Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"A pilot without his chart, a scholar without his book, and a soldier without his sword, are alike ridiculous. But, above all these, it is absurd for one to think of being a Christian, without knowledge of the word of God and some skill to use this weapon."

- William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

“This mystery is great but I am speaking with reference to Christ & the Church.”
—Ephesians 5.32

The greatest earthly and visible picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial and loving death for His Church is in fact the covenant-bond of marriage. Properly lived out, the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman gloriously makes the gospel visible as a husband loves and leads and sacrifices for his Bride and as the wife submits to, honors, and respects her husband.

1. the church is BETROTHED to Christ.
Right now, every true believer is betrothed to Christ and has the Spirit of God as a pledge, the down-payment. The Spirit guarantees the believer’s future inheritance. Christians have not enjoyed the fullness of the marriage supper yet. No Christian on earth has experienced the home of Christ yet. Every saint travels now and journeys now to the eternal home to be with Christ. The Church, at the present, is betrothed to Christ. As in ancient Judaism, in betrothal, the husband and wife were legally married though they had not yet come together intimately yet. When the husband would come gather his bride, then they would have the wedding ceremony and then they would consummate their marriage and physically come together as a married couple. But even during the betrothal period, legally, the husband and wife were married. So it is with every Christian who is married to Christ legally by being justified by faith. The marriage has been made. God has entered His covenant with His Bride and shall never break it. They are married but Christ and true believers who now serve Christ on earth have not enjoyed the marriage supper nor have they enjoyed the physical, perfect, full union that awaits at the consummation. That is yet to happen.

2. the church is PROMISED to Christ.
God promises true Christians that to die results in their gain. For a Christian, to live is Christ; yet, to die is infinitely better. During the present period as believers on earth serve Christ and worship Him, there is a promise that every believer clings to and knows that one day when Christ returns, He will gather His elect unto Himself. But even at the present hour, as Christ is not yet with His people, the church is in fact promised to Christ. The Lord Jesus will receive His Bride and will receive the full reward of His sufferings.

3. the church is KEPT/PRESERVED for Christ.
He who began a good work in believers will perfect that work until the final day. The work of God shall never fall short; it shall never fail. True believers are kept for Christ not by their supreme love for Christ but because of His securing love for His elect. True Christians make it to heaven not because they primarily persevere but because Christ Himself preserves them and guards them in their faith so as to ensure that they persevere till the end. Just as a bride was preserved — even during the betrothal period — for the coming wedding feast when she would then be joined to her husband physically, so it is with the people of God who are preserved now till that day when she is joined with her great Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, eternally in glory.

4. the church is PREPARING for Christ.
In Judaism, during the Betrothal period before the husband would gather his bride for the moment of physical consummation, the Bride would prepare herself and do all that was necessary in readying herself for the soon-coming union. She prepared herself. In the same way, at the present on earth, every true believer prepares himself to meet Christ! True believers are clothed in fine linen and made righteous because of the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ credited to them. But the bride of Christ makes herself ready by righteous acts (Rev 19.7-8). Every believer longs to meet his Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, and years for Him! She beautifies herself by becoming more like Christ, by pursuing Him, by earnestly seeking holiness and by abiding in the Vine. Each day that goes by, as the Bride readies herself to meet her promised Bridegroom, she longs with greater love and with fervent passion for His dawning. But till that moment comes, she prepares for this meeting — for then she will forever be with the Lord (1 Thess 4.17).

5. the church is LONGING for Christ.
Like the lovers in Song of Solomon, the woman longs for her lover by saying: ‘draw me after you and let us run together’ (Song 1.4). The bride says: ‘let his left hand be under my head and let his right hand embrace me’ (Song 2.6). Again, ‘O my dove … let me see your form, let me hear your voice’ (Song 2.14). These verses picture the longing that lovers have between each other. As a husband and a wife passionately long for each other, so the church longs for Christ; and, to be sure, Christ longs for this coming union with His Bride! The true church longs for Christ and has a desire to depart and be with Christ (Phil 1.23). Till the union is fully consummated, the Bride of Christ, the Church, longs for her Husband by thinking of Him, by delighting in Him, by communing with Him in intimate fellowship through prayer and the Word of God.

