Proclaiming Christ for Maturity in
Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Col_1:28)
Spiritual maturity is one of the heavenly blessings that is ours "in Christ Jesus." Our heavenly Father desires that all of His children develop in this blessing of maturity: "that we may present every man perfect [mature] in Christ Jesus." As God's people are being built up, the goal is that "we all come... to a perfect [mature] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children... but... may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ" (Eph_4:13-15). Jesus is our standard of spiritual maturity. The Lord wants us to be maturing into the likeness of the character of Christ.
For the saints to mature in Christ requires the proclamation of Christ. "Him we preach... that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." Truth about the Lord Jesus Christ is the message that matures the people of God: "Him we preach." We need to know who the Lord is, what He has done, and what He wants to do in our lives, that we might trust in Him as our source: "from whom the whole body" (Eph_4:16).
The scriptures abound with many beautiful revelations of such truths about Jesus. He is the Son of God, divine. "And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God" (Joh_1:34). He is the Son of Man, Immanuel, God coming as man. "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head... Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel... God with us" (Mat_8:20; Mat_1:23). He is the lamb of God. "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! " (Joh_1:29).
This Jesus is our Mediator, bringing us the new covenant of grace. "And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant" (Heb_9:15). He is our Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, supplying all we need from start to finish. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" (Rev_22:13). He is our "all in all." "Christ is all and in all" (Col_3:11).
Such truths about Jesus are the ultimate message to mature the saints.
Dear Lord Jesus, I long to mature in Your likeness. There is so much about my life that is immature and carnal. I hunger to see who You are and all that You want to do in and through me. Please reveal Yourself to me through Your word, that I might know You better and be conformed to Your image. This I pray in Your holy name, Amen.
THE CHILD HEART
"He called to Him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."-- Mat_18:2-3 (R.V.).
OUR LORD bids us seek the child-heart! Not to be childish, but childlike! It is recorded of the illustrious soldier, Naaman, that after he had washed in the Jordan waters, his flesh came to him as that of a little child. It is a noble combination--the stature and strength of the full-grown man united with the winsome purity and sweetness of a little child. It is not possible for any one of us to attain these two qualities unless we are prepared to pay the price. The orders of rank in the Kingdom of Heaven are diametrically opposed to those of our earthly kingdoms. Here men are ever striving to rise above their fellows; but in Christ's Kingdom they stoop to serve, and in stooping become crowned!
The King of Glory girded Himself with a towel, and kneeling down washed the feet of His disciples, and the nobles in His Kingdom are those who have become willing to be the servants of all!
Simplicity, humility, and freedom from self-consciousness are the natural traits of early childhood; alas! that they so quickly learn from us to seek for notice, patronage, and the first place! How happy that little one was as he nestled to the Saviour's heart! Three times over in this chapter the Master speaks about "these little ones." How dearly He loved the children, and each time must have pressed the child closer to Himself! It was thus that like came to like!
It is the childlike hearts that agree on earth in the symphony of prayer. One may go East and the other West, but beneath the touch of the Spirit of Love, they will be of one accord, i.e. in attuned fellowship with each other and with Christ (Mat_18:19-20). The child-spirit, also, will be willing to forgive and forget (Mat_18:15, Mat_18:21, Mat_18:22).
Grant, O Lord, that I may become as a little child in Thy kingdom. May my heart be filled with Thy love, my lips with gentle, helpful words, and my hands with kind, unselfish deeds. AMEN.
The Meaning of Worship
Worship that is accepted by God is a privilege unique to the Christian (1Pe_2:5). It is not a right. I am permitted to offer acceptable worship only by the grace of God.
Therefore it is disheartening when children of God deliberately reject this privilege and wantonly absent themselves from the public assembly God has ordained for His glory and our good.
Consider briefly the significance of worship:
It is obedience to a divine command.
It is a means of nourishing the spirit.
It assists in achieving spiritual growth.
It encourages others in their spiritual development.
It shows the world where my priorities are.
It is one means of expressing my love for God.
