GROWTH LITERATURE……Miles J. Stanford

STUDY STANDARDS

If the Holy Spirit has given you a hunger to grow in the Lord Jesus, He has no doubt been directing much of your Bible study to the deeper truths of Romans, Ephesians, and Colossians. Coupled with this you may have been seeking study material in the realm of spiritual growth.

If, on the negative side, the Spirit has burdened you to be free from the dominion of sin and the old nature, that is something to value very highly and to nourish carefully. If, on the positive side, the Spirit has fostered a yearning in your heart to be conformed to the image of Christ, thankfully cultivate and protect that.

There is no question but that your spiritual development must be based upon personal study of the Word, supplemented by sound growth literature.

GROWING AND SHARING

There are several important reasons for. confining your study of the growth truths to the soundest and most Christ-centered writing that is procurable. First of all, you want God’s very best in your spiritual growth; you hunger to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3;18). Always avoid the secondary!

As you may have discovered, growth calls for a tremendous amount of concentration. Have you noticed the time and work involved? It isn’t that you are dull and slow of comprehension; the fact is that the growth truths require prayerful study, over and over and over again. Therefore it would be foolish to spend time on less than the best.

Another essential factor is that our spiritual growth is not only to be carefully nurtured for the Father’s glory, and for our own benefit, but also for the sake of others. Note what Paul writes to Timothy, and to each of us: “Give attendance to reading”…to doctrine….Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profit may appear to all. Take heed to thyself and unto the doctrine; continue in them” (1 Tim. 4:13,15,16).

When it comes to sharing and recommending growth material, we should maintain just as high a standard for others as for ourselves. There is a blessed ministry for each of, us: (a) by means of our spiritual growth –“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conduct, in love”; (b) by means of sharing–“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, unto which thou hast attained” (1 Tim. 4:12,6).

DELIVERANCE……THE BEGINNING

To answer your questions on deliverance:  I can only share with you the concepts the Lord gave me; my “history” with the Lord.  I had learned the Romans 6-8 (sanctification truths) and  knew they were not in my life and walk with the Lord….how to apply was a mystery to me, but as I read what the apostle Paul had written about the Christian life and the early Plymouth Brethren writers, I knew there was another experience:  one of joy and peace and contentment (versus the depression, sorrow and grief that I was experiencing).

I knew the reality of these truths were not based upon “good circumstances”…i.e. money in the bank etc., but based on the source of the Christian life: knowing Jesus Christ. So, I learned to ignore my unstable emotions and thoughts (see 2 Cor. 10:3-5,7) and  stand upon the word of God. All this means is believing God’s Word….believing what He says, though it may not be in your life.  He will make all things clear…He will work it into your life in time. (Heb.13:21) I am sure you have “tasted that the Lord is gracious” and are able to believe He will give you what He has promised through His Word.  Our “part” is to rest in Him and His Word while He works in us.  Now resting does not mean doing nothing.

When He in His perfect timing, brought in the “sifting” and “those things that are shaken” (Heb.12:27), He brings us “low” (as J.N Darby said) and humbles us (as George Mueller said.).  This hopefully causes us to be teachable and not bitter. We are to be “tenderhearted” throughout His dealings with us.  (keeping that fellowship with Him..1John 1:3-9).  There is a “turning point” (see Deliverance papers by William  Kelly and J.N. Darby) where we look “outside of ourselves”…He now is our focus more and more rather than the trials.

What does the Word of God say about us?  For one thing:  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”  Reading this is not enough.  We must dig…what does it mean to be “in Christ” ?  We are  now identified with Christ…not our sin or our sin nature.  Not that we take a “light view” of sin…but we confess and leave it with Him.  Wonderful gift from Him.  I read and read…especially Romans 8.  I may have told you how I wrote the scriptures from that chapter on 3×5 cards and taped them to my cupboards.  Hannah Whitall Smith said in one of her books:  “He saves me now.” Present tense.  That went up on the cupboards.  The discouraging thoughts came like waves that rolled upon me, but I was standing upon those verses.  Gradually, I realized in my experience freedom as I “refused” to dwell on the discouraging thoughts.  And the thoughts diminished.  So it is with refusing the sin nature on all levels.  This is a miracle and what our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross (see Romans 6:6-7,10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Romans 8:3).  

