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Word-Sword

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  1. Love-training

    “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh (2Co 4:11). We must know what it is to be delivered unto death in some way or another; the sense of the daily perishing of the old man must be deepened in us. Whenever the roots may extend, and where natural energy would most work, there death must come in the more. Every trial is, I believe, to correct a budding of the crab tree—the old man. Nothing shows or testifies so much of the Father’s interest about us as the way He uses circumstances to detach us from things which He in His holiness would have us apart from. Hence, wherever there is a root or a tendency going out into the world, or nature which is the world in miniature, He allows someone or something to vex and hurt us in that rootlet in order to teach us how to draw in, and that there was danger there. There was a growth there, and its source should have been mortified; and if we have not done so, we suffer through the very things we had not suppressed (or “put off” - Eph 4:22; Col 3:8, 9—NC), and we are made aware that there was a growth where we had not perceived it ourselves. How many things try and annoy us every day which are not really for His sake! All these when carried to the Father are solved by the simple fact that they were necessary, as intimating to us that there was some proud flesh which required the caustic of the Cross; and not only this, but while personally painful to us, the very trial corroborates in our hearts the depth and constancy of our Father’s care and love for us. It is a blessed thing to walk consciously in the assurance of being so fully watched over. Many look for favors from God in their circumstances, who do not observe the way He takes to wean them from things here. They like to interpret His providences as if they were thereby given leave to bind their hearts to His mercies here; but the more closely and spiritually you follow the Lord’s ways with you, the more you will find that it is to Himself He would bind you. His ordering for you here is either to sever you from attachments in this scene, or to set you free from distractions, in order that there should be no interruption to your enjoyment of Himself. The more I know the love of my Father’s heart, in associating me with His Son now, according to His desire in the scene of eternal brightness, the more am I prepared and expecting that He will remove every hindrance to my practical enjoyment of it; and if I am enjoying it, I shall soon be able to solve satisfactorily to myself His ways and arrangements for me here as a citizen of heaven. Whereas if I am trying to see how He considers for me here as a citizen of this world, I shall be continually disappointed and confused. What a different thing it is to walk as one kept dressed and fit for heaven, and only as one receiving sunshine and rain here! The Lord give us to be so assured in heart of His desire to have us in His company with Himself, that we may view and measure everything as it tends to promote the end and aim of His eternal love. - J B Stoney Excerpt from MJS devotional for Jan. 18: “Though we receive our faith from Him, it must be developed in us by Him. Undeveloped faith never progresses beyond the babe-in-Christ, milk-of-the-Word stage.” – Miles J Stanford http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  2. The Highest Obedience

    Hi J1 and thanks for your reply! Amen, believers take everything in Christ with them, but "nothing that is related to this life only."
  3. The Highest Obedience

    All that is solely earthly, which relates to this life only needs to progressively lose its nearness to us (enjoy without clinging – 1Tim 6:17), esp. all that concerns our own lives as it pertains to earthly matters alone. The more mindful we are of putting others before ourselves (Phil 2:3), the more practical we live in the highest order of obedience to Christ, which alone pleases God the most (Jhn 15:12). When we practice minding God and others, esp. brothers and sisters in Christ more than minding ourselves we are “walking in the Spirit” to the fullest. If this be not our ongoing primary motive in our ways, “how can we love God?” (1Jhn 4:20). Otherwise it’s still only desired-love for God which has yet to mature to practical-love to God! Hence the similarity here with the two “great commandments” given to the Jews (Mat 22:36-40). All else is under this supreme achievement, apart from which renders every doctrine and their desired practical-attempts—incomplete. All who are born again will eventually be become aware of the prominence for the practical-desire of selflessness, for such is the Father’s over-riding work in us—that we walk in love to Him by loving others!
  4. God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility

