What is your definition of success?

True success is being faithful to God in all things. A simple definition, I know, but I believe this would be Christ’s definition as well.

I see this the most when I read about extraordinary men of God who were giants in the Kingdom of God, but experienced little “success” according to what the world would call “success”. For instance, think about Jeremiah, that bold, fiery prophet of God. He preached his heart out for over 40 years. He faced heartbreak, persecution, slander, abandonment, and humiliation all his life. Yet he saw very little ministerial fruit come from his labors. He didn’t see 3,000 men repent in a single day like Peter did. He didn’t see cities of Gentiles turn to Christ like Paul did. He didn’t lead a major revival in Israel like Ezra did. He didn’t lead a nation out of the bondage of Egypt like Moses did. Yet, even with his apparent failure to make converts, he was a booming success in the kingdom of God. -Why? Because he was faithful to His call and passionate for his Lord! I would imagine that he will have a crown in glory similar to that of all the other “more successful” prophets and apostles!

We have to understand today that God doesn’t call us to be successful, but to be faithful. If we measure our ministries by terms of success, we can get really discouraged real fast, because there will always be someone more successful in the world’s eyes. God gives us each a mission, each a calling, and true success in His Kingdom is being faithful to that calling He gives us, especially in the face of the most bitter discouragement.

Our culture defines success differently than Christ. Success is often measured by the size of the bank account, or the prestige and power that one gains for their own name. Success for the world means being a little bit better than everyone else. But this is false, and Jesus said that the first shall be last, and the last first!

In the messages to the seven churches, Jesus never mentions how “successful” their ministries were, how great their sunday-school program was, how dynamic their worship meeting was, how fiery the preaching was. He mentions their works before God, works which evidence their faith and prove their faithfulness (or lack thereof). He never said, “I know your faith” to any of them. But to all of them He said, “I know your works”. Our works are the manifestation of the faith that is truly in our hearts. If we are faithful to the Lord, our works will habitually glorifiy Him.

 

It would do us all well to remember this lesson…

 

Just the ponderings of a foolish thing of the this world.
www.puregospeltruth.com

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A Disciple follows Christ as Prophet, Priest, & King

The term ‘disciple’ literally means, “disciplined one”. A disciple is a person who comes under the discipline and authority of another in order to learn from them and be trained by them for a specific purpose. To be a disciple of Christ is to come under His authority and to submit to Him, not in just some areas of life, but in all of life. It is to take His yoke upon us and to learn from Him (Mat. 11:29). It is to look up to Him as our great Prophet, Priest, and King.

A true disciple follows Christ as his mighty Prophet. That is, the disciple looks to Christ to hear the very words of God and listens. As God promised Moses: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19). Christ is the one who speaks into the disciple’s life words of wisdom, words of knowledge, words of counsel, words of direction and guidance. And when the disciple gets out of line, he will listen to Christ’s word of rebuke and humble himself before God, since Christ is the Prophet of all prophets. He searches the hearts of men just like He searched the secrets of the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev. 2, 3) and speaks with the full authority of Heaven and earth into men’s lives. He is the one before every disciple shouting, “This is the way, walk ye in it!” (Isa. 30:21). The true disciple will earnestly long for the word of Christ as his Prophet, and will study His Word and obey it to show himself approved unto God. The disciple will love the word of Christ, the Bible. He will walk in the counsel of the Most High on the narrow path which leads to life, led by the voice of the Son of God, and will show his love for the Lord by obeying Christ’s commandments, which were not just His, but came from the Father Himself (John 12:49).

A true disciple trusts Christ as his holy High Priest. The disciple of Christ is not trusting in his own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. The disciple does not take any credit or think he deserves any merit for the deeds he does of himself, but by faith he looks solely to the merit of Christ, Who stands as our representative before God. The disciple looks up to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and has free access with a living, personal relationship with the Father, through the mediation of Christ. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession” (Hebrews 4:14). The disciple has boldness to confess that he is a child of God, and has regular fellowship with the Father through Christ and has boldness to go before the Throne of grace in the Heavens and make requests from God. The disciple knows he has no righteousness of his own, but is trusting in the blood of the Lamb, which makes atonement for the soul. The disciple is trusting in the finished work of Christ, trusting fully in His life, death and resurrection as the basis of his faith, and looks to Christ as his sole Mediator between him and God. The disciple knows that when he stumbles, he can confess his sins and the Lord will forgive, since Christ is his great Advocate (defense attorney) with the Father who pleads the disciple’s cause, having already appeased the wrath of God through the propitiation of His priestly sacrifice (1 John 2:1-2).

