Steven Walton: What to Wear – Part 1

Sermon Text:

Ephesians 4:25-27
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

This sermon was preached by Steven Walton on the 31.07.2016 in Stuttgart Germany. Steve preaches on our new life in Christ, laying down our old self and taking up our new self – living a live of integrity, truthfulness, self control.

http://www.cfcstuttgart.org/

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A. W. Pink: Sin’s Presence

There are two sides to a Christian’s life: a light side—and a dark one; an elevating side—and a depressing one. His experience is neither all joy—nor all grief; but a commingling of both. It was so with the apostle Paul: “As sorrowful—yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). When a person is regenerated, he is not there and then taken to heaven—but he is given both a pledge and a foretaste of it. Nor is sin then eradicated from his being, though its dominion over him is broken. It is indwelling corruption which casts its dark shadow over his joy!

The varied experiences of the believer are occasioned by Christ’s presence—and sin’s presence. If, on the one hand, it be blessedly true that Christ is with him all the days, even unto the end; on the other hand, it is solemnly true that sin indwells him all his days, even unto the end of his earthly history! Said Paul, “evil is present with me”; and that, not only occasionally—but sin “dwells in me” (Romans 7:20-21). Thus, as God’s people feed upon the Lamb, it is “with bitter herbs they shall eat it” (Exo 12:8).

The Christian’s consciousness of indwelling sin, his mourning over its defiling influence, his sincere efforts to strive against its solicitations, his penitent confessions to God of his failure to master this inveterate foe—are among the unmistakable evidences that he is a regenerate person. For certain it is, that none who is dead in trespasses and sins realizes there is a sea of iniquity within his heart, defiling his very thoughts and imagination; still less does he make conscience of the same and lament it.

Let the believer recall his own case: in the days of his unregeneracy, he was not cast down by what now distresses! We are bidden to “remember” what we were “in time past,” and then contrast the “But now” (Eph 2:11-13), that we may be shamed over the former—and rejoice and give thanks for the latter.

It is cause for fervent praise if your eyes have been opened to see “the sinfulness of sin,” and your heart to feel its obnoxiousness. Since it was not always thus, a great change has taken place—you have been made the subject of a miracle of grace. But the continuance of indwelling sin presents a sore and perplexing problem to the Christian. That nothing is too hard for the Lord—he is full assured. Why then is evil allowed to remain present with him? Why is he not rid of this hideous thing—which he so much loathes and hates? Why should this horrible depravity be allowed to disturb his peace and mar his joy? Why does not the God of all grace rid him of this harassing tyrant?

It must ever be remembered that His thoughts and ways are often the very opposite of ours. Yet we must also remember they are infinitely wiser and better than ours. God then must have some valid reason why He leaves sin in His people; and since He loves them with a boundless and unchangeable love—it must be left in them for their benefit. Faith may be fully assured that evil continues to be present with the saint both for the glory of God and for his own good. Thus, there is a bright side to even this dark cloud.

We are apt to think it is a most deplorable thing that sin still indwells us and to imagine it would be far better if we were rid of it. But that is our ignorance. Yes, it is something worse: it is a spirit of opposition to God, a rebelling against His dealings with us, an impugning of His wisdom, a casting reflection upon His goodness. Since He has given such abundant proofs that He has our best interests at heart, it must be mostreprehensible for any to call into question His ways with them.

Rather, may we be fully persuaded that our loving Father would have completely removed “the flesh” from the soul of His children at the moment of their regeneration—had that been for their highest welfare. Since He has not done so, we must confidently conclude that God has a benevolent purpose in allowing sin to indwell them, to the end of their pilgrim journey. But does His Word furnish any hints of His gracious designs therein? Yes—but we must now limit ourselves unto one of them.

God leaves sin in His people—to promote their humility. There is nothing which He abominates, so much as pride. In Proverbs 6:16-17, the Holy Spirit has listed seven things which the Lord hates, and they are headed with “A proud look”! God feeds the hungry—but the rich He sends empty away. He “gives grace unto the humble,” but “resists the proud” (James 4:6). It is the egotistical and self-satisfied Laodiceans who are so loathsome in His sight—that He spues them out of His mouth (Rev 3:16-17).

Now Christian reader, is it really and truly the desire of your heart that God will “hide pride” from you (Job 33:17)? If by grace it is so, then are you willing for Him to use His own means and method in accomplishing your desire, even though it is an unpleasant process, yes, galling to your complacency? If you are willing for your natural religiousness to be blasted and to be stripped of your peacock feathers, then it will be by evil remaining in you and bestirring itself to your grief!

Second Timothy 3:2 shows (from its order) that pride springs from inordinate self-love. They who are undue lover of themselves—soon grow proud of themselves; which is odious to God, for it robs Him of His glory. Since God will be glorious unto His saints, as well as glorified by them—He subdues their pride by leaving that in them which humbles their hearts—but makes them admire Him the more for His longsuffering.

Divine light exposes filth within, of which they had no previous realization, causing them to cry with the leper, “Unclean, unclean!” (Lev 13:45). They have such painful discoveries of indwelling sin as often makes them lament, “O wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24). But how thankful we should be if God makes us “abhor” ourselves (Job 42:6), and thereby make way for prizing Christ all the more!

