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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 Logos

R. C. SproulR. C. Sproul:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2)

“John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, `He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'” (John 1:15)

In Greek philosophy, the logos remains an impersonal force, a lifeless and abstract philosophical concept that is a necessary postulate for the cause of order and purpose in the universe. In Hebrew thought, the Logos is personal. He indeed has the power of unity, coherence, and purpose, but the distinctive point is that the biblical Logos is a He, not an it. All attempts to translate the word Logos have suffered from some degree of inadequacy. No English word is able to capture the fullness of John’s Logos when he declared that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Attempts have been made by philosophers to translate Logos as logic, act, or deed—all of which are inadequate definitions.

God’s Logos does include action. The Logos is the eternal Word in action. But it is no irrational action or sheer expression of feeling. It is the divine Actor, acting in creation and redemption in a coherent way, who is announced in John’s Gospel. That the Word became flesh and dwelt among us is the startling conclusion of John 1. The cosmic Christ enters our humanity. It is the supreme moment of visitation of the eternal with the temporal, the infinite with the finite, and the unconditioned with the conditioned. God became flesh to accomplish your redemption. 

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more information, please visit http://www.ligonier.org or call them at 800-435-4343. © R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.

 

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Blind to the Scriptures

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)Blind to gods word

A man without Christ is blind to the Scriptures and the things of God. When he becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit begins to show him the Scriptures and the world in a new light. He sees truth clearly for the first time. He sees who he truly is and why he is the way he is. He sees that sin has cut him off from communion with God and that the world is fallen in nature and unredeemed man suppresses the knowledge of God.

Human beings are born self-centered. They seek to please themselves and ignore the precepts of God. God, however, has made a way for men to come to Him through His Son – Jesus Christ. The Christian knows salvation from his sins and has escaped the wrath of God through Jesus Christ. He begins to know himself and understand why people are the way they are. A Christian has a more complete view of life because he is guided by God’s Word.

There is more; the Christian is determined to know God – not just things about Him. This knowledge of God results in a sense of purpose. The Christian is awakened to a new system of living and a resolve to live like Christ. He surrenders his life to this new way of living. When challenges arise, the Christian trusts in Christ. He walks the talk. His confidence is in Jesus Christ. His Anchor of Hope is not in this world, which is passing, but in the God of the Scriptures Who is eternal.

Samuel at Gilgal

The Carnal Christian

Wolf in Sheep's ClothingPaul Washer:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15 ESV)

There is a doctrine that was created in America tailor-made for America. It is the doctrine of the carnal Christian that a person can believe in Jesus Christ and live in carnality all the days of their life and be worldly and never grow and yet they are a Christian. That is a lie straight out of the pit of hell. It has nothing to do with history and nothing to do with the gospel in other countries. But it is convenient for America because it is a great way to explain how we can have all these churches filled with such carnal people and still call them Christian.

Now Jesus says here in verse 15:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

An old man once told me, “Son, your best friend is the one who tells you the most truth and tells you as directly and clearly as possible.”

What advantage do I have here today by making you angry? What advantage do I have here today speaking hard words? Men who seek money and fame and well-being and security do not speak hard words to other men. No, they tell them about their best life now and how they can have all the self-esteem and prosperity and everything their carnal heart wants in this life.

They flatter men because they do not love men. They care about themselves. They dress up like sheep, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. All they want to do is feed off people and the best way to feed off people the Bible tells us is to tickle their ears. (“We have forgotten that the Way is Narrow”)

The Christian shall breathe the Perfect Gospel

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

I insist not that the life of the Christian shall breathe nothing but the perfect Gospel, though this is to be desired, and ought to be attempted. I insist not so strictly on evangelical perfection, as to refuse to acknowledge as a Christian any man who has not attained it. In this way all would be excluded from the Church, since there is no man who is not far removed from this perfection, while many, who have made but little progress, would be undeservedly rejected. What then? Let us set this before our eye as the end at which we ought constantly to aim. Let it be regarded as the goal towards which we are to run. For you cannot divide the matter with God, undertaking part of what his word enjoins, and omitting part at pleasure. For, in the first place, God uniformly recommends integrity as the principal part of his worship, meaning by integrity real singleness of mind, devoid of gloss and fiction, and to this is opposed a double mind; as if it had been said, that the spiritual commencement of a good life is when the internal affections are sincerely devoted to God, in the cultivation of holiness and justice. But seeing that, in this earthly prison of the body, no man is supplied with strength sufficient to hasten in his course with due alacrity, while the greater number are so oppressed with weakness, that hesitating, and halting, and even crawling on the ground, they make little progress, let every one of us go as far as his humble ability enables him, and prosecute the journey once begun. No one will travel so badly as not daily to make some degree of progress.