6. the church is LOVING her Christ.
Christ loves His bride and died for her. Because of the work of God in the heart, every true believer loves Christ and has an ever-growing affection for Christ. Of course, it is not what it should be, nor what a believer wants it to be, but believers love Christ and long for Him! Though believers have not seen Him, they love Him (1 Pet 1.8). A blessing of divine grace is promised to those who love the Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love (Eph 6.24). As a bride of old thought about and considered her coming groom who would come and fetch her to live with and protect and lavish affection upon her, so the Bride of Christ loves her Savior with ever-increasing affection the more that she considers Him! Let the soon-coming Bridegroom ravish his own with His love and let believers love Him with diligence and with passion.

Marriage, then, is an unbreakable union that reflects the union with Christ and His church. The intimacy of marriage between one man and one woman reflects the intimacy that the Church enjoys with Christ now and that will be fully enjoyed when Christ gathers His own unto Himself forever in His home in glory!

The wedding in marriage points to the ultimate wedding between Christ and His Church. Furthermore, the preparations for marriage mirror the lengthy preparations of the eternal union. Consider the two-fold elements of this preparation:
    1. Christ's preparations = for us in heaven
    2. Church's preparation = spotless and pure in holy deeds

The physical and sexual union between a man and a woman in marriage points to the coming eternal union between Christ and His Bride. As there is no act in the marriage relationship that expresses more intimate affection, exclusive love, and ravishing delights than sexual intimacy, so this God-blessed act points to the most superior intimacy and affection, the ever-flowing and exclusive love, and the unending delights of being ravished by Christ in heaven! The sex-act in marriage points to the glorious intimacy that the church will have with Jesus Christ forever and ever — without end!

The joy of a present, earthly wedding feast dimly points to the overflowing and ever-increasing delights of the heavenly marriage supper of the Lamb! And it comes quickly! As the Bridegroom, He promises His Bride repeatedly that He is near and that He comes quickly (Rev 22.7, 12, 20).

To refuse sexual intimacy to one’s spouse in marriage not only sins against the clear commands of the Lord in the Word of God, but it presents a terribly distorted picture of the gospel since it would present a coming marriage between Christ and His Bride without enjoying the ravishing spiritual intimacy together. What a horror! Godly husbands and wives must enjoy frequent sexual relations together not just for the protection of the spouse’s purity, for the satisfying of one’s spouse, for the enjoyment and obedience of being ‘one flesh’ in all areas, but also because it serves to remind Godly couples of the soon-coming full intimacy when Christ and His Church enjoy one another for all of eternity!

Summary: HUSBANDS should ponder the following key points:
1. marriage is UNBREAKABLE
2. marriage is JOYFUL
3. marriage is INTIMATE
4. marriage is EARTHLY
5. marriage is PREPARATORY
6. marriage is FUTURE-POINTING

Bear in mind, the preparation for a wedding serves to emphasize the all the preparations for the heavenly wedding! The love between a married couple serves to illustrate — albeit dimly — the perfect love between Christ & His Bride! The frequent and unashamed intimacy a man enjoys in his wife is but a dim shadow of the perfect, glorious, ravishing, and full intimacy the Church will enjoy with her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, forevermore in glory! And, the tenderness between a husband & a wife demonstrates in an earthly sense the perfect tenderness that Christ has for His church & that she reciprocates toward Him.

Let husbands and wives delight in love toward one another. Let them intoxicate each other with love (Song 5.1). Let them hold to each other and not let each other go (Song 3.4). Let lovers indulge frequently and joyously in regular, selfless, others-centered sexual intimacy in obedience to the Lord (1 Cor 7.3-5). And let Godly couples remember, talk about, pray about and gladden their hearts that every time they enjoy sexual delights within the covenant-bond of their marriage, it points to unbounded, unending, unfathomable delights that the Bride of Christ will enjoy with Christ, her Bridegroom, for endless eternities to come. Truly your marriage is a picture of the heavenly realities to come. The question is, is your marriage currently picturing a poor or an accurate heavenly marriage to come? Enjoy your spouse! Live in harmony with one another and ravish each other with selfless pleasures and thank God for the gospel and for your marriage. After all, speaking about marriage, the Apostle Paul writes: ‘this mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church’ (Eph 5.32).

