• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • April 2008
    M T W T F S S
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The Word Of Life by Mark Dever

“What about the role of the preacher of God’s Word? If you are looking for a good church, this is the most important thing to consider. I don’t care how friendly you think the church members are. I don’t care how good you think the music is. . . . The congregation’s commitment to the centrality of the Word coming from . . . the preacher, the one specially gifted by God and called to that ministry, is the most important thing you can look for in a church. . . .

“Preachers are not called to preach what’s popular according to the polls. . . . People already know all that. What life does that bring? We’re not called to preach merely moral exhortations or history lessons or social commentaries. . . . We are called to preach the Word of God to the church of God and to everyone in His creation. This is how God brings life. Each person . . . is flawed and has faults and has sinned against God. And the terrible thing about our fallen natures is that we are greedy for ways to justify our sins against God. Every single one of us wants to know how we can defend ourselves from God’s charges. Therefore we are in desperate need to hear God’s Word brought honestly to us, so that we don’t just hear what we want to hear but rather what God has actually said.

“All of this is important . . . because God’s Holy Spirit creates His people by His Word.

“This is why Paul told Timothy to ‘form a committee.’ Right? Of course not! . . . ‘Take a survey’? No! . . . ‘Spend yourself in visiting’? No! . . . ‘Read a book’? No! Paul never told young Timothy to do any of those things.

“Paul told Timothy, straight and clear, to ‘Preach the Word.’ (2 Tim. 4:2) This is the great imperative. This is why the apostles earlier had determined that, even thought there were problems with the equitable distribution of financial aid in Jerusalem, the church would just have to find others to solve their problems, because, ‘We . . . will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word’ (Acts 6:4). Why this priority? Because this Word is ‘the word of life.’ (Phil. 2:16) That is the great task of the preacher: to ‘hold out the word of life’ to people who need it for their souls.” (Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever)

The Only True Delight! By Charles H. Spurgeon

“Nothing gives the believer so much joy as fellowship with Christ. The Christian has joy as other men have in the ‘common mercies’ of life. For him there are charms in music, excellence in painting, and beauty in sculpture; for him the hills have sermons of majesty, the rocks hymns of sublimity, and the valleys lessons of love. He can look upon all things with an eye as clear and joyous as another man’s; he can be glad both in God’s gifts and God’s works. He is not dead to the happiness of his home: around his hearth he finds happy relationships, without which life would be dreary indeed. His children fill his home with glee, his wife is his solace and delight, his friends are his comfort and refreshment. He accepts the comforts which soul and body can yield him according as God sees it wise to afford them unto him.

“But he will tell you that in all these separately, yes, and in all of them added together, he does not find such substantial delight as he does in the person of his Lord Jesus. In our esteem, the ‘joys of earth’ are little better than husks for swine, compared with Jesus the heavenly manna. I would rather have one mouthful of Christ’s love, and a sip of his fellowship, than a whole world full of carnal delights.

“What is the chaff to the wheat? What is the sparkling paste to the true diamond? What is a dream to the glorious reality? What is time’s mirth in its best trim compared to our Lord Jesus in his most despised estate?

“No spring yields such sweet water as that well of God which was digged with the soldier’s spear! As for the house of feasting, the joy of harvest, the mirth of marriage, the sports of youth, the recreations of maturer age – they are all as the small dust of the balance compared with the joy of Immanuel our best beloved.

“As the Preacher said, so say we, ‘I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What is it?’ ‘Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.’ All earthly bliss is of the earth earthy, but the comforts of Christ’s presence are like himself heavenly.

“We can review our communion with Jesus, and find no regrets of emptiness therein; there are no dregs in this wine; no dead flies in this ointment. The joy of the Lord is solid and enduring.

“Vanity has not looked upon it, but discretion and prudence testify that it abides the test of years, and is in time and in eternity worthy to be called “the only true delight.”

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