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Thursday, September 17, 2015

"The Kingdom of Heaven Suffers Violence. And The Violent Take It By Force."

When my Mom was alive she loved this verse and quoted it to God and Pastor Rich often. Here is a good take on the verse:
The New Park Street Pulpit

Holy Violence

A Sermon
(No. 252)
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 15th, 1859, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force,"—Matthew 11:12.
WHEN JOHN THE BAPTIST preached in the wilderness of Judea, the throng of people who pressed around him became extremely violent to get near enough to hear his voice. Often when our Saviour preached did the like scene occur. We find that the multitudes were immense beyond all precedent. He seemed to drain every city, every town, and every village, as he went along preaching the word of the gospel. These people, moreover, not like our common church-and-chapel-goers,—content to hear, if they could, and yet more content to keep without hearing, if it were possible,—were extremely earnest to get near enough to hear anyhow. So intense was their desire to hear the Saviour that they pressed upon him, insomuch that they trod one upon another. The crowd became so violent to approach his person, that some of the weaker ones were cast down and trodden upon. Now, our Saviour, when he witnessed all this struggling round about to get near him, said, "This is just a picture of what is done spiritually by those who will be saved. As you press and throng about me," said Christ, "and thrust one another, with arm and elbow, to get within reach of my voice, even so must it be if ye would be saved, 'For the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.'" He pictured to himself a crowd of souls desiring to get to the living Saviour. He saw them press, and crowd, and throng, and thrust, and tread on one another, in their anxious desire to get at him. He warned his hearers, that unless they had this earnestness in their souls, they would never reach him savingly; but if they had it, they should certainly be saved. "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
"But," says one, "do you wish us to understand, that if a man is to be saved he must use violence and vehement earnestness in order to obtain salvation?" I do, most assuredly; that is the doctrine of the text. "But," says one, "I thought it was all the work of God." So it is, from first to last. But when God has begun the work in the soul, the constant effect of God's work in us is to set us working; and where God's Spirit is really striving with us, we shall begin to strive too. This is just a test whereby we may distinguish the men who have received the Spirit of God, from those who have not received it. Those who have received the Spirit in verity and truth are violent men. They have a violent anxiety to be saved, and they violently strive that they may enter in at the strait gate. Well they know that seeking to enter in is not enough, for many shall seek to enter in but shall not be able, and therefore do they strive with might and main.
I shall this morning, first, direct your attention to these violent men. Look at them. Secondly, we shall show their conduct. What makes them so violent? Are they justified in this impetuous vehemence? We shall next rejoice in the fact, that they are sure to be successful in their violence. And then, I shall endeavour to arouse in your hearts, by the help of God's Holy Spirit, that holy violence, without which the gates of heaven will be shut in your teeth, and you will never be able to enter the pearly portals of Paradise.
1. First then, LET US LOOK AT THESE VIOLENT MEN. Understand that what they are, they have been made by divine grace. They are not so naturally of themselves. But there has been a secret work of grace in them, and then they have become violent men. Look at these violent men, who are violently in earnest to be saved. You will observe them when they come up to the house of God; there is no yawning with them, no listlessness or inattention, no imagination that if they do but sit in the place the hour-and-a-half which is regularly allotted to divine worship, they will have done enough. No; they hear with both their ears, and they look with both their eyes, and all through the service they have an intense desire that they may find Christ. Meet them as they go up to the house of prayer, and ask them why they are going there. They know right well what they are going after. "I am going there to find mercy, and to find peace and rest to my soul; for I am in anguish about sin, and I want to find the Saviour; I am in hopes that being in the way the Lord will meet with me, so I am about to lay myself down by the side of the pool of Bethesda, in the hope that the Holy Spirit will stir the pool and enable me to step in." You do not find these people like the most of modern hearers, critical, or else careless. No; they are all awake to see whether there is not something to be had which may be a balm to their wearied spirits, and a cordial to their troubled breasts. Mark these violent people after they have gone home. They go to their chambers and they begin to pray; not that prayer between sleeping and waking that some of you are used to attend to, not that drowsy supplication which never gets beyond the ceiling of your bedroom; but they fall on their knees and with a holy anxiety they begin to cry, "Lord, save or I perish; O Lord save me; I am ready to perish, Lord; I beseech thee, stretch out thine hand and rescue my poor soul from that destruction which now haunts my spirit." And see them after they have prayed, how they turn over the Word of God. They do not read its chapters as if the mere looking at the letters was enough, but they read just as Watts says in his hymn,

"Yet save a trembling sinner, Lord,
Whose hope, still hovering round thy word
Would light on some sweet promise there,
Some sure support against despair."

