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The Unforgivable Sin, P.2.

Hello again!

(Though I have talked on this topic before in a previous post, I believe that particular post was rather confusing. Thus in this post, I aim to make what I was attempting to say rather more clear.) This is what God gave me today in His word:

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:10)

The person who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. That’s a pretty scary thought, as it seems to imply that if we “blaspheme the Holy Spirit”, it won’t matter whether we were formerly saved or not, we will not be forgiven. And it is true, that this one sin will not be atoned for, even by Jesus’ blood… But, let’s take a closer look at what exactly the unforgivable sin is.

What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? Well, first we need to understand what it means to “blaspheme.” Blasphemy is the act of reviling, or execrating God. (Now, remember the Trinity here; three different parts, or personalities, of the one God.) But how would this reviling take place with the Holy Spirit? Well in order to understand, we now also need to have a correct of what the Holy Spirit’s reason for coming to Earth is: to lead us to Jesus and His death for us, and then later, to give us various gift/s that God has apportioned for us. Thus, to revile the Holy Spirit, would mean to ignoreor even try to hinder, the work of the Holy Spirit.–i.e. To bring us to our knees before the cross.

So then, there is only one sin which will never be forgiven, and that is the sin of never coming to Christ. All sins are forgiven us when we come before the cross, but we will never be forgiven if we never come.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Unclean Spirits

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)

We’re given an example here. An example, which we most all take care doesn’t end up happening to us. See, the person described here didn’t do anything “wrong”, per se. The unclean spirit left, and so the person described here got there act together.-They cleaned up their life, and put everything in order. But the “house”, is still empty. The person cleaned things up, but didn’t do anything to prevent them-self from being taken right back in by the unclean spirit. And so, when the “unclean spirit” comes back, it brings with it seven others.

But what could this person have possibly done differently? After all, the person seems to have done everything right: he stopped sinning in that particular area, got things together, and seems to be doing pretty okay… The only problem is, he left the door open. You can never leave the door open, and expect “unclean spirits” to simply pass it by. There are two things that this person should’ve done, and which we should do:

  1. The person should have closed the door! By “close the door,” I mean that s/he should have cut of their access to the sin in question, and in doing so, the person would have also cut off the demon’s ability to get back in.
  2. The person should have filled their house. By this, I mean they should have replaced the unclean Spirit with Jesus. It’s impossible for temptation to go where Jesus already is.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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Zealots and Lessons

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'” Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. (Matthew 3:1-4)

“Repent! For the kingdom of God is near!” zealot-preachers, are a dime a dozen (at least, now they are. Perhaps there were a couple of these “end of the World” preachers back in those days too.). Loonies living in the desert and eating locusts for religious reasons? Also quite common. So what separates this guy? What makes John special enough to earn him a mention in the Bible? (Aside from the fact that he’s fulfilling the prophecy made about him). And, perhaps more importantly, why should any of this even matter to us?

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)

John is in the Bible to teach us several important lessons. The two we see here, are that:

  1. We should know our place compared to God’s. John says that he isn’t even worthy of trying Christ’s sandals, and he was right. We, who are now sons of God, are somewhat different. But, being that as it is, the fear of God is still the beginning of wisdom.
  2. That we shouldn’t be afraid of persecution or taunting. That being said, we shouldn’t take our attire, or our meal choices, from John. The point, being that we shouldn’t be afraid of other people’s opinions of us, so long as those opinions derive from our being Christian. We should be some-what concerned if people consider us prideful, or arrogant (and we should be very worried if those things are actually true).

Christ did both of these things: He, when He came to Earth and became a man, recognized His place before God [Philippians 2:6-7], and He was the exact opposite of being afraid of persecution or taunting. We see Him doing these two things most clearly, on the cross. Where, though He was being both taunted and was enduring the ultimate in persecution, He forgave His tormentors. And where we see Him submitting to God – recognizing His own fully human and fully God state, to be both inferior and equal with God. Thus we see Him submitting to death, and at the same time over-coming the sin of the entire World.

The point being this: John tells us to

  1. Now our place. And,
  2. Not fear man, but to fear God.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Acceptable Worship

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:26-29)

We should indeed be thankful that we have an unshakable kingdom. – After all, Christ gave His life up as a sacrifice, so that we could have that kingdom (along with many other things). However, the bit after ‘let’s be thankful’ may seem a little confusing. “Let us offer to God acceptable worship”. At first glance, it’s really quite straightforward: we’re to offer up acceptable worship to God. Not much to it. Yet, we must ask, what is acceptable? What is the distinguishing mark between unacceptable, and acceptable worship? Is not all worship, worship? And as such, acceptable in any and every form which it comes in?

God doesn’t want just any kind of worship. He doesn’t want pagan forms of worship, in which He is put level with all the fake “gods”. He doesn’t want false worship, which is not worship at all. No, He wants worship which He can delight in; which He finds acceptable. So, again, what is acceptable?

Well, we know for a fact that Christ offered acceptable worship when He was crucified. – Jesus’ crucifixion was an act of worship, because there has never been, nor ever will be, a time which brought more glory to God. And bringing glory to God, is pretty much what worship is. – Otherwise God would’ve never raised Him from the dead. So let’s look to Him for an example. There are a couple of specific points about Christ’s worship to focus on:

  1. His act of worship involved sacrifice. Jesus’ type of sacrifice only had to be made once, and could only be made by Him. Thus, our sacrifices are on a far less dramatic scale. An acceptable act of worship now, would involve “sacrificing” time, money, or energy.
  2. His act of worship served others. As with His sacrifice, Jesus’ act of worship at the cross only needed to be made, and could only do what it did, one time. Thus, anything we do to serve others, can at most, involve Earthly things. Unlike Christ, who served others by giving up His very Spirit. But we are still to serve others, in whatever way which God calls us to.
  3. His act of worship spread the Gospel. Granted, Jesus’ act of worship was the Gospel, but, in that, it was also the greatest spreader of it. That aside though, any acceptable act of worship, spreads that which saves, and gives glory to God: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So then, the point is this: we are commanded to offer acceptable worship. Acceptable worship, is not comfortable worship (which is unacceptable). God wants us to grow up into Christ [Ephesians 4:15], and one way which we do that, is by offering worship like Christ’s. – Sacrificial service which spreads the Gospel (along with, no doubt, many other attributes).

