My Study       
Benno Zuiddam

 

I am sure I am the editor...

From the Editor  

Hello everyone!                                                     

 

How many evidences do you have that you are alive?   You can count a great number – you hunger and thirst, you can see, hear, smell, taste, your heart beats and dozens more. 

 The same is true if you are alive spiritually..  The Bible mentions many signs that a people are spiritually alive. They desire God, they walk in His ways, they talk to Him, they fight against sin, they love righteousness and hate evil, all these and more prove that a person is alive spiritually. 

 However, we tend to be more aware of our physical signs of life, because we dwell in the flesh, and are more aware of the things we see and hear. 

 In this copy of the SPY magazine we mention a number of things Christians have and do.  But remember Christians are not all alive to the same degree.  Just like we are not all physically active to the same extent – one can see, hear, walk better than another.  It is the same spiritually.  Often preachers  forget this fact. 

 

We must not forget that no Christian is alive spiritually as they should be. When we read the Bible, we are told to run in the way of God's commandments, wrestle against spiritual enemies, pray without ceasing, love God with all our heart, but when we look at our lives we find that we fall far short.  However, remember that all movements and desires prove that a person is alive, so does all spiritual desire and action. 

 Christians need to always remember what they should be, and pray for bigger and better things in their lives, that they may glorify and serve God as they should.  Be sure to measure yourselves by the pages that describe what Christians should be like. 

 

 

 

 

Obedience to God 

 

One of the most important things in a Christian's life is to obey the Lord.  Paul said, when the Lord spoke to him, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Acts 26:19. All of God's true servants were obedient to Him. When Abraham was commanded to leave his homeland, he obeyed, and went out, “not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8. and many others. 

 

Christians are called to be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” 1 Timothy 2:3. One of the soldier's main qualities is to obey.  What does true obedience consist of? 

 

Obey quickly: Not wait for some future time. God told the Israelites to go into the promised land; but they refused.  Then later they attempted to go, but they were defeated by their enemies. They did no obey when they should have done. 

 

Obedience must be exact: Mary told the servants, “Whatsoever He says unto thee, do it.” John 2:5. Not do something else, or a part of it, but obey just as the Lord says. 

 

Obey courageously: The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Be not afraid of their faces.” He said also to Joshua, “Fear not, for I am with thee.” 

 

Obedience should be with faith: That the Lord will help us and will not fail us or leave us. When we obey the Lord we may confidently be assured of His help and grace. 

 

Obedience must be with joy:  “Serve the Lord with gladness.” “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.”  Psalm 40:8. It must not be done with a drudging spirit, but willingly.  It is a great privilege to obey the Lord.  The angels of God obey Him fully, and the Lord Jesus, “became obedient unto death.” 

 

Where do we find what we are to do in obedience to God?  It is in His word.  God says, “Obey My voice.”  Also, God may lay upon our hearts something we should do, or bring some needy cause to our notice that we may do in obedience to Him. 

 

  

Prayer to God 

 

Prayer is speaking to the Lord our God.  Making known to Him the things we desire and also to offer our praise to God.  “Let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6. The Bible contains many examples of people who prayed, and it contains many wonderful promises to those who pray.  God has no dumb children. 

 

Prayer should often be secret: Speaking to God alone.  Jesus said to go into your closet and shut the door and speak to your heavenly Father in secret.  Nehemiah prayed secretly in his heart. 

 

Prayer should be definite:  To ask what you need. When Blind Bartimaeus shouted for help, Jesus asked him, “what he wanted the Lord to do for him?” He replied, “Lord, that I might receive my sight” He had a definite request,  then the Lord restored his sight. 

 

Prayer should be with confidence: “Come boldly to the throne of grace, to find mercy and grace to help in time of need.”  Not boldly with pride, but with assurance of being heard.  Hebrews 4:16. 

 

Prayer must be with perseverance: “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 1:9.  Elijah prayed earnestly, when God sent rain. 

 

Prayer must have faith: “Ask in faith” James 1:6 “When ye pray, believe.” Matthew 21:22.  Unbelief is the enemy of prayer. 

 

Prayer must be according to God's will:  “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14. For things promised in His word and agreeable to His revealed will. 

 

Prayer must be in the name of Christ:  “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13.  “If ye shall anything in My name, I will do.” 

