Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Profiting from the Word - Chapter 10

In Chapter 10 "The Scriptures and Love" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink states that "[n]o one can read the Scriptures with any measure of attention without discovering how much they have to say about love, and therefore it behooves each one of us prayerfully and carefully to ascertain whether or not his or her love be really a spiritual one, and whether it be in a healthy state and is being exercised aright."  As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study. You can read my notes from Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here, Chapter 4 here, Chapter 5 here, Chapter 6 here, Chapter 7 here, Chapter 8 here, and Chapter 9 here.

A man profits from the Word of God when he:
  1. Perceives the importance of Christian love--"Said our Lord, 'By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another' (John 13:35). By Christ’s making it the badge of Christian discipleship, we see again the great importance of love. It is an essential test of the genuineness of our profession: we cannot love Christ unless we love His brethren, for they are all bound up in the same 'bundle of life' with Him (1 Sam. 25:29). Love to those whom He has redeemed is a sure evidence of spiritual and supernatural love to the Lord Jesus Himself. Where the Holy Spirit has wrought a supernatural birth, He will draw forth that nature into exercise, He will produce in the hearts and lives and conduct of the saints supernatural graces, one of which is loving each other for Christ’s sake."
  2. Detects perversions of Christian love--"[W]e should not be surprised when unregenerate professors1 mistake human sentimentality and carnal pleasantries for spiritual love. But sad is it to see some of God’s own people living on so low a plane that they confuse human amiability and affability with the queen of the Christian graces. While it is true that spiritual love is characterized by meekness and gentleness, yet is it something very different from and vastly superior to the courtesies and kindnesses of the flesh. How many a doting father has withheld the rod from his children, under the mistaken notion that real affection for them and the chastising of them were incompatible! How many a foolish mother, who disdained all corporal punishment, has boasted that 'love' rules in her home!"
  3. Understands true Christian love--"Christian love is a spiritual grace abiding in the souls of the saints alongside faith and hope (1 Cor. 13:13). It is a holy disposition wrought in them when they are regenerated (1 John 5:1). It is nothing less than the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). It is a righteous principle which seeks the highest good of others...Spiritual love is a holy thing: it is faithful to God; it is uncompromising toward all that is evil."
  4. Discovers that Christian love is Divine communication--"To love Christ, and His and our brethren in Him, is congenial to that Divine nature He hath made us the partakers of by His Holy Spirit...It is the Holy Spirit within attracting and alluring me with Christ indwelling my brethren and sisters. Thus real Christian love is not only a Divine gift, but is altogether dependent upon God for its invigoration and exercise. We need to pray daily that the Holy Spirit will call forth into action and manifestation, toward both God and His people, that love which He has shed abroad in our hearts."
  5. Rightly exercises Christian love--"This is done not by seeking to please our brethren and ingratiate ourselves in their esteem but when we truly seek their highest good...Love is to be exercised in a Divine way, and never at the expense of failing to love God; in fact, it is only when God has His proper place in my heart that spiritual love can be exercised by me toward my brethren."
  6. Comprehends the manifestations of Christian love--"To love our brethren and manifest the same in all kinds of ways is our bounden duty...In no other way can the Christian more manifest his affectionate regard toward his fellow pilgrims than by using all his interests in the Lord Jesus in their behalf, entreating His mercies and favours unto them...The best way of overcoming a bitter spirit to a brother who has offended is to be much in prayer for him. "
  7. Grasps the proper cultivation of Christian love--"First, recognizing at the outset that just as there is much in you (in me) which will severely try the love of the brethren, so there will be not a little in them to test our love. “Forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:2) is a great admonition on this subject which each of us needs to lay to heart...Second, the best way to cultivate any virtue or grace is to exercise it. Talking and theorizing about it avails nothing unless it be carried into action.  Suffer not the coldness and unkindness of others to dampen your love, but “overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21)...Third, above all see to it that your own heart basks in the light and warmth of God’s love. Like begets like. The more you are truly occupied with the unwearying, unfailing, unfathomable love of Christ to you, the more will your heart be drawn out in love to those who are His."
Mr. Pink ponders the previous 9 chapters and reiterates that:

