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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Attraction to be found in Jesus

The following is by Charles H. Spurgeon:

Christ dying for sinners is the great attraction of Christianity! Since men will not come to him, the crucified Savior becomes himself the attraction to men. He casts out from himself bands of love and cords of gracious constraint, and binding these around human hearts, he draws them to himself by an invincible constraint of grace.

Sinners by nature will not come to Jesus, though his charms might even attract the blind, and arouse the dead. They will not melt, though surely such beauties might dissolve the adamant, and kindle affection in rock of ice. But Jesus has a wondrous power about him to woo and win the sons of men. Out of his heart proceed chains of gold by which he binds thousands of willing captives to himself. Many a heart has been so charmed with his love that it has run to Christ, drawn by the silken bonds of love.

Jesus is the universal attraction, the attraction to which all hearts must yield when he draws effectually by his grace. The attraction of the Crucified One has bound them to the cross forever! The gracious Spirit has moved many tender hearts first to pity, and afterwards to love the bleeding Lamb.

What a melting power there is in Gethsemane! Can you view the bloody sweat drops, as they fall upon the frozen soil, and not feel that, in some degree, invisible but irresistible cords are drawing you to Jesus? Can you see him flagellated in Pilate’s hall, every thong of the scourge tearing the flesh from his shoulders? Can you see him as they spit into his lovely face, and mar his blessed visage, and not feel as if you could fain fall down and kiss his feet, and make yourself forever his servant?

And, lastly, can you behold him hanging upon the hill of Golgotha to die – can you mark him as his soul is there overwhelmed with the wrath of God, with the bitterness of sin, and with a sense of utter desertion – can you sit down and watch him there and not be attracted to him? (“The Great Attraction” No. 775)

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No Man can afford to be Ignorant of the Bible

From the pen of Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is necessary for the welfare of the nation that men’s lives be based on the principles of the Bible. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.”

Be Careful of Appearances

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6-7 ESV)

Many of us have the tendency to measure the Christianity of our neighbors by such things as church attendance, participating in Bible classes, or taking part in church activities. If they don’t do these things then we might question the maturity of their Christianity.

Men must lead in prayers, teach classes, serve as deacons, or help take up the offerings and serve as ushers if they wish to be seen as mature Christians. Likewise, women must teach children’s classes or women’s classes. At the very least, they should clean the building.

Too often, we rely on our own favorite measures (such as those above) to judge the appearance of others. People will do a lot of things they say are for Jesus, but inside they are dead spiritually. This type of measurement neglects the many parts of the body of Christ and emphasizes only the external actions of the individual concerning the church.

How then should we measure the maturity of a Christian?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)

The qualities above are possessed by the truly spiritual man. This is evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a maturing Christian. Christian maturity begins with the inner man. A man may preach a great sermon, but what about his family life? Does he contend for the faith in the right spirit? Is he quick to anger? Is his conduct becoming?

The kind of measurement for Christian maturity found in the Bible emphasizes the reforming of the inside of a person first and then trusting that the external performance will follow. This is the system God uses and He can see us as we really are. So I would suggest caution before you judge others or compare their Christian maturity to your own.

For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

Let us remember to measure ourselves and others in the same way the Lord uses. It is also good to remember that the Lord measures by His perfect standard which we cannot apply perfectly.

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