• 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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  • December 2011
    M T W T F S S
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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”)

George Washington Carver On Success

George Washington Carver

Quoting George Washington Carver, 1939:

‘The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible’, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”

Samuel Davies: Can A Man Create Himself Or Raise Himself From The Dead?

Samuel Davies

Christ says, “No man can come unto me, except the Father draw him.” (John 6:44) Therefore, the agency of divine grace is necessary to draw sinners to Christ. Afterwards, it is this grace that also makes them fruitful. Samuel Davies provides an excellent explanation of this process:

“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” (I Corinthians 3:7, Hanover County, Virginia, November 19, 1752)

We may infer the same thing from the many passages of sacred writ ascribing the success of the gospel upon sinners, and even upon believers, to the agency of divine grace. If even a well- disposed Lydia gives a believing attention to the things spoken by Paul, it is, because the Lord hath opened her heart, Acts 16:14. Thus the Philippians believed, because, says the apostle, to you it is given on the behalf of Christ to believe, Philippians 1:29. Thus the Ephesians were spiritually alive, because says he, you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1. Faith is not of ourselves; but is expressly said to be the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8. Nay, the implantation of faith is represented as an exploit of omnipotence, like that of the resurrection of Christ. Hence the apostle prays, Ephesians 1:19-20, that the Ephesians might be made deeply sensible of the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward that believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead.

Repentance is also the gift of God: Christ is exalted to bestow it, Acts 5:31. When the Jewish Christians heard of the success of the gospel among the Gentiles, they unanimously ascribed it to God: then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life, Acts 11:18, and it is upon this encouragement that Paul recommends the use of proper means to reclaim the obstinate: if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, II Timothy 2:25. Regeneration, also in which faith and repentance and other graces are implanted, is always ascribed to God. If all things are made new, all these things are of God, II Corinthians 5:17-18. If while others reject Christ some receive him, and so are honored with the privilege of becoming the sons of God, it is not owing to themselves, but to him. They are born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God, John 1:11-13. He begets such of his own sovereign will by the word of truth, James 1:18, and every good and perfect gift with which they are endowed is not from themselves, but from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, who is the great origin of all moral excellency, as the sun is of light, verse 17. Hence this change is expressed by such terms as denote the divine agency, and exclude that of the creature; as a new birth, John 3:3, a new creation, II Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 3:10, the workmanship of God created in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:10, a resurrection from the dead, John 5:25, Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 3:1. Now it is the greatest absurdity to speak of a man’s begetting, of his creating himself, or raising himself from the dead.

Thus we find that the first implantation of grace in the heart of a sinner is entirely the work of God; and, lest we should suppose that, when it is once implanted, it can flourish and grow without the influence of heaven, we find that the progress of sanctification in believers is ascribed to God, as well as their first conversion. David was sensible, after all his attainments, that he could not run the way of God’s commandments unless God should enlarge his heart, Psalm 119:32. All the hopes of Paul concerning his promising converts at Philippi depended upon his persuasion, that he that had begun a good work in them, would perform it until the day of Christ, Philippians 1:6. Nay, it was upon this he placed his own entire dependence. We are not sufficient of ourselves, says he, to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God, II Corinthians 3:5. If I am faithful, it is “because I have obtained mercy of the Lord to make me so,” I Corinthians 7:25. By the grace of God I am what I am; and if I have labored more abundantly than others, it is not I, but the grace of God that was with me, I Corinthians 15:10. I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me, Philippians 4:13. (“The Success of the Ministry of the Gospel, Owing to a Divine Influence”)

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