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God’s people are a people who are not of the world

November 10, 2014 1 comment

Spurgeon 6“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” — John 17:16.

 

I. First, we shall take our text and look at it DOCTRINALLY.

The doctrine of it is, that God’s people are a people who are not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world. It is not so much that they are not of the world, as that they are “not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world.” This is an important distinction, for there are to be found certain people who are not of the world, and yet they are not Christians. Amongst them I would mention sentimentalists — people who are always crying and groaning in affected sentimental ways. Their spirits are so refined, their characters are so delicate, that they could not attend to ordinary business. They would think it rather degrading to their spiritual nature to attend to anything connected with the world. They live much in the air of romances and novels; love to read things that fetch tears from their eyes; they would like continually to live in a cottage near a wood, or to inhabit some quiet cave, where they could read “Zimmerman on Solitude” for ever; for they feel that they are “not of the world.” The fact is, there is something too flimsy about them to stand the wear and tear of this wicked world. They are so pre-eminently good, that they cannot bear to do as we poor human creatures do I have heard of one young lady, who thought herself so spiritually-minded that she could not work. A very wise minister said to her, “That is quite correct! you are so spiritually-minded that you cannot work; very well, you are so spiritually-minded that you shall not eat unless you do.” That brought her back from her great spiritual-mindedness. There is a stupid sentimentalism that certain persons nurse themselves into. They read a parcel of books that intoxicate their brains, and then fancy that they have a lofty destiny. These people are “not of the world,” truly; but the world does not want them, and the world would not miss them much, if they were clean gone for ever. There is such a thing as being “not of the world,” from high order of sentimentalism, and yet not being a Christian after all. For it is not so much being “not of the world,” as being “not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world.” There are others, too, like your monks, and those other mad individuals of the Catholic church, who are not of the world. They are so awfully good, that they could not live with us sinful creatures at ale. They must be distinguished from us altogether. They must not wear, of course, a boot that would at all approach to a worldly shoe, but they must have a sole of leather strapped on with two or three thongs, like the far famed Father Ignatius. They could not be expected to wear worldly coats and waistcoats; but they must have peculiar garbs, cut in certain fashions, like the Passionists. They must wear particular dresses, particular garments, particular habits. And we know that some men are “not of the world” by the peculiar mouthing they give to all their words — the sort of sweet, savory, buttery flavor they give to the English language, because they think themselves so eminently sanctified that they fancy it would be wrong to indulge in anything in which ordinary mortals indulge. Such persons are, however, reminded, that their being “not of the world,” has nothing to do with it. It is not being “not of the world,” so much as being “not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Character of Christ’s People-Delivered on Sabbath Morning,
November 22, 1855

The Wednesday Word: Noah, the Big Boat and the Blood!

Just about everyone knows the story of Noah and the Big Boat! There’s an endearing little children’s song about it that goes; “The animals went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah! The elephant and the kangaroo, hurrah, hurrah! They all went in just to get in out of the rain.” But of course, the song, cute as it is, is nonsense. They didn’t go in two by two, only the unclean animals went in two by two —-the clean animals went in by 7s.

Why 7s? Simply this; when Noah got off the boat and placed his feet on dry land he planned to build an altar and offer blood sacrifices. And that’s exactly what he did! I like this man Noah; He built his altar before he built his home.

So let’s consider Noah’s blood sacrifice! He took animal number 7 out of the various ranks of the clean animals and sacrificed them. But why animal number 7? Because, number 7 is the number of spiritual perfection, and spiritual perfection points towards Christ.

For example, there were 7 days in the beginning of creation. The seventh day of rest declared that God’s creation works were finished and perfect.

There were 7 covenants mentioned in Scripture, the final one, the New Covenant, being the perfect one.
Joshua marched around Jericho 7 times.

7 priests with 7 trumpets also marched around Jericho and on the 7th day they marched around 7 times.

Naaman washed 7 times in the Jordan.

Elijah prayed 7 times.

Every 7th day was a Sabbath.

Every 7th year was a Sabbath year.

Every 7 times 7 years was a year of Jubilee.

Three of the feasts of Israel lasted 7 days.

Between the first and second feasts there were 7 days.

The term “First and the Last” is used 7 times.

