Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The LORD Be Magnified! [ יִגְדַּל יְהוָה ]
Meditation on Psalm 40:16
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The Scripture declares that all who seek the Lord should rejoice in Him and say continually: “The Lord be magnified” (יִגְדַּל יְהוָה; yigdal Yahweh) This brief meditation strives to provide a number of specific reasons why believers must remember this chorus continually.

Because You Rejoice in God.
The text declares that those who ‘rejoice and are glad’ in the Lord should be those who acclaim the magnification of God. Believers should rejoice in God because he inclines and hears our cries (Ps 40:1), he rescues us (v.2), and puts a new song in our mouths (v.3). The Lord deserves the highest praise and worship because the wonders He has done are innumerable (v.5). Thus, those who have been delivered by God, who have a new song in their mouth because of the newly revealed grace fully unveiled in the Lord’s salvation should rejoice heartily in God and proclaim His magnificence.

Because You Seek the Lord.
The Lord deserves to be hailed as the magnificent sovereign because His people seek Him. Psalm 40 tells the Godly who seek the Lord to rejoice and be glad in God. Those who seek the Lord and desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ should proclaim His preeminence and glory!

Because You Receive His Blessings.
The thoughts that God has toward His people are many (Ps 40:5). Indeed, his thoughts toward His people cannot be counted (v.5). None can compare with this all-wise and all-knowing God! The wonders, the blessings, and the thoughts toward His own saints provide endless reasons for God’s people to praise Him! The blessings of God beckon believers to bow & utter that the Lord must be magnified!

Because You Benefit from Grace.
Those who love God’s salvation should always have on their tongues that the Lord is to be magnified. All boasting in self must cease & all boasting in the cross of Jesus Christ must abound! The believer who benefits from God’s grace revealed in the cross of Christ should proclaim the Lord’s magnificence daily. This proclamation should come to his own soul in reminding him of his lostness and of the Lord’s unspeakable love that provided salvation. This proclamation should also include telling others of the manifold benefits of God’s grace that are found in salvation. The one who loves God’s salvation, who has experienced God’s mercies, and who has been wooed by the supremely tender cords of divine love is one who must herald the Lord’s magnificence!

Because You Wait with Hope.
The psalmist says that he waited patiently for the Lord. Literally, waiting, he waited for the Lord. To wait on God requires the hard discipline of quieting oneself and stilling oneself before God with active, aggressive, persistent — and undistracted — praying. To wait on God is to pray to God and expect God to bring an answer to the petition. To wait on God is to actively hope and confidently trust in His sovereignty and His goodness. To wait on God is never to live lazily, act indifferently. Rather, it is to confidently pray while waiting for God to answer. This person who waits on God, praying to God, confident in God, trusting in God is one who can honestly say that the Lord is to be magnified in and through all things. To wait is to trust. To wait is to affirm the Lord’s magnificence.

Because You Hail His Incomparability.
Every person worships. There is, however, only one God who exists. Only one God is worthy of worship. Only one God is real, living, active, wise, good, and sovereign. The psalmist proclaims the priority that God cannot be compared with anyone or anything else (Ps 40:5). He far surpasses all other gods. None can compare with God. To whom would someone liken to God or what likeness can be compared to Him (Isa 40:18). God alone must be elevated as the magnificent one, the great one, the highest one, the supreme one, and the praise of His sovereignty should drip from the lips of His children continually. O let all God’s children join the heavenly chorus and continually say, the Lord be magnified!

Download the pdf here.
Cast abroad your eyes through the nations, and meditate on the mighty acts which he hath done, and the wisdom and power of his providence, which should charm all thy affections.

Behold his admirable patience, with what pity he looks down on obstinate rebels; and how he is moved with compassion when he sees his creatures polluted in their blood, and bent upon their own destruction; how long he waits to be gracious; how unwillingly he appears to give up with sinners, and execute deserved vengeance on his enemies; and then with what joy he pardons for 'with him is plentous redemption.'

And what can have more force than these to win thy esteem, and make a willing conquest of thy heart? so that every object about thee is an argument of love, and furnishes fuel for this sacred fire. And whether you behold God in the firmament of his power, or the sanctuary of his grace, you cannot miss to pronounce him 'altogether lovely.'

—William Dunlap

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kill Your Treasured Sin!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

A believer no longer lives under the dominating power of sin. The death of Christ has freed him from the condemnation of sin, the power of sin, and the penalty of sin. At the same time, every believer understands that the Christian life demands nothing less than an aggressive zealousness for pursuing sanctification until glorification dawns. So how do believers kill sin? How do Christians kill sin? The power resides within the believer — through the enabling power, grace & strength of God the Holy Spirit — to overcome sin and to kill sin. Not only is the power available to every believer to overcome sin but he must strive to be killing sin in his life.

So the question remains, how does the man of God kill sin? If a cherished sin has a home in a corner of one’s life, how does he slaughter that treasured sin? A few helpful thoughts will provide help for how to kill sin.

1. Meditate on Death.
One motivation for killing sin is the ever-present reality that death could invade at any moment. When the believer remembers that death could seize him at any time, it serves as an incentive for killing a treasured sin. No believer in the Lord Jesus Christ desires to meet Christ at the moment of death having just engaged in an activity of sin. Meditating on the imminency of death can lead a man of God to strive to kill his darling sin by the grace of God, with a perspective on Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2. Meditate on Judgment Day.
A day quickly is coming when every Christian will stand before God’s judgment seat to give an account of what he has done. It will not be a judgment to determine salvation or judgment. For the believer, Christ destroyed sin’s penalty by becoming sin in his place on the cross. Nevertheless, every person of God will appear before God’s judgment seat (the bema) (2 Cor 5; Rom 14). To bear in mind this day when the Christian will stand before His master and deliverer will be a helpful motivation to holiness. To meditate on the certain reality of standing before Jesus Christ and giving an account of his life will win the blood-bought sinner away from sin and toward holiness in Christ. Thus, he will kill his treasured sin the more that he meditates on judgment day.

