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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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Resurrection Sunday

The ResurrectionPaul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Romans 1:1-4 ESV)

We know that all who believe in Christ have hope for redemption and salvation by Him. However, what if there was no resurrection? Then our hope in Him would be limited to this life and we would be in a worse condition than the rest of humanity. The Apostle Paul tells us, among other things, that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ declared Him the Son of God in power. The Gospel is concerned with two facts about Jesus Christ our Lord. The first is that He was really man. The second that, although man, He was more than man. Jesus was truly a man by the fact of His birth and the Son of God by the fact of His resurrection.

The resurrection was not only miraculous; it was a lesson. The resurrection teaches us that Jesus was much more than the prophets or apostles. He was the Only-Begotten Son of God, who had shared God’s throne and His Nature from all eternity.

Paul points out that this single event declared Christ to be the Son of God by His Resurrection from the dead. Why should our Lord’s resurrection have the particular effect of declaring Him the Son of God? The resurrection of our Lord verified the truth of His claims and teachings. Had Jesus lived, taught, and decayed in His tomb, He would have been regarded by history as a great moral teacher who in the end was simply a man. However, the resurrection proclaims to the entire world that He Who was crucified, dead, and buried, is the Son of God.

When the lifeless soul hears the voice of the Son of God, his eyes open to behold His mercy and love. His tongue bursts forth in prayer and praise to Him who is the Redeemer and Lord. His sinfulness is exchanged for purity, light, and eternal life. In the Church of our day when a man is turned from the fatality of sin to a life of godly righteousness, we must give all praise to God and pray that more sinners will do the same.

The power of the resurrection of Jesus is as supreme now as it was in the days of the apostles and disciples. The Holy Spirit is just as ready to quicken us who are dead in trespasses and sins – as anyone in the Book of Acts. Jesus Christ will abide in us. At the resurrection of the last day, Jesus will confess us before his Father and we shall receive that wonderful invitation: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34 ESV)

Jesus rose from the tomb to prove to us that we could have everlasting life with Him. I give thanks to God for His grace and mercy on this Resurrection Sunday and pray that you will come to know the greatness of His power towards you.

Samuel at Gilgal

 

The Service of God

Jeremiah BurroughsJeremiah Burroughs:

Indeed, a Christian values every service of God so much that though some may be in the eyes of the world and of natural reason a slight and empty business, beggarly elements, or foolishness, yet since God calls for it, the authority of the command so overawes his heart that he is willing to spend himself and to be spent in discharging it. (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment)

Conforming Our Intellect to God’s Truth

A Christless Intellect Nancy Pearcey:

The first step in conforming our intellect to God’s truth is to die to our vanity, pride, and craving for respect from colleagues and the public. We must let go of the worldly motivations that drive us, praying to be motivated solely by a genuine desire to submit our minds to God’s Word – and then to use that knowledge in service to others.

Trust in Christ Completely

Charles H. Spurgeon

Trust in Christ completely. Trust in Him to bear your sins. Trust in Christ to save you. Charles H. Spurgeon explains:

Let nothing content any one of us but actual spiritual contact with the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us never sleep or slumber until we have really looked to that great sacrifice which God has lifted up for the sins of men. Let us not think of Christ as another man’s Savior, but be passionately in earnest till we get him for our own.

A young man once said to me, “I want to know what I must do to be saved.” I reminded of that verse,

‘A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
On Thy kind arms I fall.’

He said, “Sir, I cannot fall.” “Oh,” I said, “You do not understand me. I do not mean a fall which demands any strength in you; I mean a fall caused by the absence of all strength.” It is to tumble down into Christ’s arms because you cannot stand upright. Faint into the arms of Christ; that is faith. Just give up doing, give up depending upon anything that you are, or do, or ever hope to be, and depend upon the complete merits, and finished work, and precious blood of Jesus Christ. If you do this you are saved.

Anything of your own doing spoils it all. You must not have a jot or a tittle of your own; you must give up relying upon your prayers, your tears, your baptism, your repentance, and even your faith itself. Your reliance is to be on nothing but that which is in Jesus Christ. Those dear hands, those blessed feet, are ensigns of his love – look to them. That bleeding, martyred, murdered person is the grand display of the heart of the ever blessed God. Look to it. Look to the Savior’s pangs, griefs and groans. These are punishments for human sin. This is God’s wrath spending itself on Christ instead of spending itself on the believer. Believe in Jesus, and it is certain that he suffered this for you. Trust in him to save you, and you are saved. (Advice for Seekers)

Why is the Cross Important?

