Daily Devotional: The Unchanging Christ: The Same Yesterday
All of my life I have heard the plea for a relevant “new Christ for a new age.”
The truth is Jesus Christ is God’s final word to men in all ages. He is relevant for every age. He is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
The same Jesus sits today “on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). He is the same person as He was when here on the earth.
When we read the words, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday” we are carried back to the long ages before He became flesh. I can point to a date, time, and place when I was born. However, Jesus did not begin to live when He was born in the flesh of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem. He simply changed His robes.
The apostle Paul tells us Jesus was in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, divested Himself of His garments of glory that had been His from all eternity and clothed Himself in the garments of a common household slave in the flesh and was obedient unto death. He was God-man. He was fully God and fully human (Phil. 2:5-8).
The absolutely essential fact is He was the same in past eternity; He changes not.
I search for an absolute in an age of change; He changes not, and I therefore have security.
He came from the Father and He returned to the Father. He dwelt in the ageless past in the bosom of His eternal Father. The apostle John tells us, “in the beginning was the Word.” When everything else had a beginning He already existed and He had no beginning. His beginning had no beginning. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1:1-4).
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday . . .” His eternal existence is declared in these words, “in the beginning was the Word.” He is no vacillating whim of the age. “The Word was with God,” a distinct personality of the true and perfect deity because “the Word was God.” His personal relationship with the Father is unchangeable. He “was in the beginning with God,” and because of His resurrection and ascension, He still is in the presence of the Father in a perfect relationship.
Moreover, His understanding of man never needs to change. No one knows me like the one who made me. “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” “In Him is life.”
Where would you turn for a relevant Christ that is not found in the historic Christ? Would you, like the modern self-made cults, turn to your own making, or to some new age “enlightenment”?
God in Christ has already become one of us in order to demonstrate His love for us, and to show us what God is really like. God came and revealed Himself to sinful and disobedient rebellious men.
I don’t need a greater “light.” I only need to respond to the One true and all supreme Lord of all creation. Why should I turn to some lesser “light”? All other spiritual lights are only creepy shadows of the one who masquerades as “the angel of light,” Satan himself.
We don’t have to look afar to discover what evil lurks within the heart of man. God has fully revealed Himself (Heb. 1:1-3), and man in his stubborn rebellion cries for something greater and better like selfish, pampered, narcissistic children whining for something new.
God has spoken. He has not changed and He will not. He is the same as He was yesterday, and I find stability for my soul and eternal peace with God. Because He is the same I have eternal security of a right relationship with Him, not of my self-making, or choosing, but in His all-sufficient wisdom and grace.
Because He is the same yesterday, I know that what He has said will still remain true for you and me today. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
That great truth will not change, because our Savior changes not. His word and eternal promises remain the same throughout all eternity. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Thank God.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Message by Wil Pounds
Daily Devotional: Peter in Heaven and Judas in Hell
Both Peter and Judas committed the same sin. They both denied their Lord and Master.
But why did one go to heaven, and one go to hell?
The Gospel writer Matthew is careful to compare and contrast the fall of Peter and Judas. Both men failed badly. The fall of Peter was temporary, while the fall of Judas was permanent. One is in heaven, and the other is in hell.
Both men confessed their sin and failure, but only one repented and put his faith in Christ.
Somewhere in Judas’ life, he took an evil turn that eventually resulted in rejection of Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior and eventual suicide. One bad attitude toward Jesus led to another, and a pattern of rejection and bitterness must have led to the ultimate rejection of Jesus.
In fact, it was prophesied in the Old Testament that a person close to Jesus would lift up his heel against Him (Psa. 41:9; Jn. 13:18; Acts 1:16). He was appointed to this end from the beginning (Jn. 17:12).
After Judas sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a common slave (Zech. 11:12; Matt. 26:14-16), he purchased a field with the money (Acts 1:18-19). When the “good opportunity” came, he acted on his evil intent and delivered Jesus to the Jewish authorities in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:46-50). After it happened he felt a sense of remorse realizing what he had done, and declared to the religious leaders that Jesus was innocent (27:1-5). Judas tried to atone for his own sins and failed. Then he went to the field and hanged himself.
Judas betrayed Jesus because he did not love Him. He only cared about himself and his personal agendas (John 12:6).
Judas confessed his sin without repentance. There was no radical change in his mind that resulted in a change from spiritual death to spiritual life through faith in Jesus Christ. True repentance would have turned him to Jesus for forgiveness.
On the other hand, there is Peter who had also been with Jesus, and likewise fell. We will too if we do not learn his lesson in Luke 22:31-32. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Peter loved the Lord Jesus. He tried to defend Jesus in the garden when the soldiers arrived (Matt. 26:50-54). In fact, Peter failed because he was in a situation that he would not have been in if he had not loved Jesus. What happened to Peter still happens to the strongest of Christians today.
Peter did not believe Jesus’ warnings (v. 31; Zech. 13:7). “This very night you will all fall away on account of Me.” Very emphatically, over confident Peter contested, “I will never fall away” (v. 33). Jesus repeated the warnings in even stronger terms, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times” (v. 34). Peter got arrogant saying to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too (v. 35).
Peter knew the same thing you and I know. “Jesus is never wrong, never confused, never mistaken.” Peter thought he knew better than Jesus! If we expect to win in the spiritual warfare we had better determine early on in the Christian life to trust Jesus in everything and not explain away His Word. Peter fell that night with the slightest provocation when a servant girl tripped him up (Matt. 26:58, 69-75).
Perhaps it would have been different if Peter had remained in the company of his compassion and Christian brother, John.
Peter responded with increasingly strong denials to the questions of bystanders in the courtyard of the high priest. His denials were even filled with cursings and oaths before it was over (Matt. 26:70-74).
At the moment, Peter denied Jesus the third time a rooster crowed, and Jesus “turned and looked straight at Peter” (Lk. 22:61). Peter realized what he had done and rushed out and wept bitterly (Matt. 26:75; Mk. 14:72; Lk. 22:62).
Peter learned the lesson that Jesus “is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them” (Heb. 7:25).
It is easy for us to point our fingers at Peter and Judas, but what about own own denials of Christ in the workplace, school, public arena, etc.? What about when he bids us come and follow Him and we halt, or go in another direction? He invites us to join Him in what He is doing but we don’t step out by faith and follow.
God does not compare us to Peter or Judas, but to His Son who was obedient even unto death. We all fall short of His obedience.
There is only one person who can make atonement for our sins, and that is Jesus Christ. Only His shed blood will make atonement for our sins and free us from our guilt. There is no hope for us if the blood of Jesus Christ does not wash us of all our sins. In the death of Jesus there is salvation for all who will call upon His name. “What can wash away my sin?” Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ.”
