Thursday, September 16, 2010

DEAD THINGS


Under the law it was so easy for a person to become ceremonially unclean. If he touched a dead body, or a grave, or a bone, he became unclean, and was cut off from Israel. It was for this reason that graves were often painted a dazzling white, especially at the time of the Passover when multitudes would visit Jerusalem.

A grave must be easily seen so that no one might stumble against it, and so be unclean. (Hence the remarks of the Lord Jesus concerning "whited sepulchres.")

We, too, continually have to do with dead things. We meet them day by day. Sometimes, inadvertently, we stumble upon them.

We hear some blasphemous remark.
We see some indecorous poster.
We overhear some filthy conversation.


There are a multitude of "dead things."

But what a contaminating effect they have upon us!

How we have to cry out, "Unclean! unclean!"

But under the law, God in His mercy made special provision for those who were ceremonially defiled. In Numbers chapter 19 we have an account of this merciful provision — the red heifer slain; the body burned; the ashes kept; the mingling with running water; the sprinkling; the purification.

If God was thus merciful under the law, is He less so under the gospel?

O our daily need of cleansing from daily defilement!

"Daily I'd repent of sin,
Daily wash in Calvary's blood."


And what a sacred passage is that which gives us the glorious antitype, the gospel fulfilment of Numbers 19; "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; HOW MUCH MORE shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:13-14)!

Then there is the other side — not only the defilement but also the deadening effect.

What a deadening effect the things of the world have on us, even lawful things!

What deadness they bring upon our spirit!

How they hinder us in prayer!

How they harden our hearts!

Dead things!

We have to pray, "My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken Thou me according to Thy word" (Psalm 119:25).

It is the same remedy for spiritual dryness and deadness as for defilement — the blood of Christ. It is "the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." A little sacred sense of it will make all the difference.

Thank God that "something yet can do the deed."

What power, what life, what efficacy in the blood!

No wonder the apostle says, "How much more!"

By B.A. Ramsbottom

CHRISTIAN COURTESY


"...Be courteous."
(1 Peter 3:8)

Christian courtesy is an important subject. It is embraced in the well-known text:

"This people have I formed for myself they shall shew forth my praise"
(Isaiah 43:21)

God's people are called to be different. They should stand out from the world. And that not only in dress, chapel attendance, separation from wordliness, etc., but their behaviour should be seen to be different.

The world cannot understand some of the deep doctrines, but it does understand Christian courtesy.

The world does not read the Bible, but it does read God's people:

"Ye are our epistle written in our hearts known and read of all men".
(II Corinthians 3:2)

There is no excuse for a professing Christian to be rude, or ill-mannered, or impolite. A former generation set a most gracious example; many of them poor, uneducated, even illiterate, they were "nature's gentlemen."

Above all, the Lord Jesus was always courteous.

The sullen, unfriendly attitude of modern youth has nothing to commend it; our own young people must watch against it.

Some people pride themselves in being blunt, open, straightforward; whereas, in fact, they are downright rude.

Quite recently, in one of our towns, the roadsweeper went out of his way to sweep snow off the drives of three of the houses in one road. (They were all Strict Baptists.) When asked why just those three, he said, "They treat me in a different way from all the others in the road." They were courteous to him.

J.C. Philpot, in his obituary of Lady Lucy Smith, a member of one of the oldest families of the nobility, remarked that she was equally respectful whether in speaking to a beggar or to a nobleman.

We need to be courteous in speech. To say, "Thank you," costs nothing.

In going into a shop, why cannot we be different from the generality of people?

If we have a complaint to make — for instance, at school — let us be courteous. We gain nothing by rudeness, and certainly do not honour the Lord.

What about letter writing?

How deeply appreciated a kind note is!

How long is it since you wrote a letter of sympathy?

We remember an old lady who always noticed which people were not at chapel on the Lord's day. She made enquiries, and if they were unwell (whether old or little children), she sent a short note on the Monday morning.