This, therefore, let us never cease to do, that we may daily advance in the way of the Lord; and let us not despair because of the slender measure of success. How little so ever the success may correspond with our wish, our labor is not lost when to-day is better than yesterday, provided with true singleness of mind we keep our aim, and aspire to the goal, not speaking flattering things to ourselves, nor indulging our vices, but making it our constant endeavor to become better, until we attain to goodness itself. If during the whole course of our life we seek and follow, we shall at length attain it, when relieved from the infirmity of flesh we are admitted to full fellowship with God. (On the Christian Life)

Preaching is an Awesome Responsibility

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“Often, when I come in at the door and my eyes fall on this vast congregation, I feel a tremor go through me to think that I should have to speak to you all and be, in some measure, accountable for your future state. Unless I preach the Gospel faithfully and with all my heart, your blood will be required at my hands. Do not wonder, therefore, that when I am weak and sick, I feel my head swim when I stand up to speak to you, and my heart is often faint within me. But I do have this joy at the back of it all—God does set many sinners free in this place! Some people reported that I was mourning that there were no conversions. Brothers and Sisters, if you were all to be converted tonight, I should mourn for the myriads outside! That is true, but I praise the Lord for the many who are converted here. When I came last Tuesday to see converts, I had 21 whom I was able to propose to the Church—and it will be the same next Tuesday, I do not doubt. God is saving souls! I am not preaching in vain. I am not despondent about that matter—liberty is given to the captives and there will be liberty for some of them, tonight! I wonder who it will be? Some of you young women over yonder, I trust. Some who have dropped in here, tonight, for the first time. Oh, may this first opportunity of your hearing the Word in this place be the time of beginning a new life which shall never end—a life of holiness, a life of peace with God!” (1894, Sermon #2371)

Good Works

John GillJohn Gill, D.D.:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? (Genesis 4:7 ESV)

Adam had a power to do every good work the law required; which men, since the fall, have not. Men indeed, in an unregenerate state, might do many things which they do not; such as reading the Scriptures, attending on public worship, etc. No doubt but the persons in the parable, who were invited to the dinner, could have gone to it, had they had a will, as well as the one did to his farm, and the other to his merchandise. Men have an equal power, had they an heart, a will, an inclination, to go to a place of divine worship, as to a tavern, or alehouse; but it is easy to observe, that persons oftentimes have it in the power of their hands, when they have it not in the power of their hearts, to do a good work; as a rich man to give alms to the poor. Unregenerate men are capable of performing works, which are in a natural and civil, though not in a spiritual sense, good. They may do those things, which externally, in appearance, and as to the matter and substance of them, may be good; such as hearing, reading, praying, giving alms to the poor, etc., when the circumstances requisite to good works are wanting; for whatsoever is done as a good work, must be done in obedience to the will of God; from a principle of love to him; must be performed in faith; in the name of Christ, and to the glory of God by him. (The Cause of God and Truth)

The Greatest Joy

The Pleasures of God Meditations on God's Delight in Being GodJohn Piper:

“The greatest joy is joy in God. This is plain from Psalm 16:11: “You [God] will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Fullness of joy and eternal joy cannot be improved. Nothing is fuller than full, and nothing is longer than eternal. And this joy is owing to the presence of God, not the accomplishments of man. Therefore, if God wants to love us infinitely and delight us fully and eternally, he must preserve for us the one thing that will satisfy us totally and eternally; namely, the presence and worth of his own glory. He alone is the source of full and lasting pleasure. Therefore, his commitment to uphold and display his glory is not vain, but virtuous. God is the one being for whom self-exaltation is an infinitely loving act. If he revealed himself to the proud and self-sufficient and not to the humble and dependent, he would belittle the very glory whose worth is the foundation of our joy. Therefore, God’s pleasure in hiding this from “the wise and intelligent” and revealing it to “infants” is the pleasure of God in both his glory and our joy.” (The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God)

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