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FRUITFULNESS

Written by Steven Black on 26/02/2019. Posted in Articles

By: J. C. Philpot

And what fruit?   Why, fruit of three kinds: fruit in the heart, fruit in the lip and fruit in the life. 

I  Let us see what these fruits are that he brings forth in the heart, or rather, that the Lord brings forth in him.

    1. There is, first, the fruit of faith. This is the only man who really believes in Jesus; who believes the Gospel to be glad tidings to perishing sinners; and who believes in and accepts the doctrines of grace as sweet and suitable to his soul. This is the only man who really believes in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, in His blood, in His glorious righteousness, in His dying love, as sweet and suitable. And why does he believe it? Because it has been revealed in a measure to his soul. Another may have heard it and received it gladly; but there has been no special discovery or manifestation of the gospel to his heart with Divine power. His head may be stuffed with doctrines; but there is no faith in his heart; no real coming unto, trusting in, or hanging upon the Lord Jesus Christ. There may be abundance of false confidence and presumption, but no real looking unto the Lord Jesus Christ out of the depths of a broken heart; no calling upon His Name; no seeing Him by the eye of faith; nor casting all his soul upon Him as able to save to the uttermost.
    2. Again, He will bring forth the fruit of hope; or rather, God will bring it forth in him. The light shining into his soul making his evidences clear, bringing sweet manifestations of the love of God into his heart, applying His precious promises, and shedding abroad His favour – all these things, experimentally felt within, give him Gospel hope, “an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast, and entering into that within the veil.” Others have no such hope. Their hope is the hope of the hypocrite that shall perish, the spider’s web spun out of his own fleshly bowels and vain hope; not a good hope through grace, anchoring in the blood, love and obedience of Jesus.
    3. And he brings forth the fruits of love. There are times and seasons when he can say, “Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.” He loves the Lord Jesus Christ; he loves the truth as it is in Jesus; he loves the people of God; he loves the work of grace wherever he sees that work manifest; and he feels a sweet union with the tried and tempted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    4. He brings forth also true humility. He has had a sight of himself; he knows what is in man and abhors himself. His heart is humbled by and before God.
    5. He brings forth, or rather the Lord brings forth in him, the fruit of repentance. He sees what he is as a sinner and truly repents. He brings forth the fruit of godly sorrow; for seeing what his sins have cost the Lord Jesus Christ, he mourns over them with a repentance not to be repented of.
    6. He brings forth spiritual-mindedness. In the place of a carnal embracing of mere doctrines, his affections are fixed upon the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and simplicity of heart. And this produces that spiritual-mindedness which is life and peace and delights in Heavenly things.

II       He not only brings forth these things in his heart, or rather, God brings them forth in him; but he brings them forth in his lip. When he speaks of the things of God, he speaks of them with real feeling, with real love in his soul and real grace in his breast; his heart teaching his mouth. If he be a Minister, he will speak with power; he will not deliver truth in a hardened, presumptuous, unfeeling manner; but having life and feeling in his soul, and an inward experience of the things of God, what he speaks will be uttered with unction, dew, savour and power. It will reach the heart, melt the spirit and bring forth life and feeling in the hearers.

And if he be a hearer, a private character, he will also bring forth fruit with his lips. His speech will be seasoned with salt. There will be a life and power in his conversation when he comes into the company of the people of God; the hearts of others will unite and melt as it were into his and find sweet union and mutual communion.

III       Nay more, he brings forth fruit in his life. He is not a drunkard nor an adulterer. When hidden and covered by darkness, he knows that when no human eye sees him, God sees him. He will not be a slave to sin; God will deliver him. Sin shall not have dominion over him; he may be entangled from time to time in secret lusts that work in him, but he will beseech God to subdue them and bring him out of every snare.

He will sigh and cry to be delivered from sin in all its shapes and forms. He will not be a covetous, a proud, a worldly-minded, an oppressive man. If a master, he will not oppress his servant; if a servant, he will be sincere and upright towards his master. He will not be an unkind, cruel husband at home. Before his friends, his wife, his children, he will be the same – a Christian at home, as well as a Christian abroad. Thus he will bring forth fruit in his life as well as in his lip.

