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Perseverance of the Saints

(49 posts)

Why the saint’s strength is laid up in God

Tuesday··2007·02·13 · 1 Comments
At the moment of regeneration, we (Christians) are transformed (1 Corinthians 5:17). But that transformation does not make us autonomously righteous. It does not make us impervious to temptation. It does not take away our dependence on God. rather, it enables us to experience and rest in God’s gracious providence. [Why the saint’s strength is laid up in God.] Reason First. The first reason may be taken from the nature of the saints and their grace. Both are creatures, they and their grace also. Now, “it is in the very nature of the creature to depend on God its Maker,” both for being and operation. Can you conceive an accident to be out of its subject, whiteness out of the wall, or some other subject? It is as impossible that the creature should be, or act without strength from God. This to be, act in and of himself, is so incommunicable a property of the Deity, that he cannot impart it to his creature. God is, and there is none besides him. When God made the world, it is said indeed he ended his work, that is, of creation: he made no new species and kinds of creatures more; but to this day he hath not ended his work of providence: “My Father worketh hitherto,” saith Christ, Jn. v. 17, that is, in preserving and empowering what he hath made with strength to be and act, and therefore he is said to hold our souls in life. Works of art, which man makes, when finished, may stand some time without the workman’s help, as the house, when the carpenter has made it is dead; but God’s works, both of nature and grace, are never off his hand, and therefore as the Father is said to work hitherto for the preservation of the works of nature, so the Son, to whom is committed the work of redemption, he tells us, worketh also. Neither ended he his work when he rose again, any otherwise than his Father did in the work of creation. God made an end of making, so Christ made an end of purchasing mercy, grace, and glory for believers, by once dying; and as God rested at the end of the creation, so he, when he had wrought eternal redemption, and “by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high,” He. i. 3. But he ceaseth not to work by his intercession with God for us, and by his Spirit in us for God, whereby he upholds his saints, their graces, and comforts in life, without which they would run to ruin. Thus we see as grace is a creature, the Christian depends on God for his strength. But further, Reason Second. The Christian’s grace is not only a creature, but a weak creature, conflicting with enemies stronger than itself, and therefore cannot keep the field without an auxiliary strength from heaven. The weakest goes to the wall, if no succour comes in. Grace in this life is but weak, like a king in the cradle, which gives advantage to Satan to carry on his plots more strongly to the disturbance of this young king’s reign in the soul, yea, he would soon make an end of the war in the ruin of the believer’s grace, did not Heaven take the Christian into protection. It is true indeed, grace, whereever it is, hath a principle in itself that makes it desire and endeavour to preserve itself according to its strength, but being overpowered must perish, except assisted by God, as fire in greenwood, which deads and damps the part kindled, will in time go out, except blown up, or more fire put to that little; so will grace in the heart. God brings his grace into the heart by conquest. Now, as in a conquered city, though some yield and become true subjects to the conqueror, yet others plot how they may shake off this yoke; and therefore it requires the same power to keep, as was to win it at first. The Christian hath an unregenerate part, that is discontented at this new change in the heart, and disdains as much to come under the sweet government of Christ’s sceptre, as the Sodomites that Lot should judge them. What, this fellow, a stranger, control us! And Satan heads this mutinous rout against the Christian, so that if God should not continually reinforce this his new planted colony in the heart, the very natives (I mean corruptions) that are left, would come out of their dens and holes where they lie lurking, and eat up the little grace the holiest on earth hath; it would be as bread to these devourers. Reason Third. A third demonstration may be taken from the grand design which God propounds to himself in the saint’s salvation; yea, in the transaction of it from first to last. And that is twofold. 1. God would bring his saints to heaven in such a way as might be most expressive of his dear love and mercy to them. 2. He would so express his mercy and love to them, as might rebound back to him in the highest advance of his own glory possible. Now how becoming this is to both, that saints should have all their ability for every step they take in the way to heaven, will soon appear. 1. Design. God would bring his saints to heaven in such a way as might be most expressive of his dear love and mercy to them. This way of communicating strength to saints, gives a double accent to God’s love and mercy. (1.) It distils a sweetness into all the believer hath or doth, when he finds any comfort in his bosom, any enlargement of heart in duty, any support under temptations, to consider whence came all these, what friend sends them in. They come not from my own cistern, or any creature’s. O it is my God that hath been here, and left his sweet perfume of comfort behind him in my bosom! my God that hath unawares to me filled my sails with the gales of his Spirit, and brought me off the flats of my own deadness, where I lay aground. O, it is his sweet Spirit that held my head, stayed my heart in such an affliction and temptation, or else I had gone away in a fainting fit of unbelief. How can this choose but endear God to a gracious soul? His succours coming so immediately from heaven, which would be lost, if the Christian had any strength to help himself (though this stock of strength came at first from God). Which, think you, speaks more love and condescent: for a prince to give a pension to a favourite, on which he may live by his own care, or for this prince to take the chief care upon himself, and come from day to day to this man’s house, and look into his cupboard and see what provision he hath, what expense he is at, and so constantly to provide for the man from time to time? Possibly some proud spirit that likes to be his own man, or loves his means better than his prince, would prefer the former, but one that is ambitious to have the heart and love of his prince would be ravished with the latter. Thus God doth with his saints. The great God comes and looks into their cupboard, and sees how they are laid in, and sends in accordingly as he finds them. “Your heavenly Father knows you have need of these things,” and you shall have them. He knows you need strength to pray, [to] hear, [to] suffer for him, and, in ipsâ horâ dabitur, “in the very hour it will be given.” (2.) This way of God’s dealing with his saints adds to the fulness and stability of their strength. Were the stock in our own hands, we should soon prove broken merchants. God knows we are but leaking vessels, when fullest we could not hold it long; and therefore to make all sure, he sets us under the streamings forth of his strength, and a leaking vessel under a cock gets what it loseth. Thus we have our leakage supplied continually. This was the provision God made for Israel in the wilderness: He clave the rock, and the rock followed them. They had not only a draught at present, but it ran in a stream after them, so that you hear no more of their complaints for water. This rock was Christ Every believer hath Christ at his back, following him with strength as he goes, for every condition and trial. One flower with the root is worth many in a posie, which though sweet yet do not grow, but wither as we wear them in bosoms. God’s strength as the root keeps lively, without which, though as orient as Adam’s was, it would die. —William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour (Banner of Truth, 2002), 20–23.

The Assurance of Our Perseverance

Monday··2007·07·23 · 2 Comments
Many Christians who are members of Bible-preaching, evangelical churches have been duped somehow into thinking that their perseverance in the faith is dependent on their own natural abilities to endure to the end. They have become practical deists, thinking that after God make us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) he simply left us to our own devices while he just sits back observing us through life’s difficulties, waiting to see if we will make it to the end. In his first wartime address, delivered at Guildhall in London on September 4, 1914, Sir Winston Churchill (1874—1965) said: “Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves.” Considering what Churchill accomplished during his life, he proved this statement to be entirely appropriate. The British Prime Minister’s wartime victories demonstrated time and again his ability to persevere to the end he overcame great odds, and his self-sustained resilience enabled him to endure all the struggles of leadership during the Second World War. And while his assertion is accurate, it is accurate only insofar as it pertains to our natural human abilities. Churchill’s call to persevere in order to save oneself is by all means applicable to soldiers in wartime. It is a stern charge to fight to the end in order to overcome the enemy. Moreover, It conveys a similar exhortation found in the Bible. In Hebrews, we are called to run the race set before us (12:1). The apostle Paul likewise admonishes us to endure so that we might “reign with [Christ]” (2 Timothy 2:12). And while teaching his disciples, Christ himself said: “The one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). In these passages and others, the Bible’s teaching is clear; we must persevere to the end in order to be saved. However, this is only one part of the biblical equation. If our perseverance in the faith is dependent upon us, we will surely fail and will by no means finish the race set before us. Moreover, our assurance of salvation will waver each and every day if we are counting on ourselves and our own natural abilities to persevere to the end (Romans 4:20; Hebrews 10:23). In order to have full assurance, we must be entirely dependent upon Christ and his Word, which he has provided for us as our only infallible rule to faith and life (Westminster Confession of Faith 1.2). In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul writes to the saints and faithful believers in Christ at Colossae: For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:1–3) —Burk Parsons, Assured by God (P&R 2006), 20–21.

