Showing posts with label John McArthur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John McArthur. Show all posts

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Soul Music & The Infilling of the Holy Spirit - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 22 - Purity 1295

Soul Music & The Infilling of the Holy Spirit - 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther – Day 22 - Purity 1295

Purity 1295 03/09/2024 Purity 1295 Podcast

Purity 1295 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a high definition view of the sky reflected in the waters of Lake Hiawassee near sunset comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene from his visit to the Hanging Dog Recreational Area on social media on Thursday, March 7th.  Fred is always sharing stops along the path of his life with his friends on FB, but this one is really special. It's so beautiful it’s almost unreal and it made me wonder if Fred got a new camera! But that’s life, we do the same things day after day and then time, circumstances, and the Lord come together to make otherwise normal days have spectacular moments. 

Well, it’s Saturday and I had one of those spectacular moments after work yesterday during my commute to my countryside home in Easton. I had a long day at work yesterday and when quitting time came I was rejoicing over the fact that another week of work was over, and I decided to worship the Lord in song to thank Him.  Right now I am trying to recall the events that led to that decision because there was something there that triggered that decision, something to do with God and my life right now, but I can’t recall the specifics. Anyway, when I turned on my “Crossroads” Playlist – which is a mix of inspirational secular songs from my past and some “heart songs” of Christian praise and worship the Lord’s presence came storming into the moment bringing to my mind and heart the truth of my relationship with him, the victories of the past, and hope for the future.  God was in the car with me, and I was undone emotionally, rejoicing over His love for me and simultaneously letting the pain of recent difficulties in my life come pouring out to be healed.  God was speaking to me through the music to remind me that I wasn’t alone, He had been with me in the past to deliver me, and I could rely on Him in the future to do the same. These realizations caused me to whoop, holler, sing, raise my hands, cry, and emphatically rejoice over my life of freedom that has been given to me.  The manifest presence of the Lord was in the house crafting time and space to give me this magic moment that I would call the “filling of the Holy Spirit”. Paul talks about this in.

Ephesians 5:18-21 (NKJV) which says:
18  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
19  speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
20  giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21  submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Do you see the tie in here of music, thanksgiving, and the Lord?  My baptism in the Holy Spirit happened when I went into recovery and one day sang to, thanked, praised the Lord, and asked Him to “Come Holy Spirit, Come”. Yesterday, I didn’t ask, I didn’t knock but the Lord’s presence came all the same. He knew I needed it as I have been overcome with anxiety and frustration during recent events and He wanted me to know that I wasn’t alone and that I could trust Him to move everything together for good even if I couldn’t see it. I had been trying to “fix things” on my own and He showed up to remind me to remain faithful but to “let go” and let Him do what He has always done.  Even though I had been trying to be encouraging to others, my heart and mind need to be encouraged to surrender all the uncertain outcomes and concerns in my life to Him. As the Lord brought to mind all the blessings of my life I shouted in triumph because I even though I “knew these things”, my heart had forgotten just how glorious this strange journey has been and how wonderful my life is.  

Yesterday, God used “soul music” to bring me back to joy and to pipe in the “filling of the Holy Spirit”.  Although John MacArthur would disagree with my calling my initial experience of the manifest presence of God – the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”  his commentary on Ephesian 5:18 tells us about this infilling: The Macarthur commentary says:

“Paul is not speaking of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (Ro 8:9) or the baptism by Christ with the Holy Spirit (1Co 12:13), because every Christian is indwelt and baptized by the Spirit at the time of salvation. He is rather giving a command for believers to live continually under the influence of the Spirit by letting the Word control them (see note on Col 3:16), pursuing pure lives, confessing all known sin, dying to self, surrendering to God’s will, and depending on His power in all things. Being filled with the Spirit is living in the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, letting His mind, through the Word, dominate everything that is thought and done. Being filled with the Spirit is the same as walking in the Spirit (see notes on Gal 5:16–23). Christ exemplified this way of life (Lk 4:1).”

(John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Eph 5:18.)

That’s what I try to do live in the conscious presence of the Lord  but I can tell you sometimes our walk with God has special moments where the Lord reaches out to strengthen us and yesterday was one of them for me and I had to write about it because I don’t want to forget it or blow it off. I want to stay in that place where I knew the truth of my relationship with God in the present moment, experientially.  These moments fuel our faithfulness and never know when God will reach through the veil to give them to you but when they happen you know it!

