Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."



1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"The Beaten Path That Leads to The Cross of Christ" By Shane C. Montgomery

Thursday, May 26, 2011
  "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."   Luke 18:13 (KJV)

  Have you ever been there?  For me it seems even after all these years of following Christ, I still end each day in the position of the Publican.  Every day I want so much to be holy and to be pleasing to God in how I live my life.  But everyday is the same, everyday I stumble in sin, I let temptation speak too long or I speak without thinking or out of anger.  I might fail to show proper love and support for others or I might find myself being prideful or self-centered in my thinking or actions.  I could go on and on listing sins that still reside all too much inside of me, a man who is suppose to be growing in grace, a man who is suppose to be conforming to a image of Christ.  Yet everyday I still do battle with my old self, the old man in me refuses to lie down in defeat, he just keeps on coming on!

 We have all heard the sermons taken from Ephesians Six, every pastor in America has delivered more messages on this chapter than they care to remember I imagine.  "Put on the whole armor of God" it is there we just have to use it, right?  True, but were we meant to have need of it everyday?  I am not sure about you but for me, I seem to live in my Christian battle armor, and yet I still do something stupid.  When will it stop?  Why do I sin when I do not want to?  Why do I sin when I hate sin?  Why, after so many years and so much Bible study, so many sermon preps, so many books read, lectures sit through and days spent in meditation and prayer, do I still fall into sins?

   Does anyone ever reach a point in life where they go through a entire month without sining?  A week?  A day even?   Not me, not that I want to sin, I just do.  I should tell you that I have worn a path to the cross of Christ, it is nothing but dirt now, this path I walk everyday, the grass is long gone, trodden under the weight of so much sin, no flowers grow along the wayside, no birds singing, no emotional feelings of wonder and awe, just me walking the path with my head down, ashamed to raise my head skyward, just like the Publican, the weight of yet another sin has nearly broken my back.  The cross stands at the end of the path, once again I start out standing, telling myself I do not deserve to be forgiven again, one too many sins you know.  But my need for a Savior has not left, I need Him today just as much as I needed Him the first time I visited this cross, then I find myself no longer standing, but on the ground, flat on my face, begging, pleading, "Forgive me once again, Lord!" 
   The path back then was fresh, grass was green, flowers were in bloom, birds chirped their songs, my whole body seemed to be filled with love for Christ and my skin showed the signs of an emotional experience, goose bumps were everywhere, my heart fluttered in anticipation of my new birth, this first visit I was sure would be the end of my sins, everything would be fine, no more suffering, no more sickness, just warm love and good feelings, at least that was what they told me in Church.  

  Yeah, being a new believer is fantastic, everything is great and wonderful, then you start to grow, you start to mature, you see that everything God makes is truly fantastic and wonderful, Christ's love is still warm in your heart, but the problem lies with me, Christ still loves me, He still mediates on my behalf, I am still one of God's elect, I know heaven is promised, communion with God, the right to approach His throne is still there, but I keep stumbling.  I might be Justified, made holy in holy God's eyes through the blood of Christ, but I am still a wretched person.  I am so far from being holy it is ridiculous and if I know it, then I am sure God knows it!
  So I still need the cross of Christ, I still must repent and ask for forgiveness, I might not sin nearly as much as I did five years ago, or three or one, and I might not sin as much as I did last week or even yesterday, but I still sin and sin is first and foremost a sin against Almighty GOD.  The Publican knew this, that is why he could not raise his head skyward, that is why the best he could offer was a simple grunting of "Please have mercy on me, a sinner."   Because he knew, the Publican knew he was dirty, polluted, sinful, he knew that standing in the presence of GOD was a figure of unhonorable workmanship, a fallen creature who puts more love into the world and in things than he did in GOD.   The Publican knew, just as I know, that even though we grow every single day in grace as long as we are staying in His Word and in His Ordinances, we grow, we become just a little bit more holy, just a little, and that this is not noticeable except over time, but we still fall so short of the mark set for us.  

  I find it ironic maybe that for someone who hates sin as much as I do still sins.  I truly hate sin, the thought of most sins make my stomach upset, I have a hard time watching others sin, thinking about most sins seems like a sin in itself anymore.  That is most sins, the vile sins, the big sins, they make me sick, but the other ten percent or so of sins, well, they have a way of lingering, they have a way of tricking us don't they, or we trick ourselves, we certainly have some sins that we sanitize, we have cleaned them up enough to pass in our fallen minds as no longer that bad, so we let them slide,  we embrace them, we make excuses for them and we either commit them or we omit the good we should do, in anyway, we sin.  We sin everyday, to deny our sins is to deny GOD.  

  Herman Hoeksema writes in his book "In the Sanctuary" -  "......we desire earnestly the forgiveness of sin, that we flee from and fight against all temptation, and long for the deliverance from all sin, because SIN DISHONORS THE NAME OF GOD, is in conflict with the righteousness of His kingdom, and is opposed to the perfect will of our Father in heaven."

  I could never write like Prof. Hoeksema did, he was truly one of the greats, but I can vouch for what he is saying here, Sin does Dishonor the Name of GOD, yet we still do it!  Knowing this, that every little sin of commission or omission dishonors the GOD who sustains me, than I can think of nothing worse than to continue to dishonor Him, how vile of me to slander the wonderful Name of our Father in heaven, how dare I!? It is enough to make you walk that slow walk to the cross, head down, heart pounding, ashamed to look up, knowing what you have done to His honor, smacked at the face of true glory.  After all the love and grace shown to me, after all the patience and all the mercy to such a great and foolish sinner as I, to continue to sin.  What a disappointment my life has turned out to be, some service to the King of Kings.  I know we are not to hate, but I do hate sin.  I hate what it does to people, I hate what it looks like, what it smells like, I hate that putrid taste it leaves in your mouth, I hate everything sins stands for and I love everything GOD stands for, but I still sin.  Please, GOD, great, almighty GOD in heaven, wonderful Father,.....please have mercy upon me, a sinner.  Yeah, I can relate to the Publican very well, how about you?

  I believe it is in our struggles with sin, our journey in grace, our maturing as believers and all the repentance, the prayers, the pleading to GOD to send more of His Spirit to us sinners so we can sin less, that GOD finds us right where He want us to be.  I think GOD knows our lives will be one long battle with sin and one we will not win until the day we die and stand before Him.  O what a day that will be when we will no longer sin!   O what a joyous time!  To finally be holy, to be righteous!  To praise GOD with the saints and angels, to wave palm branches and sing Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts!   When that day comes, all these battles will be looked at in a different light, we will see that they were necessary, we will understand that even though GOD hates sin, and He does not want us to sin, He takes no joy in seeing us sin, He does want to prepare us, He wants to purify us by fire, and no, He is not the author of sin, we are, but He is patient, He waits and works with us and through Christ, He will make us vessels worthy, in time.  One day we will be holy!  But now we can do nothing but go to the cross of Christ, only there do we have forgiveness of sins, only the blood can wash away our sins, only Jesus saves, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  GOD will keep us near His Son, He will send His Spirit to grow us and guide us, through His Word we will continue to know and learn His will for us better, and through Christ, GOD will show the world His glory!  Someday we will realize, it is about His Glory,....... not ours.  Always was, always will be. Then sin will no longer be the enemy it once was.

Be holy!  (The best you can)
Shane C. Montgomery


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