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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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  • September 2014
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COMPROMISED PREACHING

Alistair BeggAlistair Begg:

“Unfortunately, preachers who distort God’s Word are all too common today. Sometimes this springs from a sincere desire to soften hard hearts, but hearts are not changed by compromise.”

 

JERRY BRIDGES ON GRACE

Jerry BridgesJerry Bridges:

“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace”  (The Discipline of Grace, 19)

PLEASANT PLACES

A. W. PinkArthur W. Pink:

Faith endures as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb. 11:27); endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life, by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind. But so long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself, there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings—whether in a hovel or prison-dungeon, or at a martyr’s stake—we shall be enabled to say, ” The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places” (Ps. 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not of sight nor of sense.

 

 

HATE GRACE?

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon:

“We are sure that the Gospel we have preached is not after men because men do not take to it. It is opposed, even to this day. If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out Gospel of the Grace of God, especially if that hateful word, Sovereignty is mentioned with it! Dare to say, “He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion,” and furious critics will revile you without stint! The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of Sovereign Grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it! He would sooner hear you blaspheme than preach Election by the Father, Atonement by the Son, or Regeneration by the Spirit!

If you want to see a man worked up till the Satanic is clearly uppermost, let some of the new divines hear you preach a Free-Grace sermon! A Gospel which is after men will be welcomed by men—but it needs a Divine operation upon the heart and mind to make a man willing to receive into his utmost soul this distasteful Gospel of the Grace of God! (1891, Sermon #2185)

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

Dr James WhiteDr. James White:

The doctrine of “irresistible grace” is easily understood. It is simply the belief that when God chooses to move in the lives of His elect and bring them from spiritual death to spiritual life, no power in heaven or on earth can stop Him from so doing. It is really nothing more than saying that it is God who regenerates sinners, and that freely. The doctrine has nothing to do with the fact that sinners “resist” the common grace of God and the Holy Spirit (they do) or that Christians do not live perfectly in the light of God’s grace. It is simply the confession that when God chooses to raise His people to spiritual life, He does so without the fulfillment of any conditions on the part of the sinner. Just as Christ had the power and authority to raise Lazarus to life without obtaining his “permission” to do so, He is able to raise His elect to spiritual life with just as certain a result.

KEEPING THE HEART

Samuel A CainKeep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Proverbs 4:23-27 ESV)

We often talk about the heart as the seat of our passions and emotions. In this non-physical sense, we think of it as the domain of our true feelings and beliefs. King Solomon reminds us to, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 ESV)

I like that proverb and its description of the human heart; “for from it flow the springs of life.” What do you imagine these springs might look like? I would envision that, from person to person, there would be some degree of difference in each. Some would be crystal clear while others would be cloudy and some black in hue. The quality of the springs would be determined by the amount of the world’s pollution found in the heart. Out of the well-kept heart will flow living springs that will glorify God. I am speaking, of course, of wisdom (living springs) – the kind that only the words of God can give. Immediately following this verse, Proverbs 4 goes on to instruct us: Continue reading

CHEAP CHRISTIANITY

J.C.-RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough – a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice – which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.”

 

GRACE ALONE

Samuel A CainFor by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:20-24 ESV)

Natural man believes it is by the work of his hands that he is able to please his gods. Ever willing to put the cart before the horse, he devises rules, works, and abstinence from taboos; such as movies, playing cards, lipstick, makeup, chewing gum, and the county fair, etc. These things belong to a righteousness that is by works rather than the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The righteousness of man falls short because every man is a sinner.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)

Continue reading

WE NEED A MIRACLE!

john samsonJohn Samson:

“Just as a jeweler in a store will always use a black velvet background to display the splendor of an exquisite diamond, so the intricate, dazzling beauty of the gospel is only fully seen when we understand what the Bible says about man’s radical condition outside of Christ. It’s a bleak and dark picture to be sure. Yet only when we understand the immensity of the problem can we find the right solution – and see the futility of all other man made remedies. We need far more than a moral pep talk; more than some medical first aid for our gaping wounds; and even more than even an oxygen mask to help us breathe more easily. What we need is a miracle! What we need is a resurrection!” 

MANUFACTURING GODS

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who as a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all.”

 

SLANDER

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“It is a fine thing, when you are slandered, not to hear it. And it is a better thing to never reply to it. I have always tried to possess one deaf ear and one blind eye—and I believe that the deaf ear is the better ear, and the blind eye by far the more useful of the two. Do not remember the injury that is done to you, try to forget it and pass it over. Do not go about the world determined to grasp every red-hot iron that any fool holds out before you. Let it alone! It will be for your own good and for God’s Glory to be very patient under the slander of the wicked.” (1894, Sermon #2385)

NOT JUST A FAIRY TALE

Eric MetaxasEric Metaxas:

“Ever heard of anyone executed for distributing copies of Grimm’s fairy tales? Imagine people trying to smuggle copies of Hans Christian Andersen’s works into China? The Bible, which has been called a mere collection of myths has suffered all of these fates: even today, copies of the Bible are banned and burned. There’s something about this ancient book that threatens and frightens those in power.”

PREACHING TO GLORIFY GOD

Samuel A CainDo your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1 ESV)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV)

The very best kind of preaching is saying exactly what God says. It is preaching with the sound of God’s own voice. Preaching to glorify God means preaching with the very words of God. Preaching that glorifies God is preaching that is heard like the very voice of God Himself.

A preacher must be careful not to modify the gospel by the means he uses to preach it. Preaching that relies on psychology and motivational strategies may reveal a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit to bring God’s message to life in the hearts of His people. Biblical preaching is all about God, not us.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes: Continue reading

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Bishop J. C. RyleBishop J. C. Ryle:

“Do nothing that you would not like God to see. Say nothing you would not like God to hear. Write nothing you would not like God to read. Go no place where you would not like God to find you. Read no book of which you would not like God to say, “Show it to Me.”

Never spend your time in such a way that you would not like to have God say, “What are you doing?”

TRUTH MATTERS!

Samuel A CainJesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6 ESV)

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth … (John 16:13 ESV)

The sum of your word is truth … (Psalm 119:160 ESV)

Lead me in your truth and teach me … (Psalm 25:5 ESV)

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32 ESV)

If you have ever taken a “True/False” test in school, you understand that your grade was based on your knowledge of which statements (etc.) were true and which statements were false. In life, we often have to make decisions based on our understanding of what is true and what is not. Knowing truth is important to us, because truth corresponds exactly with reality.

In the world today, many do not believe in absolute truth. They believe in a kind of personal and circumstantial relativism that rejects the idea of absolute truth. Although their opinion is illogical, many who call themselves Christians also believe that truth is a matter of personal opinion. Bishop J. C. Ryle writes:  Continue reading

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