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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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NO MORE GRUMBLING!

And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. (Numbers 14:26-27 ESV)

Do you grumble when things are not going your way? I have met people who seem to always make grumbling the major topic of their conversation. Once I have had an earful of their complaints about any and everything, I tend to try to avoid too many future conversations with them. After all, grumbling is like a communicable disease. Perhaps, when this occurs, I am not responding as a Christian should. I have a long way to grow in Christ, however, God promised Israel that those who were grumbling (age 20 and older) would die in the wilderness and never enter the promised land. (Numbers 14:28-30)

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IMMEASURABLE BLESSINGS

3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

blessings

I believe it is impossible for Christians to find themselves in such appalling circumstances – where the promises of God hold no encouragement to those who love God and obey Him. According to the verses above, God’s power gives everything needed for life and godliness. Christians are the beneficiaries of immeasurable blessings when they grow in the knowledge of and obedience to God. Through Jesus Christ, these precious and very great promises are given in order that the elect may participate in the divine nature and obtain holiness.

However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts. (John Calvin)

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TAMING THE TONGUE

And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, (James 3:6 ESV)

taming the tongueIn this verse, James is essentially telling us to watch our big mouths. If we don’t watch over our tongues, we are in for big trouble. (Proverbs 21:23 ESV)

Have you ever met someone who did not seem to have a filter between the mouth and brain? This type of person does not put his brain in gear before putting his mouth in motion. It is reported that once a woman approached John Wesley and told him that God had given her the talent to speak her mind. Wesley replied that God would not mind if she buried that talent.

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Samuel Adams: Christian and Political Visionary

Samuel AdamsSamuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722 in Boston, Massachusetts. Adams’ parents were both Puritans, but Adams himself became a strict Congregationalist. He was the son of a deacon and married the daughter of a minister.

Samuel Adams believed, when discussing the rights of the colonists, that freedom and liberty cannot be given or taken away by government – it is the gift of God. Adams often used many biblical arguments to justify American independence. He never lost sight of the revolution’s political and religious goals.

His understanding of the Bible and his strong faith in God encouraged Adams to work for three goals: achieving American independence, protecting the constitutional liberties of the American people, and – most importantly – building a society of upright people.

Samuel Adams believed that:

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” (Samuel Adams in a letter to James Warren dated February 12, 1779)

Adams envisioned a country where the clergy, philosophers, political leaders, and patriots worked together to impress upon the minds of youth the fear and love of God. He desired that the people would be led “in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” (Samuel Adams October 4, 1790)

Adams wrote:

“Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of [exceptional] character. The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” (The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, ed., volume III, pp. 236-37, written to James Warren on Nov. 4, 1775)

Concerning his private life, there is no reasonable doubt that Samuel Adams was a Christian. The piety of his personal life confirmed his love for Jesus Christ. He regularly attended church and he led his family in morning and evening devotions. Not long before his death, he wrote a letter to Thomas Paine disapproving Paine’s attempts to discredit Christianity. He died on October 2, 1803 believing in Jesus Christ as his savior.

Samuel at Gilgal

We Call God “Father”

Sinclair B. FergusonSinclair B. Ferguson:

You cannot open the pages of the New Testament without realizing that one of the things that makes it so ‘new’, in every way, is that here men and women call God ‘Father’. This conviction that we can speak to the Maker of the universe in such intimate terms lies at the heart of the Christian faith. Through Christ, says Paul, we have ‘access to the Father’.

 

 

He Reigns

Quoting Samuel Adams, 1776 (at the signing of the Declaration of Independence):

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

Be Careful of Appearances

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6-7 ESV)

Many of us have the tendency to measure the Christianity of our neighbors by such things as church attendance, participating in Bible classes, or taking part in church activities. If they don’t do these things then we might question the maturity of their Christianity.

Men must lead in prayers, teach classes, serve as deacons, or help take up the offerings and serve as ushers if they wish to be seen as mature Christians. Likewise, women must teach children’s classes or women’s classes. At the very least, they should clean the building.

Too often, we rely on our own favorite measures (such as those above) to judge the appearance of others. People will do a lot of things they say are for Jesus, but inside they are dead spiritually. This type of measurement neglects the many parts of the body of Christ and emphasizes only the external actions of the individual concerning the church.

How then should we measure the maturity of a Christian?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)

The qualities above are possessed by the truly spiritual man. This is evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a maturing Christian. Christian maturity begins with the inner man. A man may preach a great sermon, but what about his family life? Does he contend for the faith in the right spirit? Is he quick to anger? Is his conduct becoming?

The kind of measurement for Christian maturity found in the Bible emphasizes the reforming of the inside of a person first and then trusting that the external performance will follow. This is the system God uses and He can see us as we really are. So I would suggest caution before you judge others or compare their Christian maturity to your own.

For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

Let us remember to measure ourselves and others in the same way the Lord uses. It is also good to remember that the Lord measures by His perfect standard which we cannot apply perfectly.

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