PRAYER – Draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…pray without ceasing…lift up your heart and hands toward God in heaven…call upon His Name…the Name of the LORD, the Everlasting God…praying and making confession…pouring out your heart before Him…being sober minded and self-controlled for the purpose of prayer…keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving…praying at all times in the Spirit…with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…not worrying about anything, but praying about everything….casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you…drawing near with confidence to the throne of grace, to receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need…(from) the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, (to Whom) be the glory forever. Amen. (Heb 10:22, 1Th 5:17, Lam 3:41, 1Chr 16:8, Ge 21:33, Ezra 10:1, Ps 62:8, 1Pe 4:7, Col 4:2, Eph 6:18, Php 4:6, 1Pe 5:7, Heb 4:16, Ro 16:27)
C H Spurgeon encourages us to pray, reminding us that…
Prayer is the breath of God in man, returning whence it came.
Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian.
Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition which Peter gasped out — “Lord, save me.” (Mt 14:30) — but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity. If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing they would be all the better. Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a petition as short as that of Peter. Our extremities are the Lord’s opportunities.
If any one should ask me for an abstract of the Christian religion, I should say it is in that one word prayer. If I should be asked, “What will take in the whole of Christian experience?” I should answer, “prayer.” A man must have been convinced of sin before he could pray; he must have had some hope that there was mercy for him before he could pray. All the Christian virtues are locked up in the word prayer. In troubling times our best communion with God will be carried on by supplication. Tell Him your case, search out His promise, and then plead it with holy boldness. This is the best, the surest, and the speediest way of relief.
If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things, but prayer makes the common pebbles of God’s temporal bounties more precious than diamonds. Spiritual prayer cuts the diamond and makes it glisten more. When you are wrestling like Jacob with the angel and are nearly thrown down, ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen your arm. Consider how the Holy Spirit is the chariot-wheel of prayer. Prayer may be the chariot, the desire may draw it forth, but the Spirit is the very wheel whereby it moves.
Prayer is in itself, apart from the answer which it brings, a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the hallowed labour of prayer.
Prayer plumes the wings of God’s young eaglets, that they may learn to mount above the clouds.
Prayer girds the loins of God’s warriors, and sends them forth to combat with their sinews braced and their muscles firm. An earnest pleader comes out of their closet, even as the sun arises from the chambers of the east, rejoicing like a strong man to run the race.
Prayer is that uplifted hand of Moses which routs the Amalekites more than the sword of Joshua; it is the arrow shot from the chamber of the prophet foreboding defeat to the Syrians.
Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God.
We know not what prayer cannot do!
Because God is the living God, He can hear; because He is a loving God, He will hear; because He is our covenant God, He has bound Himself to hear.
No care, but all prayer. No anxiety, but much joyful communion with God. Carry your desires to the Lord of your life, the guardian of your soul. Go to Him with two portions of prayer and one of fragrant praise. Do not pray doubtfully, but thankfully. Consider that you have your petitions, and therefore thank God for His grace. He is giving you grace; give Him thanks. Hide nothing. Allow no want to lie rankling in your bosom; “make known your requests.” Run not to man. Go only to your God, the Father of Jesus, Who loves you in Him. This shall bring you God’s own peace. You shall not be able to understand the peace which you shall enjoy. It will enfold you in its infinite embrace. Heart and mind through Christ Jesus shall be steeped in a sea of rest. Come life or death, poverty, pain, slander, you shall dwell in Jesus above every ruffling wind or darkening cloud. Will you not obey this dear command? (Php 4:6-7) Yes, Lord, I do believe Thee; but, I beseech Thee help mine unbelief.
Anything is a blessing which makes us pray. Indeed the very act of prayer is a blessing. To pray is, as it were, to bathe in a cool, swirling stream and so to escape from the heat of earth’s summer sun. To pray is to mount on eagle’s wings above the clouds and get into the clear heaven where God dwells. To pray is to enter the treasure-house of God and to gather riches out of an inexhaustible storehouse. To pray is to grasp heaven in one’s arms, to embrace the Deity within one’s soul, and to feel one’s body made a temple of the Holy Spirit. Apart from the answer, prayer in itself is a blessing. To pray, my friends, is to cast off your burdens. It is to tear away your rags; it is to shake off your diseases; it is to be filled with spiritual vigor; it is to reach the highest point of Christian health. God grant us to be much in the holy art of wrestling with God in prayer.
Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation. As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer. We must be immersed in prayer as in our element, and so pray without ceasing. Lord, teach us so to pray that we may be more and more prevalent in supplication.
Let your thoughts be psalms, your prayers incense, and your breath praise.
So…Let us pray…
See Spurgeon’s Gems on Prayer…
CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY (Part 2) – A SANCTUARY is a consecrated place, a place of God’s “holy habitation” (Ps 68:5-note) set apart for His holy praise, a sacred place where His “strength and beauty” dwells (Ps 96:6-note), a “Rock of habitation to which we may continually come,” (Ps 71:3-note), a place to be revered (Lev 19:30-note, Lev 26:2), a place for His Name (to be honored)(2Chr 20:8), a quiet place to commune with Him in intimate fellowship, a place where “the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:23-24-note), a place to “find rest for our (weary and heavy laden) souls” (Mt 11:28-29-note), a “place (a Person) of Refuge from the raging wind and tempest” (Ps 55:8-note), a “Refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.” (Isa 25:4, Isa 32:2)
In the New Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ is our SANCTUARY and Place of REFUGE, for our “life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3-note) To use a modern expression, Christ is our “Safe House” in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28) now and forever. “How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee, to dwell in Thy courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy HOUSE, Thy Holy TEMPLE.” (Ps 65:4-note) Spurgeon writes “Behold what manner of love and blessedness the Father has bestowed upon us (1Jn 3:1KJV-note) that we may dwell in His SANCTUARY (in Christ), and go no more out forever and ever. Amen. Blessed are those who dwell at home in Christ. May both writer and reader be such men and women.” David affirms “Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life, and we will dwell in the HOUSE of the LORD (His SANCTUARY) forever.” (Ps 23:6-note) As Spurgeon says those “twin guardian angels, goodness and mercy follow us always, the black days as well as the bright days, the days of fasting as well as the days of feasting, the dreary days of winter as well as the bright days of summer. Goodness supplies our needs, and mercy blots out our sins.” And so let us “Lift up our hearts!” May our praise come “to His Holy Dwelling” (2Chr 30:27), and may we never weary of crying “O God, You are awesome in Your SANCTUARY,” (Ps 68:35-note). “O LORD, I love the HABITATION of Your HOUSE (because I love You Lord) and the place where Your (Shekinah) glory dwells.” (Ps 26:8-note) Spurgeon exhorts us: “Oh, my soul, imitate the psalmist, and let all thy desires ascend towards the highest good; longing here to see God, and having no higher joy even in eternity.” “Whether He comes in the second watch, or even in the third,” may Christ find us like His disciples, “continually in (His) TEMPLE, praising God.” (Lk 24:53)
Isaiah 8:14-note says of the LORD “He shall become a SANCTUARY (Hebrew = midqash = a holy place),” a description the Rabbis interpret as Messianic, a premise substantiated by Peter’s Spirit inspired quotation of the second part of Isa 8:14 which he uses to describe Messiah as “a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense.” (1Pe 2:8-note) Indeed, Christ is to all men either a SANCTUARY or a STONE of stumbling! Spurgeon affirms that “Our Lord Jesus Christ is our SANCTUARY, the Place of SECURE REFUGE for every soul that flies to Him. The moment a sinner believes in Jesus, he is safe in Christ, and he remains safe in life, safe in death, safe in judgment, safe in eternity (Ro 5:9-10-note, 1Th 1:10-note, Jn 10:29-note).” Christ is our SANCTUARY into Whom we can flee for refuge in times of danger or distress (cf Pr 18:10-note). Indeed, “God is our Refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Heb = a tight place ~ intense inner turmoil as in Ps 25:17-note).” (Ps 46:1-note) As Spurgeon says “Christ alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongs to God. And as God is all sufficient, His defense and might are equal to all our emergencies. He has been tried and proved by His people and never withdraws Himself from His afflicted. He is our Help, truly, effectually, constantly; He is present or near us, close at our side and ready for our comfort. He is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this comforting truth is added the consideration that His assistance comes at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the winter. He is a friend in need and a friend indeed. When it is very dark with us, let brave spirits say, “Come, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm.” Remember God never promised us an easy time, but He does promise a safe arrival!
