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  • 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
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Shaping The Heart by R. L. Dabney

“The preacher is a herald; his work is heralding the King’s message. . . . Now the herald does not invent his message; he merely transmits and explains it. It is not his to criticize its wisdom or fitness; this belongs to his sovereign alone. On the one hand, . . . he is an intelligent medium of communication with the king’s enemies; he has brains as well as a tongue; and he is expected so to deliver and explain his master’s mind, that the other party shall receive not only the mechanical sounds, but the true meaning of the message. On the other hand, it wholly transcends his office to presume to correct the tenor of the propositions he conveys, by either additions or change. These are the words of God’s commission to an ancient preacher: ‘Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.’

“The preacher’s task may be correctly explained as that of (instrumentally) forming the image of Christ upon the souls of men. The plastic substance is the human heart. The die which is provided for the workman is the revealed Word; and the impression to be formed is the divine image of knowledge and true holiness. God, who made the soul, and therefore knows it, made the die. He obviously knew best how to shape it, in order to produce the imprint he desired. Now the workman’s business is not to criticize, recarve, or erase anything in the die which was committed to him; but simply to press it down faithfully upon the substance to be impressed, observing the conditions of the work assigned him in his instructions. In this view, how plain is it, that preaching should be simply representative of Bible truths, and in Bible proportions! The preacher’s business is to take what is given him in the Scriptures, as it is given to him, and to endeavor to imprint it on the souls of men. All else is God’s work. The die is just such, so large, so sharp, so hard, and has just such an “image and superscription” on it, as God would have. Thus He judged, in giving it to us. With this, ‘the man of God is perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’ (2 Tim 3:17) This is enough for us.”

R.L. Dabney, Evangelical Eloquence: A Course of Lectures on Preaching (Banner of Truth, 1999), p. 36-37.

Greg Laurie Speaks Out

“One of the candidates who professes to be a Christian running for the presidency recently said in a speech, ‘There are a lot of Jewish people who are just as moral, or even more moral than I am. There are a lot of Muslims who are decent, good, kind people. I don’t think they are any less children of God.’

“Now, that sounds very inclusive and kind, but I have to tell you it goes against the very core of the essential Gospel message. Yes, it is certainly true that people of faiths other than Christianity – or even no faith at all – can be ‘decent, good and kind.’ But the simple fact is, a man or woman does not come into a relationship with God by being ‘kind and good,’ but rather by admitting that he or she is a sinner who needs forgiveness from God.

“This is why Jesus died on the cross. He was paying the price for our sins, because as the Bible says, ‘All have turned away from God; all have gone wrong. No one does good, not even one’ (Romans 3:12, NLT).

“That verse isn’t saying there are no ‘good’ people, but rather that no one is ‘good enough’ to please God on his or her own. Jesus took care of that for us, dying in our place, paying the full penalty for our sins.” (The Emergent Church: A Dangerous Counterfeit)

Read the entire article. . . .

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