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.
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.
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.
By: A. W. Pink
1886 – 1952
The dawning of a new year is a fresh call unto each of us to put first things first, and it is only by heeding this call that we are prepared to start it aright. The greatest tragedy of life is that the vast majority of our fellows are dissipating their energies on secondary things, spending their strength for that which satisfies not. Alas, how much time have we wasted in the past! But a new year affords us another opportunity to mend our ways: how much of it, then, are we going to improve and conserve for eternity? The answer to that question will be determined by how far we put first things first.
It is one thing to recognise and realise that it is both our duty and wisdom to put first things first, and quite another to actually do so. It is much to be thankful for when light from above makes plain the path wherein we should walk – yet something more than illumination is required in order for us to traverse the same. Strength, power, enablement, is indispensable – and that we have not by nature. Have we not already been made painfully aware of this fact? Then have we humbly acknowledged it to God, and sought from Him fresh supplies of grace? Let us say with Jehoshaphat, when the enemies of Israel assembled against them, “O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us: neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee” (2 Chron. 20:12).Continue Reading
Solemn words by J. C. Philpot in 1853 – based upon Joel 1
Where in our day, with all this material prosperity, is real religion and vital godliness, which are the evidence of grace? Does it flourish? Is the church, the Lamb’s wife, growing in grace and in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do ministers preach with power and savour? Is God deeply feared, are His promises firmly believed, are His precepts carefully obeyed and His ordinances highly prized. Is His Word dearly loved, His honour and glory earnestly sought? Are those who profess the truth humble, prayerful, watchful and spiritually minded? Are they walking as living witnesses for God and testifying to an ungodly world that they are children and servants of the Most High? Is the line of separation between the church and the world clear and distinct? And does she shine forth, “fair as the moon, clear as the sun and terrible as an army with banners”(S of S 6:10)?
Who can say it is so? Who can say of the church that she is flourishing and that her prosperity runs parallel with that of the world? We may rather take up Joel’s lament in verses 10 – 12 of the chapter we read, “The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted; the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl O ye vine dressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree even all the trees of the field are withered”.Continue Reading
O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years.
The middle of anything is generally its weakest point, and middle years are years of particular danger. More and more, society has turned its attention to the problems people face in their middle years. The work of God faces its own peculiar difficulties in its middle years, and Habakkuk was led to pray that it might be revived at that time. The trouble with the middle years is that zeal tends to diminish while worldliness creeps in. Prosperity can lead to complacency, and God’s people lose the vision of a world perishing in sin.
Habakkuk shows us that the work is still God’s in the midst of the years. He prays, “Revive thy work in the midst of the years.” Because the work is still God’s, it demands the same level of faithfulness as at the beginning. Many people support the work when it is in its exciting initial stages and then lie back and become discouraged when it settles down.Continue Reading
“Where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of?”
Christians should never despise the day of small things. We tend to look for the extraordinary and discount the ordinary, but this is wrong. God’s ordinary dealings in and through His people are worthy of our deepest gratitude. People saved here and there through the normal ministry of the church are just as truly saved as those saved in revival, and their salvation is just as much a miracle of grace.
Yet we cannot be indifferent to the need for revival. We have read in Scripture and in church history of the great outpourings of the Holy Spirit. We have thrilled at the record of the powerful revelation of the majesty of God, causing men to fall under great conviction of sin and to cry for mercy through Christ. As we have read, we have yearned to see the working of His Spirit. We are grateful for every token of the Lord’s presence as we worship and serve, but we long to see greater things than we have yet seen. Where are the mighty works of grace our fathers have described?Continue Reading
By: Mr. B. A. Ramsbottom
It seems remarkable that when the Lord describes the Heavenly armour, He mentions the girdle before anything else. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Eph. 6:14). Why should this be so?
The purpose of the girdle was to fasten up long-flowing garments. Before anything of effort or importance (e.g. Israel on the Passover night), it was necessary to “gird up the loins” – otherwise you might trip, or stumble, or fall, certainly not stand. Hence the exhortation before breastplate, shield, sword, to “bind the golden girdle round thee” (as Hart expresses it).
So this expression of “girding up the loins” is often used in a figurative way in Scripture. For instance:
“Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately” (Luke 12:35,36).
“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” (1 Pet. 1:13).
The golden girdle is truth. Apart from this there can be no “girding up the loins” and no “standing.” There must be a vital, personal acquaintance with the truth.
What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth
for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
These words are most frequently used to warn sinners of the urgent necessity for them to get right with God. They certainly should make every careless soul think of the brevity of life, the certainty of death, and the solemnity of eternity. If you come to this day still in your sins, you should stop and consider this word from God. You know the gospel. You know you should call upon the Lord to have mercy upon you. You know that tomorrow it may be too late for you to call. Call upon Him today and you will find that He will have mercy and will abundantly pardon (Isa. 55:7).
Yet James originally directed these words to Christians. They had become very careless about spiritual things. They were consumed with the here and now, this life with its pleasures and profits. They took time for granted and made their plans as if they wore certain to be around for a long time.
Is that not how all too many of us live? We need to take James’s rebuke seriously and personally. We need to grasp again some basic facts. First, our hold on life is very tenuous. Second, at best our life will be brief. Third, in this brief life what matters is not where we have travelled or what we have gained, but how we have responded to the will of God.
In the light of these things, how does your life measure up? What is your life? What motivates it? What has it accomplished? ‘The Lord asks the questions, and He will have honest answers.
Rev Alan Cairns
(From ‘Eagles’ Wings’– Daily Devotions)
The business of our lives is not to
please ourselves but to please God.
(I Timothy 6:12)
By: J. C. Ryle
Extract from ‘A Call to Holiness’, chapter 4 ‘The Fight’
True Christianity is a fight!
True Christianity! Let us mind that word ‘true.’ There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. It passes must; it satisfies sleepy consciences; but it is not good money. It is not the real thing which was called Christianity eighteen hundred years ago. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday and call themselves Christians. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die; but you never see any ‘fight’ about their religion! Of spiritual strife, and exertion, and conflict and self-denial, and watching, and warring, they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded and His Apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness. True Christianity is a ‘fight.’
The true Christian is called to be a soldier and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death. He is not meant to live a life of religious ease, indolence and security. He must never imagine for a moment that he can sleep and doze along the way to Heaven, like one travelling in an easy carriage. If he takes his standard of Christianity from the children of this world, he may be content with such notions; but he will find no countenance for them in the Word of God. If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice, he will find his course laid down very plainly in this matter. He must ‘fight.’Continue Reading
(I Timothy 6:12)- Part 2
By: J. C. Ryle
Extract from ‘A Call to Holiness’, chapter 4 ‘The Fight’
(Part 1 reminded us that true Christianity is ‘a fight’ against the flesh, the world and the Devil. Part 2 shows how Christians are to fight.)
True Christianity is the fight of faith
In this respect, the Christian warfare is utterly unlike the conflicts of this world.It does not depend on the strong arm, the quick eye, or the swift foot. It is not waged with carnal weapons, but with spiritual. Faith is the hinge on which victory turns. Success depends entirely on believing.
A general faith in the truth of God’s written Word is the primary
foundation of the Christian soldier’s character. He is what he is, does what he does, thinks as he thinks, acts as he acts, hopes as he hopes, behaves as he behaves, for one simple reason – he believes certain propositions revealed and laid down in Holy Scripture. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).