“Should all the hosts of death, And powers of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms Of rage and malice on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior power and guardian grace.”
Perhaps you find yourself in a condition much like that of the godly remnant of Judah, exiled in an idol filled land, feeling hopeless and helpless. Indeed, the faithful remnant were in great need of a good word of encouragement from the “God of hope.” (Ro 15:13-note) While they may have felt forsaken (like all of us from time to time), they were neither forsaken nor forgotten by God, “for He Himself said, ”I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Heb 13:5-note) And so in a time of spiritual darkness, the Lord God gave His people a “precious and magnificent” promise (2Pe 1:4-note) declaring “Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a LITTLE SANCTUARY in the countries where they have come.” (Ezekiel 11:16KJV-note) Observe how Jehovah Who is the grand Object of worship, promises to also be the best Place of worship, Himself the Sanctuary, even in face of the destruction of the physical sanctuary in Jerusalem. Beloved, is this promise not applicable to all believers, for we too are living in an increasingly godless, Christ rejecting land, filled with idols, living as “aliens and strangers” (1Pe 1:1-note, 1Pe 2:11-note), longingly “looking for the city which has foundations” (Heb 11:10-note, Heb 11:16-note), our eternal habitation with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, “the place where His glory dwells” (Ps 26:8-note)? The Lord has “been our DWELLING PLACE in all generations, for we have made the LORD, our Refuge, the Most High, our Dwelling Place.” (Ps 90:1-note, Ps 91:9-note) Indeed our Jesus is for us a “Little Sanctuary” wherever we go, providing “times of refreshing which come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19).
Spurgeon adds that God’s promise to be a LITTLE SANCTUARY applies to all weary and heavy laden sojourners in Christ: “Banished from the public means of grace, we are not removed from the grace of the means. The Lord Who places His people where they feel as exiles, will Himself be with them, and be to them all that they could have had at home, in the place of their solemn assemblies. Take this to yourselves, O ye who are called to wander! God is to His people a Place of Refuge, David declaring “my Refuge is in God.” (Ps 62:7-note, Ps 73:28-note). We find SANCTUARY in Christ from every adversary. He is our Place of Worship too. He is with us as with Jacob when he slept in the open field, and rising, said, “Surely God was in this place.” (Ge 28:16) To us also He will be a SANCTUARY of Quiet, like the Holy of Holies, which was the noiseless abode of the Eternal. We shall be at rest from fear of evil (Ps 23:4-note, Ps 112:7-note). God Himself, in Christ Jesus, is the SANCTUARY of Mercy. The Ark of the Covenant is the Lord Jesus, and Aaron’s rod, the pot of manna, the tables of the law, all are in Christ our Sanctuary. In God we find the shrine of holiness and of communion. What more do we need? O Lord, fulfill this promise and be ever to us as a LITTLE SANCTUARY!” Amen
“Jesus, before Thy face we fall—
Our Lord, our Life, our Hope, our all!
For we have nowhere else to flee—
No SANCTUARY, Lord, but Thee!”
Spurgeon – “The Lord has ways of weaning us from the visible and the tangible, and bringing us to live upon the invisible and the real, in order to prepare us for that next stage, that better life, that higher place, where we shall really deal with eternal things only. God blows out our candles, and makes us find our light in Him, to prepare us for that place in which they need no candle, for the glory of God is their light; and where, strange to tell, they have no temple, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the SANCTUARY thereof(Rev 21:22-note, Rev 22:5-note). The holy leads to the holiest: living upon God here leads to living with God hereafter. Oh, that God would gradually lift us up above all the outward, above all the visible, and bring us more and more into the inward and unseen!” (From Spurgeon’s sermon on Ezekiel 11:16 – “A Little Sanctuary” – take time to read the entire sermon)
You are my Refuge (play)
You are my Sanctuary
When I feel afraid
You’re my Hiding Place
LIGHT AFTER DARKNESS – Perhaps you are going through dark times, even as I have been for many months, with still no end in sight. May your mind be renewed and the joy of your salvation be restored as you ponder Spurgeon’s query: “Why should we dread to descend into the dark shaft of affliction, if it leads us to the gold mine of bright spiritual experience? Why should we cry out if the sun of our prosperity goes down, and yet in the darkness of our adversity we are better able to count the starry promises with which the Faithful God has been pleased to gem the sky? Many of His promises are written in ‘invisible ink,’ which we cannot read till the fire of trouble brings out the characters.”
May the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world (Php 1:19-note, Jn 8:12-note), shine His Word of Life (1Jn 1:1-note) into our hearts, reminding us of the truth that in our times of darkness, when we are suffering “multicolored” trials, we can still “greatly rejoice” as we recall to mind that the dark times “have come so that our faith, of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed, for indeed, momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. God knows the way we take, and when He has tried us, we shall come forth as pure gold, for the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day, (that glorious day) when He appears, and we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He is.” (1Pe 1:6-7-note, 2Cor 4:17-note, Job 23:10-note, Pr 4:18-note, 1Jn 3:2-note).
Great Father of lights, Giver of every good and perfect gift, although You “send the darkness, and it becomes night, You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning. You turn my darkness into light.” (James 1:17-note, Ps 104:20-note, Ps 18:28-note) Dear Father, “let us see Your hand in the veiling of the sun, and never fear either natural or providential darkness, since both are of Your own making” and for our great good. (C H Spurgeon) Amen
In the darkness of night, Jesus is our steadfast Light.
As you play the beautiful piano rendition of Francis Havergal’s “Light Out of Darkness” and consider each accompanying image, may God’s Spirit enable you to see each of the Father’s promises as personally given to you…
Light after darkness, gain after loss,
Strength after weakness, crown after cross;
Sweet after bitter, hope after fears,
Home after wandering, praise after tears.
Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain,
Sight after mystery, peace after pain;
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast,
Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.
Near after distant, gleam after gloom,
Love after loneliness, life after tomb;
After long agony, rapture of bliss,
Right was the pathway, leading to this
CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY (Part 1/2) – A SANCTUARY is a sacred place, a place set apart for a holy purpose, a place to commune with God in intimate fellowship, a place to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24), a place to “find rest for our souls” (Mt 11:28-29-note), a “place of refuge from the raging wind and tempest” (Ps 55:6-note), and “a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.” (Isa 25:4) In the New Covenant, our Lord Jesus is our Sanctuary and place of refuge. To use a modern expression, Christ is our “Safe House” now and forever.
“How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee, to DWELL IN THY COURTS. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, Thy holy temple.” (Ps 65:4-note) “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Ps 16:11-note) “How blessed are those who DWELL IN THY HOUSE! They are ever praising Thee. Selah (Pause and Ponder)” (Ps 84:4-note) Indeed, “one day in Thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere (Play song)” (Ps 84:10-note) for “the nearness of God is our good. We have made the Lord God our Refuge, that we may tell of all His works.” (Ps 73:28-note) David prayed “ONE THING I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple.” (Ps 27:4-note; cp Ps 23:6-note) May God grant us such a single minded passion for His presence! (cp Mary chose the “One Thing“, Lk 10:39, 42-note; Play Rich Mullins’ “One Thing”!)
