LOOK UNTO THE LORD

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Not Passive But All Of Grace (Part One)

Posted by Curt Wildy on October 22, 2014

Not Passive But All Of Grace (Part One)

1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Seeing that these truths are both precious and needful to me, the following is put forth as my own meditation on the matter; it is meant to focus my mind on these blessed precepts and yet, if others are benefited by it, a double blessing indeed. This post is not designed to accuse anyone or to lord anything over anyone; I trust that men and women will stand precisely where God puts them. The Lord gives much grace and He takes it away as He sees fit, though never utterly. No man can go beyond the grace that God gives them, and yet, such grace should be ever sought after, and that, most earnestly. With this in mind, I will start with…

Let No Man Despise Thy Youth:  First, let us be clear in acknowledging that it isn’t primarily the Apostle Paul, but the Holy Spirit Himself, who (through the Apostle Paul) declares “let no man despise thy youth.” Timothy is being instructed to carry on, to press forward, and to not let any man disdain his younger age. He was to righteously plow through any roadblock related to his youth that anyone contrived to set before him; he was not to allow anyone to use his age as a ground or basis for rejecting his godly instruction. Moreover, he was not to allow the folly that often accompanies youth to spring up in his own walk, to sully his office and profession, because such manifest folly often gives people (in their own minds) an excuse to both disregard right instruction and to rebel against, or to even blaspheme, God. Simply put, Timothy was commanded to not let his younger age slow him down or stop him and to not allow the natural lusts of his youth to be a stumbling block before him and before others. Timothy was given much grace and strength in this regard and we should likewise not only follow in this diligence but pray often, as I’m sure he did, for the grace and strength necessary to do so.

Consider also our Lord; He did not let His youth stop Him for He was found in “the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” seeing that He was zealous to be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:47-50). Even during His 3½ year ministry after His water baptism, the Lord (as it pertains to His incarnation) was likely noticeably younger than many of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and others that He encountered during His sojourn. Though he was fully God, He was also fully man, and His youth as a man (relatively speaking) was no obstacle to Him or his ministry. So ought it be for us who are in Him.

Be Thou An Example Of The Believers: “Be thou an example…” is not a statement of hoping or wishing nor is it an optional statement (one that can be received or discarded at will). “Be thou an example” is an imperative command that the Holy Ghost gave to Timothy through Paul. Unlike what many seem to suggest, God is not stating here “I am telling you to ‘be thou an example’ knowing that you cannot be an example, so look to Christ who is your Example, and then (in looking to Him) you will spiritually fulfill this command and you needn’t worry about it any further; indeed, you can just look to Christ and then disregard this commandment thereafter.” No! God does not want us to spiritualize, or intellectualize, His instruction away. The command is clear; God is telling Timothy absolutely “YOU BE” an example; this is a functionally active (and not some passive) imperative; it is something that God fully expects Timothy to do — albeit with an eye very much single on Christ, His person and his work. God fully expects Timothy to work this ought in his own life (to the degree that He ordained for him), knowing that He alone must work in Timothy both the will to obey, and the actual ability to obey, this instruction.

Thus, no Christian can be an example in their own strength; I do not have the power to muster up conformity to this command on my own. I, and thus all of us, must grow in grace and in the love and knowledge of Christ to be able to diligently conform to this command. But where is my heart? Where is my mind? Shouldn’t it be towards constant prayer, though imperfectly performed and with many sorrowful gaps – but shouldn’t it be unto this regard –“Lord, I beseech thee, make me to be an example for others” (I do not mean in the precise wording per se but in the essence of it). Shouldn’t we be watchful and prayerful; beseeching God for the strength and mercy to do what He instructs us to do? I trust that God will answer such prayer; He will do it in His own time, and in His own way, but answer it I trust He will. Trusting that He will answer in His time, may it be that our active desire is to serve as examples to one another just as Paul was to Timothy, and just as Timothy was instructed to be an example to others. May we also diligently pray for the grace necessary to so be; grace for ourselves and grace for each other — especially in light of us being one Body, even the Body of our divine Example, the Lord Jesus Christ (our Head), whom the Apostles first followed after by the grace of God. Seeing that He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption – He, ultimately, and truly, is the pattern to which we must all be transformed and conformed.

