Site Meter
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|

Lord’s Day

(360 posts)

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.
continue reading Lord’s Day 22, 2008

Lord’s Day 23, 2008

Sunday··2008·06·08
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Election Holy Trinity, All praise to thee for electing me to salvation, by foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus; I adore the wonders of thy condescending love, marvel at the true believer’s high privilege within whom all heaven comes to dwell, abiding in God and God in him; I believe it, help me experience it to the full. Continue to teach me that Christ’s righteousness satisfies justice and evidences thy love; Help me to make use of it by faith as the ground of my peace and thy favour and acceptance, so that I may live always near the cross. It is not feeling the Spirit that provesmy saved state but the truth of what Christ did perfectly for me; All holiness in him by faith made mine.as if I had done it; Therefore I see the use of his righteousness,for satisfaction to divine justice and making me righteous. It is not inner sensation that makes Christ’s deathmine for that may be delusion, being without the Word, but hes death apprehended by my faith, and so testified by Word and Spirit. I bless thee for these lively exercises of faith,for the righteousness that is mine in Jesus, for grace to resign my will to thee; I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal,and I love to leave them there. Then prayer turns wholly into praise,and all I can do is to adore and love thee. I want not the favour of man to lean upon,for I know that thy electing grace is infinitely better. —The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 74 (Geneva Bible) A Psalme to give instruction, committed to Asaph.1 O God, why hast thou put vs away for euer? why is thy wrath kindled against the sheepe of thy pasture? 2 Thinke vpon thy Congregation, which thou hast possessed of olde, and on the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed, and on this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt. 3 Lift vp thy strokes, that thou mayest for euer destroy euery enemie that doeth euill to the Sanctuarie. 4 Thine aduersaries roare in the middes of thy Congregation, and set vp their banners for signes. 5 He that lifted the axes vpon the thicke trees, was renowmed, as one, that brought a thing to perfection: 6 But nowe they breake downe the carued worke thereof with axes and hammers. 7 They haue cast thy Sanctuarie into the fire, and rased it to the grounde, and haue defiled the dwelling place of thy Name. 8 They saide in their hearts, Let vs destroy them altogether: they haue burnt all the Synagogues of God in the land. 9 We see not our signes: there is not one Prophet more, nor any with vs that knoweth howe long. 10 O God, howe long shall the aduersarie reproche thee? shall the enemie blaspheme thy Name for euer? 11 Why withdrawest thou thine hand, euen thy right hand? drawe it out of thy bosome, and consume them. 12 Euen God is my King of olde, working saluation in the middes of the earth. 13 Thou didest deuide the sea by thy power: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. 14 Thou brakest the head of Liuiathan in pieces, and gauest him to be meate for the people in wildernesse. 15 Thou brakest vp the fountaine and riuer: thou dryedst vp mightie riuers. 16 The day is thine, and the night is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sunne. 17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. 18 Remember this, that the enemie hath reproched the Lord, and the foolish people hath blasphemed thy Name. 19 Giue not the soule of thy turtle doue vnto the beast, and forget not the Congregation of thy poore for euer. 20 Consider thy couenant: for the darke places of the earth are full of the habitations of the cruell. 21 Oh let not the oppressed returne ashamed, but let the poore and needie prayse thy Name. 22 Arise, O God: mainteine thine owne cause: remember thy dayly reproche by the foolish man. 23 Forget not the voyce of thine enemies: for the tumult of them, that rise against thee, ascendeth continually. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 23, 2008

Lord’s Day 24, 2008

Sunday··2008·06·15
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 20. (C. M.) Spiritual apparel. Isa. lxi. 10. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Awake, my heart; arise, my tongue, Prepare a tuneful voice; In God, the life of all my joys, Aloud will I rejoice. ’Tis he adorned my naked soul, And made salvation mine; Upon a poor polluted worm He makes his graces shine. And lest the shadow of a spot Should on my soul be found, He took the robe the Savior wrought, And cast it all around. How far the heav’nly robe exceeds What earthly princes wear These ornaments, how bright they shine! How white the garments are! The Spirit wrought my faith, and love, And hope, and every grace; But Jesus spent his life to work The robe of righteousness. Strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed By the great Sacred Three! In sweetest harmony of praise Let all thy powers agree. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Psalme 81 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth upon Gittith. A Psalme committed to Asaph. 1 Sing ioyfully vnto God our strength: sing loude vnto the God of Iaakob. 2 Take the song and bring forth the timbrel, the pleasant harpe with the viole. 3 Blowe the trumpet in the newe moone, euen in the time appointed, at our feast day. 4 For this is a statute for Israel, and a Law of the God of Iaakob. 5 Hee set this in Ioseph for a testimonie, when hee came out of the land of Egypt, where I heard a language, that I vnderstoode not. 6 I haue withdrawen his shoulder from the burden, and his handes haue left the pots. 7 Thou calledst in affliction and I deliuered thee, and answered thee in the secret of the thunder: I prooued thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah. 8 Heare, O my people, and I wil protest vnto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken vnto me, 9 Let there bee no strange god in thee, neither worship thou any strange god. 10 For I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide and I will fill it. 11 But my people would not heare my voyce, and Israel would none of me. 12 So I gaue them vp vnto the hardnesse of their heart, and they haue walked in their owne cousels. 13 Oh that my people had hearkened vnto me, and Israel had walked in my wayes. 14 I would soone haue humbled their enemies, and turned mine hand against their aduersaries. 15 The haters of the Lord should haue bene subiect vnto him, and their time should haue endured for euer. 16 And God would haue fedde them with the fatte of wheat, and with honie out of the rocke would I haue sufficed thee. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 24, 2008

Lord’s Day 25, 2008

Sunday··2008·06·22
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN IX. JACOB’S Ladder Gen. xxviii. 12. John Newton (1725–1806) If the Lord our leader be, We may follow without fear; East or West, by land or sea, Home, with him, is ev’ry where; When from Esau Jacob fled, Tho’ his pillow was a stone, And the ground his humble bed, Yet he was not left alone. Kings are often waking kept, Rack’d with cares on beds of state; Never king like Jacob slept. For he lay at heaven’s gate: Lo! he saw a ladder rear’d, Reaching to the heav’nly throne; At the top the Lord appear’d, Spake and claimed him for his own. “Fear not, Jacob, thou art mine, And my presence with thee goes; On thy heart my love shall shine, And my arm subdue thy foes: From my promise comfort take; For my help in trouble call; Never will I thee forsake, ’Till I have accomplish’d all.” Well does Jacob’s ladder suit To the gospel throne of grace; We are at the ladder’s foot, Ev’ry hour, in ev’ry place By affirming flesh and blood, Jesus heav’n and earth unites; We by faith ascend to God, God to dwell with us delights. They who know the Savior’s name, Are for all events prepar’d What can changes do to them, Who have such a Guide and Guard? Should they traverse earth around, To the ladder still they come; Ev’ry spot is holy ground, God is there—and he’s their home. —Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 88 (Geneva Bible) A song or Psalme of Heman the Ezrahite to give instruction, committed to the sonnes of Korah for him that excelleth upon Malath Leannoth.1 O Lord God of my saluation, I cry day and night before thee. 2 Let my prayer enter into thy presence: incline thine eare vnto my cry. 3 For my soule is filled with euils, and my life draweth neere to the graue. 4 I am counted among them that go downe vnto the pit, and am as a man without strength: 5 Free among the dead, like the slaine lying in the graue, whome thou remembrest no more, and they are cut off from thine hand. 6 Thou hast layde me in the lowest pit, in darkenes, and in the deepe. 7 Thine indignation lyeth vpon me, and thou hast vexed me with all thy waues. Selah. 8 Thou hast put away mine acquaintance farre from me, and made mee to be abhorred of them: I am shut vp, and cannot get foorth. 9 Mine eye is sorowfull through mine affliction: Lord, I call dayly vpon thee: I stretch out mine hands vnto thee. 10 Wilt thou shewe a miracle to the dead? or shall the dead rise and prayse thee? Selah. 11 Shall thy louing kindenes be declared in the graue? or thy faithfulnes in destruction? 12 Shall thy wonderous workes be knowen in the darke? and thy righteousnes in the land of obliuion? 13 But vnto thee haue I cryed, O Lord, and early shall my prayer come before thee. 14 Lord, why doest thou reiect my soule, and hidest thy face from me? 15 I am afflicted and at the point of death: from my youth I suffer thy terrours, doubting of my life. 16 Thine indignations goe ouer me, and thy feare hath cut me off. 17 They came round about me dayly like water, and compassed me together. 18 My louers and friends hast thou put away from me, and mine acquaintance hid themselues. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 25, 2008

Lord’s Day 26, 2008

Sunday··2008·06·29
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Petitionary Hymns Poem VII. In Sickness Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Jesus, since I with thee am one,Confirm my soul in thee,And still continue to tread downThe man of sin in me. Let not the subtle foe prevail In this my feeble hour, Frustrate all the hopes of hell Redeem from Satan’s pow’r. Arm me, O Lord, from head to foot, With righteousness divine; My soul in Jesus firmly root, And seal the Saviour mine. Proportion’d to my pains below, O let my joys increase, And mercy to my spirit flow In healing streams of peace. In life and death be thou my God, And I am more than safe: Chastis’d by thy paternal rod, Support me with thy staff. Lay on me, Saviour, what thou wilt, But give me strength to bear: Thy gracious hand this cross hath dealt, Which cannot be severe. As gold refin’d may I come out, In sorrow’s furnace try’d; Preserved from faithfulness and doubt, And fully purify’d. When, overwhelm’d with sore distress, Out of the pit I cry, On Jesus suffering in my place Help me to fix mine eye. When marr’d with tears, and blood, and sweat, The glorious sufferer lay, And in my stead sustain’d the heat And burden of the day. The pangs which my weak nature knows Are swallow’d up in thine: How numberless thy pondrous woes! How few, how light are mine! O might I learn of thee to bear Temptation, pain and loss! Give me a heart inur’d to prayer, And fitted to the cross. Make me, O Lord, thy patient son; Thy language mine shall be: “Father, thy gracious will be done, I take the cup from thee.” While thus my soul is fixt on him Once fasten’d to the wood, Safe shall I pass through Jordan’s stream, And reach the realms of God. And when my soul mounts up to keep With thee the marriage feast, I shall not die, but fall asleep On my Redeemer’s breast. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 95 (Geneva Bible) 1 Come, let vs reioyce vnto the Lord: let vs sing aloude vnto the rocke of our saluation. 2 Let vs come before his face with praise: let vs sing loude vnto him with Psalmes. 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King aboue all gods. 4 In whose hande are the deepe places of the earth, and the heightes of the mountaines are his: 5 To whome the Sea belongeth: for hee made it, and his handes formed the dry land. 6 Come, let vs worship and fall downe, and kneele before the Lord our maker. 7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheepe of his hande: to day, if ye will heare his voyce, 8 Harden not your heart, as in Meribah, and as in the day of Massah in the wildernesse. 9 Where your fathers tempted me, proued me, though they had seene my worke. 10 Fourtie yeeres haue I contended with this generation, and said, They are a people that erre in heart, for they haue not knowen my wayes. 11 Wherefore I sware in my wrath, saying, Surely they shall not enter into my rest. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 26, 2008

Lord’s Day 27, 2008

Sunday··2008·07·06
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Law and Gospel Samuel Davies (1723–1761) With conscious fear and humble awe, I view the terrors of the law; Condemned at that tremendous bar I shrink, I tremble, and despair. But hark, salvation in my ears, Sounds sweetly and dispels my fears; Jesus appears, and by His cross, Fulfills His Father’s broken laws. Jesus, Saviour! Dearest name! By Him alone salvation came; Terror, destruction, and despair, Where e’er I look besides appear. Adam, my head and father fell, and sunk his offspring down to hell; And the dread sword of justice waits, To guard me from the heavenly gates. Unnumbered crimes of dreadful names Call loud for everlasting flames; And all the duties I have done, Can neither merit, nor atone. Yet weak and guilty as I am, I fix my trust in Jesus name. Jesus, whose righteousness alone Can for the deepest crimes atone. On Him, my soul, on Him rely; The terms are fixed—Believe or die. Thee let the glorious gospel draw, Or perish by the fiery law. —Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Psalme 102 (Geneva Bible) A prayer of the afflicted, when he shall be in distresse, and pour forth his meditation before the Lord. 1 O Lord, heare my prayer, and let my crye come vnto thee. 2 Hide not thy face from me in the time of my trouble: incline thine eares vnto me: when I call, make haste to heare me. 3 For my dayes are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burnt like an herthe. 4 Mine heart is smitten and withereth like grasse, because I forgate to eate my bread. 5 For the voyce of my groning my bones doe cleaue to my skinne. 6 I am like a pelicane of the wildernesse: I am like an owle of the deserts. 7 I watch and am as a sparrowe alone vpon the house top. 8 Mine enemies reuile me dayly, and they that rage against me, haue sworne against me. 9 Surely I haue eaten asshes as bread, and mingled my drinke with weeping, 10 Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast heaued me vp, and cast me downe. 11 My dayes are like a shadowe that fadeth, and I am withered like grasse. 12 But thou, O Lord, doest remaine for euer, and thy remembrance from generation to generation. 13 Thou wilt arise and haue mercy vpon Zion: for the time to haue mercie thereon, for the appointed time is come. 14 For thy seruants delite in the stones thereof, and haue pitie on the dust thereof. 15 Then the heathen shall feare the Name of the Lord, and all the Kings of the earth thy glory, 16 When the Lord shall build vp Zion, and shall appeare in his glory, 17 And shall turne vnto the prayer of the desolate, and not despise their prayer. 18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people, which shalbe created, shall prayse the Lord. 19 For he hath looked downe from the height of his Sanctuarie: out of the heauen did the Lord beholde the earth, 20 That he might heare the mourning of the prisoner, and deliuer the children of death: 21 That they may declare the Name of the Lord in Zion, and his prayse in Ierusalem, 22 When the people shalbe gathered together, and the kingdomes to serue the Lord. 23 He abated my strength in the way, and shortened my dayes. 24 And I sayd, O my God, take me not away in the middes of my dayes: thy yeeres endure from generation to generation. 25 Thou hast aforetime layde the foundation of the earth, and the heauens are the worke of thine hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: euen they all shall waxe olde as doeth a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. 27 But thou art the same, and thy yeeres shall not fayle. 28 The children of thy seruants shall continue, and their seede shall stand fast in thy sight. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 27, 2008

Lord’s Day 28, 2008

Sunday··2008·07·13
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Let Us Draw Near Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Why stand I lingering about, In fear, and weariness, and doubt, When all is light within? Thou, the new and living way, The trembler’s Guide, the sinner’s Stay, My High Priest, lead me in! I know the mercy-seat is there, On which thou sit’st to answer prayer; I know the blood is shed; The everlasting covenant sealed, The everlasting grace revealed, And life has reached the dead! Not the mere Paradise below; The heaven of heavens is opened now, And we its bliss regain. Guarded so long by fire and sword, The gate stands wide, the way restored, The veil is rent in twain! Without the cloud and gloom appear, The peril and the storm are near, The foe is raging round; Then let me boldly enter in, There end my danger, fear, and sin, And rest on holy ground. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Psalme 109 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth. A Psalme of David. 1 Holde not thy tongue, O God of my praise. 2 For the mouth of the wicked, and the mouth full of deceite are opened vpon me: they haue spoken to me with a lying tongue. 3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. 4 For my friendship they were mine aduersaries, but I gaue my selfe to praier. 5 And they haue rewarded me euil for good, and hatred for my friendship. 6 Set thou the wicked ouer him, and let the aduersarie stand at his right hand. 7 Whe he shalbe iudged, let him be condemned, and let his praier be turned into sinne. 8 Let his daies be fewe, and let another take his charge. 9 Let his children be fatherlesse, and his wife a widowe. 10 Let his children be vagabonds and beg and seeke bread, comming out of their places destroyed. 11 Let the extortioner catch al that he hath, and let the strangers spoile his labour. 12 Let there be none to extend mercie vnto him: neither let there be any to shewe mercie vpon his fatherlesse children. 13 Let his posteritie be destroied, and in the generation following let their name be put out. 14 Let the iniquitie of his fathers bee had in remembrance with the Lord: and let not the sinne of his mother be done away. 15 But let them alway be before the Lord, that he may cut off their memorial from ye earth. 16 Because he remembred not to shew mercie, but persecuted the afflicted and poore man, and the sorowfull hearted to slay him. 17 As he loued cursing, so shall it come vnto him, and as he loued not blessing, so shall it be farre from him. 18 As he clothed himselfe with cursing like a rayment, so shall it come into his bowels like water, and like oyle into his bones. 19 Let it be vnto him as a garment to couer him, and for a girdle, wherewith he shalbe alway girded. 20 Let this be the rewarde of mine aduersarie from the Lord, and of them, that speake euill against my soule. 21 But thou, O Lord my God, deale with me according vnto thy Name: deliuer me, (for thy mercie is good) 22 Because I am poore and needie, and mine heart is wounded within me. 23 I depart like the shadowe that declineth, and am shaken off as the grashopper. 24 My knees are weake through fasting, and my flesh hath lost all fatnes. 25 I became also a rebuke vnto them: they that looked vpon me, shaked their heads. 26 Helpe me, O Lord my God: saue me according to thy mercie. 27 And they shall know, that this is thine hand, and that thou, Lord, hast done it. 28 Though they curse, yet thou wilt blesse: they shall arise and be confounded, but thy seruant shall reioyce. 29 Let mine aduersaries be clothed with shame, and let them couer themselues with their confusion, as with a cloke. 30 I will giue thankes vnto the Lord greatly with my mouth and praise him among ye multitude. 31 For he will stand at the right hand of the poore, to saue him from them that woulde condemne his soule. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 28, 2008

Lord’s Day 29, 2008

Sunday··2008·07·20
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Christian Calling O Lord God, The first act of calling is by thy command in thy Word, ‘Come unto me, return unto me’; The second is to let in light so that I see that I am called particularly, and percieve the sweetness of thy command as well as its truth, in regard to thy great love of the sinner by inviting him to come, though vile, in regard to the end of the command, which is fellowship with thee, in regard to thy promise in the gospel, which is all of grace. Therefore, Lord, I need not search to see if I am elect, or loved for if I turn, thou wilt come to me; Christ has promised me fellowship if I take him, and the Spirit will pour himself out on me, abolishing sin and punishment, assuring me of strength to persevere. It is thy pleasure to help all that pray for grace, and come to thee for it. When my heart is unsavoury with sin, sorrow, darkness, hell, only thy free grace can help me act with deep abasement under a sense of unworthiness Let me lament for fogetting daily to come to thee, and cleanse me from the deceit of of bringing my heart to a duty because the act pleased or appealed to reason. Grant that I may be salted with suffering, with every exactment tempered to my soul, every rod excellently fitted to my back, to chastise, humble, break me. Let me not overlook the hand that holds the rod, as thou didst not let me forget the rod that fell on Christ and drew me to him. —The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 116 (Geneva Bible) 1 I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voyce and my prayers. 2 For he hath inclined his eare vnto me, whe I did call vpon him in my dayes. 3 When the snares of death copassed me, and the griefes of the graue caught me: when I founde trouble and sorowe. 4 Then I called vpon the Name of the Lord, saying, I beseech thee, O Lord, deliuer my soule. 5 The Lord is mercifull and righteous, and our God is full of compassion. 6 The Lord preserueth the simple: I was in miserie and he saued me. 7 Returne vnto thy rest, O my soule: for the Lord hath bene beneficiall vnto thee, 8 Because thou hast deliuered my soule from death, mine eyes from teares, and my feete from falling. 9 I shall walke before the Lord in the lande of the liuing. 10 I beleeued, therefore did I speake: for I was sore troubled. 11 I said in my feare, All men are lyers. 12 What shall I render vnto the Lord for all his benefites toward me? 13 I will take the cup of saluation, and call vpon the Name of the Lord. 14 I will pay my vowes vnto the Lord, euen nowe in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saintes. 16 Beholde, Lord: for I am thy seruant, I am thy seruant, and the sonne of thine handmaide: thou hast broken my bondes. 17 I will offer to thee a sacrifice of prayse, and will call vpon the Name of the Lord. 18 I will pay my vowes vnto the Lord, euen nowe in the presence of all his people, 19 In the courtes of ye Lords house, euen in the middes of thee, O Ierusalem. Praise ye the Lord. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 29, 2008

Lord’s Day 30, 2008

Sunday··2008·07·27
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Hymn 21. (C. M.) A vision of the kingdom of Christ among men. Rev. xxi. 1–4. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) Lo! what a glorious sight appears To our believing eyes! The earth and sea are passed away, And the old rolling skies. From the third heav’n, where God resides,That holy, happy place, The new Jerusalem comes down,Adorned with shining grace. Attending angels shout for joy,And the bright armies sing— “Mortals, behold the sacred seatOf your descending King. “The God of glory down to menRemoves his blest abode; Men, the dear objects of his grace,And he the loving God. “His own soft hand shall wipe the tearsFrom every weeping eye, And pains, and groans, and griefs, and fears,And death itself, shall die.” How long, dear Savior! O how longShall this bright hour delay? Fly swifter round, ye wheels of time,And bring the welcome day. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Psalme 123 (Geneva Bible). A song of degrees.1 I lift vp mine eyes to thee, that dwellest in the heauens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of seruants looke vnto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a mayden vnto the hand of her mistres: so our eyes waite vpon the Lord our God vntil he haue mercie vpon vs. 3 Haue mercie vpon vs, O Lord, haue mercie vpon vs: for we haue suffered too much contempt. 4 Our soule is filled too full of ye mocking of the wealthy, and of the despitefulnes of the proude. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 30, 2008

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.
continue reading Lord’s Day 31, 2008

Lord’s Day 32, 2008

Sunday··2008·08·10
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Petitionary Hymns Poem VIII. John xiv. 17. He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Savior, I thy word believe, My unbelief remove; Now thy quick’ning Spirit give, The unction from above; Shew me, Lord, how good thou art, My soul with all thy fulness fill: Send the witness in my heart The Holy Ghost reveal. Dead in sin ’till then I lie, Bereft of power to rise; Till thy Spirit inwardly Thy saving blood applies: Now the mighty gift impart, My sin erase, my pardon seal: Send the witness, in my heart The Holy Ghost reveal. Blessed Comforter, come down, And live and move in me; Make my every deed thy own, In all things led by thee: Bid my every lust depart, And with me O vouchsafe to dwell; Faithful witness, in my heart Thy perfect light reveal. Let me in thy love rejoice, Thy shrine, thy pure abode; Tell me, by thine inward voice, That I’m a child of God: Lord, I choose the better part, Jesus, I wait thy peace to feel; Send the witness in my heart The Holy Ghost reveal. Whom the world cannot receive, O manifest in me: Son of God, I cease to live, Unless I live in thee Now impute thy whole desert, Restore the joy from which I fell: Breathe the witness, in my heart The Holy Ghost reveal. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 137 (Geneva Bible) 1 By the riuers of Babel we sate, and there wee wept, when we remembred Zion. 2 Wee hanged our harpes vpon the willowes in the middes thereof. 3 Then they that ledde vs captiues, required of vs songs and mirth, when wee had hanged vp our harpes, saying, Sing vs one of the songs of Zion. 4 Howe shall we sing, said we, a song of the Lord in a strange land? 5 If I forget thee, O Ierusalem, let my right hand forget to play. 6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleaue to the roofe of my mouth: yea, if I preferre not Ierusalem to my chiefe ioy. 7 Remember the children of Edom, O Lord, in the day of Ierusalem, which saide, Rase it, rase it to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babel, worthy to be destroyed, blessed shall he be that rewardeth thee, as thou hast serued vs. 9 Blessed shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy children against the stones. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 32, 2008

Lord’s Day 33, 2008

Sunday··2008·08·17
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) The Glorious Gospel of the Blessed Godby Samuel Stennett (1727–1795) What wisdom, majesty, and grace, Through all the gospel shine! ’Tis God that speaks, and we confess The doctrine most divine. Down from His starry throne on high, The almighty Savior comes; Lays His bright robes of glory by, and feeble flesh assumes. The mighty debt that sinners owed, Upon the cross He pays; Then through the clouds ascends to God, ’Mid shouts of loftiest praise. There He, our great High Priest, appears before His Father’s throne; Mingles His merits with our tears, And pours salvation down. Great God, with reverence we adore Thy justice and Thy grace; And on Thy faithfulness and pow’r Our firm dependence place.—Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Psalme 144 (Geneva Bible) A Psalme of David. 1 Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth mine hands to fight, and my fingers to battell. 2 He is my goodnes and my fortresse, my towre and my deliuerer, my shield, and in him I trust, which subdueth my people vnder me. 3 Lord, what is man that thou regardest him! or the sonne of man that thou thinkest vpon him! 4 Man is like to vanitie: his dayes are like a shadow, that vanisheth. 5 Bow thine heauens, O Lord, and come downe: touch the mountaines and they shall smoke. 6 Cast forth the lightning and scatter them: shoote out thine arrowes, and consume them. 7 Send thine hand from aboue: deliuer me, and take me out of the great waters, and from the hand of strangers, 8 Whose mouth talketh vanitie, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 9 I wil sing a new song vnto thee, O God, and sing vnto thee vpon a viole, and an instrument of ten strings. 10 It is he that giueth deliuerance vnto Kings, and rescueth Dauid his seruant from the hurtfull sworde. 11 Rescue me, and deliuer me from the hand of strangers, whose mouth talketh vanitie, and their right hand is a right hand of falshood: 12 That our sonnes may be as the plantes growing vp in their youth, and our daughters as the corner stones, grauen after the similitude of a palace: 13 That our corners may be full, and abounding with diuers sorts, and that our sheepe may bring forth thousands and ten thousand in our streetes: 14 That our oxen may be strong to labour: that there be none inuasion, nor going out, nor no crying in our streetes. 15 Blessed are the people, that be so, yea, blessed are the people, whose God is the Lord. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 33, 2008

Lord’s Day 34, 2008

Sunday··2008·08·24
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Who Are These, and Whence Came They? Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) “Et de Hierosolymis et de Britannia aequaliter patet aula coelestis.” —Jerome. Ep. ad Paulinum.Not from Jerusalem alone, To heaven the path ascends; As near, as sure, as straight the way That leads to the celestial day, From farthest realms extends; Frigid or torrid zone. What matters how or whence we start? One is the crown to all; One is the hard but glorious race, Whatever be our starting-place;” Kings round the earth the call That says, Arise, Depart! From the balm-breathing, sun-loved isles Of the bright Southern Sea, From the dead North’s cloud-shadow’d pole, We gather to one gladsome goal,— One common home in Thee, City of sun and smiles! The cold rough billow hinders none; Nor helps the calm, fair main; The brown rock of Norwegian gloom, The verdure of Tahitian bloom, The sands of Mizraim’s plain, Or peaks of Lebanon. As from the green lands of the vine, So from the snow-wastes pale, We find the ever open road To the dear city of our God; From Russian steppe, or Burman vale, Or terraced Palestine. Not from swift Jordan’s sacred stream Alone we mount above; Indus or Danube, Thames or Rhone, Rivers unsainted and unknown;— From each the home of love Beckons with heavenly gleam. Not from gray Olivet alone We see the gates of light; From Morven’s heath or Jungfrau’s snow We welcome the descending glow Of pearl and chrysolite, And the unsetting sun. Not from Jerusalem alone The Church ascends to God; Strangers of every tongue and clime, Pilgrims of every land and time, Throng the well-trodden road That leads up to the throne. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1876). Psalme 122 (Geneva Bible) A song of degrees, or Psalme of David. 1 I rejoiced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. 2 Our feete shall stand in thy gates, O Ierusalem. 3 Ierusalem is builded as a citie, that is compact together in it selfe: 4 Whereunto the Tribes, euen the Tribes of the Lord go vp according to the testimonie to Israel, to prayse the Name of the Lord. 5 For there are thrones set for iudgement, euen the thrones of the house of Dauid. 6 Pray for the peace of Ierusalem: let them prosper that loue thee. 7 Peace be within thy walles, and prosperitie within thy palaces. 8 For my brethren and neighbours sakes I will wish thee now prosperitie. 9 Because of the House of the Lord our God, I will procure thy wealth. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 34, 2008

Lord’s Day 35, 2008

Sunday··2008·08·31
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) AssuranceAlmighty God,I am loved with everlasting love, clothed in eternal righteousness, my peace flowing like a river, my comforts many and large, my joy and triumph unutterable, my soul lively with a knowledge of salvation, my sense of justification unclouded. I have scarce anything to pray for; Jesus smiles upon my soul as a ray of heaven and my supplications are swallowed up in praise. How sweet is the glorious doctrine of election when based upon thy Word and wrought inwardly within the soul! I bless thee that thou wilt keep the sinner thou hast loved, and hast engaged that he will not forsake thee, else I would never get to heaven. I wrong the grace in my heart if I deny my new nature and my eternal life. If Jesus were not my righteousness and redemption, I would sink into nethermost hell by my misdoings, shortcomings, unbelief, unlove; If Jesus were not by the the power of his spirit my sanctification, there is no sin I should not commit. O when shall I have his mind! when shall I be conformed to his image? All the good things of life are less than nothing when compared with his love, and with one glimpse of thy electing favor. All the treasures of a million worlds could not make me richer, happier, more contented, for his unsearchable riches are mine. One moment of communion with him, one view of his grace, is ineffable, inestimable. But O God, I could not long after thy presence if I did not know the sweetness of it; and such I could not know except by the Spirit in my heart, nor love thee at all unless thou didst elect me, call me, adopt me, save me. I bless thee for the covenant of grace.—The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 129 (Geneva Bible) A song of degrees. 1 They haue often times afflicted me from my youth (may Israel nowe say) 2 They haue often times afflicted me from my youth: but they could not preuaile against me. 3 The plowers plowed vpon my backe, and made long furrowes. 4 But the righteous Lord hath cut the cordes of the wicked. 5 They that hate Zion, shalbe all ashamed and turned backward. 6 They shalbe as the grasse on the house tops, which withereth afore it commeth forth. 7 Whereof the mower filleth not his hand, neither the glainer his lap: 8 Neither they, which go by, say, The blessing of the Lord be vpon you, or, We blesse you in the Name of the Lord. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 35, 2008

Lord’s Day 36, 2008

Sunday··2008·09·07
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 22 Part 1. (L. M.) Christ the eternal life. Rom. ix. 5. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) Jesus, our Savior and our God, Array’d in majesty and blood, Thou art our life; our souls in thee Possess a full felicity. All our immortal hopes are laid In thee, our surety and our head; Thy cross, thy cradle, and thy throne, Are big with glories yet unknown. Let atheists scoff, and Jews blaspheme Th’ eternal life and Jesus’ name; A word of thy almighty breath Dooms the rebellious world to death. But let my soul for ever lie Beneath the blessings of thine eye; ’Tis heav’n on earth, ’tis heav’n above, To see thy face and taste thy love. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Psalme 150 (Geneva Bible) 1 Praise ye the Lord, because he is good: for his mercie endureth for euer. 2 Praise ye the God of gods: for his mercie endureth for euer. 3 Praise ye the Lord of Lords: for his mercie endureth for euer: 4 Which onely doeth great wonders: for his mercie endureth for euer: 5 Which by his wisedome made the heauens: for his mercie endureth for euer: 6 Which hath stretched out the earth vpon the waters: for his mercie endureth for euer: 7 Which made great lightes: for his mercie endureth for euer: 8 As the sunne to rule the day: for his mercie endureth for euer: 9 The moone and the starres to gouerne the night: for his mercie endureth for euer: 10 Which smote Egypt with their first borne, (for his mercie endureth for euer) 11 And brought out Israel from among them (for his mercie endureth for euer) 12 With a mightie hande and stretched out arme: for his mercie endureth for euer: 13 Which deuided the red Sea in two partes: for his mercie endureth for euer: 14 And made Israel to passe through the mids of it: for his mercie endureth for euer: 15 And ouerthrewe Pharaoh and his hoste in the red Sea: for his mercie endureth for euer: 16 Which led his people through the wildernes: for his mercie endureth for euer: 17 Which smote great Kings: for his mercie endureth for euer: 18 And slewe mightie Kings: for his mercie endureth for euer: 19 As Sihon King of the Amorites: for his mercie endureth for euer: 20 And Og the King of Bashan: for his mercie endureth for euer: 21 And gaue their land for an heritage: for his mercie endureth for euer: 22 Euen an heritage vnto Israel his seruant: for his mercie endureth for euer: 23 Which remembred vs in our base estate: for his mercie endureth for euer: 24 And hath rescued vs from our oppressours: for his mercie endureth for euer: 25 Which giueth foode to all flesh: for his mercie endureth for euer. 26 Praise ye the God of heauen: for his mercie endureth for euer. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 36, 2008

Lord’s Day 37, 2008

Sunday··2008·09·14
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN XIPlenty in a time of dearth. Gen. xli. 56.John Newton (1725–1806) My soul once had its plenteous years, And throve, with peace and comfort fill’d, Like the fat kine and ripen’d ears, Which Pharaoh in his dream beheld. With pleasing frames and grace receiv’d, With means and ordinances fed; How happy for a while I liv’d, And little fear’d the want of bread. But famine came and left no sign, Of all the plenty I had seen; Like the dry ears and half-starv’d kine, I then looked wither’d, faint and lean. To Joseph the Egyptians went, To Jesus I made known my case; He, when my little stock was spent, Opened his magazine of grace. For he the time of dearth foresaw, And made provision long before; That famish’d souls, like me, might draw Supplies from his unbounded store. Now on his bounty I depend, And live from fear of dearth secure, Maintain’d by such a mighty friend, I cannot want till he is poor. O sinners hear his gracious call! His mercy’s door stands open wide, He has enough to feed you all, And none who come shall be denied. —Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 143 (Geneva Bible) A Psalme of David. 1 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and hearken vnto my supplication: answere me in thy trueth and in thy righteousnes. 2 (And enter not into iudgement with thy seruant: for in thy sight shall none that liueth, be iustified) 3 For the enemie hath persecuted my soule: he hath smitten my life downe to the earth: he hath layde me in the darkenes, as they that haue bene dead long agoe: 4 And my spirit was in perplexitie in me, and mine heart within me was amased. 5 Yet doe I remember the time past: I meditate in all thy workes, yea, I doe meditate in the workes of thine hands. 6 I stretch forth mine hands vnto thee: my soule desireth after thee, as the thirstie land. Selah. 7 Heare me speedily, O Lord, for my spirit fayleth: hide not thy face from me, els I shall be like vnto them that go downe into the pit. 8 Let me heare thy louing kindenes in the morning, for in thee is my trust: shewe mee the way, that I should walke in, for I lift vp my soule vnto thee. 9 Deliuer me, O Lord, from mine enemies: for I hid me with thee. 10 Teach me to doe thy will, for thou art my God: let thy good Spirit leade me vnto the land of righteousnes. 11 Quicken me, O Lord, for thy Names sake, and for thy righteousnesse bring my soule out of trouble. 12 And for thy mercy slay mine enemies, and destroy all them that oppresse my soule: for I am thy seruant. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 37, 2008

Lord’s Day 38, 2008

Sunday··2008·09·21
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM IX. On War Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Great God, whom heav’n, and earth, and sea With all their countless hosts, obey, Upheld by whom the nations stand, And empires fall at thy command: Beneath thy long suspended ire Let papal Antichrist expire; Thy knowledge spread from sea to sea, ’Till every nation bows to thee.Then shew thyself the prince of peace, Make every hostile efforts cease: All with thy sacred love inspire, And burn their chariots in the fire.In sunder break each warlike spear; Let all the Saviour’s liv’ry wear; The universal Sabbath prove, The utmost rest of Christian love!The world shall then no discord know, But hand in hand to Canaan go, Jesus, the peaceful king, adore, And learn the art of war no more. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 150 (Geneva Bible) 1 Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye God in his Sanctuarie: prayse ye him in the firmament of his power. 2 Prayse ye him in his mightie Actes: prayse ye him according to his excellent greatnesse. 3 Prayse ye him in the sounde of the trumpet: prayse yee him vpon the viole and the harpe. 4 Prayse ye him with timbrell and flute: praise ye him with virginales and organs. 5 Prayse ye him with sounding cymbales: prayse ye him with high sounding cymbales. 6 Let euery thing that hath breath prayse the Lord. Prayse ye the Lord. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 38, 2008