“It is a great thing to die”

Tuesday··2007·08·21 · 4 Comments
John Newton died on December 21, 1807, at the age of eighty- two. A month previously he wrote: It is a great thing to die; and, when flesh and a heart fail, to have God for the strength of our hearts, and our portion forever. I know whom I have believed, and he is able to keep that which I have committed against that great day. Hence forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the lord, the righteous judge, shall give me that day. —quoted in John Piper, The Roots of Endurance (Crossway, 2002), 52. I don’t intend to have a marked grave, but if I did, this would be an excellent epitaph.

“Fall in step with the Spirit”

Thursday··2007·10·18
How is it that some tell us the saints did not possess the Spirit in the Old Testament era? Is true that they did not possess the fullness of the revelation objectively given, nor did they have the fullness of the Spirit’s inward operations upon the least in the kingdom of God, as would be given in the New Covenant. Yet, as we observe David’s zeal for the glory of the living God, his sterling faith in the Almighty, and his wisdom beyond human years, who would not stand amazed at the heights to which the Holy Spirit carried him? And, as we read and ponder the Psalms, which of us does not yearn to draw near to David’s inward levels of spiritual exercise? The same Holy Spirit who was operative at the creation is operative in the work of new creation before Christ came. Exploits of the saints before our Lord’s coming can be explained in no other way than this, “The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon” them. Let us not make a folk-hero or a super-human figure out of David. He is another of the saints of Hebrews 11. The Spirit of the Lord was with them all. As David left Saul’s tent [to face Goliath], the youth, soon to be the new hero of Israel, had his eye confidently fixed upon his God. The once-popular leader of God’s people had lost God’s Spirit, God’s favor, God’s prophet, and God’s word for his guidance. With these losses came the loss of courage, joy, peace, and a sound mind. It is a stunning contrast. Rather, let us crave in our lives the presence of the Holy Spirit, producing the same qualities to be found in David. Let us ask the Father for the Holy Spirit daily. Let us beware of quenching, grieving, and sinning against the Holy Spirit. Saul stands as a monument of warning. Jesus once said with eloquent brevity, “Remember Lot’s wife.” it would be well to say, “Remember Saul.” The Spirit of the Lord departed from him. That too is a reality. Others since his day have shared his experience. Sensitively welcome the Spirit as the holy Guest he is. Fall in step with the Spirit. —Walter J. Chantry, David: Man of Prayer, Man of War (Banner of Truth, 2007), 31–32.

Calvin on Suffering Affliction

Monday··2007·11·05
What if we were to cling to the idea—so firmly planted in our heads that we seem to have been born with it—that if we suffer affliction in the world we can never really be blessed? If that were the case, which of us would not run a mile from the Lord Jesus Christ or willingly consent to be his disciple, even supposing we accepted his teaching and hailed him as God’s Son who calls us to himself? In that case we might well say, ‘Yes, but surely he knows our weakness and frailty? Why should he not put up with us as we are?’ Each one of us would take our shoulder from the wheel if we truly held the idea—deeply rooted, as I said—that blessedness is only for those who are comfortable and at ease. That is why our Lord preached as he does here to his disciples, demonstrating that our happiness and blessedness do not come from the world’s applause, or from the enjoyment of wealth, honors, gratification and pleasure. On the contrary, we may be utterly oppressed, in tears and weeping, persecuted and to all appearances ruined: none of that affects our standing or diminishes our happiness. Why? Because we have in view the ultimate outcome. That is what Christ would have us remember, so as to correct the false ideas we feed upon and which so muddle our thinking that we cannot accept his yoke. He reminds us that we must look further ahead and consider the outcome of our afflictions, our tears in the persecutions we suffer and the insults we bear. When once we see how God turns all of that to good and to our salvation, we may conclude that blessing will assuredly be ours, however contrary such things to our nature. —John Calvin, Sermons on the Beatitudes (Banner of Truth, 2006), 20.

Blessed Assurance

Monday··2007·12·10 · 5 Comments
Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. —Fanny Crosby I was sampling some music by a country musician I won’t name here, and came across a couple of religious albums he has produced. I’m always a bit cynical of these things, as I see celebrities sing hymns one minute and songs about adultery and drunkenness the next. But that’s a tangent for another day. As I was listening, I heard the song Blessed Assurance. It’s not a great song, but it’s not horrible, either. The first verse, quoted above, is probably the best part of the song. It almost captures the essence of our salvation in beautiful language. Purchased of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood, we are heirs of salvation, and our blessed assurance of that salvation certainly is a foretaste of the divine glory of Heaven. (The remaining verses are pretty squishy.) Yet I say it “almost captures the essence of our salvation” because, while Jesus is mine, that is not the fact upon which my assurance rests. My assurance of salvation is in the knowledge that I am his. There is nothing I have that I cannot lose, and that would include my salvation if it depended on me. But Jesus loses no one, and nothing can be taken from him. I was given to him by the Father, and I am assured that I will be kept and raised up on the last day. My salvation is guaranteed, not because he is mine, but because I am his. Blessed assurance, I belong to Christ!

Lord’s Day 22, 2008

Sunday··2008·06·01
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1 Geneva Bible) Be Still Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Be still, my soul; Jehovah loveth thee; Fret not nor murmur at thy weary lot; Though dark and lone thy journey seems to be, Be sure that thou art ne’er by Him forgot. He ever loves; then trust him, trust Him still; Let all thy care be this, in doing his will. Thy hand in His, like fondest, happiest child, Place thou, nor draw it for a moment thence; Walk thou with Him, a Father reconciled Till in His own good time He call thee hence. Walk with Him now; so shall thy way be bright, And all thy soul be filled with His most glorious light. Fight the good fight of faith, nor turn aside Though fear of peril from or earth or hell; Take to thee now the armour proved and tried, Take to thee the spear and sword; oh, wield them well; So shall thou conquer here, so win the day, So wear the crown when this hard live has passed away. Take courage! Faint not, though the foe be strong; Christ is thy strength; He fighteth on thy side. Swift be thy race; remember, ’tis not long, The goal is near; the prize He will provide. And then from earthly toil thou restest ever; Thy home on the fair banks of life’s eternal river! He comes with His reward; ’tis just at hand; He comes in glory to His promised throne. My soul, rejoice; ere long thy feet shall stand Within the city of the Blessed One. Thy perils past, thy heritage secure, Thy tears all wiped away, thy joy for ever sure! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Psalme 67 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth on Neginoth. A Psalme or song. 1 God be mercifull vnto vs, and blesse vs, and cause his face to shine among vs. Selah. 2 That they may know thy way vpon earth, and thy sauing health among all nations. 3 Let the people prayse thee, O God: let all the people prayse thee. 4 Let the people be glad and reioyce: for thou shalt iudge the people righteously, and gouerne the nations vpon the earth. Selah. 5 Let the people prayse thee, O God: let all the people prayse thee. 6 Then shall the earth bring foorth her increase, and God, euen our God shall blesse vs. 7 God shall blesse vs, and all the endes of the earth shall feare him. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

An Everlasting Love

Wednesday··2008·06·18
The wonder of adoption is that those who had no love for God were chosen to be the objects of his love, not just for a while, but forever. [H]ow astonishing it is that, unlike people’s heirs who don’t share their estates with their friends, we as God’s adopted children share the same privileges that belong to God’s only-begotten Son! The puritans reveled in what Christ prays in John 17:23: “[Thou] hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” This is the essence of God’s fatherhood. It shows us how far God is willing to go to reconcile us to himself. How great is the love the father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God (1 John 3:1)—we who deserve His judgment, dethroned Him from our lives, spurned His love, and defied His laws. We never deserved God’s love, yet He graciously lavished His love on us. Here, surely, is the great assurance of the child of God, that God the father loved him when he was bound for hell. God loved the sinner who had no thought of God in his heart, and He adopted him. How wonderful is the assurance of the Father’s words: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). —Joel R. Beeke, Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption (Reformation Heritage, 2008), 44.

