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Lord’s Day 43, 2017

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”


What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
 We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

—Romans 8:31–39

Hymn XI.
The effort.
imageJohn Newton (1725–1807)

Cheer up, my soul, there is a mercy-seat
Sprinkled with blood, where Jesus answers pray’r;
There humbly cast thyself, beneath his feet,
For never needy sinner perish’d there.

Lord, I am come! thy promise is my plea,
Without thy word I durst not venture nigh;
But thou hast call’d the burden’d soul to thee,
A weary burden’d soul, O Lord, am I!

Bow’d down beneath a heavy load of sin,
By Satan’s fierce temptations sorely prest,
Beset without, and full of fears within,
Trembling and faint I come to thee for rest.

Be thou my refuge, Lord, my hiding–place,
I know no force can tear me from thy side;
Unmov’d I then may all accusers face,
And answer ev’ry charge, with, “Jesus dy’d.”

Yes, thou didst weep, and bleed, and groan, and die,
Well hast thou known what fierce temptations mean;
Such was thy love, and now, enthron’d on high,
The same compassions in thy bosom reign.

Lord give me faith—he hears—what grace is this!
Dry up thy tears, my soul, and cease to grieve:
He shews me what he did, and who he is,
I must, I will, I can, I do believe.

Olney Hymns. Book III: On the Rise, Progress, Changes, and Comforts of the Spiritual Life.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation
if you can possibly help it.
But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus, Lover of My Soul For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; Isaiah 25:4 Jesus, Lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly, While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high; Hide me, O my Savior, hide, Till the storm of life is past; Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last! Other refuge have I none; Hangs my helpless soul on Thee; Leave, ah! leave me not alone, Still support and comfort me. All my trust on Thee is stayed, All my help from Thee I bring; Cover my defenseless head With the shadow of Thy wing. Thou, O Christ, art all I want; More than all in Thee I find; Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, Heal the sick, and lead the blind. Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness; False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace. Plenteous grace with Thee is found, Grace to cover all my sin; Let the healing streams abound; Make and keep me pure within. Thou of life the fountain art, Freely let me take of Thee; Spring Thou up within my heart, Rise to all eternity. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Modern Tongues-speaking (as I see it)

Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. —1 Corinthians 14:13 This morning we’re on the road to a wedding. We’ve got 500 miles ahead of us today, so there’s no time for frivolity. Therefore, here’s a very serious example of tongues-speaking and interpretation as practiced in modern Pentecostal/charismatic churches, courtesy of Disney. Hana mana ganda, Hana mana ganda; We translate for you: Hana means what mana means, And ganda means that too. Context, for the cartoon-deprived Disclaimer: I have some doubts about the veracity of the historical claims* presented in the video above. * The “million years” part. The rest, I’m sure, is reasonably accurate.

Both Necessary and Worthless

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ —Philippians 3:7–8 Counting “all things,” including our own righteousness, “to be loss” does not mean that we should no longer pursue holiness; as the Apostle writes, “godliness actually is a means of great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6; also, Philippians 2:12–13). But we should never believe that we can, even in part, be justified thereby. Our personal righteousness, the best of it, holiness of heart and life, this must be quitted in some respect, and only in some respect. To speak or think of suffering the loss of all absolutely, is intolerable. A personal righteousness is in its own place transcendently excellent, and absolutely necessary; without it we cannot be qualified for glory, we cannot be serviceable on earth, we can never come to heaven; without it we cannot honour Christ here, nor shall ever see his face hereafter, Heb. xii. In these respects we must not think of suffering the loss of it, we must not lose it for a world, we lose heaven and our souls if we suffer it. But in point of justification we must quit it, i.e., we must not rely on our personal righteousness as a justifying righteousness. To quit it thus far will be no loss, for it is no loss to quit anything so far as it is not useful, how excellent soever it be otherwise. Now our personal righteousness is not useful to justify us before God against the accusation of the law of works; to quit it here, to lose it thus, is to lose nothing but a false conceit, a conceit that it is what it is not, and can do for us what it can never do. No person on earth ever had in himself a justifying righteousness. It is true if our first parents had continued in their primitive state, without sin, their righteousness would have justified them; but since their fall, sin entering into the world, and spreading over it, no man ever had in himself a justifying righteousness but the man Christ Jesus; no other personal righteousness besides can answer the demands of the law in a full, perfect, spotless conformity to it; none can satisfy for the transgressions of it, none can give a title to eternal life. This I call a justifying righteousness. The best personal righteousness of the most eminent saint on earth is no such thing, it can no more justify him than dung can feed him; how excellent soever it be for other purposes, it is not sufficient, it is not useful, for this, here it leaves us at a loss. On this account the apostle did suffer the loss of his own righteousness; if he was to appear before God, to be justified or condemned, he would be found not having his own righteousness, he durst not rely on that. Elsewhere, 1 Cor. iv. 4, and others, Ps. cxliii. 2, they decline the consideration of their own righteousness in this case, as knowing upon that account they could not be justified, the sinful effects of it would rather expose them to condemnation. But if we rely not on our own righteousness for justification, what righteousness is there to rely on? We shall be at a loss for a justifying righteousness. So the papists, so the Socinians and their followers, determine. But the apostle was otherwise minded, he knew where to find a righteousness fully sufficient for this purpose: ‘Not having his own righteousness’; if he might be found in Christ, even in him who is ‘the Lord our righteousness’, in him who is ‘made of God wisdom and righteousness,’ &c., who is ‘the end of the law for righteousness,’ ‘who was made sin for us, that we,’ &c. This is a righteousness far transcending any personal righteousness that sinners are capable of; yea, and that righteousness too which would have justified our first parents if they had not sinned, as being the righteousness of God, the righteousness of faith, an everlasting righteousness. It is a better, a more excellent, righteousness than that in the state of innocency would have been, if it had been perfected in respect of the subject, it being ‘the righteousness of God,’ so called verse 9, and not of man only. 2. In respect of the facility of obtaining, it is attainable by faith, and so described, ver. 9. Faith interests those in it who can neither personally satisfy for past disobedience, nor perfectly observe the law for the time to come. 3. In respect of its perpetuity, it is everlasting: Dan. ix. 24, ‘Righteousness of eternity’ (Heb.]. Adam’s righteousness, if it had continued a thousand years, might have been lost by sin; but this righteousness makes an end of sin, and so makes a justified state endless. Those that believe this effectually, need not think much to suffer the loss of all, that they may win Christ and be interested in his righteousness, so they may be found in him, not having, &c. —David Clarkson, The Excellent Knowledge of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:271–272.

