More Encouraging Words from F.E. Marsh

I am continuing to read Dr. F.E. Marsh’s book, Living God’s Way, and it is certainly an encouraging read, but at the same time it is also very convicting.

One of the main challenges issued by Marsh is that a Christian should b separated from the world. The term worldly Christian is really a contradiction in terms.  However, Christians through the ages have found themselves in the grip of the world’s pull on their lives.

The world, or the World System, is an anti-Christ way of thinking and living.  It is the very opposite of what Christ called us to do and be.  The Bible says some things about the World that may help us understand this contrast even better.  F. E. Marsh presents the Bible’s teachings on the World this way:

1. Worldliness is evil in its nature.  Galatians 1:4

2. Worldliness is downward in its tendency. Ephesians 2 ff

3. Worldliness is contaminating in its influence.  James 1:27

4. Worldliness is antagonistic to God.  James 4:4

5. Worldliness is corrupting in its association.  II Peter 4:1; II Peter 2:20

6. Worldliness is unsatisfying in its pleasures.  I Corinthians 7:31; I John 2:17

7. Worldliness is hateful in its opposition. I John 3:1,13

Separation from the World is the Lord’s direction, clear and definite; and as we come out from it in obedience to Him we find ourselves not only in the place of safety, but in the position of power.  To be specific in our desires and efforts to be separate from the world the following seven rules should be followed:

1. Go to no place where the Lord will not take you.

2. Be found in no company that is not helpful to your Christian life.

3. Have no pleasure except in the company of those who are the Lord’s.

4. Be no party to any transaction upon which you cannot seek your Lord;s approval.

5. Listen to no voice which would lead you away from the truth of God’s Word.

6. Allow no pleasure to interfere with your attendance at the means of Grace.

7. Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.                       – F.E. Marsh

RDW

Jesus Never Fails

Encouraging Words from F.E. Marsh

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F.E.Marsh

I remember it very well, it was December 1976, I was in hospital recovering from a severe case of food poisoning.  One of my dearest pastor friends came to visit me on December 3, with a package in his hand.  He talked to me about the lessons the Lord was teaching him and how some of them were painful and required sacrifice.  He told me the Lord had instructed him to give away his favorite, most cherished book and that He had told him to give it to me.  My friend hesitated at first, but then yielded to the Lord’s promptings and pulled his most cherished book form the shelf.  That book was Fully Furnished, by F.E. Marsh.  It is inscribed, Roger, In the confidence that He who hath begun in us a good work will complete in that day…,   D.G.  Phil. 1:3, 12-3-76. 

I still have the book.  It is in my hand even now.  It holds special place in my library and in my heart.  One does not have to read past the first paragraph of the introduction to know that this book is a veritable gold mine of spiritual instruction and insight. It did not take me but a moment to understand why my friend classified this as his most cherished book.

Recently I was prompted by the Lord to reduce the size of my library.  My age and stage in life require that I consider this divine instruction.  My desire to share with others enabled me to consider it with more ease.  However, I know the modern trend regarding books. I am aware that many of the younger generation of pastors prefer cyber libraries to shelves lined with books, especially the OLD ones.  This generational weakness did create a challenge for me.  Who would receive my books?  Who would care for them?  More importantly, who would actually use them?  I feared releasing my treasured possessions to an un-attentive recipient.  God gave direction in this regard and over 1000 books went to the shelves of some young pastors whom I love and care for.

I must confess, I released the bronze and the sliver….and a little gold, but the GOLD is still on my shelves.  Many of the books are inscribed by the author or by the giver. Many of them are old…and old friends to me.  They must remain with me just a little bit longer. Some of the old friends stay very close to me….

Close to me now is the Old friend, Fully Furnished, by F.E. Marsh, carrying always the crystal clear memory of the day my friend entered my hospital room with this dear friend in hand.

Since 1976, I have added F.E. Marsh books to my library.  Each one is filled to capacity with rich insights into the Word of God and the Christian life.