Download the full pdf article here  |  see all of the articles here

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Primer on Corporate Worship —
Its Purposes and Blessings

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

God has designed corporate worship should be the high point of the Christian’s life. To gather with other blood-bought sinners and to pray, sing, read, fellowship & sit under the Word together, as the family of Christ, should permeate the believer’s heart throughout the week. With that in mind, corporate worship should bless God and it should encourage the believer. It should strengthen the flock and it should remind each individual of his need for Christ, his Head, & for the Body of Christ, his family members. In a day where everything from football games on TV, to grocery shopping on ‘the day off’, to the kids’ basketball practices often seems to keep people from one of God’s greatest blessings — and gifts! — to His church, this little essay is sorely needed.

1. A blessing.
God has designed corporate worship to be a blessing to the people of God! Worship should produce joy in the Christian’s heart and his heart should be encouraged, edified, and uplifted as he worships together with the family of God.

2. A remembering.
Gathering together as the family of God should always center on the person and work of Jesus Christ, His gospel, and His supreme and inerrant Word of God. To meet with the other members of the flock should serve as a reminder of who God is, what Christ has done, who man is, and what the gospel produces in the lives of true believers.

3. A meeting.
Corporate worship is an assembled gathering of like-minded, Spirit-indwelt, supernaturally-regenerated believers to worship God, exalt Christ, edify the saints, and live by the power of the Spirit. To ignore corporate worship and to downplay the corporate meetings of the church (or see it as a lesser priority in one’s life) is to sorely misunderstand and cheat oneself out of the blessings that God pours out upon the gathered meeting of His people.

4. A delight.
Corporate worship prepares for heaven. Heaven is infinitely sweet and delightful and so God’s gift to His people is a sampling of that heavenly delight but here on earth. Corporate worship consists of the most delightful aspects of a Christian’s life — hearing from God in Scripture, speaking to God in prayer, sitting under His preached Word, and giving and receiving encouragement through Christ-centered fellowship. A true believer loves these elements and cannot live without them. Corporate worship delights his soul since it provides an opportunity to indulge in what the believer loves most — Christ, His Word, prayer, and His people.

5. A haven.
The world harshly treats God’s people. The sinful world system hates God’s truth and God’s people and all that they stand for. And yet, when believers gather with other like-minded believers, there is a sort of haven that the Christian finds when God’s people come together. Just as a haven provides a stronghold from the storm, so the corporate gathering of believers provides a safe haven from the whirling storms of life and from the evil and raging waves of Satan’s temptations. To skip corporate worship is to refuse to rest in this haven. To downplay or miss worshiping with God’s people is to intentionally miss one of the great protections and strongholds that God gives to His people to provide strength, energy and vigor to live the Christian life.

6. A fellowship.
In the New Testament, to fellowship is to share a commonality, a like-mindedness. To fellowship with other believers does not connote ‘hanging out’ with others simply. It inherently requires a like-minded sharing in Christ. To fellowship is one of the greatest blessings that God gives to the Christian and yet, sadly, it is one of the most neglected areas of spiritual growth in the lives of many professing Christians. To follow Christ is to yearn to be with God’s people. To have no yearning for Christ’s people means that you are not a part of the body and it means that heaven would be miserable to you. Heaven is a world of divine, glorious, ongoing fellowship. God gives fellowship so that His people can be strengthened one with another, encourage each other in Christ and in His Word, talk about life, piety, domestic holiness, and serving Christ at work. To fellowship means to talk about Christ, to grow in one’s knowledge of Christ, to share what you have learned and to glean from what others have studied and learned.

7. A hospital.
Living in the world of darkness, run and governed by the god of this world, Christians often receive beatings for their faith. True Christians suffer for their faith. These come in different ways, in different forms, to different degrees, but the Scriptures declare that all genuine Christians will suffer persecution for Christ’s sake. Coming to corporate worship is like coming to the hospital. Just as one receives help, aid, care, comfort, and strength in a hospital, so a bruised and broken Christian finds help, aid, care, comfort, and strength from being with God’s people and hearing God’s Word taught in the gathered assembly. Corporate worship serves as a sort of hospital for Christ’s wounded suffering injuries from this world. The perfect care comes not from a bandage but from the glorious balm of Christ found in the Word of God which soothes any affliction that the believer may face. Triumph with strength even in the afflictions as you meet with other believers in the loving hospital of God’s people.

