Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 by Samuel
If you wish to make a difference in the cause of Christ in this world, you must hunger for zeal. Whom do we know of the great Christians we could mention who did not possess a great zeal to honor Christ? According to J. C. Ryle:
“It is always good to be zealous in a good cause.” (Galatians 4:18)
It is certain that God never gave a man a commandment, which it was not man’s interest, as well as duty, to obey. He never set a grace before His believing people, which His people will not find it their highest happiness to follow after. This is true of all the graces of the Christian character. Perhaps it is pre-eminently true in the case of zeal.
Zeal is good for a Christian’s own soul. We all know that exercise is good for the health, and that regular employment of our muscles and limbs promotes our bodily comfort, and increases our bodily vigor. Now that which exercise does for our bodies, zeal will do for our souls. It will help mightily to promote inward feelings of joy, peace, comfort, and happiness. None have so much enjoyment of Christ as those who are ever zealous for His glory—jealous over their own walk—tender over their own consciences—full of anxiety about the souls of others—and ever watching, working, laboring, striving, and toiling to extend the knowledge of Jesus Christ upon earth. Such men live in the full light of the sun, and therefore their hearts are always warm. Such men water others, and therefore they are watered themselves. Their hearts are like a garden daily refreshed by the dew of the Holy Spirit. They honor God, and so God honors them.
I would not be mistaken in saying this. I would not appear to speak slightingly of any believer. I know that the Lord takes pleasure in all His people. There is not one, from the least to the greatest—from the smallest child in the kingdom of God, to the oldest warrior in the battle against Satan—there is not one in whom the Lord Jesus Christ does not take great pleasure. We are all His children—and however weak and feeble some of us may be, as a father pities his children, so does the Lord pity those who love and fear Him. We are all plants of His own planting—and though many of us are poor, weakly exotics, scarcely keeping life together in a foreign soil—yet as the gardener loves that which his hands have raised, so does the Lord Jesus love the poor sinners who trust in Him.
But while I say this, I do also believe that the Lord takes special pleasure in those who are zealous for Him—in those who give themselves, body, soul and spirit, to extend His glory in this world. To them He reveals Himself, as He does not to others. To them He shows things that other men never see. He blesses the work of their hands. He cheers them with spiritual consolations, which others only know by the hearing of the ear. They are men after His own heart; for they are men more like Himself than others. None has such joy and peace in believing—none has such sensible comfort in their religion, none have so much of heaven upon earth—none see and feel so much of the consolations of the Gospel as those who are zealous, earnest, thoroughgoing, devoted Christians. For the sake of our own souls, if there were no other reason, it is good to be zealous—to be very zealous in our religion. (“Be Zealous”)
Filed under: Christianity, Church, Gospel, J. C. Ryle, Jesus Christ, Samuel at Gilgal, Scriptures, Worship | Tagged: Zealotry | 1 Comment »
Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 by Samuel
In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9 ESV)
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24 ESV)
What is it like when you attend worship at your church? Is it clear that the service belongs to God? All, who serve in church leadership, are responsible for insuring that God is glorified by what takes place during worship. The worship of God is a very serious responsibility and must not be approached casually.
What does worship mean to you? Are you seeking to work yourself up into an emotional high or are you glorifying and delighting in the God of all glory? The former action is based on the premise that worship is all about our need to feel good. The latter turns our focus from ourselves to the love of God and His merciful grace.
A God-centered people will seek to focus on the glory of God during the service. During such worship, the sinner feels his conscience exposed as God’s Word is proclaimed. The reality of God is manifest among His people.
I find it shameful when churches place their priority on marketing schemes to meet the felt-needs of a culture of unbelievers. Such churches do not effectively deliver the message of who God is. The result encourages the unbeliever to ask, “Who do I want God to be?”
Thus, true conversions become rare because the church accepts the norms of popular culture upon which to base its worship of God. The true heart of the church is worshiping God by preaching His infallible Word. When we attend church, we should see an unapologetic awe, respect, love, and delight in the God of the Bible. Such churches will preach and glorify the God who is. There we will find true worship.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, Church Leadership, God, Samuel A. Cain, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | 2 Comments »
Posted on Friday, May 17, 2013 by Samuel
“My joy grows with every soul that seeks the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Remember, you have one life. That’s all. You were made for God. Don’t waste it.”
