​A CONFESSION THAT SHOOK THE VERY CORE OF MY BEING….

​A CONFESSION THAT SHOOK THE VERY CORE OF MY BEING….

Please, let us continually pray for our pastors.

Please take time to read till the end

It was a Sunday morning service and we were expecting to go through the routine service line ups. But we were in for a great change in our normal order of service. 

Right after the opening prayer, our Pastor introduced a very old man as the guest speaker for that morning. He didn’t look familiar to any of us. There were no Praises, no Worship, no Testimonies, no Choir ministration to usher in the man of God. 

This old man climbed the pulpit as it were, and all eyes were fixed on him. The place was dead silent; you could have heard the drop of the tiniest of pins. It was as if a holy awe had descended to swallow all the noise in the Church auditorium.

When he opened his mouth, he spoke these words:

“I am just returning from the burial rites of one of my son’s in the Lord”. It wasn’t what he said that made us more interested in what he had to tell us, but how he said it! It came from the depth of his soul.

“Before he died…”, the man continued, “he came to my office and made a Confession to me. He pleaded with me to share with any willing audience. I called your Pastor because the Holy Spirit spoke to me that there are many of you young people here who can pick one or two vital lessons from the death of my son in the Lord”.

The Silence became more louder! Everyone of us was arrested by the Holy Spirit to hear and heed to what the Lord had to say to us through this man. We just couldn’t take our gaze, our hearts and minds off this unusual old man.

“This was his confession”, he broke the Silence finally.

(In the dead pastor’s words)…….

“It was one Sunday afternoon after church service, and I heard a knock on my door. I was relaxing in the office because we had just closed a very beautiful and powerful service. The Power of God had fallen like rain upon the Church– miracles, Healings, Prophetic ministrations and deliverance, Holy Spirit Baptism and any kind of move of the Holy Spirit you could identify with. I should have headed straight to the house to rest because that’s the signal I had in my spirit. Instead, I came to the office to recline in my chair.

I asked the person to come in, and behold, there was this unusually beautiful and well-rounded fair lady before my face. I asked her to take the seat across my desk.

 She introduced herself as a new convert- she had just received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and Lord. She started heaping accolades upon my head, claiming how powerful and anointed I was, and how tremendously her life has been impacted by the morning’s message and ministrations. 

I was obviously happy that God had brought and won a new soul to Church. 

She then told me how very great a miracle it was that God brought her to Church that faithful Sunday because she had just received an amount of money equivalent to 50 million Ghana Cedis, and she wanted to pay her tithe. She needed guidelines regarding how to invest the money. Her purpose for coming was first of all to introduce herself as a new active member of the Church of God, and also to seek my advice regarding how to invest the money, and of course pay her tithe. She was hoping that I could recommend some faithful and honest business men in the Church she could partner with.

This news was warmly received; my excitement knew no bounds. All of a sudden, unfinished and new projects of the Church started coming to mind- how we can use the tithe which was like 5 million Ghana Cedis to complete and start new projects. I was now merrier than before.

Out of excitement, I told her to write her address down because I wanted to visit her personally so we could discuss this goodnews in greater details.

She wrote down the address, and excused herself to leave. I didn’t notice how seductive she was dressed until she stood to leave. All my adrenaline started running through my head to the tip of my trousers. I rebuked it but it made no difference. It seemed to me she noticed the effects her stature has had on me. I thought I even saw a smile on her face, but it didn’t make no difference to me because I had her tithe on my mind.

I became restless after she had left. I wanted to run after her, to embrace her from behind, and to also take my tithe of course. But my body was too tired to obey such sentiments. I headed straight home, and had an unusually long rest. When I woke up it was morning already. Since Mondays were my days of rest, I decided to give her a call first thing after I had taken my bath and breakfast. I followed through my plans of course. It seemed I was possessed; I couldn’t get her and her money out of my system. I felt the spirit of Grace speaking to my heart to be careful but I rebuked that Voice, reasoning that as a Shepherd I must take care of the Lord’s Flock, especially the new ones. She was obviously new, and I had to concentrate on building her to become a spiritual giant. She could even become a singer in the Choir. All these I reasoned within to shut out and to shut down the Voice of the Spirit of Grace.

Before I realized I was with my phone dialing her digits. She was obviously expecting me by the sound of her voice on the other line. This was indeed a Divine confirmation that God wanted me to call her- so I reasoned within my heart to cloud the uneasiness I felt in my heart regarding this strange lady.

Even the story of the strange woman in the book of Proverbs came to mind but I quickly brushed it aside with a different Scripture, saying that all of us are sinners, making all of us strange men and women before God. If God accepted us as we were, I had to obviously accept her as the Lord had done to me. All these steps of thoughts gave me a false peace in my heart.

I put on my best dress and headed her address. I didn’t inform any of the deacons and the elders of this great door the Lord was opening. I wanted to surprise them, testifying about the wonders of God. I had a prompting to call one of the women fellowship leaders to go with me but I quickly threw such suggestion outside the window. I needed to assure this new Sister that I personally cared for her life. 

I got to her place in no time. The sight which greeted me should have sent common sense in my mind to run for my life but I couldn’t because I had my mind made up to have her become a committed member of the Church and the money of course.

She was in a see-through blue attire, wearing this seductive smile on her face. My heart was by now beating faster than a 100m racer. I still had to chance to leave because I had not entered the room yet. But I found myself smiling broadly as I entered her room. 

