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In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Faith Is the Victory

Faith Is the Victory

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4


Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise,
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God;
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er ev’ry field;
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.

On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array;
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray;
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.

To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in heav’n.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conquering name.

The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

The Mystical Body

You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. —John 5:40 When we come to Christ, we come not only to be with him, but to be in him (Philippians 3:7–11). It is through this union that we enjoy the benefits of salvation. This is Christ’s aim in inviting you, this he desires, this he prays for, John xvii. 20, 21. He invites you, not to your prejudice or disparagement, but to make you happy and glorious; and whereby can you become more happy and glorious, than by being one with him who is the King of glory, the spring of happiness? What greater glory can a poor worm aspire to, than to become a member of Christ, to be a member of that glorious head which is advanced in heavenly places, far above all principality, &c., Eph. i. 20, 21. And what greater happiness than flows from this union! When you are come to Christ, you are as near, as dear to him, as any members of your bodies are to yourselves, Eph. v. 29, 30. Then not only your souls, but your bodies, are members of him, 1 Cor. vi. 15. And though this union be mystical (not gross, carnal, you must not so conceive of it), yet will it interest you in as much love and tenderness from Christ as though it were corporal. Christ has given a real demonstration of it; he loved his mystical body, the members of it, more than his own natural body, more than any, nay, more than all the parts and members of it; for he gave his natural body, and exposed it in all parts, to wounds, and tortures, and death, rather than his spiritual members should suffer their deserts. Now when we give one thing for another, that for which we give it is more loved and valued than that which we give for it. Even so Christ shewed, by giving himself for his people, that he more loved, more valued them than he did his own body. This will be the sweet issue of your coming to Christ, you will hereby become one of his members, he will be no less tender over you than of his own body. Of what part is any man more tender than his eye? Come to Christ, and the Lord will count you as dear to him as his eye, as the tenderest part of it, the apple of his eye, Zech. ii. 8.Come to Christ, and you shall be admitted to such union with him, such a relation to him, as will not only engage his tenderness and love, but his joy and delight. You are now the bond-slaves of sin and Satan, but come to him, and he will espouse you to himself, 2 Cor. xi. 2. You are now in league with hell and death, but come to him, and he will join you to him self in an everlasting covenant, a marriage-covenant, that shall never be broken, nor you ever divorced. Now you are loathsome in his eye, by reason of the pollution of sin, but then shall the King, the King of glory, greatly desire your beauty, Ps. xlv. 11. Even when ye see cause to loathe and abhor yourselves, yet then shall ye be the joy and delight of Christ: ‘As the Bridegroom rejoiceth,’ &c., Isa. lxii. 5. Now you are forsaken and cast off, but then you shall be the Lord’s Hephzibah, his Beulah, his spouse, his delight, ver. 4. Now you are viler in his account than the vilest creatures, than the beasts that perish; then you shall be as a crown of glory, a royal diadem, ver. 3; and though ye be now blind and lame in a spiritual sense, poor, deformed, miserable, and naked, enough to discourage any apprehensive soul from expecting such wonderful love, such glorious privileges, such a high relation, yet is there no just cause of discouragement, if ye be but willing to come to him. He looks not you should bring with you a portion, or beauty, or parts, or relations: all that Christ requires is but your consent; consent but to come, and the match is made, your Redeemer will be your husband, Isa. liv. 5. The love of the most affectionate husband in the world will be nothing, compared with the love of Christ to those who are willing to come to him. Hence Christ’s love is made the pattern of conjugal love, Eph. v. 25. The copy here, when best drawn, comes far short of the original; the love of the conjugal relation is but a shadow of Christ’s love, ver. 32. Thus shall it be done to the man who will come to Christ. —David Clarkson, Men by Nature Unwilling to Come to Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:347–348.

