Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

Spurgeon[1]An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most short-sighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven, until the whole lump ferments! 

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony–then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses! 

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work, then why did not Christ speak of it? “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature–and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.”
No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people–or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll. 

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world”–not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out–not swallow.
Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say: “Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!” 

No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them–but never sought to amuse them!
In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement.’ Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel, and employed no other weapon. 

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, “Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are!”
No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down–that is the only difference from today’s church. 

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy-laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!
The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire. 

Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods! 

C. H. Spurgeon
GRACE GEMS

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No Wonder Obama Won’t Let Us Read TPP

On Friday, Congress disrupted President Obama’s plan for a sweeping transfer of U.S. sovereignty to an unaccountable group of foreign busybodies. Hurray for the stalwart Americans who resisted the demands of Obama, the Republican leadership, and the big-donor claque, but Speaker Boehner plans to give Congress another chance this week to make this dangerous mistake.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would turn over to globalists the power to issue regulations about U.S. trade, immigration, the environment, labor and commerce. It’s called a “living agreement” which means the globalists can amend and change the text of the so-called agreement after it has gone into effect.

That reminds me of our supremacist judges who invented the term of a “living” Constitution, which they can rewrite to comport with their own updated ideology. The globalists claim that this “living” document (TPP), now called Obamatrade, has all the powers of a treaty to commit the U.S. to new foreign obligations, although it certainly did not comply with any U.S. constitutional provisions for treaty ratification.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has frankly warned about this giveaway of U.S. sovereignty. Not only would Congress give up its powers to negotiate and write the terms of a treaty, but Congress also gives up its power to debate and amend the deal, to apply a cloture vote in the Senate, and to require a two-thirds vote in the Senate.

The secrecy wrapped around TPP is appallingly un-American. Whatever happened to Obama’s promise of “transparency”? TPP was negotiated and agreed to by Obama’s trade representative and a bunch of foreigners in a secret room, and the American people are not allowed to know the details until after it’s a done deal.

TPP puts us in a new political and economic union before a single private citizen is told about it and with public opinion running five to one against it. Remember when Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass Obamacare in order to find out what is in it?

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) warns, “TPP calls for the formation of a permanent political and economic union known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission, which will have power to issue regulations impacting not only trade but immigration, the environment, labor and commerce. He added, Congress “will have surrendered its legislative prerogatives. Before a word, line, paragraph, or page of this plan is made public, Congress will have even agreed to give up its treaty powers.”

Senator Sessions made it even more emphatic, saying that Fast Track “authorizes the President to form a new transnational governance structure…. it confers the power to both compel and restrict changes to U.S. policy, to commit the U.S. to international obligations, and to cede sovereign authority to a foreign body.” This new global body could even add new member countries (such as China).

Senator Sessions continued: “Congress would be pre-clearing a political and economic union before a word of that arrangement has been made available to a single private citizen. This has the earmarks of a nascent European Union,” and Americans certainly don’t want to belong to a European union (that’s why we fought the American Revolution).

Rep. Hunter also warns that the new global governance institution would be “authorized to issue policies and regulations affecting our economy, our manufacturers, our workers, our immigration procedures, as well as current, labor and environmental practices.”

TPP is separating us from the U.S. Constitution and from national sovereignty and replacing both with a global governance superstructure. TPP has wrapped its audacious global governance plan in the mantle called “free trade,” which is a misnomer if there ever was one.

“Free trade” means Americans must obey a bunch of rules written by foreigners (which we can’t veto), but China can ignore those rules. TPP didn’t even touch the subject of currency manipulation against us by Asian countries.

While the American people are denied the right to read TPP, thanks to leaks from WikiLeaks we have learned that Obamatrade includes ten pages to unilaterally alter our current U.S. immigration law. Senator Sessions says TPP will give Obama a backdoor to increase immigration, and the same lobbyists who are pushing for Obamatrade are demanding open borders.

Republicans need a bold program to bring back jobs that have been lost to Asian countries. Michele Bachmann summed up a pro-American verdict on TPP: “I hate it. It would empower the president, cut out congressional influence, and lead to American jobs leaving the U.S.”

By Phyllis Schlafly
WORLDVIEW WEEKEND NEWS

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Dead Sea Crabs on California Beach

Newport Beach Independent, Feb 26, 2015: Thousands of tiny crabs that look like mini lobsters washed up on the shores of Balboa Island this week, covering the sand with a sea of red… They appeared on Balboa Island several weeks ago and then disappeared, but have reappeared. Most appear to have washed ashore dead, but many are still swimming in… crews have been scooping up [remains].

LA Times, Jan 22, 2015: [T]housands of candy-red crabs rarely seen in coastal Southern California have washed ashore in Newport Beach… this marks the first time in years that [Southern California Marine Institute director Daniel Pondella] has heard of them being seen in Southern California. “This is the first warm year we’ve had in quite awhile,” he said. “It could just be a sign of the warm water we’re currently experiencing.”… “I’ve never seen these things before,” [Newport Beach resident Darren Zinter] said. “It’s incredible.”

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Pope Francis Calls For A New Global Political Authority to Save Humanity

Pope Francis says that global warming is a fact and that a new global political authority is necessary in order to save humanity from utter disaster.  The new encyclical that was scheduled to be released on Thursday has been leaked, and it is being reported that this new global political authority that Pope Francis envisions would be in charge of “the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”.  The funny thing is that this sounds very much in line with the new sustainable development agenda that is going to be launched at the United Nations in September.  This radical new agenda is already being called “Agenda 21 on steroids” because it goes so much farther than Agenda 21 ever did.  The new UN agenda does not just address the environment – it also addresses issues such as poverty, agriculture, education and gender equality.  It is essentially a blueprint for governing the entire planet, and that sounds very much like what Pope Francis also wants.  In fact, Pope Francis is going to give the speech that kicks off the UN conference in September where this new sustainable agenda will be launched.  For some reason, this Pope has decided to make the fight against climate change the central pillar of his papacy, and he is working very hard to unite as much of humanity as possible to get behind that effort.

It is not an accident that this new encyclical is coming out now.  An article from the Guardian even states that the release was intended “to have maximum public impact” prior to the Pope’s major speech at the UN in September…

The rare encyclical, called “Laudato Sii”, or “Praised Be”, has been timed to have maximum public impact ahead of the pope’s meeting with Barack Obama and his address to the US Congress and the UN general assembly in September.

It is also intended to improve the prospect of a strong new UN global agreement to cut climate emissions. By adding a moral dimension to the well-rehearsed scientific arguments, Francis hopes to raise the ambition of countries above their own self-interest to secure a strong deal in a crucial climate summit in Paris in November.

Much of the encyclical is not that surprising.  But what is raising eyebrows is the Pope’s call for a new global political authority.  Here is more from the Guardian

Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.

Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.

What is even more alarming is who will be on the stage with the Pope when this encyclical is formally released.    John Schellnhuber is a German professor that has some very radical views on climate change.  For instance, he believes that our planet is overpopulated by at least six billion people

Professor John Schellnhuber has been chosen as a speaker for the Vatican’s rolling out of a Papal document on climate change. He’s the professor who previously said the planet is overpopulated by at least six billion people. Now, the Vatican is giving him a platform which many expect will result in an official Church declaration in support of radical depopulation in the name of “climate science.”

And Schellnhuber also happens to believe that we need a new global political authority.  If he had his way, there would be an “Earth Constitution”, a “Global Council” directly elected by the people of the planet, and a “Planetary Court” that would be above all other courts on the globe.  The following is an excerpt from a very disturbing piece that he authored

Let me conclude this short contribution with a daydream about those key institutions that could bring about a sophisticated — and therefore more appropriate — version of the conventional “world government” notion. Global democracy might be organized around three core activities, namely (i) an Earth Constitution; (ii) a Global Council; and (iii) a Planetary Court. I cannot discuss these institutions in any detail here, but I would like to indicate at least that:

– the Earth Constitution would transcend the UN Charter and identify those first principles guiding humanity in its quest for freedom, dignity, security and sustainability;

– the Global Council would be an assembly of individuals elected directly by all people on Earth, where eligibility should be not constrained by geographical, religious, or cultural quotas; and

– the Planetary Court would be a transnational legal body open to appeals from everybody, especially with respect to violations of the Earth Constitution.

Does the Pope want something similar?

It is quite telling that Schellnhuber was invited to stand with the Pope as this major encyclical is released to the world.  Did Schellnhuber play a role in drafting it?  Has he been advising the Pope on these matters?  Does the Pope share his vision of the future?

And does the Pope share Schellnhuber’s belief that our planet is currently overpopulated by six billion people?  If so, how would the Pope solve that “problem”?

Without a doubt, most of those that make up the “global elite” would love to see the number of people on earth decline precipitously.  This is something that I covered in my previous article entitled “46 Population Control Quotes That Show How Badly The Elite Want To Wipe Us All Out“.  Of course the Pope is not going to publicly advocate for getting rid of six billion people, but clearly he is extremely concerned about the impact that all of us are having on this planet.

