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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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THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD

Richard Baxter:

baxter“Remember the perfections of that God whom you worship, that he is a Spirit, and therefore to be worshipped in spirit and truth; and that he is most great and terrible, and therefore to be worshipped with seriousness and reverence, and not to be dallied with, or served with toys or lifeless lip-service; and that he is most holy, pure, and jealous, and therefore to be purely worshipped; and that he is still present with you, and all things are naked and open to him with whom we have to do. The knowledge of God, and the remembrance of his all-seeing presence, are the most powerful means against hypocrisy.”

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THE REFORMED MIND

Samuel A CainSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2 ESV)

“Screw the truth into men’s minds.” (Richard Baxter)

After salvation and the pursuit of holiness, the great need of Christians is to grow in their understanding of the faith and to become competent in rationally sharing, explaining and defending it. Reformed Christianity provides a sound and organized framework of consistent doctrinal beliefs and practices (such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, etc.) which, I believe, represents accurately the Word of God found in the Scriptures.

Such men as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, A.W. Pink, James Montgomery Boice, R. C. Sproul, James Kennedy, and Dr. D.A. Carson are just a representative few in a long line of reformed thinkers, ministers, and teachers who have shared the Truth of the Bible through their ministries. The Reformed church has traditionally remained true (although there are many exceptions in our time) to the admonition of the Apostle Paul: Continue reading

THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD

richardbaxterRichard Baxter:

“Remember the perfections of that God whom you worship, that he is a Spirit, and therefore to be worshipped in spirit and truth; and that he is most great and terrible, and therefore to be worshipped with seriousness and reverence, and not to be dallied with, or served with toys or lifeless lip-service; and that he is most holy, pure, and jealous, and therefore to be purely worshipped; and that he is still present with you, and all things are naked and open to him with whom we have to do. The knowledge of God, and the remembrance of his all-seeing presence, are the most powerful means against hypocrisy.”

A DIET OF PEACE

Richard Baxter:

No wise man can expect that…God should diet us with a continual feast. It would neither suit with our health, nor the condition of this pilgrimage. Live, therefore, on your peace of conscience as your ordinary diet; when this is wanting, know that God appoints you a fast for your health; and when you have a feast of high joys, feed on it and be thankful! But when they are taken from you, gape not after them as the disciples did after Christ at His ascension; but return thankfully to your ordinary diet of peace.

 

 

Concern for Souls

James Montgomery BoiceQuoting James Montgomery Boice:

[T]he greatest periods of faithful expository preaching were inevitably accompanied by the highest levels of sensitivity to the presence of God in worship and the greatest measure of concern for the cure of souls.

The Puritans are a great example, though one could cite the Reformation period or the age of the evangelical awakening in England as well. The Puritans abounded in the production of expository material. We think of the monumental productions of men like Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), Richard Baxter (1615-l691), John Owen (1616-1683), Thomas Watson (d. l686), John Flavel (1627-1691), Jonathan Edwards (1702-1758), and that later Puritan Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892). These men produced material so serious in its nature and so weighty in its content that few contemporary pastors are even up to reading it. Yet common people followed these addresses in former times and were moved by them. Worship services were characterized by a powerful sense of God’s presence, and those who did such preaching and led such services were no less concerned with the individual problems, temptations, and growth of those under their care. Who in recent years has produced a work on pastoral counseling to equal Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor (1656)? Who has analyzed the movement of God in individual lives as well as did Jonathan Edwards in A Narrative of Surprising Conversions (1737) and Religious Affections (1746) or Archibald Alexander in his Thoughts on Religious Experience (1844)? Questions like these should shake us out of self-satisfied complacency and show that we are actually conducting our pastoral care, worship, and preaching at a seriously lower level. (The Foundation of Biblical Authority, London & Glasgow: Pickering & Inglis, 1979, pp.123-143)

Dying Thoughts

Richard BaxterRichard Baxter:

“My Lord, I have nothing to do in this World, but to seek and serve thee; I have nothing to do with a Heart and its affections, but to breathe after thee. I have nothing to do with my Tongue and Pen, but to speak to thee, and for thee, and to publish thy Glory and thy Will. What have I to do with all my Reputation, and Interest in my Friends, but to increase thy Church, and propagate thy holy Truth and Service? What have I to do with my remaining Time, even these last and languishing hours, but to look up unto thee, and wait for thy Grace, and thy Salvation?” (Dying Thoughts on Philippians 1:23)

To Walk in Humbleness with God

HumilityHe has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to WALK HUMBLY with your God? (Micah 6:8 ESV)

Consider the verse above and focus on the phrase “… walk humbly with your God”. We are told in this verse that walking humbly with God is good and that it is required. This is one of the characteristics that a Christian should possess. This is one way we may honor God in our lives each day.

Humility, however, is often earned at a very high cost. The more prideful you are; the higher the cost will be. Personally, I have too often been prideful in my life. The price of my pride has resulted in my being humbled (not by choice) on more than one occasion. I can from experience tell you it is better to be humble than to be humbled.

James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (4:10) We cannot truly know God and grow by the Holy Spirit until we are humble. Puritan preacher Richard Baxter declared, “It is a contradiction to be a true Christian and not humble.”

I have found that bad attitudes, bitterness, and anger are rarely seen in people with true humility. A godly person is a humble person. Peter writes that, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1Peter 5:5) Christian virtue is the result of humility. Humility makes the Christian sensitive to the adverse effects of sin.

I am certain that those people who display in their character a deep knowledge of God and His grace are also those Christians who exhibit humility in their conduct towards others. I pray that I might live my life in agreement with this observation by Jonathan Edwards: “Pure Christian humility disposes a person to take notice of every thing that is good in others, and to make the best of it, and to diminish their failings.”

Lord, let it be so in my life as I walk with you.

Samuel at Gilgal

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