A. W. Pink – The Scriptures and Obedience

THE SCRIPTURES AND OBEDIENCE

Honouring Christ in the World

All professing Christians are agreed, in theory at least, that it is the bounden duty of those who bear His name to honour and glorify Christ in this world. But as to how this is to be done, as to what He requires from us to this end, there is wide difference of opinion. Many suppose that honouring Christ simply means to join some “church,” to take part in and support its various activities. Others think that honouring Christ means to speak of Him to others and be diligently engaged in “personal work.” Others seem to imagine that honouring Christ signifies little more than making liberal financial contributions to His cause. Few indeed realize that Christ is honoured only as we live holily unto Him, and that by walking in subjection to His revealed will. Few indeed really believe that word, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Sam 15:22).

We are not Christians at all unless we have fully surrendered to and “received Christ Jesus the Lord” (Col 2:6). Oh, dear reader, we would plead with you to ponder that statement diligently. Satan is deceiving so many today by leading them to suppose that they are savingly trusting in “the finished work” of Christ while their hearts remain unchanged and self still rules their lives. Listen to God’s Word: “Salvation is far from the wicked; for they seek not thy statutes” (Ps 119:115). Do you really seek His “statutes?” Do you diligently search His Word to discover what He has commanded? “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). What could be plainer than that?

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Charles Spurgeon – God’s Claim Upon Your Attention

The mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 1:20

Every word that God has given us in this Book claims our attention because of the infinite majesty of Him that spake it. I see before me a Parliament of kings and princes, sages and senators. I hear one after another of the gifted Chrysostoms1 pour forth eloquence like the “Golden-mouthed.” They speak, and they speak well. Suddenly, there is a solemn hush. What a stillness! Who is now to speak? They are silent because God the Lord is about to lift His voice. Is it not right that they should be so? Doth He not say, “Keep silence before me, O islands”? What voice is like His voice? “The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon…The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh” (Psa 29:4-6, 8). See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh.

O my hearer, let it not be said of you that you went through this life, God speaking to you in His Book, and you refusing to hear! It matters very little whether you listen to me or not; but it matters a very great deal whether you listen to God or not. It is He that made you; in His hands is your breath; and if He speaks, I implore you, open your ear and be not rebellious. There is an infinite majesty about every line of Scripture, but especially about that part of Scripture in which the Lord reveals Himself and His glorious plan of saving grace in the person of His dear Son Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ hath a great claim upon you. Hear what Jesus preaches from the tree. He says, “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live” (Isa 55:3).

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Michael Boling – Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Hag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread)

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“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger…” (John 6:35)

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:7-8)

“ For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)

“ I am the bread of life.” (John 6:48)

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

“and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (I Corinthians 11:24)

As we discovered with the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread also finds its ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah. Furthermore, in each element of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we find a foreshadowing that not only points to the Messiah, but also reveals vital theological and spiritual truths in regards to the necessity of purging sin from among us in order to be a holy bride for our bridegroom. With that in mind, let’s walk through once again the Feast of Unleavened Bread noting the wonderful truths subsumed within that time of remembrance that continue to have great relevance for us today.

As with all the Feasts of the Lord, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was established as a memorial to forever be remembered by God’s people. This is an important point to make at the outset given the fact Christ fulfilled this feast with his broken body on the cross. This is not just an ancient Jewish festival with no importance or application for the people of God today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The appointed times of God are just that, appointed times established by God for a purpose. In regards to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the purpose is for believers to remember the broken body of Christ, THE bread of life as well as providing a time of introspection in regards to the necessity for believers to cleanse their lives of sin through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. But wait, there’s more!

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John MacArthur – How Scripture Empowers Personal Holiness

Becoming More like God

Godliness, Christlikeness, and Christian spirituality all describe a Christian becoming more like God. The most powerful way to effect this change is by letting the Word of God dwell in one richly (Col. 3:16). When one embraces Scripture without reservation, it will energetically work God’s will in the believer’s life (1 Thess. 2:13). The process could be basically defined as follows:

Christian spirituality involves growing to be like God in character and conduct by personally submitting to the transforming work of God’s Word and God’s Spirit.

Holiness Embodies the Very Essence of Christianity

Christians have been saved to be holy and to live holy lives (1 Pet. 1:14–16). What does it mean to be holy? Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “to be holy” (which appear about two thousand times in Scripture) basically mean “to be set aside for something special.” Thus, God is holy in that he sets himself apart from creation, humanity, and all pagan gods by the fact of his deity and sinlessness. That’s why the angels sing of God, “Holy, holy, holy” (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8), and why Scripture declares him to be holy (Ps. 99:9; Isa. 43:15).

Thus, the idea of holiness takes on a spiritual meaning among the people of God based on the holy character of God. For instance, the high priest of God had inscribed across his headpiece “Holy to the Lord” (Ex. 39:30). The high priest was especially set apart by God to intercede on behalf of a sinful nation to a holy God for the forgiveness of their transgressions.

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Jim Elliff – Do You Need to Repent of Book Hoarding?

“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance of books does his life consist of his library.”

