“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God–
Naught else is worth believing.
Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.
I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”
God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does.
What good works does your neighbor need?
Mark 16:15 (ESV) And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
James 1:27 (ESV) Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
If we want reformation, we have to start with ourselves. We have to start bringing the gospel itself out of darkness, so that the motto of every reformation becomes post tenebras lux — “after darkness, light.” Luther declared that every generation must declare freshly the gospel of the New Testament. He also said that anytime the gospel is clearly and boldly proclaimed, it will bring about conflict, and those of us who are inherently adverse to conflict will find it tempting to submerge the gospel, dilute the gospel, or obscure the gospel in order to avoid conflict. We, of course, are able to add offense to the gospel by our own ill-mannered attempts to proclaim it. But there is no way to remove the offense that is inherent to the gospel message, because it is a stumbling block, a scandal to a fallen world. It will inevitably bring conflict. If we want reformation, we must be prepared to endure such conflict to the glory of God.
Here are two interesting quotes concerning the Sabbath.
…It was not, however, without a reason that the early Christians substituted what we call the Lord’s day for the Sabbath. The resurrection of our Lord being the end and accomplishment of that true rest which the ancient Sabbath signified, this day, by which types were abolished, serves to warn Christians against adhering to a shadowy ceremony. I do not cling to the number seven as to bring the Church under bondage to it, nor do I condemn churches for holding their meetings on other solemn days, provided they guard against superstition.”
“If anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day’s sake—if anywhere anyone sets up its observance on a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it, to do anything that shall remove this encroachment on Christian liberty.”
While checking for evidences of life and growth, what about your prayers?
I ask whether you pray, because a habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian.
All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the first sign of life in an infant when born into the world is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying.
This is one of the common marks of all the elect of God, “They cry unto him day and night” (Luke 18:1). The Holy Spirit, who makes them new creatures, works in them the feeling of adoption, and makes them cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15). The Lord Jesus, when he quickens them, gives them a voice and a tongue, and says to them, “Be dumb no more.” God has no dumb children. It is as much a part of their new nature to pray, as it is of a child to cry. They see their need of mercy and grace. They feel their emptiness and weakness. They can not do otherwise than they do. They must pray.
But this I do say, that not praying is a clear proof that a man is not yet a true Christian. He cannot really feel his sins. He cannot love God. He cannot feel himself a debtor to Christ. He cannot long after holiness. He cannot desire heaven. He has yet to be born again. He has yet to be made a new creature. He may boast confidently of election, grace, faith, hope, and knowledge, and deceive ignorant people. But you may rest assured it is all vain talk if he does not pray.
“If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning,
the devil gets the victory through the day.
I have so much business I cannot get on
without spending three hours daily in prayer.
~ Martin Luther ~
“Prayer will make a man cease from sin,
or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”
~ John Bunyon ~
“The little estimate we put on prayer
is evidence from the little time we give to it.”
~ E.M. Bounds ~
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ESV
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ESV
“You may as soon find a living man that does not breath,
as a living Christian that does not pray.”
~ Matthew Henry ~