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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Foreword:  This is an excerpt from a devotional sermon entitled “The God of Bethel” taken from  Rev. Murdoch Campbell’s book – Everlasting Love – original posted in The Highway website. The full article can be read through this link.

EmmausTrekker

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We can, dear friends, expect nothing from a godless world or from the multitudes who make a dead religious profession but that they should remain in this state of spiritual slumber and death. But the people of God have, in a day of His power, been delivered out of this condition. They are a people whom God has awakened out of their spiritual unconcern. They heard His voice:

Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.” (Ephesians 5:14 KJV)

And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1 KJV)

But the danger is that they may sleep again. Needless to say, the true people of God can never return to that state of total spiritual death out of which God has called them. They can never fall out of a state of grace, or lose their souls. In the day of their regeneration Christ gives them eternal life. But while they have grace in their souls, that grace may not always be in exercise. Spiritual slumber may overtake their eyes. The Psalmist prayed against this danger:

Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” (Psalm 13:3 KJV)

Are there not influences abroad in our day which induce this state? Many have, for example, gone to sleep on the lap of their material comforts. They “wax fat” in the enjoyment of temporal favors while they “kick” against their spiritual duties and neglect the Throne of Grace. There are also ensnaring distractions peculiar to this age which too often eat up our time and deaden our souls. Some of these have invaded our very homes.

…We ought to remind ourselves that prayer…is good and necessary in its own place; but the Lord also commands us to watch as well as to pray.

 

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Foreword:  This is the 3rd installment on our series on “The Life of a Justified Sinner” from the Modern Reformation magazine Nov./Dec. Vol. 5 No. 6 1996 issue. For articles uploaded earlier, click the series title on the sidebar under ‘Categories’.

EmmausTrekker

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By Michael S. Horton

 

Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.” – John 17:17

Those words from our Lord’s high priestly prayer in John 17 frame our discussion of a most important subject in this issue. What do you think about when you come across that verb, “to sanctify” or the noun, “holy”? Especially in our day, images of a prude come to mind-a narrow-minded, somewhat bigoted kill-joy who is worried that someone somewhere is having a good time. But, of course, that caricature is not only superficial; it’s the opposite of the biblical portrait.

First and foremost, sanctification is God’s work. He takes us for himself, as he did at Mount Sinai after he had delivered his people from slavery. Like the vessels used in the temple, God has taken common, unclean, unholy people, and has set them apart to belong to him and to be used in his service. It is he who sets us apart, not we. Furthermore, we are not simply set apart from the world, but (more positively) for God. This is why Reformation theologians speak of two uses for the term “sanctification”: definitive and progressive.

We are already “holy and without blame before him,” by his choice, redemption, calling and justification (Eph. 1:4-13). “He has been made for us our righteousness, holiness, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). But because we are already holy in Christ, we are responsible to grow in the progressive sanctification that characterizes the Christian life. Although we can do nothing to give ourselves new life, once we are made anew in Christ by the Holy Spirit, we are able for the first time to love and serve God, however imperfectly, and to love and serve our neighbor. We are not active in our new birth, but acted upon, but this does not mean that after we are made alive that we are still passive toward God! Quite the contrary, we are actively seeking out the light that once caused us such revulsion. Although this sanctification “is never perfect in this life” (Westminster Shorter Catechism), it is always growing and increasing and no Christian-regardless of how his or her experience might contradict this fact-is justified apart from also being progressively shaped into the likeness of Christ.

How can we neglect such an important topic, especially when there is so much confusion over sanctification in our day? So we hope it will be a profitable read, and if so, please share it with a friend.


Dr. Michael Horton is the chairman of the Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and is associate professor of historical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in California . Dr. Horton is a graduate of Biola University (B.A.), Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.A.R.) and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford (Ph.D.).