In illness, a loving visit can be of such help. Don't stay long! And, if inconvenient, don't stay at all! And don't stare at the sick person or ask questions so you can tell everyone!

In trouble, likewise, a phone call, a card, a letter, a visit can mean so much. People usually say, "I just didn't think!" In Scripture thoughtlessness is not an excuse; it is a sin.

Be courteous to visitors (and entertain them if necessary). We once had a stranger come to our house, so shabby and rough-looking we only reluctantly (we must confess) asked him in. We are so pleased we were not impolite. He proved to be a most
godly man.

Parents need to reprove and correct their children; may courtesy never be lacking.

Children need to be very careful lest they are discourteous to their parents — and to their teachers.

Husbands and wives must never allow their relationship so to degenerate that (though having a real, deep love underneath) politeness is lacking. "Even as Christ loved the church," is the standard.

In dealing with very old people whose minds have gone, we need to be careful that we are not discourteous; certainly they must not be laughed at. They were once respected men and women, in their own homes, with their own friends and associates. Above all, if they are the Lord's, He dearly loves them; they are still "the apple of His eye."

Especially in the church of God, there is need of loving courtesy. We must remember that God's people are the members of His mystical body. What we do (or say) to them must be "as unto the Lord."

Where controversy arises, may it be carried on quietly and in a right spirit. How many have marred their cause by doing the right thing in a wrong way! There was much unnecessary bitterness and hatred in some of the controversies which racked the church of God, especially in the eighteenth century. Good John Brine was an outstanding controversialist. No one could be stronger for the truth; but he was so courteous with his opponents and, if he felt his opponent had grace, he would reason with him as a beloved brother.

It may be said that some have not had the upbringing, the background. Neither had John Kershaw.

How do you think he fitted in when staying at the home of Lady Lucy Smith?

Or being entertained by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh?

Where there is much of the love of Christ and with it true humility, however roughly brought up, a child of God will not do anything out of place. Why, the fear of God has an influence here; and seeking to honour the Lord, fearing to put self forward, there will be the meekness and kindness which are the essence of Christian courtesy.

One area where courtesy seems specially lacking today is on the road. And how sad it is when those who profess God's name set such a bad example — breaking the speed limit, showing no consideration for others!

It was remarked to us recently that many can hear the most solemn sermon, and then drive home in a way which disgraces their Christian profession!

In the Word of God we have two people specially mentioned for courtesy — both, strangely, having no knowledge of the truth.

In Acts 27:3 we read: "And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself."

In Acts 28:7 we read: "In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously."

So Christian courtesy is a real blessing. It certainly has a unifying effect within the church of God; it certainly is a witness to those without.

"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous."
(1 Peter 3:8)

"Make us of one heart and mind.
Courteous, pitiful, and kind;
Lowly, meek, in thought and word,
Altogether like our Lord."


By B.A. Ramsbottom

Friday, September 03, 2010

SOME WISE SAYINGS OF WILLIAM TIPTAFT


I stand before you this evening as the servant of Christ, or the servant of the devil.



The gospel is a fan that will separate the chaff from the wheat. The Pharisees and philosophers get but little hope from me, and will, therefore, seek more flattering preaching elsewhere.



It will avail nothing to assent to this or that doctrine, unless the Lord writes it on the heart.



The more you know of the truth in a spiritual way, the humbler you will be.



The Bible to most is a sealed book.



When the Lord teaches, we must learn.



I cut down false religion, and exalted Christ, to the great offence of the pious Pharisees. Flesh and blood are not changed, and where the gospel is faithfully preached there will be the same consequences as in the time of our Savior and the apostles.



I am offensive in my preaching; I do not try to smooth it and make it palatable.



Do not cavil and reason with the carnal-minded. What advantage will it be if you persuade them to adopt your sentiments? If they are not born again of the Spirit of God, they will receive the doctrines carnally and not spiritually, which will only make them proud and licentious.



