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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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  • January 2021
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THE MERCY OF GOD

And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34 ESV)

Samuel A CainWhat may we learn from this event? It is obvious that the two men were serious about their present condition and their request. They readily acknowledged the authority and power of Jesus when they called Him “Lord” and recognized Him as the Messiah when they said He was the “Son of David”. The two men begged for mercy knowing they were owed none. When Jesus asked them what they wanted, they specifically asked Him to open their eyes so they could see. Jesus had pity on them, touched their eyes, and they were immediately healed. Having received such a great gift, the formerly blind beggars followed Him.

We all are blind beggars before God. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV) God has to open our eyes to our true nature. We are spiritually blind sinners, and the only way we can come to Him is by His mercy.

Faith in Jesus Christ may be described as the certain confidence that He is able and willing to help when our circumstances seem to deny all possibility of relief. We are unclean, dead in sins, in bondage to Satan, and blind to the truth of God. In spite of this – Christ makes us clean, forgives our sins, releases us from the bonds of the evil one, heals our blindness and opens our eyes to the way of salvation.

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 GOSPEL BRINGS TIDINGS

gadsby_wWilliam Gadsby:

“The gospel brings tidings, glad tidings indeed,
To mourners in Zion, who want to be freed,
From sin and Satan, and Mount Sinai’s flame,
Good news of salvation, through Jesus the Lamb.

What sweet invitations, the gospel contains,
To men heavy laden, with bondage and chains;
It welcomes the weary, to come and be blessed,
With ease from their burdens, in Jesus to rest.

 

WHY DOES GOD REQUIRE US TO PRAY?

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

It is not in order that God may be informed of our wants or desires. He is omniscient, and with respect to his knowledge, unchangeable. God never gains any knowledge by information. He knows what we want a thousand times more perfectly than we do ourselves, before we ask him…

There may be two reasons given why God requires prayer in order to the bestowment of mercy: one especially respects God, and the other respects ourselves. Continue reading

THE FATHER OF MERCY

Samuel A CainBe merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36 ESV)

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (Matthew 5:7 ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies… (2 Corinthians 1:3 ESV)

A Christian should be constantly aware of God’s mercy in his life. Do not take this blessing for granted. The mercy I am writing about here comes from the personal experience of God’s mercy. It is forgiveness for the sinner and love for those who are suffering. The Christian shows mercy because of his gratitude for the mercy of God. We are told by Luke, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. ‘Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;’” (Luke 6:36-37 ESV) Continue reading

Help From Without

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“Yea, I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:10)

The Lord says, “I will help thee.” Strength within is supplemented by help without. God can raise us up allies in our warfare if so it seems good in His sight; and even if He does not send us human assistance, He himself will be at our side, and this is better still. “Our August Ally” is better than legions of mortal helpers.

His help is timely: He is a very present help in time of trouble. His help is very wise: He knows how to give each man help meet and fit for him. His help is most effectual, though vain is the help of man. His help is more than help, for He bears all the burden, and supplies all the need. “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me. Because He has already been our help, we feel confidence in Him for the present and the future. Our prayer is, “Lord, be thou my helper”; our experience is, “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; our expectation is, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my help”; and our song soon will be, “Thou, Lord, hast holpen me.”

Consolation to Sustain and Cheer Us

Bishop J. C. RyleJ. C. Ryle:

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

We need much comfort and consolation in a world like this. It is no easy matter for a man to carry the cross and reach heaven. There are many enemies to be encountered and overcome. We have often to stand alone. We have at the best times few with us and many against us. We need cordials and strong consolation to sustain and cheer us, and to preserve us from fainting on the way as we travel from Egypt into Canaan.