So I’m encouraged to encourage you to keep walking and talking with God and what better time to do that than now -in the season of Lent. And speaking of Lent….

It’s the twenty-second day of Lent and so we continue my personal walkthrough of Gracia Grindal’s 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther to observe and celebrate the Lenten season.   In this walkthrough of Grindal’s devotional,  it is our hope that we will get to know Martin Luther a little better as we seek to draw closer to the Lord on our journey to Resurrection Sunday – Easter.  

And so we continue.

Journey Day 22

I believe in the Holy Spirit, one holy Christian church, the community of saints, forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the flesh, and eternal life. Amen.

To this article, as I have said, I cannot give a better title than “Being Made Holy”. In it are expressed and portrayed the Holy Spirit and his office, which is that he makes us holy. Therefore, we must concentrate on the term “Holy Spirit”, because it is so precise we can find no substitute for it... God's Spirit alone is called a Holy Spirit, that is, the one who has made us holy and still makes us holy. As the Father is called a Creator and the Son is called a Redeemer, so on account of his work the Holy Spirit must be called a Sanctifier, or one who makes us holy. How does such sanctifying take place?

Answer... the Holy Spirit effects our being made holy through the following: the community of saints or Christian church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. That is, he first leads us into his holy community, placing us in the church's lap, where he preaches to us and brings us to Christ.

Biblical Wisdom

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:13-15.

Silence for Meditation.

Pause the podcast, or stop reading, and sit quietly for 60 seconds, a few minutes, or 10-15 minutes, or however long you feel comfortable with and have time for. Focus on your breath and the calm stillness in the present moment that is always available to us in God’s creation. Meditate on Martin Luther’s comments for the day, and the content of today’s Biblical wisdom.

Questions to Ponder

·       What do you think Luther means when he says the Holy Spirit is the “one who makes us holy”? What does it mean to be made holy?

To be made holy means to be set apart for God’s purposes, to live to serve His kingdom.  A cursory study of scriptures regarding the Holy spirit reveals that He leads us into all truth and grants us repentance. It is through the Holy Spirit that we see the truth of the gospel and are led to turn from our sins and grow in our faith. This is for real – they don’t call it walking in the Spirit for nothing – we can experience God’s presence, love, and help in our lives when we walk with Him.

·       Luther says the Spirit “effects our being made holy” through “the community of saints or Christian church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting”. Reflect on these four; how do they make us holy?

The community of the saints gives us a place to grow – where the word is preached, studied, reflected on, and practiced with how we live. 

The forgiveness of sins gives us freedom and healing and encourages us to not go back into darkness. 

The Resurrection of the body – gives us proof that Jesus is God and that He blesses us with the gift of the comforter who indwells within our bodies – making us spiritually alive. We were resurrected to life with Christ. 

Everlasting life gives us the freedom over the fear of death and the eternal purpose of serving God’s kingdom. We stop living for ourselves and start living for God’s kingdom.  

·       According to today's reading from Luther, what is the church's primary task? Why?

Luther’s comments indicate that the church’s purpose is to preach the word. Why?  To bring people to Christ, and to make us holy.

Psalm Fragment

These all look to you to give them their food in due season; When you give to them, they gather it up; When you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. Psalm 104:27-30

Journal Reflections

·       Meditate in writing on your understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit guides us into a deeper walk with the Lord by illuminating the scriptures and convicting our hearts to obey God’s word. His presence comforts us and strengthens us.  His intuitions reveal to us things to come and inspires us to good works and sanctification.

·       Have you ever felt as if the Holy Spirit was bringing Christ to you as you studied his word or heard it preached, or participated in the activities of his church? If so, write about the experience and its impact on you.

Yes, all the time. Part of the purpose of my blogging and podcasting is to proclaim the truth of the Holy Spirit’s power and presence in the lives of Christians who surrender to God’s will for their lives.  Pick up your cross and follow Jesus and the Comforter will accompany you on the path of Christian Discipleship.

·       Have you experienced yourself “being made holy”? If so, has it changed how you make decisions? How you live in relationships? If not, can you imagine being made holy and its consequences?

Yes. I have repented and been set free from my former besetting sins to experience freedom. It has changed my entire life and my relationships.  My marriage has God at the center of it and my friendships are faith-based because no matter who you are, I will encourage you to seek the Lord – Christian or not. 