You cannot convince the natural man.



I come off with a good share of abuse as a fool, a madman, a deceiver. But Paul says, "As deceivers, and yet true."



We could as soon make a new world as begin a spiritual work in our souls. It is this doctrine that lays man so low in the dust.



"The preaching of the Cross is to those who perish foolishness." If what I preach is not foolishness to the natural man, know assuredly that I preach not the gospel. It troubles exceedingly the Pharisees; they are very unwilling to cast away their false idols.



Your zeal must be in the strength of the Lord.



You will find much opposition, both within and without, against a spiritual work; but if it is the Lord's work, it will surely be carried on.



Knowledge does not profit, unless it is given by God the Holy Spirit. "The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." All knowledge avails but little, if there is not a knowledge of Christ Jesus. It is not receiving the gospel in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Spirit, which saves.



It is an inestimable blessing to be taught the value of God's word, so as to prize it, and to give much time to reading and meditating upon it.



Remember, Satan has millions of devices, of which a young convert knows but little.



All knowledge without the knowledge of Jesus will avail nothing. You are a poor dark, miserable, bewildered, deluded creature, if you know not Christ Jesus.



Seeing yourself lost and helpless will lead you to pray to God frequently and fervently to keep you from falling. You will feel troubled and distressed at your cold and lukewarm state, and be grieved that covetousness, pride, and diverse lusts are waging such strong war against your soul. But do not forget that we are soldiers, and have a continual warfare.



Some have a clear knowledge of the doctrines, but are evidently void of grace.



The power of godliness is but little known. Satan is well pleased with the state of religion in our day, or he would roar a little more loudly.



If we are too much liked by the world, and too well spoken of, it would not be so, if we lived godly in Christ Jesus. God forbid that we should rest in a form of godliness.



"Sell that you have, and give to the poor" is a harder lesson to learn than election.



The least work of grace in the heart is worth a thousand worlds!



I am daily a debtor to sovereign grace. We need holding up in all our goings out and comings in.



There is nothing worth living for in this vain world. Vanity is stamped upon all created good.



May the Lord break down your self-will and free-will, and make you a humble man; for if the dross be taken away from the silver, there comes forth a vessel for the refiner. It is a painful process to pass through the furnace; but the best religion is bought the dearest, and what we get cheap we do not much value.



It is a great mercy that we are out of hell.



Prosperity in worldly things will dampen the desire of eternal things.



I find that nothing but true religion will satisfy me.



I know myself to be a vile sinner, and Jesus Christ as a precious Saviour.



On what minute points do the most important matters sometimes hang, and how good it is to see in them the hand of God, who numbers the very hairs of our head, and without whom, not a sparrow can fall to the ground!



There is but very little true religion anywhere. It is a very narrow way to heaven, and if we enter in, it will be entirely by the grace of God.



Much covetousness lurks in man's nature. From the prophet to the priest they all went after it in former days; and as it was then, so it is now.



The cross is not to be escaped, if we are to enter into glory.



Deliver us from everything that may entangle our affections, and harden our hearts.



If the way to heaven is so narrow, and so few find it, what will become of those who never seek it?



Has your religion cost you anything? If it has cost you nothing, it is worth nothing.



When the Lord finds His rod, His people find their knees.



Children take more notice of what their parents do, than to what they say.



Make us more dead to the world, and separate in spirit from it.



Dead fish go with the stream, living ones against it.



Real religion is to be severed from the world, to be married to Christ, and to bring forth fruit unto God.



Grant that we may hold the world with a loose hand.



We come into the world crying, we go through it complaining, and go out of it groaning.



If we are brought to consider what Christ sacrificed for us, and how little we sacrifice for Him, we might blush!

HE IS A FOOL!


"No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also."
(John 15:20)

You will not be persecuted for holding doctrinal truths in the head; but for having grace in your heart; for the former will not cause you to differ from the world.