Lord’s Day 39, 2008

Sunday··2008·09·28
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) A Song of Praise for Deliveranceby John Mason (1645–1694)I that I am drawn out of the depth, Will sing upon the shore; I that in hill’s dark suburbs lay, Pure mercy will adore. The terrors of the living God My soul did so affright, I feared lest I should be condemned To an eternal night. Kind was the pity of my friends, But could not ease my smart; Their words, indeed, did reach my case, But could not reach my heart. Ah, then, what was this world to me, To whom God’s Word was dark; Who in my dungeon could not see One beam or shining spark? What, then, were all the creatures’ smiles, When the Creator frowned? My days were nights, my life was death, My being was my wound. Tortured and racked with hellish fears, When God the blow should give; Mine eyes did fail, my heart did sink; Then mercy bid me live. God’s furnace doth in Zion stand, But Zion’s God sits by; As the refiner views his gold With an observant eye, God’s thoughts are high, His love is wise, His wounds a cure intend; And though He doth not always smile, He loves unto the end. Thy love is constant to its line, Though clouds oft come between; Oh, could my faith but pierce these clouds, It might be always seen. But I am weak, and forced to cry, Take up my soul to Thee; Then, as Thou ever art the same, So shall I ever be. Then shall I ever, ever sing, While Thou dost ever shine; I have Thine own dear pledge for this, Lord Thou art ever mine. —Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Psalme 7 (Geneva Bible) Shigaion of Dauid, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the wordes of Chush the sonne of Iemini. 1 O Lord my God, in thee I put my trust: saue me from all that persecute me, and deliuer me, 2 Least he deuoure my soule like a lion, and teare it in pieces, while there is none to helpe. 3 O Lord my God, if I haue done this thing, if there be any wickednes in mine handes, 4 If I haue rewarded euill vnto him that had peace with mee, (yea I haue deliuered him that vexed me without cause) 5 Then let the enemie persecute my soule and take it: yea, let him treade my life downe vpon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah. 6 Arise, O Lord, in thy wrath, and lift vp thy selfe against the rage of mine enemies, and awake for mee according to the iudgement that thou hast appointed. 7 So shall the Congregation of the people compasse thee about: for their sakes therefore returne on hie. 8 The Lord shall iudge the people: Iudge thou me, O Lord, according to my righteousnesse, and according to mine innocencie, that is in mee. 9 Oh let the malice of the wicked come to an ende: but guide thou the iust: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reines. 10 My defence is in God, who preserueth the vpright in heart. 11 God iudgeth the righteous, and him that contemneth God euery day. 12 Except he turne, he hath whet his sword: he hath bent his bowe and made it readie. 13 Hee hath also prepared him deadly weapons: hee will ordeine his arrowes for them that persecute me. 14 Beholde, hee shall trauaile with wickednes: for he hath conceiued mischiefe, but he shall bring foorth a lye. 15 Hee hath made a pitte and digged it, and is fallen into the pit that he made. 16 His mischiefe shall returne vpon his owne head, and his crueltie shall fall vpon his owne pate. 17 I wil praise the Lord according to his righteousnes, and will sing praise to the Name of the Lord most high. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 39, 2008

Lord’s Day 40, 2008

Sunday··2008·10·05
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Praiseby Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)Praises to Him who built the hills; Praises to Him the streams who fills; Praises to Him who lights each star That sparkles in the blue afar! Praises to Him who wakes the morn, And bids it glow with beams new-born; Who draws the shadows of the night, Like curtains, o’er our wearied sight! Praises to Him whose love has given, In Christ His Son, the life of heaven; Who for our darkness gives us light, And turns to day the deepest night! Praises to Him, in grace who came To bear our woe, and sin, and shame; Who lived to die, who died to rise, The God-accepted sacrifice! Praises to Him the chain who broke, Opened the prison, burst the yoke, Sent forth its captives, glad and free, Heirs of the endless liberty! Praises to Him who shed abroad Within our hearts the love of God; The Spirit of all truth and peace, Fountain of joy and holiness! To Father, Son and Spirit now The hands we lift, the knees we bow; To Jah-Jehovah thus we raise The sinner’s endless song of endless praise! —Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Psalme 14 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth. A Psalme of Dauid. 1 The foole hath said in his heart, There is no God: they haue corrupted, and done an abominable worke: there is none that doeth good. 2 The Lord looked downe from heauen vpon the children of men, to see if there were any that would vnderstand, and seeke God. 3 All are gone out of the way: they are all corrupt: there is none that doeth good, no not one. 4 Doe not all the workers of iniquitie know that they eate vp my people, as they eate bread? they call not vpon the Lord. 5 There they shall be taken with feare, because God is in the generation of the iust. 6 You haue made a mocke at the counsell of the poore, because the Lord is his trust. 7 Oh giue saluation vnto Israel out of Zion: when the Lord turneth the captiuitie of his people, then Iaakob shall reioyce, and Israel shall be glad. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 40, 2008

Lords Day 41, 2008

Sunday··2008·10·12
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) A Converts First Prayer My Father, I could never have sought my happiness in thy love, unless thou hadst first loved me. Thy Spirit has encouraged me by grace to seek thee, has made known to me thy reconciliation in Jesus,    has taught me to believe it, has helped me to take thee for my God    and portion. May he grant me to grow in the knowledge    and experience of thy love, and walk in it all the way to glory. Blessed for ever be thy fatherly affection, which chose me to be one of thy children by faith in Jesus: I thank thee for giving me the desire to live as such. In Jesus, my brother, I have my new birth,    every restraining power,    every renewing grace. It is by thy Spirit I call thee Father,    believe in thee, love thee; Strengthen me inwardly for every purpose    of my Christian life; Let the Spirit continually reveal to me my interest    in Christ,    and open to me the riches of thy love in him; May he abide in me that I may know my union    with Jesus,    and enter into constant fellowship with him; By thy Spirit may I daily live to thee,    rejoice in thy love,    find it the same to me as to thy Son,    and become rooted and grounded in it       as a house on rock; I know but little     increase my knowledge of thy love in Jesus,    keep me pressing forward for clearer discoveries       of it,    so that I may find its eternal fullness; Magnify thy love to me according to its greatness,    and not according to my deserts or prayers,    and whatever increase thou givest,    let it draw out greater love to thee. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 21 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth. A Psalme of Dauid. 1 The King shall reioyce in thy strength, O Lord: yea how greatly shall he reioyce in thy saluation! 2 Thou hast giuen him his hearts desire, and hast not denyed him the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For thou diddest preuent him with liberall blessings, and didest set a crowne of pure gold vpon his head. 4 He asked life of thee, and thou gauest him a long life for euer and euer. 5 His glory is great in thy saluation: dignitie and honour hast thou laid vpon him. 6 For thou hast set him as blessings for euer: thou hast made him glad with the ioy of thy countenance. 7 Because the King trusteth in the Lord, and in the mercie of the most High, he shall not slide. 8 Thine hand shall finde out all thine enemies, and thy right hand shall finde out them that hate thee. 9 Thou shalt make them like a fierie ouen in time of thine anger: the Lord shall destroy them in his wrath, and the fire shall deuoure them. 10 Their fruite shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seede from the children of men. 11 For they intended euill against thee, and imagined mischiefe, but they shall not preuaile. 12 Therefore shalt thou put them aparte, and the strings of thy bowe shalt thou make readie against their faces. 13 Be thou exalted, O Lord, in thy strength: so will we sing and prayse thy power. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 41, 2008

Lords Day 42, 2008

Sunday··2008·10·19
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 22 Part 2. (C. M.) Flesh and spirit. Rom. xiii. 1. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) WHAT vain desires and passions vain Attend this mortal clay! Oft have they pierced my soul with pain, And drawn my heart astray. How have I wanderd from my God! And, following sin and shame, In this vile world of flesh and blood Defiled my nobler frame! For ever blessed be thy grace That formd my soul anew, And made it of a heavn-born race, Thy glory to pursue. My spirit holds perpetual war, And wrestles and complains; But views the happy moment near That shall dissolve its chains. Cheerful in death I close my eyes To part with evry lust; And charge my flesh, wheneer it rise, To leave them in the dust. My purer spirit shall not fear To put this body on; Its tempting powers no more are there, Its lusts and passions gone! from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures Psalme 28 (Geneva Bible). A Psalme of David. 1 Unto thee, O Lord, doe I crie: O my strength, be not deafe toward mee, lest, if thou answere me not, I be like them that goe downe into the pit. 2 Heare the voyce of my petitions, when I crie vnto thee, when I holde vp mine handes towarde thine holy Oracle. 3 Drawe mee not away with the wicked, and with the woorkers of iniquitie: which speake friendly to their neighbours, when malice is in their hearts. 4 Reward them according to their deedes, and according to the wickednes of their inuentions: recompense them after the woorke of their handes: render them their reward. 5 For they regarde not the woorkes of the Lord, nor the operation of his handes: therefore breake them downe, and builde them not vp. 6 Praised be the Lord, for he hath heard the voyce of my petitions. 7 The Lord is my strength and my shielde: mine heart trusted in him, and I was helped: therfore mine heart shall reioyce, and with my song will I praise him. 8 The Lord is their strength, and he is the strength of the deliuerances of his anointed. 9 Saue thy people, and blesse thine inheritance: feede them also, and exalt them for euer. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 42, 2008

Lords Day 43, 2008

Sunday··2008·10·26
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN XII Joseph made known to his Brethren. Gen. xlv. 3, 4. by John Newton (1725-1807) hen Joseph his brethren beheld, Afflicted and trembling with fear; His heart with compassion was filled, From weeping he could not forbear. Awhile his behavior was rough, To bring their past sin to their mind; But when they were humbled enough, He hasted to show himself kind. How little they thought it was he, Whom they had ill treated and sold! How great their confusion must be, As soon as his name he had told! I am Joseph, your brother, he said, And still to my heart you are dear, You sold me, and thought I was dead, But God, for your sakes, sent me here. Though greatly distressed before, When charged with purloining the cup; They now were confounded much more, Not one of them durst to look up. Can Joseph, whom we would have slain. Forgive us the evil we did? And will he our households maintain? O this is a brother indeed! Thus dragged by my conscience, I came, And laden with guilt, to the Lord; Surrounded with terror and shame, Unable to utter a word. At first he looked stern and revere, What anguish then pierced my heart! Expecting each moment to hear The sentence, Thou cursed, depart! But O! what surprise when he spoke, While tenderness beamed in his face; My heart then to pieces was broke, Oerwhelmed and confounded by grace: Poor sinner, I know thee full well, By thee I was sold and was slain; But I died to redeem thee from hell, And raise thee in glory to reign. I am Jesus, whom thou hast blasphemed, And crucified often afresh; But let me henceforth be esteemed, Thy brother, thy bone, and thy flesh: My pardon I freely bestow, Thy wants I will fully supply; Ill guide thee and guard thee below, And soon will remove thee on high. Go, publish to sinners around, That they may be willing to come, The mercy which now you have found, And tell them that yet there is room. O, sinners, the message obey! No more vain excuses pretend; But come, without farther delay, To Jesus our brother and friend. from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 35 (Geneva Bible) A Psalme of Dauid. 1 Pleade thou my cause, O Lord, with them that striue with me: fight thou against them, that fight against me. 2 Lay hand vpon the shielde and buckler, and stand vp for mine helpe. 3 Bring out also the speare and stop the way against them, that persecute me: say vnto my soule, I am thy saluation. 4 Let them be confounded and put to shame, that seeke after my soule: let them be turned backe, and brought to confusion, that imagine mine hurt. 5 Let them be as chaffe before the winde, and let the Angel of the Lord scatter them. 6 Let their way be darke and slipperie: and let the Angel of the Lord persecute them. 7 For without cause they haue hid the pit and their net for me: without cause haue they digged a pit for my soule. 8 Let destruction come vpon him at vnwares, and let his net, that he hath laid priuilie, take him: let him fall into the same destruction. 9 Then my soule shalbe ioyfull in the Lord: it shall reioyce in his saluation. 10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like vnto thee, which deliuerest the poore from him, that is too strong for him! yea, the poore and him that is in miserie, from him that spoyleth him! 11 Cruell witnesses did rise vp: they asked of me things that I knewe not. 12 They rewarded me euill for good, to haue spoyled my soule. 13 Yet I, when they were sicke, I was clothed with a sacke: I humbled my soule with fasting: and my praier was turned vpon my bosome. 14 I behaued my selfe as to my friend, or as to my brother: I humbled my selfe, mourning as one that bewaileth his mother. 15 But in mine aduersitie they reioyced, and gathered them selues together: the abiects assembled themselues against me, and knewe not: they tare me and ceased not, 16 With the false skoffers at bankets, gnashing their teeth against me. 17 Lord, how long wilt thou beholde this? deliuer my soule from their tumult, euen my desolate soule from the lions. 18 So will I giue thee thankes in a great Congregation: I will praise thee among much people. 19 Let not them that are mine enemies, vniustly reioyce ouer mee, neyther let them winke with the eye, that hate mee without a cause. 20 For they speake not as friendes: but they imagine deceitfull woordes against the quiet of the lande. 21 And they gaped on mee with their mouthes, saying, Aha, aha, our eye hath seene. 22 Thou hast seene it, O Lord: keepe not silence: be not farre from me, O Lord. 23 Arise and wake to my iudgement, euen to my cause, my God, and my Lord. 24 Iudge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousnesse, and let them not reioyce ouer mee. 25 Let them not say in their hearts, O our soule reioyce: neither let them say, We haue deuoured him. 26 Let them bee confounded, and put to shame together, that reioyce at mine hurt: let them bee clothed with confusion and shame, that lift vp themselues against me. 27 But let them be ioyful and glad, that loue my righteousnesse: yea, let them say alway, Let the Lord be magnified, which loueth the prosperitie of his seruant. 28 And my tongue shall vtter thy righteousnesse, and thy praise euery day. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 43, 2008

Lords Day 44, 2008

Sunday··2008·11·02
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM X. Desiring to be given up to God Augustus Toplady (17401778) O that my heart was right with thee, And lovd thee with a perfect love! O that my Lord would dwell in me, And never from his seat remove! Jesus, remove th impending load, And set my soul on fire for God! Thou seest I dwell in awful night Until thou in my heart appear; Kindle the flame, O Lord, and light Thine everlasting candle there: Thy presence puts the shadows by; If thou art gone, how dark am I! Ah! Lord, how should thy servant see, Unless thou give me seeing eyes? Well may I fall, if out of thee; If out of thee, how should I rise? I wander, Lord, without thy aid, And lose my way in midnights shade. Thy bright, unerring light afford, A light that gives the sinner hope; And from the house of bondage, Lord, O bring the weary captive up, Thine hand alone can set me free And reach my pardon out to me. O let my prayer acceptance find, And bring the mighty blessing down; With eye-salve, Lord, anoint the blind, And seal me thine adopted son: A fallen, helpless creature take, And heir of thy salvation make. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 42 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth. A Psalme to give instruction, committed to the sonnes of Korah. 1 As the harte brayeth for the riuers of water, so panteth my soule after thee, O God. 2 My soule thirsteth for God, euen for the liuing God: when shall I come and appeare before the presence of God? 3 My teares haue bin my meate day and night, while they dayly say vnto me, Where is thy God? 4 When I remembred these things, I powred out my very heart, because I had gone with the multitude, and ledde them into the House of God with the voyce of singing, and prayse, as a multitude that keepeth a feast. 5 Why art thou cast downe, my soule, and vnquiet within me? waite on God: for I will yet giue him thankes for the helpe of his presence. 6 My God, my soule is cast downe within me, because I remember thee, from the land of Iorden, and Hermonim, and from the mount Mizar. 7 One deepe calleth another deepe by the noyse of thy water spoutes: all thy waues and thy floods are gone ouer me. 8 The Lord will graunt his louing kindenesse in the day, and in the night shall I sing of him, euen a prayer vnto the God of my life. 9 I wil say vnto God, which is my rocke, Why hast thou forgotten mee? why goe I mourning, when the enemie oppresseth me? 10 My bones are cut asunder, while mine enemies reproch me, saying dayly vnto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast downe, my soule? and why art thou disquieted within mee? waite on God: for I wil yet giue him thankes: he is my present helpe, and my God. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 44, 2008

Lords Day 45, 2008

Sunday··2008·11·09 · 1 Comments
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) God Saying to the Soul, that He is its Salvation by Philip Doddridge (17021751) alvation, oh, melodious sound,  To wretched dying men; Salvation, that from God proceeds, And leads to God again. Rescued from hells eternal gloom, From fiends, and fires, and chains; Raised to the paradise of bliss, Where love and glory reigns. But, oh, may a degenerate soul, Sinful and weak as mine, Presume to raise a trembling eye To blessing so divine? The luster of so bright a bliss My feeble heart oer bears; And unbelief almost perverts The promise into tears. My Savior God, no voice but Thine, These dying hopes can raise; Speak Thy salvation so my soul, And turn its tears to praise. My Savior God, this broken voice, Transported shall proclaim; And call on the angelic harps, To sound so sweet a name. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Psalme 49 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth. A Psalme committed to the sonnes of Korah. 1 Heare this, all ye people: giue eare, all ye that dwell in the world, 2 As well lowe as hie, both rich and poore. 3 My mouth shall speake of wisdome, and the meditation of mine heart is of knowledge. 4 I will incline mine eare to a parable, and vtter my graue matter vpon the harpe. 5 Wherefore should I feare in the euil dayes, when iniquitie shall compasse me about, as at mine heeles? 6 They trust in their goods, and boast them selues in the multitude of their riches. 7 Yet a man can by no meanes redeeme his brother: he can not giue his raunsome to God, 8 (So precious is the redemption of their soules, and the continuance for euer) 9 That he may liue still for euer, and not see the graue. 10 For he seeth that wise men die, and also that the ignorant and foolish perish, and leaue their riches for others. 11 Yet they thinke, their houses, and their habitations shall continue for euer, euen from generation to generation, and call their lands by their names. 12 But man shall not continue in honour: he is like the beastes that die. 13 This their way vttereth their foolishnes: yet their posteritie delite in their talke. Selah. 14 Like sheepe they lie in graue: death deuoureth them, and the righteous shall haue domination ouer them in the morning: for their beautie shall consume, when they shall goe from their house to graue. 15 But God shall deliuer my soule from the power of the graue: for he will receiue me. Selah. 16 Be not thou afrayd when one is made rich, and when the glory of his house is increased. 17 For he shall take nothing away when he dieth, neither shall his pompe descende after him. 18 For while he liued, he reioyced himselfe: and men will prayse thee, when thou makest much of thy selfe. 19 He shall enter into the generation of his fathers, and they shall not liue for euer. 20 Man is in honour, and vnderstandeth not: he is like to beasts that perish. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 45, 2008

Lords Day 46, 2008

Sunday··2008·11·16
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) PRAISE TO CHRIST Horatius Bonar (18081889) Jesus, the Christ of God,The Fathers blessed Son, The Fathers bosom Thine abode, The Fathers love Thine own. Jesus, the Lamb of God,    Who us from hell to raise, Hast shed Thy reconciling blood;    We give Thee endless praise. God, and yet man, Thou art,    True God, true man art Thou; Of man, and of mans earth a part,    One with us Thou art now. Great sacrifice for sin,    Giver of life for life, Restorer of the peace within,    True ender of the strife. To Thee, the Christ of God,    Thy saints exulting sing, The bearer of our heavy load,    Our own anointed King! True lover of the lost,    From heaven Thou camest down, To pay for souls the righteous cost,    And claim them for Thine own. Rest of the weary, Thou!    To Thee, our rest, we come; In Thee to find our dwelling now,    Our everlasting home. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Psalme 56 (geneva bible) To him that excelleth. A Psalme of David on Michtam, concerning the dumme doue in a farre countrey, when the Philistims tooke him in Gath. 1 Be mercifull vnto me, O God, for man would swallow me vp: he fighteth continually and vexeth me. 2 Mine enemies would dayly swallowe mee vp: for many fight against me, O thou most High. 3 When I was afrayd, I trusted in thee. 4 I will reioyce in God, because of his word, I trust in God, and will not feare what flesh can doe vnto me. 5 Mine owne wordes grieue me dayly: all their thoughtes are against me to doe me hurt. 6 They gather together, and keepe them selues close: they marke my steps, because they waite for my soule. 7 They thinke they shall escape by iniquitie: O God, cast these people downe in thine anger. 8 Thou hast counted my wandrings: put my teares into thy bottel: are they not in thy register? 9 When I cry, then mine enemies shall turne backe: this I know, for God is with me. 10 I will reioyce in God because of his worde: in the Lord wil I reioyce because of his worde. 11 In God doe I trust: I will not be afrayd what man can doe vnto me. 12 Thy vowes are vpon me, O God: I will render prayses vnto thee. 13 For thou hast deliuered my soule from death, and also my feete from falling, that I may walke before God in the light of the liuing. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 46, 2008

Lords Day 47, 2008

Sunday··2008·11·23
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) The Life Look O God, I bless thee for the happy moment when I first saw thy love fulfilled in Christ; wrath appeased, death destroyed, sin forgiven,    my soul saved. Ever since, thou hast been faithful to me: daily have I proved the power of Jesus blood, daily have I known the strength on the Spirit,    my teacher, director, sanctifier. I want no other rock to build upon than that I have, desire no other hope than that of gospel truth, need no other look than that which gazes    on the cross. Forgive me if I have tried to add anything    to the one foundation, if I have unconsciously relied upon my knowledge, experience, deeds, and not seen them    as filthy rags, if I have attempted to complete what is perfect    in Christ; May my cry be always, Only Jesus! only Jesus! In him is freedom from condemnation, fullness in his righteousness, eternal vitality in his given life, indissoluble union in fellowship with him; In him I have all that I can hold; enlarge me to take in more. If I backslide, let me like Peter weep bitterly and return to him; If I am tempted, and have no wit, give me strength enough to trust in him; If I am weak, may I faint upon his bosom of eternal love; If in extrremity, let me feel that he can deliver me; If driven to the verge of hope and to the pit    of despair, grant me grace to fall into his arms. O God, hear me, do for me more than I ask, think or dream. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 63 (Geneva Bible) A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. 1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. 9 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 47, 2008

Lords Day 48, 2008

Sunday··2008·11·30
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 23 Part 1. (L. M.) Absent from the body, and present with the Lord. 2 Cor. v. 8. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) ABSENT from flesh! O blissful thought! What unknown joys this moment brings! Freed from the mischiefs sin has brought, From pains, and fears, and all their springs. Absent from flesh! illustrious day! Surprising scene! triumphant stroke That rends the prison of my clay; And I can feel my fetters broke. Absent from flesh! then rise, my soul, Where feet nor wings could never climb, Beyond the heavns, where planets roll, Measuring the cares and joys of time. I go where God and glory shine, His presence makes eternal day: My all thats mortal I resign, For angels wait and point my way. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures Psalme 70 (Geneva Bible). To him excelleth. A Psalme of David to put in remembrance. 1 O God, haste thee to deliuer mee: make haste to helpe me, O Lord. 2 Let them be confounded and put to shame, that seeke my soule: let them bee turned backewarde and put to rebuke, that desire mine hurt. 3 Let them be turned backe for a rewarde of their shame, which said, Aha, aha. 4 But let all those that seeke thee, be ioyfull and glad in thee, and let all that loue thy saluation, say alwaies, God be praised. 5 Nowe I am poore and needie: O God, make haste to me: thou art mine helper, and my deliuerer: O Lord, make no tarying. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 48, 2008

Lords Day 49, 2008

Sunday··2008·12·07 · 2 Comments
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN XIII The Bitter waters. Ex. xv. 2325. by John Newton (1725-1807) ITTER, indeed, the waters are.    Which in this desart flow; Though to the eye they promise fair,    They taste of sin and woe. Of pleasing draughts I once could dream,    But now, awake, l find, That sin has poisond evry stream,    And left a curse behind. But theres a wonder-working wood,    Ive heard believers say, Can make these bitter waters good,    And take the curse away. The virtues of this healing tree    Are known and prizd by few; Reveal this secret, Lord, to me,    That I may prize it too. The cross on which the Savior died,    And conquerd for his saints; This is the tree, by faith applyd,    Which sweetens all complaints. Thousands have found the blessd effect,    Nor longer mourn their lot; While on his sorrows they reflect,    Their own are all forgot. When they, by faith, behold the cross,    Tho many griefs they meet; They draw again from evry loss,    And find the bitter sweet. from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 70 (Geneva Bible) For the excellent musician Ieduthun. A Psalme committed to Asaph. 1 My voyce came to God, when I cryed: my voyce came to God, and he heard me. 2 In the day of my trouble I sought ye Lord: my sore ranne and ceased not in the night: my soule refused comfort. 3 I did thinke vpon God, and was troubled: I praied, and my spirit was full of anguish. Selah. 4 Thou keepest mine eyes waking: I was astonied and could not speake. 5 Then I considered the daies of olde, and the yeeres of ancient time. 6 I called to remembrance my song in the night: I communed with mine owne heart, and my spirit searched diligently. 7 Will the Lord absent him selfe for euer? and will he shewe no more fauour? 8 Is his mercie cleane gone for euer? doeth his promise faile for euermore? 9 Hath God forgotten to be mercifull? hath he shut vp his teder mercies in displeasure? Selah. 10 And I sayde, This is my death: yet I remembred the yeeres of the right hand of the most High. 11 I remembred the workes of the Lord: certainely I remembred thy wonders of olde. 12 I did also meditate all thy woorkes, and did deuise of thine actes, saying, 13 Thy way, O God, is in the Sanctuarie: who is so great a God as our God! 14 Thou art ye God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy power among the people. 15 Thou hast redeemed thy people with thine arme, euen the sonnes of Iaakob and Ioseph. Selah. 16 The waters sawe thee, O God: the waters sawe thee, and were afraide: yea, the depths trembled. 17 The cloudes powred out water: the heauens gaue a sounde: yea, thine arrowes went abroade. 18 The voyce of thy thunder was rounde about: the lightnings lightened the worlde: the earth trembled and shooke. 19 Thy way is in the Sea, and thy paths in the great waters, and thy footesteps are not knowen. 20 Thou diddest leade thy people like sheepe by the hand of Moses and Aaron. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 49, 2008

Lords Day 50, 2008

Sunday··2008·12·14
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM XI. Matt. viii. 25. Lord, save us, we perish. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Pilot of the soul, awake, Save us for thy mercies sake; Now rebuke the angry deep, Save, O save thy sinking ship! Stand at the helm, our vessel steer, Mighty on our side appear Saviour, teach us to descry Where the rocks and quicksands lie. The waves shall impotently roll, If thou rt the anchor of the soul: At thy word the wind shall cease, Storms be hushd to perfect peace. Be thou our haven of retreat, A rock to fix our wavring feet, Teach us to own thy sovereign sway, Whom the winds and seas obey. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 84 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth upon Gittith. A Psalme committed to the sonnes of Korah. 1 O Lord of hostes, howe amiable are thy Tabernacles! 2 My soule longeth, yea, and fainteth for the courtes of the Lord: for mine heart and my flesh reioyce in the liuing God. 3 Yea, the sparrowe hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest for her, where she may lay her yong: euen by thine altars, O Lord of hostes, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are they that dwell in thine house: they will euer praise thee. Selah. 5 Blessed is the man, whose strength is in thee, and in whose heart are thy wayes. 6 They going through the vale of Baca, make welles therein: the raine also couereth the pooles. 7 They goe from strength to strength, till euery one appeare before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hostes, heare my prayer: hearken, O God of Iaakob. Selah. 9 Beholde, O God, our shielde, and looke vpon the face of thine Anointed. 10 For a day in thy courtes is better then a thousand other where: I had rather be a doore keeper in the House of my God, then to dwell in the Tabernacles of wickednesse. 11 For the Lord God is the sunne and shielde vnto vs: the Lord will giue grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walke vprightly. 12 O Lord of hostes, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 50, 2008

Lords Day 51, 2008

Sunday··2008·12·21
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 19. (C. M.) The song of Simeon; or, Death made desirable. Luke ii. 27, &c. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) LORD, at thy temple we appear, As happy Simeon came, And hope to meet our Savior here; O make our joys the same! With what divine and vast delight    The good old man was filled, When fondly in his withered arms    He clasped the holy child! Now I can leave this world, he cried,    Behold, thy servant dies; I’ve seen thy great salvation, Lord,    And close my peaceful eyes. This is the light prepared to shine    Upon the Gentile lands, Thine Isrels glory, and their hope    To break their slavish bands. [Jesus! the vision of thy face    Hath overpowering charms; Scarce shall I feel deaths cold embrace,    If Christ be in my arms. Then while ye hear my heart-strings break,    How sweet my minutes roll! A mortal paleness on my cheek,    And glory in my soul.] The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Psalme 91 (Geneva Bible). 1 Who so dwelleth in the secrete of the most High, shall abide in the shadowe of the Almightie. 2 I will say vnto the Lord, O mine hope, and my fortresse: he is my God, in him will I trust. 3 Surely he will deliuer thee from the snare of the hunter, and from the noysome pestilence. 4 Hee will couer thee vnder his winges, and thou shalt be sure vnder his feathers: his trueth shall be thy shielde and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraide of the feare of the night, nor of the arrowe that flyeth by day: 6 Nor of the pestilence that walketh in the darkenesse: nor of the plague that destroyeth at noone day. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and tenne thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come neere thee. 8 Doubtlesse with thine eyes shalt thou beholde and see the reward of the wicked. 9 For thou hast said, The Lord is mine hope: thou hast set the most High for thy refuge. 10 There shall none euill come vnto thee, neither shall any plague come neere thy tabernacle. 11 For hee shall giue his Angels charge ouer thee to keepe thee in all thy wayes. 12 They shall beare thee in their handes, that thou hurt not thy foote against a stone. 13 Thou shalt walke vpon the lyon and aspe: the yong lyon and the dragon shalt thou treade vnder feete. 14 Because he hath loued me, therefore will I deliuer him: I will exalt him because hee hath knowen my Name. 15 He shall call vpon me, and I wil heare him: I will be with him in trouble: I will deliuer him, and glorifie him. 16 With long life wil I satisfie him, and shew him my saluation. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 51, 2008

Lords Day 52, 2008

Sunday··2008·12·28
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Cords of Love by Ralph Erskine (16851752) Seek God while yet He may be found, Call on Him while Hes near; While graces trump, the joyful sound Of mercy strikes your ear. Oh, let the wicked change his way, And the unrighteous man, His thoughts, and legal hopes, that stray, Cross to the gospel plan. And let him now return to God, The Lord our righteousness; Who, through the merit of His blood, In mercy will him bless. To our God let him run betimes, For gracious will He be; And for his multitude of crimes Will pardons multiply. Let, saith the Lord, My boundless grace Move guilty souls to come, And trust Me with their desprate case When hopeless thoughts do roam. Because My thoughts and ways divine Are not as yours; for why? All yours are base and low, but Mine Immensely great and high. For as the heavns, in height and space, Transcend your earthly boors; Much more My thoughts and ways of grace Surmount all thoughts of yours. Great God, then bid the mountains move; Our sins that reach the sky, Be melted down with flames of love, More infinitely high. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Psalme 98 (Geneva Bible) A Psalme. 1 Sing vnto the Lord a newe song: for hee hath done marueilous things: his right hand, and his holy arme haue gotten him the victorie. 2 The Lord declared his saluation: his righteousnes hath he reueiled in the sight of ye nations. 3 He hath remembred his mercy and his trueth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth haue seene the saluation of our God. 4 All the earth, sing ye loude vnto the Lord: crie out and reioyce, and sing prayses. 5 Sing prayse to the Lord vpon the harpe, euen vpon the harpe with a singing voyce. 6 With shalmes and sound of trumpets sing loude before the Lord the King. 7 Let the sea roare, and all that therein is, the world, and they that dwell therein. 8 Let the floods clap their hands, and let the mountaines reioyce together 9 Before the Lord: for he is come to iudge the earth: with righteousnesse shall hee iudge the world, and the people with equitie. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 52, 2008

Lords Day 1, 2009

Sunday··2009·01·04
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) THE CROSS AND THE CROWN Horatius Bonar (18081889) NO blood, no altar now: The sacrifice is oer; No flame, no smoke, ascends on high;    The Lamb is slain no more! But richer blood has flowed from nobler veins, To purge the soul from guilt, and cleanse the       reddest stains.    We thank Thee for the blood,       The blood of Christ, Thy Son;    The blood by which our peace is made,       Our victory is won; Great victory oer hell, and sin, and woe, That needs no second fight, and leaves no          second foe.    We thank Thee for the grace       Descending from above,    That overflows our widest guilt,       The eternal Fathers love: Love of the Fathers everlasting Son, Love of the Holy Ghost, Jehovah, three in          One.    We thank Thee for the hope,       So glad, and sure, and clear;    It holds the drooping spirit up       Till the long dawn appear: Fair hope! with what a sunshine does it cheer Our roughest path on earth, our dreariest desert          here!    We thank Thee for the crown       Of glory and of life;    Tis no poor withring wreath of earth,       Mans prize in mortal strife: Tis incorruptible as is the throne, The kingdom of our God and his Incarnate          Son. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Psalme 119:18 (Geneva Bible) Aleph. 1 Blessed are those that are vpright in their way, and walke in the Lawe of the Lord. 2 Blessed are they that keepe his testimonies, and seeke him with their whole heart. 3 Surely they woorke none iniquitie, but walke in his waies. 4 Thou hast commanded to keepe thy precepts diligently. 5 Oh that my waies were directed to keepe thy statutes! 6 Then should I not be confounded, when I haue respect vnto all thy commandements. 7 I will praise thee with an vpright heart, when I shall learne the iudgements of thy righteousnesse. 8 I will keepe thy statutes: forsake mee not ouerlong. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 1, 2009

Lords Day 2, 2009

Sunday··2009·01·11
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Victory O Divine Redeemer, Great was thy goodness in undertaking my redemption,       in consenting to be made sin for me,       in conquering all my foes; Great was thy strength in enduring the extremities of divine wrath in taking away the load of my iniquities Great was thy love in manifesting thyself alive, in showing thy sacred wounds,    that every fear might vanish,    and every doubt be removed; Great was thy mercy in ascending to heaven in being crowned and enthroned    there to intercede for me,    there to succour me in temptation,    there to open the eternal book,    there to receive me finally to thyself; Great was thy wisdom in devising this means of salvation; Bathe my soul in rich consolations of thy resurrection life; Great was thy grace in commanding me to come hand in hand    with thee to the Father,    to be knit to him eternally,    to discover in him my rest,    to find in him my peace,    to behold his glory,    to honor him who is alone worthy; in giving me the Spirit as teacher, guide,    power, that I may live repenting of sin, conquer Satan, find victory in life. When thou art absent all sorrows are here, When thou art present all blessings are mine. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 119:916 (Geneva Bible) Beth. 9 Wherewith shall a yong man redresse his waie? in taking heede thereto according to thy woorde. 10 With my whole heart haue I sought thee: let me not wander from thy commandements. 11 I haue hid thy promise in mine heart, that I might not sinne against thee. 12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teache mee thy statutes. 13 With my lippes haue I declared all the iudgements of thy mouth. 14 I haue had as great delight in the way of thy testimonies, as in all riches. 15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and consider thy waies. 16 I will delite in thy statutes, and I will not forget thy worde. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 2, 2009

Lords Day 3, 2009

Sunday··2009·01·18
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 23 Part 2. (L. M.) A hopeful youth falling short of heaven. Mark x. 21. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) MUST all the charms of nature, then, So hopeless to salvation prove? Can hell demand, can heavn condemn, The man whom Jesus deigns to love? The man who sought the ways of truth, Paid friends and neighbors all their due; A modest, sober, lovely youth, And thought he wanted nothing new. But mark the change; thus spake the Lord Come, part with earth for heavn today: The youth, astonished at the word, In silent sadness went his way. Poor virtues that he boasted so, This test unable to endure; Let Christ, and grace, and glory go, To make his land and money sure! Ah, foolish choice of treasures here! Ah, fatal love of tempting gold! Must this base world be bought so dear? Are life and heavn so cheaply sold? In vain the charms of nature shine, If this vile passion govern me: Transform my soul, O love divine! And make me part with all for thee. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures Psalme 119:1724 (Geneva Bible) Gimmel. 17 Be beneficiall vnto thy seruant, that I may liue and keepe thy woorde. 18 Open mine eies, that I may see the wonders of thy Lawe. 19 I am a stranger vpon earth: hide not thy commandements from me. 20 Mine heart breaketh for the desire to thy iudgements alway. 21 Thou hast destroied the proud: cursed are they that doe erre from thy commandements. 22 Remoue from mee shame and contempt: for I haue kept thy testimonies. 23 Princes also did sit, and speake against me: but thy seruant did meditate in thy statutes. 24 Also thy testimonies are my delite, and my counsellers. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 3, 2009

