The key to answering the call is to be devoted to no one and to nothing above God himself.
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We have no rights, only responsibilities. Following Christ is not our initiative, merely our response, in obedience. Nothing works better to debunk the pretensions of choice than a conviction of calling. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks—we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. Ephesians describes the process. A dead man cannot make himself alive because he lacks the necessary power to do so.
Lazarus lay in his tomb four days unable to do a thing to resurrect himself. Christ came along and commanded him to come to life John So it is with us. We are spiritually dead, unable to rise. He calls us out of our spiritual graves and gives us a completely new nature, one undefiled by sin as the old nature was 2 Corinthians God saw the desperate and helpless state of our souls, and in His great love and mercy, He sovereignly chose to send His Son to the cross to redeem us. By His grace we are saved through the gift of faith which He gives us so that we can believe in Jesus.
Why did He chose to do it this way? We would, and God has made it clear that He will not give the glory due to Him to anyone else Isaiah Second Corinthians tells us we are to be pleading with others to be reconciled to God before it is too late. We cannot know who God will choose to release from their prison cells of sin. We leave that choice to Him and present the Gospel to all. Conclusion Both Stott and this second writer agree that no one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him.
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However, this second writer goes further than Stott by suggesting that the unconverted person does not even have to ability to or desire to come to Christ. In other words, if he makes a decision to come to Christ, it is not really done with free will, because even the will to come was given by God i. I believe this goes too far and I side with Stott and his assessment.
People have free will to accept or reject Jesus. Many Christians, unable to work out how to reconcile the free will of man and the sovereignty of God, end up not evangelising. This is a great tragedy. Furthermore, we must never ever let doctrinal disagreement between ourselves and other Christians stop evangelising. When I was in Sydney, I remember phoning pastors of a particular denomination about evangelism. All they wanted to do was tell me about what they believed and how right they were about this and that and how wrong everyone else was.
When I asked them if they were doing evangelism, there was a long silence the other end. Tozer April 21, - May 12, He was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, Bible conference speaker, and spiritual mentor. For his work, he received two honorary doctorate degrees. Prayer and Evangelism? Think Bicycle Evangelism and prayer ought to be like two wheels on a bicycle - never separated. No doubt God can and does bless the gospel even when the sowing of it has not been preceded or followed by prayer. But we are fools if we camp on this thought and make it a rule.
It is not a rule.
It is an exception. When we pray we are acknowledging, among other things, our utter dependence on God for success. Having reached over 20, people personally with the gospel, I can testify to the difference prayer makes. W Tozer had much to say about. On this. Moody Stuart, a great praying man of a past generation, once drew up a set of rules to guide him in his prayers.
He often likened a prayer meeting to a church service, and insisted that many of us close the meeting before the service is over. He confessed that once he arose too soon from a prayer session and started down the street to take care of some pressing business.
He had only gone a short distance when an inner voice reproached him. Effective prayer takes time The habit of breaking off our prayers before we have truly prayed is as common as it is unfortunate. Often the last ten minutes may mean more to us than the first half hour, because we must spend a long time getting into the proper mood to pray effectively. We may need to struggle with Evangelism Daily Readings.
Praying our way through Whatever a dreamy idealism may say, we are forced to deal with things down on the level of practical reality. If when we come to prayer our hearts feel dull and unspiritual, we should not try to argue ourselves out of it. Rather, we should admit it frankly and pray our way through.
We cannot afford to stop praying till we have actually prayed. Ideally we should be living moment-by-moment in a state of such perfect union with God that no special preparation is necessary.
But actually there are few who can honestly say that this is their experience. Candor will compel most of us to admit that we often experience a struggle before we can escape from the emotional alienation and sense of unreality that sometimes settle over us as a sort of. It is our experience as well. There is a big difference. Help us to practice this, praying through, and make us better at it. Let us not rush from our prayer meetings or our private times of prayer with you, but let us persevere until we really sense we have broken through into your presence and the distractions of the day and the world have been vanquished from our minds.
Grant us the patience and perseverance to pray like this, for your glory, and for the sake of the lost whom we are reaching. In Jesus name, Amen. This reading comes from Bishop J. C Ryle 10 May - 10 June In , at age 64, he became the first bishop of Liverpool, at the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. A scholar and Oxford educated, he was a writer, pastor and a powerful preacher with world wide influence.
The most important question Are you born again? A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends.
But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him. A true Christian hates sin If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying I John But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all.
He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appealing in both his words and his actions. But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again? A man who is born again, or regenerated, believes that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour who can pardon his soul, that He is the divine person appointed by God the Father for this very purpose, and beside Him there is no Saviour at all.
