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Faith is a connection with Christ

Let me tell you a story to illustrate this: the stupendous falls of Niagara have been spoken of in every part of the world; but while they are marvelous to hear of, and wonderful as a spectacle, they have been very destructive to human life, when by accident any have been carried down the cataract. Some years ago, two men, a bargeman and a collier, were in a boat, and found themselves unable to manage it, it being carried so swiftly down the current that they must both inevitably be borne down and dashed to pieces. Persons on the shore saw them, but were unable to do much for their rescue. At last, however, one man was saved by floating a rope to him, which he grasped. The same instant that the rope came into his hand a log floated by the other man. The thoughtless and confused bargeman, instead of seizing the rope, laid hold on the log. It was a fatal mistake: they were both in imminent peril, but the one was drawn to shore because he had a connection with the people on the land, whilst the other, clinging to the log, was borne irresistibly along, and never heard of afterwards. Do you not see that here is a practical illustration? Faith is a connection with Christ. Christ is on the shore, so to speak, holding the rope of faith, and if we lay hold of it with the hand of our confidence, he pulls us to shore; but our good works having no connection with Christ, are drifted along down the gulf of fell despair. Grapple them as tightly as we may, even with hooks of steel, they cannot avail us in the least degree.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Words of Wisdom for Daily Life- Article ‘Good Works and Broken Keys’

The Wednesday Word: Full Assurance of Faith: Part 2

We cannot possibly come to a place of personal assurance of salvation if we don’t believe the Bible to be the Word of God.

Consider what the Bible says about itself. We read,

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).

Then in Psalm 119: 7-10, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

And again, “Thy testimonies have I taken as a heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (Psalm 119:111).

Jesus taught, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Luke 4:4).

Then in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

And Jesus declared, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that hears my word, and believes on Him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). Do you believe that?

The Bible assures us that,

He has purged our sins (Hebrews 1:3).

He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

He has blotted out our sins (Isaiah 44:22).

He has cast our sins behind His back (Isaiah 38:17).

He has cast them into the depth of the sea (Micah 7:19).

He takes our sins away (1 John 3:5).

He has washed our sins away (Revelation1:5).

He has cleansed us from our sins (1 John 1:7).

He has forgiven us our sins (Romans 4:7; Ephesians 1:7).

He has forgotten our sins (Hebrews 10:17).

Is He a liar?

No!

Then believe Him.

Trust Him.

Christ’s work for us makes us safe, and God’s word about us makes us sure. Assurance, therefore, is not to be had by looking inside ourselves for some religious experience or other. No indeed, assurance comes by what the Lord has said.

Suppose, for example, that a man has been charged with a certain crime. If found guilty, he will face a hefty prison sentence. Much to his relief, the court finds him not guilty and acquits him of all charges. How would he be assured that he had been cleared by the Judge and jury. How would he know for certain that that he was not going to prison?

Would it be by looking to his feelings?

Or would it be by listening to hearsay?

Or speculation?

Or would the ‘not guilty’ status be his because the judge had declared him so? Obviously, this is what he would hold on to.

Similarly, if we want to be certain of the fact that we have been saved, our feelings, wishes, speculations and what people might think about us is not the evidence that we need to give us peace. Those sources don’t have the authority to pronounce on the matter. We must go to the Word of God and see what “God the Judge of all” says about it (Psalm 50:6). We can put our fullest confidence in His Word for He cannot lie, and that will be what we will need for solid assurance of our salvation. (see Romans 8:29-30; Acts 13:39; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 3:5).

Listen again to John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My Word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

As we’ve written many times,

Jesus said it,

That settles it:

I believed it,

That settled me!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

Categories: Gospel Tags: , , ,

The Wednesday Word: Full Assurance of Faith

The Greek word `Plerophoria‘, (translated ‘full assurance’) occurs 4 times in the New Testament. First, we have the “full assurance of understanding” Colossians 2: 2. Then in 1Thessalonians 1:5 we have ‘full assurance of the gospel;’ then the ‘full assurance of hope’ (Hebrews 6:11); and finally, the full assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:22). Let’s consider, for a few moments, the last one, “Full Assurance of Faith.”

Notice that we have the full assurance of faith, not the full assurance of feelings!

Have you ever said to yourself, “If I could only feel saved, then I would have assurance?” But such thinking is entirely and utterly wrong.

For instance, if I said that I could not believe you until I felt that what you said was true, I would be saying, your word is not enough for me. I need your word plus my feelings. If that is the way it is, I might as well call you a liar to your face. Yes indeed! It is quite inappropriate for me to believe that you are not telling the truth, whatever my feelings may be. How much more then is God to be believed?

