Gird up Your Mind

Category : General

1 Peter 1: 13 (KJV)

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

The allusion here is to the manner in which the Orientals were accustomed to dress. They wear loose, flowing robes, so that, when they wish to run, or to fight, or to apply themselves to any business, they are obliged to bind their garments close around them. See the notes at Matthew 5:38-41. The meaning here is, that they were to have their minds in constant preparation to discharge the duties, or to endure the trials of life – like those who were prepared for labor, for a race, or for a conflict.

We are to take courage from this display of God’s love now made known to us; and though we must expect trials, yet fortify our minds with the consideration that he who has given us His Son Jesus will withhold from us no manner of thing that is good. Moreover, the allusion here is to the long robes of the Asiatics, which, when they were about to perform any active service, they tucked in their girdles: this they did also when they waited on their superiors at meals.

“Hope to the end for the grace”, we are told to continue to expect all that God has promised, and particularly that utmost salvation, that glorification of body and soul, which we shall obtain at the revelation of Christ, when He shall come to judge the world. The observation is that the human spirit is constituted of the conscience, the will and the affections. The conscience was the only survivor of the fall, the voice of God still lingering in the soul of the vilest reprobate, true and faithful, taking God’s side against the sinner. The will, the king of the man, is on the devil’s side till turned over to God in conversion, after which it ever remains true to God, unless unfortunately turned back to the devil in apostasy. After conversion, hereditary evil still survives in the deep regions of the affections, until utterly extirpated in the glorious subsequent work of entire sanctification. The mind consists of the intellect, the judgment, the memory and the sensibilities.

As is noted, ‘How full of the Lord were the minds of the holy writers! Peter can scarcely write a verse without an allusion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, again, how ardently these men expected the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ! Peter was continually speaking of it, and so was his beloved brother Paul. They evidently looked upon His advent as very near. They were not mistaken in this belief. It is very near. A long time has passed, say many? I answer, by no manner of means; two thousand years is not a long time in the count of God, or in reference to so grand a business. We are dealing with eternal things, and what are ages? Let us patiently wait. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some men count slackness”; let us persevere in the same belief which filled the minds of the early believers, that Jesus will come, and that He will surely come quickly. Be ye as men that look for His coming at any moment.’

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

True Fellowship is in Christ

Category : General

1 John 1: 6 (KJV)

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

Having fellowship, κοινωνια, communion, with God, necessarily implies a partaking of the Divine nature. Now if a man profess to have such communion, and walk in darkness, live an irreligious and sinful life, he lies, in the profession which he makes, and does not the truth and does not walk according to the directions of the Gospel, on the grace of which he holds his relation to God, and his communion with him.

In this verse, the apostle made the application of his remarks in the verse preceding. Smith identified the false teachers refuted by this as “the Nicolaitans who held to the heresy of antinomianism.” John did not honor their heresy nor the names of any of its advocates with any identification whatever. Plummer thought that the heresy in view was that of the “Carpocratian Gnostics, who taught that to the enlightened all actions are indifferent, because neither impurity nor filth can change the nature of pure gold.

The darkness of which John speaks is an utterly unsocial condition. A man thinks about himself, dwells in himself; the rest of the universe lies in shadow. It is not that he has not continual transactions with other people; it is not that they do not supply him with things that he wants; it is not that he could dispense with them. But all they do is only contemplated in reference to himself; they work, and suffer, and think for him. 

As is noted, our selfishness is too strong for all, however bright, in earth, and sea, and air to overcome. It is not too strong for God to overcome. We may walk day by day as if we were in His presence, as if He were looking at us and guiding us, and guiding all our brethren and all this universe. And then we have fellowship one with another. If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, wherever we are, in lonely rooms or in crowded streets, we may have fellowship with each other; we may see each other, not as reflections of ourselves, but as images of Him.

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

Beware of Anti-Christs

Category : General

1 John 2: 18 (KJV)

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

Peculiar to John in the New Testament. The absence of the article shows its currency as a proper name. It may mean one who stands against Christ, or one who stands instead of Christ. The word “antichrist,” therefore, might denote anyone who either was or claimed to be in the place of Christ, or one who, for any cause, was in opposition to him. The word, further, would apply to one opposed to him, on whatever ground the opposition might be; whether it were open and avowed, or whether it were only in fact, as resulting from certain claims which were adverse to his, or which were inconsistent with his. A “vice-functionary,” or an “opposing functionary,” would be the idea which the word would naturally suggest.  