Come to Christ

You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. —John 5:40 Come to Christ, and he will free you from the power of Satan, he will knock off those fetters wherewith Satan has loaded your souls; he will judge the prince of this world who does now tyrannise over you, tumble him down from his throne, and make him your footstool. Ye shall be no longer slaves of Satan, but the sons and daughters of the Most High; this shall be your honour, your liberty: ‘If the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed,’ John viii. 36. Come to Christ, and he will free you from the guilt of sin, he will tell your souls, himself has borne your iniquities on his body upon the tree; those sins that come now in remembrance before God shall be remembered no more; they are now before God s face, but then they shall be cast behind his back; they are now open to his view, but then they shall be covered. Come to him, he has loved you, he will wash you from your sins in his blood; come to him, his name is ‘Jesus, he will save his people from their sins.’ Come to Christ, and he will make your peace with God, he will slay that enmity which is betwixt the Lord and your souls, he will quench that wrath which threatens to consume you; though he seem now to be all in a flame against you, yet then will he say, ‘Anger is not in me;’ that cloud of displeasure will be scattered, and the light of his pleasing countenance will shine on your souls. Come to Christ, and there shall be no more curse; all the threatenings shall be turned into promises; then you may look upon threatenings without dread or terror; Christ has satisfied them, you may draw the sweetness of a promise out of them. Then you are in covenant with God, in the covenant of grace; and all the promises are so many articles of that covenant which the blood of Christ has sealed to be yours. Come to Christ, and then justice itself will be your friend; that which stood before as a cherubim at the way of paradise, with a flaming sword to keep you out of heaven, will then be your security, and conduct you thither. He that comes to Christ has as much security for his happiness from the justice as from the mercy of God; Christ has engaged both for all that come to him, 2 Thes. i. 6, 7. Come to Christ, and then all your outward enjoyments will be comforts, blessings indeed, sweetened by the love of Christ, sanctified by the blood of Christ, ordered by the wisdom and power of Christ, to make your lives truly comfortable and serviceable here, and happy and glorious hereafter. Death will be no more in the pot, nor fly in the box of ointment, when you are in Christ. When Moses had cast the tree which the Lord shewed him into the waters of Marah, the bitter waters immediately were made sweet, Exod. xv. 25. When Christ mixes himself with your enjoyments, their bitterness is past, they then become sweet and comfortable indeed. Nay, your very crosses and afflictions shall then be sweeter than the sweetest enjoyments of sinners without Christ. ‘All things,’ Rom. viii.; these shall work for your good, spiritual, eternal, whereas their prosperity shall tend to their ruin; you shall have cause to rejoice and be exceeding glad when men persecute you, &c., whereas they shall have cause to mourn and lament, even when their corn, wine, and oil increase. These are some of those sweet advantages that you reap by being willing to come to Christ. And oh that the Lord would persuade you to be willing, that you would go hence with resolutions never more to give Christ occasion to complain, ‘Ye will not come to me,’ &c. —David Clarkson, Men by Nature Unwilling to Come to Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:346.