She excused herself in order to bring me something soft to drink. It was when she was leaving my presence that I noticed that she had no underwear on. That alone should have sent me packing but I didn’t because I had convinced myself that I needed to establish her as a member and of course, take my tithe of 5 million Ghana Cedis! 

As she was away, series of Scriptures started coming to my heart, as though a man were standing before me, reading these verses aloud. Scriptures of fleeing Temptations, Samson and Delilah, Tamar and Judah, Joseph and Portiphar’s wife, Israel and the Moabite Women, came very alive to my heart. I didn’t heed to any of these warnings. That moment was supernaturally elongated because I felt the Recollection of the Scriptures had taken more than one hour. It all happened with 5 minutes.

Afterwards, she came wearing that same seductive smile, and swinging her waist rhythmically to a song only she could hear.

We exchanged the normal pleasantries. We even prayed; I spoke in tongues for some 10 minutes. She was saying resounding  Amens to all the declarations and blessings. 

When I was through, she came to sit very close to me. I could see her breasts, and that adrenaline that rushed through my head to the tips of my trousers came all over, this time with such intensity that I thought I was under an electric shock. She pressed her chest against my arm, and before long we were kissing. There was no going back- eventually I slept with her or rather she slept with me. 

When we were through, she smiled a smile of Victory that shook me to the very core of my being. It’s influence was more powerful than the pleasures I had experienced within those few moments back. I sheepishly smiled back at her. I couldn’t recall what happened between that moment and the time I got home. My thoughts were clouded. I didn’t have that fiery feeling I always had in my belly again- something tangible and indispensable had left me. I didn’t know to weep or laugh. My thoughts were scattered. The pain I experienced within those dark moments were such deep and horrific that no level of pleasure could have offset such anguish and hopelessness. The day ended.

I went to the office on Tuesday morning, and I received a video on my whatsapp. I downloaded it, and to the deepest shock of my life, I saw myself busily and hungrily having sex with a woman whose face had been edited from the video. My face was clear as crystal. 

Within very few minutes there was a knock on my door and without beckoning the person to come in, the knob turned and there stood before me lady of my nightmares.

She was no longer the composed, affectionate, smiling lady I saw just a couple of days before. The lady that stood before me was fierce and had wickedness written all over her face. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest.

She made herself comfortable in the chair opposite mine, and without being asked what her mission was, she spat these words ‘You fool, I will show you pepper’. She made good actions of her words. She demanded a cheque of 10 million Ghana Cedis from the tithes of the Church or else she would release the video on all social media platforms. She gave me two days to produce such money or else my end was as certain as the break of dawn. She stood to take her leave. 

I think I saw her face turned to be something demonic. She began laughing hysterically. When she was through, she looked straight into my eyes and said blatantly, ‘Pastor Timothy, I AM TAKING YOU DOWN’. And she walked out of the office.”

(The Young man’s voice is now over…the old Preacher continued).

“He came to see me a few days after. He couldn’t cry, he couldn’t pray, he couldn’t say any proper words of confession. I tried praying with him but the Heavens over us were shut. Only a passage of Scripture stood in the Atmosphere:

  Hebrews 10:26-31 (NKJV)

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”….

By now, everyone was sobbing. We were all lamenting over  the story we just heard from this old Preacher. The young pastor committed suicide. He was anointed. He was powerful.

The old man continued…

“I came here because there are many of you who are still living in sin, seeking no help from its deliverance. 

The Enemy saw a weakness or two in him; lust for money and beautiful, well-rounded women. The Devil was more than glad to offer these because he knew he could eventually get hold of him.

The Spirit of Revelation whispered to my heart: the pastor didn’t deal with the little Foxes in his life when he was under training. He occasionally satisfied his lust by framing stories to get money;  and watching pornographic materials.

The Spirit of Grace was on him, Teaching, Guiding, Rebuking, Correcting him…. yet he didn’t listen. If he listened, he didn’t apply Jesus’ formula of dealing with weights and besetting sins: If your right hand offends you, CUT IT OFF for it is far better to enter into life Maimed than to perish with your whole body intact.

He played around sin.

He cajoled sin.

He treated sin lightly.

He entertained that which had the capacity to destroy him, both in time and in eternity.

The first thing Sin takes care of in a person’s life is the Glory of God. You lose your spiritual beauty and splendor once you live in sin.

Listen to me, my dear young people:

You cannot use smartness of analysis and scriptural inductions to confuse God. Forever His Word is firmly established. Seriously consider the following Scriptures:

Galatians 5:19-21; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 4:6-7; 2 Peter 1:5-10″.

He then prayed with all of us, making an Altar Call for who had wanted to receive Jesus Christ into their hearts, and those of us who needed to rededicate their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

We didn’t take an offering that Sunday…

Friends didn’t walk in groups…

Everyone was engrossed in his or her thoughts, perhaps pondering on the sad story of the promising young man of God and also our own very conditions before the Lord.

Every little thing you are doing in secret has the potential to bring unto you a public ridicule or applause the future.

Grace is not a license to nonsense.

Sin is a mocker- it’s wages is still DEATH.

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CHRIST CLEANSING THE TEMPLE AND PURIFYING THE CHURCH.

DEEPER LIFE BIBLE CHURCH WORLDWIDE.

MONDAY BIBLE STUDY. 20/03/2017.

MINISTERED BY: GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT.

TEXT: JOHN. 2:12-25, MATT. 21:12, HEB. 13:8.

