Sunday, November 27, 2016

Of Prayer Part One
by John Calvin Translated by Henry Beveridge - 1845
Prefaced and Edited by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades


It behooves us to continually have communication with our Father. It is not, as some might suggest to be a waste of time as He already knows our needs and will gladly provide them for us. Nay, it is because He wants to be in commune with us, not for His sake but for ours. It is for our joy, and to be as He is, and as such to emulate the Father, one must speak with Him.

Likewise when we pray, we demonstrate our trust in Him. To know that they will indeed be answered, and said answer will be the best decision for us. Remember that the expectation of answered prayer is all we ask of Him. His answers will be forthcoming, perhaps immediately, perhaps later onward, but they will be answered. Such is the nature of our Father who wishes us to seek Him, in all things, and in all things seek Him in prayer. - Dr. Riktor Von Zhades - Disciple in the service of our Lord, Christ Jesus.

[In every era throughout history], we can clearly see how completely destitute man is of all good, how devoid of every means of procuring his own salvation. Hence, if he would obtain succour in his necessity, he must go beyond himself, and procure it in some other quarter. It has farther been shown that the Lord kindly and spontaneously manifests himself in Christ, in whom he offers all happiness for our misery, all abundance for our want, opening up the treasures of heaven to us, so that we may turn with full faith to his beloved Son, depend upon him with full expectation, rest in him, and cleave to him with full hope. This, indeed, is that secret and hidden philosophy which cannot be learned by syllogisms: a philosophy thoroughly understood by those whose eyes God has so opened as to see light in his light (Read Psalm 36:9). But after we have learned by faith to know that whatever is necessary for us or defective in us is supplied in God and in our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, that we may thence draw as from an inexhaustible fountain, it remains for us to seek and in prayer implore of him what we have learned to be in him. To know God as the sovereign disposer of all good, inviting us to present our requests, and yet not to approach or ask of him, were so far from availing us, that it were just as if one told of a treasure were to allow it to remain buried in the ground [Read Matthew 13:43-45]. Hence the Apostle, to show that a faith unaccompanied with prayer to God cannot be genuine, states this to be the order: As faith springs from the Gospel, so by faith our hearts are framed to call upon the name of God (Read Romans 10:14). And this is the very thing which he had expressed some time before, viz., that the Spirit of adoption, which seals the testimony of the Gospel on our hearts, gives us courage to make our requests known unto God, calls forth groanings which cannot be uttered, and enables us to cry, Abba, Father (Read Romans 8:26).

To prayer, then, are we indebted for penetrating to those riches which are treasured up for us with our heavenly Father, [ Read Matthew 6:19-21]. For there is a kind of intercourse between God and men, by which, having entered the upper sanctuary1, they appear before Him and appeal to his promises, that when necessity requires they may learn by experiences that what they believed merely on the authority of his word was not in vain. Accordingly, we see that nothing is set before us as an object of expectation from the Lord which we are not enjoined to ask of Him in prayer, so true it is that prayer digs up those treasures which the Gospel of our Lord discovers to the eye of faith. The necessity and utility of this exercise of prayer no words can sufficiently express. Assuredly it is not without cause our heavenly Father declares that our only safety is in calling upon his name, since by it we invoke the presence of his providence to watch over our interests, of his power to sustain us when weak and almost fainting, of his goodness to receive us into favour, though miserably loaded with sin; in fine, call upon him to manifest himself to us in all his perfections. Hence, admirable peace and tranquillity are given to our consciences; for the straits by which we were pressed being laid before the Lord, we rest fully satisfied with the assurance that none of our evils are unknown to him, and that he is both able and willing to make the best provision for us.

1 Editor’s thought - That we may now enter into the holy of holies without the need of a priest to speak on our behalf, for we already have a high priest, that has sacrificed Himself on our behalf, and as such has declared us to be righteous to the Father, by that sacrifice. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:15-16

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Time For Thanksgiving
by Samuel Logan Brengle (1860-1936)
Edited & Prefaced by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades

A brief comment to the preface this morning. In all things whether good or bad remain steadfast in your confession of Him. For He that brought you through each event is faithful to continue to do it. His love for you extends beyond your wildest imaginations. Therefore seek to give thanks at all times.