Judas turned his back on Jesus who was his only hope.
Peter repented and turned to Jesus and found hope.
We do well to heed the words of Peter and learn from his experience. “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (2 Peter 1:12-11).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Our Eternal Sanctification by the Blood of Jesus
Message by Wil Pounds
Our Eternal Sanctification by the Blood of Jesus
One of the most precious and beautiful themes in the Bible is our positional or absolute sanctification by the blood of Jesus Christ. This sanctification is an unchanging and unchangeable eternal position with God.
It is the result of the finished work of atonement Jesus accomplished to take away our sins on the cross. We are accepted in the Beloved. As He is, so are we. We are reckoned by God to be as Christ is in our new standing or position in Christ.
How can we make such a statement? Jesus suffered outside the gate “that He might sanctify the people through His own blood” (Heb. 13:12). The blood of Jesus Christ was shed and sprinkled upon the altar to cover all our sins. Every one of our sins have been purged by His blood, and we have been set apart to God because we are now His possession.
Jesus offered a better sacrifice than the Old Testament rituals. The purpose was to sanctify a people for God. As animal sacrifices were burned outside the camp of Israel so Jesus was crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem.
Jesus suffered outside the gate of Jerusalem in order that He might sanctify the people of God. We are saved by grace and set apart to God’s honor and glory.
The great benefit of our eternal sanctification by the blood of Jesus Christ is that God has entered into a new covenant with the believing sinner, and we now have an unhindered approach to God. It is not based on the perfection of our character, but upon the work of Another, Jesus Christ, our substitute. Our sins have all been eternally atoned for by the bloody sacrifice of Christ.
“We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10). Our sanctification is by the offering of Jesus on our behalf. God declares, “We are sanctified.” This is a great fact, a reality, which is true of all believers. Our sanctification by the blood of Jesus is eternal in character because Jesus’ work was done perfectly. It is never repeated like the high priest of Israel did each year on the Day of Atonement.
“By one offering He [Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Jesus did what the old sacrifices failed to do. The word “perfected” means “to bring to a state of completion.” Everything essential to the salvation of the individual is included in this one great gift of Christ, which the believing sinner received, by faith in Christ. “Them that are sanctified” is descriptive of the believer in Christ who has been set apart to God.
The “sanctified” have a status in God’s presence that is “perfect.” Every believer approaches God with the full acceptance gained thought the death of Jesus Christ (10:19-22).
The writer of Hebrews does not have in mind spiritual growth, progressive sanctification, or a second work of grace. He is stating a great fact, which is true of all Christians.
The one perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross effectually purges the Christian’s conscience once for all. His sacrifice is perfect. It is eternal. It is all-sufficient for our atonement. Every person who believes on Christ can rejoice with the assurance that he or she is forever cleansed from his or her guilt and defilement by the precious blood of Jesus.
Because of the purging of our conscience by the sacrifice of Christ we never fear entering into God’s presence. We are always free to enter the throne of grace. All of God’s righteous claims against the sinner have been met by the death of Christ. In the sight of our holy and righteous God all of our sins have been purged by Christ’s blood and we are “perfected forever.” We are sanctified for eternity by the blood of Jesus.
We now have a complete and perfect acceptance with God. We are complete in Christ. Christ is our sanctification. Our Mediator represents us before the throne of grace and mercy.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Discipleship
Message by Wil Pounds
The call to discipleship is on Christ’s terms, not ours.
The cost of discipleship is determined by the Lord, and not by the servant.
In our desperate attempt to play the numbers game in today’s churches we invite people to come and join without any regard to the cost of discipleship.
Jesus Christ is Lord; He is the only Lord.
Jesus reached out to touch a leper, and the leper was instantly cleansed. He is the Great Physician and Master over all kinds of sicknesses.
Jesus lay asleep in the stern of the fishing boat and when the disciples feared for their lives Jesus spoke and the storm departed. When Jesus spoke, God spoke. To defy the Lordship of Jesus Christ is to defy God. He spoke as God’s authority and as God the Creator. He is the Lord of creation.
Jesus told the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven.” Only God can forgive sin. Jesus is the sinner’s friend. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.
The same Jesus who has authority over demons, sickness, death, nature has the same authority over every Christian. He is Lord. If we are to be His disciples it must be on His terms.
Dr. Luke in his gospel tells of three individuals who were would be followers of Christ (Luke 9:57-62).
One of the individuals must have been listening to the teaching of Christ and he approached and said, “I will follow You wherever You go” (v. 57).
It is easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm and excitement of the moment and join the crowd. But this man must have failed to think through what following Jesus involves.
Jesus did not want him to have any false apprehensions. He said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (v. 58).
At the end of His ministry, the day of His crucifixion, Jesus owned nothing, but the clothes on His back. The cost of discipleship for Jesus was high. It cost Him His life in execution as a criminal to follow the will of His heavenly Father. Jesus was obedient unto death.
Jesus calls us to radical discipleship. Is this the reason so many drop out after joining up?
Another person heard the call, “Follow Me” (v. 59). But he replied, “Permit me first to go and bury my father” (v. 59b).
Was the man’s father dead? Probably not, because he was there listening to Jesus. If his father had been dead this man would have been busy with the details because in Jesus’ day a person had to be buried the same day that he died. The man is probably saying that he wants to wait and remain at home as long as his father lives, and then he will consider following Jesus after this phase of his life is over.
Jesus’ call to discipleship is radical. “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the Kingdom of God” (v. 60).
Let the spiritual dead bury the dead. They are dead to spiritual realities. On the other hand, those who are spiritually alive will drop everything, counting the cost, to follow Jesus as Lord.
Discipleship demands that we drop everything, even our families and anyone opposing Him. Who would seek to exercise a higher relationship of affection in our lives? Discipleship makes us chose between Christ and others.
Another person in the crowd said, “I will follow You Lord, but first permit me to say goodbye to those at home” (v. 61). Jesus replied, “No one, after putting his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God” (v. 62).
Who but God could make such demands on His followers? He has not left the choice of standards of following Him up to us. We want to submit Him to our lordship and it will not work. Jesus is Lord. He determines the conditions of discipleship. If Jesus is Lord then this kind of discipleship is really not radical, or extreme, but is normal. Since He is God we owe Him total obedience and total self-surrender. That is radical in the world’s way of thinking.
I suspect we are quick to join up without counting the cost, and then when faced with the choices of obeying our Lord and Master or the pleasures and demands of the world we follow our true desires. You cannot serve two masters; you will love one and hate the other. The disciple no longer lives for himself, but for the Kingdom of God. What happens to my life in unimportant. What really matters is my submission to the will of God.
