The fear of the Lord is his treasure. (Isaiah 33:6)
“The fear of the Lord is his treasure.” And, oh, what a treasure is this fear! Treasure in ancient times was generally hidden; it was concealed from the eye of man, hoarded up, and not brought out ostentatiously to view. Wealthy men of old hid the knowledge of their treasures, lest they should be robbed of them by the hand of violence.
So spiritually, the fear of the Lord is hidden in the heart, and lies deep in the soul; it is not spread out ostentatiously to view, but is buried out of sight in a man’s conscience. But though hidden from others, and sometimes even from ourselves, this “fear of the Lord” will act as circumstances draw it forth. There may be times and seasons when we seem almost hardened and conscience-seared; sin appears to have such power over us, and evil thoughts and desires so carry us away, that we cannot trace one atom of godly fear within; and the soul cries, “What will become of me! Where am I going now! What will come next on such a wretch as I feel myself to be!”
But place him in such circumstances, say, as befell Joseph, then he will find that the “fear of the Lord” is in him a fountain of life, a holy principle springing up in his soul. Thus, this fear, which is a part of the heavenly treasure, acts when most needed. And the more the life of God is felt in the soul, the more the fear of God flows forth as a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death. The more lively the grace of God is in the soul, the more lively will godly fear be in the heart; and the more the Spirit of God works with power in the conscience, the deeper will be the fear of God in the soul.
– J.C Philpot
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)
Look, therefore, always for Christ in the Scripture. He is the treasure hid in the field, both of the Old and New Testament . . . Have Christ, then, always in view, when you are reading the Word of God, and this, like the star in the east, will guide you to the Messiah, will serve as a key to everything that is obscure, and unlock to you the wisdom and riches of all the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
– George Whitefield
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
In the natural realm, the more we grow up — the more independent we become. When we were infants we depended on our parents to feed us, clothe us and change our soiled diapers. But soon we were able to eat on our own, change our own clothes and clean ourselves without their help. When we are come to full age we are then said to be self-dependent or self-reliant. We work and provide for our own needs as well as for the needs of our children.
Now consider that the opposite is true concerning spiritual maturity. The more we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, the more dependent upon God we become (Proverbs 3:5). The more mature we become, the more we are able to see the vileness of our nature and the deceptive nature of our own heart. We are made to feel and know our proneness to all sorts of sin and uncleanness (Isaiah 51:1; Romans 7:18-25; Philippians 3:8-11; Job 40:4).
Therefore, we are made to cling more tightly to Christ. We are made to labor to enter into the rest of Christ’s one perfect offering for sin. We are made to trust in God’s promises, power, and providence when all of life seems to be contrary to His word. Spiritual maturity is not less dependence on Christ but more dependence upon the Salvation of God. As believers spiritually grow up, our faith in Christ, our hope that is by Christ and our love for Christ also grow. And all the while, our confidence in — and dependence upon — the flesh decreases (Philippians 3:3).
The children of God live by faith. Thus they began and thus they are to end. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Their whole life is a life of faith. Their daily actions are all of faith. This forms one of the main elements of their character. It marks them out as a peculiar people. None live as they do. Their faith is to them “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
It is a sort of Substitute for sight and possession. It so brings them into contact with the unseen world that they feel as if they were already conversant with, and living among, the things unseen. It makes the future, the distant, the (untouchable), appear as the present, the near, the real.
Such is the power of faith. It throws back into the far distance the things of earth, the things that men call near and real; and it brings forward into vital contact with the soul the things which men call invisible and distant. It discloses to us the heavenly mansions, their passing splendor, their glorious purity, their blessed peace. It shows us the happy courts, the harmonious company, the adoring multitudes. It opens our ears also, so that when beholding these great sights we seem to hear the heavenly melody and to catch the very words of the new song they sing, “Thou art worthy . . . for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
(Faith), moreover, points our eye forward to what is yet to come: the coming of the Lord, the judgment of the great day, the restitution of all things, the kingdom that cannot be moved, the city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is GOD. While thus it gives to things invisible a body and a form which before they possessed not in our eyes, on the other hand, it divests things visible of that semblance of excellence and reality with which they were formerly clothed. It strips the world of its false but bewildering glow, and enables us to penetrate the thin disguise that hides its poverty and meanness.
It not only sweeps away the cloud which hung above us, obstructing our view of heavenly excellence, but it places that cloud beneath us to counteract the (false) brightness and unreal beauty which the world has thrown over itself to mask its inward deformity. Thus it is that faith enables us to realize our true position of pilgrims and strangers upon earth, looking for the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is GOD.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
There is nothing on this earth more fearful than the carnal security of religion without Christ. Let us bring our faith to the Word of God and examine it. May it please God to search our hearts and let us see if we have the faith of God’s elect (2 Pet. 1:10; Ps. 139:23-24).
