Author Archive

21st September

Written by Steven Black on 21/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“For we are strangers before thee and sojourners,
as were all our fathers;
our days on the earth are as a shadow,
and there is none abiding.”
1 Chronicles 29:15

If you possess the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and, Jacob, you, like them, confess that you are a stranger; and your confession springs out of a believing heart and a feeling experience. You feel yourself a stranger in this ungodly world; it is not your element, it is not your home. You are in it during God’s appointed time, but you wander up and down this world a stranger to its company, a stranger to its maxims, a stranger to its fashions, a stranger to its principles, a stranger to its motives, a stranger to its lusts, its inclinations, and all in which this world moves as in its native element.

Grace has separated you by God’s distinguishing power, that though you are in the world, you are not of it. I can tell you plainly, if you are at home in the world; if the things of time and sense be your element; if you feel one with the company of the world, the maxims of the world, the fashions of the world, and the principles of the world, grace has not reached your heart, the faith of God’s elect does not dwell in your bosom.

The first effect of grace is to separate. It was so in the case of Abraham. He was called by grace to leave the land of his fathers, and go out into a land that God would shew him. And so God’s own word to his people is now, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

Separation, separation, separation from the world is the grand distinguishing mark of vital godliness. There may be indeed separation of body where there is no separation of heart. But what I mean is, separation of heart, separation of principle, separation of affection, separation of spirit. And if grace has touched your heart, and you are a partaker of the faith of God’s elect, you are a stranger in the world, and will make it manifest by your life and conduct that you are such.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

20th September

Written by Steven Black on 20/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.
For surely there is an end;
and thine expectation shall not be cut off.”
Proverbs 23:17, 18

The Lord is here addressing himself to a soul labouring under temptation, and passing through peculiar exercises; and this is the exhortation that he gives it: “Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long;” watching his hand, submitting to his will, committing everything into his care and keeping; not hardening your heart against him, but looking up to him, and worshipping him with godly fear; “for surely there is an end.”

You may be tempted, exercised, and surrounded with difficulties, and see no outlet; but “surely there is an end;” and, when the end comes, it will make all plain and clear. This quiet submission, this watching and waiting, a man can never be brought to unless he has seen an end to all perfection; an end of his own strength, wisdom, and righteousness. To sit still is the hardest thing a man can do. To lie passive at God’s footstool when all things seem to be against us; to have a rough path to walk in, to be surrounded with difficulties, and yet to be in the fear of the Lord all the day long, watching his hand, desiring to submit to his will, seeking only that wisdom which cometh from above, and trusting that he will make the way straight; not putting our hand to the work, but leaving it all to the Lord—how strange, how mysterious a path!

And yet it is the only one that brings solid peace to a Christian; “for surely there is an end.” Whatever sorrows and troubles a man may have to wade through, there will surely be an end of them. If we try to get ourselves out of perplexities, we are like a person trying to unravel a tangled skein of silk by pulling it forcibly; the more it is pulled, the more entangled it gets, and the faster the knots become. So if we are plunged into any trial, providential or spiritual, and we attempt to extricate ourselves by main force, by kicking and rebelling, we only get more entangled.

The Lord, then, to encourage us to wait patiently upon him till he shall appear, says, “Surely there is an end.” This is the universal testimony of the Scripture, that the Lord appears and delivers, when there is none shut up or left; and the experience of the saints agrees with the testimony of the written word: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

19th September

Written by Steven Black on 19/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:10

“The Son of man is come.” What a blessed coming! The Lord Jesus seems to have taken to himself, with the tenderest condescension to our wants, that gracious title, “the Son of man.” He was the Son of God, and that from all eternity; but he delights to call himself the Son of man. We want one like ourselves, wearing the same nature; carrying in his bosom the same human heart; one who has been, “in all points, tempted like as we are, yet without sin;” and therefore able to sympathise with and to succour those that are tempted.

A sinner like man, when made sensible of his pollution and guilt, cannot draw near unto God in his intrinsic, essential majesty and holiness. Viewed as the great and glorious Being that fills eternity, Jehovah is too great, too transcendently holy, too awfully perfect for him to approach. He must therefore have a Mediator; and that Mediator one who is a Mediator indeed, a God-man, “Immanuel, God with us.” The depth of this mystery eternity itself will not fathom.

But the tender mercy of God in appointing such a Mediator, and the wondrous condescension of the Son of God in becoming “the Son of man,” are matters of faith, not of reason; are to be believed, not understood. When thus received, the humanity of the Son of God becomes a way of access unto the Father. We can talk to, we can approach, we can pour out our hearts before “the Son of man.” His tender bosom, his sympathising heart, seem to draw forth the feelings and desires of our own.