Lords Day 4, 2009

Sunday··2009·01·25
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN XIV JEHOVAHROPHI, I am the Lord that healeth thee. Ex. xv. by William Cowper (17311800) HEAL us, Emmanuel, here we are, Waiting to feel thy touch; Deep wounded souls to thee repair, And, Savior we are such. Our faith is feeble we confess,    We faintly trust thy word; But wilt thou pity us the less?    Be that far from thee, Lord! Remember him who once applyd    With trembling for relief; Lord, I believe, with tears he cryd,    help my unbelief. She too, who touchd thee in the press,    And healing virtue stole; Was answerd, Daughter, go in peace,    Thy faith hath made thee whole. Conceald amid the gathring throng,    She would have shunnd thy view; And if her faith was firm and strong,    Had strong misgivings too. Like her, with hopes and fears, we come,    To touch thee if we may; O! send us not despairing home,    Send none unheald away. from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 119:2532 (Geneva Bible) Daleth. 25 My soule cleaueth to the dust: quicken me according to thy worde. 26 I haue declared my waies, and thou heardest me: teache me thy statutes. 27 Make me to vnderstand ye way of thy precepts, and I will meditate in thy wondrous workes. 28 My soule melteth for heauinesse: raise mee vp according vnto thy worde. 29 Take from mee the way of lying, and graunt me graciously thy Lawe. 30 I haue chosen the way of trueth, and thy iudgements haue I laied before me. 31 I haue cleaued to thy testimonies, O Lord: confound me not. 32 I will runne the way of thy commandements, when thou shalt enlarge mine heart. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 4, 2009

Lords Day 5, 2009

Sunday··2009·02·01
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM XII. O that my ways were made so direct, &c. Augustus Toplady (17401778) O that my ways were made so strait, And that the lamp of faith Would, as a star, direct my feet Within the narrow path! O that thy strength might enter now,    And in my heart abide, To make me as a faithful bow    That never starts aside! O that I all to Christ were given,    (From sin and earth set free) Who kindly laid aside his heaven,    And gave himself for me! Not more the panting hart desires    The cool, refreshing stream Than my dry, thirsty soul aspires    At being one with him. Set up thine image in my heart;    Thy temple let us be, Bid every idol now depart    That fain would rival thee. Still keep me In the heavenly path    Bestow the inward light; And lead me by the hand till faith    Is ripened into sight. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 119:3340 (Geneva Bible) He. 33 Teach mee, O Lord, the way of thy statutes, and I will keepe it vnto the ende. 34 Giue mee vnderstanding, and I will keepe thy Law: yea, I wil keepe it with my whole heart. 35 Direct mee in the path of thy commandements: for therein is my delite. 36 Incline mine heart vnto thy testimonies, and not to couetousnesse. 37 Turne away mine eies from regarding vanitie, and quicken me in thy way. 38 Stablish thy promise to thy seruaunt, because he feareth thee. 39 Take away my rebuke that I feare: for thy iudgements are good. 40 Beholde, I desire thy commandements: quicken me in thy righteousnesse, Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 5, 2009

Lords Day 6, 2009

Sunday··2009·02·08
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (geneva bible) The Free Gospel by Ralph Erskine (16851752) Ho, every thirsty soul and all That poor and needy are; Heres water of salvation well For you to come and share. Heres freedom both from sin and woe, And blessings all divine; Here streams of love and mercy flow, Like floods of milk and wine. Approach the fountainhead of bliss, Thats open like the sea, To buyers that are moneyless, To poorest beggars free. Why spend you all your wealth and pains, For that which is not bread, And for unsatisfying gains, On which no soul can feed? While vain ye seek, with earthly toys, To fill an empty mind, You lose immortal solid joys, And feed upon the wind. Incline your heart, and come to me; Hear, and your soul shall live; For mercies sure, as well as free, I bind myself to give. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Psalme 119:4148 (Geneva Bible) Vav. 41 And let thy louing kindnesse come vnto me, O Lord, and thy saluation according to thy promise. 42 So shall I make answere vnto my blasphemers: for I trust in thy woorde. 43 And take not the woorde of trueth vtterly out of my mouth: for I waite for thy iudgements. 44 So shall I alway keepe thy Lawe for euer and euer. 45 And I will walke at libertie: for I seeke thy precepts. 46 I will speake also of thy testimonies before Kings, and will not be ashamed. 47 And my delite shalbe in thy commandements, which I haue loued. 48 Mine handes also will I lift vp vnto thy commandements, which I haue loued, and I will meditate in thy statutes. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 6, 2009

Lords Day 7, 2009

Sunday··2009·02·15
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (geneva bible) THE END OF THE DAY Horatius Bonar (18081889) COME, for thy day, thy wasted day, is closing, With all its joy and sun; Bright, loving hours have passed thee by unheeded; Thy work on earth undone, And all thy race unrun. Folly and pleasure hast thou still been chasing, With the worlds giddy throng, Beauty and love have been thy golden idols; And thou hast rushed along, Still listning to their song. Sorrow and weeping thou hast cast behind thee,    For what were tears to thee? Life was not life without the smile and sunshine;    Only in revelry    Did wisdom seem to be. Unclasp, O man, the syren hand of pleasure,    Let the gay folly go! A few quick years will bring the unwelcome ending;    Then whither dost thou go,    To endless joy or woe? Clasp a far truer hand, a kinder, stronger,    Of Him the crucified; Let in a deeper love into thy spirit,    The love of Him who died,    And now is glorified! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Psalme 119:4956 (Geneva Bible) Zain. 49 Remember the promise made to thy seruant, wherein thou hast caused me to trust. 50 It is my comfort in my trouble: for thy promise hath quickened me. 51 The proude haue had me exceedingly in derision: yet haue I not declined from thy Lawe. 52 I remembred thy iudgements of olde, O Lord, and haue bene comforted. 53 Feare is come vpon mee for the wicked, that forsake thy Lawe. 54 Thy statutes haue beene my songes in the house of my pilgrimage. 55 I haue remembred thy Name, O Lord, in the night, and haue kept thy Lawe. 56 This I had because I kept thy precepts. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 7, 2009

Lords Day 8, 2009

Sunday··2009·02·22
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Freedom O Holy Father, thou hast freely given thy Son, O Divine Son, thou hast freely paid my debt, O Eternal Spirit, thou hast freely bid me come, O Triune God, thou dost freely grace me with salvation. Prayers and tears could not suffice to pardon my sins, nor anything less than atoning blood, but my believing is my receiving, for a thankful acceptance is no paying of the debt. What didst thou see in me? that I a poor, diseased, despised sinner    should be clothed in thy bright glory? that a creeping worm    should be advanced to this high state? that one lately groaning, weeping, dying,    should be as full of joy as my heart can hold? that a being of dust and darkness should be taken like Mordecai from captivity,    and set next to the king? should be lifted like Daniel from a den    and be made ruler of princes and provinces? Who can fathom immeasurable love? As far as the rational soul exceeds the senses, so does the spirit exceed the rational in its    knowledge of thee. Thou hast given me understanding to compass    the earth, measure the sun, moon, stars, universe, but above all to know thee, the only true God. I marvel that the finite can know the Infinite, here a little, afterwards in full-orbed truth; Now I know but a small portion of what    I shall know, here in part, there in perfection, here a glimpse, there a glory. To enjoy thee is life eternal, and to enjoy is to know Keep me in the freedom of experiencing thy salvation continually. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 119:5764 (Geneva Bible) Cheth. 57 O Lord, that art my portion, I haue determined to keepe thy wordes. 58 I made my supplication in thy presence with my whole heart: be mercifull vnto me according to thy promise. 59 I haue considered my waies, and turned my feete into thy testimonies. 60 I made haste and delaied not to keepe thy commandements. 61 The bandes of the wicked haue robbed me: but I haue not forgotten thy Lawe. 62 At midnight will I rise to giue thanks vnto thee, because of thy righteous iudgements. 63 I am companion of all them that feare thee, and keepe thy precepts. 64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercie: teache me thy statutes. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 8, 2009

Lords Day 9, 2009

Sunday··2009·03·01
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 24 (L. M.) The rich sinner dying. Psa. xlix. 6, 9; Eccl. viii. 8; Job iii. 14, 15. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) In vain the wealthy mortals toil, And heap their shining dust in vain, Look down and scorn the humble poor, And boast their lofty hills of gain. Their golden cordials cannot ease Their pained hearts or aching heads, Nor fright nor bribe approaching death From glittring roofs and downy beds. The lingring, the unwilling soul The dismal summons must obey, And bid a long, a sad farewell To the pale lump of lifeless clay. Thence they are huddled to the grave, Where kings and slaves have equal thrones; Their bones without distinction lie Amongst the heap of meaner bones. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures Psalme 119:6572 (Geneva Bible) Teth. 65 O Lord, thou hast delt graciously with thy seruant according vnto thy woorde. 66 Teach me good iudgement and knowledge: for I haue beleeued thy commandements. 67 Before I was afflicted, I went astray: but nowe I keepe thy woorde. 68 Thou art good and gracious: teach me thy statutes. 69 The proud haue imagined a lie against me: but I wil keepe thy precepts with my whole heart. 70 Their heart is fatte as grease: but my delite is in thy Lawe. 71 It is good for me that I haue beene afflicted, that I may learne thy statutes. 72 The Lawe of thy mouth is better vnto me, then thousands of golde and siluer. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 9, 2009

Lords Day 10, 2009

Sunday··2009·03·08
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN XV MANNA. Ex. xvi. 18.by John Newton (17251807) Manna to Israel well supplyd The want of other bread; While God is able to provide, His people shall be fed. (Thus though the corn and wine should fail,    And creature-streams be dry; The prayer of faith will still prevail,    For blessings from on high.) Of his kind care how sweet a proof!    It suitd every taste; Who gatherd most, had just enough,    Enough, who gatherd least. Tis thus our gracious Lord provides    Our comforts and our cares; His own unerring hand provides,    And gives us each our shares. He knows how much the weak can bear,    And helps them when they cry; The strongest have no strength to spare,    For such hell strongly try. Daily they saw the Manna come,    And cover all the ground; But what they tryd to keep at home,    Corruptd soon was found. Vain their attempt to store it up,    This was to tempt the Lord; Israel must live by faith and hope,    And not upon a hoard. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 119:7380 (Geneva Bible) Iod. 73 Thine hands haue made me and fashioned me: giue mee vnderstanding therefore, that I may learne thy commandements. 74 So they that feare thee, seeing mee shall reioyce, because I haue trusted in thy worde. 75 I knowe, O Lord, that thy iudgements are right, and that thou hast afflicted me iustly. 76 I pray thee that thy mercie may comfort me according to thy promise vnto thy seruant. 77 Let thy tender mercies come vnto me, that I may liue: for thy Lawe is my delite. 78 Let the proude be ashamed: for they haue dealt wickedly and falsely with me: but I meditate in thy precepts. 79 Let such as feare thee turne vnto me, and they that knowe thy testimonies. 80 Let mine heart bee vpright in thy statutes, that I be not ashamed. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 10, 2009

Lords Day 11, 2009

Sunday··2009·03·15
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM XIII. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Father, to thee In Christ I fly, What tho my sins of crimson dye For thy resentment call? My crimes he did on Calvry bear, The blood that flowd for sinners there Shall cleanse me from them all. Spirit divine, thy powr bring in, O raise me from this depth of sin,    Take off my guilty load: Now let me live through Jesus death, And being justified by faith,    May I have peace with God! Foul as I am, deserving hell, Thou canst not from thy throne repel    A soul that leans on God: My sins at thy command shall be Cast as a stone into the sea    The sea of Jesus blood. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 119:8188 (Geneva Bible) Caph. 81 My soule fainteth for thy saluation: yet I waite for thy worde. 82 Mine eyes faile for thy promise, saying, when wilt thou comfort me? 83 For I am like a bottell in the smoke: yet doe I not forget thy statutes. 84 Howe many are the dayes of thy seruant? When wilt thou execute iudgement on them that persecute me? 85 The proude haue digged pittes for mee, which is not after thy Lawe. 86 All thy commandements are true: they persecute me falsely: helpe me. 87 They had almost consumed me vpon the earth: but I forsooke not thy precepts. 88 Quicken me according to thy louing kindnes: so shall I keepe the testimony of thy mouth. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 11, 2009

Lords Day 12, 2009

Sunday··2009·03·22
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (geneva bible) The Fountain (The Invitation of the Gospel) Samuel Davies (17231761) Today the living streams of grace Flow to refresh the thirsty soul; Pardon and life and boundless bliss In plenteous rivers round us roll. Ho, ye that pine away and die, Come, and your raging thirst allay; Come all that will, heres rich supply, A fountain that shall neer decay. Come all, the blessed Jesus cries, Freely My blessing I will give. The spirit echoes back the voice, And bids us freely drink and live. The saints below, that do but taste, And saints above, who drink at will, Cry jointly, Thirsty sinners! haste, and drink, the springs exhaustless still. Let all that hear the joyful sound, To spread it though the world unite; From house to house proclaim it round, Each man his fellow man invite. Like thirsty flocks, come let us go; Come ever color, every age; And while the living waters flow, Let all their parching thirst assuage. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Psalme 119:8996 (Geneva Bible) Lamed. 89 O Lord, thy worde endureth for euer in heauen. 90 Thy trueth is from generation to generation: thou hast layed the foundation of the earth, and it abideth. 91 They continue euen to this day by thine ordinances: for all are thy seruants. 92 Except thy Lawe had bene my delite, I should now haue perished in mine affliction. 93 I wil neuer forget thy precepts: for by them thou hast quickened me. 94 I am thine, saue me: for I haue sought thy precepts. 95 The wicked haue waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies. 96 I haue seene an ende of all perfection: but thy commandement is exceeding large. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 12, 2009

Lord’s Day 13, 2009

Sunday··2009·03·29
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (geneva bible) Confession. Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) O this soul, how dark and blind! O this foolish, earthly mind; This ever froward, selfish will, Which refuses to be still! O these ever roaming eyes, Upward that refuse to rise; These still wayward feet of mine, Found in every path but thine! O these pulses felt within, Beating for the world and sin, Sending round the fevered blood, In a fierce and carnal flood! O this stubborn, prayerless knee, Hands so seldom clasped to Thee, Longings of the soul, that go, Like the wild wind, to and fro; To and fro without an aim, Returning idly whence they came, Bringing in no joy, no bliss, Adding to my weariness! Giver of the heavenly peace, Bid, O bid, these tumults cease; Minister Thy holy balm, Fill me with Thy Spirits calm! Thou the life, the truth, the way, Leave me not in sin to stray; Bearer of the sinners guilt, Lead me, lead me, as thou wilt! —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Psalme 119:97 104 (Geneva Bible) Mem. 97 Oh howe loue I thy Lawe! it is my meditation continually. 98 By thy commandements thou hast made mee wiser then mine enemies: for they are euer with mee. 99 I haue had more vnderstading then all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 100 I vnderstoode more then the ancient, because I kept thy precepts. 101 I haue refrained my feete from euery euil way, that I might keepe thy word. 102 I haue not declined from thy iudgements: for thou didest teach me. 103 Howe sweete are thy promises vnto my mouth! yea, more then hony vnto my mouth. 104 By thy precepts I haue gotten vnderstanding: therefore I hate all the wayes of falshoode. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 13, 2009

Lords Day 14, 2009

Sunday··2009·04·05
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Belonging to Jesus O Heavenly Father. Teach me to see that if Christ has pacified thee and          satisfied divine justice    he can also deliver me from my sins; that Christ does not desire me, now justified,    to live in self-confidence in my own strength,    but gives me the law of the spirit of life    to enable me to obey thee; that the spirit and his power are mine    by resting on Christs death; that the spirit of life within answers to    the law without; that if I sin not I should thank thee for it; that if I sin I should be humbled daily under it; that I should mourn for sin more than other       men do,    for when I see I shall die because of sin,       that makes me mourn;    when I see that sin caused Christs death,       that makes me mourn; that sanctification is the evidence of reconciliation,    proving that faith has truly apprehended Christ; Thou hast taught me that faith is nothing else than receiving thy    kindness; that it is an adherence to Christ, a resting on him,    love clinging to him as a branch to a tree,    to seek life and vigor to him. I thank thee for showing me the vast difference between knowing things by reason, and knowing them by the spirit of faith. By reason I see a thing is so; by faith I know it is as it is. I have seen thee by reason and have not been amazed, I have seen thee as thou art in thy Son and have been ravished to behold thee. I bless thee that I am thine in my Savior, Jesus. —The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 119:105112 (Geneva Bible) Nun. 105 Thy worde is a lanterne vnto my feete, and a light vnto my path. 106 I haue sworne and will performe it, that I will keepe thy righteous iudgements. 107 I am very sore afflicted: O Lord, quicken me according to thy word. 108 O Lord, I beseeche thee accept the free offerings of my mouth, and teach mee thy iudgements. 109 My soule is continually in mine hande: yet doe I not forget thy Lawe. 110 The wicked haue layed a snare for mee: but I swarued not from thy precepts. 111 Thy testimonies haue I taken as an heritage for euer: for they are the ioy of mine heart. 112 I haue applied mine heart to fulfill thy statutes alway, euen vnto the ende. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 14, 2009

Lords Day 15, 2009

Sunday··2009·04·12
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 25 (L. M.) A vision of the Lamb. Rev. v. 69. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) All mortal vanities, begone, Nor tempt my eyes, nor tire my ears; Behold, amidst th eternal throne, A vision of the Lamb appears. [Glory his fleecy robe adorns, Markd with the bloody death he bore; Seven are his eyes, and seven his horns, To speak his wisdom and his power. Lo! he receives a sealed book From him that sits upon the throne; Jesus, my Lord, prevails to look On dark decrees and things unknown.] All the assembling saints around Fall worshipping before the Lamb, And in new songs of gospel sound Address their honours to his name. [The joy, the shout, the harmony, Flies oer the everlasting hills Worthy art thou alone, they cry, To read the book, to loose the seals.] Our voices join the heavnly strain, And with transporting pleasure sing Worthy the Lamb that once was slain, To be our Teacher and our King! His words of prophecy reveal Eternal counsels, deep designs; His grace and vengeance shall fulfil The peaceful and the dreadful lines. Thou hast redeemd our souls from hell With thine invaluable blood; And wretches that did once rebel Are now made favrites of their God. Worthy for ever is the Lord, That died for treasons not his own, By evry tongue to be adord, And dwell upon his Fathers throne! from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures Psalme 119:113120 (Geneva Bible) Samech. 113 I hate vaine inuentions: but thy Lawe doe I loue. 114 Thou art my refuge and shield, and I trust in thy worde. 115 Away from mee, yee wicked: for I will keepe the commandements of my God. 116 Stablish me according to thy promise, that I may liue, and disappoint me not of mine hope. 117 Stay thou mee, and I shall be safe, and I will delite continually in thy statutes. 118 Thou hast troden downe all them that depart from thy statutes: for their deceit is vaine. 119 Thou hast taken away all ye wicked of the earth like drosse: therefore I loue thy testimonies. 120 My flesh trembleth for feare of thee, and I am afraide of thy iudgements. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 15, 2009

Lords Day 16, 2009

Sunday··2009·04·19
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN XVI Manna hoarded. Ex. xvi. 20. by John Newton (17251807) THE manna favord Israels meat, Was gatherd day by day; When all the host was servd, the heat Melted the rest away. In vain to hoard it up they tryd,    Against to-morrow came; It then bred worms and putrifyd    And provd their sin and shame. Twas daily bread and would not keep,    But must be still renewd; Faith should not want a hoard or heap    But trust the Lord for food. The truths by which the soul is fed    Must thus be had afresh; For notions resting in the head,    Will only feed the flesh. However true, they have no life,    Or unction to impart; They breed the worms of pride and strife,    But cannot cheer the heart. Nor can the best experience past,    The life of faith maintain; The brightest hope will faint as last,    Unless supplyd again. Dear Lord, while we in prayr are found,    Do thou the Manna give; Oh! Let it fall on all around,    That we may eat and live. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 119:121128 (Geneva Bible) Ain. 121 I haue executed iudgement and iustice: leaue me not to mine oppressours. 122 Answere for thy seruant in that, which is good, and let not the proude oppresse me. 123 Mine eyes haue failed in waiting for thy saluation, and for thy iust promise. 124 Deale with thy seruant according to thy mercie, and teache me thy statutes. 125 I am thy seruant: graunt mee therefore vnderstanding, that I may knowe thy testimonies. 126 It is time for thee Lord to worke: for they haue destroyed thy Lawe. 127 Therefore loue I thy commandements aboue golde, yea, aboue most fine golde. 128 Therefore I esteeme all thy precepts most iust, and hate all false wayes. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 16, 2009

Lords Day 17, 2009

Sunday··2009·04·26
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM XIV. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) SUPREME High Priest, the pilgrims light, My heart for thee prepare, Thine image stamp, and deeply write Thy superscription there. Ah! let my forehead bear thy seal,    My arm thy badge retain, My heart the inward witness feel    That I am born again! Thy peace, O Saviour, shed abroad,    That every want supplies: Then from its guilt my soul renewd,    Shall, ph?nix like, arise. Into thy humble mansion come.    Set up thy dwelling here: Possess my heart, and leave no room    For sin to harbour there. Ah! give me, Lord, the single eye,    Which aims at nought but thee: I fain would live, and yet not I    Let Jesus live in me. Like Noahs dove, no rest I find    But in thy ark of peace; Thy cross the balance of my mind,    Thy wounds my hiding-place. In vain the tempter spreads the snare,    If thou my keeper art: Get thee behind me, God is near,    My Saviour takes my part! On him my spirit I recline,    Who put my nature on; His light shall in my darkness shine,    And guide me to his throne. O that the penetrating sight,    And eagles eye were mine Undazzled at the boundless light    Id see his glory shine! Evn now , by faith, I see him live    To crown the conquering few; Nor let me linger here, but strive    To gain the prize in view. Add, Saviour, to the eagles eye,    The cloves aspiring wing, To bear me upwards to the sky,    Thy praises there to sing! —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Psalme 119:129136 (Geneva Bible) Pe. 129 Thy testimonies are wonderfull: therefore doeth my soule keepe them. 130 The entrance into thy wordes sheweth light, and giueth vnderstanding to the simple. 131 I opened my mouth and panted, because I loued thy commandements. 132 Looke vpon mee and bee mercifull vnto me, as thou vsest to doe vnto those that loue thy Name. 133 Direct my steppes in thy worde, and let none iniquitie haue dominion ouer me. 134 Deliuer mee from the oppression of men, and I will keepe thy precepts. 135 Shew the light of thy countenance vpon thy seruant, and teache me thy statutes. 136 Mine eyes gush out with riuers of water, because they keepe not thy Lawe. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 17, 2009

Lords Day 18, 2009

Sunday··2009·05·03
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (geneva bible) Praise for Conversion Samuel Stennett (17271795) Come, ye that fear the Lord, And listen, while I tell How narrowly my feet escaped The snares of death and hell. The flattering joys of sense Assailed my foolish heart, While Satan with malicious skill Guided the poisonous dart. I fell beneath the stroke, But fell to rise again; My anguish roused me into life, And pleasure sprung from pain. Darkness and shame and grief, Oppressed my gloomy mind; I looked around me for relief, But no relief could find. At length to God I cried; He heard my plaintive sigh; He heard, and instantly he sent Salvation from on high. My drooping head he raised; My bleeding wounds he healed; Pardoned my sins, and, with a smile, The gracious pardon sealed. Oh, may I never forget The mercy of my God; Nor ever want a tongue to spread His loudest praise abroad. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). Psalme 119:137144 (Geneva Bible) Tsaddi. 137 Righteous art thou, O Lord, and iust are thy iudgements. 138 Thou hast commanded iustice by thy testimonies and trueth especially. 139 My zeale hath euen consumed mee, because mine enemies haue forgotten thy wordes. 140 Thy word is prooued most pure, and thy seruant loueth it. 141 I am small and despised: yet do I not forget thy precepts. 142 Thy righteousnesse is an euerlasting righteousnes, and thy Lawe is trueth. 143 Trouble and anguish are come vpon me: yet are thy commandements my delite. 144 The righteousnes of thy testimonies is euerlasting: graunt me vnderstanding, and I shall liue. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 18, 2009

Lord’s Day 19, 2009

Sunday··2009·05·10
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (geneva bible) The Meeting Place. Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Where the faded flower shall freshen,— Freshen never more to fade; Where the shaded sky shall brighten,— Brighten never more to shade: Where the sun-blaze never scorches; Where the star-beams cease to chill; Where no tempest stirs the echoes Of the wood, or wave, or hill: Where the morn shall wake in gladness, And the moon the joy prolong, Where the daylight dies in fragrance, ’Mid the burst of holy song: Brother, we shall meet and rest ’Mid the holy and the blest! Where no shadow shall bewilder, Where life’s vain parade is o’er, Where the sleep of sin is broken, And the dreamer dreams no more: Where the bond is never severed;— Partings, claspings, sob and moan, Midnight waking, twilight weeping, Heavy noontide,— all are done: Where the child has found its mother, Where the mother finds the child, Where dear families are gathered. That were scattered on the wild: Brother, we shall meet and rest ’Mid the holy and the blest! Where the hidden wound is healed, Where the blighted light re-blooms. Where the smitten heart the freshness Of its buoyant youth resumes: Where the love that here we lavish On the withering leaves of time, Shall have fadeless flowers to fix on In an ever spring bright clime: Where we find the joy of loving, As we never loved before,— Loving on, unchilled, unhindered, Loving once and evermore: Brother, we shall meet and rest, ’Mid the holy and the blest! Where a blasted world shall brighten Underneath a bluer sphere, And a softer, gentler sunshine Shed its healing splendor here: Where earth’s barren vales shall blossom, Putting on their robe of green, And a purer, fairer Eden Be where only wastes have been: Where a King in kingly glory, Such as earth has never known, Shall assume the righteous sceptre, Claim and wear the holy crown: Brother, we shall meet and rest, ’Mid the holy and the blest. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Psalme 119:145–152 (Geneva Bible) Koph. 145 I haue cried with my whole heart: heare me, O Lord, and I will keepe thy statutes. 146 I called vpon thee: saue mee, and I will keepe thy testimonies. 147 I preuented the morning light, and cried: for I waited on thy word. 148 Mine eyes preuent the night watches to meditate in thy word. 149 Heare my voyce according to thy louing kindenesse: O Lord, quicken me according to thy iudgement. 150 They drawe neere, that follow after malice, and are farre from thy Lawe. 151 Thou art neere, O Lord: for all thy commandements are true. 152 I haue knowen long since by thy testimonies, that thou hast established them for euer. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lord’s Day 19, 2009

Lords Day 20, 2009

Sunday··2009·05·17
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Living for Jesus O Saviour of Sinners, Thy name is excellent, thy glory high,      thy compassions unfailing,      thy condescension wonderful,      thy mercy tender. I bless thee for the discoveries, invitations,    promises of the gospel for in them is pardon for rebels,    liberty for captives,    health for the sick,    salvation for the lost. I come to thee in thy beloved name of Jesus; re-impress thy image upon my soul; Raise me above the smiles and frowns of the world, regarding it as a light thing to be judged by men; May thy approbation be my only aim, thy Word my one rule. Make me to abhor that which grieves thy    Holy Spirit, to suspect consolations of a worldly nature, to shun a careless way of life, to reprove evil, to instruct with meekness those who oppose me, to be gentle and patient towards all men, to be not only a professor but an example    of the gospel, displaying in every relation, office, and condition    its excellency, loveliness and advantages. How little have I illustrated my principles and improved my privileges! How seldom I served my generation! How often have I injured and not recommended my Redeemer! How few are those blessed through me! In many things I have offended, in all come short of thy glory; Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. —The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). Psalme 119:153160 (Geneva Bible) Resh. 153 Beholde mine affliction, and deliuer mee: for I haue not forgotten thy Lawe. 154 Pleade my cause, and deliuer me: quicken me according vnto thy word. 155 Saluation is farre from the wicked, because they seeke not thy statutes. 156 Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord: quicken me according to thy iudgements. 157 My persecutours and mine oppressours are many: yet doe I not swarue from thy testimonies. 158 I saw the transgressours and was grieued, because they kept not thy worde. 159 Consider, O Lord, how I loue thy preceptes: quicken mee according to thy louing kindenesse. 160 The beginning of thy worde is trueth, and all the iudgements of thy righteousnesse endure for euer. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 20, 2009

Lords Day 21, 2009

Sunday··2009·05·24
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN 26 (C. M.) Hope of heaven by the resurrection of Christ. 1 Pet. i. 35. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Blessd be the everlasting God, The Father of our Lord; Be his abounding mercy praisd, His majesty adord. When from the dead he raisd his Son,    And calld him to the sky, He gave our souls a lively hope    That they should never die. What though our inbred sins require    Our flesh to see the dust, Yet as the Lord our Savior rose,    So all his followers must. Theres an inheritance divine    Reserved against that day; Tis uncorrupted, undefild,    And cannot waste away. Saints by the power of God are kept    Till the salvation come; We walk by faith as strangers here,    Till Christ shall call us home. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures Psalme 119:161168 (Geneva Bible) Schin. 161 Princes haue persecuted mee without cause, but mine heart stood in awe of thy wordes. 162 I reioyce at thy worde, as one that findeth a great spoyle. 163 I hate falshoode and abhorre it, but thy Lawe doe I loue. 164 Seuen times a day doe I praise thee, because of thy righteous iudgements. 165 They that loue thy Law, shall haue great prosperitie, and they shall haue none hurt. 166 Lord, I haue trusted in thy saluation, and haue done thy commandements. 167 My soule hath kept thy testimonies: for I loue them exceedingly. 168 I haue kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my wayes are before thee. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 21, 2009

Lords Day 22, 2009

Sunday··2009·05·31
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) HYMN XVII JEHOVAH-NISSI, The Lord my banner. Ex. xvii. 15. by William Cowper (17311800) BY whom was David taught, To aim the dreadful blow, When he Goliath fought,    And laid the Gittite low? No sword nor spear the stripling took, But chose a pebble from the brook.    Twas Israels God and king,       Who sent him to the fight;    Who gave him strength to fling,       And skill to aim aright. Ye feeble saints your strength endures, Because young Davids Gods is yours.    Who ordered Gideon forth,       To storm th invaders camp,    With arms of little worth,       A pitcher and a lamp? The trumpets made his coming known, And all the host was overthrown.    Oh! I have seen the day,       When with a single word,    God helping me to say,       My trust is in the Lord; My soul has quelld a thousand foes, Fearless of all that could oppose.    But unbelief, selfwill,       Selfrighteousness and pride,    How often do they steal       My weapon from my side? Yet Davids Lord, and Gideons friend, Will help his servant to the end. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. Psalme 119:169176 (Geneva Bible) Tav. 169 Let my complaint come before thee, O Lord, and giue me vnderstanding, according vnto thy worde. 170 Let my supplication come before thee, and deliuer me according to thy promise. 171 My lippes shall speake praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. 172 My tongue shall intreate of thy word: for all thy commandements are righteous. 173 Let thine hand helpe me: for I haue chosen thy precepts. 174 I haue longed for thy saluation, O Lord, and thy Lawe is my delite. 175 Let my soule liue, and it shall praise thee, and thy iudgements shall helpe me. 176 I haue gone astraye like a lost sheepe: seeke thy seruant, for I doe not forget thy commandements. Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
continue reading Lords Day 22, 2009

Lord���s Day 23, 2009

Sunday··2009·06·07
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM XV. Self Dedication. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Jesus, my Saviour, fill my heart With nothing else but thee; Now thy saving pow���r exert, And more than conquer me: Each intruding rival kill, That Minders or obstructs thy reign: All thy glorious might reveal, And make me pure within. Through my soul in mercy shine,    Thine Holy Spirit give; Let him witness, Lord, with mine    That I in Jesus live; Set me free from Satan���s load,    The gift of Liberty dispense, In my heart O shed abroad    Thy quick���ning influence. Let the gifts bestow���d on me,    Live to thy praise alone; Lord, the talents lent by thee    Are thine and not my own: May I in thy service spend    All the graces thou has given, Taken up, when time shall end,    To live and reign in heaven. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Having finished the Psalms from the Geneva Bible, I am now going to begin the Gospel of John. I���ll be using the NASB, and including commentary from J. C. Ryle���s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels. The Gospel According to John 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. The Gospel of John, which begins with these verses, is in many respects very unlike the other three Gospels. It contains many things which they omit. It omits many things which they contain. Good reason might easily be shown for this unlikeness. But it is enough to remember that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote under the direct inspiration of God. In the general plan of their respective Gospels, and in the particular details,���in everything that they record, and in everything that they do not record,���they were all four equally and entirely guided by the Holy Spirit. About the matters which John was specially inspired to relate in his Gospel, one general remark will suffice. The things which are peculiar to his Gospel are among the most precious possessions of the Church of Christ. No one of the four Gospel-writers has given us such full statements about the divinity of Christ,���about justification by faith,���about the offices of Christ,���about the work of the Holy Ghost,���and about the privileges of believers, as we read in the pages of St. John. On none of these great subjects, undoubtedly, have Matthew, Mark, and Luke been silent. But in St. John���s Gospel, they stand out prominently on the surface, so that he who runs may read. The five verses now before us contain a statement of matchless sublimity concerning the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. He it is, beyond all question, whom St. John means, when he speaks of ���the Word.��� No doubt there are heights and depths in that statement which are far beyond man���s understanding. And yet there are plain lessons in it, which every Christian would do well to treasure up in his mind. We learn, firstly, that our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. St. John tells as that ���in the beginning was the Word.��� He did not begin to exist when the heavens and the earth were made. Much less did He begin to exist when the Gospel was brought into the world. He had glory with the Father ���before the world was.��� (John xvii. 5.) He was existing when matter was first created, and before time began. He was ���before all things.��� (Col. i. 17.) He was from all eternity. We learn, secondly, that our Lord Jesus Christ is a Person distinct from God the Father, and yet one with Him. St. John tells us that ���the Word was with God.��� The Father and the Word, though two persons, are joined by an ineffable union. Where God the Father was from all eternity, there also was the Word, even God the Son,���their glory equal, their majesty co-eternal, and yet their Godhead one This is a great mystery! Happy is he who can receive it as a little child, without attempting to explain it. We learn, thirdly, that the Lord Jesus Christ is very God. St. John tells us that ���the Word was God.��� He is not merely a created angel, or a being inferior to God the Father, and invested by Him with power to redeem sinners. He is nothing less than perfect God,���equal to the father as touching His Godhead,���God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds. We learn, fourthly, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things. St. John tells us that ���by Him were all things made, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.��� So far from being a creature of God, as some heretics have falsely asserted, He is the Being who made the worlds and all that they contain. ���He commanded and they were created.��� (Psalm xl. 8.) We learn, lastly, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of all spiritual life and light. St. John tells us, that ���in Him was life, and the life was the light of men.��� He is the eternal fountain, from which alone the sons of men have ever derived life. Whatever spiritual life and light Adam and Eve possessed before the fall, was from Christ. Whatever deliverance from sin and spiritual death any child of Adam has ever enjoyed since the fall, whatever light of conscience or understanding any one has obtained, all has flowed from Christ. The vast majority of mankind in every age have refused to know Him, have forgotten the fall, and their own need of a Savior. The light has been constantly shining "in darkness." The most have "not comprehended the light." But if any men and women out of the countless millions of mankind have ever had spiritual life and light, they have owed all to Christ. Such is a brief summary of the leading lessons which these wonderful verses appear to contain. There is much in them, without controversy, which is above our reason but there is nothing contrary to it. There is much that we cannot explain, and must be content humbly to believe. Let us however never forget that there are plain practical consequences flowing from the passage, which we can never grasp to firmly, or know too well. Would we know, for one thing, the exceeding sinfulness of sin? Let us often read these first five verses of St. John���s Gospel. Let us mark what kind of Being the Redeemer of mankind must needs be, in order to provide eternal redemption for sinners. If no one less than the Eternal God, the Creator and Preserver of all things, could take away the sin of the world, sin must be a far more abominable thing in the sight of God than most men suppose. The right measure of sin���s sinfulness is the dignity of Him who came into the world to save sinners. If Christ is so great, then sin must indeed be sinful! Would we know, for another thing, the strength of a true Christian���s foundation for hope? Let us often read these first five verses of St. John���s Gospel. Let us mark that the Saviour in whom the believer is bid to trust is nothing less than the Eternal God, One able to save to the uttermost all that come to the Father by Him. He that was ���with God,��� and ���was God,��� is also ���Emmanuel, God with us.��� Let us thank God that our help is laid on One that is mighty. (Psalm lxxxix. 19.) In ourselves we are great sinners. But in Jesus Christ we have a great Saviour. He is a strong foundation-stone, able to bear the weight of a world���s sin. He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. (1 Peter ii. 6.) ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:1���4 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");
continue reading Lord���s Day 23, 2009

