• 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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  • June 2023
    M T W T F S S
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Come to Jesus


John A. Broadus (1827-1895) encourages us to come to the Great Savior in the article below:

There are many to testify that they have come [to Jesus] and been heard, and none been sent empty away – do you come, and you too shall hear him say, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” Come with the same humility the Syrophoenician woman felt, when she pled that the dogs, though they should not eat the children’s food, might yet have the crumbs that fell under the table – and that she, though a Gentile, might yet have some humble share in that salvation which was of the Jews. Come with all the earnestness the poor blind man felt. He heard that Jesus was passing, and none could hinder him with all their charges, from crying, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” And when the compassionate Savior stopped, and commanded him to be called, they said to him, “Be of good comfort, rise! he calleth thee.” Even so, my hearer, Jesus commands you to be called, as you sit in your spiritual blindness. Just as Bartimaeus threw away his cloak that nothing might hinder him, and went eagerly to Jesus, so you come at once unto him, and ask that you may receive your sight. You too shall hear him say, “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Let him be your Lord, your life, your sacrifice, your Savior and your all. You are a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

It is said that a brother of the famous Whitefield was once conversing, in great distress, with Lady Huntingdon. She told him of the infinite love and mercy of Jesus, but he replied, “I know all that; but there is no mercy for me – I am lost, I am lost.” “I am glad to hear it, Mr. Whitefield, very glad to hear it.” “How, my dear Madam, glad to hear that I am lost?” “Yes, Jesus came to save the lost.” That word moved him; he believed on Jesus, and lived and died a Christian. And so may you, if you believe on him who is the Savior of the lost and ruined. Then come to Jesus, come earnestly, come just as you are.

Just as I am, without one plea

Save that thy blood was shed for me,

And that thou bidst me come to thee,

O Lamb of God, I come.

Come, and you will be heard – you shall find rest. He will not send you away. He came into the world to save sinners – he suffered and died to save sinners – he invited burdened sinners to him. Then take this blessed, this precious invitation to yourself, come to Jesus, and your soul shall live. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (“Come unto Me”)


“I crucified Thee”

Dr. Robert Crouse was a noted Patristic and Medieval scholar, and a teacher and priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. Father Crouse instilled a deep love of learning in generations of students. He was also a noted priest, a bulwark of orthodox faith, and has been described as “the conscience of the Canadian Church”. The following contains excerpts from a Good Friday sermon by Dr. Crouse:

“Then Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and spitefully entreated and spitted on: and they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and this saying was hid from them; neither understood they the things which were spoken.” (Luke 18.31-34)

“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem” is the summons of this day. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, to witness those things which come to pass here. We gaze and fix our minds and hearts upon the passion of the Son of God. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, to witness a mystery which astounds and stupefies, a mystery before which all words seem cheap, and every symbol seems too shallow. What thoughts or what emotions can embrace such horrendous contradictions: the Son of God is spitted on; the Son of God, the Word of Life, goes down to death. How can we contemplate such things? How can we even begin to understand? How can we fix our minds and hearts on that?

In the mystery of that moment, all the powers of heaven and earth and hell are shaken. The sun withholds its light, and the whole creation, which longs for its redemption, utters its astounded cry, as the earth quakes, and the rocks are rent. In that moment, all the hopes and expectations of religion are confounded, and the veil of the Temple is rent in twain from the top unto the bottom. Many bodies of the saints arise and go about the city. That is to say, the whole settled order of the universe and of human life and expectations, all that is reasonable and dependable, is overturned; turned upside down when God, the Son of God, is spitted on, when the Word of Life goes down to death. . . .

The power of human wickedness is no doubt great. Its machinations sink into the very fabric of our life, and cripple the mind and heart. The power of human wickedness is great, but not so great that it should touch the holy peace of God, unless he willed that it should touch him. Jesus says to Pilate, “Thou could’st have no power against me, unless it were given thee from above.” Human wickedness will raise itself in pride and claim to be “as God,” but that is devilish delusion. God is not touched unless he will it so to be.

We bear in mind today the weight of human wickedness, that reckless pride which rises up against the holiness of God and the order of his universe. But that is not what is first and most important in the mystery of the love of God, who freely wills our woes to touch his heart, who freely gives himself against our sins, in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That is the mystery of this day, and that is why we call this Friday “Good.” We celebrate the mystery of the love of God: that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Begotten Son.” (John 3.16) That is love unthinkable, utterly unmerited, beyond all possible expectation.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5.6-8).

