Fear of God Devotional: The Joy That Flows from Repentance

What is one characteristic of repentance?

Curt Daniels explains in this video that there is a joy that comes after repentance. It is one evidence of true repentance. This joy comes from the fact that God forgives those who truly repent – Acts 3:19 says, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.”  

Though our sins are grievous and many, God can make them as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18 says, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'” 

1 John 1:9 (NKJV) – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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People who Look at Pornography Know This

Worldly pleasures are worthless.

Jonathan Edwards speaks of the fact that the only true pleasure is found in what pleases God, but here he makes it clear that worldly pleasure proves to be worthless:

“Worldly pleasure is in itself but a worthless thing. Men generally have very great expectations from sensual pleasure before their enjoyment, but they almost vanish in the enjoyment, and men that have great expectations from them are always disappointed. They are like shadows and phantoms which vanish as we endeavor to embrace them, and if one doth enjoy them to the full, their nature will allow them to last but a very short time, and after one is a little used to them they are loathed and hated.”

Jonathan Edwards Works, Vol 10 p24

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Fear of God Devotional: What is the Object of Repentance?

What is the object of true repentance?

David Eddy explains in this video that the object of godly sorrow that leads to repentance is the Lord. We recognize a breaking of the relationship that sin and disobedience cause. This creates a godly sorrow, which leads to repentance, which leads to righteousness. In short, repentance is a Godward act. 

This idea can also be seen in the marriage relationship. If you sin against your spouse, a person who truly repents will repent because they desire to reestablish their relationship with their spouse and they hate their sin.  

1 John 3:18 (NKJV) – “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

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Evangelistic Mothers in Fields Ripe Unto Harvest

For mothers of children, the fields are ripe unto harvest – everyday. However, pastors sometimes make moms feel overwhelmed, guilty and even angry when they make broad appeals for more evangelistic fervor. The mothers of young children may be thinking, “Does he know what my life is like? Does he know how many diapers I change, tears I dry, runny noses I wipe, altercations I pacify and meals I serve everyday? Does he know that I can’t even close my eyes for one second during the day?” These moms wonder how they can participate in the newly launched evangelistic program… They feel guilty and overwhelmed!

How do we help mothers to process these appeals for evangelization of the lost?

Following are eight ways that mothers need to grasp in order to consider their role in fulfilling the Great Commission.

First, she must be satisfied with her God given realm of responsibility. 

In the Lord’s sovereign organization of society, communicated in the Bible, He has established various roles, jurisdictions and responsibilities. In terms of her primary realm of service, it is clear from Scripture that mothers are directed by God to focus their energies homeward. She is a “Keeper at home,” (Titus 2:5). “[She] builds her house,” (Prov. 14:1). She is a home despot, who oversees what goes on in the home, (1 Tim. 5:14). This is her realm. 

Therefore, a mother’s chief evangelistic field is, the home. She need not feel guilty about her focus.

Here is Jeremy Walker on exhausted mothers and their callings, writing in his book, “The Brokenhearted Evangelist”:

“Let no exhausted mother, with her hands full of home and children, bruise her soul with the conviction either that she has no way of serving Christ in this way or that she is somehow prevented by her children and her home from doing something worthwhile. Rather, that is the very sphere of her labor. Her mission field is at her feet (and quite possibly under them and in her arms and on her back and currently drawing something indelible on something irreplaceable). Indeed, for her to feel falsely guilty about what she is not doing or to transfer that guilt to her children in resentment and bitterness will only prevent the good that she is called to do as a minister to her children. Consider some of the earlier examples of Augustine, Spurgeon, and Paton, to name but three. We tend to look at those men and think that they are the evangelists, but each of them was first evangelized by his own parents.” 

(“The Brokenhearted Evangelist” – Jeremy Walker p.17).

Women who give their whole hearts to this realm are often undervalued, ignored or even scorned. While her realm of service has been maligned, it is a realm that God has created and has given to her to manage. John MacArthur says it this way,

“To be a mother is by no means second class. Men may have the authority in the home, but the women have the influence. The mother, more than the father, is the one who molds and shapes those little lives from day one.”

(“Successful Christian Parenting” – John MacArthur 1998, p. 194.)