In himself he sees nothing but unworthiness. But Evangelism Daily Readings. A true Christian trusts only in Christ He may have fears and doubts. He may sometimes tell you that he feels as if he had no faith at all. But ask him if he is willing to trust in anything instead of Christ, and see what he will say. Ask him if he will rest his hope of eternal life on his own goodness, his own works, his prayers, his minister, or his church, and listen to his reply.
He may have fears and doubts. A true Christian will lead a holy life The man who is born again, or regenerated, is a holy man. He knows he is not perfect. He is painfully aware of his indwelling corruption. He finds an evil principle within himself that is constantly warring against grace and trying to draw him away from God. But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent John Newton, ex its presence. A true Christian love other Christians A man who is born again has a special love for all true disciples of Christ. Like his Father in heaven, he loves all men with a great general love, but he has a special love for those who share his faith in Christ.
Like his Lord and Saviour, he loves the worst of sinners and could weep over them; but he has a peculiar love for those who are believers. He is never so much at home as when he is in their company. He feels they are all members of the same family. They are his fellow soldiers, fighting against the same enemy. They are his fellow travellers, journeying along the same road.
He understands them, and they understand him. They may be very different from himself in many ways—in rank, in station and in wealth. But that does not matter. What men think or say no longer concerns him. He overcomes the love of the world. He finds no pleasure in things which seem to bring happiness to most people.
To him they seem foolish and unworthy of an immortal being. He fears offending God more than offending man. It is unimportant to him whether he is. A true Christian feels he is an enemy living in a foreign land A man who is born again is careful of his own soul. He tries not only to avoid sin but also to avoid everything which may lead to it. He is careful about the company he keeps.
He knows that evil communications corrupt the heart and that evil is more catching than good, just as disease is more infectious than health. He is careful about the use of his time; his chief desire is to spend it profitable. He desires to live like a soldier in an enemy country—to wear his armour continually and to be prepared for temptation. He is diligent to be a watchful, humble, prayerful man. These are the six great marks of a born again Christian.
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In some they are faint and hardly noticeable. In others they are bold, plain and unmistakable, so anyone may read them. Some of these marks are more visible than others in each individual. Seldom are all equally evident in any one person. But still, after every allowance, here we find boldly painted six marks of being born of God. How should we react to these things? We can logically come to only one conclusion—only those who are born again have these six characteristics, and those who do not have these marks are not born again.
This seems to be the conclusion to which the apostle intended us to come. Do you have these characteristics? Any truly born again Christian will from their heart want to align themselves with this priority. All marks may not be obvious in any person all at once There is a vast difference in the depth and. They are desperately wicked above all things Jeremiah We delight to think we are much better than we really are. Show us the truth about these seven areas. Show us where we are not doing so well, that we might be more fruitful as Christians, and bring more glory to your name.
We trust in you Holy Spirit to change us and mold us, to make us into the people you want us to be. Let us not be silent, if we have found peace and rest in the Gospel. Let us speak to our relations, friends, families and neighbors, according as we have opportunity, and tell them what the Lord has done for our souls. All are not called to be ministers. All are not intended to preach. But all can walk in the steps of the man of whom we have been reading, and in the steps of Andrew, and Philip, and the Samaritan woman. John , 45; The reading today is another from Bishop J. C Ryle. A good neighbour gives the alarm When a house is on fire, what ought to be done first?
We ought to give the alarm and wake the inhabitants. This is true love to our neighbour. This is true charity. Reader, I love your soul, and want it to be saved. I am therefore going to tell you something about hell. There is such a place as hell. Let no one deceive you with vain words.
What men do not like, they try hard not to believe. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to judge the world, he will punish all who are not his disciples with a fearful punishment. All who are found impenitent and unbelieving; all who have clung to sin, stuck to the world, and set their affections on things below; all who are without Christ; all such shall come to an awful end.
Hell a severe place The punishment of hell shall be most severe. There is no pain like that of burning. Put your finger in the candle for a moment if you doubt this, and try. Fire is the most destructive and devouring of all elements. Look into the mouth of a blast furnace, and think what it would be to be there. Fire is of all elements most opposed to life. Creatures can live in air, and earth, and water; but nothing can live in fire. Yet fire is the portion to which the Christless and unbelieving will come. Millions of ages will pass away, and the fire will never burn low and become dim.
The fuel of that fire will never waste away and be consumed. I have no-pleasure in dwelling on them. Christ spoke of it often Who would desire to speak of hell-fire if God has not spoken of it? When God has spoken of it so plainly, who can safely hold his peace? I see it oozing out in the utter apathy of some: they eat, and drink, and sleep, as if there was no wrath to come.
I see it creeping forth in the coldness of the hearts of my fellows Christians: they show little anxiety to awaken the unconverted, and pluck brands from the fire. Wrong ideas of hell abound I call on all who profess to believe the Bible, to be on their guard. I know that some do not believe there is any hell at all. They think it impossible there can be such a place. They call it inconsistent with the mercy of God. They say it is too awful.
