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Posts Tagged ‘Regeneration’

The Wednesday Word: Can God Use You?

A great warrior was once painted with his hand resting on his face, as if in contemplation. But the real purpose was to hide an ugly scar on his cheek.

The German emperor, Wilhelm II, was photographed and painted standing in such a position that his withered arm would not appear.

We all try, to some extent, to disguise our imperfections. However, in the Bible, people are presented just as they are. No scar of deformed character, however hideous, seems to ever be covered up.

This tells us, among other things, that Christ is building His kingdom with broken and flawed people. By contrast, in building their kingdoms, men of this world want only the strong, the successful and the slick. But God is not like that. When choosing His workmen, Christ demonstrates that He is the God of the unsuccessful and the imperfect. He is the God of those who have failed.

The truth is, our strength lies neither in ourselves nor our perfections but in our message. Christ is perfect, the gospel is finished, and it is in the proclamation of this message of Christ crucified that we have power in our ministry (Romans 1:16).

He is the God of the flawed, the defective and the damaged.

Take for example;

Moses was a stammerer.

John Mark was a reject who was sent home by Paul.

Timothy had constant stomach problems.

Amos’ only training was in how to trim and prune fig trees.

Jacob was a liar.

David had an affair.

Abraham was too old.

David was too young.

Peter was afraid of a servant girl.

Lazarus was dead.

Naomi was a widow.

Paul was a murderer.

And so was Moses.

Jonah ran from God.

Miriam was a gossip.

Gideon and Thomas both doubted.

Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.

Elijah took cold feet and ran away.

Martha was always worrying.

Mary may have been lazy.

Noah got drunk.

Moses was hot-tempered.

We are not an impressive lot, but Jesus is an impressive Saviour. He is superb in who He is and in all that He does. Consider this, He does not usually choose the mighty! ”For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (1 Corinthians 1:26).

The committed Christian, Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1791) a mighty English noblewoman said of this scripture, “Blessed be God, it does not say “any mighty,” “any noble”; it says, “many mighty,” “many noble.”

She then concluded, “I owe my salvation to the letter “m.”

But back to the main point, the truth is, we are so flawed that each one of us is unworthy to be called into the service of the Lord Jesus. Get used to it, but also know that there is no bruised reed whom Christ cannot restore and heal. Not one of His people has gone beyond His grace. Not one of us is useless.

Is there anything more useless than a piece of bone from a dead donkey? Listen to this. There was once an old, exhausted donkey which just lay down and died. Along came the vultures, foxes and carnivores and picked off chunks of flesh from the dead beast and left it, a skeleton scorching in the flaming sun. Let me ask you, how can God use that donkey? It’s useless.

Then along came Samson and gives us the answer. He needed a weapon with which to destroy God’s enemies. He looked around and found…the dried-up jawbone of that old animal. And with that seemingly useless and worthless jawbone, he slew a thousand Philistines (see Judges 15:11–17).

Too many people have told you that you are useless, and that God has finished with you. Oh, and yes, that quiet, accusing, inward voice has continually endorsed that sentiment. But God doesn’t go down to Perfect Street to choose his material. God can and does use the unusable. Have you failed the Lord in the past? Take it to Jesus, confess your sins and then move on with life. You are made righteous by the blood of the lamb! (see Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:22; 1 John 1:7; Romans 3:25).

If God can use the dead, dried jawbone of an old donkey, He can use you, and He can use me.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT

January 1, 2020 1 comment

“Whether He is a sinner or not, I don´t know; one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9: 25).

Several believers I´ve recently met wonder about the reality of their salvation. They are in doubt because they cannot, with certainty, point to the day and hour of their conversion.

But does that matter?

It does if one holds to decisional regeneration, (i.e., we get saved by making a decision). In that case, it would seem that indeed, this matters much. It´s because, however, there is a failure to grasp the eternality of the Gospel that people fall victim to such punishing thinking. By the way, I like what John Stott says on the matter. He says, “A decision is involved in the process of becoming a Christian, but it is God’s decision before it can be ours. This is not to deny that we ‘decided for Christ’, and freely, but to affirm that we did so only because he had first ‘decided for us.’