Our task today is nothing other than the contemplation of that mystery of love. It is to fix our minds and hearts upon the passion and the dying of the Son of God . . . All that is understandable. But in the end, there is only one answer to all of this: we must gaze upon the charity of God in Christ. The charity of God must be our food and drink. . . .

This is why the heart of Christian life is the sacrament of Calvary, the sacrament of body broken, and blood out-poured. Christ’s sacrifice abides with us in the sacrament, so that we may look upon the mystery of love and eat and drink the charity of God . . . We must eat and drink the charity of God so that God’s own charity, which hears, believes, hopes and endures, may be the substance of our life and the renewal of our minds.

© R.D. Crouse, all rights reserved

J. C. Ryle: The Pharisee And The Tax Collector

We may know a man by his outward behavior, but only God can truly see the man’s heart. J. C. Ryle writes:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 ESV)

The parable—or rather narrative, for it is probably a true story, adapted by our Lord to the purpose of the moment—begins by stating that “One was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector.” Now, it is almost impossible to imagine a more striking contrast, in the opinion of a Jewish congregation. The PHARISEES were the strictest sect among the Jews: “I was of the strictest sect of the Pharisees,” says Paul. They prayed often—which was very right—but they also made long prayers for a pretense, and they would pray at the corners of the streets where two roads met, that they might be seen by people going and coming both ways and so get a name for uncommon sanctity. There is no reason for supposing they were generally anything but moral men—but their grand fault was that they relied on their good works, as a ground of acceptance before God. They seem to have been indifferent as to the real state of their hearts, and to have cared only for keeping up a fair appearance before men, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

We may get some idea of their real character from our Lord’s saying, that they gave tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, while they neglected the weightier matters of the law—justice, mercy and truth; and from His comparison of them to whitened sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful before men—but inwardly are filled with dead men’s bones and all corruption. They “made broad the borders of their phylacteries,” they had pieces of parchment sewed to the edge of their long robes, on which some texts of Scripture were written, that people might see them and infer that they were great lovers of the law of God. They were very strict about outward purifications, and set great value on the washing of pots, brazen vessels and tables, and many other such-like things that they did. They were particularly zealous for the traditions of the fathers, and for the observation of the rites and ceremonies of the Church, and yet they often made the law of God void by their traditions. They were exceeding exact in the outward observation of the Sabbath—so much so that they called our Lord a sinner, and said he was not of God, because on the Sabbath day He had healed a man who was born blind.

And for all these reasons they were held in high esteem by the people; for men always prefer the things of sight to the things of faith, and think more of outward service than of heart; they had the uppermost places in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces, and were called of men Rabbi. In short, they got such a reputation for piety, that it became a proverb among the Jews that if there were but two men saved, one of them must be a Pharisee.

Such were the Pharisees. But what was the character given to the TAX COLLECTORS? It was very different in every respect. They were generally Jews who were employed to collect the Roman taxes. And as the Jews always disliked to pay tribute to the Gentiles, their office as tax collectors was looked upon as disgraceful and disreputable. Besides this, it is pretty clear that they used to exact much more than their due, and to amass much wealth by false accusations, to the great disgust of their fellow-countrymen. On these accounts they were so universally notorious, that our Lord Himself tells His disciples that if any man would not listen to the church, he must be to them as a heathen man and a tax collector. The enemies of Jesus thought it a heavy charge against Him that He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners; and in one place we find the tax collectors and harlots mentioned together, as people of like reputation.

On the whole, then, we may fairly conclude that in teaching the nature of acceptable worship, our Lord could not have chosen two examples more unlike each other than a Pharisee and a tax collector. One is of great repute with his fellow-creatures, while the other is peculiarly offensive—but which will God accept? (“Self-Righteousness”)

Another excerpt from this sermon will be posted soon.