If there be no fruit in his life, depend upon it, there is no fruit in his heart; if there be no fruit in his heart, depend upon it, there will be no fruit in his life. Very few professors will bear following home; very few whose lives and conversation will bear looking into; very few who are not slaves, more or less, to some sin – drunkenness, pride, uncleanness, covetousness, worldly-mindedness, tricks in business, or some deceitful practices. The children of God will indeed be tempted, entangled and hampered, yea, fearfully hampered by sin in their soul’s feelings.

But He, who has made their hearts inwardly honest, will make their lives outwardly honest. God, who has implanted His precious grace in their soul, causes the Word to take root in the heart and makes them to bring forth fruit, some a hundred fold (these indeed are rare), some sixty fold and some thirty fold. But if they bring forth no fruit whatever; if there be no fruit in their heart, lip or life, where shall we place them? If the preacher stand in God’s counsel, he will be as God’s mouth. I might have amused, entertained or deceived you and said, “If you believe the doctrines of grace you are Christians.” But I dare not say so; I should not be standing up in God’s name, nor be doing the work of a Minister uprightly, if I were to do so; my conscience, I hope, would not let me thus flatter and deceive you.

Then, where are the fruits? We profess to be Christians, profess to be children of God; but where are the fruits? Where are the fruits inwardly? Where are the fruits outwardly? If we have no fruits inwardly, no fruits outwardly, we may call ourselves what we please, but we shall not be what the Lord calls fruitful children, “trees of His right hand planting.”
                                                                  

From: Sin and Salvation – Selections from J. C. Philpot
Edited by B. A. Ramsbottom

FRUITFULNESS

26th February

Written by Steven Black on 26/02/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth,
      where thou feedest,
      where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon:
  for why should I be as one that turneth aside
      by the flocks of thy companions?”

“If thou know not, O thou fairest among women,
      go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock,
      and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.”
          – Song of Solomon 1:7, 8

If you say that you want food and rest, to know Christ for yourself and to enjoy his presence and love, the Lord gives you two directions to attain to the enjoyment of these two blessings:

1. to tread in the footsteps of the flock, to walk in the way in which the saints of old have walked, in the path of tribulation and faith;

2. if you are favoured in any way to live within reach of the shepherds’ tents, and have the privilege of hearing the gospel preached in its purity and power, to bring your kids in your arms beside the tent, and to put them down to feed on the juicy herbage. And be assured that if you come to the shepherds’ tents with a prayerful spirit and a hungry soul, begging of God to open your heart to receive the word with power, and to crown it with his blessing, sooner or later you will find food and rest.

But these things go together. If you want food you will go where it is to be got; if you want rest you will go where it is to be obtained. You will get neither in the world. But as you get food and rest beside the shepherds’ tents you will find that it is really and truly Jesus himself who feeds, and Jesus himself who makes you lie down and rest. The shepherds are but servants. Christ is the Bridegroom, and he alone has the Bride. The shepherds’ joy is to bring the sheep to Christ that they may find food and rest in him; and as your heart receives the joyful sound, and you feel the power of God’s truth in your soul, there will be a doing what Christ bids as well as enjoying what Christ reveals.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

25th February

Written by Steven Black on 25/02/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“He will keep the feet of his saints.”
1 Samuel 2:9

The Lord sees his poor scattered pilgrims travelling through a vale of tears, journeying through a waste howling wilderness, a path beset with gins, traps, and snares in every direction. How can they escape? Why, the Lord keeps their feet, carries them through every rough place, as a tender parent carries a little child; when about to fall, graciously lays the everlasting arms underneath them, and when tottering and stumbling, and their feet ready to slip, mercifully upholds them from falling altogether. Thus the Lord keeps the feet of his saints.