I recently was seeking some help and encouragement regarding prayer.  I reached for Living God’s Way, by F.E. Marsh.  I was so taken by the following that I want to share it with you.

‘Tell me, what is the secret of your success?’ was the question put to Evan Roberts, when referring to the Welsh Revival. ‘There is no secret,’ was the reply. ‘All that is needed is reliance on the great promise, ‘Ask and ye shall receive.’  Prayer is the secret of the deeper life.  Prayer is a sin-killer.  No one can sin and pray, for prayer will make us cease from sin, or sin will make us cease from prayer.  Prayer is a power-bringer.  It is the hand that touches the hem of the garment of Divine grace, and causes  the life which is in the Divine One to flow into us.  Prayer is a victory-giver.  Bunyan’s Christian found that the weapon of all-prayer was sufficient to wound and defeat the adversary, who would stop him in his progress as a pilgrim. Prayer is a holiness-promoter.  It is like the gentle dew which falls upon the thirsty plants, and causes them to be refreshed and to fructify.  Prayer is a dispute-adjuster.  Let any two brethren who are at loggerheads get on their knees, and ask the Lord about any disputed matter, and they will find the Lord saying to their troubled spirits, Peace, be still.  Prayer is an  obstacle-remover, as Peter found when the angel came in answer to the prayers of the saints, and delivered him from the prison of Herod’s hate; and prayer is a Christ-revealer, for it clarifies our vision and enables us to see the unseen.      -F.E. Marsh

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPOSITORY PREACHING

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                      Roger D. Willmore

The importance of expository preaching was impressed upon me early in my ministry.  I surrendered to God’s call upon my life at age seventeen.  About the same time, I was introduced to one of the most noted expository preachers or our day, Dr. Stephen Olford, who at the time was pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in New York City.

I met Dr. Olford at a Keswick Christian Life Convention in Birmingham, Alabama.  I was awe struck by his preaching.  It was Stephen Olford who introduced me to the method of expository preaching and who modeled anointed expository preaching.  There was born in my heart a desire to be an expository preacher and for the past forty plus years I have endeavored to follow the pattern of my mentor.

 WHAT IS EXPOSITORY PREACHING?

A few working definitions of the term Expository Preaching will enable us to better understand its importance.

Stephen Olford said, “Expository preaching is the Spirit-empowered explanation and proclamation of the text of God’s Word with due regard to the historical, contextual, grammatical, and doctrinal significance of the given passage, with the specific object of invoking a Christ-transforming response.”1

Phillips Brooks in his lectures on preaching, delivered before  the divinity  School of Yale College in 1877, stated, “It is not hard to find a definition (for preaching). Preaching is the communication of truth by man to men.  It has two essential elements, truth and personality. Neither of those can it spare and still be preaching.” 2 Phillips Brooks saw a unique and important relationship of the man to his message.  He said, “Truth through personality is our description of preaching.  The truth must come really through the person, not merely over his lips, not merely into his understanding and out through his pen.  It must come through his character, his affections, his whole intellectual and moral being.  It must come genuinely through him. 3

Haddon Robinson says, “Expository preaching is the communication of biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality of the preacher, and then through him to his hearers.” 4

The Apostle Paul states the biblical mandate for expository preaching in Second Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (NKJV)

WHY IS EXPOSITORY PREACHING IMPORTANT?

An expositor of God’s Word is someone with a moral responsibility to and to man.  To God he is responsible for handling the Word of God correctly and in a manner which makes him, the preacher, the mouthpiece for God.

The expository also has a responsibility to man to preach the truth of God’s Word.  People are looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.

I disagree with the idea that the preacher determines the needs of his people and then selects a biblical text from which to address the needs.  The preacher cannot accurately discern the needs of people.  Only God can do that.

I believe it is better to move from the Scriptures to the issues of life. If a pastor is a disciplined expositor, preaching his way through the Bible in a systematic manner, he will eventually address the problems his people face.