Second, she must understand the meaning of the Great Commission and how a mother fulfills it.

Without question her primary calling is to fulfill the Great Commission in her sphere of responsibility as keeper at home. What is the Great Commission?  Jesus says, “‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matt. 28:18-20).

Third, she must explain the gospel to her children.

She explains what it means to be born again and that family ties cannot save, for we “were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:10-13). She communicates the multifaceted glories of the treasures of the Kingdom of God. She preaches the gospel to them in dozens of ways through her demeanor and speech. She upholds biblical morality. She is faithful to biblical commands for child raising. She reads the Bible to them and helps them to memorize Scripture. She is like Timothy’s grandmother who made sure that, “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). She made sure that there was not a famine of the Word of God in her home (Amos 8:11).

Fourth, she must set herself to make disciples of Jesus.

A keeper at home fulfills the Great Commission by making disciples in the context of her home. She does this, primarily by teaching her children to learn from Jesus Christ. A disciple is a learner. She understands that she has responsibility to communicate the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ and to explain the promises of God in salvation because, “the promise is to you and to your children…” (Acts 2:39).

Fifth, she must teach them to honor and obey.
She explains the Word of God to them, driving it deep into their hearts so that they would not “forsake” their “mother’s teaching” (Prov. 1:8). This instruction is something that is daily fortified through repetition as she seeks to “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord”  and teach them to “honor” father and mother (Eph. 6:1-4). She commands her children to “keep the ways of the Lord” (Gen. 18:19).

Sixth, she must practice hospitality.
God has ordained the home to be a place of hospitality as we see here. “…If she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the feet of the saints, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has followed every good work” (1 Tim. 5:10). This mother “extends her hand to the poor … and needy” (Prov. 31:20). One aspect of this is the power of the dinner table. It is one of the most powerful evangelistic platforms available. Taking meals with the lost, the poor and needy is a critical way a wife can advance the evangelistic mission of the church.

Seventh, she must seek to prepare her children for earth and heaven.

She keeps an eye on the future – on the day she will send them out into the world to work for the glory of God, so that they would, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28). She recognizes her responsibility is to consider the trans-generational work with which she is involved, “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant” (Gen. 17:7). 

She prepares her children for life in two places, life here on earth and in eternity. Every home is a place where children are sent out to fill the world… they must be prepared to go. Home is the place where the preparation is.

“Mothers, then should be thoroughly acquainted with the word that is allotted to them. I speak not of the physical training of the children, nor primarily of their intellectual culture, but of their social, moral, and religious education. A mother’s object and duty is the formation of character. She has not merely to communicate knowledge, but habits. Her special department is to cultivate the heart and regulate the life. Her aim must be not only what here children are to know, but what they are to be and do. She is to look at them as the future members of society, and heads of families of their own, but above all as probationers (candidates) for eternity. This, I repeat, must be taken up as the primary idea, the formation of character for both worlds… A mother should look upon her offspring with this idea; “that child has to live in two worlds and to act a part in both. It is my duty to begin his education for both and to lay in infancy the foundation of his character and happiness for time and eternity too. What ought to be my qualifications and my diligence for such a task? ”

(Theology of the Family, P198-199)

Eighth, she must give her whole heart and the best years of her life for it.

God has designed that a woman has her children during the time of her youthful vigor – generally. That vigor is ordained to be expressed toward her children with laser beam focus and intensity. A mother’s demands upon her and her need to focus on her home is well communicated by Alistair Begg,

“Ladies, [motherhood] is a full-time job. Do not kid yourself that you can be a dental receptionist and a mother; that you can be a typist and a mom; that you can be a Vice President and a mom. One of the two things will win. Now look at your Bible and ask what you have to do.”

(“Biblical Principles for Parenting” – Alistair Begg, Truth for Life podcast) 

Young mothers, particularly carry a very difficult burden. Sleepless nights, diapers, bottles, nursing, sickness, accidents, incidents, discipline, counseling, correcting, meals, cleaning, hospitality… This means they often feel inadequate, overwhelmed or hurt and maybe a little angry.