The Apostle appears deeply conscious of all this in the words he uses. He says, “He is able to save to the uttermost,”–to save perfectly, to save completely, to save technically,–“all that come unto God by Him, because He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Christ is able to save to the uttermost, notwithstanding the old sins of any believer. Those old sins shall never rise again, not stand up to condemn the child of God. For what says the Scripture: “Christ has not entered into the holy place made with hands, but into heaven itself; to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Heb. ix. 24.) Christ, to use a legal phrase, is ever making an appearance in the court of heaven on behalf of them that believe in Him. There is not a year, nor a month, nor a day, nor an hour, nor a minute, but there is One living in the presence of God, to make an appearance there on behalf of all the saints. Christ is ever appearing before God the Father on behalf of the men and women that believe in Him. His blood and His sacrifice are ever in God’s sight. His work, His death, His intercession are always sounding in God the Father’s ears. (“Able to Save”)

Saints, Sinners, and Christians

saint_sin_AA friend of mine recently pointed out that we should be careful using the word “Saint” when speaking of a Christian. I think he is right. The world has adopted a carelessly generalized Catholic definition of Saints and expects that if someone is called a “Saint”, the person must be perfect and sinless. Have you ever met a perfectly sinless Christian? The Bible teaches us that saints are simply believers in Christ.

Who is a Christian? Are there differences between Saints and Christians? No – not according to the Bible. (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:1) The problem emerges when we talk about Saints and Sinners. We know that Sinners reject the God of the Bible and that Sinners sin. Saints (Christians), however, may believe in the God of the Bible, acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, and still sin in thought or deed sometimes. This is probably very perplexing to the Sinner who witnesses the Saint sinning. “What is the difference between us?” he may ask. “What is a Christian (Saint) supposed to be?” Continue reading

“I Will Help Thee”

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

I will help thee, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 41:14)

This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help thee.” “It is but a small thing for Me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with My blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee? It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more.” “Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside My glory and became a man for thee; I gave up My life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it to thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. ‘Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. ‘Help thee?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My all-sufficiency. ‘I will help thee.'” O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here – thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.”
(Morning & Evening)

God is not Surprised!

John StottJohn Stott:

We can never take God by surprise. We can never anticipate him. He always makes the first move. He is always there ‘in the beginning’. Before we existed, God took action. Before we decided to look for God, God had already been looking for us. The Bible isn’t about people trying to discover God, but about God reaching out to find us.

Many people imagine God sitting comfortably on a distant throne, remote, aloof, uninterested, a God who doesn’t really care for our needs and has to be badgered into taking action on our behalf. Such a view is completely wrong. The Bible reveals a God who, long before it even occurs to men and women to turn to him, while they are still lost in darkness and sunk in sin, takes the initiative, rises from his throne, lays aside his glory, and stoops to seek until he finds them. (Basic Christianity)

Providence is Creation Continued

NPG D29700; Joseph Caryl by Robert WhiteJoseph Caryl:

The Spirit of God creates every day: what is it that continueth things in their created being, but providence? That is a true axiom in divinity, Providence is creation continued. Now the Spirit of God who created at first, creates to this day: “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created.” The work of creation was finished in the first six days of the world, but the work of creation is renewed every day, and so continued to the end of the world. Successive providential creation as well as original creation is ascribed to the Spirit. “And thou renewest the face of the earth.” Thou makest a new world; and thus God makes a new world every year, sending forth his Spirit, or quickening power, in the rain and sun to renew the face of the earth. And as the Lord sends forth his power in providential mercies, so in providential judgments. (Mystery of Providence)

Christ’s Mercy

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon:

Christ’s mercy is to be had for nothing, bribe or purchase is out of the question. I have heard of a woman whose child was in a fever and needed grapes; and there was a prince who lived near, in whose hothouse there were some of the rarest grapes that had ever been grown. She scraped together the little money she could earn, and went to the gardener and offered to buy a bunch of the royal fruit. Of course, he repulsed her, and said they were not to be sold. Did she imagine that the prince grew grapes to sell like a market gardener? And he sent her on her way, much grieved. She came again; she came several times, for a mother’s importunity is great; but no offer of hers would be accepted.

At last the princess heard of it and wished to see the woman; and when she came the princess said, “The prince does not sell the fruit of his garden:” but, snipping off a bunch of grapes and dropping them into a little bag, she said, “He is always ready to give it away to the poor.” Now, here is the rich cluster of gospel salvation from the true vine. My Lord will not sell it, but he is always ready to give it away to all who humbly ask for it and if you want it come and take it, and take it now by believing in Jesus. (recommended by Spurgeon – Christ’s Glorious Achievements: What Jesus Has Done for You)

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