In this life, holiness, my reader, consists largely of pantings after it—and grievings because we feel ourselves to be so unholy. What would happen to a man still left in this world—if he were full of sin one day and then made absolutely sinless the next? Let our present experience supply the answer. Do we not find it very difficult to keep our proper humble place, both before God and our brethren, when the evil within us issubdued but a little? Is not that evidence we require something to deliver us from self-righteousness? Even the beloved Paul needed “a thorn in the flesh” lest he “be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations” given him (2 Corinthians 12:7).

The man after God’s own heart prayed, “O Lord, open you my lips; and my mouth shall show forth your praise” (Psalm 51:15): as though he said, “If You, Lord, will help me to speak aright, I shall not proclaim my own worth nor boast of what I have done—but will give You all the glory.” As God left some of the Canaanites in the land—to prove Israel (Judges 2:21-22), so He leaves sin in us—to humble us.

We shall be sinless in heaven, and the sight of the “Lamb, who was slain” (Rev 5:12) will forever prevent the re-entry of pride into our souls.

Our consciousness of sin’s presence has, first, an emptying influence: it makes way for a pardoning and cleansing Christ, by convicting the soul of its deep need.

Second, it has a continual abasing influence, bringing us to realize more and more our utter insufficiency and complete dependence upon God.

Third, it has an evangelical influence, for it serves to make us more conscious of the perfect suitability of the great Physician for such lepers as we feel ourselves to be.

Fourth, it has a God-honoring influence, for it brings the renewed soul to marvel increasingly at His “longsuffering to us” (2 Peter 3:9).

Fifth, it should promote a spirit of forbearance to our fellows: we ought not to expect less failure in them—than we find in ourselves.

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Jonathan Edwards: His 70 Resolutions

A glimpse into the mind of Jonathan Edwards and his great love for the Savior. After reading his 70 resolutions I was greatly humbled.

Text cited out of: Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume one – Chapter III

During his preparation for the ministry, his residence in New York, and his subsequent residence in his father’s house, he formed a series of resolutions, to the number of seventy, intended obviously for himself alone, to regulate his own heart and life, but fitted also, from their christian simplicity and spiritual-mindedness, to be eminently useful to others. Of these the first thirty-four 6 were written before Dec. 18, 1722, the time in which his Diary, as it now exists, commences. The particular time and occasion of making many of the rest, will be found in that most interesting narrative, in which also are many other rules and resolutions, intended for the regulation of his own affections, of perhaps equal excellence. It should be remembered they were all written before he was twenty years of age. As he was wholly averse to all profession and ostentation; and as these resolutions themselves were plainly intended for no other eye than his own, except the eye that is omniscient; they may be justly considered as the basis of his conduct and character, the plan by which he governed the secret as well as the publick actions of his life. As such they will deeply interest the reader, not only as they unfold the inmost mind of their author, but as they also show, in a manner most striking and convincing to the conscience, what is the true foundation of great and distinguished excellence.

He was too well acquainted with human weakness and frailty, even where the intentions are most sincere, to enter on any resolutions rashly, or from a reliance on his own strength. He therefore in the outset looked to God for aid, who alone can afford success in the use of the best means, and in the intended accomplishment of the best purposes. This he places at the head of all his other important rules, that his whole dependence was on the grace of God, while he still proposes to recur to a frequent and serious perusal of them, in order that they might become the habitual directory of his life.

RESOLUTIONS

“Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

2. Resolved, To be continually endeavouring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things.

3. Resolved, If ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.

5. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. Vid. July 30.

9. Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, When I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.xxi

12. Resolved, If I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, To be endeavouring to find out fit objects of liberality and charity.

14. Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.

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R. C. Sproul: THE LEGALIST DISTORTION

Not every ethical situation in life has a Bible verse that explicitly addresses it. At that point, we are left with biblical principles to guide us. Perhaps there is a way that we could codify every perceivable infraction against these principles and use them as safeguards to prevent us from breaking God’s written Law. In this message entitled “The Legalist Distortion,” Dr. Sproul considers this, and warns us against the multiple ways people distort the grace of the gospel.

John MacArthur: Watch over Your Heart

by John MacArthur (gty.org)

A good cleaning, a fresh paint job, and some gardening can make a great difference to the outward appearance of your home. But if the house is rotting from the inside—if it’s infested with vermin and filled with garbage and filth—all that work on the exterior is wasted effort.

The same principles hold true for your spiritual life. It is relatively easy to confess and forsake deeds of sin, sins of omission, and unintentional sin. But the sins of our thought life are soul‑coloring sins, character‑damaging sins. Because they work so directly against the conscience and will, dealing with them honestly and thoroughly is one of the most difficult aspects of mortifying our sin. If we ever want to see real progress in sanctification, however, this is an area where we must attack and destroy our sinful habits with a vengeance.

The Old Testament sage wrote, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

God knows our hearts (Acts 15:8). David wrote, “You understand my thought from afar . . . and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all” (Psalm 139:2-4). Why, then, would we ever feel free to indulge in gross sins in our imagination—sins we would never act out before others—when we know that God is the audience to our thoughts? “Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21).

Jesus told the Pharisees, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). Is not what we do in the sight of God infinitely more important than what we do in the sight of others?

Moreover, the thoughts of our heart are the real litmus test of our character: “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7). “A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one . . . who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil” (Proverbs 6:12-14). Do you want to know who you really are? Take a hard look at your thought life. For “as in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man” (Proverbs 27:19). External behavior is not an accurate gauge of your character; the thoughts of your heart reveal the truth. Only your conscience and God can assess the real truth about you.

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