ARE YOU FIGHTING?

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IT WILL COST YOU EVERYTHING

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Matthew 10:34-39 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 13:23-24 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

 

GOD SPARE US FROM GULLIBILITY

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When I was a boy on the farm, we “butchered” every year in the early fall. It was my job to coax the fattened hogs into the barn. I would throw them some corn, and they were pleased as they came grunting in with that corn still grinding in their mouths.

But in minutes they were dead. My father would then bleed them and dress them out. That is how we got our supply of pork for the winter.

The gullible pigs have never learned. Wherever they are, they are still being led to the slaughter generation after generation. All it takes is a supply of shelled corn!

You may not like the illustration, but there are plenty of gullible people who have never recognized why they are being kept so busy and so well entertained with the things that are amusing and fun. Paul said that he had caught on—and he reckoned himself dead to this world and this world dead to him.

I wonder how many of the saintly men and women who have lived for Christ throughout the centuries were accused of narrowness and legalism and of being spoilers. I think they knew and accepted the offense of the cross for what it is. I think they allowed the cross to kill their self-love, their self-confidence, their self-will, their self-pity, their self-righteousness. I think they were faithful in keeping Jesus Christ in full view, looking away from themselves and following Him all the way—even unto death. They took the promises of God at face value. Their eyes were on the Lord and the city whose builder and maker is God. They looked beyond the passing attractions of this world to see the lovely face of Jesus Christ shining in wonderful glory.”

— A W Tozer

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

NO CROSS, NO CROWN

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“Salvation is undoubtedly all of grace. It is offered freely in the Gospel to the chief of sinners — without money and without price. But all who receive this great salvation, must prove the reality of their faith — by carrying their cross after Christ. They must not think to enter Heaven without trouble, pain, suffering, and conflict on earth. They must be content to take up . . .
the cross of DOCTRINE — holding a faith which the world despises; and
the cross of PRACTICE — the cross of living a life which the world ridicules as too strict, and righteous over much.

They must be willing . . .
to crucify the flesh,
to mortify the deeds of the body,
to fight daily with the devil,
to come out from the world, and
to lose their lives, if needful, for Christ’s sake.

These are hard sayings, but they admit of no evasion. The words of our Lord are plain and unmistakable. If we will not carry the cross — we shall never wear the crown!

— J C Ryle

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

A CROSS TO CARRY

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Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

“Prayer is the best practical remedy that we can use in time of trouble. We see that Christ Himself prayed, when His soul was sorrowful. All true Christians ought to do the same.

Trouble is a cup that all must drink in this world of sin. We are “born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” We cannot avoid it. Of all creatures, none is so vulnerable as man.
Our bodies,
our minds,
our families,
our business,
our friends —
are all so many doors through which affliction will come in. The holiest saints can claim no exemption from it. Like their Master, they are often “men of sorrow.”

But what is the first thing to be done in time of trouble? We must pray. Like Job, we must fall down and worship. Like Hezekiah, we must spread our matters before the Lord.

The first one we must turn to for help, must be our God. We must tell all our sorrow to our Father in Heaven. We must believe confidently that nothing is too trivial or minute to be laid before Him, so long as we do it with entire submission to His will. It is the mark of faith to keep nothing back from our best Friend. The thorn in the flesh shall either be removed — or grace to endure it will be given to us.”

— J C Ryle

All the children of God have a cross to carry. They have trials, troubles, and afflictions to go through for the Gospel’s sake. They have . . .
trials from the world,
trials from the flesh,
trials from the devil.

They have trials from relations and friends — hard words, hard conduct, and hard judgment.

They have trials in the matter of character — slander, misrepresentation, mockery, suggestion of false motives — all these often rain thick upon them.

They have trials from their own hearts.

They have each generally their own thorn in the flesh, which is their worst foe.

This is the experience of the children of God. Some of them suffer more — and some less. Some of them suffer in one way — and some in another. God measures out their portions like a wise physician, and cannot err. But never, I believe, was there one child of God, who reached Heaven without a cross!”

— J C Ryle

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Psalms 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Psalms 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.

Psalms 142:2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

IT IS A PART OF THE CROSS!

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Let it be a settled principle in our minds, that the true Christian must always enter the kingdom of God “through much tribulation” (Acts 14:22). If we are faithful and decided servants of Christ — the world will certainly hate us, as it hated our Master. In one way or another, true grace will always be persecuted. No consistency of conduct, however faultless; no kindness and amiability of character, however striking — will exempt a believer from the world’s dislike, so long as he lives. It is foolish to be surprised at this. It is mere waste of time to murmur at it. It is a part of the cross, and we must bear it patiently. The children of Cain will hate the children of Abel, as long as the earth continues.

“Marvel not, my brethren,” says John, “if the world hates you.” “If you were of the world,” says our Lord, “the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world — therefore the world hates you!” (1 John 3:13; John 15:18-19)
This world is not our home!
Our best things are yet to come!

— J C Ryle

 

 

THE NARROW GATE OF THE CROSS

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“Some who call themselves ‘Christian’ in fact have never taken up their crosses. Being ignorant of the experience of self–execution, of self–denial, they are of necessity strangers to Christ. Our Lord Himself intended His illustration and His demand to deepen alarm in such individuals…Without a cross there is no following Christ! And without following Christ there is no life at all! An impression has been given that many enter life through a wide gate of believing on Jesus. Then a few go through the narrow gate of the cross for deeper spiritual service. On the contrary, the broad way without self–denial leads to destruction. All who are saved have entered the fraternity of the cross.”

—Walter Chantry

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.