However even as John wrote, many little antichrists, people who exalt themselves against God, had arisen. We may conclude that the faithful had been taught and warned from the beginning respecting the future disorder of the Church, in order that they might, carefully keep themselves in the faith they professed, and also instruct posterity in the duty of watchfulness. For it was God’s will that his Church should be thus tried, lest anyone knowingly and willingly should be deceived, and that there might be no excuse for ignorance. But we see that almost the whole world has been miserably deceived, as though not a word had been said about Antichrist.

Please allow me to say that many False teachers invariably adopt Christian terminology and posture themselves as being Christians, but they are not. They usually begin within the church (2:19) and at first, their teaching is orthodox. They often have attractive personalities and they build a following of people who seem to be helped by their teaching. These false teachers, whom John labels antichrists, did not carry pitchforks and wear red suits with horns and a tail, or T-shirts saying, “Warning: I am an antichrist!” Rather, they arose in the churches. Some of them may have been elders or pastors, who for a while had taught the truth. Paul warned the Ephesian elders, “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). Now these men were leaving the churches to form new groups, saying, “We have come into a deeper knowledge of the truth. Follow us and we’ll let you in on this secret knowledge. Be careful for the word of God reminds us that we will know the truth and the truth shall set us free. 

Friends let me say that heretics not only eventually separate themselves from true Christians to form their own groups, but also, they deviate from orthodox Christian doctrine on major issues. They claim that they have the truth and that others do not, or that they now see things that others do not see. And, invariably they try to recruit others from within the church to join them. While such situations are painful and unpleasant, John’s words here should prepare us not to be surprised or disheartened when it happens. If it happened to the churches under John’s care, it can and will happen to churches today. But, when it happens, we need to think and act biblically based on what we know to be true concerning God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, His word and the last days.

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

Pursuit of Godly Wisdom

Category : General

Proverbs 2: 4 (KJV)

4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

The matter of this whole passage consists in a command to seek and a promise to bestow. A father speaks, and he speaks to children, lie demands a reasonable service, and promises a rich reward. In the fourfold repetition of the command there seems an order of succession.

The phrase “receive my words” is important for us to understand because practical instruction begins here. The basis of all religion and morality is the Word of the Lord, taken into the understanding and the heart. The Word of God is a vital seed, but it will not germinate unless it be hidden in a softened, receptive heart. The place and use of providential visitation in the Divine administration of Christ’s kingdom is to break up the way of the Word through the incrustations of worldliness and vanity that encase a human heart, and keep the Word lying hard and dry upon the surface.

Wisdom, or the intellectual adoption of good and pious principles, and the practical application of such principles to the ordering of life and conduct and relations, is personified. The writer has dealt with Wisdom’s call to the young, and with her warning to the negligent; now he presents her instructions to those who show a disposition to give heed to her. She addresses those who take a serious view of life. Life is, for every man, full of sublime possibilities. There must be some great life-quest, something that we should live to seek, something that we may hope to win.

As noted, Solomon, speaking of knowledge and understanding, bids us to “search for her as for hidden treasure.” You know jewels do not lie upon the surface of the ground, but they are hidden in the receptacles of the earth; you must dig for them before you can enjoy them. Truth is in profundo, and our understandings are dark. He that rides post through a country is never able to make a full description of it; and he that takes but a transitory view of the truths of the gospel will never come to the full knowledge of them. ‘Tis meditation makes them appear to our eye in their beauty and lustre.