Note also the word example. God is telling Timothy to be a pattern to, and an image of, the believers — something they could see and thus actively follow to the degree that God enabled. “Be thou an example of the believers” God says to Him just as He stated, through Paul, to the Philippians “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I PRESS FORWARD TOWARD THE MARK for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. LET US THEREFORE, AS MANY AS BE PERFECT [MATURE], BE THUS MINDED: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, LET US WALK BY THE SAME RULE, LET US MIND THE SAME THING. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which WALK SO AS YE HAVE US FOR AN ENSAMPLE… For our conversation [literally, CITIZENRY; THE CONSTITUTION AND ADMINISTERED LAWS OF A COMMONWEALTH; THE ADMINISTRATION OF OUR CIVIL AFFAIRS] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 3:13-17).

The Holy Spirit clearly shows that our behaviour is to be patterned after those godly men who were before us; not the traditions and doctrines of men, not what they think or deem holy in light of carnal reasoning and opinion, but the pattern established by godly men of old who, from the source, followed the Apostles example – -seeing that the Apostles themselves followed the example of Christ through the operation of the Holy Spirit in their lives (and is not Christ’s example detailed for us in his holy word, the Bible?). Note that this was not a mere legal; or mercenary; or (slavish) fear-based adherence to a pattern or image (for that would be idolatry and not worshipful obedience); no, it was a heartfelt desire to follow after the very example that is set when men walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh, bearing fruit in Christ, in accordance with the instruction (doctrine) of Christ.

Finally (for this portion), consider that God states “But be thou an example of the faithful.” I substituted faithful for believers because the underlying Greek word at issue has both meanings; in fact, the word at issue is more often translated faithful than believers (it is translated fifty-three times as faithful in the AV/KJV but no more than ten times as either “believe” or some variation of it). So Timothy, and thus all of us, are instructed to be examples not to the world without, nor to the nominal/false professors (at least not primarily), but to those who truly and faithfully follow Christ and rest in His promises as found in the Gospel. The carnal sons of Belial and the legalistic religionists have no Holy Spirit to guide them so any attempt on their part to follow the example will strictly result in a corruption, even a caricature, of the holy image and example. If Christ is not in them, and if they are not in Him, they cannot do anything good – the pattern, in them, is broken. Without Christ we can do nothing of eternal benefit, nothing that is worthy of following or being followed. There is no spiritual pattern-following without the spiritual life found in, by, and through Christ Jesus (who is the Life of His elect, even their eternal Life). If the one attempting to apply the pattern is void of the power that stems from union with Christ, from being washed by His blood, and having received newness of life by His Spirit, then that individual’s efforts are utterly vain. We need Christ and we need Him more than we can possibly know; it is only through His redemptive work, His blood, His washing, and His righteousness that we can began to do (to make manifest) all that He desires for us, in Him, to do.

Remember, only Christ and Him alone, can be deemed Faithful and True; so it is Him, and not false conceptions of Him, and clearly not the traditions and commandments of men, that must serve as our final example. All earthly, albeit spiritual, examples must be compared to our Lord’s example as it is revealed in His holy Bible; whatever goes beyond it is not of it and must be discarded; however, whatever aspect of the pattern proves true – it behooves us to follow it… not out of legalism or carnal fear but out of God-wrought love, worship, and thanksgiving. To God be the glory.

Posted in 10. Wildy, Curt, Discipleship, Obedience, Soberness, Spiritual Growth, Submission, Watching | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

J.C. Philpot on John 14:23

Posted by Curt Wildy on October 22, 2014

J.C. Philpot on John 14:23

Jesus answered and said unto him,
If a man love me, he will keep my words:
and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him,
and make our abode with him.
John 14:23

There are two grand vital points that every Christian should seek to be established in. The first is,—Is he a believer in Christ? Has the blessed Spirit made Christ known to his soul? Has he embraced Jesus in the arms of living faith? The second point which he should seek to have established in his soul is,—Does he abide in Christ? This he may know by having some testimony that Christ abides in him, and produces the fruits that flow out of this inward abiding. If Christ abide in him, his heart will not be like the nether mill-stone. He cannot rush greedily into sin; he will not love the world, and the things of time and sense; he cannot happily love idols, or do those things which ungodly professors do without one check or pang. Jesus in the soul is a guest that will make himself known; yea, abiding there, he is King therein. He is Ruler in Zion, and when he comes into the heart, he comes as King. Being, therefore, its rightful Sovereign, he sways the faculties of the soul, and makes it obedient to his sceptre; for “thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power” (Psalm 110:3). “O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name” (Isaiah 26:13)