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Taking the Hint

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

We’re able to see several things here which Christ is connected with: peace, grace, hope, and the ability to rejoice in times of trial. Also, the Holy Spirit, who came as a direct result of Christ’s leaving, gives us peace, love, joy, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see: Galatians 5:22-23). So, in some way or another, we are able to connect our ability to be good, to be kind, or faithful, or have peace, to Christ. Alright, but, to be frank, so what?

Let me answer that with another (couple) of question(s): how often have we truly returned evil with good? How often have we given to what someone else wants, rather than press our own wants and desires? How often, to put it terms we can probably all relate to, have we passed the TV remote on to someone else? I’d wager not very often. But, why is that?

Because those were moments when we drew a little ways away from Christ, which actually answers the original question: why does Christ’s ability to give us all His attributes matter? Because they affect our day-to-day life. When we draw away from Him, our lives start reflecting more of us, and less of Him. Christ both can and will give us patience, the ability to love, have kindness, not to mention the ability to pass on the remote, and many other things as well. We only have to do two things:

  1. We must be close to Christ. Think of Christ as a proverbial fountain of perfection. You can’t very well drink out of a fountain when you’re ten feet away from it, now can you?
  2. We must ask.

Christ, from the moment He comes into our lives, changes them radically. There’s no doubt about that whatsoever. But even after that, Christians still argue, and get angry at one another. So to avoid that happening, Christ gives us peace, but only when we ask for peace. Christ will make circumstances virtually force us to ask Him, He’ll even put the desire for us to ask within us, but won’t, strictly speaking, force us to ask for anything. It’s our job to take the hint.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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The Sermon Today

Hello again!

Today the pastor preached on Ephesians 5:8-20. His topic was wisdom, and he had three points:

  1. Wisdom makes us lives wisely.
  2. Wisdom makes us redeem the time.
  3. Wisdom makes us listen to the Holy Spirit.

When he talked about living wisely, he said that living wisely meant to live for Christ; it meant to, “let your light shine.”, as he put it.

Then when he talked about redeeming the time, he reminded us that we all, “have a number”; our age. And that number, “isn’t getting any smaller.” At this point, he started preaching a little more evangelistically, saying “Your time is running out, so if you have not yet come to Christ, now is the time to do so! You may never get another chance. Now you may say, ‘Pastor, are you trying to scare me?’, well if I scare right out of Hell, yes I am.”

Then he finished up with the third point: wisdom makes us listen to the Holy Spirit. He finished up by saying, “The Holy Spirit is searching, he’s going pew to pew, and He’s calling to you. So you can either come forward to the altar now, or you squash the voice of the Holy Spirit, and leave.”

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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The Need of Conviction

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:7-11)

Jesus shows us three convictions that the Holy Spirit would give people: the conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: the conviction of sin, because they don’t believe in Jesus, and thus are still living in their sin. The conviction of righteousness, because Jesus, the righteousness of the World, without whom no one can be righteous, would be leaving. And finally, the conviction of judgment, because the Devil (who is the ruler of the Earth) would be judged. – Alright, pretty simple. Not too hard to understand. So here’s the question: why is it we seem to have forgotten about conviction?

To clarify: why is it the sermons we hear lack any conviction? Why is it we live nice, little, un-convicted lives? Why have our pastors become false prophets, who tell us only what we want to here? Why is our conscience being soothed with lies? Alright, this doesn’t happen everywhere, its true. But there can be no denying that the majority tends to lean towards the soothing, and the comforting, rather than the convicting.  Comfort or conviction, that is the question. The Holy Spirit or lies. Happy un-believers or convicted believers.

The Holy Spirit is in conviction, there’s no doubt about that. In fact, it’s His (the Holy Spirit’s) main goal to cause conviction in people (yes, He also had other goals, such as empowering people to do miraculous works, etc.). Unless the parent steps in, a tells the kid that something their doing is wrong (convicts them of their ‘sin’), the kid will likely continue to do whatever it is their not supposed to do. It’s not much different when it comes to Spiritual children and Spiritual adults. – Think of a child sticking its hand into fire. If it doesn’t feel the pain from being burned, it will continue sticking it’s hand in the flame. Conviction is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to prevent further damage.

So then, are we going to a comfort Church? Are we going to the Church of Comfort, or are we going to an actual Church; conviction and all?

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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My Review on Spurgeon’s Sermon

Hello again!

Recently my dad has requested that my brother, Daniel, and I start reading one of Spurgeon’s sermons every week, and writing a one page review on it; in this case, he’s also suggested that I make my review a post… Thus this post.

First I’ll put the sermon, then my review:

Spurgeon’s Sermon:

This do in remembrance of me. – 1 Corinthians 11:24

It seems, then, that Christians may forget Christ. The text implies the possibility of forgetfulness concerning him whom gratitude and affection should constrain them to remember. There could be no need for this loving exhortation, if there were not a fearful supposition that our memories might prove treacherous, and our remembrance superficial in its character, or changing in its nature. Nor is this a bare supposition: it is, alas, too well confirmed in our experience, not as a possibility, but as a lamentable fact. It seems at first sight too gross a crime to lay at the door of converted men. It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb should ever forget their Ransomer; that those who have been loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God, should ever forget that Son; but if startling to the ear, it is alas, too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the fact. Forget him who ne’er forgot us! Forget him who poured his blood forth for our sins! Forget him who loved us even to the death! Can it be possible? Yes it is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault of all of us, that we can remember anything except Christ. The object which we should make the monarch of our hearts, is the very thing we are most inclined to forget. Where one would think that memory would linger, and unmindfulness would be an unknown intruder, that is the spot which is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness, and that the place where memory too seldom looks. I appeal to the conscience of every Christian here: Can you deny the truth of what I utter? Do you not find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some creature steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of him upon whom your affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention when you should have your eye steadily fixed upon the cross. It is the incessant round of world, world, world; the constant din of earth, earth, earth, that takes away the soul from Christ. Oh! my friends, is it not too sadly true that we can recollect anything but Christ, and forget nothing so easy as him whom we ought to remember? While memory will preserve a poisoned weed, it suffereth the Rose of Sharon to wither.