And down they are on their knees again. "O Lord speak to my soul through thy word! Lord help me to lay hold on the promise, enable me to grasp it! Oh, let not my soul perish for lack of thy help and thy grace." And then see these violent men whom God has really made in earnest about being saved. You will not find them leaving their devotions in their closets, or in their house of prayer. Wherever they go there is a solemn earnestness upon them, which the world cannot understand. They are seeking after Jesus, and rest they neither will nor can until they find him. Their nights are disturbed with dreams, and their days are made sad with their pantings after the blessing—without which they cannot live, and without which they dare not die.
My hearer, have you ever been one of these violent men, or are you so now? Blessed be God if this holy violence is in your spirit: you shall take heaven by force yet; you shall take it by storm, and carry the gates of heaven by the battery of your prayers. Only persevere with importunity; still plead, still wrestle, still continue to strive, and you must at length prevail. But ah! my hearer, if thou hast never had a strong unconquerable anxiety about thy soul, thou art as yet a stranger to the things of God. Thou dost not understand that violence victorious without which the gates of heaven never can be stormed. Some of us can look back to the time when we were seeking Christ. I could myself awake of a morning easily then. The first ray of light that came into my chamber would awaken me to take up Baxter's Call to the Unconverted that lay under my pillow. I believed I had not repented enough, and I began to read that. Oh! how I hoped that would break my heart. And then I would get Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, and Allen's Alarm, and read them. But, still, I think I might have read them to this day, and not been a whit the better, if I had not something better than alarm, in remembering that Christ came into the world to save every sinner who was willing to cast himself upon his blood and righteousness, and take him at his word, and trust God. Have ye not seen many—and are there not many among us—men who have said, "I must have mercy, I must have it: it is not a thing which I may have, or may not have; but I am a lost soul if I have it not?" And when they have gone to pray they have seemed like Samsons; they have got hold of the two posts of heaven's gate of mercy, and they have pulled as if they would pull them up by their eternal roots sooner than not get the blessing. They have hammered at the gates of heaven until it seemed as if they would split the golden bolts rather than be turned away. No man ever gets peace until he gets into such a passion of earnestness to be saved, that he cannot find peace until Christ speaks pardon to his soul, and brings him into life and liberty. "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
But this violence does not end when a man finds Christ; it then begins to exercise itself in another way. The man who is pardoned, and who knows it, then becomes violently in love with Christ. He does not love him just a little, but he loves him with all his soul and all his might. He feels as if he could wish to die for Christ, and his heart pants to be able to live alone with his Redeemer, and serve him without interruption. Mark such a man who is a true Christian, mark his prayers, and you will see there is violence in all his supplications when he pleads for the souls of men. Mark his outward actions, and they are violently sincere, violently earnest. Mark him when he preaches: there is no dull droning out of a monotonous discourse, he speaks like a man who means what he says, and who must speak it, or else woe would be unto him if he preached not the gospel. As I look around on many of the churches, yea, on many members of my own church, I am apt to fear that they are not God's children at all, because they have nothing of this holy violence. Have ye ever read Coleridge's Ancient Mariner? I dare say you have thought it one of the strongest imaginations ever put together, especially that part where the old mariner represents the corpses of all the dead men rising up,—all of them dead, yet rising up to manage the ship; dead men pulling the ropes, dead men steering, dead men spreading the sails. I thought what a strange idea that was. But do you know I have lived to see that true: I have seen it done. I have gone into churches and I have seen a dead man in the pulpit, and a dead man as a deacon, and a dead man holding the plate at the door, and dead men sitting to hear. You say "Strange!" but I have. I have gone into societies, and I have seen it all going on so regularly. These dead men, you know, never overstep the bounds of prudence,—not they: they have not life enough to do that. They always pull the rope orderly, "as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen." And the dead man in the pulpit, is he not most regular and precise? He systematically draws his handkerchief from his pocket, and uses it just at the regular period, in the middle of the sermon. He would not think of violating a single rubric that has been laid down by his old-fashioned church. Well, I have seen these churches—I know where to point them out—and have seen dead men doing everything. "No," says one, "you can't mean it?" Yes, I do, the men were spiritually dead. I have seen the minister preaching, without a particle of life, a sermon, which is only fresh in the sense in which a fish is fresh when it has been packed in ice. I have seen the people sit, and they have listened as if they had been a group of statues—the chiseled marble would have been as much affected by the sermon as they I have seen the deacons go about their business just as orderly, and with as much precision as if they had been mere automatons, and not men with hearts and souls at all. Do you think God will ever bless a church that is like that? Are we ever to take the kingdom of heaven with a troop of dead men? Never! We want living ministers, living hearers, living deacons, living elders, and until we have such men who have got the very fire of life burnings in their souls, who have got tongues of life, and eyes of life, and souls of life, we shall never see the kingdom of heaven taken by storm. "For the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
Frequently complaints are made and surprise expressed by individuals who have never found a blessing rest upon anything they have attempted to do in the service of God. "I have been a Sunday-school teacher for years," says one, "and I have never seen any of my girls or boys converted." No, and the reason most likely is, you have never been violent about it; you have never been compelled by the Divine Spirit to make up your mind that converted they should be, and no stone should be left unturned until they were. You have never been brought by the Spirit to such a passion, that you have said, "I cannot live unless God bless me; I cannot exist unless I see some of these children saved." Then, falling on your knees in agony of prayer, and putting forth afterwards your trust with the same intensity towards heaven, you would never have been disappointed, "for the violent take it by force." And you too, my brother in the gospel, you have marvelled and wondered why you have not seen souls regenerated. Did you ever expect it? Why, you preach like one who does not believe what he is saying. Those who believe in Christ, may say of you with kind partiality, "Our minister is a dear good man;" but the careless young men that attend your ministry, say, "Does that man expect to make me believe that which he only utters as a dry story, and to convince me when I see him go through the service with all the dulness and monotony of dead routine?" Oh, my brethren, what we want today in the churches is violence, not violence against each other, but violence against death, and hell, against the hardness of other men's hearts, and against the sleepiness of our own. In Martin Luther's time, truly the kingdom of heaven suffered violence. The whole religious world was wide awake. Now, I fear for the most part it is sound asleep. Go where you may, our churches have come to be old-established businesses. They do not care to extend themselves. We must have new blood, nay, we must have new fire from heaven to fall upon the sacrifice, or else, like Baal's priests, we may cut and hack our bodies, and distract our minds in vain; there will be "no voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regardeth." The sacrifice shall lay unburnt upon the altar, and the world will say our God is not the living God, or surely we are not his people, "And thou shalt grope at noon-day, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee." Violent men, then, are those that take the kingdom of heaven by force.
II. NOW, BRING THESE VIOLENT MEN FORWARD, AND LET US ASK THEM WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT. When a man is very earnest, he ought to be ready to give a reason for his earnestness. "How now, sirs, what is all this strife about? why all this earnestness? You seem to be boiling over with enthusiasm. What is up? Is there anything that is worth making such a stir about?" Hear them, and they will soon convince you that all their enthusiasm and striving to enter the kingdom of heaven by force, is not a whit more strong than reasonable.
The first reason why poor sinners take the kingdom of heaven by force is, because they feel they have no natural right to it; and, therefore, they must need take it by force it they would get it at all. When a man belongs to the House of Lords, and knows that he has got a seat there by prescriptive right and title, he does not trouble himself at the time of the elections. But there is another man, who says, "Well, I should like a seat in the House of Commons, but I have no absolute right to it. If I get it, it will be by a desperate struggle." Do you not see how busy he is on the day! how the carriages fly about everywhere; and how earnest are his supporters that he may stand at the head of the poll and win the day! He says, "I have no absolute right to it; if I had, then I would just take it easy and walk into my seat at the proper time." But now he labors, and strives, and wrestles, because without so doing he does not expect to succeed. Now, look at those who are saved; they have no right to the inheritance they are seeking. What are they? Sinners, the chief of sinners; in their own esteem the vilest of the vile. Now, if they would get heaven they must take it by force, for they have no right to it by birth or lineal entail. And what are they else? They are the poor ones of this earth. There stands the rabbi at the gate, and he says, "You can't come in here; this is no place for the poor to enter." "But," says he. "I will;" and pushing the rabbi aside, he takes it by force. Then, again, they were Gentiles too; and Jews stood at the gate, and said, "Stand back, you Gentile dogs, you cannot come in." Now, if such would be saved, they must take the kingdom of heaven by storm, for they have no rights to assert. Ah, my fellow men, if ye sit down and fold your arms, and say, "I am so good I have a right to heaven,"—how deceived you will be. But if God has convinced you of your lost, ruined, and undone condition, and if he has put his quickening Spirit within you, you will use a bold and desperate violence to force your way into the kingdom of heaven. The Spirit of God will not lead you to be obsequious in the presence of foes, or faint-hearted in the overwhelming crisis; he will drive you to desperate labour that you may be saved.
Ask one such man, again, why is he so violent in prayer; he replies, "Ah, I know the value of the mercy I receive. Why, I am asking for pardon, for heaven, for eternal life, and am I to get these with a few yawns and sleepy prayers? I am asking that I may wear the white robe, and sing the never-ending song of praise; and do you think that a few poor supplications are to be enough? No, my God; if thou wouldst make me tarry a hundred years, and sigh, and groan, and cry through that long century;—yes, if I might but have heaven at last, all my prayers would have been well-spent; nay, had they been a thousand times as many, they were well rewarded if thou wouldst hear me at last. But," says he again, "if you want to know why I am so earnest, let me tell you it is because I cannot bear to he lost for ever." Hear the earnest sinner when he speaks. You say to him "Why so earnest?" The tear is in his eye, the flush is on his cheek, there is emotion in every feature, while he says, "Would to God I could be far more earnest; do you know I am a lost soul, perhaps before another hour is over I may be shut up in the hopeless fires of hell! Oh, God, have mercy on me, for if thou dost not, how terrible is my fate. I shall be lost—lost for ever!
Once let a man know that hell is beneath his feet, and if that does not make him earnest, what would? No wonder that his prayers are importunate, that his endeavours are intensely earnest, when he knows that he must escape, or else the devouring fire will lay hold on him. Suppose now, you had been a Jew in the olden time, and one day while taking a walk in the fields you had seen a man running with all his might. "Stop!" you say, "stop! my dear friend, you will exhaust yourself." He goes on, and on, with all his might. You run after him. "Pause awhile," you say, "and rest; the grass is soft, sit down here, and take your ease. See, here I have some food and a bottle; stop and refresh yourself." But without saluting you, he says, "No, I must away, away, away." "Why? wherefore?" you say. He is gone so far ahead, you run after him with all your might; and scarcely able to turn his head, he exclaims, "The city of refuge! the city of refuge! the manslayer is behind me." Now, it is all accounted for; you do not wonder that he runs with all his might now. When the manslayer is after him, you can well understand that he would never pause for rest until he has found the city of refuge. So let a man know that the devil is behind him, that the avenging law of God is pursuing him, and who can make him stop? Who shall endeavor to make him stay his race until he enters Christ, the city of refuge, and finds himself secure? This will make a man earnest indeed—to dread "the wrath to come," and to be labouring to escape therefrom.
Another reason why every man who would be safe must be in earnest, and be violent, is this, there are so many adversaries to oppose us, that if we are not violent we shall never be able to overcome them. Do you remember that beautiful parable in John Bunyan's Pilgrim? "I saw also, that the Interpreter took him by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was built a stately palace, beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted. He saw also upon the top thereof certain persons walking, who were clothed all in gold. Then said Christian, 'May we go in thither?' Then the Interpreter took him and led him up toward the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and his ink-horn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein; he saw also that in the doorway stood many men in armour to keep it, being resolved to do to the men that would enter what hurt and mischief they could. Now was Christian somewhat in amaze. At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying, Set down my name, sir;' the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely. So after he had received and given many wounds to those that attempted to keep him out, (Matt. xi. 12. Acts xiv. 22.) he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying,
'Come in, come in,
Eternal glory thou shalt win.'

