Monthly Archives: July 2016

Just A Couple Of Things On My Heart

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

Wow! Who would have thought it? This summer has flown by and is just about over. Soon Schools will be starting back and the last hooray summer will be taking place and many will be trying to sneak in the last moment summer final vacation.

This week we are heading out to Kid’s Camp, which will be like a vacation for some of our kids and a working vacation for many of us as leaders. Please pray for the Lord to bless Kid’s Camp with His mighty power and presence so that many might draw closer to Him and that those who are lost will place their trust in Him.

As you think about your last “Family Vacation I would like to express a prayerful thought for you. ‘Family vacation.’ The words conjure up images of lazy days at the lakeshore, campfires with roasted marshmallows, sleepy kids sharing rooms. Road trips full of car games and laughter, stops at quirky gas stations and just the right snacks. Sightseeing and creating memories – enough for a lifetime.

Often those sweet pictures in our head don’t quite match up with the reality of a family vacation. Vacations can be stressful, taking us out of well-developed routines and throwing us at the mercy of compromise. Our kids may spend the trip bickering and scowling, or overtired and cranky. Those well-placed gas stations you imagined might be too little (and sometimes show up too late). Delicate family situations or re-surfacing disagreements can put a damper on fun.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 teaches.

As a parent myself, I SO understand that there are moments on vacation when you are not giving thanks, joy is hard-pressed, and prayer may not be what’s being muttered under your breath. But friends, God is right there with you!

Does that mean your vacation will be perfect? Probably not. Does that mean there will be golden moments of beauty mixed right into the chaos that follows your family? You bet!

With open hearts and an open road, let’s share the love of Christ to all those whom we encounter this summer, not forgetting to include our family among them.

Dear Lord,

Please bless this time of vacation. Help my family to get along, to enjoy one another. Maybe toss a couple of those idyllic imagined scenes into our path?

May we be able to see the wonder You instill within the chaos of our days – whether we vacation near or far away from home.

On this everyday, normal day that’s somehow still outside of our regular routine, help me to embrace my family, this time of vacation, and the ordinary yet extraordinary gifts You’ve given. Open my eyes to see that vacation will end but the memories of it will remain, and give me the strength to make them sweet. Pour some of that strength into my very being and bring me through to the end of vacation with a thankful heart and unceasing praise. 

Amen.

The second thought I would like to share is about our living in the Word. When we as God’s people don’t live in His Word, many things happen. Most all of them bad. You see, the Lord never intended for His word to collect dust on a table or shelf.

The psalmist expressed, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in that law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

People paid for our right to own a Bible in our own language with their very lives.

What are we doing about that?

Christians who own numerous Bibles that they rarely open are thumbing their noses at the saints of old who paid the ultimate price.

This hard-won treasure lies buried under the dust and litter of our life.

The Lord’s plan calls for His people to live and breathe His word, to read it and receive it inwardly, and to think about it regularly and practice it. He intended it to become part of the very marrow of their bones.

Digest it. Assimilate it. Live it. And meditate upon it continually.

He even told people to “eat this book.”

Several times throughout biblical history, God told His faithful prophet to consume the book containing His words (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 2:3; 3:1-3; Revelation 10:9).

The idea was to get His Word inside, to digest it as surely as one takes in meat and vegetables for nourishment and sustenance, and to grow thereby.

Job said, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Our Lord said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3).

The image of taking in food and having it become part of your being is an apt metaphor for God’s children receiving the Word and assimilating it into our lives.

Man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Moses said it, Jesus quoted it, and no one has improved on that statement since.

Sadly, too few Christians are living that truth today.

The typical evangelical Christian—in this country especially—has numerous Bibles but rarely takes one down to read.

The consequences of that negligence are horrendous…

  • 1) When God’s people are not living in the Word, their soul may be saved but their minds remain pagan. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).

The uninstructed Christian will approve that which God has forbidden, will teach what seems right to him and will put stumbling blocks in the path of the truly righteous.

  • 2) When God’s people are ignorant of the Word, they become sitting ducks for cults and false prophets and nutty schemes.

“These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

  • 3) When God’s people do not know the Word, they go after everything that glitters, that claims to be biblical, even when it’s a corruption of the Word. They respond to gimmicks, glitter and goofballs.

