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Lords Day 44, 2009


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

The Great Discovery

Glorious God,

image

I bless thee that I know thee.
I once lived in the world, but was ignorant

   of its Creator,

was partaker of thy providences, but knew not

   the Provider

was blind while enjoying the sunlight,

was deaf to all things spiritual, with voices

   all around me,

understood many things, but had no knowledge

   of thy ways,

saw the world, but did not see Jesus only.
O happy day, when in thy loves sovereignty

thou didst look down on me, and call me by grace.
Then did the dead heart begin to beat,

the darkened eye glimmer with light,

the dull ear catch thy echo,

and I turned to thee and found thee,

a God ready to hear, willing to save.
Then did I find my heart at enmity to thee,

vexing thy Spirit;
Then did I fall at thy feet and hear thee thunder,

The soul that sinneth, it must die,
But when grace made me to know thee,

and admire a God who hated sin,

thy terrible justice held my will submissive.
My thoughts were then as knives cutting my head.
Then didst thou come to me in silken robes of love,

and I saw thy Son dying that I might live,

and in that death I found my all.
My soul doth sing at the remembrance of

that peace;
The gospel cornet brought a sound unknown

to me before that reached my heartand I lived

never to lose my hold on Christ or his hold on me.
Grant that I may always weep to the praise of

   mercy found,

and tell others as long as I live,

that thou art a sin-pardoning God,

taking the blasphemer and the ungodly,

and washing them from their deepest stain.

The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002).

imageJohn 5:3039

I can do nothing on My own initiative As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Witness of John the Baptist

    31 If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

Witness of the Works of Christ

36 But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplishthe very works that I dotestify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.

Witness of the Father

37 And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. 38 You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

Witness of the Scriptures

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

imageIn these verses we see the proof of our Lord Jesus Christ being the promised Messiah, set forth before the Jews in one view. Four different witnesses are brought forward. Four kinds of evidence are offered. His Father in heaven,His forerunner, John the Baptist,the miraculous works He had done,the Scriptures, which the Jews professed to honour,each and all are named by our Lord, as testifying that He was the Christ, the Son of God. Hard must those hearts have been which could hear such testimony; and yet remain unmoved! But it only proves the truth of the old saying,that unbelief does not arise so much from lack of evidence, as from lack of will to believe.

Let us observe for one thing in this passage, the honour Christ puts on His faithful servants. See how He speaks of John the Baptist.He bore witness of the truth;He was a burning and a shining light. John had probably passed away from his earthly labours when these words were spoken. He had been persecuted, imprisoned, and put to death by Herod,none interfering, none trying to prevent his murder. But this murdered disciple was not forgotten by his Divine Master. If no one else remembered him, Jesus did. He had honoured Christ, and Christ honoured him.

These things ought not to be overlooked. They are written to teach us that Christ cares for all His believing people, and never forgets them. Forgotten and despised by the world, perhaps, they are never forgotten by their Saviour. He knows where they dwell, and what their trials are. A book of remembrance is written for them. Their tears are all in His bottle. (Psalm lvi. 8.) Their names are engraved on the palms of His hands. He notices all they do for Him in this evil world, though they think it not worth notice, and He will confess it one day publicly, before His Father and the holy angels. He that bore witness to John the Baptist never changes. Let believers remember this. In their worst estate they may boldly say with David,I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me. (Psalm xl. 17.)

Let us observe, for another thing, the honour Christ puts upon miracles, as an evidence of His being the Messiah. He says,The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me.

The miracles of the Lord receive far less attention, in the present day, as proofs of His Divine mission, than they ought to do. Too many regard them with a silent incredulity, as things which, not having seen, they cannot be expected to care for. Not a few openly avow that they do not believe in the possibility of such things as miracles, and would like to strike them out of the Bible as weak stories, which, like burdensome lumber, should be cast overboard, to lighten the ship.

But, after all, there is no getting over the fact, that in the days when our Lord was upon earth, His miracles produced an immense effect on the minds of men. They aroused attention to Him who worked them. They excited inquiry, if they did not convert. They were so many, so public, and so incapable of being explained away, that our Lords enemies could only say that they were done by satanic agency. That they were done, they could not deny. This man, they said, doeth many miracles. (John xi. 47.) The facts which wise men pretend to deny now, no one pretended to deny eighteen hundred years ago.

Let the enemies of the Bible take our Lords last and greatest miracleHis own resurrection from the deadand disprove it if they can. When they have done that, it will be time to consider what they say about miracles in general. They have never answered the evidence of it yet, and they never will. Let the friends of the Bible not be moved by objections against miracles, until that one miracle has been fairly disposed of. If that is proved unassailable, they need not care much for quibbling arguments against other miracles. If Christ did really rise from the dead by His own power, there is none of His mighty works which man need hesitate to believe.

Let us observe, lastly, in these verses, the honour that Christ puts upon the Scriptures. He refers to them in concluding His list of evidences, as the great witnesses to Him. Search the Scriptures, He says: these are they which testify of me.

The Scriptures of which our Lord speaks are of course the Old Testament. And His words show the important truth which too many are apt to overlook, that every part of our Bibles is meant to teach us about Christ. Christ is not merely in the Gospels and Epistles. Christ is to be found directly and indirectly in the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets. In the promises to Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David,in the types and emblems of the ceremonial law,in the predictions of Isaiah and the other prophets,Jesus, the Messiah, is everywhere to be found in the Old Testament.

How is it that men see these things so little? The answer is plain. They do not search the Scriptures. They do not dig into that wondrous mine of wisdom and knowledge, and seek to become acquainted with its contents. Simple, regular reading of our Bibles is the grand secret of establishment in the faith. Ignorance of the Scriptures is the root of all error.

And now what will men believe, if they do not believe the Divine mission of Christ? Great indeed is the obstinacy of infidelity. A cloud of witnesses testify that Jesus was the Son of God. To talk of lacking evidence is childish folly. The plain truth is, that the chief seat of unbelief is the heart. Many do not wish to believe, and therefore remain unbelievers.

J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)], 3:300302

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.



Posted 2009·11·01 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day · The Valley of Vision
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