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Life in Christ is filled with may “plateau moments”–moments where we can stop and look back to see the gracious and good hand of God leading, preserving, correcting, and sustaining us. Those seasons of reflection may relate to family, self, vocation, or church life, but inevitably for the child of God it always involves reflecting on one thing that constantly intertwines itself in all we do–our own sin.  As we grow in grace, we become increasingly aware that we daily sin in word, thought, and deed.  We hold ourselves up to the standard of perfection because we long to be like Christ. And He is perfect.  It is His perfection that clothes our imperfections. But while we acknowledge that sinless perfection can only come in glory (1 John 1:81 John 1:8
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8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  

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), the child of God longs to so war against his own indwelling corruption that he can honestly say “to live is Christ” and that “as you see and hear in me do, and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9Philippians 4:9
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9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.  

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).  We want to live victoriously in Jesus Christ.  Thankfully, God’s Word gives us help.  We can live in such a way that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10Nehemiah 8:10
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10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.  

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), and go on in that joy “from strength to strength” (Psalm 84:7Psalm 84:7
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7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. strength to...: or, company to company  

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Strive to have the Father’s view of sin

Many today are quick to treat God’s law as useless and even undesirable.  But Paul says that God’s law is holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12Romans 7:12
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12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.  

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).  God’s law is good because it is the moral revelation of God’s character, the standard Jesus fulfilled to earn the clothes of our righteousness, our standard in our pursuit of Christ-likeness, and the bar against which men, rulers, and nations are judged in time and eternity.  And have you ever considered that the cross was the greatest demonstration of God honoring His holy law? When our sin–our violations of the law (1 John 3:41 John 3:4
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4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  

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)–was placed on Jesus at Calvary, the Father turned away all love and favor from Christ and poured only wrath on Him. And all to satisfy His holy law. The Father abominated sin so much that he spared not His only Son but delivered Him up for the Church (Romans 8:32Romans 8:32
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32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  

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, John 10:15John 10:15
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15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.  

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 ).  Victory against our own sin starts here–praying for God to give us His hatred of sin!


Strive to have the Father’s view of Christ

At the same time that the Father turned away His face of love and turned His face of wrath to Jesus, never forget that Jesus was able to sustain that wrath because He was the perfect Lamb of God. Throughout all the centuries of Old Testament Israel, the fire consumed the sacrifice. Here at last was a Sacrifice that consumed the fire. He was the one that the Father, at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, said was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased (Matthew 3:17Matthew 3:17
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17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  

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). The Father looked upon Jesus in His earthly ministry with infinite delight, upon Jesus in His passion as infinite satisfaction, and upon Jesus now in His mediatorial session as the Lamb worthy to sit at His right hand and rule. Let it sink in–the Father is infinitely pleased with Jesus Christ as the all-in-all of His Church, His believing people.  Let us pray for a view of satisfying faith in Jesus as the Father sees and declares Him to be.


Remember your union with and inheritance in Jesus

It’s good to have the Father’s view of Christ–that view of infinite satisfaction with the One Who has done all, borne all, and conquered all.  It is certainly wonderful to stand back and admire Christ because He is simply worthy to be admired–He is the infinitely perfect “sunrise of beauty”. But you know why it is really so wonderful for the Christian in our battle with our own hateful sin? Believers are in union with Christ at every step of His earthly ministry.  Did Jesus earn a perfect righteousness? Did Jesus pay the full satisfaction for the sin that was placed upon Him? Was Jesus buried, indicating He died to the dominion of sin and also placed Himself fully under the final fruit of sin? Did Jesus rise again, conquering sin, death, and hell? Has Jesus ascended on high, leading captivity captive and giving gifts to men (Ephesians 4:8Ephesians 4:8
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8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. captivity...: or, a multitude of captives  

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)? YES! And you know what? Christian, you earned that perfect righteousness.  You died on the cross. You were buried. You were raised. You ascended. You reign. Why? Because the child of God is at every stage in union with Jesus.  And here is the highest summit of comfort when we see how the Father views Jesus–because we are in union with Christ as the vine and the branch, when the Father looks at Jesus with infinite satisfaction He looks at us with infinite satisfaction too. The Father also sees the gifts of grace, life, and Holy Spirit power and fruit that Jesus died to purchase for us.  And those gifts are distributed as the inheritance of Calvary.  The testator died, and the will is therefore executed to distribute the inheritance of spiritual gifts to redeemed sinners (Hebrews 9:15-17Hebrews 9:15-17
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15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. be: or, be brought in 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.  

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Remember how Jesus fought temptation

Pray for grace to hate sin. Pray for a soul-overwhelming view of the loveliness of Christ as God and man, as Savior, as your Prophet, Priest, and King. Remember your union with Jesus and the spiritual gifts He has purchased and distributes by His Spirit. And last of all, as you battle against sin remember how Jesus battled temptation–with the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11Matthew 4:1-11
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4 1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. tempt: or, try, or, put to trial, or, proof 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.  

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). Soak and saturate your mind in the Word of God. Read God’s Word, memorize God’s Word, pray God’s Word, and remember that it is your sword to strike tremendous blows on the devil and the sin that yet remains in and around you.