The disciple of Jesus Christ cannot live to please himself. He can live only to please the King. “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate,” wrote Bonhoeffer. “Costly grace . . . calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.”
Where is your priority? Who is Lord of your life?
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily devotional: From Despair to Hope
Message by Wil Pounds
From Despair to Hope
It is almost uncanny how the poet describes the abandonment of the sufferer by God to the scorn of evil people who mocked Him. The Hebrew poet-king wrote,
But I am a worm and not a man,
A reproach of men and despised by the people.
All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
“Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him” (Psalm 22:6-8).
King David writes using gestures of helplessness, frailty, and hopelessness in these verses. It is another vivid picture of the events at Calvary put in writing a thousand years before they actually took place in history (Matt. 27:39-43).
“They open wide their mouth at me, as a ravening and a roaring loin” (v. 13). The crowd at the crucifixion of Jesus did just that in graphic detail. His bones were pulled out of joint at the hands, arms, shoulders and pelvis (v. 14). “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted within me” (v.14). Perspiration pours profusely from the intense suffering, and the exhaustion and strain affects the functioning of His heart. With His strength exhausted, and dehydration, His tongue clings to His mouth from extreme thirst (v. 15). “My strength is dried up like potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws” (v. 15).
We draw up near the cross in verse sixteen and hear him say, “For dogs [Jewish term for derision for Gentiles] have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet” (cf. Matt. 27:35; Jn. 20:20, 25).
They stare at Him on the cross. He is so frail from suffering they can count His bones on His naked body. Even the casting of lots for His clothing is literally fulfilled (v. 18; cf. Matt. 27:35; Lk. 23:34; Jn. 19:24; 19:23; Mk. 15:24).
Any unbiased reader of this messianic poem must come to the inescapable conclusion that it finds its historical fulfillment in the crucifixion of Christ.
The death of Jesus Christ made perfect atonement for our sins. He was forsaken of God so we could be forgiven.
This matchless messianic poem also declares that the suffering servant of God died in triumph knowing that His suffering produced perfect atonement for the sinner. He tells how His prayer was heard and affirms that He will praise God before the brethren in the great assembly.
There is an abrupt change in the steady progress of the poem from the despair in suffering to one of renewed trust in God. Verses 22-31 conclude with the results that spring from the resurrection. It closes with a message of thanksgiving and hope in the anticipation of the proclamation of the good news.
“I will tell of Thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise thee” (v. 22). He admonishes others, “You who fear the LORD, praise Him” (v. 23a).
Moreover, the message is not just for the Jewish brethren (vv. 22-24), but also “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will worship before Thee” (v. 27). Is this not the great missionary message preached after the resurrection of Christ? (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:16; Phil. 2:8-11; Rev. 4-5).
The psalmist gives a great invitation for all to humble themselves and trust in the Savior. Salvation is for those who “fear the LORD” (vv. 23, 25), “seek the LORD” (v. 26), “remember and turn to the LORD” (v. 27), and “bow down before Him” (vv. 27, 29). It is for all who will call upon His name and be saved.
People yet to be born in future generations will serve Him (v. 30-31). “It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it.”
You and I are included in this great multitude (Jn. 17:20). The Savior had you and me on His mind while He hung on the tree. Have you responded to Him in faith?
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: The Effectual Call of God
Message by Wil Pounds
Have you responded to the effectual call of God to salvation?
In his effort to encourage suffering Christians, the apostle Paul wrote, “For whom He [God] foreknew, He also predestinated to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).
This beautiful golden five-link chain of salvation demonstrates the awesome love and grace of God reaching down to poor, lost, depraved sinners and gives the assurance of eternal life.
The effectual call of God in salvation brings about regeneration, or spiritual birth in the person who is called. The effectual or specific call to salvation comes through the general call by means of the preaching of the good news in Jesus Christ to a lost world. It is through the preaching of the gospel that God calls sinners. As the Word of God is preached some seed falls on stony, shallow ground, and some on good soil. God prepares the soil and gives life. The seed that sprouts and takes up root in the good soil results in a spiritual harvest and people are saved.
God calls the individual to salvation by a specific and effectual call that produces spiritual life in the one who hears the call. The individual who hears the effectual call of God will responds by faith. The effectual call enables the person to respond to the Gospel. The Holy Spirit produces the new spiritual life in the person who is effectually called. The evidence of that new life is repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. When referring to faith and repentance Spurgeon said don’t make two old friends fight.
The effectual “calling” in the New Testament is consistently used for the call that ushers men into a state of salvation and is therefore effectual.
Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draw him” (John 6:44).
How do you know whether you are of the elect of God? The best answer is found in another question. Have you responded to the call of God? The Bible says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). Have you? If you have believed then know that God has set His love upon you to save you. Moreover, He will continue to love you and keep you throughout eternity.
Left to ourselves no depraved sinner will respond positively to the general call of the gospel. People hear the gospel message, a general call of God to salvation, and turn their hearts away. There is also the effectual call of God to salvation that provides the willingness to respond positively to the message of salvation by grace through faith. It is God bringing spiritual life to the individual who hears and comes to life spiritually.
Donald Grey Barnhouse helps with the distinction between the general call of the gospel and the effectual call to salvation. “If men heed no more than the outward call, they become members of the visible church. If the inward call is heard in our hearts, we become members of the invisible church. The first call unites us merely to a group of professing members; but the inward call unites us to Christ Himself, and to all that have been born again.
“The outward call may bring with it a certain intellectual knowledge of the truth; the inward call brings us the faith of the heart, the hope which anchors us forever to Christ and the love which must ever draw us back to Him who first loved us. The one can end in formalism, the other in true life. The outward call may curb the tendencies of the old nature and keep a soul in outward morality; the inward call will cure the plague that is in us and bring us on to triumph in Christ” (God’s Heirs: Exposition of Bible Doctrines . . . , vol. 7, pp. 171, 172).
As fast as the called one comes, God justifies that person. Have you responded to His free grace and love and believed on Him for salvation?
Daily Devotional: When the Holy Spirit Groans in Prayer
Message by Wil Pounds
The indwelling Spirit of God works in us in pray to cry out “Abba,” “Father, Daddy.” He helps us to endure sufferings so that we may patiently look forward to the final redemption of our bodies when we will see Jesus “with glory that is burst upon us” at His coming.
