No temptation is too great

No temptation is too great

HE BORN THIS FOR US!

Do you deeply mourn your sin, or choose cheap grace—and sin again?

Immediately the Holy Spirit compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness. He was there for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

Mark 1:12-13

Mourning our sins

Lord, who throughout these forty days
For us didst fast and pray,
Teach us with Thee to mourn our sins,
And close by Thee to stay.

As Thou with Satan didst contend
And didst the victory win,
O give us strength in Thee to fight
In Thee to conquer sin.
Lenten Hymn (v1,2), CLAUDIA FRANCES HERNAMAN (1838-98)

We don’t know a lot about the forty days Jesus spent in the desert before His temptation. We know it was a time of fasting and probably of prayer. When the devil came to Him, the conquering words of Scripture were quick on Jesus’ tongue, so it may have been a time of meditation, a time of special communion with his Father.

This song draws the comparison between Jesus’ forty days in the desert and the forty days of Lent. Traditionally, the Lenten season is a time of fasting. People “give up” something for Lent. The idea is not to punish ourselves, but to put aside something that may distract us from our communion with God. It is a time for special devotion to God, a time when He may “abide with us” in a special way. Lent is a time to refocus on our relationship with Christ.

adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995), entry for February 16


When you flee temptation, leave no forwarding address.
AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

CONFESSION OF SIN

Unimpeachable justice

Book of Life2

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” Psalm 51:4

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Samuel 15:1-31

We have heard of men who have confessed their guilt, and afterwards tried to extenuate their crime, and show some reasons why they were not so guilty as apparently they would seem to be; but when the Christian confesses his guilt, you never hear a word of extenuation or apology from him. He says, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:” and in saying this, he makes God just when he condemns him, and clear when he sentences him for ever. Have you ever made such a confession? Have you ever thus bowed yourselves before God? Or have you tried to palliate your guilt, and call your sins by little names, and speak of your crimes as if they were but light offences? If you have, then you have not felt the sentence of death in yourselves, and you are still waiting till the solemn death-knell shall toll the hour of your doom, and you shall be dragged out, amidst the universal hiss of the execration of the world, to be condemned for ever to flames which shall never know abatement. Again: after the Christian confesses his sin, he offers no promise that he will of himself behave better. Some, when they make confessions to God, say, “Lord, if thou forgive me I will not sin again;” but God’s penitents never say that. When they come before him they say, “Lord, once I promised, once I made resolves, but I dare not make them now, for they would be so soon broken, that they would increase my guilt; and my promises would be so soon violated, that they would sink my soul deeper in hell. I can only say, if thou wilt create in me a clean heart, I will be thankful for it, and will sing to thy praise for ever; but I cannot promise that I will live without sin, or work out a righteousness of my own. I dare not promise, my Father, that I shall never go astray again.”

For meditation: Does your confession of sin to God include the excuses of a King Saul or the acquiescence of a King David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14)?

Sermon no. 86    16 June (Preached 15 June 1856)

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Climbing the mountain

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‘Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?’ Psalm 24:3

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 12:18–24

From lofty mountains you can look on that side and see the lakes and the rivers; and on this side the green and laughing valleys, and far away, the wild black forest. The view is wide, but what a view is that which we shall have in heaven! There ‘shall I know even as also I am known.’ Here ‘we see through a glass, darkly;’ but there ‘face to face.’ And chief and foremost, best of all, my eyes shall see the King in his beauty. We shall behold his face; we shall look into his eyes; we shall drink love from the fountain of his heart, and hear the music of his love from the sweet organ of his lips; we shall be entranced in his society, emparadised on his bosom. Up, Christian, up, Christ waits for thee! Come, man, tread the thorny way and climb, for Christ stands on the summit stretching out his hands, and saying, ‘Come up hither;’ ‘to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.’ And there is this sweet reflection—all that we shall see upon the top of the hill of God shall be ours. We look from earthly mountains and we see, but we do not possess. That mansion yonder is not ours; that crystal stream belongs not to us; those widespread lawns are beautiful, but they are not in our possession. But on the hill-tops of heaven, all that we see we shall possess. We shall possess the streets of gold, the harps of harmony, the palms of victory, the shouts of angels, the songs of cherubim, the joy of the divine Trinity, and the song of God as he rests in his love, and rejoices over us with singing, and God the Eternal One himself shall be ours, and ours for ever and for ever.

For meditation: Since the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9–11), the Christian should set his affection on things above where Christ sits (Colossians 3:1–2). The best thing about ascending to heaven is that the Lord is there (Psalm 139:8) in all his love and beauty (Revelation 21:22–23; 22:3); the worst thing about descending to hell is that the Lord is there (Psalm 139:8) in his just wrath and judgment.