Dr. Jerry Vines gives another reason why expository preaching is important.  “Thousands of churchgoers throughout America are desperately hungry for good preaching.  They are looking for a Bible study, a church or some service where their souls can be fed from the Word of God.  Much of the preaching of our day is dry, irrelevant, and deadening. 5

May we never under estimate the importance of expository preaching of God’s Word.  Strongholds are torn down, families are put back together, lives are changed, and hope is restored as a result of anointed expository preaching.

John R.W. Stott, a noted author and expositor clearly states his view on the importance of expository preaching.  “I believe that preaching is the key to the renewal of the church…If it is true that a human being cannot live by bread only, but by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God.  I have seen congregations come alive by the faithful and systematic unfolding of the Word of God.” 6

I agree whole heartedly with Dr. Stott.  Any pastor who faithfully preaches the Word of God will value the impact of the preached Word. He will have the joy of watching the transforming power of God’s Word in the lives of his people. This leads me to my last point.

WHAT DOES EXPOSITORY PREACHING DO?

Expository preaching has many positive effects on both the preacher/pastor and his people.  The personal benefits to the preacher in terms of preaching materials, time management, and sermon preparation are numerous.  However, I want to address the benefit of expository preaching for the person in the pew.

I am troubled by the trends of our day that replace the Bible with projection screens, and listening guides. There is nothing wrong with these or any other teaching tools, as long as they do not displace the use of the Bible.

Expository preaching helps people to know their Bible. It enables them to see the Bible as a whole, and in its context.  It also equips Christians to grow and mature in their relationship with Jesus  Christ. The pastor as an expositor has a golden opportunity to take his people deep into the things of God.

One of the great joys of my life and ministry is to watch people over a period of time as I systematically preach the Word of God.  I love to watch their spiritual metamorphosis as they change more and more into the likeness Christ. I love to hear the “rustling of the leaves” (turning of the pages) on Sunday when the sermon text is announced.  I love to see people enter the House of God with Bible and notebook in hand. I love to see the gleam in their eyes when discover the great truths of God’s Word for the first time.

I believe in expository preaching. May we who are called to be preachers of the Word—PREACH THE WORD!

1. Stephen and David Olford, Anointed Expository Preaching, p.69

2. Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, p.5

3. Ibid, p.8

4.  Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching, p.20

5. Jerry Vines, A Practical Guide to Sermon Preparation

6. Stephen and David Olford, Anointed Expository Preaching, p.68

RDW

C.T. Studd…Only One Life

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C.T. Studd early years

CT Studd

C.T. Studd later years

C.T. Studd once said, “Some wish to live within the sound of the Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”

Today C.T. Studd continues to be an inspiration to all who want to fully follow Christ. I did not know that he was the source at the time, but one of the great quotes I heard in the very early years of my Christian life…a quote that made great impact on me…came from C.T. Studd.  Dr. Stephen Olford, who became a dear friend and mentor, often shared the quote in his personal testimony of how God captured him and changed him.  The simple words, “Only One Life, ‘Twill soon be past, Only what is done for Christ will Last” were used by the Lord to touch Stephen Olford’s heart.  These words quoted by Stephen Olford’s father in a letter to his son became words of transformation. (Only One Life, by John Phillips.  Biography of Stephen Olford.)

C.T. Studd was born in England in 1860, into a wealthy family.  As a young man he was an outstanding County and All-England Cricketer.  He was a freshman at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1879-1880, and studied for a degree in law.  He forsook his pursuit of law to follow the call of Christ to China, He served in China and India for 21 years.  He returned home, broken in health, but soon heard the Lord call again, this time to Africa.  At age 53 he set out on his missionary journey to Africa.  Some questioned why he would go to Africa in light of age and circumstances of life.  He penned these words in answer to that question: If Jesus Christ  be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.