Prayers for the Life of Faith

Pray that your relationship with God through Christ and the Holy Spirit will become more dear to you and that the gift of faith you have received will flow from you into good deeds for your family, friends, and neighbors.

Lord, I pray that my relationship with You through Jesus and the Holy Spirit will somehow become more dear to me and that the gift of faith that I have received will flow from me into good works for my family, friends, and neighbors. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer For Today

Come, Holy Spirit, teach me more about God, and quicken my love for you and my neighbors so that I may serve you as I should by serving them.


(Gracia M. Grindal. 40-day Journey With Martin Luther. Kindle Edition.

(We encourage you to purchase Grindal’s book and take the 40 Day Journey with Martin Luther for yourself by purchasing Grindal’s book wherever books are sold. You can find it online at many different sites and purchase it new, used – paper or electronic for less than $15.00).


For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. ( )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Contentment, Coveting & and Priorities.

Colossians 3:5 (ESV)
5  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Today’s verse falls under the ninth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Contentment, Coveting, and Priorities.

9. Put covetousness to death.

Today’s verse tells us to repent of sexual immorality – let’s not miss that – sexual purity is important to God and our lives of faith – but it also speaks of the root of lust- covetousness – wanting what is not rightfully yours.  Why is the command to not covet one of the Ten Commandments? Because it leads us into various sins that stem from covetousness. God has approved means to meet all our needs, but covetousness causes us to disregard those means because “we want what we want” and covetousness causes us to not care how we get it.  

So put to death what is earthly within you, and follow God’s ways to meet your wants, desires, and needs. When we decide to not “want” what is not ours, covetousness is cast out and results in the consideration of sin to be an illogical possibility.


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.


“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore,
when your eye is good, your whole body also is
full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body
also is full of darkness.” – Luke 11:34

The eye cannot contain light in itself; it reflects light from the source of light. If therefore the body is to be full of light, the eyes must be focused on the true source of light, even the Lord Jesus. Hence, the apostle says, “Looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:2).

Fellowship is only maintained as I walk in the light even as my Lord is in the light. How necessary it is then, that my eyes be fixed on Him.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.7[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog ( ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Overcoming the Worldview of Doom and the Culture of Fear – The Path of the Cross – Purity 741

 Overcoming the Worldview of Doom and the Culture of Fear – The Path of the Cross – Purity 741

Purity 741 05/26/2022  Purity 741 Podcast

Good morning,

Today’s photo of cumulous cloud filled blue skies over Waite road comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene Sunday afternoon on the return trip to my countryside home while out walking my off camera canine companion, Harley.  Harley enthusiastically begs to be taken for walks and when the weather is pleasant I try to remember to bring my phone so I can grab some photos to document the beauty of God’s creation. Harley’s enthusiasm often causes me to grab some random shots on the go and I often don’t really know what I am capturing until after the fact. 

Although I have grabbed and shared lots of photos on Waite Road, I believe this was the only time I happened to capture the cross like utility pole that borders this section of our path. And today it has helped me collect my scattered thoughts on the importance of walking on the path of Christian Discipleship in maintaining our peace and joy in life.  

If you haven’t noticed, the overall orientation of the news creates a culture of fear. The news adage of “if it bleeds, it leads” points to the fact that while there is an unlimited amount of current events and facts that could be reported, the hard truth is that the news stories that involve violence or that prey on our anxieties are the ones that get the highest ratings and thus will be the ones that are focused on and repeatedly told. 

I am sharing a link to a Deborah Serani article on Psychology from 2011, that provides some insight into how watching the news  “could undermine our physical and mental health.” (  Serani’s article states that:  

It's been said that fear-based media has become a staple of popular culture. The distressing fall-out from this trend is that children and adults who are exposed to media are more likely than others to

· Feel that their neighborhoods and communities are unsafe

· Believe that crime rates are rising

· Overestimate their odds of becoming a victim

· Consider the world to be a dangerous place”  

Serani, in 2011 mind you, advocated that:

“News media needs to return to a sense of proportion, conscience, and, most important, truth-telling.”

So how do you think we did in the 11 years since this article was written? 

Not so good, as the news industry has increasingly been crafted to not only lead with what bleeds but has been politicized to cater to a network’s political audience.  The view of current events now depends on the source you receive the reports from.  This has caused a general distrust of the media and their “fake news”.   