The funny thing is that the earth is not even warming.  In fact, there has been no sign of global warming at all for the past ten years

Over the years the government and the scientific community have largely stood their ground when it comes to climate change. They’ve been adamant in their assertion that the planet is gradually warming due to human activity, and that we all need to do our part to stop climate change. However, the data provided by the scientific community doesn’t always jibe with their claims.

At least, that seems to be the case with the data coming out of NOAA’s climate monitoring stations. They have a series of 114 stations across all 50 states, which is known as the US Climate Reference Network. For the past 10 years they’ve shown no sign of global warming. In fact, there’s been a very slight cooling in temperatures across the US.

But at this point, most of the world has bought into the propaganda.  In most industrialized nations, a solid majority of the population actually believes that climate change is the greatest threat that humanity currently faces.

And since just about all forms of human activity produce “carbon emissions” or affect the environment in some way, it gives control freaks that dream of global government a good excuse to grab more power.  They will always say that it is about “saving humanity” or “saving the planet”, but ultimately everything that they are trying to accomplish would mean more power in their hands.

So what do you think that the Pope is up to?  And do you think that it is a good thing or a bad thing?

by Michael Snyder
WORLDVIEW WEEKEND NEWS

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Requirements of Waiting on God

REQUIREMENTS OF WAITING

Waiting for God’s timing is neither passive nor idle—it takes discipline and commitment. I can think of four basic requirements for successful waiting.

Faith. The Lord’s ways and timing are nothing like ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). From a human standpoint, the way He does things is usually totally different than expected. But as we trust Him more, we’ll discover that His approach isn’t so strange after all. And when we live in harmony with God’s will, His timing starts to make sense.

Humility. To wait for the Lord, you must be convinced of your need for Him. Submission to His divine will requires humility—you cannot charge ahead with your own plans and at the same time be fully surrendered to God.

Patience. Are you willing to remain in your current position until you receive clear divine direction? Pausing for clarity from God does not mean that you disengage and allow circumstances to fall apart around you. Waiting upon the Lord is a deliberate decision that requires patience.

Courage. Waiting for God often takes courage, especially when there is pressure to act. If you’re not careful, you might stop listening to the Lord and follow other advice. So keep your ear attuned to the voice of Almighty God, and you won’t go wrong.

Waiting upon the Lord is one of the wisest, most important decisions we make in life. And contrary to popular assumptions, it is an active endeavor that requires faith, humility, patience, and courage. When you rely upon God and wait for His timing, the various facets of life fall into place.
(Psalm 25:3-5)

IN TOUCH MAGAZINE
Dr. Charles Stanley

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IF THESE THINGS BE IN YOU –RENOVATION 2 Peter 1:1-21