(J.C. Philpot – November 5 – Ears From Harvested Sheaves or Daily Portions)

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Loving Your Unsaved Family & Hating Your Unsaved Family

Posted by Curt Wildy on October 22, 2014

Loving Your Unsaved Family & Hating Your Unsaved Family

Psalm 139:19 “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, [and] thine enemies take [thy name] in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”

Luke 14:26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

In light of the above two passages, please consider the following quote from a professor:—-

“We express our hatred of those who hate God by counting them our enemies. So we read in verse 22: “I count them mine enemies.” This is an act of the believer. Those who hate God may still feign friendship with us. They may even seem to seek our friendship. But we, on our part, refuse that friendship and regard them as our enemies. We make this known to them also: “Depart from me therefore, ye bloody men,” we say to them, according to verse 19. We have no communion with them. We do not help them in their wicked course of life. We condemn them and their evils…. Nor may the believer personally include the wicked in his fellowship, in his family visits, in his games and in his festive meals. There may be contact, but it consists of the admonition, “Repent!” This holds even though the wicked is a close relative. All should know-including my parents, my children and my wife-that for them to leave God is to leave me; to become God’s enemy is to become my enemy. Did not Jesus say in Luke 14:26: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” We have friendship with those who are friends of God. This is the implied teaching of the text. They are not necessarily the nicest personalities. They may even sometimes treat us unkindly. Nevertheless, I count them my friends. Those who love God, I love. Those who bless God, I bless. Those who are friends of God shall be friends of mine.”

I take this matter very seriously having briefly (about the span of two months) attended a ‘congregation’ that not only held to this mindset, but also lived it out, as they thoroughly distanced themselves from parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. I can tell you that the effect was downright cultish in nature. The preacher at issue boasted about how he has nothing to do with his daughter, maligned her for her unbelief, and did so multiple times on air (television) and on the Internet for all to see – and that, over an extended period of time. If the daughter were to view this, to behold the vileness and malignity of it, how would it make her feel? How open would she be to embracing Gospel truth (or what appears for a season to be Gospel truth) if her false prophet father berates her openly before men because she does not believe the Gospel? Though God alone is responsible for opening and shutting the hearts door (in regeneration and conversion) I believe that He uses means to help break up the ground or to help harden it; in other words, a vicious, belittling declaration of truth is less likely to be used of God to convert than a gentle one. So though he purposes to set himself forth as a “Grace and Truth” minister, this man evidences himself to be otherwise, in his hardness of heart in this regard (amongst many other things worthy of its own post). Many in his congregation abandoned their families, or pretended to do so (so that they would be more fully accepted) but the end result was just a greater (and ungodly) reliance on their “papa” — this is a great evil, one that continues to trouble me. Now, this isn’t to say that all who hold to this view are cultish — but having walked amongst those who apply such teaching — I trust a general warning is, nonetheless, in order.

God saves children; that is, He both regenerates and converts them. Are we to imagine a saved child, or teen, declaring to his unsaved parents; ‘I count you as my enemies; until my dinner is ready, depart from me therefore, ye bloody parents! I desire to have no communion with you but do condemn you and your evils…. I will not visit you in the living room, nor at the kitchen table, nor will I greet grandma or aunt Suzie at our festive meals.” Will the unsaved brother say to the unsaved sister “repent sister, and depart from me until you do… because you are a bloody sister! To not be a part of God’s family is to not be a part of mine… I disown you, touch none of my toys! Share none of my toothpaste! for being God’s enemy you are now an enemy of mine and I must hate you, along with mom and dad, because “If any teen come to Christ, and hate not his father, and mother, and sisters, and grandma and granddad, then that person is not of Christ.” — does any of the above sound right to any of you? What if a mother were to say to her unbelieving child/teen, “depart from my household you worker of iniquity because you know not and love not God — I will no longer feed you, talk to you, or having anything else to do with you besides saying repent thou devil and depart from me until you do!” I am not mocking all who believe this but only those professors (from their podiums) and those preachers (from their pulpits) who, by nature of their position, should know better.