This phenomenon and our increasingly contradictory post Christian society that denies the wisdom of common sense and Biblical morality had me thinking of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, and phrases like “double think” which Orwell’s novel described as:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it,(  

“Doublethink” is the soup du jour in our society as it stresses “Coexistence” and “Diversity” which not only recognizes the existence of differing views, religions, and lifestyles but attempts to suspend discernment by subtly implying that all the various options in these aspects of our lives are equally valid, and thus true. 

While our relativistic society pushes “individual truth”, “what’s true for me is true for me, what’s true for you, is true for you.”, logic and reason insist things that contradict one another can not both be true. Sometimes we need to recognize the truth that opposing views can’t both be right. 

But in our politically correct society that seems to be able to “tolerate” all views except Biblical Christianity, the cardinal sin, if they were indeed allowed to categorize something as “sin”, would be to tell someone: “You’re wrong.”  

As appealing as it would be to go around telling everyone they are wrong, as Christians we have to be wise and discerning in how we “speak the truth in love”.

The Lord will use the word of God to convict people of their sin and bring them to faith in Christ.  Our arguments won’t do that. Our being a jerk won’t do that.

So what are we supposed to do?

Well we are supposed to live as disciples of Christ. We are to walk on the “Path of the Cross”, that’s what I got from today’s photo, by rejecting the world’s narrative of the state of reality and focusing on the truth of God’s word and by applying God’s wisdom to our lives.  

Limit your exposure to the news  and pick up the word of God and live by it.

Jesus Christ attested to the ability of God’s word to change us and of It’s truth in: 

John 17:17 (NKJV)
17  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

So while the world is trying to “tell you the news” and some may be advocating for changes to our world through governmental means because of the bad news that is constantly before us,  and are, as John Mayer sang about, are “Waiting on the World to Change”, the Lord is directing us to be changed by applying His Truth to our lives by making Jesus our Lord Savior and by following in His Ways.

To overcome the world, we have to overcome the lies of the world by recognizing the truth that “all roads do not lead to heaven”, that all beliefs, lifestyles, and behaviors are not all  equally valid, and to know that what some call acceptable, legal, or good are actually evil according to the word of God.   

The good news is that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone, but with that good news comes some really bad news.  

The bad news is that we can’t change the world. We can’t convince everyone of the truth of God’s word. And We can’t save everyone and establish God’s kingdom on the earth.

If we could there would be no need for Christ to return and God’s word assures us that He is coming back and that things will get worse before He does.     

But don’t forget the hope of the gospel, we can be used by God to bring some into His kingdom before He comes back to judge and rule the earth.  And in spite of the culture of fear that is proliferated all around us, we can still experience peace and joy in this strange new world regardless of the circumstances when we focus on the Lord and walk in the Spirit. 

Our faith is a faith of hope. We have hope in Christ and in His return, but we also have the hope that we can experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives when we make the decision to repent of the world’s ways and turn to God’s ways.

We also have the hope that God has prepared us for good works, to have a purpose on this earth: to help people and to be used to show them the truth of God’s word and the “good news” that Christ overcame the world and that through Him they can be given rest and peace in the here and now and eternal life with Him forever.

So focus on the good news and keep walking and talking with God. It’s not all doom and gloom out there, but to know peace and joy in a world that focuses on the fearful aspects of our experience, we need to know the peace that goes beyond all understanding by being reconciled to God by the Prince of Peace, and to be in harmony with Him by continually walking in His ways.


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verse is:

John 14:6 (NLT2)
6  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Today’s Bible verse is Christ telling us that He is the only way to God the Father.  

Here Christ makes it abundantly clear that there is one way to be reconciled to God, Him.  Christ is the truth that has to affect our lives.  Christ is the way to eternal life and the way to life and life more abundantly.  

There is no peace without peace with God and Christ’s death on the cross for our sins brings it to all who put their faith in Him.  

Of all the many options in this world, Jesus is the One way to peace with God and life everlasting.  That may seem narrow but Christ said in:

Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV) to
13  "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
14  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

It's not easy to come to faith in Christ. In fact apart from God’s grace and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible! But if he has revealed to you the truth of who Jesus is, we simply must accept Him as our Lord and Savior and make the hard choice to experience the Life He has for us by living according to His Way.  


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 

Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.

4. We make much of Christ in our secular work by earning enough money to keep us from depending on others, while focusing on the helpfulness of our work rather than financial rewards.

