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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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  • Recommended Reading

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)

The Christian and the Carnal Man

GraceRobert Leighton:

The Christian and the carnal man are most wonderful to each other. The one wonders to see the other walk so strictly, and deny himself to those carnal liberties that the most take…. And the Christian thinks it strange that men should be so bewitched, and still remain children in the vanity of their turmoil, wearying and humoring themselves from morning to night, running after stories and fancies, and ever busy doing nothing; wonders that the delights of earth and sin can so long entertain and please men, and persuade them to give Jesus Christ so many refusals—to turn from their life and happiness, and choose to be miserable, yea, and take much pains to make themselves miserable.

Madison Avenue Christians

Christianity for SaleJames Montgomery Boice:

If Madison Avenue executives were trying to attract people to the Christian life, they would stress its positive and fulfilling aspects…Unfortunately, we who live in the West are so conditioned to this very thinking (and to precisely this type of Christian evangelism or salesmanship) that we are almost shocked when we learn that the first great principle of Christianity is negative. It is not, as some say, “Come to Christ, and all your troubles will melt away.” It is as the Lord himself declared, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” (Mt. 16:24-26). (Foundations of the Christian Faith: A Comprehensive and Readable Theology, p. 459)

What I Really Need

From the writings of J. Gresham Machen:

“What I need first of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the question that I ask of you. I know your exhortations will not help me. But if anything has been done to save me, will you not tell me the facts?” (The Christian Faith in the Modern World)

Nothing but the Gospel!

J. C. Ryle:

1. Substitute anything for Christ, and the Gospel is totally spoiled!

2. Add anything to Christ, and the Gospel ceases to be a pure Gospel!

3. Put anything between a person and Christ, and that person will neglect Christ for that very thing!

4. Spoil the proportions of Christ’s Gospel, and you spoil its effectiveness!

5. Evangelical religion must be the Gospel, the whole Gospel and nothing but the Gospel! (Tract: Evangelical Religion)

Satisfying God’s Justice

Quoting R.C. Sproul:

“There are only two ways that God’s justice can be satisfied with respect to your sin. Either you satisfy it or Christ satisfies it. You can satisfy it by being banished from God’s presence forever. Or you can accept the satisfaction that Jesus Christ has made.” (Choosing My Religion)

Christ Is Good Enough!

In the words of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“To make it quite practical I have a very simple test. After I have explained the way of Christ to somebody I say “Now, are you ready to say that you are a Christian?” And they hesitate. And then I say, “What’s the matter? Why are you hesitating?” And so often people say, “I don’t feel like I’m good enough yet. I don’t think I’m ready to say I’m a Christian now.” And at once I know that I have been wasting my breath. They are still thinking in terms of themselves. They have to do it. It sounds very modest to say, “Well, I don’t think I’m good enough,” but it’s the very denial of the faith. The very essence of the Christian faith is to say that He is good enough and I am in Him. As long as you go on thinking about yourself like that and saying, “I’m not good enough; Oh, I’m not good enough,” you are denying God – you are denying the gospel – you are denying the very essence of the faith and you will never be happy. You think you’re better at times and then again you will find you are not as good at other times as you thought you were. You will be up and down forever. How can I put it plainly? It doesn’t matter if you have almost entered into the debts of hell. It does not matter if you are guilty of murder as well as every other vile sin. It does not matter from the standpoint of being justified before God at all. You are no more hopeless than the most moral and respectable person in the world.” (Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure)

Nothing but His Blood

Written by Benjamin Rush:

The Gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations! …My only hope of salvation is in the infinite transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the Cross. Nothing but His blood will wash away my sins.

Faith in Christ

From the works of Charles H. Spurgeon

“Faith in Christ is not the reception of a dry, dead orthodoxy—to believe in Jesus is not simply to be a sixteen-ounces-to-the-pound Calvinist.

“Saving faith is not the mere reception of a creed or form of any kind. To believe is to trust and no man truly believes—in the New Testament meaning of the word—until he is brought to trust in Christ, alone, and takes his whole religion upon trust, relying not on what he sees, nor on what he is, but on what is revealed in God’s Word—not on what he is, or can be, or shall be, nor on what he does or can do, nor on what he feels or does not feel—but relying solely on what Christ has done, is doing and shall yet do.” (Sermon #2737)

Christian Leadership

Quoting Samuel Brengle:

“Spiritual Leadership is not won by promotion, but by prayers and tears.

It is attained by much heart-searching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold uncompromising, and uncomplaining embracing of the cross, and by an eternal, unfaltering looking unto Jesus crucified.

This is a great price, but it must be unflinchingly paid by him who would be a real spiritual leader of men, a leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth and in hell.”

Accommodating The Lost

Quoting Ron Owens:

Our drive to evangelize and our desire to grow numerically have led us to “use” worship as a tool to reach the lost. We have gone so far as to turn our worship services, as opposed to evangelistic services, into “seeker-friendly” meetings, so the world will feel at home when they come into the house of God. We should always be sensitive to the unsaved, but nowhere in Scripture are we told to accommodate the world in what God calls the believer to offer to Him.

Sin

From the pen of Joseph Alleine:

“Oh, better were it for you to die in a jail, in a ditch, in a dungeon, than to die in your sins. If death, as it will take away all your comforts, would take away all your sins too, it were some mitigation; but your sins will follow you when your friends leave you, and all your worldly enjoyments shake hands with you. Your sins will not die with you as a prisoner’s other debts will; but they will go to judgment with you there to be your accusers; and they will go to hell with you there to be your tormentors.”

Where Christ Sits

“First, draw off your hearts, because Jesus Christ, the Head, is risen and ascended upon high, and there sits at the right hand of His Father; and if the Head is in heaven, where should the members be but where the Head is? Shall Christ our Head be in heaven, and shall our hearts, which are His members, lie groveling on the ground and panting after the dust of the earth, making all our inquiry and labor after these? ‘If Christ our Head be risen, seek those things that are above, where Christ sits at God’s right hand.'”

The Advantage Of Being Earnest

Quoting E.M. Bounds:

There is neither encouragement nor room in Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent. Flamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls. Our whole being must be in our praying.

Love For Christ

Thomas Doolittle

From the writings of Thomas Doolittle:

Love shows the true character of a man, according to the object which he loves more than anything else: for as is the love, so is the man. According to his love, so might you confidently designate the man. If he is a lover of honor, he is an ambitious man; a lover of pleasure, a sensual man; and if he chiefly loves the world, he is a covetous man. If a man loves righteousness, he is a religious man; if the things above, a heavenly-minded man; and if he love Christ with a pre-eminent love, he is a sincere man: “Rightly do they love you,” Song of Songs 1:4.

If Christ has our love, he has our all; and Christ never has what he deserves from us, till he has our love. True love withholds nothing from Christ, when it is sincerely set upon him. If we actually love him, he will have our time, and he will have our service, and he will have the use of all our resources, and gifts, and graces; indeed, then he shall have our possessions, freedom, and our very lives, whenever he calls for them. In the same way, when God loves any of us, he will withhold nothing from us that is good for us. He does not hold back his own only begotten Son, Rom.8:32. When Christ loves us, he gives us everything we need– his merits to justify us, his Spirit to sanctify us, his grace to adorn us, and his glory to crown us. Therefore, when any of us love Christ sincerely, we lay everything down at his feet, and give up all to be at his command and service: “And they loved not their lives unto the death,” Rev. 12:11. (Love to Christ Everlasting)

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