VIDEO William Wilberforce: True VS Lukewarm Christianity

Aug 22, 2014

“A Practical View of Christianity”

William Wilberforce helped end the slave trade in England with his deep knowledge of GOD’s Word. In his book, “A Practical View of Christianity,” he explains the difference between the true believer in Jesus in comparison to the lukewarm “believer.”

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Made Clean

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Ezekiel 36:25

When I opened our dishwasher, I wondered what went wrong. Instead of seeing sparkling clean dishes, I removed plates and glasses that were covered in a chalky dust. I wondered if the hard water in our area was wreaking havoc, or if the machine was broken.

God’s cleansing, unlike that faulty dishwasher, washes away all of our impurities. We see in the book of Ezekiel that God is calling His people back to Himself as Ezekiel shared God’s message of love and forgiveness. The Israelites had sinned as they proclaimed their allegiance to other gods and other nations. The Lord, however, was merciful in welcoming them back to Himself. He promised to cleanse them “from all [their] impurities and all [their] idols” (36:25). As He put His Spirit in them (v. 27), He would bring them to a place of fruitfulness, not famine (v. 30).

God, teach me to submit to You daily that I might grow more and more closely into the likeness of Jesus.

As in the days of the prophet Ezekiel, today the Lord welcomes us back to Him if we go astray. When we submit ourselves to His will and His ways, He transforms us as He washes us clean from our sins. With His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, He helps us to follow Him day by day.

Lord God, the feeling of being cleansed and forgiven is like no other. Thank You for transforming me into a new person. Teach me to submit to You daily that I might grow more and more closely into the likeness of Jesus.

The Lord makes us clean.

By Amy Boucher Pye 

INSIGHT:Can we find ourselves in the men and women of the Bible? We are there in Ezekiel’s vision of a God whose love can be a consuming fire. The people of Jerusalem were headed for exile in Babylon to learn for themselves that a love affair with self-made gods would ruin them. Yet our story doesn’t end with Israel in Babylon. The long-awaited Messiah shows us how far our God is willing to go to help us let go of worthless loves, so that He can forgive us and restore us to Himself. Mart DeHaan

The Process of Belief

James 2:14-17

We express faith every single day, in all kinds of situations. We believe we’ll get to work safely, or we’d never get in the car. We believe our love will last for a lifetime, or we’d never get married. We believe our favorite chair will support our weight, or we’d never sit on it. Faith flows out of us all the time, even when it has nothing to do with God.

There is a process that shapes our beliefs—a progression that turns the hint of faith into measurable action. First, it begins in the mind. We think about the issue, nurse that thought, and visualize not only the need but also the solution.

Second, we begin to discuss the issue with other people and, hopefully, with the Lord. Talking through the matter with someone we trust is a way to better understand what is happening, collect fresh insights, and process the information.

Then, after discussing the matter, we come away with a better sense of what’s involved. This leads us to the third step, in which we take action. We must dosomething. If belief doesn’t produce a measurable result, then something has gone wrong, and we need to seek God’s help. Faith that never gets beyond the mind or conversation accomplishes nothing. But when the faith-building process results in action—no matter how simple—then we truly begin to see the power of the Lord displayed.

Are you struggling with a faith issue today? Prayerfully ask God to show you if you’ve gotten stuck somewhere in the process.

U.S.E. Your Faith

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

Today’s verse contains a portion of Habakkuk 2:4, emphasizing that those who have been twice-born can live using the same faith that God granted us so that we could believe (Ephesians 2:8). An acronym for USE can help focus our thoughts.

U—Use what you have. Moses had only a rod when God called him to deliver the nation of Israel (Exodus 4:2-6). We should use the talent and equipment already in our possession, just like the widow of Zarephath, who gave her meager grain (1 Kings 17:10-16). Daniel used his secular position (Daniel 6:14-23), and Esther used her beauty and bravery (Esther 4:13-17) to accomplish His will.

S—Start doing it. Nothing happens unless we become involved. The priests of Israel participated in the miracle at Jordan when they obeyed and stepped in the river (Joshua 3:5-17). The widow did not reap the bounty until she followed Elisha’s instructions and borrowed pots from her neighbors (2 Kings 4:1-7). After the miracle of the oil, she surely wished that she had not limited God’s supply. The man who was born blind had to wash as instructed before he could see (John 9:1-7). And those at Lazarus’ tomb had to open it before they could see him resurrected (John 11:39). God instructs, we obey, and He performs.