There may of course be other helps–like brotherly accountability, church small groups, etc., but true victory is ultimately obtained when we mortify the old man and temptation on a private basis–when nobody else is watching. Jesus has purchased such grace and power for us that we can walk this world in white at home and abroad, by ourselves or in a crowd. O may God open our eyes to see what we have in Jesus! Then the Church will be filled with men and women of Gospel holiness and power who radiate the beauty of holiness. Then the Church will realize what gifts, graces, and power are at Her disposal and will be more than equal to the task of fulfilling the Great Commission and seeing realized what was prophesied as the end result of Calvary’s agonies–the triumphant march of the Gospel over all of creation (Psalm 22:1,27Psalm 22:1,27
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22 To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. Aijeleth...: or, the hind of the morning 1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? helping...: Heb. my salvation 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.  

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Christ Humbled For Us

by Ernie on December 20, 2014

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Job.  Every time that I come around to it I find it full of fresh meaning, challenges, and beauty.  From the opening scenes in heaven to the dramatic suffering of Job to the eternal lessons of God’s sovereignty and gracious purposes in the suffering of His children, we may find lessons that are right up to date with life in post-modern times.

 

This year, I’ve just finished Job as we come into the season where we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  One of the famous literary sections of Job contains God’s description of His own mighty power as manifested in His sovereign control over the stellar heavens and over the strong and majestic elements of nature and animal life on earth.  God’s view of reality forever changed Job.  God’s view of reality gives us a look into His majesty in divine poetry.  And God’s view of reality magnifies the great love of God for sinners in the unfathomable humiliation of the Second Person of the divine Trinity in the Incarnation.

 

These divine descriptions of the stellar heavens give us a sense of God’s greatness.  In engineering, we create units of measurement to give us a meaningful way to engage with creation and to consistently understand and manipulate it for our benefit.  Yet, when we look at the stellar heavens, don’t we get the sense that units of measurement become laughable?  One has but to look up to see that God’s power is infinite and His ways past finding out (Job 11:7Job 11:7
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7 Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?  

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, Romans 11:33Romans 11:33
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33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  

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).  We quickly get into thousands of millions of years when we try to calculate traveling through space in our fastest machines.  And yet the Bible tells us that God “telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4Psalm 147:4
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4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.  

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And yet imagine this—Christ, whom John 1:1-3John 1:1-3
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The Gospel According to St. John 1 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  

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tells us was the direct instrument of creation, crossed the immeasurable gulf between God and man and took to Himself human flesh in such a way that He became both God and man in two distinct natures and yet one person.  Wow.  This God Who “plays with the stars” and effortlessly controlled huge creatures of ancient times has condescended to sinners by taking on a sinless humanity to redeem and restore fallen sons of men.

 

Isn’t it amazing that, in Proverbs 8:31Proverbs 8:31
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31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.  

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, the Bible tells us—just after describing how Jesus was intimately involved in the grandeur of creation—His “delights were with the sons of men”?  Christ has such an unexplainable and indescribable love for His Church that nothing would or could stop Him from assuming human flesh, making Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a servant, and dying the shameful death of the cross that He might bring many sons to glory (Philippians 2:6-8Philippians 2:6-8
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6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. fashion: or habit  

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, Hebrews 2:10Hebrews 2:10
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10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  

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This year, as we celebrate the Savior’s birth, let us bow before our Christ in humble adoration that He Who cast the stars into the sky and played with behemoth and leviathan bears our names upon His heart and the wounds of our salvation in His incarnate human flesh.  Glory to His Name!

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We hope they are a blessing to you and your family and that you will consider joining us next year for Christ For The Whole Man 2015!

We apparently had a technical difficulty and didn’t get the last message recorded, so we apologize for that.  But the rest of the messages can be heard and downloaded from Sermon Audio.  Just click here!

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Conference 2014′s opening message was preached by myself (Ernie Yarbrough) and was entitled “All To Jesus I surrender: The Blood-Bought Life Of The Christian”. This message sought to lay the groundwork for the entirety of the conference by showing the connection between the positional reality of fallen man and the practical outworking of an estate of sin and estrangement from God. This was contrasted with the positional reality of the new man and the practical outworking of the an estate of grace in Jesus Christ as a son adopted into the family of God.  These were cast under opposing but equally dominant principles in the text verse Romans 5:21Romans 5:21
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21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.  

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–”That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Click below to listen or go here to download it from Sermon Audio!

 

 

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That’s A Wrap! Conference 2014

by Ernie on August 16, 2014

Often in life the Lord gives you vantage points from which you can reflect on His goodness and stand amazed at His faithfulness and blessing.  Our second conference has provided such an opportunity for me.  What a wonderful two days!  From our last conference two years ago we grew in attendance and the blessing of God in the morning seasons of prayer and in all the messages and fellowship was very evident.  Many shed tears of thankfulness and all gave lots of hugs and rejoiced in the Lord as He spread His own table and put us under the banner of His love.

 

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the ladies of Trinity Free Presbyterian Church for their ceaseless labors of food preparation and cleanup and all those who worked behind the scenes.  There were some rather significant “bumps in the road” that God’s covenant people stepped up for, meeting every challenge that came our way.  Thank you SO very much.

 

As we look forward now to hopefully having the conference again next year, we trust that the Lord will bless you and will provide you with the opportunity as we post next week and feature a sermon for each day of the week from the conference.  For those who didn’t get to attend we  trust you will be able to listen and reflect on the Word and gain some of the blessing we received first hand!

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