The Lord Jesus Christ, has been to Cana of Galilee for A particular wedding, and there, He performs Miracle by Turning water Into wine.

His Miracle is A Creative Miracle.

His Miracle is A Transforming Miracle. And after He Left Cana, He went into Capernaum and there, He demonstrated All His Attributes as The Sonship of God. and when the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus Christ went up to Jerusalem, and He found in the Temple those that sold many things. And He said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not My Father’s house an house of Merchandise. He told them that He will destroyed this Temple, and in Three days He will raise it up. We can see that, what the Lord has done from the Beginning of His Ministry, was done with Zealousness. There are some preachers that started their Ministry without seeking for the Glory of God and Honour of God. Jesus Christ turned water into wine, and that’s what the people wanted, they’re excited Because of Miracle.

And when the people needs Miracle, He gives it for them.

And when the people needs Correction, He gives it for them. He balanced everything.

But sinners are still sinners.

unbelievers are still unbelievers. Since the beginning of His ministry, He corrected the erroneous teaching And He performs miracles, but after 3Years, there was no change and repentance, they have gone back into the same sinful practices. that’s means there’s no repentance in them..

Christ is about the Glory of God and Honor of God. but some people are always after the self glorification. 

God is telling us that, The Temple is built for a purpose, and they are not built for worldly entertainment.

  • The Temple is not built for money ventures. Christ is teaching us that, His Church is not for gambling and laundry.
  • His Church is not for criminal Activities.
  • His Church is not for fun.
  • His Church is not for commercialization of the religion.
  • His Church is not for marketing.

Jesus Christ came to cleansed and purged His Church. And after the end of His ministry, He cleansed The Temple.

At the Beginning of His ministry, We can see, Consistency, Constantly and commitment..

Jesus Christ preached in the same way and Acted in the same way.

POINT 1. THE PURGING AND CLEANSING OF THE DESIGNATED TEMPLE.

JH 2:13-19.

There are Three things that Christ is pointing out for us to Understand.

*. The Misappropriation by the Transgressors. John 2:13, Exo. 12:11,27, Lev. 23:5, Num. 28:16.

These Pharisees are mis interpreted and misunderstood the Lords supper. They called the Lord’s Supper Jews’ Supper, and turned the House of God to marketing. they are misunderstood the Scripture and somebody must correct them, and that’s the reason why Jesus came to correct them. and if we notice any Misappropriation in the Temple of God, we have to correct them and return everything unto God, for He’s the one that Instituted everything.

* The Merchandise in His Temple. 2Pet.2:3, Reve 18:11-14, Jhn2:15-19, PSA 69:9.

They had a kind of ceremony in the Temple of God, and they were to keep on celebrating, they came to sell in the Temple of God and when Jesus came, the Zeal of the Lord came upon Him because; He saw what it shouldn’t be in the Temple of God. and if you see anything in the House of God, and it shouldn’t be, you need not to compromise, You’ll Stand for Righteousness.
All the people that commercializing in the House of God, the Bible called them; False prophets, canal people, unrighteous people and backsliding People. there are many people that, whatever A preacher or denominational Pastor does, it always Right.

There are many people that turned the Religion into money making.

They turned prayer to money making business. That’s what Jesus Christ said that it shouldn’t happened. But when you understand, you’ll prepared your mind, some people have turned Church to money making ventures. all they want to do is to make money. they always talk about money everyday, Such preachers are Ignorant. they sold the things that will be A blessings to other people. they are not concerning for the souls.

1Tim.6:9,10. God knows every heart, He knows what you are doing before the service and after service.

* His ministry of Transformation. 1Chro.29:5,15,16, 2Cor.6:16-18, Lev. 20:7,8, PSA. 93:5, 1Cor. 3:16. Eph. 2:19-22, Titus 2:14.

When Jesus Christ saw what is not supposed to be done, He takes Immediate Action. Jesus Christ knew the Word of God and when Jesus Christ came and saw that they have polluted The Temple, and He knows the Purpose of God. He cleansed the Temple, and when we talks about Temple is not only the Building.we are also The Temple of God, if you’re saved and Born again, Your body is the Temple of God and He doesn’t want any defilement, He looks at us as His Temple, and He says that, you must be clean because you’re The Temple of God. The Temple of God must be sanctified and they are The people that will keep on walking on His way till end. and if anyone defile The Temple of God, He will destroy that person. Jesus Christ is Our Messiah, He’s the one that they cleanse the sinners and make it to become The servant of God. The Misappropriation of the Passover has make The Jews to misbehave and do whatever they like.

The Temple of God is referring to us and the whole building. We, as A Child of God, He want to build on us. Jesus Christ was Zealous, the same He want us to be Zealous. To make sure that your own Temple is Cleansed, You must be sanctified and the physical church must remain clean as Christ want.

POINT .2 THE PERPLEXITY AND THE CONFUSION OF THE DISPLACED TEACHERS

JOHN.2:18-21.

They are Teachers of religion. The Bible tells us that, when Jesus Christ said that, He will destroy The Temple and Raise it up within 3Days, He was talking on something Spiritual.

* The problem with the canal Christian. Matt. 12:38-40,26:59,27:39. Jesus Christ told them About His Birth, His death and His Resurrection. But they are canal, Jesus Christ was talking about His body, and He always tell them that, He will died and rose up on the Third day.

 * The Prophecy of Christ’s Resurrected. Matt. 16:21, Mk. :9:31, Lk. 18:31-34, 1Cor16:3, Jhn. 2:21, Matt. 27:62-64.