"Many are deceived on this matter, mistaking an eagerness to acquire knowledge for a spiritual love of the Truth (2 Thess. 2:10), and assuming that addition to their store of learning is the same thing as growth in grace. A great deal depends upon the end or aim we have before us when turning to God’s Word. If it be simply to familiarize ourselves with its contents and become better versed in its details, it is likely that the garden of our souls will remain barren; but if with the prayerful desire to be rebuked and corrected by the Word, to be searched by the Spirit, to conform our hearts to its holy requirements, then we may expect a Divine blessing."

He goes on to encourage the reader to honestly measure himself by asking the following questions to see if his reading and searching of the Scriptures are really blessing his soul:

"Am I acquiring a greater hatred of sin, and a practical deliverance from its power and pollution? Am I obtaining a deeper acquaintance with God and His Christ? Is my prayer-life healthier? Are my good works more abundant? Is my obedience fuller and gladder? Am I more separated from the world in my affections and ways? Am I learning to make a right and profitable use of God’s promises, and so delighting myself in Him that His joy is my daily strength? Unless I can truthfully say that these are (in some measure) my experience, then it is greatly to be feared that my study of the Scriptures is profiting me little or nothing."

Under Mr. Pink's fifth point of rightly exercising Christian love, he points out what Christian love is not and gives biblical counsel on how to show love:

"Petting and pampering each other is not brotherly love; exhorting one another to press forward in the race that is set before us, and speaking words (enforced by example of our daily walk) which will encourage them to 'look off unto Jesus,' would be much more helpful (Heb. 12:1,2). Brotherly love is a holy thing, and not a fleshly sentiment or a loose indifference as to the path we are treading. God’s 'commandments' are expressions of His love, as well as of His authority, and to ignore them, even while seeking to be kindly affectioned one to another, is not 'love' at all. The exercise of love is to be in strict conformity to the revealed will of God. We are to love 'in the truth' (3 John 1)."

This concludes my book study on Pink's Profiting from the Word.  May your Bible reading in 2016 be profitable.

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments," (1 John 5:2).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Profiting from the Word - Chapter 9

In Chapter 9 "The Scriptures and Joy" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink contends that "[i]t is the sovereign decree of heaven that nothing can make sinners truly happy but God in Christ."  As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study. You can read my notes from Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here, Chapter 4 here, Chapter 5 here, Chapter 6 here, Chapter 7 here, and Chapter 8 here.