E—Expect it to happen. The centurion understood our Lord’s authority when he asked Him to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5-13). The Syrophonecian woman insisted on being healed (Matthew 15:21-26), and the nobleman went home confident that his son had been saved (John 4:46-53).

Circumstances will vary, but God’s “formula” does not. HMM III

“Thou art my refuge.”

Psalm 142

We will now read two of David’s cave psalms. He has left behind him the footprints of his wanderings, in his sacred songs. Many record their lives by successive murmurings and rebellions, David by hymns and prayers.

Psalm 142:2

In his lonely wanderings he made the woods and caverns echo with his prayers.

 

“The calm retreat, the silent shade

With prayer and praise agree

And seem by thy kind bounty made

For those who worship thee.”

 

Psalm 142:3

But since God knew his path, he was not taken in their snares. We owe eternal praises to the Lord for keeping us out of the hands of our enemies.

Psalm 142:6

In the worst times all is well if we do not lose our faith in the Lord. No matter how powerful our enemies, we shall overcome if we cling to the divine arm.

Psalm 142:7

Very soon, good men and true mustered in great numbers under David’s command, and he was no more left in utter loneliness, but became a powerful leader. The Lord can find us friends when we are friendless.

Let us now read:—

Psalm 141

Psalm 141:2

As David could not go to the tabernacle to offer sacrifice and incense, he felt that his prayers would be accepted instead thereof. If we are forced to stay at home on the Lord’s day we should none the less worship the Lord in our hearts. The acceptance of prayer and praise does not depend upon place. True spiritual worship even in a cave, is far better than the finest formal service, though offered in a cathedral.

Psalm 141:3, 4

Even in his lowest case he did not wish to be as the wicked are when at their best.

Psalm 141:5

It needs great grace to give reproofs aright, but it needs more to take them aright. Wise men are thankful when their errors are pointed out to them; but, alas! wise men are few.

Psalm 141:6

When the world is bitter the word is sweet. Those who care not for us now may be glad of our comfort in their distress.

Psalm 141:7

He was like wood broken and split up for the fire; he felt that he and his followers were devoted to death, yet he turned to God with hope.

Psalm 141:10

His prayer was heard. He was preserved, and even so shall all believers be, if they will but repose their souls upon the faithfulness of God. All is well if faith be firm.

 

Fierce burning coals of juniper,

And arrows of the strong,

Await those false and cruel tongues

Which do the righteous wrong.

 

But as for me my song shall rise

Before Jehovah’s throne,

For he has seen my deep distress,

And hearken’d to my groan.

 


In vain the powers of darkness try

To work the church’s ill,

The Friend of sinners reigns on high,

And checks them at his will.

 

Though mischief in their hearts may dwell,

And on their tongues deceit,

A word of his their pride can quell,

And all their aims defeat.

 

My trust is in his grace alone;

His house shall be my home,

How sweet his mercies past to own,

And hope for more to come.

 


Oh! taste and see that God is good,

And that his saints are blest;

Grace never can be understood

Till in the heart it rest.

 

Oh! trust the Lord, desponding saint;

Of all that to him flee,

There’s none hath ever been in want,

And none shall ever be.

 


Captain of our soul’s salvation,

Perfect made thyself in woe,

Thou didst seek no reputation

When thou wast with man below:

‘Mid the lowest,

‘Mid the vilest thou didst go.

 

They whose ills were most distressing,

They who were of sinners chief,

Gladly sought thy gracious blessing,

Ran to thee for sure relief:

Thou didst bless them—

Thou didst carry all their grief.

 

All with heavy debts embarrassed,

Who no hope of pardon see,

All with fears of judgment harass’d,

Look for help, O Lord, to thee:

Thou dost freely

Welcome all who come to thee.

 


I bow towards thy mercy-seat:

Haste, Lord, thy servant haste to meet,

To thee, addressed, my sorrows rise;

Lord, bend thine ear, accept my cries.

 

O let my prayer before thee come,

Sweet as the censer’s fragrant fume;

And may the hands, which thus I rear,

An evening sacrifice appear!

 


O glorious hour! O blest abode!

I shall be near and like my God;

And flesh and sin no more control

The sacred pleasures of my soul.

 

My flesh shall slumber in the ground,

‘Till the last trumpet’s joyful sound;

Then burst the chains with sweet surprise,

And in my Saviour’s image rise.

 

Be Proud of the Fruit Produced By Your Personal Investments!

