Posts tagged ‘Christ’

April 7, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (April 7th): Crucified with Christ

by Aaron Dunlop

 

daily-devotionalsReading: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20

What a striking and beautiful example of this have we in the life and labors of the apostle Paul! Does he speak of his ministry?—what a renunciation of self appears! Lost in the greatness and grandeur of his theme, he exclaims—“We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” Again—“Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

Does he speak of his gifts and labors? What absence of self! “I am the least of the apostles, that am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Such was the religion of Paul. His Christianity was a self-denying, self-crucifying, self-renouncing Christianity. “I live, yet not I.” “I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I.” Oh what a self-denying spirit was his!

But every truly spiritual man is a self-renouncing man. In the discipline of his own heart, beneath the cross of Jesus, and in the school of trial and temptation, he has been taught in some degree, that if he lives, it is not he that lives, but that it is Christ that lives in him. He tramples upon all his own righteousness, his duties, and doings while he desires to be “careful to maintain good works,” that God in all things might be glorified.

“I have now concentrated all my prayers into one, and that one prayer is this, that I may die to self, and live wholly to Him.”—C. H. Spurgeon

Adapted from Octavius Winslow

April 3, 2015

Daily Devotionals: (April 3rd): Christ Died for Our Sins

by Aaron Dunlop

 

daily-devotionalsReading: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3  

The vital part of the passion of Christ is that we not only know the details of His suffering, but that we understand the reason for it and the fruits of His suffering. That is why we must remember the details of the suffering and engrave them on our hearts, never to be forgotten. For in the details of the passion are many points that remind the Christian of how Christ suffered for us and for our sins.

Through these examples and attestations of the suffering of Christ our forebears were sustained when they too learned the details of the passion—how Christ died for our sins. So beside the details of the passion, we must also point out the purpose of Christ’s suffering. Now that purpose we confess in our Creed when we say, “I believe in Jesus Christ who suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried,” and so on. Why was He crucified and why did He die? In order that you might have the forgiveness of sins and be saved, as we confess in the third article of the Creed: “I believe in the forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”

All this has been made possible through Christ’s suffering and death. By the working of the Holy Spirit, we confess Christ, and through faith in Him receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Therefore, the most important aspect of the passion is that we preach and learn why Christ suffered and died, namely, for our sins and that He has saved us from sin, death, and hell.

“Christ took your cup of grief, your cup of the curse, pressed it to his lips, drank it to its dregs, then filled it with His sweet, pardoning, sympathizing love, and gave it back for you to drink, and to drink forever!”—Octavius Winslow

Adapted from Martin Luther (Sermons 5:439)

June 17, 2014

Daily Devotionals (June 17th): The Testimony of a Calm and Holy Life

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

By the “conversation” (AV) the apostles means the general frame and deportment of the whole life. It is the life of a child dependant of its Heavenly Father, called by grace, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Apostle is writing to the Church, the one body in Christ. They all speak the same language, even the language of Canaan. They all wear the same garments, even Christ’s robe of righteousness. They all eat the same spiritual meat, even the bread of life. And they all drink the same spiritual drink. For Christ is both the bread of life, and the water of life to all.

Hence, a uniformity of conversation, pursuits, and desires, form the distinguishing feature of this royal family, whom Christ hath made Kings and Priests, to God and the Father. Reader is it so in your instance? Do men of the world look at you as men wondered at? Do they think it strange, that you do not run with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you? And are these among the marks by which the world take knowledge of you; that ye have been with Jesus? There is not, perhaps, a more alarming thing to the enemies of Christ; and his people, than when they see the firmness with which the Lord’s tried ones are borne up, under the cruel pressure of their persecution. It is, as the Apostle said to them, an evident token of perdition—a sign of their own destruction. They see, they feel, their nothingness, and forebode their misery, when their threats, and menaces, and punishments which they inflict, are lost upon the objects of their bitterness.

What a beautiful example of this the Holy Ghost has recorded of the three children in the Court of Babylon. We will not, they said serve your gods. The King’s visage changed with rage, but he felt an inward horror at the same time (Daniel 3:17-18).

(Adapted from Robert Hawker)

Reading: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”—Philippians 1:27-28 

June 16, 2014

Daily Devotionals (June 16th): A Life Polished by the Gospel

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

The times of the Pax Romana were given to vanity, luxury and hedonistic pleasure. Ironically a lot of the pleasure experienced in this “peaceful Rome” was by the persecution of the Christians. Revelation 17:6ff describes the Roman Empire from a Christian perspective—“Drunken with the blood of the saints.”

Paul was writing to Christians living in a chief city of the Empire (Acts 16:12). The first exhortation of the letter is that they would live lives that were polished by the Gospel. The original Greek, politeuomai—coming from the word polis (city)—is translated here and in other places with the old English word “conversation”. This word means, “to behave as a citizen.” You will see in the Greek word where we get the word politics (the government of the city). Our English words polite and polished, among others, also find their roots in this Greek etymology.

The apostle is saying; be polite, have your “manner of life” polished by the gospel, live as one who has a honourable citizenship. But what citizenship is Paul speaking of? Surely citizenship of the Empire would not demand such holy and honourable living. He meant of course, as he tells us later, using the same word, (3:20), “our citizenship is in heaven.”

Live your life in such a manner others know that the Gospel controls your life. How you interact with the lady at the cash register in Walmart, or with the telemarketer who interrupts your supper for the third consecutive day, or the taxi driver who cuts you off because he wants to get an edge at the next green light. Apply the rules and disposition of the gospel to your conduct. If we live with the calm serenity of a citizen of heaven and you will be a good citizen of any nation.

Reading: “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”—Philippians 1:27

June 14, 2014

Daily Devotionals (June 14th): When Duty Trumps Desire

by Aaron Dunlop

philippians

One of the characteristics of the last days is a crippling and contagious love for self (2 Timothy 3:2). Many blogs and journal articles have been written in recent years about how the technological revolution has facilitated and advanced the epidemic of narcissism. The abandonment of a self-sacrificing sense of corporate duty that has established nations, built empires, and preserved democracy in two world wars today threatens those same nations and democracy itself.

Unfortunately, an inordinate love for self is a problem that has been in church form many years. In more recent years theological arguments have been developed to defend the proliferation of personal desire, pleasure, and preference in favour of a self-sacrificing love for others (Philippians 2:4-5). When Christians get the idea that religion is a personal pursuit and not also a corporate activity, then they treat church like a buffet dinner and pick and choose what they want out of it. When Christians believe the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel that God’s first wish is my happiness, then they can abandon the fellowship of the saints for their own pleasure and forget the mutual benefit of Christian fellowship.

The fact is, the saints need you as much as you need the saints (Hebrews 10:25), and Paul knew this. It was this burning sense of duty to the church that took the joy out of death for Paul. He welcomed the prospect of meeting death at the hands of the Roman justice system because he would be with Christ. But the joy of departing was removed when he realised the great need of the church on earth. His duty to the church trumped his personal—and holy—desire to be with his Saviour.

Reading: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”—Philippians 1:23-24

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