I have never met a young mother with lots of kids who did not struggle with fatigue and frustration and from time to time, in her lowest moments, wondered how she could be useful to God at all. As she prioritizes her life, she can find solace in an authority greater than her heart or her culture. This authority calls her to focus on her home. Therefore she can be content to be a “keeper at home.”

How mothers are key players in revival.

A mother’s focus is one of the keys to revival. Charles Spurgeon understood the growing pressures to modify family life in his own day and to neglect spiritual life in the home in his article, “The Kind of Revival We Need,” he explained,

We deeply want a revival of family religion. The Christian family was the bulwark of godliness in the days of the puritans, but in these evil times hundreds of families of so-called Christians have no family worship, no restraint upon growing sons, and no wholesome instruction or discipline. How can we hope to see the kingdom of our Lord advance when His own disciples do not teach His gospel to their own children? Oh, Christian men and women, be thorough in what you do and know and teach! Let your families be trained in the fear of God and be yourselves ‘holiness unto the Lord,’ so shall you stand like a rock amid the surging waves of error and ungodliness which rage around us.

(“The Kind of Revival We Need” – Charles Spurgeon)

This kind of mother is “a treasure” (Prov. 31:10).

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Fear of God Devotional: Distinctions Between True and False Repentance

What is the distinction between worldly and true repentance?

Sam Waldron explains in this video that one of the differences between true and false repentance is that those who truly repent sorrow for the sin itself while those who falsely repent only display sorrow for the consequences that stem from sin. 

While true Christians are certainly sorrowful for the consequences of their sin, that sorrow serves a motivation for genuine repentance. If someone’s sorrow for sin never goes beyond a simple fear of its consequences and does not include a hatred of sin itself, that repentance is not genuine.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV) – “ For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 

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Read2018 Webinar – Chris Law

Chris Law and are on a live webinar to discuss the things we read over the past week as we are reading through the Bible. We will be on the line for 20 minutes to give some practical insights for families for the reading from the past week in Exodus and Matthew.

You can view the webinar here.

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Age Integration – How one church made the transition

Several years ago, Carlton McLeod, pastor of Calvary Revival Chesapeake became a family integrated church. They went to the Scriptures to address a pressing problem. The church was losing its children to the world. Carlton will tell you that often, returning to Scripture isn’t easy; it’s just worth it. Here is an audio Message Carlton delivered explaining the church’s journey to age integrated worship and discipleship

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Expect Trials to Multiply

Someone sent me this recently. Charles Spurgeon speaks of the trials and tribulations God’s people experience… especially as they get older and stronger. He says:

“God does not put heavy burdens on weak shoulders. God educates and tests our faith by trials that increase in proportion to our faith. God expects us to do adult work and to endure adult afflictions only after we have reached a mature status in Christ Jesus. Therefore, beloved, expect your trials to multiply as you proceed toward heaven.

Do not think that as you grow in grace your path will become smoother and the sky calmer and clearer. Quite the contrary. As God gives you greater skill as a soldier of the cross, He will send you on more difficult missions. As He more fully equips your ship to sail in storms, He will send you on longer voyages to more boisterous seas, so that you may honor Him and increase in holy confidence.

You would think that in Abraham’s old age – after he had come to the land of Beulah, after the birth of Isaac, and especially after the expulsion of Ishmael – he would have had a time of rest. But “it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham” (Genesis 22:1). Let Abraham’s story warn us to never plan on a rest from trials this side of the grave.

The trumpet still plays the notes of war. You cannot sit down and put the victory wreath on your head. You do not have a crown. You still must wear the helmet and carry the sword. You must watch, pray, and fight. Expect your last battle to be most difficult, for the enemy’s fiercest charge is reserved for the end of the day.”

Beside Still Waters: Words of Comfort for the Soul. C.H. Spurgeon, Edited by Roy H. Clarke, p2

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Fear of God Devotional: Characteristics of False Repentance

What are characteristics of false repentance?

Carlton McCleod explains in this video that it is often difficult to determine whether where a person is demonstrating true or false repentance from one encounter. False repentance springs up quickly and is accompanied by emotion but there is no life to it beyond the moment.

