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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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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

 

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IGNORING SCRIPTURE

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17 ESV)

As a former educator, I have met many adults who do not like to read. There are many college graduates who never read another book after they graduate. I have also met people who have proclaimed their faith in Christ and attend church regularly, however, they say they cannot focus long enough to read the Bible. They are absolutely dependent upon the good will of others to teach them the truth of the Scriptures.

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 GOSPEL

J. D. Greear:

j.d. greearFor many evangelicals the gospel has functioned solely as the entry rite into Christianity; it is the prayer we pray to begin our relationship with Jesus; the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity. After we get into the pool, we get into the real stuff of Christianity: mastering good principles for our marriage; learning rules and regulations of how to behave; and figuring out if Kirk Cameron will be left behind. The gospel, however, is not just the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity; it is the pool itself. It is not only the way we begin in Christ; it is the way we grow in Christ. As Tim Keller says, the gospel is not just the ABCs of Christianity, it is the A-Z; it is not the first step in a stairway of truths, it is more like the hub of God’s wheel of truth. All other Christian virtues flow out of it.(Gospel, 21)

THE ONLY TRUE STANDARD

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

God’s Word is the only true standard we have a divine mandate to conform to, and it is the ultimate standard by which we will be judged. Success or failure in ministry therefore cannot be evaluated by numerical statistics, financial figures, popularity polls, public opinion, or any of the other factors the world typically associates with success. The only real triumph in ministry is to hear Christ say, “Well done.”

ON REFORMATION DAY

Samuel A CainOn October 31, 1517, a young monk in Wittenberg, Germany posted 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church. His intention was to begin a discussion with other scholars in the Catholic Church over the abuse of Scriptures by the church. Little did Luther know that God had chosen him to hammer out the beginnings of what came to be known as the Reformation. Scripture (Sola Scriptura), not tradition, was to be lifted up once again as the true and only word of salvation provided by God.

As the Reformation spread over Europe, the Protestant reformers summarized their basic theological principles into five Latin phrases. These phrases or slogans are known as the Five Solas. They stand in direct contrast to some of the medieval teachings of the Catholic Church. The Five Solas are: “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone); “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone); “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone); “Solus Christus” (Christ Alone); and “Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory).

“Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone) means that all the truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught in Scripture. Continue reading

DO YOU STAND IN JUDGMENT UPON SCRIPTURE?

John StottJohn Stott:

“We need to repent of the haughty way in which we sometimes stand in judgment upon Scripture and must learn to sit humbly under its judgments instead. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunder-clap of God’s, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” (Authentic Christianity)

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