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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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Draw Near to Christ

Quoting Richard Sibbes:

We are only safe when we wisely make use of all good advantages that we have access to. By going out of God’s ways we go out of His government, and so lose our good frame of mind, and find ourselves overspread quickly with a contrary disposition. When we draw near to Christ (James 4:8), in His ordinances, He draws near to us.

Crucial Find in Northeastern Iraq

Archaeology and the Bible:

A crucial find in Nuzi (northeastern Iraq), was an entire cache of Hittite legal documents from 1400 B.C. They confirm many details of Genesis and Deuteronomy, such as:

(a) Siring of legitimate children through handmaidens,

(b) Oral deathbed will as binding,

(c) The power to sell one’s birthright for relatively trivial property (Jacob & Esau),

(d) The need for family idols, such as Rachel stole from Laban, to secure inheritance, and

(e) The form of the covenant in Deuteronomy exactly matches the form of suzerainty treaties between Hittite emperors and vassal kings.

Sleeping Christians

Unless Christians are awake, they will certainly be ignorant of Satan’s many devices. Sound the alarm and carry out your Christian duties! Consider this article by Asahel Nettleton:

“Now it is high time to awake out of sleep.” (Rom. 13:11)

The language of this text is borrowed from natural sleep, in which a person is in a great measure unaware of what is happening around him but life remains in the body. This condition is applied to Christians who have grown insensitive to divine things–they sleep, but life remains in their souls. In particular, the exhortation is for those who find themselves in a state of spiritual slumber to shake off their drowsiness and awake to spiritual realities.

Sleeping Christians allow personal ease to compete with spiritual duty. Religion is the great business of the Christian’s life. It imposes on him many responsibilities that are in painful opposition to his fleshly desires. However, to neglect spiritual duties for the sake of personal comfort is to indulge in spiritual slothfulness. Great care must be taken to fight this natural tendency toward laziness with regard to spiritual things. For this reason, the Scripture instructs Christians to encourage one another daily “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). Avoiding reproach is a common way Christians shirk their godly purpose in the world. It is easy to live quietly as long as you will not disturb your fellow sinner with a reminder of his sin. Ignoring the sinful behavior of others requires no effort, and thousands of professing Christians resign themselves to rest in a state of passivity. Whole churches often shut their mouths in silence in the name of charity or goodwill, but in so doing they actually display an awful indifference to the souls of men.

Sleeping Christians are no longer deeply affected by divine things. In this frame of mind, it is no wonder that Christians regularly attend the house of God but soon forget the instruction they receive. Although they once saw the glory of God in the face of Christ, now they walk in darkness. Where once they were stirred by a deep sense of the worth of souls and could weep over perishing sinners, now they can endure the sight of transgressors almost without emotion.

Their lack of interest in spiritual things is further manifested by their conversation. At one time, they spoke often of eternal matters, but now all their attention is engrossed with the world. They converse with ease about the temporal issues of life but have almost nothing to say about the great things of eternity. When they do speak of heavenly themes, it is in a dull and lifeless manner. The weight of eternal realities does not stir their soul, and thus they talk like a person in sleep. (“Professing Christians, Awake!”)

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