Simply because an individual is emotional and there are tears doesn’t necessarily mean that he is truly repentant. False repentance springs up quickly and is very quickly taken away by worldly concerns. We must walk with people for awhile to fully ascertain whether they are truly repentant. It is easy for someone to apologize for something but later do the same thing later that day. 

1 John 3:9 (NKJV) – “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Why Is the Need for Repentance Sometimes Disregarded?

Why is the need for repentance sometimes disregarded?

Anthony Mathenia explains in this video that many churches in our day ignore the need for reforms primarily because they are more concerned about pleasing people than they are of pleasing God.

We default to self-preservation. Repentance is not always easy. It is much easier to simply do what we have always done. We must be servants of God and do what Scripture requires. 

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 (NKJV) – “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”

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William Perkins on How to Maintain a Good Reputation

Do you have a good reputation? Solomon said that a good reputation was better than “silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1). The apostle Paul said one of the qualifications for deacons is that they must have “a good testimony” (1 Tim. 3:7). So how should we think of our reputations, when Jesus said, “Woe to you when men speak well of you”  (Luke 6:22-26). While it is a blessing to have a good reputation, it is also possible that a good reputation could be a bad thing – a sign of the fear of man. Man-pleasing can get you a good reputation with man, but not with God. The father of the Puritans, William Perkins speaks to these issues in his commentary on Hebrews 11. 

Below are citations from Vol. 3 of The Works of William Perkins, on how a pastor can have a good reputation. In this volume, Perkins is commenting on the phrase in Hebrews 11 and the phrase in verse 2, “elders by faith obtained a good report.”

He writes:

“[H]ere we learn the readiest and surest way to get a good name. A good name is a good gift of God. “It is a precious ointment” (Eccl. 7:3). It is a thing that all men would have. These elders had it, and they have laid us down a platform how to get it. And it is this: first, get into favor with God. Please Him, that is, confess your sins, bewail them, get pardon. Set the promises of God in Christ before you, believe them, apply them to yourself as your own. Be persuaded in your conscience that Christ did all for you and that He has purchased your acceptation with God.”1

First, he speaks of our conscience before God regarding our reputations, and God’s sovereignty in how men speak of us:

“Thus, when you are assured that God approves of you, God can easily give you a comfortable testimony in your own conscience. And He can move the hearts of all men to think well and open their mouths to speak well of you, for He has the hearts of all men in His hand. And therefore, those that are in His favor, He can bend the hearts of all men to approve them.”1

Then, Perkins qualifies and warns of wrong thinking about ones own reputation:

“Yet this must be understood with some cautions:

First, God will not procure His children a good name among all men, for then they should be cursed, for, “Cursed are ye when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). But the Lord means that they shall be accepted and have a good name with the most and with the best. For indeed, a good name (as all other graces of God) cannot be perfect in this life. But they shall have such a good name as in this world shall continue and increase and in the world to come be without all blot, for sin is the disgrace of a man. Therefore, when sin is abolished, [a] good name is perfect.

Secondly, God will not procure all His children a good name, nor always; for a good name is of the same nature with other external gifts of God. Sometimes they are good to a man; sometimes, hurtful. To some men, good; to others, hurtful. Everyone therefore that has true faith may not absolutely assure himself of a good name, but as far forth as God shall see it best for His own glory and his good.

Thirdly, the good name that God will give His children stands not so much in outward commendation and speaking well of a man as in the inward approbation of the consciences of men. They must therefore be content sometimes to be abused, mocked, slandered. And yet notwithstanding, they have a good name in the chief respect; for they whose mouths do abuse and condemn them, their very consciences do approve them. Out of all these the point is manifest that God will procure His children a good name in this world as far forth as it is a blessing and not a curse, and that because they are approved of Him and by faith justified in His sight—for so to be is the only way to get a good name. For in reason it stands thus: that those who are in estimation and good name with the Lord Himself, much more will God make them esteemed and give them a good name with men like themselves. Hence we learn, first, that the common course of the world to get a good name is fond and wicked and to no purpose.”1

He continues later on the next page speaking about the difference between the approval of God and the approval of man:

“First, we must labor to be approved of God, and then after the good name with God follows the good name in the world. He therefore that labors for favor with men and neglects the favor of God, he may get a good name, but it shall prove a rotten name in the end. “The memorial of the just shall be blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot” (Prov. 10:7). The good name of the wicked is rotten: first, because it is loathsome and stinking in the face of God, though it be never so glorious in the world; secondly, because it will not last the wearing out, but in the end vanishes and comes to nothing, unless, as a rotting thing leaves some corruption behind it, so their good name in the end being vanished leaves infamy behind it. And this is the name which commonly is gotten in the world, because men first seek not a good name with God. But that good name which is obtained by faith will stand and continue all a man’s life and at his death leave behind it a sweet perfume and abide forever in the world to come.”1

Finally he closes this chapter with these words of realism about having enemies:

“If you have true faith, you are sure to have enemies. First, the wicked of the world will never brook3 you but openly or privily hate and hurt you. Then the devil is your sworn enemy. How can you deal with so powerful an enemy and all his wicked instruments? Here is sound comfort. If you have faith, you have God [as] your friend. Labor therefore for this true faith and then care not for the devil and all his power. Night and day, sleeping and waking, by land and sea you are safe and secure. The devil cannot hurt you. Your faith makes you accepted of God and brings you within the compass of His protection. That same little spark of faith, which is in so narrow a compass as your heart, is stronger than all the power and malice of Satan. As for the malice which his instruments, wicked men in this world, show against you in mocks and abuses, much less care for them; for their nature is to speak evil and cannot do otherwise. Look not therefore at them, but look up into heaven by the eye of your soul, where your faith makes you beloved and approved of God Himself and honorable in the presence of His holy angels.”1

1. The Works of William Perkins, Reformation Heritage Books, Vol 3 p17-20

The Works of William Perkins is a remarkable and wonderful resource from Reformation Heritage Books. Reformation Heritage is in process of publishing his works… they have finished the first four volumes. Treasures! The first four volumes of his works, (his exegetical works), are available on special offer ($130).

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Fear of God Devotional: Do You Apologize or Repent?

What is the distinction between a mere apology and true biblical repentance?

Rob Ventura explains in this video that a mere apology conveys how a person feels, that they feel bad for what they did. Instead of apologizing, they need to repent. 

This involves explaining that they have sinned against that person and ask for the other person’s forgiveness. Repentance involves an understanding that you have sinned against another person. 

James 5:16 (NKJV) – “Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

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Trials Are the Looking Glass Showing Our Faults

Thomas Brooks helps us see how trials refine us:

“By trials, God reveals much of a man’s sinful self to his pious self. When the fire is put under the pot, then the scum appears. So when God tries a poor soul, Oh! how does… 

– the scum of pride
– the scum of murmuring
– the scum of distrust
– the scum of impatience
– the scum of worldliness
– the scum of carnality
– the scum of foolishness
– the scum of willfulness

—reveal itself in the heart of the poor creature? 

Trials are God’s looking glass, in which His people see their own faults. Oh! that looseness, that vileness, that wretchedness, that sink of filthiness, that gulf of wickedness, which trials show to be in their hearts! “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” (Isa 48:10).

From Thomas Brooks, The Mute Christian under the Smarting Rod, Chapel Library, http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/8914/0171/9774/mcut.pdf

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Fear of God Devotional: Repentance and Faith Are Two Sides of the Same Coin

How are faith and repentance related?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that there must be repentance towards God and faith in Christ. They are distinct but they are inseparable. Repentance is a turning from while faith is a turning to God. There is a very close relationship between the two.

We should think of them as being two sides of the same coin. Repentance is a turning from something while faith is a turning to something. 

Acts 20:20-21 (NKJV) – “ I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

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Fear of God Devotional: Repentance in the Life of a Pastor

What does repentance look like in the life of a pastor?

Paul Carrington explains in this video that a repentant pastor examines his life by the Word of God. He understands that if he is going to preach to his congregation, he must be willing to humble himself and repent of sin in his life.  

Repentance involves humility. Elders need to be willing to repent and ask for forgiveness. He shares how he has seen examples of this in the church he attends.

Acts 20:28 (NKJV) – “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[a] which He purchased with His own blood.”

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