GOOD PREACHING

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“Oh, Beloved, if we are called to preach, we must believe what we preach, or else we had better give it up! “I believed, therefore have I spoken,” is a text which should be written over every minister’s study door, and over his pulpit, too.” (1893, Sermon #2297)

“Some sermons which I have heard, though faultlessly orthodox, have contained nothing that could convert anybody—for there has been nothing to touch the conscience or heart. Others, though very clever and profound, have had no possible bearing on the needs of the hearers and so it was little wonder that they were without result.” (1891, Sermon #2222)

“You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences—salvation is all of the Grace of God—damnation is all of the will of man.” (1895, Sermon #2411)

REVIVAL IS ALL DIVINE

Robert Murray M'CheyneRobert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843):

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6 ESV)

It is God who must revive us again. It is not human work. It is all divine. If you look to men to do it, you will only get that curse in Jeremiah 17. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.”

The Lord has all the means in His hands. The Son of Man holds the seven stars in His right hand. The stars are His ministers. He lifts them up, or lets them down, at His sovereign will. He gives them all their light, or He takes it away. He holds them up and lets them shine clearly, or He holds them in the hollow of His hand, as it seemeth good in His sight. Sometimes He lets them shine on one district of a country, sometimes another. They only shine to lead to Him. The star that leads away from Him is a wandering star, and Christ will cast it into the blackness forever. We should pray to Christ to make His ministers shine on us. (“The Cry For Revival”)

BLESSINGS IGNORED

spirit of greedDo not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

Christians may often conveniently forget the blessings of God in favor of those promoted by a consumer oriented society. With God’s favor, America has been the most prosperous nation on earth. Unfortunately, we are focusing too much on consumerism and too little on God. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6 ESV)

The modern world has promoted the lust for possessions and ignored the spiritual realm of our lives. Even those who profess to be Christians often look at some luxury their neighbors or friends have acquired and ask themselves, “Why has God denied me this pleasure?” We quickly forget the blessings, both spiritual and material, we have already received at His hands. “… Be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV) Continue reading

UNION WITH CHRIST

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“Ultimately it comes down to this, that the real cause of our trouble is failure to realize our union with Christ. Many Seem to think that Christianity means that we are delivered in that sense that our sins are forgiven. But that is only the beginning, but one aspect of it. Essentially salvation means union with Christ, being one with Christ. We have been crucified with Christ – ‘I am crucified with Christ’, says Paul. ‘All that has happened to Him has happened to me. I am one with Him.’ Read the fifth and sixth chapters of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. The teaching is that we have died with Christ, have been buried with Christ, have risen with Christ, and are seated in the heavenly places in Christ and with Christ. That is the teaching of the Scriptures. ‘Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3. 3). The old man has been crucified and all that belonged to Christ, you are risen with Christ. ‘Reckon ye yourselves then to be dead unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6. 11).” (Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 74-75)

BE SLOW TO ANGER

Anger“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20 ESV)

“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 ESV)

Invited by a friend, Joe attends a party where someone accidentally bumps into his arm causing Joe’s drink to spill on his slacks and shoes. The person apologizes and offers to pay for Joe’s pants to be cleaned, but Joe starts shouting and cursing. Joe then tries to pick a fight with the man, but others restrain him. Joe’s uncontrolled and foolish anger will leave behind stressed relationships and the possibility of legal problems. It is his quickness to become angry, when frustrated, that blocks Joe’s reason from resolving his problems in a rational manner.

In the philosophy courses I took as an undergraduate, we were taught that anger prevents a rational argument. Clear thinking is lost in the fog of emotion. Even people who comment on blogs and articles on the internet often cannot express their opposing opinions without descending into ad hominem attacks, verbal abuse and defamation. Continue reading

PREPARING FOR HEAVEN

Bishop J. C. RyleJ. C. Ryle:

“Lastly, we must be holy, because without holiness on earth — we will never be prepared to enjoy Heaven. …I do not know what others may think — but to me it does seem clear that Heaven would be a miserable place to an unholy man. It cannot be otherwise. People may say in a vague way, that they “hope to go to Heaven,” but they do not consider what they say. There must be a certain “fitness for the inheritance of the saints in light.” Our hearts must be somewhat in tune. To reach the holiday of glory — we must pass through the training school of grace. We must be heavenly-minded and have heavenly tastes in the present life — or else we will never find ourselves in Heaven in the life to come! (Holiness)

THE IMPUTATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Horatius BonarHoratius Bonar:

“This righteousness [the righteousness of Christ] is ‘reckoned’ or ‘imputed’ to all who believe; so that they are treated by God as if it were actually theirs.  They are entitled to claim all that which such a righteousness can merit from God (as the Judge of righteous claims).  It does not become ours gradually, or in fragments or drops; but is transferred to us all at once.  It is not that so much of it is reckoned to us in proportion to the strength of our faith, or the warmth of our love, or the fervor of our prayers; but the whole of it passes over to us by imputation.  In its whole quality and quantity it is transferred to us.  Its perfection represents us before God; and its preciousness, with all that that preciousness can purchase for us, henceforth belongs to us”. (The Everlasting Righteousness, 82-83)

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