 

Parts of prayer:  These are often summed by the letters ACTS.  A = adoration, to worship and praise the Lord. C = confession, to acknowledge our sins and pray for forgiveness. T = thanksgiving, to acknowledge all God's mercies and benefits to us.  S = supplication, to pray for our spiritual and temporal needs, and to pray for others who are in need. 

 

 

Have a good laugh 

 

Clothes found:  As a young boy who was looking through a large family Bible, suddenly a large dry leaf fell out.  He looked at it, then ran to his mother.  “Look what I found? I think it is one of Adam's clothes.” 

  

Big Turkeys:  A lady could not find a turkey big enough for her family in the frozen section. She asked the attendant, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?”  He replied, “No, Madam, they are all dead.” 

 

  

 

End of School:  After one week at school, a young girl told her mother, “I'm wasting my time. I can't read, I can't write, and they won't even let me talk!” 

 

  

 

Basic Maths:  Teacher: “John, why are you doing your multiplication maths on the floor?”  John replied, “Well Sir, you told me to do them without using tables.” 

 

Set in his ways:  A thief who was running from a crime, fell into a batch of wet cement.  He became a hardened criminal! 

 

 

 Sore point:  “Are you in pain?” a mother asked her crying son. “No”, he cried, “the pain is in me!” 

 

Dangerous axe:  Teacher: “George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, he also confessed that he had done so.”  “Now, Louie, do you know why his father did not punish him?”  Louie: “Yes, because George still had the axe in his hand!” 

 

Quick makeover: A father from the country took his young son to the big city for the first time. He was amazed at the things he saw.In a large store he saw an old lady walk towards a lift and the doors closed behind her;shortly after he saw the doors open and out walked ayoung woman.Thinking that the change had taken place in the lift, the young son excitedly said to his father, “Quick Dad, lets call Mum.” 

 

Teacher:Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?  Donald:“H IJ KL M N O”Teacher: “What are you talking about?”Donald:“Well, yesterday you said the formula is H to O” 

 

  

 

 

Christian Fellowship 

 

“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:9.l 

 

Christian fellowship is a unique way by which God's people share in  matters of their faith and religion.  Unfortunately, it is one of the numerous Bible truths which the modern world hijacks and uses for its own purpose. So it is worth thinking about what fellowship really is. 

 

What? Is it any different from a fellowship of any like-minded people?  How does it differ from a gathering of non-Christian friends? Surely it must mean more than a meeting for a chat!  One of the things which make it special is what those who delight in it have in common, not a thing, but a person – the lord Jesus Christ, who is interested in them and all they say and do.  And they all have an interest in Him and all the Bible tells them about Him; what He did on the cross  and continues to do for them in the gospel.  He has promised in His word; “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I...” Matthew 18:21. 

 

When?  Fellowship is important to young and old in the faith.  It is one of the telling marks commended in the Bible, see Malachi 3:16; Hebrews 10:25.  Yet it is not something we practice naturally.  We must work on it. One of the reasons for this difficulty is the busy lifestyle many of us lead these days. So we have to find time, even if it means sacrificing a favourite pastime, hobby or TV program! 

 

Who?  Another aspect of fellowship is a balance of ages. Young Christians like to be together. Perhaps they don't feel relaxed in the company of 'oldies'.  But it is as good to mix as it is to talk!  Certainly we want to meet with other Christians just to be with them; perhaps to discuss nothing in particular. The examples of fellowship in the Bible indicate that it is a means used by God to teach and encourage us.  As young Christians we make many mistakes in our relationship with God as we do in everything else.  So it's always good to have someone of experience on board to keep us right. 

 

How?   Often it is through being in fellowship that we find our greatest encouragement.  Preaching has one huge disadvantage - the talking is one way traffic! I remember one minister being taken aback when a man attempted to answer a rhetorical question he raised in his sermon!  Still, I am quite sure many of us would dearly like to ask questions in the course of a sermon, 'what do you mean: can you explain?'  Meeting in fellowship allows for questions to be asked and answered in a relaxed and informal way.  It is an excellent opportunity to deal with issues that are seldom raised in the pulpit. 

