A Sanctuary for Saints and Sinners in Need of a Saviour. Luke 18:9-14
Illustrated Message Review with Marjorie
This is a weekly review that I do of Pastor Richard's Illustrated Messages from our Sunday services. If you're in our area, please come and join us to participate, as we each play roles in the scripts.
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As with "Pilgrims Progress" and "The Life and Death of Mr. Badman", we have found a very easy to read book with simpler English. Please go to PreachersHelp.netand under their Books tab, scroll until you see the link called "Christiana's Progress". In each of the reviews that I'll be doing, read along with the page numbers at the introduction as the reviews will be more understandable.
February 11th, 2018 - Christiana's Progress
Stage 7 - Part 1 (pages 77-79)
Do you remember Giant Despair from Pilgrim's Progress? It's in Doubting Castle where Christian and Hopeful were captive because they got off the straight and narrow path and fell into the hands of Giant Despair who held them incarcerated, until they despaired even for their lives, and at one point, thought to take their own lives by suicide. They came to their senses though, fought back and escaped it's clutches.
How monstrous is Despair in your life today? Has it gripped you to doubt the very words of Jesus in the Bible, to doubt that all of the promises of God are yes and amen? Has it caused you to doubt and not believe that the Holy Spirit has been given to you as a helper and intercessor and endue you with power to overcome all the fiery darts of the devil? Not only that, but do you doubt that the gifts that the Holy Spirit wants to give you are no longer relevant and needed in the body of Christ today? These are some of the topics we'll be covering in today's message.
Let's start by reading the following from the script; "Then they fought for their lives, and Giant Despair was brought down to the ground, but was very reluctant to die. He struggled hard, and had, as they say, as many lives as a cat; but Great-Heart killed him, for he would not leave him till he had severed his head from his shoulders."
What does despair mean? It's the complete loss or absence of hope. Synonyms are disheartenment, discouragement, desperation, distress, anguish, depressed, despondent, gloomy, miserable, pessimistic, suicidal, unhappiness, to lose hope and faith and more. This is what Giant Despair held Christian and Hopeful in for a long period of time the story told us.
John 8:34-36 says; "Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
Being set free means forever, so if you've been set free from despair, you are free indeed. But you have a will, and if you choose, you can go right back into the prison of despair. Your adversary the devil is more than willing to let you come right back into his clutches and prison of despair...if you choose, even though through Christ Jesus you've been set free.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9, the Apostle Paul says; "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."
Where has the Giant Despair held you captive in doubting Gods promises in his word? The devil, the Giant of Despair, was defeated by Jesus at the cross, therefore you have to in Jesus' name demolish the doubting castle once and for all and not continue to be held in its prison. So Jesus has destroyed the devil, he saved your soul, led you the cross, you're born again and are now a son or daughter of God. So a good question to ask yourself is; if you have become a Christian, where have you been building the doubting castle again that you and Jesus previously demolished together? As a new Christian, you are presently going through or have gone through a period of time of sanctification where your mind is being washed with the word of God, getting rid of the despair in your life. Why then, after all the wonderful deliverance, would you want to build another doubting castle?
I believe that it just starts with a foundation of fear that sneaks its way back in (lack of faith in the Bible), bricks of despair (false teachings) end up building walls of doubt (in God's word) in your mind, and the next thing you know, you've bricked yourself in to a safe house, barricading yourself from the radical fundament teachings of Christ regarding signs, wonders, miracles, healings, gifts of the Holy, speaking in tongues, etc. You start to believe that you can't trust God's word and get to a place that you disregard the work of the Holy Spirit altogether. This becomes a dungeon that has you captive to despair (false teaching) and gradually more walls (doctrines of devils) go up, and before you know it, Doubting Castle has been built again, only now it's called a 'Religious Doubting Castle' and the devil of despair (a false teacher) has managed to keep you doubting the supernatural word of God and all its promises.
