VIDEO The Strictest Discipline – Self Discipline

The Strictest Discipline

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. —Matthew 5:30

Jesus did not say that everyone must cut off his right hand, but that “if your right hand causes you to sin” in your walk with Him, then it is better to “cut it off.” There are many things that are perfectly legitimate, but if you are going to concentrate on God you cannot do them. Your right hand is one of the best things you have, but Jesus says that if it hinders you in following His precepts, then “cut it off.” The principle taught here is the strictest discipline or lesson that ever hit humankind.

When God changes you through regeneration, giving you new life through spiritual rebirth, your life initially has the characteristic of being maimed. There are a hundred and one things that you dare not do— things that would be sin for you, and would be recognized as sin by those who really know you. But the unspiritual people around you will say, “What’s so wrong with doing that? How absurd you are!” There has never yet been a saint who has not lived a maimed life initially. Yet it is better to enter into life maimed but lovely in God’s sight than to appear lovely to man’s eyes but lame to God’s. At first, Jesus Christ through His Spirit has to restrain you from doing a great many things that may be perfectly right for everyone else but not right for you. Yet, see that you don’t use your restrictions to criticize someone else.

The Christian life is a maimed life initially, but in Matthew 5:48 Jesus gave us the picture of a perfectly well-rounded life— “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.  My Utmost for His Highest, March 19, 761 L


John MacArthur Sermons January 28 2018 ★ FUNDAMENTAL CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES SELF DISCIPLINE, PART 1

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Pictures of Love

I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 2 John 1:5

My children and I have started a new daily practice. Every night at bedtime, we gather colored pencils and light a candle. Asking God to light our way, we get out our journals and draw or write answers to two questions: When did I show love today? and When did I withhold love today?

Loving our neighbors has been an important part of the Christian life “from the beginning” (2 John 1:5). That’s what John writes in his second letter to his congregation, asking them to love one another in obedience to God (2 John 1:5–6). Love is one of John’s favorite topics throughout his letters. He says that practicing real love is one way to know that we “belong to the truth,” that we’re living in God’s presence (1 John 3:18–19). When my kids and I reflect, we find that in our lives love takes shape in simple actions: sharing an umbrella, encouraging someone who is sad, or cooking a favorite meal. The moments when we’re withholding love are equally practical: we gossip, refuse to share, or satisfy our own desires without thinking of others’ needs.

Paying attention each night helps us be more aware each day, more tuned in to what the Spirit might be showing us as we walk through our lives. With the Spirit’s help, we’re learning to walk in love (2 John 1:6).

Lord, let us not love just in words, but in actions and in truth. Teach us to be obedient to Your call to love.

How can I show love today?

By Amy Peterson 

INSIGHT

Love is a prominent theme in the apostle John’s writings. In today’s reading (2 John 1:1–6) John writes: “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (v. 4). Just as caring parents delight in the development of the gifts and character of their children, John had a father’s pride in those who walked in love. It is interesting to contemplate what John means by “walk in love” (v. 6). The Greek word translated “walk” can also mean a consistency one exhibits in speech, attitudes, and behavior. It’s clear that we’re being told to make sure the words we say, the attitudes we have toward others, and our general behavior be characterized by sensitivity and generosity. Of course, the ultimate example of love is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (1 John 4:10). We love others because Christ first loved us.

Dennis Fisher

The Believer’s Security System

2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 2:18-22

Spiritual dangers are all around, but God has given believers a “spiritual security system.” He’s also provided godly shepherds in the church to protect the flock from spiritual predators.

These predators are false teachers who exploit the ignorance of immature believers. They also hunt down people with unresolved guilt and use phony remedies in an attempt to soothe consciences.

Churchgoers who fail to confess and forsake sin according to Scripture are highly susceptible to such trickery. Also at risk are those who know about Jesus and religious practices but are not genuinely saved—they might even be baptized church members, but unless they have the Holy Spirit, they cannot discern truth or live holy lives.

Thankfully, God has provided a way for believers to avoid these dangerous spiritual potholes. First and foremost, we have to saturate our mind continually with God’s Word. In so doing, we will eventually develop a mental filter that reacts in alarm when something false comes our way. In this manner, we become rooted and grounded in the truth.

Christians also have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gives understanding of God’s Word, directs our way, and enables us to distinguish truth from error. He educates our conscience to provide timely warnings when we start down the wrong path.

The Lord has provided everything we need to avoid deception, but our spiritual security system will protect us only if it is well tuned with the Word of God and obedient to His Spirit.

If I Perish, I Perish

“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

This is the courageous testimony of Queen Esther as she prepared to risk her own life in order to save the lives of her people. It was a capital crime for anyone to intrude into the king’s throne room unbidden, but she was willing to do so in order to do the will of God, knowing that “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

In the same spirit, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to enter the fiery furnace rather than to worship the humanistic gods of Babylon, testifying to Nebuchadnezzar that “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods” (Daniel 3:17-18).

God did deliver Esther and the three Jewish youths, but there have been many through the ages who have died for their faith rather than deny their faith. All the apostles (save John) died as martyrs, for example, and so have countless others throughout the centuries. “They loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11) if it meant denying their Savior.

Believers in many nations are suffering such persecutions today, and the time is coming when the last great God-rejecting king of the earth (called the “beast” in Scripture) will “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15). If a similar choice confronts us, may God give us the grace to say with Paul that “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20), and with Esther: “If I perish, I perish.” HMM

Counsel is mine and sound wisdom

Matthew 21:23-46

Matthew 21:23-27

Thus were they taken in their own craftiness and utterly silenced.

Matthew 21:29-32

This was a home thrust, and right well deserved by them. It may also be a lesson to us if we see great sinners converted while we ourselves remain undecided. Is there one of us in this condition?

Matthew 21:44

If we oppose the Saviour we shall hurt only ourselves, but if we provoke him to punish us we shall be crushed as completely as if a huge rock had rolled upon us. Who will dare to be at enmity with Jesus?

 

Lo, the stone which once aside

By the builder’s hand was thrown,

See it now the building’s pride,

See it now the corner stone!

 

Lo, we hail Jehovah’s deed,

Strange and wondrous in our eyes!

Jesus Christ is Lord decreed,

Bid the voice of gladness rise.

 

Eternity is in Our Hearts

The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity… with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit. (Isaiah 57:15)

The only reason that men and women can be saved is the fact that God has put eternity in our hearts!

Man is fallen—yes! Man is lost, a sinner and needs to be born again—yes!

But God made man in His own image and He keeps the longing after eternity and a desire after everlasting life there within the hearts of men.

What, then, is the matter with man? Like the lion in the cage, he paces back and forth and roars to the heavens before he dies.

I think this is the truth—we are disturbed because God has put everlastingness in our hearts. He has put a longing for immortality in our beings, something that demands God and heaven. Yet, we are too blind and sinful to find Him or even to look for Him!

As Christian witnesses, we must be faithful and timely in our preaching and teaching. There is a note of warning in this—telling men and women why they are lost and that if they will not repent they will certainly perish!

 

Invitation to Pray

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jer. 33:3

God encourages us to pray. They tell us that prayer is a pious exercise which has no influence except upon the mind engaged in it. We know better. Our experience gives the lie a thousand times over to this infidel assertion. Here Jehovah, the living God, distinctly promises to answer the prayer of His servant. Let us call upon Him again, and admit no doubt upon the question of His hearing us and answering us. He that made the ear, shall He not hear? He that gave parents a love to their children, will He not listen to the cries of His own sons and daughters?

God will answer His pleading people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of Heaven to succor them, if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace, and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will call upon Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our prayers at once.

 

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