Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord. 1 Samuel 4:3

Our Daily Homily

      Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord. 1 Samuel 4:3
      Israel had been defeated with great loss. Their only hope of being able to hold their own against the Philistines and the people of the land was in the protection and help vouchsafed to them by God. They knew this, and thought that they would be secured, if only the Ark of the covenant were on the field. They forgot that it was only the material symbol of a spiritual relationship; that it was useless unless that relationship was in living force; and that the bending forms of the cherubim, emblematic of the Divine protection, would not avail if their fellowship with the God of the cherubim had been ruptured by backsliding.
      There is a sense in which we are always sending for the Ark. The reliance on outward rites, such as Baptism and the Lord's Supper, on the part of those who are alienated from the life of God ; the maintenance of the forms of prayer and Scripture reading, which no longer express the passionate love of the soul; the habit of churchgoing, which so many practise, not because they love God, but because they think that it will in some way secure his alliance in life's battle all these are forms in which we still fetch the Ark of the covenant, whilst our hearts are wrong with the God of the covenant.
      It should never be forgotten that nothing can afford to us protection and succour but vital union with Christ. We must hide in his secret place if we would abide under his shadow. We must dwell in the most holy place if we would be shadowed by the wings of the Shekinah. There must be nothing between us and God, if we are to walk together, and enjoy fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

"That I may win Christ." Philippians 3:8

J. C. Philpot - Daily Portions

      "That I may win Christ." Philippians 3:8
      What is it to "win Christ?" It is to have him sweetly embraced in the arms of our faith. It is to feel him manifesting his heavenly glory in our souls. It is to have the application of his atoning blood, in all its purging efficacy, to our conscience. It is to feel our heart melted and swooning with the sweet ravishments of his dying love, shed abroad even to overpowering.
      This is winning Christ. Now, before we can thus win Christ, we must have a view of Christ, we must behold his glory, "the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." We must see the matchless dignity of his glorious Person, the atoning efficacy of his propitiating blood, the length and breadth, the depth and height of his surpassing love. We must have our heart ready to burst with pantings, longings, and ardent desires that this blessed Immanuel would come down from the heaven of heavens in which he dwells beyond the vail, into our heart, and shed abroad his precious dying love there. 

Now, is not this your feeling, child of God? It has been mine over and over again. Is it not your feeling as you lie upon your bed, sometimes, with sweet and earnest pantings after the Lord of life and glory? As you walk by the way, as you are engaged in your daily business, as you are secretly musing and meditating, are there not often the goings forth of these longings and breathings into the very bosom of the Lord? 

But you cannot have this, unless you have seen him by the eye of an enlightened understanding, by the eye of faith, and had a taste of his beauty, a glimpse of his glory, and a discovery of his eternal preciousness. 

You must have had this gleaming upon your eyes, as the beams of light gleam through the windows. You must have had it dancing into your heart, as the rays of the sun dance upon the waves of the sea. 

You must have had a sweet incoming of the shinings of eternal light upon your soul, melting it, and breaking it down at his footstool, as the early dawn pierces through the clouds of night. 

When you have seen and felt this you break forth--'O that I might win Christ!' Like the ardent lover who longs to win his bride, you long to enjoy his love and presence shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost.

"Faith is the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. xi. 1).

Days of Heaven Upon Earth

      "Faith is the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. xi. 1).
      True faith drops its letter in the post-office box, and lets it go. Distrust holds on to a corner of it, and wonders that the answer never comes.
      I have some letters in my desk that have been written for weeks, but there was some slight uncertainty about the address or the contents, so they are yet unmailed. They have not done either me or anybody else any good yet. They will never accomplish anything until I let them go out of my hands and trust them to the postman and the mail.
      This is the case with true faith. It hands its case over to God, and then He works.
      That is a fine verse in the thirty-seventh Psalm: "Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He worketh." But He never worketh until we commit.
      Faith is a receiving, or still better, a taking of God's proffered gifts. We may believe, and come, and commit, and rest, but we will not fully realize all our blessing until we begin to receive and come into the attitude of abiding and taking.

Looking at the world through the cross

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14

Jesus could accomplish man's redemption in no other way than by crucifixion. He must die — and die the death of the cross. What light and glory beam around the cross!
Of what prodigies of grace is it the instrument,
of what glorious truths is it the symbol,
of what mighty, magic power is it the source!
Around it, gathers all the light of the Old Testament economy.
It explains every symbol,
it substantiates every shadow,
it solves every mystery,
it fulfills every type,
it confirms every prophecy 
 — of that dispensation which had eternally remained unmeaning and inexplicable — except for the death of the Son of God upon the cross!