“I will not waste my life! I will finish my course and finish it well. I will display the Gospel of the grace of God in all I do. I will run my race to the end.” (Don’t Waste Your Life)
Filed under: Christianity, God, Holiness, John Piper, Quotes, Samuel at Gilgal, Scriptures, Worship | Tagged: Don't Waste Your Life | 2 Comments »
Posted on Sunday, May 12, 2013 by Samuel
“The ultimate good of the gospel is seeing and savoring the beauty and value of God. God’s wrath and our sin obstruct that vision and that pleasure. You can’t see and savor God as supremely satisfying while you are full of rebellion against Him and He is full of wrath against you. The removal of this wrath and this rebellion is what the gospel is for. The ultimate aim of the gospel is the display of God’s glory and the removal of every obstacle to our seeing it and savoring it as our highest treasure. “Behold Your God!” is the most gracious command and the best gift of the gospel. If we do not see Him and savor Him as our greatest fortune, we have not obeyed or believed the gospel.” (God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself)
Filed under: Christianity, God, Gospel, Pseudo-Science, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | Tagged: John Piper | 1 Comment »
Posted on Friday, April 26, 2013 by Samuel
“In God’s worship, there must be nothing tendered up to God but what He has commanded. Whatsoever we meddle with in the worship of God must be what we have a warrant for out the Word of God. This speech of Moses‘ is upon the occasion of the judgment of God upon Aaron’s sons for offering strange fire. They offered fire that God had not commanded. Hence I say that all things in God’s worship must have a warrant out of God’s Word. It must be commanded; it’s not enough that it is not forbidden. I beseech you to observe it. It is not enough that a thing is not forbidden, and you cannot see what harm there is in it. But is must be commanded. I confess that in matters that are civil and natural this may be enough. If it is according to the rules of prudence and not forbidden in the Word, we may make use of this in civil and natural things. But when we come to matters of religion and the worship of God, we must either have a command, wherein God manifests His will, either by a direct command, or by comparing one with thing with another, or drawing consequences plainly from the words.” (Gospel Worship, p.10)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | Tagged: Jeremiah Burroughs | 1 Comment »
Posted on Monday, April 15, 2013 by Samuel
“In the matter of worship, God stands upon little things. Some things may seem to be very small and little to us, yet God stands much upon them in the matter of worship; for there is nothing wherein the prerogative of God more appears than in worship. Princes stand much upon their prerogatives. Now God has written the law of natural worship in our hearts. But there are other things in the worship of God that are not written in our hearts, that only depend upon the will of God revealed in His Word, which would not be duties except that are revealed in His Word. And these are of such a nature that we can see no reason for them except God would have them so. For example, there are many kinds of ceremonies to manifest the honor to princes that have no reason at all merely because it is a civil institution so appointed. So God would have some ways of honoring Himself that the creature may not see a reason for but merely that it is the will of God to have them so.” (Gospel Worship, p.13)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Holiness, Quotes, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | Tagged: Jeremiah Burroughs | 1 Comment »
Posted on Friday, April 12, 2013 by Samuel
“All of history is moving toward one great goal, the white-hot worship of God and His Son among all the peoples of the earth. Missions is not that goal. It is the means. And for that reason it is the second greatest human activity in the world.”
Filed under: Christianity, God, Gospel, History, Jesus Christ, John Piper, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | 3 Comments »
Posted on Saturday, April 6, 2013 by Samuel
If you identify yourself as a Christian, then I assume it really matters to you whether or not Jesus wants you to attend church. After all, He is your King…not just your adviser…or your buddy…but your Lord…and your God. Right?
We live in a day where many professing believers are being tempted to ditch the whole “church thing.” In some cases, it’s because they had a bad experience in a church. That is understandable…because it happens. Just as divorce takes place in marriages, pain is also experienced in certain church situations. So what’s the solution? Should you dump church…or instead, get connected to one where you will grow?
Continue reading here. . . .