    Roger that Dennis, and thanks for the kind reply! God bless!
  5. The natural mind is not able to give due place to both sovereignty and responsibility, and hence all theological systems fail on one side or the other. But it is clear that Scripture maintains both, and the “spiritual mind” (Rom 8:6) is always in accord with Scripture. God carries out His purposes in the sovereignty of His mercy and love; if He did not do so, they would most certainly fail completely, man being what he is. But the work of God is a moral one, and he addresses Himself to the conscience and heart of His poor fallen creature, and deals with him in a thousand ways which recognize his responsibility and awaken a sense of it in his soul. The fear of God might almost be defined as the recognition of responsibility on man’s part; yet it is undoubtedly brought about by a sovereign act of God in new birth. The Father works sovereignly along lines which always recognize and maintain responsibility. The principle runs all throughout the history of the saints also. God is working out in them His purpose, which will culminate in there being conformed to the image of His Son in glory. But in view of purpose He works along moral lines, and on this line the obedience of faith comes in, self-judgment, watchfulness and prayer, purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord, faith in Christ Jesus and love to the saints, Christ as Object and Teacher, meekness and lowliness as learned of Him. Sowing to the Spirit and “walking in the Spirit” (Gal 5:16, 25) come in here also, and all this and everything connected with the moral exercises of believers cannot be dissociated from the thought of responsibility (God eventually makes everyone reborn to be a responsible child – Phil 2:13—NC). Thus the moral or responsible line and purpose line are very intimately blended in Christianity and both will ultimately coalesce, when believers are seen not only as the fruit of God’s purpose, but also as the subjects of His work and ways. We only reach the land, the sphere of His purpose, through the wilderness and through the innumerable exercises to which our responsible history gives occasion. At the end of the wilderness it can be said of the saints: ‘What hath God wrought’ (Num 23:23)! They are brought into moral suitability for introduction into the Land. We cannot mentally reconcile sovereignty and responsibility, but we can spiritually, as seeing that the maintenance of both is essential. The Spirit alone can maintain the right balance of the two in our thoughts and I am sure, as we go on, we learn to attach the true value to each, neither letting ourselves off easily by enfeebling the thought of responsibility, nor stopping short of that depth of holy self-judgement that casts us altogether upon the sovereign mercy and love of our Father. - C A Coats Excerpt from MJS devotional for Dec. 19: The law will not touch us if we do not touch it. “We were born in the first Adam. He was responsible before God to stand in righteousness. He failed. We were responsible in him and we failed. We sinned in Adam (Rom. 5:12, 19). What did God do about it? He gathered us up into the Last Adam, and we died in Him. God allowed His holy law to condemn us utterly and the law, seeking to slay us, found us in Christ on the Cross and set upon us and slew us.” -W.R.N. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  6. Our Closest Enemy

    That's how it's often taught, but nowhere does it say it's dead to us just crucified - Rom 6:6, otherwise we could live without sinning. But rather we are dead to it (Rom 6:2; Col 3:3)--concerning its guilt (Rom 8:1) and dominion (Rom 6:12, 14), even though it still tests us. It's that part of us that goes on but cannot cause guilt in us, nor dominate us into desiring it and sin.
  7. Our Closest Enemy

    HI Mike - Thanks for the reply, and your passage is also very applicable, as you can see from the prior post. I believe the nature within us is the seat of the soul, so it's my understanding that it's the nature that is addressed. The quality of a person in their spirit is determined by the nature because the nature is what causes us to decide what to do--it's where our desires lay. This answers to God implanting the new nature (new man) in us at rebirth, which the Spirit uses to teach, guide and enable us to "walk" after Him. As you've also indicated Romans 7 we can see the dichotomy of the believer which is the conflicting natures, but the Father ensures our desired intentions are always after His "good pleasure" (Phil 2:13), and the Spirit enables us to do so, which is all accomplished via the Lord Jesus' life in us (Col 3:4).
  8. Our Closest Enemy

    Hi Denni - Appreciate your compliments and comment! And the passage you present is highly applicable. Our opposition is not against people personally but against the "high places" in them (Eph6:12), and against Satan and our sinful nature, all of which exists in a higher plain, which is spiritual, not physical. It's more so the Spirit's opposition (Gal 5:17) to the "flesh" (not the body but the sinful nature, which is spiritual) and our's is just to resist and refuse, for the Spirit does all the work.
  9. Our Closest Enemy