The gospel we preach is as old as God. God chose a people for Himself and did it because of the good pleasure of His will and purpose (Ephesians 1:11; 3:11).

Salvation is of the Lord! It is His purpose to save His sheep.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, always comes looking for His sheep. Sometimes when He finds us, we have a dramatic conversion experience. Other times there is a quiet and gradual realisation that the shepherd has died and risen for us. We are not always able to pinpoint the exact moment we passed from death unto life. But we know that it has happened.

Jesus has always taken the best care to find His sheep. He says, “Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out…. and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark (Ezekiel 34:11-12).

It´s no wonder then if you cannot point to the day, nor the place, nor the means which the Lord used to bring about your conversion. These are deep mysteries. But, here´s the thing, can you with an honest heart say, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, NOW I see?” Has the Spirit of God shown you your utter helplessness and ruin? Do you realise that of yourself you are hopelessly incapable of performing a single act whether of doing or believing-which would recommend you to His favour?

Once you were spiritually blind to Jesus, now you see.

Once you saw no beauty in Jesus; you didn´t see your need of Him.

Once you wondered how people could love an invisible Person.

Once you were blind to the glory of His Person.

Once you were blind to the wonders of His love.

Once you were blind to the infinite value of His precious blood.

Once you were blind to the perfection of that redemption work by which He lived, died and rose again.

As believers, we can say we once were blind, but now we see! Since we are no longer blind to the gospel, we are propelled to thank and bless the God of all grace (Acts 8:39). To open our blind eyes, and give us life required the omnipotent power of the One who once stood by that grave in Bethany and cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth! And Lazarus came out, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes.

I don’t believe for a moment that we will be questioned at the gates of the celestial city as to the day and the hour of our conversion. If we are found in Jesus, we will enter heaven with His righteousness upon us. And that perfect righteousness will be a passport which neither earth, nor hell, nor heaven itself can dispute.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com    

The Wednesday Word: Life with a Capital L

December 26, 2018 4 comments

We do not get spiritual life by feeling something about ourselves but by believing something about Jesus. Jesus Christ is both the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). When we have Him as our truth then we enjoy Him as our life.

But, when do we begin to enjoy this life? We enjoy it when we believe. This is why we read, “..And that believing you might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

Too many time we occupy ourselves with our condition. But looking inwards cannot impart life. Constantly looking inwards is as useless as a rubber beak on a woodpecker and as dangerous as a concrete parachute.

Instead of looking inward, we must look outside ourselves to the Lord Jesus, to the one who accomplished our redemption. He is the one who imparts life. But we don’t enjoy that life by focusing on it. No indeed! It is as we occupy ourselves with the Lord Jesus, the more we relish the new life He gives us.

For example, when the stinging memory of ancient sins rises up to plague us, we learn not to dwell on them or even to focus on our repentance. We look instead to the Christ who once hung for us on that center cross and died for that particular sin (s).

The old maxim, ’Seeing is Believing’ does not hold true in the Gospel. In the Gospel,” Seeing is not believing, instead, believing is Seeing.’ As the old Hymn writer said of the cross, “It was there by faith I received my sight.” Believe, trust, rest on the fact that He, the Lord Jesus, has taken our punishment. He is the faithful One. As we focus on Jesus, Life with a capital L will be enjoyed immediately.

Look to Jesus! Look to Jesus!

Look away to Christ our God!

None but Jesus, none but Jesus

Can do helpless sinners good

The more we cling to Jesus the more life we will enjoy. Again, we must be clear on this. The source of our life does not come from anything in us or from having had some new and wonderful experience. The source of our life comes from the Gospel, from the Person of Christ, His doing, dying and rising again.

Every claim which the eternal, righteous Judge held against us has been settled by the blood of Jesus. As we believe the Gospel, the more we will enjoy spiritual life. As we look away from ourselves, we see that God is just and the justifier of them that believeon the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:29). As we behold and confess these gospel truths, our hearts will be full of rejoicing.

It’s no wonder then that Paul wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (Galatians 6:14).

While the unsaved stay close to the world, we stay close to Jesus and his finished work. He is the center of our message and the center of our life. He is the one who accomplished everything the Father intended Him to finish.