So he went in, and was clothed with such garments as they." And surely the dreamer saw the truth in his dream. It is even so. If we would win eternal glory we must fight.
"Sure we must fight, if we would reign;
Increase our courage, Lord!"

Ye have enemies within you, enemies without, enemies beneath, enemies on every side—the world, the flesh, and the devil; and if the Spirit of God has quickened you, he has made a soldier of you, and you can never sheathe your sword till you gain the victory. The man who would be saved must be violent, because of the opposition he has to encounter.
But do you still condemn this man, and say that he is an enthusiast and a fanatic? Then God himself comes forth to vindicate his despised servant. Know that this is the sign, the mark of distinction between the true child of God and the bastard-professor. The men who are not God's children are a careless, stumbling, coldhearted race. But the men that are God's in sincerity and truth, are burning as well as shining lights. They are as brilliant constellations in the firmament of heaven, burning stars of God. Of all things in the world, God hates most the man that is neither hot nor cold. Better have no religion than have a little: better to be altogether without it, enemies to it, than to have just enough to make you respectable, but not enough to make you earnest. What does God say concerning the religion of this day? "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Lukewarmness of all things God abhors, and yet of all things it is the predominant mark of the present day. The time of the Methodists, of Whitfield and Wesley, was a time indeed of fire and of divine violence and vigour. But we have gradually cooled down, now, into a delightful consistency, and though here and there there is a little breaking out of the old desperado spirit of the Christian religion, yet for the most part the world has so mesmerised the church, that she is as nearly asleep as she can be; and much of her teaching, and much of the doings of her religious societies, is sheer somnambulism. It is not the wide-awake earnestness of them that walk with their eyes open. They walk in their sleep; very nimbly they walk, too and very nicely they "trim their way," but very little is there of the life of God in aught they do, and very little of divine success attending their agencies, because they are not violent with regard to the matters of the kingdom of God.
III. Having thus endeavoured to screen the violent men from harsh criticism, I shall now invite you for a moment to reflect, that THE VIOLENT MAN IS ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL. Do you think you are going to be carried to heaven on a feather bed? Have you got a notion in your heads that the road to paradise is all a lawn, the grass smoothly mown, still waters and green pastures ever and anon to cheer you? You have just got to clear your heads of that deceitful fancy. The way to heaven is up hill and down hill; up hill with difficulty, down hill with trials. It is through fire and through water, through flood and through flame, by the lions and by the leopards. Through the very mouths of dragons is the path to paradise. But the man who finds it so, and who desperately resolves in the strength of God to tread that path—nay, who does not resolve as if he could do nothing else but resolve, but who feels driven, as if with a hurricane behind him, to go into the right road, this man is never unsuccessful, never. Where God has given a violent anxiety for salvation he never disappoints it. No soul that has ever cried for it with a violent cry has been disappointed. From the beginning of creation until now there has never been raised to the throne of God a violent and earnest prayer which missed its answer. Go, soul, in the strong confidence that if thou goest earnestly thou goest successfully. God may sooner deny himself than deny the request of an earnest man. Our God may sooner cease to be "the Lord God, gracious and merciful," than cease to bless the men who seek the gates of heaven, with the violence of faith and prayer. Oh, reflect, that all the saints above have been led by divine grace to wrestle hard as we do now with sins, and doubts, and fears. They had no smooth path to glory. They had to dispute every inch of the way at the sword's point. So must you: and as surely as you are enabled to do so, so surely will you conquer. Only the violent are saved, and all the violent are saved. When God makes a man violent after salvation, that man cannot perish. The gates of heaven may sooner be unhinged than that man be robbed of the prize for which he has fought.
IV. And, now I have to close, for I find my voice fails me this morning, when most I need it. I have to close abruptly by endeavouring earnestly TO EXCITE EACH OF YOU TO A VIOLENCE AFTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. In this great crowd there are surely some of the class I am about to describe. There is one man here who says, "I don't know that I have done much amiss in my life: I am about as regular a man as there is living. Don't I attend a place of worship regularly? I believe that l shall most certainly be saved. But I don't take much trouble about it, it never disquiets me particularly. I don't like"—says this man "—that intrusive kind of religion that always seems to be thrusting itself in everybody's way. I think it is quite right that people should go to their place of worship, but why take any further trouble? I just believe that I shall fare as other people fare: I am a steady unpretending sort of man, and I have no reason to doubt that I shall be saved." Ah, friend, you have never seen the gate of heaven? It is obvious that you have never seen it, or else you would know better; for at the gate of heaven multitudes are struggling, the gates of heaven are thronged, and he that would enter there must press, and elbow, and push, or he may go away certain that he can never enter. No! your easy religion will just bring you in too late. It may carry you nine miles out of ten; but what is the good of that to a man who must perish unless he is carried the whole way? It will go a good way with you when you follow the counsels of a gospel ministry with outward propriety; but at the bar of God it will utterly fail you, when you lack the inward witness of strong crying and supplications. No! an easy religion is the way to hell, for it is not the way to heaven. Let your soul alone, and you need not expect much good fruit to come of it, any more than a farmer who leaves his fields alone, need expect to reap a harvest. Your religion is vain and futile if that is all. "Ah" cries another "but I am in quite a different case. I am a sinner so vile, sir, that I know I never can be saved, therefore, what is the use? I never think about it now, except with blank despair. Have I not long rebelled against God; will he ever pardon me? No, no; don't exhort me to try. I may as well take my full swing of pleasure while I am here, for I feel I never shall enjoy the pleasures of heaven hereafter." Stop friend, "The violent take it by force." If the Lord has taught thee thy utter sinfulness, go and try—say,
"I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know
I must for ever die."