The cause of this is very apparent: it lies in one or two facts. We forget Christ, because regenerate persons as we really are, still corruption and death remain even in the regenerate. We forget him because we carry about with us the old Adam of sin and death. If we were purely new-born creatures, we should never forget the name of him whom we love. If we were entirely regenerated beings, we should sit down and meditate on all our Saviour did and suffered; all he is; all he has gloriously promised to perform; and never would our roving affections stray; but centered, nailed, fixed eternally to one object, we should continually contemplate the death and sufferings of our Lord. But alas! we have a worm in the heart, a pest-house, a charnel-house within, lusts, vile imaginations, and strong evil passions, which, like wells of poisonous water, send out continually streams of impurity. I have a heart, which God knoweth, I wish I could wring from my body and hurl to an infinite distance; a soul which is a cage of unclean birds, a den of loathsome creatures, where dragons haunt and owls do congregate, where every evil beast of ill-omen dwells; a heart too vile to have a parallel – “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” This is the reason why I am forgetful of Christ. Nor is this the sole cause; I suspect it lies somewhere else too. We forget Christ because there are so many other things around us to attract our attention. “But,” you say, “they ought not to do so, because though they are around us, they are nothing in comparison with Jesus Christ: though they are in dread proximity to our hearts, what are they compared with Christ?” But do you know, dear friends, that the nearness of an object has a very great effect upon its power? The sun is many, many times larger than the moon, but the moon has a greater influence upon the tides of the ocean than the sun, simply because it is nearer, and has a greater power of attraction. So I find that a little crawling worm of the earth has more effect upon my soul than the glorious Christ in heaven; a handful of golden earth, a puff of fame, a shout of applause, a thriving business, my house, my home, will affect me more than all the glories of the upper world; yea, than the beatific vision itself: simply because earth is near, and heaven is far away. Happy day, when I shall be borne aloft on angels’ wings to dwell for ever near my Lord, to bask in the sunshine of his smile, and to be lost in the ineffable radiance of his lovely countenance. We see then the cause of forgetfulness; let us blush over it; let us be sad that we neglect our Lord so much, and now let us attend to his word, “This do in remembrance of me,” hoping that its solemn sounds may charm away the demon of base ingratitude.

We shall speak, first of all, concerning the blessed object of memory; secondly, upon the advantages to be derived from remembering this Person; thirdly, the gracious help, to our memory – “This do in remembrance of me;” and fourthly, the gentle command, ” This do in remembrance of me.” May the Holy Ghost open my lips and your hearts, that we may receive blessings.

I. First of all, we shall speak of THE GLORIOUS AND PRECIOUS OBJECT OF MEMORY – “This do in remembrance of ME.” Christians have many treasures to lock up in the cabinet of memory. They ought to remember their election – “Chosen of God ere time began.” They ought to be mindful of their extraction, that they were taken out of the miry clay, hewn out of the horrible pit. They ought to recollect their effectual calling, for they were called of God, and rescued by the power of the Holy Ghost. They ought to remember their special deliverances – all that has been done for them, and all the mercies bestowed on them. But there is one whom they should embalm in their souls with the most costly spices – one who, above all other gifts of God, deserves to be had in perpetual remembrance. One I said, for I mean not an act, I mean not a deed; but it is a Person whose portrait I would frame in gold, and hang up in the state-room of the soul. I would have you earnest students of all the deeds of the conquering Messiah. I would have you conversant with the life of our Beloved. But O forget not his person; for the text says, “This do in remembrance of me.” It is Christ’s glorious person which ought to be the object of our remembrance. It is his image which should be enshrined in every temple of the Holy Ghost.

But some will say, “How can we remember Christ’s person, when we never saw it? We cannot tell what was the peculiar form of his visage; we believe his countenance to be fairer than that of any other man – although through grief and suffering more marred – but since we did not see it, we cannot remember it. We never saw his feet as they trod the journeys of his mercy; we never beheld his hands as he stretched them out full of lovingkindness; we cannot remember the wondrous intonation of his language, when in more than seraphic eloquence, he awed the multitude, and chained their ears to him; we cannot picture the sweet smile that ever hung on his lips, nor that awful frown with which he dealt out anathemas against the Pharisees; we cannot remember him in his sufferings and agonies, for we never saw him.” Well, beloved, I suppose it is true that you cannot remember the visible appearance, for you were not then born; but do you not know that even the apostle said, though he had known Christ after the flesh, yet, thenceforth after the flesh he would know Christ no more. The natural appearance, the race, the descent, the poverty, the humble garb, were nothing in the apostle’s estimation of his glorified Lord. And thus, though you do not know him after the flesh, you may know him after the spirit; in this manner you can remember Jesus as much now as Peter, or Paul, or John, or James, or any of those favoured ones who once trod in his footsteps, walked side by side with him, or laid their heads upon his bosom. Memory annihilates distance and over leapeth time, and can behold the Lord, though he be exalted in glory.