We Start with a Parable

A pastor in a small church received his first book allowance, provided by the church. He began to purchase the books he needed to stimulate his thinking, improve his understanding, and jolt his conscience. His library grew.

Later, at a larger church the book allowance increased, and he was able to add resources of his own to enlarge his collection of fine books. Added to this was the enjoyment of finding rare volumes or used ones at the various bookstores, thrift shops, and booklists. He collected books for his family as well, since he wanted his children to be good readers. He wanted them to find books whenever they wished from among his growing collection, even with their pajamas on. After all, they would inherit his library one day. It had to be the best. His investment in time to buy books merged with his pastoral work, since it seemed to be one and the same.

Yes, it was a hobby, in one sense, though a beneficial one, he reasoned. The collection of books began to be prized for its size and scope. This was a library anyone would be proud to own. Other pastors looked on with envy at the array of tomes arranged so perfectly on his shelves, and especially at the rare books that he had gotten for almost nothing. Each purchase had its story.

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R. C. Sproul – The Value of Scripture

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The value of Scripture in the life of the believer lies in its source and its function. In his exhortation to Timothy, Paul commended Scripture to Timothy by saying, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

When I was a little boy, there was a fellow in our community who was a couple of years older than me, and he was something of a bully. He made fun of me and called me names, which hurt my feelings. Sometimes I came home crying to my mother and told her what the other boy had said to upset me. My mother had a favorite response to this. As she wiped away my tears, she said, “When people talk like that about you, son, consider the source.”

That little bit of sage advice from my mother was a principle that I learned to a much more intense degree in the academic world. One of the rules of scholarship is to track down in your research the sources for the information you have to make sure that those sources are reliable. Scholars have to “be careful not to take anything at face value, because credibility is directly tied to source. They must analyze, examine, and use the critical apparatus at their disposal to track down the real sources.

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Joseph Franks – Hide No Longer

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There are times when it is profitable to hide. Joseph ran from the adulterous wife of Potiphar. Elijah ran from the Ahab and Jezebel who sought his head. Paul taught his readers to flee from the devil and his temptations, and David taught his students to hide God’s Word in their hearts. Even Jesus told parables for the purpose of revealing truth to some while hiding it from others.

Then there are times when it is horrible to hide. We do wrong and harm ourselves when we hide ourselves from the scriptures, from the God of grace, and from our brothers and sisters. Yes, we are harmed when we do so, but oh how blessed we are when we open God’s Word and see our sin, then in humble repentance we run towards Jesus and towards his people.

And here is some really good news, even though we hide, God is the one who calls, seeks, finds, encourages, and commands men and women to repent.

Consider his gracious pursuance of the wicked first couple:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:6-9)

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Andy Johnson – Scripture Memorization: Great Tool or Old School

Drill 570x242 Scripture Memorization: Great Tool or Old School

I admit it. I’m pretty stupid…spiritually speaking, that is. I’ve been a Christian for over 19 years now, and I daily amaze myself by the amount of spiritual stupidity my own soul is able to harness. I mean, how could I have been on this journey for more than half my life and still be so far from being conformed to Christ? As I stroke my chin and recollect on the past ten years, I know that my spiritual “dumbness” has been curbed by the Holy Spirit’s work through the discipline of Scripture memorization. However, the goal here is not to motivate you to memorize via a life changing testimony but to craft an argument that leads you to recognize that diligent efforts at Scripture memory can bring huge spiritual payoffs.

Perhaps you do not see yourself as spiritually stupid. Interestingly, God does. Seriously. Take a look at Isaiah 55:8-9. Seriously. Go read it now. We often don’t do things God’s way because we’re not internally aligned to the desires, passions, purposes, and motivations of God, hence the logic behind our spiritual stupidity. There are a variety of tools to align yourself and the people in your ministry to God’s “thoughts” and “ways,” but I think the single greatest one is His Word. Internalizing God’s Word is a sure fire way to align your life to the heart and character of God.

I am a firm believer that Scripture memorization has a place in your ministry, and I do not mean just with kids. It is not what a curriculum should be built around; however, it is a deeply valuable tool that regular believers and ministry leaders are often quick to jettison. It has a host of benefits, but I want to outline nine of them here. From pre-schooler to senior citizen, these benefits transcend age or level of spiritual maturity.

Obedience

Part of the Christian life is obeying. Knowing the specific commands of God’s Word eases the task of obedience because it cancels out any excuse for disobedience. This is especially applicable when memorizing the imperative aspects of Scripture like the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount.

Conformity to Christ

God’s desired outcome when He saves someone is that he begins conforming his life to the life modeled by Christ (Romans 12:1-2). It is by memorizing Scripture that one’s worldview changes, and the way one speaks, thinks, and acts moves closer in line with who Jesus is.

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Dr. Ivan Panin – The Inspiration of the Scriptures Scientifically Demonstrated

SIR:—In to-day’s SUN Mr. W.R.L. calls for a ”champion of orthodoxy” to “step into the
arena of the SUN, ” and give him some “facts.” Here are some facts:

1. The first 17 verses of the New Testament contain the genealogy of the Christ. It
consists of two main parts: Verses I-II cover the period from Abraham, the father of the
chosen people, to the Captivity, when they ceased as an independent people. Verses 12-
17 cover the period from the Captivity to the promised Deliverer, the Christ.
Let us examine the first part of this genealogy.