So, even though you're a Christian, you're in a dungeon that you've allowed to be built by false teachers. Let's read about them in 2 Peter 2:18-22; "For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Rejecting the Holy Spirit is rejecting part of the Trinity. Jesus and God the Father knew we would need help to live our Christian lives, so the Holy Spirit was sent to fill up and indwell every Christian at Pentecost, and he continues to do it every day to those who receive him. Rejecting the Holy Spirit would be like a husband bringing home to his wife all these beautiful gifts (car, lawn mower, snow blower, washer & dryer, food processor etc.) that would make her life so much easier and fruitful, but she continually resists because she has a blockade of thoughts like; I've never done it that way before, I like how I do it, I don't want to change, this works fine for me or many other excuses.
Well, we are the bride of Christ and he's given the Holy Spirit as our helper to make our Christian life easier to walk and more fruitful. Being stuck in religion and tradition is in essence saying I'm not moving for anyone or anything. A husband after time, would get tired of all the rejection, being frustrated that his wife not using any of the gifts that he's given to her because he loves her, wouldn't he. I think it's the same with Father God. He's given us everything to live a victorious life in Jesus and we can grieve the Holy Spirit by continually rejecting him and his gifts.
Let's face it, the majority Doubting Castles being built in Christians are a direct result of not believing what the Bible says as truth and instead believe in false teachings that keep them out of Gods promises. Those false teachings are; to not believe that signs, wonders, miracles, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues, prophesying, words of wisdom and knowledge, gifts of healing are for today. It grieves the Holy Spirit.
We read in the script that it was easy to demolish Doubting Castle, but how easy it is to rebuild it. Despair was living in Doubt. The facade and description of the castle is that of doubt. What does doubt mean? It's a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. Synonyms are: uncertainty, unsureness, indecision, hesitation, dubious, suspicion, confusion and more. So you could say that doubt leads to despair.
James 1:5-7 says; "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord."
Jesus says in Matthew 21:20-22; "And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
The script says that it took seven days to destroy Doubting Castle and they rescued Mr. Despondency and his daughter Much-afraid, and they also saw the remains of many who had succumbed and died at the hands of Giant Despair. How many are in the church today who are like Mr. Despondency and Much-afraid. They're Christians, they're on their Christian pilgrimage to heaven but they've been ensnared by the devil.
What does despondency mean? It's a state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage. Synonyms are: hopelessness, despair, discouragement, low spirits, wretchedness; melancholy, gloom, misery, desolation, disappointment, disheartenment, dejection, heartache and more.
Are you so despondent as a Christian that you're spiritually starved at the point of spiritual death? How about being afraid? It means; feeling fear or anxiety. Synonyms are: scared, terrified, petrified, scared witless, scared to death, reluctant, hesitant, unwilling, disinclined, and more. Examine your heart today and see if you're like these characters. Are you afraid of the Holy Spirit and his work because of tradition or of false teachers who have told you otherwise?
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:14-16; "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
False teachers will bring you into bondage by fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 says; "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
Jesus clearly shows what he has given to the church in Luke 10:17-19; "Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Has the devil lied to you saying the demons aren't subject to you and that you don't have authority over them in Jesus' name, or that it was only for the disciples back then but not for the church today? You do have authority to trample on all the giants of despair, doubt, unbelief, fear, despondency, false teaching that would hold you captive etc., that would want to lock you up in the Religious Doubting Castle.
Colossians 1:13-14 says; "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."
Colossians 2:13-15 also says; "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it."
We read in Genesis 3:14-15 the judgement that came upon the devil - the serpent - it says; "So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
Jesus Christ, the offspring of the woman Mary, would crush the serpent's head someday. This was prophesied regarding the Messiah who has both come and gone and will return again! He is the one who lives in you today and has given you authority to not believe the lies and false teaching about the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ, you can resist building a castle, fortress or safe place of doubt and unbelief. Believe me, the adversary will present you with many opportunities and will throw the door wide open to get you to doubt and walk in fear. You can be religious and nominal but the devil will convince you to resist the gift and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 4:15 says; "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Jesus was not a sinner, that's what gave him the victory.
1 John 3:5 affirms it again; "And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Jesus defeated the devil because he is without sin."
This is the same Jesus that helps you tear down the Religious Doubting Castle in your life, to sanctify you and renew your mind according to the Word of God.