The original word signifies property of any kind concealed in the earth, in caves or such like; and may also mean treasures, such as the precious metals or precious stones, which are presumptively known to exist in such and such mines. And how are these sought. If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as (for) hid treasures – not content with merely one look, or an ordinary searching, but again and again seeking by every means. Treasures anciently, when there were no banks, were often hidden in the earth. True knowledge lies deep as in a mine; and they alone will get the precious ore who dig down into it, not grudging time, delays, pains, expense. The same image occurs John 5:39, “Search the Scriptures.” Not merely scrape the surface, and get a few superficial scraps of knowledge, but dig deep, and far, and wide. The “treasures” are ‘hidden’ by God, not in order to keep them back from us, but to stimulate our faith and patient perseverance in searching for them. The merchant was “seeking goodly pearls” when he “found one pearl of great price.” And the man who (by God’s special grace), though not seeking, yet found the “treasure hid in a field,” when he had found it, spared no cost or pains to make it his (Matthew 13:44-45). It is Heavenly Wisdom that first “seeks diligently until she finds” the sinner (Luke 15:8). before that he seeks her. Proverbs 3:13-15. In this way Solomon wishes men to seek for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; and he who succeeds finds the liberty of the children of God, and is saved from the slavery of sin and the empire of death.

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

Walking as Christ Walked

Category : General

1 John 2: 6 (KJV)

6He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

To “walk as Christ” walked is essential to our “abiding in God”; not merely “being in God,” as it is put in the previous verse, but being in Him permanently. It is therefore the test of our truth when we “say that we abide in God”; it is the very means by which we abide in Him. 

The Greek word, “remains” in him carries a deep meaning, that is, abides or remains in the belief of his doctrines, and in the comfort and practice of religion. The expression is one of those which refer to the intimate union between Christ and his people. A great variety of phrase is employed to denote that. For the meaning of this word in John. So, to be in Christ, 1 John 2:5, is to be converted to the Christian faith, and to have received the remission of sins. To abide in Christ, 1 John 2:6, is to continue in that state of salvation, growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He who not only professes to have known Christ, but also that he has communion with him, and abides in his favor, should prove the truth of his profession by walking as Christ walked; living a life of devotion and obedience to God, and of benevolence and beneficence to his neighbor. Thus, Christ walked; and he has left us an example that we should follow his steps.

In essence, a true Christian will have a very different perspective on life. He will have an overriding goal to live like Jesus Christ. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked”. A true Christian’s understanding of how to live will be deeply rooted in the example of the life of the Messiah and that of His followers, the apostles. Therefore, we must understand that the first thing about a Christian is initiation into Christ; the next thing is the imitation of Christ. We cannot be Christians unless we are in Christ; and we are not truly in Christ unless the life of Christ is lived over again by us according to our measure. Claiming to be “in Christ” carries the obligation of the claimant to exhibit the true likeness of Christ in his behavior. “Obedience, not feelings,” is the true test of union; and the Christian who is really such has least to tell of experiences and special visitations!

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

Only God can be Trusted

Category : General

Psalm 118: 9 (KJV)

9It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

It has been observed that two different words being used in this verse and Psalm 118:8; for trust and confidence, Jarchi has observed, that the one signifies a lesser, the other a stronger confidence; as if the sense was this, “It is better lightly to trust in the Lord than to put the strongest confidence in men and princes.” But the observation is scarcely solid enough. 

The Psalmist knew it to be true, no doubt learned through the experience of bitter disappointments. Neither the common man or even princes among men could help the way God can. It is better to trust Him! Trust; the word constantly used of the security the Israelite found in his relation to Jehovah. The meaning here is apparently, “Fidelity to the covenant is better than alliance with foreign princes,” though, of course, the larger sense, in which the words are applicable to all men, may be read into the words. 

It has been also noted that men of high estate are generally proud, vainglorious, self-confident, and rash. Often, they cannot deliver, and often they will not when they can. However, in the concerns of our salvation, and in matters which belong to Providence, they can do nothing. Moreover, even in the most mighty of the human race; in those who of all people may be supposed to have the most ability to aid us; in those whose favor is often sought more than the favor of God. Princes are only men; often as faithless and deceitful as other men; often less reliable in their character than those in humbler life. and in the great matters where we most need aid – in sickness, in danger, in death, in the eternal world – as absolutely powerless as men in the lowest condition of poverty, or in the humblest rank.