Lord’s Day 31, 2008

Sunday··2008·08·03
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Hymn X. My name is Jacob. Gen. xxxii. 27. John Newton (1725–1806) Nay, I cannot let Thee go, Till a blessing thou bestow; Do not turn away thy face, Mine’s an urgent pressing case. Dost thou ask me, who I am? Ah, my Lord, thou know’st my name! Yet the question gives a plea, To support my suit with thee. Thou didst once a wretch behold, In rebellion blindly bold; Scorn thy grace, thy pow’r defy, That poor rebel, Lord, was I. Once a sinner near despair, Sought thy mercy-seat by prayer; Mercy heard and set him free, Lord, that mercy came to me. Many years have pass’d since then, Many changes I have seen; Yet have been upheld till now, Who could hold me up but thou? Thou hast help’d in every need, This emboldens me to plead; After so much mercy past, Canst thou let me sink at last? No—I must maintain my hold, ’Tis thy goodness makes me bold; I can no denial take, When I plead for Jesu’s sake. —Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 130 (Geneva Bible) A song of degrees. 1 Out of the deepe places haue I called vnto thee, O Lord. 2 Lord, heare my voyce: let thine eares attend to the voyce of my prayers. 3 If thou, O Lord, straightly markest iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? 4 But mercie is with thee, that thou mayest be feared. 5 I haue waited on the Lord: my soule hath waited, and I haue trusted in his worde. 6 My soule waiteth on the Lord more then the morning watch watcheth for the morning. 7 Let Israel waite on the Lord: for with the Lord is mercie, and with him is great redemption. 8 And he shall redeeme Israel from all his iniquities. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hymns of My Youth: Dearest Jesus, Draw Thou Near Me

Saturday··2010·10·30
Another hymn from the “Opening and Morning” section: 39 Dearest Jesus, Draw Thou Near Me Dearest Jesus, draw Thou near me, Let Thy Spirit dwell with mine; Open now my ear to hear Thee, Take my heart and seal it Thine; Keep me, lead me on my way, Thee to follow and obey, E’er to do Thy will and fear Thee, And rejoice to know and hear Thee. Underneath Thy wings abiding, In Thy Church, O Savior dear, Let me dwell, in Thee confiding, Hold me in Thy faith and fear; Take away from me each thought That with wickedness is fraught, Tempting me to disobey Thee, Root it out, O Lord, I pray Thee. Thou, earth’s greatest joy and gladness, And salvation, full and free, Let Thy presence cheer my sadness, And prepare my soul for Thee! In the hour when I depart, Touch my spirit, lips and heart, With Thy Word assure, uphold me Till the heav’nly gates enfold me. —The Concordia Hymnal (Augsburg Publishing House, 1960). I’m afraid the best I can do for an accompaniment is the Cyberhymnal MIDI. You might recognize the tune, Werde Munter by Johann Schop, as the basis for Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Hymns of My Youth: The Lord’s My Shepherd

Saturday··2011·04·02 · 1 Comments
Psalm 23    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.    He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. As far as I can recall, I’ve never sung this rendition of Psalm 23, but I should have, it’s in the book, and the tune is familiar, so I’m including it here. 207 The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want; He makes me down to lie In pastures green, He leadeth me The quiet waters by. My soul He doth restore again; And me to walk doth make Within the paths of righteousness, E’en for His own Name’s sake. Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale, Yet will I fear no ill; For Thou art with me, and Thy rod And staff me comfort still. A table Thou prepares me In presence of my foes; My head Thou dost anoint with oil, And my cup o’erflows. Thy lovingkindness all my days Shall surely follow me; And in God’s house forevermore My dwelling place shall be. —The Concordia Hymnal (Augsburg Publishing House, 1960). The Concordia tune is Dundee, also used with My God! How Wonderful Thou Art and According to Thy Gracious Word. And the tune you may find more familiar, Crimond:

Hymns of My Youth II: Praise the Savior

Saturday··2011·11·26
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. —Romans 8:28–30 Praise the Savior Praise the Savior, ye who know Him! Who can tell how much we owe Him? Gladly let us render to Him All we are and have. Jesus is the Name that charms us, He for conflict fits and arms us; Nothing moves and nothing harms us While we trust in Him. Trust in Him, ye saints, forever— He is faithful, changing never; Neither force nor guile can sever Those He loves from Him. Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving To Thyself, and still believing, Till the hour of our receiving Promised joys with Thee. Then we shall be where we would be, Then we shall be what we should be, Things that are not now, nor could be, Soon shall be our own. —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).

Hymns of My Youth II: I Know Whom I Have Believed

Saturday··2012·06·30
For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. —2 Timothy 1:12 I Know Whom I Have Believed I know not why God’s wondrous grace To me He hath made known, Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love Redeemed me for His own. Refrain: But I know Whom I have believed, And am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day. I know not how this saving faith To me He did impart, Nor how believing in His Word Wrought peace within my heart. Refrain I know not how the Spirit moves, Convincing men of sin, Revealing Jesus through the Word, Creating faith in Him. Refrain I know not what of good or ill May be reserved for me, Of weary ways or golden days, Before His face I see. Refrain I know not when my Lord may come, At night or noonday fair, Nor if I walk the vale with Him, Or meet Him in the air. Refrain —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).

Hymns of My Youth II: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Saturday··2012·09·29 · 2 Comments
The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. —Exodus 13:21–22 Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but Thou art mighty— Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand: Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more, Feed me till I want no more. Open now the crystal fountain Whence the healing stream doth flow; Let the fire and cloudy pillar Lead me all my journey thru: Strong Deliv’rer, strong Deliv’rer, Be Thou still my Strength and Shield, Be Thou still my Strength and Shield. When I tread the verge of Jordan, Bid my anxious fears subside; Bear me thru the swelling current, Land me safe on Canaan’s side: Songs of praises, songs of praises, I will ever give to Thee, I will ever give to Thee. —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).

Hymns of My Youth II: The Lord’s My Shepherd

Saturday··2012·10·06
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. —Psalm 23 This paraphrase is originally from The Scottish Psalter (1650). The Lord’s My Shepherd The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want. He makes me down to lie In pastures green; He leadeth me The quiet waters by. My soul He doth restore again; And me to walk doth make Within the paths of righteousness, Even for His own Name’s sake. Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale, Yet will I fear no ill; For Thou art with me; and Thy rod And staff my comfort still. My table Thou hast furnishèd In presence of my foes; My head Thou dost with oil anoint, And my cup overflows. Goodness and mercy all my life Shall surely follow me; And in God’s house forevermore My dwelling place shall be. —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).

