The Wells of Salvation

December 28, 2010 at 10:51 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

There is forgiveness with the Lord Jesus. No matter what the trouble, this truth brings comfort to saints. You know how a cool spring is welcomed in a parched desert. And when you recall what sweet refreshment you have had from God’s wells of salvation you will cry out with David: “I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me” (Psalm 119:93). It is no surprise that Satan tries to stop your well of comfort; but it is more than tragic if he can persuade you to do it yourself.

AS the veins in the body have arteries to bring them life, so precepts in the Word have promises to encourage and empower Christians to perform their vows to God. Is there a command to pray? There is also a promise: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). Does God ask for your heart? The promise says, “A new heart also will I give you” (Ezekiel 36:26). Does He require us to crucify the flesh? Not without His promise: “Sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14). But to make this promise serve your need, you must humbly and boldly press it believingly at the throne of grace. What the precept commands, the prayer of faith begs and receives. In other words, first conquer heaven and then you do not need to fear overcoming hell.

Do not forget – you are warring at God’s expense, not your own. David was a military man who could handle one enemy as well as another, but he dared not promise himself success until he had heard from God: “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133). But if you have decided to steal victory in your own strength, expect an overthrow. It will be a mercy, for defeat will bring humility with it but victory will only increase your pride in your own strength. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, December 28. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994

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Knowledge of the Word of Christ

December 14, 2010 at 10:03 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Do not be led away with the error of the wicked but “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

Light is the chariot which carries the influence of the sun. So the knowledge of Christ brings with it the influences of His grace into the heart. And how did Peter expect people to grow in the knowledge of Christ unless they read Scripture, the only book where it can be found? How wrong for teachers to want the people to learn this knowledge solely from their preaching, and not from the Bible! How can a congregation be sure they are hearing truth unless they have Scripture, the only touchstone to try the purity of the doctrine? God Himself directs His Word not to any one honored group – not to a select few – but to every man (Romans 1:7; 2 Corinthians 1:1). Why are laws made if they cannot be declared? And why was Scripture ever written if not to be read and known of all men? By the same authority with which the apostle wrote his epistles, he commanded them to be read in the church. Did ministers of the early church hide God Word from the people instead of encouraging them to hide it in their own heart?

It is true that some men do wrest Scripture to their own destruction, just as occasionally somebody chokes on a piece of bread if he is not careful when he eats. But must everyone starve for fear of getting choked? Some hurt themselves with sharp weapons; must the whole army then be disarmed, and only a few officers be allowed to wear the sword? If this argument were enough to seal up the Bible, we must deny it to intellectuals as well as to common men; for it is a known fact that the grossest heresies have bred in the finest minds. Whenever proud men insist on being wiser than God, their foolish minds get darker and darker until they become so accustomed to the blackness that they can no longer see His sovereignty. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, December 13. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994.

Hold On to the Power of God

December 7, 2010 at 10:22 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Hold On to the Power of God

Wisdom from William Gurnall

You have seen God bare His arm to help you. So unless you think He has lost the strength or use of it, hope still has an object to act upon, to lift your head above the water. No person ever drowns in despair unless he loses his hold on the power of God.

Another way to let God rescue you from despair is to remember how often He has proved your unbelief to be a false prophet. Has He not knocked at our door with inward comfort and outward deliverance after you had already put out the candle of hope and given up looking for Him? He came to Hezekiah after he had concluded that his case was beyond hope and help (Isaiah 38:10-11). Have you ever been left alone with fear as if an everlasting night had come and there would never be another morning? Yet even then God proved those despairing thoughts all liars by an unlooked-for surprise of sweet mercy which He crept in and gently brought to you. Why then are you frightened again and again by your distrustful thoughts, which God has so often proved liars? Stop feeding your hopes on the corpses of slain fears!

Remember too how even when you have been impatient and despairing in your afflictions, nevertheless God’s mercy has been at work all the while to deliver you from them. David is an instance of this: “I said in my haste, All men are liars. What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? (Psalm 116:11-12); “I said in my haste, I am cut off from before Thine eyes: nevertheless Thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto Thee” (Psalm 31:22). He was saying, “I prayed with so little faith that I unsprayed my own prayer! I assumed my dilemma was hopeless but God forgave my hasty spirit and gave me the mercy which I had hardly any faith to expect.” And with his experience, David raises every saint’s troubled hope: “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24). – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, December 1. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994.

Ask God for a Stronger Hope

November 30, 2010 at 9:55 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13). God is the God of hope; not only of the first seed but also of the whole growth and harvest of it in us. He does not give a saint the first grace of conversion and then leave the completion of it wholly to his human skill.