We are commanded in the Scriptures to “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17). When we pray we are petitioning the sovereign Creator of the universe and speaking to Him personally as we present our adoration, confessions, thanksgivings, and supplications to Him. He patiently listens to us and responds to us consistently out of His infinite wisdom.
Since that is true why is it so hard to pray? Why is prayer a problem even for mature Christians? The apostle Paul says it is because of “our weakness.” Phillips translates Romans 8:26, “The Spirit of God not only maintains this hope within us, but helps us in our present limitations.” The wonderful thing is His intercessions for the saints are always in harmony with God’s will. He comes to our aid in our infirmities.
Paul does not say the Holy Spirit removes our “weaknesses,” but that He “helps” us. We live our whole Christian life in conditions of humility and weaknesses. The Holy Spirit comes along side as our Helper and gives us wisdom and strength. He helps those who cannot help themselves.
What is the problem? We do not know what we should ask God. What is His sovereign will for us, our family, our ministry, etc.? We often do not know what we need, nor do we know what is best for us.
Every Christian experiences these weaknesses and it is this that makes prayer difficult. Have you not experienced on numerous occasions how difficult it is to stop and pray in your busy schedule, and then when you are in His presence in prayer it is so sweet and wonderful you do not want to stop? Your spirit refuses to leave the sacred place. The Holy Spirit helps us in the weaknesses. He “intercedes” for us with groans that words cannot express” (v. 26). The all-powerful Holy Spirit is our Helper. He comes to our aid for access to the Father (Eph. 2:18).
The apostle Paul uses the word sunantilambanetai that denotes a person coming alongside another to take part of a heavy load to help him bear it.
Jesus had the same idea in mind when He called the Holy Spirit Parakletos, “one who is called alongside of another” to help in time of need. The Holy Spirit comes along side to help us in our weakness. How hopeless we are, yet He bears our burdens. The emphasis Paul is making is this is a divine work, not half-divine and half-human.
We do not know what to pray for in the midst of our suffering the heavy load so He gets up under it with us and bears it along. He identifies with us in our weakness.
We do not know how or what to pray for in those difficult moments of suffering, but He does because He knows us intimately and He knows perfectly the will of God, and our weaknesses. Prayer covers every aspect of our need, and our weakness is made clear by our not knowing what to pray for now. We so often do not have the whole picture. We see only the hurt, pain, suffering, etc. The Holy Spirit comes to our help and makes intercession.
In fact, we have two divine intercessors: Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father in heaven interceding on our behalf (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 1 Jn. 2:1), and the Holy Spirit in our hearts is also interceding (Jn. 14:16, 17). The Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings which cannot be uttered that ascend to the throne of grace.
The Spirit Himself “intercedes,” pleads on our behalf. It is a beautiful word picturing the rescue by someone who “happens on” a person who is in trouble and “in his behalf” pleads with “sighs that baffle words.”
God the Father searches the heart (v. 27; 1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 139:1, 23; Jer. 17:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; Heb. 4:13). The mind of the Spirit Himself makes interpretation for the saints according to the will of God. The person who makes the intercession is a member of the Trinity. We do not know what the will of God is, but He does.
What are these “groanings”? These inarticulate groans do not escape the omniscient ears of God. They are perfectly intelligent to Him and always according to His perfect will. They are initiated by the Holy Spirit and borne to the presence of the Father. Because they are the intercessions of the Holy Spirit, they are acceptable to the Father.
The God “who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit” and answers according to God’s will. Since His way is perfect we are always assured of His very best for us. “We do not know what we ought to pray for,” but the Holy Spirit always knows, and God the Father will always answer His prayer.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Our Old Carnal Sinful Nature
Message by Wil Pounds
Our Old Carnal Sinful Nature
The Christian makes progress in sanctification in his daily life as he yields to the Holy Spirit. He is in perpetual war against the old nature or flesh. The greater power in the conflict is the Spirit of God who indwells the true believer. The indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit is the secret to our spiritual growth in the likeness of Christ.
The apostle Paul recognized the true believer’s battle with sin in Galatians 5:16-17. The flesh and the spirit are in continuous war. The human body is not evil per se, but we do have an old nature with its continuing tendency to sin and rebellion against God. It is this old flesh nature or self that wars with the Spirit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:16-17).
We have an old nature that has a continuing tendency to sin and rebel against God. The born again believer does have within him contrary desires and urges. The old fallen instincts of the Adamic nature are not yet destroyed. They constantly distract us from doing the will of God and cause us to sin.
However, we do have the indwelling Holy Spirit who constantly wages war against this old fallen nature. He is progressively working within us to renew us in the likeness of Christ.
When we are born again, a new nature or disposition is created within the soul. The work of the Holy Spirit in our progressive sanctification affects both this new disposition as well as the old self.
We have a responsibility to cooperate with the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit by which He delivers us from the pollution of sin, renews our whole person according to the image of God, and enable us to please Him in our daily lives.
It is by the work of sanctification that this “pollution” or corruption of our nature is in the process of being removed. Of course, it will not be totally removed until we see Jesus in His glory.
It is by progressive sanctification that God cures our sinning precisely by curing our sinful nature. He makes the tree good that the fruit may be good. Our personal sanctification is a progressive and gradual process, not an instantaneous one. In fact, it is a lifetime process which began with our spiritual regeneration and will continue until we see Jesus in glory.
The Holy Spirit lives within us in order to change us in the inner most depths of our person, not merely to influence our emotions and behaviors. He works in order to eradicate our sinfulness and not merely to counteract its effects. He is working toward a radical change in us (2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 12:2).
God’s way of cleansing the stream is to cleanse the fountain. The Holy Spirit goes to the source of our problem. He is not content to attack the stream of our activities; He goes directly to the heart out of which the issues of life flow (Mk. 7:20-23). The Bible does not give us any promise that the fountain will be completely cleansed all at once, and therefore no promise that the stream will flow perfectly pure from the beginning. There is no promise of a once-for-all eradication of our old nature in this life. It does, however, teach a progressive sanctification of the believer in this life.
When we were born again, a change in direction and disposition took place in our lives. We are now a “new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). We now have a new direction, new disposition, new attitudes, etc. toward God.
Even though we are a new creation, we are not totally new. We still have in us an inclination toward sin, and we will until that day when “we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).
We do have “native tendencies toward evil” which consists of those old characteristics or attributes which incline the believer toward sin. It is our old nature or old self that we still retain even though we have experienced spiritual regeneration.
In the work of the Holy Spirit, this old nature is progressively being eradicated and the new nature is being “nourished” and perfected.
The more we can mature and grow in Christ likeness, the more we become aware of sin in our lives. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. But He also comforts our hearts with the knowledge that “there is now no condemnation for those in Christ.”