Christ meant that, He will died and resurrected on the Third day. He told them from the beginning, But they pretended. He referred Himself as the Temple that will be build within Three days. when He told them that, He will destroyed The Temple and raised it up in 3days. He was talking about Himself, they understood and pretended not to understand. but whatever they did, Our Messiah, Saviour rose up for our Justification. His disciples also remembered that He spoke about it.

POINT 3. THE PROFESSION OF CONFESSION WITHOUT A DEFINITE TRANSFORMATION.

JHN2:22,12:42, ACT 8:13,18-22, REVE 3:1,21:8,27, JAMES 2:19,20, ROM. 8:5-9, TITUS. 2:11-14.

Jesus Christ did not commits Himself unto them because He knows their mind.

Your confession is presented by sure Repentance. some people believed, but their mind remained the same. Some people believed, but their heart has not changed and transformed.We must go beyond; I Believed. There must be a thorough change of mind, character, Repentance and direction. there must be a new life and creatures in you.

Faith without Repentance is dead..

Faith without changed of life, is dead

Faith without Transformation is dead.

Christ has died for you, He cleansed you and when Salvation come, There must be a thorough change of life, character, Conduct and zealous.

If you’re Born again, Covetousness, lust of flesh and pride of life must not be in your life again.

When you come to the Lord, and say; Bye bye to sin and you made up your mind, He cleanse you and change your life completely, If anyone be in Christ He’s A new creature. you’ll confess and say;

Fighting, Bye bye, then, you must embrace the Lord come what may be.

Repentance, New life, Sanctification Change of Character, Change of behavior, change of conduct. e.t.c. these are the evidence of a definite Transformation and New Creature In Christ.

Christ is calling you unto Repentance. come unto Him and confess all your sins, He will Forgive you, He will Purge you, He will Purify you and cleansed you from sins, and Write your Name in the Book of Life In Heaven.

A New Year’s Resolution

“I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” Psalm 17:3

“Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.” Daniel 1:8

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake.

Resolved, never to do anything, whether in soul or body — but what tends to the glory of God.

Resolved, never to lose one moment of time — but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

Resolved, never to do anything, which I would be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of Hell.

Resolved, if I take delight in any gratification of pride or vanity — immediately to throw it aside.

Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor — upon no account except for some real good.

Resolved, that I will so live as I shall wish I had done, when I come to die.

Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and the eternal world.

Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do, if I expected to hear the last trumpet in the next hour.

Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

Resolved, never to do anything, which if I would see in another — I would count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the less of him.

Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the eternal world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence I am capable of.

Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

Resolved, never to say anything against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule.

Resolved, never to speak anything but the pure and simple truth.

Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sins I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself — also at the end of every week, month and year.

Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better.

Resolved, never henceforward, until I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s.

Resolved, that no other end but religion shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it.

Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to do whatever is most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper.

Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the eternal world.

I frequently hear people in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again. Resolved, that I will live just as I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.

Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it.

Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I would do, if I had already seen the happiness of Heaven, and torments of Hell.

Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation — but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and kindness.

Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then to do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man, “knowing that whatever good thing any man does, the same shall he receive of the Lord.”

Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, namely, to lay open my soul to God — all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every circumstance.

Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have gotten by them, and what I might have gotten by them.

“Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees!” Psalm 119:5

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

The Best Friend! J.C. Ryle, 1878

“This is my Friend!” Song of Solomon 4:16

A friend is one of the greatest blessings on earth. Tell me not of money — love is better than gold; sympathy is better than lands. He is the poor man — who has no friends!

This world is full of sorrow — because it is full of sin. It is a dark place. It is a lonely place. It is a disappointing place. The brightest sunbeam in it, is a friend. Friendship halves our troubles — and doubles our joys!

A real friend is scarce and rare. There are many who will eat, and drink, and laugh with us in the sunshine of prosperity. There are few who will stand by us in the days of darkness — few who will love us when we are sick, helpless, and poor — few, above all, who will care for our souls!

Does any reader of this paper want a real friend? I write to recommend one to your notice this day. I know of One “who sticks closer than a brother!” (Proverbs 18:24.) I know of One who is ready to be your friend for time and for eternity, if you will receive Him. Hear me, while I try to tell you something about Him.

The friend I want you to know is Jesus Christ. Happy is that family in which Christ has the foremost place! Happy is that person whose chief friend is Christ!

I. Do we want a friend in NEED? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ!

Man is the neediest creature on God’s earth, because he is a sinner. There is no need as great as that of sinners: poverty, hunger, thirst, cold, sickness — all are nothing in comparison. Sinners need pardon — and they are utterly unable to provide it for themselves; they need deliverance from a guilty conscience and the fear of death — and they have no power of their own to obtain it. This need, the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to relieve. “He came into the world to save sinners!” (1 Tim. 1:15.)

We are all by nature, poor dying creatures. From the king on his throne, to the pauper in the workhouse — we are all sick of a mortal disease of soul. Whether we know it or not, whether wefeel it or not — we are all dying daily. The plague of sin is in our blood. We cannot cure ourselves — we are hourly getting worse and worse! All this, the Lord Jesus undertook to remedy. He came into the world to bring in health and cure; He came to deliver us “from the second death;” He came “to abolish death, and bring life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” (Jeremiah 33:6; Rev. 2:11; 2 Tim. 1:10.)

