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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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  • February 2012
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Loving Others

Quoting Jerry Bridges:

Love is very much a matter of actions rather than emotions. However, although this emphasis on acts of love is certainly necessary, we can sometimes give the impression that love doesn’t involve any emotion – that it is entirely an act of the will, of one’s duty, regardless of how one feels. We can even promote the “I can love him but I can’t like him” type of attitude. The Bible does not support such an unbalanced concept of love…fervently, fondly, and affectionately (are used in the Bible) to describe the love Christians ought to have for one another… Obviously such a fervency of spirit cannot substitute for loving actions, but surely it should accompany them. We dare not settle for less. (The Practice of Godliness, NavPress, 1996, p. 209-210)

The Importance Of Zeal For Christ

The great sins of our age are impure doctrine, and sloppiness of faith. You know that on Sunday mornings there are many churches who teach that, practically speaking, it does not matter what you believe as long as you act the part and say religious words. Such places actually believe in salvation by death, because the understated theme of many pastors’ sermons are that the gates of heaven are wide enough to receive all men, all religions, sects, denominations, and doctrines. They believe that doctrines are unimportant. C. H. SPURGEON responded to the ministers and laity of his time in the message below:

My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. (Psalm 119:139 ESV)

We have an abundance of cold, calculating Christians, multitudes of professors; but where are the zealous ones? Where are the leaders of the children of God? Where are your heroes who stand in the day of battle? Where are your men who “count not their lives dear unto them,” that they might win Christ, and be found in him? Where are those who have an impassioned love for souls? How many of our pulpits are filled by earnest, enthusiastic preachers? Alas! Look, at the church. She has built herself fine palaces, imitating popery; she hath girded herself with vestments; she has gone astray from her simplicity; but she has lost the fire and the life which she once had. We go into our chapels now, and we see everything in good taste: we hear the organ play; the psalmody is in keeping with the most correct ear; the gown and the noble vestments are there, and everything is grand and goodly, and we think that God is honored. Oh for the days when Whitfields would preach on tubs once more, when their pulpits should be on Kennington Common and their roofs the ceiling of God’s sky. Oh for the time when we might preach in barns again, or in catacombs either, if we might but have the life of God that once they had in such places. What is the use of garnishing the shell when you have lost the kernel? Go and whitewash, for the life is gone. Garnish the outside of your cups and platters; but ye have lost the pure word of God. Ye have it not for a piece of bread; they flinch to speak the whole truth, or if they seem to speak it, it is with cold, meaningless, passionless words, as if it were nothing whether souls were damned or saved, whether heaven were filled or heaven depopulated, or whether Christ should see of the travail of his would and be satisfied. Do I speak fierce things? I can say as Irving once did, I might deserve to be broken on the wheel if I did not believe what I say to be the truth; for the utterance of such things I might deserve the stake; but God is my witness, I have endeavored to judge and to speak impartially. With all that universal cant of charity now so prevalent I am at arm’s length; I care not for it. Let us speak of things as we find them. WE do believe that the church has lost her zeal and her energy. But what do men say of us? “Oh! you are too excited.” Good God! Excited! When men are being damned; Excited! When we have the mission of heaven to preach to dying souls. EXCITED! Preaching too much when souls are lost? Why should it come to pass that one man should be perpetually laboring all the week, while others are lolling upon their couches, and preach only upon the Sabbath-day? Can I bear to see the laziness, the slothfulness, the indifference of ministers, and of churches, without speaking? No! There must be a protest entered, and we enter it now. Oh! Church of God, thou has a name to live, and art dead; thou art not watchful. Awake! awake! arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (“A Solemn Warning for All Churches”, February 24, 1856)

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