There are flashy preachers living in multi-million-dollar mansions who preaches a prosperity gospel. And because so many of God’s people know so little about the Word, they fall all over themselves clamoring to crawl aboard this bandwagon.

  • 4) When God’s people are starving spiritually, they turn all their focus on the pulpit and place unrealistic expectations upon the preacher.  They are almost invariably frustrated because the pastor is “not feeding us.”

No pastor can be everything to the people that God intends to be. “The Lord is my shepherd.”

  • 5) When God’s people are not living in the Word, even when they do open it, they cannot find their way around in it. Its truths are mysteries, its riches are lost to them and its instructions go unheeded. They walk in darkness.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path…” (Psalm 119:105).

  • 6) When God’s people do not live in the Word, they remain carnal. Their wisdom is worldly, described in James 3:15 as “earthly, sensual, demonic.” Their lives are governed by the same principles as the unsaved.

Listen to them discuss the things of God and you will hear, “It seems to me,” or “I feel.” You may even hear someone admit, “I don’t know what the Bible teaches, but I know what I believe”—the very height of spiritual arrogance and ignorance.

  • 7) When the people of God are not living in the Word, the church will lack qualified deacons and teachers and counselors. Members remain as babies. Hebrews 5 describes them: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”

If a church is unable to find godly and mature men and women to serve as leaders, it often compounds its problems by placing immature and carnal people in key positions. Pity the pastor assigned to work with leaders who do not understand faith, think the preacher is a hired hand, judge everything by appearance and numbers, and become authoritative and divisive.

Put another way, living in God’s Word on a daily basis will…

—steady you.

You will not be blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). God’s Word will be like the stabilizers which keep ocean-going ships steady.

—ground you.

You will be established and rooted. “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water….” (Psalm 1:3).

—admonish you.

“Now, you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). “Scripture is profitable for reproof, correction…” (2 Timothy 3:16).

—direct you.

“Scripture is profitable for doctrine … for instruction in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The 50th Psalm lays it out in dramatic fashion. God said the people were hating instruction and “casting my words behind them.” They were supporting thieves and “partaking” with adulterers. Their words were lies and deceitful. And then, the devastating verdict…

“These things thou hast done and I kept silent. And because I kept silent, you thought I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21).

“I will reprove you,” said the Lord. “Now, consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces and there be none to deliver…”

Serious stuff indeed. Think About It!

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

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ARE WE FOR REAL? (PART 4)

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

I am afraid the world is looking at us, as Christians, and asking a very hard and pointed question, “Are they for real?” And the sad part is, I fear we are failing horribly.  The last three weeks I  have been a continuation of the previous Pastor’s Pen and I wish to continue it this week with part 4. Here is a brief highlight of last two weeks in case you missed it. You can also go to the Web Site and click on the Pastors Pen tab and read the entire post there.

“Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they do.” (Acts 15:36).

The text which heads this page contains a proposal which the Apostle Paul made to Barnabas after their first missionary journey. He proposed to revisit the churches they had been the means of founding, and to see how they were getting on. Were their members continuing steadfast in the faith? Were they growing in grace? Were they going forward—or standing still? Were they prospering, or falling away? “Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord—and see how they do.”

This was a wise and useful proposal.

We live in an age of particular spiritual danger. Never perhaps since the world began, was there such an immense amount of mere outward profession of religion as there is in the present day.

The life of many religious people, I fear, in this age, is nothing better than a continual course of chasing after novelties.

In handling this question, I think the shortest plan will be to suggest a list of subjects for self-inquiry—and to get them in order. By so doing I shall hope to meet the case of every one into whose hands this Pastor’s Pen may fall. I invite every reader of this to join me in calm, searching self-examination, for a few short minutes. I desire to speak to myself as well as to you. I approach you not as an enemy—but as a friend. “My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that you may be saved” (Romans 10:1). Bear with me if I say things which at first sight look harsh and severe. Believe me—he is your best friend, who tells you the most truth.

  1. Do we ever think about our souls at all?
  2. Do we ever do anything about our souls?
  3. Are we trying to satisfy our consciences with mere “formal” religion?
  4. Have we received the forgiveness of our sins?
  5. Do we know anything by experience of conversion to God?
  6. Do we know anything of practical Christian holiness?
  7. Do we know anything of enjoying the means of grace?
  8. Do we ever try to do any good in the world? Today will be a good opportunity!
  9. Do we know anything of living the life of habitual communion with Christ?

