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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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  • Recommended Reading

GOD CALLS HIS PEOPLE TO BE HOLY

The problem of lax and hypocritical Christianity is not a new one, and one of the best treatments of the entire subject is a classic [Holiness] written by J.C. Ryle (1816–1900), who served as the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool for twenty years…

Ryle’s work is convicting because he does not appeal to silly gimmicks and other manmade answers to the problem of sin. He appeals over and over to Scripture, to the Word of the living God, and he drives the Word of God home through careful and direct application. If you are complacent in your sin and do not want to be disturbed in your enjoyment of it, do not read Ryle [Holiness].

(Keith Mathison, A Christian Classic on Sanctification, Ligonier Ministries)

I also recommend The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges and The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. – Samuel

 

MATERIALISM!

Bishop J. C. Ryle:

J.C.-Ryle
Greatness and riches are a perilous possession for the soul. Those who seek to have them, know not what they seek. They lead men into many temptations. They are likely to fill the heart with pride, and to chain the affections down to things below.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. (1 Corinthians 1:26 ESV)

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23 ESV)

Do we envy the rich and the great? Does our heart sometimes say, “oh, that I had their place, and rank, and substance?” Let us beware of giving way to such feelings. The very wealth which we admire may be gradually sinking its possessors down into hell. A ‘little more money’ might be our ruin. Continue reading

TRUTH IN THE WILDERNESS

J.C. Ryle:

Bishop J. C. RyleDo not put implicit confidence in any man’s opinion, merely because he is a minister.

What are the best of ministers but men; dust, ashes and clay, men with a nature like our own, men exposed to temptations, men liable to weaknesses and failings.

They have often driven the truth into the wilderness, and decreed that to be true, which was false. The greatest errors have been begun by ministers.

Peace without truth is a false peace; it is the very peace of the devil. Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell. Continue reading

THE DEVIL AT CHURCH

J. C. Ryle:

“The seed is the Word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the Word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:11-12)

Bishop J. C. RyleThe devil, that malicious spirit, is unwearied in his efforts to do us harm. He is ever watching for our halting, and seeking occasion to destroy our souls. But nowhere perhaps is the devil so active as in a congregation of Gospel hearers. Nowhere does he labor so hard to stop the progress of that which is good, and to prevent men and women being saved.

From him come: wandering thoughts; roving imaginations; listless minds; dull memories; sleepy eyes; fidgety nerves; weary ears; and distracted attention. In all these things Satan has a great hand. People wonder where they come from, and marvel how it is that they find sermons so dull, and remember them so badly!

They forget the parable of the sower. They forget the devil. Let us take heed that we are not wayside hearers. Let us beware of the devil. We shall always find him at Church! He never stays away from public ordinances. Let us remember this, and be upon our guard. (“The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

SANCTIFICATION AND THE WORD OF GOD

Bishop J. C. Ryle:

Bishop J. C. Ryle“The instrument by which the Spirit effects (sanctification) is generally the Word of God.” (Holiness, 16)

INCORRUPTIBLE THINGS

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“The incorruptible things are all within the narrow gate. The peace of God which passed all understanding – the bright hope of good things to come – the sense of the Spirit dwelling in us – the consciousness that we are forgiven, safe, insured, provided for in time and eternity, whatever may happen – these are true gold, and lasting riches.” (Practical Religion)

ARE WE DOING THE SAME?

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“The early Christians made it a part of their religion to look for his return. They looked backward to the cross and the atonement for sin, and rejoiced in Christ crucified. They looked upward to Christ at the right hand of God, and rejoiced in Christ interceding. They looked forward to the promised return of their Master, and rejoiced in the thought that they would see him again. And we ought to do the same.” (Practical Religion)

J. C. RYLE ON THE WORLD’S REWARD

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“Laughter, ridicule, opposition and persecution are often the only reward which Christ’s followers get from the world.”

 

CHRIST’S DEATH

Bishop J. C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle:

“Christ’s death is the Christian’s life. Christ’s cross is the Christian’s title to heaven. Christ “lifted up” and put to shame on Calvary is the ladder by which Christians “enter into the holiest,” and are at length landed in glory.” (John,  Vol. 1, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels)

ARE YOU WEAK?

Bishop J. C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle:

“Hearken, my believing reader. What is the cause of your weakness? Is it not because the fountain of life is little used? Is it not because you are resting on old experiences, and not daily gathering new manna—daily drawing new strength from Christ?”

 

THE MEASURE OF RELIGION

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“Let us never measure our religion by that of others, and think we are doing enough if we have gone beyond our neighbors.” (Holiness)

THE HUMBLE PERSON

J.C.-RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“‎A humble and prayerful person will find a thousand things in the Bible, which the proud student will utterly fail to discern.”

STAMMERING PRAYER

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor. Jesus can understand you.”

A LOT-LIKE RELIGION ABOUNDS

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“You live in days when a lingering, Lot-like religion abounds. The stream of profession is far broader than it once was, but far less deep in many places. A certain kind of Christianity is almost fashionable now. To belong to some party in the Church of England, and show a zeal for its interests–to talk about the leading controversies of the day–to buy popular religious books as fast as they come out, and lay them on your table–to attend meetings–to subscribe to Societies–to discuss the merits of preachers–to be enthusiastic and excited about every new form of sensational religion which crops up–all these are now comparatively easy and common attainments. They no longer make a person singular. They require little or no sacrifice. They entail no cross. But to walk closely with God–to be really spiritually-minded–to behave like strangers and pilgrims–to be distinct from the world in employment of time, in conversation, in amusements, in dress–to bear a faithful witness for Christ in all places–to leave a savor of our Master in every society–to be prayerful, humble, unselfish, good-tempered, quiet, easily pleased, charitable, patient, meek–to be jealously afraid of all manner of sin, and tremblingly alive to our danger from the world–these, these are still rare things! They are not common among those who are called true Christians, and, worst of all, the absence of them is not felt and bewailed as it should be.” (Holiness)

CHRIST AND THE BIBLE

Bishop J. C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle:

“Let it be a settled principle in our minds, in reading the Bible, that Christ is the central sun of the whole book. So long as we keep Him in view, we shall never greatly err in our search for spiritual knowledge. Once losing sight of Christ, we shall find the whole Bible dark and full of difficulty.” (The Gospel of Luke)

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