A man profits from the Word of God when he:
  1. Perceives joy as duty--"The Holy Spirit here speaks of rejoicing as a personal, present, and permanent duty for the people of God to carry out. The Lord has not left it to our option whether we should be glad or sad, but has made happiness an obligation. Not to rejoice is a sin of omission...It is not a carnal joy which we are here urging, by which we mean a joy which comes from carnal sources. It is useless to seek joy in earthly riches, for frequently they take unto themselves wings and fly away...No, if we are to “rejoice evermore” it must be in an object that lasts is an intelligent, steady, heart delight in God Himself. Every attribute of God, when contemplated by faith, will make the heart sing. Every doctrine of the Gospel, when truly apprehended, will call forth gladness and praise."
  2. Learns the secret of true joy--"It is only where there is much faith and consequent love that there is much joy. 'Rejoice in the Lord alway' (Phil. 4:4). There is no other object in which we can rejoice “alway.” Everything else varies and is inconstant. What pleases us today may pall on us tomorrow. But God is always the same, to be enjoyed in seasons of adversity as much as in seasons of prosperity."
  3. Understands the great value of joy--"Joy is to the soul what wings are to the bird, enabling us to soar above the dregs of earth. This is brought out plainly in Nehemiah 8:10: 'The joy of the Lord is your strength'...My dear readers, there are tasks needing to be performed, service to others requiring to be rendered, temptations to be overcome, battles to be fought; and we are only experimentally fitted for them as our hearts are rejoicing in the Lord. If our souls are resting in Christ, if our hearts be filled with a tranquil gladness, work will be easy, duties pleasant, sorrow bearable, endurance possible."
  4. Attends to the root of joy--"The Gospel works joy, because the soul is at rest in God. But these blessings become our own only by personal appropriation. Faith must receive them, and when it does so the heart is filled with peace and joy. And the secret of sustained joy is to keep the channel open, to continue as we began...Daily do we need to pray for afresh realization of the preciousness of the Gospel, a fresh appropriation of its blessed contents; and then there will be a renewing of our joy."
  5. Maintains joy--"But the joy to which we are exhorted is not limited to any set of circumstances or type of temperament; nor does it fluctuate with our varying moods and fortunes...If we are to maintain our joy, we must keep from grieving the Holy Spirit. When Christ is supreme in the heart, joy fills it."
  6. Avoids hindrances to joy--"It is only as we walk with God, in the light, that the heart can truly be joyous. It is the deliberate allowance of things which mar our fellowship with Him that chills and darkens our souls. It is the indulgence of the flesh, the fraternizing with the world, the entering of forbidden paths which blight our spiritual lives and make us cheerless...Oh my brethren and sisters, if we are to be kept from such a fall, if we are not to lose our joy, then self must be denied, the affections and lusts of the flesh crucified. We must ever be on our watch against temptation. We must spend much time upon our knees. We must drink frequently from the Fountain of living water. We must be out and out for the Lord."
  7. Preserves the balance between sorrow and joy--"If the Christian faith has a marked adaptation to produce joy, it has an almost equal design and tendency to produce sorrow—a sorrow that is solemn, manly, noble.  'As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing' is the rule of the Christian’s life (2 Cor. 6:10). If faith casts its light upon our condition, our nature, our sins, sadness must be one of the effects."
Under his first point, that joy is a matter of Christian duty, Mr. Pink does not allow the Christian to hide under the excuse of uncontrollable emotions dictated by circumstances.  He writes:

"'Rejoice in the Lord' is a Divine command, and to a large extent obedience to it lies in one’s own power. I am responsible to control my emotions. True, I cannot help being sorrowful in the presence of sorrowful thoughts, but I can refuse to let my mind dwell upon them (2 Cor. 10:5). I can pour out my heart for relief unto the Lord, and cast my burden upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). I can seek grace to meditate upon His goodness, His promises, the glorious future awaiting me (Col. 3:2). I have to decide whether I will go and stand in the light or hide among the shadows. Not to rejoice in the Lord is more than a misfortune, it is a fruit which needs to be confessed and forsaken."

I had never before considered joy a duty even though I've read 1 Thess. 5:16 countless time; therefore, it never occurred to me that my lack of joy is a sin to be confessed and forsaken.  This is something that I will need to be mindful of and prayerful for as I continue my walk with the Lord.  It helps to remember that sanctification is progressive and I will not be perfected until death.

As he talks about maintaining joy under his fifth point, Mr. Pink exposes the sin in my heart when he writes:

"If we expect people to pet and pamper us, disappointment will make us fretful. If we desire our pride to be ministered unto, we are dejected when it is not. The secret of happiness is forgetting self and seeking to minister unto the happiness of others. 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' (Acts 20:35), so it is a happier thing to minister unto others than to be ministered unto (Matt. 20:28)."

This chapter was not only convicting, but also encouraging.  As a Christian, joy should be a fruit of the Spirit that predominates my life, regardless of my circumstances and emotions.

"And he [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me," (Luke 9:23).

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fundamentals of Unity Part 2

On June 21, 2015, Pastor Mark Fitzpatrick of Arann Reformed Baptist Church preached a Sunday evening message entitled "Fundamentals of Unity (2)".  He continues to expound Gal. 5:13-15 and looks at Thomas Brooks's Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices.  You can find my post on Part 1 of his series here.  I'm continuing my notes of his second sermon on this important doctrine of Christianity.

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another," (Gal. 5:13-15).