Not the past only, but all future splendor gathers around the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It assures us of the ultimate reign of the Savior, and tells of the reward which shall spring from His sufferings! And while its one arm points to the divine counsels of eternity past — with the other it points to the future triumph and glory of Christ's kingdom in the eternity to come. Such is the lowly, yet sublime; the weak, yet mighty instrument — by which the sinner is saved, and God eternally glorified!

The cross of Christ is the grand consummation of all preceding dispensations of God to men.

The cross of Christ is the meritorious procuring cause of all spiritual blessings to our fallen race. 

The cross of Christ is the scene of Christ's splendid victories over all His enemies and ours. 

The cross of Christ is the most powerful incentive to all evangelical holiness.
The cross of Christ is the instrument which is to subjugate the world to the supremacy of Jesus. 

The cross of Christ is the source of all true peace, joy, and hope. 

The cross of Christ is the tree beneath whose shadow, sin expires and grace lives!

The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! What a holy thrill these words produce in the heart of those who love the Savior! How significant their meaning — how precious their influence! Marvelous and irresistible, is the power of the cross!
The cross of Christ has subdued many a rebellious will.
The cross of Christ has broken many a marble heart.
The cross of Christ has laid low many a vaunting foe.
The cross of Christ has overcome and triumphed — when all other instruments have failed.

The cross of Christ has transformed the lion-like heart of man — into the lamb-like heart of Christ.
And when lifted up in its own naked simplicity and inimitable grandeur — the cross of Christ has won and attracted millions to its faith, admiration, and love!

What a marvelous power does this cross of Jesus possess! It changes the Christian's entire judgment of the world. Looking at theworld through the cross — his opinion is totally revolutionized. He sees it as it really is — a sinful, empty, vain thing! He learns its iniquity — in that it crucified the Lord of life and glory. His expectations from the world, his love to the world — are changed. He has found another object of love — the Savior whom the world cast out and slew! His love to the world is destroyed, by that power which alone could destroy it — the crucifying power of the cross!

It is the cross which eclipses, in the view of the true believer — the glory and attraction of every other object!

What is the weapon by which faith combats with, and overcomes the world? What but the cross of Jesus! Just as the natural eye, gazing for a while upon the sun, is blinded for the moment, by its overpowering effulgence to all other objects — so to the believer, concentrating his mind upon the glory of the crucified Savior, studying closely the wonders of grace and love and truthmeeting in the cross — the world with all its attraction fades into the full darkness of an eclipse! Christ and His cross are infinitely better, than the world and its vanities!

Unfathomable oceans of grace

(Robert Murray McCheyne)

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!" Hebrews 12:2

For every look at self—take ten looks at Christ! 
Live near to Jesus—and all things will appear
little to you in comparison with eternal realities.

How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are
at this moment hidden in the deep recesses of the
ocean caves. Likewise, unfathomable oceans of
 are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again—
you will never come to the bottom of these depths!

When you gaze upon the sun—it makes everything
else dark; when you taste honey—it makes everything
else tasteless. Likewise, when your soul feeds on Jesus
—it takes away the sweetness of all earthly things;
praise, pleasure, fleshly lusts, all lose their sweetness.
Keep a continued gaze! Run, looking unto Jesus. So
will the world be crucified to you—and you unto the world!

True excellency!

(Jonathan Edwards)

Worldly men imagine that there is true excellency and true happiness in those things which they are pursuing. They think that if they could but obtain them, that they would be happy. But when they obtain them, and cannot find happiness, they look for happiness in something else, and are still upon the futile pursuit.

But Christ Jesus has true excellency, and so great excellency that when they come to see it they look no further, but the mind rests there.
"Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16
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(William Dyer, "Christ's Famous Titles")

"I will write upon them the name of my God" Revelation 3:12

O there is a great difference between the names of the saints — and the names of the wicked! 

The saints are called . . .
  godly, from God;
  Christians, from Christ;
  spiritual, from the Spirit;
  heavenly, from Heaven, because their conversation is there, because their Head is there, and they are heirs of heaven.

But the wicked are called . . .
  devilish, from the devils;
  the cursed, from the curses;
  worldlings, from the world;
  and sinners, from sin.

The ungodly are called . . .
  ravening wolves!

But the saints are called . . .
  heirs of the kingdom of glory!

And hence it is, that some godly men have thought it a greater honor to be a member of Christ — than to be a king upon a throne! Indeed, a holy heart is better than a great estate!
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