Ah! let us spend five minutes in remembering Jesus. Let us remember him in his baptism, when descending into the waters of Jordan, a voice was heard, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Behold him coming up dripping from the stream! Surely the conscious water must have blushed that it contained its God. He slept within its waves a moment, to consecrate the tomb of baptism, in which those who are dead with Christ are buried with him. Let us remember him in the wilderness, whither he went straight from his immersion. Oh! I have often thought of that scene in the desert, when Christ, weary and way-worn, sat him down, perhaps upon the gnarled roots of some old tree. Forty days that he fasted, he was an hungered, when in the extremity of his weakness there came the evil spirit. Perhaps he had veiled his demon royalty in the form of some aged pilgrim, and taking up a stone, said, “Way-worn pilgrim, if thou be the Son of God command this stone to be made bread.” Methinks I see him, with his cunning smile, and his malicious leer, as he held the stone, and said, “If,” – blasphemous if, – “If thou be the Son of God, command that this stone shall become a meal for me and thee, for both of us are hungry, and it will be an act of mercy; thou canst do it easily; speak the word, and it shall be like the bread of heaven; we will feed upon it, and thou and I will be friends for ever.” But Jesus said – and O how sweetly did he say it – “Man shall not live by bread alone.” Oh! how wonderfully did Christ fight the tempter! Never was there such a battle as that. It was a duel foot to foot – a single-handed combat – when the champion lion of the pit, and the mighty lion of the tribe of Judah, fought together. Splendid sight! Angels stood around to gaze upon the spectacle, just as men of old did sit to see the tournament of noted warriors. There Satan gathered up his strength; here Apollyon concentrated all his satanic power, that in this giant wrestle he might overthrow the seed of the woman. But Jesus was more than a match for him; in the wrestling he gave him a deadly fall, and came off more than a conqueror. Lamb of God! I will remember thy desert strivings, when next I combat with Satan. When next I have a conflict with roaring Diabolus, I will look to him who conquered once for all, and broke the dragon’s head with his mighty blows.

Further, I beseech you remember him in all his daily temptations and hourly trials, in that life-long struggle of his, through which he passed. Oh! what a mighty tragedy was the death of Christ! and his life too? Ushered in with a song, it closed with a shriek. “It is finished.” It began in a manger, and ended on a cross; but oh, the sad interval between! Oh! the black pictures of persecution, when his friends abhorred him; when his foes frowned at him as he passed the streets; when he heard the hiss of calumny, and was bitten by the foul tooth of envy; when slander said he had a devil and was mad: that he was a drunken man and a wine-bibber; and when his righteous soul was vexed with the ways of the wicked. Oh! Son of God, I must remember thee; I cannot help remembering thee, when I think of those years of toil and trouble which thou didst live for my sake. But you know my chosen theme – the place where I can always best remember Christ. It is a shady garden full of olives. O that spot! I would that I had eloquence, that I might take you there. Oh! if the Spirit would but take us, and set us down hard by the mountains of Jerusalem, I would say, see there runs the brook of Kedron, which the king himself did pass; and there you see the olive trees. Possibly, at the foot of that olive, lay the three disciples when they slept; and there, ah! there, I see drops of blood. Stand here, my soul, a moment; those drops of blood – dost thou behold them? Mark them; they are not the blood of wounds; they are the blood of a man whose body was then unwounded. O my soul picture him when he knelt down in agony and sweat, – sweat, because he wrestled with God, – sweat, because he agonized with his Father. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” O Gethsemane! thy shades are deeply solemn to my soul. But ah! those drops of blood! Surely it is the climax of the height of misery; it is the last of the mighty acts of this wondrous sacrifice. Can love go deeper than that? Can it stoop to greater deeds of mercy? Oh! had I eloquence, I would bestow a tongue on every drop of blood that is there; that your hearts might rise in mutiny against your languor and coldness, and speak out with earnest burning remembrance of Jesus. And now, farewell, Gethsemane.

But I will take you somewhere else, where you shall still behold the “Man of Sorrows.” I will lead you to Pilate’s hall, and let you see him endure the mockeries of cruel soldiers: the smitings of mailed gloves; the blows of clenched fists; the shame; the spitting, the plucking of the hair: the cruel buffetings. Oh! can you not picture the King of Martyrs, stript of his garments; exposed to the gaze of fiend-like men? See you not the crown about his temples, each thorn acting as a lancet to pierce his head? Mark you not his lacerated shoulders, and the white bones starting out from the bleeding flesh? Oh, Son of Man! I see thee scourged and flagellated with rods and whips, how can I henceforward cease to remember thee? My memory would be more treacherous than Pilate, did it not every cry, Ecce Homo, – “Behold the man.”

Now, finish the scene of woe by a view of Calvary. Think of the pierced hands and the bleeding side; think of the scorching sun, and then the entire darkness; remember the broiling fever and the dread thirst; think of the death shriek, “It is finished!” and of the groans which were its prelude. This is the object of memory. Let us never forget Christ. I beseech you, for the love of Jesus, let him have the chief place in your memories. Let not the pearl of great price be dropped from your careless hand into the dark ocean of oblivion.

I cannot, however, help saying one thing before I leave this head: and that is, there are some of you who can very well carry away what I have said, because you have read it often, and heard it before; but still you cannot spiritually remember anything about Christ, because you never had him manifested to you, and what we have never known, we cannot remember. Thanks be unto God, I speak not of you all, for in this place there is a goodly remnant according to the election of grace, and to them I turn. Perhaps I could tell you of some old barn, hedge-row, or cottage; or if you have lived in London, about some garret, or some dark lane or street, where first you met with Christ; or some chapel into which you strayed, and you might say, “Thank God, I can remember the seat where first he met with me, and spoke the whispers of love to my soul, and told me he had purchased me.”

“Dost mind the place, the spot of ground,
Where Jesus did thee meet?”

Yes, and I would love to build a temple on the spot, and to raise some monument there, where Jehovah-Jesus first spoke to my soul, and manifested himself to me. But he has revealed himself to you more than once – has he not? And you can remember scores of places where the Lord hath appeared of old unto you, saying, “Behold I have loved you with an everlasting love.” If you cannot all remember such things, there are some of you that can; and I am sure they will understand me when I say, come and do this in remembrance of Christ – in remembrance of all his loving visitations, of his sweet wooing words, of his winning smiles upon you, of all he has said and communicated to your souls. Remember all these things tonight, if it be possible for memory to gather up the mighty aggregate of grace. “Bless the Lord. O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

II. Having spoken upon the blessed object of our memory, we say, secondly, a little upon THE BENEFITS TO BE DERIVED FROM A LOVING REMEMBRANCE OF CHRIST.

