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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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LOVING THE LORD YOUR GOD

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30 ESV)

Many say they love God but offer Him only a divided heart. They believe they can love the Lord and seek to please their selfish desires in the same moment. However, God lays claim to the whole heart.

We are to love God with all our soul (spirit). The spirit is where our loftiest sacred practices begin. The spirit is vital to the life of faith and communicates the love or lack of love we have for God. There are lots of people who do Christian things on the outside but inwardly they have not changed. Loving God with all your soul is loving Him with all your inner being. Continue reading

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)

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)

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.”

 

 

THE LOVE OF GOD

D. A. CarsonD. A. Carson:

“The love of God in our culture has been purged of anything the culture finds uncomfortable. The love of God has been sanitized, democratized, and above all sentimentalized.” (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, 11)

THE ETERNAL LOVE OF GOD

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. 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 loving-kindness have I drawn thee.’” (Autobiography, I: 167)

LOVE OF THE BIBLE

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

The love of the bible will show itself in a believer’s readiness to bear evil as well as to do good. It will make him patient under provocation, forgiving when injured, meek when unjustly attacked, and quiet when slandered. It will make him hear much, put up with much and look over much, submit often and deny himself often, all for the sake of peace. (Practical Religion)

THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD

george-whitefield-pictureGeorge Whitefield:

The spirit of the world is hatred; that of Christ is love; the spirit of the world is vexation; that of Christ is pleasure: the spirit of the world is sorrow; that of Christ is joy: the spirit of the world is evil, and that of Christ is good: the spirit of the world will never satisfy us, but Christ’s spirit is all satisfaction: the spirit of the world is misery; that of Christ is ease.

YOUR EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

I am your exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

God is a satisfying reward. God is a whole ocean of blessedness, so that the soul, while it is bathing in it, cries out in a divine ecstasy, “I have enough!” Here is fullness—but no excess. Psalm 17:15, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness.” That is—when I awake out of the sleep of death, having my soul embellished with the illustrious beams of Your glory—I shall be satisfied. In God there is not only sufficiency—but redundancy; not only the fullness of the vessel—but the fullness of the fountain! In God, this Ark of blessedness, are all good things to be found. Therefore Jacob, having God for his reward, could say, “I have enough!” or, as it is in the original, “I have all!” Genesis 33:11. God is all marrow and fatness. He is such a plenteous reward as exceeds our very faith. If the Queen of Sheba’s heart fainted when she saw all King Solomon’s glory—what would it have done to have beheld the astonishing and magnificent reward which God bestows upon His favorites! (“God is His Peoples Great Reward”)

TREASURING GOD

God is the GospelJohn Piper:

“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.” (God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself)

GRACE

thomasgoodwinThomas Goodwin:

“Grace” is more than mercy and love, it super-adds to them. It denotes, not simply love, but the love of a sovereign, transcendently superior, one that may do what he will, that may wholly choose whether he will love or no. There may be love between equals, and an inferior may love a superior; but love in a superior, and so superior as he may do what he will, in such a one love is called grace: and therefore grace is attributed to princes; they are said to be gracious to their subjects, whereas subjects cannot be gracious to princes. Now God, who is an infinite Sovereign, who might have chosen whether ever He would love us or no, for Him to love us, this is grace.

 

 

CHARITY

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

Let a man have what he will, and do what he will, it signifies nothing without charity; which surely implies that charity is the great thing, and that everything which has not charity in some way contained or implied in it is nothing, and that this charity is the life and soul of all religion, without which all things that wear the name of virtues are empty and vain.

 

 

SEEKING THE GOOD OF OUR NEIGHBORS

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

How difficult it is to perform the duty of seeking the good of our neighbor! Unless you leave off all thought of yourself and in a manner cease to be yourself, you will never accomplish it. How can you exhibit those works of charity which Paul describes unless you renounce yourself, and become wholly devoted to others? “Charity (says he, 1 Cor. xiii. 4) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked &c. Were it the only thing required of us to seek not our own, nature would not have the least power to comply: she so inclines us to love ourselves only, that she will not easily allow us carelessly to pass by ourselves and our own interests that we may watch over the interests of others, nay, spontaneously to yield our own rights and resign it to another. But Scripture, to conduct us to this, reminds us, that whatever we obtain from the Lord is granted on the condition of our employing it for the common good of the Church, and that, therefore, the legitimate use of all our gifts is a kind and liberal communication of them with others. (The Christian Life)

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)

Loving the World

do not love the worldDo not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

Do not claim to walk in fellowship with Jesus Christ if your love is for the world and the things in it. The “world” as it is referred to in the verses above, is not the God-created physical world. What we are discussing here is the satanic evil system which operates through people who hate God. It promotes rebellion against God, ungodly thoughts, wrong motives, and perverted values. We must not love the “world” in this sense. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2) Continue reading

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