Be sure you humbly acknowledge God by constantly waiting on Him for your spiritual growth. “The young lions” are said to “seek their meat from God” (Psalm 104:21). God has taught them to express their wants when they are hungry; and by this they have learned that their Maker is also their Supplier. At first a baby expresses his needs only by crying’ but as soon as he knows who his mother is, he directs his cries to her.

The Father can always find you, Christian. He knows what you want but He waits to supply you until you cry to Him. Does God care for the beasts in the field? Then surely He will care for you, His child in His house. You might pray for more riches and be denied; but a prayer for more grace is sure to be answered quickly.

Love has a secret yet powerful influence in hope. Moses befriended the Israelite when he killed the Egyptian who fought with him. And love kills slavish fear – one of the worst enemies hope has – and thereby strengthens hope’s hand. Whoever pulls up the weeds helps the corn to grow. It is fear that oppresses the Christian’s spirit so that he cannot act or hope strongly. “Perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18). The freewoman will cast out the bondwoman. Fear is one of Hagar’s breed – an affection that keeps everyone in bondage who partakes of it.

Love cannot tolerate fear. The loving soul asks, “Can I fear that the One who loves me most will ever hurt me? Fear and doubt, away with you! There is no room for you in my heart.” Charity “thinketh no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, November 29. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers edition, 1994.

Be Thankful for this Unspeakable Gift

November 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

I do not believe you have it if your heart is not thankful for it. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope….. to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 1:3-4). Do you have heaven in hope? It is more than if the whole world were in your hand. Earth’s greatest king would be glad to change his crown for your helmet at his dying hour. His crown will not get him this helmet, but your helmet will bring you a crown, a crown not of gold, but of glory, which once on will never be taken off.

Remember, Christian, it has not been long since you had only a fearful expectation of hell instead of a hope of salvation. But God took away the chains of guilt which weighed your soul down in despair and gave you favor in His celestial court. Of all men in the world, you are the most indebted to God’s mercy. If you thank Him for crust and rags – food and clothing – how much more should thank Him for your crown?

After you have praised Him with your spirit, you should collect the praises to God of your friends too – and then, in heaven, continue thanking Him throughout eternity for your helmet of salvation. It will be a debt you will never be able fully to pay.

Live up to your hopes. Let there be a suitable agreement between your principles and your practices – your hope of heaven and your walk on earth. As you look for salvation, walk the way your eye is looking. If the Christian fails to walk in the worthiness of his calling, he betrays God’s hope for him. And the Word emphasizes the necessity of this walk. It stirs up to act “as becometh saints” (Romans 16:2) and as “it becometh the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, November 23. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody 1Publishers Edition, 1994.

God Seals Christ’s Atonement For Sin

November 9, 2010 at 11:52 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Christ is the One “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25). He is the One the Father has sealed and singled out from all others and set forth as the Person chosen to make atonement for sinners, as the lamb was taken out of the flock and set apart for the Passover.

Therefore when Satan lines up the believer’s sins against him and confronts him with their severity, faith runs under the shelter of this Rock. “Surely,” says faith, “my Savior is infinitely greater than my greatest sins. I would be rejecting the wisdom of God’s choice to doubt.” God knew what a heavy burden He had to lay upon Christ’s shoulders but He was fully persuaded of His Son’s strength to carry it. A weak faith may save but a weak Savior cannot. Faith has Christ to plead for it but Christ had none to plead for Him. Faith leans on Christ’s arm, but Christ stood alone. If the burden of our sins had prevailed against Him, no one in heaven or on earth could have helped Him stand.

God’s mercy declares his righteousness. Everyone believes God is merciful to forgive; but it is harder to believe how He can be righteous in forgiving sinners. “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). God was saying, “I know why it seems so incredible that I should pardon all your iniquities. You think because I am a righteous God that I would rather damn a thousand worlds of sinners than bring My name under the least suspicion of unrighteousness. I would indeed damn them over and over again, rather than stain the honor of My justice – which is Myself. But I command you and the greatest sinners on earth to believe it: I can be just and yet the justifier of those sinners who believe in Jesus.”– taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, November 7; edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994.

Contentment with Changes in Providence

October 26, 2010 at 9:06 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Skillful swimmers are not afraid to get into water over their heads, whereas young learners feel for the ground and stay close to the bank. Strong faith does not fear when God carries the creature beyond the depth of reason: “Neither know we what to do,” said Jehoshaphat, “but our eyes are upon thee” (2 Chronicles 20:12). It is as if he had said, “We are swallowed up in a sea that is bigger than we are. We have no idea how to get out of this trouble, but our eyes are upon You. We will not give up as long as there is strength in Your arm, tenderness in Your heart, and truth in Your promise.”