Barbara and I enjoy watching certain TV episodes of houses though once new and bright have been allowed over the years to deteriorate inside and out – are renovated, made new, made beautiful…inside and out. The basic structure remains the same, but repaired, the foundation remains solid and secure, but the composition of the house – the placing and uniting different things, parts, or ingredients changes things. New paint, replacement of certain items and overall reparations covers a multitude of years and sinful neglect resulting in the old house taking on an entirely different look and personality much to the joy of its inhabitants.
Christians are spiritual houses. They stand on the foundation laid by the Holy Spirit, that solid rock being Jesus Christ the chief corner stone still in place. Sadly, many spiritual houses are in are shameful and pitiful shape, small, unfurnished, in need of repair and renovation. Overtime they have become rundown, uncomfortable to the occupant, namely the Spirit of God.
If you are a Christian you are God’s building. A.T. Robertson reminds us that God is the Architect who designed us. We are built to carry out His plans. Due Diligence is required to bring our house up to date, livable and useful for the Holy Spirit and since he built the house he will add to it, but he will use us as his laborers. As Christian men and women we are to add to or supply to our own house and with all diligence.
Of course as Wesley said: We do so by Praying through the Holy Spirit – who alone is able to do the renovation.
Prayer accomplishes much. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”; “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things”—give the Holy Spirit—”to them that ask Him.”
“Be careful for nothing,” says St. Paul, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
It is praying to God the Father and God the Son that The Holy Spirit adds to our spiritual house making it suitable for His graces, fit for the work of the Master.
Jude also known as Thaddaeus, brother of James, thus related to Jesus, was one of his original Apostles, he writes: But ye, beloved, building up ourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep[ing] yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life [verses 20-21]. Notice he says we are to build ON, not in, our most holy faith.
 Building—on Christ, the foundation and cornerstone of our faith, the stone that the builders [Jews] rejected, and on the ancient and holy teaching of the Apostle’s.
In regards doctrine, important to our spiritual growth, much time must be spent in learning the ‘weightier matters’ of our faith.
Remember the Athenians who “spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” Spending all of our time in intellectual pursuits tends to the neglecting of other aspects of Christian growth.
In Matthew 23, Jesus scolded the Pharisees who spent all their time rehearsing the Law and doing all the outward things contained in the Law while omitting the more necessary moral principles underlying all the laws such as judgment, mercy, and faith. He said, these ought ye to have done , and not to leave the other undone. Jesus likened them to blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Gods law is spiritual; it is a transcript of the divine nature, and extends its authority to the acts of the soul of man [Webster].
Placing the emphasis on the external ‘keeping’ of the law while ignoring the more vital aspects of our internal ‘new’ nature creates an ugly imbalance of our spiritual life, distorting what we are to be before God and diminishing the greater things pertaining to our growth.
 Praying—through the Holy Ghost is not understood by the apostle to be an overly ecstatic mindless form of praying but fervent and righteous, and to do so without ceasing, in the name of Jesus—and always waiting on the Holy Spirit to add His graces to our faith.
Renovation of our spiritual house is for the glory of Christ and not for our own – I think of Simon the Sorcerer who believed and desired the gifts of the Spirit for his own glory and profit offering money to the Apostles thinking the Holy Spirit could be purchased. He was soundly and angrily reprimanded by Peter and the apostles judged him as a wicked man in the gall of bitterness, [bitterness is poison to the gospel] and in the bond of iniquity chained to list and the cares of this world].
NOTE: When Christians send “seed” money to charlatan evangelists who promise fortune, healing, or prosperity they are literally funding the coffers of the Simons of the world. Those who do so and who rely on these people rather than on prayer and dependence upon the Holy Spirit are themselves in the gall of bitterness and bound by iniquity.
Keeping—being obedient, working out our salvation[evidentiary Christianity], is to do so in the reverential fear of God and with trembling lips -Philippians 2:12.
Paul had no sympathy with a cold and dead orthodoxy or formalism that knows nothing of struggle and growth. He encourages Christians to work as an Arminian depending on his works to save his soul and to pray as if he were a Calvinist depending solely on the [Sovereignity of God. Paul finds no inconsistency in the two attitudes. He makes no attempt to reconcile human free agency, that is responsibility with divine sovereignty and and boldly proclaims both. Robertson Word Studies.
James: Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:18
And Vine adds: There is a saving work which God only can do for you; but there is also a work which you must do for yourselves. While your salvation is complete, God has not completed his work in you. God’s work of regeneration is complete the while the works accompanying must be carried out by yourselves. Whatever is provided by Christianity for the children of God, it is certainly never contemplated that there should be no ‘working out’ of your salvation nor should it disallow personal effort.
 Looking—Anticipating, expecting, loving Christ’s appearing.
Peter exhorts believers to remember what they have been given…in 2 Peter verses 3-4, Grace and peace multiplied through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the diving nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
God consistently ‘multiplies,’ or causes His Grace and Peace To grow exponentially in kind and quality as we grow in the knowledge of God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
A grateful and wise Christian will remember what Christ has done for him and what blessings will come to the one who endeavors to grow in knowledge and grace resulting in “adding these things” to his faith – verse 5 .
In verses 10 and 11 Peter encourages us saying that despite hardship these things will be added to our faith and is rewarded with an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Brother Hudson offered an illustration of what an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord might look like.
I have taken most of what he offered with some alteration and paraphrase and added a bit to the original. He likened the two kinds of believers to two ships sailing into the final harbor, their voyage complete, one ship hardly afloat, covered with parasites and barnacles, tattered sails, and leaking hull, low in the water heavy with excess baggage, her flag dirty and ragged…but the other vessel riding High in the water, her hull scraped clean of barnacles and other parasites, her sails mended, cleaned, and full; her deck fully swabbed and shining, her flag of victory flying high overhead.
Both ships are allowed entrance into the harbor one received without fanfare! Conversely the other ship is received with song and shouts of acclamation, accompanied by much pomp and circumstance, exhibiting grandeur and distinction.
I add one more ship to the equation – the ship that served obediently but not necessarily in an extraordinary public fashion; remaining faithful over a few things; not over-the-top sort of service, but adequate, obedient, faithful, and steady, completing her mission. She sails into the harbor following only shortly behind the greater and more noteworthy vessel.
The point being though some served at a higher than most of us, another may serves just as faithfully, receives the save assurance of safe harbor – all are equally safe and all are welcomed and all are equally loved by the HARBOR MASTER.
In verse 2 Peter, the inspired apostle reminds us that some Christians lack the things he mentions in verse 5, but entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord will be allowed, their works rewarded on the basis of whether they were good or bad –He has never lost a vessel, never! Still, while it would be very rewarding to sail ahead of the fleet! However, many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. Matthew 19:30 While this may refer to Peter in the form of a gentle rebuke, and may refer to the ranking of Believers of greater dignity and service; other ideas may apply, I have thought that it may indeed be regarding the calling of Jew and Gentile (many called, few chosen); it may refer perhaps to the order of resurrection. But for arguments sake…we’ll leave that to further study.
Remember that in salvation there is equality in God’s saving grace. Everyone who is saved is saved the same way: By Grace through faith, and is a child of God, in the family of God; In the kingdom of Christ; Every child of God will enter heaven; everyone who comes to Christ by faith will be allowed entrance.
[Henry]. Faith unites the weak believer to Christ, as surely as it does the strong one, and purifies the heart of one as truly as of another; and every sincere believer is by his faith in Jesus, which includes his blood and resurrection is justified in the sight of God — Everyone is saved the same way, not of works of the Law or meritorious behavior, but by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But reward is by definition something earned, merited, counted, considered, and when The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, [and then] he shall reward every man according to his works.
Is not the laborer worthy of his reward and received according to the worthiness of this service. 1 Timothy 5:18.
Is it not so that Great is our reward in heaven. Matthew 5:12.
There is an equality in God’s salvation, but where an ABUNDANT entrance into heaven is concerned there is not equality.
First, do not minimize the meaning of abundant. It means above the common. There is a common entrance afforded to all saints of God, but the abundant entrance is given only to whom deserves it. Abundance where it concerns Christians is like having your cake and eating it too. Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly [john 10:10] which means he gives in such life abundantly and continually, overflowing, in ever increasing and greater supply. Many Christians, I’m afraid, live life more in the common and less in abundance.
But what is meant by more abundantly? It isn’t more of what we shall have but what we have right now!
Abundant life is life more deeply satisfying. It isn’t about a bigger house, but about a house being a home. It isn’t having more money, its having money enough to supply need. It really isn’t just about material things. It is a peace with and peace of God, a love of God and the Love requited. It is a peace that is beyond the mind of the finite to grasp the full meaning of. It is a joy unspeakable and full of glory; a joy beyond mere words to describe; a joy that lightens the soul of the believer like the shining face of Moses having been with God. And, what could be more abundant than to have Christ Himself in the present time and in future prospect?
To argue by saying I don’t feel the abundance, the joy, the peace, the love…This does not mean that it is not available to you. It does not mean that we can enjoy such abundance all the time. Awareness of the abundance in our lives is in major part up to us and whether or not we are working out our salvation as we should.
The Abundant Believer
Most soldiers serve their time. Some having fought in mortal combat but who have done nothing above what they were trained to do. Many who do what they are expected to do have done well may or may not receive a conspicuous medal or ribbon.
A soldier may be wounded in battle and receives the Purple Heart well noted; Another may receive recognition for distinguished service in service, all are meritorious and honorable, but when the Medal of Honor is given for gallantry and intrepidity [Fearlessness; fearless bravery in danger; undaunted courage or boldness] it is the highest reward given, it is ‘above the common.’ This is given to a only aa precious few who at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” are rewarded abundantly!
All Christians will gain entrance into heaven and in a real sense we all are saved, as by fire, but as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:15 some will but will arrive there “saved, yet so as by fire,” but some, most, maybe all of their works will be burned, suffering loss—even though not ‘total’ loss –they arrive saved, yet so as by fire. This is the tragedy of a fruitless life, It is the picture of a wasted life. The one who enters heaven by grace, as we all do who are saved, yet who brings no sheaves with him.
Matthew Henry succinctly adds: Let every man take heed; there may be bad building on a good foundation. Nothing must be laid upon it, but what the foundation will bear… Let us not dare join a merely human or a carnal life with a Divine faith, the corruption of sin with the profession of Christianity.
A Christian may spend his life building a fine reputation being praised by the world, winning applause for his good works. It may be the Peace prize given to the foremost advocate for peace.
Every Christian will receive the prize of the high calling in Jesus Christ which is the Christians own resurrection from the dead. This refers to everyone who has been saved but should he neglect his reputation with God, he will be saved, yet as by fire and suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all Christians will stand – This does not mean that the Christian will be burned but that his works will be.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done , whether it be good or bad.
Matters of sin have been completely dealt with by the death of the Savior. Paul was comparing worthwhile, eternally valuable activities with lesser ones – Such as we are reminded of where we read: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 [Note 1 Corinthians 13]
As opposed to idle words, sloth, works of the flesh such as – philosophy and vain deceit, the tradition of men, the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, profane and vain babblings, oppositions of science falsely so called; foolish questions, genealogies, contentions, strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. All these things may not qualify as grievous sin but if practiced will be burned as wood, hay, and stubble. However, whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Peter in verses 5-8, makes it clear that the Christian who has not grown spiritually, remaining in a static state of saving faith, is one who is lost sight of his purpose and worse, he has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Peter sets before us the admonition that we are to add to our faith…certain things if we are to be fruitful men and women of the Lord.
Adding is the principal thing, it is the greater thing to which a lesser thing is to be united. Here the greater thing is faith, the lesser things are as listed in verses 5, 6, and 7.
These seven characteristics he lists are the smaller, nonetheless important, things we annex to the greater things that constitutes the sum total of our Christian faith.
The principle thing to is Faith! The things we are told to add, with diligence, are in lesser but only only to the main thing—faith! Without faith these things are useless. Without these things our faith is vain! He who lacks them Peter says, is blind, cannot discern his future, and is forgetful of what has been given him…such things pertaining to life and godliness and the exceeding great and precious promises.
The question before us this morning is simply – You say you have faith…what have you to show for it? What have you added or what are you adding to your faith?
A believer ought to be diligent to add to his faith:
1. Virtue –Moral Righteousness – we learn means, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, consenting to, and delighting in God’s law. In this holy walk, true peace and solid joy are to be found [Titus 2:12].
2. Knowledge …What knowledge have you added to your faith? Proverbs 1:8 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge : but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Webster says that Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
Discernment is akin to knowledge. The highest knowledge attainable is the knowledge of God.
3. Temperance –The most temperate of Christians are those who keep themselves under control regarding all things in moderation. With Christ as our example who with His perfect submission to the divine will Jesus could say: I do always those things that please him. [John 8:29]. He had entire command over his passions, yet it can be said that he demonstrated an excessive love toward an unlovely people and by His patience and meekness toward us his life was spent.
4. Patience and to patience… The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness. Godly patience springs from a Christian’s desire to please God through submission to His will.
5. Godliness. This is radical Christianity. It is our worship rightly directed to the One deserving – Our God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ for in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells!
6. Brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness…and to this must be added: # 7 Charity or love. Paul makes it clear that the greatest of virtues is love and without love all else is empty, meaning nothing. If we cannot love the brethren, our Christian brothers and sisters; if we speak badly of them; honor only the greatest among them, denying the weaker ones, we have nothing and all our works are worthless! I beg you all to remember this!
These things are characteristics that distinguish the Christian.
Faith in Christ alone guarantees our salvation. A person can be saved without adding all these things to his faith, but as Peter says in verse 9…he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sin. And James adds that one should be able to show their faith by their works, and warns that if no works follow one’s faith, that faith is without substance.
It is the mature, dedicated, committed Christian that progresses from a static, faith to a faith that is dynamic and serving, fully furnished and fit for the Master’s use.
Diligence: It means – zeal, carefulness,
Only here does it mean to spare no expense, hurry to bring in by the side of faith the graces required for fruitful service to Christ. It literally means to observe with fixed vision the job at hand and to do so in a timely fashion. It means to be careful as to protect or gain something very valuable.
Not many of us here have such discretionary income to invest in financial opportunities when and if they come along. But if we did have sufficient to invest we would be wise to discipline ourselves to give due diligence in evaluating the opportunity; knowing that opportunity is oft’ fleeting; do our homework so we don’t waste our money.
The same is true in Christian growth. We must evaluate the benefits and add to our faith things that constitute the biblical idea of a Christian’s life. We give diligence to through the study of God’s word, so we don’t waste our lives on fruitless activities.
Someone has wisely offered: We magnify our priesthood and enlarge our calling when we serve with diligence [haste] and enthusiasm [full of God] in those responsibilities to which we are called by proper authority.
“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.” D. L Moody
We must be diligent in our faith, being sure our faith is in Jesus Christ, as it regards our eternal life –not a faith in ourselves that says if we do our best we shall go to heaven – the bible teaches that in this regard our faith is not good enough.
There is the guy on TV who sells automobiles. He ends his spiel with: If you don’t see me, I can’t save you any money! Or, you’d better be diligent in seeing me if you want to save your money.
We must be diligent to make our calling and election sure. Rarely is the week when we receive mail not meant for us. It may sound simplistic but I always look to see if the mail is meant for me or Barbara or someone else. We do not open mail meant to be received by someone else. An invitation meant for someone else is of no value to us because the sender would not allow us entrance to the occasion.
As to our ‘assurance’ of our calling and election, again, John MacArthur: Though God is “sure” who His elect are and has given them an eternally secure salvation the Christian might not always have assurance of his salvation. Security is the Holy Spirit-revealed fact that salvation is forever. Assurance is one’s confidence that he possesses eternal salvation…the believer who pursues the spiritual qualities mentioned here guarantees to himself, by his own spiritual fruit, that he is called and chosen by God to salvation. (This Christian will) never stumble. As the Christian pursues the qualities enumerated by Peter and sees that his life is useful and fruitful (2Pe_1:8), he will not stumble into doubt, despair, fear, or questioning, but enjoy assurance that he is saved.
When the Holy Spirit enables us to “receive the call to Christ” and ‘convinces’ us of our acceptance into eternal life we know that our calling and election is sure.
Someone has written: The diligence of which he speaks is that sort of endeavor which springs from a sense of duty: an earnest zeal and will to accomplish whatever it finds to do; that does not linger till some great work offers, but hastens to labor in the immediate present.
And besides Grace and peace and the things that pertain unto life and godliness, and the exceeding great and precious promises given to us who are Partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust…besides Peter urges us to give all diligence, and add to our faith:
 Virtue
 Knowledge
 Temperance
 Patience
 Godliness
 Brotherly kindness
 Charity!
AGAIN: The world has yet to see what God can do with a man, any man, woman, child, who will submit to be fully consecrated to him. Will you be that person? With God’s help, you can be that person.”
YE MUST BE BORN FROM ABOVE!

