Living the New Life in Christ

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

CONTEXT: 

In this 4th chapter of his Epistle to the church at Ephesus, Paul begins v.1-16 with an exhortation to Christian Unity. In v.17-24 we find his opening of today’s theme Living the New Life in Christ where Paul emphasizes putting away the old life and adopting the new life wrapped in the likeness of God. 

In order to get to pour main text above I need to again put it in context of the whole with which it was written v.25-32:

25 Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor,[j] because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin.[k] Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the devil an opportunity.28 Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need,[l]so that it gives grace to those who hear.30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him[m] for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you[n] in Christ (CSB)

Efesios 4:25-32 Reina-Valera 1960 (RVR1960)

If we just take v.32 it sounds goo, in fact I am sure many of us have heard if said by non-believers accusingly something like; ‘I thought you Christians were supposed to be king and caring full of forgiveness.’  

So how is it “we Christians” can answer those accusations? Paul tells us in the text: 

Always speak the truth to our neighbors.

If you get angry (natural for all men) do not let it cause you to sin.

Do not give the devil a toe hold in your life. If you are angry at someone deal with it Matthew 18:15 (note while this addresses Christian brothers it is applicable to all)

Work hard and share with those in need. Haters will always be out there, but it is hard to argue with hard work and caring. (Matthew 25:40)

We (God’s Chosen Elect) Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) the Third person of the Triune Godhead. As such He cannot abide with sin Psalm 5:4 says For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil cannot dwell with you. By putting away sin that is making every effort not to sin and when we do to quickly confess our sins, we avoid Grieving the Holy Spirit 

Finally whatever comes out of our mouths must be Graceful to the hearers. You do not want folks hearing you trash talk others, curse and carry on. In all our speech Glorify God.

APPLICATION

We cannot on our own do any of this. That is (in my opinion) why Paul reminds the Church at Ephesus to Unify in fellowship and as individuals to put on the new life in Christ. Our strength to defeat our old ways and the devils temptations comes not from self but from God and fellowship with like minded brethren.

To Have & To Hold

The Master's Seminary Blog

Tim Counts | 

It happened again. My wife and I heard of yet another Christian couple—whom we knew and loved—ending their marriage. I felt sick. I couldn’t rid my mind of the years, likely decades, of unrest that would trickle from this.

It seems as if Christians are beginning to be okay with their marriages mimicking the world’s broken marriages. We are growing accustomed to leaving the gospel on the sideline when it comes to our wedding vows. Divorce has become something of a car crash: unpleasant, destructive, but sometimes simply inevitable. A wreck, however, pales in comparison to the ripple-effects of divorce. A fractured marriage not only affects the family, it devastates our witness as ministers of grace to a broken world.

But just consider the impact of a couple who says and actually means their wedding vows—”for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

Several years ago, I officiated a memorial service for a woman who had had a long fight with Alzheimer’s. She rarely recognized her husband the last years of her life. Yet week after week he drove four hours to be with his bride. On his last visit, something changed. She held his face in her hands and whispered, “I love you.” What a beautiful picture of the stubborn, never-wearying love of the gospel—a love that gives and forbears, even in days and years of forgetfulness.

The following are two biblical truths that help us to understand why God calls us to reflect the gospel by keeping our marriage covenant.

Satan Hates Your Marriage

In marriage, we do have an enemy, but that enemy is not our spouse. Understanding that will make all the difference. That enemy is the one who delights in deceiving, distorting, and dividing. Satan has hated marriage from the beginning, just as he hates all of God’s good creation.

When God created Eve and then led her to Adam as his bride, the Scriptures says: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Immediately following God’s institution of marriage, the enemy of marriage enters: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made” (Gen. 3:1). In the following verses, we see the immediate results of Satan’s temptation. Eve tempts her husband to sin. And Adam resentfully points the finger, blaming his wife and God for his sin. Satan wasted no time, creating a chasm of resentment and struggle between man and his wife.


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Satan continues to hate marriage to this day. Why? Because God formed this institution to reflect the relentlessly-loving relationship between Christ and His bride—the church (Eph. 5:31–32). When we throw in the towel on our marriages, when we are unfaithful through infidelity or pornography, when we stop fighting for our marriages with a holy stubbornness, we fail to reflect the One who never stops assuring His bride, “No matter what, I will not let you go.” We too quickly let Satan win.