That You May Know Everlasting Life

We are all born spiritually blind. We are all ignorant of God by nature. We know nothing of the gift of salvation. We do not know the way of eternal life and the gospel of salvation. Only God can make us see the way as Maurice Roberts describes here:

“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

[L]et me take a moment just to tell you what the entire chapter here is all about. It’s all about the most important thing in the world, which is how we can be saved, how we can get to heaven. Now the Old Testament and the New Testament both speak about the same subject – how we can be saved. And therefore of course – of course – they both talk about the Lord Jesus Christ because he is the Savior, there is no other. So you can think of the Bible like that, like a pyramid. Here’s the Old Testament, looking forward to the coming of Christ to die upon the cross for us. And here’s the New Testament, looking back to Jesus Christ and what he has done for us in dying on the cross. So there’s your symbol of the Bible – Old Testament looks forward to Christ, New Testament looks back to Christ, and it all is given to explain to us how you can become a Christian, how you can have faith, how you can be saved. Because that obviously is the most important thing God has to say to us.

All right, take that with you, and let me tell you now what this chapter is all about, very quickly, just in a few words. In the first part of this chapter, all the way down to verse 18, he is talking about the coming of Christ. We know that because of the language, “Behold my servant” and there we have a description of Christ who is the Servant of God to save us, to die for us, who loved us and came to bring salvation to us. So there’s Christ, right at the beginning. Up to verse 18, all that deals with Christ’s bringing salvation to the nations of the world – leaving aside the Jews for a moment. So those first 18 verses of the chapter deal with what Christ would do: he would die in order that the light of the gospel would shine throughout the world. And of course these nations are called the gentiles – you get it in verse 1, “he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles”. That means he’s going to tell us, in Scotland and England and Wales and Ireland and America and Australia and Russia, and the other gentile nations, how we can be saved. That’s what Jesus came to do. And you get the same thing really again in verse 18 when it says, “Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.” See, he’s talking to the gentiles who were deaf in those days and blind; we had no idea how to be saved. Maybe some of you have seen the Callanish stones in Lewis. Well the people that put them up centuries and centuries ago had no idea how to get to heaven. They lived and died in darkness. Same with the stones down at Stonehenge in Wiltshire in England; they had these great monuments of some sort of religious symbolism – they had no idea how to get to heaven. They lived and died in darkness because that was before Christ came. But when Christ came the gospel began to go throughout all the world and the Holy Spirit and preachers with the Holy Spirit in them brought the gospel to Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, America, and Australia; and all over the world this message has gone out to the gentiles. Well that’s what you get in verses 1-18.

But then at verse 19 to the end of the chapter you get a change of emphasis. What do you get here? He is talking now at verse 19 about the Jews, “Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? …. Seeing many things, but thou observest not.” He means when Jesus Christ would come the Jews would kill him. That’s exactly what they did because they were spiritually blind. They had the Old Testament but they didn’t understand its meaning, they were spiritually blind. So here’s the interesting thing about the chapter: the first 18 verses deal with the salvation of the world; and verses 19 to the end deal with the blinding of the Jews, and that’s been true ever since. For two thousand years the Jews have rejected Christ – blind, blind, blind because they didn’t accept him as their Messiah.

So that’s the gist of what this whole chapter is about. And its relevance to your life is this: that here God is telling us how you personally may know everlasting life, and that’s why I chose my text at verse 16. Let me read it again. God is speaking: “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” In other words God says, “I’m going to take a message to the whole of mankind which will utterly change their lives.” (Sermon: “God’s Grace to Blind Sinners”)

The Christian Who Sins, Must Be Reproved

Martin Luther

4:1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4)

From the desk of Martin Luther:

The Gentiles, who know not God, give themselves up to all manner of uncleanness, or disgraceful vices, as Paul records in Romans 1, 29-31. Not that all gentiles are guilty in that respect. Paul is not saying what all heathen do; he merely states that with the gentiles such conduct is apparent, and quite to be expected from people “who know not God.” Under such conditions, one allows the sin to pass unreproved, as does Paul himself. Notwithstanding he censures them who consent to sin of this character when knowing better, and who do not restrain the evil-doers. Rom 1, 32. But in the case of Christians, when any fall into such sin they are to be reproved and the sin resisted; the offense must not be allowed to pass as with the gentiles. In the case of the latter the lust of concupiscence holds sway; no restraints are exercised and the reins are given to lust, so that its nature and passion are given free expression, just as if this were a provision of nature, when the fact is it is a pest to be healed, a blemish to be removed. But there is none to heal and deliver, so the gentiles decay and go to ruin through evil lust. “Lust of concupiscence’ would be, with us, “evil lust.”

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