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If These Things Be In You Add…RENOVATION – part 2 – 2 Peter:1-12

RENOVATION! – 2 Peter 1:1-12
“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.” D. L Moody
Barbara and I enjoy watching certain TV episodes of houses though once new and bright that have been allowed over the years to deteriorate inside and out – are renovated, made new, not made over but made new, beautiful…inside and out.
The basic structure remains the same, but repaired, the foundation remains solid and secure, but the composition of the house – the placing together and uniting different things, parts or ingredients changes things; New paint, replacement of certain items, and overall reparations covers a multitude of years and sinful neglect resulting in the house taking on an entirely different look and personality much to the joy of its inhabitants.
Christians are spiritual houses. They stand on the foundation laid by the Holy Spirit, that solid rock being Jesus Christ the chief corner stone still in place.
Sadly, many spiritual houses are in are shameful shape, small, unfurnished, in need of repair and renovation. Overtime they have become rundown, uncomfortable to the occupant.
If you are a Christian you are God’s building. A.T. Robertson reminds us that God is the Architect who designed us. We are built to carry out His plans. Due Diligence is required to bring them up to date, livable and useful for the Holy Spirit and since he built the house he will add to it, but he will use us as his laborers. As Christian men and women we are to add to or supply to your own house and to do so with all diligence.
Of course as Wesley said: We do so by Praying through the Holy Spirit – who alone is able to do the renovation.
Prayer accomplishes much. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”; “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things”—give the Holy Spirit—”to them that ask Him.”
“Be careful for nothing,” says St. Paul, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
It is through prayer that The Holy Spirit adds to our spiritual house making it suitable for His graces, fit for the work of the Master. Every Christian, if they but would realize it, have the power of God in them to live life to the fullest, in full measure, for God gave not the Spirit of God to Him in measure, and if you are in Christ you have not come to be divine, but you have the full measure of Diving power living in you – You can do all things through Christ which Strengthens you!
Jude, was one of his original Apostles, he writes: But ye, beloved, building up ourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep[ing] yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life [verses 20-21]. Notice he says we are to build ON, not in, our most holy faith. Initial faith is not completed faith. It is a faith upon which we must build.