Jesus Will Never Leave His Bride

Jesus will never leave nor forsake His bride. Sally Lloyd-Jones described God’s covenant love as His “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.” Oh, that our marriages could be described like that. When Jesus came to earth as God in the flesh, He put skin on unconditional love. He showed what love looks like towards the unlovely—the prostitutes, the tax collectors, to those who had nothing to offer in return. When we display Jesus’ love by maintaining our marriage covenant, we become a practical demonstration of the love of Christ to a broken world.

Jesus will never leave His bride. Followers of Jesus shouldn’t either.

Yet Jesus does more than provide an example of stubborn love. The good news of the gospel is that believers are given the strength to live and love righteously. Because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we can lean into the embrace of Jesus to find the strength to love our spouse.

I remember hearing the testimony of a young couple who had been on the brink of divorce. The husband had battled anger for years. The wife had committed adultery. After he and his wife had separated, the husband repented and turned to the Lord. In an attempt to reconcile, the husband looked at her and said, “Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose from the dead?”

Yes, was her replay.

He continued: “And do you really believe that God could raise a dead man back to life and not breathe new life back into our marriage?” Restoration soon flooded this relationship—God breathed life into brokenness.

If Satan seems to have the upper hand in your marriage, if you are weary of trying to love your spouse with whatever endurance you can muster, the gospel has a better word for you.

Cling to Christ as you seek to reflect His faithful love to your spouse:

O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow,
May richer, fuller be.

[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated.]

ARE YOU A CRY BABY?

So yes, the title is a little deceptive, but in essence we as “True Christians” need to be ready to be “Cry Babies” if we have the expectation of reaping the JOY’S of Heaven

Life is and should be tough for the elect of Christ. If you are cruising through it then Satan does not recognize you as a true believer and you need to check your faith and salvation. If you are constantly hitting speed bumps HARD, (attacks from all sides it may seem) then you are working for the kingdom and likely on the right path. That path is full of tears and heartache but the reward is worth it all. 

Image result for Psalm 126:5

Los que sembraron con lágrimas, con regocijo segarán. (RVR 1960)


The Treasury of David Commentary;

Exposition, Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings; C.H. Spurgeon; 

Today in Church History

Cotton Mather, Scion of a Noble Heritage 

Cotton Mather, Scion of a Noble Heritage

In every country there are family names which everyone recognizes, names which are keys to understanding that country’s history. For New England, such a name belonged to the Mathers.

Richard Mather brought the family seeds to America. A well-educated minister in the Church of England, he had been suspended from his pulpit for refusing to conform to the mandatory practices of the established church. He migrated to Boston in August 1635 where he became a Puritan pastor, exerting his influence not only from the pulpit but through production of the Bay Psalm Book. His son, Increase Mather, was likewise a pastor and author, whose life is closely intertwined with the history of Massachusetts. Perhaps his greatest service was to act as an agent of the colony in resisting Charles II’s revocation of its charter. He also served as president of Harvard and earned America’s first Doctor of Divinity degree.

The third person of this Mather trilogy was perhaps the most notable of all. Cotton was born on this date, February 12, 1663. Like his famous father and grandfather he entered the ministry. Acutely aware of sin in himself, from a young age he subjected his body to fasts and vigils and his mind to periodic self-examination. Six times a day he broke off business to pray and meditate. As a man he was unusually introspective. One wonders if he placed trust in works or in Christ. Sometimes he claimed direct illumination from God and at other times groaned or swooned. Often he felt plagued by demons.

Convinced from his own experience of the real power of Satan, he supported witch hunting. At the urging of the Salem court, he wrote Wonders of the Invisible World which described the Salem witch trials. It is unfortunate that he did not pay more heed to his father’s opposite views. Cotton’s name is forever blemished by the Salem witch trials, which show how badly superstition can warp an otherwise intelligent man.