Love never says, “Cui bono?” Love never asks what benefit it will derive from love. Love from its very nature is a disinterested thing. It loves; for the creature’s sake it loves, and for nothing else. The Christian needs no argument to make him love Christ; just as a mother needs no argument to make her love her child. She does it because it is her nature to do so. The new-born creature must love Christ, it cannot help it. Oh! who can resist the matchless charms of Jesus Christ? – the fairest of ten thousand fairs, the loveliest of ten thousand loves. Who can refuse to adore the prince of perfection, the mirror of beauty, the majestic Son of God? But yet it may be useful to us to observe the advantages of remembering Christ, for they are neither few nor small.

And first, remembrance of Jesus will tend to give you hope when you are under the burden of your sins. Notice a few characters here tonight. There comes in a poor creature. Look at him! He has neglected himself this last month; he looks as if he had hardly eaten his daily bread. What is the matter with you? “Oh!” says he, “I have been under a sense of guilt; I have been again and again lamenting, because I fear I can never be forgiven; once I thought I was good, but I have been reading the Bible, and I find that my heart is ‘deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;’ I have tried to reform, but the more I try, the deeper I sink in the mire, there is certainly no hope for me. I feel that I deserve no mercy; it seems to me that God must destroy me, for he has declared, ‘The soul that sinneth it shall die;’ and die I must, be damned I must, for I know I have broken God’s law.” How will you comfort such a man? What soft words will you utter to give him peace? I know! I will tell thee that there is one, who for thee hath made a complete atonement; if thou only believest on him thou art safe for ever. Remember him, thou poor dying, hopeless creature, and thou shalt be made to sing for joy and gladness. See, the man believes, and in ecstasy exclaims, “Oh! come all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul.”

“Tell it unto sinners, tell,
I am, I am out of hell.”

Hallelujah! God hath blotted out my sins like a thick cloud! That is one benefit to be derived from remembering Christ. It gives us hope under a sense of sin, and tells us there is mercy yet.

Now, I must have another character. And what does he say? “I cannot stand it any longer; I have been persecuted and ill-treated, because I love Christ; I am mocked, and laughed at, and despised: I try to bear it, but I really cannot. A man will be a man; tread upon a worm and he will turn upon you; my patience altogether fails me; I am in such a peculiar position that it is of no use to advise me to have patience, for patience I cannot have; my enemies are slandering me, and I do not know what to do.” What shall we say to that poor man? How shall we give him patience? What shall we preach to him? You have heard what he has to say about himself. How shall we comfort him under this great trial? If we suffered the same, what should we wish some friend to say to us? Shall we tell him that other persons have borne as much? He will say, “Miserable comforters are ye all!” No, I will tell him, “Brother, you are persecuted; but remember the words of Jesus Christ, how he spake unto us, and said, ‘Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.” My brother! think of him, who, when he died, prayed for his murderers, and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” All you have to bear, is as nothing compared with his mighty sufferings. Take courage; face it again like a man; never say die. Let not your patience be gone; take up your cross daily, and follow Christ. Let him be your motto; set him before your eyes. And, now, receiving this, hear what the man will say. He tells you at once – “Hail, persecution; welcome shame. Disgrace for Jesus shall be my honor, and scorn shall be my highest glory.

“‘Now, for the love I bear his name,
What was my gain I count my loss,
I pour contempt on all my shame,
And nail my glory to his cross.'”

There is another effect, you see, to remembering Christ. It tends to give us patience under persecution. It is a girdle to brace up the loins, so that our faith may endure to the end.

Dear friends, I should occupy your time too much if I went into the several benefits; so I will only just run over one or two blessings to be received. It will give us strength in temptation. I believe that there are hours with every man, when he has a season of terrific temptation. There was never a vessel that lived upon the mighty deep but sometimes it had to do battle with a storm. There she is, the poor barque, rocked up and down on the mad waves. See how they throw her from wave to wave, and toss her to mid heaven. The winds laugh her to scorn. Old Ocean takes the ship in his dripping fingers, and shakes it to and fro. How the mariners cry out for fear! Do you know how you can put oil upon the waters, and all shall be still? Yes. One potent word shall do it. Let Jesus come; let the poor heart remember Jesus, and steadily then the ship shall sail, for Christ has the helm. The winds shall blow no more, for Christ shall bid them shut their mighty mouths, and never again disturb his child. There is nothing which can give you strength in temptation, and help you to weather the storm, like the name of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. Then again, what comfort it will give you on a sick bed – the name of Christ! It will help you to be patient to those who wait upon you, and to endure the sufferings which you have to bear; yea, it shall be so with you, that you shall have more hope in sickness than in health, and shall find a blessed sweetness in the bitterness of gall. Instead of feeling vinegar in your mouth, through your trouble, you shall find honey for sweetness, in the midst of all the trial and trouble that God will put upon you, “For he giveth songs in the night.”