Now for Part 4

  1. Do we know anything of being ready for Christ’s second coming?

That He will come again the second time, is as certain as anything in the Bible. The world has not yet seen the last of Him. As surely as He went up visibly and in the body on the Mount of Olives before the eyes of His disciples, so surely will he come again in the clouds of Heaven, with power and great glory (Acts 1:11). He will come to raise the dead, to change the living, to reward His saints, to punish the wicked, to renew the earth, and take the curse away, to purify the world and to set up a kingdom where sin shall have no place and holiness shall be the universal rule.

The early Christians made it a part of their religion to look for His return. Backward they looked to the cross and the atonement for sin, and rejoiced in Christ crucified. Upward they looked to Christ at the right hand of God, and rejoiced in Christ interceding. Forward they looked to the promised return of their Master, and rejoiced in the thought that they would see Him again.

And we ought to do the same. What have we really received from Christ? And what do we know of Him? And what do we think of Him? Are we living as if we long to see Him again, and love His appearing? Readiness for that appearing is nothing more than being a real, consistent Christian. It requires no man to cease from his daily business. The farmer need not give up his farm, nor the shopkeeper his counter, nor the doctor his patients, nor the carpenter his hammer and nails, nor the bricklayer his mortar and trowel, nor the blacksmith his smithy. Each and all can do no better than be found doing his duty—but doing it as a Christian, and with a heart packed up and ready to be gone. In the face of truth like this, no reader can feel surprised if I ask, How is it with our souls in the matter of Christ’s second coming? Are we for real?

The world is growing old and running to seed. The vast majority of Christians seem like the men in the time of Noah and Lot, who were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, planting and building, up to the very day when flood and fire came. Those words of our Master are very solemn and heart-searching, “Remember Lot’s wife.” “Take heed lest at any time your heart be overcharged with the cares of this life, and that day come upon you unawares.” (Luke 17:32; 21:34). Once more I ask: In the matter of readiness for Christ’s second coming, how are we doing?

I end my inquiries here. I might easily add to them; but I trust I have said enough, at the beginning of this Pastor’s Pen, to stir up self-inquiry and self-examination in many minds. God is my witness that I have said nothing that I do not feel of paramount importance to my own soul. I only want to do good to others.

Let me now conclude all with a few words of Practical Application.

A. Is any reader of this Pastor’s Pen asleep and utterly thoughtless about Christianity?

Oh, awake and sleep no more! Look at the churchyards and cemeteries. One by one the people around you are dropping into them, and you must lie there one day. Look forward to a world to come, and lay your hand on your heart, and say, if you dare, that you are ready to die and meet God. You are like one sleeping in a boat drifting down the stream towards the falls of Niagara! “What do you mean, oh sleeper! Arise and call on your God!” “Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light!” (Jonah 1:6; Ephesians 5:14).

B. Is any reader of this Pastor’s Pen feeling self-condemned, and afraid that there is no hope for his soul?

Cast aside your fears, and accept the offer of our Lord Jesus Christ to sinners. Hear Him saying, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). “If any man thirsts, let him come unto me and drink.” (John 7:37). Him that comes unto me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37).

Do not doubt that these words are for you as well as for anyone else. Bring all your sins, and unbelief, and sense of guilt, and unfitness, and doubts, and infirmities—bring all to Christ! “This man receives sinners,” and He will receive you (Luke 15:2). Do not stand still, wavering between two opinions, and waiting for a convenient season. On your feet! He’s calling you. Come to Christ this very day (Mark 10:49).

C. Is any reader of this Pastor’s Pen a professing believer in Christ but a believer without much joy and peace and comfort?

Take advice this day. Search your own heart, and see whether the fault is not entirely your own. Very likely you are sitting at ease, content with a little faith, and a little repentance, a little grace, and a little sanctification—and unconsciously shrinking back from extremes. You will never be a very happy Christian at this rate, if you live to the age of Methuselah. Change your plan, if you love life and would see good days, without delay. Come out boldly and act decidedly. Be thorough, thorough, very thorough in your Christianity, and set your face fully towards the sun. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets you. Strive to get nearer to Christ, to abide in Him, to cleave to Him, and to sit at His feet like Mary, and drink full draughts out of the fountain of life. “These things,” says John, “we write unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:4). “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.” (1 John 1:7).