If Ye Be Willing

You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. —John 5:40 If ye be willing to come to Christ, you are already come, for there is nothing stands betwixt Christ and a sinner but this unwillingness; as soon as you are willing, you are with him. Now, whether ye be come to Christ, ye may upon serious trial know by these particulars. Those that come to Christ, 1 . Are sorry that they were so long ere they came to him; they know when they were without Christ in the world, they remember when Christ strove with them in his word, by his Spirit, and they resisted, as others do; but now, being by his almighty power drawn to him, they know by experience what they lost by living without him, they are sensible how they provoked and dishonoured Christ by slighting his invitings, neglecting his entreaties, resisting his motions; this is their grief, their sorrow; so it was with the prodigal when he was come home to his father, the first thing that bewrays itself is grief, remorse, for departing from, neglecting to return to him: ‘I have sinned,’ &c. . . . 2. They are acquainted with the way to Christ. Those that have walked in that way do know it by experience, they have clear, distinct discoveries of the multitude and heinousness of their sins, have been apprehensive of the wrath of God due to them for their sins, have been sensible of their misery by reason of sin and wrath, even as a man sinking under a burden is sensible of the weight thereof; have been hereupon convinced of an absolute necessity of Christ, even as the man pursued for slaughter under the law saw his need of the city of refuge . . . 3. They have a high esteem of him. While the soul is afar off, as all are by nature, he sees little of Christ, and enjoys less, and his esteem of Christ is answerable; he is apt to ask, ‘What is thy beloved?’ sees no such beauty nor comeliness in him but that other things may have his affections, tastes no such sweetness in him, but that the pleasures of sin are as delightful; and no wonder, for he is at a great distance, and so cannot see and taste that which is afar off; but when he is come to Christ, he sees such beauty and excellency in him as darkens all outward excellencies, makes them seem dross compared with Christ; so did Paul when he was found in him, Phil. iii., . . . those things which he formerly admired were now not counted worthy to have place in thoughts or affections; he cast them out, as more fit for dogs than for that heart which had entertained Christ. . .  Those who are so taken with vain delights, sinful pleasures, as they can forego the sweetness of communion with Christ, or know not what this is, who dare usually sin away Christ’s favour for worldly advantage, shew they esteem him not, are not come to him. 4. They are in a new condition. He that comes to him, comes, as it were, into a new world; ‘old things are passed away, all things are made new.’ He finds such a change, as a man who has lived many years in darkness finds when he is brought into the light; so it is expressed, Col. i. 13. He has new thoughts and new affections, new companions and new employments, a new heart and a new life. ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature;’ can say as Augustine, Ego non sum ego, I am not the man I was. If no such inward and outward change, you are not yet come to Christ. 5. They walk with Christ. That is the end of their coming; formerly they had fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, now their fellowship is with the Father and with the Son; formerly, they had their conversations in the world, now their conversation is in heaven, now they know what it is, as Enoch, to walk with God; communion with Christ is no mystery, experience has made them acquainted with it, their mind is with Christ, he is their meditation, their thoughts are of him, they prevent the night-watches, and when they awake, they are continually with him; their hearts are on Christ, he is their love, delight, desire; the bent of their wills is towards him, and so carried with strong inclination, they live to him, act for him, aim at him, depend on him. If it be not thus with you in some degree, you are not come to Christ. 6. They are at a greater distance from sin and the world. For this motion is betwixt these terms, it is a passage from sin and the world to Christ; as when they lived in sin they were at a distance from Christ, so when they are come to Christ they are at a greater distance from sin; as when they were wedded to the world they were separated from Christ, so now when they are married to Christ, they are divorced from the world, they are estranged from it when acquainted with him; crucified to them when alive unto Christ. 7. They have renounced their own righteousness. So Paul, Philip. iii. 9, ‘And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.’ —David Clarkson, Men by Nature Unwilling to Come to Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:340–342.

Halfway to Christ

Do you come to Christ as a Saviour to deliver you from the wrath to come? It is well; but if ye go no further, ye go but half the way to Christ. If you will come home to Christ indeed, you must go to him, not only as a Saviour, but as a Lord; not only to receive pardon from him, but to be ruled by him; not only to be saved, but to be sanctified; not only for happiness, but for holiness too, for Christ is both or neither; and if ye come for one and not for the other, indeed you come not at all; you do but delude yourselves with thoughts that you are already come; Christ will have as much cause to complain of you as of the Jews, ‘Ye will not.’ —David Clarkson, Men by Nature Unwilling to Come to Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:335.

