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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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PRAYING FOR REVIVAL

D.M. Lloyd-Jones:

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-JonesWhen did you last hear anyone praying for revival, praying that God might open the windows of heaven and pour out His Spirit? When did you last pray for that yourself? I suggest seriously that we are neglecting this almost entirely. We are guilty of forgetting the authority of the Holy Spirit. We are so interested in ourselves and in our own activities that we have forgotten the one thing that can make us effective. By all means let us continue to pray for the particular efforts, for the minister, and his preaching every Sunday, for all essential organizations and for evangelistic campaigns, if we feel led to have them. But before it all, and after it all, let us pray and plead for revival. When God sends revival He can do more in a single day than in fifty years of all our organization. That is the verdict of sheer history which emerges clearly from the long story of the Church. (Authority, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1984 p. 93)

GOD’S KINDNESS

John Calvin:

John CalvinFor God, who is the highest righteousness, cannot love the unrighteousness that He sees in us all. All of us, therefore, have in ourselves something deserving of God’s hatred . . . But because the Lord wills not to lose what is His in us, out of His own kindness He still finds something to love. (Institutes 2, 16, 3)

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

Archibald Alexander:

Archibald AlexanderThe strength of the principle of life in the new birth, as in the natural birth, is exceedingly various; for while some are brought into the world of grace in the clear light of day, and are from the first active and vigorous, and enjoy much comfort in their pious exercises; others give very obscure evidence of being in possession of life, and remain long in a state of feebleness. Indeed, some are like children who seem at birth to be dead, but afterwards revive, and by degrees acquire vigor and maturity. But it by no means is a uniform fact that the children who are most healthy and vigorous at birth, continue to be so throughout life. Disease or other disasters may check their growth, and debilitate their constitution; while those who commence life in extreme weakness may acquire strength, and grow prosperously from year to year; so that, in mature age, they may have greatly surpassed many who were much more healthy and vigorous in the earliest stage of existence. Analogous to this are the facts observable in the spiritual life.

THE OVERFLOWING MERCY OF GOD

The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145:9 ESV)

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

Samuel A CainGod possesses mercy and love in abundance. He chose to make us alive together in Christ. Through the mercy of His love, God raises us to heavenly places. We are delivered from the power of darkness. God proves His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We were dead, yet He was full of mercy. He stretched out His hand and made us alive. He made us worthy. Although we were sinners, He made us righteous. He reconciled us with Himself. Our abode was in the kingdom of darkness, yet, He called us into the kingdom of light. Continue reading

THE PRAYERS OF GOD’S PEOPLE

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

“It is God’s will through His wonderful grace, that the prayers of His saints should be one of the great principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ’s kingdom in the world. When God has something very great to accomplish for His church, it is His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of His people; as is manifest by Ezekiel 36:37 and it is revealed that, when God is about to accomplish great things for His church, He will begin by remarkably pouring out the spirit of grace and supplication (see Zechariah 12:10).” (Thoughts on the Revival in New England),

 

END OF THE GOSPEL

Thomas Boston:

Thomas BostonThe doctrines of the gospel believed with the heart, teach us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world. As Christ is the end of the law, so I may say, the law is the end of the gospel; for it is the great design of the gospel revelation, to bring back sinners to that righteousness and holiness which the law requires. The gospel never gains its end among a people, till a strain of piety and holiness run through their whole lives. (Works, 3:377)

PREACH CHRIST TO SINNERS

Charles H. Spurgeon:

Charles H. Spurgeon“My message to every man or woman who desires salvation, ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.’ Do not begin by hoping in mercy and redemption, for these are not to be found apart from the Lord—but go at once to that Divine Person with whom there is mercy and plenteous redemption—then both of those will be granted to you. I wish I knew how to put this so plainly that every bewildered and cast-down spirit would catch my meaning and accept its counsel. I would also have preachers learn a lesson from the point I have been driving at. Let them not so much preach sinners to Christ as preach Christ to sinners. I am persuaded that a full and clear declaration of what Jesus is, as to His Person, offices, Character, work and authority would do more to produce faith than all our exhortations. ‘Whoever believes in Him has everlasting life’—but how shall they believe unless they hear of Him?” (1891, Sermon #2199)

THE GENEROSITY OF GOD

John Calvin:

JohnCalvin“Scripture everywhere proclaims that God finds nothing in man to arouse him to do good to him but that he comes first to man in his free generosity. For what can a dead man do to attain life? Yet when he illumines us with knowledge of himself, he is said to revive us from death (John 5:25), to make us a new creature (2Cor. 5:17).” (Institutes 3, 14, 5)

LOVE THAT PASSES KNOWLEDGE

Charles Hodge:

Charles Hodge“It is the love of Christ, i. e. his love to us which passes knowledge. It is infinite; not only because it inheres in an infinite subject, but because the condescension and sufferings to which it led, and the blessings which it secures for its objects, are beyond our comprehension. This love of Christ, though it surpasses the power of our understanding to comprehend, is still a subject of experimental knowledge. We may know how excellent, how wonderful, how free, how disinterested, how long-suffering, how manifold and constant, it is, and that it is infinite. And this is the highest and most sanctifying of all knowledge. Those who thus know the love of Christ towards them, purify themselves even as he is pure.” (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians)

RESISTIBLE GRACE?