Pastor Fitzpatrick looks at the Brooks's 2nd stage of Satan's devices.  Here, the challenge for Christians is to live what they hear preached (Jude 14-19 shows the sin of division, Rom. 16:17).
Next, he reads from Ephesians 4:

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you," (Eph. 4:31-32).

Brooks's 3rd stage of Satan's devices is overcome by tending to the garden of your own heart and removing the weeds by the roots (Eph. 4:31-32).  The soil of your heart should not give place for the things in verse 31 to grow.  Actively practice verse 32 so that the things in verse 31 don't have room to grow in a Christian heart that is obedient to the Word of God.

In regards to the 4th stage of biting and devouring, Pastor Fitzpatrick states that a life of pretense is not Christianly.  Believers should not be like the devil in their mindset and should not pretend one thing while secretly doing another.  We should rather sow the fruit of righteousness in peace and be a peacemaker (2 Sam. 2:12-28).  Blow the trumpet of peace in your heart and stop the fighting to remove the anger.

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful," (Col. 3:15).

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Profiting from the Word - Chapter 8

In Chapter 8 "The Scriptures and the Promises" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink reminds Christians that "[w]hile the natural intellect is capable of perceiving much of their [Divine promises] greatness, only the renewed heart can taste their ineffable preciousness."  As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study. You can read my notes from Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here, Chapter 4 here, Chapter 5 here, Chapter 6 here, and Chapter 7 here.

A man profits from the Word of God when he:
  1. Perceives to whom God’s promises belong--"There can be no intercourse between the thrice holy God and sinful creatures except through a Mediator who has satisfied Him on their behalf. Therefore must that Mediator receive from God all good for His people, and they must have it at second hand through Him. A sinner might just as well petition a tree as call upon God for mercy while he despises and rejects Christ. Both the promises and the things promised are made over to the Lord Jesus and conveyed unto the saints from Him."
  2. Labors to own God’s promises--"Not only must I search the Scriptures to find out what has been made over to me by the everlasting covenant, but I need also to meditate upon the promises, to turn them over and over in my mind, and cry unto the Lord for spiritual understanding of them. The bee would not extract any honey from the flowers as long as he only gazed upon them. Nor will the Christian derive any real comfort and strength from the Divine promises until his faith lays hold of and penetrates to the heart of them."
  3. Recognizes the blessed scope of God’s promises--"They believe in God, after a fashion, for things spiritual, and for the life which is to be; but they totally forget that true godliness hath the promise of the life which now is, as well as that which is to come. To them it would seem almost profanation to pray about the small matters of which daily life is made up...'Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come' (1Tim 4:8). Reader, do you really believe this, that the promises of God cover every aspect and particular of your daily life?"
  4. Correctly discriminates between God’s promises--"While God’s promises proceed from pure grace, yet it ever needs to be remembered that grace reigns 'through righteousness' (Rom 5:21), and never sets aside human responsibility. If I ignore the laws of health I must not be surprised that sickness prevents my enjoying many of God’s temporal mercies: in like manner, if I neglect His precepts I have myself to blame if I fail to receive the fulfillment of many of His promises. Let none suppose that by His promises God has obligated Himself to ignore the requirements of His holiness: He never exercises one of His perfections at the expense of another. And let none imagine that God would be magnifying the sacrificial work of Christ were He to bestow its fruits upon impenitent and careless souls."
  5. Makes God’s promises his support--"This is one reason why God has given them to us; not only to manifest His love by making known His benevolent designs, but also to comfort our hearts and develop our faith...Our tender Father planned that we should enjoy His gifts twice over: first by faith, and then by fruition. By this means He wisely weans our hearts away from things seen and perishing, and draws them onward and upward to those things which are spiritual and eternal...Faith looks to the Word promising, hope looks to the performance thereof."
  6. Patiently awaits the fulfillment of God’s promises--"There is often a long and hard winter between the sowing-time of prayer and the reaping of the answer...Many of the best of God’s promises to His people will not receive their richest accomplishment until they are in glory. He who has all eternity at His disposal needs not to hurry. God often makes us tarry so that patience may have 'her perfect work' (Jam 1:4), yet let us not distrust Him."
  7. Makes a right use of God’s promises--"First, in our dealings with God Himself. When we approach unto His throne, it should be to plead one of His promises. They are to form not only the foundation for our faith to rest upon, but also the substance of our request. We must ask according to God’s will if we are to be heard, and His will is revealed in those good things which He has declared He will bestow upon us...Second, in the life we live in the world. In Hebrews 11:13...They acknowledged (and by their conduct demonstrated) that their interests were not in the things of this world; they had a satisfying portion in the promises they had appropriated. Their hearts were set upon things above (Col 3:2); for where a man’s heart is, there will his treasure be also (Matt 6:21)."

