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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 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)

Prayer

Quoting David Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.”

The Golden Link of Christ’s Love

The following is by Thomas Brooks:

It was the golden link of love that fastened Christ to the cross!

Certainly the more Christ has suffered for us; the more dear Christ should be unto us. The more bitter his sufferings have been for us, the more sweet his love should be to us, and the more eminent should be our love to him. Oh, let a suffering Christ lie nearest your hearts; let him be your manna, your tree of life, your morning star. It is better to part with all than with this pearl of price.

Christ is that golden pipe through which the golden oil of salvation runs.

Who did Christ Redeem?

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

We hold that Christ did not redeem every man, but only redeemed those men who will ultimately attain unto eternal life.

We do not believe that he redeemed the damned. We do not believe that he poured out his life blood for souls already in hell.

We never can imagine that Christ suffered in the room and stead of all men, and that then afterwards these same men have to suffer for themselves.

We do not believe that Christ pays their debts, and then God makes them pay their debts again a second time.

We hold to this – that Christ laid down his life for his sheep, and that his laying down his life for the sheep involved and secured the salvation of every one of them. (No. 572, Romans 11:36)

Duty

Quoting Martin Luther:

“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.”

Are The Great Hymns Of The Church On The Way Out?

Quoting James Montgomery Boice:

The great hymns of the church are on the way out. They are not gone entirely, but they are going and in their place have come trite jingles that have more in common with contemporary advertising ditties than the psalms. The problem here is not so much the style of the music, though trite words fit best with trite tunes and harmonies. Rather it is with the content of the songs. The old hymns expressed the theology of the Bible in profound and perceptive ways and with winsome memorable language. Today’s songs are focused on ourselves. They reflect our shallow or nonexistent theology and do almost nothing to elevate our thoughts about God. Worst of all are songs that merely repeat a trite idea, word, or phrase over and over again. Songs like this are not worship, though they may give the church-goer a religious feeling. They are mantras, which belong more in a gathering of New Agers than among the worshiping people of God.

Unforeseen Consequences

Quoting John Newton:

” I can hardly recollect a single plan of mine, of which I have not since seen reason to be satisfied, that had it taken place in season and circumstance just as I proposed, it would, humanly speaking, have proved my ruin; or at least it would have deprived me of the greater good the Lord had designed for me. We judge of things by their present appearances, but the Lord sees them in their consequences, if we could do so likewise we should be perfectly of His mind; but as we cannot, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is spoken of as one of his heaviest judgments, when He gives any person or people up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk after their own counsels.”

Do You Really Have Christ In Your Heart?

From the pen of George Whitefield:

“If a person is what the world calls an honest moral man, if he does justly, and, what the world calls, love a little mercy, is not and then good-natured, reacheth out his hand to the poor, receives the sacrament once or twice a year, and is outwardly sober and honest; the world looks upon such an one as a Christian indeed, and doubtless we are to judge charitably of every such person. There are many likewise, who go on in a round of duties, a model of performances, that think they shall go to heaven; but if you examine them, though they have a Christ in their heads, they have no Christ in their hearts.”

The Way Of Humility

In the words of Andrew Murray:

The greatest test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it produces an increasing humility in us. In man, humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is lack of humility. The holiest will be the humblest.

Robert Murray McCheyne: Do Not Doubt His Love

In the words of Robert Murray McCheyne:

God’s children should not doubt His love when He afflicts. Christ loved Lazarus peculiarly, and yet He afflicted Him very sore. A surgeon never bends his eye so tenderly upon his patient, as when he is putting in the lancet, or probing the wound to the very bottom. And so with Christ – He bends His eye most tenderly over His own at the time He is afflicting them… A goldsmith when he casts gold into the furnace looks after it. (“Comfort in Sorrow”)

Education And God

From the pen of Gouverneur Morris:

Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God. (Notes on the Form of a Constitution for France, 1791)

Keep Watch Until The End

Quoting John Owen:

Let us never reckon that our work in fighting against sin — in crucifying, mortifying, and subduing it — is at an end. … We may think that we have thoroughly won the field, but there is still some reserve remaining that we did not see or know. Many conquerors have been ruined by carelessness after a victory, and many have been spiritually wounded after great successes. David’s great fall into sin followed a long profession, many experiences of God, and watchfulness in keeping himself from his iniquity. And this is part of the reason why the profession of many has declined in their old age or riper years. They have given up the work of mortifying sin before the work was finished. … It is as necessary to watch towards the end of the race as at the beginning. ‘Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth’ (Col 3:5).