A true disciple submits to Christ as his majestic King. The disciple does not merely want a fire insurance policy, that is, a free ticket out of Hell. The true disciple will walk in salvation from sin, being set free from the power and dominion of sin. And to do this, he will sanctify himself through the washing of water by the Word, not being a hearer of the Word only, but a doer of the Word. He will submit to the authority of Christ as his great King and obey Him as his Master. He will bow the knee of humble submission before all that Christ says in His Word. The disciple will have a heart of willing obedience to Christ, counting it a joy to forsake his own life to follow the great King who laid down His life for us. The disciple’s greatest inward desire is to please Christ. His greatest fear is to hear Christ say, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). And not only does the disciple want to obey Christ himself, but he seeks to see the whole world also obey Christ, and he longs for the day when his King will return and establish His literal kingdom and rule the nations with a rod of iron. The true disciple’s greatest joy is to prostrate himself before Christ the King in all things in life. Christ becomes the identity of the true disciple, as the disciple renounces himself, dies to his own self, takes up his cross, and follows Him. The disciple sees himself as no longer his own, but the property of another, a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, and a servant of its King.

So in conclusion, a disciple is a man (or woman) of the Word. It is someone who FOLLOWS Christ, and not just professes Him with their lips. It is someone who fellowships with the people that Christ fellowships with, loves the people of God, and delights to be around his fellow peers who are also following Christ. A disciple is someone in learning, and is ever growing in knowledge and holiness as he looks to Jesus.

Or, to summarize everything I just said, and to put it as simply as possible, a disciple is a person who LOVES the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart.

Just the ponderings of a foolish thing of this world.
www.puregospeltruth.com

A List of Prophecies in Psalm 22

1. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (Psalms 22:1).

This was fulfilled in Matthew 27:46.

Jesus Christ felt forsaken of the Father as He hung on the cross and suffered the wrath of God against sin and died as the sinner’s substitute. The Bible says in Galatians 3:13 that Jesus actually became a curse, and suffered under the curse of the Father while bearing our sin, that we might be freed from the curse and given the blessing of Abraham, eternal life through the Holy Spirit.

2. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. (Psalms 22:6).

This is an amazing prophecy, but to capture the fullness of it, we have to look at the Hebrew text behind it. The Hebrew word translated, “worm” in our Bible is actually a name of a very specific worm in Israel. It is a worm that would first be dried out, and then crushed in order to extract a red dye from. This is significant. The same Hebrew word occurs 42 times in the Old Testament, and only 8 of those times is it translated “worm(s)”. The rest of the occurrences translate it as “scarlet” and once as “crimson”. The application is tremendous: Jesus Christ was dried out in intense suffering, and was crushed like a worm under the wrath of God in order to extract the precious bright red substance from Him, His sinless blood, which would be applied to men as a precious dye to cover their sin.

3. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. (Psalms 22:7-8).

This details the intense ridicule and humility He suffered on the Cross. This was literally fulfilled in Matthew 27:39-44.

4. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. (Psalms 22:9-10).

Jesus Christ is the only one who could say this rightfully. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, born a sinless child, always righteous, always perfect, always trusting in God the Father in perfect obedience. Even by the time He was only 12, He was already speaking in circles around the theologians of His day about the deep things of God.

5. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. (Psalms 22:11-13).

The strong bulls of Bashan are spoken of because of the reputation of them in the Psalmist’s day as being the strongest, fiercest bulls. This is speaking of the Roman soldiers who crucified Him, who showed no mercy to their victims, but gouged them with their horns of power to pieces. Like wild beasts, they brutally tortured their victims.

6. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. (Psalms 22:15).

Fulfilled, as Christ’s strength left His body. Just at the end of the horrific event, He shouted out, “I thirst” (John 19:28) just prior to His shout of victory, “It is finished!” He died and was buried.

7. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. (Psalms 22:16).

“Dogs” was a common Jewish term of insult when talking about Gentiles. The heathen Gentiles would be surrounding Christ during such sufferings, fulfilled at the Cross as the Roman soldiers crucified Him. And His hands and His feat were pierced through to the cross as the wicked gathered around Him in ridicule.

8. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. (Psalms 22:17).

Not a bone of His was broken, fulfilled in John 19:36.

9. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (Psalms 22:18).

Fulfilled in John 19:24.

10. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. (Psalms 22:22).

This is speaking of His glorious resurrection after He was brought down to the dust of death. This was fulfilled literally when Christ appeared to His Jewish brethren, the Apostles, after His resurrection, when they were gathered together in John 20:26. He declared the triumph of God over the works of Satan in the midst of the church.

11. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. (Psalms 22:27).

This is a glorious prophecy that has been fulfilled as we look around and see all the ends of the world, the Gentile nations, remembering the death of the Son of God and believing in Him for the remission of sins. All the families of the nations are worshipping before God, and will finally worship Him forever, as in Revelation 5:9.

12. For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations. (Psalms 22:28).

This has seen partial fulfillment already, as Gd has proven that He indeed is the King and Ruler of all the earth. Yet, it will see a more literal fulfillment during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ that will come when He returns to earth. Fulfilled completely in Revelation 19:15.

A New Blog Theme: Meditations on God’s Word

As my regular visitors can see, I have decided to change my blog a bit. Rather than posting on random topics of all sorts, I am planning on making this an outpost for my Scriptural meditations and short expositions on certain verses of the Bible. There are several reasons I am doing this:

1. The Word of God pronounces special blessing on those who meditate on it: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalms 1:1-2). I desire to be blessed by God, and I desire my readers to be blessed. So let’s meditate on God’s law, His counsel, His holy Word, and apply it to our lives.

2. The Word of God is living and powerful. It exposes hearts, declares God’s decrees, reveals His will, lights our path, converts sinners, edifies saints, and has a glorious cleansing effect on the Body of Christ: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).

3. As I meditate on Scripture, and write my thoughts as I’m doing so, it helps me to retain the glorious truths I’m learning from God’s Word. It helps me to articulate what I’m learning in a more clear manner, helps me to remember, and gives me a record of what I’ve learned to some degree, so I can go back and read my ponderings over again when thinking about a certain passage of Scripture. So not only will this blog be edifying to others, but it will to me as well. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (1 Timothy 4:15).

More reasons could be given, but this should suffice for now. I truly hope you will join me on this new adventure I’m taking to meditate on the law of the Lord and record some of my notes. You are welcome to read all my meditations, and to comment on them as well with questions and insights of your own.

In Christ -Josef Urban
www.puregospeltruth.com

Rescue Station at the Gates of Hell!

C.T. Studd

C.T. Studd

C.T. Studd gave up fame and fortune to follow Jesus to the unreached peoples of China and later Africa. These quotes are taken from several of his sermons:

 

“We shall go crusading for Christ. We have the men, the means, and the ways – steam and electricity and iron have leveled the lands and bridged the seas. The doors of the world have opened wide for us by our God. We pray and preach; we bow the knee; we receive; we administer the Holy Communion of the Passion of Christ; we recite the Creed triumphantly; we are optimists everyone; we shout Onward Christian soldiers, marching on to war, and then? . . . and then? . . . we whisper, I pray Thee have me excused!!! What glorious humbugs we are!”

“Follow Me, says Jesus. I will, we reply, yet somehow forget that Christ pleased not Himself, deliberately made Himself poor to save others and became the first foreign missionary. We all pray to be like Jesus, yet refuse to pay the price.”