It is an avenue God has provided by which I can praise His name.
It is the offering of spiritual sacrifices.
It is a way of showing my thanksgiving to God for all He has done for me.
It is a period of communion with God with the world shut out entirely.
It is an experience that should make the heart of every Christian glad!
Will you join your fellow Christians this Lord's day as they assemble to honor His name? Your Father will be looking for you.
Prayer Brings Revival
James Duncan, preaching with great unction and power, was asked what was the secret of such powerful preaching. "The secret," he said, was "thirteen hours of consecutive prayer."
When asked the secret of his spiritual power, Charles Spurgeon said: "Knee work! Knee work!"
Livingston of Shotts, on two different occasions, preached with such power that in each service 500 were converted. Both sermons were preceded by a night of prayer.
Charles Finney, after spending a day in the woods in prayer and fasting, preached that night to a phenomenally irreligious congregation. The sermon was accompanied by such divine power that the whole congregation, except one man, fell prostrate upon the floor, and voiced their agony under conviction of sin, in such loud outcries that the preacher was forced to stop.
Of "Uncle" John Vassar, the Tract Society colporteur, his pastor said: "He absolutely prayed day and night-prayed about everything, prayed for almost everything, prayed with almost everybody he met.
"He prayed when he went out and when he came in. He prayed before every religious service, and then prayed all the way through it. I have occupied the same room with him night after night and rarely went to sleep without hearing him in prayer, or awoke without finding him in prayer."
I Traveled on My Knees
Last night I took a journey
to a land across the sea,
I did not go by boat or plane,
I traveled on my knees.
I saw many people there in deep sin,
and I did not want to send my prayers in.
But Jesus said I should go and see,
how many I could win.
I said, "Jesus, I cannot go and work
with such as these."
He answered quickly, "Yes, you can by traveling on your knees."
He said, "You pray, I will meet the need.
You call and I will hear."
So I knelt in prayer and felt at ease
as I traveled on my knees.
I said, "Yes, Lord. I know I can do the job,
and my desire is to please.
I will heed Your call,"
and I traveled on my knees.
Craig Barnes - "The worship service features
two sides of a sacred conversation. Those who lead in worship need to help
people recognize themselves in the presence of God. They must also speak God’s
words to the people so that they will know they are on holy ground. That is the
experience people are longing for in worship. But before such a sacred
conversation happens in worship, it must happen for those who lead in worship in
their own soul."
("Reflections on Worship’s Meaning and Purpose" - Thinking About Worship - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship)
Joseph S. Carroll - "The Lord Jesus loves
us with all His heart. He desires that we love Him with all our heart; and until
we do, we will never know the sweetness of His love for us. We will have some
faint concept but that is all. With how many people do we share the secrets of
our heart and with whom do we share them? We will be intimate with the person we
know loves us, the person we know is committed to us, the person who has given
himself or herself to us, and with none besides. It is so with our Lord. There
must be response of love to love."
(HOW TO WORSHIP JESUS CHRIST, Moody Press, 1984, p. 30.)
Clement of Alexander - "Worship is
celebration. All of life is a festival: being persuaded that God is everywhere
present on all sides, we praise him as we till the ground, we sing hymns as we
sow the seed, we feel his inspiration in all we do."
Ralph Mahoney - "Whenever His people gather and worship Him, God promises He will make His presence known in their midst. On the other hand, where God's people consistently neglect true spiritual worship, His manifest presence is rarely experienced."
Henry Sloane Coffin - "If there is one characteristic more than others that contemporary public worship needs to recapture it is this awe before the surpassingly great and gracious God."
J.N. Darby - "Worship is the honour and adoration which are rendered to God by reason of what he is in himself, and what he is for those who render it."
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Today's Bible Verse
Psa 27:14 Wait for Jehovah: Be strong, and let thy heart take courage; Yea, wait thou for Jehovah.
Psa 37:34 Wait for Jehovah, and keep his way, And he will exalt thee to inherit the land
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