Far from Christ

You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. —John 5:40 All humanity, by nature, is far from Christ. This is true even of his elect (Acts 2:39; Ephesians 2:11ff). We departed from our father’s house in Adam, and till the Lord convert us, we, as he, dwell in a far country, at a great distance from Christ, far from him in respect of knowledge, union, participation, converse. 1. In respect of knowledge. Far from knowing Christ savingly, effectually, experimentally; far from apprehending such excellency in him as to count all things dross and dung in comparison of him; such necessity of him as to part with sin, self, the world, and all for him; such all-sufficiency in him, as to be content with him in the want, in the loss of all; far from clear knowledge of Christ, as a poor prisoner, locked and bolted in a dark dungeon is far from seeing the light of the day, or as a man stark blind is far from seeing the light of the sun; so, and far more than so, is a natural man from seeing Christ; shut up in darkness, under the power of Satan, having the eyes of his mind blinded by the God of this world, that he cannot see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2. In respect of union. He is far from being united with Christ, from being one with him; wedded to sin, glued to the world, and unwilling to be separated, and so far from Christ, because there can be no contract betwixt Christ and the soul till there be a divorce betwixt the soul and sin, the soul and the world. No league with Christ till the covenant with hell and death, with sin and the world, be broken. Far from faith, which is the bond of this union, shut up under unbelief, and a gravestone laid upon the soul, which nothing can roll away but an almighty power; far from marriage-union with Christ, even as a child yet unborn is far from the hopes and comforts of a conjugal life and union; so far are men from Christ, who are yet in the state of nature, not regenerated, not born again. 3. In respect of participation. As far from union with the person of Christ, so far from partaking of the benefits of Christ; far from pardon, being yet under the sentence of condemnation; from adoption, being yet servants of sin, and slaves to Satan; from reconciliation, being enemies to Christ in their minds through wicked works; from sanctification, the old man keeping still possession with a strong hand, and the interest of the flesh and the world prevailing in the soul; from heaven, there is a great gulf betwixt him and heaven, a gulf deep and large, no passage possible by the act or power of nature. Far from enjoying any of the benefits of Christ’s purchase, as he that is in the Indies, without ship or boat, is far from enjoying any comforts or accommodations here with us. 4. In respect of converse. A stranger to Christ, far from communion with him; a stranger to his thoughts, Christ is not his meditation; his heart is not with him, his affections not on him, his inclinations not towards him, his desires not after him, his delight not in him, his designs not for him; he lives not to Christ, acts not for him, walks not with him; Christ is in heaven, and his heart is on the world. As far as heaven is from earth, so far is a natural man from Christ. —David Clarkson, Men by Nature Unwilling to Come to Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:332–333.

Lord’s Day 46, 2017

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. —Numbers 21:6–9 Ecce Homo! Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Jesu, Saviour, Son of God, Bearer of the sinner’s load; Breaker of the captive’s chain, Cleanser of the guilty’s stain; Thou the sinner’s death hast died, Thou for us wast crucified; For our sin thy flesh was torn, Thou the penalty hast borne, Of our guilt, upon the tree, Which the Father laid on thee! Saviour, Surety, Lamb of God, Thou hast bought us with thy blood; Thou hast wiped the debt away, Nothing left for us to pay; Nothing left for us to bear, Nothing left for us to share, But the pardon and the bliss, But the love, the light, the peace. I to thee will look and live, And, in looking, praises give. Looking lightens, looking heals, Looking all the gladness seals; Looking breaks the binding chain, Looking sets us free again; Looking scatters all our night, Makes our faces shine with light; Looking quickens, strengthens, brings Heavenly gladness on its wings! Jesu, Saviour, Son of God, Bearer of the sinner’s load, I would rise to thee above, I would look, and praise, and love; Ever looking let me be At the blood-besprinkled tree, Blessing thee with lip and soul, While the endless ages roll. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Lead On, O King Eternal
No More Death
Not to Wound, but to Heal
The Way to Heaven
A Refuge of Lies
Exercising My Spiritual Gifts
Lord’s Day 45, 2017

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: The King of Love
Satan Wants You to Be Good
Pick Up the Phone
Have No Confidence
Out of Christ
A City of Refuge
Lord’s Day 43, 2017

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: The Battle Is the Lord’s
God Is Satisfied
God Will Punish Sin
Why God Must Punish Sin
Five Hundred Years and Still Not Over
A Description of Self-Righteousness
Lord’s Day 44, 2017


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