Sermon no. 396          16 June (1861)

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OH, HOW I FALL SHORT THIS STORY! JESUS FORGIVE ME!

GAL. 5:25

Good news for you

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.

Luke 10:33

Suggested Further Reading: John 11:11-44

I do not believe in the way in which some people pretend to preach the gospel. They have no gospel for sinners as sinners, but only for those who are above the dead level of sinner ship, and are technically styled sensible sinners. Like the priest in this parable, they see the poor sinner, and they say, He is not conscious of his need, we cannot invite him to Christ. He is dead; it is of no use preaching to dead soul’s so they pass by on the other side, keeping close to the elect and quickened, but having nothing whatever to say to the dead, lest they make out Christ to be too gracious, and his mercy to be too free. The Levite was not in quite such a hurry as the priest. The priest had to preach, and might be late for the service, and therefore he could not stop to relieve the man; besides he might have soiled his cassock, or made himself unclean; and then he would have been hardly fit for the dainty and respectable congregation over which he officiated. As for the Levite, he had to read the hymns; he was a clerk in the church, and he was somewhat in a hurry, but still he could get in after the opening prayer, so he indulged himself with the luxury of looking on. Just as I have known ministers say, Well, you know we ought to describe the sinner’s state, and warn him, but we must not invite him to Christ.  Yes, gentlemen, you must pass by on the other side, after having looked at him, for on your own confession you have no good news for the poor wretch. I bless my Lord and Master that he has given to me a gospel which I can take to dead sinners, a gospel which is available for the vilest of the vile. I thank my Master that he does not say to the sinner, Come half way and meet me, but he comes where he is.

For meditation: Jesus went and raised the dead physically where they were (Mark 5:40-42) without them having to make themselves half-alive first. He works on exactly the same principle when he raises sinners from the dead spiritually (Ephesians 2:1,5). Is he raising you to trust in him now (Ephesians 2:8)?

Sermon no. 473    5 October (1862)

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WHAT’S YOUR BABYLON?

God cares for the persecuted

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The stress of captivity

 

Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees. For there our captors demanded a song of us. Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” But how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?

Psalm 137:1-4

Your Babylon

In captivity in Babylon, the Jews wept for their homeland and prayed for the day when they might return. But when the day of their release from captivity finally came and they were allowed to return, only about fifty thousand (out of hundreds of thousands) made the trek back to Jerusalem. Why?

For one thing, some of the Jews were making a good living in Babylon — a better living than their fathers had made in Jerusalem. Others had married Babylonian spouses and become assimilated into Babylonian culture. They had forgotten Jerusalem. Can you blame them? Seventy years of captivity is a long time.

Whatever the reason, some of the Jews weren’t like the writer of Psalm 137, which apparently was written shortly after their return from exile.

The Bible speaks of heaven as our Jerusalem and suggests that where we are now living is Babylon on earth. How comfortable are you in your Babylon? How are you faring there? Have you forgotten that you, too, are an exile, a pilgrim in a foreign land? What are you looking ahead to?

from The One Year® Book of Psalms with devotionals by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen (Tyndale) entry for November 11

Digging Deeper: For more on facing persecution, read Jerry Jenkin’s Shadowed, a novel about keeping faith in the last days. Tyndale House Publishers (hardcover 2005, softcover 2006).

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

THE LORD BARES US UP

TEMPTATION

TEMPTATION

 

1 CORINTHIANS 10:13

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of 1 Corinthians 10

Public Domain

Humility of the Lord Jesus Christ

Open house for all comers

 John 8:7 (KJV) 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.


John 8:7 (KJV)
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

 

This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.   Luke 15:2

Suggested Further Reading: John 15:8-17

This man receiveth sinners.  Whatever other men may do, this man, this one, this one alone if no other with him, this one beyond all other teachers, however gentle and compassionate this man receiveth sinners.  He will speak and tell out his mysteries too, even when sinful ears are listening, for he receives sinners as disciples, as well as his hearers. If they come casually into the throng, his eye glances upon them, and he has a word of gentle rebuke, and wooing love; but if they will come and join the class who cluster constantly about him, they shall be thoroughly welcome, and the deeper and higher truths reserved for disciples shall be revealed to them, and they shall know the mystery of the kingdom. When he has cleansed sinners, he receives them not only as disciples, but as companions. This man permits the guilty, the once profane, the lately debauched, and formerly dissolute, to associate themselves with him, to wear his name, to sit in his house, to be written in the same book of life as himself. He makes them here partakers with him in his affliction, and hereafter they shall be partakers with him in his glory. This man receives pardoned sinners into companionship. More, he receives them as friends. The head that leaned upon him was a sinner’s head, and those who sat at the table with him, to whom he said, Henceforth I call you not servants; I have called you friends, were all of them sinners, as they felt themselves to be. She who bore him, she who ministered to him of her substance, she who washed his feet with tears, she who was first at his empty sepulchre, all these were sinners, and some of them sinners emphatically. Into his heart’s love he receives sinners.

