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HOW TO START RIGHT AND STAY RIGHT
Isaiah 50:10; Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 26:1
Isaiah 50:10; Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 26:1
(Isaiah 50:10) Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. (KJV)
(Isaiah 26:3) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (KJV)
(Psalms 26:1) Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. (KJV)\
After a sinner has turned to Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, his experience should remain fresh, real, and alive in his heart. It is God’s will that every Christian live in victory. It is a fact that if we don’t live in victory, we will soon lose out completely and be backslidden. We will then need to do the first work of salvation over and begin to serve God as a true Christian. Again let me say, it is God’s will that you live a victorious Christian life.
Here are some steps to successful Christian living:
I. NAIL DOWN THE FACT THAT YOU ARE SAVED.
1. (1 John 5:13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (KJV)
Being a Christian is not a blind reliance on Jesus for salvation, but it is an actual enjoyment of, salvation; Christ living, working, and reigning in the heart. What a joy it is to be a Christian! And with Him living in our heart comes that deep settled knowledge that all is well with my soul.
(AC*) And that ye may believe] That is, continue to believe: for Christ dwells in the heart only by FAITH, and faith lives only by LOVE, and love continues only by OBEDIENCE; he who BELIEVES loves, and he who LOVES obeys. He who obeys loves; he who loves believes; he who believes has the witness in himself: he who has this witness has Christ in his heart, the hope of glory; and he who believes, loves, and obeys, has Christ in his heart, and is a man of prayer.
2. (John 6:47) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (KJV)
II. WALK IN GOD’S TRUTH.
1. (1 Peter 2:2) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (KJV)
(AC*) In the preceding chapter, 1Pe 1:23, the apostle states that they had been born again; and as the new-born infant desires that aliment which nature has provided for it, so they, being born again-born from above, should as earnestly require that heavenly nourishment which is suited to their new nature; and this the apostle calls the sincere milk of the word.
We must feast on the pure Word of God in order to keep alive and grow spiritually.
(Brethren*) As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word. Be as earnest to turn to the Word of God, of which you were born, as your only source of healthful supplies adapted to your condition, as the new born babe would instinctively turn to its mother to stay its natural hunger. "Sincere" is in contrast with the things to be laid aside in verse 1. That ye may grow thereby. Their growth depended (1) on and (2) on the partaking of Gospel graces and good works,--the rational mile of the Word received by faith, love and obedience.
One of the blessings of my life has been to have had excellent cooks. Meals have always been especially sumptuous during the holiday season. The table always abounds with turkey with all the trimmings, ham, potatoes and gravy, all kinds of rich desserts and an incredible variety of vegetables. Along with the salted nuts, pies, cakes and candy that are always available, there is usually a profusion of fruits to serve as a healthier substitute. Bananas, oranges, tangerines, grapes, grapefruit, and apples offer a "better way" if we choose it.
But mark my word. Everybody goes for the sweets, and the fruit just lies on the table to rot. Honestly, how many of you will pick up a banana when you can enjoy a chocolate-covered cherry or a pecan pie?
All of us, it seems, are called upon to make choices as to what our spiritual diet will be just as we must select our foods. If, as they say, we "are what we eat" physically, it is also true in the realm of religious teaching. God's Word is compared to "pure milk" which causes young Christians to grow (1 Pet. 2:2). Its soul-edifying truths are also called "solid food" (Heb. 12:5, NIV) which is profitable for those who have discernment. We never need fear being harmed by ingesting and practicing the teachings of Scripture--properly interpreted.
On the other hand there is a lot of religious "junk food" out there. Literature is available to make us feel good and forget our moral responsibilities. Even a lot of evangelical material panders to the human craving for entertainment and excitement.
Sometimes the best reading is hard. There are admittedly parts of the Bible which are difficult to practice. But usually that which is the most profitable for us is not the sweetest to our palate. The best spiritual food is that which causes us to love God more, love others more, and dedicate our lives to doing right. --John Thornbury
2. (Matthew 4:4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (KJV)
III. LOVE THE CHURCH.
1. (Psalms 26:8) LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. (KJV)
(TOD*) We were sad children if we did not love our Father's dwelling place. Though we own no sacred buildings, yet the church of the living God is the house of God, and true Christians delight in her ordinances, services, and assemblies. O that all our days were Sabbaths!
"I have in my congregation," said a venerable minister of the gospel, "a worthy, aged woman, who has for many years been so deaf as not to distinguish the loudest sound, and yet she is always one of the first in the meeting. On asking the reason of her constant attendance (as it was impossible for her to hear my voice), she answered, `Though I cannot hear you, I come to God's house because I love it, and would be found in his ways; and he gives me many a sweet thought upon the text when it is pointed out to me: another reason is, because there I am in the best company, in the more immediate presence of God, and among his saints, the honourable of the earth. I am not satisfied with serving God in private; it is my duty and privilege to honour him regularly in public.'" What a reproof this is to those who have their hearing, and yet always come to a place of worship late, or not at all!