    Believing in Christ’s Gospel also means being partakers with His “sufferings” (2Co 1:5)—via our cross in Him (Luk 9:23). We cannot be partakers with Him in the expiation of His Cross, being recipients of its provision, but in our cross we do partake of His sufferings related to it. His Cross “condemned sin” (Rom 8:3); our cross is the “enduring” (2Tim 2:3) of ongoing opposition to His Cross which derives from self, Satan and society. It has been said that “the lost need saved, and the saved need deliverance!” Deliverance from what? From the opposition to Christ’s Gospel. Our oppositional activity primarily involves that which is closest—self, e.g. us in our old nature. In our Christian walk we are being taught the freedom we have in Christ from not only the guilt of the old man (Rom 8:1) but also from its “rule” and “dominion” of sin (Rom 6:12, 14). The dominion issue is not related to sinning or not sinning but rests in the desire not to sin (which answers to progressively sinning less), meaning believers are kept from personal desire to sin, thus we never sin willfully but rather it’s always against our desire to do so. From self (e.g. old self or sinful nature) comes the “contrarieties” to God (Rom 7:14-25), which His Spirit opposes in us (Gal 5:17), while we grow in our “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25). Enduring this enemy within is where I believe the greatest proofing and strengthening of our faith occurs, for its indwelling (Rom 7:17, 20) makes it the closest foe with the greatest amount of opposition. I saw an excellent analogy that related our old man to that of a ship’s captain, who committed such a high crime that the crew was forced into mutiny against him, chose another to be captain, and chained the old captain to the mast until he could be dealt with upon reaching the shore. But as their journey continued they could hear the old captain yelling orders and threats as usual at the top of his voice, but now it had only minimal effect, for they knew he could no longer do anything about it, knowing he remained restrained (Rom 6:6 – “is” continually being crucified). Satan appeals to us only in our old man, for he is aware that he cannot address us in our new man (new nature). It being in “true holiness” (Eph 2:24) and “renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Col 3:10) is unapproachable, for we in our new nature, or “seed,”—“cannot sin” (1John 3:9). Society (the world, e.g. unbelievers, which will always comprise the majority of mankind) is more or less just a significant distraction being used by Satan via their old man, which makes him—their “god” (2Co 4:4) and “prince” (Jhn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), which was once the same for us. NC
  10. Our Element

    In the risen Lord Jesus Christ, we see Him who was dead alive again and that for evermore; and know that the Father has, in the riches of His grace, given us life in Him. “God hath given to us eternal life (which begins at rebirth—poster) and this life is in His Son” (1 Jhn 5:11). It is totally new life surely, risen life, life in One who is eternally beyond death, the mighty Conqueror of Satan, death and the grave. He who is now in the very glory of God is now our life (Col 3:4). Hence we are spoken of as “risen with Christ,” having been quickened together, raised up together, “and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ep 2:5, 6). What a marvelous blessing to be thus associated in life with One who has risen triumphantly out of death, and sat down on the right hand of God! What liberty as well as gladness it gives us! How natural therefore it is because of this, that we should be enjoined to seek the things which are above, and not the things on the earth (Col 3:1, 2). These surely must be the exercises of risen-life in us, for its associations are above, its proper element is where the Lord Jesus is seated. As we grow in the realization of our personal position in the Lord Jesus above, we will become more at home there, and more concerned that we are not occupied with earthly things beyond our necessary duties and responsibilities. We begin to enjoy the “Holiest of all” as our proper dwelling place. “The throne of grace” world assures us of constant access with confidence, while reading continually our title to glory in, “the Blood of sprinkling” (Heb 12:24). The risen and ascended Man in glory becomes the constant object that attracts, transforms and satisfies our hearts. We learn to joyfully contemplate Him as our life, righteousness (1 Cor 1:30), peace and blessed hope. His various offices too, on our behalf in the glory as our “High Priest,” “Advocate,” “Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,” are enough to fill us with overflowing consolation and refreshment. Contemplating Him also as “Head of all principality and power,” we are reminded by the Holy Spirit that, if He is above “every name that is named not only in this world but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:21), we are “complete in Him” (Col 2:10). - H H Snell MJS devotional excerpt for Dec 6: “The Father passes us through all the seasons here; and the winter, the most trying one, is the most helpful, if we are really cast on Him in it. Then the real measure of our dependence on Him is ascertained, and also the extent of our resources in Him; and we make acquisitions in Him which we never make at any other time. All our growth and fruit depend on our winters, or rather on how we pass through them.” - JBS http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  11. Heavenly Habitation