The apostle Paul is emphasizing a continual habitual action on the part of the believer as he conducts his daily “Walk by the Spirit.” Let this be your habitual manner of life. When we are under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit, we “will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
Verse seventeen stresses the continual opposition of “the flesh against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh.”
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Christ Our Sanctification
Message by Wil Pounds
Christ Our Sanctification
The cross of Jesus Christ is a demonstration of the infinite wisdom of God.
Every philosophy of life is proven by what it ultimately produces in a person’s life. God’s wisdom produces perfect righteousness.
God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
God in His grace gives a believing sinner a right relationship with Him based on the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Jesus died in the sinner’s place. “The wages of sin is death,” and Jesus died that death for us. Christ is our righteousness and for all who trust in Him as their Savior.
The apostle Paul tells us not only that Jesus Christ is the wisdom and the righteousness of God, but He is also our sanctification. “By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30, NASB 1995).
The Scriptures presents three tenses of our sanctification. We have a positional sanctification. Our position in Christ by faith is true regardless of the degree of our spirituality (1 Cor. 6:11; 1:2; Heb. 10:10). We have a progressive sanctification, which refers to our whole life (1 Pet. 1:6). We shall also have a future sanctification because we are not yet fully set apart. We shall see Christ and be complete in Him (1 Jn. 3:1-3; Eph. 5:26-27; Jude 24-25).
Christ imputed is not our sanctification. Christ accredited to the believer by the work of the Holy Spirit is our sanctification. Our sanctification is a process of development and growth. It will not be completed until the day of our complete and perfect redemption with resurrected bodies when Christ returns.
We are to grow up in all things to Christ. It is a matter of growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Sanctification is a process of separation by which our Lord Jesus Christ is imparted by the Holy Spirit to our daily life. It does take time to grow spiritually. But it should be a steady and continuous process of growing in the likeness of Christ.
The bottom line of all true wisdom is, “Am I becoming more and more like Jesus Christ?” God’s wisdom in Christ brings us into conformity with Him who was perfectly conformed to God the Father.
Christ imputed is my righteousness. Christ imparted is my sanctification. One day I will be perfectly conformed to God in Christ. That will be my glorification.
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3, NASB 1995).
In the matchless wisdom of God, we are to be in continual pursuit of holiness. The standard had not changed: “Be holy, for I am holy.”
In His wisdom God has given us the responsibility of walking in holiness. He still says, “Pursue holiness, for without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). It is a lifelong task.
This practical daily work of sanctification is a process, and it’s something we never completely attain in this life. As we grow in our separation from sin and conform to the will of God in one area, the Holy Spirit reveals a need in another area. We will always be pursuing holiness in this lifetime.
We are not alone in this spiritual struggle. No one can attain this goal in his or her own strength. God has equipped us with the indwelling Holy Spirit and spiritual amour.
God wants us to walk in obedience to Him. As we obey His Word, we grow in our sanctification. God gives us the power to live the Christian life, but in His wisdom He expects us to assume our responsibility in obeying Him.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Persevering Grace
Message by Wil Pounds
If the grace of God were suddenly taken away from you, what would you be? If God removed all of His restraints of love and grace, what would you do?
Jude, in the last two verses of his postcard epistle, stated our need to preserve clearly. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).
It is impossible to live the Christian life without keeping ourselves in the love of God. “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (v. 21). He is able if we are willing!
True believers are “preserved” and cannot be lost. However, there is the danger of our stumbling or going astray in out daily walk. We can lose our fellowship, but not our sonship. If we persist in our disobedience, the Holy Spirit will chasten us and bring us back into fellowship with God. God in His sovereign grace has chosen and has saved some of the greatest sinners who have walked on the face of the earth. He has reached down and cleansed some of the foulest sins ever committed, and He is still doing it and will continue until Jesus returns.
The LORD God will be glorified throughout all eternity by that great body of people who are trophies of God’s grace. “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:4). We have been adopted and placed in God’s family “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (v.6). Our whole life is to be lived “to the praise of His glory.”
Spurgeon observed, “A thousand Christians can scarcely do such honor to their Master as one hypocrite can do dishonor to Him. If you have ever tasted that the Lord is gracious, pray that your foot slip not. It would be infinitely better to bury you in the earth than see you buried in sin.”
When Jesus returns in glory with those saints who have gone to heaven before us, they will be arrayed in the righteousness of Christ to the praise of God’s glory. Christ will “present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27).
The constant appeal in the New Testament epistles is for the believer to persevere in prayer, “So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:15).
To remain faithful we must live and walk as in the sight of God. Every born again believer must give great care to perseverance. “Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure.”
Those individuals whom Jesus Christ has taken into vital union with Himself shall be with Him where He is for all eternity.
A simple faith brings us into that vital union with Christ. Jesus Christ keeps that new born faith alive, and that faith enables us to persevere and enter heaven. “What is the value of union to Christ if that union does not insure salvation?” Spurgeon asked. God makes all His chosen people persevere to the end.
Jude teaches us that there are none so bad as those who once seemed to be good. They are like salt that has lost its character. It is good for nothing.
The person who has been truly saved will persevere. He brings forth fruits of grace through the inner work of the Holy Spirit. Perseverance is the badge of the true child of God.
The blood of Jesus shall never lose its power to cleanse all who call upon His name.
Free grace saves the humble sinner who will believe on Jesus Christ. But it not only saves, it keeps us saved. The way to be saved is to simply trust Christ. There is nothing the sinner can do, great or small, because Jesus Christ has done it all for everyone who believes on Him.
All that a just and righteous God owes any of us is punishment in hell, but God in His sovereign, saving grace has chosen to reach down to us in our sin and spiritual poverty and save us. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Come with Boldness for Grace and Mercy
message by Wil Pounds
The main argument of the Epistle of Hebrews is that “we have a great High Priest” (Heb. 4:14; 1:3; 2:17f; 3:1; 4:14-12:3). Jesus has passed through the upper heavens to the throne of God (1:3). The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that Aaron was a “high priest,” but Jesus Christ is “the great High Priest.” No Old Testament priest could ever assume that awesome title.
Jesus is great because He is both God and man. He is “Jesus, the Son of God.” He is the Savior who became flesh, and He is “the Son of God.” Jesus affirmed His humanity and His deity. As a great High Priest Jesus has “passed through the heavens” and ascended to the Father. He is enthroned. It is His “throne of grace” to which we go as believers.
