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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

EVANGELISM

J. I. PackerJ. I. Packer:

Evangelism must … be conceived as a long-term enterprise of patient teaching and instruction, in which God’s servants seek simply to be faithful in delivering the gospel message and applying it to human lives, and leave it to God’s Spirit to draw men to faith through this message in his own way and at his own speed. (A Quest For Godliness, 164)

INTERPRETING SCRIPTURE WITH PREJUDICE

Bible StudyJ.I. Packer:

We approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world…It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has molded us.

CHILD OF GOD

J. I. PackerJ.I. Packer:

“Do I as a Christian understand myself? Do I know my own real identity? My own real destiny? I am a child of God, God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Savior is my brother; every Christian is my brother too. Say it over and over again to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, as you wait for the bus, any time when your mind is free, and ask God that you may be enabled to live as one who knows it is all utterly and completely true. For this is the Christians secret of the Christian life, of a God-honoring life.” (Knowing God)

Jerry Bridges on Providence

Trusting GodJerry Bridges:

Historically…the church has always understood the providence of God to refer to His care of and governance over all of His creation at all times. Well-known theologian J. I. Packer defines providence as, “The unceasing activity of the Creator whereby, in overflowing bounty and goodwill, He upholds His creatures in ordered existence, guides and governs all events, circumstances, and free acts of angels and men, and directs everything to its appointed goal, for His own glory.” Note the absolute terms Packer uses: “unceasing activity,” “all events … all acts,” “directs everything.” Clearly there is no concept of stop-and-go, part-time governance on God’s part in this definition.

Packer’s definition of God’s providence is very complete and, I believe, very accurate according to Scripture. For my own sake, I have developed a slightly shorter definition that I can more easily remember: God’s providence is His constant care for and His absolute rule over all His creation for His own glory and the good of His people. Again, note the absolute terms: constant care, absolute rule, all creation. Nothing, not even the smallest virus, escapes His care and control. (Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts)

How is Your Hearing?

HearingJ.I. Packer:

“We complain today that ministers do not know how to preach; but is it not equally true that our congregations do not know how to hear?”

Do You Prize Preaching?

In the words of Thomas Watson:

[Concerning the Word preached:] “Do we prize it in our judgments? Do we receive it into our hearts? Do we fear the loss of the Word preached more than the loss of peace and trade? Is it the removal of the ark that troubles us? Again, do we attend to the Word with reverential devotion? When the judge is giving the charge on the bench, all attend. When the Word is preached, the great God is giving us his charge. Do we listen to it as to a matter of life and death? This is a good sign that we love the Word.

God Knows Me

From the desk of J. I. Packer:

I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, One who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted for me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.

Worshiping A Great God

From the works of J. I. Packer:

It is a fact of Christian history that those who are consciously worshiping a great God do not find that worship services lasting two or three hours are a bore; on the contrary, they are experienced as a joy . . . By comparison, the modern Western passion for services lasting not more than sixty minutes raises the suspicion that both our God and our own spiritual statues are rather small. (Packer, A Quest For Godliness, 334)

Doctrinal Preaching

Quoting J. I. Packer:

Doctrinal preaching certainly bores the hypocrites; but it is only doctrinal preaching that will save Christ’s sheep. The preacher’s job is to proclaim the faith, not to provide entertainment for unbelievers–in other words, to feed the sheep rather than amuse the goats. (Packer, A Quest For Godliness, 285)

Preaching On Sin

J. I. Packer

From the desk of J. I. Packer:

If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Savior from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible . . . Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Savior from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else. (Packer, A Quest For Godliness, 164-165

Evangelism

J. I. Packer

In the words of J. I. Packer:

[F]orcing tactics can only do damage, perhaps incalculable damage, to men’s souls . . . Evangelism must rather be conceived as a long-term enterprise of patient teaching and instruction, in which God’s servants seek simply to be faithful in delivering the gospel message and applying it to human lives, and leave it to God’s Spirit to draw men to faith through this message in his own way and at his own speed. (Packer, A Quest For Godliness, 164)

J. I. Packer: Preaching About Sin

J. I. Packer

From the writings of J. I. Packer:

“If we do not preach about sin and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Savior from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible . . . Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Savior from sin will not be found to save from self or from anything else.” (Packer, A Quest For Godliness, 164, 165)

J.I. Packer On Holiness And Conflict

J. I. Packer

From the desk of J.I. Packer:

Any idea of getting beyond conflict, outward or inward, in our pursuit of holiness in this world is an escapist dream that can only have disillusioning and demoralizing effects on us as waking experience daily disproves it. What we must realize, rather, is that any real holiness in us will be under hostile fire all the time, just as our Lord’s was. (God’s Words: Studies of Key Bible Themes, Intervarsity Press, 1981, p. 195)

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