it. It is the church’s high privilege to pray with acceptance. The door of grace is always open for her petitions, and they never return empty-handed. The veil was rent for her, the blood was sprinkled upon the altar for her, God constantly invites her to ask what she wills.

Will she refuse the privilege which angels might envy her? Is she not the bride of Christ? May she not go in unto her King at every hour? Shall she allow the precious privilege to be unused? The church always has need for prayer. There are always some in her midst who are declining, or falling into open sin. There are lambs to be prayed for, that they may be carried in Christ’s bosom? the strong, lest they grow presumptuous; and the weak, lest they become despairing. If we kept up prayer-meetings four-and-twenty hours in the day, all the days in the year, we might never be without a special subject for supplication.

Are we ever without the sick and the poor, the afflicted and the wavering? Are we ever without those who seek the conversion of relatives, the reclaiming of back-sliders, or the salvation of the depraved? Nay, with congregations constantly gathering, with ministers always preaching, with millions of sinners lying dead in trespasses and sins; in a country over which the darkness of Romanism is certainly descending; in a world full of idols, cruelties, devilries, if the church doth not pray, how shall she excuse her base neglect of the commission of her loving Lord? Let the church be constant in supplication, let every private believer cast his mite of prayer into the treasury.

The branch cannot bear fruit of itself

“The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.” John 15:4

How did you begin to bear fruit? It was when you came to Jesus and cast yourselves on His great atonement, and rested on His finished righteousness. Ah! what fruit you had then! Do you remember those early days? Then indeed the vine flourished, the tender grape appeared, the pomegranates budded forth, and the beds of spices gave forth their smell. Have you declined since then? If you have, we charge you to remember that time of love, and repent, and do thy first works.

Be most in those engagements which you have experimentally proved to draw you nearest to Christ, because it is from Him that all your fruits proceed. Any holy exercise which will bring you to Him will help you to bear fruit. The sun is, no doubt, a great worker in fruit-creating among the trees of the orchard: and Jesus is still more so among the trees of His garden of grace. When have you been the most fruitless? Has not it been when you have lived farthest from the Lord Jesus Christ, when you have slackened in prayer, when you have departed from the simplicity of your faith, when your graces have engrossed your attention instead of your Lord, when you have said, “My mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved”; and have forgotten where your strength dwells—has not it been then that your fruit has ceased?

Some of us have been taught that we have nothing out of Christ, by terrible abasements of heart before the Lord; and when we have seen the utter barrenness and death of all creature power, we have cried in anguish, “From Him all my fruit must be found, for no fruit can ever come from me.” We are taught, by past experience, that the more simply we depend upon the grace of God in Christ, and wait upon the Holy Spirit, the more we shall bring forth fruit unto God. Oh! to trust Jesus for fruit as well as for life.