Our life comes from Christ and His cross. In the shadow of the cross, sorrows cannot live and joy cannot die! In the shade of the cross, the attractions of the world perish.

Here it is we find our Heaven,

While on the cross we gaze;

Love we much? We’ve more forgiven,

We are miracles of Grace

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

This light, and this only, has its fruit in an universal holiness of life

Thirdly, All may hence be exhorted, earnestly to seek this spiritual light. To influence and move to it, the following things may be considered.

4. This light, and this only, has its fruit in an universal holiness of life. No merely notional or speculative understanding of the doctrines of religion will ever bring to this. But this light, as it reaches the bottom of the heart, and changes the nature, so it will effectually dispose to an universal obedience. It shows God as worthy to be obeyed and served. It draws forth the heart in a sincere love to God, which is the only principle of a true, gracious, and universal obedience; and it convinces of the reality of those glorious rewards that God has promised to them that obey him.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

This light is such as effectually influences the inclination, and changes the nature of the soul

July 13, 2018 1 comment

Thirdly, All may hence be exhorted, earnestly to seek this spiritual light. To influence and move to it, the following things may be considered.

3. This light is such as effectually influences the inclination, and changes the nature of the soul. It assimilates our nature to the divine nature, and changes the soul into an image of the same glory that is beheld.

“But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from pillory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18.)

This knowledge will wean from the world, and raise the inclination to heavenly things. It will turn the heart to God as the fountain of good, and to choose him for the only portion. This light, and this only, will bring the soul to a saving close with Christ. It conforms the heart to the gospel, mortifies its enmity and opposition against the scheme of salvation therein revealed: it causes the heart to embrace the joyful tidings, and entirely to adhere to, and acquiesce in the revelation of Christ as our Saviour: it causes the whole soul to accord and symphonize with it, admitting it with entire credit and respect, cleaving to it with full inclination and affection; and it effectually disposes the soul to give up itself entirely to Christ.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

This knowledge is that which is above all others sweet and joyful

Thirdly, All may hence be exhorted, earnestly to seek this spiritual light. To influence and move to it, the following things may be considered.

2. This knowledge is that which is above all others sweet and joyful. Men have a great deal of pleasure in human knowledge, in studies of natural things; but this is nothing to that joy which arises from this divine light shining into the soul. This light gives a view of those things that are immensely the most exquisitely beautiful, and capable of delighting the eye of the understanding. This spiritual light is the dawning of the light of glory m the heart. There is nothing so powerful as this to support persons in affliction, and to give the mind peace and brightness in this stormy and dark world.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

The least glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ doth more exalt and ennoble the soul, than all the knowledge of those that have the greatest speculative understanding in divinity without grace

Thirdly, All may hence be exhorted, earnestly to seek this spiritual light. To influence and move to it, the following things may be considered.

1. This is the most excellent and divine wisdom that any creature is capable of. It is more excellent than any human learning; it is far more excellent than all the knowledge of the greatest philosophers or statesmen. Yea, the least glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ doth more exalt and ennoble the soul, than all the knowledge of those that have the greatest speculative understanding in divinity without grace. This knowledge has the most noble object that can be, viz. the divine glory and excellency of God and Christ. The knowledge of these objects that wherein consists the most excellent knowledge of the angels, yea, of God himself.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

It is of great importance whether we have thus been taught by the Spirit of God

Secondly, This doctrine may well put us upon examining ourselves, whether we have ever had this divine light let into our souls. If there be such a thing, doubtless it is of great importance whether we have thus been taught by the Spirit of God; whether the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, hath shined unto us, giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; whether we have seen the Son and believed on him, or have that faith which arises from a spiritual sight of Christ.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

This doctrine may lead us to reflect on the goodness of God, that has so ordered it, that a saving evidence of the truth of the gospel is such, as is attainable by persons of mean capacities and advantages, as well as those that are of the greatest parts and learning

I will conclude with a very brief improvement of what has been said.

