1 John 4:1 BELOVED, DO not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world.
I once again want to express my appreciation to Evan for becoming a member of the forum, just to answer my challenge to find the truth and error in a devotional written by C.H. Spurgeon.
This devotional is made up of a number of quotes taken from one of Spurgeon’s sermons. The sermon was taken from Acts 4:13 and can be read at... <ttp://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0021.php>
My first response to reading this devotional was surprise at the statement of truth that we must look like Jesus Christ. I do not find this belief demonstrated in very many lives or taught in many churches today.
This may have been the reason for such a small participation. Most people who call themselves by the name of Christ do not believe that they are supposed to really look like Christ; be an imitator of Christ. Therefore they may have questioned most of the devotional.
Christ is perfect; but, the common belief is that no human can be perfect as Jesus Christ was perfect.
What does the Word of God say? Jesus said that if you had seen Him, you had seen the Father. Jesus looked like the Father. Jesus imitated His Father as a pure child, copies a much loved father.
Paul tells us to be imitators of, not only Jesus, but imitators of the Father.
Eph 5:1 Therefore BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].
1Co 11:1 PATTERN YOURSELVES after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).
1Pe 2:21-25 For even to this were you called [it is inseparable from your vocation]. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps.
He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips. [Isa. 53:9]
When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly.
He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian (the Bishop) of your souls. [Isa. 53:5-6]
There you have the Truth of the devotional's message, that we should look like Jesus. I have included a few of the many Scriptures that support that idea.
What about the tiny element of error?
Here is the direct quote from the sermon and the devotionals that contain elements of Spurgeon’s beliefs.
“So submit yourselves to him. Was he patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies as he did; and let those sublime words of you Master, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. When you are prompted to revenge; when hot anger starts, bridle the steed at once, and let it not dash forward with you headlong. Remember, anger is temporary insanity. Forgive as you hope to be forgiven.”
What does the Bible say about ‘forgiveness’? Jesus Himself said to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
"For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.” Mat 6:12 -15
How long have people been trained in the world to succeed, to become perfect through practice; but in the their spiritual lives to “TRY”; depending on some kind of ‘grace’ to pull them through?
Jesus left no room for error in the matter of forgiveness.
If you have prayed the Lord’s Prayer then you have asked for the same kind of forgiveness that you have given to others.
Jesus went beyond that though. He said that if you did not forgive, your Heavenly Father would NOT forgive you; no matter how much you had tried or hoped, you will receive no forgiveness, if you did not forgive.
These TRUTHS do not fit with the doctrines of man, especially in our current society that sees no possibility of true Holiness, Purity, and the concept that a human could or should say, “If you have seen me, you have seen Jesus Christ.” ...even as Jesus said of His Father!
Paul tells us that we should have the mind of Christ.
1Co 2:16-3: For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart. [Isa. 40:13] However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to non-spiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?
According to these verses, I see very few people, in this generation, with the doctrines that they hold, ever growing up, achieving the ‘Deeper Life’!
What do you believe, truth or error?
Do you try the spirits? Do you know the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of the Word of God? Do you know the heart of God? ...the mind of Christ? Are your influences divine or are you continually feeding at the table of the world, with a double mind (two spirited)?