But just to close up the advantages of remembering Christ, do you know where you will have the benefit most of all? Do you know the place where chiefly you will rejoice that you ever thought of him? I will take you to it. Hush! Silence! You are going up stairs into a lonely room. The curtains hang down. Some one stands there weeping. Children are around the bed, and friends are there. See that man lying? That is yourself. Look at him; his eyes are your eyes; his hands are your hands. That is yourself. You will be there soon. Man! that is yourself. Do you see it? It is a picture of yourself. Those are your eyes that soon will be closed in death – your hands, that will lie stiff and motionless – your lips that will be dry and parched, between which they will put drops of water. Those are your words that freeze in air, and drop so slowly from your dying lips. I wonder whether you will be able to remember Christ there. If you do not, I will picture you. Behold that man, straight up in the bed; see his eyes starting from their sockets. His friends are all alarmed; they ask him what he sees. He represses the emotion; he tells them he sees nothing. They know that there is something before his eyes. He starts again. Good God! what is that I see – I seem to see? What is it? Ah! one sigh! The soul is gone. The body is there. What did he see? He saw a flaming throne of judgment; he saw God upon it, with his sceptre; he saw books opened; he beheld the throne of God, and saw a messenger, with a sword brandished in the air to smite him low. Man! that is thyself; there thou wilt be soon. That picture is thine own portrait. I have photographed thee to the life. Look at it. That is where thou shalt be within a few years – ay, within a few days. But if thou canst remember Christ, shall I tell thee what thou wilt do? Oh! thou wilt smile in the midst of trouble. Let me picture such a man. They put pillows behind him; he sits up in bed, and takes the hand of the loved one, and says, “Farewell! weep not for me; the kind God shall wipe away all tears from every eye.” Those round about are addressed, “Prepare to meet your God, and follow me to the land of bliss.” Now he has set his house in order. All is done. Behold him, like good old Jacob, leaning on his staff, about to die. See how his eyes sparkle; he claps his hands; they gather round to hear what he has to say; he whispers “Victory!” and summoning a little more strength, he cries, “Victory!” and at last, with his final gasp, “Victory, through him that loved us!” and he dies. This is one of the great benefits to be derived from remembering Christ – to be enabled to meet death with blessed composure.

III. We are now arrived at the third portion of our meditation, which is a SWEET AID TO MEMORY.

At schools we used certain books, called “Aids to Memory.” I am sure they rather perplexed than assisted me. Their utility was equivalent to that of a bundle of staves under a traveller’s arm: true he might use them one by one to walk with, but in the mean time he carried a host of others which he would never need. But our Saviour was wiser than all our teachers, and his remembrances are true and real aids to memory. His love tokens have an unmistakeable language, and they sweetly win our attention.

Behold the whole mystery of the sacred Eucharist. It is bread and wine which are lively emblems of the body and blood of Jesus. The power to excite remembrance consists in the appeal thus made to the senses. Here the eye, the hand, the mouth, find joyful work. The bread is tasted, and entering within, works upon the sense of taste, which is one of the most powerful. The wine is sipped – the act is palpable. We know that we are drinking, and thus the senses, which are usually clogs to the soul, become wings to lift the mind in contemplation. Again, much of the influence of this ordinance is found in its simplicity. How beautifully simple the ceremony is – bread broken and wine poured out. There is no calling that thing a chalice, that thing a paten, and that a host. Here is nothing to burden the memory – here is the simple bread and wine. He must have no memory at all who cannot remember that he has eaten bread, and that he has been drinking wine. Note again, the mighty pregnancy of these signs – how full they are of meaning. Bread broken – so was your Saviour broken. Bread to be eaten – so his flesh is meat indeed. Wine poured out, the pressed juice of the grape – so was your Saviour crushed under the foot of divine justice: his blood is your sweetest wine. Wine to cheer your heart – so does the blood of Jesus. Wine to strengthen and invigorate you – so does the blood of the mighty sacrifice. Oh! make that bread and wine to your souls tonight a sweet and blessed help of remembrance of that dear Man who once on Calvary died. Like the little ewe lamb, you are now to eat your Master’s bread and drink from his cup. Remember the hand which feeds you.

But before you can remember Christ well here, you must ask the assistance of the Holy Spirit. I believe there ought to be a preparation before the Lord’s Supper. I do not believe in Mrs. Toogood’s preparation, who spent a week in preparing, and then finding it was not the Ordinance Sunday, she said she had lost all the week. I do not believe in that kind of preparation, but I do believe in a holy preparation for the Lord’s Supper: when we can on a Saturday if possible, spend an hour in quiet meditation on Christ, and the passion of Jesus; when, especially on the Sabbath afternoon, we can devoutly sit down and behold him, then these scenes become realities, and not mockeries, as they are to some. I fear greatly that there are some of you who will drink the wine, and not think of his blood: and vile hypocrites you will be while you do it. Take heed to yourselves, “He that eateth and drinketh” unworthily, eateth and drinketh – what? – “damnation to himself.” This is a plain English word; mind what you are doing! Do not do it carelessly; for of all the sacred things on earth, it is the most solemn. We have heard of some men banded together by drawing blood from their arms and drinking it all round; that was most horrid, but at the same time most solemn. Here you are to drink blood from the veins of Christ, and sip the trickling stream which gushed from his own loving heart. Is not that a solemn thing? Ought anybody to trifle with it? To go to church and take it for sixpence? To come and join us for the sake of getting charities? Out upon it! It is an awful blasphemy against Almighty God; and amongst the damned in hell, those shall be among the most accursed who dared thus to mock the holy ordinance of God. This is the remembrance of Christ. “This do in remembrance of me.” If you cannot do it in remembrance of Christ, I beseech you, as you love your souls, do not do it at all. Oh! regenerate man or woman, enter not into the court of the priests, lest Israel’s God resent the intrusion.