Have you ever been so proud of someone that you just wanted to brag and boast about him or her for a few minutes? When you’ve invested a lot of your own time, talents, and energy into people you love and then you see them prospering and growing strong in the Lord, it’s normal for you to want to shout and rejoice about it!

This is how my wife and I feel when we see our own sons. They are strong in the Lord, active in His service, and committed to do what He wants them to do. As parents, it simply thrills our hearts—and we have every God-given right to be proud of them and thankful for what is happening in their lives! They are diligent, serious, and unwilling to give in to fatigue or discouragement; they just keep marching forward like soldiers. Of course we are proud of our sons and have every right to feel that way!

We feel the same way about the men and women we have discipled and poured our lives into over the years. When they came to us, many of them were young and inexperienced, but so hungry to grow and to learn. They were willing to be taught, to be corrected, to be instructed, and to pay the heavy price we demanded of them. We weren’t interested in developing only believers—we were working to produce real disciples. So when we see them standing strong in their own ministries, firm in faith and growing in grace, wisdom, and mercy, it simply thrills our hearts!

When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he was so proud of them and the way they walked in faith and patience that he said: “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.”

I want you to notice that Paul declared how proud he was of the Thessalonians. He said, “… We ourselves glory in [or about] you in the churches of God….” In this phrase, Paul used the word Greek word egkauchaomai. This is the only time this word is found in the New Testament, although it was frequently used in the secular literature of New Testament times. It means to brag, to boast, to give praise, or to speak laudatory words.

Paul was proud of the Thessalonians. As a spiritual father to them, he was thrilled with the growth they were experiencing. This is a healthy type of pride—the same kind of pride a father feels for his children when they do well. He went on to list the reasons he was so proud of them: “… for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.” Let’s look at each of these words one by one.

The word “patience” is a favorite word in Paul’s epistles. It is the compound Greek word hupomene, and it paints the picture of one who is under a heavy load but refuses to bend, break, or surrender because he is convinced that the territory, promise, or principle under assault rightfully belongs to him. This word denotes a refusal to give up and an attitude that is determined to receive what is promised or hoped for. The King James Version translates it “patience,” but a better rendering would be endurance.

This word tells us, first of all, that the Thessalonians were under severe pressure. They lived in an environment that was aggressively anti-Christian. Every day of their lives, they were affronted and assaulted for their faith. Yet regardless of how severe the pressure became, they refused to surrender to these attacks or to throw in the towel of defeat. Paul was proud of them for their conviction to stand tall and steadfast in spite of what they were facing!

Then Paul said he was proud of them because of their “faith.” The Greek word for faith is pistis. The very nature of the Greek word pistis, translated faith, denotes a force that is forward-directed and aggressive—never passive or backward-reaching, but always reaching forward to obtain or achieve a specific target or goal.

This means that the Thessalonians never drew back or retreated simply because they ran into difficult or hard times. Instead, their faith was like an arrow that had been shot and could not be retracted, constantly reaching forward to grab hold of God’s promises. Paul recognized that this was real faith, and he was proud of the Thessalonian believers for never backing up on the promises of God!

Paul went on to describe the intensity of problems the Thessalonians were encountering. He mentions this because their problems were not normal, but problems of the most severe and difficult kind. Paul used the word “persecution” to describe the events that were coming against them. This is the Greek word dioko, a commonly used word in Paul’s epistles, meaning to pursue, to follow after, or to aggressively seek after.

This word was first used as a hunting term to denote the actions of a hunter who strives to follow after, to apprehend, to capture, or to kill an animal. Thus, the word can be translated “to hunt.” This same word is also translated “to persecute” throughout the New Testament, indicating the brutal nature of persecution that was experienced by the Thessalonian church. They were viciously and relentlessly pursued.

As if this is not enough, Paul informs us that the Thessalonians had experienced some kind of life-threatening “tribulation.” The word “tribulation” comes from the Greek word thlipsis, a favorite with Paul when he described the difficult events he and his team encountered in ministry. This Greek word thlipsis is so strong that it leaves no room to misunderstand the intensity of these persecutions. It conveys the idea of a heavy-pressure situation.

One scholar says the word thlipsis was first used to describe the specific act of tying a victim with a rope, laying him on his back, and then placing a huge boulder on top of him until his body was crushed. Paul used this word to alert us to moments when he or others went through grueling, crushing situations that would have been unbearable, intolerable, and impossible to survive if it had not been for the help of the Holy Spirit.