 Building—on Christ, the foundation and on the ancient and holy teaching of the Apostle’s doctrine. In regards doctrine, important to our spiritual growth, much time must be spent in learning the ‘weightier matters’ of our faith.
We remember the Athenians who “spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” Spending all of our time in intellectual pursuits tends to the neglecting of other aspects of Christian growth.
In Matthew 23, Jesus scolded the Pharisees who spent all their time rehearsing the Law and doing all the outward things contained in the Law while omitting the more necessary moral principles underlying all the laws such as judgment, mercy, and faith. He said, these ought ye to have done , and not to leave the other undone. Jesus likened them to blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Gods law is spiritual; it is a transcript of the divine nature, and extends its authority to the acts of the soul of man [Webster].
Placing the emphasis on the external ‘keeping’ of the law, which no one man, excepting Christ has ever done that, while ignoring the more vital aspects of the ‘new’ nature we as Christians have been given, things pertaining to spirit and soul, creates an ugly imbalance of our life, distorting what we are to be before God by majoring on lesser and diminishing the greater things pertaining to our spiritual growth which are always internal, i.e., things Pertaining to our renewed nature, our spiritual life.
 Praying— in the Holy Ghost [not ecstatic mindless form but fervent righteous] without ceasing, in the name of Jesus—always waiting on the Holy Spirit to add His graces to our faith.
Remembering any renovation is for the glory of Christ and not for our glory – I think of Simon the Sorcerer who believed and desired the gifts of the Spirit for his own profit, and offered money to purchase miraculous power. He was soundly and angrily reprimanded by Peter and the apostles who judged him as a wicked man in the gall of bitterness, [poison to the gospel] and in the bond of iniquity [fettered by chains].
NOTE: When people, Christians or not, send “seed” money to charlatan evangelists promising fortune, healing, or prayer, they are sending money to the Sorcerers of the world. Those who do so and who rely on these people rather than on prayer and dependence upon the Holy Spirit are themselves in the gall of bitterness and bound by iniquity.
Keeping—being obedient, working out our salvation, remembering Paul’s words in Philippians 2:12. Paul has no sympathy with a cold and dead orthodoxy or formalism that knows nothing of struggle and growth. He exhorts Christians as if he were an Arminian [works religion] and prays as if he were a Calvinist [Sovereignty of God] and feels no inconsistency in the two attitudes. Paul makes no attempt to reconcile divine sovereignty and human free agency, but boldly proclaims both. Robertson Word Studies.
And Vine adds: There is a saving work which God only can do for you; but there is also a work which you must do for yourselves. The work of your salvation is not completed in God’s work in you. God’s work must be carried out by yourselves. “Whatever rest is provided by Christianity for the children of God, it is certainly never contemplated that it should supersede personal effort.
 Looking—Anticipating, expecting, loving Christ’s appearing.
Peter exhorts believers to remember what they have been given…in 2 Peter verses 3-4, Grace and peace multiplied through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the diving nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
God consistently ‘multiplies,’ or causes His Grace and Peace To grow exponentially in kind and quality as we grow in the knowledge of God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
It is the grateful and wise Christian who in remembrance of what Christ has done and given to him that endeavors to grow in knowledge in order to “add these things” to his faith – verse 5 .
In verses 10 and 11 Peter encourages the Christian who despite hardship adds to his faith is rewarded with an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Brother Hudson offered an illustration of what an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord might look like.
I have taken most of what he offered with some alteration and paraphrase and added a bit to the original. He likened the two kinds of believers to two ships sailing into the final harbor, their voyage complete, one ship hardly afloat, covered with parasites and barnacles, tattered sails, and leaking hull, low in the water heavy with excess baggage, her flag dirty and ragged…but the other vessel riding High in the water, her hull scraped clean of barnacles and other parasites, her sails mended, cleaned, and full; her deck fully swabbed and shining, her flag of victory flying high overhead.
Both ships are allowed entrance into the harbor one received without fanfare! Conversely the other ship is received with song and shouts of acclamation, accompanied by much pomp and circumstance, exhibiting grandeur and distinction.
I add one more ship to the equation – the ship that served obediently but not necessarily in an extraordinary fashion; faithful over a few things; not over-the-top sort of service, but adequate and steady completing her mission. She sails into the harbor following only shortly behind the greater and more noteworthy vessel.
The point being though some served at a higher than normal level, another at a bit lesser but adequate performance, and the last little ship battered and worn yet having finished the race – ALL ARE EQUAL IN CHRIST’S HARBOR – SAFE, SECURE, WELCOMED AND LOVED BY THE HARBOR MASTER.
Should you be called to account tonight, in which vessel would you rather be on?
In verse 11 Peter, the inspired apostle reminds us that some Christians lack the things he mentions in verse 5, but entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord will be allowed, their works rewarded on the basis of whether they were good or bad.
I would have you to remember that in salvation there is equality in God’s saving grace. Everyone who is saved is saved the same way: By Grace through faith, and is a child of God, in the family of God; In the kingdom of Christ; Every child of God will enter heaven; everyone who comes to Christ by faith will be allowed entrance,
[Henry]. Faith unites the weak believer to Christ, as really surely as it does the strong one, and purifies the heart of one as truly as of another; and every sincere believer is by his faith in Jesus, which includes his blood and resurrection is justified in the sight of God — Everyone is saved the same way, not of works of the Law or meritorious behavior, but by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But reward is by definition something earned, merited, counted, considered, and when The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, [and then] he shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27
And The laborer is worthy of his reward received according to the worthiness of their service. 1 Timothy 5:18.
And Great is your reward in heaven. Matthew 5:12.
But where an ABUNDANT entrance is concerned there is not equality.
First, do not minimize the meaning of abundant — it means above the common-The base. Abundance where it concerns Christians is like having your cake and eating it too. We not only have been given life but we have been given life in abundance. Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly [john 10:10] which means he gives in such life abundantly and continually, overflowing, in ever increasing and greater supply. Many Christians, I’m afraid, live life more in the common and less in abundance.
But what is meant by more abundantly? It isn’t more of what we have, but better than we deserve. Abundant life is life more deeply satisfying to the internal and less to the external. It isn’t about a bigger house, but about a house being a home. It isn’t having more money, its having money enough to supply need.
It really isn’t just about material things at all. Jesus who was rich in eternity became poor in real time. He would not settle to be king of the world, He is King of kings! He was not simply lord of a realm, He is the LORD of lord. He went about doing good because he is good.
Hebrews 5:8-10 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Christ did not need to suffer in order to conquer or correct any disobedience. In His deity (as the Son of God), He understood obedience completely. As the incarnate Lord, He humbled Himself to learn (cf. Luk_2:52). He learned obedience for the same reasons He bore temptation: to confirm His humanity and experience its sufferings to the fullest (see notes on Heb_2:10; cf. Luk_2:52; Php_2:8). Christ’s obedience was also necessary so that He could fulfill all righteousness (Mat_3:15) and thus prove to be the perfect sacrifice to take the place of sinners (1Pe_3:18). He was the perfectly righteous One, whose righteousness would be imputed to sinners (cf. Rom_3:24-26). [MacArthur]
We then, as followers of Jesus learn obedience by humbling ourselves before God and in our experiencing we experience the Abundant Life.
Romans 5:1-5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Abundant life is a peace with God and peace of God, a love of God and the Love requited. It is a peace that is beyond the mind of the finite to grasp the full meaning of. It is a joy unspeakable and full of glory; a joy beyond mere words to describe; a joy that lightens the soul of the believer like the shining face of Moses having been with God. And, what could be more abundant than to have Christ Himself in the present time and in future prospect?
To argue by saying I don’t feel the abundance, the joy, the peace, the love…This does not mean that it is not available to you. It does not mean that we can enjoy such abundance all the time. Awareness of the abundance in our lives is in major part up to us and whether or not we are working out our salvation as we should.
The Abundant Entry:
Most soldiers serve their time. Some having fought in mortal combat but who have done nothing above what they were trained to do. Many who do what they are expected to do have done well may or may not receive a conspicuous medal or ribbon.
A soldier may be wounded in battle and receives the Purple Heart well noted; Another may receive recognition for distinguished service in service, all are meritorious and honorable, but when the Medal of Honor is given for gallantry and intrepidity [Fearlessness; fearless bravery in danger; undaunted courage or boldness] it is the highest reward given, it is ‘above the common.’ This is given to a only aa precious few who at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” are rewarded abundantly!
All Christians will gain entrance into heaven and in a real sense we all who are saved, as by fire, but as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:15 some will but will arrive there “saved, yet so as by fire,” but some, most, maybe all of their works will be burned, suffering loss—even though not ‘total’ loss –they arrive saved, yet so as by fire. This is the tragedy of a fruitless life, It is the picture of a wasted life. The one who enters heaven by grace, as we all do who are saved, yet who brings no sheaves with him.
Matthew Henry succinctly adds: Let every man take heed; there may be bad building on a good foundation. Nothing must be laid upon it, but what the foundation will bear… Let us not dare join a merely human or a carnal life with a Divine faith, the corruption of sin with the profession of Christianity.
A Christian may spend his life building a fine reputation being praised by the world, winning applause for his good works. It may be the Peace prize given to the foremost advocate for peace.
Every Christian will receive the prize of the high calling in Jesus Christ which is the Christians own resurrection from the dead. This refers to everyone who has been saved but should he neglect his reputation with God, he will be saved, yet as by fire and suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all Christians will stand – This does not mean that the Christian will be burned but that his vain and empty works will be.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Matters of sin have been completely dealt with by the death of the Savior. Paul was comparing worthwhile, eternally valuable activities with lesser ones – Such as we are reminded of where we read: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 [Note 1 Corinthians 13]
As opposed to idle words, sloth, works of the flesh such as – philosophy and vain deceit, the tradition of men, the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, profane and vain babblings, oppositions of science falsely so called; foolish questions, genealogies, contentions, strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. All these things may not qualify as grievous sin but if practiced will be burned as wood, hay, and stubble. However, whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Peter in verses 5-8, makes it clear that Christians who haves not grown spiritually, remaining fixed in a a static state of saving faith, is one who is blind and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. This is plain ingratitude to the One who literally suffered and died for us.
Adding is the principal thing, it is the greater thing to which a lesser thing is to be united. Here the greater thing is faith, the lesser things are as listed in verses 5, 6, and 7.
These seven characteristics he lists are the smaller, nonetheless important, things we annex to the greater things that constitutes the sum total of our Christian experience.
The thing to which we are to add the lesser things is Faith! The Principle, faith, is the main thing. The lesser things are added to the main thing: Faith! Without them the Christian is incomplete and he who lacks them Peter says, is blind, cannot discern his future, and is forgetful of what has been given him…such things pertaining to life and godliness and the exceeding great and precious promises.
He specifically mentions seven graces defining what a believer ought to be adding his faith:
 Virtue…Moral Righteousness exercised! Do not forget that Moral righteousness dwells fully in you! Exercising Moral righteousness teaches the believer to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. In this holy walk, true peace and solid joy are to be found [Titus 2:12].
 Knowledge …What knowledge have you added to your faith? Proverbs 1:8 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge : but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Webster says that Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
Discernment is akin to knowledge. To have discernment is akin to wisdom. The knowledge required to grow is embodied in the Holy Spirit, we must seek it—diligently.
 Temperance …When we gain knowledge we learn what it is to be temperate, under control, regarding all things in moderation. Temperance to Godliness—The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness. Godly patience springs from a Christian’s desire to please God through submission to His will.
Christ being our example of perfect temperance, perfect control over all his affections and perfect submission to the divine will Jesus could say: I do always those things that please him. [John 8:29]. He had entire command over his passions, yet it can be said that he demonstrated an excessive love toward an unlovely people and by His patience and meekness toward us his life was spent.
We must seek temperance diligently.!
 Patience patience…No need to expand on patience, except to say that we must seek patience with diligence.
 Godliness…basic to the Christlike life – due diligence.
 Brotherly kindness diligently sought graciously given.
 Charity! Not simply an act of love but a nature that loves. Growing in Grace and knowledge comes by giving due diligence to add these things to our faith – One person progressing in his Christianity could change the world.
These things are characteristics that distinguish the fully furnished Christian from the common Christian. They are not things added to ensure our salvation but are required to build our spiritual house to its completion.
Faith in Christ alone guarantees our salvation. A person can be saved without adding these things to his faith, but as Peter says in verse 9…he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sin. And James adds that one should be able to show their faith by their works, and warns that if no works follow one’s faith, that faith is without substance.
It is the mature, dedicated, committed Christian that progresses from a static, faith to a faith that is dynamic and serving, fully furnished and fit for the Master’s use.
But what do these things mean? Next week we will look at each one and try to grasp their meaning and we will endeavor to define what is meant by ‘diligence’ t
that is vital to adding to our faith.
************************************************************
Diligence: It means, depending on the situation – zeal, carefulness,
Only here does it mean to spare no expense, hurry to bring in by the side of faith the graces required for fruitful service to Christ. It literally means to observe with fixed vision the job at hand and to do so in a timely fashion. It means to be careful as to protect or gain something very valuable.
We must constantly evaluate our lives beloved. The benefits we add to our faith constitute the biblical idea of a fruitful, happy, and glorious Christian’s life. We give diligence to through the study of God’s word, so we don’t waste our lives on fruitless activities.
Someone has wisely offered: We magnify our priesthood and enlarge our calling when we serve with diligence [haste] and enthusiasm [full of God] in those responsibilities to which we are called by proper authority.
We must be diligent to make our calling and election sure- Adding these quality characteristics is how we are assured Christians doubting nothing.
As to our ‘assurance’ of our calling and election, again, John MacArthur: Though God is “sure” who His elect are and has given them an eternally secure salvation the Christian might not always have assurance of his salvation. Security is the Holy Spirit-revealed fact that salvation is forever. Assurance is one’s confidence that he possesses eternal salvation…the believer who pursues the spiritual qualities mentioned here guarantees to himself, by his own spiritual fruit, that he is called and chosen by God to salvation. (This Christian will) never stumble. As the Christian pursues the qualities enumerated by Peter and sees that his life is useful and fruitful (2Pe_1:8), he will not stumble into doubt, despair, fear, or questioning, but enjoy assurance that he is saved.
The Holy Spirit is ready and willing to enable us to grow fruitful lives, well meaning, productive, useful Christian lives. We must be diligent Someone has written: The diligence of which he [Peter] speaks is that sort of endeavor which springs from a sense of duty: an earnest zeal and will to accomplish whatever it finds to do; [one] that does not linger till some great work offers, but hastens to labor in the immediate present. We will never accomplish the great work required of us by being satisfied with menial tasks we ought to do.
And beside this, Grace and peace; Things that pertain unto life and godliness; Exceeding great and precious promises; Partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust…

“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.” D. L Moody
This was true in Moody’s day…the world still waits.