 

Finally    Quite often we may think ourselves to be unusual or odd due to some of the the thoughts or feelings we have.  But in fellowship, we can hear of others similar to ourselves and we realise the problem is more common that we thought.  Sadly, many of our opportunities at fellowship can be wasted.  We gather and talk, but so often the subject is of little profit to our souls.  Christian fellowship by definition is Christ-centered.  Whatever the topic of discussion, look at it in the light of what the Lord had to say in His Word.  Only when He is to the foreground of thought and discussion can fellowship be truly a delight.                       Rev. Iain Smith. 

 

 

~One Another~ 

 

The Bible has many things to say about 'one another'. 

 

“Love one another” John 13:34.  “Receive one another”  Romans 15:7  “Forbearing one another”   Colossians 3:13.   “Be kindly affectioned... in honour preferring one another.” Romans 12: 10.  “Be hospitable to one another” 1 Peter 4:9. “Greet one another” 2 Corinthians 13:12.  “Be kind one to another,... forgiving one another” Ephesians 4:32.  “Serve one another”  Galatians 5:13.  “Bear one another's burdens” Galatians 6:2.  Admonish one another” Romans 15:14. “Build (edify) up one another” 1 Thessalonians 5:11.  “Encourage one another daily” Hebrews 3:13.  “Comfort one another”  1 Thessalonians 4:18.  “Provoke one another to love and good works”  Hebrews 10:24.  “Pray for one another; confess your faults one to another”  James 5:16  “Be of the same mind toward one another” Romans 12:16.  “Submit to one another”  Ephesians 5:21. 

 

One another is not a one way matter, but each showing the same graces one towards others.  Sometimes believers are concerned whether these Christian graces are shown toward them, and forget that they also are commanded to show the same graces to others. By showing these graces to others we encourage them to do the same. 

 

 

The Pearl of Great Price 

 

A lady from Java was married to a wealthy English merchant.  After some years the family moved to England.  This lady did not know much of the language or the customs of her new country, so she spent nearly all her time playing with her children, and putting on her jewels and pearls.  She had brought with her a large collection of costly jewellery.  She often opened her treasure box and admired the various necklaces, broaches and ear-rings, holding them up to glitter in the sunlight. 

 

This lady hired a Scottish woman to be her house-keeper and nurse.  One day she said in broken English, “Nurse, this is a poor place – poor place!” “Why, Madam do you say that?” replied the nurse.  “I look out of my window and see no women in the street with jewels.  In my country, women are all covered with diamonds and pearls.”  The nurse replied, “O yes we have a pearl in our country – the Pearl of great price.”  (Matthew 13:46.) 

 

The lady was surprised and eagerly replied, “Pearl of great price! Have you indeed'?  I wish that my husband was home, he would buy me this pearl;  I would part with all my pearls to have such a pearl.” 

 

“O”, replied the nurse, “ this pearl is not to wear.  It is not to be bought as you think.  It is precious indeed; and they that have it cannot lose it. They that have it are at peace, and they have all they wish for.”  “What can this pearl be?” asked the astonished lady. “The Pearl” replied the nurse, “is the Lord Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save sinners.  All who believe His word and have the Lord Jesus in their hearts are spiritually rich and happy. So precious is Jesus to them, that they count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Him.” 

 

God was pleased to bless these words to the lady's heart and she came to know Christ as her precious Saviour, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3. 

 

Some time later this lady died; and on her death-bed she desired that her jewels might be sold, and the money go towards sending the knowledge of the Pearl of Great Price to those countries who have it not. 

 

  

 

Rescued from a formal religion 

 

A minister, named Rev. W. Haslam, wrote an account of how he was saved from merely keeping outward forms of religion. 

 

Mr. Haslam thought of the church as being like Noah's ark, that no one could be saved outside of it.  He thought that it was only through baptism and the Lord's Supper that anyone could have the grace of God. 

 

Then his gardener, named John, became very ill. He had always attended Mr. Haslam's church, and received all the sacraments as he administered them.  He was thought to be one of the most loyal and faithful members of the church.  However, when  the gardener was faced with death, his heart failed him.  He found that his beliefs and religious practices gave him no hope or confidence. 

 

He had heard that other people could say they were sure that Christ was their Saviour, their sins were forgiven and they were sure of eternal glory.  He had always thought that he belonged to a church with superior teaching and had more forms and ceremonies than others, yet he was afraid to die and had no assurance of salvation. 