1 John 3:8 says; "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."
Does this mean that you can't rebuild a doubting castle again? You can but it has nothing to do with Jesus. He demolished it and has given you all authority to resist fear, doubt and unbelief. Do you believe Gods word or only in part? Do you build a castle and fortress to accommodate false doctrines? I don't know about you, but I want everything that Jesus won for me at the cross, not only a part, but in full! I want my whole inheritance. How about you?
Hebrews 2:14-15 says; "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
That's you who he released from fear and bondage! Why would you want to rebuild it then after it's been torn down and not believe his word? Why would you want to listen to false teachers and doctrines to resist the Holy Spirit for tradition and religion sake?
1 John 4:4 says; "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
Why doubt the word of God and think that it doesn't mean what it says and that it doesn't apply to you? Every time you read the word, you should read it like a prophecy, 'Thus saith the Lord'. Whether you believe it or not, the word does not change, we have to change to what it says about us. It's conditional as the Lord will not force it on you. It's your choice if you want to continue to live in a Religious Doubting Castle, it's not Jesus' choice. God has so much for us, let's not let fall back into despair through false teaching which hold us captive.
February 4th, 2018 - Christiana's Progress
Stage 6 - Part 6 (pages 72-76)
We start by reading this part of the script today. "Now, by this time, they had come within sight of the town of Vanity, where Vanity Fair is kept. So, when they saw that they were near the town, they consulted with one another whether they should pass through the town; and some said one thing, and some another. At last, Mr. Great-Heart said,
MR. GREAT-HEART. “I have, as you may understand, often been a conductor of pilgrims through this town. Now, I am acquainted with one Mr. Mnason (Acts 21:16), a Cypriot by birth, an old disciple, at whose house we may lodge. If you think it good, we will turn in there.”
Christiana, her family together with the other pilgrims come to the same city where her husband was persecuted and another Christian brother, Faithful, was martyred by being burned alive at the stake. We read this in Pilgrim's Progress and if you'd like, you can reread the review that we did on that in Chapter 21 by clicking this the link. For Christiana, they must be painful memories as she remembered all her husband suffered here.
The city of Vanity Fair has a Fair that goes on perpetually, symbolizing worldly ostentation, pretension, flamboyance, brazenness and frivolity, together with displaying a preoccupation with idle pleasures or the things of the flesh. Maybe you remember where Al Pachino says, "Vanity is definitely my favourite sin…" in the movie, The Devils Advocate. There's a magazine that's called "Vanity Fair". It exemplifies the vain things in life, not as in worthless things, but things that are vain, be that fashion, arts, entertainment, money, prestige, power, politics etc.
Here's a definition of the word vanity; excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements. Synonyms are conceit, narcissism, self-love, self-admiration, self-absorption, self-regard and egotism.
Another meaning of the word is; the quality of being worthless or futile. Synonyms are uselessness, pointlessness, worthlessness and fruitlessness.
So the vanity that we prize so much, in the end, really amounts to nothing.
According to this website, www.patheos.com/blogs, it says; "Vanity of a person is seen as having excessive estimation (overestimation) of one’s self, abilities, looks, or other attributes that makes them have an excessive belief in their own abilities or attractiveness to others. Perhaps this was the reason that a certain piece of bedroom furniture is called a “vanity,” because it has a mirror and focuses on the person looking into it."
We can all get caught up looking in the mirror can't we. Doing our hair, make-up, getting dressed, seeing that we want to look great when we walk out the door. Whatever is happening to you because of age, life, weather, etc., whatever it is that you take pride in that can become vanity, we have to deal with it. That's why we're admonished throughout the Bible to look into the perfect law of liberty according James 1:23-25 where it says; "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
The Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says this about vanity; "In common parlance "vanity" and "vain" apply to conceited persons with exaggerated self-opinions. While the biblical usage includes this nuance, it describes the world as having as no ultimate meaning, a concept shared with some philosophies. The meanings of emptiness and lacking in reality are already present in the Latin vanitas, from which the English word "vanity" is derived. This approaches the chief Old Testament understanding that human life apart from God, even at its best, has no ultimate significance and consequently is valueless. "
King Solomon, the richest man that ever lived, famously says this in Ecclesiastes 1:1; "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?" The only thing that places value on anything in life is God, whether it's personal possessions, what you work at and study for and what you pride yourself in. God being at the centre of it all is what gives it value.