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Therefore Unto You Which Believe He Is Precious

1 Peter 1:22-2:7
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 2 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.

The word “precious” conveys the meaning of having great worth, infinite value, priceless! To all who believe on and in Him, Jesus is precious, of infinite and inestimable worth, of infinite and inestimable value, His worth is beyond price, priceless, infinitely and eternally precious. By analogy ‘precious’ as used here means, ‘The highest degree of Dignity.’

Hear Spurgeon: This is a positive fact that UNTO BELIEVERS JESUS CHRIST IS PRECIOUS. In Himself He is of inestimable preciousness, for He is very God of very God! He is moreover, perfect Man without sin. The precious gopher wood of His humanity is overlaid with the pure gold of His Divinity. He is a mine of jewels and a mountain of gems.

We see in Peter’s use of analogy and metaphor throughout chapters one and two. [1:7 the trial of your faith , being much more precious [here, great worth] than of gold that perisheth ]; [1:18-19 silver and gold, lamb without blemish and without spot ]- foreordained before the foundation of the world…manifested in these last times for you! [1:18,19,20], is the ‘ living stone’ disallowed, that is tried, lightly considered, still rejected[2:4]. In 2:5 he calls believers lively stones, a spiritual house, as if to say ‘a house unseen being built up with living but unseen stones — Note that Peter learned well from Jesus in the use of metaphors and makes the transition from his saying of babes growing up (2:2) to stones built up vs. 5 (Robertson word studies). And in vss. 7- living stones; 8- stone of stumbling; 9- royal; 11- strangers, pilgrims; 18- servants; 25- sheep!

There are many things, that relate to our earthly life that give us a representation of the preciousness of Jesus. Suggestive of temporal and eternal things allowing us to consider to be of great worth and immense value. Life – Those who rarely given Jesus a second thought suddenly become aware of just how precious he is when a life comes to an end, and without hesitation and automatic his value is realized.

When a loved one’s life is taken and the body is laid in the grave. Some hope even without a full understanding; without a sure basis to believe that our loved one goes to the presence of Jesus. Even those who do not profess Christ dare not to think otherwise! In any event people who loved that person and sense their loss are forced to realize the brevity of life. To some in these times, but not to all, Jesus is precious! But to whom shall we go? To whom other than He may we turn for some encouragement this? Jesus has the words of eternal life! How precious is becomes in times of sorrow. Those who have no knowledge, concern, or expectation of eternal life, are left with only a sense of loss – nothing more.

When an elderly Christian couple lose their life’s savings to some scoundrel whom they trusted, absconding with their money, Jesus becomes to them very precious.

When folks lose their home and face certain foreclosure and eviction, Jesus to them becomes precious and becomes a solace and source of strength. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.

When we pass the three-score and ten [70] and suddenly there is more past than future, we who know the Lord, turn to Jesus Christ and remember Philippians 4:19 where it says: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Someone has said that “to take Christ out of the picture of life would be like blotting the sun from the firmament [heavens].”

Food and drink. Rarely do we who have resources to obtain food and drink rarely think of how precious those things are. But folh who languish in poverty and have not the resources to buy food and drink, to them, food and drink is precious.

How much would you give for a loaf of bread and a jar of jelly if the cupboard was bare and you lacked the ability to buy such things? Christ alone is the Bread of Life. –John 6:33-35. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious

• Rest – Many times I have fallen into bed and with a great sigh thank God for rest. Jesus’ concern for the weary says: Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [Matthew 11:28] –Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.

• Sight – hearing – taste – touch Light was precious to wise Solomon who wrote: Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun- Ecclesiastes 11:7
The hearing of preaching induces salvation to all who believe 1 Corinthians 1:18 – as unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Malachi, in reference to Jesus said, The Sun of righteousness arises with healing in his wings [4:2].

That we might only touch the hem of his garment as to do so in faith as many as touched were him were made perfectly whole. Matthew 14:36 And, in Luke 6:19 we read of the multitudes who touched him experienced his power over infirmities, and by the sheer force of his virtue, His Divine Omnipotence, multitudes were healed.

It is unimaginable almost, to think that there are people, students of Scripture, theologians, those who study God as a vocation], teachers in Universities, Seminaries and Bible colleges who see Jesus Christ in the Scriptures as a mere person of history possessing great abilities and wise sayings and was great example of how one should live, but do not see him as a great person of great worth or dignity!

The Jews did not and do not now believe that he is the One “of whom Moses wrote.” In John 5:46-47 He said: For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? And in John 5:39 he said: Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

He is precious in His Divinity – essential in the Godhead! [Romans 9:5].
Many know about Jesus. They know of his life and his works, but they do not always recognize Him as God! He is essential to that fact! [John 1:3]
• He is essential as the eternal and only begotten Son in whom God is well pleased!

• He is essential as the Lamb of God of God that bore in His own body the sins of His elect people!

• He is essential as the Christ of God, the anointed One! [Acts 10:38].

To all who claim the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior he is precious! Is he precious to you? Your answer to this question will give evidence one way of another of the measure of the state of your eternal soul – if he is precious to you then there has been a decided change in your life, your attitude toward others, your sense of your own personal sin and a deep appreciation of the value of Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the sufficiency of his atoning work in your soul – Unto you…[therefore] which believe he is precious.

Octavious Winslow writes: The sufferings and death of a Being so illustrious must be in harmony with an Object and in connection to being of equal dignity with that object, if not there would be no glory in his achievements, no significance in His work, no efficacy in His blood, had there been no divine dignity and worth in His Person…And had he not taken a single step in working out the salvation of man—had He repaired no breach, wept no tear, endured no agony, shed no blood in the redemption of His Church…He still would be the Eternal Son of God—fully God, totally divine and the object of all the love, adoration, and worship by all the angels and creatures in heaven and always eternal in the heavens!

His is indeed “our Savior,” and precious unto all who believe, but not all men believe because not all men have faith, therefore not all men are saved as without faith God cannot be pleased.

He is precious in His Humanity.— Manhood . So valuable is he to you and me because he has allied His harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners nature with our human nature [Heb. 7:26].

He is like us in his humanity except He knew no sin. Peter confirms this in vs. 22 saying He did no sin. Habakkuk 1:13 tells us that our Lord’s eyes are so pure so that he could not bear to look upon sin, yet this Holy, innocent One, became the sin bearer. 1 Peter 2:24

Hebrews 2:17-3:1 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.

Jesus is fully God and fully man. Jesus is absolutely identical in his flesh, bone, and blood as are we! But again, He is without sin!

One commentator suggests: Had one drop of a sinful virus seeped into and entered into his veins, he could not be able to have presented Himself to His Father as a suitable sacrifice that would be satisfying to the holiness of God!

No temptation could lure Him; no sin could conquer Him.

He who is totally incorruptible came to save the totally corruptible.

He paid the sin debt for all who are debtors to sin.

Being denied by some, He denies no one who will freely come to him in faith. He gives life, hope, joy and peace. Because He lives we shall live also. HE IS PRECIOUS IN HIS HUMANITY!

He is precious in Word: There is no lacking of places to hear preaching today these days, but there are few places where the whole truth is preached! The problem is that much of the preaching is little more than dry dust blown by hot air from leaking windbags! Most of it is motivational in content, temporal in effect, lacking inspiration and powerless to save. People are told to reform rather than repent and that all men will repent—the whole truth is that not all men will repent – Jesus told Nicodemus that to see the Kingdom of God a man had to be born again.

The Bible sets forth the doctrine of a Predetermined Election that is without distinction but not without condition. That is to say that Jesus will save some from every nation, tongue, tribe, and kindred, (no distinction)— all who having been given Him by His Father in Eternity will come to him by faith (the condition) – those that come accordingly, he will lose none! [John 6].

Jesus’ Word of Truth is that he died for the sins of those ‘elect, chosen, before the foundation of the world’ — Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1:4-7 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world , that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

Revelation 13:7-8 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world , when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word , and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. HIS WORD IS PRECIOUS!

He is precious as The Savior. In life He loved us; In death he saved us; buried he carried our sins far away; In Rising He justified freely us forever! and one day he’s coming—O glorious day!

The blood of Jesus is in the highest degree most precious. He Himself is the Great High priest who offered Himself as sacrifice for our sin and who Himself died for sinners. He is the Great Shepherd, the Rock of all ages, Almighty God is He! HE IS PRECIOUS AS SAVIOR.

He is precious as Lord: Yet, many who call him Lord do not know him as Lord and if death comes to them in that state they will be eternally lost. They claim to know Him, but he never knew them.

A W Robertson says that there is a “Sharp contrast between the mere talker and the doer of God’s will.
James 2:18-20 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

He is precious – of great worth to all which believe when tempted by the evil one – Comes this angel of light, creeping softly, speaking seduction, intending to ensnare, seeking to engage the interest of the gullible, unsuspicious, unaware, aiming his ‘fiery’ darts at those naked of the armor of God. He is true to his murderous, destroying, insinuating, nature, bent on spoiling our testimony, shaking our confidence, obscuring our hope, roughing up the Lord’s people—this is what he does, he can do no less, but he can only do what God allows!