Lords Day 24, 2009

Sunday··2009·06·14
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Room at the Gospel Feast Philip Doddridge (17021751) The King of heaven His table spreads, And dainties crown the board; Not paradise with all its joys Could such delight afford. Pardon and peace to dying men, And endless life are given, And the rich blood that Jesus shed To raise the soul to heaven. Ye hungry poor, that long have strayed In sins dark mazes, come. Come from the hedges and highways, And grace shall find you room. Millions of souls, in glory now, Were fed and feasted here; And millions more, still on the way, Around the board appear. Yet is his house and heart so large, That millions more may come; Nor could the wide assembling world Overfill the spacious room. All things are ready; come away, Nor weak excuses frame. Crowd to your places at the feast, And bless the Founders name. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 1:613    6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. St. John, after beginning his gospel with a statement of our Lords nature as God, proceeds to speak of His forerunner, John the Baptist. The contrast between the language used about the Saviour, and that used about His forerunner, ought not to be overlooked. Of Christ we are told that He was the eternal God,the Creator of all things,the source of life and light. Of John the Baptist we are told simply, that there was a man sent from God, whose name was John. We see, firstly, in these verses, the true nature of a Christian ministers office. We have it in the description of John the Baptist: He came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. Christian ministers are not priests, nor mediators between God and man. They are not agents into whose hands men may commit their souls, and carry on their religion by deputy. They are witnesses. They are intended to bear testimony to Gods truth, and specially to the great truth that Christ is the only Saviour and light of the world. This was St. Peters ministry on the day of Pentecost.with many other words did he testify. (Acts ii. 40.) This was the whole tenor of St. Pauls ministry.He testified both to the Jews and to the Greeks repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts xx. 21.) Unless a Christian minister bears full testimony to Christ, he is not faithful in his office. So long as he does testify of Christ, he has done his part, and will receive his reward, although the hearers may not believe his testimony. Until a ministers hearers believe on that Christ of whom they are told, they receive no benefit from the ministry. They may be pleased and interested; but they are not profited until they believe. The great end of the ministers testimony is that through him, men may believe. We see, secondly, in these verses, one principal position which our Lord Jesus Christ occupies towards mankind. We have it in the words, He was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Christ is to the souls of men what the sun is to the world. He is the centre and source of all spiritual light, warmth, life, health, growth, beauty, and fertility. Like the sun, He shines for the common benefit of all mankind,for high and for low, for rich and for poor, for Jew and for Greek. Like the sun, He is free to all. All may look at Him, and drink health out of His light. If millions of mankind were mad enough to dwell in caves underground, or to bandage their eyes, their darkness would be their own fault, and not the fault of the sun. So, likewise, if millions of men and women love spiritual darkness rather than light, the blame must be laid on their blind hearts, and not on Christ. Their foolish hearts are darkened. (John iii. 19; Rom. i. 21.) But whether men will see or not, Christ is the true sun, and the light of the world. There is no light for sinners except in the Lord Jesus. We see, thirdly, in these verses, the desperate wickedness of mans natural heart. We have it in the words, Christ was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. Christ was in the world invisibly, long before He was born of the Virgin Mary. He was there from the very beginning, ruling, ordering, and governing the whole creation. By Him all things are held together. (Coloss. i. 17.) He gave to all life and breath, rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons. By Him kings reigned, and nations were increased or diminished. Yet men knew Him not, and honoured Him not. They worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator. (Rom. i. 25.) Well may the natural heart be called wicked! But Christ came visibly into the world, when He was born at Bethlehem, and fared no better. He came to the very people whom He had brought out from Egypt, and purchased for His own. He came to the Jews, whom He had separated from other nations, and to whom He had revealed Himself by the prophets. He came to those very Jews who had read of Him in the Old Testament Scriptures,seen Him under types and figures in their temple services,and professed to be waiting for His coming. And yet, when He came, those very Jews received Him not. They even rejected Him, despised Him, and slew Him. Well may the natural heart be called desperately wicked! We see, lastly, in these verses, the vast privileges of all who receive Christ, and believe on Him. We are told that as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become you sons of God, even to those who believe on His name. Christ will never be without some servants. If the vast majority of the Jews did not receive Him as the Messiah, there were, at any rate, a few who did. To them He gave the privilege of being Gods children. He adopted them as members of His Fathers family. He reckoned them His own brethren and sisters, bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh. He conferred on them a dignity which was ample recompense for the cross which they had to carry for His sake. He made them sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. Privileges like these, be it remembered, are the possession of all, in every age, who receive Christ by faith, and follow Him as their Savour. They are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal. iii. 26.) They are born again by a new and heavenly birth, and adopted into the family of the King of kings. Few in number, and despised by the world as they are, they are cared for with infinite love by a Father in heaven, who, for His Sons sake, is well pleased with them. In time He provides them with everything that is for their good. In eternity He will give them a crown of glory that fades not away. These are great things! But faith in Christ gives men an ample title to them. Good masters care for their servants, and Christ cares for His. Are we ourselves sons of God? Have we been born again? Have we the marks which always accompany the new birth,sense of sin, faith in Jesus, love of others, righteous living, separation from the world? Let us never be content until we can give a satisfactory answer to these questions. Do we desire to be sons of God? Then let us receive Christ as our Savour, and believe on Him with the heart. To every one that so receives Him, He will give the privilege of becoming a son of God. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:1317 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");
continue reading Lords Day 24, 2009

Lords Day 25, 2009

Sunday··2009·06·21
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. THE HOME SICKNESS. Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) civitas sancta, civitas speciosa, de longinquo te saluto, ad te clamo, te requiro.Augustine, De Spir. et Anim. And whence this weariness,    This gathering cloud of gloom? Whence this dull weight of loneliness,    These greedy cravings for the tomb? These greedier cravings for the hopes that lie Beyond the tomb, beyond the things that die; Beyond the smiles and joys that come and go, Fevering the spirit with their fitful flow; Beyond the circle where the shadows fall; Within the region where my God is all. It is not that I fear       To breast the storm or wrestle with the wave,       To swim the torrent or the blast to brave,       To toil or suffer in this day of strife       As He may will who gave this struggling life, But I am homesick! It is not that the cross       Is heavier than this drooping frame can bear,       Or that I find no kindred heart to share       The burden, which, in these last days of ill,       Seems to press heavier, sharper, sorer still, But I am homesick! It is not that the snare       Is laid around for my unwary feet.       And that a thousand wily tempters greet       My slippery steps and lead me far astray       From that safe guidance of the narrow way, But I am homesick! It is not that the path       Is rough and perilous, beset with foes,       From the first step down to its weary close,       Strewn with the flint, the briar, and the thorn.       That wound my limbs and leave my raiment torn, But I am homesick! It is not that the sky       Is darkly sad, and the unloving air       Chills me to fainting; and the clouds that there       Hang over me seem signal clouds unfurled,       Portending wrath to an unready world, But I am homesick! It is not that the earth       Has grown less bright and fair,that these grey hills,       These ever-lapsing, ever-lulling rills,       And these breeze-haunted woods, that ocean clear,       Have now become less beautiful, less dear, But I am homesick!    Let me, then, weary be!       I shrink not, murmur not;    In all this homelessness I see       The Churchs pilgrim-lot;    Her lot until her absent Lord shall come,    And the long homeless here, shall find a home.    Then no more weariness!       No gathering cloud of gloom;    Then no dull weight of loneliness,       No greedy cravings for the tomb:    For death shall then be swallowed up of life,    And the glad victory shall end the strife! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 1:14    14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. The passage of Scripture now before us is very short, if we measure it by words. But it is very long, if we measure it by the nature of its contents. The substance of it is so immensely important that we shall do well to give it separate and distinct consideration. This single verse contains more than enough matter for a whole exposition. The main truth which this verse teaches is the reality of our Lord Jesus Christs incarnation, or being made man. St. John tells us that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. The plain meaning of these words is, that our divine Saviour really took human nature upon Him, in order to save sinners. He really became a man like ourselves in all things, sin only excepted. Like ourselves, he was born of a woman, though born in a miraculous manner. Like ourselves, He grew from infancy to boyhood, and from boyhood to mans estate, both in wisdom and in stature. (Luke ii. 52.) Like ourselves, he hungered, thirsted, ate, drank, slept, was wearied, felt pain, wept, rejoiced, marvelled, was moved to anger and compassion. Having be come flesh, and taken a body, He prayed, read the Scriptures, suffered being tempted, and submitted His human will to the will of God the Father. And finally, in the same body, He really suffered and shed His blood, really died, was really buried, really rose again, and really ascended up into heaven. And yet all this time He was God as well as man! This union of two natures in Christs one Person is doubtless one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian religion. It needs to be carefully stated. It is just one of those great truths which are not meant to be curiously pried into, but to be reverently believed. . . . But while we do not pretend to explain the union of two natures in our Lord Jesus Christs Person, we must not hesitate to fence the subject with well-defined cautions. While we state most carefully what we do believe, we must not shrink from declaring boldly what we do not believe. We must never forget, that though our Lord was God and man at the same time, the divine and human natures in Him were never confounded. One nature did not swallow up the other. The two natures remained perfect and distinct. The divinity of Christ was never for a moment laid aside, although veiled. The manhood of Christ, during His life-time, was never for a moment unlike our own, though by union with the Godhead, greatly dignified. Though perfect God, Christ has always been perfect man from the first moment of His incarnation. He that is gone into heaven, and is sitting at the Fathers right hand to intercede for sinners, is man as well as God. Though perfect man, Christ never ceased to be perfect God. He that suffered for sin on the cross, and was made sin for us, was God manifest in the flesh. The blood with which the Church was purchased, is called the blood of God. (Acts xx. 28.) Though He became flesh in the fullest sense, when He was born of the Virgin Mary, He never at any period ceased to be the Eternal Word. To say . . . that at any instant of His earthly ministry He was not fully and entirely God, is nothing less than heresy. The cautions just given may seem at first sight needless, wearisome, and hair-splitting. It is precisely the neglect of such cautions which ruins many souls. This constant undivided union of two perfect natures in Christs Person is exactly that which gives infinite value to His mediation, and qualifies Him to be the very Mediator that sinners need. Our Mediator is One who can sympathize with us, because He is very man. And yet, at the same time, He is One who can deal with the Father for us on equal terms, because He is very God.It is the same union which gives infinite value to His righteousness, when imputed to believers. It is the righteousness of One who was God as well as man.It is the same union which gives infinite value to the atoning blood which He shed for sinners on the cross. It is the blood of One who was God as well as man.It is the same union which gives infinite value to His resurrection. When He rose again, as the Head of the body of believers, He rose not as a mere man, but as God.Let those things sink deeply into our hearts. The second Adam is far greater than the first Adam was. The first Adam was only man, and so he fell. The second Adam was God as well as man, and so He completely conquered. Let us leave the subject with feelings of deep gratitude and thankfulness. It is full of abounding consolation for al who know Christ by faith, and believe on Him. Did the Word become flesh? Then He is One who can be touched with the feeling of His peoples infirmities, because He has suffered Himself, being tempted. He is almighty because He is God, and yet He can feel with us, because He is man. Did the Word become flesh? Then He can supply us with a perfect pattern and example for our daily life. Had He walked among us as an angel or a spirit, we could never have copied Him. But having dwelt among us as a man, we know that the true standard of holiness is to walk even as He walked. (1 John ii. 6.) He is a perfect pattern, because He is God. But He is also a pattern exactly suited to our wants, because He is man. Finally, did the Word become flesh? Then let us see in our mortal bodies a real, true dignity, and not defile them by sin. Vile and weak as our body may seem, it is a body which the Eternal Son of God was not ashamed to take upon Himself, and to take up to heaven. That simple fact is a pledge that He will raise our bodies at the last day, and glorify them together with His own. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:2428 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");
continue reading Lords Day 25, 2009

Lords Day 26, 2009

Sunday··2009·06·28
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Kept by God Jehovah God, Thou Creator, Upholder, Proprietor of all things, I cannot escape from thy presence or control, nor do I desire to do so. My privilege is to be under the agency of omnipotence, righteousness, wisdom, patience, mercy, grace. Thou art love with more than parental affection; I admire thy heart, adore thy wisdom, stand in awe of thy power, abase myself before    thy purity. It is the discovery of thy goodness alone that can banish my fear, allure me into thy presence, help me to bewail and confess my sins. When I review my past guilt and am conscious of my present unworthiness    I tremble to come to thee,    I whose foundation is in the dust,    I who have condemned thy goodness,       defied thy power,       trampled upon thy love,       rendered myself worthy of eternal death. But my recovery cannot spring from any cause in me, I can destroy but cannot save myself. Yet thou hast laid help on One that is mighty, for there is mercy with thee, and exceeding riches in thy kindness    through Jesus. May I always feel my need of him. Let thy restored joy be my strength; May it keep me from lusting after the world, bear up heart and mind in loss of comforts, enliven me in the valley of death, work in me the image of the heavenly, and give me to enjoy the first fruits of spirituality,    such as angels and departed saints know. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). John 1:1518 15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me. 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. The passage before us contains three great declarations about our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of the three is among the foundation principles of Christianity. We are taught, firstly, that it is Christ alone who supplies all the spiritual wants of all believers. It is written that of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace. There is an infinite fulness in Jesus Christ. As St. Paul says, It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Coloss. i. 19; ii. 8.) There is laid up in Him, as in a treasury, a boundless supply of all that any sinner can need, either in time or eternity. The Spirit of Life is His special gift to the Church, and conveys from Him, as from a great root, sap and vigour to all the believing branches. He is rich in mercy, grace, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Out of Christs fulness, all believers in every age of the world, have been supplied. They did not clearly understand the fountain from which their supplies flowed, in Old Testament times. The Old Testament saints only saw Christ afar off, and not face to face. But from Abel downwards, all saved souls have received all they have had from Jesus Christ alone. Every saint in glory will at last acknowledge that he is Christs debtor for all he is. Jesus will prove to have been all in all. We are taught, secondly, the vast superiority of Christ to Moses, and of the Gospel to the Law. It is written that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Moses was employed by God as a servant, to convey to Israel the moral and ceremonial law. (Heb. iii. 5.) As a servant, he was faithful to Him who appointed him, but he was only a servant. The moral law, which he brought down from Mount Sinai, was holy, and just, and good. But it could not justify. It had no healing power. It could wound, but it could not bind up. It worked wrath. (Rom. iv. 15.) It pronounced a curse against any imperfect obedience.The ceremonial law, which he was commanded to impose on Israel, was full of deep meaning and typical instruction. Its ordinances and ceremonies made it an excellent schoolmaster to guide men toward Christ. (Gal. iii. 24.) But the ceremonial law was only a schoolmaster. It could not make him that kept it perfect, as pertaining to the conscience. (Heb. ix. 9.) It laid a grievous yoke on mens hearts, which they were not able to bear. It wag a ministration of death and condemnation. (2 Cor. iii 79.) The light which men got from Moses and the law was at best only starlight compared to noon-day. Christ, on the other hand, came into the world as a Son, with the keys of Gods treasury of grace and truth entirely in His hands. (Heb. iii. 6.) Grace came by Him, when He made fully known Gods gracious plan of salvation, by faith in His own blood, and opened the fountain of mercy to all the world.Truth came by Him, when He fulfilled in His own Person the types of the Old Testament, and revealed Himself as the true Sacrifice, the true mercy-seat, and the true Priest. No doubt there was much of grace and truth under the law of Moses. But the whole of Gods grace, and the whole truth about redemption, were never known until Jesus came into the world, and died for sinners. We are taught, thirdly, that it is Christ alone who has revealed God the father to man. It is written that no man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. The eye of mortal man has never beheld God the Father. No man could bear the right. Even to Moses it was said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. (Exod. xxxiii. 20.) Yet all that mortal man is capable of knowing about God the Father is fully revealed to us by God the Son. He, who was in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, has been pleased to take our nature upon Him, and to exhibit to us in the form of man, all that our minds can comprehend of the Fathers perfections. In Christs words, and deeds, and life, and death, we learn as much concerning God the Father as our feeble minds can at present bear. His perfect wisdom,His almighty power,His unspeakable love to sinners,His incomparable holiness, His hatred of sin, could never be represented to our eyes more clearly than we see them in Christs life and death. In truth, God was manifest in the flesh, when the Word took on Him a body. He was the brightness of the Fathers glory, and the express image of His person. He says Himself, I and my Father are one. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Coloss. ii. 9.) These are deep and mysterious things. But they are true. (1 Tim. iii. 16; Heb. i. 3; John x. 30; xiv. 9.) And now, after reading this passage, can we ever give too much honour to Christ? Can we ever think too highly of Him? Let us banish the unworthy thought from our minds for ever. Let us learn to exalt Him more in our hearts, and to rest more confidingly the whole weight of our souls in His hands. Men may easily fall into error about the three Persons in the holy Trinity if they do not carefully adhere to the teaching of Scripture. But no man ever errs on the side of giving too much honour to God the Son. Christ is the meeting-point between the Trinity and the sinners soul. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which sent Him. (John v. 23.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:3437 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");
continue reading Lords Day 26, 2009

Lords Day 27, 2009

Sunday··2009·07·05 · 1 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN 27 (C. M.) Assurance of heaven. 2 Tim. iv. 68, 18. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Death may dissolve my body now, And bear my spirit home; Why do my minutes move so slow, Nor my salvation come? With heavnly weapons I have fought    The battles of the Lord; Finished my course, and kept the faith,    And wait the sure reward.] God has laid up in heavn for me    A crown which cannot fade; The righteous Judge at that great day    Shall place it on my head. Nor hath the King of grace decreed    This prize for me alone; But all that love and long to see    Th appearance of his Son. Jesus the Lord shall guard me safe    From every ill design; And to his heavnly kingdom keep    This feeble soul of mine. God is my everlasting aid,    And hell shall rage in vain; To him be highest glory paid    And endless praiseAmen. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures John 1:1928 19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who are you? 20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21They asked him, What then? Are you Elijah? And he said, I am not. Are you the Prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then they said to him, Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself? 23 He said, I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, and said to him, Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet? 26 John answered them saying, I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie. 28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The verses we have now read begin the properly historical part of Johns Gospel. Hitherto we have been reading deep and weighty statements about Christs divine nature, incarnation, and dignity. Now we come to the plain narrative of the days of Christs earthly ministry, and the plain story of Christs doings and sayings among men. And here, like the other Gospel-writers, John begins at once with the record or testimony of John the Baptist. (Matt. iii. 1; Mark i. 2; Luke iii. 2.) We have, for one thing, in these verses, an instructive example of true humility. That example is supplied by John the Baptist himself. John the Baptist was an eminent saint of God. There are few names which stand higher than his in the Bible calendar of great and good men. The Lord Jesus Himself declared that Among those who are born of woman there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist. (Matt. xi. 11.) The Lord Jesus Himself declared that he was a burning and a shining light. (John v. 35.) Yet here in this passage we see this eminent saint lowly, self-abased, and full of humility. He puts away from himself the honor which the Jews from Jerusalem were ready to pay him. He declines all flattering titles. He speaks of himself as nothing more than the voice of one crying in the wilderness, and as one who baptized with water. He proclaims loudly that there is One standing among the Jews far greater than himself, One whose shoe-latchet he is not worthy to unloose. He claims honor not for himself but for Christ. To exalt Christ was his mission, and to that mission he steadfastly adheres. The greatest saints of God in every age of the Church have always been men of John the Baptists spirit. In gifts, and knowledge, and general character they have often differed widely. But in one respect they have always been alike;they have been clothed with humility. (1 Pet. v. 5.) They have not sought their own honor. They have thought little of themselves. They have been ever willing to decrease if Christ might only increase, to be nothing if Christ might be all. And here has been the secret of the honor God has put upon them. He that humbles himself shall be exalted. (Luke xiv. 11.) If we profess to have any real Christianity, let us strive to be of John the Baptists spirit. Let us study humility. This is the grace with which all must begin, who would be saved. We have no true religion about us, until we cast away our high thoughts, and feel ourselves sinners.This is the grace which all saints may follow after, and which none have any excuse for neglecting. All Gods children have not gifts, or money, or time to work, or a wide sphere of usefulness; but all may be humble.This is the grace, above all, which will appear most beautiful in our latter end. Never shall we feel the need of humility so deeply, as when we lie on our deathbeds, and stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. Our whole lives will then appear a long catalogue of imperfections, ourselves nothing, and Christ all. We have, for another thing, in these verses, a mournful example of the blindness of unconverted men. That example is supplied by the state of the Jews who came to question John the Baptist. These Jews professed to be waiting for the appearance of Messiah. Like all the Pharisees they prided themselves on being children of Abraham, and possessors of the covenants. They rested in the law, and made their boast of God. They professed to know Gods will, and to believe Gods promises. They were confident that they themselves were guides of the blind, and lights of those who sat in darkness. (Rom. ii. 1719.) And yet at this very moment their souls were utterly in the dark. There was standing among them, as John the Baptist told them, One whom they knew not. Christ Himself, the promised Messiah, was in the midst of them, and yet they neither knew Him, nor saw Him, nor received Him, nor acknowledged Him, nor believed Him. And worse than this, the vast majority of them never would know Him! The words of John the Baptist are a prophetic description of a state of things which lasted during the whole of our Lords earthly ministry. Christ stood among the Jews, and yet the Jews knew Him not, and the greater part of them died in their sins. It is a solemn thought that John the Baptists words in this place apply strictly to thousands in the present day. Christ is still standing among many who neither see, nor know, nor believe. Christ is passing by in many a parish and many a congregation, and the vast majority have neither an eye to see Him, nor an ear to hear Him. The spirit of slumber seems poured out upon them. Money, and pleasure, and the world they know; but they know not Christ. The kingdom of God is close to them; but they sleep. Salvation is within their reach; but they sleep. Mercy, grace, peace, heaven, eternal life, are so near that they might touch them; and yet they sleep. Christ stands among them and they know him not. These are sorrowful things to write down. But every faithful minister of Christ can testify, like John the Baptist, that they are true. What are we doing ourselves? This, after all, is the great question that concerns us. Do we know the extent of our religious privileges in this country, and in these times? Are we aware that Christ is going to and fro in our land, inviting souls to join Him and to be His disciples? Do we know that the time is short and that the door of mercy will soon be closed for evermore? Do we know that Christ rejected will soon be Christ withdrawn? Happy are they who can give a good account of these inquiries and who know the day of their visitation! (Luke xix. 44.) It will be better at the last day never to have been born, than to have had Christ standing among us and not to have known Him.J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:4346 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");
continue reading Lords Day 27, 2009

Lords Day 28, 2009

Sunday··2009·07·12
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN XVIII The Golden Calf    Ex. xxxii. 4, 31. by John Newton (17251807) WHEN Israel heard the fiery law, From Sinais top proclaimd; Their hearts seemed full of holy awe, Their stubborn spirits tamd. Yet, as forgetting all they knew,    Ere forty days were past; With blazing Sinai still in view,    A molten calf they cast. Yea, Aaron, Gods anointed priest,    Who on the mount had been He durst prepare the idolbeast,    And lead them on to sin. Lord, what is man! and what are we,    To recompense thee thus! In their offence our own we see,    Their story points at us. From Sinai we have heard thee speak,    And from mount Calvry too; And yet to idols oft we seek,    While thou art in our view. Some golden calf, or golden dream,    Some fancyd creaturegood, Presumes to share the heart with him,    Who bought the whole with blood. Lord, save us from our golden calves,    Our sin with grief we own; We would no more be thine by halves,    But live to thee alone. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 1:2934 Johns Witness at Christs Baptism Mt. 3:1317; Mk. 1:911; Lk. 3:21, 22    29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me. 31 I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water. 32 John testified saying, I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. 34 I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God. This passage contains a verse which ought to be printed in great letters in the memory of every reader of the Bible. All the stars in heaven are bright and beautiful, and yet one star exceeds another star in glory. So also all texts of Scripture are inspired and profitable, and yet some texts are richer than others. Of such texts the first verse before us is preeminently one. Never was there a fuller testimony borne to Christ upon earth, than that which is here borne by John the Baptist. Let us notice, firstly, in this passage, the peculiar name which John the Baptist gives to Christ. He calls Him The Lamb of God. This name did not merely mean, as some have supposed, that Christ was meek and gentle as a lamb. This would be truth no doubt, but only a very small portion of the truth. There are greater things here than this! It meant that Christ was the great sacrifice for sin, who was come to make atonement for transgression by His own death upon the cross. He was the true Lamb which Abraham told Isaac at Moriah God would provide. (Gen. xxii. 8.) He was the true Lamb to which every morning and evening sacrifice in the temple had daily pointed. He was the Lamb of which Isaiah had prophesied, that He would be brought to the slaughter. (Isaiah liii. 7.) He was the true Lamb of which the passover lamb in Egypt had been a vivid type. In short, He was the great propitiation for sin which God had covenanted from all eternity to send into the world. He was Gods Lamb. Let us take heed that in all our thoughts of Christ, we first think of Him as John the Baptist here represents Him. Let us serve him faithfully as our Master. Let us obey Him loyally as our King. Let us study His teaching as our Prophet. Let us walk diligently after Him as our Example. Let us look anxiously for Him as our coming Redeemer of body as well as soul. But above all, let us prize Him as our Sacrifice, and rest our whole weight on His death as an atonement for sin. Let His blood be more precious in our eyes every year we live. Whatever else we glory in about Christ, let us glory above all things in His cross. This is the corner-stone, this is the citadel, this is the rule of true Christian theology. We know nothing rightly about Christ, until we see him with John the Baptists eyes, and can rejoice in Him as the Lamb that was slain. Let us notice, secondly, in this passage, the peculiar work which John the Baptist describes Christ as doing. He says that he taketh away the sin of the world. Christ is a Saviour. He did not come on earth to be a conqueror, or a philosopher, or a mere teacher of morality. He came to save sinners. He came to do that which man could never do for himself,to do that which money and learning can never obtain,to do that which is essential to mans real happiness,He came to take away sin. Christ is a complete Saviour. He takes away sin. He did not merely make vague proclamations of pardon, mercy, and forgiveness. He took our sins upon Himself, and carried them away. He allowed them to be laid upon Himself, and bore them in His own body on the tree. (1 Pet. ii. 24.) The sins of every one that believes on Jesus are made as though they had never been sinned at all. The Lamb of God has taken them clean away. Christ is an almighty Saviour, and a Saviour for all mankind. He takes away the sin of the world. He did not die for the Jews only, but for the Gentile as well as the Jew. He did not suffer for a few people only, but for all mankind. The payment that He made on the cross was more than enough to make satisfaction for the debts of all. The blood that He shed was precious enough to wash away the sins of all. His atonement on the cross was sufficient for all mankind, though efficient only to those who believe. The sin that He took up and bore on the cross was the sin of the whole world. Last, but not least, Christ is a perpetual and unwearied Saviour. He takes away sin. He is daily taking it away from every one that believes on Him,daily purging, daily cleansing, daily washing the souls of His people, daily granting and applying fresh supplies of mercy. He did not cease to work for His saints, when He died for them on the cross. He lives in heaven as a Priest, to present His sacrifice continually before God. In grace as well as is providence, Christ works still. He is ever taking away sin. These are golden truths indeed. Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if they were used by all who know them! Our very familiarity with texts like these is one of our greatest dangers. Blessed are they who not only keep this text in their memories, but feed upon it in their hearts! Let us notice, lastly, in this passage, the peculiar office which John the Baptist attributes to Christ. He speaks of Him as Him who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. The baptism here spoken of is not the baptism of water. It does not consist either of dipping or sprinkling. It does not belong exclusively either to infants or to grown up people. It is not a baptism which any man can give, Episcopalian or Presbyterian, Independent or Methodist, layman or minister. It is a baptism which the great Head of the Church keeps exclusively in His own hands. It consists of the implanting of grace into the inward man. It is the same thing with the new birth. It is a baptism, not of the body, but of the heart. It is a baptism which the penitent thief received, though neither dipped nor sprinkled by the hand of man. It is a baptism which Ananias and Sapphira did not receive, though admitted into church-communion by apostolic men. Let it be a settled principle in our religion that the baptism of which John the Baptist speaks here, is the baptism which is absolutely necessary to salvation. It is well to be baptized into the visible Church; but it is far better to be baptized into that Church which is made up of true believers. The baptism of water is a most blessed and profitable ordinance, and cannot be neglected without great sin. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit is of far greater importance. The man who dies with his heart not baptized by Christ can never be saved. Let us ask ourselves, as we leave this passage, Whether we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, and whether we have any real interest in the Lamb of God? Thousands, unhappily, are wasting their time in controversy about water baptism, and neglecting the baptism of the heart. Thousands more are content with a head-knowledge of the Lamb of God, or have never sought Him by faith, that their own sins may be actually taken away. Let us take heed that we ourselves have new hearts, and believe to the saving of our souls. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:5458. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 28, 2009

Lords Day 29, 2009

Sunday··2009·07·19
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM XVII. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) O may I never rest Till I find rest in thee; Till of my pardon here possessd I feel thy love to me! Unseal my darkend eyes, My fetterd feet unbind, The lame shall, when thou sayst Arise, Run swifter than the hind. O draw the alien near,    Bend the obdurate neck, O melt the flint into a tear,    And teach the dumb to speak: Turn not thy face away.    Thy look can make me clean; Me in thy wedding robe array,    And cover all my sin. Tell me, my God, for whom    Thy precious blood was shed; For sinners! Lord, as such I come,    For such the Saviour bled: Then raise a fallen wretch,    Display thy grace in me! I am not out of mercys reach,    Nor too far gone for thee. Thou quickly wilt forgive,    My Lord will not delay; Jesus, to thee the time I leave,    And wait the accepted day: I now rejoice in hope    That I shall be made clean: Thy grace shall surely lift me up    Above the reach of sin. Hast thou not died for me,    And calld me from below! O help me to lay hold on thee,    And neer to let ,thee go! Though on the billows tossd,    My Saviour Ill pursue: Awhile submit to bear his cross,    Then share his glory too. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). John 1:3542 Andrew and Peter follow Christ   35 Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, Behold, the Lamb of God! 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying? 39 He said to them, Come, and you will see. So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is translated Peter). These verses ought always to be interesting to every true Christian. They describe the first beginnings of the Christian Church. Vast as that church is now, there was a time when it consisted of only two weak members. The calling of those two members is described in the passage which is now before our eyes. We see, for one thing, in these verses, what good is done by continually testifying of Christ. The first time that John the Baptist cried, Behold the Lamb of God, no result appears to have followed. We are not told of any who heard, inquired, and believed. But when he repeated the same words the next day, we read that two of his disciples heard him speak and followed Jesus. They were received most graciously by Him whom they followed. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day. Truly it was a day in their lives most eventful, and most blessed! From that day they became fast and firm disciples of the new-found Messiah. They took up the cross. They continued with Him in His temptations. They followed Him wherever He went. One of them at least, if not both, became a chosen apostle, and a master builder in the Christian temple. And all was owing to John the Baptists testimony, Behold the lamb of God. That testimony was a little seed. But it bore mighty fruits. This simple story is a pattern of the way in which good has been done to souls in every age of the Christian Church. By such testimony as that before us, and by none else, men and women are converted and saved. It is by exalting Christ, not the church,Christ, not the sacraments,Christ, not the ministry,it is by this means that hearts are moved, and sinners are turned to God. To the world such testimony may seem weakness and foolishness. Yet, like the rams horns, before whose blast the walls of Jericho fell down, this testimony is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. The story of the crucified Lamb of God has proved in every age, the power of God unto salvation. Those who have done most for Christs cause in every part of the world, have been men like John the Baptist. They have not cried, Behold me, or Behold the church, or Behold the ordinances, but Behold the Lamb. If souls are to be saved, men must be pointed directly to Christ. One thing, however, must never be forgotten. There must be patient continuance in preaching and teaching the truth, if we want good to be done. Christ must be set forth again and again, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The story of grace must be told repeatedly,line upon line, and precept upon precept. It is the constant dropping which wears away the stone. The promise shall never be broken, that Gods word shall not return unto him void. (Isaiah lv. 11.) But it is nowhere said that it shall do good the very first time that it is preached. It was not the first proclamation of John the Baptist, but the second, which made Andrew and his companion follow Jesus. We see, for another thing, what good a believer may do to others, by speaking to them about Christ. No sooner does Andrew become a disciple, than he tells his brother Simon what a discovery he has made. Like one who has unexpectedly heard good tidings, he hastens to impart it to the one nearest and dearest to him. He says to his brother, We have found the Messias, and he brings him to Jesus. Who can tell what might have happened if Andrew had been of a silent, reserved, and uncommunicative spirit, like many a Christian in the present day? Who can tell but his brother might have lived and died a fisherman on the Galilean lake? But happily for Simon, Andrew was not a man of this sort. He was one whose heart was so full that he must speak. And to Andrews out-spoken testimony, under God, the great apostle Peter owed the first beginning of light in his soul. The fact before us is most striking and instructive. Out of the three first members of the Christian Church, one at least was brought to Jesus, by the private, quiet word of a relative. He seems to have heard no public preaching. He saw no mighty miracle wrought. He was not convinced by any powerful reasoning. He only heard his brother telling him that he had found a Saviour himself, and at once the work began in his soul. The simple testimony of a warm-hearted brother was the first link in the chain by which Peter was drawn out of the world, and joined to Christ. The first blow in that mighty work by which Peter was made a pillar of the Church, was struck by Andrews words, We have found the Christ. Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if all believers were more like Andrew! Well would it be for souls if all men and women who have been converted themselves, would speak to their friends and relatives on spiritual subjects, and tell them what they have found! How much good might be done! How many might be led to Jesus, who now live and die in unbelief! The work of testifying the Gospel of the grace of God ought not to be left to ministers alone. All who have received mercy ought to find a tongue, and to declare what God has done for their souls. All who have been delivered from the power of the devil, ought to go home and tell their friends what great things God has done for them. (Mark v. 19.) Thousands, humanly speaking, would listen to a word from a friend, who will not listen to a sermon. Every believer ought to be a home-missionary, a missionary to his family, children, servants, neighbors, and friends. Surely, if we can find nothing to say to others about Jesus, we may well doubt whether we are savingly acquainted with Him ourselves. Let us take heed that we are among those who really follow Christ, and abide with Him. It is not enough to hear Him preached from the pulpit, and to read of Him as described in books. We must actually follow Him, pour out our hearts before Him, and hold personal communion with Him. Then, and not until then, we shall feel constrained to speak of Him to others. The man who only knows Christ by the hearing of the ear, will never do much for the spread of Christs cause in the earth. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:6870. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 29, 2009