We are all by nature imprisoned debtors. We owed our God millions — and had nothing to pay. We were wretched bankrupts, without hope of freeing ourselves. We could never have freed ourselves from our load of liabilities, and were daily getting more deeply indebted. All this the Lord Jesus saw, and undertook to remedy. He engaged to “ransom and redeem us.” He came to “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” “He came to redeem us from the curse of the law.” (Hos. 13:14; Isaiah 41:1; Galatians 3:13.)

We were all by nature shipwrecked and cast away. We could never have reached the harbor of everlasting life. We were sinking in the midst of the waves — hopeless, helpless, and powerless; tied and bound by the chain of our sins, foundering under the burden of our own guilt, and likely to become a prey to the devil. All this the Lord Jesus saw and undertook to remedy. He came down from Heaven to be our “mighty helper.” He came to “seek and to save those who are lost;” and to “deliver us from going down into the pit.” (Psalm 89:19; Luke 19:10; Job 33:24.)

Could we have been saved without the Lord Jesus Christ coming down from Heaven? It would have been utterly impossible. The wisest men of Egypt, and Greece, and Rome never found out the way to peace with God. Without the friendship of Christ — we would all have been lost for evermore in Hell.

Was the Lord Jesus Christ obliged to come down to save us? Oh, no! no! It was His own free love, mercy, and pity — which brought Him down. He came unsought and unasked — because He was gracious.

Let us think on these things. Search all history from the beginning of the world — look around the whole circle of those you know and love — you never heard of such friendship among men. There never was such a real friend in need as Jesus Christ!

II. Do you want a friend in DEED? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The true extent of a man’s friendship must be measured by his deeds. Tell me not what he says, and feels, and wishes; tell me not of his words and letters — tell me rather what he does. “A friend is measured by what he does.”

The doings of the Lord Jesus Christ for man are the grand proof of His friendly feeling towards him. Never were there such acts of kindness and self-denial — as those which He has performed on our behalf. He has not loved us in word only — but in deed.

For our sakes, He took our nature upon Him, and was born of a woman. He who was very God, and equal with the Father, laid aside His glory for a season, and took upon Him flesh and blood like our own. The almighty Creator of all things — became a little babe like any of us, and experienced all our bodily weaknesses and infirmities, sin only excepted. “Though He was rich — He became poor; that we through His poverty — might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9.)

For our sakes, He lived thirty-three years in this evil world, despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Though He was King of kings — He had nowhere to lay His head; though He was Lord of lords — He was often weary, and hungry, and thirsty, and poor. “He took on Him the form of a servant, and humbled Himself.” (Philippians 3:7, 8.)

For our sakes, He suffered the most painful of all deaths, even the death of the cross! Though innocent, and without fault, He allowed Himself to be condemned, and found guilty. He who was thePrince of Life — was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and poured out His soul unto death. He “died for us.” (1 Thessalonians 5:10.)

Was He obliged to do this? Oh, no! He might have summoned to His help, more than twelve legions of angels, and scattered His enemies with a word. He suffered voluntarily and of His own free will, to make atonement for our sins. He knew that nothing but the sacrifice of His body and blood — could ever make peace between sinful man and a holy God. He laid down His life — to pay the price of our redemption. He died — that we might live. He suffered — that we might reign. He bore shame — that we might receive glory. “He suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us — so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21.)

Such friendship as this surpasses man’s understanding. Friends who would die for those who love them — we may have heard of sometimes. But who can find a man who would lay down his life for those that hate him? Yet this is what Jesus has done for us. “Christ died for the ungodly. God commends His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners — Christ died for us. When we were God’s enemies — we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son!” (Romans 5:6, 8, 10.)

Ask all the tribes of mankind, from one end of the world to the other — and you will nowhere hear of a deed like this! None was ever so high and stooped down so low — as Jesus the Son of God! None ever gave so costly a proof of his friendship! None ever paid so much and endured so much to do good to others. Never was there such a friend in deed as Jesus Christ!

III. Do we want a MIGHTY and POWERFUL friend? Such a friend is Jesus Christ.

Power to help, is that which few possess in this world. Many have desire enough to do good to others — but no power. They feel for the sorrows of others, and would gladly relieve them if they could; they can weep with their friends in affliction — but are unable to take their grief away. But though man is weak — Christ is strong; though the best of our earthly friends is feeble — Christ is almighty! “All power is given unto Him in Heaven and earth.” (Matthew 28:18.) No one can do so much for those whom He befriends, as Jesus Christ. Others can befriend their bodies a little — He can befriend both body and soul. Others can do a little for them in time — He can be a friend both for time and eternity!

(a) He is able to pardon and save the very chief of sinners. He can deliver the most guilty conscience from all its burdens, and give it perfect peace with God. He can wash away the vilest stains of wickedness, and make a man whiter than snow in the sight of God. He can clothe a poor weak child of Adam in everlasting righteousness, and give him a title to Heaven that can never be overthrown. In a word, He can give any one of us peace, hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God — if we will only trust in Him. “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin!” (1 John 1:7.)

(b) He is able to convert the hardest of hearts, and create in man a new spirit. He can take the most thoughtless and ungodly people, and give them another mind by the Holy Spirit whom He puts in them. He can cause old things to pass away, and all things to become new. He can make them love the things which they once hated — and hate the things which they once loved. “He can give them power to become the sons of God.” “If any man is in Christ — he is a new creature.” (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17.)