As mentioned earlier, ‘trust’ is an important word. It means “believe that someone will give you help”. It means a lot more than this, also. It means that if someone promises to do something, then they will do it. God alone can be trusted, who overrules men and “princes.” The faithlessness of “princes” was felt by the returned exiles in all their attempts at reconstruction. You cannot trust them (or rely on them) to do it. The psalm teaches us that we can trust the LORD more than people. We can even trust Him more than our leaders! It is better to trust in God than in them.

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

Submitting to the Will of God

Category : General

Acts 9: 6 (KJV)

6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.”–D.L. Moody

Perhaps everyone, at one time or another, has entertained the thought of how wonderful it would be to see the Lord face to face and ask him what to do to be saved. Paul had that privilege here; and what Jesus commanded him to do illuminates all men. The Lord did not ignore the commission he had given his church, nor bypass the preaching of his faithful evangelists on earth, nor pause to give even so important a person as Saul of Tarsus any personal word from heaven on what to do to be saved. Jesus Christ, speaking from the right hand of the Majesty on high, referred the inquiring sinner to the gospel as it would be delivered to him by the faithful preacher Ananias. And when Saul received it, it was the same message Peter had given on Pentecost requiring men to believe, repent and be baptized into Christ. 

What we have before us is the picture of a subdued soul, a humbled spirit. Just before, he had sought only to do his own will; now he inquired what was the will of the Savior. Prior to this he was acting under a commission from the Sanhedrin; now he renounced their authority, and asked what the Lord Jesus would have him to do. Just before he had been engaged in a career of opposition to the Lord Jesus; now he sought at once to do his will. This indicates the usual change in the mind of the sinner when he is converted. The great controversy between him and God is, whose will shall be followed. The sinner follows his own; the first act of the Christian is to surrender his own will to that of God, and to resolve to do what he requires. We may further remark here that this indicates the true nature of conversion. It is decided, prompt immediate. Paul did not debate the matter Galatians 1:16; he did not inquire what the scribes and Pharisees would say; he did not consult his own reputation; he did not ask what the world would think. With characteristic promptness – with a readiness which showed what he would yet be, he gave himself up at once, and entirely, to the Lord Jesus, evidently with a purpose to do his will alone. This was the case also with the jailor at Philippi, Acts 16:30. Nor can there be any real conversion where the heart and will are not given to the Lord Jesus, to be directed and molded by him at his pleasure. We may test our conversion then by the example of the apostle Paul. If our hearts have been given up as his was, we are true friends of Christ. 

“God always has and always will look for men and women who say to Him, ‘I trust you so much, I’m all in. I want your way not mine. I am willing to live by faith!’–Chip Ingram

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

Behaving Like Christ

Category : General

1 Peter 1: 16 (KJV)

16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

A. W. Tozer noted “No man should desire to be happy who is not at the same time holy. He should spend his efforts in seeking to know and do the will of God, leaving to Christ the matter of how happy he should be.”

We know that ‘the nature of man makes resemblance to God possible. It is a sublime truth that there is such resemblance between God and our poor hearts that even in our fallen condition there is enough of the Divine image left upon us for us to hear this heavenly voice and to know that it has a triumphant message even for us. We are not so smitten but that these words appeal to our conscience and are verified by our experience. It is possible for us to yield ourselves unto God, because He is God, and we are made in His likeness.’

As is reminded, this command was addressed at first to the Israelites, but it is with equal propriety addressed to Christians, as the professed people of God. The foundation of the command is, that they professed to be his people, and that as his people they ought to be like their God. It is a great truth, that people everywhere will imitate the God whom they worship. They will form their character in accordance with his. They will regard what he does as right. They will attempt to rise no higher in virtue than the God whom they adore, and they will practice freely what he is supposed to do or approve. Hence, by knowing what are the characteristics of the gods which are worshipped by any people, we may form a correct estimate of the character of the people themselves; and, hence, as the God who is the object of the Christian’s worship is perfectly holy, the character of His worshipers should also be holy. And hence, also, we may see that the tendency of true religion is to make people pure. As the worship of the impure gods of the pagan molds the character of the worshippers into their image, so the worship of Yahweh molds the character of His professed friends into His image, and they become like him. Let remember we are His representatives here on this earth, let us represent Him by the way we speak and live!