“Five hundred million heathen have not yet been evangelized, so it is computed! Yet our great Missionary Societies have reached high water-mark, and if they have not already begun to retrench they are seriously thinking of doing so. Meanwhile, the heart of Asia, the heart of Africa, and well nigh the whole continent of South America, are untouched with the Gospel of Christ.”

“Last June at the mouth of the Congo, there awaited a thousand prospectors, traders, merchants and gold seekers, waiting to rush into these regions as soon as the government opened the door to them, for rumor declared that there is an abundance of gold. If such men hear so loudly the call of gold and obey it, can it be that the ears of Christs soldiers are deaf to the call of God, and the cries of the dying souls of men? Are gamblers for gold so many, and gamblers for God so few?”

“‘My Montenegrins, said King Nicholas, will henceforth spill their blood for their persecuted compatriots.’ When shall God be able to say to the devil, Hast thou seen My Christians of today? No longer do they seek for gold or pleasure, for honors or ease. From henceforth My Christians will spill their blood for the love and cause of My beloved Son and the salvation of the neediest of men.”

“There are more than twice as many Christian officers at home among peaceful Britains 40 million evangelized inhabitants, than the whole number of Christs forces fighting at the front among 1,200 million heathen! And yet such call themselves soldiers of Christ.”

“Yes, when? When indeed shall we see a real Church Militant here upon the earth? Christs call is to feed the hungry, not the full; to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; not to call the scoffers, but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers and artistic musical performances, but to raise living churches of souls among the destitute, to capture men from the devils clutches and snatch them from the very jaws of hell, to enlist and train them for Jesus, and make them into an Almighty Army of God. But this can only be accomplished by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered Holy Ghost religion, where neither Church nor State, neither man nor traditions are worshipped or preached, but only Christ and Him crucified. Not to confess Christ by fancy collars, church steeples or rich embroidered altar-cloths, but by reckless sacrifice and heroism in the foremost trenches…”

“I am more than ever determined that no ring or limit shall be placed around us, other than that of our Lord Himself, To the uttermost parts, To every creature. I belong and will ever belong to The Great God party. I will have nought to do with The Little God party…”

“Nail the colors to the mast! That is the right thing to do, and, therefore, that is what we must do, and do it now. What colors? The colors of Christ, the work He has given us to do – the evangelization of all the unevangelized. Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible, by faith in the omnipotence, fidelity and wisdom of the Almighty Savior Who gave the command. Is there a wall in our path? By our God we will leap over it! Are there lions and scorpions in our way! We will trample them under our feet! Does a mountain bar our progress? Saying, Be thou removed and cast into the sea, we will march on. Soldiers of Jesus! Never surrender! Nail the colors to the mast!”

“The difficulty is to believe that He can deign to use such scallywags as us, but of course He wants Faith and Fools rather than talents and culture. All God wants is a heart, any old turnip will do for a head; so long as we are empty, all is well, for then He fills with the Holy Ghost. The fiery baptism of the Holy Ghost will change soft, sleek Christians into hot, lively heroes for Christ, who will advance and fight and die, but not mark time.”

“Believing that further delay would be sinful, some of Gods insignificants and nobodies in particular, but trusting in our Omnipotent God, have decided on certain simple lines, according to the Book of God, to make a definite attempt to render the evangelization of the world an accomplished fact. For this purpose we have banded ourselves together under the name of Christs Etceteras, and invite others of Gods people to join us in this glorious enterprise. We are merely Christs nobodies, otherwise Christs Etceteras. We rejoice in and thank God for the good work being carried on in the already occupied lands by Gods Regular Forces. We seek to attack and win to Christ only those parts of the devils empire which are beyond the extremest outposts of the regular army of God . . . Our method is to search and find out what parts of the world at present remain unevangelized, and then by faith in Christ, by prayer to God, by obedience to the Holy Ghost, by courage, determination, and supreme sacrifice, to accomplish their evangelization with the utmost despatch.”

“Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time for waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In Gods Holy Name let us arise and build! The God of Heaven, He will fight for us, as we for Him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Should such men as we fear? Before the whole world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God; we will venture our all for Him; we will live, and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only in our God, than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position, the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.”