Hymns of My Youth II: Day by Day

Saturday··2012·10·20
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:9–10 Day by Day Day by day, and with each passing moment, Strength I find, to meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure Gives unto each day what He deems best— Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest. Ev’ry day, the Lord Himself is near me With a special mercy for each hour; All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me, He Whose Name is Counselor and Pow’r; The protection of His child and treasure Is a charge that on Himself He laid; “As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,” This the pledge to me He made. Help me then in ev’ry tribulation So to trust Thy promises, O Lord, That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation Offered me within Thy holy word. Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, E’er to take, as from a father’s hand, One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, Till I reach the promised land. —Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968). Original: Blott En Dag (Swedish)

Hymns of My Youth III: Our Great Savior

Saturday··2013·06·22
for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” —Hebrews 13:5 154 Our Great Savior Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole. Refrain: Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah! what a Friend! Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end. Jesus! what a Strength in weakness! Let me hide myself in Him; Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing, He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins. Refrain Jesus! what a Help in sorrow! While the billows o’er me roll, Even when my heart is breaking, He, my Comfort, helps my soul. Refrain Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper! While the tempest still is high, Storms about me, night o’ertakes me, He, my pilot, hears my cry. Refrain Jesus! I do now receive Him, More than all in Him I find, He hath granted me forgiveness, I am His, and He is mine. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

Hymns of My Youth III: I’ve Found a Friend

Saturday··2013·10·26
We love, because He first loved us. —John 4:19 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 8:38–39 370 I’ve Found a Friend I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love, and thus He bound me to Him; And round my heart still closely twine those ties which naught can sever, For I am His, and He is mine, forever and forever. I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He bled, He died to save me; And not alone the gift of life, but His own Self He gave me! Naught that I have mine own I call, I’ll hold it for the Giver, My heart, my strength, my life, my all are His, and His forever. I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! All pow’r to Him is given, To guard me on my onward course, and bring me safe to heaven. Th’eternal glories gleam afar, to nerve my faint endeavor; So now to watch, to work, to war, and then to rest forever. I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! So kind and true and tender, So wise a Counselor and Guide, so mighty a Defender! From Him who loves me now so well what power my soul can sever? Shall life or death, shall earth or hell? No! I am His forever. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967). I couldn’t find a decent video with the same melody as in my hymnal, so this will have to do. It may not be the most professional of productions, but I got a kick out of this young lady (seriously, “I’ll be right back”?), and when she plugged Banner of Truth and corrected the hymn—“I think he found me”—I was hooked.

Perseverance & Assurance: Standing on the Promises

Tuesday··2013·12·03
All Christians (so-called “free grace” advocates excepted) believe that perseverance in the faith is necessary for final salvation. Not all, however, believe that perseverance is sure. Consequently, a great many believers never experience real assurance of salvation. Can a genuinely saved person, a man or woman who has truly come to faith in Jesus, lose that salvation by failing to persevere? The Arminian answers, “Yes,” whereas the Calvinist answers, “No.” Both agree that those once saved must continue to be saved through an enduring faith. But while the Arminian states that perseverance is possible but not certain, the Calvinist asserts that for a true Christian perseverance is sure. . . . The great difference is that the Reformed doctrine of perseverance calls for the Christian to look not to himself for assurance of salvation but to God and His promises in Christ. While a laxity concerning sin is to be loathed, the presence of sin in our hearts is only to be expected. Even Paul confessed, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Phil. 3:12). So we look not to ourselves for perseverance, but to the faithful God’s sovereign, preserving grace. That this is the biblical doctrine of perseverance may be seen in many passages, but perhaps most clearly in Paul’s teaching in Philippians 1:6. While Arminians and Calvinists agree that a saint must persevere in salvation, who is the principal agent of my perseverance? Is perseverance something that occurs by my activity, though with the help of God? Or do Christians persevere by God’s activity, though certainly with the full involvement of the believer? Paul answers, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” —Richard D. Phillips, What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? (Reformation Trust, 2008), 88, 90.

By His Preserving Grace

Wednesday··2013·12·04
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. —Philippians 1:6 It’s interesting, and rather befuddling, that most people recognize the virtue of finishing what they start, and yet doubt that God can be counted on to do that much—even though he has explicitely promesed that he will. Paul says that God, having begun His work in our lives, “will bring it” to completion. This indicates that God not only guarantees the completion of our salvation, but is actively involved in the believer’s life to bring this to pass. God works in our lives in the way a craftsman works to finish a product he has created. He smooths out the lines, sands the rough places, and puts its pieces together in proper proportion. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes: God does not merely initiate the work and then leave it, he continues with it; he leads us on, directing and manipulating our circumstances, restraining us at one time and urging us on at another. Paul’s whole conception of the Church is that it is a place where God is working in the hearts of men and women. God’s work is manifested in His will playing out in our lives. This is what Paul says a bit later in Philippians: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12–13). Being a Christian is not easy. Persevering in faith requires warfare with sin, labor in prayer, plowing in God’s Word, and performing His will in the world. We are God’s workmanship, Paul says, and this means we are called to “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). God will see to it that His work for each of us is carried to completion. By His preserving grace, He will carry us to our destination in heaven. We are called to work this out, but, Paul insists, God is all the while working it in us (Phil. 2:13). —Richard D. Phillips, What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? (Reformation Trust, 2008), 92–93.

In Failure or Success

Thursday··2013·12·05
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. —Philippians 1:6 In our inevitable failure, God has a purpose. In our success, he gets the credit. In both, he is faithful. An awareness of God’s present grace—His grace for the journey as well as for its beginning and end—should elevate our hopes for daily joy. This is what’s so great about the perseverance of the saints: the certainty believers have at all times that God is graciously working for our salvation. Perhaps, for instance, a grace-centered believer falls into a sin. Instead of being undone by inward doubts and questions regarding his or her salvation, the believer should ask how God is using this failure for his or her sanctification. I might ask, is God revealing my overconfidence in the flesh and my need to rely more closely on His Word? Is God preparing me for a future challenge, so that I will not fail then? Is God humbling me or showing me a particular vulnerability? The answer is probably somewhere along these lines. But what a liberating difference it makes to view life in terms of God’s certain success instead of in terms of our inevitable failure! The doctrine of God’s preserving grace may be even more important in the event of our success and spiritual achievement. Instead of glorying in ourselves, to which we all are prone—“Look what I have done!”—we glory in God’s faithfulness and might. We celebrate what God is doing in us and draw nearer to Him instead of puffing up with self-reliance that can only draw us away from the spring of God’s flowing grace. In either case—failure or success—possessing a firm confidence in God’s preserving grace makes all the difference now. Are you a believer in Christ? Then realize that this is a work of grace begun in you by God. What He has begun, He is certain to bring to completion and perfection! —Richard D. Phillips, What’s So Great about the Doctrines of Grace? (Reformation Trust, 2008), 95–96.

Hymns of My Youth III: All the Way My Savior Leads Me

Saturday··2013·12·14
They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes. —Revelation 7:16–17 472 All the Way My Savior Leads Me All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who thro’ life has been my Guide? Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well; For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well. All the way my Savior leads me, Cheers each winding path I tread, Gives me grace for ev’ry trial, Feeds me with the living bread. Though my weary steps may falter, And my soul athirst may be, Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! A spring of joy I see; Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! A spring of joy I see. All the way my Savior leads me O the fullness of His love! Perfect rest to me is promised In my Father’s house above. When my spirit, clothed immortal, Wings its flight to realms of day, This my song thro’ endless ages: Jesus led me all the way; This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

Hymns of My Youth III: God Leads Us Along

Saturday··2013·12·21
As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God. —Ezekiel 34:12–15 473 God Leads Us Along In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet, God leads His dear children along; Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet, God leads His dear children along. Refrain: Some thro’ the waters, some thro’ the flood, Some thro’ the fire, but all thro’ the blood; Some thro’ great sorrow, but God gives a song, In the night season and all the day long. Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright, God leads His dear children along; Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night, God leads His dear children along. Refrain Tho’ sorrows befall us and evils oppose, God leads His dear children along; Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes, God leads His dear children along. Refrain Away from the mire, and away from the clay, God leads His dear children along; Away up in glory, eternity’s day, God leads His dear children along. Refrain —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Children of the Heavenly Father