And so Jesus depicted Himself as the true SANCTUARY where men could meet with God when He declared “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up….He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (Jn 2:19, 21) And Paul declared that in Christ “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” (Col 2:9-note) And even as the Shekinah glory of old inhabited the Tabernacle and later the Temple, Jesus the divine Word (Jn 1:1-2) “became flesh, and dwelt (pitched His tabernacle) among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14) And when “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split,” (Mt 27:50-51) giving all His beloved children “confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.” (Heb 10:19-20-note) And so now we can “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22-note), a promise which is an answer to our Great High Priest’s earthly prayer that we “may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that THEY ALSO MAY BE IN US; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.” (Jn 17:21) And because Christ is our Sanctuary we can be assured that “The LORD IS NEAR TO the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed (bruised, broken, oppressed) in spirit.” (Ps 34:18-note) “For thus says the One Who is high and lifted up, Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: “I DWELL (tabernacle) in the high and holy place, and ALSO WITH HIM who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite (crushed, discouraged, broken – do any of these descriptions apply to your life beloved?).” (Isa 57:15) And when all has been said and done, John describes a new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1-note) which has “no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.” (Rev 21:22-note) O happy day, for in that glorious future day “In His temple everything says ‘Glory!'” (Ps 29:9-note)
Among the Israelites, the Sanctuary was the most retired part of the Temple, the Holy of holies (Latin = Sanctum sanctorum), the place where under the Old Covenant God had promised He would dwell in their midst (Ex 25:8) declaring “and there I will meet with you; and from above the Mercy Seat (Gk translation of Heb = hilasterion [study]), from between the two cherubim which are upon the Ark of the Testimony (covenant), I will speak to you.” (Ex 25:22). Under the New Covenant, Jesus became the fulfillment of the OT animal’s blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, by becoming “a propitiation (Hilasterion = satisfactory payment) in His blood” (Lev 16:14-note fulfilled in Ro 3:25-note,1Jn 2:2). And because of Christ’s finished work on the Cross (Jn 19:30-note), God through His Son’s fully atoning work now invites us to make Him our SANCTUARY, our SANCTUM SANCTORUM, our Place, or better our Person, of refuge to which we can flee in times of discouragement, danger or distress. Indeed, we as believers can say of Christ our Sanctuary “You have been our DWELLING PLACE (Heb = “Temple”) in all generations (Play song).” (Ps 90:1-note) for we were “in Him before the foundation of the world.” (Eph 1:4-note) By faith we “have made Jehovah (= Jesus – compare Jn 12:41NLT with Isa 6:1-5-note), our Refuge, even the Most High, our DWELLING PLACE.” (Ps 91:9-note) As Spurgeon said “My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord Jesus. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in Christ. He is “my strong Habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in Christ (my Sanctuary) I dwell in a quiet Habitation.” Amen!
Herbert Lockyer adds “How good of God it is to promise Himself as a SANCTUARY! In the OT He provided a temple for His people; in the NT He has a redeemed people as His temple (1Cor 3:16, Eph 2:20-22-note)! But the wonder of wonders is that He also is our Temple. How consoling it is to know that amid all the turmoil of the street, busy cares of the home, hurry and confusion of our modern life, we have a “little sanctuary” (Ezek 11:16KJV-note) “closer than breathing, nearer than hands or feet.” No sanctuary ever surpassed the Temple Solomon built. For its marvel and magnificence it was incomparable, yet where is it today? But, blessed be Christ our Sanctuary, He abides forever (Ps 102:12-note, Heb 7:25-note). While it is fitting to gather in a house of worship, whether it be a simple or cathedral-like structure, the sphere makes little difference. Many dear shut-in ones cannot journey to a sanctuary of stone, yet hidden from earth’s eyes they can take advantage of Christ Who offers Himself as their Sanctuary. Blessed, is it not, to have a Person as well as a place we can draw nigh to?”
Praise Christ our Sanctuary as you listen to Kari Jobe’s spiritual song
DWELLING PLACE (click to play)
For in you I find my Dwelling Place
In You I find amazing grace
In You I find security
Jesus, You are all I need.
I am standing and not falling
Cause You’re ending what You’re starting
You won’t leave me or deceive me
Always hide, Lord, You guide me
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST – Every saint’s great “hope is in the resurrection of the dead!” (Acts 23:6-note). When Socrates lay dying, he was asked “Shall we live again,” to which he replied “I hope so!” Ours is not a dead hope but “A LIVING HOPE” (1Pe 1:3-note), not a “hope so,” but a “hope sure!” The Egyptian belief in a resurrection from the dead led them to call the mummy case the “chest of the living” and to place a scarab beetle in the corpse’s heart. Why? Because they knew the scarab’s larva buried itself in the earth and later emerged as a mature insect which to them symbolized “resurrection.” Socrates and the Egyptians held a false hope, but Sir Walter Raleigh held fast to a sure hope which served as an anchor for his soul (Heb 6:19-note) and prompted him to write the following words in his Bible the night before he was beheaded: “From this earth, this grave, this dust, my God shall raise me up!” Hallelujah! Martha also believed in the hope of the resurrection, but Jesus moved her from the doctrinal to the personal when He declared “I AM the RESURRECTION and the LIFE. He who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” (Jn 11:25-note) The resurrection is not an “IT” but an “I”, but too often we stop at “IT.” Jesus said “Because I live, you shall live also.” (Jn 14:19-note) The resurrection of believers is guaranteed by Christ’s own resurrection. We can rest assured that one day soon, He will “transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” (Php 3:21-note). When we take our last breath and leave our loved ones, we can be comforted by the certainty that our grave is but a gateway to His glory (1Th 4:18, 13-17-note). For believers death is not a period, but only a comma! David believed this truth writing “I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.” (Ps 17:15-note, cf Ps 49:15-note) Job believed this truth declaring “Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:26-note) Indeed, we shall SEE GOD! “Christ shall be the object of our eternal vision and we shall we never want any joy beyond that of seeing Him. Think not that this will be a narrow sphere for the mind to dwell in. It is but one Source of delight, but that Source is infinite. All His attributes shall be subjects for contemplation, and as He is infinite under each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, His gifts, His love to us, and His glory in all His purposes, and in all His actions, these shall make an eternal theme which will be ever new.” (Spurgeon) Therefore let us even now “since we have been RAISED UP WITH CHRIST (speaking of our present spiritual resurrection, Ro 6:4-note, Eph 2:6-note, Col 2:12-note), keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Let us set our mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth, for we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God and when Christ our life, is revealed, then we also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col 3:1-4-note) “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” (1Jn 3:2-note) SELAH! (Pause and ponder and sing…) “Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes, He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!”
As Spurgeon says “The RESURRECTION of Christ is a fact better attested than any event recorded in history!” (cf >500 eye witnesses 1Cor 15:6-note) “Christianity is in its very essence a RESURRECTION religion. The concept of the RESURRECTION lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.” (John Stott) “The RESURRECTION of Jesus is the Gibraltar of the Christian faith and the Waterloo of infidelity and rationalism.” (R A Torrey) Contrary to the opinion of the skeptics, the New Testament proclaims a Christ Who once was dead and is now alive, not a Christ Who was once alive and now is dead! J C Ryle rightly said that “in an age of abounding unbelief and skepticism, we shall find that the RESURRECTION of Christ will bear any weight that we can lay upon it.” In the OT on the annual Day of Atonement, if the High Priest’s offering was acceptable to God he emerged alive, but if it was unacceptable, he died behind the veil (read Heb 9:7NLT-note, Ex 28:35). The coming forth of our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14-note, Heb 9:11-note) after making His Atonement demonstrates clearly that His offering was acceptable to the Father. The Empty Tomb is the Father’s “Amen” (2Cor 1:20KJV-note) to Son’s cry of “It is finished (Paid in Full = Tetelestai)!” (Jn 19:30-note) “Everything antecedent in the incarnate life of our Lord moves towards the RESURRECTION and everything subsequent rests upon it and is conditioned by it.” (John Murray) Indeed, the “surpassing greatness of His POWER toward us who believe” is the same “RESURRECTION POWER” that brought Christ up from the grave (Eph 1:19-20) and is now operative within all those who belong to Christ (Ro 6:5, 8-12-note, cf Php 3:10-11-note). The same POWER that opened Christ’s Tomb, now opens the door to abundant life (Jn 10:10b-note)! Are you experiencing abundant life? If not consider prayerfully singing this simple song to Him: “Jesus Be Jesus in Me. No longer me, but Thee. Resurrection Power, fill me this hour, Jesus be Jesus in Me.”