For he was an intelligent man. 444 of his works were printed in his day, including a fascinating and valuable history of God’s workings in New England. The Royal Society of London elected him a member and read his scientific papers. The Christian Philosopher was his foray into apologetics. “The works of the Glorious GOD in the Creation of the World are what I now propose to exhibit; in brief Essays to enumerate some of them, that He may be glorified in them…” He quoted often from his large and valuable personal library.

Cotton was not merely a scholar. His pastoral care and rapport with troubled teens won admiration. He actively participated in the hour’s political roly poly, for example, justifying the seizure and imprisonment of the colonial governor Edmund Andros.

He died February 13, 1728. With him the Mathers fade from New England’s center stage. However, the first three were so great that their name remains inseparable from the history of the region.

Daily Devotional – Don’t Be Defined by Your Past

Image result for Psalm 51:4"

Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just [a]when You speak,
And blameless when You judge. (NKJV) 

Contra ti, contra ti solo he pecado, Y he hecho lo malo delante de tus ojos;
Para que seas reconocido justo en tu palabra, Y tenido por puro en tu juicio. (RVR 1960)

Some folks refuse to accept God’s gracious invitation of eternal life through Christ because they “feel” they are unworthy, their past “sins” are too great.  Yet here is King David calling out the the Lord in probably the greatest recorded confession and repentance letter (Psalm) ever, acknowledging his sins, pleading with God for forgiveness. 

David understood that above all else we sin against the Holy God of all creation. He also understood that a Holy God is a merciful God and Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins [a]and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

No matter your past (Adulterer, Arsonist, Murderer or even Rapist) if you are a truly converted and redeemed child of God (producing fruits of the Spirit for all to seethen it is time for you to move on from your past offending behaviors. You must resist Satan’s attempts to keep your mind behind Isaiah 43:18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old” and look to the future. 

That does not mean that you completely forget or ignore your past mistakes. How stupid would that be? In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul makes the following statement: Brethren, I do not count myself to have [a]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He is not dwelling on the past (Paul was a mass murderer of Christians) in order that he may carry on the work of Christ Jesus. 

In conclusion the next time you are tempted by Satan or his minions (that is anyone doing his bidding telling you you’re unworthy) to Be Defined by Your Past I want you to remember these verses:

You are a new person in ChristGalatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  

Satan and his minions future is setMatthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:”

 

 

When Trouble is Near

Image result for PSALM. 22:11

Don’t be far from me, because distress is near and there’s no one to help. (CSB)

No estés lejos de mí, porque la angustia está cerca, pues no hay quien ayude. (LBLA) 

There is an old adage in the military that goes “there are no atheists in foxholes.” While the exact origins can not be determined the context is pretty clear, in times of extreme duress, fear or stress men (mankind) will turn to (hope in) God to get them out of their present situation. The problem is most don’t give a hoot about God the moment the crisis is over. 

Our Bible verse for today is different. David begins this Psalm asking v.1  My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? Sound familiar, it should this was repeated by our Lord and Savior on the Cross.  David feels alone and abandoned, he has been calling out to God v.2 but appears to ignore his pleas. 

In v.3-8 David recalls, his lowly position in life how he has endured scorn and ridicule, again the parallels to Christ can not be missed. Then in v.9-10 he shifts gears a little and acknowledges God’s divine hand in his life from birth forward. Once again the comparisons to Christ are undeniable. 

Finally in our main text v.11 David cries out:

Don’t be far from me; His fear is that God has abandoned him, his prayer is that He would be near. This should be the daily prayer of every believer, to have God by our side through thick and thin. 

because distress is near; Why do we need God near, because distress or trouble is always nearby. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Listen the devil is not about to come up introduce himself and say I am hear to make you do sinful (evil) things. Trouble come in many forms and many are so sneaky and underhanded your are not even aware your doing something wrong until it is too late.  

and there’s no one to help; Who are you going to call on, that neighbor or family member or battle buddy that is living in the world? Yes I know as Christians we have a Church family we can count on BUT nothing compares to the helper we have in Christ  John 14:16 (AMP) And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— 

I encourage you as did the Psalmist (105:4) to daily; Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.