(c) He is able to preserve to the end all who believe in Him, and become His disciples. He can give them grace to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, and fight a good fight until the last. He can . . .
lead them on safely in spite of every temptation,
carry them home through a thousand dangers, and
keep them faithful, though they stand alone and have none to help them. “He is able to save them to the uttermost, all who come unto God by Him.” (Hebrews 7:25.)

(d) He is able to give those who love Him the best of gifts. He can give them in this life — inward comforts, which money can never buy — peace in poverty, joy in sorrow, patience in suffering. He can give them in death — bright hopes, which enable them to walk through the dark valley without fear. He can give them after death — an unfading crown of glory, and a rewardcompared to which, the Queen of England has nothing to bestow.

This is power indeed! This is true greatness! This is real strength!

Go and look at the poor Hindu idolater, seeking peace in vain by afflicting his body; and, after fifty years of self-imposed suffering, unable to find it.

Go and look at the benighted Romanist, giving money to his priest to pray for his soul — and yet dying without comfort.

Go and look at rich men, spending thousands in search of happiness — and yet always discontented and unhappy.

Then turn to Jesus, and think what He can do, and is daily doing for all who trust Him. Think how He . . .
heals all the broken-hearted,
comforts all the sick,
cheers all the poor that trust in Him,
and supplies all their daily need.

The fear of man is strong,
the opposition of this evil world is mighty,
the lusts of the flesh rage horribly,
the fear of death is terrible,
the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour
— but Jesus is stronger than them all, Jesus can make us conquerors over all these foes!

And then say whether there was ever was so mighty a friend as Jesus Christ.

IV. Do we want a LOVING and affectionate friend? Such a friend is Jesus Christ.

Kindness is the very essence of true friendship. Money and advice and help lose half their grace, if not given in a loving manner. What kind of love is that of the Lord Jesus toward man? It is called, “A love that surpasses knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:19.)

Love shines forth in His reception of sinners. He refuses none who come to Him for salvation, however unworthy they may be. Though their lives may have been most wicked, though their sinsmay be more in number than the stars of Heaven — the Lord Jesus is ready to receive them, and give them pardon and peace! There is no end to His compassion! There are no bounds to Hispity! He is not ashamed to befriend those whom the world casts off as hopeless. There are none too bad, too filthy, and too much diseased with sin — to be admitted into His home! He is willing to be the friend of any sinner. He has kindness and mercy and healing medicine for all. He has long proclaimed this to be His rule: “Whoever comes unto Me — I will never cast out.” (John 6:37.)

Love shines forth in His dealings with sinners, after they have believed in Him and become His friends. He is very patient with them, though their conduct is often very trying and provoking. He is never tired of hearing their complaints — however often they may come to Him. He sympathizes deeply in all their sorrows. He knows what pain is — He is “acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:3.) In all their afflictions, He is afflicted. He never allows them to be tempted above what they are able to bear. He supplies them with daily grace for their daily conflict. Their poor services are acceptable to Him. He is as well pleased with them as a parent is with his child’s endeavors to speak and walk. He has caused it to be written in His book, that “He takes pleasure in His people,” and that “He takes pleasure in those who fear Him.” (Psalm 147:11; 119:4.)

There is no love on earth that can even be named together with this! We love those in whom we see something that deserves our affection, or those who are our relatives — but the Lord Jesus loves sinners in whom there is no good thing. We love those from whom we get some return for our affection — but the Lord Jesus loves those who can do little or nothing for Him, compared to what He does for them. We love where we can give some reason for loving — but the great Friend of sinners draws His reasons out of His own everlasting compassion. His love is purely unselfish — purely free. Never, never was there so truly loving a friend as Jesus Christ.

V. Do we want a WISE prudent friend? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Man’s friendship is sadly blind. He often injures those he loves by injudicious kindness. He often errs in the counsel he gives — he often leads his friends into trouble by bad advice, even when he means to help them. He sometimes keeps them back from the way of life, and entangles them in the vanities of the world, when they have well near escaped. The friendship of the Lord Jesus is not so — it always does us good, and never evil.

The Lord Jesus never spoils His friends by extravagant indulgence. He gives them everything that is really for their benefit. He withholds nothing from them that is really good. He requires them to take up their cross daily and follow Him. He bids them endure hardships as good soldiers. He calls on them to fight the good fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. His people often dislike it at the time, and think it hard — but when they reach Heaven, they will see it was all well done.

The Lord Jesus makes no mistakes in managing His friends’ affairs. He orders all their concerns with perfect wisdom — all things happen to them at the right time, and in the right way. He gives them . . .
as much of sickness — and as much of health,
as much of poverty — and as much of riches,
as much of sorrow — and as much of joy —
as He sees their souls require.

He leads them by the right way to bring them to the city of habitation. He mixes their bitterest cups like a wise physician, and takes care that they have not a drop too little — or too much.

His people often misunderstand His dealings — they are silly enough to imagine their course of life might have been better ordered. But in the resurrection-day, they will thank God that not their will — but Christ’s will was done.

Look round the world and see the harm which people are continually getting from their friends. Mark how much more ready men are to encourage one another in worldliness and levity — than to provoke to love and good works. Think how often they meet together, not for the better — but for the worse; not to quicken one another’s souls in the way to Heaven — but to confirm one another in the love of this present world. Alas, there are thousands who are wounded unexpectedly in the house of their friends!

And then turn to the great Friend of sinners, and see how different a thing is His friendship from that of man. Listen to Him as He walks by the way with His disciples — mark how He comforts, reproves, and exhorts with perfect wisdom. Observe how He times His visits to those He loves — as to Mary and Martha at Bethany. Hear how He converses, as He dines on the shore of the sea of Galilee: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” (John 21:16.)