Lords Day 30, 2009

Sunday··2009·07·26
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Applying for Relief to the All-Sufficiency of Christ Samuel Davies (17231761) I hear the counsel of a Friend; To the kind voice, my soul, attend. Come, sinners, wretched, blind, and poor, Come, draw from My unbounded store. I only ask you to receive, For freely I My blessings give. Jesus, and are thy treasurers free, Then I may dare to come to Thee? I come for grace, that gold refined, To enrich and beautify my mind, Grace that will trials well endure, By trials more divinely pure. Naked I come for that bright dress, Thy perfect spotless righteousness, That glorious robe, so richly dyed In Thine own blood, my shame to hide. Like Bartimaeus, Lord, to Thee I come; oh, give the blind to see! Een clay is eye-salve in Thine hand, If Thou the blessing but command. Poor, naked, blind I hither came, Oh, let me not depart the same! Let me return, all-gracious Lord, Enriched, adorned, to sight restored. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 1:4351 Phillip and Nathanael Follow Christ   43 The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip And Jesus said to him, Follow Me. 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wroteJesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46 Nathanael said to him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit! 48 Nathanael said to Him, How do You know me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. 49 Nathanael answered Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these. 51 And He said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Let us observe, as we read these verses, how various are the paths by which souls are led into the narrow way of life. We are told of a man, named Philip, being added to the little company of Christs disciples. He does not appear to have been moved, like Andrew and his companions, by the testimony of John the Baptist. He was not drawn, like Simon Peter, by the out-spoken declaration of a brother. He seems to have been called directly by Christ Himself, and the agency of man seems not to have been used in his calling. Yet in faith and life he became one with those who were disciples before him. Though led by different paths, they all entered the same road, embraced the same truths, served the same Master, and at length reached the same home. The fact before us is a deeply important one. It throws light on the history of all Gods people in every age, and of every tongue. There are diversities of operations in the saving of souls. All true Christians are led by one Spirit, washed in one blood, serve one Lord, lean on one Saviour, believe one truth, and walk by one general rule. But all are not converted in one and the same manner. All do not pass through the same experience. In conversion, the Holy Spirit acts as a sovereign. He calleth every one severally as He will. A careful recollection of this point may save us much trouble. We must beware of making the experience of other believers the measure of our own. We must beware of denying anothers grace, because he has not been led by the same way as ourselves. Has a man got the real grace of God? This is the only question that concerns us.Is he a penitent man? Is he a believer? Does he live a holy life?Provided these inquiries can be answered satisfactorily, we may well be content. It matters nothing by what path a man has been led, if he has only been led at last into the right way. Let us observe, secondly, in these verses, how much of Christ there is in the Old Testament Scriptures. We read that when Philip described Christ to Nathanael, he says, We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write. Christ is the sum and substance of the Old Testament. To Him the earliest promises pointed in the days of Adam, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. To Him every sacrifice pointed in the ceremonial worship appointed at Mount Sinai. Of Him every high priest was a type, and every part of the tabernacle was a shadow, and every judge and deliverer of Israel was a figure. He was the prophet like unto Moses, whom the Lord God promised to send, and the King of the house of David, who came to be Davids Lord as well as son. He was the Son of the virgin, and the Lamb, foretold by Isaiah,the righteous Branch mentioned by Jeremiah,the true Shepherd, foreseen by Ezekiel,the Messenger of the Covenant, promised by Malachi,and the Messiah, who, according to Daniel, was to be cut off, though not for Himself. The further we read in the volume of the Old Testament, the clearer do we find the testimony about Christ. The light which the inspired writers enjoyed in ancient days was, at best, but dim, compared to that of the Gospel. But the coming Person they all saw afar off, and on whom they all fixed their eyes, was one and the same. The Spirit, which was in them, testified of Christ. (1 Pet. i. 11) Do we stumble at this saying? Do we find it hard to see Christ in the Old Testament, because we do not see His name? Let us be sure that the fault is all our own. It is our spiritual vision which is to blame, and not the book. The eyes of our understanding need to be enlightened. The veil has yet to be taken away. Let us pray for a more humble, childlike, and teachable spirit, and let us take up Moses and the prophets again. Christ is there, though our eyes may not yet have seen Him. May we never rest until we can subscribe to our Lords words about the Old Testament Scriptures, They are they which testify of me. (John v. 39.) Let us observe, thirdly, in these verses, the good advice which Philip gave to Nathanael. The mind of Nathanael was full of doubts about the Saviour, of whom Philip told Him. Can there any good thing, he said, come out of Nazareth? And what did Philip reply? He said, Come and see. Wiser counsel than this it would be impossible to conceive! If Philip had reproved Nathanaels unbelief, he might have driven him back for many a day, and given offence. If he had reasoned with him, he might have failed to convince him, or might have confirmed him in his doubts. But by inviting him to prove the matter for himself, he showed his entire confidence in the truth of his own assertion, and his willingness to have it tested and proved. And the result shows the wisdom of Philips words. Nathanael owed his early acquaintance with Christ to that frank invitation, Come and see. If we call ourselves true Christians, let us never be afraid to deal with people about their souls as Philip dealt with Nathanael. Let us invite them boldly to make proof of our religion. Let us tell them confidently that they cannot know its real value until they have tried it. Let us assure them that vital Christianity courts every possible inquiry. It has no secrets. It has nothing to conceal. Its faith and practice are spoken against, just because they are not known. Its enemies speak evil of things with which they are not acquainted. They understand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm. Philips mode of dealing, we may be sure, is one principal way to do good. Few are ever moved by reasoning and argument. Still fewer are frightened into repentance. The man who does most good to souls, is often the simple believer who says to his friends, I have found a Saviour; come and see Him. Let us observe, lastly, in these verses, the high character which Jesus gives of Nathanael. He calleth him an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile. Nathanael, there can be no doubt, was a true child of God, and a child of God in difficult times. He was one of a very little flock. Like Simeon and Anna, and other pious Jews, he was living by faith and waiting prayerfully for the promised Redeemer, when our Lords ministry began. He had that which grace alone can give, an honest heart, a heart without guile. His knowledge was probably small. His spiritual eyesight was dim. But he was one who had lived carefully up to his light. He had diligently used such knowledge as he possessed. His eye had been single, though his vision had not been strong. His spiritual judgment had been honest, though it had not been powerful. What he saw in Scripture, he had held firmly, in spite of Pharisees and Sadducees, and all the fashionable religion of the day. He was an honest Old Testament believer, who had stood alone. And here was the secret of our Lord peculiar commendation! He declared Nathanael to be a true son of Abraham,a Jew inwardly, possessing circumcision in the spirit as well as in the letter,an Israelite in heart, as well as a son of Jacob in the flesh. Let us pray that we may be of the same spirit as Nathanael. An honest, unprejudiced mind,a child-like willingness to follow the truth, wherever the truth may lead us,a simple, hearty desire to be guided, taught, and led by the Spirit,a thorough determination to use every spark of light which we have,are a possession of priceless value. A man of this spirit may live in the midst of much darkness, and be surrounded by every possible disadvantage to his soul. But the Lord Jesus will take care that such a man does not miss the way to heaven. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. (Psalm xxv. 9.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:7680 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");
continue reading Lords Day 30, 2009

Lords Day 31, 2009

Sunday··2009·08·02
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. THE LAND OF LIGHT. Horatius Bonar (18081889) That clime is not this dull clime of ours; All, all is brightness there; A sweeter influence breathes around its flowers, And a far milder air. No calm below is like that calm above. No region here is like that realm of love; Earths softest spring neer shed so soft a light. Earths brightest summer never shone so bright. That sky is not like this sad sky of ours,    Tinged with earths change and care: No shadow dims it, and no rain-cloud lowers,    No broken sunshine there! One everlasting stretch of azure pours Its stainless splendor oer these sinless shores; For there Jehovah shines with heavenly ray, There Jesus reigns dispensing endless day. Those dwellers there are not like these of earth.    No mortal stain they bear; And yet they seem of kindred hlood and hirth,    Whence, and how came they there? Earth was their native soil, from sin and shame, Through tribulation they to glory came; Bond-slaves delivered from sins crushing load. Brands plucked from burning by the hand of God. Those robes of theirs are not for these below;    No angels half so bright! Whence came that beauty, whence that living glow?    Whence came that radiant white? Washed in the blood of the atoning Lamb, Fair as the light those robes of theirs became, And now, all tears wiped off from every eye, They wander where the freshest pastures lie, Through all the nightless day of that unfading    sky! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). The Gospel According to John Christ Changes Water to Wine2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, They have no wine. 4 And Jesus said to her, Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come. 5 His mother said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it. 6 Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. 7 Jesus said to them, Fill the waterpots with water. So they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter. So they took it to him. 9 When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, 10 and said to him, Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. These verses describe a miracle which should always possess a special interest in the eyes of a true Christian. It is the first, in order of time, of the many mighty works which Jesus did, when He was upon earth. We are distinctly told, This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee.Like every other miracle which John was inspired to record, it is related with great minuteness and particularity. And, like every other miracle in Johns Gospel, it is rich in spiritual lessons. We learn, firstly, from these verses, how honourable in the sight of Christ is the estate of matrimony. To be present at a marriage was almost the first public act of our Lords earthly ministry. Marriage is not a sacrament, as the Church of Rome asserts. It is simply a state of life ordained by God for mans benefit. But it is a state which ought never to be spoken of with levity, or regarded with disrespect. The Prayerbook service has well described it, as an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of mans innocency, and signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church. Society is never in a healthy condition, and true religion never flourishes in that land where the marriage tie is lightly esteemed. They who lightly esteem it have not the mind of Christ. He who beautified and adorned the estate of matrimony by His presence and first miracle that He wrought in Cana of Galilee, is One who is always of one mind. Marriage, says the Holy Spirit by Paul, is honourable in all. (Heb. xiii. 4.) One thing, however, ought not to be forgotten. Marriage is a step which so seriously affects the temporal happiness and spiritual welfare of two immortal souls, that it ought never to be taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly, and without due consideration. To be truly happy, it should be undertaken reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Christs blessing and presence are essential to a happy wedding. The marriage at which there is no place for Christ and His disciples, is not one that can justly be expected to prosper. We learn, secondly, from these verses, that there are times when it is lawful to be merry and rejoice. Our Lord Himself sanctioned a wedding-feast by His own presence. He did not refuse to be a guest at a marriage in Cana of Galilee. A feast, it is written, is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry. (Eccles. x. 19.) Our Lord, in the passage before us, approves both the feast and the use of wine. True religion was never meant to make men melancholy. On the contrary, it was intended to increase real joy and happiness among men. The servant of Christ unquestionably ought to have nothing to do with races, balls, theaters, and such-like amusements, which tend to frivolity and indulgence, if not to sin. But he has no right to hand over innocent recreations and family gatherings to the devil and the world. The Christian who withdraws entirely from the society of his fellow-men, and walks the earth with a face as melancholy as if he was always attending a funeral, does injury to the cause of the Gospel. A cheerful, kindly spirit is a great recommendation to a believer. It is a real misfortune to Christianity when a Christian cannot smile. A merry heart, and a readiness to take part in all innocent mirth, are gifts of inestimable value. They go far to soften prejudices, to take up stumbling-blocks out of the way, and to make way for Christ and the Gospel. The subject no doubt is a difficult and delicate one. On no point of Christian practice is it so hard to hit the balance between that which is lawful and that which is unlawful, between that which is right and that which is wrong. It is very hard indeed to be both merry and wise. High spirits soon degenerate into levity. Acceptance of many invitations to feasts soon leads to waste of time, and begets leanness of soul. Frequent eating and drinking at other mens tables, soon lowers a Christians tone of religion. Going often into company is a heavy strain on spirituality of heart. Here, if anywhere, Gods children have need to be on their guard. Each must know his own strength and natural temperament, and act accordingly. One believer can go without risk where another cannot. Happy is he who can use his Christian liberty without abusing it! It is possible to be sorely wounded in soul at marriage feasts and the tables of friends. One golden rule on the subject may be laid down, the use of which will save us much trouble. Let us take care that we always go to feasts in the spirit of our divine Master, and that we never go where He would not have gone. Like Him, let us endeavour to be always about our Fathers business. (Luke ii. 49.) Like Him, let us willingly promote joy and gladness, but let us strive that it may be sinless joy, if not joy in the Lord. Let us endeavour to bring the salt of grace into every company, and to drop the word in season in every ear we address. Much good may be done in society by giving a healthy tone to conversation. Let us never be ashamed to show our colours, and to make men see whose we are and whom we serve. We may well say, Who is sufficient for these things? But if Christ went to a marriage feast in Cana there is surely something that Christians can do on similar occasions. Let them only remember that if they go when their Master went, they must go in their Masters spirit. We learn lastly, from these verses, the Almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are told of a miracle which He wrought at the marriage feast, when the wine failed. By a mere act of will He changed water into wine, and so supplied the need of all the guests. The manner in which the miracle was worked deserves especial notice. We are not told of any outward visible action which preceded or accompanied it. It is not said that He touched the waterpots containing the water that was made wine. It is not said that He commanded the water to change its qualities, or that He prayed to His Father in Heaven. He simply willed the change, and it took place. We read of no prophet or apostle in the Bible who ever worked a miracle after this fashion. He who could do such a mighty work, in such a manner, was nothing less than very God. It is a comfortable thought that the same almighty power of will which our Lord here displayed is still exercised on behalf of His believing people. They have no need of His bodily presence to maintain their cause. They have no reason to be cast down because they cannot see Him with their eyes interceding for them, or touch Him with their hands, that they may cling to Him for safety. If He wills their salvation and the daily supply of all their spiritual need, they are as safe and well provided for as if they saw Him standing by them. Christs will is as mighty and effectual as Christs deed. The will of Him who could say to the Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, is a will that has all power in heaven and earth, and must prevail. (John xvii. 24.) Happy are those who, like the disciples, believe on Him by whom this miracle was wrought. A greater marriage feast than that of Cana will one day be held, when Christ Himself will be the bridegroom and believers will be the bride. A greater glory will one day be manifested, when Jesus shall take to Himself His great power and reign. Blessed will they be in that day who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! (Rev. xix. 9.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:8892 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");
continue reading Lords Day 31, 2009

Lords Day 32, 2009

Sunday··2009·08·09
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. A Christians Prayer Blessed God, Ten thousand snares are mine without and within,          defend thou me; When sloth and indolence seize me, give me views of heaven; When sinners entice me, give me disrelish for their ways; When sensual pleasures tempt me, purify and refine me; When I desire worldly possessions, help me to be rich toward thee; When the vanities of the world ensnare me, let me not plunge into guilt and ruin. May I remember the dignity of my spiritual release, never be to busy to attend my soul, never be so engrossed with time    that I neglect the things of eternity; thus may I not only live, but grow towards thee. Form my mind to right notions of religion, that I may not judge of grace by wrong    conceptions, nor measure my spiritual advances by the efforts    of my natural being. May I seek after an increase of divine love to thee, after an unreserved resignation to thy will, after extensive benevolence to my fellow    creatures, after a patience and fortitude of soul after a heavenly disposition after a concern that I may please thee in public    and private. Draw on my soul the lineaments of Christ, in every trace and feature of which thou wilt take delight, for I am    thy workmanship, created in Christ Jesus,    thy letter written in the Holy Spirits pen,    thy tilled soil ready for sowing, then harvest. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). John 2:1225    12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days. Christ Cleanses the Temple 13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business. 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, Zeal for Your house will consume me. 18 The Jews then said to Him, What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things? 19 Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 The Jews then said, It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days? 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. 23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. 24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. The second miracle which our Lord is recorded to have wrought demands our attention in these verses. Like the first miracle at Cana, it is eminently typical and significant of things yet to come. To attend a marriage feast, and cleanse the temple from profanation were among the first acts of our Lords ministry at His first coming. To purify the whole visible Church, and hold a marriage supper, will be among His first acts, when He comes again. We see, for one thing, in this passage, how much Christ disapproves all irreverent behavior in the house of God. We are told that He drove out of the temple those whom He found selling oxen and sheep and doves within its walls,that He poured out the changers money and overthrew their tables,and that He said to those who sold doves, Take these things hence, make not my Fathers house an house of merchandise! On no occasion in our Lords earthly ministry do we find Him acting so energetically, and exhibiting such righteous indignation, as on the occasion now before us. Nothing seems to have called from Him such a marked display of holy wrath as the gross irreverence which the priests permitted in the temple, notwithstanding all their boasted zeal for Gods law. Twice, it will be remembered, He discovered the same profanation of His Fathers house going on, within three years, once at the beginning of His ministry and once at the end. Twice we see Him expressing his displeasure in the strongest terms. The thing is doubled in order to impress a lesson more strongly on our minds. The passage is one that ought to raise deep searchings of heart in many quarters. Are there none who profess and call themselves Christians, behaving every Sunday just as badly as these Jews? Are there none who secretly bring into the house of God their money, their lands, their houses, their cattle, and a whole train of worldly affairs? Are there none who bring their bodies only into the place of worship, and allow their hearts to wander into the ends of the earth? Are there none who are almost in all evil, in the midst of the congregation? (Prov. v. 14.) These are serious questions! Multitudes, it may be feared, could not give them a satisfactory answer. Christian churches and chapels, no doubt, are very unlike the Jewish temple. They are not built after a divine pattern. They have no altars or holy places. Their furniture has no typical meaning. But they are places where Gods word is read, and where Christ is specially present. The man who professes to worship in them should surely behave with reverence and respect. The man who brings his worldly matters with him when he professes to worship, is doing that which is evidently most offensive to Christ. The words which Solomon wrote by the Holy Spirit are applicable to all times, Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God. (Eccles. v. 1.) We see, for another thing, in this passage, how men may remember words of religious truth long after they are spoken, and may one day see a meaning in those who at first they did not see. We are told that our Lord said to the Jews, Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. St. John informs us distinctly that He spake of the temple of His body, that he referred to His own resurrection. Yet the meaning of the sentence was not understood by our Lords disciples at the time that it was spoken. It was not until He was risen from the dead, three years after the events here described, that the full significance of the sentence flashed on their hearts. For three years it was a dark and useless saying to them. For three years it lay sleeping in their minds, like a seed in a tomb, and bore no fruit. But at the end of that time the darkness passed away. They saw the application of their Masters words, and as they saw it were confirmed in their faith. They remembered that He had said this, and as they remembered they believed. It is a comfortable and cheering thought, that the same kind of thing that happened to the disciples is often going on at the present day. The sermons that are preached to apparently heedless ears in churches, are not all lost and thrown away. The instruction that is given in schools and pastoral visits, is not all wasted and forgotten. The texts that are taught by parents to children are not all taught in vain. There is often a resurrection of sermons, and texts, and instruction, after an interval of many years. The good seed sometimes springs up after he that sowed it has been long dead and gone. Let preachers go on preaching, and teachers go on teaching, and parents go on training up children in the way they should go. Let them sow the good seed of Bible truth in faith and patience. Their labour is not in vain in the Lord. Their words are remembered far more than they think, and will yet spring up after many days. (1 Cor. xv. 58; Eccles. xi. 1.) We see, lastly, in this passage, how perfect is our Lord Jesus Christs knowledge of the human heart. We are told that when our Lord was at Jerusalem, the first time, He did not commit Himself to those who professed belief in Him. He knew that they were not to be depended on. They were astonished at the miracles which they saw Him work. They were even intellectually convinced that He was the Messiah, whom they had long expected. But they were not disciples indeed. (John viii. 31.) They were not converted, and true believers. Their hearts were not right in the sight of God, though their feelings were excited. Their inward man was not renewed, whatever they might profess with their lips. Our Lord knew that nearly all of them were stony-ground hearers. (Luke viii. 13.) As soon as tribulation or persecution arose because of the word, their so-called faith would probably wither away and come to an end. All this our Lord saw clearly, if others around Him did not. Andrew, and Peter, and John, and Philip, and Nathanael, perhaps wondered that their Master did not receive these seeming believers with open arms. But they could only judge things by the outward appearance. Their Master could read hearts. He knew what was in man. The truth now before us, is one which ought to make hypocrites and false professors tremble. They may deceive men, but they cannot deceive Christ. They may wear a cloak of religion, and appear, like whited sepulchers, beautiful in the eyes of men. But the eyes of Christ see their inward rottenness, and the judgment of Christ will surely overtake them, except they repent. Christ is already reading their hearts, and as He reads He is displeased. They are known in heaven, if they are not known on earth, and they will be known at length to their shame, before assembled worlds, if they die unchanged. It is written, I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (Rev. iii. 1.) But the truth before us has two sides, like the pillar of cloud and fire at the Red sea. (Exod. xiv. 20.) If it looks darkly on hypocrites, it looks brightly on true believers. If it threatens wrath to false professors, it speaks peace to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. A real Christian may be weak, but he is true. One thing, at any rate, the servant of Christ can say, when cast down by a sense of his own infirmity, or pained by the slander of a lying world. He can say, Lord, I am a poor sinner, but I am in earnest, I am true. Thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. Thou knowest all hearts, and thou knowest that, weak as my heart is, it is a heart that cleaves to thee. The false Christian shrinks from the eye of an all-seeing Saviour. The true Christian desires his Lords eye to be on him morning, noon, and night. He has nothing to hide. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:102106 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");
continue reading Lords Day 32, 2009

Lords Day 33, 2009

Sunday··2009·08·16
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN 28 (C. M.) The triumph of Christ over the enemies of his church. Isa. lxi. 13, &c. Isaac Watts (16741748) WHAT mighty man, or mighty God, Comes travelling in state, Along the Idumean road, Away from Bozrahs gate? The glory of his robes proclaim    Tis some victorious king: Tis I, the Just, th Almighty One,    That your salvation bring. Why, mighty Lord, thy saints inquire,    Why thine apparels red? And all thy vesture staind like those    Who in the wine-press tread? I by myself have trod the press,    And crushd my foes alone; My wrath has struck the rebels dead,    My fury stampd them down. Tis Edoms blood that dyes my robes    With joyful scarlet stains; The triumph that my raiment wears    Sprung from their bleeding veins. Thus shall the nations be destroyd    That dare insult my saints; I have an arm t avenge their wrongs,    An ear for their complaints. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures The Gospel According to John Christ Witnesses to Nicodemus 3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. 3 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mothers womb and be born, can he? 5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, You must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. The conversation between Christ and Nicodemus, which begins with these verses, is one of the most important passages in the whole Bible. Nowhere else do we find stronger statements about those two mighty subjects, the new birth, and salvation by faith in the Son of God. The servant of Christ will do well to make himself thoroughly acquainted with this chapter. A man may be ignorant of many things in religion, and yet be saved. But to be ignorant of the matters handled in this chapter, is to be in the broad way which leadeth to destruction. We should notice, firstly, in these verses, what a weak and feeble beginning a man may make in religion, and yet finally prove a strong Christian. We are told of a certain Pharisee, named Nicodemus, who feeling concerned about his soul, came to Jesus by night. There can be little doubt that Nicodemus acted as he did on this occasion from the fear of man. He was afraid of what man would think, or say, or do, if his visit to Jesus was known. He came by night, because he had not faith and courage enough to come by day. And yet there was a time afterwards when this very Nicodemus took our Lords part in open day in the council of the Jews. Doth our law judge any man, he said, before it hear him, and know what he doeth. (John vii. 51.)Nor was this all. There came a time when this very Nicodemus was one of the only two men who did honour to our Lords dead body. He helped Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus, when even the apostles had forsaken their Master and fled. His last things were more than his first. Though he began badly, he ended well. The history of Nicodemus is meant to teach us that we should never despise the day of small things in religion. (Zec. iv. 10.) We must not set down a man as having no grace, because his first steps towards God are timid and wavering, and the first movements of his soul are uncertain, hesitating, and stamped with much imperfection. We must remember our Lords reception of Nicodemus. He did not break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax, which He saw before Him. (Matt. xii. 20.) Like Him, let us take inquirers by the hand, and deal with them gently and lovingly. In everything there must be a beginning. It is not those who make the most flaming profession of religion at first, who endure the longest and prove the most steadfast. Judas Iscariot was an apostle when Nicodemus was just groping his way slowly into full light, Yet afterwards, when Nicodemus was boldly helping to bury his crucified Saviour, Judas Iscariot had betrayed Him, and hanged himself! This is a fact which ought not to be forgotten. We should notice, secondly, in these verses, what a mighty change our Lord declares to be needful to salvation, and what a remarkable expression He uses in describing it. He speaks of a new birth. He says to Nicodemus, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. He announces the same truth in other words, in order to make it more plain to his hearers mind: Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. By this expression He meant Nicodemus to understand that no one could become His disciple, unless his inward man was as thoroughly cleansed and renewed by the Spirit, as the outward man is cleansed by water. To possess the privileges of Judaism a man only needed to be born of the seed of Abraham after the flesh. To possess the privileges of Christs kingdom, a man must be born again of the Holy Spirit. The change which our Lord here declares needful to salvation is evidently no slight or superficial one. It is not merely reformation, or amendment, or moral change, or outward alteration of life. It is a thorough change of heart, will, and character. It is a resurrection. It is a new creation. It is a passing from death to life. It is the implanting in our dead hearts of a new principle from above. It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with a new nature, new habits of life, new tastes, new desires, new appetites, new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears. All this, and nothing less than this is implied, when our Lord declares that we all need a new birth. This change of heart is rendered absolutely necessary to salvation by the corrupt condition in which we are all, without exception, born. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. Our nature is thoroughly fallen. The carnal mind is enmity against God. (Rom. viii. 7.) We come into the world without faith, or love, or fear toward God. We have no natural inclination to serve Him or obey Him, and no natural pleasure in doing His will. Left to himself, no child of Adam would ever turn to God. The truest description of the change which we all need in order to make us real Christians, is the expression, new birth. This mighty change, it must never be forgotten, we cannot give to ourselves. The very name which our Lord gives to it is a convincing proof of this. He calls it a birth. No man is the author of his own existence, and no man can quicken his own soul. We might as well expect a dead man to give himself life, as expect a natural man to make himself spiritual. A power from above must be put in exercise, even that same power which created the world. (2 Cor. iv. 6.) Man can do many things; but he cannot give life either to himself or to others. To give life is the peculiar prerogative of God. Well may our Lord declare that we need to be born again! This mighty change, we must, above all, remember, is a thing without which we cannot go to heaven, and could not enjoy heaven if we went there. Our Lords words on this point are distinct and express. Except a man be born again, he can neither see nor enter the kingdom of God. Heaven may be reached without money, or rank, or learning. But it is clear as daylight, if words have any meaning, that nobody can enter heaven without a new birth. We should notice, lastly, in these verses, the instructive comparison which our Lord uses in explaining the new birth. He saw Nicodemus perplexed and astonished by the things he had just heard. He graciously helped his wondering mind by an illustration drawn from the wind. A more beautiful and fitting illustration of the work of the Spirit it is impossible to conceive. There is much about the wind that is mysterious and inexplicable. You can not tell, says our Lord, whence it comes and where it goes. We cannot handle it with our hands, or see it with our eyes. When the wind blows, we cannot point out the exact spot where its breath first began to be felt, and the exact distance to which its influence shall extend. But we do not on that account deny its presence.It is just the same with the operations of the Spirit, in the new birth of man. They may be mysterious, sovereign, and incomprehensible to us in many ways. But it is foolish to stumble at them because there is much about those who we cannot explain. But whatever mystery there may be about the wind, its presence may always be known by its sound and effects. Thou hearest the sound thereof, says our Lord. When our ears hear it whistling in the windows, and our eyes see the clouds driving before it, we do not hesitate to say, There is wind.It is just the same with the operations of the Holy Spirit in the new birth of man. Marvelous and incomprehensible as His work may be, it is work that can always be seen and known. The new birth is a thing that cannot be hid. There will always be visible fruits of the Spirit in every one that is born of the Spirit. Would we know what the marks of the new birth are?We shall find them already written for our learning in the First Epistle of St. John. The man born of God believes that Jesus is the Christ,doth not commit sin,doeth righteousness,loves the brethren,overcomes the world,keepeth himself from the wicked one.This is the man born of the Spirit! Where these fruits are to be seen, there is the new birth of which our Lord is speaking. He that lacks these marks, is yet dead in trespasses and sins. (1 John v. 1; iii. 9; ii. 29; iii. 14; v. 4; v. 18.) And now let us solemnly ask ourselves whether we know anything of the mighty change of which we have been reading? Have we been born again? Can any marks of the new birth be seen in us? Can the sound of the Spirit be heard in our daily conversation? Is the image and superscription of the Spirit to be discerned in our lives?Happy is the man who can give satisfactory answers to these questions! A day will come when those who are not born again will wish that they had never been born at all. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:118123 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");
continue reading Lords Day 33, 2009

Lords Day 34, 2009

Sunday··2009·08·23
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN XIX The true AARON    Lev. viii. 79. by John Newton (17251807) SEE Aaron, Gods anointed priest, Within the veil appear; In robes of mystic meaning dressed, Presenting Israels prayr. The plate of gold which crowns his brows,    His holiness describes; His breast displays, in shining rows,    The names of all the tribes. With the atoning blood he stands,    Before the mercyseat; And clouds of incense from his hands,    Arise with odour sweet. Urim and Thummim near his heart,    In rich engravings worn; The sacred light of truth impart,    To teach and to adorn. Thro him the eye of faith descries,    A greater Priest than he; Thus Jesus pleads above the skies,    For you, my friends, and me. He bears the names of all his saints,    Deep on his heart engravd; Attentive to the state and wants    Of all his love has savd. In him a holiness complete,    Light and perfections shine; And wisdom, grace, and glory meet;    A Saviour all divine. The blood, which as a Priest he bears    For sinners, is his own The incense of his prayrs and tears    Perfume the holy throne. In him my weary soul has rest,    Tho I am weak and vile I read my name upon his breast,    And see the Father smile. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 3:921 9 Nicodemus said to Him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said to him, Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. We have in these verses the second part of the conversation between our Lord Jesus Christ and Nicodemus. A lesson about regeneration is closely followed by a lesson about justification! The whole passage ought always to be read with affectionate reverence. It contains words which have brought eternal life to myriads of souls. These verses show us, firstly, what gross spiritual ignorance there may be in the mind of a great and learned man. We see a master of Israel unacquainted with the first elements of saving religion. Nicodemus is told about the new birth, and at once exclaims, How can these things be? When such was the darkness of a Jewish teacher, what must have been the state of the Jewish people? It was indeed due time for Christ to appear! The pastors of Israel had ceased to feed the people with knowledge. The blind were leading the blind, and both were falling into the ditch. (Matt. xv. 14.) Ignorance like that of Nicodemus is unhappily far too common in the Church of Christ. We must never be surprised if we find it in quarters where we might reasonably expect knowledge. Learning, and rank, and high ecclesiastical office are no proof that a minister is taught by the Spirit. The successors of Nicodemus, in every age, are far more numerous than the successors of St. Peter. On no point is religious ignorance so common as on the work of the Holy Ghost. That old stumbling-block, at which Nicodemus stumbled, is as much an offence to thousands in the present day as it was in the days of Christ. The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. ii. 14.) Happy is he who has been taught to prove all things by Scripture, and to call no man master upon earth. (1 Thess. v. 21; Matt. xxiii. 9.) These verses show us, secondly, the original source from which mans salvation springs. That source is the love of God the Father. Our Lord says to Nicodemus, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This wonderful verse has been justly called by Luther, The Bible in miniature. No part of it, perhaps, is so deeply important as the first five words, God so loved the world. The love here spoken of is not that special love with which the Father regards His own elect, but that mighty pity and compassion with which He regards the whole race of mankind. Its object is not merely the little flock which He has given to Christ from all eternity, but the whole world of sinners, without any exception. There is a deep sense in which God loves that world. All whom He has created He regards with pity and compassion. Their sins He cannot love;but He loves their souls. His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psal. cxlv. 9.) Christ is Gods gracious gift to the whole world. Let us take heed that our views of the love of God are Scriptural and well-defined. The subject is one on which error abounds on either side.On the one hand we must beware of vague and exaggerated opinions. We must maintain firmly that God hates wickedness, and that the end of all who persist in wickedness will be destruction. It is not true that Gods love is lower than hell. It is not true that God so loved the world that all mankind will be finally saved, but that He so loved the world that He gave His Son to be the Saviour of all who believe. His love is offered to all men freely, fully, honestly, and unreservedly, but it is only through the one channel of Christs redemption. He that rejects Christ cuts himself off from Gods love, and will perish everlastingly.On the other hand, we must beware of narrow and contracted opinions. We must not hesitate to tell any sinner that God loves him. It is not true that God cares for none but His own elect, or that Christ is not offered to any but those who are ordained to eternal life. There is a kindness and love in God towards all mankind. It was in consequence of that love that Christ came into the world, and died upon the cross. Let us not be wise above that which is written, or more systematic in our statements than Scripture itself. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. God is not willing that any should perish. God would have all men to be saved. God loves the world. (John v. 32; Titus iii. 4; 1 John iv. 10; 2 Pet. iii. 9; 1 Tim. ii. 4; Ezek. xxxiii. 11.) These verses show us, thirdly, the peculiar plan by which the love of God has provided salvation for sinners. That plan is the atoning death of Christ on the cross. Our Lord says to Nicodemus, As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. By being lifted up, our Lord meant nothing less than His own death upon the cross. That death, He would have us know, was appointed by God to be the life of the world. (John vi. 51.) It was ordained from all eternity to be the great propitiation and satisfaction for mans sin. It was the payment, by an Almighty Substitute and Representative, of mans enormous debt to God. When Christ died upon the cross, our many sins were laid upon Him. He was made sin for us. He was made a curse for us. (2 Cor. v. 21; Gal. iii. 13.) By His death He purchased pardon and complete redemption for sinners. The bronze serpent, lifted up in the camp of Israel, brought health and cure within the reach of all who were bitten by the snakes. Christ crucified, in like manner, brought eternal life within reach of lost mankind. Christ has been lifted up on the cross, and man looking to Him by faith may be saved. The truth before us is the very foundation-stone of the Christian religion. Christs death is the Christians life. Christs cross is the Christians title to heaven. Christ lifted up and put to shame on Calvary is the ladder by which Christians enter into the holiest, and are at length landed in glory. It is true that we are sinners;but Christ has suffered for us. It is true that we deserve death;but Christ has died for us. It is true that we are guilty debtors;but Christ has paid our debts with His own blood. This is the real Gospel! This is the good news! On this let us lean while we live. To this let us cling when we die. Christ has been lifted up on the cross, and has thrown open the gates of heaven to all believers. These verses show us, fourthly, the way in which the benefits of Christs death are made our own. That way is simply to put faith and trust in Christ. Faith is the same thing as believing. Three times our Lord repeats this glorious truth to Nicodemus. Twice He proclaims that whosoever believeth shall not perish. Once He says, He that believeth on the Son of God is not condemned. Faith in the Lord Jesus is the very key of salvation. He that has it has life, and he that has it not has not life. Nothing whatever beside this faith is necessary to our complete justification; but nothing whatever, except this faith, will give us an interest in Christ. We may fast and mourn for sin, and do many things that are right, and use religious ordinances, and give all our goods to feed the poor, and yet remain unpardoned, and lose our souls.But if we will only come to Christ as guilty sinners, and believe on Him, our sins shall at once be forgiven, and our iniquities shall be entirely put away. Without faith there is no salvation; but through faith in Jesus, the vilest sinner may be saved. If we would have a peaceful conscience in our religion, let us see that our views of saving faith are distinct and clear. Let us beware of supposing that justifying faith is anything more than a sinners simple trust in a Saviour, the grasp of a drowning man on the hand held out for his relief.Let us beware of mingling anything else with faith in the matter of justification. Here we must always remember faith stands entirely alone. A justified man, no doubt, will always be a holy man. True believing will always be accompanied by godly living. But that which gives a man a saving interest in Christ, is not his living, but his faith. If we would know whether our faith is genuine, we do well to ask ourselves how we are living. But if we would know whether we are justified by Christ, there is but one question to be asked. That question is, Do we believe? These verses show us, lastly, the true cause of the loss of mans soul. Our Lord says to Nicodemus, This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. The words before us form a suitable conclusion to the glorious tidings which we have just been considering. They completely clear God of injustice in the condemnation of sinners. They show in simple and unmistakable terms, that although mans salvation is entirely of God, his ruin, if he is lost, will be entirely from himself. He will reap the fruit of his own sowing. The doctrine here laid down ought to be carefully remembered. It supplies an answer to a common cavil of the enemies of Gods truth. There is no decreed reprobation, excluding any one from heaven. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. There is no unwillingness on Gods part to receive any sinner, however great his sins. God has sent light into the world, and if man will not come to the light, the fault is entirely on mans side. His blood will be on his own head, if he makes shipwreck of his soul. The blame will be at his own door, if he misses heaven. His eternal misery will be the result of his own choice. His destruction will be the work of his own hand. God loved him, and was willing to save him; out he loved darkness, and therefore darkness must be his everlasting portion. He would not come to Christ, and therefore he could not have life. (John v. 40.) The truths we have been considering are peculiarly weighty and solemn. Do we live as if we believed them?Salvation by Christs death is close to us today. Have we embraced it by faith, and made it our own?Let us never rest until we know Christ as our own Saviour. Let us look to Him without delay for pardon and peace, if we have never looked before. Let us go on believing on Him, if we have already believed. Whosoever, is His own gracious wordwhosoever believes on Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:140145. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 34, 2009