For meditation: The humility of the Lord Jesus Christ in receiving sinners is in stark contrast to the pride of sinners who refuse to receive him, the sinless Lord of glory (Luke 9:53; John 1:11). What a difference mutual receiving makes (John 1:12).

Sermon no. 665 17 December (1865)

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DEAR READER

RED ROCKS MORRISON CO 10 2013

Morning

1376312039000-reader-peck-gulf-sunset

“Base things of the world hath God chosen.” 1 Corinthians 1:28

Walk the streets by moonlight, if you dare, and you will see sinners then. Watch when the night is dark, and the wind is howling, and the picklock is grating in the door, and you will see sinners then. Go to yon jail, and walk through the wards, and mark the men with heavy over-hanging brows, men whom you would not like to meet at night, and there are sinners there. Go to the Reformatories, and note those who have betrayed a rampant juvenile depravity, and you will see sinners there. Go across the seas to the place where a man will gnaw a bone upon which is reeking human flesh, and there is a sinner there. Go where you will, you need not ransack earth to find sinners, for they are common enough; you may find them in every lane and street of every city, and town, and village, and hamlet. It is for such that Jesus died. If you will select me the grossest specimen of humanity, if he be but born of woman, I will have hope of him yet, because Jesus Christ is come to seek and to save sinners. Electing love has selected some of the worst to be made the best. Pebbles of the brook grace turns into jewels for the crown-royal. Worthless dross he transforms into pure gold. Redeeming love has set apart many of the worst of mankind to be the reward of the Saviour’s passion. Effectual grace calls forth many of the vilest of the vile to sit at the table of mercy, and therefore let none despair.

Reader, by that love looking out of Jesus’ tearful eyes, by that love streaming from those bleeding wounds, by that faithful love, that strong love, that pure, disinterested, and abiding love; by the heart and by the bowels of the Saviour’s compassion, we conjure you turn not away as though it were nothing to you; but believe on him and you shall be saved. Trust your soul with him and he will bring you to his Father’s right hand in glory everlasting.

Evening

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“I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22

Paul’s great object was not merely to instruct and to improve, but to save. Anything short of this would have disappointed him; he would have men renewed in heart, forgiven, sanctified, in fact, saved. Have our Christian labours been aimed at anything below this great point? Then let us amend our ways, for of what avail will it be at the last great day to have taught and moralized men if they appear before God unsaved? Blood-red will our skirts be if through life we have sought inferior objects, and forgotten that men needed to be saved. Paul knew the ruin of man’s natural state, and did not try to educate him, but to save him; he saw men sinking to hell, and did not talk of refining them, but of saving from the wrath to come. To compass their salvation, he gave himself up with untiring zeal to telling abroad the gospel, to warning and beseeching men to be reconciled to God. His prayers were importunate and his labours incessant. To save souls was his consuming passion, his ambition, his calling. He became a servant to all men, toiling for his race, feeling a woe within him if he preached not the gospel. He laid aside his preferences to prevent prejudice; he submitted his will in things indifferent, and if men would but receive the gospel, he raised no questions about forms or ceremonies: the gospel was the one all-important business with him. If he might save some he would be content. This was the crown for which he strove, the sole and sufficient reward of all his labours and self-denials. Dear reader, have you and I lived to win souls at this noble rate? Are we possessed with the same all-absorbing desire? If not, why not? Jesus died for sinners, cannot we live for them? Where is our tenderness? Where our love to Christ, if we seek not his honour in the salvation of men? O that the Lord would saturate us through and through with an undying zeal for the souls of men.

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God Always Wants Us To Come To Him In Christ

The consequences of unconfessed sin

Is Your Name

“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.”

Psalm 66:18-19 NLT

The elephant in the room

It is bad to be in trouble. It is worse to be in trouble and on the outs with God. According to this passage, penned by King David, if we are harboring sinful attitudes in our hearts or willfully indulging in sinful activities, we should not expect God to respond to our prayers.
This is not because God doesn’t love us. He does — more than we realize. It’s not because God doesn’t want to help us. He longs to deliver us. It’s simply that a holy God cannot wink at sin or look the other way. Intimacy with God requires honesty, humility, purity.
For us to attempt to approach God without first addressing the ways in which we have knowingly offended and wronged him is an exercise in futility. Sin is the “elephant in the room” that must be acknowledged and dealt with. Once we do that, we again enjoy sweet fellowship with God. Clean and forgiven, we can be sure he hears our pleas for help.
Praying God’s Promise: Lord, you do not listen to my prayers when I have unconfessed sin in my life. By your Spirit give me the humility I need to take a hard look at my soul. Show me, God, any wrong attitudes and actions that I need to acknowledge. I want to be right with you. I want to be close to you. Thank you for pledging to hear those who humble themselves and acknowledge their sin. May my sins, which block me from you when I don’t confess them, become a bridge to you as I admit them, forsake them, and experience your forgiveness.
From the Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Wood (Tyndale) pp 8-9