We continue reading; "MR. MNASON. “Grace, go and tell my friends Mr. Contrite, Mr. Holy-man, Mr. Love-saints, Mr. Dare-not-lie, and Mr. Penitent, that I have a friend or two at my house who have a mind to see them this evening.”
So Grace went to call them, and they came; and after greetings were exchanged, they sat down together at table."
God will give you grace to seek out contrite, holy, saint loving, truthful, penitent Christian fellowship when dwelling in places like Vanity Fair.
"Then Mr. Honest (when they had all sat down) asked Mr. Contrite and the rest, in what state their town was at present.
MR. CONTRITE. “You may be sure we are full of hurry during fair-time. It is hard keeping our hearts and spirits in good order when we are in such a condition. He that lives in such a place as this, and has to do with such as we do, has need to warn himself to take care every moment of the day.”
1 Peter 5:8 confirms this also by saying; "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
Matthew 26:40-41 says; "Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 says; "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
In essence, Mr. Contrite was saying that there was constant trouble lurking around 24/7 and that they constantly had to stand guard against temptation, but the Word of God always showed them what to do. And so must we.
We're going to look at the meanings of these men who have been invited over to Mnason's home for fellowship with these pilgrims.
* First we have Mr. Contrite.
So what does contrite mean? It means crushed, broken or bruised in spirit. As long as we walk humbly before the Lord, we're safe. Here are some scriptures that show the importance that God places on a contrite person.
Isaiah 66:1-2; "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a CONTRITE spirit, and trembleth at my word."
Psalm 51:17 says; "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise." This is what God seeks out. He's not into the pomp, glory and fleshly show that we can add to what He's already done.
Psalm 34:18 says; "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit."
Isaiah 57:15 says; "For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble contrite person.
Are you seeking out fellowship with those who are contrite, crushed, broken or bruised in spirit that tremble at Gods word, while living in or going to Vanity Fair? Everyone has vanity pulling on them whether at work, school or your social arenas. Since that's who God searches out - do you search them out in the same way? Do you seek out the local church who has people like this in it? Are you sought out as a contrite Christian man or woman or are you more inclined to conform yourself to the image of this world and all its vanities rather than be transformed by the renewing of your mind through Gods word the Holy Bible?
The Apostle Paul urges us also in Romans 12:2 by saying; "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
**Second we have Mr. Holy-Man and he says this about what pilgrims or Christians need to posses to walk victoriously.
"MR. HOLY-MAN. “There are two things they need to possess who go on pilgrimage: courage, and an unspotted life. If they do not have courage, they can never hold on their way; and if their lives are loose, they will make the very name of a pilgrim stink.” How often have you heard or seen this take place in conversations, social media or TV where Christians have been smeared maybe because of loose living?
Joshua 1:7 says; "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go."
What distinguishes a Holy-Man or a Spiritual-Man? According to I Corinthians 2:15 they can spiritually judge all things; they have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside and who rules them; they discern and interpret all things; they're a new creature in Christ according to 2 Corinthians 5:17 and are a new man according to Ephesians 4:24; they also have spiritual enduement and power according to Acts 1:8. Some scriptures on holiness are the following;
Romans 6:21-23 says; "What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The Holy Spirit living in us makes us holy.
2 Corinthians 7:1 also says regarding holiness; "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
There is a working together with the Holy Spirit in us, as we also have to do our part by cleansing ourselves. The Holy Spirit helps us change, to walk the Christian walk. You're not just saying you're a Christian but your behaving like a Christian.
Ephesians 4:23-24 says; "and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." There is a living out of the holiness of Christ in you. You're not conforming yourself to Vanity Fair.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."
Hebrews 12:14-15 says; "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled."
Another question for you today. Are you seeking out Christian spiritual holy men or women for fellowship while surrounded by vanity fair or are you conforming yourself vanity fair? In your journeys in life, do you seek out these kind of people wherever you go? Are you sought out as a Christian holy man or woman with a life that is set apart for the Lord, or have you simply chosen to conform your Christian walk to the image of vanity fair for the sake of not offending anyone? Are you seeking Christian fellowship over worldly secular fellowship? Good questions to ask yourself today.