D. Is any reader of this Pastor’s Pen a believer oppressed with doubts and fears, on account of his feebleness, infirmity and sense of sin?

Remember the text that says of Jesus, “A bruised reed will He not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.” (Matthew 12:20). Take comfort in the thought that this text is for you. Why is your faith weak? It is better than no faith at all. The least grain of life is better than death. Perhaps you are expecting too much in this world. Earth is not Heaven. You are yet in the body. Expect little from self—but much from Christ. Look more to Jesus—and less to self.

E. Finally, is any reader of this Pastor’s Pen sometimes downcast by the trials he meets with on the way to heaven—bodily trials, family trials, trials of circumstances, trials from neighbors and trials from the world?

Look up to a sympathizing Savior at God’s right hand, and pour out your heart before Him. He can be touched with the feelings of your trials, for He Himself suffered when He was tempted. Are you alone? So was He. Are you misrepresented and slandered? So was He. Are you forsaken by friends? So was He. Are you persecuted? So was He. Are you wearied in body and grieved in spirit? So was He. Yes! He can feel for you, and He can help as well as feel. Then learn to draw nearer to Christ. The time is short. Yet in a little while, and all will be over; we shall soon be “with the Lord”. “There is an end, and your expectation shall not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18). “You have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He who shall come will come and will not tarry.” (Hebrews 10:36-37).

Again, let us beware of making shipwreck on the very lighthouse which helps to show the channel into the harbor! Once more I ask, “Are we for real?”

THINK ABOUT IT! “Are We For Real?”

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

Church Phone: 423-272-7676

Church Email: hcbcoffice@bellsouth.com

Rick Dinkins phone: 423-754-0750

Email: rev_rick_7@hotmail.com

Let us know if you have questions or if you made a decision for Christ.

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ARE WE FOR REAL? (PART # 3)

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

I am afraid the world is looking at us, as Christians, and asking a very hard and pointed question, “Are they for real?” And the sad part is, I fear we are failing horribly. The last two weeks I have been a continuation of the previous Pastor’s Pen and I wish to continue it this week with part 3. Here is a brief highlight of last two weeks in case you missed it. You can also go to the Web Site and click on the Pastors Pen tab and read the entire post there.

“Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they do.” (Acts 15:36).

The text which heads this page contains a proposal which the Apostle Paul made to Barnabas after their first missionary journey. He proposed to revisit the churches they had been the means of founding, and to see how they were getting on. Were their members continuing steadfast in the faith? Were they growing in grace? Were they going forward—or standing still? Were they prospering, or foiling away? “Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord—and see how they do.”

This was a wise and useful proposal.

We live in an age of particular spiritual danger. Never perhaps since the world began, was there such an immense amount of mere outward profession of religion as there is in the present day.

The life of many religious people, I fear, in this age, is nothing better than a continual course of chasing after novelties.

In handling this question, I think the shortest plan will be to suggest a list of subjects for self-inquiry—and to get them in order. By so doing I shall hope to meet the case of every one into whose hands this Pastor’s Pen may fell. I invite every reader of this to join me in calm, searching self-examination, for a few short minutes. I desire to speak to myself as well as to you. I approach you not as an enemy—but as a friend. “My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that you may be saved” (Romans 10:1). Bear with me if I say things which at first sight look harsh and severe. Believe me—he is your best friend, who tells you the most truth.

  1. Do we ever think about our souls at all?
  2. Do we ever do anything about our souls?
  3. Are we trying to satisfy our consciences with mere “formal” religion?

Part 2

  1. Have we received the forgiveness of our sins?
  2. Do we know anything fay experience of conversion to God?
  3. Do we know anything of practical Christian holiness?