If our faith is the faith of God’s elect, if it is sound, if it is a God given faith, examination will only strengthen it, and cause us to cling more firmly to Christ. If our faith is false, examination may expose it. If we have built for ourselves a refuge of lies, in which we are trying to hide from God, may he graciously destroy our false refuge and hide us in Christ by his almighty grace.
- Don Fortner, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church of Danville, KY USA
“And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” (Revelation 10:10)
True religion is not a burdensome, painful, melancholy, wearisome, and toilsome task or employment as many think. It has indeed its trials, temptations, afflictions, cutting griefs, and depressing sorrows; but it has its sweetness, its peace, its delights, and its enjoyments. And it is the sweetness that we feel, the enjoyment that we have, and the delighting ourselves in the things of God, which hold our head up and encourage us still to persevere and travel on through the wilderness.
It is not all bondage, nor distress of mind, nor sorrow of heart, nor perplexity of soul which the heirs of promise feel. There are sips and tastes, drops and crumbs, and momentary enjoyments, if not long nor lasting, yet sweet when they come, sweet while they last, and sweet in the recollection when they are gone. The Lord gives that which encourages, strengthens, comforts, and delights, and enables us to see that there is that beauty, blessedness, and glory in him which we have tasted, felt, and handled, and which we would not part with for a thousand worlds.
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
All who are called of the Holy Spirit to life and faith in Christ have this testimony. We gladly suffer the afflictions of the gospel, for He has saved us and called us. We who have believed on Christ are not ashamed of this gospel we preach; the gospel of God’s Free Salvation in Christ and the gospel of God’s Sovereign election, the gospel of Jesus’s perfect successful redemption; the gospel of the irresistible calling of the Holy Spirit, who also keeps us in the faith to the end. We declare this gospel even though it is hated by the world and despised by this religious generation of work mongers. And even though the great whore of free-will works religion seems to over shadow us, we will not fear for God, who purposed our salvation has also purposed their destruction.
Therefore we are not ashamed. For we know whom we have believed. This religious generation is trusting in what they believe, as though truth is subject to man’s opinion, or based on the circumstances, and the whims of man’s thoughts or feelings. So then the gospel we believe is not what you know but Whom you know. We know whom we have believe. That is, we know Jesus Christ, even because the Spirit of God has revealed Him (John 15:26). We know that He is the Eternal Son of God made flesh (John 1:1-3). We know Him who alone has fulfilled all the law of God and obtained eternal righteousness for all of God’s elect (Hebrews 9:12). We know Him who died upon the cross as God made Him to be sin for us. We know Him who did no sin nor knew no sin even when our sins were imputed to Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). We know Him who rose from the dead and who is seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3;Romans 4:25). We know Him who alone was victorious over our sin, death and Satan (Hebrews 10:14; Romans 6:9; Revelation 20:1-3). And Jesus is now actively engaged in moving all things in time and providence to save His people through the means of preaching the gospel (Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:21).
And because He has called us to life and faith, we know that we are the sons of God; and if sons, then heirs of God and joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:16-17). And even though in this body we suffer all kinds of afflictions, griefs and sorrows, Christ is sovereign and rules all things for our good (Romans 8:28). Even though we still have this old fleshly nature and are prone to any sin, yet we know Jesus who loved us and gave himself for us and that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Romans 7:18:24-25; Hebrews 13:5).
Do you know whom you have believed or are you trusting in what you have believed? Forsake all your thoughts and works and look by faith to Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal.
– Fred Evans
“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:29-31)
If we were blind, and reduced to desire a person to lead us, and should yet pretend to dispute with him, and direct him at every step, we should probably soon weary him, and provoke him to leave us to find the way by ourselves if we could. But our gracious Lord is long-suffering and full of compassion: he bears with our forwardness, yet he will take methods both to shame and to humble us, and bring us to a confession that he is wiser than we. The great and unexpected benefit he intends for us, by all the discipline we meet with, is to tread down our wills, and bring them into subjection to his. So far as we attain to this, we are out of the reach of disappointment: for when the will of God can please us, we shall be pleased every day, and from morning to night; I mean, with respect to his dispensations.
O the happiness of such a life! I have an idea of it: I hope I am aiming at it; but surely I have not attained it. Self is active in my heart, if it does not absolutely reign there, I profess to believe that one thing is needful and sufficient, and yet my thoughts are prone to wander after a hundred more. If it be true, that the light of his countenance is better than life, why am I so solicitous about anything else? If he be all-sufficient, and gives me liberty to call him mine, why go I a begging to creatures for help? If he be about my path and bed; if the smallest as well as the greatest, events in which I am concerned are under his immediate direction; if the very hairs of my head are numbered; then my care (any further than a care to walk in the paths of his precepts, and to follow the openings of his providence) must be useless and needless, yea sinful and heathenish, burdensome to myself and dishonorable to my profession.