The devil of course, rejoices in the views of such people. They help his kingdom mightily. They tell us it is incredible that a compassionate God will punish men for ever. He will surely open the prison doors at last. All people with them are good, as soon as they die, all were sincere, all meant well, and all, they hope, got to heaven. I can well understand the feeling of the little girl who asked her mother where all the wicked people were buried, for she found no mention on the gravestones of any except of the good.
The devil desires silence about hell And I know very well that some believe there is a hell, but never like to hear it spoken of. It is a subject that should always be kept back, in their opinion. They see no profit in bringing it forward, and are rather shocked when it is mentioned. This also is an immense help to the devil.
The wolf would like the shepherd to sleep, while he prowls round the fold. The devil rejoices when Christians are silent about hell. What does the Bible say about hell? Reader, all these notions are the opinions of man.
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What is it to you and me what man thinks of religion? Man will not judge us at the last day. Then depend upon it, hell is real and true. It is a true as heaven, as true as justification by faith, as true as the fact that Christ died upon the cross. There is not a fact or doctrine which you may not lawfully doubt, if you doubt hell.
You may as well throw your Bible aside at once. Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell will have inhabitants. The wicked shall certainly be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God. Then depend upon it, hell will be intense and inalterable woe. Hell not a figure of speech It is vain to talk of all the expressions about it being figures of speech, the pit, the prison, the worm, the fire, the thirst, the blackness, the darkness, the weeping, the gnashing of teeth, the second death, all these may be figures of speech if you please.
O reader, the miseries of mind and conscience are far worse than those of the body. The whole extent of hell, the present suffering, the bitter recollection of the past, the hopeless prospect of the future, will never be thoroughly known except by those who go there. Believe what the Bible says about it Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell is eternal. It must be eternal, or words have no meaning at all. It must be eternal, or the very foundations of heaven are cast down. If hell has an end, heaven has an end too. They both stand or fall together.
It must be eternal, or every doctrine of the gospel is undermined. If a man may escape hell at length without faith in Christ, or sanctification of the Spirit, sin is no longer an infinite evil, and Evangelism Daily Readings. And where is the warrant for saying that hell can ever change a heart, or make it fit for heaven? It must be eternal, or hell would cease to be hell altogether. Give a man hope, and he will bear any thing. Grant a hope of deliverance, however distant, and hell is but a drop of water.
Application: The doctrine of hell is a vital part of the gospel message. It exists because of the justice of God. Jesus was not ashamed to mention it or preach about it, so we ought not to be ashamed. Did He make a mistake by preaching, teaching, and warning about hell? There is a great pressure not to mention hell in many church circles today because it is not fashionable or trendy. But since when are we to take our lead from what is fashionable or trendy? We are to hold fast to take our lead from none other than the Bible and Jesus.
Friend, hold fast to the truth about hell. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel. It stirs him up, on the contrary, to concern about the souls of others. I always suspect that those who care nothing whether their brethren are saved or not, must in reality be ignorant or thoughtless about their own state. Look forward and consider The text which heads this page is one of great importance. The cost of the salvation of a soul But there is one subject on which it is specially important to count the cost.
That subject is the salvation of our souls. What does it cost to be a true Christian? Let there be no mistake about my meaning. I know well that it costs nothing less than the blood of the Son of God to provide an atonement and to redeem man from hell. The price paid for our redemption was nothing less than the death of Jesus Christ at Calvary.
But all this is wide of the question. The point I want to consider is another one altogether. It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ. Outward Christianity costs nothing I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday and to be tolerably moral during the week, and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work: it entails no self— denial or self—sacrifice.
Genuine Christianity costly But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run.
Conversion is not putting a man in an armchair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. True Christianity will cost one his self—righteousness. He must cast away all pride and high thoughts and conceit of his own goodness. He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality, respectability, praying, Bible reading, church—going, and sacrament receiving, and to trust in nothing but Jesus Christ. Moreover, I grant it costs much to be a true Christian.
But what sane man or woman can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven.
A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown. But there is a certain group of people to whom especially I wish to address myself in handling this part of my subject. It is a large class, an increasing class, and a class which in these days is in peculiar danger. Let me in a few plain words try to describe this class. It deserves our best attention. Going to war against sin 2. True Christianity will cost a man his sins. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it and labour to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say or think.
The parting must come. Taking the path of sacrifice 3. Also, Christianity will cost a man his love of ease. He must take pains and trouble if he means to run a successful race toward heaven. This also sounds hard. Anything that requires exertion and labour is entirely against the grain of our hearts. Losing the favour of the world 4. Lastly, true Christianity will cost a man the favour of the world.