As we continue to believe what the word of God says about freedom from the sin nature and we apply the truth, the pull of the sin nature fades.  Not that it won’t pop-up in some other way, but the answer is the same.  We “died” with Christ positionally and now the Holy Spirit makes real all those “riches of His grace” in us.  First we must “know” the sanctification truths before we are able or even interested in experiencing freedom from the power of the sin nature in us.  Truly this verse is fulfilled in us as we study His word:  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb.11:6) If we study “lightly”, we will know the freedom from sin “lightly.”  If we are a divided man (James 1:6-8) we will be unstable.  The Lord revealed to me during my “wretched man” time that I put my loved ones before the Lord.  I did not realize I had done this all my Christian life.  This process is very necessary…and very personal.  What He reveals to one believer will obviously be different than another.  We learn that He must have preeminence in our life.  Out from that relationship comes love for others.  

The Lord brought me to Romans 12:1 and 2 Cor. 5:15.  Years earlier I would go forward on an altar call as we were urged to obey Romans 12:1.  It was all for naught…I did not understand.  It takes time and it is a work of the Holy Spirit to reveal “self” to ourselves.  I believe as we have been taught that Romans 12:1 is a one time thing that we look back on.  But it is no issue now..I belong to the Lord.  The epistles are full of our “riches in Christ”…our positions in Christ.  We do not experience the truth but as we stand upon them, our thinking changes.  You asked how we “cooperate” with the Lord in our growth process.  This is where submission comes in…some call it yieldedness, some brokenness.  “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”  In our Bible classes , we learned the definition of humility:  a lowering of our minds to God’s mind…His written word.  We chose to believe what the Lord says in His word over human viewpoint.

We accept the humbling of the Lord in our circumstances…that He does all things right so this circumstance is from Him for my spiritual good.  We may experience suffering as we yield to the Spirit…as we are “crossing the sinful nature” but it is as nothing when we realize the blessings of walking in the Spirit…versus the reaping of the flesh.  There is much “reaping” in the flesh but even that is turned to our spiritual good. We learn thoroughly that doing things His way brings the peaceable fruit of righteousness.  Read as the Lord leads you; there is encouragement for us in our “wilderness journey” here.  lkp

GOD’S WILL

“”Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

A visitor at a school for the deaf and dumb was writing questions on the
blackboard for the children. By and by he wrote this sentence:
“Why has God made me to hear and speak, and made you deaf and dumb?”

The awful sentence fell upon the little ones like a fierce blow in the face.
They sat palsied before that dreadful “Why?” And then a little girl arose.

Her lip was trembling. Her eyes were swimming with tears. Straight
to the board she walked, and, picking up the crayon, wrote with
firm hand these precious words: “Even so, Father, for so it seemed
good in thy sight.” Matt. 11:26

No chance hath brought this ill to me;
‘Tis God’s own hand, so let it be,
He seeth what I cannot see
There is a need -be for each pain,
And He one day will make it plain
That earthy loss is heavenly gain.

Like as a piece of tapestry
Viewed from the back appears to be
Naught but threads tangled
hopelessly;
But in the front a picture fair
Rewards the worker for his care,
Proving his skill and patience rare,
Thou art the Workman, I the frame.
Lord, for the glory of Thy Name,
Perfect Thine image on the same.
–Selected
(Streams in the Desert, February 12)

BEWARE OF FALSE PEACE……Theodore Epp

Colossians 3:13-17

We must be aware of false peace. Some who do wrong may have a peace about it, but it does not come from God. As someone has said, “Peace of heart alone is not always the peace of God.”