– John Newton
If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth. (Jeremiah 15:19b)
If God’s preachers are called by Christ to preach the gospel then we must be faithful to our work. We must be vigilant and bold witnesses of God no matter the generation in which we live. Paul charged Timothy as well as everyone that God calls to this vocation: Preach the Word! Be instant in season and out of season; reprove rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering (2 Timothy 4:2). This matter of preaching the word of God is no light thing, for all who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ are as the mouth of God to all that hear us. And as such our gospel is always successful, because it always accomplishes the purpose of God, either to save sinners or to further harden the wicked hearts of men (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Isaiah 55:11; Romans 9:17).
Therefore, we who are called to preach, being the mouth of God to this generation, must execute our work correctly and follow God’s ordained method: Preach the Word! Not debate it, not suggest the word but to simply declare it! When God spoke to Jeremiah in that pit of despair He said “If thou separate the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth.” This is what it is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is to separate the precious from the vile. Those things that are precious are rare and valuable. While those things vile are common and filthy. So then, we must in our preaching separate the precious gospel from the vile gospel. We must proclaim that precious gospel of God’s Sovereign election (Ephesians 1:3-5). We must preach the total depravity of man. That no man can by work or will every merit God’s salvation (Romans 3:10-20; Galatians 2:16; John 6:44). We must declare that the precious blood of Christ has obtained eternal redemption for all those the Father had given to Him (John 6:37-40; Hebrews 9:12; 10:14). We must preach that precious gospel of
regeneration by which the Holy Spirit quickens the dead sinner to life. We must separate that precious doctrine of the Holy Spirit that keeps us in the faith until the end (John 3:7-8; John 17:2; Galatians 4:6; 1 Peter 1:5).
So then, when we declare the precious gospel of God, we are then calling all other gospels that oppose it to be vile and worthless to the souls of men. Paul says that there is one gospel and all others are accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
Therefore, we oppose that vile doctrine of conditional election, in which the false god of this generation chooses men based on what he saw that they would do (Ezekiel 36:22-23; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Romans 9:11-16; 11; 5-6). We condemn any doctrine that says man is capable by his free will to choose or reject the Salvation of God (John 6:44; Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 2:13). We cast off that vile doctrine of universal atonement because his blood actually redeemed no one except men allow it (Matthew 1:21; Daniel 9:24). We must oppose that vile doctrine of the resistible call of the Holy Spirit. That vile message that says the Holy Spirit is trying to save men but must submit to their will (John 1:12-13; Romans 9:18-21).
So then all who preach the Total Depravity of man, The Sovereign Free Grace of God in Election, The successful Redemption of Jesus Christ to Save His people from their Sins; the irresistible Calling of the Holy Spirit in quickening dead sinners to life, then we are separating the precious from the vile. And all who oppose us and our message oppose the Mouth of God! This precious gospel is what sinners greatly need and will freely believe.
– Fred Evans
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Psalms 62:8)
Believer when are you to trust the Lord? Are we to trust Him only when all is well and doubt Him when all is dark? Are we to trust Him only when we understand what He is doing but when all is unclear are we to lean on our own wisdom or knowledge? Are we to trust Christ only when our love is strong but when grace is low in exercise and our love is at its weakest are we to lean on the arm of flesh?
No! The believer in Christ is to trust Christ at ALL TIMES! Trust the Lord in prosperity and poverty. Trust the Lord with understanding and especially when our knowledge fails. Trust Christ when our faith is low and times are darkest.
So then, believer, how much are we to trust Him?
Is this trust in Christ at any time to be partial or cooperative? Are you to trust Christ only when it aligns with your reason or wisdom? Are you to trust Him so long as it is logical?
No! “Trust the Lord with ALL THINE HEART and Lean NOT unto your understanding!” (Proverbs 3:5). You do not need to understand but to trust Him completely for His Grace! Our understanding is at best only through a glass darkly and our way is full of sin and misery. Therefore when our faith is weak, our love is low, and the way is dark let us trust Christ who Loved us and gave Himself for us.
What is it to trust the Lord? It is to “Acknowledge Him in all thy ways” (Proverbs 3:6). Acknowledge God as He has revealed Himself in His word by faith. In Faith Acknowledge the truth that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). Acknowledge His deity and Sovereignty (Isa. 46:9-10). Acknowledge His gospel of sovereign election by Grace and the perfect redemption of Jesus Christ by His blood (Rom.9:11-13; Heb. 10:14). Acknowledge His Holy Spirit who has quickened us and keeps us trusting in Jesus Christ until He comes again and receives us unto Himself (John 3:8; 1 Peter 1:5).
When do you trust the Lord? At all times! How much are to trust Him? With ALL THINE heart! What is it to trust Him? It is to believe on Jesus Christ alone as all our hope and salvation!
And this is always the result: “. . . He Shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 5:6b). All thy paths, all thy ways are in the hands of the Lord who chose you, redeemed you, called you and keeps you. You can never go wrong trusting Christ too much or too often!