Go home, go to your closet, fall on your knees, put your trust alone in Christ and, my friend, if the Lord does not have mercy upon you, then he is not the God we have preached to you, and he has not substantiated his faithful promise: you cannot, you shall not seek in vain. But mark, you must not think that your once seeking is enough; continue in it. If God has given you his Spirit you will continue—you will never leave off praying until you get the answer. Oh! my friend, if God hath given thee this day a longing after his love; if he has caused thee to say, "I will never give it up, I will perish at the foot of the cross if I perish at all;" thou canst no more perish than the angels in Paradise. Be of good cheer; use violence again and again, and thou shalt take it by force.
And then, let each one of us as we retire, and if we have tasted that the Lord is precious, determine to love him more earnestly than before. I never leave my pulpit washout feeling ashamed of myself. I do not remember a time when I have been able to go home without being suffused with humiliation and cast down with self-reproach, because I had not been more earnest. I very seldom flog myself for using an ugly word, or anything of that sort; it is for not having been earnest enough about the salvation of men. When I sit down, I begin to think of this vast stream of people being swept along towards the gulf of eternity—bound for heaven or hell; and I wonder how it is that I do not weep all the time I am here—why it is that I do not find red-hot burning words with which to address you. I find fault with others sometimes, but far more with myself in this matter. Oh! how is it that a man can be God's ambassador, and yet have so callous, so insensitive a heart, as many of us have in this work? Oh! how is it that we tell the tale of death and life, of heaven and hell, of Christ crucified and his gospel despised, so quietly as we do? Condemn not the minister for excitement or fanaticism; condemn him because he is not half in earnest, as he ought to be. Oh my God! impress me, I beseech thee, more with the value of souls, and then impress my hearers, also, with the value of their own souls. Are you not going to-day, many of you, post-haste to perdition? Is it not the fact, that your conscience tells you that many of you are enemies to God? You are without Christ, you have never been washed in his blood; never been forgiven. Oh! my hearers, if ye continue as ye are, a few more rising suns, and then your sun must set for ever. Only a few more Sundays have you to waste, a few more sermons have you to hear, and the pit of hell must open wide its jaws, and then where are you? But a few more days, and the heavens shall be rent, and Christ shall come to judge the earth, and sinner where are you? Oh! I beseech you now by the living God, and by his Son Jesus Christ, think of your state; repent of your sins; turn you to God. Oh Spirit of God, turn, I pray thee, turn the hearts of sinners now. Remember, if you now repent, if you now confess your sins, Christ is preached to you. He came into the world to save sinners. Oh! believe on him; throw yourselves before his cross; trust in his blood; rely on his righteousness,—
"But if your ears refuse
The language of his grace,
And hearts grow hard like stubborn Jews,
That unbelieving race;
The Lord, in vengeance dress'd,
Will lift his hand and swear,
'You that despise my promised rest,
Shall have no portion there.'"

Oh! if I had the tongue of Whitfield, or the mouth of an archangel, if I could speak like the cherubim, I would pour out my heart before you, and pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. I must face you soon before God's great bar, and shall your blood be laid to my door? Shall you perish, and must I perish with you for unfaithfulness? May God forbid it! Now may he
"Let you see your lost estate,
And save you ere it be too late,
Wake you to righteousness."

Lord have mercy upon you all for Jesus' sake!
Copyright © 2001

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Testimony 10/15/2015

There is nothing more to life than gaining Heaven and you get it when you have the Savior (Lambano, Greek received. Another word is: laid hold of.) Here are a few Salvation scriptures. By believing in the Resurrected Christ of them through the Holy Ghost you can be on the road to Abundant Life in Christian Verities!!

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:17.

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved!” Acts 2:37-40a.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, but of God. St. John 1:9-13b.

For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. Titus 3:4-8.

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children. I John 5:11-13;20,21a.

But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

You must be Born Again. John 3:3,5.

and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— Colossians 3:10.

Hi! I'm Dave! I love the Lord because He heard my voice and my supplication. How shall we not all serve the Lord in a foreign land? Even among lions? Sing there to Him. Psalm 137:4 (Dave's Transliteration.) I shall lift the cup of Salvation and call upon the Name of the Lord. Psalm 116:1,13. Our God is Great, isn't He?! His thoughts and ways are much higher and much greater than our thoughts and ways. "And ..such were some of you: (But God has Saved you,) were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God," I Cor. 6:11. I'm obedient and inscripted for all three spiritual states simultaneously, as they were happening at Salvation at once. Heaven awaits those born again. He knows every hair on our heads and every expectation we have of what He will do for us even within our hope in Him, that He will do in His way and in His Timing. He's actively working knitting every single thing that happens together to work for our good. There is no luck just trust in God. He provides everything we need! He lets good win over evil and win over death. His Word is pure seven times like silver refined in an oven seven times Psalms 12:6. He makes me confident in His Word by the New Covenant He put in place. By the Word of God I'm helpless to save me BUT GOD Who is rich in mercy forgives me forgave me, regenerated me, rooted me in His Son, made me alive in Him: to be made Holy in the future also should Jesus tarry happen being first born again born but of God. My goal is imitate Christ as best I can to be a reflection of Him. II Peter 3:9,10. Here I stand. I'm Holy at once at Salvation also and over a lifetime at a High Price, continually meaning the Work of Calvary continuous transforms me. Jesus said, to enter His Kingdom of Heaven in reality one must enter through the Door which is Jesus and hear the word of the Kingdom to produce yield growing. God will produce the root so you can produce the fruit. Then endure persevering to the end being made sanctified for Heaven a reflection of Christ's image. I stand totally undeserving of all this and that which follows BUT GOD Who is rich in mercy and mighty in strength yet gentle in character and grace at the Cross graciously forgave and grants us Eternal Heavenly Divine life, (even Abundant Eternal life and verity now too.)