3. Meditate on the Joys of Heaven.
To think much on heaven necessitates thinking much about the glory of God, the purity of God, the beauty of God, the holiness of God, and the world of love. To meditate on the joys of heaven will catapult the believer to a heartfelt zeal to kill every treasured sin on earth because there will, of course, be no presence of sin in heaven. For the believer who knows heaven to be his destiny, Christ to be his inheritance, and God to be his joy is a triumphant motivation to kill every treasured sin. No lust can compare with the lasting satisfaction in Christ. No covetous thought can compare with the glory of heaven. So then, to meditate much on the joys of heaven will remind the believer that sin is worth killing with all vigilance and all iniquity is worth slaughtering mercilessly so as to best prepare for the next world of perfect glory.

4. Meditate on the Torments of Hell.
Meditating on the torments of hell will compellingly remind the believer to kill every treasured sin. Every sin deserves hell. Every lawless deed, every evil thought, every careless word, every selfish motive, every hypocritical act deserves endless eternities of God-inflicted punishment in hell. Every Christian knows himself to be deserving of hell. Since being a follower of Christ, he fully affirms his worthiness of judgment, wrath, hell, and divine fury. No Christian enjoys sin without repentance. No Christian would desire to trample on the blood of Christ by living a life of willful sin. So then, the redeemed sinner who is owned by God and reconciled to God by the blood of Christ is one who earnestly wants to kill his cherished sin. He wants to allow no sin. He desires to permit no ongoing lust in his life. Meditating on the torments of hell serves as a powerful antidote to indulging in sin.

5. Meditate on the Death and Sufferings of Jesus Christ.
The greatest incentive for the believer to kill every treasured sin is the reality that Jesus’ death and sufferings paid for all of the sins of all of His elect. Therefore, every sin that every Christian commits is one that Jesus Christ died for and paid for in full. The believer, thus, does not want to bring shame upon the name of Christ. Nor does he want to shame the reputation of Christ’s gospel or give a faulty picture of holiness to a watching world. The Lord Jesus died on the cross and he suffered anguish because the Father forsook Him because the One who hung on the cross became ‘cursed of God.’ To think much on the perfect life, the substitutionary death, and the divinely-given sufferings of Christ leads the believer to desire to honor his Savior. It compels the believer to kill his treasured sin. It motivates the believer to maul his darling sins. O to look at the dying Savior, to behold His sufferings, to contemplate the eternally-mysterious reality that He drank the cup of divine wrath stored up for sinners! O to behold the beautiful salvation Christ won for His children. To see the death of Christ, the curse that He became, the hell that He bore, the wrath that He took, and the punishment that He received is to remind the believer of the salvation that Christ has won on his behalf. There is no more compelling reason to passionately pursue the mortification of sin than to see the love displayed at Calvary when the Lord Jesus became sin. Seeing the sufferings of the Savior will encourage the slaughtering of sins.

Thomas Brookes once compellingly put it: “the daily sight of a bleeding, groaning, dying Savior—is the only thing which will subdue and mortify darling sins!

Monday, July 8, 2013

From JC Ryle:

If you ever marry, it is more than probable you will choose a wife among the connections of your friends. If Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram had not formed a friendship with Ahab’s family, he would most likely not have married Ahab’s daughter.

And who can estimate the importance of a right choice in marriage?  It is a step which, according to the old saying, ‘either makes a man or mars him.’ Your happiness in both lives may depend on it. Your wife must either help your soul or harm it: there is no medium. She will either fan the flame of religion in your heart, or throw cold water upon it, and make it burn low. She will either be wings or fetters, a rein or a spur to your Christianity, according to her character. He that findeth a good wife doth indeed ‘find a good thing;’ but if you have the least wish to find one, be very careful how you choose your friends.

From Thoughts for Young Men (from Ryle's book: The Upper Room [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1970], 407).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

From James Smith:

Before conversion... 

"I had no good desires--no holy aspirations--no redeeming qualities.

I was a rebel against God's government--and a traitor against God's crown!

I would have destroyed
God if I could--and blotted His name out of creation! The language of my heart and life was, "No God for me!" My heart was filled and fired with enmity against Him, and at times I could have cursed Him to His face!
 I hated His law.
I despised His gospel. 
I abhorred His people. 
If I could--I would have crushed His cause!

How astonishing that such a wretch was allowed to live!

How astonishing that God had not crushed me by His power, and sentenced me to Hell!

But, O the patience and the sovereign grace of God! He bore with me. He loaded me with His benefits. He determined to win me with His love. Nevertheless I sinned yet the more, and provoked Him with my ungodly conduct. O how surprising that I am not in Hell! Surely there are many already in Hell--who were never such great sinners as I have been!

But, the Lord is good, ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all who call upon Him. He put a cry into my heart, He listened to that cry--and made me a new creature in Christ Jesus. He unveiled my enormous wickedness before the eyes of my mind, which filled me with confusion, despondency, and shame. He laid me in the dust, and seemed to doom me to despair. He . . .
  crushed my proud spirit,
  destroyed my infernal enmity against Him,
  and melted me into contrition with His love."
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