Additionally, this sermon as you shall read below is based on verses from Psalms and 1 Thessalonians. It is herein suggested that you also consider in your meditations upon today’s sermon that you read Matthew 6:25-34 - Dr. Riktor Von Zhades - Humble Servant of Christ

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." - Psalm 100:4

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

As lilies of the valley pour forth perfume, so good hearts pour forth thanksgiving. No mercy is too small to provoke it, no trial too severe to restrain it. As Samson got honey from the carcass of the lion he slew, and as Moses got water from the flinty rock, so the pure in heart are possessed of a sort of heavenly alchemy, a divine secret by which they get blessing out of all things, and for which there is giving of thanks.

A jubilant old saint in Boston came down to hoary hairs in deepest poverty and had to live on the charity of such friends as God raised up, and He raised them up. Bless His name! He who fed Elijah in the wilderness by the brook and in the poverty-stricken home of the desolate widow, found a way to feed His child in Boston. God is not blind, nor deaf, nor indifferent, nor indigent[Read 1 Peter 5:7]. He is not "the silent God" that some people in their self-conceit and wayward unbelief suppose. He knows how to be silent, and how to hide Himself from the proud in heart. But He cannot hide Himself anywhere in His big universe from childlike faith and pure, obedient, long-suffering, patient love. Hallelujah!

This old saint believed, obeyed and rejoiced in God, and He raised up friends to supply her needs. Now, one day one of them went upstairs with a dinner for the old lady, and as she came to the door, she heard a voice within, and thinking there was a visitor present, and delicately wishing that her charity should not be a cause of embarrassment, she stopped and listened. It was the voice of the old Christian at her table, and she was saying, "O Father, I do thank Thee with all my heart for Jesus and this crust!"

I heard of a rich man the other day who killed himself because he feared he might become poor. He was poor. Jesus said, "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth," and no more does a man's real riches, but rather in the spirit with which he possesses them.

Heaven is not parceled off into lots and estates. The angels own nothing and yet they possess all things and are eternally rich. And so with the true saint that trusts God and loves and obeys and is thankful.

The stars in their courses fight for him. He is now in harmony with the elemental and heavenly forces and the eternal laws of the universe of God, and all things work together for his good[ Read Psalm 34:9-10]. Not a hair of his head falls without God's notice. Not a desire rises in his heart but God's great heart throbs responsive to fulfil it, for does not the Psalmist say, "He will fulfil the desires of them that fear Him"? Not simply the fervent prayer, but the timid, secret desire that has not been voiced in prayer, shall be fulfilled. And how dare God do that? Because a holy fear will not allow a desire that is not in harmony with God's character and the interests of His Kingdom.

Napoleon gave blank checks on his bank to one of his marshals. One complained to the Emperor that the drafts made were enormous and should not be allowed. "Let him alone; he trusts and honors me, and I will trust him," said Napoleon. God puts all things at the command of His saints, and trusts them while He asks them to trust Him. Why, then, should we not be thankful?

Nothing will keep the heart so young and banish carking care so quickly, and smooth the wrinkles from the brow so certainly, and fill the life with such beauty, and make one's influence so fragrant and gracious, and shed abroad such peace and gladness, as this sweet spirit of thankfulness.

This spirit can and should be cultivated. There is much in the lot of each of us to be thankful for. We should thank him for personal liberty, and for the measure of health we have. There is a good old soul up the Hudson who for thirty years or thereabout has been lying in bed, while her bones have softened, and she is utterly helpless and always in pain, but she praises and praises and praises God.