Lords Day 35, 2009

Sunday··2009·08·30
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM XVIII. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) From Justices consuming flame, Saviour, I fly to thee; O look not on me as I am, But as I fain would be. Deserted in the way I lie,    No cure for me is found: Thou, good Samaritan, pass by,    And bind up every wound. O may I in the final day    At thy right-hand appear! Take thou my sins out of the way,    Who didst the burden bear. What though the fiery serpents bite    Hath poisoned evry vein Ill not despair, but keep in sight    The wounds of Jesus slain. My soul thou wilt from death retrieve,    For sorrow grant me joy, Thy power is mightier to save    Than Satans to destroy. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). John 3:2236 John the Baptist Witnesses Concerning Christ    22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized 24 for John had not yet been thrown into prison. 25 Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of Johns disciples with a Jew about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him. 27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, I am not the Christ, but, I have been sent ahead of Him. 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegrooms voice So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. On one account, this passage deserves the special attention of all devout readers of the Bible. It contains the last testimony of John the Baptist concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. That faithful man of God was the same at the end of his ministry that he was at the beginningthe same in his views of self,the same in his views of Christ. Happy is that church whose ministers are as steady, bold, and constant to one thing, as John the Baptist! We have, firstly, in these verses, a humbling example of the petty jealousies and party-spirit which may exist among professors of religion. We are told, that the disciples of John the Baptist were offended, because the ministry of Jesus began to attract more attention than that of their master. They came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. The spirit exhibited in this complaint, is unhappily too common in the Churches of Christ. The succession of these complainers has never failed. There are never lacking religions professors who care far more for the increase of their own party, than for the increase of true Christianity; and who cannot rejoice in the spread of religion, if it spreads anywhere except within their own denomination. There is a generation which can see no good being done, except in the ranks of its own congregations; and which seems ready to shut men out of heaven, if they will not enter therein under their banner. The true Christian must watch and pray against the spirit here manifested by Johns disciples. It is very insidious, very contagious, and very injurious to the cause of religion. Nothing so defiles Christianity and gives the enemies of truth such occasion to blaspheme, as jealousy and party-spirit among Christians. Wherever there is real grace, we should be ready and willing to acknowledge it, even though it may be outside our own pale. We should strive to say with the apostle, If Christ be preached, I rejoice, yea! and will rejoice. (Phil. i. 18.) If good is done, we ought to be thankful, though it even may not be done in what we think the best way. If souls are saved, we ought to be glad, whatever be the means that God may think fit to employ. We have, secondly, in these verses, a splendid pattern of true and godly humility. We see in John the Baptist a very different spirit from that displayed by his disciples. He begins by laying down the great principle, that acceptance with man is a special gift of God; and that we must therefore not presume to find fault, when others have more acceptance than ourselves. A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven. He goes on to remind his followers of his repeated declaration, that one greater than himself was coming; I said, I am not the Christ. He tells those who his office compared to that of Christ, is that of the bridegrooms friend, compared to the bridegroom. And finally, he solemnly affirms, that Christ must and will become greater and greater, and that he himself must become less and less important, until, like a star eclipsed by the rising sun, he has completely disappeared. A frame of mind like this, is the highest degree of grace to which mortal man can attain. The greatest saint in the sight of God, is the man who is most thoroughly clothed with humility. (1 Peter v. 5.) Would we know the prime secret of being men of the stamp of Abraham, and Moses, and Job, and David, and Daniel, and St. Paul, and John the Baptist? They were all eminently humble men. Living at different ages, and enjoying very different degrees of light, in this matter at least they were all agreed. In themselves they saw nothing but sin and weakness. To God they gave all the praise of what they were. Let us walk in their steps. Let us covet earnestly the best gifts; but above all, let us covet humility. The way to true honour is to be humble. No man ever was so praised by Christ, as the very man who says here, I must decrease, the humble John the Baptist. We have, thirdly, in these verses, an instructive declaration of Christs honour and dignity. John the Baptist teaches his disciples once more, the true greatness of the Person whose growing popularity offended them. Once more, and perhaps for the last time, he proclaims Him as one worthy of all honour and praise. He uses one striking expression after another, to convey a correct idea of the majesty of Christ. He speaks of Him as the bridegroom of the Church,as him that comes from above,as him whom God has sent,as him to whom the Spirit is given without measure,as Him whom the Father loves, and into whose hands all things are given,to believe in whom is life everlasting, and to reject whom is eternal ruin. Each of these phrases is full of deep meaning, and would supply matter for a long sermon. All show the depth and height of Johns spiritual attainments. More honourable things are nowhere written concerning Jesus, than these verses recorded as spoken by John the Baptist. Let us endeavor in life and death, to hold the same views of the Lord Jesus, to which John here gives expression. We can never make too much of Christ. Our thoughts about the Church, the ministry, and the sacraments, may easily become too high and extravagant. We can never have too high thoughts about Christ, can never love Him too much, trust Him too implicitly, lay too much weight upon Him, and speak too highly in His praise. He is worthy of all the honour that we can give Him. He will be all in heaven. Let us see to it, that He is all in our hearts on earth. We have, lastly, in these verses, a broad assertion of the nearness and presentness of the salvation of true Christians. John the Baptist declares, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. He is not intended to look forward with a sick heart to a far distant privilege. He hath everlasting life as soon as he believes. Pardon, peace, and a complete title to Heaven, are an immediate possession. They become a believers own, from the very moment he puts faith in Christ. They will not be more completely his own, if he lives to the age of Methuselah. The truth before us, is one of the most glorious privileges of the Gospel. There are no works to be done, no conditions to be fulfilled, no price to be paid, no wearing years of probation to be passed, before a sinner can be accepted with God. Let him only believe on Christ, and he is at once forgiven. Salvation is close to the chief of sinners. Let him only repent and believe, and this day it is his own. By Christ all that believe are at once justified from all things. Let us leave the whole passage with one grave and heart-searching thought. If faith in Christ brings with it present and immediate privileges, to remain unbelieving is to be in a state of tremendous peril. If heaven is very near to the believer, hell must be very near to the unbeliever. The greater the mercy that the Lord Jesus offers, the greater will be the guilt of those who neglect and reject it. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:169173. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 35, 2009

Lords Day 36, 2009

Sunday··2009·09·06
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Sinners Address to Christ John Mason (16451694) Where lies a sin, Ill drop a tear, Then view redeeming blood; To mourning souls Christ will appear, And surely do them good. Tis thou alone, my Lord, canst give This aching heart relief; Christs gentle voice would make it live, His hand wipe off my grief. Those falsely called the sweets of sin Are bitter unto me; I loath the state that I am in, Lord, may I come to thee? But, oh, wilt Thou receive him now Thats coming to Thy door? For I can bring no dowry, Lord; I come extremely poor. What if my tears could make a flood, My righteousness is dross; Those tears need washing in Thy blood, Though wept upon Thy cross. I have an argument to plead, Which Thou canst not deny Thy grace is free, and Thou doest give To sinners such as I. Thou doest invite all wandering souls, And I am one of those; With Thee the sick do find a cure, The weary find repose. The world and sin will never vex, Will trouble and molest; I therefore trust my soul with Christ, To bring to heavens rest. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). The Gospel According to John Christ Witnesses to the Woman at the Well 4Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. 4 And He had to pass through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; 6 and Jacobs well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There are two sayings in these verses which deserve particular notice. They throw light on two subjects in religion, on which clear and well defined opinions are of great importance. We should observe, for one thing, what is said about baptism. We read that Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples. The expression here used is a very remarkable one. In reading it we seem irresistibly led to one instructive conclusion. That conclusion is, that baptism is not the principal part of Christianity, and that to baptize is not the principal work for which Christian ministers are ordained. Frequently we read of our Lord preaching and praying. Once we read of His administering the Lords supper. But we have not a single instance recorded of His ever baptizing any one. And here we are distinctly told, that it was a subordinate work, which He left to others. Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples. The lesson is one of peculiar importance in the present day. Baptism, as a sacrament ordained by Christ Himself, is an honorable ordinance, and ought never to be lightly esteemed in the churches. It cannot be neglected or despised without great sin. When rightly used, with faith and prayer, it is calculated to convey the highest blessings. But baptism was never meant to be exalted to the position which many now-a-days assign to it in religion. It does not act as a charm. It does not necessarily convey the grace of the Holy Spirit. The benefit of it depends greatly on the manner in which it is used. The doctrine taught, and the language employed about it, in some quarters, are utterly inconsistent with the fact announced in the text. If baptism was all that some say it is, we would never have been told, that Jesus himself baptized not. Let it be a settled principle in our minds that the first and chief business of the Church of Christ is to preach the Gospel. The words of Paul ought to be constantly remembered,Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. (1 Cor. i. 17.) When the Gospel of Christ is faithfully and fully preached we need not fear that the sacraments will be undervalued. Baptism and the Lords supper will always be most truly reverenced in those churches where the truth as it is in Jesus is most fully taught and known. We should observe, for another thing, in this passage, what is said about our Lords human nature. We read that Jesus was wearied with his journey. We learn from this, as well as many other expressions in the Gospels, that our Lord had a body exactly like our own. When the Word became flesh, He took on Him a nature like our own in all things, sin only excepted. Like ourselves, He grew from infancy to youth, and from youth to mans estate. Like ourselves, He hungered, thirsted, felt pain, and needed sleep. He was liable to every sinless infirmity to which we are liable. In all things His body was framed like our own. The truth before us is full of comfort for all who are true Christians. He to whom sinners are bid to come for pardon and peace, is one who is man as well as God. He had a real human nature when He was upon earth. He took a real human nature with Him, when He ascended up into heaven. We have at the right hand of God a High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, because He has suffered Himself being tempted. When we cry to Him in the hour of bodily pain and weakness, He knows well what we mean. When our prayers and praises are feeble through bodily weariness, He can understand our condition. He knows our frame. He has learned by experience what it is to be a man. To say that the Virgin Mary, or any one else, can feel more sympathy for us than Christ, is ignorance no less than blasphemy. The man Christ Jesus can enter fully into everything that belongs to mans condition. The poor, the sick, and the suffering, have in heaven One who is not only an almighty Savior, but a most sympathetic Friend. The servant of Christ should grasp firmly this great truth, that there are two perfect and complete natures in the one Person whom he serves. The Lord Jesus, in whom the Gospel bids us believe, is, without doubt, almighty God,equal to the Father in all things, and able to save to the uttermost all those that come unto God by Him. But that same Jesus is no less certainly perfect man,able to sympathize with man in all his bodily sufferings, and acquainted by experience with all that mans body has to endure. Power and sympathy are marvellously combined in Him who died for us on the cross. Because He is God, we may repose the weight of our souls upon Him with unhesitating confidence. He is mighty to save.Because He is man, we may speak to Him with freedom, about the many trials to which flesh is heir. He knows the heart of a man.Here is rest for the weary! Here is good news! Our Redeemer is man as well as God, and God as well as man. He that believes on Him, has everything that a child of Adam can possibly require, either for safety or for peace. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:190193 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");
continue reading Lords Day 36, 2009

Lords Day 37, 2009

Sunday··2009·09·13
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Advent. Horatius Bonar (18081889) The Church has waited long Her absent Lord to see; And still in loneliness she waits, A friendless stranger she. Age after age has gone, Sun after sun has set, And still in weeds of widowhood She weeps a mourner yet.    Come, then, Lord Jesus, come! Saint after saint on earth    Has lived, and loved, and died; And as they left us one by one,    We laid them side by side; We laid them down to sleep,    But not in hope forlorn; We laid them but to ripen there,    Till the last glorious morn.       Come, then, Lord Jesus, come! The serpents brood increase,    The powers of hell grow bold, The conflict thickens, faith is low,    And love is waxing cold. How long, O Lord our God,    Holy and true, and good, Wilt the not judge Thy suffering Church,    Her sighs and tears and blood?       Come, then, Lord Jesus, come! We long to hear Thy voice,    To see Thee face to face, To share Thy crown and glory then,    As now we share thy grace. Should not the loving bride    The absent bridegroom mourn? Should she not wear the weeds of grief    Until her Lord return?       Come, then, Lord Jesus, come! The whole creation groans,    And waits to hear that voice, That shall restore her comeliness,    And make her wastes rejoice. Come, Lord, and wipe away    The curse, the stain, the sin, And make this blighted world of ours    Thine own fair world again.       Come , then, Lord Jesus, come! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 4:726There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink. 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. 11 She said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. 15 The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw. 16 He said to her, Go, call your husband and come here. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have correctly said, I have no husband; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly. 19 The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. 25 The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us. 26 Jesus said to her, I who speak to you am He. The history of the Samaritan woman, contained in these verses, is one of the most interesting and instructive passages in St. Johns Gospel. John has shown us, in the case of Nicodemus, how our Lord dealt with a self-righteous formalist. He now shows us how our Lord dealt with an ignorant, carnal-minded woman, whose moral character was more than ordinarily bad. There are lessons in the passage for ministers and teachers, which they would do well to ponder. We should mark, firstly, the mingled tact and humility of Christ in dealing with a careless sinner. Our Lord was sitting by Jacobs well when a woman of Samaria came thither to draw water. At once He says to her, Give me to drink. He does not wait for her to speak to Him. He does not begin by reproving her sins, though He doubtless knew them. He opens communication by asking a favour. He approaches the womans mind by the subject of water, which was naturally uppermost in her thoughts. Simple as this request may seem, it opened a door to spiritual conversation. It threw a bridge across the gulf which lay between her and Him. It led to the conversion of her soul. Our Lords conduct in this place should be carefully remembered by all who want to do good to the thoughtless and spiritually ignorant. It is vain to expect that such persons will voluntarily come to us, and begin to seek knowledge. We must begin with them, and go down to them in the spirit of courteous and friendly aggression. It is vain to expect that such people will be prepared for our instruction, and will at once see and acknowledge the wisdom of all we are doing. We must go to work wisely. We must study the best avenues to their hearts, and the most likely way of arresting their attention. There is a handle to every mind, and our chief aim must be to get hold of it. Above all, we must be kind in manner, and beware of showing that we feel conscious of our own superiority. If we let ignorant people fancy that we think we are doing them a great favour in talking to them about religion, there is little hope of doing good to their souls. We should mark, secondly, Christs readiness to give mercies to careless sinners. He tells the Samaritan woman that if she had asked, He would have given her living water. He knew the character of the person before Him perfectly well. Yet He says, If she had asked, He would have given,He would have given the living water of grace, mercy, and peace. The infinite willingness of Christ to receive sinners is a golden truth, which ought to be treasured up in our hearts, and diligently impressed on others. The Lord Jesus is far more ready to hear than we are to pray, and far more ready to give favours than we are to ask them. All day long He stretches out His hands to the disobedient and gainsaying. He has thoughts of pity and compassion towards the vilest of sinners, even when they have no thoughts of Him. He stands waiting to bestow mercy and grace on the worst and most unworthy, if they will only cry to Him. He will never draw back from that well known promise, Ask and ye shall receive: seek and ye shall find. The lost will discover at the last day, that they had not, because they asked not. We should mark, thirdly, the priceless excellence of Christs gifts when compared with the things of this world. Our Lord tells the Samaritan woman, He that drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but he that drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst. The truth of the principle here laid down may be seen on every side by all who are not blinded by prejudice or love of the world. Thousands of men have every temporal good thing that heart could wish, and are yet weary and dissatisfied. It is now as it was in Davids timeThere be many that say who will show us any good. (Psalm iv. 6.) Riches, and rank, and place, and power, and learning, and amusements, are utterly unable to fill the soul. He that only drinks of these waters is sure to thirst again. Every Ahab finds a Naboths vineyard near by his palace, and every Haman sees a Mordecai at the gate. There is no heart satisfaction in this world, until we believe on Christ. Jesus alone can fill up the empty places of our inward man. Jesus alone can give solid, lasting, enduring happiness. The peace that He imparts is a fountain, which, once set flowing within the soul, flows on to all eternity. Its waters may have their ebbing seasons; but they are living waters, and they shall never be completely dried. We should mark, fourthly, the absolute necessity of conviction of sin before a soul can be converted to God. The Samaritan woman seems to have been comparatively unmoved until our Lord exposed her breach of the seventh commandment. Those heart-searching words, Go, call your husband, appear to have pierced her conscience like an arrow. From that moment, however ignorant, she speaks like an earnest, sincere inquirer after truth. And the reason is evident. She felt that her spiritual disease was discovered. For the first time in her life she saw herself. To bring thoughtless people to this state of mind should be the principal aim of all teachers and ministers of the Gospel. They should carefully copy their Masters example in this place. Until men and women are brought to feel their sinfulness and need, no real good is ever done to their souls. Until a sinner sees himself as God sees him, he will continue careless, trifling, and unmoved. By all means we must labour to convince the unconverted man of sin, to pierce his conscience, to open his eyes, to show him himself. To this end we must expound the length and breadth of Gods holy law. To this end we must denounce every practice contrary to that law, however fashionable and customary. This is the only way to do good. Never does a soul value the Gospel medicine until it feels its disease. Never does a man see any beauty in Christ as a Saviour, until he discovers that he is himself a lost and ruined sinner. Ignorance of sin is invariably attended by neglect of Christ. We should mark, fifthly, the utter uselessness of any religion which only consists of formality. The Samaritan woman, when awakened to spiritual concern, started questions about the comparative merits of the Samaritan and Jewish modes of worshiping God. Our Lord tells her that true and acceptable worship depends not on the place in which it is offered, but on the state of the worshipers heart. He declares, The hour cometh when you shall neither in this place nor at Jerusalem worship the Father. He adds that the true worshipers shall worship in spirit and in truth. The principle contained in these sentences can never be too strongly impressed on professing Christians. We are all naturally inclined to make religion a mere matter of outward forms and ceremonies, and to attach an excessive importance to our own particular manner of worshiping God. We must beware of this spirit, and especially when we first begin to think seriously about our souls. The heart is the principal thing in all our approaches to God. The Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Sam. xvi. 7.) The most gorgeous cathedral-service is offensive in Gods sight, if all is gone through coldly, heartlessly, and without grace. The feeblest gathering of three or four poor believers in a lowly cottage to read the Bible and pray, is a more acceptable sight to Him who searches the heart than the fullest congregation which is ever gathered in St. Peters at Rome. We should mark, lastly, Christs gracious willingness to reveal Himself to the chief of sinners. He concludes His conversation with the Samaritan woman by telling her openly and unreservedly that He is the Saviour of the world. I that speak to thee, He says, am the Messiah. Nowhere in all the Gospels do we find our Lord making such a full avowal of His nature and office as He does in this place. And this avowal, be it remembered, was made not to learned Scribes, or moral Pharisees, but to one who up to that day had been an ignorant, thoughtless, and immoral person! Dealings with sinners, such as these, form one of the grand peculiarities of the Gospel. Whatever a mans past life may have been, there is hope and a remedy for him in Christ. If he is only willing to hear Christs voice and follow Him, Christ is willing to receive him at once as a friend, and to bestow on him the fullest measure of mercy and grace. The Samaritan woman, the penitent thief, the Philippian jailor, the tax-collector Zacchæus, are all patterns of Christs readiness to show mercy, and to confer full and immediate pardons. It is His glory that, like a great physician, He will undertake to cure those who are apparently incurable, and that none are too bad for Him to love and heal. Let these things sink down into our hearts. Whatever else we doubt, let us never doubt that Christs love to sinners passes knowledge, and that Christ is as willing to receive as He is almighty to save. What are we ourselves? This is the question, after all, which demands our attention. We may have been up to this day careless, thoughtless, sinful as the woman whose story we have been reading. But yet there is hope. He who talked with the Samaritan woman at the well is yet living at Gods right hand, and never changes. Let us only ask, and He will give us living water. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:201206 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");
continue reading Lords Day 37, 2009

Lords Day 38, 2009

Sunday··2009·09·20
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Amazing Grace O thou giving God, My heart is drawn out in thankfulness    to thee, for thy amazing grace and condescension    to me in influences and assistances of thy Spirit, for special help in prayer, for the sweetness of Christian service, for the thoughts of arriving in heaven, for always sending me needful supplies, for raising me new to life when I am    like one dead. I want not the favor of man to lean upon for thy favor is infinitely better. Thou art eternal wisdom in dispensations towards me; and it matters not when, nor where, nor how    I serve thee, nor what trials I am exercised with, if I might but be prepared for thy work and will. No poor creature stands in need of divine grace more than I do, And yet none abuses it more than I have done and still do. How heartless and dull am I! Humble me in the dust for mot loving thee more. Every time I exercise any grace renewedly I renewedly indebted to thee, the God of all grace, for special assistance. I cannot boast when I think how dependent I am on thee for the being and every act    of grace; I never do anything but depart from thee, and if I ever get to heaven it will be because    thou willest it, and for no reason beside. I love, as a feeble, afflicted, despised creature, to cast myself on thy infinite grace and goodness, hoping for no happiness but from thee; Give me special grace fit me for special services, and keep me calm and resigned at all times, humble, solemn, mortified, and conformed to thy will. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). John 4:2730 Christ Witnesses to the Disciples At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, What do You seek? or, Why do You speak with her? 28 So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, 29 Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it? 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to Him. These verses continue the well-known story of the Samaritan womans conversion. Short as the passage may appear, it contains points of deep interest and importance. The mere worldling, who cares, nothing about experimental religion, may see nothing particular in these verses. To all who desire to know something of the experience of a converted person, they will be found full of food for thought. We see, firstly, in this passage, how marvelous in the eyes of man are Christs dealings with souls. We are told that the disciples marvelled that he talked with the woman. That their Master should take the trouble to talk to a woman at all, and to a Samaritan woman, and to a strange woman at a well, when He was wearied with His journey,all this was amazing to the eleven disciples. It was a sort of thing which they did not expect. It was contrary to their idea of what a religious teacher should do. It startled them and filled them with surprise. The feeling displayed by the disciples on this occasion, does not stand alone in the Bible. When our Lord allowed publicans and sinners to draw near to Him and be in His company, the Pharisees marvelled. They exclaimed, This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them. (Luke xv. 2.)When Saul came back from Damascus, a converted man and a new creature, the Christians at Jerusalem were astonished. They did not believe that he was a disciple. (Acts ix. 26.)When Peter was delivered from Herods prison by an angel, and brought to the door of the house where disciples were praying for his deliverance, they were so taken by surprise that they could not believe it was Peter. When they saw him they were astonished. (Acts xii. 16.) But why should we stop short in Bible instances? The true Christian has only to look around him in this world in order to see abundant illustrations of the truth before us. How much astonishment every fresh conversion occasions. What surprise is expressed at the change in the heart, life, tastes, and habits of the converted person! What wonder is felt at the power, the mercy, the patience, the compassion of Christ! It is now as it was eighteen hundred years ago. The dealings of Christ are still a marvel both to the Church and to the world. If there was more real faith on the earth, there would be less surprise felt at the conversion of souls. If Christians believed more, they would expect more, and if they understood Christ better, they would be less startled and astonished when He calls and saves the chief of sinners. We should consider nothing impossible, and regard no sinner as beyond the reach of the grace of God. The astonishment expressed at conversions is a proof of the weak faith and ignorance of these latter days. The thing that ought to fill us with surprise is the obstinate unbelief of the ungodly, and their determined perseverance in the way to ruin. This was the mind of Christ. It is written that He thanked the Father for conversions. But He marvelled at unbelief. (Matt xi. 25; Mark vi. 6.) We see, secondly, in this passage, how absorbing is the influence of grace, when it first comes into a believers heart. We are told that after our Lord had told the woman He was the Messiah, She left her water-pot and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did. She had left her home for the express purpose of drawing water. She had carried a large vessel to the well, intending to bring it back filled. But she found at the well a new heart, and new objects of interest. She became a new creature. Old things passed away. All things became new. At once everything else was forgotten for the time. She could think of nothing but the truths she had heard, and the Saviour she had found. In the fullness of her heart she left her water-pot, and hastened away to tell others. We see here the expulsive power of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Grace once introduced into the heart drives out old tastes and interests. A converted person no longs cares for what he once cared for. A new tenant is in the house. A new pilot is at the helm. The whole world looks different. All things have become new. It was so with Matthew the tax-collector. The moment that grace came into his heart he left the receipt of custom. (Matt. ix. 9.)It was so with Peter, James, and John, and Andrew. As soon as they were converted they forsook their nets and fishing-boats. (Mark i.19.)It was so with Saul the Pharisee. As soon as he became a Christian he gave up all his brilliant prospects as a Jew, in order to preach the faith he had once despised. (Acts ix. 20.)The conduct of the Samaritan woman was precisely of the same kind. For the time present the salvation she had found completely filled her mind. That she never returned for her water-pot would be more than we have a right to say. But under the first impressions of new spiritual life, she went away and left her water-pot behind. Conduct like that here described is doubtless uncommon in the present day. Rarely do we see a person so entirely taken up with spiritual matters, that attention to this worlds affairs is made a secondary matter, or postponed. And why is it so? Simply because true conversions to God are uncommon. Few really feel their sins, and flee to Christ by faith. Few really pass from death to life, and become new creatures. Yet these few are the real Christians of the world. These are the people whose religion, like the Samaritan womans, tells on others. Happy are they who know something by experience of this womans feelings, and can say with Paul, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ! Happy are they who have given up everything for Christs sake, or at any rate have altered the relative importance of all things in their minds! If thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light. (Philip. iii. 8; Matt. iv. 22.) We see, lastly, in this passage, how zealous a truly converted person is to do good to others. We are told that the Samaritan woman went into the city, and said to the men, Come, see a man who told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? In the day of her conversion she became a missionary. She felt so deeply the amazing benefit she had received from Christ, that she could not hold her peace about Him. Just as Andrew told his brother Peter about Jesus, and Philip told Nathanael that he had found Messiah, and Saul, when converted, immediately preached Christ, so, in the same way, the Samaritan woman said, Come and see Christ. She used no abstruse arguments. She attempted no deep reasoning about our Lords claim to be the Messiah. She only said, Come and see. Out of the abundance of her heart her mouth spoke. That which the Samaritan woman here did, all true Christians ought to do likewise. The Church needs it. The state of the world demands it. Common sense points out that it is right. Every one who has received the grace of God, and tasted that Christ is gracious, ought to find words to testify of Christ to others. Where is our faith, if we believe that souls around us are perishing, and that Christ alone can save them, and yet remain silent? Where is our charity if we can see others going down to hell, and yet say nothing to them about Christ and salvation?We may well doubt our own love to Christ, if our hearts are never moved to speak of Him. We may well doubt the safety of our own souls, if we feel no concern about the souls of others. What are we ourselves? This is the question, after all, which demands our notice. Do we feel the supreme importance of spiritual things, and the comparative nothingness of the things of the world? Do we ever talk to others about God, and Christ, and eternity, and the soul, and heaven, and hell? If not, what is the value of our faith? Where is the reality of our Christianity? Let us take heed lest we awake too late, and find that we are lost forever, a wonder to angels and devils, and, above all, a wonder to ourselves, because of our own obstinate blindness and folly. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:227232 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");
continue reading Lords Day 38, 2009

Lords Day 39, 2009

Sunday··2009·09·27
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN 29. (C. M.) The ruin of Antichrist. Isa. lxiii. 47. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) I lift my banner, saith the Lord, Where Antichrist has stood; The city of my gospel foes Shall be a field of blood. My heart has studied just revenge,    And now the day appears; The day of my redeemd is come    To wipe away their tears. Quite weary is my patience grown,    And bids my fury go; Swift as the lightning it shall move,    And be as fatal too. I call for helpers, but in vain;    Then has my gospel none? Well, mine own arm has might enough    To crush my foes alone. Slaughter and my devouring sword    Shall walk the streets around, Babel shall reel beneath my stroke,    And stagger to the ground. Thy honours, O victorious King!    Thine own right hand shall raise, While we thy awful vengeance sing,    And our delivrer praise. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures John 4:3142 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, Rabbi, eat. 32 But He said to them, I have food to eat that you do not know about. 33 So the disciples were saying to one another, No one brought Him anything to eat, did he? 34 Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. 35 Do you not say, There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. 36 Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this case the saying is true, One sows and another reaps. 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor. Christ witnesses to the Samaritans    39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, He told me all the things that I have done. 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of His word; 42 and they were saying to the woman, It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world. We have, for one thing, in these verses, an instructive pattern of zeal for the good of others. We read, that our Lord Jesus Christ declares, My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work. To do good was not merely duty and pleasure to Him. He counted it as His food and drink. Job, one of the holiest Old Testament saints, could say, that he esteemed Gods word more than his necessary food. (Job xxiii. 12.) The Great Head of the New Testament Church went even further. He could say the same of Gods work. Do we do any work for God? Do we try, however feebly, to set forward His cause on earth,to check that which is evil, to promote that which is good? If we do, let us never be ashamed of doing it with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. Whatsoever our hand finds to do for the souls of others, let us do it with our might. (Eccles. ix. 10.) The world may mock and sneer, and call us enthusiasts. The world can admire zeal in any service but that of God, and can praise enthusiasm on any subject but that of religion. Let us work on unmoved. Whatever men may say and think, we are walking in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us, beside this, take comfort in the thought that Jesus Christ never changes. He that sat by the well of Samaria, and found it food and drink to do good to an ignorant soul, is always in one mind. High in heaven at Gods right hand, He still delights to save sinners, and still approves zeal and labour in the cause of God. The work of the missionary and the evangelist may be despised and ridiculed in many quarters. But while man is mocking, Christ is well pleased! Thanks be to God, Jesus is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever. We have, for another thing, in these verses, strong encouragement held out to those who labour to do good to souls. We read, that our Lord described the world as a field white for the harvest; and then said to His disciples, He that reapeth, receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal. Work for the souls of men, is undoubtedly attended by great discouragements. The heart of natural man is very hard and unbelieving. The blindness of unsaved men to their own lost condition and peril of ruin, is something past description. The carnal mind is enmity against God. (Rom. viii. 7.) No one can have any just idea of the desperate hardness of men and women, until he has tried to do good. No one can have any conception of the small number of those who repent and believe, until he has personally endeavoured to save some. (1 Cor. ix. 22.) To suppose that everybody will become a true Christian, who is told about Christ, and entreated to believe, is mere childish ignorance. Few there be that find the narrow way! The labourer for Christ will find the vast majority of those among whom he labours, unbelieving and impenitent, in spite of all that he can do. The many will not turn to Christ. These are discouraging facts. But they are facts, and facts that ought to be known. The true antidote against despondency in Gods work, is an abiding recollection of such promises as that before us. There are wages laid up for faithful reapers. They shall receive a reward at the last day, far exceeding anything they have done for Christ,a reward proportioned not to their success, but to the quantity of their work.They are gathering fruit, which shall endure when this world has passed away,fruit, in some souls saved, if many will not believe, and fruit in evidences of their own faithfulness, to be brought out before assembled worlds. Do our hands ever hang down, and our knees wax faint? Do we feel disposed to say, my labour is in vain and my words without profit. Let us lean back at such seasons on this glorious promise. There are wages yet to be paid. There is fruit yet to be exhibited. We are a sweet savour of Christ, both in those who are saved and in those who perish. (2 Cor. ii. 15.) Let us work on. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm cxxvi. 6.) One single soul saved, shall outlive and outweigh all the kingdoms of the world. We have, lastly, in these verses, a most teaching instance of the variety of ways by which men are led to believe Christ. We read that many of the Samaritans believed on Christ for the saying of the woman. But this is not all. We read again, Many more believed because of Christs own word. In short, some were converted trough the means of the womans testimony, and some were converted by hearing Christ Himself. The words of Paul should never be forgotten, There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. (1 Cor. xii. 6.) The way in which the Spirit leads all Gods people is always one and the same. But the paths by which they are severally brought into that road are often widely different. There are some in whom the work of conversion is sudden and instantaneous. There are others in whom it goes on slowly, quietly, and by imperceptible degrees. Some have their hearts gently opened, like Lydia. Others are aroused by violent alarm, like the jailor at Philippi. All are finally brought to repentance toward God, faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and holiness of conversation. But all do not begin with the same experience. The weapon which carries conviction to one believers soul, is not the one which first pierces another. The arrows of the Holy Spirit are all drawn from the same quiver. But He uses sometimes one and sometimes another, according to His own sovereign will. Are we converted ourselves? This is the one point to which our attention ought to be directed. Our experience may not tally with that of other believers. But that is not the question. Do we feel sin, hate it, and flee from it? Do we love Christ, and rest solely on Him for salvation? Are we bringing forth fruits of the Spirit in righteousness and true holiness? If these things are so we may thank God, and take courage. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:238241 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");
continue reading Lords Day 39, 2009

Lords Day 40, 2009

Sunday··2009·10·04
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN XX BALAAMs wish (m)    Numbers xxiii. 10. by John Newton (17251807) HOW blest the righteous are    When they resign their breath! No wonder Balaam wishd to share In such a happy death.    Oh! let me die, said he,    The death the righteous do; When life is ended let me be    Found with the faithful few.    The force of truth how great!    When enemies confess, None but the righteous whom they hate,    A solid hope possess.    But Balaams wish was vain,    His heart was insincere; He thirsted for unrighteous gain,    And sought a portion here.    He seemd the Lord to know,    And to offend him loth; But Mammon provd his overthrow,    For none can serve them both.    May you, my friends, and I,    Warning from hence receive; If like the righteous we would die,    To choose the life they live. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 4:4354 Christ Is Received by the Galileans After the two days He went forth from there into Galilee. 44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast. Christ Heals the Noblemans Son    46 Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe. 49 The royal official said to Him, Sir, come down before my child dies. 50 Jesus said to him, Go; your son lives. The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. 51 As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, Your son lives; and he himself believed and his whole household. 54 This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee. Four great lessons stand out boldly on the face of this passage. Let us fix them in our memories, and use them continually as we journey through life. We learn, firstly, that the rich have afflictions as well as the poor. We read of a nobleman in deep anxiety because his son was sick. We need not doubt that every means of restoration was used that money could procure. But money is not almighty. The sickness increased, and the noblemans son lay at the point of death. The lesson is one which needs to be constantly impressed on the minds of men. There is no more common, or more mischievous error, than to suppose that the rich have no cares. The rich are as liable to sickness as the poor; and have a hundred anxieties beside, of which the poor know nothing at all. Silks and satins often cover very heavy hearts. The dwellers in palaces often sleep more uneasily than the dwellers in poor cottages. Gold and silver can lift no man beyond the reach of trouble. They may shut out debt and rags, but they cannot shut out care, disease, and death. The higher the tree, the more it is shaken by storms. The broader its branches, the greater is the mark which it exposes to the tempest. David was a happier man when he kept his fathers sheep at Bethlehem, than when he dwelt as a king at Jerusalem, and governed the twelve tribes of Israel. Let the servant of Christ beware of desiring riches. They are certain cares, and uncertain comforts. Let him pray for the rich, and not envy them. How hardly shall a rich man enter the kingdom of God! Above all, let him learn to be content with such things as he has. He only is truly rich, who has treasure in heaven. We learn, secondly, in this passage, that sickness and death come to the young as well as to the old. We read of a son sick unto death, and a father in trouble about him. We see the natural order of things inverted. The elder is obliged to minister to the younger, and not the younger to the elder. The child draws near to the grave before the parent, and not the parent before the child. The lesson is one which we are all slow to learn. We are apt to shut our eyes to plain facts, and to speak and act, as if young people, as a matter of course, never died when young. And yet the grave-stones in every churchyard would tell us, that few people out of a hundred ever live to be fifty years old, while many never grow up to mans estate at all. The first grave that ever was dug on this earth, was that of a young man. The first person who ever died, was not a father but a son. Aaron lost two sons at a stroke. David, the man after Gods own heart, lived long enough to see three children buried. Job was deprived of all his children in one day. These things were carefully recorded for our learning. He that is wise, will never consider long life as a certainty. We never know what a day may bring forth. The strongest and fairest are often cut down and hurried away in a few hours, while the old and feeble linger on for many years. The only true wisdom is to be always prepared to meet God, to put nothing off which concerns eternity, and to live like men ready to depart at any moment. So living, it matters little whether we die young or old. Joined to the Lord Jesus, we are safe in any event. We learn, thirdly, from this passage, what benefits affliction can confer on the soul. We read, that anxiety about a son led the nobleman to Christ, in order to obtain help in time of need. Once brought into Christs company, he learned a lesson of priceless value. In the end, he believed, and his whole house. All this, be it remembered, hinged upon the sons sickness. If the noblemans son had never been ill, his father might have lived and died in his sins! Affliction is one of Gods medicines. By it He often teaches lessons which would be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin and the world, which would otherwise have perished everlastingly. Health is a great blessing, but sanctified disease is a greater. Prosperity and worldly comfort, are what all naturally desire; but losses and crosses are far better for us, if they lead us to Christ. Thousands at the last day, will testify with David, and the nobleman before us, It is good for me that I have been afflicted. (Psalm cxix. 71.) Let us beware of murmuring in the time of trouble. Let us settle it firmly in our minds, that there is a meaning, a needs-be, and a message from God, in every sorrow that falls upon us. There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of affliction. There is no commentary that opens up the Bible so much as sickness and sorrow. No chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields peaceable fruit. (Heb. xii. 11.) The resurrection morning will prove, that many of the losses of Gods people were in reality eternal gains. We learn, lastly, from this passage, that Christs word is as good as Christs presence. We read, that Jesus did not come down to Capernaum to see the sick young man, but only spoke the word, Your son lives. Almighty power went with that little sentence. That very hour the patient began to amend. Christ only spoke, and the cure was done. Christ only commanded, and the deadly disease stood fast. The fact before us is singularly full of comfort. It gives enormous value to every promise of mercy, grace, and peace, which ever fell from Christs lips. He that by faith has laid bold on some word of Christ, has placed his feet upon a rock. What Christ has said, He is able to do; and what He has undertaken, He will never fail to make good. The sinner who has really reposed his soul on the word of the Lord Jesus, is safe to all eternity. He could not be safer, if he saw the book of life, and his own name written in it. If Christ has said, Him that cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out, and our hearts can testify, I have come, we need not doubt that we are saved. In the things of this world, we say that seeing is believing. But in the things of the Gospel, believing is as good as seeing. Christs word is as good as mans deed. He of whom Jesus says in the Gospel, He liveth, is alive forevermore, and shall never die. And now let us remember that afflictions, like that of the nobleman, are very common. They will probably come to our door one day. Have we known anything of bearing affliction? Would we know where to turn for help and comfort when our time comes? Let us fill our minds and memories betimes with Christs words. They are not the words of man only, but of God. The words that he speaks are spirit and life. (John vi. 63.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:251254. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 40, 2009