To you that believe he comes with sword in hand to drive the devil away. He knows how to deal with Satan.

Jesus was ‘in all points tempted like as we are” [Heb. 4:15]. Jesus, to we which believe, ‘knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations’ [2 Pet. 2:9.] Then he, the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. Romans 16:20

He will be found precious in times of trial, sorrow, or adversity. What ails thee? Sickness, death of friends and loved ones? Financial loss threatened? Lack of job security? Increasing age?

When gloom settles and covers your heart with feelings of dread, know that it is not the dark of winter for your soul. Jesus will indeed come to your aid.
Rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen , ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable
and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9.

O’ if I could only see Him and observe his wounds I would be encouraged, I would believe! O’ but you can see, if you believe. We see by faith what we cannot see with the eye! Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…Hebrews 11:1
Jesus responded to Thomas’ doubt in John 20:25 and 29 …The other disciples therefore said unto him [Thomsas], We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side , I will not believe…Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Jesus is not precious because he is believed to be precious. He is precious whether he is believed to be precious, or not believed to be precious.

The mind struggles to explain, define, describe his worth and cannot adequately do so. This merely points out how worthy he is – indescribable, beyond definition, unexplainable to our minds and hearts. We cannot go beyond Peter’s words –he is precious…!

One thing I would ask you…If Jesus could be bought, what would you be willing to pay to have him? If you have him what would you give to keep him? If it were possible to lose him once you owned him what would you give to get him back? Would you as soon lose your own life as to lose him?

Hear him! Mark 8:35-38 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

He cannot be purchased at any price! But is given by grace through faith to all who will believe, for it is For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God… 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 — then, unto you which believe he is precious!

I pray that he is precious to you. Amen!

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The Blessedness of Quietness

Quietness, like mercy, is twice blessed: it blesses him who is quiet, and it blesses the man’s friends and neighbors. Talk is good in its way. “There is a time to speak,” but there is also “a time to be silent,” and in silence many of life’s sweetest blessings come.

An Italian proverb says, “He who speaks does sow; he who holds his tongue does reap.” We all know the other saying which rates speech as silver—and silence as gold. There are in the Scriptures, too, many strong persuasives to quietness, and many exhortations against noise. It was prophesied of the Christ: “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” As we read the Gospels we see that our Lord’s whole life, was a fulfillment of this ancient prophecy. He made no noise in the world. He did his work without excitement, without parade, without confusion. He wrought as the light works—silently, yet pervasively and with resistless energy.

Quietness is urged, too, on Christ’s followers. “Study to be quiet,” writes an apostle. “Busybodies” the same apostle exhorts to “quiet working, they may eat their own bread.” Prayers are to be made for rulers “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.” Another apostle, writing to Christian women, speaks of their true adornment: “You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” Solomon rates quietness in a home, far above the best of luxuries: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet—than a house full of feasting, with strife.”

A prophet declares the secret of power in these words: “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength;” and likewise says, “The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” It is set down also as one of the blessings of God’s people, that they shall dwell in “quiet resting-places.”

These are but a few of very many scriptural statements concerning quietness—but they are enough to indicate several lessons that we may profitably consider.

We should be quiet toward God. The expression “Rest in the Lord,” in one of the Psalms, is in the margin “Be silent to the Lord.” We are not to speak back to God—when he speaks to us. We are not to reason with him or dispute with him—but are to bow in silent and loving acquiescence before him: “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is in those providences which cut sorely into our lives, and require sacrifice and loss on our part—that we are specially called to this duty.

There is a moving illustration of silence to God in the case of Aaron when his sons had offered strange fire, and had died before the Lord for their disobedience and sacrilege. The record says, “And Aaron held his peace.” He even made no natural human outcry of grief. He accepted the terrible penalty as unquestionably just—and bowed in the acquiescence of faith.

This silence to God should be our attitude in all times of trial, when God’s ways with us are bitter and painful. Why should we complain at anything that our Father may do? We have no right to utter a word of murmuring, for he is our sovereign Lord, and our simple duty is instant, unquestioning submission. Then we have no reason to complain, for we know that all God’s dealings with us—are in loving wisdom. His will is always best for us, whatever sacrifice or suffering it may cost.

We should train ourselves to be quiet also toward men. There are times when we should speak, and when words are mighty and full of blessing. Universal silence would not be a blessing to the world. Among the most beneficent of God’s gifts to us—is the power of speech. And we are to use our tongues. There are some people who are altogether too quiet in certain directions, and toward certain people.

There is no place where good words are more fitting—than between husband and wife—yet there are husbands and wives who pass weeks and months together in almost unbroken silence. They will travel long journeys side by side in the railway-car, and utter scarcely a word in the whole distance. They will walk to and from church, and neither will speak. In the home-life they will pass whole days with nothing more in the form of speech between them, than an indifferent remark about the weather, a formal inquiry and a monosyllabic answer.

“According to Milton, Eve kept silence in Eden to hear her husband talk,” said a gentleman to a lady, adding in a melancholy tone, “Alas! there have been no Eves since!” “Because,” quickly retorted the lady, “there have been no husbands worth listening to!” Perhaps the retort was just. Husbands certainly ought to have something to say when they come into their homes from the busy world outside. They are usually genial enough, in the circles of business or politics or literature, and are able to talk so as to interest others. Ought they not to seek to be as genial in their own homes, especially toward their own wives? Most women, too, are able to talk in general society. Why, then, should a wife fall into such a mood of silence the moment she and her husband are alone? It was Franklin who wisely said, “As we must account for every idle word—so must we for every idle silence.” We must not forget that silence may be sadly overdone, especially in homes.

There are other silences that are also to be deplored. People keep in their hearts unspoken, the kindly words they might utter— and ought to utter—in the ears of the weary, the soul-hungry and the sorrowing about them. The ministry of good words is one of wondrous power—yet many of us are wretched misers, with our gold and silver coin of speech. Is any miserliness so base? Ofttimes we allow hearts to starve close beside us, though in our very hands we have abundance to feed them.

One who attends the funeral of any ordinary man and listens to what his neighbors have to say about him as they stand by his coffin—will hear enough kind words spoken to have brightened whole years of his life. But how was it when the man was living, toiling and struggling, among these very people? Ah! they were not so faithful then with their grateful, appreciative words. They were too quiet toward him then. Silence was overdone.

Quietness is carried too far—when it makes us disloyal to the hearts that crave our words of love and sympathy.

But there is a quietness toward others which all should cultivate. There are many words spoken, which ought never to pass the door of the lips. There are people who seem to exercise no restraint whatever, on their speech. They allow every passing thought or feeling—to take form in words. They never think what the effect of their words will be—how they will fly like arrows shot by some careless marksman and will pierce hearts they were never meant to hurt! Thus friendships are broken, and injuries are inflicted, which can never be repaired! Careless words are forever making grief and sorrow in tender spirits. We pity the mute whom sometimes we meet. Muteness is more blessed by far than speech—if all we can do with our marvelous gift is to utter bitter, angry, abusive or sharp, cutting words”

“I heedlessly opened the cage
And suffered my bird to go free,
And, though I besought it with tears to return,
It nevermore came back to me.

It nests in the wildwood and heeds not my call;
Oh, the bird once at liberty—who can enthrall?
“I hastily opened my lips
And uttered a word of disdain

That wounded a friend, and forever estranged
A heart I would die to regain.
But the bird once at liberty—oh who can enthrall?
And the word that’s once spoken—oh who can recall?”

Rose Cooke in one of her poems—”Unreturning”, shows in very strong phrase, the irreparableness of the harm done or the hurt given by unkind words. Flowers fade—but there will be more flowers another year—-just as sweet ones, too, as those that are gone. Snow melts and disappears—but it will snow again. The crystals of dew on leaf and grassblade vanish when the sun rises—but tomorrow morning there will be other dewdrops as brilliant as those which are lost. But words once uttered—can never be said over to be changed, nor can they ever be gotten back.

Another kind of common talk that had better be repressed into complete silence, is the miserable gossip which forms so large a part—let us confess it and deplore it—of ordinary parlor conversation! Few appreciative and kindly things are spoken of absent ones—but there is no end to criticism, snarling and backbiting! The most unsavory bits of scandal are served with relish, and no pure character is armored against the virulence and maliciousness of the tongues that chatter on as innocently and glibly as if they were telling sweet stories of good. It certainly would be infinitely better, if all this kind of speech were reduced to utter silence. It were better that the ritual of fashion prescribed some sort of a speechless pantomime for social calls and receptions, in place of any conversation whatever, if there is nothing to be talked about but the faults and foibles and the characters and doings of absent people!

Will not someone preach a crusade against backbiting? Shall we not have a new annual “week of prayer” to cry to God for the gift of silence—when we have nothing good or true or beautiful to say? No victories should be more heroically battled for, or more thankfully recorded, than victories of silence when we are tempted to speak unhallowed words of others!