8. A foretaste.
Christians strangely live not for the here and now but with an eye fixed immovably and joyously on the soon-coming certainty of heaven. Every Christian fixes his hope on Christ, the author and perfecter of his faith. To live in fellowship with other believers serves, in reality, as the best foretaste of heaven. Nothing in heaven is individualistic. No Christians will live and serve and enjoy heaven isolated from Christ and from His Bride. But all of heaven is corporate. The masses and multitudes of blood-bought worshipers will gather round the throne and worship Christ together as they loudly lift their voices and passionately worship the Lamb who was slain and purchased men for God! Worship God now corporately to prepare for corporate worship in heaven. May the Body of Christ here serve as a foretaste — and a sweet one! — of the gathered throng in heaven who together look to the Lamb, love the Lamb, follow the Lamb & serve the Lamb!

Download the pdf here.
When the Sermon Preparation Is Finished, One Essential Still Remains
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

There comes a point in the sermon preparation when the exegesis and crafting of the sermon has been completed. After a week of study, the outline is done, the sermon is full of flesh, muscles and bones, and the content is well structured and well argued. The gospel is clear and application runs throughout. But there comes that point when the message is done and the preacher must quiet himself before the Lord and beg for God’s help, God’s strength, God’s enabling, God’s empowering, and God’s unction.

Pray for the illumination of the hearers as the Word of God is preached on Sunday from the pulpit. Pray for the Spirit of God to shed light upon His truth as the believers hear it heralded. Pray for the unfolding of God’s Word to give light to His people. Beg that the Spirit of God would do what only He can do — give much light to the pure Word as it goes forth.

Earnestly ask God to transform the hearers as they come face to face with the Living God through the preached Word.  Pray for the Lord to work through the proclamation of divine truth to change the heart, capture the mind, win the affections, and conform the life of each hearer to Christ and His image.

Wrestle with God in fervent prayer that He might grant revival. Only God can give revival and bring newness of life to the lost. Only God can revive the heart, bring change, give life to those swallowed up in coldness. Pray and pray on and pray believingly that God would rend the heavens and descend to bring revival.

O that preachers would spend as much time crying out to God to save souls as he does exegeting the text. He should pray with passion and fervency for the Lord to awaken dead souls to new life. Unless sinners are born again, they cannot see the Kingdom of God.

Unction describes that act of the Spirit where He powerfully comes upon the message so that it goes forth with life-giving power, soul-transforming grace, and heart-wooing beauty. Pray for the Spirit of God to grant unction as you preach God’s Word. What you’ve worked hard to prepare all week, entreat the Lord to take the Word like a sword and thrust it perfectly and precisely into the hearts of the hearers precisely where needed.

O that men would preach with urgent proclamation and passionate pathos! Pray that you would stand in the pulpit and proclaim with verbal strength. The minister should storm the throne of grace with confidence and ask the Lord to aid his proclamation. He must ask for clarity, passion, order, heavenly-mindedness and confidence in his preaching.

Men must feel what they preach. If ministers are not affected in their own hearts by what they preach, there is no way his hearers would be stirred to action. If a man does not feel his text, and preach it from the bowels of his heart, then his preaching will be lifeless, apathetic, and futile. Let a man pray for affection, drive, pathos, and zeal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
— Ephesians 5:25

What was Christ's love like?

1. Initiating Love
The love that came to us was initiated by God Himself. There is nothing inherently appealing or attractive in a sinful human that prompted God to love him. The love of Christ came solely from His sovereign initiative and from His free choice. God did not wait for humans to become lovely and respond to His love, but Christ Himself proved that His was a supreme, initiating love.

2. Sacrificial Love
Jesus Christ came into the world to give His life a ransom for many. He came to die. His was a life of obedience so that He might die a death of obedience to the Father and as a substitute for men. The love of Christ showed itself in that He gave Himself for others. He sacrificed Himself. He did not wait for convenience, and even when it was totally inconvenient, Christ still sacrificed for His bride, the church.

3. Unconditional Love
Christ loves with no conditional promises. He never says: “I will love you if….” His is always an unconditional love towards His elect and He loves perfectly, fully, entirely, everlastingly, and supremely with no qualifiers, with no stipulations, with no conditions. He loves His own unilaterally and even when the Bride sins and fails and stumbles, He remains loving toward her.