Saturday··2014·05·24
Children of the Heavenly Father See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us . . . children of God 1 John 3:1Children of the heav’nly Father Safely in His bosom gather; Nestling bird nor star in Heaven Such a refuge e’er was given. God His own doth tend and nourish; In His holy courts they flourish; From all evil things He spares them; In His mighty arms He bears them. Neither life nor death shall ever From the Lord His children sever; Unto them His grace He showeth, And their sorrows all He knoweth. Praise the Lord in joyful numbers, Your Protector never slumbers. At the will of your Defender Ev’ry foeman must surrender. Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne’er forsaketh; His the loving purpose solely To preserve them pure and holy. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: God Leads Us Along

Saturday··2014·05·31
God Leads Us Along When you pass through the waters, I will be with you Isaiah 43:2In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet, God leads His dear children along; Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet, God leads His dear children along. Refrain: Some thro’ the waters, some thro’ the flood, Some thro’ the fire, but all thro’ the blood; Some thro’ great sorrow, but God gives a song, In the night season and all the day long. Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright, God leads His dear children along; Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night, God leads His dear children along. Refrain Tho’ sorrows befall us and evils oppose, God leads His dear children along; Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes, God leads His dear children along. Refrain Away from the mire, and away from the clay, God leads His dear children along; Away up in glory, eternity’s day, God leads His dear children along. Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: The Lord’s My Shepherd

Saturday··2014·06·07
The Lord’s My Shepherd He guides me in the paths of righteousness Psalm 23:3The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want; He makes me down to lie In pastures green; He leadeth me The quiet waters by. My soul He doth restore again; And me to walk doth make Within the paths of righteousness, E’en for His own Name’s sake. Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale, Yet will I fear no ill; For Thou art with me, and Thy rod And staff my comfort still. My table Thou hast furnishèd In presence of my foes; My head Thou dost with oil anoint, And my cup overflows. Goodness and mercy all my life Shall surely follow me; And in God’s house forevermore My dwelling place shall be. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Saturday··2014·06·14
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah The Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire Isaiah 58:11Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but Thou art mighty; Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand; Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more, Feed me till I want no more. Open now the crystal fountain Whence the healing stream doth flow; Let the fire and cloudy pillar Lead me all my journey through; Strong Deliv’rer, strong Deliv’rer, Be Thou still my strength and shield, Be Thou still my strength and shield. When I tread the verge of Jordan, Bid my anxious fears subside; Bear me thro’ the swelling current, Land me safe on Canaan’s side; Songs of praises, songs of praises, I will ever give to Thee, I will ever give to Thee. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

The Spirit’s Work in Salvation

Wednesday··2014·06·18
John MacArthur writes, “If we are to honor our divine Guest, treating Him with the reverence and respect that is His royal due, we must rightly discern His true ministry—aligning our hearts, minds, and wills with His wondrous work.” Toward that end, he lists “six aspects of the Spirit’s work in salvation.” The Holy Spirit Convicts Unbelievers of Sin As the general, external call of the gospel goes forth, through the preaching of the message of salvation, unbelievers in the world are confronted with the reality of their sin and the consequences of their unbelief . For those who reject the gospel, the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction might be likened to that of a prosecuting attorney. He convicts them in the sense that they are rendered guilty before God and are, therefore, eternally condemned (John 3:18). The Spirit’s convicting work is not about making unrepentant sinners feel bad, but about delivering a legal verdict against them. It includes a full indictment of their hardhearted crimes, complete with irrefutable evidence and a death sentence. Yet for those whom the Spirit draws to the Savior, His convicting work is one of convincing, as He pricks their consciences and cuts them to the quick. Thus, for the elect, this work of conviction is the beginning of God’s saving, effectual call. —John MacArthur, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship (Thomas Nelson, 2014), 184. The Holy Spirit Regenerates Sinful Hearts Regeneration is a transformation of a person’s nature, as the believer is given new life, cleansed, and permanently set apart from sin (cf. 2 Thess. 2:13). Those who formerly operated in the flesh now operate in the Spirit (Rom. 8:5–11). Though they were dead, they have been made alive, indwelt by the very Spirit who raised Christ Jesus from the dead (v. 10; cf. 6:11). The Spirit of life has come upon them, empowering them to resist temptation and live in righteousness. This is what it means to be “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). —Ibid., 188. The Holy Spirit Brings Sinners to Repentance A vivid illustration of this is found in Acts 11:15–18, where Peter reported the conversion of Cornelius to the other apostles in Jerusalem: ”As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” As Peter and the others realized, the undeniable proof Cornelius and his household had truly repented was that they had received the Holy Spirit. They had been convicted of their sin; their hearts were regenerated; their eyes were opened to the truth of Peter’s preaching; and they were given the gift of repentant faith (cf. Eph. 2:8; 2 Tim. 2:25)—all of which was the Holy Spirit’s work. —Ibid., 188–189. The Holy Spirit Enables Fellowship with God The Spirit produces an attitude of profound love for God in the hearts of those who have been born again. They feel drawn to God, not fearful of Him. They long to commune with Him—to meditate on His Word and to fellowship with Him in prayer. They cast their cares freely on Him, and openly confess their sins without trepidation, knowing that all has been covered by His grace through the sacrifice of Christ. Thus, the Spirit makes it possible for believers to enjoy fellowship with God, no longer fearful of His judgment or wrath (1 John 4:18). As a result, Christians can sing hymns about God’s holiness and glory without cowering in terror—knowing they have been securely adopted into the family of their heavenly Father. —Ibid., 190. The Holy Spirit Indwells the Believer It is important to emphasize that there is no such thing as a genuine believer who does not possess the Holy Spirit. It is a terrible error—one tragically promoted by many within Pentecostalism—to assert that a person could somehow be saved and yet not receive the Holy Spirit. Apart from the Spirit’s work, no one could be anything other than a wretched sinner. To reiterate Paul’s statement from Romans 8:9, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” Put simply, those who do not possess the Holy Spirit do not belong to Christ. Genuine believers—people in whom the Holy Spirit has taken up residence—think, talk, and act differently. They are no longer characterized by a love for the world; instead, they love the things of God. That transformation is evidence of the Spirit’s power at work in the lives of those whom He indwells. —Ibid., 192. The Holy Spirit Seals Salvation Forever The Holy Spirit Himself personally guarantees that fact. As Paul told the Ephesians, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13–14). Believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. He secures them unto eternal glory. —Ibid., 193.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Day by Day

Saturday··2014·06·28
Day by Day My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9Day by day, and with each passing moment, Strength I find, to meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure Gives unto each day what He deems best— Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest. Ev’ry day, the Lord Himself is near me With a special mercy for each hour; All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me, He Whose Name is Counselor and Pow’r; The protection of His child and treasure Is a charge that on Himself He laid; “As your days, your strength shall be in measure,” This the pledge to me He made. Help me then in ev’ry tribulation So to trust Your promises, O Lord, That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation Offered me within Your holy word. Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, E’er to take, as from a father’s hand, One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, Till I reach the promised land. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

Lord’s Day 29, 2014

Sunday··2014·07·20
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” 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 LIX. Communion with the saints in glory. John Newton (1725–1806) Refreshed by the bread and wine, The pledges of our Saviour’s love; Now let our hearts and voices join In songs of praise with those above. Do they sing, “Worthy is the Lamb?” Altho’ we cannot reach their strains, Yet we, thro’ grace, can sing the same, For us he dy’d, for us he reigns. If they behold him face to face, While we a glimpse can only see; Yet equal debtors to his grace, As safe and as belov’d are we. They had, like us a suff’ring time, Our cares and fears, and griefs they knew; But they have conquer’d all thro’ him, And we, ere long, shall conquer too. Tho’ all the songs of saints in light, Are far beneath his matchless worth; His grace is such, he will not slight The poor attempts of worms on earth. —Olney Hymns. Book II: On Occasional Subjects. 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. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Praise the Savior

Saturday··2014·08·02
Praise the Savior We who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:12Praise the Savior, ye who know Him! Who can tell how much we owe Him? Gladly let us render to Him All we are and have. Jesus is the Name that charms us, He for conflict fits and arms us; Nothing moves and nothing harms us While we trust in Him. Trust in Him, ye saints, forever— He is faithful, changing never; Neither force nor guile can sever Those He loves from Him. Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving To Thyself, and still believing, Till the hour of our receiving Promised joys with Thee. Then we shall be where we would be, Then we shall be what we should be; Things that are not now, nor could be, Soon shall be our own. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: What a Wonderful Savior!