Jesus on the CrossHe himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)

Why is the cross so important? Today is Good Friday and a good day to reflect on Jesus’ death.

The cross shows us the depth of the problem we humans have with sin. It shows us God’s forgiveness of sin. The cross also leads us to the resurrection, which demonstrates that sin may be overcome. The way of the cross teaches us that it was necessary for God to save us from sin by allowing Jesus to die on the cross for our sin. The resurrection of Jesus reveals His victory over sin and death on our behalf. The cross says something important to us about us.

God desires us to see our sins for what they are – rebellion against Him. We, of course, wish to stay blind to our sins. In the cross of Jesus Christ, God is trying to show us the consequences of our sin and the only way to peace with God. Therefore, in the cross, God shows us righteousness. It is a righteousness that comes through the faith of Jesus when He went to the cross trusting in God who would raise Him on the third day in order that we might begin to live with that same faith in a God.

The cross is our sin meeting God’s unconditional love, and forgiveness. The violence of the cross teaches us about sin and its cost. At the same time, the cross demonstrates God’s justice, love and forgiveness. The cross is God’s answer to sin. It is the result of the work of Jesus Christ to earn our salvation.

Samuel at Gilgal

Wonderful Moments of Joy

John PiperJohn Piper:

“The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves.” (Don’t Waste Your Life)

The Scriptures of God

Isaac NewtonIsaac Newton, English mathematician and scientist:

“We account the scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.”

CONFIDENT CHRISTIANITY

Confidence in GodThe LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3 ESV)

Do you ever find yourself wishing you had as much confidence as a fellow Christian who is very bold in his witness for Christ? What do you think makes some Christians more confident in prayer than others? How is it that some Christians face the problems of life so calmly?

We find this clue in Proverbs, “For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” (Proverbs 3:26 ESV) God would have us manifest courage. We are always in the presence of God and ought to display presence of mind. Serenity under the sudden rush of unexpected evils is a gift of divine love. Therefore, Christians should show quietness in spirit. Those who walk with God shall not be deceived by Satan’s tricks. Let the LORD be your confidence.

Paul writes, “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” (Ephesians 3:11-12 ESV) We have the courage of confident access to God. Since we belong to Christ and He is ours, then we have free and unrestricted access to the Father. Therefore, we should pray boldly and rest confidently in God.

I am not talking about self-confidence, but confidence in God. All things are possible with God. The outcome of our efforts is in His hands. The author of Hebrews reminds us, “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” (Hebrews 10:35 ESV)

The Apostle John writes, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” (1 John 2:28 ESV) The phrase “abide in him” pictures an intimate, close relationship, and not just a superficial acquaintance. Such a relationship inspires confidence. Once we abide in Him, we have the confidence to produce good fruit in our lives. (John 15:4 ESV)

Samuel at Gilgal

True Grace has Various Degrees

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

Though true grace has various degrees, and there are some that are but babes in Christ, in whom the exercise of the inclination and will, towards divine and heavenly things, is comparatively weak; yet everyone that has the power of godliness in his heart, has his inclinations and heart exercised towards God and divine things, with such strength and vigor that these holy exercises do prevail in him above all carnal or natural affections, and are effectual to overcome them: for every true disciple of Christ “loves him above father or mother, wife and children, brethren and sisters, houses and lands: yea, than his own life.”

All Truth

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

All truth is given by revelation, either general or special, and it must be received by reason. Reason is the God-given means for discovering the truth that God discloses, whether in his world or his Word. While God wants to reach the heart with truth, he does not bypass the mind.

God Loves His Saints

Jonathan EdwardsThe glory of God is not subject to change. The love of God, to those who see his face, will never fail. He loves his saints with an everlasting love. Jonathan Edwards writes:

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

How blessed therefore are they that do see God, who are come to this exhaustless fountain! They have obtained that delight which gives full satisfaction. Having come to this pleasure, they neither do nor can desire any more. They can sit down fully contented, and take up with this enjoyment forever and ever, and desire no change. After they have had the pleasure of beholding the face of God millions of ages, it will not grow a dull story. The relish of this delight will be as exquisite as ever, there is enough still for the utmost employment of every faculty.