 

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And Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34

“In praying for His enemies not only did Christ set before us a perfect example of how we should treat those who wrong and hate us, He also taught us never to regard any as beyond the reach of prayer. If Christ prayed for His murderers then surely we have encouragement to pray now for the very chief of sinners! Christian reader, never lose hope. Does it seem a waste of time for your to continue praying for that man, that woman, that wayward child of yours? Does their case seem to become more hopeless every day? Does it look as though they had gotten beyond the reach of Divine mercy? Perhaps the one you have prayed for so long has been ensnared by one of the satanic cults of the day, or he may now be an avowed and blatant infidel, in a word, an open enemy of Christ.  Remember then the Cross. Christ prayed for His enemies. Learn then not to look on any as beyond the reach of prayer….This Cross-intercession of Christ from His enemies met with a marked and definite answer.  The answer is seen in the conversion of three thousand souls on the Day of Pentecost.”

-Excerpt fromThe Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross’, page 10

 

AWPinkArthur Walkington Pink (1 April 1886 – 15 July 1952) was born and educated in England. He held pastorates in Australia and the United States. And authored numerous works, including Gleanings in Genesis, Gleanings from Elisha, Gleanings from the Scriptures, and The Sovereignty of  God.  Pink was virtually unknown and certainly unappreciated in his day. Independent Bible study convinced him that much of modern evangelism was defective. When Puritan and reformed books were generally disregarded by the Church was a whole, he advanced the majority of their principles with untiring zeal. The progressive spiritual decline of his own nation (Britain) was to him the inevitable consequence of the prevalence of a “gospel” that could neither wound (with conviction of sin) nor heal (via regeneration). 

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Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan. Prayer will cease a man from sin, or sin will cease a man from prayer.”

 

John BunyanJohn Bunyan (1628-1688) was a Puritan preacher and writer born in Elstow, England. He wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress during his twelve-year imprisonment in Bedford jail. Upon his release, he became the pastor of a church in Bedford, England.  The Pilgrim’s Progress is, on some accounts, the most widely read book in the English language and has been translated into more languages than any book except the Bible.

 

 

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Finally, my brethren… – Ephesians 6:10

“Last but not the least” is what I will say as this narrative on the full armor of God section begins. The word ‘finally’ in the Greek is tou loipou which means ‘as for the rest’ but it must not diminish the importance of the narrative.  It was not an afterthought nor was it something that Paul discussed in the last chapter because it was least important, but it is as important as every block of narrative in the Ephesian letter. Imagine a stack of books that are kept standing because of  a pair of bookends, Eph. 6:10-20 is one of these ‘bookends’ that supports the entire epistle because:

  • It frames the teaching of a new life beginning in Eph. 4:17 where Paul exhorts the believers to not live like Gentiles who live in darkness. Every facet of life must display the new life in Christ. And after this Paul reminds the believers again that the forces of darkness would wage war against them (Eph. 6:12).  It is interesting to note here that Paul does not refer to them as Gentiles anymore but keeps his consistent reference to them as saints belonging to the household of God (Eph. 2:19-20).
  • It complements the prayer began by Paul in Eph. 1:15 -23.  He begins praying for them and then he enjoins them to pray in the Spirit for the saints and for him. Prayer takes a front seat in the Christian’s life, presenting himself dependent on God in every way for everything, from the understanding of the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ received by faith and the fruit-bearing life resulting from it, from orthodoxy (manner of understanding) to orthopraxy (manner of life).
  • It brings out some of the spiritual gifts that God has blessed us in His Son in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3). Blessings that are freely given to us – the power and might of the Lord, the full armor of God, and Holy Spirit-led and empowered prayer – in order to stand against the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly realms that will wage war against us (Eph 6:12).