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust," (2 Peter 1:4).

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fundamentals of Unity Part 1

On June 21, 2015, Pastor Mark Fitzpatrick of Arann Reformed Baptist Church preached a sermon titled "Fundamentals of Unity (1)".  He expounds Gal. 5:13-15 and looks at Thomas Brooks's Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices.  I'm posting my sermon notes on this important doctrine of Christianity.

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another," (Gal. 5:13-15).

Pastor Fitzpatrick starts off by looking at Galatians 5 and notes that we see grace in verse 13 (we are saved to serve one another in the body of Christ) and law in verse 14 (the whole law of God is fulfilled in this principle of loving our neighbor as ourself).

Next, Pastor Fitzpatrick looks at Brooks's 4 states that lead up to biting and devouring one another:
  1. We become strange with one another--forsaking the assembly (Heb. 10:19-39).
  2. We divide with one another--learn the simplicity of the Christian life before the high and noble doctrines of the faith (1 Cor. 3:1-3).
  3. We become bitter and jealous of one another (Heb. 12:14-15).
  4. We bite and devour one another (James 3:13-18).
This is how Satan attacks.  He has devices to destroy the saints.  The tool Satan uses is sin, but his purpose is to make your soul something that will not worship God and will not be a blessing to other believers.  His goal is to make you a worthless soul in regards to God and the people of God.
However, the armor of God described in Ephesians 6 helps us to stand against the enemy.  We are attacked by the devil because we are part of the body of Christ.
Faith is trust in the revealed Word of God.  If you don't love the people of God along with their friendship and fellowship, then you are not saved.
God has made an inward change in believers.  We are not perfect, but we are different. Some neglect church because of dissatisfaction with the preacher, with some member of the church, or with some decision in the church.  It is the sacred duty of a believer to meet together for the public worship of God.

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful," (Col. 3:15).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Profiting from the Word - Chapter 7

In Chapter 7 "The Scriptures and the World" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink contends that Christians are not "to be content with an increase of mere head-knowledge of Scripture: what we need to be most concerned about is our practical growth, our experimental conformity to the image of Christ.  And one point at which we may test ourselves is, Does my reading and study of God’s Word make me less worldly?"  As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study. You can read my notes from Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here, Chapter 4 here, Chapter 5 here, and Chapter 6 here.