4. Delightful Love
The love of Christ delights His bride. No love can compare with the love from this Bridegroom! Just as Christ delights His bride and ravishes her with His glory, beauty and dazzling charms, so the husband should love his wife with a delightful love. His love delights the heart, it wins the affections, it woos the heart, it engages the person. The love of Christ satisfies His people!

5. Eternal Love
Jesus never loves temporarily. His love shall never grow cold. He never loves partially or merely for an occasion. The love of Christ cannot be manipulated or coerced. His love for His own lasts forever. It will endure as long as the everlasting ages will exist. His love is so strong and mighty that even the duration of this age cannot exhaust the glories of Christ’s love. His goes on throughout all eternity as it never diminishes, lessens, weakens, grows cold, or fades. It exists eternally!

6. Providing Love
Jesus provides everything that His church needs. He came to live a life in her stead. He came to die a death in her stead. He came to rise from the dead for her justification. He ascended to heaven to intercede for her. Christ’s love provides all that could ever be needed to procure the Bride’s redemption. He provides for His church in all that she could ever need — both spiritually and physically. So the husband must love his wife with this kind of providing love.

7. Protecting Love
Christ Jesus promises to guard His people till heaven dawns. Nothing and no one could ever pluck a child of God out of the hand of Christ! His love protects. His love keeps. His love preserves. His love procures and secures. The love that Christ has for each of His blood-bought sheep is a jealous, protecting, preserving, and secure love. None can break in and loosen His grip on His people. His grip never loosens, it never grows weak, he never gives up on His people.

8. Complete Love
The love that Jesus displayed is one that endures ‘to the max’ or ‘to the end.’ The love of Christ is defined by completeness. It lacks nothing. It is full, whole, entire, and it lacks nothing good. Christ’s love completely engulfs His Bride leaving no part of her unexposed to His perfect and full love. Christ’s unbounded, unrestrained and unlimited love pours down upon His Bride fully!

9. Promising Love
Promises abound in the Scriptures from the lips of Christ to His Bride regarding her future glory. Christ verbally communicates with His Bride and He manifoldly vows to guard her, to keep her, to sanctify her, to feed her, to gladden her, to glorify her, to empower her, and to use her! One strains to even count the abundance of promises in Scripture that Christ makes to His Bride. The love of Christ is a promising, hopeful, guaranteeing, communicating and sure love!

10. Sanctifying Love
Christ builds His church. He strengthens the building as His people mature and grow in Christ. He cherishes His bride and washes her in the Word. He calls upon His people to feed upon Him; yes, to even eat Him! He provides daily sustenance for His people in Himself. Man does not live on bread alone but on every word from God’s mouth. He surely builds and sanctifies His Bride!

11. Cherishing Love
Jesus Christ cherishes His Bride. He passionately loves Her. He tenderly loves her. He zealously loves her. He jealously loves her. Christ has such a profound and preeminent love for His Bride that He will protect her from any and all foes. He loves to manifest Himself in and through His Bride. He cherishes her and she knows it. Christ speaks of her frequently. He tells her how much He loves her repeatedly. And Christ lavishes her with ample promises of future hope!

12. Intimate Love
No relationship ever comes close to the intimacy that Jesus Christ has with His Bride, the Church. The union that believers enjoy with their Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, is unspeakably close, intimate, and loving. No other lovers ever come between the love that Christ has for His Bride. No rivals exist. There is no plan B. There is no option of leaving the Bride, the Church, and going after another. The love of Christ for His elect-people is an intimate love. They are so close that the relationship can be viewed as them being ‘one.’ Christ loves nothing more than His Church. There are no programs, no others, indeed nothing in all creation, that He loves more than the Church.

13. Preeminent Love
The best love that one could ever experience is the perfect, supreme, preeminent love from Christ. His love is preeminent. Other human relationships pale in comparison to this relationship with Christ. Other lovers cannot begin to match the perfect love Christ has for His Bride. His love towers in height over all over loves. His love spans the breadth of all the universe and far surpasses any other love one could give. It goes deeper than any other love one has ever dreamed of. The love of Christ cannot be measured. It is preeminent, perfect, lavish, abundant, ever-flowing, rich, and divine. And this is the love Christ willingly and perfectly gives to His own.

