• 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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If The Church Is There Satan Will Be There Too

Quoting J. C. Ryle:

“The seed is the Word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the Word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:11-12)

The devil, that malicious spirit, is unwearied in his efforts to do us harm. He is ever watching for our halting, and seeking occasion to destroy our souls.

But nowhere perhaps is the devil as active as in a congregation of Gospel hearers. Nowhere does he labor so hard to stop the progress of that which is good, and to prevent men and women being saved.

From him come . . .

wandering thoughts; roving imaginations; listless minds; dull memories; sleepy eyes; fidgety nerves; weary ears; and distracted attention.

In all these things Satan has a great hand.

People wonder where they come from, and marvel how it is that they find sermons so dull, and remember them so badly!

They forget the parable of the sower. They forget the devil.

Let us take heed that we are not wayside hearers. Let us beware of the devil.

We shall always find him at Church! He never stays away from public ordinances. Let us remember this, and be upon our guard.

A Few Thoughts On Winning God’s Favor

Have you ever found yourself wondering how to win the favor of God? I’m sure this is an age old question and I am not the first to think of it. Many men have humiliated themselves, and brought themselves down in abject misery for this purpose. The History Channel often offers a view of how people of every land have starved themselves, slept on stones, lacerated their flesh and subjected themselves to all sorts of torture, thinking that these actions would win God’s favor.

Others try to win God’s favor through worship, sacrifices, by observing certain feasts and fasts, and elaborate forms of rituals. But even worship becomes monotonous and sacrifices lose their meaning. Then men come to believe in the power and action of obedience to touch God’s heart. Yet, according to Paul, man does not win God’s favor by physical degradation or ecclesiastical ceremony, or by obeying the Decalogue. There is nothing, he asserts, which a man can do which will win him the favor of God. It is not possible. The favor of the Eternal Father, therefore, is not to be earned even by obedience to the law, but is simply to be accepted as given by grace with thanksgiving and joy.

When Paul says that Christians are no longer under law, he means that they are no longer under law as external restraint. When he says that the law has passed away, he means that it has passed away as a measure of coercion, but he does not mean that the life of man can ever safely depart from the principles ordained of God. It is no longer external restraint but internal constraint, no longer external compulsion but internal impulsion that appeals to the heart of God.

There are in these modern times, however, too many people in the church who do not know how to benefit from the grace given them. There is much havoc in today’s Christian church because men use the excuse of grace to please the flesh (if they are Christians at all). If there is no internal constraint, the number of professing Christians who make shipwreck of their religious life is appalling. No love of Christ constrains them to do what God would have them do. It is evident that their “Cultural” Christianity is a sham.

So, how do we gain favor with God? We know this when we trust Jesus Christ for our salvation and receive the Spirit of God who makes us free from the Law by grace. It is the Holy Spirit working a holy internal compulsion within us to live by the principles of the Law in service to God and strengthened by God.

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