Some may argue “clearly we have in view adults and not children” but I say, what difference does it make? Are we to behave as a normal child to the unsaved parents up until 16, or 18, or 21 and then once “emancipated” we forsake them except to tell them to repent and to depart from us because we hate them with a perfect hatred? This is foolishness to me. Moreover, God warns of those who are “without natural affection” (Romans 1:31; 2 Timothy 3:3); He declares in 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” God commands that we are to honour our father and mother. That word honour (in the original languages) means “to estimate and fix the value of that which belongs to you; to honour, esteem and revere it/them” — we are commanded to not be disobedient to them when still under their charge/household. We are not, however, commanded to forsake them or to deal harshly, or dishonourably, with them.

If a believing spouse is biblically encouraged to stay with an unbelieving spouse (who is willing to stay with them), for the spiritual sake of that unbelieving spouse and their children (see 1 Corinthians 7:12-14), is it not reasonable to conclude that we are to stay in contact, even loving contact, with sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, children, etc.? We are not to get caught up in their revelry, materialism, false religion, idolatry, or their overall sin and wantonness — however, we are never called to stop loving them as our natural family or to stop associating with them in that light. We are not to be of the world but we are also not to be altogether out of it. We are not to be of our families (as it pertains to their earthly sin) but we are not to be altogether out of our families either — unless they put us out. It is when THEY close the door, when they depart from us, when they actively blaspheme and revile God (as in a ‘pearls before swine’ scenario); and when they declare “it is either the family or your God,” that we must evidence this hatred by separating from them… but it is not a blanket matter… We are not to actively go about hating (in the general sense of the term) our parents, children, and siblings simply because they are unsaved. We evidence this hatred when we choose God over them in light of their own actions, stances, and demands — and they view such a choice as our hatred towards them as a result. Our hatred is an “I hate the sin in you, the sin you manifest so much, by forcing me to choose between you and God that I will actively stand with God any day against you and hate you for your gross opposition to God” — however, in our Western society, rarely is such a forced choice put to us… If we were in Muslim, or predominantly Catholic, or historically pagan/animistic/polytheistic lands, it may very well be different — but in our day, and in our society, we are rarely put to this kind of test (so to act as if we are is premature at best and downright wicked at worst).

So remember, we evidence this hatred when, in forsaking us, we accept their forsaking without wavering when it comes to our faith and profession, and (thus, in turn) forsake them. But that is their call, not ours. We are to remain open to them, available for them, so that they may behold our light, behold the good works God works in us, and maybe, just maybe, God will use such things if/as He begins to draw them. But to only say “repent or else depart from me you evil ones” is utterly foolishness to me, as it is to those who were saved in association with Christian family members who loved them, prayed for them, and kept the doors of Christian communication open to them long enough for God to use that witness unto their eternal benefit.

Finally, consider these last two points.

(1) Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, and others were godly men serving ungodly kings. Philippians 4:22 speaks of believers in Caesar’s household. We read of centurions who were saved. Many view Theophilus as having been a Roman official. If believers can work amongst the ungodly, serve the ungodly, be cordial and friendly towards the ungodly — in the workplace, government, school, etc. — how on earth can we argue that we are to so hate our unsaved natural family as to refrain from any real relationship other than saying “depart from me thou vile enemy, until you repent.” We are to depart from God’s enemies, and we are to hate (organically) God’s enemies, but we are to understand this in the right, in the proper, context — some of God’s enemies are not actively manifest revilers, scoffers, and blasphemers… some are (by God’s providence) calm enough, divinely restrained enough, to interact with — without dishonouring God in so doing.

(2) Jesus had two unbelieving brothers (at least): James and Jude. Do we have any record of Jesus telling them ‘depart from Me ‘thou enemies of God,’ until thou repent?’ Do we see anywhere where he so treated his carnal family? I suspect that the Lord kept the doors of communication open for them and, at some point, saved them (at least James and Jude) according to God’s eternal decree, purpose, and work. In light of this, perhaps we should do the same.