We should thank Him that we are not insane, that our poor minds are not unbalanced and rent and torn by horrid nightmares and dreads and nameless terrors and deep despair and wild and restless ravings. We should thank Him for the light and blessings of civilization, past mercies, present comforts and future prospects, food, with the appetite to eat it, and the power to digest it, raiment to wear, books to read, the Church, The Salvation Army, the open Bible, the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, the glorious possibility of escape from the penalty and the power, the consequences and the character of sin, for home and friends, and heaven bending over all, with God's sweet invitation, "Come !" Truly we have much to thank God for, but if we would be thankful, we must set our hearts to do it with a will. We grumble and complain without thought, but we must think to give thanks. To murmur and repine is natural1, to give thanks to really give thanks is supernatural, is gracious, is a spirit not earth-born, but comes down from God out of heaven, and yet, like all things from God, it can be cultivated.

Know this, that if you are not thankful your heart is yet bad, your soul unclean, for good hearts and pure souls are thankful. So go to the root of the matter and get rid of sin and get filled with the Holy Spirit. Flee to Jesus for riddance from the unholy spirit, and the subtle selfishness that possesses you. And when this change has taken place the joy of Jesus will be poured into the heart, and praise will well up and bubble forth in thanksgiving as an unfailing fountain of sweet waters, filling it with joy, and earth, your little corner of earth, with peace, and gladdening all who see and hear. But if that change has not fully taken place in you, do not withhold the praise that is God's due, but think of His loving kindness and tender and multiplied mercies, and begin to thank Him now, and your very giving of thanks will help to hasten the change. Begin now! Praise the Lord!

1 Editor’s thought - When we do so, we see the world and our circumstances through the eyes of the flesh. However the eyes of the spirit see them in the spiritual realm and as such are not troubled. As spoken by our Savior “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” - John 16:33

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Blameless, but not Faultless
An Excerpt from the The New Testament Holiness Ed. 1902
by Thomas Cook
Edited & Prefaced by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades


While this particular sermon does not cite a specific scripture upon which it is based, it can be put forth herein that the Book of Leviticus Chapter 19 verse 2, can be used in this preface as a scriptural reference.

“Speak unto all the Congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy”

Therefore friends, let us seek to emulate our Creator, acting upon holiness, as to the best of our ability. Take heed that we do not use it as license to lord over others, but as an inspiration to those that are in need of hearing the Gospel of Christ. [Read 1 Peter 2:9, 16]

Additionally walking in this holiness is by extension, also walking in the love of Christ. Always remember the words of our Savior as found in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 22 verses 34-40, when queried by the scribes as to which commandment was the greatest of all.

“34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

So now, please find below the Sunday Sermon as written by Thomas Cook. It is hoped that it will serve as a good word to the reader. - Dr. Riktor Von Zhades - A humble servant of our Savior Christ Jesus
C. H. Spurgeon once wrote as follows: "There is a point of grace as much above the ordinary Christian as the ordinary Christian is above the world." Of such he says: "Their place is with the eagle in his eyrie, high aloft. They are rejoicing Christians, holy and devout men doing service for the Master all over the world, and everywhere conquerors through Him that loved them." The experience to which Mr. Spurgeon refers has been described as the higher life, entire sanctification, Christian perfection, perfect love, the rest of faith, and by numerous other names or terms. Modes of expression have been selected by various Christians which have best coincided with their theological views. There may be shades of difference in their import, but, generally speaking, the terms mean one and the same thing. We do not contend for names. It is immaterial which expressions are employed; the main point is, do we possess the experience designated by these terms, and which is recognized and professed by Christians representing all our Churches? A profound and widespread interest has been awakened in this subject, and one of the most hopeful signs of the times is the obvious endeavor which is being made by teachers of various schools of thought to preserve the "unity of the spirit,"and harmonize any conflicting view which may remain.