 

In his fears he sent for a a humble Christian to talk and pray with him.  The man did not seek to comfort him at all, but told him he was a lost sinner and needed to come, just as he was, to Jesus Christ for salvation.  He urged him to pray to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness, and explained to him the finished work of Christ on the cross. 

 

The gardener was brought under deep conviction of sin for a time, then he found pardon and peace by faith in Christ. 

 

This was a great disappointment to Rev. Haslam.  Instead of rejoicing over a lost sheep being found, he was very angry and grieved that he lost one of his best disciples.  He went to see the gardener, hoping to reclaim him, but the man was firmly trusting in Christ.  Instead of lying on a bed  mourning over his sickness, he was praising and thanking the Lord. 

 

The minister said to him, “John you are excited, you must have been drinking wine.”  “No, master.” replied John, “I have not touched a drop.”  “Dear master, I know you love me, and I love you, but you do not know this joy and peace – if you did, you would have told me about it. O master pray to the Lord to give it to you - to save your soul.”  Mr. Haslam could not stand this pleading of his gardener, and quickly left the house confused and troubled in his heart and mind.  He went to see another minister who was a friend;  he told him that if he was converted, he would have rejoiced in John's salvation and praised God with him and that he would never spiritually help the people in his parish until he was converted himself. 

 

Rev. Haslam became deeply troubled for days. The next Sunday he trembled and feared when he went to preach.  However, as he preached the Lord suddenly opened his eyes to the gospel, he saw Christ as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  His soul was filled with joy and peace.  He now was filled with love and zeal to preach Christ alone and salvation through faith in Him, and many of the members of his church were saved. 

 

 

The Love of God 

 

A man who was thought to be insane was placed in an asylum until he died.  After his death a lovely hymn on the love of God was found written on the wall of his cell. Two verses of which contained the words. 

 

“Could we with ink, them ocean fill, 

 

And were the skies of parchment made, 

 

Were every stalk on earth a quill, 

 

And every man a scribe by trade. 

 

To write the love of God above 

 

Would drain the ocean dry; 

 

Nor could the scroll contain the whole. 

 

Tho' stretched from sky to sky.” 

 

  

 

  

 

Saved by Grace 

 

A minister visited a another minister who was a friend of his, when he heard that he was sick and dying. 

 

“What are you doing, brother?” the visitor asked kindly.   He replied, “I will tell you what I am doing,  I am gathering together all my prayers, all my sermons, all my good deeds, and all my ill deeds; and I am going to throw them all overboard, and swim to glory on the plank of Free Grace.” 

 

  

 

  

 

Question 33.  What is justification? 

 

Answer: 'Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein He pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the  righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone'. 

 

  

 

Some events in life are of such huge significance that they are used as a benchmark (an all-important point) for time. For example, the birth of Jesus Christ has been used as the most significant date in history; the familiar BC and AD of the Christian calendar.  The discovery by Martin Luther of what Justification meant led to another memorable date axis, the Reformation of the 16th century. 

 

Justification is not a word we use every day.  Its meaning is easier to understand if we break it up in the following way: just-as-if-I. It means that God accepts us just as if we had rendered full and perfect obedience as Jesus did for us and instead of us, in His life on earth.  Justification is often said to mean,  just- as- if- I  had never sinned. 

 

Luther had tried to be good and kind and upright before God and men.  But no matter what he did he could never be fully assured of being pardoned and forgiven.  It was not until he realised that his best efforts drastically fell short of what God demanded, and they were what Isaiah the prophet called “filthy rags” (chapter 64:6) that Luther realised he needed help to be pleasing to God. That was when he turned to Jesus Christ as his Saviour. 

 

Then Luther, the German monk, found that the Gospel  consisted of gift after gift from God – justification (official standing) pardon ( forgiveness and cleansing) and righteousness (holy acceptance). 

 

For the first time in his life Luther found real lasting peace because he now knew that it was not a matter of trying to please God by his own best efforts, but a matter of trusting in what Jesus did for him, and receiving it by faith alone. 

 

This understanding of justification was an earth-shattering discovery for Luther.  So it must be for all who hope to be friends with God and look to heaven our final home. 

 

The question you must ask yourself is this: 'Does God accept you on the basis 'just-as-if-I' gave perfect obedience through faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour', or am I still trying by my own works to make myself acceptable to God? 

 This is definitely not what the editor looks like!

 

Prof. Dr. Benno A. Zuiddam