Spurgeon rightly says that “The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that “Christ is risen from the dead” (Mt 28:7, 2Ti 2:8-note) for, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain: you are still in your sins.” (1Cor 15:14, 17-note) The Divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was “Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the RESURRECTION from the dead.” (Ro 1:4-note) It would not be unreasonable to doubt his Deity if he had not risen. Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ’s triumphant victory over death and the grave; for He “was delivered up (handed over to sinful men to be crucified) for our transgressions, and was raised for (to secure, guarantee) our justification (act of free grace by which God pardons our sin and accepts us as righteous on account of the atonement of Christ).” (Ro 4:25-note) Indeed our very regeneration is connected with His RESURRECTION, for we are “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1Peter 1:3-note) And most certainly our ultimate RESURRECTION rests here, for, “if (as is the case) the Spirit of Him Who (the Father) raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He (Father) Who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit Who indwells you.” (Ro 8:11-note, cf Ezek 36:27-note) C S Lewis said “Jesus has forced open a door that had been locked since the death of the first man (Ro 5:21-note). He has met, fought and beaten the King of Death (1Cor 15:55, 57-note). Everything is different because He has done so.” In the Revelation Jesus announced His victory declaring “I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” (Rev 1:17-18-note) George Sweeting recalls that “In the early 1920’s, Nikolai Bukharin was sent from Moscow to Kiev to address a vast anti-God rally. For an hour he ridiculed the Christian faith until it seemed as if the whole structure of belief was in ruins. Questions were invited. A priest of the Orthodox church rose and asked to speak. He faced the crowd and spoke the ancient cry of victory “CHRIST IS RISEN.” Instantly the vast assembly rose to its feet, and the reply came back like a crash of breakers against a cliff, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!” And because He is risen we can sing — “I Know That My Redeemer Lives! What joy the blest assurance gives! He lives, He lives, Who once was dead; He lives, my everlasting Head!” (Samuel Medley)
THE RESURRECTION IN THE OT – Jesus Christ’s resurrection was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Abraham believed in the doctrine of the resurrection. As traveled to Mt Moriah to sacrifice his only begotten son, Isaac, he told the men with him to “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you.” (Ge 22:5-note). How could he sacrifice Isaac and yet know they would both return? The writer of Hebrews explains that Abraham “considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received (Isaac) back as a type.” (Heb 11:19-note, cf Ge 22:13-14-note) Jonah illustrated the doctrine of the resurrection. After Jonah’s disobedience, “Jehovah appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17) Jesus used this OT story to illustrate His resurrection, explaining that “just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mt 12:40) Isaiah foretold that the Resurrection of Christ would “swallow up death for all time.” (Isa 25:8-note, 1Cor 15:54-note) Isaiah again alluded to the resurrection declaring “Your dead will live. Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy.” (Isa 26:19-note). The prophet Daniel affirmed the resurrection of individual believers writing that “those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake to everlasting life.” (Da 12:2-note) And so “we possess the prophetic word which is altogether reliable, to which we will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star (the Second Coming of Christ) rises in our hearts.” (2Pe 1:19-note, Nu 24:17-note cf “The Bright Morning Star”-Rev 22:16-note – even some Jewish Rabbis called Messiah Bar-Kochva, Son of a Star.) And so let us sing – “Our Lord is risen from the dead, Our Jesus is gone up on high, The powers of hell are captive led, Dragged to the portals of the sky.” Amen (Charles Wesley).
THE RESURRECTION IN THE NT – Jesus Himself taught that “it is written (in the OT), that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day.” (Lk 24:46-note, cf Lk 20:37-38-note) Our Lord was referring to David’s affirmation that “You (God) will not abandon my soul to Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One (Messiah) to undergo decay.” (Ps 16:10-note) Peter quotes David explaining that “he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:31-32-note, also quoted by Paul in Acts 13:35-note) Spurgeon wrote “Into the outer prison of the grave His body might go, but into the inner prison of corruption He could not enter. He Who in soul and body was pre-eminently God’s “Holy One,” was loosed from the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. This is noble encouragement to all the saints; die we must, but rise we shall, and though in our case we shall see corruption, yet we shall rise to everlasting life. CHRIST’S RESURRECTION is the cause, the earnest, the guarantee, and the emblem of the rising of all His people. Let us, therefore, go to our graves as to our beds, resting our flesh among the clods as they now do upon their couches.” Christ’s EMPTY tomb guarantees our FULL salvation. “We are more sure to arise our of our graves than out of our beds” (Thomas Watson) “Since Jesus is mine, I’ll not fear undressing, But gladly put off these garments of clay; To die in the Lord is a covenant blessing, Since Jesus to glory through death led the way.”
Christ has risen from the dead and defeated death…
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58-note
Play Glorious Day
Living He loved me, Dying He saved me,
Buried He carried, My sins far away!
Rising He justified, Freely forever.
One day He’s coming. Oh glorious day! Oh glorious day!
One day the grave could hold Him no longer.
One day the stone rolled away from the door.
Then He arose over death He had conquered.
Now He’s ascended , My Lord evermore.
Death could not hold Him.
The grave could not keep Him From rising again.
Play Christ is Risen
CHRIST OUR BREAKER BREAKS THE POWER OF SIN - Not a son or daughter of Adam’s race has escaped the chains of sin and death, for sin entered the world and spread death to all, because all sinned (Ro 5:12-note). We were all born in chains and in slavery. Sin held us fast in bondage as children of a fallen race. The first Adam broke God’s Law resulting in a curse (Gal 3:10-note), but the Last Adam (Jesus) kept God’s law and was BROKEN, “having become a curse for us (in our place)” (1Cor 15:45-note, Gal 3:13-note). The first Adam made a “breach (a break),” in our relationship with God, but the Last Adam, CHRIST THE BREAKER, repaired the breach between us and God by being made “sin on our behalf,” (2Cor 5:21-note) so that “He might bring us to God” (1Pe 3:18-note, cf Ro 5:1-2-note) and we might die to the power of “sin and live to righteousness” (1Pe 2:24-note, Ro 6:6-note, Ro 6:11-note). The BREAKER has broken the power of sin, so that “sin shall no longer be master over us, for we are not under (the power of the) law but under (controlled by the power of) grace” (Ro 6:14-note), for “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn 8:36-note) As Spurgeon said “By faith in Christ (the BREAKER), the ruling power of sin is immediately BROKEN, so that every sin of every kind may be overcome by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.” John Piper adds that “The faith that unites us to Christ for justification (declared forever righteous in Christ) also BREAKS the power of sin in our lives. Woe to us if we try to get right with God by faith alone (Eph 2:8-note), and then try to become good people (be progressively set apart or sanctified) by other means (other than by faith – Gal 2:20-note, Gal 3:3-note). Trusting Christ (the BREAKER) for all that God is for us in Him is the link to God’s justifying grace, and trusting Christ for all that God is for us in Him is the link to God’s sanctifying grace. We are pardoned (justified) and we are purified (sanctified)–by the same kind of faith.” Indeed, for those who have been set free, “The life of grace is the death of sin, and the growth of grace the decay of sin.” (Brooks) Therefore, let us “praise the Name of God (CHRIST OUR BREAKER) with song” (Ps 69:30-note)…
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
(Play And Can it Be by Charles Wesley)
CHRIST OUR BREAKER has broken the chains of sin, of the law, of death and of the devil. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness into His marvelous light, from the dominion of Satan to God (Col 1:13-note, Acts 26:18-note), out of the law gate of conviction and condemnation and through the Gospel gate of conversion (Ro 8:1-note). Our BREAKER has led us into “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Ro 8:21-note), for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2Cor 3:17-note) And remember that true freedom is not the right to do as we please, but the (supernatural) power to do as we should! True freedom is found in a willing submission to the BREAKER (Ro 12:1-note), Whose grace emancipates and captivates, thus enabling us to lovingly declare “Truly I am your servant. You have freed me from my chains.” (Ps 116:16-note) “Now that you have been set free from the power of sin and have been enslaved to God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification (daily growing in grace) and its end, eternal life.” (Ro 6:22-note) As Piper explains “There are no neutral people. There are only slaves of sin and slaves of God. Becoming a Christian is to have the sovereign Captain of the battleship of righteousness (“Christ The Breaker”) commandeer the slave ship of unrighteousness, put the ship-captain, Sin, in irons; break the chains of the slaves; and give them such a spiritual sight of grace and glory that they freely serve the new Sovereign forever as the irresistible Joy and Treasure of their lives (Col 2:3NLT-note).” So “let all who take refuge in (CHRIST THE BREAKER) be glad. Let them ever sing for joy…over His Victory” (Ps 5:11-note, Ps 20:5-note) because…
Our BREAKER can still a raging storm,
One Word can calm an angry sea;
So when we put our trust in Him,
He BREAKS our chains and SETS US FREE.