The Best Bargain

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ —Philippians 3:7–8 As to your outward enjoyments and earthly possessions. To tell you, you must be ready to part with these, may seem an hard saying; it is so to those who are well accommodated in the world; it was so to him in the Gospel, who presumed that all the other commands of God he had observed, he fell off at this; when he was tried here, he left Christ, went away sorrowful, Mat. xix. But the apostle Paul had actually done it (as in the text), and so had the rest of the apostles, Mat. xix. 27. And none are or can be the disciples of Christ indeed, none are Christians really, but such as are resolved on it beforehand, and actually do it when they are tried, when the honour and interest of Christ requires it, Luke xiv. 33. And those that know Christ effectually will see no reason to stick at it; for he has assured us, that to suffer the loss of all for him is no loss at all, how great and intolerable soever the loss is in appearance, yet really it is the greatest gain, the richest advantage. We cannot possibly make a richer, a more gainful improvement of what we have in the world, than by losing it all for Christ. How great a paradox soever this seem, Christ has assured us of it, and if we do not believe him, we do not know him, Mat. xix. 29. You think it a good improvement of what you have, if you could gain twenty or fifty in the hundred, but what is this to gain an hundred-fold! You would think it a rich return of an adventure to double it or treble it; what is it then to double it more than forty times over? What merchant is there that would not venture all he has, nay, that would not throw his goods into the sea, upon assurance (as good assurance as he can desire), that for every pound he so loses he shall certainly gain an hundred? Why, Christ himself assures you of no less advantage by any thing you lose for him, and can you desire better assurance? or can you expect greater advantage? If you think not this advantage enough, if you desire more, he assures you of more, in the next world everlasting life; an hundred-fold here in this present time, and besides that, everlasting life hereafter, Mark x. 29, 30. Now eternal life in the kingdom of glory is not only an hundred-fold more, but ten thousand times more, ten millions more, unspeakably, unconceivably more, beyond all computation than all you can lose for Christ. And will you think much to lose a pound upon assurance to gain many millions? You shall gain no less by suffering the loss of all for Christ, than if by the loss of a farthing you should gain ten millions; the advantage will be greater, vastly greater, beyond all proportion. Yea, but what assurance is there of this? It is a gainful adventure in deed, beyond all in the world, if it were sufficiently insured. Why, you have the best assurance of it that the whole earth, yea, or heaven itself can give. Christ himself is engaged for it, he who is the mighty God, the faithful and true Witness, who has all power in heaven and earth to make it good; and heaven and earth shall perish, rather than one iota of his word shall fail and not be fulfilled. You shall sooner see the heavens fall, and the whole earth sink, than see the least failure as to the performance of his word. And this being so, certainly if Christ were known, if he were believed, if there were faith concerning this thing, to suffer the loss of all for Christ would be so far from being counted an intolerable loss, that it would be esteemed the richest and most advantageous bargain that we can possibly make for ourselves in this world. It would be so far from being feared and avoided upon unworthy terms, that it would be welcomed and embraced as that which is richly desirable. —David Clarkson, The Excellent Knowledge of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:270–271.