Lords Day 41, 2009

Sunday··2009·10·11
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. PETITIONARY HYMNS POEM XIX. After being surprised into Sin. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Ah! Give me, Lord, myself to see, Against myself to watch and pray, How weak am I, when left by thee, How frail, how apt to fall away! If but a moment thou withdraw, That moment sees me break thy law. Jesus, the sinners only trust,    Let me now feel thy grace infusd! Ah! raise a captive from the dust,    Nor break a reed already bruisd! Visit me, Lord, in peace again, Nor let me seek thy face in vain. O gracious Lord, now let me find    Peace and salvation in thy name; Be thou the eye-sight of the blind,    The staff and ancles of the lame; My lifter up wheneer I fall, My strength, my portion, and my all. Let thy meek mind descend on me,    Thy Holy Spirit from above: Assist me, Lord, to follow thee,    Drawn by th endearing cords of love Made perfect by thy cleansing blood, Completely savd and born of God. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). The Gospel According to John Christ Heals the Paralytic Man 5 After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.]* 5 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you wish to get well? 7 The sick man answered Him, Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me. 8 Jesus said to him, Get up, pick up your pallet and walk. 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Christ Heals on the Sabbath    Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet. 11 But he answered them, He who made me well was the one who said to me, Pick up your pallet and walk. 12 They asked him, Who is the man who said to you, Pick up your pallet and walk? 13 But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you. 15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. We have in this passage one of the few miracles of Christ, which St. John records. Like every other miracle in this Gospel, it is described with great minuteness and particularity. And like more than one other miracle it leads on to a discourse full of singularly deep instruction. We are taught, for one thing, in this passage, what misery sin has brought into the world. We read of a man who had been ill for no less than thirty-eight years! For eight-and-thirty weary summers and winters he had endured pain and infirmity. He had seen others healed at the waters of Bethesda, and going to their homes rejoicing. But for him there had been no healing. Friendless, helpless, and hopeless, he lay near the wonder-working waters, but derived no benefit from them. Year after year passed away, and left him still uncured. No relief or change for the better seemed likely to come, except from the grave. When we read of cases of sickness like this, we should remember how deeply we ought to hate sin! Sin was the original root, and cause, and fountain of every disease in the world. God did not create man to be full of aches, and pains, and infirmities. These things are the fruits of the Fall. There would have been no sickness, if there had been no sin. No greater proof can be shown of mans inbred unbelief, than his carelessness about sin. Fools, says the wise man, make a mock at sin. (Pro. xiv. 9.) Thousands delight in things which are explicitly evil, and run greedily after that which is downright poison. They love that which God abhors, and dislike that which God loves. They are like the madman, who loves his enemies and hates his friends. Their eyes are blinded. Surely if men would only look at hospitals and infirmaries, and think what havoc sin has made on this earth, they would never take pleasure in sin as they do. Well may we be told to pray for the coming of Gods kingdom! Well may we be told to long for the second advent of Jesus Christ! Then, and not until then, shall there be no more curse on the earth, no more suffering, no more sorrow, and no more sin. Tears shall be wiped from the faces of all who love Christs appearing, when their Master returns. Weakness and infirmity shall all pass away. Hope deferred shall no longer make hearts sick. There will be no chronic invalids and incurable cases, when Christ has renewed this earth. We are taught, for another thing, in this passage, how great is the mercy and compassion of Christ. He saw the poor sufferer lying in the crowd. Neglected, overlooked, and forgotten in the great multitude, he was observed by the all-seeing eye of Christ. He knew full well, by His Divine knowledge, how long he had been in that case, and pitied him. He spoke to him unexpectedly, with words of gracious sympathy. He healed him by miraculous power, at once and without tedious delay, and sent him home rejoicing. This is just one among many examples of our Lord Jesus Christs kindness and compassion. He is full of undeserved, unexpected, abounding love towards man. He delighteth in mercy. (Micah vii. 18.) He is far more ready to save than man is to be saved, far more willing to do good than man is to receive it. No one ever need be afraid of beginning the life of a true Christian, if he feels disposed to begin. Let him not hang back and delay, under the vain idea that Christ is not willing to receive him. Let him come boldly, and trust confidently. He who healed the cripple at Bethesda is still the same. We are taught, lastly, the lesson that recovery from sickness ought to impress upon us. That lesson is contained in the solemn words which our Saviour addressed to the man He had cured: Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. Every sickness and sorrow is the voice of God speaking to us. Each has its peculiar message. Happy are they who have an eye to see Gods hand, and an ear to hear His voice, in all that happens to them. Nothing in this world happens by chance. And as it is with sickness, so it is with recovery. Renewed health should send us back to our post in the world with a deeper hatred of sin, a more thorough watchfulness over our own ways, and a more constant purpose of mind to live for God. Far too often the excitement and novelty of returning health tempt us to forget the vows and intentions of the sick-room. There are spiritual dangers attending a recovery! Well would it be for us all after illness to grave these words on our hearts, Let me sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto me. Let us leave the passage with grateful hearts, and bless God that we have such a Gospel and such a Saviour as the Bible reveals.Are we ever sick and ill? Let us remember that Christ sees, and knows, and can heal as He thinks fit.Are we ever in trouble? Let us hear in our trouble the voice of God, and learn to hate sin more. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:265268. 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"); *See Bill Mounce, Where Did v 4 Go in John 5?
continue reading Lords Day 41, 2009

Lords Day 42, 2009

Sunday··2009·10·18
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Branch and the Vine John Flavel (162816991) Oh, what considering, serious man can see, The close conjunction of the graft and the tree; And while he contemplates, he doth not find This meditation grafted on his mind? I am the branch, and Christ is the vine; Thy gracious hand did pluck Me from that native stock of mine, That I his sap might suck. The bloody spear did in his heart A deep incision make, That grace to me He might impart, And I therefore partake. The Spirit and faith are that firm band Which binds us fast together; Thus we are clasped, hand in hand, And nothing can us sever. Blessed be that hand which did remove Me from my native place; This was the wonder of Thy love, The triumph of Thy grace! That I, a wild and cursed plant, Should thus preferred be, Who all those ornaments do want, Thou mayest in others see. As long as ever the root doth live, The branches are not dry; While Christ hath grace and life to give, My soul can never die. O blessed Savior, never could A graft cleave to the tree More close than Thy poor creature would United be with Thee. My soul, dishonor not the root, Twill be a shame for Thee, To want the choicest sorts of fruit, And yet thus grafted be. Thus you may shake from grafts, before they blow, More precious fruit than ever trees did grow. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 5:1623 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working. Equality with God in Nature 18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Equality with God in Power and authority    19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. These verses begin one of the most deep and solemn passages in the four Gospels. They show us the Lord Jesus asserting His own Divine nature, His unity with God the Father, and the high dignity of His office. Nowhere does our Lord dwell so fully on these subjects as in the chapter before us. And nowhere, we must confess, do we find out so thoroughly the weakness of mans understanding! There is much, we must all feel, that is far beyond our comprehension in our Lords account of Himself. Such knowledge, in short, is too astonishing for us. It is high: we cannot attain unto it. (Psalm cxxxix. 6.) How often men say that they want clear explanations of such doctrines as the Trinity. Yet here we have our Lord handling the subject of His own Person, and, behold! we cannot follow Him. We seem only to touch His meaning with the tip of our fingers. We learn, for one thing, from the verses before us, that there are some works which it is lawful to do on the Sabbath day. The Jews, as on many other occasions, found fault because Jesus healed a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, on the Sabbath. They charged our Lord with a breach of the fourth commandment. Our Lords reply to the Jews is very remarkable. My Father, he says, worketh hitherto, and I also work. It is as though He said:Though my Father rested on the seventh day from His work of creation, He has never rested for a moment from His providential government of the world, and from His merciful work of supplying the daily needs of all His creatures. Were He to rest from such work, the whole frame of nature would stand still. And I also work works of mercy on the Sabbath day. I do not break the fourth commandment when I heal the sick, any more than my Father breaks it when He causes the sun to rise and the grass to grow on the Sabbath.    We must distinctly understand, that neither here nor elsewhere does the Lord Jesus overthrow the obligation of the fourth commandment. Neither here nor elsewhere is there a word to justify the vague assertions of some modern teachers, that Christians ought not to keep a Sabbath, and that it is a Jewish institution which has passed away. The utmost that our Lord does, is to place the claims of the Sabbath on the right foundation. He clears the day of rest from the false and superstitious teaching of the Jews, about the right way of observing it. He shows us clearly that works of necessity and works of mercy are no breach of the fourth commandment. After all, the errors of Christians on this subject, in these latter days, are of a very different kind from those of the Jews. There is little danger of men keeping the Sabbath too strictly. The thing to be feared is the disposition to keep it loosely and partially, or not to keep it at all. The tendency of the age is not to exaggerate the fourth commandment, but to cut it out of the Decalogue, and throw it aside altogether. Against this tendency it becomes us all to be on our guard. The experience of eighteen centuries supplies abundant proofs that vital religion never flourishes when the Sabbath is not well kept.* We learn, for another thing, from these verses, the dignity and greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews, we are told, sought to kill Jesus because He said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Our Lord, in reply, on this special occasion, enters very fully into the question of His own Divine nature. In reading His words, we must all feel that we are reading mysterious things, and treading on very holy ground. But we must feel a deep conviction, however little we may understand, that the things He says could never have been said by one who was only man. The Speaker is nothing less than God manifest in the flesh. (1 Tim. iii. 16.) He asserts His own unity with God the Father. No other reasonable meaning can be put on the expressions,The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.The Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth. Such language, however deep and high, appears to mean that in operation, and knowledge, and heart, and will, the Father and the Son are One,two Persons, but one God. Truths such as these are of course beyond mans power to explain particularly. Enough for us to believe and rest upon them. He asserts, in the next place, His own Divine power to give life. He tells us, The Son quickeneth whom he will. Life is the highest and greatest gift that can be bestowed. It is precisely that thing that man, with all his cleverness, can neither give to the work of his hands, nor restore when taken away. But life, we are told, is in the hands of the Lord Jesus, to bestow and give at His discretion. Dead bodies and dead souls are both alike under His dominion. He has the keys of death and hell. In Him is life. He is the life. (John i. 4. Rev. i. 18.) He asserts, in the last place, His own authority to judge the world. The Father, we are told, has committed all judgment unto the Son. All power and authority over the world is committed to Christs hands. He is the King and the Judge of mankind. Before Him every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that he is Lord. He that was once despised and rejected of man, condemned and crucified as a malefactor, shall one day hold a great assize, and judge all the world. God shall judge the secrets of man by Jesus Christ. (Rom. ii. 16.) And now let us think whether it is possible to make too much of Christ in our religion. If we have ever thought so, let us cast aside the thought forever. Both in His Own nature as God, and in His office as commissioned Mediator, He is worthy of all honor. He that is one with the Father,the Giver of life,the King of kings,the coming Judge, can never be too much exalted. The one who honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father who sent him. If we desire salvation, let us lean our whole weight on this mighty Saviour. So leaning, we need never be afraid. Christ is the rock of ages, and he that builds on Him shall never be confounded,neither in sickness, nor in death, nor in the judgment-day. The hand that was nailed to the cross is almighty. The Saviour of sinners is mighty to save. (Isaiah lxiii. 1.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:276279*For the record, I dont agree with Ryles sabbatarianism. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 42, 2009

Lords Day 43, 2009

Sunday··2009·10·25
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. REST YONDER. Horatius Bonar (18081889) This is not my place of resting, Mines a city yet to come; Onward to it I am hasting On to my eternal home. In it all is light and glory,    Oer it shines a nightless day; Every trace of sins sad story,    All the curse, has passed away. There the Lamb, our Shepherd, leads us,    By the streams of life along; On the freshest pastures feeds us,    Turns our sighing into song. Soon we pass this desert dreary,    Soon we bid farewell to pain; Never more be sad or weary,    Never, never sin again. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 5:2429Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. The passage before us is singularly rich in weighty truths. To the minds of Jews, who were familiar with the writings of Moses and Daniel, it would come home with peculiar power. In the words of our Lord they would not fail to see fresh assertions of His claim to be received as the promised Messiah. We see in these verses that the salvation of our soul depends on hearing Christ. It is the man, we are told, who hears Christs word, and believes that God the Father sent Him to save sinners, who has everlasting life. Such hearing of course is something more than mere listening. It is hearing as a humble learner,hearing as an obedient disciple,hearing with faith and love,hearing with a heart ready to do Christs will,this is the hearing that saves. It is the very hearing of which God spoke in the famous prediction of a prophet like unto Moses:Unto him shall you hearken.Whoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deut. xviii. 1519.) To hear Christ in this way, we must never forget, is just as needful now as it was eighteen hundred years ago. It is not enough to hear sermons, and run after preachers, though some people seem to think this makes up the whole of religion. We must go much further than this,we must hear Christ. To submit our hearts to Christs teaching,to sit humbly at His feet by faith, and learn of Him,to enter His school as penitents, and become His believing scholars,to hear His voice and follow Him,this is the way to heaven. Until we know something experimentally of these things, there is no life in us. We see, secondly, in these verses, how rich and full are the privileges of the true hearer and believer. Such a man enjoys a present salvation. Even now, at this present time, he hath everlasting life.Such a man is completely justified and forgiven. There remains no more condemnation for him. His sins are put away. He shall not come into condemnation.Such a man is in an entirely new position before God. He is like one who has moved from one side of a gulf to another: He has passed from death unto life. The privileges of a true Christian are greatly underrated by many. Chiefly from deplorable ignorance of Scripture, they have little idea of the spiritual treasures of every believer in Jesus. These treasures are brought together here in beautiful order, if we will only look at them. One of a true Christians treasures is the presentness of his salvation. It is not a far distant thing which he is to have at last, if he does his duty and is good. It is his own in title the moment he believes. He is already pardoned, forgiven, and saved, though not in heaven.Another of a true Christians treasures is the completeness of his justification. His sins are entirely removed, taken away, and blotted out of Gods book, by Christs blood. He may look forward to judgment without fear, and say, who is he that condemneth? (Rom. viii. 34.) He shall stand without fault before the throne of God.The last, but not the least, of a true Christians treasures, is the entire change in his relation and position toward God. He is no longer as one dead before Him,dead, legally, like a man sentenced to die, and dead in heart. He is alive unto God. (Rom. vi. 11.) He is a new creature. Old things are passed away, and all things are become new. (2 Cor. v. 17.) Well would it be for Christians if these things were better known! It is lack of knowledge, in many cases, that is the secret of want of peace. We see, thirdly, in these verses, a striking declaration of Christs power to give life to dead souls. Our Lord tells us that the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live. It seems most unlikely that these words were meant to be confined to the rising of mens bodies, and were fulfilled by such miracles as that of raising Lazarus from the grave. It appears far more probable that what our Lord had in view was the quickening of souls, the resurrection of conversion. (Ephes. ii. 1.; Colos. ii. 13.) The words were fulfilled in not a few cases, during our Lords own ministry. They were fulfilled far more completely after the day of Pentecost, through the ministry of the Apostles. The myriads of converts at Jerusalem, at Antioch, at Ephesus, at Corinth, and elsewhere, were all examples of their fulfillment. In all these cases, the voice of the Son of God awakened dead hearts to spiritual life, and made them feel their need of salvation, repent, and believe.They are fulfilled at this very day, in every instance of true conversion. Whenever any men or women among ourselves awaken to a sense of their souls value, and become alive to God, the words are made good before our eyes. It is Christ who has spoken to their hearts by His Spirit. It is the dead hearing Christs voice, and living. We see, lastly, in these verses, a most solemn prophecy of the final resurrection of all the dead. Our Lord tells us that the hour is coming when all that are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. The passage is one of those that ought to sink down very deeply into our hearts, and never be forgotten. All is not over when men die. Whether they like it or not, they will have to come forth from their graves at the last day, and to stand at Christs judgment bar. None can escape His summons. When His voice calls them before Him, all must obey.When men rise again, they will not all rise in the same condition. There will be two classes,two partiestwo bodies. Not all will go to heaven. Not all will be saved. Some will rise again to inherit eternal life, but some will rise again only to be condemned. These are alarming things! But the words of Christ are plain and unmistakable. Thus it is written, and thus it must be. Let us make sure that we hear Christs quickening voice now, and are numbered among His true disciples. Let us know the privileges of true believers, while we have life and health. Then, when His voice shakes heaven and earth, and is calling the dead from their graves, we shall feel confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming. (1 John ii. 28.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:289293 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");
continue reading Lords Day 43, 2009

Lords Day 44, 2009

Sunday··2009·11·01
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Great Discovery Glorious God, 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 livednever 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). John 5:3039I 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; In 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 (Banner of Truth, 2012), 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. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 44, 2009

Lords Day 45, 2009

Sunday··2009·11·08
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN 30. (L. M.) Prayer for deliverance answered. Isa. xxvi. 812, 20, 21. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) In thine own ways, O God of love, We wait the visits of thy grace, Our souls desire is to thy name, And the remembrance of thy face. My thoughts are searching, Lord, for thee Mongst the black shades of lonesome night; My earnest cries salute the skies Before the dawn restore the light. Look, how rebellious men deride The tender patience of my God! But they shall see thy lifted hand, And feel the scourges of thy rod. Hark! the Eternal rends the sky, A mighty voice before him goes; A voice of music to his friends, But threatning thunder to his foes. Come, children, to your Fathers arms, Hide in the chambers of my grace, Till the fierce storms be overblown, And my revenging fury cease. My sword shall boast its thousands slain, And drink the blood of haughty kings, While heavnly peace around my flock Stretches its soft and shady wings. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). John 5:4047and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? This passage concludes our Lord Jesus Christs wondrous defence of His own divine mission. It is a conclusion worthy of the defence, full of heart-searching appeals to the consciences of His enemies, and rich in deep truths. A mighty sermon is followed by a mighty application. Let us mark, in this passage, the reason why many souls are lost. The Lord Jesus says to the unbelieving Jews,Ye will not come to me that ye might have life. These words are a golden sentence, which ought to be engraved in our memories, and treasured up in our minds. It is lack of will to come to Christ for salvation that will be found, at last, to have shut the many out of heaven.It is not mens sins. All manner of sin may be forgiven.It is not any decree of God. We are not told in the Bible of any whom God has only created to be destroyed.It is not any limit in Christs work of redemption. He has paid a price sufficient for all mankind.It is something far more than this. It is mans own innate unwillingness to come to Christ, repent, and believe. Either from pride, or laziness, or love of sin, or love of the world, the many have no mind, or wish, or heart, or desire to seek life in Christ. God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John v. 11.) But men stand still, and will not stir hand or foot to get life. And this is the whole reason why many of the lost are not saved. This is a painful and solemn truth, but one that we can never know too well. It contains a first principle in Christian theology. Thousands, in every age, are constantly labouring to shift the blame of their condition from off themselves. They talk of their inability to change. They tell you complacently, that they cannot help being what they are! They know, forsooth, that they are wrong, but they cannot be different! It will not do. Such talk will not stand the test of the Word of Christ before us. The unconverted are what they are because they have no will to be better. Light has come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light. (John iii. 19.) The words of the Lord Jesus will silence many: I would have gathered you, and ye would not be gathered. (Matt. xxiii. 37.) Let us mark, secondly, in this passage, one principal cause of unbelief. The Lord Jesus says to the Jews,How can ye believe which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh of God only? He meant by that saying, that they were not honest in their religion. With all their apparent desire to hear and learn, they cared more in reality for pleasing man than God. In this state of mind they were never likely to believe. A deep principle is contained in this saying of our Lords, and one that deserves special attention. True faith does not depend merely on the state of mans head and understanding, but on the state of his heart. His mind may be convinced. His conscience may be pierced. But so long as there is anything the man is secretly loving more than God, there will be no true faith. The man himself may be puzzled, and wonder why he does not believe. He does not see that he is like a child sitting on the lid of his box, and wishing to open it, but not considering that his own weight keeps it shut. Let a man make sure that he honestly and really desires first the praise of God. It is the lack of an honest heart which makes many stick fast in their false religion all their days, and die at length without peace. Those who complain that they hear, and approve, and assent, but make no progress, and cannot get any hold on Christ, should ask themselves this simple question, Am I honest?Am I sincere?Do I really desire first the praise of God? Let us mark, lastly, in this passage, the manner in which Christ speaks of Moses. He says to the Jews,Had ye believed Moses ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. These words demand our special attention in these latter days. That there really was such a person as Moses,that he really was the author of the writings commonly ascribed to him,on both these points our Lords testimony is distinct. He wrote of me. Can we suppose for a moment that our Lord was only accommodating Himself to the prejudices and traditions of His hearers, and that He spoke of Moses as a writer, though He knew in His heart that Moses never wrote at all? Such an idea is profane. It would make out our Lord to have been dishonest.Can we suppose for a moment that our Lord was ignorant about Moses, and did not know the wonderful discoveries which learned men, falsely so called, have made in the nineteenth century? Such an idea is ridiculous blasphemy. To imagine the Lord Jesus speaking ignorantly in such a chapter as the one before us, is to strike at the root of all Christianity.There is but one conclusion about the matter. There was such a person as Moses. The writings commonly ascribed to him were written by him. The facts recorded in them are worthy of all credit. Our Lords testimony is an unanswerable argument. The skeptical writers against Moses and the Pentateuch have greatly erred. Let us beware of handling the Old Testament irreverently, and allowing our minds to doubt the truth of any part of it, because of alleged difficulties. The simple fact that the writers of the New Testament continually refer to the Old Testament, and speak even of the most miraculous events recorded in it as undoubtedly true, should silence our doubts. Is it at all likely, probable, or credible, that we of the nineteenth century are better informed about Moses than Jesus and His Apostles? God forbid that we should think so! Then let us stand fast, and not doubt that every word in the Old Testament, as well as in the New, was given by inspiration of God. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:313316 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");
continue reading Lords Day 45, 2009

Lords Day 46, 2009

Sunday··2009·11·15
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn XXI. Gibeon    Joshua x. 6. by John Newton (17251807) When Joshua, by Gods command, Invaded Canaans guilty land; Gibeon, unlike the nations round, Submission made and mercy found. Their stubborn neighbors who enragd, United war against them wagd, By Joshua soon were overthrown, For Gibeons cause was now his own. He, from whose arm they ruin feard, Their leader and ally appeard An emblem of the Saviours grace, To those who humbly seek his face. The men of Gibeon wore disguise, And gaind their peace by framing lies; For Joshua had no powr to spare, If he had known from whence they were. But Jesus invitations sends, Treating with rebels as his friends; And holds the promise forth in view, To all who for his mercy sue. Too long his goodness I disdaind, Yet went at last and peace obtaind; But soon the noise of war I heard, And former friends in arms appeard. Weak in myself for help I cryd, Lord, I am pressd on evry side; The cause is thine, they fight with me, But evry blow is aimd at thee. With speed to my relief he came, And put my enemies to shame; Thus savd by grace I live to sing, The love and triumphs of my King. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. The Gospel According to John Christ feeds 5,000 Mt 14:1321; Mk 6:3144; Lk 9:1117 6 After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2 A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat? 6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7 Philip answered Him, Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little. 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peters brother, said to Him, 9 There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people? 10 Jesus said, Have the people sit down. Now there was much grass in the place So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12 When they were filled, He said to His disciples, Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost. 13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world. These verses describe one of our Lords most remarkable miracles. Of all the great works that He did, none was done so publicly as this, and before so many witnesses. Of all the miracles related in the Gospels, this is the only one which all the four Gospel-writers alike record. This fact alone (like the four times repeated account of the crucifixion and resurrection) is enough to show that it is a miracle demanding special attention. We have, for one thing, in this miracle, a lesson about Christs almighty power. We see our Lord feeding five thousand men with five barley loaves and two small fishes. We see clear proof that a miraculous event took place in the twelve baskets of fragments that remained after all had eaten. Creative power was manifestly exercised. Food was called into existence that did not exist before. In healing the sick, and raising the dead, something was amended or restored that had already existed. In feeding five thousand men with five loaves, something must have been created which before had no existence. These verses describe one of our Lord’s most remarkable miracles. Of all the great works that He did, none was done so publicly as this, and before so many witnesses. Of all the miracles related in the Gospels, this is the only one which all the four Gospel-writers alike record. This fact alone (like the four times repeated account of the crucifixion and resurrection) is enough to show that it is a miracle demanding special attention. We have, for one thing, in this miracle, a lesson about Christ’s almighty power. We see our Lord feeding five thousand men with "five barley loaves and two small fish." We see clear proof that a miraculous event took place in the "twelve baskets of fragments" that remained after all had eaten. Creative power was manifestly exercised. Food was called into existence that did not exist before. In healing the sick, and raising the dead, something was amended or restored that had already existed. In feeding five thousand men with five loaves, something must have been created which before had no existence. Such a history as this ought to be specially instructive and encouraging to all who endeavour to do good to souls. It shows us the Lord Jesus "able to save to the uttermost." He is One who has all power over dead hearts. Not only can He mend that which is broken,build up that which is ruined,heal that which is sick,strengthen that which is weak. He can do even greater things than these. He can call into being that which was not before, and call it out of nothing. We must never despair of any one being saved. So long as there is life there is hope. Reason and sense may say that some poor sinner is too hardened, or too old to be converted. Faith will reply,"Our Master can create as well as renew. With a Savior who, by His Spirit, can create a new heart, nothing is impossible." We have, for another thing, in this miracle, a lesson about the office of ministers. We see the apostles receiving the bread from our Lord’s hands, after He had blessed it, and distributing it to the multitude. It was not their hands that made it increase and multiply, but their Master’s. It was His almighty power that provided an unfailing supply. It was their work to receive humbly, and distribute faithfully. Now here is a lively emblem of the work which a true minister of the New Testament is meant to do. He is not a mediator between God and man. He has no power to put away sin, or impart grace. His whole business is to receive the bread of life which his Master provides, and to distribute it among the souls among whom he labours. He cannot make men value the bread, or receive it. He cannot make it soul-saving, or life-giving, to any one. This is not his work. For this he is not responsible. His whole business is to be a faithful distributor of the food which his Divine Master has provided; and that done, his office is discharged. We have, lastly, in this miracle, a lesson about the sufficiency of the Gospel for the needs of all mankind. We see the Lord Jesus supplying the hunger of a huge multitude of five thousand men. The provision seemed, at first sight, utterly inadequate for the occasion. To satisfy so many craving mouths with such scanty fare, in such a wilderness, seemed impossible. But the event showed that there was enough and to spare. There was not one who could complain that he was not filled. There can be no doubt that this was meant to teach the adequacy of Christ’s Gospel to supply the necessities of the whole world. Weak, and feeble, and foolish as it may seem to man, the simple story of the Cross is enough for all the children of Adam in every part of the globe. The tidings of Christ’s death for sinners, and the atonement made by that death, is able to meet the hearts and satisfy the consciences of all nations, and peoples, and kindreds, and tongues. Carried by faithful messengers, it feeds and supplies all ranks and classes. "The preaching of the cross is to those who perish foolishness, but to us who are saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor. 1:18.) Five barley loaves and two small fishes seemed scanty provision for a hungry crowd. But blessed by Christ, and distributed by His disciples, they were more than sufficient. Let us never doubt for a moment, that the preaching of Christ crucified,the old story of His blood, and righteousness, and substitution,is enough for all the spiritual necessities of all mankind. It is not worn out. It is not obsolete. It has not lost its power. We need nothing new,nothing more broad and kind,nothing more intellectual,nothing more effectual. We need nothing but the true bread of life, distributed faithfully among starving souls. Let men sneer or ridicule as they will. Nothing else can do good in this sinful world. No other teaching can fill hungry consciences, and give them peace. We are all in a wilderness. We must feed on Christ crucified, and the atonement made by His death, or we shall die in our sins. Such a history as this ought to be specially instructive and encouraging to all who endeavour to do good to souls. It shows us the Lord Jesus able to save to the uttermost. He is One who has all power over dead hearts. Not only can He mend that which is broken,build up that which is ruined,heal that which is sick,strengthen that which is weak. He can do even greater things than these. He can call into being that which was not before, and call it out of nothing. We must never despair of any one being saved. So long as there is life there is hope. Reason and sense may say that some poor sinner is too hardened, or too old to be converted. Faith will reply,Our Master can create as well as renew. With a Savior who, by His Spirit, can create a new heart, nothing is impossible. We have, for another thing, in this miracle, a lesson about the office of ministers. We see the apostles receiving the bread from our Lords hands, after He had blessed it, and distributing it to the multitude. It was not their hands that made it increase and multiply, but their Masters. It was His almighty power that provided an unfailing supply. It was their work to receive humbly, and distribute faithfully. Now here is a lively emblem of the work which a true minister of the New Testament is meant to do. He is not a mediator between God and man. He has no power to put away sin, or impart grace. His whole business is to receive the bread of life which his Master provides, and to distribute it among the souls among whom he labours. He cannot make men value the bread, or receive it. He cannot make it soul-saving, or life-giving, to any one. This is not his work. For this he is not responsible. His whole business is to be a faithful distributor of the food which his Divine Master has provided; and that done, his office is discharged. We have, lastly, in this miracle, a lesson about the sufficiency of the Gospel for the needs of all mankind. We see the Lord Jesus supplying the hunger of a huge multitude of five thousand men. The provision seemed, at first sight, utterly inadequate for the occasion. To satisfy so many craving mouths with such scanty fare, in such a wilderness, seemed impossible. But the event showed that there was enough and to spare. There was not one who could complain that he was not filled. There can be no doubt that this was meant to teach the adequacy of Christs Gospel to supply the necessities of the whole world. Weak, and feeble, and foolish as it may seem to man, the simple story of the Cross is enough for all the children of Adam in every part of the globe. The tidings of Christs death for sinners, and the atonement made by that death, is able to meet the hearts and satisfy the consciences of all nations, and peoples, and kindreds, and tongues. Carried by faithful messengers, it feeds and supplies all ranks and classes. The preaching of the cross is to those who perish foolishness, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor. i. 18.) Five barley loaves and two small fishes seemed scanty provision for a hungry crowd. But blessed by Christ, and distributed by His disciples, they were more than sufficient. Let us never doubt for a moment, that the preaching of Christ crucified,the old story of His blood, and righteousness, and substitution,is enough for all the spiritual necessities of all mankind. It is not worn out. It is not obsolete. It has not lost its power. We want nothing new,nothing more broad and kind,nothing more intellectual,nothing more efficacious. We want nothing but the true bread of life, distributed faithfully among starving souls. Let men sneer or ridicule as they will. Nothing else can do good in this sinful world. No other teaching can fill hungry consciences, and give them peace. We are all in a wilderness. We must feed on Christ crucified, and the atonement made by His death, or we shall die in our sins. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:324327. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 46, 2009

Lords Day 47, 2009

Sunday··2009·11·22
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XX. Christ the Light of his People. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) I Lift my heart and eyes to thee, Jesus, thou unextinguished light: My lantern, guide, and leader be, My cloud by day, my fire by night. Glory of Israel, shine within,    Unshadowd, uneclipsd appear; O let thy beams dispel my sin,    Direct me by a friendly star.    The world a maze and labrinth is, Be thou my thread and faithful clue;    Thy kingdom and thy righteousness The only objects I pursue.     Light of the Gentiles, thee I hail!    Essential light, thyself impart! Spirit of light, his face reveal;    And set thy signet on my heart. Thy office is to enlighten man,    And point him to the heavenly prize; The hidden things of God t explain,    And chase the darkness from our eyes.    Shew me I have the better part, The treasure hid with Christ in God;    Give me a perfect peace of heart, And pardon through my Saviours blood. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). John 6:1521Christ Walks on the Water Mt 14:2223; Mk6:4552 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.    16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. 19 Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. 20 But He said to them, It is I; do not be afraid. 21 So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. We should notice, in these verses, our Lord Jesus Christs humility. We are told that, after feeding the multitude, He perceived that they would come and take him by force to make him a king. At once He departed, and left them. He wanted no such honours as these. He had come, not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matt. xx. 28.) We see the same spirit and frame of mind all through our Lords earthly ministry. From His cradle to His grave He was clothed with humility. (1 Pet. v. 5.) He was born of a poor woman, and spent the first thirty years of His life in a carpenters house at Nazareth. He was followed by poor companions,many of them no better than fishermen. He was poor in his manner of living: The foxes had holes, and the birds of the air their nests,but the Son of man had not where to lay his head (Matt. viii. 20.) When He went on the Sea of Galilee, it was in a borrowed boat. When He rode into Jerusalem, it was on a borrowed ass. When He was buried, it was in a borrowed tomb. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor. (2 Cor. viii. 9.) The example is one which ought to be far more remembered than it is. How common are pride, and ambition, and high-mindedness! How rare are humility and lowly-mindedness! How few ever refuse greatness when offered to them! How many are continually seeking great things for themselves, and forgetting the injunctionSeek them not! (Jer. xlv. 5.) Surely it was not for nothing that our Lord, after washing the disciples feet, said,I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done. (John xiii. 15.) There is little, it may be feared, of that feet-washing spirit among Christians. But whether men will hear or forbear, humility is the queen of the graces. Tell me, it has been said, how much humility a man has, and I will tell you how much religion he has. Humility is the first step toward heaven, and the true way to honour. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke xviii. 14.) We should notice, secondly, in these verses, the trials through which Christs disciples had to pass. We are told that they were sent over the lake by themselves, while their Master tarried behind. And then we see them alone in a dark night, tossed about by a great wind on stormy waters, and, worst of all, Christ not with them. It was a strange transition. From witnessing a mighty miracle, and helping it instrumentally, amid an admiring crowd, to solitude, darkness, winds, waves, storm, anxiety, and danger, the change was very great! But Christ knew it, and Christ appointed it, and it was working for their good. Trial, we must distinctly understand, is part of the diet which all true Christians must expect. It is one of the means by which their grace is proved, and by which they find out what there is in themselves. Winter as well as summer,cold as well as heat,clouds as well as sunshine,are all necessary to bring the fruit of the Spirit to ripeness and maturity. We do not naturally like this. We would rather cross the lake with calm weather and favourable winds, with Christ always by our side, and the sun shining down on our faces. But it may not be. It is not in this way that Gods children are made partakers of His holiness. (Heb. xii. 10.) Abraham, and Jacob, and Moses, and David, and Job were all men of many trials. Let us be content to walk in their footsteps, and to drink of their cup. In our darkest hours we may seem to be left,but we are never really alone. Let us notice, in the last place, our Lord Jesus Christs power over the waves of the sea. He came to His disciples as they were rowing on the stormy lake, walking on the waters. He walked on them as easily as we walk on dry land. They bore Him as firmly as the pavement of the Temple, or the hills around Nazareth. That which is contrary to all natural reason was perfectly possible to Christ. The Lord Jesus, we must remember, is not only the Lord, but the Maker of all creation. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. (John i. 3.) It was just as easy for Him to walk on the sea as to form the sea at the beginning,just as easy to suspend the common laws of nature, as they are called, as to impose those laws at the first. Learned men talk solemn nonsense sometimes about the eternal fixity of the laws of nature, as if they were above God Himself, and could never be suspended. It is well to be reminded sometimes by such miracles as that before us, that these so-called laws of nature are neither immutable nor eternal. They had a beginning, and will one day have an end. Let all true Christians take comfort in the thought that their Saviour is Lord of waves and winds, of storms and tempests, and can come to them in the darkest hour, walking upon the sea. There are waves of trouble far heavier than any on the Lake of Galilee. There are days of darkness which test the faith of the holiest Christian. But let us never despair if Christ is our Friend. He can come to our aid in an hour when we do not think, and in ways that we did not expect. And when He comes, all will be calm. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:334337. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 47, 2009