NOW PART 3

  1. Do we know anything of enjoying the means of grace?

When I speak of the means of grace, I have in my mind’s eye five principal things:

  1. Reading of the Bible
  2. Private prayer
  3. Public worship
  4. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
  5. The rest of the Lord’s day

They are means which God has graciously appointed in order to convey grace man’s heart by the Holy Spirit, or to keep up the spiritual life after it has begun. long as the world stands, the state of a man’s soul will always depend greatly on manner and spirit in which he uses means of grace. The manner and spirit, 1 deliberately and of purpose. Many church people use the means of grace regularly and formally, but know nothing of enjoying them. They attend to them as a matter duty—but without any feeling, interest, or affection. Yet even common sense might tell us that this formal, mechanical use of holy things is utterly worthless and unprofitable. Our feeling about them is just one of the many tests of the state of our souls. How can that man be thought to love God—who reads about Him and His Christ as a mere matter of duty, content and satisfied if he has just moved his bookmark onward over so many chapters? How can that man suppose he is ready to meet Christ who never takes any trouble to pour out his heart to Him in private as a Friend, and is satisfied with saying over a string of words every morning and evening, under the name of “prayer”, scarcely thinking what he is about? How could that man be happy in Heaven forever, who finds Sunday a dull, gloomy, tiresome day, who knows nothing of hearty prayer and praise, and cares nothing whether he hears truth or from the pulpit, or scarcely listens to the sermon? What can be the spiritual condition of that man whose heart never “bums within him,” when he receives that bread wine which specially remind us of Christ’s death on the cross, and the atonement sin?

These inquiries are very serious and important. If means of grace had no other and were not mighty helps toward Heaven, they would be useful in supplying a test our real state in the sight of God. Tell me what a man does in the matter of reading and praying, in the matter of public worship and the Lord’s Supper, and I will soon tell you what he is, and on which road he is traveling. How is it with ourselves?

Once more let us ask: In the matter of means of grace, “Are We For Real?”

  1. Do we ever try to do any good in the world? Today will be a good opportunity!

Our Lord Jesus Christ was continually “going around doing good,” while He was on earth (Acts 10:38). The Apostles, and all the disciples in Bible times, were always striving to walk in His steps. A Christian who was content to go to Heaven himself and cared not what became of others, whether they lived happy and died in peace or not, would have been regarded as a kind of monster in primitive times, who did have the Spirit of Christ Why should we suppose for a moment that a lower standard will suffice in the present day? Why should fig trees which bear no fruit be-spared in the present day, when in our Lord’s time they were to be cut down as “burdensome drains of the ground”? (Luke 13:7). These are serious inquiries, and demand serious answers.

There is a generation of professing Christians now-a-days, who seem to know nothing of caring for their neighbors, and are completely swallowed up in the concerns of number one—that is, their own and their families. They eat, and drink, and sleep, dress, and work, and earn money, and spend money, year after year. Whether others are happy or miserable, well or ill, converted or unconverted, traveling towards Heaven or toward Hell; these appear to be questions about which they are totally indifferent. Can this be right? Can it be reconciled with a relationship with Him who spoke the parable of the good Samaritan, and bade us “go and do likewise”? 10:37). I doubt it altogether.

There is much to be done everywhere. There is not a place in our world where there is not a field for work and an open door for being useful—if anyone is willing to enter it. There is not a Christian who cannot find some good work to do for others, if he has only a heart to do it The poorest man or woman, without a single penny to give, can always show his deep sympathy to the sick and sorrowful, and by simple good-nature and tender helpfulness, can lessen the misery and increase the comfort of somebody in this troubled world. But alas, the vast majority of professing Christians, whether rich or poor, Churchmen or Dissenters, seem possessed with a devil of detestable selfishness, and do not know the luxury of doing good. They can argue by the hour about baptism, and the Lord’s supper, and the forms of worship, talk of praying for a burden for our community and yet never visiting or helping to invite, and they can and do debate the union of Church and State, and such-like dry-bone questions. But all this time they seem to care nothing for their neighbors. The plain practical point, whether they love their neither, as the Samaritan loved the unfortunate traveler in the parable, and can spare any time and trouble to do him good, is a point they never touch with one of their fingers,

In too many church communities, both in town and country, true love seems almost dead, both in church and chapel — and wretched party-spirit and controversy are the only fruits that Christianity appears able to produce. In a day like this, not one of us should wonder if I press this plain old subject on his conscience. Do we know anything of genuine Samaritan love to others? Do we ever try to do any good to any besides our own friends and relatives, and our own party or cause? Are we living like disciples of Him who always “went about doing good,” and commanded His disciples to take Him for their “example”? (John 13:15). If not, with what face shall we meet Him in the judgment day? In this matter also, how is it with our souls? Once more I ask, “Are We For Real?”

