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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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The Coronation of the King

R.C. SproulR. C. Sproul:

Imagine an earthly situation where the heir-apparent to the throne meets with his closest friends on the eve of his own coronation. The new king’s friends would hardly desire that the king skip his own coronation. There is no greater benefit to the new king’s friends than that he ascends to the throne.

When Jesus left this world, He was not departing in exile. He was leaving for His coronation. He was passing from humiliation to exaltation. The extraordinary benefit in this for every Christian is that he can live in the full assurance that at this very moment the highest political office in the universe is being held by King Jesus. His term of office is forever. No revolution, no rebellion, no bloody coup can wrest Him from the throne. The Lord Christ omnipotent reigns.

The “where” partially explains the “why.” There is more to be added, though. The king serves in a dual capacity. He is not an ordinary monarch. At the same time He reigns as King, He serves His subjects as their Great High Priest. The King kneels before His own throne in supplication for His people. In addition to the session there is also intercession. Jesus’ throne is linked to the heavenly Holy of Holies. Daily, He makes intercession for you.

Read more by R. C. Sproul here. . . .

Accepting Our Helper

R. C. SproulR.C. Sproul:

It was 3 a.m., Amsterdam, 1965. I couldn’t sleep. I was pacing the floor of our apartment like a caged lion. My body was more than ready for sleep, but my mind refused to shut down.

I had spent that day studying the doctrine of the ascension of Christ, the climactic moment of His departure from this world. One statement of Jesus gripped my mind in a vise. The statement was part of Jesus’ farewell discourse to His disciples in the upper room. He said: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).

I paced the floor mulling over this astonishing statement. How could it possibly be better for the church to experience an absentee Lord? Parting with loved ones is not a “sweet sorrow.” One would think that to part with the incarnate Jesus would be an utterly bitter sorrow, a total dissolution to the soul.

Yet Jesus spoke of a certain “expediency” of His departure. The word translated “advantage” or “expedient” in John 16 is the word sumpherei, the same word employed by Caiaphas in his ironic prophecy (John 18:14).

The advantage of Jesus’ departure from earth is found partially in answer to Peter’s earlier question: “Lord, where are you going?” (Quo vadis?). We might say that the entire farewell discourse of John 14 was given in answer to that question. But equally important is that Jesus answered Peter by telling him not only where He was going but why He was going.

When Jesus left this world, He went to the Father. His ascension was to a certain place for a particular reason. To ascend did not mean merely “to go up.” He was being elevated to the right hand of the Father. The seat He occupies since His departure is the royal throne of cosmic authority. It is the office of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Visit R.C. Sproul’s ministry here. . . .

Do not take for Granted God’s good Gifts

T. DeWitt TalmageSamson, like many men and women of today, did not always use the graces bestowed upon him in a righteous manner. T. DeWitt Talmage reminds such men and women to not take for granted God’s good gifts:

Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. (Judges 14:1 ESV)

You who are seated in your Christian homes; compassed by moral and religious restraints, do not realize the gulf of iniquity that bounds you on the north and the south and the east and the west. While I speak there are tens of thousands of men and women going over the awful plunge of an impure life; and while I cry to God for mercy upon their souls, I call upon you to marshal in the defense of your homes, your Church and your nation. There is a banqueting hall that you have never heard described. You know all about the feast of Ahasuerus, where a thousand lords sat. You know all about Belshazzar’s carousal, where the blood of the murdered king spurted into the faces of the banqueters. You may know of the scene of riot and wassail, when there was set before Esopus one dish of food that cost $400,000. But I speak now of a different banqueting hall. Its roof is fretted with fire. Its floor is tessellated with fire. Its chalices are chased with fire. Its song is a song of fire. Its walls are buttresses of fire. Solomon refers to it when he says: “Her guests are in the depths of hell.”

Our American communities are suffering from the gospel of Free Loveism, which, fifteen or twenty years ago, was preached on the platform and in some of the churches of this country. I charge upon Free Loveism that it has blighted innumerable homes, and that it has sent innumerable souls to ruin. Free Loveism is bestial; it is worse—it is infernal! … As far as I can understand the doctrine of Free Loveism it is this: That every man ought to have somebody else’s wife and every wife somebody else’s husband. … Never until society goes back to the old Bible, and hears its eulogy of purity and its anathema of uncleanness—never until then will this evil be extirpated. . . .

The Samson of the text long ago went away. He fought the lion. He fought the Philistines. He could fight anything, but death was too much for him. He may have required a longer grave and a broader grave; but the tomb nevertheless was his terminus. . . .

Oh, men of the strong arm and the stout heart, what use are you making of your physical forces? Will you be able to stand the test of that day when we must answer for the use of every talent, whether it were a physical energy, or a mental acumen, or a spiritual power? (“Brawn and Muscle”)

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