God intended from the beginning that satisfying work would provide for our needs. God worked at the beginning (Genesis 2:2), and the humans he created in his image would work. Before sin entered the world, that work would be without futility and frustration. It would unite beautifully with God’s abundant provision to meet every need. It would make the earth subject to man’s material needs without ruining the earth (Genesis 1:28). At the beginning, the homestead of man was a garden of fruit trees, not a hard field to be plowed and planted. “Out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). Not only that, “a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden” (verse 10).

Happy Work Before the Fall; Then Sweating and Fretting

In this all-supplying paradise God said, at first, “there was no man to work the ground” (verse 5). Then he made man from the ground, and, in his creation, Adam became a son working with his Father in the stewardship of creation. The essence of work was not sustenance of life. God gave himself as the sustainer. Man was free, not from work, but in work, to be creative without the anxiety of providing food and clothing.

What changed with the entrance of sin into the world was not that man had to work, but that work became hard with the futility and frustration of the fallen creation. The Lord said to Adam:

Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground. (Genesis 3:17–19, emphasis added)

When man and woman chose to be self-reliant and rejected God’s fatherly guidance and provision, God subjected them to the very thing they chose: self-reliance. From now on, he says, if you eat, it will be because you toil and sweat. So they were driven from the garden of happy work to the ground of anxious toil. The curse under which we live today is not that we must work. The curse is that, in our work, we struggle with weariness and frustration and calamities and anxiety. And all this is doubly burdensome because now by this very toil we must keep ourselves alive. “In toil you shall eat of the ground.… In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”

Christ Took the Curse on Himself, and We Are Being Freed

But hasn’t Christ come to lift the curse from his people? Yes. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ ” (Galatians 3:13). However, the curse is not lifted totally all at once. God saves us in stages. Christ delivered a mortal blow to evil when he died for sin and rose again. But not every enemy is yet put under his feet. For example, death is part of the curse we still experience. Christ conquered death for his people, but only partly now. We still die, but the “sting” of death, the hopelessness of death, is removed because our sins are forgiven in Christ and he is risen (1 Corinthians 15:54–55)!

Similarly, we must still work hard to provide for our needs. Christ says, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.… Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:25, 32–33). He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He says, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). In other words, God does not want his children to be burdened with the frustration and futility and depressing weariness of work. That much of the curse he aims to lift from us even in this age.

Paradise Is Not Here Yet

But just as death will be a reality to the end of this age, so must we work in this fallen age against many obstacles that often make work hard. Not yet may we return to paradise and pick fruit in someone else’s garden. That’s the mistake they made at Thessalonica. Some were quitting their jobs and being idle because they thought that Christ would come very soon. Paradise was at hand. So Paul wrote to them, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (2 Thessalonians 3:10–12). Able-bodied people who choose to live in idleness and eat the fruit of another’s sweat are in rebellion against God’s design. If we can, we should earn our own living.

How then do Christians make much of Christ in working “to earn their own living”? First, by conforming willingly to God’s design for this age. It is an act of obedience that honors his authority. Second, by removing stumbling blocks from unbelievers who would regard the lazy dependence of Christians on others as an evidence that our God is not worthy of following. “Work with your hands … so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:11–12). We honor God by earning our living because this clears the way for non-Christians to see Christ for who he really is. Aimless, unproductive Christians contradict the creative, purposeful, powerful, merciful God we love. They waste their lives.

Do Not Labor for the Food That Perishes

Third, we make much of God by earning our own living when we focus not on financial profit but on the benefit our product or service brings to society. This is paradoxical. I am saying, yes, we should earn enough money to meet our needs. But, no, we should not make that the primary focus of why we work. One of the most striking things Jesus ever said was, “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” (John 6:27). Do not labor for the food that perishes! “The food that perishes” simply means all ordinary food and provision. So this is striking! It seems to say the exact opposite of what I am saying. What does he mean?

We know from all we have seen so far that Jesus does not mean it is wrong to earn your own living and eat your own bread. Evidently then, he means that when we work for the food that perishes, there should be a significant sense in which we are not working for that food, but for something more. In other words, don’t focus on mere material things in your work. Don’t labor merely with a view to the perishable things you can buy with your earnings. Work with an eye not mainly to your money, but your usefulness. Work with a view to benefiting people with what you make or do.

