Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rise to your rank...

You were redeemed. . . not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the priceless blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19

“How do you mean to live? With these precious things about you, do you intend to live like a beggar? I mean, will you be sinful, low, groveling, worldly? Oh, rise to your rank, and as you are so ennobled, walk as becomes saints! Is Jesus Christ precious to you? Then serve Him with your best, give Him your precious things, give Him your lives, give Him your substance, give Him all that you have. Do not give the Redeemer your odds and ends, such as you can afford to give without knowing it. Say, ‘He died to give me Himself. I will give Him myself in return.’ . . . Go and live like those who are rich to all the intents of bliss, and let your cheerful, your godly, your self-denying example be a protest to the unbelieving sons of men that you know the preciousness of Christ.”

-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, 1950), IV:393.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On being truly human...

“Though grace is above nature, it is not contrary to nature; rather it restores true nature. Our nature is never so truly the nature of man as when it is no longer man’s sinful nature. We truly become men, such as God meant men to be, when we cease to be the kind of men that sin has made men to be.” - Charles H. Spurgeon, Power in the Blood

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Learning from Studying

"He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains proves he has no brains of his own."

-- Charles Spurgeon

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is this what we secretly dread?

It is a dreadful truth that the state of (as you say) ‘having to depend solely on God’ is what we all dread most. And of course that just shows how very much, how almost exclusively, we have been depending on things. But trouble goes so far back in our lives and is now so deeply ingrained, we will not turn to him as long as he leaves us anything else to turn to. I suppose all one can say is that it was bound to come. In the hour of death and the day of judgment, what else shall we have? Perhaps when those moments come, they will feel happiest who have been forced (however unwittingly) to begin practicing it here on earth. It is good of him to force us; but dear me, how hard to feel that it is good at the time.”

-- C. S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady (Grand Rapids, 1967), page 47. Italics original.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Look to Christ Alone

Christ has already borne the curses for our disobedience and earned for us the blessings of obedience. As a result we are now to look to Christ alone — not Christ plus our performance — for God’s blessings in our lives.

— Jerry Bridges
The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness

Friday, March 25, 2011

What Makes the Father Rejoice?

"The returning prodigal is met not only with the tear and the grasp of parental forgiveness, but high festival is kept within these paternal halls. ‘It is fit that we should make merry and be glad.’ The gladdest countenance in that scene of joy is not that of the haggard wanderer, but that of the rejoicing father, exulting over his lost and found son.

There is joy in Heaven among the angels of God over one sinner that repents’ — but it is a joy which, though spreading through the concentric ranks, and reaching to the very circumference of glory, is deepest in the centre. It begins at the throne — the keynote of that song is struck by God Himself.

— John MacDuff
"The Thoughts of God"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

If there really is a Hell....

If there be really a hell of such dreadful and never-ending torments, as is generally supposed, of which multitudes are in great dangerand into which the greater part of men in Christian countries do actually from generation to generation fall, for want of a sense of its terribleness, and so for want of taking due care to avoid itthen why is it not proper for those who have the care of souls to take great pains to make men sensible of it? Why should they not be told as much of the truth as can be?

-- Jonathan Edwards, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nothing is impossible with Him....

"With the Lord Jesus Christ nothing is impossible. No stormy passions are so strong; He can tame them. No temper is so rough and violent; He can change it. No conscience is so disturbed; He can speak peace to it and make it calm. No person ever need despair, if they will only bow down their pride, and come as a humbled sinner to Christ. Christ can do miracles upon their heart. No person ever need despair of reaching their journey’s end, if they have once committed their soul to Christ’s keeping. Christ will carry them through every danger. Christ will make them conqueror over every foe. What if our relatives oppose us? What if our neighbors laugh us to scorn? What if our place be hard? What if our temptations be great? It is all nothing, if Christ is on our side, and we are in the ship with Him. Greater is He that is for us, than all those who are against us."

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1985], 85. {Mark 4:35-41}

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Crucial Link

"The link between Christ cancelling my sin on the cross and my sin being conquered is a Holy Spirit empowered will."

— John Piper
I Act the Miracle
(Minneapolis, Minn.: Desiring God Ministries, Feb. 24, 2011)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Gospel Lifts the Burden of Our Guilt

"The gospel can lift this destroying burden [of guilt for sin] from the mind, give beauty for ashes, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. But unless the weight of the burden is felt the gospel can mean nothing to the man; and until he sees a vision of God high and lifted up, there will be no woe and no burden.

"Low views of the God destroy the gospel for all who hold them."

-- A.W. Tozer, "Knowledge of the Holy"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spurgeon on the Burden Believers Should Have for the Lost

“To be laughed at is no great hardship for me. I can delight in scoffs and jeers. . . . But that you should turn from your own mercy, this is my sorrow. Spit on me, but oh repent! Laugh at me, but, oh, believe in my Master! Make my body as the dirt in the streets, but do not damn your own souls.”

He also passionately exhorts the church: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one person go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

Further, he instructs: “The Holy Spirit will move them by first moving you. If you can rest without their being saved, they will rest, too. But if you are filled with an agony for them, if you cannot bear that they are lost, you will soon find that they are uneasy, too.”