His company is always sanctifying.
His gifts are always for our soul’s good.
His kindness is always wise.
His fellowship is always to edification.

One day with the Son of Man — is better than a thousand in the society of earthly friends! One hour spent in private communion with Him — is better than a year in kings’ palaces. Never, never was there such a wise friend as Jesus Christ.

VI. Do we want a TRIED and PROVED friend? Such a friend is Jesus Christ.

Six thousand years have passed away since the Lord Jesus began His work of befriending mankind. During that long period of time, He has had many friends in this world. Millions on millions, unhappily, have refused His offers, and been miserably lost forever; but thousands on thousands have enjoyed the mighty privilege of His friendship and been saved. He has had great experience.

(a) He has had friends of every rank and station in life. Some of them were kings and rich men, like David, and Solomon, and Hezekiah, and Job. Some of them were very poor in this world, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, and James, and John, and Andrew. But they were all alike Christ’s friends.

(b) He has had friends of every age that man can pass through. Some of them never knew Him until they were advanced in years, like Manasseh, and Zacchaeus, and probably the Ethiopian Eunuch. Some of them were His friends even from their earliest childhood, like Joseph, and Samuel, and Josiah, and Timothy. But they were all alike Christ’s friends.

(c) He has had friends of every possible temperament and disposition. Some of them were simple plain men, like Isaac. Some of them were mighty in word and deed, like Moses. Some of them were fervent and warm-hearted, like Peter. Some of them were gentle and retiring spirits, like John. Some of them were active and stirring, like Martha. Some of them loved to sitquietly at His feet, like Mary. Some dwelt unknown among their own people, like the Shunamite. Some have gone everywhere and turned the world upside down, like Paul. But they were all alike Christ’s friends.

(d) He has had friends of every condition in life. Some of them were married, and had sons and daughters, like Enoch. Some of them lived and died unmarried, like Daniel and John the Baptist. Some of them were often sick, like Lazarus and Epaphroditus. Some of them were strong to labor, like Persis, and Tryphena, and Tryphosa. Some of them were masters, like Abraham and Cornelius. Some of them were servants, like the saints in Nero’s household. Some of them had bad servants, like Elisha. Some of them had bad masters like Obadiah. Some of them hadbad wives and children, like David. But they were all alike Christ’s friends.

(e) He has had friends of almost every nation, and people, and tongue. He has had friends in hot countries and in cold; friends among nations highly civilized, and friends among the simplest and rudest tribes. His book of life contains the names of Greeks and Romans, of Jews and Egyptians, of bond and of free. There are to be found on its lists . . .
reserved Englishmen and cautious Scotsmen,
impulsive Irishmen and fiery Welshmen,
volatile Frenchmen and dignified Spaniards,
refined Italians and solid Germans,
crude Africans and refined Hindus,
cultivated Chinese and half-savage New Zealanders.
But they were all alike Christ’s friends!

All these have made trial of Christ’s friendship, and proved it to be good. They all found nothing lacking when they began — they all found nothing lacking as they went on. No lack, no defect, no deficiency was ever found by any one of them, in Jesus Christ. Each found his own soul’s needs fully supplied; each found every day, that in Christ there was enough and to spare. Never, never was there a friend so fully tried and proved as Jesus Christ.

VII. Last — but not least, do we want an UNFAILING friend? Such a friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The saddest part of all the good things of earth is their instability.
Riches
make themselves wings and flee away;
youth
and beauty are but for a few years;
strength
of body soon decays;
mind
and intellect are soon exhausted.
All is perishing.
All is fading.
All is passing away.
But there is one splendid exception to this general rule, and that is the friendship of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus is a friend who never changes. There is no fickleness about Him. Those whom He loves — He loves unto the end. Husbands have been known to forsake their wives; parents have been known to cast off their children; human vows and promises of faithfulness have often been forgotten. Thousands have been neglected in their poverty and old age — who were honored by all when they were rich and young. But Christ never changed His feelings towards one of His friends. He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8.)

The Lord Jesus never goes away from His friends. There is never a parting and good-bye between Him and His people. From the time that He makes His abode in the sinner’s heart — He abides in it forever. The world is full of leave-takings and departures; death and the lapse of time break up the most united family; sons go forth to make their way in life; daughters are married, and leave their father’s house forever. Scattering, scattering, scattering — is the yearly history of the happiest home. How many we have tearfully watched as they drove away from our doors, whose pleasant faces we have never seen again! How many we have sorrowfully followed to the grave — and then come back to a cold, silent, lonely, and blank fireside! But, thanks be to God, there is One who never leaves His friends! The Lord Jesus is He who has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5.)

The Lord Jesus goes with His friends wherever they go. There is no possible separation between Him and those whom He loves. There is no place or position on earth that can divide them from the great Friend of their souls. When the path of duty calls them far away from home — He is their companion. When they pass through the fire and water of fierce tribulation — He is with them. When they lie down on the bed of sickness — He stands by them and makes all their trouble work for good. When they go down the valley of the shadow of death, and friends and relatives stand still and can go no further — He goes down by their side. When they wake up in the unknown world of Paradise — they are still with Him. When they rise with a new body at the judgment day — they will not be alone. He will own them for His friends, and say, “They are mine! Deliver them and let them go free.” He will make good His own words: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20.)