But in this scripture, Paul used this same word to tell us what the Thessalonian believers had undergone. As noted above, their problems were not normal but of the most serious nature. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, it would have been enough to crush them—but they weren’t crushed. They were still walking in faith; they were pushing forward to obtain the promises of God; and they were believing for victory!

Then Paul used the word “endure” to denote the attitude with which they had faced these obstacles and moments of opposition. The word “endure” is from the Greek word anechomai, which means to put up with, to endure, or to bear up under. Yet this word doesn’t portray the sufferer as one who simply surrenders to defeat, but rather as one who exhibits an attitude of fortitude and resistance to such negative forces.

 

When you put all this together, Second Thessalonians 1:4 could be translated:

“We are so impressed with what God has done among you that, when we tell all of God’s churches about you, we’re outright braggadocios! We proudly tell them about your refusal to bend to pressure; your resolve to never abandon or give up what belongs to you; your commitment to hang in there, no matter how heavy the load; and your determination to ‘stay put’ until your hopes are realized. We’ve also told them how your faith has remained aggressive and forward-directed, regardless of the ordeals you’ve been throughsuch as those times when you’ve been hunted down like animals and relentlessly pursued. Your faith has stayed out front, despite the horribly tight, life-threatening terrifically stressful situations you have undergone but steadfastly resisted.”

I don’t know about you, but when I read all of this, it makes me want to be sure that I belong to the ranks of the Thessalonians! We have the same Holy Spirit living in us who lived inside the Thessalonian believers. If they could live so triumphantly for the Lord in their difficult position, you and I can make the decision to live victoriously for Jesus Christ in our situations too. Amen?

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me invest my life in people who will grow strong and who will bring forth good fruit! I want to give my life to people who are going to do something in this world. I want to know that I have made a difference in the life of someone who is going to make a difference in the lives of others. The last thing I want is to have lived this life without ever making a personal investment in anyone else, so please help me recognize those people You want me to pour myself into. Then give me the wisdom and grace to pull up alongside and share with them the treasure You have placed in me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I bear good fruit in the lives of people whom God has called me to help! They are growing! They are prospering! They are learning to overcome the evil one! They are strong stable, resilient, reliable, faithful, and committed to do whatever it takes for them to fulfill the assignment Jesus Christ has given them. My fruit is good fruit—fruit that remains! In this I know that my Father is glorified, because I am producing the kind of fruit that brings glory to His name!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Who is that person or group of people God has called you to disciple? If you are not actively discipling someone right now, why aren’t you?
  2. How does it affect you when you see that those you’ve poured your life into are doing well and growing strong in the Spirit? Does it make you want to stand tall, throw back your shoulders, and rejoice in the Lord that good fruit is being produced in them?
  3. Do you take the time to let these individuals know how proud you are of them? How long has it been since you’ve put your arm around someone’s shoulder and let him know how pleased you are about what is happening in his life?

 

Choosing Between The Ways Of Man Or The Ways Of God

How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him… ” (1 Kings 18:21b)

 

When we begin to tolerate in ourselves the world’s godless values based as they are on lust and pride, we inevitably begin sliding toward:

 

A chronically restless desire for more of whatever we think will bring satisfaction to our unsettled and nervous lives.

 

An insistence on moral autonomy that resists any pressure toward restraint or accountability.

 

An appetite for power and recognition that seeks to control or manipulate others.

 

Christ, however, calls us to a radically changed set of values.

 

Such as:

  • Contentment, which is giving our work our best effort and then resting the results in God’s sovereign hands. The alternative is a nervous, complaining spirit, which is displeasing to Him. (1 Corinthians 10:10; 1 Timothy 6:6)
  • Purity, which is choosing to live a life unsullied by the world’s filth and corruption. Paul instructed young Timothy, “Do not participate in the sins of others, keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:22)
  • Simplicity, which is “ freedom,[bringing] joy and balance. [But] because we lack a divine Center, our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things… “
  • Frugality, which is the product of a disciplined mind and inner self-control. By practicing thrift, we prudently choose to put boundaries on our appetites and inclination toward self-indulgence. Character is being forged. “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Do without.
  • Modesty, which is demonstrated in the fact that the incarnate God chose to be born in a cattle shed, and grow into manhood in the out-of-the-way village of Nazareth. No evidence here of ostentatious abuse of power or position. Rather, moderation and humility.

 

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