***Thirdly, we have Mr. Love-Saints. He says in the script; "MR. LOVE-SAINTS. “I hope this warning is not needed among you: but truly there are many that go on the road who rather declare themselves strangers to pilgrimage, than strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Have you heard that before from 'apparent' Christians who prefer not to be recognized as Christians? They prefer going in stealth than confessing openly that they are believers in Christ Jesus.
Again, Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says this about the word 'saints'. "The word "saint" is derived from a Greek verb (hagiazo [aJgiavzw]) whose basic meaning is "to set apart, " "sanctify, " or "make holy." This idea of the separateness of God and his people is carried forward in the New Testament, which was written by Jews (except possibly Luke-Acts) who interpreted God's covenant with Israel through the teachings of Christ. Those who were dedicated to the teachings of Christ were frequently called saints by these writers (e.g., Matt 27:52 ; Acts 9:13 ; Rev 14:12 ). Six of Paul's letters to churches are addressed to saints (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians)."
In essence, we are to boldly love the saints, or the body of Christ. Colossians 1:3-5 says: "We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel."
Philemon 7 says; "For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother."
Wherever you go, you're to bring refreshment to the saints. Whatever that may look like, spirit, soul and body. Jesus said if we do it to the least of any, we've done it unto him as well. You see, Vanity Fair will always say to you, even as a Christian, that your fellowship ought to be with them.
Hebrews 6:9-11 says; "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end."
Here is another question for you today. Are you seeking out those who love the saints while surrounded by Vanity Fair, or are you avoiding their fellowship so that you can continue to conform yourself to the image of this world with all its vanities? Are you being sought out as a Christian saint? Or are you a saint that's behaving like a sinner conforming your Christian walk to what the world wants the Church to look like? If so, I guess you could say the church you attend is Vanity Fair Church.
****Fourthly we have Mr. Dare-Not-Lie who adds to the conversation by saying; “It is true. They have neither the pilgrim’s clothes, nor the pilgrim’s courage. They do not go uprightly, but all awry with their feet; one shoe goes inward, another outward; and their stockings are out behind: here a rag, and there a rent, to the disparagement of their Lord.” He's pointing out the duality of so called Christians and it's really obvious by how they're seen and how they act. Whatever the duality is, it will show itself in some outward way in your life. What he says here is very descriptive. They can't see their duality but everyone else can see the instability, duality and double mindedness of their walk. The lies expose what's going in internally.
Jesus says this about liars in John 8:44; "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."
Proverbs 12:22 says; "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight." And Proverbs 12:19 says; "The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment."
Here is another question for you. Are you seeking out those who walk in truth at all times for fellowship while being surrounded by Vanity Fair? Do you seek out saints who seek out truth or do you seek the world? You know they're caught up in lies, misappropriation of money, doing bad things secretly, saying the ends justify the means. Are you sought out as a Christian man or woman of truth? Or are you seen as a Christian living in duality with your tongue saying one thing but living another.
*****Fifthly we have Mr. Penitent who says; "These things they ought to be troubled about; nor are the pilgrims likely to have that grace put upon them and their Pilgrim’s Progress as they desire, until the way is clear of such spots and blemishes.” Here he is talking about repentance, being penitent.
What does penitent mean? Feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong; repentant. Synonyms are: repentant, contrite, remorseful, sorry, apologetic, regretful, conscience-stricken, rueful, ashamed, shamefaced, abject, in sackcloth and ashes. As a noun, it means a person who repents of their sins and/or wrongdoings and in the Christian Church, seeks forgiveness from God.
In 2 Corinthians 7:10 it says; "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."
2 Peter 3:9 also says; "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
The Lord is strong and able help you work through areas in your life where you need to truly repent. His love is longsuffering.
The last question to you today is this; are you seeking fellowship with penitent Christian brothers and sisters who walk in repentance while surrounded by Vanity Fair? Are you sought out as a penitent repentant Christian man or woman or are you seen as a member of the Vanity Fair Church, having conformed your self to attend a Church that the world wants, a church without repentance?
All these characters we looked at today need to be who our life represents; Mr. Contrite, Mr. Holy-Man, Mr. Love-Saints, Mr. Dare-Not-Lie and Mr. Penitent and not be conformed to Vanity Fair Church.
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