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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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True Christians

J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle (Commenting on Mt. 2:13-23):

True Christians should never be greatly moved by the persecution of man. Their enemies may be strong, and they may be weak; but still they ought not to be afraid. They should remember that “the triumphing of the wicked is but short.” What has become of the Pharaohs and Neros and Diocletians, who at one time fiercely persecuted the people of God? Where is the enmity of Charles the Ninth of France, and Bloody Mary of England? They did their utmost to cast the truth down to the ground. But the truth rose again from the earth, and still lives; and they are dead, and moldering in the grave. Let not the heart of any believer fail. Death is a mighty leveler, and can take any mountain out of the way of Christ’s church. “The Lord lives” forever. His enemies are only men. The truth shall always prevail. (Expository Thoughts on Matthew)

 

Charles Spurgeon on Preaching

Charles H. Spurgeon:

Shall I give you yet another reason why you should pray? I have preached my very heart out. I could not say any more than I have said. Will not your prayers accomplish that which my preaching fails to do? Is it not likely that the Church has been putting forth its preaching hand but not its praying hand? Oh dear friends! Let us agonize in prayer.Charles H. Spurgeon

All originality and no plagiarism make for dull preaching.

Whatever subject I preach, I do not stop until I reach the Savior, the Lord Jesus, for in Him are all things.

“You preached well,” said a friend to John Bunyan one morning. “You are too late,” said honest John, “The devil told me that before I left the pulpit.” (“A Jealous God”, Sermon 502, March 29, 1863)

The Ministry

Charles SpurgeonThe ministry is a very serious business. Preaching is not about a speaker talking to an audience as if it were a motivational seminar. It is not about making people feel better as they walk out of the church. The ministry is preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Charles Spurgeon had this to say about the ministry:

A sermon often does a man most good when it makes him most angry. Those people who walk down the aisles and say, “I will never hear that man again,” very often have an arrow rankling in their breast.

He that can toy with his ministry and count it to be like a trade, or like any other profession, was never called of God. But he that has a charge pressing on his heart, and a woe ringing in his ear, and preaches as though he heard the cried of hell behind him, and saw his God looking down on him–oh, how that man entreats the Lord that his hearers may not hear in vain!

I always say to young fellows who consult me about the ministry, “Don’t be a minister if you can help it,” because if the man can help it, God never called him. But if he cannot help it, and he must preach or die, then he is the man.

If any man will preach as he should preach, his work will take more out of him than any other labor under heaven.

If I only had one more sermon to preach before I died, it would be about my Lord Jesus Christ. And I think that when we get to the end of our ministry, one of our regrets will be that we did not preach more of Him. I am sure no minister will ever repent of having preached Him too much. (Sermon 54.149)

God Works in You

Archibald T. RobertsonArchibald T. Robertson:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)

A boy of four said joyfully to his mother, “When we do anything, it’s really God doing it.” So then, in one sense God does it all. God is the one who energizes in you both the impulse and the energy to carry out the impulse. . . .

We are in league with God. God’s grace is not an excuse for doing nothing. It is rather the reason for doing all. In religion as in nature, we are co-workers with God. We plant the seed, plant the plant, hoe it, and harvest it. But God gave us the seed and the soil and sends the rain and the sunshine and supplies that wondrous thing that we call life and makes it grow to perfection. “God has more life than anybody,” said a child. … Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith (Heb. 12: 2). Happy is the man who finds God’s plan for his life and falls in with it. (“Realizing God’s Plan in Life”)

Authenticity Established

Sir Frederic KenyonSir Frederic Kenyon (Director and principal librarian of the British museum, foremost expert on ancient manuscripts):

“The interval between the dates of original composition (of the N.T.) and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible and the foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed; both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the N.T. may be regarded as firmly established.”

How was Jesus made a Curse?

Charles H. SpurgeonJesus in his sufferings performed the payment of a ransom, the giving to justice a quid pro quo for what was due on our behalf for our sins. He suffered what we ought to have suffered. The sins that were our’s were made His; He was made a curse for us. Charles H. Spurgeon writes:

How was Christ made a curse? In the first place, he was made a curse because all the sins of his people were actually laid on him. “He made him to be sin for us”; and let me quote from Isaiah, “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”; and yet another statement from the same prophet, “He shall bear their iniquities.” The sins of God’s people were lifted from off them and imputed to Christ, and their sins were looked upon as if Christ had committed them. He was regarded as if he had been the sinner; he actually and in very deed stood in the sinner’s place. Next to the imputation of sin came the curse of sin. The law, looking for sin to punish, with its quick eye detected sin laid upon Christ and, as it must curse sin wherever it was found, it cursed the sin as it was laid on Christ. So Christ was made a curse.

Wonderful and awful words, but, as they are scriptural words, we must receive them. Sin being on Christ, the curse came on Christ, and in consequence, our Lord felt an unutterable horror of soul. . . .

We have been accustomed to divide the penalty into two parts, the penalty of loss and the penalty of actual suffering. Christ endured both of these. It was due to sinners that they should lose God’s favor and presence, and therefore Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It was due to sinners that they should lose all personal comfort; Christ was deprived of every consolation and even the last rag of clothing was torn from him and he was left, like Adam, naked and forlorn. … As for the second part of the punishment – namely, an actual infliction of suffering – our Lord endured this also to the extreme, as the evangelists clearly show. You have often read the story of his bodily sufferings; take care that you never depreciate them. There was an amount of physical pain endured by our Savior, which his body could never have borne unless it had been sustained and strengthened by union with his Godhead; yet the sufferings of his soul were the soul of his sufferings. That soul of his endured a torment equivalent to hell itself. . . .

The consequences are that he has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Those for whom Christ died are forever Charles H. Spurgeonfree from the curse of the law; for when the law comes to curse a man who believes in Christ, he says, “What have I to do with you, O law? You say, ‘I will curse you,’ but I reply, ‘You have cursed Christ instead of me. Can you curse twice for one offence?’ And the law is silenced! God’s law having received all it can demand is not so unrighteous as to demand anything more. All that God can demand of a believing sinner, Christ has already paid, and there is no voice in earth or heaven that can accuse a soul that believes in Jesus after that. … Here is a glorious bottom to rest upon! Here is a rock upon which to lay the foundation of eternal comfort! Let a man get to this truth: my Lord outside the city’s gate bled for me as my Surety, and on the cross discharged my debt. Why then, great God, I no longer fear your thunder. How can you condemn me now? You have exhausted the quiver of your wrath; every arrow has already been used against my Lord, and I am in him clear and clean, absolved and delivered, as if I had never sinned. (“Advice for Seekers”)

Law in the Life of the Christian

Sinclair B. FergusonSinclair B. Ferguson:

So what is the place of the Law in the life of the Christian? Simply this: We are no longer under the Law to be condemned by it; we are now “in-lawed” to it because of our betrothal to Christ! He has written the Law, and love for it, into our hearts! (“Tabletalk”)

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