2. (Hebrews 10:25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (KJV)
IV. LET THE HOLY SPIRIT LEAD YOU.
(Romans 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (KJV)
(AC) No man who has not Divine assistance can either find the way to heaven, or walk in it when found. As Christ, by his sacrificial offering, has opened the kingdom of God to all believers; and, as a mediator, transacts the concerns of their kingdom before the throne; so the Spirit of God is the great agent here below, to enlighten, quicken, strengthen, and guide the true disciples of Christ; and all that are born of this Spirit are led and guided by it; and none can pretend to be the children of God who are not thus guided.
(1.) Are we conscious that an influence from above has been drawing us away from the corrupting passions and vanities of this world ? This is the work of the Spirit.
(2.) Are we conscious of a desire to yield to that influence, and to be conducted in the path of purity and life? This is an evidence that we are the sons of God.
(3.) Do we offer no resistance; do we follow cheerfully, and obey this pure influence, leading us to mortify pride, subdue passion, destroy lust, humble ambition, and annihilate the love of wealth and of the world? If so, we are his children. God will not lead us astray; and our peace and happiness consist only in yielding ourselves to this influence entirely, and in being willing to be conducted by this unseen hand "beside the still waters of salvation."
2. (John 16:13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (KJV)
V. LIVE A SEPARATED LIFE.
(1 John 2:15) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (KJV)
Someone has pointed out that it isn't the ship in the water but water in the ship, which sinks ships. A ship can ride out the most severe storm so long as it isn't capsized or punctured so that water gets inside. There may be a great external threat, but if the water can be kept out, the ship will remain afloat.
It's just so with the spiritual life of a Christian. We are in the world, but not of the world. All around us, and often very close to us, there are immoral and unspiritual elements which, if allowed to penetrate our defense, will surely "sink" us. Those elements must be kept out at all costs.
We must be strong to keep the world out of our hearts and lives. John says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (1 John 2:15), and then identifies those things more closely as the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life." The problem isn't the Christian in the world, it's the world in the Christian. Whatever takes our eyes off Christ, discourages us from serving Him in the church, or compromises our spirituality and morality in any way, can destroy us. "O soul be on thy guard; ten thousand foes arise."
(Romans 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJV)
(AC*) The world that now is-THIS present state of things, is as much opposed to the spirit of genuine Christianity as the world then was. Pride, luxury, vanity, extravagance in dress, and riotous living, prevail now, as they did then, and are as unworthy of a Christian's pursuit as they are injurious to his soul, and hateful in the sight of God.
(Spurgeon*) Mark well that the only way to escape being conformed to the world is to be transformed. The customs of society will lead us away unless the grace of God rules in us with divine power. We are set to prove to the world what the mind of God is: may we have grace to accomplish our mission.
VI. SPEND MUCH TIME IN PRAYER.
1. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Pray without ceasing. (KJV)
(AC) Ye are dependent on God for every good; without him ye can do nothing; feel that dependence at all times, and ye will always be in the spirit of prayer; and those who feel this spirit will, as frequently as possible, be found in the exercise of prayer.
2. (James 4:2) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (KJV)
"Ye have not, because ye ask not. . . ." (James 4:2).
A German merchant, named Hahnel, in his last hours called for his children at his bedside. He related this story.
"Once in my younger years I made a business trip. My team was obliged to delay for a short time. I, however, stepped into a church that was nearby, in which services were being held just at that hour. The minister spoke of the blessedness and value of prayer, and frequently repeated the words, 'A day without prayer is a day without blessing.'
"In the midst of all the cares and labors of my later life I have found that alone in prayer is discovered the deeper rest and cheerfulness, the courage and strength for both life and death. For God, to whom my spirit is about to go, became long ago through prayer an old familiar friend of mine, whose face I daily sought, and now I rejoice in the midst of the pains of death that I shall look upon His loving countenance.
"So now that I am about to leave you, I know of nothing more valuable to leave you than the exhortation to prayer, for in and with prayer you have everything you can wish for both time and eternity."
Then in simple faith the aged father raised his voice for the last time in prayer. "My Lord and my God, Thou didst love me first, and I in my weakness and sin have learned to love Thee. . . . Let it be my last prayer that the sweet name of Jesus and His divine power may never depart from the heart and life of my children and children's children. Make Thou in this home a family of prayer, for Thy Name's sake. Amen."
3. (Matthew 7:7) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (KJV)
VII. BE A FAITHFUL WITNESS.
1. (Mark 5:19) Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. (KJV)
Here was happy, holy, useful work for him. Such a task as Jesus has allotted to each of us.
2. (Matthew 4:19) And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (KJV)
* AC – Adam Clark Commentary
*Brethren – Brethren New Testament Commentary
*TOD – Treasury of David
*Spurgeon – Spurgeon Devotional Commentary
- Posts : 1353
Join date : 2011-12-31
Age : 62
Location : Eastern OH
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