The Almighty speaks in His Word and we believe Him. God does not lie (Numbers 23:19). What a beautiful, comforting truth that is. In the light of that truth, listen to what the Master says, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, He that believes on me has everlasting life” (John 6: 47). He is not lying! He’s telling us the truth! We don’t need to feel that He is telling the truth. No! We, regardless of feelings, believe God’s word.

If we lack assurance of salvation, we should tell ourselves John 6:47 (and other verses like it), over and over again. We should reckon on every syllable of it being true and enjoy the “full assurance” it gives. At the beginning and end of the day, and in the middle, we could meditate on each part and weigh each statement, until we believe what is written! Everlasting life is ours.

There is no condemnation for us in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)!

“Brother Miles, on whose authority do you say that?”

On the Master’s authority! He speaks, we believe, and are informed of what is ours.

‘God said it, that settles it.

I Believed it. That settled me!’

I believe in my doctor when I put my case into his hands and trust him to cure me. I believe my lawyer and I leave my case in their hands. I believe in my bank when I put money into their hands and allow them to keep it on my behalf.

If I can trust my doctor, my lawyer and my banker who are but mere mortals then I can believe the God/Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. When I take Christ to be my Saviour, and put my case into His hands, I trust Him to do what I cannot do for myself … save me from my sin.

There is an old story told of a Scottish preacher whose friend came to him in spiritual perplexity. “Tell me,” the friend inquired, “How do you know that you have always got a hold of God?” For a long minute the minister was silent, and then, with a great wistfulness in his eyes, said: “How do I know that I have always got hold of God? I don’t always know; but I do know His word tells me, He always has a hold of me!”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: The Gospel and Faith Part 6

Many times, in the Old Testament, the question is asked of God “Who is like unto Thee”. For example,

“Who is like unto Thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11)

Likewise, “Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto Thee!” (Psalms 71:19).

Furthermore, “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardons iniquity and passes by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retains not his anger forever, because He delights in mercy (Micah 7:18).

Who indeed is like Jesus?

Is Buddha like Him? No!

Or Mohammed? No!

Or any of the host of religious leaders from the past? No!

When do we ever read of Buddha, Mohammed or Confucius or any of them cleansing their people from their sins?

Never!

Who is like unto Thee?

Not only did Christ cleanse His people’s sin, but forty days after the crucifixion, He ascended into heaven, where He was welcomed with all honour and exaltation. But here’s the thing … when He was welcomed and honoured, His blood bought people were exalted and seated along with Him (Ephesians 2:5-6).

That’s what the Word teaches, and we, believers, take it by faith! Neither Buddha nor Mohammed nor any of the famous religious leaders did this for their people! So, the follower of Christ can now say, “As certainly as God came to this earth in the Person of Jesus Christ, just so certainly have I gone to heaven in Him.”

Let me challenge you … begin to make this your confession! Tell yourself this truth of being in Christ. Let it fasten itself to your heart.

‘Brother Miles, are you suggesting that we think this truth?’ Yes indeed, think it! But don’t stop there. Don’t merely think it, say it … confess it and declare it. We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).

The gospel is not, as some would have us believe, about all the good things that He is going to do at some stage in the future, nor is it all about the good things God is doing now in our lives, but rather, the gospel proclaims Christ, His doing, dying and rising again. It is objective not subjective. In the gospel, we focus on Christ and the wonderful things He accomplished in the past in history.

As a result of the gospel, we see we have been forgiven, justified, adopted, reconciled, redeemed and restored to glory and honour in the Person of Jesus Christ.

What wonderful news!

Listen to this, as a result of the gospel we can say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3). Also, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:4-6).

To summarise, faith sees and embraces that we are in Christ and that we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: The Gospel and Faith: Part 5

As the gospel is preached, the Holy Spirit will generate faith (Romans 10:17) … and faith will cause the believer to see that God became a man. Not only did He become man, but faith also sees that He became our man. Faith receives that this God-Man, Christ Jesus, became our representative. Now, just to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance the first representative man was Adam. His fall was our fall. He represented us. But God in His grace and mercy gave us a Second Man, the Last Adam, who would regain all that was lost in the first (see 1 Corinthians 15:45-47).

Because the Second Man represented us, we can say, “When He lived, I lived, when He died I died and when He rose again I rose again.”

When the gospel is proclaimed and applied, faith sees many things. Among them it grasps that we were in Christ when redemption was accomplished.

By faith, the believer can now say I have lived a perfect life because I lived it in the person of my representative, Jesus the Christ, 2,000 years ago (2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 3:3-4).

Faith also causes the believer to say, ‘I was punished, executed and buried 2000 years ago in Christ Jesus.’ In addition, believers can now say, “In Christ I rose again out of that grave, I ascended into glory and, in Christ, I sat down on the right hand of God’s favour” (see Ephesians 2:5:6).