Its vocabulary has 49 words, or 7 X 7. This number is itself seven (Feature 1) sevens
(Feature 2), and the sum of its factors is 2 sevens (Feature 3). Of these 49 words 28, or 4
sevens, begin with a vowel; and 21, or 3 sevens, begin with a consonant (Feature 4).
Again: these 49 words of the vocabulary have 266 letters, or 7 x 2 x 19; this number is
itself 38 sevens (Feature 5), and the sum of its factors is 28, or 4 sevens (Feature 6), while
the sum of its figures is 14, or 2 sevens (Feature 7). Of these 266 letters, moreover, 140,
or 20 sevens, are vowels, and 126, or 18 sevens, are consonants (Feature 8).

That is to say: Just as the number of words in the vocabulary is a multiple of seven, so is
the number of its letters a multiple of seven; just as the sum of the factors of the
number of the words is a multiple of seven, so is the sum of the factors of the number
of their letters a multiple of seven. And just as the number of words is divided between
vowel words and consonant words by seven, so is their number of letters divided
between vowels and consonants by sevens. Continue Reading

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Michael Boling – Living in the Land of the Lost

quotescover-JPG-13 On Saturday mornings in recent months I have taken to getting up early to watch the cheesy yet classic show called “Land of the Lost”. This particular show was originally on the air in the mid to late 1970s and focused on a father and his two children who were unexpectedly thrown back in time to a land of dinosaurs and strange aliens who popped on the scene every now and then. I am not sure if the story ended with them ever return home as I have not watched every episode. Perhaps the show lost its popularity (if it had any to begin with) before the writers could return the father and his children back to present reality.

As I have thought about events this past week and the seemingly never ending barrage of godless behavior that is being embraced all around us, it is quite evident we are living in the land of the lost. While we have not been thrown back in time as the result of a massive earthquake that forced our raft to fall down into a land dominated by dinosaurs and aliens, we have to a point returned to a point in time Scripture warned us about.
Jesus told us, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:37) Now what exactly took place in the days of Noah for which we should take note? If we take a look back at Genesis 6:5 we see that “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”

Fast forward to our present day. Does it seem like great wickedness has spread throughout the earth with the inclination of the heart of man being focused on the pursuit of evil? I would have to submit the answer is a resounding yes. Just as Noah lived in the land of the lost way back in Genesis 6, I believe today we live in a similar environment, a sort of re-run if you will of that same land of the lost. Given Scripture warned us this would happen, we should really not be taken by surprise.

What then should be our approach and focus while the land of the lost all around us runs after wickedness like a moth to a flame? Scripture once again provides us the answer.

First and foremost we are to stand firm. The Apostle Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (2 Thess. 2:15). Paul declared a similar message to the Church at Corinth, noting “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). In a time of history when the pressure to succumb to the allure of wickedness will be greater and greater, we cannot stand in our own strength and efforts. It is only when we stand firm on the Word of God and the promises contained therein that we can understand what is taking place around us and furthermore, know how to respond.

Second, our response to the wickedness around us is also of great importance. Paul told the Church at Phillipi “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” We are commanded to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). This means that truth is never to be compromised and furthermore, as we stand firm on the truth of Scripture, we should not be demonstrating a spirit of hatred towards the wicked. Conversely, we should be declaring the truth of Scripture in a way that demonstrates the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, even the best and most choice words are nothing more than a “noisy gong or clanging symbol” (1 Cor. 13:1). Warren Wiersbe saliently noted, “Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”[1] Such a statement notes the reality that both approaches are incorrect and by nature sinful. Truth must be presented in love and truth must never be sacrificed for love. Both go hand in hand.

Finally, be ever in a posture of prayer. In my own life, this is certainly the most neglected aspect of my own walk with God. Reading Scripture and speaking truth (mostly in love – still have to work on that one) come much easier for me than spending time in prayer. Scripture is quite clear regarding the need to pray. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 commands us to “pray without ceasing.” We often forget that our walk with God is a relationship. A healthy growing relationship is a two-way street. In a healthy relationship, there is the need for communication between both parties. Prayer is the means by which we communicate with our heavenly Father. May we be reminded of what Daniel did when he learned of ungodly decrees that had been made by the government of his day: “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10) Notice the final statement – “he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Nothing changed in Daniel’s approach. Government gone wild? Daniel prayed. This was his normal procedure, namely spending time each day in prayer to God.

While we certainly live in the land of the lost, let us never lose heart. Stand firm, speak the truth in love, and be men and women of prayer. All around us are those who are doing what is right in their own eyes rather than following the path of righteousness noted in Scripture. May we be a light in the midst of darkness sharing the message of the gospel at every opportunity, may we be a people who demonstrate love in the face of hatred, and may we be in constant prayer for those who are lost in this land of the lost.

References:
[1] Warren Wiersbe, On Being a Leader for God (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011), 39.

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