RESOURCES:
Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David Psalm 22

 

Great Peace

165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165

Mucha paz tienen los que aman tu ley,
Y no hay para ellos tropiezo. (RVR 1960) 

Everyone wants peace, whether it is personal peace for their lives, their loved ones the nation or the world folks often pray for peace. Interestingly the bible (KJV) uses the word peace 429 times but only tells us directly once to pray for peace, Psalm 122:6:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Pedid por la paz de Jerusalén; Sean prosperados los que te aman

Our text this morning however speaks of the first type of peace I mentioned, personal. It say those that love the law, that is God’s law, His precepts, will find peace. Sounds pretty simple does it not. Love God, Love His rules (law) and peace will be yours. Yet nothing in life is ever easy is it? You see we have a sin nature that we have to continually work out and a real jerk of a fallen angel, Satan, to contend with all the while dealing with our daily life too. 

I want to make some observations here:

    • This is not saying anything about those keeping the law perfectly, we know this is impossible
    • This promise is for those who wholeheartedly love God and His law
    • For those who repent and try even harder when they fail
    • Nothing that Satan or the world throws at them will offend or discourage them 
    • This promise is for true converts, those whom the Fruit of the Spirit is clearly seen in 

 

Learn the true wisdom of those of you who are new creatures, and who love God’s holy law. All of you who are really brought to Christ are changed into his image, so that you love God’s holy law. “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart”: Psalm 19. The world says: What a slave you are! you cannot have a little amusement on the Sabbath — you cannot take a Sabbath walk, or join a Sabbath tea party; you cannot go to a dance or a theater; you cannot enjoy the pleasures of sensual indulgence — you are a slave. I answer: Christ had none of these pleasures. He did not want them: nor do we. He knew what was truly wise, and good, and happy, and he chose God’s holy law. He was the freest of all beings, and yet he knew no sin. Only make me free as Christ is free — this is all I ask. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” —Robert Murray M Cheyne, 1813-1843.

Nothing shall offend them. They that have this character of God’s children, will not the stumbled at God’s dispensations, let them he never so cross to their desires, because they have a God to fly unto in all their troubles, and a sure covenant to rest upon. Therefore the reproaches cast upon them, and on the way of God, do not scandalize them; for they have found God in that very way which others speak evil of; they are not so offended by anything that attends the way of God, as to dislike or forsake that way. Nevertheless we must take heed that we be not offended. —John Bunyan.

How Satan Works Today

Listen, I am never one to express the Flip Wilson theology, that is; “the devil made me do it”. Yet there is undeniable biblical proof that Satan and his minions are loose (1 Perter 5:8), they are great plotters against the children of God (Ephesians 6:11) and can weaken (destroy) nations (Isaiah 14:12). I found the following interesting. – Mike

The Truth about Satan and Demons

Why are we often attracted to forms of entertainment such as horror movies? What are some of the ways that Satan and demons actually interact with people on a normal basis?

In this episode of The Crossway Podcast, Iain Duguid, author of The Whole Armor of God: How Christ’s Victory Strengthens Us for Spiritual Warfare, discusses the realms of evil, Satan’s strategy in the Western world, and the gospel’s connection to spiritual warfare.

You can also listen to the show or read the full transcript via your web browser

Daily Devotional – Mortification of Sin

Some “Christians” have fallen prey to the misconception that we must all be passive sheep in all we do. Nothing could be farther from the truth especially when fighting our own spiritual warfare battles. – Mike

by John Owen – February 17th, 2019 

Chapter 6 “WHAT MORTIFICATION IS” Continued 

c. Attack daily

The height of this contest is to load sin daily with all the things that are grievous, killing, and destructive to sin, which shall be mentioned later. Such a one never thinks his lust dead because it is quiet, but labors still to give it new wounds, new blows every day. So, the apostle says in Colossians 3:5, “Mortify therefore your members…” etc.

Now, while the soul is thus dealing in this condition, it certainly has the upper hand: sin is under the sword and dying.

 Excerpts from Mortification of Sin by John Owen from:The Chapel Library •  chapel@mountzion.org

The Truth About Spiritual Warfare

Any thorough discussion of the exclusivity of Christ should include the issue of spiritual warfare. Not the nonsense we see in the charismatic church, where a faith healer attempts to bind the demons…

Continued at Source: The Truth About Spiritual Warfare