And yet dear child of God, you may still find yourself shackled by some besetting sin (Heb 12:1-note), bound by chains of an evil habit which has a hold on you that you never dreamed possible, until you tried to shake off “the viper,” only to find that the cords of your own sin held you fast (Pr 5:22-note, cf Jn 8:34-note, 2Pe 2:19-note). C H Spurgeon understood the believer’s life long battle with Sin, writing that “Even the regenerate find that they have a hard struggle with the flesh (Gal 5:17-note, 1Pe 2:11-note). How can we win our way in face of the direct opposition of our fallen nature? Beloved, “THE BREAKER has gone up before” us (Micah 2:13-note). The Lord Jesus Christ assumed our nature (Jn 1:1,14, Ro 8:3-note), and was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15-note, Heb 2:18-note); He overcame the adversary at every point of the conflict (Mt 4:1-10-note, cf Ge 3:15-note), that through His victory we might be more than conquerors (Ro 8:37-note, cf 1Jn 5:4, 1Cor 15:57). He sends forth the Holy Spirit to renew us in the spirit of our minds (Jn 14:26-note, Jn 15:26-note, Eph 4:23-note); He takes the stony heart out of our flesh (Ezek 36:26-27-note “and puts His Spirit within us to cause us to walk in His ways”); He breaks the power of sinful habits; He rules the will (Php 2:13NLT-note = “giving us the desire and the power” to obey Him), He governs the affections (Gal 5:24KJV-note), He enlightens the understanding (Jn 8:12, Eph 5:8-note, Eph 1:18-note), He sanctifies the soul (1Pe 1:2-note, 2Th 2:13-note, Acts 26:18-note); and thus, though weak in ourselves, we are made strong in Him (2Cor 12:9-note, 2Cor 12:10-note; 2Ti 2:1-note); so strong that we shall not perish in the wilderness (Jn 10:28-note), but shall pursue our pilgrimage till we cross the Jordan, and stand in our lot (inheritance) at the end of the days (2Ti 4:7-8-note). Because THE BREAKER has gone up before us, we shall break through the ramparts (defenses, strongholds) of sinfulness (2Cor 10:4-5KJV-note), and cut our way to holiness (Heb 12:14NET-note).” Indeed the BREAKER “breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free; His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me.” (C Wesley) Piper comments that “Wesley’s hymn is right: the blood of Christ obtained for us not only the CANCELLATION of sin, but also the CONQUERING of sin. This is the grace we live under–the SIN-CONQUERING, not just SIN-CANCELING, grace of God. Triumph over the sin (that so easily entangles us) is all of grace–past grace, canceling sin’s guilt through the Cross of Christ, and future grace, conquering sin’s power through the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9-note, Ro 8:13-note). That is why the only fight we fight is the fight of faith (1Ti 6:12-note, cf Eph 6:11-12-note). We fight to be so satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus that temptation to sin loses its power over us.” “Look to the wounds of Christ, they will heal your wounds! Look to the death of Christ, it will be the death of your doubts! Look to the life of Christ, it shall be the life of your hopes! Look to the glory of Christ, it shall be the glory of your souls here, and the glory of your souls forever and ever!” (Spurgeon) May Charles Wesley’s hymn be our prayer…
O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free;
A heart that always feels Thy blood,
So freely shed for me. Amen
(Play this hymn by Charles Wesley).
SINCE THE BREAKER “Breaks the power of Cancelled Sin”…
Let us sing as those set free
“O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing”
SEE ALSO CHRIST THE BREAKER (PART 2)
CHRIST THE BREAKER (Part 1) - Have you ever heard our Lord Jesus Christ referred to as “The Breaker (Heb = happores)?” Spurgeon said “He who has many crowns, has many titles. Jesus, the King of kings (Rev 19:16-note), has many Names, each of them fraught with meaning, and full of sweetness.” The glorious Names of Jesus are like windows through which we see His attributes and character and in which we experience His power and presence, for the Name of Jehovah is forever and ever a Strong Tower for the righteous who run into it and make it their safe haven (lifted up above the fray) (Pr 18:10-note). The more we grow in the grace and knowledge of the great Names of Jesus (2Pe 3:18-note), the Name above every name (Php 2:9-note), the more we will gladly place our trust in His sufficiency to meet our every need (2Cor 9:8-John MacDuff’s note), for as David learned through manifold trials “Those who know (experientially know, not just head knowledge but heart change) God’s Name, will put their trust in Him” (Ps 9:10-note). As Spurgeon said “Ignorance is worst when it amounts to ignorance of God, and knowledge is best when it exercises itself upon the Name of God. This most excellent knowledge leads to the most excellent grace of faith (Ro 10:17-note). Knowing His Name means an experiential acquaintance with the attributes of God, which serve as anchors to hold our soul from drifting (Heb 2:1-note, Heb 6:19-note).” I know not what trial you may be experiencing today (or are about to experience) dear child of the Living God, but I know that while He may bend us, “a bruised and battered reed” the Breaker will not break off (Isa 42:3,Mt 12:20-Spurgeon sermon) So “May the LORD answer you in your day of trouble! May the Name of the God of Jacob (THE BREAKER) protect and defend you and keep you safe from all harm!” (Ps 20:1-note) And may His Spirit enable you to “Proclaim aloud the Saviour’s fame, Who bears the BREAKER’S wond’rous Name; Sweet Name, and it becomes Him well; Who BREAKS DOWN earth, sin, death, and hell.” Amen
CHRIST THE BREAKER is found only once in Scripture in Micah 2:13-note in the midst of a description of divine discipline (Micah 2:1-11-note). Robert Hawker invites us “Pause, my soul, over this precious scripture, for it is indeed most precious.” Spurgeon reminds us “Judgment is God’s strange work, and He rejoices even in the midst of threatening to turn aside and utter gracious words to obedient souls. Surely the brightest and most silvery drops of love that have ever distilled upon men have fallen in close connection with storms of divine justice.” And so against this dreary backdrop “Micah proclaims this bright and brilliant vision of deliverance (C Roll),” promising “I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob, I will surely gather the (believing) remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in the fold; like a flock in the midst of its pasture. They will be so numerous that they will make a lot of noise (Listen). THE BREAKER (ESV = He who opens the breach) goes up before them. They break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it. So their King goes on before them, and Jehovah is at their head.” (Micah 2:12-13-note). Most conservative writers agree that while Micah’s prophecy may have a partial fulfillment in Judah’s return from Babylonian exile, the final fulfillment awaits Christ’s Second Coming, when He rescues Israel (the believing remnant) from otherwise certain annihilation at the end of this age (Ro 11:25-27-note, cf Jer 32:37-39, Ezek 37:21-22-note).