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

GOD SAYS – –“I am the Lord, I change not.” Malachi 3:6

1 PETER 2:9

1 PETER 2:9

Morning

GRANDWATERFALL

“I am the Lord, I change not.” Malachi 3:6

It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All things else have changed–all things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age; the world is waxing old; the folding up of the worn-out vesture has commenced; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they shall perish, they shall wax old as doth a garment; but there is One who only hath immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore, is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth–“I am the Lord, I change not.”

The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian’s hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Whatever his attributes were of old, they are now; his power, his wisdom, his justice, his truth, are alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of his people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and he is their sure Helper still. He is unchanged in his love. He has loved his people with “an everlasting love”; he loves them now as much as ever he did, and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, his love will still wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that he changes not! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.

“Death and change are busy ever,

Man decays, and ages move;

But his mercy waneth never;

God is wisdom, God is love.”

Evening

HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD

HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD

“Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.” Psalm 119:53

My soul, feelest thou this holy shuddering at the sins of others? for otherwise thou lackest inward holiness. David’s cheeks were wet with rivers of waters because of prevailing unholiness, Jeremiah desired eyes like fountains that he might lament the iniquities of Israel, and Lot was vexed with the conversation of the men of Sodom. Those upon whom the mark was set in Ezekiel’s vision, were those who sighed and cried for the abominations of Jerusalem. It cannot but grieve gracious souls to see what pains men take to go to hell. They know the evil of sin experimentally, and they are alarmed to see others flying like moths into its blaze. Sin makes the righteous shudder, because it violates a holy law, which it is to every man’s highest interest to keep; it pulls down the pillars of the commonwealth. Sin in others horrifies a believer, because it puts him in mind of the baseness of his own heart: when he sees a transgressor he cries with the saint mentioned by Bernard, “He fell today, and I may fall to-morrow.” Sin to a believer is horrible, because it crucified the Saviour; he sees in every iniquity the nails and spear. How can a saved soul behold that cursed kill-Christ sin without abhorrence? Say, my heart, dost thou sensibly join in all this? It is an awful thing to insult God to His face. The good God deserves better treatment, the great God claims it, the just God will have it, or repay His adversary to his face. An awakened heart trembles at the audacity of sin, and stands alarmed at the contemplation of its punishment. How monstrous a thing is rebellion! How direful a doom is prepared for the ungodly! My soul, never laugh at sin’s fooleries, lest thou come to smile at sin itself. It is thine enemy, and thy Lord’s enemy. View it with detestation, for so only canst thou evidence the possession of holiness, without which no man can see the Lord.

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Godly sorrow worketh repentance 2 Cor. 7:10

Morning

JOHN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

JOHN 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Godly sorrow worketh repentance.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature’s thorns never produced a single fig. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”

True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.

True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally–as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it–shun it in everything–not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.

Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This dropping well is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.

Evening

English: Resurrection of Christ

English: Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Love is strong as death.” Song of Solomon 8:6

Whose love can this be which is as mighty as the conqueror of monarchs, the destroyer of the human race? Would it not sound like satire if it were applied to my poor, weak, and scarcely living love to Jesus my Lord? I do love him, and perhaps by his grace, I could even die for him, but as for my love in itself, it can scarcely endure a scoffing jest, much less a cruel death. Surely it is my Beloved’s love which is here spoken of–the love of Jesus, the matchless lover of souls. His love was indeed stronger than the most terrible death, for it endured the trial of the cross triumphantly. It was a lingering death, but love survived the torment; a shameful death, but love despised the shame; a penal death, but love bore our iniquities; a forsaken, lonely death, from which the eternal Father hid his face, but love endured the curse, and gloried over all. Never such love, never such death. It was a desperate duel, but love bore the palm. What then, my heart? Hast thou no emotions excited within thee at the contemplation of such heavenly affection? Yes, my Lord, I long, I pant to feel thy love flaming like a furnace within me. Come thou thyself and excite the ardour of my spirit.

“For every drop of crimson blood

Thus shed to make me live,

O wherefore, wherefore have not I

A thousand lives to give?”

Why should I despair of loving Jesus with a love as strong as death? He deserves it: I desire it. The martyrs felt such love, and they were but flesh and blood, then why not I? They mourned their weakness, and yet out of weakness were made strong. Grace gave them all their unflinching constancy–there is the same grace for me. Jesus, lover of my soul, shed abroad such love, even thy love in my heart, this evening

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)