Look around the world, and see how failure is written on all men’s schemes. Count up the partings, and separations, and disappointments, and bereavements which have happened under your own knowledge. Think what a privilege it is that there is One at least who never fails, and in whom no one was ever disappointed! Never, never was there so unfailing a friend as Jesus Christ!

And now, allow me to conclude this paper with a few plain words of APPLICATION. I know not who you are or in what state your soul may be; but I am sure that the words I am about to say deserve your serious attention. Oh, that this paper may not find you heedless of spiritual things! Oh, that you may be able to give a few thoughts to Christ!

(1) Know then, for one thing, that I call upon you to seriously consider whether Christ is your Friend, and you are His.

There are thousands on thousands, I grieve to say, who are not Christ’s friends. Baptized in His name, members of a Christian Church, attendants on His means of grace — all this they are, no doubt. But they are not Christ’s friends.

Do they hate the sins which Jesus died to put away? No.

Do they love the Savior who came into the world to save them? No.

Do they care for the souls which were so precious in His sight? No.

Do they delight in the His Word? No.

Do they try to speak with the Friend of sinners in prayer? No.

Do they seek close fellowship with Him? No.

Oh, reader, is this your case? How is it with you? Are you or are you not, one of Christ’s friends?

(2) Know, in the next place, that if you are not one of Christ’s friends — then you are a poor miserable being.

I write this down deliberately. I do not say it without thought. I say that if Christ is not your friend — then you are a poor, miserable being.

You are in the midst of a failing, sorrowful world — and you have no real source of comfort, or refuge for a time of need. You are a dying creature — and you are not ready to die. You have sins — and they are not forgiven. You are going to be judged — and you are not prepared to meet God: you might be — but you refuse to use the one only Mediator and Advocate. You love the world better than Christ. You refuse the great Friend of sinners, and you have no friend in Heaven to plead your cause. Yes, it is sadly true! You are a poor, miserable being! It matters nothing what your income is — without Christ’s friendship, you are very poor.

(3) Know, in the third place, that if you really want a friend — then Christ is willing to become your friend.

He has long wanted you to join His people, and He now invites you by my hand. He is ready to receive you, all unworthy as you may feel, and to write your name down in the list of His friends. He is ready to pardon all the past, to clothe you with righteousness, to give you His Spirit, to make you His own dear child. All He asks you to do, is to come to Him.

He bids you to come with all your sins; only acknowledging your vileness, and confessing that you are ashamed. Just as you are — waiting for nothing — unworthy of anything in yourself — Jesus bids you come and be His friend.

Oh, come and be wise! Come and be safe. Come and be happy. Come and be Christ’s friend.

(4) Know, in the last place, that if Christ is your friend — then you have great privileges, and ought to walk worthy of them.

Seek every day to have closer communion with Him who is your Friend, and to know more of His grace and power. True Christianity is not merely the believing a certain set of dry theological propositions — it is to live in daily personal communication with an actual living person — Jesus the Son of God. “To me,” said Paul, “to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21.)

Seek every day to glorify your Lord and Savior in all your ways. “He who has a friend, should show himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24), and no man surely is under such mighty obligations as the friend of Christ. Avoid everything which would grieve your Lord. Fight hard against besetting sins, against inconsistency, against backwardness to confess Him before men. Say to your soul, whenever you are tempted to that which is wrong, “Soul, soul — is this your kindness to your Friend?”

Think, above all, of the mercy which has been shown you, and learn to rejoice daily in your Friend! What though your body is bowed down with disease? What though your poverty and trials are very great? What though your earthly friends forsake you, and you are alone in the world? All this may be true; but if you are in Christ, then you have a Friend, a mighty Friend, a loving Friend, awise Friend, a Friend that never fails. Oh, think, think much upon your friend! Yet in a little while, your Friend shall come to take you home, and you shall dwell with Him forever. Yet in a little while, you shall see as you have been seen, and know as you have been known. And then you shall hear assembled worlds confess, that he is the rich and happy man, who has had Christ for his friend!

POOR MISS SMITH, WHERE IS SHE NOW?

image

(Mary Winslow, “Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy”)

She entered the train in full expectation of many years of health, wealth, and happiness in this world–and in a few hours was gone forever! Poor Miss Smith–where is she now?

Oh to live for eternity, a glorious eternity! What madness not to be preparing for it. There is nothing on earth so important as to be ready for eternity. Like Miss Smith, you may leave your home in health and in high spirits, in the anticipation of meeting dear friends–and in a few hours be ushered into the presence of the great Judge of Heaven and earth, to be tried at His bar, and acquitted or condemned. But this is a subject ridiculed and slighted by the ungodly.

Try to live on earth, as you expect to live in Heaven. Walk holy and uprightly–just as if the Lord were with you, and in your midst.

I often long to see Jesus–and also Heaven. Heaven is an ocean of love!

Earth is a weary place to me–and Heaven looks very inviting!
To be freed from a body of sin and death,
to be done with the conflict,
to shed no more tears,
to breathe no more sighs,
to have grappled with, and to have overcome the “last enemy,”
to enter into an eternal rest,
to behold Jesus in all His beauty and glory,
to unite my praises with those who are dear to me by nature and by grace,
Oh is not this worth living for, and is it not worth dying for!
O blessed hope of immortality!

A few more steps, and I too am there–a sinner saved by sovereign grace!

I want to have all my thoughts centered on Jesus–He is all and everything to my soul. As I near my home in Heaven, He grows more and more endeared. I feel that Heaven would be no Heaven to me, were He not there.