On the Day of Atonement the high priest of Israel would go behind the veil and sprinkle blood on the “mercy seat” (Lev. 16). However, every believer in Jesus Christ is encouraged to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” where He ministers grace and mercy. We are invited to go to our High Priest at any time, in any circumstance, indeed daily, and find help in our need. There is no trial too great, or temptation too strong that our great High Priest cannot give us His grace and strength.
“Let us draw near” to our great High Priest “that we may receive mercy.” Where do you turn when you have a sense of sin and guilt and unworthiness? When we go to Jesus we receive mercy. Jesus did not give us what we deserve, but what we do not deserve. At the throne we experience and learn that God pardons, loves and accepts us in His grace.
Grace is the power of God working in us. At the throne of grace He gives us strength in the inner life to conquer temptation. The grace of God is always well-timed. It comes just when we need it. We find the infinite mercy of God’s love and grace working in us when we come to His throne.
Moreover, we are not just encouraged to go to the throne when we are in need. We are to “draw near with boldness.” We have “confidence to enter.” The blood of Jesus gives us perfect confidence in drawing near to our righteous Father. We enter in with boldness and confidence because we enter covered with the perfect righteousness of Christ.
Jesus encourages us to enter in with the highest level of confidence, and the unhesitating assurance that there is nothing that can hinder us. The writer of Hebrews has in mind our drawing near to God’s throne without fear, without doubt, with no other feeling but that which a child feels in going to his loving father.
The Scriptures admonish us to draw near with boldness. Jesus the Son of God is our High Priest. We do not have to work ourselves up emotionally or psych ourselves up to enter into his presence. No, the living, loving High Priest, who is able to sympathize and give grace for timely help, breathes and works this boldness in the soul that is willing to lose itself in Him. All that He asks of us is to make ourselves available to Him. This boldness is natural when we are gazing with our eyes fixed upon Him! Jesus, found and experienced within our heart by faith, is our boldness. As the Son, whose house we are will dwell within us, and by His Spirit’s working, He will be our boldness and our entrance to the Father.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Servants Have No Rights
Message by Wil Pounds
Servants Have No Rights
We live in a day when everyone insists on his or her personal rights. The courts of law are full of people who feel their “rights” have been infringed upon grievously. It is the theme in every lawyer’s office. “You have your rights,” the highway billboard shouts to passing passengers.
While pastoring in the U. S., I received phone calls from lawyers quite often saying they were “Christian lawyers” looking out for the “rights” of pastors and if I ever needed good legal counsel they were readily available.
That is the sad state of affairs in the world in which we live.
However, Jesus said servants have no rights. Read carefully His words to would be followers:
q “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
q “And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also” (v. 40).
q “And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two” (v. 41).
q “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you” (v. 42).
Have you ever seen those posted in a law office?
Christians have no rights to retaliation, “getting even,” to their own time, money, etc.
How can this be?
We are stewards of God’s possessions. He owns it all, and we belong to Him.
The apostle Paul reminded members of a church that was quick to enter into lawsuits, “You were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23).
Even how we use our bodies is to be in accordance with God’s perfect will (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:17-20; 7:23-24; 2 Cor. 6:14-18).
If is a strange cry when we hear women say, “It is my body; I can do with it as I please.”
It is hard giving up our perceived human rights. We give them up in order to exercise a greater purpose. The apostle Paul said, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Cor. 9:16). We can sum up his philosophy of freedom in his words in verse twenty-two. “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak, I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.” Paul did not want anything to stand in the way of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What are the “rights” of the servant of Christ? When we give up our perceived self-rights God takes over and operates according to His rights.
“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21).
There is a great relief in knowing that we do not have to lower ourselves to “tit for tat, hate for hate,” “eye for eye,” and “tooth for tooth.”
It is easy to become slaves to people and things. “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Or does he?
A better way is to realize that everything we have comes from the loving hands of a gracious God. We receive by giving, and we gain by losing. How can I use what He has entrusted to me in the best possible way to bring honor and glory to His name?
Speaking of the Father’s kingdom Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). In the context Jesus is speaking of all those things people fight over.
Jesus set the example for every servant. He “committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:22-24).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: The Guidance of the Holy Spirit
Message by Wil Pounds
The apostle Paul experienced the leading of the Holy Spirit in his daily life. He saw a great spiritual principle in the Christian life. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
How has God been leading you lately? Is the Spirit of God taking you deeper and deeper into the love of Christ? Has He illumined your mind and heart to a greater longing for God’s righteousness? Has He led you to individuals hungering and thirsting for the righteousness of God? Has He brought into your life unbelievers with whom to share the saving grace of God?
It is the ministry of the Holy spirit to take sinners and sanctify them. He sets them apart for God’s unique purpose.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of holiness and He can only lead and guide holy people. He can lead us into nothing else than the very holiness of God.
There is a place in which the unsanctified mind and heart cannot enter. There are hidden recesses of the heart, deep down in the unseen realm of the human life, where the Holy Spirit dwells and where He teaches us right decisions and sanctified purposes. It is in this hidden sphere of activity in the inner life that the Holy Spirit takes up His residence and there He moves and impels us to become filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Spiritual understanding comes only with the growth of the spiritual person. One who wishes to know the leading of God must yield himself completely—mind, heart, will, imagination, personality—to the control of the Holy Spirit. The Christian must open up his life to the continual abiding presence of the Spirit of holiness and power.
“An angel of the Lord” told Philip the evangelist to go down a “desert road” (Acts 8:27). In obedience “he rose and went” and along the way he met a court official to the queen of the Ethiopians. God had prepared the official’s heart as he sat in his chariot reading Isaiah 53. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot” (v. 29). Philip explained the meaning of Isaiah 53:7-8, “and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him” (v. 35). Guided and directed by the Holy Spirit Philip “kept preaching the gospel to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea” (v. 40).
The Holy Spirit is the administrator of world missions. He chooses the people and the places where He wants us to serve. He puts the right person in the right place at the right time to share Jesus Christ with the right person. He leads, guides, opens and closes door at just the right time—His own perfect timing.
The apostle Paul was on his second missionary journey revisiting churches that were planted on his previous missionary trip. Paul, Silas and Timothy were passing through cities, strengthening the churches in the faith, as well as seeing daily increase in people being saved (Acts 16:4-5).
“They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and when they came to Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas” (vv. 6-9). It seemed that everywhere Paul and his team tried to enter to preach the gospel the door was closed after they left Galatia. Did Paul give up? No. He “kept on trying, attempting” to go into Bithynia. He was not being disobedient. Paul was searching to see where God was at work and in the process it became evident the Holy Spirit was the one doing the forbidding. The Administrator of missions closed the door. That is not where He was at work. “The Spirit of Jesus did not permit them” (v. 7).