A significant test to apply to determine the origin of the peace is this: If I have peace in my heart about a matter, do I also have peace with others in the Body of Christ concerning it?

Understandably, not everyone will agree on any single issue, but if only the person himself thinks he is right, he has reason to question his decision. If we are out of the will of God, we will bring discord and disharmony to the Body of true believers.

I realize the difficulty in assessing who is a true believer, especially in a group situation. Sometimes those who are part of the group do not evidence salvation themselves.

Other times, some may clearly evidence salvation but give little evidence of mature judgment in things related to the Christian life.

One of the best safeguards against a false peace is simply making sure that you have the desire to please Jesus Christ in all that you do.

If it is your concern “that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18), you can trust Him to bring conviction and a lack of peace when your life is not honoring to Him.

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Ps. 119:165). 

HEREAFTER THOU SHALT KNOW

What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. John 13:7

HEREAFTER THOU SHALT KNOW

Hereafter thou shalt know; in this I rest,
Since Thou hast willed it so, whose will is best;
I walk by faith; what though I do not see?
Thou seest all; this is enough for me.
And so I stand and wait, till Thou shalt ope
Into the light the gate; with glowing hope
That brighter than my brightest thought shall be
The full unfolding of Thy love to me.
Meanwhile, I cannot tell why things are so;
But this, Thou doest well, I surely know.
The clouds may veil the sun, and tears mine eyes;
Still reigns my Lord beyond these curtained skies.
And so I quiet my heart as on Thy breast;
That Thou my Father art lulls me to rest;
A weary child, on Thee my soul is stilled;
Do as Thou wilt, for Thou the best hast willed.
Have Thine own way with me; all things perform
If in the calm I be, or in the storm;
How sweet, when cloud and storm are overpast,
Just to be home, and with my God at last.

Words: W. J. Govan, in Hymns of Consecration and Faith, by James Mountain (London: Marshall Brothers, new & enlarged edition, 1902), number 130.
Music: Georgetown, in Hymns of Consecration and Faith, by James Mountain (London: Marshall Brothers, new & enlarged edition, 1902), number 130

A YOUNG MAN’S QUESTION ANSWERED SCRIPTURALLY

The September 1982 issue of “GRACE AND TRUTH” magazine contained the answer to a question posted to that publication which is reproduced below.

In December 1982, the magazine carried without comment the “READER RESPONSE” which we also reprint with it. We (GRACE AND TRUTH) heartily concur with the response of Dr. Kaschel. There could be no endorsement of the answer given from a standpoint of what true Christianity really is.

The article from “GRACE AND TRUTH” magazine was printed on the back of a “Gleaner” paper sent out by Bookshelf Publications, Los Angeles, Ca. somewhere in the 1990’s so we have never actually seen the original article.

QUESTION: I am a young boy – a born again Christian, but thoughts of fornication always come into my mind. I don’t know what to do about this.

.
ANSWER: Without any doubt or hesitation I can say that God’s Word gives the answers to our problems and promises victory and fruitfulness to those who would take heed to His Word. Psalm 119:9-11 declares: ‘Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” My most important advice to you is that you begin to hide God’s Word in your heart. How can you do that? By memorizing it. As you fill your mind and thoughts with the Word of God, thoughts of fornication will not be able to enter.

Start memorizing immediately the following verses: Psalm 119:9-11; Philippians l:6; Philippians l:20.21: Philippians 2:5; Philippians 3:3; Philippians 4:6-8; Philippians 4:13; I Corinthians 6:18-20. Don’t try to learn these verses all at once. Take one at a time and keep going over it and reading it enough times until you can say it perfectly without looking at the Bible. Then start learning the next one, while still reviewing the first one you learned. Keep following this process until you can say all the verses perfectly, Then start learning additional Bible verses. To aid in this memory work, you might want to write out the verses to be memorized on little cards and then carry them wherever you go. In this way you’ll always have them handy to go over when you have nothing else to do. You might also ask a friend or another member of your family to help you by checking you on your verses to see if you are saying them properly,