CHRIST THE BREAKER’S MANY TITLES – Notice that in Micah 2:12-13 Jesus is depicted as our BREAKER, our GOOD SHEPHERD (sheep…flock) leading us out of bondage (cf Ps 23:1-3-note, Heb 13:20-note), our victorious KING leading us in triumph (cf Rev 19:11,16,14-note), our Great “I AM” (JEHOVAH) Himself the Covenant Who assures our eternal redemption (Isa 42:6, 49:8, Mal 3:1-note) and our HEAD (Leader), our example, in Whose footsteps we are to follow (1Pe 2:21-note). Spurgeon adds that Christ “marches in front of His sheep, the GOOD SHEPHERD clearing the way; the PIONEER of the heavenly army (Heb 2:10NET-note); the BREAKER, breaking through every difficulty; the KING, overcoming all foes.” Indeed, “THE BREAKER is gone forth in love, With power and skill divine, Descending from the realms above, To quell His foes and ours.” Amen
CHRIST THE BREAKER GOES BEFORE US - Micah says our Breaker “goes up before us” so wherever your path leads today, you can rest assured that your Breaker has already tread that path. Let us fix our eyes on His lovely Face (Heb 12:1-note) and our ears on His winsome Voice (Jn 10:5), remembering that Christ never drives His sheep, but always leads them, clearing their way (Jn 10:3-4-note). He is our BREAKER Who has broken all barriers and impediments that obstruct our way to God. The “Goliaths” among men cannot stand before Him or his weakest servant who is strong in His grace (2Ti 2:1-note). Let this assurance be a source of comfort and confidence to your soul today. “He as the BREAKER has made the way POSSIBLE and PASSABLE.” (Paisley) Let us follow Him as we ponder His precious Name, THE BREAKER, looking especially at what transpired when our BREAKER was “BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT, Just for love of me, Jesus, God’s most precious Treasure, Lavished on me” (Gloria Gaither-see link below) on Calvary’s Tree.
OUR BREAKER BREAKS OUR STONY HEART - When the Lord created Adam, He gave man his life (Ge 2:7-note). When He redeemed man, He gave His own life. (Mt 20:28). In the movie, the Last Emperor, the boy emperor of China was asked “What happens when you do wrong?” to which he replied “When I do wrong, someone else is punished,” and proceeded to break a costly vase, causing one of his servants to be beaten! God so loved the world, that Jesus reversed the roles. The first Adam broke the law of God (Ge 3:6-7-note). The Last Adam (1Cor 15:45) kept the law of God, that on the Cross He might be BROKEN for our BROKENNESS and “crushed for our iniquities” (Isa 53:5, 10-Spurgeon, 2Cor 5:21-note, Heb 10:10-note, 1Pe 3:18-note). Christ the BREAKER became “the REPAIRER of the breach (break)” (Isa 58:12) which sin had made between God and Adam (and all men - Ro 5:12-note). The BREAKER Himself was BROKEN “once at the consummation of the ages!” (Heb 9:26-note), that we might not suffer a BROKEN relationship with God now and “in the ages to come” (Eph 2:7-note, cf Heb 7:25-note, 2Th 1:8-9-note) Christ our BREAKER cleared our way to heaven when He broke our “heart of stone and gave us a tender heart” (Ezek 11:19-note) In fact, one of the few things improved by breaking is the hard heart of an unconverted sinner. “At the conversion of every sinner, Christ breaks open the everlasting doors of our hearts and enters in. He breaks our rocky hearts in pieces and then binds up what He has broken.” (John Gill) Indeed, when the BREAKER “forgives sin, He purges the RECORD, erases the REMEMBRANCE and empowers the RECIPIENT.” (Bosch) “He breaks His children’s hearts in twain, And brings proud nature down; The hearts He breaks He heals again, And on them puts a crown.”
OUR BREAKER BREAKS THE BARRIER BETWEEN GOD & MAN - What a breakthrough our Breaker made for us when He died on the Cross, for when He cried out and “yielded up His spirit,” the barrier between God and man was removed, the Gospel writers all recording that “the veil of the Temple (separating the Holy Place from God’s glorious presence) was torn in two.” (Mt 27:51-note, Mk 15:38, Lk 23:45). The writer of Hebrews interprets the rent veil declaring “brethren, we have confidence to enter the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is His (broken) flesh.” (Heb 10:19-20-note) As Spurgeon says “Jesus Christ’s humanity was a veil which somewhat concealed the glory of His Deity; but the flesh of Christ having been crucified (broken), the veil has been rent, and now we may come right up to the Throne of God without trembling; nay, we may come even with holy boldness and familiarity, and speak to God without alarm. Having such a privilege as this, LET US NOT NEGLECT IT” for “through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Eph 2:18-note) “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need (in the nick of time).” (Heb 4:16-note). “When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.” (From Christ the Solid Rock by E Mote)
OUR BREAKER BREAKS THE BARRIER BETWEEN MEN – On the Cross, Christ was both Binder and Breaker, Paul writing that “in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ, for He Himself is our peace (peace in Greek literally pictures BINDING together that which was BROKEN), and made both Jew and Gentile into one, having BROKEN DOWN the BARRIER of the dividing wall.” (Eph 2:13-14-note) As Spurgeon says our BREAKER “has swept out of the way all the ordinances which divide us and we are now one in Him. The distance was infinite, but now the nearness is intimate. The blood of Jesus works marvels, annihilating distance, breaking down partition walls and transforming aliens into sons! May it come to pass that (because of the Breaker’s finished work on Calvary) all middle walls of division between men become as useless as the great Wall of China!” “The Breaker broke the barrier down, Which law and sin had made; He did fulfil all righteousness, And full redemption paid.”
Beloved, the precious Name CHRIST THE BREAKER is too rich to expound in one post for as the hymn writer said “Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry.” (F Lehman)
Christ the Breaker (Part 2) – To Follow
MIGHTY TO SAVE (Part 3) - The LORD your God is with you (in your midst). He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.–Zephaniah 3:17NIV
Spurgeon writes that “there never was any poem composed by human intellect which could match for a moment, in the sweetness of its notes, the succession of precious promises which God here proclaims in the ears of His chosen ones!” O Palmer Robertson adds that Zephaniah 3:17 moves into “the “holy of holies” by a rapturous description of the love of God for His people. This verse is the John 3:16 of the OT. The love of God for His own people is not a soft, sentimental emotion that has no strength to act on behalf of its object. For this God Who loves is Yahweh…,”the “God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and the awesome God.” (Dt 10:17). That Almighty God should derive delight from his own creation is significant in itself. But that the Holy One should experience ecstasy over the sinner is incomprehensible. God breaking out in singing! God joyful with delight! All because of you!” Surely we have to say with the psalmist “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is too high. I cannot attain to it.” (Ps 139:6-note)
And so while these words were originally addressed to Israel in a time of great distress (the future Day of the LORD’s wrath poured out on the unbelieving world – see Zeph 3:8-note, cf Revelation 6-19), God’s promises to Israel in the future are applicable in the present to every blood bought, heaven bound child of God. Perhaps you too are experiencing a day or even a season of adversity and distress which evokes a continual gnawing in your stomach from endless fear and wearisome worry. If so, I understand, for that is the season in which I find myself. In these times of great oppression with no end in sight, we need to recall Peter’s words that our manifold trials (1Peter 1:6-note – manifold in Gk = poikilos = trials of various “shapes and sizes”) are always accompanied by God’s “manifold grace” (again poikilos = grace just the “right shape and size”)” (1Peter 4:10-note). So let us read Jehovah’s precious promises as personally addressed to us! Indeed, though we may be downcast and in despair because of our trials, in faith like the psalmist we can “Put our hope in God and again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Ps 42:5-note), confidently declaring that “The LORD MY God is in MY midst. He is the Mighty One Who will save ME. He will take great delight in ME. He will quiet ME with His love. He will rejoice over ME with singing!”