There are 7 seals in the Book of Revelation.

There were 7 churches,

7 candlesticks,

7 stars,

7 spirits before the throne of God.

The Lamb had 7 eyes.

Before His crucifixion, Christ passed through 7 trials.

Christ gives seven petitions to His people in the Disciple’s Prayer

There were 7 accusations against Christ.

There were 7 testimonies to the innocence of Christ.

There were 7 questions from Pilate to Christ.

There were 7 sayings from the cross.

 

Here, at Noah’s blood sacrifice, it was the seventh animal that was sacrificed. This points to the perfection of Christ’s offering. We further see that after Noah’s blood sacrifice, the Lord promised blessing to mankind (Genesis 8:20-22). The nations of the world are, likewise, blessed because of Christ and the cross (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:14; 3:18). In Genesis 8:21, we also read that Noah’s sacrifice was ‘a sweet savour’ unto the Lord. It is no wonder then that we read in the New Testament that; “Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour;” (Ephesians 5:2).

On a very practical note, Noah’s sacrifice shows that Noah knew he still must approach God through shed blood. Noah didn’t get off the boat prideful that he and his family had been the ones chosen by God to be saved. Nor did he now presume on some new privileged relationship with God: Noah still knew himself to be a sinner, and thus he offered a blood sacrifice because it was the only appointed way he could approach the all- holy God.

In the same way, God has chosen us, not because we were better than our neighbours, but because of grace and grace alone. Even so, we will do well to remember that as we approach Him, we should do so exclusively through the blood of Christ. He alone is our perfect approach and acceptance before God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre,

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

http://www.milesmckee.com

For free sermons and teachings from Miles McKee http://www.sermonaudio.com/milesmckee

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The Wednesday Word: A Bad Case of SDS!

The Wednesday Word: A Bad Case of SDS!

 

There are many Christians who have not as yet grasped the applications of the gospel. They have no idea how much God loves them.

Let me ask you—do you enjoy being a Christian—a follower of Jesus? Some folks, if they are honest, would have to answer “no” to that. They are not satisfied; they have a bad case of ‘SDS’… They’re ‘Saved, Dissatisfied and Stuck!

Does this description fit you? You are earnest, but you have no joy, you are sincere, but you have no peace. You are not sure whether or not God accepts you and your performance! You quietly think that if you can obey God He will accept you, but if you fail and disobey, He will reject you. You, my friend have caught a bad dose of religion! You are not walking in the gospel.

In the gospel, we learn that we are accepted with God, not because of our doing, but because of the doing of another, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:19). This is good news—this is Gospel Truth. We are accepted because of His performance. And yes, we do obey the Lord …but not to gain acceptance, rather, we obey because we have already been graciously accepted (Titus 3:8).

Acceptance with God is a central benefit of the gospel (Ephesians 1:6; John 1:16). This is a demonstration of God’s wisdom. After all, there can be no acceptable worship unless there are acceptable worshippers. This is not the way that religion tells it. The religious man thinks that by worship and performing his religion he can find acceptance with God: But the truth is just the opposite. Man must first be accepted and only then can he worship. He must first be accepted before He can present any acceptable worship to the Father.

The great mystery, when we consider things, is how the all-holy God can possibly accept us. We are, after all, by nature corrupted and vile sinners (Psalm 148:2; Mark 7:21-23). The gospel, however, answers this question for, by the gospel, we understand that our acceptance is in Christ alone! He has bought and paid for us with blood … His blood! Faith grasps and confidently holds to this.Faith knows that our works, prayers and tears cannot save us! Faith grasps that we are saved by Christ alone apart from any contribution we might hope to make. Faith causes us to rest in the truth that Christ’s blood has powerfully redeemed us!

Someone once said it like this;

 

“Faith is looking to Christ, not to how much faith I have. It is not faith that saves, but it is Christ who saves!

Faith is looking to Christ and not to my prayers, my worship, nor my meditations.

Faith is looking to Christ and neither to the name I wear nor the doctrines I hold. It is not what, but Whom we believe.

Faith is looking to Christ and not the law. The law wounds but never heals; it kills but never gives life.

Faith is looking to Christ and not to His mother, nor His apostles, nor to an image of a cross. There is one God and one Mediator.