He must be content to be thought ill of by man if he pleases God. He must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, persecuted and even hated. Considering the weight of this great cost, bold indeed must that man be who would dare to say that we may keep our self—righteousness, our sins, our laziness and our love of the world, and. Fake Christians not rooted or grounded The people I speak of are not thoughtless about religion; they think a good deal about it. They are not ignorant of religion; they know the outlines of it pretty well.
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Too often they have picked up their knowledge second— hand, from being in religious families, or from being trained in religious ways, but have never worked it out by their own inward experience. Too often they have hastily taken up a profession of religion under the pressure of circumstances, from sentimental feelings, from animal excitement or from a vague desire to do like others around them, but without any solid work of grace in their hearts.
People like these are in a position of immense danger.
They are precisely those, if Bible examples are worth anything, who need to be exhorted to count the cost. They left Egypt full of zeal and fervour as if nothing could stop. But when they found dangers and difficulties in the way, their courage soon cooled down. They had never reckoned on trouble. They had thought the promised land would be all before them in a few days. And so when enemies, privations, hunger and thirst began to try them, they murmured against Moses and God and would sincerely have gone back to Egypt. In a word, they had not counted the cost and so lost everything and died in their sins.
The example of Demas For want of counting the cost, Demas forsook the company of Paul, forsook the gospel, forsook Christ, forsook heaven. But they are truths.
No cheap grace I am bold to say that it would be well if the duty of counting the cost were more frequently taught than it is. Impatient hurry is the order of the day with many religionists. Instantaneous conversions, and immediate sensible peace, are the only results they seem to care for from the gospel. Compared with these, all other things are thrown into the shade. I say without hesitation that such a naked, one—sided mode of teaching Christianity is mischievous in the extreme.
Let no one mistake my meaning. I thoroughly approve of offering men a full, free, present, immediate salvation in Christ Jesus. I thoroughly approve of urging on man the possibility and the duty of immediate instantaneous conversion. In these matters I give place to no one. But I do say that these truths ought not to be set before men nakedly, singly and alone. They ought to be told honestly what it is they are taking up if they profess a desire to come out from the world and serve Christ. In a word, they should be told honestly to.
Very probably it neither costs you trouble, nor time, nor thought, nor care, nor pains, nor reading, nor praying, nor self—denial, nor conflict, nor working, nor labour of any kind. Now mark what I say. Such a religion as this will never save your soul. It will never give you peace while you live, nor hope while you die. It will not support you in the day of affliction, nor cheer you in the hour of death.
A religion which costs nothing is worth nothing. Awake before it is too late. Awake and repent. Awake and be converted. Awake and believe. Awake and pray. The power of reflection Think, if you want stirring motives for serving God, what it cost to provide a salvation for your soul.
Think how the Son of God left heaven and became Man, suffered on the cross and lay in the grave, to pay your debt to God, and work out for you a complete redemption. Think of all this and learn that it is no light matter to possess an immortal soul. Ah, lazy man or woman, has it really come to this, that you will miss heaven for lack of trouble?
Are you really determined to make shipwreck forever, from mere dislike to exertion? Away with the cowardly, unworthy thought. Arise and play the man. Look forward to death, judgment and eternity, and be in earnest. It may cost much to be a Christian, but you may be sure it pays. Final exhortations The time is very short. A few more years of watching and praying, a few more tossings on the sea of this world, a few more deaths and changes, a few more winters and summers, and all will be over.
We shall have fought our last battle and shall need to fight no more. It may cost much to be a true Christian and a consistent holy man; but it pays. We know that your cause will never be furthered unless men and women in this generation count the cost and pay the price. Lord, if I am not someone counting the cost in a particular area of my life, please show me that area that I may not miss the mark.
Whether the cost is trouble, or time, or thought, or care, or pains, or reading, or praying, or self—denial, or conflict, or working, or labour of any kind, or giving my resources to your cause, Lord show me where and how I need to count the cost. I want my life to truly count for you and know what it never will until it starts to really cost me something. If we have found peace through His blood and been renewed by His Spirit, we must not shrink from avowing it, on every proper occasion.
More than this is not required; but less than this ought not to content us. If we are ashamed of Jesus before men, He will one day be ashamed of us before His Father and the angels. In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,, people, often up to 10 times each week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. He was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a reading, a magazine, poetry, hymns, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime.
God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. That which man does, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casts away; He will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love. God will empty out all that you have before He will put His own into you; He will first clean out thy granaries before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat.
The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength which He Himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting Evangelism Daily Readings. Be bold.
Tweaks never change the world. You cannot change what you are willing to tolerate. Weak systems make great people look bad. Strong systems make good people look great. Systems matter because they create behaviors. Behaviors become habits. Habits drive outcomes. Quality is never an accident. Consistency is never an accident. About Developing Others We cannot look at people and see only what they are, we must look at them and see what they will be. As leaders, we have to help them become who they will be.