-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Spurgeon at His Best, ed. Tom Carter (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), pp. 67-68.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Biblical View of What's Really Real

"This trinitarian ontology [i.e., the fundamental background theory of what's real], in which the unseen things of the Spirit are as real, and in fact more powerfully and enduringly real, than temporal, material objects like sticks and stones, implies a spirit-empowered epistemology of the Word, Spirit and faith that opens the eyes of the believer to the unseen realities of heaven.

"Thus, worship in 'Spirit and in truth' implies and requires a new vision of the real, and new cognitive habits and practices that give access to heavenly realities in worship."

-- John Jefferson Davis, "Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence" (IVP Academic)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"...Do not go down to hell..."

“Meet me in heaven! Do not go down to hell. There is no coming back again from that abode of misery. Why do you wish to enter the way of death when heaven’s gate is open before you? Do not refuse the free pardon, the full salvation which Jesus grants to all who trust him. Do not hesitate and delay. You have had enough of resolving, come to action. Believe in Jesus now, with full and immediate decision. Take with you words and come unto your Lord this day, even this day. Remember, O soul, it may be now or never with you. Let it be now; it would be horrible that it should be never. Farewell. Again I charge you, meet me in heaven.”

C. H. Spurgeon, All of Grace (London, 1897), page 128.

HT: Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Christian: Christ is praying for you...

It doesn’t matter how complicated, how desperate, perhaps even hopeless your life has become. No matter how overwhelmed you may feel by your problems, if your trust is in Jesus Christ, you can be sure that he is praying for you now and through that prayer he will provide for you the resources to bring you relief or enable you to carry on.

The most important thing that you and I need to learn about prayer is this: first of all and ultimately, prayer is not something we do but what Jesus does for us.

— Richard B. Gaffin
"Christ, Our High Priest in Heaven"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kevin DeYoung's review of "Love Wins"

Kevin DeYoung provides a comprehensive, compelling and careful summary and review of Rob Bell's latest book, inaccurately titled, "Love Wins." Kevin's review re-affirms crucial teachings of orthodox Christianity that are severely distorted in Bell's book.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The End of the Self-centered Life

"...Narcissus is drowned in the baptismal waters."
-- Russell Moore (from his excellent book, "Tempted and Tried")

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Do We Really Care About the Lost?

We know but little of true Christianity, if we do not feel a deep concern about the souls of unconverted people. A lazy indifference about the spiritual state of others, may doubtless save us much trouble. To care nothing whether our neighbors are going to heaven or hell, is no doubt the way of the world. But a person of this spirit is very unlike David, who said, “rivers of waters run down my eyes, because men keep not your law” [Psalm 119:136]. He is very unlike Paul, who said, “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart for my brethren” [Rom. 9:2]. Above all, he is very unlike Christ. If Christ felt tenderly about wicked people, the disciples of Christ ought to feel likewise.

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 2 , [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 314. {Luke 19:41-48}

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Exultant Joy of the Repentant Sinner

B. B. Warfield on the incomparable joy of “appeased remorse”:

The attitude of the “miserable sinner” is not only not one of despair; it is not even one of depression; and not even one of hesitation or doubt; hope is too weak a word to apply to it.

It is an attitude of exultant joy.

Only this joy has its ground not in ourselves but in our Savior.

We are sinners and we know ourselves to be sinners, lost and helpless in ourselves. But we are saved sinners; and it is our salvation which gives tone to our lives, a tone of joy which swells in exact proportion to the sense we have of our ill deserts; for it is to he to whom much is forgiven who loves much, and who, loving, rejoices much.

Adolph Harnack declares that this mood was brought into Christianity by Augustine. Before Augustine the characteristic frame of mind of Christians was the racking unrest of alternating hopes and fears. Augustine, the first of the Evangelicals, created a new piety of assured rest in God our Savior, and the psychological form of this piety was, as Harnack phrases it, “solaced contrition.”—affliction for sin, yes, the deepest and most poignant remorse for sin, but not unrelieved remorse, but appeased remorse.

There is no other joy on earth like that of appeased remorse: it is not only in heaven but on earth also that the joy over one sinner that repents surpasses that over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.

—“’Miserable-Sinner Christianity’ in the Hands of the Rationalists,” in The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 7, pp. 113-114.

HT: Justin Taylor

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ambassadors of the Coming King

Through the gospel, we command people to submit to Jesus. Through the gospel, judgment is passed on those who reject him. We are ambassadors of the coming King, going ahead to warn of his coming. If people acknowledge his lordship, they will experience his coming rule as blessing, life, and salvation. If they reject him, they will experience his coming as conquest and judgment.

— Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
Total Church
(Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008), 29

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Church and Parachurch

The latest 9Marks eJournal is on the relationship between church and parachurch, the dangers and benefits of the parachurch, and related issues. Justin Taylor provides a list (with links) of the articles and contributors....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An extremely insightful sermon....

One of the most insightful and edifying sermons I've ever come across is from a Puritan pastor, Thomas Chalmers, entitled "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection." It's not exactly easy reading, but it's well worth the effort!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Difficult Doctrine of Hell

It's inevitable that the Bible's teaching on Hell would be difficult for us, but it is part of the truth that God has communicated to us, and so it is important that we grapple with its significance and applications. Tim Keller has written a helpful summary of this teaching.