Paul’s “All”

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ —Philippians 3:7–8 What did it mean, in practical terms, for Paul to suffer “the loss of all things”? But what are these all things? The apostle gives us an account of them in this chapter, and elsewhere in his Epistles. By all things we may understand his privileges, his accomplishments, his enjoyments, his righteousness too; much more all and every sin. 1. His privileges. He was born of a noble tribe and family, was one of the blessed seed, the seed of Abraham, had that blessedness sealed to him by circumcision, and so was outwardly in covenant with God, and numbered amongst his people. This he once counted a gainful, an advantageous privilege; but after he had attained the knowledge of Christ, he saw that without Christ this would not at all avail him, ver. 7. 2. His accomplishments. He was a man of great natural parts, and he had raised, improved them by art and learning: he sat at the feet, i.e., was the scholar of Gamaliel, a great rabbi, a master in Israel. He might have advanced his esteem amongst men by excellency of words and wisdom, but he wholly denied himself, and waived these, when there was danger thereby of obscuring the glory of Christ. He was content to lose the reputation of them, 1 Cor. ii. 1, 4: The like mind is in those who have attained not to make ostentation of their gifts. 3. His enjoyments. His credit, ease, plenty, friends, liberty, safety, he was willing to lose all for Christ’s sake; he was content to be accounted as the filth and offscouring of the world, 1 Cor. iv. 13. His ease; in labours more abundant, in journeyings often, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings, 2 Cor. xi. 23, 27. The plenty and advantages of a good estate, ver. 27, hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness, choosed rather to serve Christ in such necessities, than to enjoy a plentiful estate without him. His friends, these became his enemies for Christ’s sake; hence he was in perils by his own countrymen. Instead of favours he received stripes, and that often, ver. 24. His liberty; in prison more frequent, bonds and afflictions, Acts xx. His safety; run the hazard of his life often for Christ, ver. 25, 26. Those that are savingly acquainted with Christ are like-minded; rather lose anything than part with Christ. 4. His righteousness too. His exactness in outward observation of the law, his zeal in the way of his conscience and judgment, all his outward performances, how specious or plausible soever, he was willing to lose, to renounce these, in point of confidence. He knew, after he knew Christ, if he had relied upon these for pardon, acceptance, salvation, it had been to the loss of his soul. So in this consideration he suffered the loss of them; he was willing to renounce, to disclaim them as grounds of his confidence. 5. As for his lusts, all and every of those sins that he was formerly addicted to, he counts it no loss to part with them; they scarce come into this account. It was a thing without question not only with him, but even the false teachers, that he who would not part with every known sin could not gain Christ, could have no interest in him, no advantage by him. Thus you see the effect of this excellent knowledge of Christ in the apostle. Whatever was sinful, he utterly rejected it; those things that were indifferent, he had either actually suffered the loss of them for Christ, or it was the purpose and resolution of his soul so to do, whenever the interest of Christ should require it. And the things necessary, he renounced them as to any confidence in them, for those purposes for which they were not sufficient. They were loss, of no value to him in this respect. —David Clarkson, The Excellent Knowledge of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:267–268.

To Gain Christ

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ —Philippians 3:7–8 What does it mean to “gain Christ”? He that partakes of Christ, the benefits of his purchase, all those spiritual and eternal blessings wherewith those that have interest in him are blessed; he that gets the graces and advantages of his mediatorship, of his offices, righteousness, sufferings, resurrection, &c., so as to have communion with him in all these, and a communication of all that he has procured, and bestows upon all that are his, he has gained Christ. To gain pardon of sin, right to eternal life, reconciliation with God, holiness in its life, power, exercise, increase, perseverance, the exceeding great and precious promises, high and glorious privileges, sweet and honourable relations which the gospel tenders, all things that are good in this life, the presence of Christ in every state, employment, the assistance of Christ in every service, acceptance through Christ of every endeavour, the joys and comforts of the Spirit, the foretastes of heaven, and a full assurance of actual possession; to partake of Christ in these respects is to gain him. This is that for which he, and all that know Christ with him, are ready to lose all. And if the worth and value of Christ, and these invaluable advantages by him, be duly weighed, it will seem no wonder that those who know him think not much to suffer the loss of all to gain him. —David Clarkson, The Excellent Knowledge of Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:266–267.

Lord’s Day 42, 2017
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Like a Shepherd
Let Knowledge Shine
Not Merely to Know
Wrapped Up in Scripture
No Excellence without Diligence
The Most Excellent Knowledge

Lord’s Day 40, 2017
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Come, All Christians, Be Committed
Faith Which Is Saving
Clearly, a Comic Classic
The Unworthy Are Accepted
The Grace of “No”
Prayer Is Its Own Reward

Lord’s Day 41, 2017
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: All the Way My Savior Leads Me
The Excellencies of God in Christ
To Know is to Rest
The Bunny Made Me Do It
The Surpassing Value of Knowing Christ
When Pilgrims Go Home


Who Is Jesus?

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