God, in his wrathful majesty, we dare not approach; he is a “consuming fire;” and the soul trembles before him. But when Jesus appears in the gospel as “the Mediator between God and man,” and “a Daysman,” as Job speaks, “to lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:33), how this seems to penetrate into the depths of the human heart! How this opens a way for the poor, guilty, filthy, condemned, and ruined sinner to draw near to that great God with whom he has to do! How this, when experimentally realised, draws forth faith to look unto him, hope to anchor in him, and love tenderly and affectionately to embrace him!

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

18th September

Written by Steven Black on 18/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“That the man of God may be perfect,
throughly furnished unto all good works.”
2 Timothy 3:17

What perfection does the Holy Ghost speak of here? Certainly not perfection in the flesh; that is but a wild dream of free-will and Arminianism. But perfection here and elsewhere means a being well-established and grounded in the faith, as we find the Apostle speaking (Heb. 5:14), “Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age” (literally, as we read in the margin, “perfect”), “even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Christian perfection does not then consist in perfection in the flesh, but in having arrived at maturity in the divine life, in being what I may call a Christian adult, or what the Apostle terms “a man in Christ.”

When Paul therefore says, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,” he means “being no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,” but favoured with a measure of Christian wisdom and strength. It is this Christian maturity which is called in Scripture, “perfection,” and it is only obtained by suffering. It is only in the furnace that the tin and dross of pharisaic righteousness is purged away; and the soul comes out of the furnace “a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use.”

The Lord of life and glory was made “perfect by suffering;” and there is no other way whereby his followers are made spiritually perfect. Until a man is led into suffering, he does not know the truth in its sweetness. We are full of free-will, pride, presumption, and self righteousness. But when the soul is baptised into suffering, it is in a measure established in the truth, strengthened in the things of God, and conformed to the image of Christ.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

17th September

Written by Steven Black on 17/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him;
and he will shew them his covenant.”
Psalm 25:14

“The secret of the Lord” (that is, present possession) “is with them that fear him; and he will shew them” (that is, something future) “his covenant.” This shews, that while all the people of God, who fear his name, have the secret with them, that is, a measure of the secret, yet all the people of God have not the covenant revealed to them at the same time with the secret. The “secret” is in the present tense; the “shewing of the covenant” is in the future.

It is very sweet to see how the Holy Ghost has discriminated between these blessings. If, for instance, it had run thus, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he shews to them his covenant,” some doubting, desponding child of God might say, “How can I be one of those that fear God? for it says, God shews to them his covenant, and he has not shewn it to me yet.” But being put in the future tense, “he will shew to them his covenant,” it takes the form of a promise, and so is just adapted and sweetly suited to their wants. This covenant is the covenant that “stands fast for evermore;” the everlasting covenant of grace, which stands in the Person, love, blood, and work of the Son of God; the covenant made by a Triune Jehovah, on behalf of the elect, before the world was.

What a suitable foundation for a poor tottering heart! The Lord in shewing this covenant unto them that fear him, shews them that it is all of grace, and therefore meets all their unworthiness and superabounds over all the aboundings of their sin; that it is more than a match for their aggravated iniquities, and will land them safe in glory, because God has determined to bring them there. Nothing but a covenant of grace can suit a poor exercised soul, who knows his helplessness and worthlessness; and the Lord shews this to them that fear him.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

16th September

Written by Steven Black on 16/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“For he is our peace, who hath made both one,
and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”
Ephesians 2:14

“He is our peace.” This necessarily springs from being reconciled and brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Sin has not only made us enemies to God, but made God an enemy to us. What peace, then, can there be between us whilst thus mutual enemies? Peace is between friends, not between foes. During this state of hostility and warfare, as there is no real, so there can be no felt or enjoyed peace. But the removal of the cause of the war brings about peace, first really and then experimentally. Christ has made peace through the blood of his cross (Col. 1:20). There is now no enmity on the part of God, for it was a law enmity. God always loved his people in Christ; and as he is unchanging and unchangeable, he never could or did hate them. But as a judge is an enemy to a criminal, even were that criminal his own son, so, as Judge and Lawgiver, God was an enemy to his own elect, viewed as lawbreakers.

But when the law was fulfilled, and all the breaches of it atoned for by the obedience and death of his dear Son, then this law enmity was removed, and the anger of God against sin and the sinner pacified. Sin, therefore, being put away, the whole cause of that law enmity is removed; and when we believe in the Son of God, and receive the atonement by his precious blood, then there is no enmity on our side; for the goodness, mercy, and love of God melt the heart into the sweetest humility, affection, and love to and before him.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

15th September

Written by Steven Black on 15/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Hear counsel, and receive instruction,
that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”
Proverbs 19:20

What lessons we need day by day to teach us anything aright, and how it is for the most part “line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” O what slow learners, what dull, forgetful scholars, what ignoramuses, what stupid blockheads, what stubborn pupils! Surely no scholar at a school, old or young, could learn so little of natural things as we seem to have learnt of spiritual things after so many years’ instruction, so many chapters read, so many sermons heard, so many prayers put up, so much talking about religion. How small, how weak is the amount of grace compared with all we have read and heard and talked about.