By faith we can say, “In Christ, God also perfected me.” By faith we can likewise say, ‘In Christ, we have been taken, not to the woodshed but to the throne of grace. ‘

By faith we see we are risen with Christ and now by faith we may seek the things which are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. We now are free to set our affection on things above not on things on the earth. For by faith, we see we are dead, and our life is hidden with Christ in God (see Colossians 2: 10;12-13, 3:1-3).

Gospel mercies declare that we have been washed clean in Jesus Christ and by grace have been taken into perfect fellowship with God. The good news is not “here are five steps to maturity” and “here are seven steps for growth.” The good news is that God came to rescue us. His work is finished and as a result ‘in Christ’ we are already complete (Colossians 2:10).

The gospel declares that God Himself broke into human history in the Person of Jesus Christ and became our representative man. What a demonstration of amazing love. That the Almighty would become one of us is almost too hard to fathom.

This event must shout volumes even to the deafest among us, for it declares that God is not against us … for how can He be, seeing He has become one of us? He became so identified with His people that everything He did was not only for us, but as us. His work was credited to us and reckoned as if we had done it.

For acceptance in heaven, we needed to fight sin and win but we failed; so, Jesus did it in our place. As sinners, we should be punished but Jesus took our place!

We had a great enemy, Satan, who wished to kill us and could have, but Jesus, on our behalf, destroyed his power. Faith can now boldly confess, “I have won this fight because I have already won it in Christ.”

The final enemy we will face is death, but Jesus went into its very jaws and defeated it. Faith makes us confess that, in Christ, we have already conquered death, and the reality of this confession will be finally seen at the day of resurrection.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

If you be the children of God, learn that lesson

Lastly, If you be the children of God, learn that lesson–Gird up the loins of your mind, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former conversation; but be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Consider that the holy God is your Father, and let this oblige you to live like the children of God, that you may look your Father in the face, with comfort, another day.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon

The First Use

[THE APPLICATION.]

The first use is this, To make a strict inquiry whether you be born of God or not; examine by those things I laid down before, of a child of nature and a child of grace. Are you brought out of the dark dungeon of this world into Christ? Have you learned to cry, ‘My Father?’ (Jer 3:4). ‘And I said, Thou shalt call me, My Father.’ All God’s children are criers–cannot you be quiet without you have a bellyful of the milk of God’s Word? cannot you be satisfied without you have peace with God? Pray you, consider it, and be serious with yourselves; if you have not these marks, you will fall short of the kingdom of God–you shall never have an interest there; ‘there’ is no intruding. They will say, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us; and he will say, I know you not.’ No child of God, no heavenly inheritance. We sometimes give something to those that are not our children, but [we do] not [give them] our lands. O do not flatter yourselves with a portion among the sons, unless you live like sons. When we see a king’s son play with a beggar, this is unbecoming; so if you be the king’s children, live like the king’s children; if you be risen with Christ, set your affections on things above, and not on things below; when you come together, talk of what your Father promised you; you should all love your Father’s will, and be content and pleased with the exercises you meet with in the world. If you are the children of God, live together lovingly; if the world quarrel with you, it is no matter; but it is sad if you quarrel together; if this be amongst you, it is a sign of ill-breeding; it is not according to the rules you have in the Word of God. Dost thou see a soul that has the image of God in him? Love him, love him; say, This man and I must go to heaven one day; serve one another, do good for one another; and if any wrong you, pray to God to right you, and love the brotherhood.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon

It is natural for them to depend upon their father for what they want

7. Children, it is natural for them to depend upon their father for what they want; if they want a pair of shoes, they go and tell him; if they want bread, they go and tell him; so should the children of God do. Do you want spiritual bread? go tell God of it. Do you want strength of grace? ask it of God. Do you want strength against Satan’s temptations? go and tell God of it. When the devil tempts you, run home and tell your heavenly Father–go, pour out your complaints to God; this is natural to children; if any wrong them, they go and tell their father; so do those that are born of God, when they meet with temptations, go and tell God of them.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon

They have learned the custom of the true church of God

6. When a man has a child, he trains him up to his own liking–they have learned the custom of their father’s house; so are those that are born of God–they have learned the custom of the true church of God; there they learn to cry ‘My Father’ and ‘My God’; they are brought up in God’s house, they learn the method and form of God’s house, for regulating their lives in this world.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon

Those that are born again, they have a new similitude

5. There is usually some similitude betwixt the father and the child. It may be the child looks like its father; so those that are born again, they have a new similitude–they have the image of Jesus Christ (Gal 4). Every one that is born of God has something of the features of heaven upon him. Men love those children that are likest them most usually; so does God his children, therefore they are called the children of God; but others do not look like him, therefore they are called Sodomites. Christ describes children of the devil by their features–the children of the devil, his works they will do; all works of unrighteousness, they are the devil’s works: if you are earthly, you have borne the image of the earthly; if heavenly, you have borne the image of the heavenly.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon