Taking the Next Step – True to the Word

toe stepping doer norma shearer
Taking the Next Step

…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses. —2 Corinthians 6:4

When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.

Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ inJohn 13:1-17.

The great thing about faith in God is that it keeps a man undisturbed in the midst of disturbance. Notes on Isaiah, 1376 R


True to the Word

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Christians are sometimes questioned about their faith. It happened in the first century as well as in our day, which is why the apostle Peter encouraged believers to “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). But what if you aren’t sure? What if you don’t know an answer to a question? You will never go wrong by simply saying what the Word says—the living and written Word of God.

Jesus called Himself “the truth” (John 14:6) and “He who is true” (Revelation 3:7). Therefore, saying what Jesus said is to say what is true. A Christian will never go wrong by agreeing with Jesus. But Jesus also called God’s Word “the truth.” He knew that the psalmist had written, “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160), and he borrowed those words in His prayer to the Father: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). So Jesus called Himself the truth and He called the Word of God the truth. Jesus was the human embodiment of the eternal truth of God.

If you want to speak the truth, quoting Jesus and the Bible is the best place to begin. If what we say departs from those two sources, we have departed from the truth.

The truth of Scripture demolishes speculation. R. C. Sproul

The Requirements Of A Godly Influence

Daniel 1:1-21

Companies often spend millions of dollars to influence the public. Along with money, a lot of thought, energy, and strategy go into designing ad campaigns and public relations events that will capture people’s interest.

As believers, we’re involved in a much more important endeavor—that of capturing hearts with gospel truth through godly influence. If we are to have an impact on others, we need to present a consistent witness before them.

Having a strong conviction about God’s Word is the foundation of a godly influence; we must believe the Bible is true and practical in our daily lives. Daniel clearly did. In today’s reading, he and his friends refused the king’s food and wine. Why? Because Scripture told them not to eat anything offered to idols—a common practice of the time (Ex. 34:15). Daniel put not only himself and his friends but also the commander of the officials in danger of death over the issue of food! But he took such action because he knew the Father wanted him to obey Scripture, no matter the cost.

Following the Bible’s instructions is not usually a matter of life or death. But doing so can nevertheless place us in uncomfortable situations. If we are to have a godly influence, we must be committed to our convictions. A believer’s life is often the only example of scriptural principles other people will see. So, like Daniel, we must make up our mind to follow God, regardless of the circumstances. And like the people in Daniel’s sphere of influence, those you touch will see the work done for the Lord and glorify Him (Matt. 5:16).

Thy Precious Blood

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: . . . And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:14, 20)

John introduced Jesus to the world at His baptism by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He was known prophetically as a lamb even before then. “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). He fulfilled the lamb role in His sacrificial death for the sins of mankind: “With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). The third verse of “There Is a Fountain” continues that picture.

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved, to sin no more.

The precious Christology passage of Colossians 1:13-20 identifies Christ as Creator, Redeemer, and King. As Creator, His redemptive work included the ransom of His creation, lost and shackled in sin. There will come the time when all of redeemed mankind will gather around His throne “saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).

They will be joined by all in creation to sing His praises. “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3). JDM

The Ability to Wonder

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? —Psalm 8:3-4

God made the world; it is a beautiful thing and something to venerate. It’s a great loss—a tragic loss—that we’ve suffered in the last generation. We have lost the ability to wonder. We know so everlasting much and we’re so sure of ourselves. But David stood and wondered in the presence of God’s creation; he raised his eyes and said, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4). And Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel and all the rest of them stood and wondered in the presence of God Almighty’s creation….

The footprints of God are everywhere about us. And while we can’t see Him, we can see His luminous trail like a bird that sings while hidden in a tree. As Middleton said, “The bird sings darkling.” We can’t see the bird, but we can hear her sing. God sings among His branches and sings in His universe. You and I cannot gaze upon Him, for no man can see God and live. But we can hear Him sing His song of creation and redemption. And we can feel the pressure of His breath upon us as we move through the world. We’ll never see things rightly till we see them as the garments of God.

I’ll watch for Your footprints, God. I’ll listen for Your song and be sensitive to Your breath. I will stand in wonder at what I see. Amen.

“Automatic” Saint?

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest (2 Corinthians 4:10)

Not everyone agrees with me that full qualification for eternity is not instant or automatic or painless.

I can only hope that you are wise enough, desirous enough and spiritual enough to face up to the truth that every day is another day of spiritual preparation, another day of testing and discipline with our heavenly destination in mind.

I hope, too, that you may begin to understand why many evangelical churches are in such a mess. It has become popular to preach a painless Christianity and automatic saintliness. It has become a part of our “instant” culture—”just pour a little water on it, stir mildly, pick up a gospel tract, and you are on your Christian way!”

“Lo,” we are told, “this is Bible Christianity!”

“It is nothing of the sort!”

To depend upon that kind of a formula is to experience only the outer fringe, the edge of what Christianity really is. For when the new birth is real and the wonder of regeneration has taken place, then comes the lifetime of preparation with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

It will not save me to know that Christ is a Saviour

It will not save me to know that Christ is a Saviour; but it will save me to trust him to be my Saviour. I shall not be delivered from the wrath to come, by believing that his atonement is sufficient; but I shall be saved by making that atonement ray trust, my refuge, and my all. The pith, the essence of faith lies in this—a casting oneself on the promise. It is not the life buoy on board ship that saves the man when he is drowning, nor is it his belief that it is an excellent and successful invention. No! he must have it around his loins, or his hand upon it, or else he will sink.