First, This doctrine may lead us to reflect on the goodness of God, that has so ordered it, that a saving evidence of the truth of the gospel is such, as is attainable by persons of mean capacities and advantages, as well as those that are of the greatest parts and learning. If the evidence of the gospel depended only on history, and such reasonings as learned men only are capable of, it would be above the reach of far the greatest part of mankind. But persons with an ordinary degree of knowledge are capable, without a long and subtle train of reasoning, to see the divine excellency of the things of religions they are capable of being taught by the Spirit of God, as well as learned men. The evidence that is this way obtained, is vastly better and more satisfying, than all that can be obtained by the arguings of those that are most learned, and greatest masters of reason. And babes are as capable of knowing these things, as the wise and prudent; and they are often hid from these when they are revealed to those. 1 Corinthians 1:26, 27. “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world.”

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

It is rational to suppose, that this knowledge should be given immediately by God, and not be obtained by natural means

III. To show the truth of the doctrine, that is, to show that there is such a thing as that spiritual light that has been described, thus immediately let into the mind by God. And here I would show briefly, that this doctrine is both scriptural and rational.

Secondly, This doctrine is rational.

3. It is rational to suppose, that this knowledge should be given immediately by God, and not be obtained by natural means. Upon what account should it seem unreasonable, that there should be any immediate communication between God and the creature? It is strange that men should make any matter of difficulty of it. Why should not he that made all things, still have something immediately to do with the things that he has made! Where lies the great difficulty, if we own the being of a God, and that he created all things out of nothing, of allowing some immediate influence of God on the creation still! And if it be reasonable to suppose it with respect to any part of the creation, it is especially so with respect to reasonable intelligent creatures, who are next to God in the gradation of the different orders of beings, and whose business is most immediately with God, and reason teaches that man was made to serve and glorify his Creator. And if it be rational to suppose that God immediately communicates himself to man in any affair, it is in this. It is rational to suppose that God would reserve that knowledge and wisdom, which is of such a divine and excellent nature, to be bestowed immediately by himself and that it should not be left in the power of second causes. Spiritual wisdom and grace is the highest and most excellent gift that ever God bestows on any creature: in this the highest excellency and perfection of a rational creature consists. It is also immensely the most important of all divine gifts: it is that wherein man’s happiness consists, and on which his everlasting welfare depends. How rational is it to suppose that God, however he has left lower gifts to second causes, and in some sort in their power, yet should reserve this most excellent, divine, and important of all divine communications, in his own hands, to be bestowed immediately by himself, as a thing too great for second causes to be concerned in? It is rational to suppose, that this blessing should be immediately from God, for there is no gift or benefit that is in itself so nearly related to the divine nature. Nothing which the creature receives is so much a participation of the Deity: it is a kind of emanation of God’s beauty, and is related to God as the light is to the sun. It is therefore congruous and fit, that when it is given of God, it should be immediately from himself, and by himself, according to his own sovereign will.

It is rational to suppose, that it should be beyond man’s power to obtain this light by the mere strength of natural reason; for it is not a thing that belongs to reason, to see the beauty and loveliness of spiritual things; it is not a speculative thing, but depends on the sense of the heart. Reason indeed is necessary in order to it, as it is by reasons only that we are become the subjects of the means of it; which means I have already shown to be necessary in order to it, though they have no proper causal influence in the affair. It is by reason that we become possessed of a notion of those doctrines that are the subject matter of this divine light, or knowledge; and reason may many ways be indirectly and remotely an advantage to it. Reason has also to do in the acts that are immediately consequent on this discovery: for seeing the truth of religion from hence, is by reason; though it be but by one step, and the inference he immediately: so reason has to do in that accepting of and trusting in Christ, that is consequent on it. But it we take reason strictly — not for the faculty of mental perception in general, but for ratiocination, or a power of inferring by arguments — the perceiving of spiritual beauty and excellency no more belongs to reason, than it belongs to the sense of feeling to perceive colours, or to the power of seeing to perceive the sweetness of food. It is out of reason’s province to perceive the beauty or loveliness of any thing: such a perception does not belong to that faculty. Reason’s work is to perceive truth and not excellency. It is not ratiocination that gives men the perception of the beauty and amiableness of a countenance, though it may be many ways indirectly an advantage to it; yet it is no more reason that immediately perceives it, than it is reason that perceives the sweetness of honey: it depends on the sense of the heart. — Reason may determine that a countenance is beautiful to others, it may determine that honey is sweet to others, but it will never give me a perception of its sweetness.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]