• 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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Too Much Introspection?

Andrée Seu writes this article which appears in World today. The title is “His Word Over Mine”. She expresses the problem that so many of us have in this self-absorbed culture. This is right on target! I hope you will read the entire article:

Personality is a funny thing. By the time you are middle aged, you cannot tell how much is nature, nurture, or the fruit of bad choices.

Doesn’t matter. I have spent too much time trying to understand why I am the way I am, and not nearly enough time thinking about who God says I am. He tells me that all the old is passed away, and behold, the new is come. That’s His Word. Am I going to put my word above His, or am I going to side with God against my own self-evaluation?

Continue reading here. . . .

That You May Know Everlasting Life

We are all born spiritually blind. We are all ignorant of God by nature. We know nothing of the gift of salvation. We do not know the way of eternal life and the gospel of salvation. Only God can make us see the way as Maurice Roberts describes here:

“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

[L]et me take a moment just to tell you what the entire chapter here is all about. It’s all about the most important thing in the world, which is how we can be saved, how we can get to heaven. Now the Old Testament and the New Testament both speak about the same subject – how we can be saved. And therefore of course – of course – they both talk about the Lord Jesus Christ because he is the Savior, there is no other. So you can think of the Bible like that, like a pyramid. Here’s the Old Testament, looking forward to the coming of Christ to die upon the cross for us. And here’s the New Testament, looking back to Jesus Christ and what he has done for us in dying on the cross. So there’s your symbol of the Bible – Old Testament looks forward to Christ, New Testament looks back to Christ, and it all is given to explain to us how you can become a Christian, how you can have faith, how you can be saved. Because that obviously is the most important thing God has to say to us.

All right, take that with you, and let me tell you now what this chapter is all about, very quickly, just in a few words. In the first part of this chapter, all the way down to verse 18, he is talking about the coming of Christ. We know that because of the language, “Behold my servant” and there we have a description of Christ who is the Servant of God to save us, to die for us, who loved us and came to bring salvation to us. So there’s Christ, right at the beginning. Up to verse 18, all that deals with Christ’s bringing salvation to the nations of the world – leaving aside the Jews for a moment. So those first 18 verses of the chapter deal with what Christ would do: he would die in order that the light of the gospel would shine throughout the world. And of course these nations are called the gentiles – you get it in verse 1, “he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles”. That means he’s going to tell us, in Scotland and England and Wales and Ireland and America and Australia and Russia, and the other gentile nations, how we can be saved. That’s what Jesus came to do. And you get the same thing really again in verse 18 when it says, “Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.” See, he’s talking to the gentiles who were deaf in those days and blind; we had no idea how to be saved. Maybe some of you have seen the Callanish stones in Lewis. Well the people that put them up centuries and centuries ago had no idea how to get to heaven. They lived and died in darkness. Same with the stones down at Stonehenge in Wiltshire in England; they had these great monuments of some sort of religious symbolism – they had no idea how to get to heaven. They lived and died in darkness because that was before Christ came. But when Christ came the gospel began to go throughout all the world and the Holy Spirit and preachers with the Holy Spirit in them brought the gospel to Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, America, and Australia; and all over the world this message has gone out to the gentiles. Well that’s what you get in verses 1-18.

But then at verse 19 to the end of the chapter you get a change of emphasis. What do you get here? He is talking now at verse 19 about the Jews, “Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? …. Seeing many things, but thou observest not.” He means when Jesus Christ would come the Jews would kill him. That’s exactly what they did because they were spiritually blind. They had the Old Testament but they didn’t understand its meaning, they were spiritually blind. So here’s the interesting thing about the chapter: the first 18 verses deal with the salvation of the world; and verses 19 to the end deal with the blinding of the Jews, and that’s been true ever since. For two thousand years the Jews have rejected Christ – blind, blind, blind because they didn’t accept him as their Messiah.

So that’s the gist of what this whole chapter is about. And its relevance to your life is this: that here God is telling us how you personally may know everlasting life, and that’s why I chose my text at verse 16. Let me read it again. God is speaking: “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” In other words God says, “I’m going to take a message to the whole of mankind which will utterly change their lives.” (Sermon: “God’s Grace to Blind Sinners”)

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