Faith is looking to Christ, and not to the brethren; neither the best nor the worst of them – we put no confidence in the flesh.

Faith is looking to Christ, neither to my strength nor to my weakness. All grace or strength we have is by His grace, and when I am weak, then I am strong.

Faith is looking to Christ, not my works! Without Him our righteousness is filthy rags.

Faith is looking to Christ yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Faith is looking to Christ at all times, and we never stop coming, looking, resting, trusting, believing, depending nor leaning on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

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The unsaved increase their guilt by being baptized and partaking of the Lord’s Supper

Spurgeon 6

Now, I suppose if I were to labor never so arduously to hunt out this evil spirit from the sons of men, I should miss it still, for it hides in so many shapes, and therefore let me say, that in no shape, in no sense, in no single case, and in no degree whatsoever, are we saved by our works or by the law. I say in no sense, because men make such shifts to save alive their own righteousness. I will show you one man who says, “Well, I don’t expect to be saved by my honesty; I don’t expect to be saved by my generosity, nor by my morality; but then, I have been baptized; I receive the Lord’s Supper; I have been confirmed; I go to church, or I have a sitting in a meeting-house; I am, as touching the ceremonies, blameless.” Well, friend, in that sense you cannot be saved by works, for all these things have no avail whatever upon the matter of salvation, if you have not faith. If you are saved, God’s ordinances will be blessed things to you, but if you are not a believer you have no right to them; and with regard to Baptism and the Supper, every time you touch them you increase your guilt. Whether it be Baptism or the Lord’s Supper, you have no right to either, except you be saved already, for they are both ordinances for believers, and for believers only. These ordinances are blessed means of grace to living, quickened, saved souls; but to unsaved souls, to souls dead in trespasses and sins, these outward ordinances can have no avail for good, but may increase their sin, because they touch unworthily the holy things of God. Oh! repose not in these; oh! dream not that a priestly hand and sacred drops, or a God-ordained baptism in the pool, can in any way redeem you from sin, or land you in heaven: for by this way salvation is impossible.

Charles H. Spurgeon—Grace Exalted-Boasting Excluded—A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, January 19th, 1862

A Sinner who is not convinced that he is under the sentence of death cannot be saved

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Sinner! If you cannot be alarmed, you cannot be saved. If you do not believe that you are under the sentence of death from God’s holy law, then you do not feel your need of pardon, and “Ye will not come to Christ that ye might have life.” He that believeth not is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him. And the sinner who does not feel the awful conviction of this truth cannot be pardoned or saved.

The language of the gospel is “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” But no sinner ever repented without conviction of sin. Even the Spirit of God never interposes to rescue the sinner from destruction in any other way than by arousing his guilty conscience to perform its office. Its genuine effects on the heart are thus described, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” But, you are not to be frightened. When they heard this they were pricked in the heart, and exclaimed, Men and brethren, what shall we do? But you are not to be frightened. When the commandment came, sin revived and I died; but you are not to be frightened. The sinner who talks in this strain is either an infidel, or ignorant of the contents of the Bible.

For such a sinner, with such views and such feelings, the gospel contains no remedy. To such a sinner, the Spirit of God offers no remedy. He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed. And there is no remedy. The sinner who will not take reproof, must be destroyed. The physician, who has exhausted his skill, and tried every experiment upon his patient can only look on and see him die.-So fares it with the incorrigible sinner; you may soothe him in his sins-you may flatter his vanity -But this is only hastening the work of destruction. The only salutary application is, conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. But this his proud heart will not endure. Every attempt to rescue him from destruction will be resisted-It will only exasperate. He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Therefore, saith the wise man, Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee.

Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners

God Reproves by his Spirit

By his Spirit. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him. The Spirit is sent to admonish. Its language is, “Sinner, whither are thou going, and what will be the end of thy sinful course? Prepare to meet thy God. “God (sometimes) reproves one sinner by the conviction and conversion of another. Here is one who has been your intimate friend, and companion. Your views and feelings and pursuits and objects of delight, and I may add, your sins too, have been the same. But yesterday he thought and spoke and acted in all respects like yourself. Today he is alarmed at his awful condition. He trembles in view of a judgment to come. Hither to he has been moving merely along with you side by side. But he dares follow you no farther. He has quit your company, and fled. But why? Alas, he finds himself a sinner-He has a soul to be saved or lost forever. This, my friends, is loud preaching to some of you. When near and dear friends begin to forsake and shun you, it is time for you to begin to look about you. This is a silent, but a solemn warning to you to Flee from the wrath to come. When you see or hear of a hardened sinner alarmed at his awful condition; it carries with it this solemn admonition. See the end to which you are coming. Though you may think to hold out, yet you cannot endure long. Your stout heart will soon tremble. And all your boasted courage will end in cowardice. See the fearful end to which you are fast approaching. You too must repent or perish.

Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners

Commentary on Romans 8:1

Chapter 8

C. We have victory over the flesh through the indwelling Spirit:

 

This introduction is from Robert Haldane:

“This chapter presents a glorious display of the power of Divine grace, and of the provision which God has made for the consolation of His people. While the Apostle had proved, in the sixth, that his previous doctrine gave no license to believers to continue in sin, he had still kept in view his main purpose of establishing their free justification. In the seventh he had prosecuted the same object, declaring that by their marriage with Christ they were delivered from the law as a covenant of life or death, while he vindicated its character, use, and authority. In this chapter, he continues the subject of justification, and resumes that of the believer’s assurance of his salvation, of which he had spoken in the fifth, establishing it on new grounds; and from the whole train of his argument from the commencement of the Epistle, he now draws the general conclusion, that to them who are in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. While this could not have been accomplished by the law, he shows that it had been affected by the incarnation of the Son of God, by whom the law has been fulfilled for all who are one with Him as members of His body. Paul next points out the difference of character between those who, being in their natural state under the law and under sin, are carnally-minded; and those who, being renewed by grace, in whom the law has been fulfilled, are spiritually-minded. The condition of the former is death, that of the latter life and peace. Of these last he proceeds, through the remainder of the chapter, to assert the high privileges and absolute security.

Those who are spiritually-minded have the Spirit of Christ, and possess spiritual life. Although their bodies must return to the dust, they shall be raised up again. They are led by the Spirit; they are the sons of God, and in His service are delivered from a spirit of bondage. They look to Him as their Father; are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. To encourage believers to sustain the sufferings to which, while in this world, they are exposed, the most varied and abundant consolations are exhibited. Their salvation is declared to have taken its rise in the eternal counsels of God, by whom, through all its steps, it is carried into effect. Their condemnation, then, is impossible; for who shall condemn those whom God justifieth, — for whom Christ died, and rose, and intercedes? The Apostle concludes by defying the whole universe to separate believers from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. In this manner he follows out, in this chapter, what had been his grand object through all the preceding part of the Epistle.” [20]

 

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 

The word “therefore” does not mark or draw a conclusion just from the few verses that preceded this verse, but is the conclusion of the first seven chapters of this epistle. Paul has shown that believers are dead to the law and married to another by the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. Not only that, but God has justified us by faith in Christ, who bore our sins, so that we have been declared legally just, by an imputed righteousness. Thus there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ. The Greek word used here for “condemnation” occurs only three times in the New Testament and every instance is in Romans [5:16, 18]. This word is the opposite of the word justification. It is a judicial word signifying the verdict of the guilt and the penalty that verdict demands.

Since the sins of those who are in Christ have been paid for by Christ and his righteousness has been imputed to them, then they can never again be condemned before God’s judgment seat, though they sin again. No sin that the believer could commit will ever reverse the decision that was made in their case. Romans 8:33-39 will clarify what I have just said. Also Ephesians 1:7 states: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” We have forgiveness of sins according to the riches of God’s grace and since God’s grace is a storehouse of grace that is without measure, then we could never exhaust it.

The words “to them which are in Christ Jesus” mean those who have been born again and have been adopted into the family by the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost. Those that have been given a new or second birth are not condemned before God’s judgment seat. This is in contrast to all those who do not know him. As we shown in Romans 1 that all Gentiles are condemned before God and in Romans 2 all Jews are condemned before God. In Romans 3 Paul declared that all were condemned before God, but those who are in Christ Jesus are no longer condemned, because Christ is their Surety. He paid their penalty for their sins and his righteousness has been given to them.