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, Jesus Christ, Preaching, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | Comments Off
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 by Samuel
The glory of God is not subject to change. The love of God, to those who see his face, will never fail. He loves his saints with an everlasting love. Jonathan Edwards writes:
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
How blessed therefore are they that do see God, who are come to this exhaustless fountain! They have obtained that delight which gives full satisfaction. Having come to this pleasure, they neither do nor can desire any more. They can sit down fully contented, and take up with this enjoyment forever and ever, and desire no change. After they have had the pleasure of beholding the face of God millions of ages, it will not grow a dull story. The relish of this delight will be as exquisite as ever, there is enough still for the utmost employment of every faculty.
This delight in the vision of God hath an unfailing foundation. God made man to endure forever, and therefore that which is man’s true blessedness, we may conclude has a sure and lasting foundation. As to worldly enjoyments, their foundation is a sandy one that is continually wearing away, and certainly will at last let the building fall. If we take pleasure in riches, riches in a little while will be gone. If we take pleasure in gratifying our senses, those objects whence we draw our gratifications will perish with the using, and our senses themselves also will be gone, the organs will be worn out, and our whole outward form will turn to dust. If we take pleasure in union with our earthly friends, that union must be broken. The bonds are not durable, but will soon wear asunder.
But he who has the immediate intellectual vision of God’s glory and love, and rejoices in that, has his happiness built upon an everlasting rock. Isa. 26:4, “Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” In the Hebrew it is, “in the Lord Jehovah is the Rock of ages.” (“The Pure in Heart Blessed”)
Filed under: Bible, God, Grace, Jonathan Edwards, Love, Samuel at Gilgal, Sermon, Worship | 1 Comment »
Posted on Monday, March 25, 2013 by Samuel
The reason why we are so troubled with our nakedness, with any wants that we have, is because we converse so little with God, so little with spiritual things; conversing with spiritual things would lift us above the things of the world. Those who are bitten or struck by a snake, it is because they tread on the ground; if they could be lifted up above the earth they need never fear being stung by the snakes which are crawling underneath. (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, Prayer, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | Tagged: Jeremiah Burroughs | 1 Comment »
Posted on Sunday, March 24, 2013 by Samuel
The ability to pray in faith requires grace in you and grace concerning your petition. Faith must be active towards the particular objective of your prayers. William Guthrie writes:
Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24 ESV)
I come, … to speak of those qualifications requisite in acceptable prayer – there being a vast difference between prayer and acceptable prayer – between our uttering words to God and praying by a gift, and praying by the promised Spirit of grace and supplication, in such a way and manner as to be accepted of God in what we pray for. This is the thing that doth so much take up the thoughts of the tender and serious Christian: Am I accepted of God in what I do? The words of the mouth many times run this way; and if ye heard the language of their heart, ye would hear much unto this purpose.
Now, the first requisite qualification of acceptable prayer to God is true and saving faith. And it is so requisite in prayer, that no man or woman can put up a suitable desire without it. And the having of this grace makes anything that they do in this exercise of a sweet smelling savor unto God. Hence, I shall observe, that in order to find acceptance with God in all our addresses unto Him sound, saving, and justifying faith is very requisite and necessary. . . .
[T]he Scripture makes this very clear and plain, in the words of the text: “Whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” As ever ye would be accepted of God, believe, and so, “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.” “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” That is, let faith be acted and exercised in our prayers. “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” So that the way to draw near to God acceptably is by faith.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, Grace, Prayer, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | Comments Off
Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2013 by Samuel
The early Christians often lost everything in the world for Christ’s sake. They generally gained nothing but the cross and persecution. If they did not convince their adversaries by argument, they could die, and prove that they were earnest. According to J. C. Ryle:
“It is always good to be zealous in a good cause.” (Galatians 4:18)
You know the habit of mind that makes men great in the sciences of this world—that makes such men as Archimedes, or Sir Isaac Newton, or Galileo, or Ferguson the astronomer, or James Watt. All these were men of one thing. They brought the powers of their minds into one single focus. They cared for nothing else beside. And this was the secret of their success. I say that this same habit consecrated to the service of God, becomes religious zeal.