14. Deliberate Love
To love is to sacrificially give oneself for another. Christ does not just ‘happen’ to love some people. His love is not an accidental, occasional, situational, or happenstance love. His love doesn’t just happen. Christ deliberately loves His own and He intentionally loves them. No one ever crafted such an amazing picture of true love more than Christ did. He thought of how he could love His Bride. He went after her willingly, passionately, zealously. He sought her, He bought her, and He got her for Himself! He deliberately loved her even when He was tired, betrayed, lonely, feeling the approaching trials and troubles. Yet love won and His intentional and willful love gave Himself on behalf of His bride for her good, for her benefit, for her joy and her glory.

15. Singular Love
Fickle man pursues other lovers. The heart of men runs after other lovers that appear to satisfy and provide pleasure. But Christ’s love is singular. He loves His Bride savingly, perfectly, supremely, and singularly. There are no other lovers in this relationship between Christ and His Bride. No one even comes close to winning His attention, His affection, His delights, His time, and His affection. His love for the Bride whom He sought and bought is a singular love. No rivals exist. No other lovers can be found. No one doubts this. His love for His Church is profoundly faithful and supremely singular. Husbands must see Christ’s love and emulate this love for their wives.

16. Public Love
Christ publicly displayed His love for His people. He died for her publicly, outside the gate. He was even mocked in so doing. Many despised Him and ridiculed Him. Many reviled Him and spoke evil of Him in this perfect, divine act of supreme, self-giving love (at Calvary). Yet His love for His Bride was public, perfect, verifiable, undeniable, and lavish. Christ showed the perfect kind of love — a self-giving of oneself to another regardless of how the recipient receives, recognizes, reciprocates, or expresses gratitude — toward His elect when He died for her at the hands of ruthless blasphemers. No one could deter Christ from His love. He loved His bride publicly so all could see the willful commitment He had for His Bride. He loves publicly and unashamedly.

17. Forgiving Love
God promises to never remember the sins of His people and never to call them to account. He never keeps a list of wrongs and never — ever! — says: “Yes, but remember when you just did that last week….” His love is a forgiving love. He takes all the offenses of those whom He redeemed and casts them into the depths of the sea because He paid the price for it. He holds no grudges. He is never bitter or resentful over her sin. He never keeps the record of wrongs and piles them up to use against us in a ‘blowup moment.’ He forgives. He chooses to not think on it anymore. He promises to never hold His Bride accountable for her offenses. Why? Because she is forgiven. He took her sins, her burden, her iniquities, her wrath, her punishment, her hell. His love forgives. Unquestionable forgiveness, unending forgiveness is what Christ gives. He never retaliates nor does He ever strive to get even. He forgives and actively chooses to not bring it up again to Himself, to her, or to others. This is a perfect, forgiving, supreme and divine love.

18. Relentless Love
Christ’s love chases after His sweet Bride. Like a marathon runner, the love of Christ swiftly and purposefully runs after the prize. And what is that prize? That Christ would have the full harvest of those whom He redeemed in glory one day who surround His throne and worship Him forevermore. His love is relentless. Like an ever-flowing fountain, Christ’s love is ever-flowing. Like a massive waterfall, so the love of Christ bursts down upon the heads of His elect. His love never runs dry, it never runs thin, it never stops pursuing, it never wanes dry, nor does it ever become cold. His love hotly and passionately pursues one lover: His Bride, the Church.

Concluding Exhortation:
The love of Christ is described by all of the above phrases. The way that He has loved you, O Christian man, is the same kind of love that God calls you to lavishly demonstrate to your wives. God does not call you receive this love from Him only. He calls and commands and commissions and strengthens you to receive the love that He has shown you so that you can love your wife in this same way. So husbands, examine the kind of love that you should have for your wives. What is your love for her currently like? What would she say if she were to describe your love toward her? Where can you grow? Where can you change? Where must you repent: first to God, then to your spouse? The delightfulness of looking at the husband’s duty of loving the wife is that it absolutely and powerfully drives you to the gospel constantly. When you thank God for the gospel of grace and how God lavished love and mercy upon you, you should consider how you should turn around and demonstrate this same kind of love toward your precious gift from God, your wife. Love her! Lavish affection on her! Singularly pursue her as your supreme lover! Passionately and deliberately love her. Sanctify her in Christ! Seek God’s help, then love your wife! Feed on Christ each day and preach the gospel to your soul. And then love your bride!