Saturday··2014·08·16
What a Wonderful Savior! We have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world. John 4:42 Christ has for sin atonement made— What a wonderful Savior! We are redeemed, the price is paid— What a wonderful Savior! Refrain What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus! What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord! I praise Him for the cleansing blood— What a wonderful Savior! That reconciled my soul to God— What a wonderful Savior! Refrain: He cleansed my heart from all its sin— What a wonderful Savior! And now He reigns and rules therein— What a wonderful Savior! Refrain: He gives me overcoming pow’r— What a wonderful Savior! And triumph in each trying hour— What a wonderful Savior! Refrain: —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music). It’s difficult to find good audio/video for some of these hymns and gospel songs. I almost gave up on this one. This is the best I could do.

Lord’s Day 36, 2014

Sunday··2014·09·07
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! May He send you help from the sanctuary And support you from Zion! May He remember all your meal offerings And find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah. May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your counsel! We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright. Save, O Lord; May the King answer us in the day we call. —Psalm 20 Paraphrases on Select Parts of Holy Writ Para. IV. The xxth Psalm. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Belov’d of God, may Jesus hear The ardent breathings of thy pray’r, And cancel thy transgressions; Be with thee in affliction’s day, Redeem thee from thy fears, and say Amen to thy petitions! Thy ev’ry need he will supply; His saints shall surely find him nigh, The God whom they rely on; He will not turn away his face, But save thee from his holy place, And send thee help from Sion. Thy feeblest pray’r shall reach his throne, Thy ev’ry pang is noted down, And thou shall be forgiv’n; He loves thee, troubled as thou art; And all the pantings of thy heart Are treasured up in heav’n. God is our triumph in distress; His children’s privilege it is To smile at tribulation: Jesus, to thee we lift our voice, By grace enabled to rejoice, In hope of thy salvation. Ready to hear, O Lord, thou art, Mighty to take thy people’s part, And help them in affliction: Creation kneels to thy command, The saving strength of thy right hand, Shall be our sure protection. In chariots some repose their trust, Of horses others make their boast, But we in God are stronger: Who on the arm of flesh rely, Trembling before our face shall fly When we shall more than conquer. Still may the palm to us be giv’n, Thy saints, O mighty King of heav’n. Continue to deliver: Support us with thy strength’ning grace, ’Till we, in yon celestial place, Sit down with thee for ever. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 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. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Our Great Savior

Saturday··2014·09·13
Our Great Savior our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us Titus 2:13–14 Jesus! what a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole. Refrain: Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah! what a Friend! Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end. Jesus! what a Strength in weakness! Let me hide myself in Him; Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing, He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins. Refrain Jesus! what a Help in sorrow! While the billows o’er me roll, Even when my heart is breaking, He, my Comfort, helps my soul. Refrain Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper! While the tempest still is high, Storms about me, night o’ertakes me, He, my pilot, hears my cry. Refrain Jesus! I do now receive Him, More than all in Him I find, He hath granted me forgiveness, I am His, and He is mine. Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

By the Grace of God Alone

Monday··2014·09·29
I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen . . .—John 13:18 I know whom I have chosen. This very circumstance—that [the apostles] will persevere—[Jesus] ascribes to their election; for the virtue of men, being frail, would tremble at every breeze, and would be laid down by the feeblest stroke, if the Lord did not uphold it by his hand. But as he governs those whom he has elected, all the engines which Satan can employ will not prevent them from persevering to the end with unshaken firmness. And not only does he ascribe to election their perseverance, but likewise the commencement of their piety. Whence does it arise that one man, rather than another, devotes himself to the word of God? It is, because he was elected. Again, whence does it arise that this man makes progress, and continues to lead a good and holy life, but because the purpose of God is unchangeable, to complete the work which was begun by his hand? In short, this is the source of the distinction between the children of God and unbelievers, that the former are drawn to salvation by the Spirit of adoption, while the latter are hurried to destruction by their flesh, which is under no restraint. Otherwise Christ might have said, “know what kind of person each of you will be;” but that they may not claim anything for themselves, but, on the contrary, may acknowledge that, by the grace of God alone, and not by their own virtue, they differ from Judas, he places before them that election by free grace on which they are founded. Let us, therefore, learn that every part of our salvation depends on election. —John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XVIII (Baker Books, 2009), Commentary on the Gospel according to John, 2:63–64.

Continuing Grace

Monday··2014·11·03
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. —John 15:2 The work of salvation does not end with regeneration, justification, and adoption. Without the continuing work of God in our lives, we surely would die. And every branch that beareth, fruit he pruneth. By these words, he shows that believers need incessant culture that they may be prevented from degenerating; and that they produce nothing good, unless God continually apply his hand; for it will not be enough to have been once made partakers of adoption, if God do not continue the work of his grace in us. He speaks of pruning or cleansing, because our flesh abounds in superfluities and destructive vices, and is too fertile in producing them, and because they grow and multiply without end, if we are not cleansed or pruned by the hand of God. —John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XVIII (Baker Books, 2009), Commentary on the Gospel according to John, 2:108.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: As with Gladness Men of Old

Saturday··2014·12·27
As with Gladness Men of Old When they saw the star, they rejoiced . . . and worshiped Him. Matthew 2:10–11 As with gladness, men of old Did the guiding star behold, As with joy they hailed its light, Leading onward, beaming bright, So, most gracious Lord, may we Evermore be led to Thee. As with joyful steps they sped To that lowly manger bed, There to bend the knee before Him Whom Heaven and earth adore, So may we with willing feet Ever seek the mercy seat. As they offered gifts most rare At that manger rude and bare, So may we with holy joy, Pure and free from sin’s alloy, All our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to Thee, our heav’nly King. Holy Jesus, every day Keep us in the narrow way; And when earthly things are past, Bring our ransomed souls at last Where they need no star to guide, Where no clouds Thy glory hide. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: O Sacred Head

Saturday··2016·01·30
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; Mark 15:17 O sacred Head, now wounded, With grief and shame weighed down, Now scornfully surrounded With thorns, Thine only crown, How Pale Thou art with anguish, With sore abuse and scorn, How doth Thy visage languish Which once was bright as morn! What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, Was all for sinners’ gain; Mine, mine was the transgression, But Thine the deadly pain. Lo, here I fall, my Savior; ’Tis I deserve Thy place; Look on me with Thy favor, Assist me with Thy grace. What language shall I borrow To thank Thee, dearest Friend, For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end? O make me Thine forever, And should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never Outlive my love to Thee. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music). O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden Joy Tuggy, 91 years old

A Living Hope

Friday··2016·02·05
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. —1 Peter 1:3–5 Our hope in Christ is more than wishful thinking. In biblical categories, the word hope means something different from its common usage in our secular culture. In our culture hope reflects our subjective desire. I hope that something will take place in the future, but I don’t know for sure that it will. In biblical categories, this hope is the certainty and the fullness of assurance that God will do in the future everything that He says He will do. We have been born again to a hope, a living and lasting hope. This hope is inseparably related to the resurrection, because it is grounded in the reality that when God raised His Son from the dead, He raised Him as the firstborn of many brethren, and that all who are in Him will share in that resurrection life. We have been born again not just to have a better quality of life in this world, not simply to be given a second chance, but to live a life that goes on forever, sustained by the power of the resurrected Christ. —R. C. Sproul, 1–2 Peter: Be All the More Diligent to Make Your Calling and Election Sure (Crossway, 2011), 30.

