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Believers Can Pray Believing

One of the many great promises given to God’s children is that of answered prayer. If we know we are his, we know he will hear.


Get assurance of your interest in the covenant; that Christ has loved you, and washed you from your sins in his blood; that he has given you his Spirit; that you are reconciled and in favour. If you be sure you are his favourites, you may be sure to have his ear. As acceptance of persons goes before acceptance of services, so assurance of that is the ground of confidence in this: 1 John v. 13–15, ‘These things have I written, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.’ First, assurance that ye have eternal life, and then confidence that he will hear. If ye know that ye have right to eternal life by faith, the first fruits of it, then ye may be sure he will hear and grant; not hear in vain, but make sweet returns to the petitions he hears, ver. 15.: John xv. 7, ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ First assure your union, and then doubt not of your audience. Union goes before audience, so assurance of one goes before assurance of the other.

—David Clarkson, Faith in Prayer, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:202.

When Prayer Is Sin

Years ago, I recorded my objection to the “unspoken” prayer request, but I neglected one very important reason I won’t pray for your unspoken request. As David Clarkson writes, The thing asked for must be an object of faith; such things as you may upon good grounds believe that God will grant. There must be a belief, a persuasion, that the things desired are lawful according to his will: 1 John v. 14, ‘And this is the assurance that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.’ No assurance he will hear, without assurance that what we ask is according to his will; now that is according to his will for which we have command or promise . . . If there be no persuasion, or none upon these grounds, the prayer is not of faith, and so it is sin; for whatever is not of faith is sin, and sin can expect no comfortable return from God. He that cannot behold it will not hear it, or hear it so as to reward it but with punishment. A fervent prayer for a thing unlawful is a crying sin. —David Clarkson, Of Living by Faith, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:198. In short, if your request is kept secret, how can I know if it’s biblical? I really do need to know.

Lord’s Day 38, 2017

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” How can we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land? —Psalm 137:4 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. —Revelation 22:20 A Song of Praise for the Hope of Glory John Mason (1645–1694) I sojourn in a vale of tears; Alas, how can I sing? My harp doth on the willows hang, Distuned in every string. My music is a captive’s chains, Harsh sounds my ears do fill; How shall I sing sweet Zion’s song On this side Zion’s hill? Yet lo, I hear a joyful sound, “Surely I quickly come”; Each word much sweetness doth distill, Like a full honeycomb. And dost Thou come, my dearest Lord? And dost Thou surely come? And dost Thou surely quickly come? Methinks I am at home. Come then, my dearest, dearest Lord, My sweetest, surest Friend; Come, for I loathe these Kedar tents, Thy fiery chariots send. What have I here? My Thoughts and joys Are all packed up and gone; My eager soul would follow them To Thine eternal throne. What have I in this barren land? My Jesus is not here; Mine eyes will never be blessed until My Jesus doth appear. My Jesus is gone up to heaven, To get a place for me; For ’tis His will that where he is, There should His servants be. Canaan I view from Pisgah’s top, Of Canaan’s grapes I taste; My Lord who sends unto me here, Will send for me at last. I have a God that changeth not, Why should I be perplexed? My God that owns me in this world, Will own me in the next. Go fearless, then, my soul, with God, Into another room; Thou who hast walked with Him here, Go see thy God at home. View death with a believing eye, It hath an angels face; And this kind angel will prefer Thee to an angels place. The grave is but a fining pot Unto believing eyes; For there the flesh shall lose its dross, And like the sun shall rise. The world, which I have known too well, Hath mocked me with its lies; How gladly could I leave behind Its vexing vanities? My dearest friends they dwell above, Them will I go to see; And all my friends in Christ below Will soon come after me. Fear not the trump’s earth-rending sound, Dread not the day of doom; For He that is to be thy Judge, Thy Saviour is become. Blessed be my God that gives me light, Who in the dark did grope; Blest be my God, the God of love, Who causeth me to hope. Here’s the Word’s signets, comfort’s staff, And here is grace’s chain; But these Thy pledges, Lord, I know My hopes are not in vain. —Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Abide with Me

Abide with Me Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 Abide with me! fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide! When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me! Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day. Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away. Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me! I need Thy presence ev’ry passing hour. What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r? Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be? Thro’ cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me! I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless; Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still if Thou abide with me. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine thro’ the gloom and point me to the skies. Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee! In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me! —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

A Right to the Promises

My righteous one shall live by faith —Hebrews 10:38 Believers have a just and unquestionable title to all things promised, besides that title which the promise conveys. They have right to them, and therefore have no reason to doubt but the gracious God will bestow them, especially when he has confirmed the former title by promise. All that is promised was bequeathed to believers by the eternal will of the Father, and purchased for them by the precious blood of Christ, and they are instated therein by many endearing and interesting relations. They have as much right thereto as an heir to his inheritance, or a wife to her jointure; for they are co-heirs with Christ, and married to him: 1 Cor. iii. 23, ‘All is yours.’ All. This is more than if he had said a kingdom, though this is much; nay, more than if he had said, all the kingdoms of the earth; nay, more than if heaven and earth were yours. What then is all? Why heaven and earth, and all in both. All in heaven that you are capable of, and all in earth that is desirable and good. Not only angels and men; not only riches, pleasures, glory; but the Father (that which is more than all), Christ, and the Spirit; all that they are, have, can do, so far as these are communicable, attributes, offices, functions. All these are your own, though you do not believe it. You have [a] right to these, upon other accounts besides the promise. Faith gives . . . actual possession. Here is great encouragement for believers to act faith in the promises, from this consideration. Will a child doubt that a pious and indulgent father will not give him his own, though he do not promise it? But if he engage himself by promise, he will be confident. Shall we be more confident of the justice of men, than the righteousness of God? He has made all your own, and will he be so unjust as to detain it? He has promised to give all that is yours, and will he add unfaithfulness to injustice, such injustice as is odious amongst men? Shall not the Lord of heaven and earth be righteous? Faith cannot doubt here. Either you must believe, or cast such horrid aspersions on God, as though he were as unjust or unfaithful as the worst of men. —David Clarkson, Of Living by Faith, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:194.

