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Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and put an end at Thy good pleasure to this my miserable life; for justice and truth are not to be found among the sons of men…Be merciful unto me, O Lord…Now after many battles, I find nothing in me but vanity and corruption. For in quietness I am negligent, in trouble impatient, tending to desperation…pride and ambition assault me on the one part, covetousness and malice trouble me on the other, briefly, Oh Lord, the affections of the flesh do almost suppress the operation of Thy Spirit…In none of the aforesaid I do delight; but I am troubled, and that sore against the desire of my inward man which sobs for my corruption, and would repose in Thy mercy alone; to which I claim, and that in the promise that Thou hast made to all penitent sinners of whose number I profess myself to be one.
“Answer to a Letter of James Lurie, a Scottish Jesuit,” in John Knox—A Great Intercessor, by Bessie G. Olson, Hall of Fame Series, Des Moines: Walfred, 1956, pp. 45-46, quoted in Mark Bubeck, The Adversary, Moody Press, pg. 33.
The most important figure of the Reformation was a monk by the name of Martin Luther (1483-1546). Luther was a man full of self-doubt, guilt, and worry. In his early 20s, Martin Luther was nearly struck by lightning while crossing an open field during a storm, which led to his vow to become a monk. As a young monk, the corruption of the church, the debauchery of priests, and the power of the Pope disturbed him, disgusted him, and depressed him.
He did everything possible to appease his anguished soul: from climbing the 28 stairs of the famous Scala Sancta to going to regular confession, but for all the vigils and fasts and penances, he still felt empty, accursed, and worse.
Why did he not experience the assurance of salvation? Why did he still feel so rotten in spite of all efforts to please God? Why was his soul at war and peace so illusive?
The dramatic turning-point of Luther¡¦s life occurred when he was sitting alone in his study at Wittenberg. His eyes fell on a passage from the first chapter of Paul¡¦s letter to the Romans. It says: "the just shall live by his faith." He couldn¡¦t believe his eyes, he couldn¡¦t contain himself, or keep to himself the simplicity of God¡¦s ageless path of salvation: faith in God.
That discovery changed the course of the church, the course of Western civilization, and the course of history. So on October 31, 1517 Luther nailed his famous Ninety-five Theses onto the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, 60 miles from Berlin that resulted in his excommunication from the church, the start of the Reformation, and the division between the Protestant and the Catholic church.
There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow-men do not see (and I am glad!), and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.
J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 37
Listen to this news clipping. “Gambling, robbery, sexual immorality, and violence is prevalent. Half of all children are born out of wedlock; purity and fidelity to the marriage vow are sneered out of fashion. Corruption in politics is rampant. The world is broken.” This clipping is from 1694.
It was in this time that John Wesley began preaching to the poor, a message of new life through the free grace of Christ. His message was one of assurance and the power of the Spirit. He taught that while sin remained it could not reign. In addition to a great preacher Wesley was an organizer, and those who accepted Jesus as Lord where put into bands. In these bands people strived to put scripture into practice and they called it holiness. Wesley had a great deal of observers, but his goal was to bring them to obedience of Christ<...
A little boy was attending his first wedding.
After the service his cousin asked him, "How many women can a man marry?"
"Sixteen(16)", was his prompt reply.
"How do u know that?" asked the cousin.
"Easy," the little boy said. "All you have to do is add it up."
Preacher said, "4 better, 4 worse, 4 richer, 4 poorer!"
The boys were setting themselves up for moral corruption.
God’s people must be morally pure.
In his spiritual autobiography, William Barclay, the venerable Scottish scholar, tells the tragedy of losing his 21-year-old daughter and her fiance who were drowned in a boating accident. He writes, "God did not stop that accident at sea, but he did still the storm in my own heart so that somehow my wife and I came through that terrible time still on our own two feet."
Barclay also tells of receiving an anonymous letter about his daughter’s death. It said, "I know why God killed your daughter. It was to save her from corruption by your heresies." Barclay says, "If I had known the writer’s address, I would have written back in pity, not anger, saying, as John Wesley once said, ’Your God is my devil.’"