F B Meyer says “Well would it be if each Christian were to devote some portion, however brief, in each day, to meditation upon this marvelous fact. “The mighty God, the King, is in the midst of me. I am God-tenanted, God-possessed. The High and Holy One Who inhabits eternity (Isa 57:15KJV-note) has taken up His abode in my heart.” Indeed, God’s people are at the heart of God’s heart. As His people, He is ever in our midst and thus we live in His presence, always on holy ground. Everything we do is sacred. Everything we do should be designed for His glory.
C H Spurgeon remarks “What a word is this! Jehovah God in the center of His people in all the majesty of His power! This presence alone suffices to inspire us with peace and hope (cf Ro 15:13, Jn 16:33). Treasures of boundless might are stored in our Jehovah, and He dwells in His people (now = Col 1:27b-note, 1Cor 6:19-note, 1Jn 4:4, and forever = Rev 21:3-note). Therefore may His people shout for joy (Ps 32:11-note, Ps 71:23-note). We not only have His presence (Ps 95:2-note), but He is engaged upon His choice work of salvation. “He is MIGHTY TO SAVE.” He is always saving: He takes His Name Jesus from it (Yeshua ~ “Jehovah saves”, Mt 1:21). Let us not fear any danger, for He is MIGHTY TO SAVE (Dt 31:8). Nor is this all. He abides evermore the same (Heb 13:8-note); He loves, He finds rest in loving, and He will not cease to love (Jer 31:3). His love gives Him joy. He even finds a theme for song in His beloved (1Th 1:4-note). This is exceedingly wonderful. When God wrought creation He did not sing, but simply said, “It is very good.” (Ge 1:31) But when He came to redemption, then the sacred Trinity felt a joy to be expressed in song. Think of it and be astonished! Jehovah Jesus sings a marriage song over His chosen bride (cf Rev 19:7-note, Isa 62:5), as a Bridegroom rejoices over his Bride. Beloved, we are to Him His love, His joy, His rest, His song. O Lord Jesus, by Thine immeasurable love to us (Eph 3:18-19-note), teach us to love Thee, to rejoice in Thee, and to sing unto Thee our Life-psalm.” As Matthew Henry once said “The great God not only loves His saints, but He loves to love them!”
Adrian Rogers tells a story of passengers on a ship in a severe storm and in danger of sinking. The passengers were whispering “Are we going down? Are we safe?” One passenger said, “I’ve got to find out,” so he made his way topside across the heaving decks, to the pilot house, where the pilot of the ship had his hand firmly on the wheel. The pilot turned and saw the fear in the passenger’s face and just smiled at him, not even speaking a word. On arriving below the once fearful passenger exclaimed “We’re going be all right. I’ve seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled at me.” What we need to do when we are crippled by fear caused by difficult circumstances or difficult people is look away from the “stormy waves” and into the serene face of our Jesus, the One Who is always MIGHTY TO SAVE (cf Heb 12:2-note, Isa 45:22KJV).
Perhaps you feel like King Jehoshaphat who was afraid when he received the news of a “great multitude” coming against him (2Chr 20:2-3) but instead of focusing on his fear, he made the conscious choice to turn “his attention to seek the LORD” acknowledging “we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but OUR EYES ARE ON YOU.” God answered through a prophet exhorting him ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2Chr 20:15) He alone is MIGHTY TO SAVE! There are times in all of our lives when we feel overwhelmed by “the multitude who are coming against us” and it is in those times we especially need to imitate King Jehoshaphat’s faith (Heb 6:12-note) and say “OUR EYES ARE ON YOU” Mighty Warrior. It is in those times we need to sense the reassuring presence of our Jesus Who is MIGHTY TO SAVE, Who Alone is powerful enough to calm the storm in our heart by speaking the words “Peace, be still!” (Mk 4:39KJV) But remember that while our Jesus is always mighty to save and may calm the storm around us, often He calms the storm within us, even while the storm around us continues to rage (cf Jn 14:27)! Indeed “He is able” (Heb 7:25-note), for He has sailed rougher seas than the storm we are in now! “O soul, sinking down ’neath sin’s merciless wave, The strong arm of our Captain is MIGHTY TO SAVE; Then trust Him today, no longer delay, Board the old ship of Zion, and shout on your way: Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Shout and sing on your way: Jesus saves!” Amen (M J Cartwright)
Fanny Crosby recalls addressing a group in 1869 and throughout her talk “the thought kept forcing itself upon my mind that some mother’s boy must be rescued that very night or perhaps not at all. So I requested that if there was any boy present, who had wandered away from mother’s teaching, he would come to the platform at the conclusion of the service. A young man of 18 came forward and said, “Did you mean me? I have promised my mother to meet her in heaven; but, as I am now living, that will be impossible.” We prayed for him and he arose with a new light in his eyes and exclaimed triumphantly, “Now, I can meet mother in heaven, for I have found her God.” Stirred by this event Fanny went home that night and wrote these great words “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave, Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus the MIGHTY TO SAVE.” Some 35 years later she was speaking at a YMCA and described the incident that led her to write “Rescue the Perishing,” after which a man came up and introduced himself, saying “Miss Crosby, I was the boy who told you more than thirty-five years ago that I had wandered from my mother’s God. The evening that you spoke at the mission I sought and found peace, and I have tried to live a consistent Christian life ever since.” May Fanny Crosby’s story that led her to pen the hymn “Rescue the Perishing” encourage us to pray for the lost and “Tell them of Jesus who rose from the grave, Tell them of Jesus the MIGHTY TO SAVE; Plenteous salvation in Him does abound, Cleansing and healing in Jesus are found.” (Entwisle)
When our world seems to be unraveling at the seams, we do well to recall that the One Mighty to rescue the perishing, is also MIGHTY TO SAVE us daily (sanctifying us by the enabling power of His Spirit – 1Pe 1:2-note, 1Th 5:23-note). In those days when we don’t have a song in our heart, we need to meditate on the truth that the One MIGHTY TO SAVE is also the One Who “will rejoice over us with singing.” Many of us cannot imagine that we could bring pleasure to the heart of God (“You don’t know what I’ve done,” “I have too much guilt and shame for God to rejoice over me,” etc), but this text assures us that God definitely thinks differently. Spurgeon says “When your face is blurred with tears, your eyes red with weeping, and your heart heavy with sorrow for sin, the great Father is rejoicing over you. We are questioning, doubting, sorrowing, trembling, and all the while, He Who sees the end from the beginning knows what will come out of the present disquietude (anxiety, agitation, uneasiness), and therefore rejoices. Let us rise in faith to share the joy of God! Let no man’s heart fail him because of the taunts of the enemy (cf Rev 12:10). Rather, let the chosen of God rouse themselves to courage, and participate in the that joy of God which never ceases. Shall we not rejoice in Him when He, in His boundless condescension, designs to rejoice in us?” O what a liberating truth!
John Piper encourages us to ponder this passage asking “Can you imagine what it would be like if you could hear God singing? Remember that it was merely a spoken word that brought the universe into existence (Heb 11:3-note, Jn 1:1-3). What would happen if God lifted up his voice and not only spoke but sang?…When I think of the voice of God singing, I hear the booming of Niagara Falls mingled with the trickle of a mossy mountain stream. I hear the blast of Mt. St. Helens mingled with a kitten’s purr. I hear the power of an East Coast hurricane and the barely audible puff of a night snow in the woods. And I hear the unimaginable roar of the sun…but I hear this unimaginable roar mingled with the tender, warm crackling of the living room logs on a cozy winter’s night. And when I hear this singing I stand dumbfounded, staggered, speechless that He is singing over ME! He is rejoicing over MY good with all HIS heart and with all HIS soul (cf. Jer 32:41, Dt 30:9)!”
A GOD Who is always near ME. A GOD Who is mighty to save ME. A GOD Who takes great delight in ME. A GOD Who quiets ME with His love. A GOD Who rejoices over ME with loud singing. It’s hard to imagine, difficult to believe, but it is true! How do I know? Because the last words of Zephaniah’s prophecy are “YAHWEH HAS SPOKEN.” (Zeph 3:20HCSB-note) Beloved child of God, Jehovah the Self-existent One, the Unchangeable One, the Ever-living One has said it and He will do it! Amen!
