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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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A Prayer Of Contentment

Heavenly Father, if I should suffer need, and go unclothed, and be in poverty, make my heart prize Thy love, know it, be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings. It is Thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants, for by these trials I see my sins, and desire severance from them. Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, temptations, if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil, and be delivered from it with gratitude to Thee, acknowledging this as the highest testimony of Thy love.

When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul instead of sin He became more dear to me than sin had formerly been; His kindly rule replaced sin’s tyranny. Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and He must become to me more than vile lust had been; that His sweetness, power, life may be there. Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin, but must not claim it apart from Himself.

When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me by showing me that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but in Christ I am reconciled and live; that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest, but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace; that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good, but in Christ I have ability to do all things. Though now I have His graces in part, I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state where Thou wilt show Thyself fully reconciled, and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished. O Lord, hasten that day.

From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Why The Law And Judgment Must Be Preached

“It’s got to be at least 75 percent law and judgment, and 25 percent grace and forgiveness”. Those are the words of John MacArthur concerning the way to present the Gospel message. More and more today, Gospel presentations are based only on the good news and love, with no mention of the law and God’s judgment. Preaching has become people-centered rather than God honoring. Contrast that modern approach to how the Bible has historically been preached:

George Whitefield:
That is the reason we have so many ‘mushroom’ converts, because their stony ground is not plowed up; they have not got a conviction of the Law; they are stony-ground hearers.

First, then, before peace can be spoken to your hearts, you must be made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your actual transgressions against the Law of God.

Jonathan Edwards:
In 1741, Edwards preached one of the most famous sermons in American History. It was called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, and it prepared the way for the good news, by first presenting the bad news. The sermon sparked revival in Enfield Connecticut, an area that had been largely untouched by the Great Awakening up to that point.

Charles Spurgeon:
I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the Law. Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its [its most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ. . . They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place.

D. L. Moody:
It is a great mistake to give a man who has not been convicted of sin certain passages that were never meant for him. The Law is what he needs . . . Do not offer the consolation of the gospel until he sees and knows he is guilty before God. We must give enough of the Law to take away all self-righteousness.

J. C. Ryle:
“People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven, and live like pilgrims, until they really feel that they are in danger of hell . . . Let us expound and beat out the Ten Commandments, and show the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of their requirements. This is the way of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. We cannot do better than follow His plan. We may depend on it, men will never come to Jesus, and stay with Jesus, and live for Jesus, unless they really know why they are to come, and what is their need.”

A.W. Pink:
The unsaved are in no condition today for the gospel till the Law be applied to their hearts, for “by the Law is the knowledge of sin.” It is a waste of time to sow seed on ground which has never been ploughed or spaded. To present the vicarious sacrifice of Christ to those whose dominant passion is to take fill of sin, is to give that which is holy to the dogs.

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