Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The warning against wantoning

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you. Luke 10:20.

As Christian workers, worldliness is not our snare, sin is not our snare, but spiritual wantoning is, viz.: taking the pattern and print of the religious age we live in, making eyes at spiritual success. Never court anything other than the approval of God, go “without the camp, bearing His reproach.” Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have the commercial view—so many souls saved and sanctified, thank God, now it is all right. Our work begins where God’s grace has laid the foundation; we are not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace; our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are wholly yielded to God. One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and that will be God’s witness to us as workers. God brings us to a standard of life by His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that standard in others.

Unless the worker lives a life hidden with Christ in God, he is apt to become an irritating dictator instead of an indwelling disciple. Many of us are dictators, we dictate to people and to meetings. Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever Our Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced it with an ‘IF,’ never with an emphatic assertion—‘You must.’ Discipleship carries an option with it.

Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Benefit of Evangelistic Prayer

 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). Excerpt from his book Alone with God.

 The benefit to praying for the lost is actually quite profound: “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim. 2:2). Prayer for those in authority will create societal conditions favorable for the church’s evangelistic efforts. First of all, when believers are committed to praying for all their leaders, it removes any thought of rebellion or resistance against them. Instead, the people of Christ are turned into peacemakers, not reactionaries. As Paul wrote to Titus, 

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another (Titus 3:1–3). 

There Paul again calls the believers to tranquility and submissiveness to the pagan or apostate governments over them. We can do so because we understand that they are sinners like we used to be, incapable of righteousness. 

When believers begin to pray unceasingly for the lost, especially their troublesome leaders, unbelievers begin to see Christians as virtuous, peace loving, compassionate, and transcendent, seeking after their welfare. Once unsaved people realize we pose no threat to society, it is easier for us to be treated as welcome friends. And as more come to saving faith through the prayers of Christians, the favorable conditions for the church could increase. 

MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). Alone with God. MacArthur Study Series (137–138). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.