    As to this earth being “in mourning” (Rom 8:22), that is just what it ought to appear to us. But we ought to come into it all brightness from the scene of light and life! We ought really to expect nothing bright in this scene where we remember the Lord in His death, and yet we are all brightness and joy, because we do not belong to the earth and all our expectations are outside it. If I walk faithfully here, it is a desert where nothing contributes to me, and I must refuse everything in it. I am set here as Christ’s witness to draw all my supplies from elsewhere. The harbor, where the supplies come in, is the only cheering spot in this dry and barren land where no water is. I must seek and receive everything from outside this desert island. The OT saint sought and received favors in this scene (as also will the Kingdom saints). The mighty God fed him—the faithful one—with the finest of the wheat, and with honey out of the rock satisfied him. But now, in this dispensation, there is nothing here for the faithful one—his supplies are from above, and the power of Christ is to make him strong in weakness, so that a sense of weakness is actual gain! Thus he is looking to Christ above to realize His enablement in his circumstances and weakness, so that his enjoyment is not from this earth, but outside it with Him in heaven. The OT saint had joy from God’s gifts to him—God’s power made things here contribute to him. But the Christian’s joy is in heaven and springs from what the Father has given him there. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). He demands nothing from this world, but in the enablement of the Spirit he contributes to it, of the grace that nourishes and comforts himself outside it (2Co 1:3, 4). Not only are my blessings in heaven, but I need the Holy Spirit’s enablement to rise above the sense of my infirmity down here. For this world, instead of contributing to me, makes me feel my weakness and need, and that I must rise out of it to find and enjoy my blessings (present and eternal possessions in heaven—poster). The very infirmity which this evil age makes me conscious of make me draw upon the power of the One “who is my Life” (Col 3:4), as the One outside it, passed into the heavens. Hence I take pleasure in the very infirmity which is exposed here, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2Co 12:9). It is a difficult lesson to accept the fact that nothing here (that which is only earthly related—poster) contributes to the life of Christ in you. In OT times the power of God made things down here contribute to His own and infirmities were removed. But now it is: “When I am weak, then am I strong.” We are sometimes satisfied with His help down here, but He helps us in order that He may lift us up to where He is Himself. He was down here in our circumstances, He can and does help us through them, but He desires to have us in present company and fellowship with Himself outside them. Because of my infirmity I require His grace and mercy where I am. He is able to help me for He was once here; but He is above everything now and He would have me to know where there are no winds and waves, and to presently enjoy Him there. May each of us answer to His love more and more as we apprehend by the Spirit what it is to be with Him where He is, and to” set our affections” there! - J B Stoney MJS devotional for Dec. 1: Thorough and intelligent establishment in the principle of grace concerning one’s justification (re-birth) is the necessary footing for reliance upon the same principle for one’s sanctification (growth). Unless the former is well settled, the latter will be badly unsettled. http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
  12. Believing In Vs Believing About

    Hi Dennis, and thanks for your reply and good input! You could be right here, but what we decide on is what incurs the results for our lives. Adam and Eve first only knew wright and wrong but I believe were unaware of good and evil, and that God through causing man to know and experience good and evil reveals His holiness--through contrasting them. I believe deep within all accept the reality of God but are unaware that they do, until something causing them to notice it. As we know, this is only potential for belief in Him, which is where the Spirit comes in--implanting faith--if we ask for it (Luke 11:13)! God bless and God be blessed!!
  13. Believing In Vs Believing About