Paul and his missionary team were in Troas, “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us’” (v. 9). Dr. Luke who wrote Acts gives us the impression that he could have identified the man if he wanted to. Perhaps it was Luke the beloved physician who was the man in the vision. Paul saw the vision and “immediately we sought to ago into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (v. 10). Paul shared the vision with Silas and Timothy and “immediately we sought to go into Macedonia.” Their hearts were united as they sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
In obedience to His leading they “Therefore put out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course . . .” (v. 11). “We ran a course.” “We—the author joined them at Troas. We will not know until we get to heaven who that “man” was, but I suspect he has already subtly informed us.
The Holy Spirit led Paul to Philippi (v. 12), and a prayer meeting down by a riverside (v. 13). That is where God was at work and the place He wanted His messengers to proclaim His message of sovereign grace.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Prayer of the Savior for All Believers
Prayer of the Savior for All Believers
Message by Wil Pounds
In John chapter seventeen we are received with our great High Priest into “the holiest of all.” “The prayer of the Savior (in John 17) rises as it proceeds… and now He reaches His crowning point – that they may be with Him where He is and behold His glory… that prayer is more after the divine pattern which, like a ladder rises round by round, until is looses itself in heaven.”
C. H. Spurgeon continues, “His prayer was in heaven, and He Himself was there in spirit. What a hint that gives to us! How readily may we quit the field of battle, and the place of agony, and rise into such fellowship with God, that we may think, and speak and act, as if we were already in possession of our eternal joy!” (Sermons Preached in 1881, Vol. XVII, p. 68-69).
In this great high priestly prayer of Jesus, we stand on holy ground as we go into the secret place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
The great reformer and companion of Martin Luther said in his last lecture before he died, “There is no voice which has ever been heard, either in heaven or in earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime than the prayer offered up by the Son of God Himself.”
John Brown said, “It is the utterance of the mind and heart of the God-man… in the immediate prospect of completing, by the sacrifice of Himself, the work which had been given Him to do and for the accomplishment of which He had become incarnate.”
The hour had come when the Lord of glory was to be made sin for His people. What were His thoughts and wishes as He waited for that horrific moment when He would bear the holy wrath of a sin-hating God?
He prayed in the opening verses that His Father be glorified in our salvation. We are saved by His grace alone through faith in His atoning death. Therefore, whatever we do as His believers must be done with all our strength to the glory of God.
Jesus said in verse 24 that all believers are to be “where I am,” in heaven. Jesus was returning to His glory He enjoyed with His Father. We are to join Him there. The reason is “in order that they may behold My own glory which Thou has given Me.” One day we will gaze steadily upon the one divine glory of His attributes (1 John 3:2-3).
We cannot even, with the best of imagination realize what that glory will be. Jesus used a word meaning “to gaze upon as a spectator.” The word is used when referring to extraordinary objects of interest. The believers are to see all the wonders of the glory of Jesus with unspeakable delight. The present tense indicates “continuous beholding.” It reminds us of 2 Cor. 3:18.
We will see Him in resurrection glory. The glory we shall behold is thus the glory of the Son shining out from His exalted and glorified human nature. This beholding is the very essence of heavenly blessedness. Jesus’ words, “With Me, where I myself am” implies our transfer into heaven and into the heavenly presence of Jesus. This will be our glorification, too. It is clear that “only glorified eyes can behold in blessedness the glory of the exalted Redeemer” (1 Cor. 15:48; 1 John 3:2). Let us pray that God will sanctify our spiritual sight that we may see Jesus in all His glory (Eph. 1:17-18).
“I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am…” (John 17:24). “Dying is but going home; indeed, there is no dying for the saints.”
At a friend’s funeral Spurgeon said, “The Master is gathering the ripest of his fruit… His own dear hand is putting his apples of gold into his baskets of silver… Our ripe saints go home because the Beloved is come into his garden to gather lilies… when our friend, or our child, or our wife, or our brother is gone, it is enough that he is with the Father. To call them back does not occur to us; but rather we each one desire to follow after them.”
Jesus is not going to lose a single one of those believers the Father has given to Him. Our Lord is not fully glorified until we behold His glory. It will be our glory to see His glory. Glory apart from His is not glory. All the saints are going to see all the infinite glory the Father has given His Son. We will see this glory, and it will be our glory to see Him! Jesus so perfectly accomplished our salvation that the Father is now in us, and we are in Him!
In our vital union, “Christ is ours, and we are Christ’s; His Father is our Father; we are one with Him; He is one with the Faith; and hence all things are ours, and the Father Himself loves us… So when the Lord brings His people home, we shall be one with Him, and He one with the Father, and we shall then find boundless glory in beholding the glory of our Lord and God.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come. We will meet with Jesus in His home and our home, and we shall behold His infinite glory!
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily Devotional: Dead To Sin
Message by Wil Pounds
Dead to Sin
The apostle Paul wrote of Christ, “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:10-11).
The believer’s “old man” or “old self” is what he was spiritually before he believed on Christ when he was still under sin, powerless, depraved, ungodly and even an enemy of God.
Our fallen nature was not changed at conversion. It was not annihilated, but it was “rendered inactive, made of no effect” (Rom. 6:6). Our physical body is not sinful. It is neutral and can be controlled by sin or by the Holy Spirit. It was controlled by sin before we trusted Christ for salvation.
“In Jesus Christ we died to sin, and the old nature was crucified so that the old life is rendered inoperative.” This is a great fact for the believer to rely upon. Now that we have died with Christ the power of controlling sin is broken and is rendered powerless or ineffective (Rom. 6:3-5).
There is a change in relationship with God and sin. Because of this new living union with Christ the believer now has a new relationship with God and different attitudes toward sin. Sin is no longer his master. Christ is the new master. We no longer want to continue in sin. Now because we are in Christ we have a choicer whether we choose to sin, or choose to obey our new Master.
In our unregenerate state we were slaves to sin. Now that our old self was crucified with Christ we have been delivered from this slavery. “Anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” We have been declared righteous, “freed,” with the result that sin no longer has the legal right to force us into its slavery. Sin no longer is the master of the believer because he has died with Christ and risen with Him “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with so that we would no longer be slaves to sin” (Rom. 6:6).
Not only did Christ die for me, but I died with Him. That is my new identification. I am no longer identified with the first man, Adam, but with the Second Man, Christ. Christ paid my sin debt and broke sin’s power over me. By His substitution for me on the cross Christ charged my account with His own imputed righteousness. By identification with me He imparted or made that righteousness a part of my daily life. Justification is also a living relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a justification that brings life. I am in Christ and identified with Him and whatever happens to Christ now happens to me. When Christ died, I died. When He rose from the dead I arose in Him. It is now a fact that I am now seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:5-6; Col. 3:1-3).