Now He has triumphed o’er death and the grave,
He lives our Redeemer, and MIGHTY TO SAVE;
To Him Who exalted forever shall live,
All honor, dominion, and glory we give.”
Play Fanny Crosby’s powerful hymn Rescue The Perishing
May the Father grant you manifold opportunities to tell others that Jesus is Mighty to Save. Amen
SEE RELATED TOPICS:
Zephaniah 3:17 In Depth Commentary
Zephaniah 3:17 The Savior Resting in His Love – C H Spurgeon
Zephaniah 3:14, 17 Zion’s Joys and God’s – Alexander Maclaren
Zephaniah 3:17 The Pleasure of God in the Good of His People – John Piper
MIGHTY TO SAVE (Part 2): In Isaiah 63:1-note the Messiah describes Himself as “MIGHTY to save.” How MIGHTY TO SAVE is our precious Jesus? Isaiah says His Name is “MIGHTY God” (El Gibbor) and “He will not fail, falter, stop or be disheartened nor will He be discouraged until He establishes justice on the earth.” (Isa 9:6-note, Isa 42:4-note) The MIGHTY One Himself asks (rhetorically) “Is anything too difficult for” Me? (Ge 18:14-note) Jeremiah answers “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! (cf Heb 1:2-3-note, Rev 4:11-note) NOTHING is too difficult for You!” (Jer 32:17, 27, cf Job 42:2, Lk 1:37) “The MIGHTY One, God, Jehovah (Jesus), has spoken, and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” (Ps 50:1-note, cf Heb 11:3-note, Col 1:16-note) “Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and MIGHTY, the LORD MIGHTY in battle.” (Ps 24:8-note)
C H Spurgeon affirms “We know the MIGHT of Jesus by the battles which He has fought, the victories which He has won over sin and death and hell, and we clap our hands as we see Him leading captivity captive in the majesty of His strength. Oh for a heart to sing His praises! MIGHTY Hero, be Thou crowned forever King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen (Rev 19:16-note).” Indeed Jesus declares “My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” (Isa 48:13-note) Therefore Spirit enable us to daily remember that Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE, even (especially) from “the sin which so easily entangles” us (Heb 12:1-note)! “Jesus, MIGHTY to renew, Work in me to will and do; Turn my nature’s rapid tide; Stem the torrent of my pride. Force me, Lord, with all to part; Tear these idols from my heart.” “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for ALL things are possible with God,” (Mk 10:27), the One MIGHTY TO SAVE. “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? (Jesus, mighty to save.Jn 1:1-3) He Who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His GREAT POWER and MIGHTY STRENGTH, not one of them is missing.” (Isa 40:26-note). He is the One Who is MIGHTY TO SAVE for “He holds ALL creation together,” “sustaining ALL things by His powerful Word.” (Col 1:17-note, Heb 1:3-note)
Though as scarlet be the stains,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE;
Though as steel the binding chains,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
His the glorious sacrifice;
His the blood which paid the price;
His the love doth now entice;
Jesus is MIGHTY, is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
Fearful soul, discard thy fears,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE;
Seeker, haste to dry thy tears,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
With assurance seek His face,
Doubt no more His love and grace,
Give Him now His rightful place,
Jesus is MIGHTY, is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
Dear reader, what is “too difficult” for you today? In faith, “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,” (2Cor 10:5-note) the only One Who is MIGHTY TO SAVE you in, through or from whatever difficult circumstance, person, thought, memory, etc you find yourself today. “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, HE IS ABLE to come (running) to the aid of those who are continually being tempted (or tested).” (Heb 2:18-note) Remember that “Jesus Christ is not only a powerful Savior, but a sympathizing Savior. He is not only the Son of God MIGHTY TO SAVE, but the Son of man ABLE TO FEEL.” (Ryle) “Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE because He is God as well as Man.” (Spurgeon) His tender heart is soft to pity and His mighty arm is strong to deliver. Indeed, He Alone “is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:25-note, cp Ro 8:34-note) The One MIGHTY TO SAVE is able to lift us out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire and set our feet on the Solid Rock, making our steps secure. (Ps 40:2-note, cf Ps 18:16-17-note). In His strength we can crush an army, with Him at our side we can scale any wall. (Ps 18:29-note, cf 2Cor 12:9-note) We are from God, little children, and have overcome every obstacle which opposes Jesus, because greater is He Who is in us than he who is in the world. (1Jn 4:4, cf Ro 8:31-note)
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE and is preparing us for eternity in heaven and will soon carry us there, in spite of every momentary adversity, trial or heartache we are now experiencing (cf 2Cor 4:17-18-note, Ro 8:18-note). “God’s providence and grace are both full of displays of His power. He is in power especially conspicuous as “MIGHTY TO SAVE.” Who will not be strong in faith when there is so strong an Arm to lean upon? Shall our trust be doubtful when His power is beyond all question?” (Spurgeon) So beloved, let each of us joyfully sing out in faith Fanny Crosby’s great words —
“Praise our Creator and Savior eternal,
Him Who redeemed us from death and the grave;
Sing of His greatness, O hail and adore Him,
Strong to deliver, and MIGHTY TO SAVE.” Amen
Sing of His excellent greatness – Jesus is Mighty to Save.
MIGHTY TO SAVE: “Multum in parro” (much in little)! In Isaiah 63:1-6 (note) we read a description of the triumphant Second Coming of Jesus, where He declares “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Here even in the midst of judgment, when He comes “with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30), He desires for men to know that He is not only mighty to judge, but mighty to save. Isaiah’s description is amplified by the apostle John in Revelation 19:11-16-note which concludes with those glorious words that the One mighty to save is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Rev 19:16-note)
C H Spurgeon describes the words “mighty to save” as “multim in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word. Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but He is able to make men repent (Ro 2:4-note, Acts 11:18, 2Ti 2:25-note). He will carry those to heaven who believe; but He is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them (Ezek 18:31, Ezek 36:26-note). He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of His name to bend the knee before Him (Php 2:9-11-note).”
“Nay, this is not all the meaning of “mighty to save,” for the divine power is equally seen in the after-work. The life of a believer is a series of miracles wrought by “the Mighty God.” The bush burns, but is not consumed (Ex 3:2). He is mighty to keep His people holy after He has made them so (1Pe 1:5-note, Jude 24), and to preserve them in His (reverential) fear and love until He consummates their spiritual existence in heaven (cf Php 3:20-21-note). Christ’s might does not lie in making us a believer and then leaving us to transform ourselves, but He who begins the good work carries it on (Php 1:6-note, 2Cor 3:18-note, Ro 12:2-note); He who imparts the first germ of life in the dead soul, prolongs the divine existence, and strengthens it until it bursts asunder every bond of sin, and the soul leaps from earth, perfected in glory (Ro 8:30-note). Believer, here is encouragement. Are you praying for some beloved one? Oh, do not give up your prayers, for Christ is “mighty to save.” You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty (EL Shaddai – Ge 17:1). Lay hold on that mighty arm, and rouse it to put forth its strength. Does your own case trouble you? Fear not, for His strength is sufficient for you (2Cor 12:9-note, 2Cor 12:10-note). Whether to begin with others, or to carry on the work in you, Jesus is “mighty to save;” the best proof of which lies in the fact that he has saved you! What a thousand mercies that you have not found Him mighty to destroy!”
Since His blood for thee was shed,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE;
Since He lives Who once was dead,
Jesus is MIGHTY TO SAVE.
While in conflict we engage,
When the storms around shall rage,
All our earthly pilgrimage,
Jesus is mighty, is MIGHTY TO SAVE.”
My Saviour, You can move the mountains,
You are mighty to save,
You are mighty to save.
Forever, Author of Salvation,
You rose and conquered the grave,
Yes, you conquered the grave.