At the Cross, "Upon which the Prince of Glory Died," when I survey the wondrous Cross where the tears and love of Jesus Christ weighed my Savior down and love and sorrow flowed mingled down I first saw the light and I learned my sin. Learning that it (that the sinning I did from two to three years of age,) was coming from Adam's sinful choice(s) and I am just as guilty as he for personal sins: It was there the burden of my heart rolled away as Jesus completely made me whole by taking my sins away when I asked Him to. All those sins were forsaken too because of joy that JESUS took them away. He invites us and welcomes us to His Holy Work (in Renewed Natures.) His Work is to believe in the Son and continue believing. The Promise is Everlasting Eternal life and verity following Jesus Christ to the end. In repentance and faith at an Altar at a Gospel Bible believing Assembly of God Church Altar I approached, walked to the furniture, knelt, and gave my heart to Jesus Christ as a sinner Face to face like Jesus called every disciple that REALLY actually followed Him. Something happened inside as Jesus came into my heart and I was saved. Simple fact: Christ changes us. He transforms lives. The Savior won my heart. The Account was settled long ago at Calvary is the Eternal positional truth. The Price is Paid in full! I gave up surrender of myself and everything to Him. I submitted to Him. I went after His Call. Whatsoever my hand found to do I did with all my might. Christ wondrously saved me, became my Lord. "If you want to know The Word, hang out with Jesus," Pastor Rich says. Our God keeps a record of everyone Saved in the Lamb's Book of Life and only those persons whose names are kept therein will go to Heaven. Scripture is clear on this in the Book of Revelation chapters 13:8, and 20:15 and Daniel 12:1.

Our Savior, the Lord Christ keeps preserved Godly inheritance for me/us as He does for all saints (the called out ones) and the inheritance is in Christ kept in Heaven for the Day of Condemnatory Judgment for unbelievers (The Great White Throne) and Day of Celebration for the believer, (The Judgment Seat (Bema) of Jesus Christ.) We've come to Christ, sorrowful over committed sins, repentant, and now in Christ are wealthy in grace and we're in the Family, la Familia! Let's walk in Him as we received Him Colossians says. If it's a Relationship with God concluding intact at The Marriage Supper of the Lamb we'll rejoice that our names were written there in the Lamb's Book. As with every footstep we make upon life's way I'm innocent and Family, we're innocent as a child and sing every day a song of praise 'til the morning and evening is through in joy and/or happiness, for the Blessed Lord in my life is for me and I'm just before Him, as if I/we had never sinned. I'm humbled by His mercy, His merciful Majesty and I humble myself under the mighty hand of God for the forgiveness of God in Salvation and mind of Christ to reveal itself within us, to expose sin, prosper through use, and to be IN us, as His ambassador of Reconciliation and that my mind might be destroyed. Yes destroyed. I deny myself, take up my cross and follow Christ loving not my life to death for I'm humbly alive to Him. I sleep on my pillow in safety in peaceful fellowship with God for forgiveness of sin, permeates. I have a position of right stand not because of rules and regulations but relationships. Scripture describes God's Character as Most Holy, set apart from all sin and uncleanness and setting apart from sin on a continual basis. We are sharers as He allows in His Holiness. We live wanting our utmost for His Highest. Sanctification also follows justification or right standing with God as a separation unto God of ourselves in every area, in Lordship. My Godly passion is to live every day a reflection of Jesus Christ separating the holy from the profane or the holy from sin until I'm more like Him. As a godly man then I crucify my desire with affection and lusts that rot if indulged and deny myself sin to obey His Holy Spirit or to do my best to please Him claiming to be alive to God I perform daily obedience to Christ and not distractions which are side trails. Selfishness should rightly diminish in and through us.

Pastor Rich of our Church has a very interesting challenging paragraph on the features of denying self, taking up our cross, and following Christ which follows: "The cross does not mean merely bearing one's particular hardship in life, such as poor health, abuse, unemployment, invalid parents, an unsaved spouse, a wayward child. The cross is always an instrument of death, not just an object to carry or bear. The Christian is to die mentally and actively. He is to deny himself daily. He is to let the mind of Christ, the mind of humbling himself to the point of death, be in him and fill his thoughts every day (Phil. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 10:3- 5). He is to put his will, his desires, his wants, his ambitions to death. In their stead, he is to follow Jesus and to do His will all day long. Note this is not negative, passive behavior. It takes positive, active behavior to will, to deny self, to take up one's cross, to follow Christ. A person has to act, work, get to it, be diligent, consistent, and enduring in order to die to self.There are several ways the believer dies to self. Romans 6:11-13 spells out the ways as clearly as they can be."
I met Jesus as a broken sinner changed transformed I nto a son in sonship with Christ in salvation at the calling of the Word of God by God's Spirit on the road to Galilee. I wanted to see the Savior everywhere in Heaven and specially at the Church Altar enthroned in my heart and daily lifestyle living His enthroned. Pastor Rich Catapano uses Phil. 2:5-8 with II Cor. 10:3-5 very well together as follows:
"The cross is always an instrument of death, not just an object to carry or bear. The Christian is to die mentally and actively. He is to deny himself daily. He is to let the mind of Christ, the mind of humbling himself to the point of death, be in him and fill his thoughts every day.." (Phil. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 10:3- 5). We do well to obey the Holy Spirit in putting to death the self-life and live crucifixion of the deeds of the flesh by walking in The Spirit! Resurrection living follows! And make JESUS Lord serving calling on Him for guidance in things small and large.