His Saying Is Doing

My righteous one shall live by faith —Hebrews 10:38 It is all one with God to do as to say, to perform as to promise; it is as easy, he is as willing, as able, to one as the other. There is no such distance betwixt God’s saying and doing, as amongst men. His saying is doing: Ps. xxxiii. 9, ‘He said, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.’ . . . ver. 6, ‘By the word of the Lord were the heavens made;’ Heb. xi. 3, ‘The worlds were framed by the word of the Lord.’ There is omnipotency in his word, both of command and promise: therefore called, ‘the word of his power,’ Heb. i. 3. One word of his can do more in an instant, than the united powers of heaven and earth can do to eternity. This consideration removes at once the chief discouragements that hinder the lively actings of faith; for what is it that weakens our confidence of the promises performance, but because we look upon the accomplishment as uncertain or difficult, or future and afar off! Now from hence faith may conclude the performance is certain, easy, and present. It is certain. The root of all certainty is God’s will. He is willing to promise, for he has actually done it. He is as willing to perform, for it is all one with him to do as say. It is easy. What more easy than a word! An act is not more difficult. And one word will give accomplishment to all the promises: no pains, trouble, cost, hazard. The covenant is our tree of life, the promises are its branches, laden with all precious fruits. The least word, the least breath, from God’s mouth, will shake all the fruits into your bosoms. Will not he speak so little who has done so much, sent his Son to suffer so much, let his Spirit strive so much? There is but one word betwixt you and all the happiness contained in the great and precious promises. And is it not easy for faith to believe that it is easy for God to speak one word? This may be faith’s plea, Only speak the word, and it shall be done. Nay, it is done, the accomplishment is present, the word is passed out of his lips. You have as much for the accomplishment of promises, as all things that now exist had for their creation, God’s word. He does when he says; his saying is doing. Nothing remains on God’s part to be done further. That which suspends your enjoyments is want of faith; do but believe, and all is said, all is done, to make you happy. You may as easily believe that he will perform, as that he has promised. It is easy to believe that he has promised: you question not that. There is as much reason to believe he will perform, for it is all one to him. Men promise great things, but can not perform without trouble, expense, or hazard; therefore may we doubt of them. But there are no such things incident to God’s performances; no more trouble or pains to perform a promise than to make it. He can perform all with less trouble than we can speak, do all he has said as easily as anything he does. —David Clarkson, Of Living by Faith, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:193–194.

Faith and the Offices of Christ

My righteous one shall live by faith —Hebrews 10:38 Just as the attributes of God are foundational to our faith, so are the offices of Christ; but these are more personal. His offices—prophet, priest, and king—are, as David Clarkson writes, “purely relative; wholly ours, for us, in reference to us; relative . . . both in their constitution and execution.” He was made king, priest, &c., for us, and does exercise these for us. They are essentially relative, depending on us, as one term of the relation upon another. As there cannot be a father without a child, so Christ had not been king without believers, who are his kingdom, 1 Cor. xv. 24. There cannot be a priest without a sacrifice; nor a sacrifice, except some for whom to offer it. It is otherwise in the former object; God’s attributes are absolute essentially, their relation to us is but accidental. Their being is not for us, but only their acting. God had been omnipotent, omniscient, merciful, &c., if no creatures had ever received a being. Therefore here is more support for faith than in the attributes. Where there is more interest, there may be more confidence. Faith may plead, Christ is my king, and was anointed, crowned, in reference to me. For this end he came to the kingdom, that he might govern me. He is my priest, consecrated for my sake, in reference to my guilt, my necessities, that he might satisfy for me. Christ is my prophet; for this end he was anointed, and received the Spirit without measure, Isaiah lxi. 1, that he might instruct me; ergo, I will be confident. —David Clarkson, Of Living by Faith, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:183.

Faith and the Attributes of God (3)
Faith and the Attributes of God (2)
Lord’s Day 37, 2017
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Come, Ye Disconsolate
Faith and the Attributes of God (1)
By Hearing
The Unpardonable Sin

The Essence of Saving Faith
A Little Learning
Lord’s Day 35, 2017
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Reformation without Repentance
Repentance and Original Sin
Imperfect Hate

If You Are Unworthy
As for the Lord
Lord’s Day 36, 2017
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: He Giveth More Grace
Faith Is Humble
Relying upon Christ Alone
Cling to Christ


Who Is Jesus?

The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian

Norma Normata
What I Believe

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