Should We set Out To Change Men’s Opinions Or the Regeneration Of Their Natures?

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

“The increase of the kingdom is more to be desired than the growth of a clan. . . . We  value our Lord’s ordinances; we would labor earnestly to raise a believer in salvation by free-will into a believer in salvation by grace, for we long to see all religious teaching built upon the solid rock of truth, and not upon the sand of imagination; but, at the same time, our grand object is not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures. We would bring men to Christ and not to our own peculiar views of Christianity. Our first care must be that the sheep should be gathered to the great Shepherd; there will be time enough afterwards to secure them for our various folds. To make proselytes, is a suitable labor for Pharisees: to beget men unto God is the honorable aim of ministers of Christ.”

God Is Truth

Anything which enhances sin is against the truth. Opposing absolute truth is rebellion against God. God’s Word of Truth is a solid foundation for faith to rely upon. Do not carelessly cast it aside. Thomas Watson (1620-1686) discusses the importance of truth below:

“But all Things are naked and open unto the Eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)

If we act against his Truth, we act against God; Truth is a beam of God, it is his essence; it is the most orient pearl of his crown: Take away his truth, and we ungod him. Truth is the precious seed by which we are begotten to life; it is the pillar of our salvation; it is not only the rule of faith, but it is the root out of which faith grows: take away truth, and what is faith but fancy? We believe ourselves into hell. Truth is the great purchase of Christ’s blood, and it hath been transmitted to us in the blood of many saints and martyrs; if we strike at truth, we strike at God; and doth not God see this?

Give me leave to plead in God’s cause: is not this pure wine of truth mixed with water, nay, with poison? How are the truths of God almost lost in the crowd of errors? What truth in divinity but is now called in question? Some denying the scriptures, others denying the Lord that bought them; not only the foundations of the earth are out of course, but even the foundations of scripture are shaken. We read that, when the bottomless pit was opened, there arose a smoke as the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened. The late errors sprung out of the furnace of hell, have made such a smoke and mist in the church of God, that the bright sun of truth is much eclipsed in our horizon. How many religions are there now among us, and every day in a new dress? Old heresies newly vamped. Our Savior saith, ‘If the son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?’ yes sure, he may now find many faiths; so many men, almost so many faiths: these things are done, but are they punished? Are they not countenanced? God sees: silence, when truth is wounded, is a loud sin. (“God’s Anatomy Upon Man’s Heart”)

Thomas Brooks: This Incomparable Book!

From the pen of Thomas Brooks:

The whole of Scripture is but one entire love letter, dispatched from the Lord Christ, to His beloved spouse!

Oh! the mysteries, the excellencies, the glories which are in this incomparable book! There are none so useful, none so needful, none so delightful, none so necessary to make you happy and to keep you happy–as this!

Ah! the Word of the Lord is . . . 

  • a light to guide you, a counselor to counsel you,
  • a comforter to comfort you, a staff to support you,
  • a sword to defend you, a physician to cure you!

The Word is . . .

  • a mine to enrich you, a robe to clothe you,
  • a crown to crown you, bread to strengthen you,
  • wine to cheer you, a honeycomb to feast you,
  • music to delight you, a paradise to entertain you!

Oh! therefore, before all and above all: search the Scripture, study the Scripture, meditate on the Scripture, delight in the Scripture, treasure up the Scripture!

There is . . .

  • no wisdom like Scripture wisdom, no knowledge like Scripture knowledge, no experience like Scripture experience,
  • no comforts like Scripture comforts, no delights like Scripture delights, no convictions like Scripture convictions,
  • no conversion like Scripture conversion!

I exhort you to a speedy, serious, diligent, and constant study of the Scripture. Ah! you do not know how soon . . .

  • your blind minds may be enlightened, your hard hearts may be softened, your proud spirits may be humbled,
  • your sinful natures may be changed, your defiled consciences may be purged, your distempered affections may be regulated,

and your poor souls may be saved . . .

  • by searching into the Scriptures, by reading the Scripture, and
  • by pondering upon the Scripture.

Ah! if you do not in good earnest, give yourself up . . .

  • to the reading, to the studying, to the pondering, to the believing,
  • to the practicing, to the applying, and to the living up to the Scripture–
  • Satan will be too hard for you, the world will be too hard for you,
  • your lusts will be too hard for you, temptations will be too hard for you, deceivers will be too hard for you, and in the end you will be miserable! (“Apples of Gold”, 1660)
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