This delight in the vision of God hath an unfailing foundation. God made man to endure forever, and therefore that which is man’s true blessedness, we may conclude has a sure and lasting foundation. As to worldly enjoyments, their foundation is a sandy one that is continually wearing away, and certainly will at last let the building fall. If we take pleasure in riches, riches in a little while will be gone. If we take pleasure in gratifying our senses, those objects whence we draw our gratifications will perish with the using, and our senses themselves also will be gone, the organs will be worn out, Jonathan Edwardsand our whole outward form will turn to dust. If we take pleasure in union with our earthly friends, that union must be broken. The bonds are not durable, but will soon wear asunder.

But he who has the immediate intellectual vision of God’s glory and love, and rejoices in that, has his happiness built upon an everlasting rock. Isa. 26:4, “Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” In the Hebrew it is, “in the Lord Jehovah is the Rock of ages.” (“The Pure in Heart Blessed”)

Dragging Up Old Sins

The Gospel for Real LifeJerry Bridges:

We tend to drag up our old sins, that we tend to live under a vague sense of guilt…we are not nearly as vigorous in appropriating God’s forgiveness as He is in extending it. Consequently, instead of living in the sunshine of God’s forgiveness through Christ, we tend to live under an overcast sky of guilt most of the time. (The Gospel for Real Life, p. 67)

 

Let No One Grieve

John ChrysostomJohn Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople:

Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it.

Bear Up Against All Opposition

William GurnallIf you wish to courageously bear up against all opposition on your march to heaven, raise your spirit with the noble words of the Bible. Such reading will make your principles well fixed, and prevent your heart from becoming unstable. William Gurnall writes:

The Christian is to walk singularly, not after the world’s guise, Rom. 12:2. We are commanded not to be conformed to this world, that is, not to accommodate ourselves to the corrupt customs of the world. The Christian must not be of such a complying nature as to cut the coat of his profession according to the fashion of the times, or the humor of the company he falls into… No, the Christian must stand fixed to his principles, and not change his habit; but freely show what countryman he is by his holy constancy in the truth. Now what odium, what snares, and what dangers doth this singularity expose the Christian to? Some will hoot and mock him, as one in a Spanish fashion would be laughed at in your streets. Thus Michal flouted David. Indeed, the world counts the Christian for his singularity of life the only fool; which I have thought gave the first occasion to that nickname, whereby men commonly express a silly man or a fool. Such a one, say they, is a mere Abraham; that is, in the world’s account, a fool. But why an Abraham? Because Abraham did that which carnal reason, the world’s idol, laugh’s at as mere folly; he left a present estate in his father’s house to go he knew not whither, to receive an inheritance he knew not when. And truly such fools all the saints are branded for by the wise world. . . .

Shame is that which proud nature most disdains, to avoid which many durst not ‘confess Christ openly,’ John 7:13. Many lose heaven because they are ashamed to go in a fool’s coat thither. Again, as some will mock, so others will persecute to death, merely for this nonconformity in the Christian’s principles and practices to them. This was the trap laid for the three children; they must dance before Nebuchadnezzar‘s pipe, or burn. This was the plot laid to ensnare Daniel, who walked so unblameably, that his very enemies gave him this testimony, that he had no fault but his singularity in his religion, Dan. 6:5. It is a great honor to a Christian, yea, to religion itself, when all their enemies can say is, they are precise, and will not do as we do. Now in such a case as this, when the Christian must turn or burn, leave praying, or become a prey to the cruel teeth of bloody men; how many politic retreats and self-preserving distinctions would a cowardly unresolved heart invent? The Christian that hath so great opposition had need be well locked into the saddle of his profession, or else he will soon be dismounted. (The Whole Armour of God)

We Converse so Little with God

Jeremiah BurroughsJeremiah Burroughs:

The reason why we are so troubled with our nakedness, with any wants that we have, is because we converse so little with God, so little with spiritual things; conversing with spiritual things would lift us above the things of the world. Those who are bitten or struck by a snake, it is because they tread on the ground; if they could be lifted up above the earth they need never fear being stung by the snakes which are crawling underneath. (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment)

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