Download the pdf article here.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Taking the Friday morning study & turning it into a marital discipleship-relationship.
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

How can we encourage, equip & exhort the CFBC men to shepherd, nurture, instruct & pastor their wives at home? How can we as men follow the command of our Savior and give ourselves up for our wives and sanctify them by washing them in the Word? After all, this is what Jesus our Savior does for us? So how can we emulate our Savior and practically implement this in our own marriages? Here are some super practical suggestions.

You cannot give to your wife what you don’t possess. You cannot impart knowledge to her that you do not have. So, men, as you come on Friday mornings, pay attention, focus, fight distractions and listen carefully so as to understand the teaching and meaning of God’s Word. Let it sink into your mind, heart, affections, and indeed, your whole being.

Some people benefit from taking notes and jotting down memorable points. Others find great help by taking copious notes so they can review them later on and rehearse the entire study to themselves. Whatever way is best for you, the goal is to remember what you studied, what you learned, and what God used to teach and convict you so you can disseminate that to your wife.

As the men’s study progresses, always be thinking and asking yourself, ‘how must I apply what I’m learning/reading from the Word of God?’ Never be happy in hearing the Word only; always be a doer. If God’s Word doesn’t make you better, then it’s all for naught. So when you attend and listen, be humble, be willing to be convicted, broken, exposed, and molded into Christ’s image by God’s Spirit through the study of the Word of God. Apply to your heart first.

Every man lives a busy life. We must schedule and prioritize appointments. If men don’t schedule certain activities, it’ll get crowded out or forgotten altogether. So, men, schedule a discussion with your wife. It must be priority. We are called by God to sanctify our wives and wash them in the Word. It’s not optional! We must prioritize this discussion. Make it happen. It’s as important as a meeting with your top client. There, you may have a follow-up review with a boss; but remember, on the final day, you’ll stand before God Himself and give account to your faithfulness. So prioritize this. Schedule this. Make it happen. Yes, it is really that important.

When you have that precious time talking with your wife, honestly share with her what you’ve learned. Tell her what the discussion was about. Inform her of the Scriptures you covered (even read the verses with her!). Share what you learned, doctrines that God reminded you of, insights that other men shared, and ways in which the Spirit of God convicted and challenged you. Not only is this helpful to wash your God-graced companion and help-mate in the Word and apply the Word to her heart and life, but it builds an emotional bond as you honestly and humbly share what you are learning. What a model of leadership! What exemplary husbanding!

In pastoring a congregation at large or pastoring one’s family at home, the shepherd must trust the power of the Word to do its work. The Word works in those who believe. So men must have confidence in God’s power to work through His word to sanctify your wife as you shepherd her in the Truth. Trust God’s Word to work in her life, in your marriage, in your relationship, and in her love for, respect for, submission to and affection for you. Men, lead and trust!

Download the pdf article here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

From Richard Steele (17th c.) who alludes to the teachings of John Chrysostom (AD347-407):

"Let them [husband & wife] both go to church and then discuss the sermon together. If both are Christians already, then they should do what they can to help each other to become thorough saints. Speak often of God and spiritual things. Be fellow pilgrims to the Celestial City!"
From Charles Spurgeon:

"What is the way to become an efficient preacher? "Young man," says one, "go to college." "Young man," says Christ, "follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men." How is a person to be useful? "Attend a training-class," says one. Quite right; but there is a surer answer than that—Follow Jesus, and he will make you fishers of men."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Spurgeon talks of the perseverence of one open air preacher, John Furz, who encountered a bit of opposition when he preached.

“Once recommenced, the fruitful agency of field-preaching was not allowed to cease… The preachers needed to have faces set like flints, and so indeed they had. John Furz says: ‘As soon as I began to preach, a man came straight forward, and presented a gun at my face; swearing that he would blow my brains out, if I spake another word.

However, I continued speaking, and he continued swearing, sometimes putting the muzzle of the gun to my mouth, sometimes against my ear. While we were singing the last hymn, he got behind me, fired the gun, and burned off part of my hair.’