  1. Do we know anything of living the life of habitual communion with Christ?

By “communion,” I mean that habit of “abiding in Christ” which our Lord speaks of, in the fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel, as essential to Christian fruitfulness (John 15:4-8),

Let it be distinctly understood that union with Christ is one thing—and communion another thing. There can be no communion with the Lord Jesus without union first; unhappily there may be union with the Lord Jesus, and afterwards little or no communion at all. The difference between the two things is not the difference between two distinct steps—but the higher and lower ends of an inclined plane.

Union is the common privilege of all who feel their sins, and truly repent, and come to Christ by faith, and are accepted, forgiven, and justified in Him. Too many believers, it may be feared, never get beyond this stage!

Partly from ignorance, partly from laziness, partly from the fear of man, partly from a secret love of the world, partly from some unmortified besetting sin, they are content with a little faith, and a little hope, and a little peace, and a little measure of holiness. And they live on all their lives in this condition—doubting, weak, hesitant, and bearing fruit only “thirty-fold” to the very end of their days!

Communion with Christ is the privilege of those who are continually striving to grow in grace, and faith, and knowledge, and conformity to the mind of Christ in all things—”forget what is behind,” and “do not consider themselves yet to have taken hold of it – but “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Union is the bud—but communion is the flower.

Union is the baby—but communion is the strong man.

He who has union with Christ does well; but he who enjoys communion with Him does far better. Both have one life, one hope, one heavenly seed in their hearts—one Lord, Savior, one Holy Spirit, one eternal home. But union is not as good as communion!

The grand secret of communion with Christ is to be continually “living the life of faith in Him,” and drawing out of Him every hour, the supply that every hour requires. To me said Paul, “to live is Christ.” “I live: yet not I—but Christ lives in me!” (Galatians Philippians 1:21). Communion like this is the secret of the abiding “joy and peace in believing,” which eminent saints like Bradford and Rutherford notoriously possessed. None were ever more humble, or more deeply convinced of their own infirmities and corruption. They would have told you that the seventh chapter of Romans precisely described their own experience. They would have said continually, “The remembrance our sins is grievous to us; the burden of them is intolerable.”

But they were ever looking unto Jesus, and in Him they were ever able to rejoice. Communion like this is the secret of the splendid victories which such men as these won over sin, and the world, and the fear of death. They did not sit still idly, saying, “I leave it all to Christ to do for me,” but, strong in the Lord, they used the Divine Nature He had implanted in them, boldly and confidently, and were “more than conquerors through Him who loved them.” (Romans 8:37). Like Paul, they would have said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

Ignorance of this life of communion is one among many reasons why so many in this age are hankering after the Confessionals and strange views of the “real presence” in the Lord’s Supper. Such errors often spring from imperfect knowledge of Christ, and obscure views of the life of faith in a risen, living, and interceding Savior, Is communion with Christ like this a common thing? Regrettably! It is very rare indeed! The greater part believers seem content with the barest elementary knowledge of justification by faith, and half-adozen other doctrines—and go doubting, limping, halting, groaning along the way to Heaven, and experience little of the sense of victory or of joy.

The Churchy of these latter days are full of weak, powerless and uninfluential believers, saved at last, “but so as by fire,” but never shaking the world, and knowing nothing of an “abundant entrance.” (1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 Peter 1:11). Despondency and Feeble-mind and Much-afraid, in “Pilgrim’s Progress,” reached foe celestial city as really and truly Valiant-for-foe-truth and Great-heart, But, they certainly did not reach it with the same comfort, and did not do a tenth part of the same good in the world! I fear there are like them in these days! When things are so in the Churches, no one can wonder that I inquire how it is with our souls. Once more I ask: In the matter of communion with Christ, “Are We For Real?

Again, let us beware of making shipwreck on the very lighthouse which helps to show the channel into the harbor! Once more I ask, “Are we for real?”

There is much more to this question, but I will have to take it up next time. In THINK ABOUT IT! “Are We For Real?”

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

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