When the fruits of the Spirit manifest themselves in your life; when you are blind to your own interest in this world; when you are deaf to the advice of the worldly-wise, then it will be said of you, "He is a changed man; he is a fool!"

Now, my dear brother, be assured of this, as God works in your soul, such changes as these will be caused; so that instead of panting after the riches of this world, you will pant after the unsearchable riches of Christ!

'Human nature' cannot and will not make great sacrifices; but as you have a knowledge given to you by the Spirit of the exceeding great and precious promises laid up in Christ for God's chosen few, you will be led to see the nothingness and vanity of all things here below, and you will with joy cry out, "We have a kingdom which cannot be moved!"

God, by His Spirit, quickens, and He alone can enable you to separate from your old companions and the world, and so make great sacrifices for Christ's sake, who has died that you might live; who became poor that you through His poverty might be made rich!

By William Tiptaft

IT WAS GOOD FOR ME TO BE AFFLICTED


"Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word."
(Psalm 119:67)

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."
(Psalm 119:71)

The children of God almost always flourish more in trials and difficulties, than in the sunshine of health and prosperity.

"I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me."
(Psalm 119:75)

By William Tiptaft

SATAN'S MOST SUBTLE DEVICE


Satan is a very subtle enemy, and never spreads his snare in your sight. I hope you will not be induced to value any knowledge which does not cause you to love Christ more, and to live more decidedly as a member of His kingdom.

Satan does not care how much knowledge you have in your head, so long as he can keep possession of the citadel of your heart. Consequently, he will change his position a thousand times, before he will surrender his hold. But God's grace must and will dethrone him, and set up the kingdom of Christ in your heart, so that you will serve a new Master, and for very different wages.

All that Satan can tempt us with, are perishable things of time, that will soon vanish away. But though we profess to despise the riches and honors of this life, none but those who are taught of God will view them in their proper light.

Satan is the god of this world, and he blinds the minds of those who do not believe. If one device will not succeed, he will try another; and every unregenerate man will be led captive by him, in some way or other.

Many may think they have outwitted him by a knowledge of doctrinal truths in the head, while their heart is devoid of grace. I feel this is Satan's most subtle device.

It matters little what a man knows, if Christ is not the pearl of great price to him.

Is Jesus Christ precious to you?

Do you love Him so that you would die for Him?

Do you count all you lose for His sake gain?

By William Tiptaft

A DAILY CROSS


"If anyone would be My follower, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me."
(Luke 9:23)

The power of godliness is but little known.

There is a daily cross, and you must bear it, or there will be no crown.

"And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple."
(Luke 14:27)

By William Tiptaft

FALSE PROFESSORS

He is not a Christian who differs only in 'sentiment' from the world, but in 'practice'.

By William Tiptaft

A LITTLE PLAIN FOOD AND PLAIN CLOTHING


A little plain food and plain clothing are quite good enough for our vile bodies.

"After all, we didn't bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction."
(1 Timothy 6:7-9)

By William Tiptaft

PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET RICH


The way to heaven is strait and narrow, and Satan is an unwearied adversary, in disputing every inch of the way.

You will be much despised and cast out for Christ's sake, and nothing will offend more than separating yourself as much as possible from carnal people.

It is 'the life' which condemns the professing world.

When the world sees you unmoved by the riches and the pleasures which it so much adores; when you are led by the Spirit "to count all things but rubbish for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ"; you must expect then to bear reproaches
from the Hagar race!

There is but very little true religion anywhere.

It is a very narrow way to heaven, and if we enter in, it will be entirely by the grace of God.

It is very plain that the world is too much in the hearts of (some who profess to know Christ), and Satan covers over covetousness under the name of prudence.

How (some professors) compare themselves one with another, instead of with the word of God.

But God has a people, whom He will separate from the world.