Here is a Pastor's quote from Rich Catapano, "And the test of a servant is how you are treated like a servant. People didn't think of themselves as an end in themselves but called to wash each other's feet (in the present and in The early Church.) They did with an attitude of service, joy, love, and a hand extended by humbling ourselves and saying, "Lord however you want me to serve..,"" says Pastor. (He says, "Lord help us to lay aside the 'me' and lay hold of the YOU!") Spending more mega quality time with Christ is my focused goal. Fixing eyes on Jesus among a great cloud of witnesses is also my goal. The Altar of God and The Savior and Lord, Jesus are IN me, in my spirit and I am New. I am His Holy Temple. I have been seeing new mind, new heart, new nature from God in me. Seeking God I hope to love Him fully in the present and others also so in the future like He would show compassion to us. I want to see people as He does and myself (all) through His eyes. I sought the Hidden treasure of Christ in the field He was in and am selling everything to buy that field for that Who is Hidden in the field Christ. There were precious moments along life's way saying yes to Christ in sincerity for He Who is the way, the truth, and the life. For the Bible declares there is no access to God but by Jesus to Father God. Knowing God first means God knows you having accepted His Son's Sacrifice for you. The two words Father God are terms of endearment of intimacy for God for Who He is for He's also Holy. I was given the cost of discipleship to pay to follow Jesus and I counted the cost too having paid it. In other words I plucked down my desires and rights on the table that moment and am reminded myself moment by moment as well daily: to do the same violence to my ungodly desires and personal 'rights' moment by moment always because God gave grace to repent and faith to believe. I hope to be a good 'steward' of God's love and grace in being a fisher of men. I became a child of God and was given the Holy Spirit. I was broken through by The Holy Spirit and in God's sight potentially I was sorry for sins as a child of four years old when this happened. I heard that God is love and now I really would want to hear it as with then so in 2015 because I see it with the eyes of my heart enlightened and lifted gentle by His Mighty Holy Presence. Love lifted me. There's Jesus here to walk with me. I'm on His side here with Him at the helm and His Presence never fails, never leaves nor forsakes. His love never fails, never gives up, nor never runs out on me. He is Commander-in-Chief of the Lord's Army and I bow to Him. See what He offers me, down here my sins forgiven, up there a home in Heaven which is in a prism of color of the spectrum, and a zesty abundant life here. Praise God that's the way for me. I have come to Jesus Christ at the cross to have my sins forgiven and I remain in the general area to further go beyond the Empty Tomb to aim where He can be more to me in Resurrection living in a newness of life, but also crucified life in acts of self-denial daily to obey/please Him Galatians 2:20. I'm being awakened to emerging righteousness of Him and zeal in joy of the Lord by His Resurrection move in me, in my life always to radical acts of mercy. I'm learning of Him for He is meek and lowly of heart, REST: In my soul, for I have found in Him tranquility from my coming to Him though a sword is given to my heart also in my coming to Him (Hebrews 4:1-14). God told Mary in prophetic word that, "a sword shall pierce your own heart,.." We all each have our own issues like Mary but God knows what's in our hearts and a quick response to Jesus Christ is what's important. His yoke I'm finding is easy for it's about the cross affecting me and His burden, of intercession, which is light. (Read "Born Crucified", by L.E. Maxwell.) I'm denying myself taking up my cross by faith and following, and what He cares to add for the journey He adds. All things work together for good to those who are the called to the ones who love God.

I'm a sinner that is repentant as I was once undeserving of any of this broken in my eggs on my way oblivious to righteous living selfishly bound in sin but now am saved in hope and Agapeon. I hope in Him as one who has found Christ and He found me in fact. I'm home to the Lord. I deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Christ The living Word as one born again a contrarian to this world's thinking death dying to personal rights. I'm living in Him dead to rights or dying a death to my own rights, my ambitions, will, desires, wants, and I leaving them at the door so I can go to the foot of the cross to living resurrected in Him yet crucified self dead to me with all the affections and lusts nailed to the wood of the cross for the self life of me to be off the throne of my heart and to be putting on the Lord Jesus on the heart's throne continuously. I want godly passion in me such as love for the Lord, praying, serving, praise, and worship, etc.. So I serve The Lord God Jehovah Elohim out of a sense of Awe and Wonder as to His Holiness first as Moses who was raised in the desert was told by God Jehovah to take off his sandals, 'for this is Holy ground.' Moses saw that God is Holy. And like Christ also requested and asked each disciple if He could wash their feet with the towel with which He was girded with hands and then went out of His way (to Power over every thing) to wash feet and washed the feet of each of the disciples a day or two before His Cross Death (and I gratefully say my thanks in gratefulness.) This showed His Holiness in serving by example. And as a shepherd inspects and cares for his sheep often and becomes the gate at night for the sheep literally for the sheep in the pen, so this separation God put between the Holy and the profane proved to me God was Compassion, Holy, Righteous, All-Powerful, Love, Gracious, Tender, Merciful, Just, Gentle, and a Totally Perfect Being and His words convinced me to come His way to Him. I have faith in God and in His Providence. Staying humble under His hand I'm aggressively obeying His eye. Staying focused on Jesus in all things I'm learning of Heavenly Father's will for me and how to confirm it to others. I do just what Jesus says.

He gave me natural life and at Rebirth newness of life coming for there was The New, Renewed Nature, of which out of it even a supernatural Redeemed Life flowing coming consistently continually more replacing the natural is continuous continually so that I'm abiding identified in the Son in God's Holy Work more & I rejoice. I am thankful for God's Holiness though it's God's Alone. If He says I'm Holy, I'm happy abiding holy. It's His Holiness that without which no man shall see God scripture says. A Holy God speaks my name like He did to Moses and I answer Henani in Hebrew 'here am I' though I'm a sinner born from Adam's helpless race who sinned in my own fashion also and was unworthy of blessing outside of His Presence. I was dead in sins, rebellious, doing dead works: in rebellion but God had mercy on me (even like of penitent sinners who are sorry for sins they commit before God) being repentant in God's sight potentially hopefully and through His Mercy He took all my sins away by Christ's Cross Works. They are gone. At second birth or born again moments He called me justified Regenerated Adopted forgiven. He made me of His Nature partaker. I am identifying with Him a New Mind New Nature New Creation, saved FROM sin in trusting Christ's Atonement. Holiness becomes human inability yet able humility active actions from being worked out in obedient essence and very human for a fact by our surrendering our actions, attitudes, wills, and priorities to Him from a prostrate position in heart before Him so I, through Jesus am confident I, like the pure in heart shall see God because of Jesus and replaced living crucified unto sin. And in this Christian life also in my actions by grace alone expression finds my attitude in faith believing encouraging each other fully to shine our light openly in His willing and His doing Phil 2:13. This is what God is after, our heart. When He has our heart He can HEAL our spirit, Greek "therapeuo." His Holiness becomes sponsored in His love. I can weep God's tears, be a man of prayer, pray God's prayers, dream God's dreams as I'm a joy-filled Born again believer a Christian now, a little Christ gratefully a saved individual thankfully hid with Christ in God BY THE GRACE OF GOD because of the Finished Work of Christ at Calvary. And I seek those things above where Christ is seated with the Heavenly Father God and I enjoy sitting in the same seat in the Heavenlies with His spiritual oversight. With an Eternal vantage point there I'm in love with God, enjoy unmerited grace, and shown mercy full from Him and obeying God and Christ's still small voice. Like the consecrated priesthood of Aaron of old who looked ahead to Messiah I have Christ's Blood applied symbolically to the right ear, for understanding and the right thumb of the right hand, for hearing and the right big toe of the right foot (I look back to the Cross) to go where Jesus wants. Whithersoever Christ goes I go. That's the way it is. To remind me that The Holy Spirit is applied at Salvation Oil is anointed over the Blood.

