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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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Winning God’s Approval

John Bunyan

Quoting Protestant preacher and author of The Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan:

“When I thought I kept this or that commandment, or did, by word or deed, anything that I thought was good, I had great peace in my conscience, and should think with myself, God cannot choose but be now pleased with me; yea, to relate it in mine own way, I thought no man in England could please God better than I. But poor wretch as I was! I was all this while ignorant of Jesus Christ; and going about to establish my own righteousness; and had perished therein, had not God in mercy showed me more of my state by nature. But upon a day, the good providence of God called me to Bedford … I came where there were three or four poor women … talking about the things of God … I drew near to hear what they said, for I was now a brisk talker also myself, in the matters of religion; but I may say, I heard but understood not; for they were far above, out of my reach. Their talk was about a new birth, the work of God on their hearts, also how they were convinced of their miserable state by nature; they talked how God had visited their souls with His love in the Lord Jesus, and with what words and promises they had been refreshed, comforted, and supported, against the temptations of the devil: moreover, they reasoned of the suggestions and temptations of Satan in particular; and told to each other, by which they had been afflicted and how they were borne up under his assaults. They also discoursed of their own wretchedness of heart, and of their unbelief; and did contemn, slight and abhor their own righteousness, as filthy, and insufficient to do them any good.” (Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners)

Indifference To Christ

Samuel Davies

Years ago the late Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones told an American audience, ‘You Americans do not know one of your greatest preachers’. He then pronounced a name almost unknown — the name, ‘Samuel Davies‘. Unhappily, we Americans still do not know one of our greatest preachers. There are plenty of reasons to agree with Dr Lloyd-Jones. Davies is indeed one of America’s greatest preachers – as demonstrated in the following excerpt:

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

Is lukewarmness a proper temper towards Jesus Christ? Is this a suitable return for that love which brought him down from his native paradise into our wretched world? That love which kept his mind for thirty-three painful and tedious years intent upon this one object, the salvation of sinners? That love which rendered him cheerfully patient of the shame, the curse, the tortures of crucifixion, and all the agonies of the most painful death? That love which makes him the sinner’s friend still in the courts of heaven, where he appears as our prevailing Advocate and Intercessor? Blessed Jesus! is lukewarmness a proper return to thee for all this kindness? No; methinks devils cannot treat thee worse. My fellow-mortals, my fellow-sinners, who are the objects of all this love, can you put him off with languid devotions and faint services? Then every grateful and generous passion is extinct in your souls, and you are qualified to venture upon every form of ingratitude and baseness. Oh was Christ indifferent about your salvation? Was his love lukewarm towards you? No: your salvation was the object of his most intense application night and day through the whole course of his life, and it lay nearest his heart in the agonies of death. For this he had a baptism to be baptized with, a baptism, an immersion in tears and blood; and how am I straitened, says he, till it be accomplished! For this with desire, he desired to eat his last Passover, because it introduced the last scene of his sufferings. His love! what shall I say of it? What language can describe its strength and ardor? “His love was strong as death: the coals thereof were as coals of fire, which had a most vehement flame: many waters could not quench it, nor the floods drown it.” Never did a tender mother love her sucking child with a love equal to his. Never was a father more anxious to rescue an only son from the hands of a murderer, or to pluck him out of the fire than Jesus was to save perishing sinners. Now to neglect him after all; to forget him; or to think of him with indifference, as though he were a being of but little importance, and we but little obliged to him, what is all this but the most unnatural, barbarous ingratitude, and the most shocking wickedness? Do you not expect everlasting happiness from him purchased at the expense of his blood? And can you hope for such an immense blessing from him without feeling yourselves most sensibly obliged to him? Can you hope he will do so much for you, and can you be content to do nothing for him, or to go through his service with lukewarmness and languor, as if you cared not how you hurried through it, or how little you had to do with it? Can anything be more absurd or impious than this? Methinks you may defy hell to show a worse temper. May not Christ justly wish you were either cold or hot; wish you were anything rather than thus lukewarm towards him under a profession of friendship? Alas! my brethren, if this be your habitual temper, instead of being saved by him, you may expect he will reject you with the most nauseating disgust and abhorrence.

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