4th April

Written by Steven Black on 04/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“And when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.”
Mark 4:34

What is the exact meaning of the word disciple? It means properly a learner, one who is under a teacher, whose submissive and devoted pupil he has become, and from whom he receives continual instruction. And thus a disciple of Christ is one who is admitted by the Lord Jesus into his school, whom he himself condescends personally to instruct, and who therefore learns of him to be meek and lowly of heart. A disciple of Jesus is one who sits meekly at the Redeemer’s feet, receiving into his heart the gracious words which fall from his lips. This was Mary’s happy posture, whom the Lord commended for choosing the better part. Such is also the posture of all the saints of God, according to the ancient declaration, “Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand; and they sat down at thy feet, every one shall receive of thy words” (Deut. 33:3).

But a true and sincere disciple not only listens to his Master’s instructions, but acts as he bids. So a disciple of Jesus is one who copies his Master’s example, and is conformed to his Master’s image. A sincere disciple is also characterized by the love which he bears to his Master; so a disciple of Jesus is one who treasures up the words of Christ in his heart, ponders over his precious promises, and delights in his glorious Person, love, and blood. A disciple of Jesus is one who bears some reflection to the image of his heavenly Master; he carries it about with him wherever he goes, that men may take knowledge of him that he has been with Jesus; and as when Moses came down from the mount his face shone from the reflection of the heavenly glory which had streamed upon his countenance, so does the true disciple shine before men with some sparkles of the glory of the Son of God. To have some of these divine features stamped upon the heart, lip, and life, is to be a disciple of Jesus.

To be much with Jesus is to be made like unto Jesus; to sit at Jesus’ feet is to drink in Jesus’ words; to lean upon Jesus’ breast is to feel the warm heart of Jesus pulsating with love; and to feel this pulsation, causes the heart of the disciple to beat in tender and affectionate unison; to look up to Jesus, is to see a face more marred than the sons of men, yet a face beaming with heavenly beauty, dignity, and glory. To be a disciple, then, of Jesus, is to copy his example; to do the things pleasing in his sight; and to avoid the things which he abhors. To be a disciple of Jesus, is to be meek as he was; humble as he was; lowly as he was; self-denying as he was; separate from the world as he was; living a life of communion with God, as he lived when he walked here below.

To take a worm of the earth and make him a disciple of Jesus is the greatest privilege God can bestow upon man. To select an obstinate, ungodly, perverse rebel, and place him in the school of Christ and at the feet of Jesus, is the highest favour God can bestow upon any child of the dust. How unsurpassingly great must be that kindness whereby the Lord condescends to bestow his grace on an alien and an enemy, and to soften and meeken him by his Spirit, and thus cause him to grow up into the image and likeness of his own dear Son. What are earthly honours and titles when compared with the favour thus conferred upon those whose foundation is in the dust? Compared with this high privilege, all earthly honours, stars and garters, titles and robes, sink into utter insignificance.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

3rd April

Written by Steven Black on 03/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”
Hebrews 12:14

To possess this holiness is a necessary and indispensable meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light; but this meetness must be wrought in us by the power of God’s grace, for I am sure that in ourselves of it we have none. But see its necessity. What happiness could there be in the courts of bliss unless we had a nature to enjoy it? Unless we were made capable of seeing Christ as he is, and enjoying his presence for evermore, heaven would be no heaven to us. Nothing unclean or unholy can enter there. Sanctification therefore must be wrought in us by the power of God, to make us meet for the heavenly inheritance, and he therefore communicates of his Spirit and grace to give us heavenly affections, holy desires, gracious thoughts, tender feelings; and above all that love whereby he is loved as the altogether lovely.

By the sanctifying operations of his Spirit, he separates us from everything evil, plants his fear deep in the heart, that it may be a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death; and works in us a conformity to his suffering image here that we may be conformed to his glorified image hereafter. Thus there is a perfect and an imperfect sanctification—perfect by imputation, imperfect in its present operations. But the one is the pledge of the other; so that as surely as Christ now represents his people in heaven as their holy Head, so will he eventually bring them to be for ever with him in those abodes of perfect holiness and perfect happiness which are prepared for them as mansions of eternal light and love.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

2nd April

Written by Steven Black on 02/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
Isaiah 48:10

According to God’s own testimony, it is “through much tribulation” that we are to enter into the kingdom; and therefore there is no entering into the kingdom of grace here or the kingdom of glory hereafter without it. But let this be ever borne in mind, that whatever affliction befall the saints, it is laid upon them by the hand of God, and that for the express purpose of putting them into a situation and of making them capable of receiving those comforts which God only can bestow.