Christ has lifted the curse of work. He has replaced anxious toil with trust in God’s promise to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19) and has thus awakened in us a different passion in our work. We turn with joy to the call of Jesus: Seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness, and the food that perishes will be added to you. So don’t labor for the food that perishes. Labor to love people and honor God. Think of new ways that your work can bless people. Stop thinking mainly of profitability, and think mainly of how helpful your product or service can become.

Do Your Business Dealings but Stay Free from Them

How do you get up in the morning and go to work not for the food that perishes—not mainly for the profit? This is really a spiritual discovery, attained through much prayer and longing. My words of explanation won’t make it happen. But maybe the Holy Spirit will use these words to advance your quest. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:30–31 that since we live in a time of great urgency, “those who buy [should buy] as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it.” I think this is another way of saying, yes, labor, but do not labor for the food that perishes. Go ahead and purchase, but act as though you have no goods. Do your business dealings, but stay free from them. The financial outcome of these dealings is not your life.

Say You Are a Stockbroker

Suppose you are a Christian stockbroker and have watched the market tumble. What it means to you not to labor for the food that perishes is that your true life is not jeopardized. Your peace and joy are not destroyed. Your resolve to do the best you can for your clients remains the same—even if you advise them to get out of the market and use their money a different way for God’s glory. You are not working for the food that perishes. Your goal is to enjoy Christ’s being exalted in the way you work. Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.… My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:32–34). None of us in our vocations should aim mainly at the food that perishes—leave that to the Lord. We should aim instead to do the will of him who sent us. And his will is that we treasure him above all else and live like it.

The Christian stockbroker will say in the face of a falling market, “The main food I want from this job is still there. I am hungry above all to pass this test of faith and have a deep restfulness in the goodness and power of Christ. I am hungry to enjoy his name being esteemed as others see my demeanor and my integrity and give Christ glory.” And to that end he labors for the food that endures to eternal life. He labors, rising early for prayer and meditation and holding Christ near to his heart all day. In that security he thinks of the good of others and serves them. That is a wonder, not a wasted life.

Jesus calls us to be aliens and exiles in the world. Not by taking us out of the world, but by changing, at the root, how we view the world and how we do our work in it. If we simply work to earn a living—if we labor for the bread that perishes—we will waste our lives. But if we labor with the sweet assurance that God will supply all our needs—that Christ died to purchase every undeserved blessing—then all our labor will be a labor of love and a boasting only in the cross.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003), 144–150.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Worthy of the Walk

An integral part of the Christian Faith is to live as Christ would have us live, to walk in righteousness, to understand who we are in Christ and to reflect that truth for the world to see.  While we are not worthy of the grace and mercy that God has given us in the gift of His Son and can never hope to earn it, we should recognize how fortunate we are and to continual turn toward God and attempt to walk in His ways.  We do this to give God the glory, to enjoy a life of peace, hope and love, and to show others that there is a God who loves them and is able give them hope for a new life on earth and life everlasting in eternity. 

I recently read John MacArthur's book on prayer, Alone with God.  I highly recommend it to all who are interested in deepening their prayer life and their relationship with Jesus Christ.

 Within it's pages, MacArthur shares scripture references that reflect how we are to walk as Christians and to demonstrate that we understand that we are worthy of God's calling.  I have taken those references and reorganized them and share them for you here.  I hope they will remind you of who you are in Christ and encourage you to "walk the walk", rather than just "talking the talk".  None of us are perfect but God is perfecting us (sanctification) and the more true we are to His ways the more we give Him the glory for saving us and giving us a new life and the hope to share with the world around us. 

Worthy of the Calling

A New Testament list of all that is encompassed in a worthy walk, for:

1 John 2:6 (NKJV)
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

·         Purity

Romans 13:13 (NLT)
13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy.

·         Contentment

1 Corinthians 7:17 (NLT)
17 Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.

·         Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight..

·         Righteousness

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

·         Gentleness & Humility

Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT)
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

·         Love

Ephesians 5:2 (NKJV)
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma

·         Light

Ephesians 5:8-9 (NKJV)
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

·         Wisdom

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NLT)
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.
16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

·         Unity

Philippians 1:27 (NKJV)
27  Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

·         Thankfulness

Colossians 1:3 (NKJV)
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

·         Knowledge & Fruitfulness

Colossians 1:10 (NKJV)
10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

·         Patience & Joy

Colossians 1:11 (NLT)
11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,

·         Truth

3 John 1:3-4 (NKJV)
3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

I hope you find this to be an encouragement to walk the walk of a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you actively share that hope with the world around you. 

God bless you.