Dr. James White:

Dr James WhiteObjections to irresistible grace are, by and large, actually objections to the previously established truths of the doctrines of grace. Obviously, if God is sovereign and freely and unconditionally elects a people unto salvation, and if man is dead in sin and enslaved to its power, God must be able to free those elect people in time and bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and that by a grace that does not falter or depend upon human cooperation. Those who disbelieve God’s right to kingship over His creation or the deadness of man in sin and put forward the tradition of man’s autonomous will can hardly confess that God’s grace actually saves without the freewill cooperation of man. From their perspective, the autonomous act of human faith must determine God’s actions. That act of faith becomes the “foreseen” act that controls God’s very decree of predestination, and, of course, that act of faith becomes the “trigger” that results in one being born again.

Neither side in the debate will deny that God is the one who raises men to spiritual life. The question is: Does He do so because men fulfill certain conditions, or does He do so freely, at His own time, and in the lives of those He chooses to bring into relationship with Himself through Jesus Christ? This question is normally framed in the context of the relationship of faith and regeneration. Do we believe to become born again, or must we first be born again before we can exercise true, saving faith? Can the natural man do what is pleasing to God? Can the dead choose to allow themselves to be raised to life? This is the issue at hand.” (Debating Calvinism)

MADNESS IN THE LIGHT OF GOD

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23 ESV)

Samuel A CainThe natural man is mad. This madness is always within him. His emotions and his thoughts are inclined by his hatred of God. The Bible tells us that men’s hearts are completely wicked and full of self-deception. (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV) His thoughts are continuously sinful. Yet, life is fleeting and time moves all too hastily. We are here for a moment and then like a vapor of mist disappear awaiting the Great Day of Judgement.

It is madness to rebel against God. It is madness to trade God’s blessings for the temporary pleasures of this world. Nevertheless, the world calls Christians mad. There are many who say that it is the Cross of Christ that is madness; the atonement through His blood is madness; grace is madness; heaven and hell are madness; and even that belief in God is madness. They are futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts are darkened. Claiming to be wise, they have become the greatest fools. (Romans 1:21-23 ESV) Continue reading

ALMOST CHRISTIAN?

George Whitefield PreachingGeorge Whitefield:

“An almost Christian is one of the most hurtful creatures in the world; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: he is one of those false prophets, our blessed Lord bids us beware of in his sermon on the mount, who would persuade men, that the way to heaven is broader than it really is; and thereby, as it was observed before, “enter not into the kingdom of God themselves, and those that are entering in they hinder.”

STIRRING THINGS UP

Michael Horton:

Michael Horton“Jesus was not revolutionary because he said we should love God and each other. Moses said that first. So did Buddha, Confucius, and countless other religious leaders we’ve never heard of. Madonna, Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Dali Lama, and probably a lot of Christian leaders will tell us that the point of religion is to get us to love each other. “God loves you” doesn’t stir the world’s opposition. However, start talking about God’s absolute authority, holiness, Christ’s substitutionary atonement, justification by faith apart from works, the necessity of new birth, repentance, baptism, Communion, and the future judgment, and the mood in the room changes considerably.”

 

 

EVERLASTING LOVE

Charles SpurgeonCharles Haddon Spurgeon:

“In the very beginning, when this great universe lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in the acorn cup; long before the echoes awoke the solitudes; before the mountains were brought forth; and long before the light flashed through the sky, God loved His chosen creatures. Before there was any created being — when the ether was not fanned by an angel’s wing, when space itself had not an existence, where there was nothing save God alone — even then, in that loneliness of Deity, and in that deep quiet and profundity, His heart moved with love for His chosen. Their names were written on His heart, and then were they dear to His soul. Jesus loved His people before the foundation of the world — even from eternity! and when He called me by His grace, He said to me, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’” (C. H. Spurgeon, Autobiography, I:167)

OBEDIENCE AND REVIVAL

A. W. TozerA. W. Tozer:

“Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late – and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.”

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