None but Jesus himself and the Father can comfort a truly afflicted heart. And he can and does from time to time comfort his dear people by a sense of his presence; by a word of power from his gracious lips; by the light of his countenance; by the balm of his atoning blood and dying love; and by the work and witness of the Spirit within. And as they receive this consolation from the mouth of God, their hearts are comforted. How good the Lord is of his own free grace to bestow such blessings upon his redeemed family! May he give us much of them! And may he wherever he has bestowed upon any of us everlasting consolation, or even a good hope through grace, comfort our hearts as we journey through this vale of tears, and may our consolations be neither few nor small.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

1st April

Written by Steven Black on 01/04/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“That ye may approve things that are excellent;
that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”
Philippians 1:10

If divine light has enlightened your mind, divine life quickened your heart, and you love the Lord and his people, you must approve of the things that are excellent. For they are so commended to your conscience that you can no more do otherwise than you can tell a deliberate lie or call black white. And as you approve of them, you will disapprove of everything which is contrary to, or falls short of this excellency.

Now this is what distinguishes us from the world and the spirit of it, and from all whose eyes are blinded by the god of this world—that whilst they approve of the things God abhors, we approve of the things that God loves. Here is the mind of Christ; here is the teaching of the Spirit giving us in some measure to see as Christ sees, to feel as Christ feels, to love as Christ loves, and to approve as Christ approves. We shall never go far wrong so long as we are approving the things that are excellent, and seeking, as the Lord may enable, to know the will of God and do it.

But directly we lose sight of this spiritual standard and set up the opinion of men, then our eyes get blinded, our hearts hardened, our consciences benumbed, and instead of approving the things that are excellent, we may gradually and insensibly drift into the very spirit of ungodliness.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

31st March

Written by Steven Black on 31/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21

Our blessed Lord offered himself for sin; that is, that he might put away sin by the sacrifice of himself—”Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). It was absolutely necessary either that the sinner should suffer in his own person, or in that of a substitute. Jesus became this substitute; he stood virtually in the sinner’s place, and endured in his holy body and soul the punishment due to him; for he “was numbered with the transgressors.” He thus, by the shedding of his most precious blood, opened in his sacred body a fountain for all sin and all uncleanness (Zech. 13:1).

The cross was the place on which this sacrifice was offered; for as the blood of the slain lamb was poured out at the foot of the altar, sprinkled upon its horns, and burned in its ever-enduring fire, so our blessed Lord shed his blood upon the cross. He there endured the wrath of God to the uttermost; he there put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; he there offered his holy soul and body, the whole of his pure and sacred humanity, in union with his eternal Deity, as an expiation for the sins of his people.

Thus all their sin was atoned for, expiated, put away, blotted out, and will never more be imputed to them. This is the grand mystery of redeeming love and atoning blood. Here the cross shines forth in all its splendour; here God and man meet at the sacrifice of the God-man; and here, amidst the sufferings and sorrows, the groans and tears, the blood and obedience of God’s dear Son in our nature, grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

30th March

Written by Steven Black on 30/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;
so shall ye be my disciples.”
John 15:8

The bearing of much fruit not only brings glory to God, but proves such rich fruit-bearers to be genuine disciples of the Lord Jesus. Now, though there is no merit in their bearing fruit, they sometimes get comfort from it, as proving an abiding union with Christ. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” There is no maintaining of holy confidence in the soul but by walking in godly obedience; nor can there be any true spiritual communion with God whilst the guilt of disobedience lies hard and heavy on the conscience. To make straight paths for our feet; to walk in the fear of God; to live to his glory, are not only sweet tests of genuine discipleship, but faith, hope, and love cannot be maintained without them.

And yet if we know anything of what gospel fruit is, and what we are as poor, vile sinners, must we not too often put our mouth in the dust? Instead of rejoicing in our fruitfulness, must we not often rather lament our barrenness, and cry out, “My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” Still, if we see and feel a deficiency in these points in ourselves and others, and, comparing our hearts, lips, and lives with the word of truth, must plead guilty, shall this utterly discourage us? No. This very discouragement may prove of service to us. It is good, at times, to be discouraged; because it makes us learn that “without Christ we can do nothing,” and that it is only by his grace that we can produce fruit to his glory. It is, therefore, good to see and feel our barrenness and unfruitfulness; for it is this very sight and sense of our own want of fruit that leads us in earnest desires to the Lord Jesus Christ to work in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

29th March

Written by Steven Black on 29/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.”
Isaiah 35:5