My second advice to you relates more to your daily life and how you spend your time, Keep yourself occupied every day with wholesome activities. Get plenty of activity and recreation. Don’t read books or magazines which will fill your mind with evil thoughts. Don’t take that second look at shapely and/or scantily clad girls. As evil thoughts of fornication try to come into your mind, push them out again by reviewing your Scripture verses, by praying to the Lord and by singing hymns. Of course, you won’t be able to do these things out loud if you are in a crowd, but you can do them silently to yourself.

Remember that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to resist ( I Cor. I0:13). Give the Lord first place in your life and begin each day by asking the Lord to help and guide you that day. If you fail, don’t give up. Confess your sin to the Lord, recognize that He has forgiven you and go on from there (l Jn. l:9). We will be praying that you may not only be kept from sin in your life, but also that God will use you as a blessing and testimony to others. He delights to bear fruit through our lives (Jn. l5:l-7).

READER RESPONSE:

I am responding to the question asked in the August / September issue o[ “GRACE and TRUTH” concerning the young man who had thoughts of fornication. I feel that the advice given would be less than adequate in most situations.

In looking at the difficulties in this young man’s life, it is not that he is caught up in a life of sins (notice the plural – these are acts of lawlessness as James tells us). This young man rather, according to Romans 6, is a slave to sin. Sin, as defined in Romans 6, is not a bunch of disobedient acts but rather an evil force that Satan uses from which we need to be set free. Note that in Romans 8:2 it says. “For the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” This young man needs freedom, and the very fact that he has asked the question indicates that he has tried a number of things to irradiate the thoughts, and has been unsuccessful. There is a freedom that he needs to be taught – God has provided freedom from sin, and until he understands that freedom and understands who he really is in Christ, the slavery to the thoughts of fornication will continue to obsess him.

I might add here also parenthetically that memorizing Scriptures in and of themselves can become a fetish. I don’t say this disrespectfully, but I have seen so many Christians who, because of difficulties in their own lives, have become memorizers of Scripture (something which I involve myself in on a regular basis and would seek to encourage others to do also); but it is never a replacement for accurate and precise teaching from God’s Word. This young man needs freedom from sin and its power.

I would also like to point out that the last paragraph of the answer said, “Confess your sin to the Lord.” The verse in 1John l:9 says to confess your sins (plural) which indicates that these are acts of disobedience that are confessed to the Lord. This is different from the subject of Romans 6, concerning slavery to sin: slavery as principle, a tyrant, a controlling force which, according to Romans 7:20 says, “But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.”

The next question would be ‘How is one set free then from the power of sin?’ Romans 6:6 says, “……our old self was crucified with Him (Christ)”; 2000 years ago when Christ died we died with him that “we should no longer be slaves to sin” “for he who has died is freed from sin” (Romans 6:6,7 – NASB). If there is to be freedom from sin, there must be death; a realization not of a position but of a truth, a reality that is ours by faith alone. As I realize that I died and it is not I who can have victory over sin but as Christ, through the Holy Spirit takes up residence in me (Gal. 2:20). His life in me is the life that I choose to walk in as a faith walk. This is the walk of Romans 8:2 where it says that same life, the life of the Spirit of Christ, has set me free from the law of sin and death.
.
I see this kind of thing on a regular basis. I see homosexuality on a regular basis; I see broken lives, lives under the domination of sin which people cannot be freed from it would seem; but freedom comes in death. New life is that resurrection life that we have in
2 Corinthians 5:17 where I become a new creation; the old passed away and the new come in Christ alone. This is a glorious victory. This is a liberating truth. It is worth praising the Lord over!

May God use these few thoughts to stimulate further the interest in thc liberating victory that God has offered us so freely, but at an awful high cost to us, OUR death.

Paul Kaschel, M.D.