A Thanks Offering For Heaven
Philippians 3:20 says, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body."
C.S. Lewis said, "If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next."
There are many things about heaven that Christians can thank the Lord about. While living on this earth they have to suffer the consequences of sin just as Job came to know the sufferings of this world. He lost children, possessions and knew bad health. Knowing that at the end of his life something wonderful would take place, he said, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes... How my heart yearns within me!"(Job 19:25-27)
The children of God may very well be afflicted with disease, or loss of property. They may be forsaken by their friends as Job was. However, there is going to be a day when their body will be resurrected and they will have a physical body that is healthy, not subjected to sickness, pain or death or overcome by sin. Christians can praise God, for in heaven there is going to be a perfect city where there is no crime, no homeless, no unemployment, no pollution, no corruption in city councils or government. Heaven is victorious with no civil unrest, no terrorism and no more wars. There will be fairness, truth and goodness, and God's holiness will reign. Everyone will be upright and honest.
John Newton wrote, "When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there: The first wonder will be to see many people there whom I did not expect to see; the second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see; the third and greatest of all will be to find myself there"
Choose Christ, Choose Heaven!
Robert E. Coleman writes that he once “heard a missionary tell about a boy who appeared at a mission hospital in Kenya with a gaping wound in his foot. He had been accidentally injured while cutting grass far out in the jungle. Part of his heel was cut off. Without waiting to inform anyone of the mishap, he set out across country to find the mission station where he had heard medical help was available. Every time the little foot touched the sandy earth it left a faint trace of blood. The journey was long and difficult, but at last he arrived.
A little while later the boy’s mother appeared. The doctors were surprised that she found the way. There were no well-defined trails, and she had never made the trip before.
"How did you do it?" she was asked. The dear woman, overjoyed to be with her child, replied, "Oh, it was easy. I just followed the blood!" (Robert E. Coleman is Distinguished Professor of Evangelism and Discipleship, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary).
If will will just follow the blood through the pages of Scripture it will lead us to Freedom! Because by the power of the Blood of Jesus Christ:
We are free from being victims...
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." --George Washington
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here." --Patrick Henry
"We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." --James Madison
"There is a striking parallel between the condition of the country and the church. As the Constitution means little to Americans today, so too the Bible means little to the average church member. Church members generally are as ignorant of the Bible as are Americans of the Constitution. Too many people within our borders are Americans in name but un-American in their hearts and anti-American in their conduct. The church has a corresponding ailment, Christians in name, but in reality are only once -born children of Adam. The American spirit is sadly eroded today by distrust, by corruption in high places, by moral decay. It won’t be restored merely by flag-wavings and drum-beatings and Fourth of July speeches. It may not be possible to raise a new crop of patriots in such shallow soil. It may take disaster to make us realize what we had. There is also a Christian spirit in the church that has that need. When in the nation and in the church we humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land." --Vance Havner
When I was about 27 years old I developed an abscess in a rather embarrassing area of the body. Consequently I tried to keep quiet about it hoping it would go away by natural means.
Eventually the abscess got to such a size that the pain was intense and I was finding it difficult to walk. So I went to the Doctor, who took one look and immediately called the hospital to get me admitted. So One hour later I was an in-patient. Now I can tell you that at this stage I was IMPATIENT to get some relief from the agonising pain. Later that day I had an operation to cut out the abscess.
After the operation I was told that I had to daily wash the abscess in a bath to which salt would be added. Now I can tell you that the abscess itself was extremely painful, but placing the wound into a salt bath was sheer agony.
In fact on the first occasion I tried to do this I passed out in the bath and the nurses had to drag me out and return me to my bed. And yet the infected area of the body had to be cleansed if it was ever to be made whole again.
We as Christians must act like this cleansing salt bath. We must be prepared to be a presence that defeats corruption and makes it easier for others to become saved so they can know that Jesus is the way to Salvation.
Oh yes, it may hurt, and there may be much resistance and agonising by the individual whose life needs to be changed, after all Satan won’t give up one of his charges without a fight. But unless that person is willing to suffer in the process of change then their new life can’t begin.