That these miracles are effected by the power of the gospel is plain from the words that immediately precede, “Behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you” (Isa. 35:4). And how does God come and save but in the gospel, and by making it his own power unto salvation? If you look back at your experience you will see that one of the first effects of the power of the gospel upon your heart was, to open your ears to receive it as a message from God. When, for instance, you were first brought under its sound, and began to understand and feel what you heard, was there not given you, as it were, new ears to hear it, and a new heart to receive it? Were not those with you memorable days when you first heard the joyful sound of salvation by free grace; when it first dropped that blessed news into your soul which made your very heart thrill with unspeakable joy? God was then circumcising your ear, unstopping it, and conveying the gospel into your heart through it. “For faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

“As soon as they hear of me,” says the Lord in prophecy, “they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me” (Psalm 18:44). That gospel which was death to others was life to you; and that message at which others perhaps gnashed their teeth, came into your heart with an indescribable sweetness as the very voice of God to your soul.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

28th March

Written by Steven Black on 28/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”
1 Peter 1:5

Those who are kept by the power of God through faith, are often in their minds troubled and anxious, fearing whether this salvation will ever reach their souls,—whether they may not prove castaways,—whether the work upon their heart is genuine,—whether they are under divine teachings. But the Lord says they are “kept by his power through faith unto salvation:” kept as in this garrisoned city, until salvation shall come in all its glory, sweetness, bliss and blessedness into their heart; preserved and encompassed by all the attributes of God from making shipwreck of faith, until they “receive the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.”

Then poor, doubting, distressed, fearing, guilty sinner, this promise is for thee. Thy soul is bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; thy character and thy name are contained here. And it is a promise suitable to you: yea, it is a promise suitable to us all. Suitable to us when we meet together, suitable when absent from each other, suitable for town, suitable for country; suitable for a child of God in a state of trial and temptation, and suitable when he enjoys a temporary respite from them; suitable for him in war, suitable for him in peace; suitable for him when the cannons roar and the earth trembles, suitable for him when he seems to have no enemy near, for the enemy then may be approaching by stratagem.

Yea, could you point out a single moment when this promise is not suitable to you, that would be the very moment in which the promise would be wanted by you most. Could you ever arrive at such a spot as to say, “Now I want the promise no more,” that very feeling would shew that you were on the brink of a fall, and therefore never needed the promise so much as then.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

27th March

Written by Steven Black on 27/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the spirit which is of God;
that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:12

What thick clouds of darkness spread themselves at times over our souls; all things out of sight; our signs and tokens buried, as it were, in mist. It is like a sea fog, that comes out of the bosom of the vasty deep, and hides all objects from view. The ships are on the sea, notwithstanding, but this deep fog prevents their being seen. So with our souls at times, all is misty, cloudy, and no signs can be seen of the work of God upon our hearts. And yet we “know” them, by receiving the Spirit of God, for it is the only way whereby they can be known. We can only see light in God’s light; only believe by God’s faith; only love by God’s love; therefore can only know the things freely given to us of God by the revelation of the Spirit.

What we know savingly, experimentally, feelingly, we know only by divine teaching. How dark our mind often is; how low we sink at times; it is only the Son of God that can enable us to rise; only by the revelation of his Spirit can we believe that we are his. We know he is God when he shines forth, as we know the sun when it blazes forth in the summer sky. We know him by the teaching of the Spirit, but cannot see him till our eyes are divinely opened. The sun may shine in all its glory—does that communicate light to the eyes of the blind? or warm the corpse lying in the coffin? The blind see not; the dead hear not; the living, the living alone see and know the Son of God.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

26th March

Written by Steven Black on 26/03/2019. Posted in Devotionals

“The Lord loveth the gates of Zion.”
Psalm 87:2

What are gates for? Two purposes, entrance and exit. And Zion, too, has her gates of exit and entrance; she has her gates of access to God, entrance into the presence of the Most High; “the door of hope,” opened in “the valley of Achor.” And who has opened the door; or, rather, who has not only opened it and made it, but himself is the Door? “I am the Door,” says Jesus. And was not “the door” opened through his rent flesh? As the Apostle speaks: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” Through his bleeding wounds, through his pierced side, through his mangled feet and hands, there is now access to God:

“A door of hope is open’d wide
In Jesus’ pierced hands and side.”

Is there any other access to God, but through the slaughtered Lamb? “Through him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” There is no other; for he is “the way, the truth, and the life, and no man cometh to the Father but by him.” Is not this an open way? Does not the soul through this door “walk in and out and find pasture,” and enter into the immediate presence of God? Do you, my friends, ever find access to God, a heart to pray, a sense of acceptance in prayer, an open door, and power to enter therein? What opens it? Merit? Set up merit, and we are all damned to a man. It is not merit, great or little; it is the blood of the Lamb which alone has opened a way for poor lost sinners to draw near to God.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869