He is my Abba Daddy my good Father and all is from Him (II Corinthians 5:18,) new for its all of grace this God's reaching outreach to us in the Cross in this Christian life and not by works. We can't earn this position. I'm standing kneeling at the Cross readily obeying the Holy Spirit to heed Christ's Voice having heard or heeded His call to Salvation. He has created Covenantial Relationship with me to have Chesed with Him on His godly terms and I'm on Holy ground taking off my sandalsin His sight with grace and wisdom from Him of consuming and unconsummated fire in the Relationship in His Spirit with God and Water Baptism in waters of The Holy Spirit. His corrections I'm receiving by His Spirit. His minor adjustment to myself from Him is in faith to faith glory to glory Psalm 139:16. His likeness I seek reflected in me. Daily I'm constrained to imitate the Savior and to compel others to come in. I'm receiving (Greek lambano) receptivity to increasing teachableness in ministry. Salvation means I'm graciously regenerated and by His mercy am Spiritually alive from the dead for He renewed me a corpse of an old man and has positionally adopted me in His Family in a right standing in God. Justification by faith is His doing at the Cross in progressing me sanctified being a believer beloved bought back (Ransomed) and son tender, precious in the beloved Family in His Sight. Historically, geographically, and archaeologically we know and can be fully assured Christ lived His life and He Died for us and HE'S ALIVE resurrected now and His life's records are factual accurate and historically real. I'm innocent now at the cross. I'm ALIVE NOW spiritually in right relation to God as I randomly do acts of kindness with abandon and of self-denial obedient to Christ recognizing daily I'm alive to God El Elyon Most High and Jehovah Nissi the Lord our Banner and El Shaddai the God Who is more than enough and I'm in attendance at the Resurrection at the Empty Tomb continually for God makes me patient and not to worry. I'm called to be by Him there and if Jesus stays I remain and move when He does. These Names of God in Hebrew (El Elyon, Nissi, El Shalom,) are descriptive of Character of God. I acknowledge His acts but more I'm realizing Who He is. I'm on a mission from God in good times and through all situations: through tough times and in all kinds of adversity of various (Thilipses, tight almost immovable places) trouble to make it through with His help. Even when suffering wrongfully for Christ's or righteousness sake I'm going through it taking a stand continuing in taking a stand for Christ and righteousness and for the Name. The Bible calls me blessed when I suffer for Christ's sake unjustly, doing the right thing and suffering for and/or with Christ with the Spirit of God on me and thus I'm blessed to be envied. My own faults bring suffering too but the Spirit helps with the infirmity (weakness.) The goal is to live blameless.

I'm in Christ for the long race marathon in this life. And I want to be in the end found in Him finishing strong and being in the holy fire of His burning cleansing and waters of His Holy Spirit Baptism in the Spirit being totally submerged, submitted, and committed coming up from the waters to Him in the fullness of His Death Resurrection Speaking in Tongues in Spirit Baptism also and enduring persevering for His Name. I was Water Baptized at twelve and Baptized in The Spirit with speaking in tongues at fourteen. Ephesians Six Armor of God in His Presence is going before me. I'm casting down every thought or imagination or argument that tends to exalt itself against the knowledge of God and employing something positive in faith outwitting the devil's scheme, tactic, or maneuver for instead of the letting something lesser exist in my thought life. I'm living rejoicing in Jesus our Rock, Bulwark, fortress, deliverer, and shield, and in the High Tower of His Name. He gives a goodly inheritance and heritage. He's dwelling IN & through me and His Word dwells richly in me and is The true life replacing my life does righteous acts before all people (Christ doing the right things in and through me as I obey Galatians 2:20.) Like a wild olive shoot grafted into a olive tree Jesus is now my life. Jesus is my imparted imputed Righteousness as my name is a part of His Name Romans 6:1. I'll have no other Savior I Corinthians 15:58. I'm just not kidding having accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord as a four year old child through the Holy Spirit. I'm free from sin now working out my Salvation in a sense of newness of life in Him (II Corinthians 5:17) and becoming a slave bond-servant of Christ to Him He making the final decisions of control in all things He's making also industrious, fascinating, bright and new in me by His mercy and He's calling the shots. My life is in Him, His Ministry I'm receiving from His Presence and giving ministering to God first by loving Him heart soul mind and strength, and then quasi others as myself. Idolatry is out, no more for you. Flee.

More recently as a Gideon (of twenty years a runner) I humbly love also love the Lord God in this biblical institution (Gideons) and in the love of God outward I distribute Bibles handing them out prayerfully to win souls to our Lord. I'm a sinner saved but undone before being saved totally loving God today. I'm surrendering to guard my heart (Prov. 4:23) to be humbling myself prostrate before Him all the time recognizing He's in control. Through the Son I'm coming to God daily conversing in awe with Him evermore talking it up with Him that He did what He did: love me at Calvary. I came to be a beggar first but able at second birth to tell other beggars where to find Bread. The bread is Jesus and the Bread of Life is Jesus Christ. I'm in Christ 100% in relationship of right standing position before God and my claim is faith in His Blood at our Lord's Spiritual witness within at His feet. God is my Source and my all in all and as to this Great Good Shepherd, Who holds me, His lamb in His arms nurtured by Him I'm thus Nourished. He saves me from being dinner or lamb-chop and/or from false teachers and I go to Christ to learn when in selfish pride of my own achievements who I am: in essence, nothing and He is everything giving God the glory humbly under His hand, and I'm decreasing, He increasing. I'm weaned like a child.

I am that sinner Dave as sin has disappeared yet surrendered I am now. In the past it had that rule at one time Jesus now defeats, and which overwhelmed me and being that it dwelt in me before as we all had sins before a Righteous Holy God being defeated but the sweet Christ has defeated them and Jesus Christ has taken over Lordship Saving us. Christ defeated death. For myself enthroning Him is my best deed. The following scriptures Romans 5:1-9; 6:1-7; 7:23,24,25; 8:1-39; I John 1:8,9,10; Col.3:1-9 apply to my life now and now as I'm found by Jesus Christ and take up my cross moment by moment yea my personal bundle of aspirations, though some altruistic, prayers and goals pressing forward and to let Christ have the reign over my life if to only follow Christ close and leave all behind yes everything, every last aspect any of it tries to put a hold on me or feel, behind.

To follow Christ is doing the right things in Him with abandon trusting and with assessed confident follow through and to finish strong and with a thorough abandonment to be open to Him to do all His will is my delight. His will is my delight. To do all His will like David in the Psalms and Samuel I and II wanted desired and was called a man after God's own heart for Doing I want to do as He did. Christian belief is mental assent, commitment to, and follow through. The adversary will try to obstruct the follow through. Satan's name means adversary. I have put away the old man once and for all. I have boxed him in and he's toast, I've forgotten him. A Brave and brand spanking new individual New Person is inside me now and I'm outwardly expressing Christ in my world, working (living the Replaced Life, Christ IN me) out in this salvation in Him. I'm learning what it means to be Reconciled, Redeemed, Forgiven, Repenting of sin, being ever more with care and fully (therapeuo in Greek) healed now. I have triumph over the schemes of the Enemy being aware of them alertly and how just unfairly deceptively subtle his tactics are and I know Christ in constant warfare for the Salvation of souls in fighting his flanking but not him for Christ defeated him even his minions by Jesus stepping into the room and he and they falling down so then I won't have to fight he or them either. But I digress. I'm tired of being gummed by ignorance of his diabolical deception and tired from his influence indirect. I individually agree with God about everything He's saying in His Word and profoundly agree with it. The battle is truly the Lord's. I'm being renewed in the spirit of my mind to put on the New Self. I put off the old self which is rotting and put on the new which is in the likeness of God Has been created in the righteousness and holiness of the truth. The newness of life, new man, and armor of God we all put on to triumph over the schemes of the devil or his minions. The schemes not the devil himself nor his minions we stand firm and don't give ground and so we outwit him and them and tire them out.