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

Focus on the Messiah not Materialism

Category : General

James 5: 2 (KJV)

2Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

It was commented on that “All the fabulous wealth of the Jewish hierarchy in Jerusalem would prove utterly worthless to prevent the “miseries” coming upon them. Their great stores of oil and wheat would be turned into famine by the siege against the city. Their fine garments would prove as worthless as a moth-eaten rag. And did such miseries indeed come upon them? As Gibson observed, “The Jewish historian (Josephus) was the unconscious witness of the fulfillment of the prophecies of our Lord and his apostles against Jerusalem.

The word here rendered “corrupted” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means, to cause to rot, to corrupt, to destroy. The reference here is to either through disuse of them; and so the phrase is expressive of their tenaciousness, withholding that from themselves and others which is meet, and which is keeping riches for the owners thereof, to their hurt; or these are corrupted, and are corruptible things, fading and perishing, and will stand in no stead in the day of wrath, and therefore it is great weakness to put any trust and confidence in them. Moreover, it carries the thought to their hoarded treasures; and the idea is, that they had accumulated more than they needed for their own use; and that, instead of distributing them to do good to others, or employing them in any useful way, they kept them until they rotted or spoiled.

As we have seen, realize and it has been commented on, money, materialism and possessions are fleeting. This is no time for hoarding money. This is no time for diminishing our testimony by tightfistedness. We want to be wise and self-sufficient; but above all, generous; for generosity inoculates us against materialism. It helps keep our perspective about material possessions as we hurtle into the headwinds of history. The days are coming when the world and its possessions will be destroyed by fire. Our earthly wealth is more temporary than we know, and our eternal wealth is more valuable that we imagine.

It is very important for us to understand that riches may not mean money, but can relate to power, position and holdings. The end is the same for all kinds of riches – corruption. Moreover, riches bring short lived joy and happiness, but they cannot bring that joy that the soul desires from God.

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C

The Way of Righteous

Category : General

Proverbs 2: 8 (KJV)

 18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

The path of the wicked is gloomy, dark, and dangerous; that of the righteous is open, luminous, and instructive. This verse contains a fine metaphor; it refers to the sun rising above the horizon, and the increasing twilight, till his beams shine full upon the earth.

The essentials of a just man’s character have been in all ages the same. The path, the life-course, of such a man, is like the shining light. I do not think that the path of the justified is compared to the course of the sun, from the period of his appearance in the morning to the time of his meridian height. 

The “just” man is one that is made righteous through the righteousness of Christ imputed to him; and who is created anew in Christ, in righteousness and true holiness; and, under the influence of divine grace, lives soberly, righteously, and godly: the “path” he is directed to walk in, and does, is Christ himself, the way, the truth, and the life; through whose blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, he goes to God for grace and mercy, for peace, pardon, and acceptance, for fresh supplies of grace, and in order to enjoy communion with him; and who also is the way of salvation, and to eternal life and happiness: and, besides this grand and principal path, there are the paths of truth, righteousness, and holiness; the path of duty and obedience; the way of the commandments of God, and ordinances of Christ: and this path he walks in, whether of grace or duty, is “as the shining light”; or of the morning, when the day first dawns, or at least when the sun rises. Such is the light beamed in at first conversion, which directs men to walk in the above mentioned paths

The righteous man possesses an understanding brightened by the rays of Divine truth, for the Sun of Righteousness hath shone into his soul. His heart is beautified by the light of purity, diffusing a pleasant lustre around him in his conversation; and his spirit is cheered with the light of joy and consolation from the countenance of God. This light is not like that of a taper which burns itself away into darkness, but like that of the morning sun, which shines brighter and brighter, till it blazes with meridian splendor.

Christ gives us infinite powers to reach that unattainable aim, for He gives us access to all His own fullness, and there is more in His storehouses than we can ever take, not to say more than we can ever hope to exhaust. And therefore, because of the aim that is set before us, and because of the powers that are bestowed upon us to reach it, there is stamped upon every Christian life unmistakably as God’s purpose and ideal concerning it, that it should forever and forever be growing nearer and nearer, as some ascending spiral that ever circles closer and closer, and yet never absolutely unites with the great central Perfection which is Himself.

Have a great and God filled day!

Pastor C