But do you think that he has not different ways for different feet? The God of creation has not made two flowers, nor two leaves upon a tree alike; and will he cause all his people to walk in precisely the same path? No; we have each our path, each our besetment, each our trials, each peculiar traps and snares laid for our feet. And the wisdom of the all- wise and only-wise God is shewn by his eyes being in every place, marking the footsteps of every pilgrim, suiting his remedies to meet their individual case and necessity, appearing for them when nobody else could do them any good; watching so tenderly over them, as though the eyes of his affection were bent on one individual; and carefully noting the goings of each, as though all the powers of the Godhead were concentrated on that one person to keep him from harm.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

24th February

Written by Steven Black on 24/02/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing.”
2 Corinthians 6:10

Though the Christian in himself is sorrowful, and has reason to be so all the day long, yet so far as he has any views by faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, any good hope through grace, or any manifestation of his Person, work, blood, and love, he may be always rejoicing. Nay, his very sorrow opens up a way for joy. There is no room in a worldly heart for spiritual joy, for the Lord gives joy in sorrow. When the heart is sunk in gloom and fear, and doubt and distress take possession of the mind, when family afflictions, or painful bereavements, or trying circumstances fill the heart with grief and dismay, that is the very time for the Lord to pour joy into the soul.

As afflictions abound, so do consolations. Sorrow and joy are linked together as night and day, as sun and moon, as heaven and earth. Without sorrow there can be no joy, for joy is its counterpoise. If you had everything your heart could desire, what room would there be for spiritual joy? But when all sources of earthly joy dry up, and there is nothing but sorrow and trouble before you in this world, as long as life remains; when you are afflicted in body, poor in circumstances, tried in your family, distressed in your mind, and there is nothing but grief and misery,—then you have room made in your heart to receive the sweet consolations of God’s grace.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

23rd February

Written by Steven Black on 23/02/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“He hath made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things, and sure.”
2 Samuel 23:5

O the blessedness of having a manifest interest in the blood of the covenant, and thus to have a testimony that God has made a covenant with his dear Son upon our behalf; that our names are written in the book of life; and that Christ is our Mediator at the right hand of the Father! What are all earthly blessings compared with this? What are health and strength and riches and all the goods of this life; what is everything that the carnal heart can desire or the covetous mind grasp; what is all compared with an interest in the everlasting covenant, and in the love and blood and righteousness of the Lord the Lamb? What is earth, with all its attractions, compared with an interest in the precious, precious blood of a dying Jesus?

You will find it so when you come to lie upon a bed of languishing and pain; when the cold drops of sweat stand upon your forehead, and the last enemy is about to grasp you by the throat. What will your anxious strivings to have something and be something more than you have or are,—aye, I may add, your successes,—what will they do for you then? Only be so many ghastly spectres of the past to terrify and alarm your conscience, to see what shadows you have been seeking to grasp to the neglect of solid substance. But in that solemn hour to have a testimony from God of pardon and peace, will make smooth a dying bed, will calm all anxious fears, and will take you safe through the dark valley of the shadow of death.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

Nov/Dec 2018

Written by Steven Black on 22/02/2019. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, Nov/Dec 2018

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newsletter in PDF format

22nd February

Written by Steven Black on 22/02/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“I will bear the indignation of the Lord,
because I have sinned against him.”
Micah 7:9

It is a view of our sins against God that enables us to bear the indignation of the Lord against us and them. As long as we are left to a spirit of pride and self-righteousness, we murmur at the Lord’s dealings when his hand lies heavy upon us. But let us only truly feel what we rightly deserve: that will silence at once all murmuring. You may murmur and rebel sometimes at your hard lot in providence; but if you feel what you deserve, it will make you water with tears of repentance the hardest cross. So in grace, if you feel the weight of your sins, and mourn and sigh because you have sinned against God, you can lift up your hands sometimes with holy wonder at God’s long- suffering mercy that he has borne with you so long; that he has not smitten you to the earth, or sent your guilty soul to hell.

You will see, too, that the heaviest strokes were but fatherly chastenings; that the rod was dipped in love; and that it was for your good and his glory that it was laid on. When this sense of merited indignation comes into the soul, then meekness and submission come with it, and it can say with the prophet, “I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him.” You would not escape the rod if you might.