Lord’s Day 6, 2016

Sunday··2016·02·07
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. —John 10:27–30 Hymn 138. (C. M.) Saints in the hands of Christ. John x. 28, 29. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) Firm as the earth thy gospel stands, My Lord, my hope, my trust; If I am found in Jesus’ hands, My soul can ne’er be lost. His honour is engaged to save The meanest of his sheep; All that his heav’nly Father gave His hands securely keep. Nor death nor hell shall e’er remove His favourites from his breast; In the dear bosom of his love They must for ever rest. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). 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. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

The Testing of Our Faith

Tuesday··2016·02·09
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. —1 Peter 1:6–12 Unlike the vast majority of those reading this blog, and certainly unlike this writer, the Christians to whom Peter wrote did not have it easy. They suffered levels of persecution like we have seen in China, and are now seeing in Muslim nations. Yet, Peter writes, “In this [1 Peter 1:3–5] you greatly rejoice . . .” Sproul comments, In a real sense, their sufferings and afflictions were unjust—they were victims of persecution—but we have to see beyond the human dimension, the proximate cause of the suffering, and look to the remote or ultimate cause. These afflictions were sent upon the believers by God. God uses the iniquitous afflictions wrought by human hostility for the ultimate well-being of His children. In this text here we see a marvelous reaffirmation of the doctrine of the providence of God. The classic teaching of divine providence is found at the end of the book of Genesis. Joseph, who had been viciously betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery, was held in prison for many years and separated from his family and homeland. . . . When Joseph was reunited with his brothers years later . . . [he] said, “As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20). Their intentions were wicked, and they were responsible for that, but over and above their actions, God intended good. “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose,” Paul wrote (Rom. 8:28). God’s hand is in earthly trials that are unjustly foisted upon us by wicked people. The hand of God trumps the evil intent of those who wound us, and He uses, in His gracious providence, those various experiences of affliction and pain for His glory and for our ultimate edification. —R. C. Sproul, 1–2 Peter: Be All the More Diligent to Make Your Calling and Election Sure (Crossway, 2011), 35. Christians often try to exonerate God of responsibility for the bad things that happen to “good” people by saying they are the work of Satan, that God has nothing to do with them. However, this is not only an inadequate excuse for a sovereign God, it robs us of the hope we should find in suffering. [I]f God has nothing to do with death or our afflictions, we of all people are the most to be pitied. The comfort we receive from the Word of God is that God is involved with our sufferings even to the extent that He ordains them, but the purpose of that ordination is always good and righteous. —R. C. Sproul, Ibid. More often, Christians acknowledge God’s involvement in our suffering, but only to the extent that he “permits” it. Sproul replies, [W]hatever God permits, He must choose to permit, and what He chooses to permit, He thereby ordains. That should not discourage us but encourage us, so that when we are falsely accused, slandered, or have our reputation injured, we can get on our knees and say, “God, please, vindicate me against these wicked people.” We can ask for vindication. At the same time, we have to ask Him, “What did you have in mind in this trouble?” Even though we suffer unjustly at the hands of men, we never suffer unjustly at the hands of God. —R. C. Sproul, Ibid, 36. And this is the purpose: So, Peter says, we are grieved by the trials that come upon us, but in the midst of them we can rejoice exceedingly, not only because of the inheritance laid up for us but also because we can be sure that through these trials, the genuineness of our faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. —R. C. Sproul, Ibid.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Jesus Lives

Saturday··2016·04·16
Jesus Lives, and So Shall IBut now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20 Jesus lives, and so shall I: Death, thy sting is gone forever! He who deigned for me to die, Lives, the bands of death to sever. He shall raise me from the dust: Jesus is my hope and trust. Jesus lives, and reigns supreme, And, his kingdom still remaining, I shall also be with him, Ever living, ever reigning. God has promised—be it must: Jesus is my hope and trust. Jesus lives—and by his grace, Vict’ry o’er my passions giving, I will change my heart and ways,* Ever to his glory living. Me he raises from the dust: Jesus is my hope and trust. Jesus lives— I know full well Nought from him my heart can sever, Life nor death nor powers of hell, Joy nor grief, hence forth forever. None of all his saints is lost: Jesus is my hope and trust. Jesus lives—and death is now But my entrance into glory; Courage, then, my soul, for thou Hast a crown of life before thee. Thou shalt find thy hopes were just: Jesus is my hope and trust. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music). * Not the best wording here. I may be able to change my ways to a limited extent, but only God can change my heart.

Christ’s Church Stands

Tuesday··2017·02·28
Jesus promised that he would build his church, and preserve it against all the forces of evil (Matthew 16:18). After more than two millennia, we can see that he has kept his word. The earliest visible Churches have in many cases decayed and perished. Where is the Church of Ephesus and the Church of Antioch? Where is the Church of Alexandria and the Church of Constantinople? Where are the Corinthian, and Philippian, and Thessalonian Churches? Where, indeed, are they all? They departed from the Word of God. They were proud of their bishops, and synods, and ceremonies, and learning, and antiquity. They did not glory in the true cross of Christ. They did not hold fast the Gospel. They did not give the Lord Jesus His rightful office, or faith its rightful place. They are now among the things that have been. Their candlestick has been taken away. But all this time the true Church has lived on. Has the true Church been oppressed in one country? It has fled to another.—Has it been trampled on and oppressed in one soil? It has taken root and flourished in some other climate.—Fire, sword, prisons, fines, penalties, have never been able to destroy its vitality. Its persecutors have died and gone to their own place, but the Word of God has lived, and grown, and multiplied. Weak as this true Church may appear to the eye of man, it is an anvil which has broken many a hammer in times past, and perhaps will break many more before the end. . . . The true Church is Christ’s body. Not one bone in that mystical body shall ever be broken.—The true Church is Christ’s bride. Those whom God has joined in everlasting covenant, shall never be put asunder.—The true Church is Christ’s flock. When the lion came and took a lamb out of David’s flock, David arose and delivered the lamb from his mouth. Christ will do the same. He is David’s greater son. Not a single sick lamb in Christ’s flock shall perish. He will say to His Father in the last day, ‘Of them which Thou gavest Me I have lost none’ (John 18:9).—The true Church is the wheat of the earth. It may be sifted, winnowed, buffeted, tossed to and fro. But not one grain shall! be lost. The tares and chaff shall be burned. The wheat shall be gathered into the barn.—The true Church is Christ’s army. The Captain of our salvation loses none of His soldiers. His plans are never defeated. His supplies never fail. His muster-roll is the same at the end as it was at the beginning. Of the men that marched gallantly out of England many years ago in the Crimean war, how many ever came back! Regiments that went forth, strong and cheerful, with bands playing and banners flying, laid their bones in a foreign land and never returned to their native country. But it is not so with Christ’s army. Not one of His soldiers shall be missing at last. He Himself declares, ‘They shall never perish’ (John 10:28). —J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Banner of Truth, 2014), 297–299.

