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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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Do You Have A Holy Respect Towards God?

Excerpts from a sermon by S. Michael Durham:

The world will always steer you away from Calvary. It will suggest an easier path than a straight one; a broad gate rather than a narrow gate. It will preach a much easier road to God than the strait road. It offers you a broad gate rather than a narrow gate that requires you to put off all things; for the gate is so narrow that you can take nothing with you; you must unload everything.

You may be tempted to follow the easy way, but Jesus warned it would lead to everlasting destruction. I can’t say it more strongly; listen! You will perish! The world’s way leads to everlasting destruction! . . . .

Friend, whatever you may gain by following the ungodly is going to cost you much more when you stand before the Lord. Some of you are separated from God today and will not be saved because you will not separate yourself from the world. You want to please a few pagan friends, ungodly family members, and some blasphemers – you don’t want their rejection. You’re afraid of them. Let me ask you a question: can your friends or ungodly family members stop your beating heart and send you to hell? Of course they can’t. God can. And He will. God is gracious and He is magnanimous in His offer of salvation – it is large, infinite, in scope and degree. But it is narrow in how you receive it. You must come His way.

Beware of the world’s ways to God. How sad it is to see churches become so worldly and call it worship. Worldliness in the name of worship! Today, grunge is in – and glory is out. Looseness has replaced dignity; casualness has prevailed over carefulness. Sloppiness reigns over vigilance, and entertainment has unseated biblical joy so the world doesn’t even know the difference anymore. “As long as we’re having fun, isn’t that what it’s all about?” The more like the pagans we become, the more evangelistic we think we are.

That is what is happening, friends, even in our own city. New churches are cropping up everywhere almost monthly, all based on an idea of being like the world so we can reach the world. . . . The more a sinner can feel comfortable and enjoy the service, the better we feel about our worship services. Please don’t misunderstand me – there’s nothing holy about dressing up. It’s not more righteous to wear a dress than blue jeans. There’s no more godliness in a tie than an open collar; cuff links than T-shirts. It’s all the same. I do wonder, though, that if our casual dress is indicative of a casual heart toward God? I’m not judging holiness by clothing. . . .

Do you know what godliness really is? It is a prevailing attitude that believes God is to be so distinguished from everything. It is an attitude of mind and heart that says it’s my business to show the world that my God is not like all of us; He is so high and holy, so lifted up, that nothing or no one, not even the godliest of saints, is really like Him. It honors Him by approaching Him with godly fear and holy respect. It is to treat Him better than you treat anyone else. Godliness is to be careful about your heart! (“The Danger of Familiarity With God”)

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Directions Against The Sinful Fear Of Men

Richard Baxter

Do you live in an unreasonable fear of others? Whether it is of their opinions or of physical harm, it is still fear. Do you believe that God’s will is the disposer of all? Do you understand that the providence of God reigns supreme? Why then are you afraid of man? Richard Baxter elaborates on this theme:

Ground thy soul and hopes on Christ, and lay up thy treasure in heaven; be not a worldling that lives in hope of happiness in the creature; and then thou art so far above the fear of men, as knowing that thy treasure is above their reach, and thy foundation and fortress safe from their assaults. It is a base, hypocritical, worldly heart that makes you immoderately afraid of men. Are you afraid lest they should storm and plunder heaven? Or lest they cast you into hell? Or lest they turn God against you? Or lest they bribe or overawe your Judge? No, no! These are none of your fears! No; you are not so much as afraid lest they hinder one of your prayers from prevailing with God; nor lest their prison walls and chains should keep out God and his Spirit from you, and force you from your communion with him! You are not afraid lest they forcibly rob you of one degree of grace, or heavenly-mindedness, or hopes of the life to come! (If it be lest they hinder you from these by tempting or affrighting you into sin, (which is all the hurt they can do your souls,) then you are the more engaged to cast away the fears of their hurting your bodies, because that is their very temptation to hurt your souls.) No; it is their hurting of your flesh, the diminishing your estates, the depriving you of your liberty or worldly accommodations, or of your lives, which is the thing you fear. And doth not this show how much your hearts are yet on earth? And how much unmortified worldliness and fleshliness is still within you? And how much yet your hearts are false to God and heaven? Oh how the discovery should humble you! To find that you are yet no more dead to the things of the world, and that the cross of Christ hath yet no more crucified it to you! To find that yet the fleshly interest is so powerful in you and the interest of Christ and heaven is so low! That God seems not enough for you, and that you cannot take heaven alone for your portion, but are so much afraid of losing earth! O presently search into the bottom of this corruption in your hearts, and lament your worldliness and hypocrisy, and work it out, and set your hearts and hopes above, and be content with God and heaven alone, and then this inordinate fear of man will have nothing left to work upon. (“Directions Against Sinful Fear”)

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