I am not heaping up treasures upon earth for moth and rust to corrupt. I feel thankful to the Lord I am so provided with every comfort in this world. I hope that He will teach me self-denial, that I may more liberally assist the poor and
afflicted brethren who lack even the necessities of life. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

As a Christian, your mind will be much more easy the less you have to do with the world. Having food and clothing, be content therewith.

Riches and cares choke the seed, and keep you from communion with God.

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many
foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction."

(1 Timothy 6:9)

Your kingdom is not of this world.

If I love my money more than Christ, woe is me!

By William Tiptaft

WHEN THE LORD OPENS YOUR EYES WIDER


When the Lord opens your eyes wider, you will see how much worldly-mindedness there is, in one shape or other, among the professors around you.

"If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
(1 John 2:15)

A day will soon arrive when it will be made known how much we have spent in the gratification of our own lusts; and how little for Christ. When He lived in this world 'self', was out of the question.

True knowledge of Christ alone will avail; they must be taught of God what riches they have in Christ, to make them despise the world and all its wealth and honors.

By Willam Tiptaft

TAKE MY ADVICE!


We can spend everything upon that vile monster - self!

Pray for each other that the Lord may cause us to give freely for His sake; for "there is one who scatters, and yet increases."

Take my advice and have as little to do with the world as you can help.

How very little we really need in this life!

By William Tiptaft

IF WE ARE CHRIST'S MINISTERS...


Before a man can preach the spirit of the gospel, his life and conduct must be according to it; and most gospel preachers fall short in this respect.

It is the cross we are inclined to shun. But we shall bear it, if we are Christ's ministers, and then our walk will be quite contrary to the world.

By William Tiptaft

DO NOT MAKE OF YOUR CHILDREN PHARISEES AND HYPOCRITES


"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
(John 3:3)

It seems very cutting to parents when I warn them against making children Pharisees and hypocrites.

But the truth is cutting to flesh and blood, for it is sharper than any two-edged sword. We strongly oppose what the professing world calls true religion.

Much of the religion of the present day, is nothing but the work of Satan. It is very near and dear to the flesh, and the lost feel very loath to give it up; as unwilling as the Jews were to leave their religion for Christ.

The whole work of salvation is Christ's, and Christ's alone.

By William Tiptaft

THE DROSS WHICH GATHERS SO VERY FAST


God's children need much humbling and stripping; and frequently a "furnace", to take away the dross which gathers so very fast.

"I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering."
(Isaiah 48:10)

By William Tiptaft

TRUE RELIGION


What a mockery is a mere profession of religion which costs a man nothing!

There is no more true religion than what is felt, known, and experienced in the soul.

Real religion will find its way to the heart, and its effect will be manifest in the life.

When the Lord has taken a poor sinner in hand He will never leave him, but will surely purge away his dross and tin. He will slay his idols, and tear him from those things he so much loves.

The more God's children are taught spiritually, the greater fools do they become in their own eyes, and the more astonished they are that God should show mercy to such poor worms of the earth.

By William Tiptaft

THE SOUL IN ITS BEST STATE WHEN MOST HUMBLED


The soul is in its best state when most humbled.

Lowliness of mind and contrition of spirit are the best evidences of the effects of grace wrought in the soul. The promises are nearly all for...

The humble,
The lowly,
The broken-hearted,
The tempted,
The tempest-tossed,
The devil-harassed,
The afflicted children of God.

For the Lord will revive the humble and the contrite.

He will give grace to the lowly, and feed the hungry with good things.

By William Tiptaft

TO SEPARATE US FROM WORLDY THINGS


There is nothing worth living for in this vain world.

Vanity is stamped upon all created good.

All dealings with the world are of a deadening nature; therefore, whatever unnecessarily brings us into contact with the world should be avoided.

"No man can serve two masters."

That great truth is a continual cross to many.

"O wretched man that I am!" says the great apostle.

And so says every child of God needs stripes, scourges, rods, and afflictions, besides various other crosses to separate us from worldly things. Our souls so very much cleave to the dust.

By William Tiptaft