Words of challenge and encouragement from the life and ministry of C.T. Studd:

“Funds are low again, hallelujah! That means God trusts us and is willing to leave His reputation in our hands.”  C.T. Studd

“How little a chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays.  The churches and missionary societies have so bound Him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work.”  C.T. Studd

“Tears shed for self are tears of weakness, but tears shed for others are a sign of strength.”  C. T. Studd

“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”  C.T. Studd

“The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home.”  C.T. Studd

“Some wish to live within church and chapel bell.  I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”  C. T. Studd

“I am getting desperately afraid of going to heaven for I have had a vision of the shame I shall suffer as I get my first glimpse of the Lord Jesus; His majesty, power and marvelous love for me, who treated Him so meanly and shabbily on earth, and acted as though I did Him a favor in serving Him!  No wonder God shall have to wipe away the tears off all our faces, for we shall be broken-hearted when we see the depth of His love  and the shallowness of ours.”  C.T. Studd

“ONLY ONE LIFE, ‘TWILL SOON BE PAST,                                                              ONLY WHAT IS DONE FOR CHRIST WILL LAST.”  C.T. Studd

RDW

Jesus Never Fails

More Words of Encouragement from Dr. John R. W. Stott

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-Dr. John R.W. Stott

–                                     Dr. John R.W. Stott

Dr. John Stott was known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist and communicator of the Word of God.  For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in the Business District of London where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry.  He was a leader among evangelicals in Britain, the United States and around the world.

As an author he wrote many books, including Why I am a Christian, Basic Christianity and The Cross of Christ.  The comments posted here are taken from The Living Church, Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor. I have said that I wished this book had been in my hands years ago as young pastor.  I believe every pastor and every man and woman who holds a leadership role in a local congregation should read this book. Hopefully some of the brief quotations will encourage you to acquire a copy and read it again and again.

The aim of these quotations is to encourage you to think about a Living Church.

* Is the church in reality organized only for itself?

* Do we imprison our members in the church?

* The local church must also articulate its message.

* The church is supposed to be God’s new society.

* God calls us to be a community of love.

* Everybody cannot do everything.

* All Christians are called to ministry.

* God calls different people to different ministries.

* Christian oversight is pastoral oversight.

* There is no biblical warrant for the so-called one-man band.

* It is not our church; it is God’s.

* Small groups are indispensable for our growth into spiritual maturity.

* We are to share not only our material wealth but also our spiritual wealth.

* All Christian preaching is biblical preaching.

* Authentic Christian preaching is a bridge-building operation.

* All preaching should lead people to the Scriptures.

* The very concept of a self-appointed, self-made preacher is grotesque.

* In all authentic preaching the mind and the emotions are both engaged.

It is my desire that these brief statements will stir your thinking about deeper aspects of church life. We look around and we see too many dead or dying churches.  This saddens the heart of God.  The word of God holds the secrets to a Living Church.  Let us pray for a fresh wind to blow upon our churches.  May the life giving power of the Holy Spirit come upon them is my prayer.

RDW

ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM DR. JOHN R.W. STOTT

johnstottDr. John R. W. Stott is among my favorite authors and preachers.  The brilliance of his intellect, the humility of his heart, and his compassion for people are traits that endear him to me. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Stott on two occasions. I heard him twice at the Keswick Convention in England, first in 1975 and again in 2000.  His books occupy my shelves.  One of my favorite books is The Living Church, Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor. I think every pastor and church leader should read this book.

On the pages of this book you will find the marks of a living church. I want to share a few bullet statements that hopefully will prompt you to dig a little deeper.

My personal conviction is that this book is right on target regarding the top concerns of the church in the 21st century and regarding the right steps for the church to take to be on target and fulfilling her mission in the world.

* The church’s calling is to develop a Christian counterculture.

* Following Jesus, rejecting dualism and developing community should characterize every church.

* The church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God.

* A living church is a learning church.

* Generosity has always been a characteristic of the people of God.

* The early church’s worship was both joyful and reverent.

* A living church is an evangelizing church.