A man profits from the Word of God when:
  1. His eyes are opened to the true character of the world--"The 'world' is fallen human nature acting itself out in the human family, fashioning the framework of human society in accord with its own tendencies. It is the organized kingdom of the 'carnal mind' which is 'enmity against God' and which is 'not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be' (Rom 8:7). Wherever the 'carnal mind' is, there is 'the world;' so that worldliness is the world without God."
  2. He learns to resist and overcome the world--"Settle it then in your mind, my reader, that the world is a deadly enemy, and if you do not vanquish it in your heart then you are no child of God, for it is written 'For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world' (1Jo 5:4)...Out of many, the following reasons may be given as to why the world must be 'overcome.' First, all its alluring objects tend to divert the attention and alienate the affections of the soul from God...Second, the spirit of the world is diametrically opposed to the Spirit of Christ...Third, its concerns and cares are hostile to a devout and heavenly life."
  3. He understands that Christ delivers from the world--"The Son of God came here not only to 'fulfill' the requirements of the law (Mat 5:17), to 'destroy the works of the devil' (1Jo 3:8), to deliver us 'from the wrath to come' (1Th 1:10), to save us from our sins (Mat 1:21), but also to free us from the bondage of this world, to deliver the soul from its enthralling influence...And the Holy Spirit indwelling the saints co-operates with Christ in this blessed work. He turns their thoughts and affections away from earthly things to heavenly."
  4. He weans his heart from the world--"The truth is that until the heart be purged from this corruption the ear will be deaf to Divine instruction...The world has turned its back upon Christ, and though His name is professed in many places, yet will it have nothing to do with Him. All the desires and designs of worldlings are for the gratification of self...The Christian is taught by the Spirit, and through His presenting of Christ before the soul his thoughts are diverted from the world."
  5. He walks in separation from the world--"Surely disparity of character and conduct, the desires and pursuits which distinguish the regenerate from the unregenerate, must separate the one from the other. We who profess to have our citizenship in another world, to be guided by another Spirit, to be directed by another rule, and to be journeying to another country, cannot go arm and arm with those who despise all such things!"
  6. He evokes the hatred of the world--"What 'world' hated Christ and hounded Him to death? The religious world, those who pretended to be most zealous for God’s glory. So it is now...Ah, my brother, it is a healthy sign, a sure mark that you are profiting from the Word, when the religious world hates you."
  7. He is elevated above the world--"First, above its customs and fashions...Second, above its cares and sorrows...Third, above its temptations...Fourth, above its opinions and approvals. Have you learned to be independent of and defy the world? If your whole heart is set upon pleasing God, you will be quite unconcerned about the frowns of the godless."
In his second point on resisting and overcoming the world, Mr. Pink poses some very important questions for every Christian to ponder:

"Do the things which are so highly valued by the unregenerate charm and enthrall you? Take away from the worldling those things in which he delights, and he is wretched: is this so with you? Or, are your present joy and satisfaction found in objects which can never be taken from you? Treat not these questions lightly, we beseech you, but ponder them seriously in the presence of God. The honest answer to them will be an index to the real state of your soul, and will indicate whether or not you are deceived into supposing yourself to be 'a new creature in Christ Jesus' (see 2Co 5:17)."

At the end of the Chapter 7, he concludes with additional questions to measure yourself as a Christian:

"Now, my reader, do you really wish to measure yourself by the contents of this article? Then seek honest answers to the following questions. First, what are the objects before your mind in times of recreation? What do your thoughts most run upon? Second, what are the objects of your choice? When you have to decide how to spend an evening or the Sabbath afternoon, what do you select? Third, which occasions you the most sorrow, the loss of earthly things, or lack of communion with God? Which causes you greater grief (or chagrin), the spoiling of your plans or the coldness of your heart to Christ? Fourth, what is your favorite topic of conversation? Do you hanker after the news of the day, or to meet with those who talk of the 'altogether lovely' One (Song 5:16)? Fifth, do your 'good intentions' materialize, or are they nothing but empty dreams? Are you spending more or less time than formerly on your knees? Is the Word sweeter to your taste, or has your soul lost its relish for it?"

So, what do I think about?  I'm responsible for the duties I have as  wife and homeschool mom, but where do my thoughts go when I actually find that elusive "down time"?  Do I follow the command to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Phil. 4:8)?  No, typically my thoughts are selfish and worldly.  In Matthew 6:25:34, the word 'thought' is used 6 times.  In this passage Jesus Himself tells me to take no thought for my life, for my stature, for my raiment, for what I eat or drink, or for the morrow.  I am to seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to me (v. 32).

Sanctification is a synergistic process, so while I have responsibility to conform my life to the image of Christ, I cannot do it in my own strength.  The Holy Spirit is the sanctifier and comforter of God's people (John 14:26), and He helps my infirmities by making intercession for me (Rom. 8:26).  Therefore, I need to be more prayerful in all that I do--this simple statement will definitely help control where my mind wanders!  Our family memorizes scripture, but I don't meditate on what I'm learning.  Incorporating memorization and meditation will also help guide my thoughts.  My outward life should be reflective of my inward thoughts; and both should be conformed to Christ.