The believer is “dead to sin.” “I am crucified with Christ.” In Jesus Christ we have died to the power of sin so that we no longer want to continue in sin. It is no longer our master. Before we were saved we had a cordial relationship in which we were fully yielded to and dependent upon that sinful nature. We were under the control of the power of sin. It was our habit of life. We are now alive in Christ. Christ raised us up from the dead and now we walk in the power of His resurrection. The issue is the believer no longer chooses to continue in a cordial, dependent fellowship in sin.
The death of Christ not only paid our penalty of sin, but God also used it to break the power of indwelling sin in our life.
The Christian is under no compulsion to live his life under the control of evil nature again. We remain a free moral agent capable of choosing good and evil, but it is impossible for the Christian to habitually sustain a relationship to evil which he sustained before he was saved.
The Christian now has the authority and the power to say no to sin. You do not have to obey the sin nature. You now have a divine nature you can choose to respond to which is alive in Christ. You are free to choose. You do not have to do what you do not want to do. You can be as holy as you choose to be.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily devotional: Dying Daily And Our Life in Christ
Message by Wil Pounds
Dying Daily and Our Life in Christ
Spiritual growth is making real in our daily experience what is already true for us in Christ.
Our progressive sanctification is an ever putting off all that belongs to the old man, and putting on all that belongs to the new man in Christ.
The old nature of man in Adam has not evolved better over the last two thousand years. Has the carnal mind with its urges become so good to the Holy Spirit that we no longer need to subject it to the Holy Spirit? Undisciplined self-gratification has never been compatible with strong, vibrant, mature spiritual growth. You cannot be a mature believer and live anyway you choose. You cannot give nature all that it desires without defrauding the grace of God.
Romans chapter seven pictures every Christian’s spiritual battle in progress. Our old nature, though judged and condemned and deposed in the death of Christ is forever revolting against the sentence of death. It struggles daily to regain its lost supremacy.
The believer who is in Christ not only has died with Christ, but is bound to “die daily” with Him so long as he is in the flesh.
The two natures, at present are dwelling together, even though they are at perpetual war with one another. When one is weak the other is strong. When one loses the other conquers.
The crucifixion we have undergone as believers in Christ is personalized in our own person. The believer is “always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” Our spiritual battle is a spiritual intimacy with Christ against the forces of Satan. Christ began a spiritual warfare that has not ended for us (Col. 3:9, 10).
We are new creatures in Christ whose inward man is “renewed day by day.” The new man from above battles daily with the forces of evil.
The cross and the resurrection of Christ extend their influence and power over the Christian’s life until the day we are presented perfect to our Father in heaven. The development of the Christian toward perfection is always going in two opposite directions. There is the mortifying, suppressing, subjecting the natural man, and the nurturing, renewing and developing the spiritual man who lives within.
In the crucifixion of the old man we make the death of Christ our own. The carnal mind must always be delivered up to death for Christ’s sake. This is our life-long experience.
If we are to become like Christ in our daily practice we must subdue our sinful desires, behaviors and bring them under the influence of the cross.
Our sanctification is prolonged and perpetuated in our daily experiences.
We are to have the same mind of Christ. We have been judged in the person of Christ knowing that He bore our sins in His death, follow on in the path of the cross judging and mortifying all that we find in our lives contrary to Christ. Anything that is opposed to Christ in our lives must die. We must deny and die to the expression of the old life as we knew it before we become Christians. We must refuse the indulgence of the old man.
The Holy Spirit is always bringing us to the surrender of self in all its forms to the will of God.
Our Savior’s suffering is never more beautiful than when reproduced in our daily lives as we die to self, fleshly desires and unholy ambition.
However, no amount of self-denial of the old nature will make us holier, unless we are brought at the same time into a deeper intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. As we abide in Christ we walk as Christ walked.
Self-denial creates voids in our soul that must be replaced with Christ and divine affection. It is our desire to appropriate the eternal life Jesus has given us. This new life in Christ creates within the believer a hunger and thirst for more of Him. Meditation on the Word of God and contemplation of the character of Christ promotes that end. In the process He conforms us to the likeness of Christ until, we have attained the fullness of the stature of Christ, His life constantly imparted and His character reflected in our lives (2 Cor. 3:18).
Daily communion with Jesus is a certain way of overcoming sin in our lives. Our growth in grace and knowledge of Christ can never fail to promote the subjection of nature. Our natural man cannot endure the burning heat of the unclouded presence of Christ.
May our steady gaze upon Christ blind our hearts to the desires of the unregenerate life-style.
Oh, blessed day when the battle is over and we cease from our putting off and putting on and we are presented spotless in Christ “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortal.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Daily devotional: The Place of Power in Preaching
The Place of Power in Preaching
Message by Wil Pounds
I have had the privilege of preaching God’s word and seeing His presence move over and audience and hundreds of listeners respond to His word. I have also preached and in humility, emptied the house. I have watched people stand in the rain and listen to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and refuse to leave until the last word was said and the last prayer was prayed. I have also to my dismay waited for people to come to church while it was raining and hardly anyone arrived.
When God takes a man who makes himself available to Him and says, “Go and preach in the power with which I have endowed you,” he wil see great and mighty things happen.
God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
I am convinced after forty years of ministry that the power is not in the messages, or the messenger, but in the Lord Jesus Christ. The power is in the Lord. The true power lies in Christ. “Out of His mouth goes the sharp two-edged sword” (Rev. 1:16).
God does not deposit a certain amount of power in man; He retains the power in Himself. Infinite resources are found in Him alone. It is only as we make ourselves available to Him and allow Him to work in and through us that we see Him do great and mighty things.
“All power is in Jesus, and Jesus is with His people,” said Spurgeon. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). He is here right now.
The power that brings a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is the Word of God. It is not our performance, or imagination, personality, illustrations, or our creativity. God’s Word is the source of all power in creation and redemption. Every sermon and every Bible study are a waste of words if they are not filled with Christ’s word. We must have God’s Word and nothing else. It is not your word; it is God’s Word that changes the world and raises the dead.
The Holy Spirit takes the preached word and applies it to the heart. He melts the soul in repentance and brings a person to faith in Christ.
C. H. Spurgeon said, “People are disturbed and troubled by the real gospel: under the false gospel they can sleep into destruction. Bring out the sword: it is made to wound; let it exercise its salutary sharpness.”
The sword of God’s word cuts at sin to the very depths of the soul. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Selah! Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006