Silence is better, also, than any words of bickering and strife. There is no surer, better way of preventing quarrels—than by the firm restraining of speech. “A soft answer turns away anger;” but if we cannot command the “soft answer” when another person is angry, the second-best thing is not to speak at all. “Grievous words stir up anger.” Many a long, fierce strife that has produced untold pain and heart-breaking, would never have been anything more than a momentary flash of anger—if one of the parties had practiced the holy art of silence.

Someone tells of the following arrangement which worked successfully in preventing family quarrels: “You see, sir,” said an old man, speaking of a couple in his neighborhood who lived in perfect harmony, “they had agreed between themselves that whenever he came home a little contrary and out of temper—he would wear his hat on the back of his head, and then she never said a word; and if she came in a little cross and crooked, she would throw her shawl over her left shoulder—and he never said a word.” So they never quarreled.

He who has learned to be silent, spares himself ofttimes from confusion. Many men have owed their reputation for great wisdom, quite as much to their silence as to their speech. They have not spoken the many foolish things of the glib talker, and have uttered only few and well-considered words. Says Carlyle, denouncing the rapid verbiage of shallow praters, “Even triviality and imbecility that can sit silent—how respectable are they in comparison!”

An English writer gives the story of a groom wedded to a lady of wealth. He was in constant fear of being ridiculed by his wife’s guests. A clergyman said to him, “Wear a black coat—and hold your tongue.” The new husband followed the advice, and soon was considered one of the finest gentlemen in the country. The power of keeping quiet would be worth a great deal to many people, whose tongues are forever betraying their ignorance, and revealing their true character.

All true culture, is toward the control and the restraining of speech. Christian faith gives a quietness, which in itself is one of life’s holiest blessings. It gives the quietness of peace—a quietness which the wildest storms cannot disturb, which is a richer possession than all the world’s wealth or power.

“Study to be quiet.” The lesson may be hard to many of us—but it is well worth all the cost of learning. It brings strength and peace to the heart. Speech is good—but ofttimes silence is better. He who has learned to hold his tongue—is a greater conqueror than the warrior who subdues an empire! The power to be silent under provocations and wrongs, and in the midst of danger and alarms—is the power of the noblest, royalest victoriousness!

J.R. Miller, 1888
GRACE GEMS

 

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The Ministry of Kindness

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved—clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Nothing is more worth while, than kindness. Nothing else in life is more beautiful in itself. Nothing else does more to brighten the world, and sweeten other lives.

Robert Louis Stevenson said in a letter: “It is our kindnesses, that alone makes the world tolerable. If it were not for that—I would be tempted to think that our life is a practical jest in the worst possible spirit.”

The man whose life lacks habitual kindliness may succeed splendidly in a worldly sense. He may win his way to high honor. He may gather his millions. He may climb to a conspicuous place among men. But he has missed that which alone gives beauty to a life—the joy and blessing of being kind. There are men who are so intent on winning the race, that they have neither eye nor heart nor hand for the human needs along the wayside. Here and there is one, however, who thinks more of the humanities, than of the personal success; that woos him forward, and who turns aside in his busiest hour to give help and cheer to those who need.

There is always this difference in men. There are those who have only one purpose in life, the making of their own career. They fix their eye upon their goal, and press toward it with indomitable persistence, utterly unheeding the calls and appeals of human need which break upon their ears. They fail altogether in love’s duty. They dwarf and deaden the qualities which are divinest in their nature.

Far nobler are those who, while earnest and diligent in business—yet let the law of love rule in their lives and are ever ready to forget themselves and sacrifice their own personal interest in order to do good to others. He who leaves ‘love for others’ out of his life-plan, leaves God out too, for love is the first thing in Godlikeness.

When we speak of kindness, we think not so much of ‘large’ things as of the ‘little’ things of thoughtfulness and gentleness, which one may do along life’s way. There are people who now and then do some great thing of which everybody speaks—but whose common days are empty of love’s personal ministries. There are men who give large sums of money to found or endow institutions—but who have scarcely ever been known to do a kindly deed to a poor man or to one in trouble or need, and who fail altogether in love’s sweet spirit in their own homes and among their own companions.

Is it not better that we shall have a gentle heart, which will prompt us to unbroken kindliness in word and deed—than that once in a great while we should do some conspicuous act of charity; living, meanwhile, in all our common relations—a cold, selfish, unsympathetic, ungentle and loveless life?

There are men and women who have learned so well the lesson of love taught by the Master—that all along their path, a ministry of kindness is wrought by them, which brightens and blesses the lives of all who come within their influence. Their course through this world is like that of a river across a desert whose banks are fringed with green. Like the Master, they literally go about doing good. They have a genius for kindness. They are ever doing thoughtful little things which add to the world’s sweetness and happiness.

Once in crossing a meadow, I came to a spot that was filled with fragrance. Yet I could see no flowers, and I wondered whence the fragrance came. At last I found, low down, close to the ground—hidden by the tall grass, innumerable little flowers growing. It was from these, that the fragrance came.

It is just so, when you enter some homes. There is a rich perfume of love that pervades all the place. It may be a home of wealth and luxury, or it may be plain and bare. It does not matter—it is not the house, nor the furniture, nor the adornment that makes the air of sweetness. You look closely. It is a gentle woman, mother or daughter, quiet, lowly, hiding herself away—from whose life the fragrance flows. She may not be beautiful, may not be specially well-educated, may not be musical, nor an artist, nor ‘clever’ in any way; but wherever she moves—she leaves a blessing. Her sweet patience is never disturbed by the sharp words that fall around her. The children love her—because she never tires of them. She helps them with their lessons, listens to their frets and worries, mends their broken toys, makes dolls’ dresses for them, straightens out their tangles, settles their little quarrels, and finds time to play with them. When there is sickness in the home—she is the angel of comfort. Her face is always bright—with the outshining of love. Her voice has music in it as it falls in cheerful tenderness on a sufferer’s ear. Her hands are wondrously gentle as their soothing touch rests on the aching head, or as they minister in countless ways about the bed of pain.

A young woman who had passed through deep sorrows, said to a friend one day, in speaking of the comfort certain people had given her unconsciously, “I wish some people knew just how much their faces can comfort another! I often ride down in the same street-car with your father, and it has been such a help to me to sit next to him. There is something so good and strong and kind about him, it has been a comfort just to feel he was beside me. Sometimes, when I have been utterly depressed and discouraged, he has seemed somehow to know just the right word to say to me; but if he didn’t talk, why, I just looked at his face, and that helped me. He probably has not the least idea of it, either, for I know him so slightly, and I don’t suppose people half realize, anyway, how much they are helping or hindering others!”

There is a great deal of this unconscious kindness in the world. Moses did not know that his face shone. The best people are not aware of their goodness. According to the old legend, it was only when it fell behind him, where he could not see it, that the saintly man’s shadow healed the sick. This is a parable. Kindness that is aware of itself—has lost much of its charm. Kindnesses that are done unconsciously, mean the most.

It is one of the blessings of pain or suffering—that it softens hearts, and woos out gentleness and kindness. A very common experience is given in the story of a worker in one of the slums, which tells of a whole family completely changed through the influence of a deformed child who became the angel of the home. The father was a drudge, the children were coarse and uncouth, and the mother, overworked and far from strong, had fallen into untidy habits. But there was born into that home—a crippled child, and she was the means of drawing out the sympathy, love, and tenderness of the whole family. The father nursed and petted his child in the evenings; the boys made playthings for her, and showed their affection in all sorts of pleasant ways; the mother kept the window clean, that her child, pillowed on the table, might look out on the court. Thus a large and blessed ministry of kindness was inspired by what seemed a misfortune. The suffering of a child transformed all the household life, making each heart gentler, sweeter, more thoughtful, more unselfish.

It is often so. Many a sweet home owes most of its sweetness, to a quiet, patient sufferer, whose pain has been the messenger of God to soften hearts and enrich common lives with heavenly tenderness.

One good rule of kindness, is never to allow a day to pass in which someone has not been made a little happier. We fail to realize, too, how much happiness even very little things give. It may be only a word of cheer, as we meet a neighbor on the street, or an inquiry at the door when one is sick, or a note of sympathy when there is trouble in the home, or a simple remembrance on a birthday or an anniversary. Such seeming trifles, costing nothing but thoughtfulness and an expression of love—are life and cheer to those to whom they come. They make the world a sweeter place to live in. They make burdens lighter, rough paths smoother, hard toil easier, loneliness more endurable.

Whatever else we may do or may not do—we should certainly train ourselves to be kind. It may not be an easy lesson to learn, for its secret is forgetting ourselves and thinking of others—and this is always hard. But it can be learned. To begin with, there must be a gentle heart—to inspire the gentle life. We must love people—if we do not, no training, no following of rules, will ever make us kind. But if the heart is full of the love of Christ, the disposition will be loving, and it will need no rules—to teach the lips to speak ever gracious words, and the hands to do always the things of kindness—and to do them always at the right time. Too many wait until it is too late—to be kind.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved—clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

J. R. Miller, 1902
GRACE GEMS

 

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