By the Blood of the Lamb

Thursday··2017·03·02
In each of his messages to the seven churches in Revelation, J. C. Ryle notes, “the Lord Jesus makes a promise to the man that overcomes. But what does it mean to overcome, and more importantly, how is it accomplished? Ryle explains, This is the road that saints of old have trodden in, and left their record on high. (a) When Moses refused the pleasures of sin in Egypt, and chose affliction with the people of God—this was overcoming: he overcame the love of pleasure. (b) When Micaiah refused to prophesy smooth things to king Ahab, though he knew he would be persecuted if he spoke the truth—this was overcoming: he overcame the love of ease. (c) When Daniel refused to give up praying, though he knew the den of lions was prepared for him—this was overcoming: he overcame the fear of death. (d) When Matthew rose from the receipt of custom at our Lord’s bidding, left all and followed Him—this was overcoming: he overcame the love of money. (e) When Peter and John stood up boldly before the council and said, ‘We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard’—this was overcoming: they overcame the fear of man. (f) When Saul the Pharisee gave up all his prospects of preferment among the Jews, and preached that very Jesus whom he had once persecuted—this was overcoming: he overcame the love of man’s praise. The same kind of thing which these men did you must also do if you would be saved. They were men of like passions with yourself, and yet they overcame. They had as many trials as you can possibly have, and yet they overcame. They fought. They wrestled. They struggled. You must do the same. What was the secret of their victory?—their faith. They believed on Jesus, and believing were made strong. They believed on Jesus, and believing were held up. In all their battles, they kept their eyes on Jesus, and He never left them nor forsook them. ‘They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony,’ and so may you (Rev. 12:11). —J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Banner of Truth, 2014), 315–316.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: How Firm a Foundation

Saturday··2017·03·25
How Firm a Foundation Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ”The Lord knows those who are His,” 2 Timothy 2:19 How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He hath said, To you, who for refuge to Jesus have fled? “Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed, For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand. “When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply: The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose I will not, I will not, desert to its foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!” —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: I Know Whom I Have Believed

Saturday··2017·08·05
I Know Whom I Have Believed I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12 I know not why God’s wondrous grace To me He hath made known, Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love Redeemed me for His own. Refrain: But “I know Whom I have believed, And am persuaded that He is able To keep that which I’ve committed Unto Him against that day.”I know not how this saving faith To me He did impart, Nor how believing in His Word Wrought peace within my heart. Refrain I know not how the Spirit moves, Convincing us of sin, Revealing Jesus through the Word, Creating faith in Him. Refrain I know not when my Lord may come, At night or noonday fair, Nor if I walk the vale with Him, Or “meet Him in the air.” Refrain —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

The Righteous Is Saved

Monday··2017·08·07
And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? —1 Peter 4:18 This phrase, “it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved,” is, at first, confusing. The “righteous” are, by definition, those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit, or, in theological terms, regenerated. Regeneration is a miracle whereby God raises the (spiritually) dead to life. Just as he spoke the universe into being with a word, so he breathes life into dead souls. It is not difficult. But regeneration is not the end of salvation. Salvation, ultimately, is realized in heaven when we are glorified with Christ; only then is our salvation complete. It is the time in between that is difficult; it is the “endur[ance] to the end” (Matthew 10:22, cf. Mark 13:13; Matthew 24:13). Endurance is difficult, but it is also assured. While our salvation is not yet fully realized, we need not doubt its final fulfillment. The righteous are saved. What do I say? the righteous shall be saved? He is saved already. ‘This day is salvation come to thine house,’ saith Christ to Zaccheus, Luke xix. 9. ‘We are saved by faith, and are now set in heavenly places together with him,’ Eph. ii. 6. We have a title and interest to happiness already. There remains only a passage to the crown by good works. We do not, as the papists do, work to merit that we have not, but we do that we do in thankfulness for what we have. Because we know we are in the state of salvation; therefore we will shew our thankfulness to God in the course of our lives. How can we miss of salvation when we are saved already? Christ our head being in heaven, will draw his body after him. What should hinder us? The world? We have that faith in us, ‘which overcometh the world,’ 1 John v. 4. As for the flesh, you know what the apostle saith, We are not under the law, but under grace,’ Rom. vi. 14. The spirit in us always lusteth against the flesh, and subdues it by little and little; neither can Satan nor the gates of hell prevail against us; for the grace we have is stronger than all enemies against us. God the Father is our Father in Christ, and his love and gifts are without repentance, Rom. xi. 29. When once we are in the state of salvation, ‘he will preserve us by faith to salvation,’ 1 Pet. i. 5; and we are knit to God the Son, who will lose none of his members. The marriage with Christ is an everlasting union; whom he loves, ‘he loves to the end,’ John xiii. 1. As for God the Holy Ghost, saith Christ, ‘I will send the Comforter, and he shall be with you to the end,’ John vi. 14, 16. The blessed Spirit of God never departs where he once takes up his lodging. There is no question, therefore, of the salvation of the righteous; they are, as it were, saved already. Let this teach us thus much, that in all the changes and alterations which the faith of man is subject unto, he is sure of one thing: all the troubles, and all the enemies of the world shall not hinder his salvation. ‘If it be possible the elect should be deceived,’ Mat. xxiv. 24; but it is not possible. O what a comfort is this, that in the midst of all the oppositions and plottings of men and devils, yet notwithstanding, somewhat we have, that is not in the power of any enemy to take from us, nor in our own power to lose, namely, our salvation. Set this against any evil whatsoever, and it swallows up all. Put case a man were subject to an hundred deaths, one after another, what are all these to salvation? Put case a man were in such grief, that he wept tears of blood; in the day of salvation all tears shall be wiped from his eyes. Set this, I shall be saved, against any misery you can imagine, and it will unspeakably comfort and revive the soul beyond all. —Richard Sibbes, The Difficulty of Salvation, Works (Banner of Truth, 2001), 1:396–397.

God Is the Same

Tuesday··2017·08·15
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. —Philippians 1:6 Remember that God is the same still; he hath not forgot his old art of creating, but is as able to help now as ever, and can create comforts for thee in thy greatest troubles. As in the first creation he made light out of darkness, order out of confusion, so still he is able out of thy confused and perplexed estate to create peace and comfort. Thou knowest not what to do perhaps, thy mind is so troubled and disquieted; why, commit thy soul to God; he can raise an excellent frame out of the chaos of thy thoughts. Therefore be not dismayed; consider thou hast God in covenant with thee, and hast to deal with an almighty Creator, who can send present help in time of need. Dost thou want any grace? dost thou want spiritual life? Go to this Creator, he will put a new life into thee; he that made all things of nothing can raise light out of thy dark mind, and can make fleshy thy stony heart, though it be as hard as a rock. Therefore never despair, but frequent the means of grace, and still think of God under this relation of a Creator; and when he hath begun any good work of grace in thee, go confidently to His Majesty, and desire him to promote and increase the same in thy heart and life. Lord, I am thy poor creature, thou hast in mercy begun a blessed work in me, and where thou hast begun thou hast said thou wilt make an end. When thou createdst the world, thou didst not leave it till all was done; and when thou createdst man thou madest an end. Now, I beseech thee, perfect the new creature in my soul. As thou hast begun to enlighten mine understanding and to direct my affections to the best things, so I commit my soul unto thee for further guidance and direction to full happiness. —Richard Sibbes, The Saint's Hiding-Place in the Evil Day, Works (Banner of Truth, 2001), 1:410.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: All the Way My Savior Leads Me

Saturday··2017·10·07
All the Way My Savior Leads Me For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death. Psalm 48:14 All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who thru life has been my Guide? Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well; For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well. All the way my Savior leads me, Cheers each winding path I tread; Gives me grace for ev’ry trial, Feeds me with the living bread: Tho my weary steps may falter, And my soul athirst may be, Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! A spring of joy I see; Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! A spring of joy I see. All the way my Savior leads me; O the fullness of His love! Perfect rest to me is promised In my Father’s house above: When my spirit, cloth’d immortal, Wings its flight to realms of day, This my song thru endless ages: Jesus led me all the way; This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way. —The Hymnal for Worship & Celebration (Word Music).

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