* Worship is the church’s preeminent duty.

* Our Worship is a response to God’s Word.

* Worship which is pleasing to God is offered by His people together.

* Every church should demonstrate visibly the unity and variety of the church.

* We do not know much how to worship.

* Worship leads to witness, and witness to worship.

* Many churches have a false image.

* Our static, inflexible, self-centered structures are “heretical.”

(Taken from The Living Church, by John R.W. Stott) to be continued…..

RDW

Encouraging Words from George Mueller

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George Mueller

George Mueller; 1805-1898, was active in the Plymouth Brethren movement, but most widely known for his work in establishing orphanages which were run totally on faith.  He concluded his last worldwide mission tour at the age of 87.

“Be slow to take new steps in the Lord’s service, or in your business, or in your families.  Weigh everything well; weigh all in the light of Holy Scriptures, and in the fear of God.

Seek to have no will of your own, in order to ascertain the mind of God, regarding any steps you propose to take, so that you can honestly say, you are willing to do the will of God, if He will only please to instruct you.

But when you have found out what the will of God is, seek His help, and seek earnestly, perseveringly, patiently, believingly, and expectingly; and you will surely, in His own time and way, obtain it.”

Also from Mueller: ” It is true, the Gospel demands our all; but I fear that, in the general claim on all, we have shortened the claim on everything.  We are not under law.  True; but that is not to make our obedience less complete, or our giving less bountiful.  Rather, is it not, that after all claims of the law are settled, the new nature finds joy in doing more than the law requires?  Let us abound in the work of the Lord more and more.”

RDW

Encouraging Words from the Prince of Preachers

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CHARLES H. SPURGEON

“Let us be on the watch for opportunities of usefulness.  Let us go about the world with our ears and our eyes open, ready to avail ourselves of every occasion for doing good.  Let us not be content till be are useful, but make this the main desire and ambition of our lives.”  CHS

“I believe the doctrine of election because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me, I would have never chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards.”  CHS

“I looked at God and He looked at me, and we were one forever.”  CHS

“As well might a gnat seek to drink in the ocean, as a finite creature to comprehend the Eternal God.”  CHS

“The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”  CHS

Taken from His Victorious Indwelling

RDW

An Encouraging Word

Why should I have a blog?  Why should anybody have a blog?  I raise these questions because I have learned that a blog can be…and is…used for many different purposes. My experience with some blogs is that the blogger does not understand the purpose of blogging.  I don’t see this great privilege and freedom as an opportunity to express any and every opinion I may have.  I have seen great harm come from this approach.

Why should I have a blog?  I will tell you why I want to exercise my opportunity to blog. This key board on which I now type is a doorway into the WWW…yes, the world wide web.

One of the best friends I ever had, and one of the greatest examples of life, ministry, humility, service to God and man and more was Dr. Robert G. Witty.  Dr. Witty, known as the founder of Luther Rice Seminary and the father of the doctor of ministry degree sought every opportunity to get the gospel to the world.  In seminary days, and in the years to follow, Dr. Witty admonished me to write.  Over and over again he urged me to write.  I can hear his voice now, write, write, write.

I have other friends now who urge me to write, write, write.  The written word can go further and last longer than any other part of our ministry.

Dr. Witty died at the age of 100 years and six months.  Listen to this, for years he manned two websites…one dot com and one dot org.  In the latter years of his life he sat at his computer in his assisted living apartment and wrote and wrote and wrote.  He would not have called it blogging.  He posted sermons, Bible studies, and more.  Why?  Because he had a passion to use every means and every opportunity to get the gospel to the world.  Admirable!!

Do you see on my webpage header the words Jesus Never Fails?  Well, that was Dr. Witty’s mantra.  He put on his letterhead, his business cards.  It was a trademark statement.  When I spoke at his memorial service I based some of my comments on Dr. Witty’s use of the phrase, Jesus Never Fails, and I said that I claimed that phrase as mine…and that it would be on my letterhead, cards, etc.  And it is!!