IV. And now to close up. Here is a sweet command: “This do in remembrance of me.” To whom does this command apply? “This do ye.” It is important to answer this question – “This do ye,” Who are intended? Ye who put your trust in me. “This do ye in remembrance of me.” Well, now, you should suppose Christ speaking to you tonight; and he says, “This do ye in remembrance of me.” Christ watches you at the door. Some of you go home, and Christ says, “I thought I said, ‘This do ye in remembrance of me.'” Some of you keep your seats as spectators. Christ sits with you, and he says, “I thought I said, ‘This do ye in remembrance of me.'” “Lord, I know you did.” “Do you love me then?” “Yes, I love thee; I love, Lord; thou knowest I do.” “But, I say, go down there – eat that bread, drink that wine.” “I do not like to, Lord; I should have to be baptized if I joined that church, and I am afraid I shall catch cold, or be looked at. I am afraid to go before the church, for I think they would ask some questions I could not answer.” “What,” says Christ, “is this all you love me? Is this all your affection to your Lord. Oh! how cold to me, your Saviour. If I had loved you no more than this, you would have been in hell: if that were the full extent of my affection, I should not have died for you. Great love bore great agonies; and is this all your gratitude to me?” Are not some of you ashamed, after this? Do you not say in your hearts, “it is really wrong?” Christ says, “Do this in remembrance of me,” and are you not ashamed to stay away? I give a free invitation to every lover of Jesus to come to this table. I beseech you, deny not yourselves the privilege by refusing to unite with the church. If you still live in sinful neglect of this ordinance, let me remind you that Christ has said, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me in this generation, of him will I be ashamed, when I come in the glory of my Father.” Oh, soldier of the cross, act not the coward’s part!

And not to lead you into any mistakes, I must just add one thing, and then I have done. When I speak of your taking the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, do not imagine that I wish you for one moment to suppose that there is anything saving in it. Some say that the ordinance of baptism is non-essential, so is the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, it is non-essential, if we look upon it in the light of salvation. Be saved by eating a piece of bread! Nonsense, confounded nonsense! Be saved by drinking a drop of wine! Why, it is too absurd for common sense to admit any discussion upon. You know it is the blood of Jesus Christ; it is the merit of his agonies; it is the purchase of his sufferings; it is what he did, that alone can save us. Venture on him; venture wholly, and then you are saved. Hearest thou, poor convinced sinner, the way of salvation? If I ever meet thee in the next world, thou mightest, perhaps, say to me, “I spent one evening, sir, in hearing you, and you never told me the way to heaven.” Well, thou shalt hear it. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, trust in his righteousness, and thou art saved beyond the vengeance of the law, or the power of hell. But trust in thine own works, and thou art lost as sure as thou art alive.

Now, O ever glorious Son of God, we approach thy table to feast on the viands of grace, permit each of us, in reliance upon thy Spirit, to exclaim in the words of one of thine own poets:

“Remember thee, and all thy pains,
And all thy love to me –
Yes, while a pulse or breath remains,
I will remember thee.

And when these failing lips grow dumb,
And thought and memory flee;
When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
Jesus, remember me!”

My Review:

To start out, Spurgeon shows us how it can actually be possible to forget Christ; a Christ who loves us, who died for us, and is even at this moment interceding on our behalves:

“But do you know, dear friends, that the nearness of an object has a very great effect upon its power? The sun is many, many times larger than the moon, but the moon has a greater influence upon the tides of the ocean than the sun, simply because it is nearer, and has a greater power of attraction. So I find that a little crawling worm of the earth has more effect upon my soul than the glorious Christ in heaven; a handful of golden earth, a puff of fame, a shout of applause, a thriving business, my house, my home, will affect me more than all the glories of the upper world; yea, than the beatific vision itself: simply because earth is near, and heaven is far away.”

In essence; Christians forget Christ, because He’s far away… Or, so we think. The reality, of course, is that He’s always near; in fact, His Spirit dwells within us! I’d dare to say it’s hard to get closer than that. However, Jesus Christ Himself is no longer physically on Earth, and thus we forget about Him the moment we find out that we’ve randomly won a million dollars (not that I’ve ever had that happen); something which is really very trivial when compared to discovering that Jesus has chosen to give us Eternal life with Him. In fact, we even forget Him when we stub our toes! We hardly even think of Him in this day and age, except on Sunday’s (if we’re not sleeping through the service, that is), and on the sparse occasion when we actually dare to open our Bibles. All of which, naturally, is why we have communion. All human beings are prone to forgetting their Lord and Saviour, the one who gave up His life for them, and the one who never sleeps, but rather intercedes on their behalves all the time.

Spurgeon then talks about four things:

  1. Who it is we’re remembering: Jesus Christ.
  2. The benefits of remembering Christ.
  3. What we have as an aid to remember Jesus.
  4. To who does the command, “This do in remembrance of me,” apply to?

As for the first thing, Spurgeon says that some may complain, because, after all, they’ve never seen Jesus’ physical appearance before. Spurgeon answers them in this way:

“Well, beloved, I suppose it is true that you cannot remember the visible appearance, for you were not then born; but do you not know that even the apostle said, though he had known Christ after the flesh, yet, thenceforth after the flesh he would know Christ no more. The natural appearance, the race, the descent, the poverty, the humble garb, were nothing in the apostle’s estimation of his glorified Lord. And thus, though you do not know him after the flesh, you may know him after the spirit; in this manner you can remember Jesus as much now as Peter, or Paul, or John, or James, or any of those favoured ones who once trod in his footsteps, walked side by side with him, or laid their heads upon his bosom. Memory annihilates distance and over leapeth time, and can behold the Lord, though he be exalted in glory.”

How Jesus looked, how He sounded, none of that matters! What matters is what He said and taught, not how He did it. So, in remembering Jesus, we are to remember what He said and did. We may as well forget thinking on His appearance.

As for the second point, Spurgeon starts off by saying that we shouldn’t need any benefit if we have love. “The Christian needs no argument to make him love Christ; just as a mother needs no argument to make her love her child.” Yet, despite that, he also says that it is still helpful to look at the benefits of remembering Christ. They are as follows:

  • It gives us hope when we are under the burden of sin to remember Jesus.

“There comes in a poor creature. Look at him! He has neglected himself this last month; he looks as if he had hardly eaten his daily bread. What is the matter with you? “Oh!” says he, “I have been under a sense of guilt; I have been again and again lamenting, because I fear I can never be forgiven; once I thought I was good, but I have been reading the Bible, and I find that my heart is ‘deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;’ I have tried to reform, but the more I try, the deeper I sink in the mire, there is certainly no hope for me. I feel that I deserve no mercy; it seems to me that God must destroy me, for he has declared, ‘The soul that sinneth it shall die;’ and die I must, be damned I must, for I know I have broken God’s law.” How will you comfort such a man? What soft words will you utter to give him peace? I know! I will tell thee that there is one, who for thee hath made a complete atonement; if thou only believest on him thou art safe for ever. Remember him, thou poor dying, hopeless creature, and thou shalt be made to sing for joy and gladness. See, the man believes, and in ecstasy exclaims, “Oh! come all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul.””