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you," (John 15:18-19).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Profiting from the Word - Chapter 6

In Chapter 6 "The Scriptures and Obedience" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink states that the "bounden duty of those who bear His name to honour and glorify Christ in this world."  Christians can only honor Christ when they live holily unto Him and by walking in subjection to His revealed will.  As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study. You can read my notes from Chapter 1 here, Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here, Chapter 4 here, and Chapter 5 here.

"God has given us His Word not only with the design of instructing us, but for the purpose of directing us: to make known what He requires us to do.  The first thing we need is a clear and distinct knowledge of our duty; and the first thing God demands of us is a conscientious practice of it, corresponding to our knowledge."

A man profits from the Word when he:
  1. Discovers God’s Demands upon Man--"'The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good' (Rom 7:12). The sum of God’s Law is, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might' (Deu 6:5)."
  2. Discovers Man’s Failure to Meet God’s Demands--"But once a soul really perceives what are God’s demands upon him, and how completely and constantly he has failed to render Him His due, then does he recognize what a desperate situation he is in. The Law must be preached before any are ready for the Gospel."
  3. Learns God’s Provision for Meeting His Demands--"That obedience which God requires can proceed only from a heart which loves Him.  'Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord' (Col 3:23). That obedience which springs from a dread of punishment is servile. That obedience which is performed in order to procure favours from God is selfish and carnal. But spiritual and acceptable obedience is cheerfully given: it is the heart’s free response to and gratitude for the unmerited regard and love of God for us."
  4. Loves God’s Commandments--"The 'blessed' man is the one whose 'delight is in the law of the Lord' (Psa 1:2). And again we read, 'Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in His commandments' (Psa 112:1)...'I delight in the law of God after the inward man' (Rom 7:22). And, my reader, unless your heart delights in the 'law of God' there is something radically wrong with you: yea, it is greatly to be feared that you are spiritually dead."
  5. Yields to God’s Commandments--"A holy mind declines whatsoever God forbids, and chooses to practice all He requires, without any exception. If our minds submit not unto God in all His commandments, we submit not to His authority in anything He enjoins. If we do not approve of our duty in its full extent, we are greatly mistaken if we imagine that we have any liking unto any part of it...Self must be denied; not merely some of the things which may be craved, but self itself! "
  6. Prays for Enabling Grace--"Many desire to escape from hell, yet their desires are not sufficiently strong to bring them to hate and turn from that which must inevitably bring them to hell, namely willfully sinning against God. Many desire to go to heaven, but not so that they enter upon and follow that 'narrow way' which alone leads thereto. True spiritual 'desires' use the means of grace and spare no pains to realize them, and continue prayerfully pressing forward unto the mark set before them."
  7. Enjoys Obedience--"As we tread the path of wisdom (complete subjection to God), we discover that 'her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace' (Pro 3:17).  'His commandments are not grievous' (1Jo 5:3), and 'in keeping of them there is great reward' (Psa 19:11)."
Mr. Pink exhorts and warns his readers:

"We 'feed' on the Word only when we personally appropriate, masticate, and assimilate into our lives what we hear or read. Where there is not an increasing conformity of heart and life to God’s Word, then increased knowledge will only bring increased condemnation!...'Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth' (2 Tim. 3:7). This is one of the prominent characteristics of the 'perilous times' in which we are now living. People hear one preacher after another, attend this conference and that conference, read book after book on biblical subjects, and yet never attain unto a vital and practical acquaintance with the Truth, so as to have an impression of its power and efficacy on the soul. There is such a thing as spiritual dropsy, and multitudes are suffering from it. The more they hear, the more they want to: they drink in sermons and addresses with avidity but their lives are unchanged. They are puffed up with their knowledge, not humbled into the dusk before God. The faith of God’s elect is 'the acknowledging [in the life] of the truth which is after godliness' (Titus 1:1), but to this the vast majority are total strangers."

“What doeth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Mic 6:8).
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man,” (Ecc 12:13).
"Ye are my [Jesus'] friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you," (John 15:14).