“The plain truth is, there are two distinct and separate systems of Christianity in England at the present day. It is useless to deny it. Their existence is a great fact, and one that cannot be too clearly known. According to one system, religion is a mere corporate business. You are to belong to a certain body of people. By virtue of your membership of this body, vast privileges, both for time and eternity, are conferred upon you. It matters little what you are and what you feel. You are not to try yourself by your feelings. You are a member of a great ecclesiastical corporation. Then all its privileges and immunities are your own. Do you belong to the one true visible ecclesiastical corporation? That is the grand question.
According to the other system, religion is eminently a personal business between yourself and Christ. It will not save your soul to be an outward member of any ecclesiastical body whatever, however sound that body may be. Such membership will not wash away one sin, or give you confidence in the day of judgement. There must be personal faith in Christ, personal dealings between yourself and God, personal felt communion between your own heart and the Holy Ghost. Have you this personal faith? Have you this felt work of the Spirit in your soul? This is the grand question. If not you will be lost.
This last system is the system which those who are called evangelical ministers cleave to and teach. They do so, because they are satisfied that it is the system of Holy Scripture. They do so, because they are convinced that any other system is productive of most dangerous consequences, and calculated to delude men fatally as to their actual state. They do so, because they believe it to be the only system of teaching which God will bless, and that no church will flourish so much as that in which repentance, faith, conversion and the work of the Spirit are the grand subjects of the minister’s sermon”.
~ J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
~ Philippians 2:1-2
Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, fulfill the joy of Your people by giving us like-mindedness, affection and love for one another as the Body of Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“What the Church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use – men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men – men of prayer.”
~ E.M. Bounds
Prayer Life Pause: Lord Jesus, grant Your church more people of prayer. May it please You to fill all of our hearts with a desperate hunger and thirst for You that can only be filled by deep, earnest and faithful prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me.”
~ Song of Solomon 7:10
Solomon was famous for his wisdom and the ability to put down in words human thoughts and feelings that express our deepest and most intimate emotions. In his “songs”, Solomon captures the beauty and essence of human desire, love and devotion between a man and a woman. And it is portrayed at times, as to leave little to the imagination.
The spiritual significance of King Solomon’s words here relate to Christ and His Church. As the man in the “songs” pursues his beloved, the woman to whom he gives his love (vs.12), so Christ loves and pursues His Church. Jesus’ desire is for you to respond to His love and to pursue Him and to desire Him above all else. May our love and commitment to Christ be so evident, steadfast and sure, it leaves little to the imagination.
“The Church of Christ is the multitude of all those who believe in Christ for the remission of sins, and who are thankful for that mercy and who love the law of God purely, and who hate the sin in this world and long for the life to come.”
~ William Tyndale (1494-1536)