  • It gives us patience under persecution.

“I believe that there are hours with every man, when he has a season of terrific temptation. There was never a vessel that lived upon the mighty deep but sometimes it had to do battle with a storm. There she is, the poor barque, rocked up and down on the mad waves. See how they throw her from wave to wave, and toss her to mid heaven. The winds laugh her to scorn. Old Ocean takes the ship in his dripping fingers, and shakes it to and fro. How the mariners cry out for fear! Do you know how you can put oil upon the waters, and all shall be still? Yes. One potent word shall do it. Let Jesus come; let the poor heart remember Jesus, and steadily then the ship shall sail, for Christ has the helm.”

  • It allows us to have peace when we die.

As to the third point, Spurgeon talks about the actual bread and wine. He talks about the simplicity of eating and drinking bread and wine, yet how it signifies so much. This is, naturally, quickly followed by him making sure to remind us that the bread and wine in of themselves cannot save us. However, they’re great “Aids to Memory,” in part, because of their simplicity.

As to the fourth point, Spurgeon gives this answer (remember, the fourth point is the question, “to who is the command, ‘do this in remembrance of me’ intended?”), which, basically, just means that he’s speaking to us today:

“Well, now, you should suppose Christ speaking to you tonight; and he says, “This do ye in remembrance of me.” Christ watches you at the door. Some of you go home, and Christ says, “I thought I said, ‘This do ye in remembrance of me.’” Some of you keep your seats as spectators. Christ sits with you, and he says, “I thought I said, ‘This do ye in remembrance of me.’” “Lord, I know you did.” “Do you love me then?” “Yes, I love thee; I love, Lord; thou knowest I do.” “But, I say, go down there – eat that bread, drink that wine.” “I do not like to, Lord; I should have to be baptized if I joined that church, and I am afraid I shall catch cold, or be looked at. I am afraid to go before the church, for I think they would ask some questions I could not answer.” “What,” says Christ, “is this all you love me? Is this all your affection to your Lord. Oh! how cold to me, your Saviour. If I had loved you no more than this, you would have been in hell: if that were the full extent of my affection, I should not have died for you. Great love bore great agonies; and is this all your gratitude to me?” Are not some of you ashamed, after this? Do you not say in your hearts, “it is really wrong?” Christ says, “Do this in remembrance of me,””

 You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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A Look into Spiritual Gifts

Hello again!

This is what God has given me today in His word:

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)

In everything, God is sovereign. This is also true when it comes to Spiritual gifts; even if it seems we don’t have any, we do. It’s just that our gifts are all different, as Paul said above, to some are given wisdom, to some the utterance of knowledge, etc.. Paul also points out that no matter how small the gift we have is, we still have one. As compared to an unbelievers, who is unable to help build up, but only tear down: that’s another thing that separates the believer from the unbeliever. Where one is (supposed to be) building up, the other is only able to tear down. And its only by coming to Jesus, and accepting Him as savior, that we’re able to stop tearing down, and start building up.

But, even though Christians are able to build up others with words and actions through gifts, the strange thing is, it seems Paul doesn’t want us to be content! In fact, quite to the contrary:

1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)

We’re told to “eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit,”. This is possibly the only time that it actually is alright to not be content: yes, we’re able to, and should be building up others with the gifts that God has given us. But we’re also told not to stop there! As Christians, we’re supposed to eagerly desire more… A little more specifically, we’re to eagerly desire more so that we may better “follow the way of love” (build each-other up).

In addition to all this though, its important to realize one more thing: God has given us these gifts. This may seem like a fairly basic concept, but sometimes we lose sight of what God has done for us, and start thinking that, “yeah, we’re really pretty good to have done this.” In other words: we sometimes forget that its God’s work, and not ours. Though I’ve never seen someone forget who (God) gave them the ability to heal someone (possibly because I’ve never seen someone with the gift of healing), those with more subtler gifts may find it a temptation to praise themselves for something, rather than God. For example: the gift of the utterance of knowledge. It may be a temptation with that to think of how well someone has “trained their brain,” or some such thing.

As it is, however, we’re to praise God: He’s the one whose given us any and every gift, and He’s the one we should be focusing on; not ourselves.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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All Encompassing Love: A Story of How We are Saved

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13)

Once we were ‘far off’, separated from God and without hope. Ever since Adam and Eve’s fall, this has been the fate of all humanity. However, now, we’ve been brought close to God again! Not by magic. Not by any incredible feat we preformed. But by the blood of Jesus Christ. We didn’t force Jesus to get on the cross. We didn’t force him to spill his life’s blood for us. We, in no form or fashion, put him on the cross… Unless you count sinning, of course. He got on it, and gave up His own life for us. He shed his blood and gave up his Spirit to save a race of miserable life-forms which, the whole while, were jeering at him. — I have just one question. Why?

John 3:16 tells us it was because he loved us. His love for us; for the whole wide world, and his desire to save it from sin is what caused Him to die for us.

by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:15-16)

Where once there were ordinances and laws we must abide by, now there is a person, who we love, to surrender our life to in a Spiritual marriage. While once we had strife towards God and he hated our sin with a just hatred; now there is only love between us and our Father in-Jesus (as compared to father-in-law… Haha?): now we live not under a fear that God will blow us to bits, but a holy fear of his power; and a love for Him who controls the power.

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. (James 2:12)

As James tells us, we are those now who are under the law of liberty. We are judged and pardoned under this law. We are set free under this law; under Jesus (who is the law of liberty) we are set free of our chains! Thus now we are to live like it.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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