“After this, my brethren, we ought never to speak of petty interruptions or annoyances.”
—From Charles Spurgeon’s sermon: Open-Air Preaching—A Sketch of its History and Remarks Hereon
A Godly Man.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

1. Know the Word
As an explorer journeys through the vast forests and the uninhabited territories with expectation and delight, so the man of God endeavors to journey through the Word of God so as to know the Truth. A man of God not just wants to know the truths of the Word of God but he wants to commune with the God of the Word. Every man of God longs for more of God and He is found in the Word. To commune with God, one reads the Word. Every godly man must pursue the diligent and daily priority of being in the Word of God.

2. Meditate on the Word
As a child gathers all of his toys at the early part of the day so he can have plenty of items to play with throughout the day, so the man of God wants to be in the Word and impress the Word upon his heart and mind so that it will stick with him and affect his heart throughout the entirety of the day. As an animal chews the cud, so the man of God chews on the Word. As someone puts gasoline in the automobile, so the believer must fill himself with the Scriptures. To meditate means that one fills and consumes himself with truth. It permeates and saturates him.

3. Obey the Word
A godly man zealously pursues the Word but it is far more than just intellectual knowledge or rote memorization. Every man of God yearns to apply the Word; that is, to be a doer of the Word. Knowledge without obedience is but more logs to make hell hotter. More exposure to truth without repentance, faith, and obedience is like a businessman knowing all that he must do while standing at the door of his office and refusing to put any of it to practice. He will quickly be cast out, terminated, and gone. So it is with the wicked. But every man of God says with the psalmist that he will keep the righteous ordinances from God (Ps 119.106).

4. Prioritize the Word
A godly man prioritizes the Word more than anything else. Before conversing with men, the Godly man consumes his heart with God and His Word. Before working in the fields, the man of God will worship as he fellowships with the Triune God. Nothing so satisfies the heart of a godly man than opening the Book, reading it, seeing God in Christ, and being drawn and invited to worship! Like a delightful fruit tree, the man of God must quickly approach it to get the fruits so as to enjoy the sweetness and delightfulness in partaking of it. A man of God daily prioritizes the Word. Indeed, man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deut 8.3).

5. Confide in the Word
In a life full of troubles and in a world pummeled by sorrows, the man of God applies the balm of the Word to the wounds of his heart. There is nothing that so comforts the godly man than the precious ointment and beauty of Christ and His gospel. The man of God confides himself in the Word. He hides in it. He trusts in it. He stands fully and constantly upon it. The only foundation that he has to stand upon in the shaky ground of this world is the solid Rock of Christ as revealed in the Word of God. The godly man receives comfort, joy and solace even in the most torrential of times when he comes to the Word and rests in the arms of the Great Comforter.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

From George Whitefield's Journals:

"I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him."

I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him.2 - See more at: http://deliveredbygrace.com/lessons-from-whitefield-for-2015/#sthash.33zXqgu1.Xrqn5v2W.dpuf
I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him.2 - See more at: http://deliveredbygrace.com/lessons-from-whitefield-for-2015/#sthash.33zXqgu1.Xrqn5v2W.dpuf
I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him.2 - See more at: http://deliveredbygrace.com/lessons-from-whitefield-for-2015/#sthash.33zXqgu1.Xrqn5v2W.dpuf
I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him.2 - See more at: http://deliveredbygrace.com/lessons-from-whitefield-for-2015/#sthash.33zXqgu1.Xrqn5v2W.dpuf
I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him. - See more at: http://deliveredbygrace.com/lessons-from-whitefield-for-2015/#sthash.33zXqgu1.Xrqn5v2W.dpuf
I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him. - See more at: http://deliveredbygrace.com/lessons-from-whitefield-for-2015/#sthash.33zXqgu1.Xrqn5v2W.dpuf
I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him. - See more at: http://deliveredbygrace.com/lessons-from-whitefield-for-2015/#sthash.33zXqgu1.Xrqn5v2W.dpuf
I give to Him my soul and body to be disposed and worn out in His labours as He shall think meet. I do hence resolve, by His assistance…to lead a stricter life than ever, to give my self to prayer and the study of the Scriptures…. God give me my health, if it be His blessed will…. I give myself wholly to Him. - See more at: http://deliveredbygrace.com/lessons-from-whitefield-for-2015/#sthash.33zXqgu1.Xrqn5v2W.dpuf
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