Despite Paul’s calling as an apostles coming directly from the Lord, he did not elevate himself over the Ephesian believers. He called them brethren.  The ESV did not write the word ‘brethren’  but the Greek New Testament writes adelphoi which means brethren. But adelphoi presents a deeply rooted brotherhood that is born of God in His beloved Son. Reading Eph 1:1-2 may seem to place Paul and the believers in separate levels, but as soon as verse 3 comes in, both he and the believers have been blessed by God jointly. He made sure to inform them that together, they will be engaged in the same spiritual war and he entreats them to remember that they have the same source of their power – the Lord. Jesus clearly speaks when He said to the apostles, ‘Apart from Me, you can do nothing’ (John 15:5) – yes, even in spiritual warfare.  As it is true for the apostles, so it is true for all believers – apart from our Lord Jesus, we all can do nothing!

Part 3 – Our Lord of Power and Might              https://emmaustrekker.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/panoply-series-part-3-our-lord-of-power-and-might/

Previous: Part 1 – Two Kingdoms at War   https://emmaustrekker.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/panoply-series-part-1/

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And behold, I am always with you, to the end of the age – Matthew 28:20

After the Lord declared His authority and commissioned the disciples to spread the good news, teaching those who will believe the Gospel everything that Jesus said and did, it was about the time that He will ascend to His rightful place and be seated at the right hand of God. The disciples would undoubtedly need comfort and these last words of the Lord was the coup de grace of all comforts: “I am always with you…”

Not only were these words of comfort to those who are being left behind for a while but also a source of strength as these disciples will face the world to preach the Gospel. Their account in the book of Acts testify to this fact. But allow me to take this verse to its personal level, not only for myself but for every Christian as well. I will remain in the purpose of the Scriptures: that we may know Him.

Like the early disciples, we face a world that is too pre-occupied with its own business – for various reasons; work, family, friends, leisure.  Every person is at the same time interacting somehow with each other, some for a while, some for long periods of time.  But if there is one thing about this fallen world to realize is that no one is, nor will be a constant companion. People leave, some relocate, some fall away from friendship, some become indifferent, everyone will die sooner or later. And that leaves us alone…but not so for a Christian. By “Christian” I do not mean the nominal kind who attends a local church congregation but rather one who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and who has a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, in love with Scriptures and whatever is righteous according to it, hates sin, loves the believers, preaches the Gospel to whoever may cross his path as God enables him, and by grace is separated from the way of the fallen world – this person may fall into sin, but he runs in repentance towards the Lord for forgiveness and trusts in the security of salvation that Jesus paid for with His life.

Yes, the Christian disciple is also busy, but like everybody else, there comes an occassion that he is left alone with none to interact with…yes, I have known times like this. Times when I had so much to say about the Lord to someone, both believers and unbelievers, but there’s none who simply has the moment to listen because they have other things to do.  At the ebb of this longing, I find my greatest comfort…Jesus Christ.  He is always with me according to His promise. And His last words recorded by Matthew was brought to my remembrance, to which I found my comfort – a joyful comfort.

So to the Christian I share this encouragement and may the Lord bless you with the same desire to get back to His word with which God communicates with us and through prayer, by which we communicate with Him.

To the one who has not repented and believed in Jesus the Son of God, what awaits him is an eternity of being alone in an inexpressible torment in the fiery furnace away forever from the love of God through His Son.  The wrath of God is upon all men and only Jesus has propitiated for this by dying and shedding His blood on the cross at Calvary.  Only in Him can men be forgiven and reconciled to God. And when you have repented of your sin and believed in the grace and forgiveness of God through Jesus, that is just the beginning of the eternal comforts and companionship of Him who is forever praised both now and forever more. Amen.

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PRAYER OF A MINOR PROPHET

(the covenant and prayer of a preacher)

 A. W. Tozer

 

 

 

This is the prayer of a man called to be a witness to the nations. This is what he said to his Lord on the day of his ordination. After the elders and ministers had prayed and laid their hands on him he withdrew to meet his Savior in the secret place and in the silence, farther in than his well-meaning brethren could take him.

And he said: O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God, as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant. My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, “I knew thee – I ordained thee – I sanctified thee,” and Thou hast also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.

Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils, which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should become a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen. AMEN.

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