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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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OBEDIENCE REQUIRES HUMILITY

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8 ESV)

In the verse above, we see that Jesus left His glory in heaven to become a human man. He came in the form of a servant; not a ruler. He was a man like other men, but He did not sin. Yet, He humbled Himself in obedience to die on the cross. Such a death was considered the most degrading and most humiliating kind of death. This was the penalty for the most wretched of slaves and the wickedest of criminals who were considered cursed by God.

Continue reading

HOPE

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4 ESV)

Reading The BibleSeek for His Wisdom and you will also find hope for the future.

THE CURSE OF PRIDE

Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:36-37 ESV)

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 5:1-2 ESV)

Samuel A CainI am sure that Barnabas was praised for giving money to the apostles for the poor. Ananias and Sapphira must have envied him very much. Perhaps they made a vow to the apostles promising to give the same. They sold the piece of property and kept some of the money. They agreed, however, to tell the apostles they were giving all the money they had received for the sale.

Keep in mind that Ananias and Sapphira were not required to sell the property or give the money to the apostles for the poor. Yet, their desire for undeserved admiration led them to lie to their friends, the apostles, and – most importantly – they attempted to lie to God. They were seeking to glorify themselves – not God. Therefore, because of pride’s evil curse their motivation was all wrong. Do not touch or defile God’s glory.

FAITH, HUMILITY, AND WORKS

Samuel A CainIsrael who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone … (Romans 9:31-33 ESV)

Human nature and pride often lead people to think that it is by their own good efforts that they will finally win the approval of God. Such an attitude leads us to believe that God owes us something because we have accumulated good deeds in our “salvation bank”. However, self-righteousness destroys the doctrine of faith as it is taught in the Scriptures.

We must be born again to enter into the kingdom of God. Faith is the means and gift of the Holy Spirit. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV) Continue reading

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.”

A HUMBLE DESIRE

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“A humble desire is one which leaves everything in God’s hands. The man who has it, says, ‘Now, though I desire this, it may be it is not a right desire. Lord, I desire only to desire what I ought to desire! My desire is that Your desire should be written on my heart, that I may desire what You desire.’ Your will be done in my soul, in my body, in my circumstances and in me, in all respects.” (1894, Sermon #2342)

THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS

Sinclair B. FergusonSinclair Ferguson:

“When man became the measure of all things what was lost was man.”

SPURGEON ON HUMILITY

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

Observe that we are told to walk humbly with God. It is of no use walking humbly away from God. I have seen some people very proudly humble, very boastful of their humility. They have been so humble that they were proud enough to doubt God! They could not accept the mercy of Christ, they said. They were so humble. In truth, theirs was a devilish humility, not the humility that comes from the Spirit of God.” (1893, Sermon #2328)

A TRULY HUMBLE MAN

Works of Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.

 

 

POOR IN SPIRIT

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

He that is poor in spirit is lowly in heart. Rich men are commonly proud and scornful, but the poor are submissive. The poor in spirit roll themselves in the dust in the sense of their unworthiness. ‘I abhor myself in dust’ (Job 42:6). He that is poor in spirit looks at another’s excellences and his own infirmities. The more grace he has, the more humble he is, because he now sees himself a greater debtor to God. If he can do any duty, he acknowledges it is Christ’s strength more than his own. As the ship gets to the haven more by the benefit of the wind than the sail, so when a Christian makes swift progress, it is more by wind of God’s Spirit than the sail of his own endeavor. The poor in spirit, when he acts most like a saint, confesses himself to be ‘the chief of sinners’. He blushes more at the defect of his graces than others do at the excess of their sins. He dares not say he has prayed or wept. He lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him. He labors, yet not he, but the grace of God. (The Beatitudes)

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)

SCRIPTURE AND SELF-LOVE

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)

Self-denial has respect partly to men and partly (more especially) to God. For when Scripture enjoins us, in regard to our fellow men, to prefer them in honor to ourselves, and sincerely labor to promote their advantages (Rom. xii. 10; Phil.ii. 3,) he gives us commands which our mind is utterly incapable of obeying until its natural feelings are suppressed. For so blindly do we all rush in the direction of self-love, that everyone thinks he has a good reason for exalting himself and despising all others in comparison.

If God has bestowed on us something not to be repented of, trusting to it, we immediately become elated, and not only swell, but almost burst with pride. The vices with which we abound we both carefully conceal from others, and flatteringly represent to ourselves as minute and trivial, nay, sometimes hug them as virtues. When the same qualities which we admire in ourselves are seen in others, even though they should be superior, we, in order that we may not be forced to yield to them, maliciously lower and carp at them … Hence the insolence with which each, as if exempted from the common lot, seeks to exalt himself above his neighbor, confidently and proudly despising others, or at least looking down upon them as his inferiors. Continue reading

THE GOSPEL-HUMBLE PERSON

Tim KellerTimothy Keller:

“The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less. Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that makes me look good? Do I want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself.” (The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness)

THE SOUL OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

“The soul of a true Christian, as I then wrote my meditations, appeared like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the year; low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of the sun’s glory; rejoicing as it were in a calm rapture; diffusing around a sweet fragrance; standing peacefully and lovingly, in the midst of other flowers round about; all in like manner opening their bosoms to drink in the light of the sun. There was no part of creature holiness that I had so great a sense of its loveliness, as humility, brokenness of heart and poverty of spirit; and there was nothing that I so earnestly longed for. My heart panted after this – to lie low before God, as in the dust; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all, that I might become as a little child.” (Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, 51-52)

LOSE YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL SAVE IT

C. S. LewisC. S. Lewis:

“Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death to your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” (Mere Christianity, 226-227)

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