When used in a general sense, the word "holiness" includes whatever is connected with Christian life and character. Thus interpreted, it may be applied to any and all stages of religious life and development. But the term is used in a more definite sense to describe an experience distinct from justification -- a sort of supplemental conversion, in which there is eliminated from the soul all the sinful elements which do not belong to it, everything antagonistic to the elements of holiness implanted in regeneration. It includes the full cleansing of the soul from inbred sin, so that it becomes pure or free from sinful tendency. Says Thomas Carlyle: "Holy in the German language, Heilig, also means healthy; our English word whole, all of one piece, without any hole in it, is the same word. You could not get any better definition of what holy really is than healthy, completely healthy." We do not say that this definition embraces all that we mean by holiness [for] it does not. The experience includes also the gracious endowment of perfect love, and the abiding fullness of the Holy Spirit. To explain more in detail in what sense the Scriptures teach this to be a present duty and privilege and to meet the difficulties of those who really and honestly desire to understand the doctrine, is our purpose in these pages. To hit a mark we must know where it is. We walk faster when we see plain, definite steps. We must know what we want, and seek that. Unless we can separate the experience from its accidental surroundings, confusion is sure to follow. We may not be able to understand the doctrine in all its relations and bearings, but we need to have before our minds some distinct point of attainment. Just as the pressing of men to an immediate and definite point of conversion produces immediate and definite results, so it is with Christians. When a definite point is presented as immediately attainable, distinct and definite experiences follow. Prayer is no more at random. The blind man cried for "mercy," but "mercy" was too general a prayer. Jesus wanted to know what special kind of mercy the man desired. When he asked for mercy which took the form of the gift of sight, that special bestowal was granted.

It will help us to understand what holiness is if we mention a few things which are often mistaken for it. It is told in the life of Tauler that a layman, rich in the grace of God, who had heard him preach, asked him, "Sir, I beg you for God's sake to preach us a sermon showing us how a man may attain to the highest and utmost point it is given to us to reach in this present time." Tauler's discourse giving his answer was in twenty-four divisions. All who seek the highest degree of holiness feel that there must be limitations. To be holy is to be, blameless, but not faultless.

Grace does not make men infallible. Sin has so perverted our moral and spiritual powers, that we shall never in this present life be free from infirmities of human nature. Whatever our experience of the grace of God may be, the liability to error will cling to us until this mortal puts on immortality. Infirmities have their ground in our physical nature, aggravated by intellectual deficiencies. They are the outflow of our imperfect moral organization-the scars of sin which remain after the wound has been healed. Smallpox may be healed, but it leaves its mark. A cut limb may be cured, but the scar remains for ever. The pitcher of our human nature, which was broken when Adam fell, may be put together again, but it will never have the true ring it had before it was broken. To regain that it must be handed over to the Potter to be ground to powder and entirely reconstructed. Then, when death has reduced us to dust, and the Divine Potter has re made us, body as well as soul, we shall be "presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy;" but "until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," all we can hope for is to be
preserved without blame.

Before his fall Adam was complete in his mental structure1, in the enthronement of his moral sense, and in the harmony and balance of all his faculties. He could reason rightly and always judge correctly, and therefore was adapted to the law of perfect obedience. He might be without fault, and because he might be was required to be so. But through lack of knowledge, defective memory, a fallible judgment, slowness of understanding, and numerous other infirmities, we are as liable to err as it is natural for us to breathe; and every error is a breach of the perfect law which allows no deviation from perfect rectitude. It is because it is impossible for us to keep the old Adamic law -- the law of innocence, or the Paradisaical law, as it is called -- of which every mistake and infirmity is a breach, that we are placed under another law -- the law of the second Adam, the Lord from heaven. This law is graciously adapted to our diminished moral and intellectual capacity, dwarfed and crippled as it is by original and actual sin. "Love is the fulfilling of the law." "Fulfil ye the law of Christ, the perfect law of liberty." The only perfection possible on earth is a perfection of love; of motive, [or] of intention. [Read 1 Corinthians 13:1] Perfect love is not always successful achievement; it is childlike purpose, a sincere aim in all we do to please God.

The world often blames His people when He does not. Those around us look at outward appearances; God looks at the heart. They see what we do; He sees why we do it. What a mercy it is He did not command us to walk before the world and be perfect! Walk before Me is the command; and all who love Him with a perfect heart, and thus know "truth in the inward parts," are accepted of Him as fulfilling the law.

1 Editor’s thought - Adam was indeed God’s ultimate creation, because he was complete in the holiness given him as he was made in the image of our Creator. - Dr. RVZ