To God be the glory! 

Posted in 05. Controversies, Biblical Separation, Traditions of Men | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Inward Exercises…

Posted by Curt Wildy on October 22, 2014

Inward Exercises…

J.C. Philpot

A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil:
but the fool rageth, and is confident.”
Proverbs 14:16

I believe no living soul can be satisfied with a notional religion: though a miserable backslider, and driven into the fields to feed swine, he cannot feed on their husks, but sighs after the bread of his Father’s house. The eyes being enlightened to see the nature of sin, the justice and holiness of God, and the miserable filthiness of self, the quickened soul can find no rest in anything short of a precious discovery of the Lamb of God; and the more that the soul is exercised with trials, difficulties, temptations, doubts, and besetments of various kinds, the more does it feel its need of that blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel. What is a Christian worth without inward trials and exercises? How dead and lifeless are our prayers; how cold and formal when the soul is not kept alive by inward exercises! Where are the sighs, cries, groanings, wrestlings, and breathings of a soul that is at ease in Zion? The world is everything and Christ nothing, when we become settled on our lees, and are not emptied from vessel to vessel; but inward exercises, fears, straits, and temptations stir up the soul to cry, and pray, and beg for mercy. The certainty, the power, the reality of eternal things are then felt, when guilt, and wrath, and fear, and disquietude lay hold of the soul. Mere notions alone of Christ, false hope, a dead faith, a presumptuous confidence, a rotten assurance, are all swept away as so many refuges of lies, when the soul is made to feel its nakedness and nothingness, its guilt and helplessness before God. And thus all these inward exercises pave the way for discoveries of Christ—those views of his blood and righteousness, that experimental acquaintance with his Person, love, grace, and work, which is life and peace.

(Taken from the January 29 section of Ears From Harvested Sheaves; or, Daily Portions)

Posted in 04. Experimentalism, Christian Walk, Christian Warfare, Conviction of sin, Doubt & Assurance, Philpot, J.C., Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Need | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reasonable Service

Posted by Curt Wildy on October 21, 2014

Reasonable Service

How do we know what our reasonable service is to be unless we search the word of God, ponder it, pray about it, and ask “Lord, what would you have me to do in light thereof?” Besides, what is our reasonable service? Didn’t the Apostle Paul say “with the mind I myself SERVE the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”? My desire is to learn God’s will more and more so that I can serve all the more, by His grace and effectual working. I want to be taught from His law (the entirety of His Holy Bible, spiritually discerned, and not after the letter only) and to do all that He would have us to do in this New Testament era. In other words, seeing that the Mosaic civil and ceremonial law has been put away, the desire is not to go under the law of Moses (to be subject to it, under its dominion); no, the desire is to serve God by striving to keep (guard in my heart so as to do) all of His non-abrogated, non-put away, commandments (for the Lord declares in John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments). I will never do so unto perfection, or anything close in this life, but out of true love for Him, I wish to serve Him as He declares that He is to be served for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

The word reasonable is logikos from the root word Logos (as in John 1:1, in the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. This reasonableness does not stem from our carnal reasoning (for we are not to lean unto our own understanding) but from the spiritual life found in Christ Jesus. This word is the same word found in 1 Peter 2:2 wherein we read… as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word [logikos] that ye may grow thereby. Moreover, logikos is also clearly related to our words logic and logical — so God wants us to reasonably/logically apply the instruction that He gives to us to our lives, after the inner man, and all by His grace and working, that we may worshipfully serve Him unto His glory. Note that service comes from a root meaning both to worship and to serve as a slave, one for hire. If one considers the context of all of Romans chapter 12, we will see that it describes service in the sense of actions, in the sense of things that the Lord would have us do — both amongst the brethren and amongst those without. May it be that we are found not as hearers only but doers; not as those who would “look to Christ” merely in the abstract, in mere notion, but as those who look to Him as it pertains to every single aspect of our lives, experience, hope, and being — all to the degree that God ordained and enables — To Him be the glory!

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.
 Romans 12:1 KJV

 

Posted in 10. Wildy, Curt, Bearing Fruit, Cross-bearing, Discipleship, Obedience, Soberness, Submission | Leave a Comment »

 
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