I could say many things to describe Dr. Witty…but the main one is ENCOURAGER!  He was a Barnabas …especially to young pastors…and hurting pastors.

God has blessed me to be on radio most of my ministry.  In the early years I called my radio programs Abundant Life. For the past fifteen years the program is under a different name.  The programs are now called ENCOURAGING WORD.

Now, my desire to blog is the same as my desire to minister through radio.  Both can go where I cannot go.  Both will fall upon ears of people I will never see or hear from. Both can be listened to or read again and again. I desire both ministries to be an Encouraging Word.

The Willmore blog will not be a place of argument or debate.  There are other bloggers who will cover those needs.  My desire is to post something that will lead a lost person to faith in Christ and a Christian to a deeper, more mature relationship with Christ.  My desire is to see Christians become more like Christ and to see healthier churches.

I pray that you have just read and encouraging word.

JESUS NEVER FAILS

RDW

Ruth Paxson and the Victorious Christian Life

I have just pulled from my library shelf my copy of Life on the Highest Plane, by Ruth Paxson.  The book was presented to me on August 16, 1975, by Ralph and Myra Hammond. Seeing their names inscribed on the fly leaf brings back many treasured memories. The book was presented to me several years after the truths it contained were shared with me by Ralph and Myra.  I was privileged, in the providence of God, to be a part of a small group of young Christians eager to learn the deeper things of God.  Ralph and Myra, who had discovered the deeper life teaching during a health crisis in Myra’s life, opened their home to share with others the way out of Egypt into the Promised Land of the Christian experience.

The writings of Ruth Paxson reflect the truths we were taught.  More about this in upcoming posts.

Ruth Paxson was born in Manchester, Iowa, and accepted Christ as her personal Savior when she was a child.  She graduated from the State University of Iowa, and afterward spent one year at Moody Bible Institute.  In February of 1911, Miss Paxson sailed for YMCA work in China.  Later she left that work to devote herself to evangelism and summer conference Bible teaching among missionaries in China.

Leaving China for health reasons, Miss Paxson went to Switzerland; then followed a period of Bible teaching on the European continent and at the Keswick Convention in England.

The impact of the testimony and the teaching ministry of Ruth Paxson has been felt around the world.  Life on the Highest Plane is a book that contains deep insights into the Victorious Christian life.

I have been in the Keswick circles long enough to know of the criticism that comes to the language used to describe the Christian life.  I understand it.  I think Dr. Stephen Olford had it right when he said, Call it what you will, ‘the deeper life’, ‘the higher life’, ‘the victorious life’, or ‘the abundant life’, we are talking about the normal Christian life.

I agree with Dr. Olford, forget the other descriptive titles.  What we need to understand is that the victorious Christian life should be the normal Christian life…and so on.

The following examples of Ruth Paxson’s teachings come from His Victorious Indwelling, a collection of quotes from noted Christians:

The spiritual history of every Christian could be written in two phrases, ‘Ye in me’ and ‘I in you.’

In God’s reckoning Christ and the Christian become one in such a way that Christ is both in the heavenlies and upon earth and the Christian is both on earth and in the heavenlies.  Christ in the heavenlies is the invisible part of the Christian. The Christian on earth is the visible part of Christ. This is a staggering thought. Its plain import is that you and I are to bring Christ down from heaven to earth that men may see who He is and what He can do in a human life.  It is to have Christ’s life lived out in us in such fullness that by seeing Him in us, people are drawn to Him in faith and love.

Isn’t this a great insight into the nature of the Christian Life?

I will conclude this post with one more Paxson quote.  More will come later.

God, in His infinite grace, always takes the initiative in bringing us into a fuller experience of our inheritance in Christ. So the Lord Jesus stands outside the door of every unyielded room in your life seeking entrance. If He enters, the door must be opened from the inside.

It is my prayer that these have been encouraging words to your heart and life.

RDW