The later part that states: “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” is not found in the most ancient manuscripts and is thought by many scholars today to be interpolated. To interpolate means to add to a text in order to alter or corrupt the meaning of the text. But even though I do not believe it to be part of the actual text, I will still comment on this portion of scripture.

Many interpret this to mean that those Christians who somehow live a complete holy life with no sin will be those who are not condemned before God. But this teaching does great damage to the doctrine of justification by faith alone. We are not justified by our works, but are justified by faith in Christ. I am not saying that faith has no good works, but we that are born again and regenerated by the power of the Spirit are not trying to be justified, but are already justified. Also Paul has already explained in Romans seven that believers in Christ will struggle with sin as long as they are in this body. So to be in the flesh is to be unregenerate. Again in Romans eight here, Paul will declare that those that are in the flesh cannot please God.

What is Paul talking about then when he contrasts walking in the flesh with walking in the Spirit? I believe as many other commentators believe that Paul is contrasting the works of the law with being justified by the Spirit. In other words there is therefore now no condemnation in those who are not seeking to make them selves righteous by law works, but who are seeking their righteousness by grace through faith in Christ. In Romans 4:1-2 Paul asks this: “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” See here how walking in the flesh doesn’t necessarily mean that someone wasn’t trying to live a holy life, but instead depicts someone who is trying to be righteous by the works of the law. Another example is Galatians 3:3 “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Paul is rebuking the Galatians for going back to law works and this is described as trying to work out a righteousness in them selves which is described by the word flesh. Robert Haldane states: “In this passage the word flesh cannot be taken for wicked works, any more than in the fourth chapter of the Romans, just quoted. It must be understood in the sense of working for life, or self-justification, in opposition to the way of salvation according to the Gospel. The Apostle’s main object, in the whole of that Epistle, is to reclaim the Galatian churches from the error of mixing ceremonial observances, or any works of law, with the faith of Christ, and thus walking according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit. ‘Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from (the doctrine of) grace.” [21]

Again Philippians 3:3 Paul states: “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” This example and many others can be used to show that the word flesh doesn’t always mean wicked works. Also since Paul has been arguing through this entire epistle that we are not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Christ, then I believe when he concludes his arguments from the first seven chapters, here in verse one of chapter eight, he is not speaking of someone who is living an ungodly life when he uses the word flesh, but is depicting someone who is trying to become righteous through their own works. Therefore Paul is saying, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who is not trying to make them selves righteous through the flesh, but who has been regenerated by the Spirit.

This interpretation is in contrast to what many say today. They will read Romans eight here and teach that those that are not under condemnation are those who are not committing sin by not walking in the flesh, but again I say that this doctrine destroys the whole doctrine of justification by faith because it teaches that in order to be righteous you must do something besides being in Christ.

Let me add a little note here: Many when interpreting scripture interpret scripture with the same definition of a word that is given in the English Bible. In other words when they see the word “world,” they will define it the same way every time. The word “world” carries seven different definitions through out scripture. John 1:10 alone has the word “world” three times and all three times it has a different definition. In Romans Paul has used the word “law” in six different ways or with six different definitions. So it is here with the word “flesh.” The word “flesh” is almost always in the negative, but the scriptures use it in the positive to. In Ezekiel11:19and 36:26 the word flesh is used as a synonym for being regenerated or born again. Ezekiel says: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh:”

So you see that the word “flesh” does not always mean to walk in wicked works. But Paul uses it many times in his epistles to speak of someone who isn’t righteous through imputation, but instead those who are trying to make them selves righteous through their own works in the flesh. Paul contrasts the regenerate with the unregenerate. Those who walk in the spirit are regenerated. Those who walk in the flesh are the unregenerate.

This comes from a “Commentary on Romans” by Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

 

20)  This comes from Robert Haldane’s Introduction on Romans Chapter 8 found in the Master Christian Library Version 8 put out by Ages Software Copyrighted 2000-2003.

21) This comes from Robert Haldane’s comment on Romans Chapter 8 verse 4 found in the Master Christian Library Version 8 put out by Ages Software Copyrighted 2000-2003.