But it is a mercy that the Lord saves whom he will save, and that we are saved by free grace, and free grace alone, through the blood and righteousness of the Son of God. “He of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption;” so that if we have him we have everything, and if we have him not we have nothing. Where these things are felt they will cause exercise of soul, with many prayers and supplications to the God of all our mercies; and all this will strip and empty us of that light, superficial, and flimsy profession which seems so current in our day.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

test

Written by Steven Black on 14/09/2018. Posted in AUncategorized

Christian Watch

Annual Public Meeting

to be held, God willing, at

Holywell Evangelical Church

Halkyn Street

Holywell CH8 7TX

on the evening of Friday

4th OCTOBER 2018

7.30p.m.

Speaker

REV JOHN THACKWAY

(Crown College UK)

Address:

‘The Spiritual State of the Nation –
Is There a Remedy?’

__________________

Book Tables Light Refreshments

Collection for Christian Watch
Contact: Mr. David Lawson 07889365645

Download PDF

14th September

Written by Steven Black on 14/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
Psalm 107:10

God’s people are here represented not as sitting in death; were they sitting there, they would be dead altogether; but they are sitting in the shadow of death. Observe, death has lost its reality to them; it now can only cast a shadow, often a gloomy shadow, over their souls; but there is no substance. The quickening of the Spirit of God in them has destroyed the substance of death spiritually; and the death and resurrection of Jesus have destroyed the substance of death naturally.

Yet, though the gloomy monster, deadness of soul, and that ghastly king of terrors, the death of the body, have been disarmed and destroyed by “Immanuel, God with us;” yet each of them casts at times a gloomy, darkling shadow over the souls of those that fear God. Is not your soul, poor child of God, exercised from time to time with this inward death? Deadness in prayer, deadness in reading the word, deadness in hearing the truth, deadness in desires after the Lord, deadness to everything holy, spiritual, heavenly, and divine? How it benumbs and paralyses every breathing of our soul Godward! Yet it is but a shadow. Write not bitter things against yourself, poor, tempted, exercised child of God, because you feel such deathliness and coldness from time to time in your heart. It will not destroy you; nay, it is life in your soul that makes it felt; and the more the life of God has been felt in your conscience, the more painfully the deathliness of your carnal mind is experienced.

Do you expect that your carnal mind will ever be lively in the things of God? What is it but a lump of death, a huge mass of ungodliness, which, like some Behemoth, upheaves its broad flanks continually in the heart? Yet the people of God are very often troubled in their minds by the gloomy shadow that this death casts over their souls. But this trouble is a mark of life. If I were dead, could I feel it? The worst symptom of the dead in sin is, that they do not feel it. But, whilst we feel it, whilst we sigh on account of it, whilst we hate it, and hate ourselves on account of it, though it may pain and grieve, it never can destroy. It has lost its substance, though it casts its gloomy shadow.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

13th September

Written by Steven Black on 13/09/2018. Posted in Devotionals

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only,
but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.”
1 Thessalonians 1:5

The Holy Ghost never comes into any poor sinner’s soul, except through the medium of the gospel of the grace of God. Have you ever considered that point? You are praying, perhaps, that the Holy Spirit would teach you, and be in you a Spirit of revelation, a Remembrancer, a Comforter, Instructor, and Teacher. You pray for his gifts, and graces, and sanctifying operations; but have you ever viewed these graces in connection with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Now, if you want the Holy Spirit to come into your soul, you must keep firm hold of the gospel; you must not run away from it to the law or to self; but keep firm, fast hold of it, so far as you have felt its power, and have a living faith in it.

If, then, you are tried, still hold the gospel. If Satan get you into his sieve, still hold the gospel; if in the furnace of affliction, still hold the gospel; if called on to wade through floods of sorrow, still hold fast the gospel. Let not Satan, if ever you have felt the power and the preciousness of the gospel, baffle you out of it, and drive you from it; but hold to the gospel, for it is your life. Indeed, where else will you find anything to suit your case if you are a poor, tempted, tried sinner? Will you go to the law, which can only curse and condemn you? Will you go to yourself? What is self? A heap of ruins. Where, then, will you go? After all, you must come to the gospel, if your soul is to be saved and blessed, and if you are to experience the consolations of the Holy Ghost, who alone can bless and comfort you.

I want, with God’s blessing, to impress this vital truth upon your conscience, that you may not be looking away from the gospel, and as Berridge says, “squint and peep another way,” but that you may keep your eyes firmly fixed on the gospel; for if you believe it, it can and will save your soul. Does not the Apostle say it is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” so that there is neither power nor salvation in anything else? Never, therefore, expect power, salvation, or comfort, but in, and by, and through the Holy Ghost preaching the gospel into your heart.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869