Weak faith that gropes for some footing for reason to stand on tries desperately to reconcile God’s promises and human reasoning. And weak faith asks many questions. When Christ says, “Give ye them to eat,” His disciples ask in return, “Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread?” (Mark 6:37). As if Christ’s bare word could not spare them that cost and trouble! “Whereby shall I know this?” says Zacharias to the angel, “for I am an old man” (Luke 1:18). His faith was too feeble to stand up to such wonderful news.

The more contented the Christian’s heart under the changes which providence brings on his state and condition in the world, the stronger is his faith. Weak bodies cannot tolerate changes of weather as well as healthy ones. Heat and cold, fair and foul weather cause no great change in the strong man’s constitution. But the weak person complains of them. Thus strong faith can live in any climate, travel in all weather, and handle any unpredictable condition. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” says Paul (Philippians 4:11). Unfortunately, however, not all Christ’s followers are like Paul in this; and weak faith has not yet mastered this hard lesson. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, October 20. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994.

The Meat of the Word

September 14, 2010 at 9:26 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Can Christians be soldered together in unity, as long as they are not fully reconciled to God in regard to their sanctification? The less progress the Gospel has made in our hearts to mortify lust and strengthen grace, the weaker the peace and love among us.

From the contentions among Christians at Corinth, Paul concluded that they had not grown in grace beyond the spoon-feeding stage. “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for Corinthians 3:2-3): he conceived their behavior to be clear evidence. “For wheras there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” But as grace strengthens, and the Gospel prevails in the hearts of Christians, love and a spirit of unity increase with it.

We say “older and wiser” – when children are very young they quarrel and fight, but age and wisdom furnish strength to overcome petty differences. For instance, in the controversy between the servants of Abraham and Lot, Abraham – the elder and stronger Christian – was determined, no matter what it cost him, to have peace with his nephew, who was inferior to him in every way. And Paul is another example. As a Christian who was head and shoulders above the others, he said of himself, “The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14).

Calvin points out that Paul’s faith opposed his former obstinate unbelief as a Pharisee; his love in Jesus overcame the cruelty he expressed against Christians on his persecuting errand to Damascus. He was as full of faith as he had been unbelief before; and as full of fire-hot love as he had been of hatred. This is what I want you to see – this pair of graces thrive and grow together; a Christian who has abundant faith will also have abundant love. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, September 10. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers, 1994.

Affliction Overcome By Peace

September 7, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Does your peace go with you only as far as the prison door? Or the hospital bed? It is easy to be confident of a salvation as long as your health is good; but as soon as death is in sight, does your conscience point out the serious symptom that your peace is a mere pretense?

I know that affliction is a trying time. Even the most sincere Christian may, for a season, be beaten away from his artillery and Satan seem to capture his confidence. Some precious saints have been carried down the stream of violent temptations so far that they question whether their former peace was from the Holy Spirit the Comforter or from the evil spirit the deceiver. Yet there is a vast difference between the two.

They differ in their causes. The darkness which sometimes comes upon the sincere Christian’s spirit in deep distress comes from the withdrawing of God’s countenance of light. But the horror of the deceived man’s torment proceeds directly from a guilty conscience which prosperity and preoccupation have lulled to sleep. As God’s hand upon this man awakens his numb conscience, it reveals the falseness of his profession of faith. It is true that the saint’s conscience may justly accuse him of carelessness or compromise through strong temptation, but it cannot accuse him of a hypocritical motive behind his whole spiritual walk.

They differ in the things which accompany them. Lively workings of grace are visible even as the Christian sorrows. The less joy he has from awareness of God’s love, the more earnestly he will grieve for the sin which clouded that joy. The farther Christ is gone out of his sight, the more he clings to his love for the Savior and cries after Him with the prayer of Heman: “Unto thee have I cried, O Lord”; his heartfelt supplication rises to God early in the morning hours (Psalm 88:13). – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, September 6. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers, 1994.

Keep Your Motive Pure

July 27, 2010 at 9:36 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Satan’s policy is to crack the breastplate of righteousness by beating it out farther than the metal can bend. And every time you trust in this distortion you destroy the very nature and purpose of the armor – your righteousness becomes unrighteousness and your holiness degenerates into wickedness.

Is anything worse than pride, such a pride which runs rampant over the way which God Himself has made for saving souls? If you really want to be holy, be humble, because the two are clasped together. “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8). God has not asked you to earn heaven by your holiness but to show love and thankfulness to Christ who earned it for you. Thus we have insight into the way Christ persuaded His disciples to walk in holiness: “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). It is as if He had said, “You know why I came and why I am going out of the world – I lay down My life and take it up again to intercede for you. If you value these deeds and the blessed fruit you reap from them, prove it by loving Me enough to keep My commandments.” – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, July 27. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr.

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