As Cowper says,

“Bastards may escape the rod,
Sunk in earthly, vain delight;
But the true-born child of God
Must not, would not if he might.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

21st February

Written by Steven Black on 21/02/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20

Many of the saints of God may not be so highly favoured as to take up into their lips Paul’s language of strong, personal assurance. They may hope, and at times may rise beyond a hope, into a sweet confidence, by the shining in of the Sun of righteousness, that the Son of God has loved them, and given himself for them. But the strength of Paul’s persuasion and the full expression of his confidence so far outstrip both their assurance and their language, that many real saints of God confess they come short both in heart and tongue. Yet their coming short of this blessed certainty as an enjoyed reality in the heart, and as a declared confidence by the mouth—for conscience and tongue must move together where God works—does not affect the fact.

Clouds and mists sometimes obscure the sun, but they do not blot him out of the sky. So the mists and fogs of unbelief may obscure the Sun of righteousness, yet they do not blot him out of the spiritual hemisphere. He still loved you and gave himself for you who believe in his name, though you may not be able to rise up to the faith of Paul, or speak with the same fulness of assurance. The bud has the same union with the vine as the branch, but not the same strength of union; the babe is as much a member of the family as the grown-up son, but has not the same knowledge of its relationship; the foot is as much a part of the body as the eye or the hand, though it has not the same nearness to the head, or the same honours and employments.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

So walk ye in Him

Written by Steven Black on 20/02/2019. Posted in Articles

“So walk ye in Him”

Colossians 2:6

by Charles Spurgeon

If we have received Christ Himself in our inmost hearts, our new life will manifest its intimate acquaintance with Him by a walk of faith in Him. Walking implies action. Our religion is not to be confined to our closet; we must carry out into practical effect that which we believe. If a man walks in Christ, then he so acts as Christ would act; for Christ being in him, his hope, his love, his joy, his life, he is the reflex of the image of Jesus; and men say of that man, “He is like his Master; he lives like Jesus Christ.” Walking signifies progress. “So walk ye in Him”; proceed from grace to grace, run forward until you reach the uttermost degree of knowledge that a man can attain concerning our Beloved. Walking implies continuance. There must be a perpetual abiding in Christ. How many Christians think that in the morning and evening they ought to come into the company of Jesus, and may then give their hearts to the world all the day: but this is poor living; we should always be with Him, treading in His steps and doing His will. Walking also implies habit. When we speak of man’s walk and conversation, we mean his habits, the constant tenor of his life. Now, if we sometimes enjoy Christ, and then forget Him; sometimes call Him ours, and anon lose our hold, that is not a habit; we do not walk in Him. We must keep to Him, cling to Him, never let Him go, but live and have our being in Him. “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him”; persevere in the same way in which ye have begun, and, as at the first, Christ Jesus was the trust of your faith, the source of your life, the principle of your action, and the joy of your spirit, so let Him be the same ’til life’s end; the same when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and enter into the joy and the rest which remain for the people of God. O Holy Spirit, enable us to obey this heavenly precept.


20th February

Written by Steven Black on 20/02/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
John 6:63

It is through the word that the soul in the first instance is cleansed. It is by the word that the soul is begotten again unto eternal life. It is, too, by the word applied to the heart that the blessed Spirit from time to time keeps alive communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. Is it not so in vital experience? Some passage of Scripture drops into the soul, some promise comes warm into the heart, and as it comes it makes way for itself. It enters the heart, breaks down the feelings, melts the soul, and draws forth living faith to flow unto and centre alone in the “altogether lovely.”

There are many times and seasons when the word of God is to us a dead letter; we see and feel no sweetness in it. But there are other times, through mercy, when the word of God is made sweet and precious to us; when we can say, with the prophet of old, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jer. 15:16). It was so in the case of David. He says, they are “more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10). When this is felt, the sure effect is to bring the soul into communion with the Lord Jesus, who is the true word of God, and makes use of the written word to draw us near unto himself.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869