I am saved to take a stand a right position with my Creator. In the relationship I'm learning how to worship Him fully in spirit and truth. With love I'm in Him and showing love for Him For I'm knowing He's FOR ME and I'm always under-girded by His hand and through Him I'm showing mercy to the Body being empathetic in the beloved. I'm accepted in the beloved and by Him and so I'm hungry to accept one another showing compassion as He did me, empathizing rather than sympathizing where I can. Sympathy as such is powerful in writing a card limited to the written word. Empathy or feeling other's pain brings relief to others stitching them or binding wounds, winding bandage edifying them building them up in love but sympathizing makes one stand aloof. Empathy is healing (therapeuo) by the Anointed diversely ministering to them in agape! This is spelled T-I-M-E. I rely on Holy Spirit ministry fullness for the next step (Greek parapeteoo,) within the cadence. I am attached to Him enjoying His touch in other words abiding in the Lord and rejoicing in the fact That God is for me. I'm for God's glorifying Jesus alone in my ministry and not myself! Let Jesus decide rewards, credit, or glories! I like being unsung and among Church family fairly given a fair shake but in Him. I want to look to the interests of others caring to show compassion unconditionally and in phileo love. I lay all my dead works apart from Christ down and on the dung heap and if there are any left, burn them completely. Triumphing in the cross which is God's victory and at the Empty Tomb the ultimate expression of good, I'm an Assembly of God adherant. I'm not forsaking the good path nor the eagle's wing's flight of God of His Pinions care, (Psalm 91) but gathering together in Christ's Name with the saints as the scripture declares and all the more and more we do well as that Day approaches but also provoke others to love and good deeds too. God's mercies towards myself inspire me in my spleen to show others compassion. God is calling us to have compassionate hearts of mercy. If I by grace can make in love Agape, Phileo lovingly that connection that of seeing others like God sees them and treating them that way I will be blessed and happy. I by His grace want as well to obtain the desire to be pressing in for the prize in Christ of Gentle Kindness Tenderly in chesed (Covenant Lovingkindness) in godly temperament. His Lovingkindness is better than life. Freely you received, freely give.

To Him Who has, more shall be given and he shall have abundance (hearing God's words.) God is love. He will not cry out to argue nor cry in the streets nor break a broken reed further but care nice for it nor quench a wick that is smoldering at all but let it kindle as needed. The smallest spark He will encourage. By that love agape let us serve one another and build each other up but don't get tangled up by other's selfish behavior. His yoke is easy His burden light. Ask, seek, knock for everyone who asks, receives, knocks, has, and seeks finds. And I'm praying for open doors and utterances to be a witness to make clear the Gospel individually with more of me behind all outreach through more suffering for Christ and I'm studying fervently in white hot zeal to obey God's call in fervency and seeking His will awesomelike to be a bold witness to be proclaiming His Message the Gospel (Carrusso in Greek meaning 'to bring down a great message') and be one in Him of Christ Jesus alone with one mind and mouth in His Body homotheumadan in Greek. Win disciples to Christ. Be a witness. It's GOOD NEWS. When necessary use words like John Wesley said. And pray like Charles Finney or praying Hyde. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God often and He will lift you up in His due time. By walking in the Spirit you shall put to death the works of flesh. Worship Him truly meaning every moment give worth-ship to Him and give Him due honor and even in down time worship in spirit and truth realizing anything is possible with God positively believing even to a corpse He is Able to do anything, anything being possible with God glorifying Him as you are abiding as well as giving constant glory continually to Him! I'm purifying myself of all filthiness of flesh and spirit (by the Holy Spirit) in the Holiness of God! Transliteration Of II Cor. 7:1. He is with us always even to the end of the world never to leave nor forsake us (Mat. 28:20) so persevere to the end though hated or loved for Jesus Christ with you/in ya. Abide in Christ. In Jesus Name, Amen. Http:// Http:// Http://
Submitted by DAVID CANDEL

For the benefit of the Body of Christ.

What Does It Mean To Pursue Righteousness? From

Question: "What does it mean to pursue righteousness?"

Answer: Proverbs 15:9 says, “The LORD detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.” If God wants us to pursue righteousness, then what about verses such as Romans 3:10 that say, “There is none righteous, no not one”? If no one is righteous, then who can really pursue it? Are those verses contradictory?

Before we can pursue righteousness, we need to define it. The word most often translated “righteousness” can also mean “justice, justness, or divine holiness.” In the broadest sense, righteousness can be defined as “the condition of being acceptable to God as made possible by God.” God’s standard is what defines true righteousness; His power is what enables it. Unless God is its author, we will never possess righteousness. No amount of man-made effort will result in righteousness. To be righteous is to be right with God. A heart that is right with God results in a life that bears “fruit” (John 15:1–2; Mark 4:20). Galatians 5:22 lists some of that fruit.

A common substitute for true righteousness is self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is the opposite of what God desires. Self-righteousness makes a list of rules and checks them off, congratulating itself on how well it is doing compared to others. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were masters of self-righteousness, but Jesus had harsh words for them: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:27–28).

To pursue righteousness means we must recognize that we cannot please God in our sinful state (Romans 8:8). We turn from trying to justify ourselves by our good deeds and instead seek the mercy of God. We desire that He transform our minds (Romans 12:2) and conform us “to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). In the Old Testament, men were declared righteous when they believed God and acted on it (Genesis 15:7; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23). Before Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4), people pursued righteousness by keeping God’s Law, seeking holiness, and “walking humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). No one was justified by rule-keeping but by the faith that enabled them to obey God (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16).

Likewise, today we are justified by the faith that leads us to Jesus (Romans 3:28; 5:1; 10:10). Those who are in Christ continue seeking God in order to please Him (Colossians 3:1). When we come to faith in Christ, He gives us the Holy Spirit who empowers us to pursue righteousness for its own sake (Acts 2:38). He commands us to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 25). Walking in the Spirit means we live a lifestyle of total surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We cultivate the ability to hear God and the habit of obeying His voice in everything.

We pursue righteousness when we pursue the character of Christ and desire holiness more than fleshly indulgence. We avoid the temptation to become self-righteous when we understand that true righteousness begins with godly humility (Psalm 25:90). We remember that Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). When we spend time in the presence of God, we become more aware of our own sin and shortcomings. A dingy shirt looks white beside a dark wall. But, when compared with snow, the same shirt looks dirty. Pride and self-righteousness cannot remain in the presence of a holy God. Pursuing righteousness begins when a humble heart seeks the continual presence of God (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). The humble, believing heart leads to a lifestyle of righteous action acceptable to God (Psalm 51:10).

Recommended Resources: The Keys to Spiritual Growth by John MacArthur and Logos Bible Software.

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