    Amen! Of the three enemies, self (old man), society and Satan, the last is used most to disallow faith to be known to those who choose not to believe (Mat 13:11; Luke 8:10). Thanks GL for your rely and input! Of course, as Scripture shows, unbelievers can avoid the gift of faith but cannot escape the knowledge of God, which result in their being bereft to "opposing themselves" in their conscience concerning the "Truth" (2 Tim 2:25). God bless!
  14. I believe (along with others) there can be no true atheism, regardless the sincerity of such a profession! Children are void of doubting God’s reality when addressed concerning it, and adults always know of it. This is “the light of men . . . which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (Jhn 1:4, 9). I believe the “light” here means that God “shews” us His reality in our conscience—via the material world: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” “Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him” (Rom 1:18, 19, 20, 21). “Even though they did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (v 28) “they are without excuse” (v 20). John Gill on John 1:9: “It is best therefore to understand these words of the light of nature, and reason, which Christ, as the word, and Creator and light of men, gives to every man that is born into the world; and which serves to detect the Quakers' notion of the light within, which every man has, and is no other than the light of a natural conscience; and shows how much men, even natural men, are obliged to Christ, and how great a person he is, and how deserving of praise, honor, and glory. The phrase, "every man that cometh into the world", is Jewish, and often to be met with in Rabbinical writings, and signifies all men that are born into the world.” Since everything we see gives us the undeniable (e.g. “clearly seen”) knowledge of God’s reality, knowing that God is real is not an issue of faith, but of knowledge! During their deliverance and travels many of God’s people knew He was real but chose not trust in Him (Heb 3:12, 18, 19; 4:2, 6, 11). James (partly in opposition to the polytheism of the Gentiles) wrote that if, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (2:19). The phrase “doest well” is not in reference to doing good but to merely being accurate, right or correct. In this sense we are discussing believing about God, not believing in God. There is only one alternative when not trusting in God—“suppressing” the knowledge of Him (Rom 1:18)!
  15. Solid Service

    There are three qualities necessary for the one who shall be used of the Lord in a time of difficulty. The first is the power to deny oneself voluntarily. The second is the ability to view or to judge of man and of everything as they are seen in the eyes of God, or in relation to Him; and the third is patient dependence on the Father when everything is against one. The power to deny oneself voluntarily is the first, because when I am truly set on the work and service of the Lord Jesus, self-consideration* must be dispensed with. It proves that I have His interest primarily at heart when I can overlook what personally concerns myself. As Paul said, “I endure all thing for the elect’s sake” (2 Tim 2:10). He is not only comforted by the Lord, but he is able to comfort others, as he himself has been comforted (2Cor 1:4). The second quality necessary for a servant is viewing or judging of man, and of everything, as they are in the eyes of God, or in relation to Him. As the first is the virtue of the “forlorn hope” who counted not their lives dear to themselves, in order that they might secure the interests of Christ; this next is, that as I see Him in His glory, so I am able to judge of everything of man as in relation to Him. One may, like Job, hear of Him by the hearing of the ear, but what a change when one sees Him! “Now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself.” Stephen is consciously connected with the glory of God and the Lord Jesus, and then he is personally qualified, not only to announce where the Son of Man is, but to endure the worst sufferings without swerving from serving those by whom he suffered. Paul is introduced into the full elevation of a man in Christ, and he learns in himself the weakness of man and the sufficiency of grace, so that he takes pleasure in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on him. In the knowledge of the good, he can refuse the bad. As possessor of the highest things, he can refuse all inferior things. He can maintain the standard because he knows it, and is of it. Gold remains gold, however it may be abused and defaced. The third quality or proof of power to serve is the patient dependence on God when everything is against one. There is no way in which our capacity for service is so tested as by being placed in circumstances where we have no door of escape but from God. Every competent servant is imprisoned in some way or other, in order to be tried in the balances as to whether he has patient dependence; whether he can be, as it were, steady under fire. When everything and everyone was against David at Ziklag he proved to be God’s servant, for “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” When Joseph was suffering from the irons in prison; when Job was scraping himself with a potsherd; when Paul and Silas patiently sang in prison at Philippi, none of them had any conception of the high service for which they were being proved competent; and this is very instructive to us. At midnight in the prison Paul and Silas prayed and gave thanks, and when they little expected it the Lord appeared to them, and the jailor is at their feet seeking salvation. Thus the true servant waits patiently on God when everything is apparently against him, and thus he is proved capable for service according to the Lord’s mind at the time. - J B Stoney Poster’s Notes: * “self-consideration”: What we may think, i.e. considering how difficult, confusing or discouraging something might be to us, which cannot be completely avoided for their purpose is to increase our God-dependence; which is the only strength of a believer. Excerpt from MJS devotional for 11-21: ASSOCIATION—TRANSFORMATION Since we are morally colored by the human company we keep, whether high or low, think of the importance of continually associating with the Lord Jesus on high, and having Him as the center of our love and interest (2 Cor. 3:18). “As babes in Christ we are left for a season in the old surroundings, because the time is not yet ripe for us to know our high calling, and the discipline needed for the heirs of God. The Father waits for His babes until they are weaned, and able to bear the detaching from things necessary at first. - MJS http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/
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