You know the habit of mind that makes men rich—that makes men amass mighty fortunes, and leave millions behind them. What kind of people were many of the bankers, and merchants, and tradesmen, who have left a name behind them, as men who acquired immense wealth, and out of poverty, became rich? They were all men that threw themselves entirely into their business, and neglected everything else for the sake of that business. They gave their first attention, their first thoughts, the best of their time, and the best part of their mind, to pushing forward the transactions in which they were engaged. They were men of one thing. Their hearts were not divided. They devoted themselves, body, soul, and mind, to their business. They seemed to live for nothing else. I say that, if you turn that habit of mind to the service of God and His Christ, it makes religious zeal.
Now, reader, this habit of mind—this zeal was the characteristic of all the Apostles. See for example the Apostle Paul. Hear him when he speaks to the Ephesian elders for the last time, “In town after town the Holy Spirit assures me that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me. But I don’t place any value on my life, if only I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:23-24)
Hear him again, when he writes to the Philippians, “Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14). See him from the day of his conversion, giving up his brilliant prospects—forsaking all for Christ’s sake—and going forth to preach that very Jesus whom he had once despised. See him going to and fro throughout the world from that time—through persecution—through oppression—through opposition—through prisons—through bonds—through afflictions—through things next to death itself, up to the very day when he sealed his faith with his blood, and died at Rome, a martyr for that Gospel which he had so long proclaimed. This was true religious zeal. (Be Zealous)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, J. C. Ryle, Revival, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | 2 Comments »
Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Samuel
Sinclair B. Ferguson:
How do we bring glory to God? The Bible’s short answer is by growing more and more like Jesus Christ. (Healthy Christian Growth)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, Holiness, Jesus Christ, Samuel at Gilgal, Sinclair B. Ferguson, Worship | 1 Comment »
Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Samuel
Those who see God are fully satisfied. They desire no more. They sit down contented to experience this joy forever and ever. There is no tedious rut, which will ever dull this experience. The Christian’s mind will be fully occupied eternally. Jonathan Edwards writes:
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
This joy of seeing God is the true blessedness of man because the fountain that supplies it is equal to man’s desire and capacity.
When God gave man his capacity of happiness, he doubtless made provision for the filling of it. There was some good, which God had in his eye, when he made the vessel, and made it of such dimensions, which he knew to be sufficient to fill it. And doubtless that, whatever it be, is man’s true blessedness, and that good which is found not to be commensurate to man’s capacity and natural desires, and never can equal it, is certainly not that wherein man’s happiness consists. Man’s desires and capacities are commensurate one with another. When once the capacity is filled, the soul desires no more.
Now in order to judge how great man’s capacity is, we must consider the capacity of his principal and leading faculty, viz. his understanding. So great as is the capacity of that faculty, so great is man’s capacity of enjoyment, so great a good as the soul is capable of understanding, so great a good it is capable of enjoying. As great a good as the soul is capable of comprehending in its perception and idea, so great a good is it capable of receiving with the other faculty, the will, which keeps pace with the understanding. And that good which the soul can receive with both faculties, of that is it capable of being made the possessor and enjoyer.
But it is easy to perceive that there is nothing here below that can give men such delight as shall be equal to this faculty. Let a man enjoy as great an affluence of earthly comforts as he will, still there is room. Man’s nature is capable of a great deal more. There are certain things wanting to which the understanding can extend itself, which he could wish were added.
But the fountain that supplies that joy and delight, which the soul has in seeing God, is sufficient to fill the vessel because it is infinite. He that sees the glory of God, in his measure beholds that of which there is no end. The understanding may extend itself as far as it will. It doth but take its flight into an endless expanse and dive into a bottomless ocean. It may discover more and more of the beauty and loveliness of God, but it never will exhaust the fountain. The body of man may as well swallow up the ocean, or his soul embrace immensity, as he can extend his faculties to the utmost of God’s excellency. (“The Pure in Heart Blessed”)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Grace, Holiness, Jonathan Edwards, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | 1 Comment »
Posted on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Samuel
“Christ did not die to make good works merely possible or to produce a half-hearted pursuit. He died to produce in us a passion for good deeds. Christian purity is not the mere avoidance of evil, but the pursuit of good.” (Passion of Jesus Christ)
Filed under: Christianity, Evil, Grace, Holiness, John Piper, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | Comments Off