Lords Day 48, 2009

Sunday··2009·11·29
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Christian Warfare Samuel Stennett (17271795) My Captain sounds the alarm of war; Awake, the powers of hell are near! To arms! To arms! I hear him cry, Tis yours to conquer, or to die! Roused by the animating sound, I cast my eager eyes around; Make haste to gird my armor on, And bid each trembling fear be gone. Hope is my helmet; faith my shield; Thy Word, my God! The sword I wield; With sacred truth my loins are girt, And holy zeal inspires my heart. Thus armed I venture on the fight; Resolved to put my foes to flight; While Jesus kindly deigns to spread His conquering banner oer my head. In him I hope; in him I trust; His bleeding cross is all my boast. Through troops of foes Hell lead me on To victory and the victors crown. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 6:2227I Am the Bread of Life The next day the crowd that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. 23 There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. 25 When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, Rabbi, when did You get here? 26 Jesus answered them and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal. We should mark first, in this passage, what knowledge of mans heart our Lord Jesus Christ possesses. We see Him exposing the false motives of those who followed Him for the sake of the loaves and fishes. They had followed Him across the Lake of Galilee. They seemed at first sight ready to believe in Him, and do Him honour. But He knew the inward springs of their conduct, and was not deceived. Ye seek me, He said, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye ate the loaves, and were filled. The Lord Jesus, we should never forget, is still the same. He never changes. He reads the secret motives of all who profess and call themselves Christians. He knows exactly why they do all they do in their religion. The reasons why they go to Church, and why they receive the sacrament,why they attend family prayers, and why they keep Sunday holy,all are naked and opened to the eyes of the great Head of the Church. By Him actions are weighed as well as seen. Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7">1 Sam. xvi. 7.) Let us be real, true, and sincere in our religion, whatever else we are. The sinfulness of hypocrisy is very great, but its folly is greater still. It is not hard to deceive ministers, relatives, and friends. A little decent outward profession will often go a long way. But it is impossible to deceive Christ. His eyes are as a flame of fire. (Rev. i. 14.) He sees us through and through. Happy are those who can say,Thou, Lord, who knowest all things, knowest that we love thee. (John xxi. 17.) We should mark, secondly, in this passage, what Christ forbids. He told the crowds who followed Him so diligently for the loaves and fishes, not to labour for the food that perisheth. It was a remarkable saying, and demands explanation. Our Lord, we may be sure, did not mean to encourage idleness. It would be a great mistake to suppose this hard labour was the appointed lot of Adam in Paradise. Labour was ordained to be mans occupation after the fall. Labour is honourable in all men. No one need be ashamed of belonging to the working classes. Our Lord himself worked in the carpenters shop at Nazareth. Paul wrought as a tent-maker with his own hands. What our Lord did mean to rebuke was, that excessive attention to labour for the body, while the soul is neglected, which prevails everywhere in the world. What He reproved was, the common habit of labouring only for the things of time, and letting alone the things of eternityof minding only the life that now is, and disregarding the life to come. Against this habit He delivers a solemn warning. Surely, we must all feel our Lord did not say the words before us without good cause. They are a startling caution which should ring in the ears of many in these latter days. How many in every rank of life are doing the very thing against which Jesus warns us! They are labouring night and day for the food that perisheth, and doing nothing for their immortal souls. Happy are those who early learn betimes the respective value of soul and body, and give the first and best place in their thoughts to salvation. One thing is needful. He that seeks first the kingdom of God, will never fail to find all other things added to him. (Matt. vi. 33.) We should mark, thirdly, in this passage, what Christ advises. He tells us to labour for the food that endureth to everlasting life. He would have us take pains to find food and satisfaction for our souls. That food is provided in rich abundance in Him. But he that would have it must diligently seek it. How are we to labour? There is but one answer. We must labour in the use of all appointed means. We must read our Bibles, like men digging for hidden treasure. We must wrestle earnestly in prayer, like men contending with a deadly enemy for life. We must take our whole heart to the house of God, and worship and hear like those who listen to the reading of a benefactors will. We must fight daily against sin, the world, and the devil, like those who fight for liberty, and must conquer, or be slaves. These are the ways we must walk in if we would find Christ, and be found of Him. This is labouring. This is the secret of getting on about our souls. Labour like this no doubt is very uncommon. In carrying it on we shall have little encouragement from man, and shall often be told that we are extreme, and go too far. Strange and absurd as it is, the natural man is always fancying that we may take too much thought about religion, and refusing to see that we are far more likely to take too much thought about the world. But whatever man may say, the soul will never get spiritual food without labour. We must strive, we must run, we must fight, we must throw our whole heart into our souls affairs. It is the violent who take the kingdom. (Matt. xi. 12.) We should mark, lastly, in this passage, what a promise Christ holds out. He tells us that He himself will give eternal food to all who seek it: The Son of man shall give you the food that endureth unto everlasting life. How gracious and encouraging these words are! Whatever we need for the relief of our hungering souls, Christ is ready and willing to bestow. Whatever mercy, grace, peace, strength we require, the Son of man will give freely, immediately, abundantly, and eternally. He is sealed, and appointed, and commissioned by God the Father for this very purpose. Like Joseph in the Egyptian famine, it is His office to be the Friend, and Almoner [distributor of alms, benefactor], and Reliever of a sinful world. He is far more willing to give than man is to receive. The more sinners apply to Him, the better He is pleased. And now, as we leave this rich passage, let us ask ourselves, what use we make of it? For what are we labouring ourselves? What do we know of lasting food and satisfaction for our inward man? Never let us rest until we have eaten of the food which Christ alone can give. Those who are content with any other spiritual food will sooner or later lie down in sorrow. (Isa. l. 11.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:345348. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 48, 2009

Lords Day 49, 2009

Sunday··2009·12·06 · 2 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Kingdom. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Peace! earths last battle has been won; Its days of conflict now are oer; The Prince of peace ascends the throne, And war has ceased from shore to shore. Rest! the worlds day of toil is past;    Each storm is hushed above, below, Creations joy has come at last,    After six thousand years of woe. Messiah reigns! earths king has come!    Its diadems are on his brow, Its rebel kingdoms have become    His everlasting kingdom now. This earth again is Paradise;    The desert blossoms as the rose; Clothed in its robes of bridal bliss,    Creation has forgot its woes. O, long-expected, absent long.    Star of creations troubled gloom! Let heaven and earth break forth in song,    Messiah! Saviour! art thou come? For thou hast bought us with thy blood.    And thou wast slain to set us free; Thou madst us kings and priests to God,    And we shall reign on earth with thee! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 6:2834Therefore they said to Him, What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. 30 So they said to Him, What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat. 32 Jesus then said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world. 34 Then they said to Him, Lord, always give us this bread. These verses form the beginning of one of the most remarkable passages in the Gospels. None, perhaps, of our Lords discourses has occasioned more controversy, and been more misunderstood, than that which we find in the Sixth Chapter of John. We should observe, for one thing, in these verses, the spiritual ignorance and unbelief of the natural man. Twice over we see this brought out and exemplified. When our Lord instructed his hearers to labour for the food which endures to eternal life, they immediately began to think of works to be done, and a goodness of their own to be established. What shall we do that we might work the works of God? Doing, doing, doing, was their only idea of the way to heaven. Again, when our Lord spoke of Himself as One sent of God, and the need of believing on Him at once, they turn round with the question, What sign showest thou? what dost thou work? Fresh from the mighty miracle of the loaves and fishes, one might have thought they had had a sign sufficient to convince them. Taught by our Lord Jesus Christ himself, one might have expected a greater readiness to believe. But alas! there are no limits to mans dulness, prejudice, and unbelief in spiritual matters. It is a striking fact that the only thing which our Lord is said to have marvelled at during His earthly ministry, was mans unbelief. (Mark vi. 6.) We shall do well to remember this, if we ever try to do good to others in the matter of religion. We must not be cast down because our words are not believed, and our efforts seem thrown away. We must not complain of it as a strange thing, and suppose that the people we have to deal with are peculiarly stubborn and hard. We must recollect that this is the very cup of which our Lord had to drink, and like Him we must patiently work on. If even He, so perfect and so plain a Teacher, was not believed, what right have we to wonder if men do not believe us? Happy are the ministers, and missionaries, and teachers who keep these things in mind! It will save them much bitter disappointment. In working for God, it is of first importance to understand what we must expect in man. Few things are so little realized as the extent of human unbelief. We should observe, for another thing, in these verses, the high honour Christ puts on faith in Himself. The Jews had asked Him,What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? In reply He says,This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. A truly striking and remarkable expression! If any two things are put in strong contrast, in the New Testament, they are faith and works. Not working, but believing,not of works, but through faith,are words familiar to all careful Bible-readers. Yet here the great Head of the Church declares that believing on Him is the highest and greatest of all works! It is the work of God. Doubtless our Lord did not mean that there is anything meritorious in believing. Mans faith, at the very best, is feeble and defective. Regarded as a work, it cannot stand the severity of Gods judgment, deserve pardon, or purchase heaven. But our Lord did mean that faith in Himself, as the only Saviour, is the first act of the soul which God requires at a sinners hands. Until a man believes on Jesus, and rests on Jesus as a lost sinner, he is nothing.Our Lord did mean that faith in Himself is that act of the soul which specially pleases God. When the Father sees a sinner casting aside his own righteousness, and simply trusting in His dear Son, He is well pleased. Without such faith it is impossible to please God.Our Lord did mean that faith in Himself is the root of all saving religion. There is no life in a man until he believes.Above all, our Lord did mean that faith in Himself is the hardest of all spiritual acts to the natural man. Did the Jews want something to do in religion? Let them know that the greatest thing they had to do was, to cast aside their pride, confess their guilt and need, and humbly believe. Let all who know anything of true faith thank God and rejoice. Blessed are those who believe! It is an attainment which many of the wise of this world have never yet reached. We may feel ourselves to be poor, weak sinners. But do we believe?We may fail and come short in many things. But do we believe?He that has learned to feel his sins, and to trust Christ as a Saviour, has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity. He has been in the best of schools. He has been taught by the Holy Spirit. We shall observe, lastly, in these verses, the far greater privileges of Christs hearers than of those who lived in the times of Moses. Wonderful and miraculous as the manna was which fell from heaven, it was nothing in comparison to the true bread which Christ had to bestow on His disciples. He himself was the bread of God, who had come down from heaven to give life to the world. The bread which fell in the days of Moses could only feed and satisfy the body. The Son of man had come to feed the soul.The bread which fell in the days of Moses was only for the benefit of Israel. The Son of man had come to offer eternal life to the world.Those who ate the manna died and were buried, and many of them were lost forever. But those who ate the bread which the Son of man provided, would be eternally saved. And now let us take heed to ourselves, and make sure that we are among those who eat the bread of God and live. Let us not be content with lazy waiting, but let us actually come to Christ, and eat the bread of life, and believe to the saving of our souls. The Jews could say,Evermore give us this bread. But it may be feared they went no further. Let us never rest until, by faith, we have eaten this bread, and can say, Christ is mine. I have tasted that the Lord is gracious. I know and feel that I am His. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:355358 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");
continue reading Lords Day 49, 2009

Lords Day 50, 2009

Sunday··2009·12·13
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. A Neophytes Devotion Glorious and holy God, Provocations against thy divine majesty have filled my whole life. My offenses have been countless and aggravated.    Conscience has rebuked me, friends have admonished me, the examples of others have reproached me, thy rod has chastised me, thy kindness allured me. Thou hast seen and abhorred all my sins and couldst easily and justly have punished me, yet thou hast spared me,    been gracious unto me,    given me thy help,    invited me to thy table. Lord, I thankfully obey thy call, accept of thy goodness, acquiesce in thy gospel appointments. I believe that Jesus thy Son has plenteous redemption; I apply to him for his benefits, give up my mind implicitly to his instructions, trust and glory in his sacrifices, revere and love his authority, pray that his grace may reign in my life. I will not love a world that crucified him, neither cherish nor endure the sin,    that put him to grief, nor suffer him to be wounded by others. At the cross that relieves my conscience let me learn lessons of self-denial, forgiveness    and submission, feel motives to obedience, find resources for all needs of the divine life. then let me be what I profess, do as well as teach, live as well as well as hear religion. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). John 6:3540Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. Three of our Lord Jesus Christs great sayings are strung together, like pearls, in this passage. Each of them ought to be precious to every true Christian. All taken together, they form a mine of truth, into which he that searches need never search in vain. We have, first, in these verses, a saying of Christ about Himself. We read that Jesus said,I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Our Lord would have us know that He himself is the appointed food of mans soul. The soul of every man is naturally starving and famishing through sin. Christ is given by God the Father, to be the Satisfier, the Reliever, and the Physician of mans spiritual need. In Him and His mediatorial office,in Him and His atoning death,in Him and His priesthood,in Him and His grace, love, and power,in Him alone will empty souls find their needs supplied. In Him there is life. He is the bread of life. With what divine and perfect wisdom this name is chosen! Bread is necessary food. We can manage tolerably well without many things on our table, but not without bread. So is it with Christ. We must have Christ, or die in our own sins. Bread is food that suits all. Some cannot eat meat, and some cannot eat vegetables. But all like bread. It is food both for the Queen and the pauper. So is it with Christ. He is just the Saviour that meets the needs of every class. Bread is food that we need daily. Other kinds of food we take, perhaps, only occasionally. But we need bread every morning and evening in our lives. So is it with Christ. There is no day in our lives but we need His blood, His righteousness, His intercession, and His grace. Well may He be called, The bread of life! Do we know anything of spiritual hunger? Do we feel anything of craving and emptiness in conscience, heart, and affections? Let us distinctly understand that Christ alone can relieve and supply us, and that it is His office to relieve. We must come to Him by faith. We must believe on Him, and commit our souls into His hands. So coming, He pledges His royal word we shall find lasting satisfaction both for time and eternity. It is written,He that cometh unto me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. We have, secondly, in these verses, a saying of Christ about those who come to Him. We read that Jesus said,Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out. What does coming mean? It means that movement of the soul which takes place when a man, feeling his sins, and finding out that he cannot save himself, hears of Christ, applies to Christ, trusts in Christ, lays hold on Christ, and leans all his weight on Christ for salvation. When this happens, a man is said, in Scripture language, to come to Christ. What did our Lord mean by saying,I will in nowise cast him out? He meant that He will not refuse to save any one who comes to Him, no matter what he may have been. His past sins may have been very great. His present weakness and infirmity may be very great. But does he come to Christ by faith? Then Christ will receive him graciously, pardon him freely, place him in the number of His dear children, and give him everlasting life. These are golden words indeed! They have smoothed down many a dying pillow, and calmed many a troubled conscience. Let them sink down deeply into our memories, and abide there continually. A day will come when flesh and heart shall fail, and the world can help us no more. Happy shall we be in that day, if the Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we have really come to Christ! We have, lastly, in these verses, a saying of Christ about the will of His Father. Twice over come the solemn words,This is the will of him that sent me. Once we are told it is His will, that every one that seeth the Son may have everlasting life. Once we are told it is His will that, of all which he has given to Christ he shall lose nothing. We are taught by these words that Christ has brought into the world a salvation open and free to everyone. Our Lord draws a picture of it, from the story of the bronze serpent, by which bitten Israelites in the wilderness were healed. Every one that chose to look at the bronze serpent might live. Just in the same way, every one who desires eternal life may look at Christ by faith, and have it freely. There is no barrier, no limit, no restriction. The terms of the Gospel are wide and simple. Every one may look and live. We are taught, furthermore, that Christ will never allow any soul that is committed to Him to be lost and cast away. He will keep it safe, from grace to glory, in spite of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Not one bone of His mystical body shall ever be broken. Not one lamb of His flock shall ever be left behind in the wilderness. He will raise to glory, in the last day, the whole flock entrusted to His charge, and not one shall be found missing. Let the true Christian feed on the truths contained in this passage, and thank God for them. Christ the Bread of life,Christ the Receiver of all who come to Him,Christ the Preserver of all believers,Christ is for every man who is willing to believe on Him, and Christ is the eternal possession of all who so believe. Surely this is glad tidings and good news! J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:367370 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");
continue reading Lords Day 50, 2009

Lords Day 51, 2009

Sunday··2009·12·20
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. HYMN XXII. Jehovah-Shalem, The Lord send peace.    Judges vi. 24. by William Cowper (17311800) Jesus, whose blood so freely streamd To satisfy the laws demand; By thee from guilt and wrath redeemd, Before the Fathers face I stand. To reconcile offending man, Make Justice drop her angry rod; What creature could have formd the plan, Or who fulfil it but a God? No drop remains of all the curse; For wretches who deservd the whole; No arrows dipt in wrath to pierce The guilty, but returning soul. Peace by such means so dearly bought, What rebel could have hopd to see? Peace, by his injurd sovereign wrought, His Sovreign fastened to the tree. Now, Lord, thy feeble worm prepare! For strife with earth and hell begins; Confirm and gird me for the war, They hate the soul that hates his sins. Let them in horrid league agree! They may assault, they may distress; But cannot quench thy love to me, Nor rob me of the Lord my peace. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 6:4151Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, I am the bread that came down out of heaven. 42 They were saying, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, I have come down out of heaven? 43 Jesus answered and said to them, Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh. Truths of the weightiest importance follow each other in rapid succession in the chapter we are now reading. There are probably very few parts of the Bible which contain so many deep things as the Sixth Chapter of St. John. Of this the passage before as is a signal example. We learn, for one thing, from this passage, that Christs lowly condition, when He was upon earth, is a stumbling-block to the natural man. We read that the Jews murmured, because Jesus said, I am the bread that came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?Had our Lord come as a conquering king, with wealth and honours to bestow on His followers, and mighty armies in His train, they would have been willing enough to receive Him. But a poor, and lowly, and suffering Messiah was an offence to them. Their pride refused to believe that such an one was sent from God. There is nothing that need surprise us in this. It is human nature showing itself in its true colors. We see the same thing in the days of the Apostles. Christ crucified was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness. (1 Cor. i. 23.) The cross was an offence to many wherever the Gospel was preached.We may see the same thing in our own times. There are thousands around us who loathe the distinctive doctrines of the Gospel on account of their humbling character. They cannot away with the atonement, and the sacrifice, and the substitution of Christ. His moral teaching they approve. His example and self-denial they admire. But speak to them of Christs blood,of Christ being made sin for us,of Christs death being the corner-stone of our hope,of Christs poverty being our riches,and you will find they hate these things with a deadly hatred. Truly the offence of the cross is not yet ceased! We learn, for another thing, from this passage, mans natural helplessness and inability to repent or believe. We find our Lord saying,No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draws him. Until the Father draws the heart of man by His grace, man will not believe. The solemn truth contained in these words is one that needs careful weighing. It is vain to deny that without the grace of God no one ever can become a true Christian. We are spiritually dead, and have no power to give ourselves life. We need a new principle put in us from above. Facts prove it. Preachers see it. The Tenth Article of our own Church expressly declares it,The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. This witness is true. But after all, of what does this inability of man consist? In what part of our inward nature does this impotence reside? Here is a point on which many mistakes arise. Forever let us remember that the will of man is the part of him which is in fault. His inability is not physical, but moral. It would not be true to say that a man has a real wish and desire to come to Christ, but no power to come. It would be far more true to say that a man has no power to come because he has no desire or wish.It is not true that he would come if he could. It is true that he could come if he would.The corrupt will,the secret disinclination,the lack of heart, are the real causes of unbelief. It is here the mischief lies. The power that we want is a new will. It is precisely at this point that we need the drawing of the Father. These things, no doubt, are deep and mysterious. By truths like these God proves the faith and patience of His people. Can they believe Him? Can they wait for a fuller explanation at the last day? What they see not now they shall see hereafter. One thing at any rate is abundantly clear, and that is, mans responsibility for his own soul. His inability to come to Christ does not make an end of his accountableness. Both things are equally true. If lost at last, it will prove to have been his own fault. His blood will be on his own head. Christ would have saved him, but he would not be saved. He would not come to Christ, that he might have life. We learn, lastly, in this passage, that the salvation of a believer is a present thing. Our Lord Jesus Christ says,Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. Life, we should observe, is a present possession. It is not said that he shall have it at last, in the judgment day. It is now, even now, in this world, his property. He hath it the very day that he believes. The subject is one which it much concerns our peace to understand, and one about which errors abound. How many seem to think that forgiveness and acceptance with God are things which we cannot attain in this life,that they are things which are to be earned by a long course of repentance and faith and holiness,things which we may receive at the bar of God at last, but must never pretend to touch while we are in this world! It is a complete mistake to think so. The very moment a sinner believes on Christ he is justified and accepted. There is no condemnation for him. He has peace with God, and that immediately and without delay. His name is in the book of life, however little he may be aware of it. He has a title to heaven, which death and hell and Satan can not overthrow. Happy are those who know this truth! It is an essential part of the good news of the Gospel. After all, the great point we have to consider is whether we believe. What shall it profit us that Christ has died for sinners, if we do not believe on Him? He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John iii. 36.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:379382. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 51, 2009

Lords Day 52, 2009

Sunday··2009·12·27
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 60. (L. M.) The Virgin Marys song. Luke i. 46, &c. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Our souls shall magnify the Lord, In God the Saviour we rejoice: While we repeat the Virgins song, May the same Spirit tune our voice! [The Highest saw her low estate, And mighty things his hand hath done: His overshadowing power and grace Makes her the mother of his Son. Let evry nation call her blessd, And endless years prolong her fame; But God alone must be adord: Holy and reverend is his name.] To those that fear and trust the Lord, His mercy stands for ever sure: From age to age his promise lives, And the performance is secure. He spake to Abram and his seed, In thee shall all the earth be blessd; The memory of that ancient word Lay long in his eternal breast. But now no more shall Isrel wait, No more the Gentiles lie forlorn: Lo, the desire of nations comes; Behold, the promised seed is born! from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). John 6:5259Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat? 53 So Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever. 59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Few passages of Scripture have been so painfully twisted and perverted as that which we have now read. The Jews are not the only people who have striven about its meaning. A sense has been put upon it, which it was never intended to bear. Fallen man, in interpreting the Bible, has an unhappy aptitude for turning food into poison. The things that were written for his benefit, he often makes an occasion for falling. Let us first consider carefully, what these verses do not mean. The eating and drinking of which Christ speaks do not mean any literal eating and drinking. Above all, the words were not spoken with any reference to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper. We may eat the Lords Supper, and yet not eat and drink Christs body and blood. We may eat and drink Christs body and blood, and yet not eat the Lords Supper. Let this never be forgotten. The opinion here expressed may startle some who have not looked closely into the subject. But it is an opinion which is supported by three weighty reasons.For one thing, a literal eating and drinking of Christs body and blood would have been an idea utterly revolting to all Jews, and flatly contradictory to an often-repeated precept of their law.For another thing, to take a literal view of eating and drinking, is to interpose a bodily act between the soul of man and salvation. This is a thing for which there is no precedent in Scripture. The only things without which we cannot be saved are repentance and faith.Last, but not least, to take a literal view of eating and drinking, would involve most blasphemous and profane consequences. It would shut out of heaven the penitent thief. He died long after these words were spoken, without any literal eating and drinking. Will any dare to say he had no life in Him?It would admit to heaven thousands of ignorant, godless communicants in the present day. They literally eat and drink, no doubt! But they have no eternal life, and will not be raised to glory at the last day. Let these reasons be carefully pondered. The plain truth is, there is a morbid anxiety in fallen man to put a carnal sense on Scriptural expressions, wherever he possibly can. He struggles hard to make religion a matter of forms and ceremonies,of doing and performing,of sacraments and ordinances,of sense and of sight. He secretly dislikes that system of Christianity which makes the state of the heart the principal thing, and labours to keep sacraments and ordinances in the second place. Happy is that Christian who remembers these things, and stands on his guard! Baptism and the Lords supper, no doubt, are holy sacraments, and mighty blessings, when rightly used. But it is worse than useless to drag them in everywhere, and to see them everywhere in Gods Word. Let us next consider carefully, what these verses do mean. The expressions they contain are, no doubt, very remarkable. Let us try to get some clear notion of their meaning. The flesh and blood of the Son of man mean that sacrifice of His own body, which Christ offered up on the cross, when He died for sinners. The atonement made by His death, the satisfaction made by his sufferings, as our Substitute, the redemption effected by His enduring the penalty of our sins in His own body on the tree,this seems to be the true idea that we should set before our minds. The eating and drinking, without which there is no life in us, means that reception of Christs sacrifice which takes place when a man believes on Christ crucified for salvation. It is an inward and spiritual act of the heart, and has nothing to do with the body. Whenever a man, feeling his own guilt and sinfulness, lays hold on Christ, and trusts in the atonement made for him by Christs death, at once he eats the flesh of the Son of man, and drinks His blood. His soul feeds on Christs sacrifice, by faith, just as his body would feed on bread. Believing, he is said to eat. Believing, he is said to drink. And the special thing that he eats, and drinks, and gets benefit from, is the atonement made for his sins by Christs death for him on Calvary. The practical lessons which may be gathered from the whole passage are weighty and important. The point being once settled, that the flesh and blood in these verses means Christs atonement, and the eating and drinking mean faith, we may find in these verses great principles of truth, which lie at the very root of Christianity. We may learn, that faith in Christs atonement is a thing of absolute necessity to salvation. Just as there was no safety for the Israelite in Egypt who did not eat the passover-lamb, in the night when the first-born were slain, so there is no life for the sinner who does not eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. We may learn that faith in Christs atonement unites us by the closest possible bonds to our Saviour, and entitles us to the highest privileges. Our souls shall find full satisfaction for all their wants:His flesh is food indeed, and His blood is drink indeed. All things are secured to us that we can need for time and eternity:Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. Last, but not least, we may learn that faith in Christs atonement is a personal act, a daily act, and an act that can be felt. No one can eat and drink for us, and no one, in like manner, can believe for us.We need food every day, and not once a week or once a month,and, in like manner, we need to employ faith every day.We feel benefit when we have eaten and drunk, we feel strengthened, nourished, and refreshed; and, in like manner, if we believe truly, we shall feel the better for it, by sensible hope and peace in our inward man. Let us take heed that we use these truths, as well as know them. The food of this world, for which so many take thought, will perish in the using, and not feed our souls. He only that eats of the bread that came down from heaven shall live forever. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012), 3:393396 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");
continue reading Lords Day 52, 2009

Lords Day 1, 2010

Sunday··2010·01·03
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXI. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Chaind to the world, to sin tyd down, In darkness still I lie; Lord, break my bonds, Lord give me wings, And teach me how to fly. Instruct my feeble hands to war,    In me thy strength reveal, To put my evry lust to death,    And fight thy battles well. Rend evry veil that shades thy face,    Put on thine helmet, Lord; My sin shall fall, my guilt expire,    Beneath thy conquring sword. Thou art the mighty God of hosts,    Whose counsels never fail; Be thou my glorious chief, and then    I cannot but prevail. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). John 6:6065Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it? 61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, Does this cause you to stumble? 62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father. We learn from these verses that some of Christs sayings seem hard to flesh and blood. We are told that many who had followed our Lord for a season, were offended when He spoke of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. They murmured and said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? Murmurs and complaints of this kind are very common. It must never surprise us to hear them. They have been, they are, they will be as long as the world stands. To some Christs sayings appear hard to understand. To others, as in the present case, they appear hard to believe, and harder still to obey. It is just one of the many ways in which the natural corruption of man shows itself. So long as the heart is naturally proud, worldly, unbelieving, and fond of self-indulgence, if not of sin, so long there will never be lacking people who will say of Christian doctrines and precepts, These are hard sayings; who can hear them? Humility is the frame of mind which we should labour and pray for, if we would not be offended by scriptural teaching. If we find any of Christs sayings hard to understand, we should humbly remember our present ignorance, and believe that we shall know more by and bye. If we find any of His sayings difficult to obey, we should humbly recollect that He will never require of us impossibilities, and that what He bids us do, He will give us grace to perform. We learn, secondly, from these verses, that we must beware of putting a carnal meaning on spiritual words. We read that our Lord said to the murmuring Jews who stumbled at the idea of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. It is useless to deny that this verse is full of difficulties. It contains expressions hard to be understood. It is far more easy to have a general impression of the meaning of the whole sentence, than to explain it word by word. Some things nevertheless we can see clearly and grasp firmly. Let us consider what they are. Our Lord says, It is the Spirit that quickeneth. By this He means that it is the Holy Ghost who is the special author of spiritual life in mans soul. By His agency it is first imparted, and afterwards sustained and kept up. If the Jews thought He meant that man could have spiritual life by bodily eating or drinking, they were greatly mistaken. Our Lord says, The flesh profiteth nothing. By this He means that neither His flesh nor any other flesh, literally eaten, can do good to the soul. Spiritual benefit is not to be had through the mouth, but through the heart. The soul is not a material thing, and cannot therefore be nourished by material food. Our Lord says, the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. By this He signifies that His words and teachings, applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit, are the true means of producing spiritual influence and conveying spiritual life. By words thoughts are begotten and aroused. By words mind and conscience are stirred. And Christs words especially are spirit-stirring and life-giving. The principle contained in this verse, however faintly we may grasp its full meaning, deserves peculiar attention in these times. There is a tendency in many minds to attach an excessive importance to the outward and visible or doing part of religion. They seem to think that the sum and substance of Christianity consists in Baptism and the Supper of the Lord, in public ceremonies and forms, in appeals to the eye and ear and bodily excitement. Surely they forget that it is the Spirit that quickeneth, and that the flesh profiteth nothing. It is not so much by noisy public demonstrations, as by the still quiet work of the Holy Spirit on hearts that Gods cause prospers. It is Christs words entering into consciences, which are spirit and life. We learn, lastly, from these verses, that Christ has a perfect knowledge of the hearts of men. We read that He knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. Sentences like this are found so frequently in the Gospels that we are apt to underrate their importance. Yet there are few truths which we shall find it so good for our souls to remember as that which is contained in the sentence before us. The Saviour with whom we have to do is one who knows all things! What light this throws on the marvelous patience of the Lord Jesus in the days of His earthly ministry! He knew the sorrow and humiliation before Him, and the manner of His death. He knew the unbelief and treachery of some who professed to be His familiar friends. But for the joy that was set before Him he endured it all. (Heb. xii. 2.) What light this throws on the folly of hypocrisy and false profession in religion! Let those who are guilty of it recollect that they cannot deceive Christ. He sees them, knows them, and will expose them at the last day, except they repent. Whatever we are as Christians, and however weak, let us be real, true, and sincere. Finally, what light this throws on the daily pilgrimage of all true Christians! Let them take comfort in the thought that their Master knows them. However much unknown and misunderstood by the world, their Master knows their hearts, and will comfort them at the last day. Happy is he who, in spite of many infirmities, can say with Peter: Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. (John xxi. 17.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 1, 2010

Lords Day 2, 2010

Sunday··2010·01·10
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Spiritual Warfare Samuel Davies (17231761) Arm thee in panoply divine, My soul, and fired with courage rise; A thousand enemies combine To obstruct thy progress to the skies. Infernal darts perpetual fly And scatter various deaths around; Around thee thousands daily die And none escape without a wound. The world presents her tempting charms, And wears the aspect of a friend, Yet, ah, she carries deadly arms, And all her smiles in ruin end. But, oh, the flesh, that latent foe, That treacherous enemy in my breast! Tis hence proceeds my overthrow, And hence Im conquered by the rest. Through troops of potent enemies, Through hostile snares and fields of blood, If I expect the glorious prize, I must pursue my dangerous road. But, ah, how can a feeble worm Obtain so hard a victory? Alas, I perish in the storm, And helpless fall, and bleed, and die. The glorious prize stands in view, But deaths and dangers stop my way; Thou glorious prize! Adieu, adieu! Here, cruel foes! Come size your prey. But hark, an animating voice, Majestic breaks from the upper sky, Courage, frail worm! Live and rejoice, I have procured the victory. Suspended on the accursed tree, I crushed the might of all thy foes, Dying, I spoiled their tyranny, And triumphed over them when I rose. This arm that props the universe, And holds up natures tottering frame, Can all surrounding harms disperse, And safe protect the feeblest name. The captain of salvation deigns To lead the van, and guard thy way; And since thy conquering Leader reigns, The infernal powers shall miss their prey. In me confide; from me derive Courage and strength to keep the field; In crowds of death then thou shalt live, And all thy foes shall stubborn yield. The Spirits sword victorious yield, And steel thy breast with righteousness; Let faith be thy triumphant shield; Thy helmet, hope of heavnly bliss. See in my hands the glorious prize; This crown the conqueror shall wear. Rise then with dauntless courage rise, And bid adieu to every fear. Though sharp the conflict, tis but short; Victry with active wings draws nigh. And my brave soldiers, all unhurt, Ere long shall triumph in the sky. Blessed Jesus, with martial zeal, I arm, and rush into the fight; And through my weakness still I feel, I am almighty in thy might. Thy gracious Words my heart inspire With generous zeal for noble deeds; Let hell and all her hosts appear, My soul, undaunted, now proceeds. Satan, affrighted at Thy frown, Retreats, despairing of his prey; And all the flatteries earth has shown, In vain their treacherous charms display. The flesh, subdued by grace divine, No more shall triumph oer the man. Now, glorious prize, I call thee mine, Though earth and hell do all they can. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 6:6671Confession by PeterAs a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, You do not want to go away also, do you? 68 Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God. 70 Jesus answered them, Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil? 71 Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him. These verses form a sorrowful conclusion to the famous discourse of Christ which occupies the greater part of the sixth chapter. They supply a melancholy proof of the hardness and corruption of mans heart. Even when the Son of God was the preacher, many seem to have heard in vain. Let us mark in this passage what an old sin backsliding is. We read that when our Lord had explained what He meant by eating and drinking his flesh and blood,From that time, many went back and walked no more with him. The true grace of God no doubt is an everlasting possession. From this men never fall away entirely, when they have once received it. The foundation of God standeth sure. My sheep shall never perish. (2 Tim. ii. 19; John x. 28.) But there is counterfeit grace and unreal religion in the Church, wherever there is true; and from counterfeit grace thousands may, and do, fall away. Like the stony ground hearers, in the parable of the sower, many have no root in themselves, and so in time of trial fall away. All is not gold that glitters. All blossoms do not come to fruit. All are not Israel which are called Israel. Men may have feelings, desires, convictions, resolutions, hopes, joys, sorrows in religion, and yet never have the grace of God. They may run well for a season, and bid fair to reach heaven, and yet break down entirely after a time, go back to the world, and end like Demas, Judas Iscariot, and Lots wife. It must never surprise us to see and hear of such cases in our own days. If it happened in our Lords time and under our Lords teaching, much more may we expect it to happen now. Above all, it must never shake our faith and discourage us in our course. On the contrary, we must make up our minds that there will be backsliders in the Church as long as the world stands. The sneering infidel, who defends his unbelief by pointing at them, must find some better argument than their example. He forgets that there will always be counterfeit coin where there is true money. Let us mark, secondly, in this passage, the noble declaration of faith which the Apostle Peter made. Our Lord had said to the twelve, when many went back, Will ye also go away? At once Peter replied, with characteristic zeal and fervor, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and art sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. The confession contained in these words is a very remarkable one. Living in a professedly Christian land, and surrounded by Christian privileges; we can hardly form an adequate idea of its real value. For a humble Jew to say of one whom Scribes, and Pharisees, and Sadducees agreed in rejecting, Thou hast the words of eternal life; thou art the Christ, was an act of mighty faith. No wonder that our Lord said, in another place, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is heaven. (Matt. xvi. 17.) But the question with which Peter begins, is just as remarkable as his confession. To whom shall we go? said the noble-hearted Apostle. Whom shall we follow? To what teacher shall we betake ourselves? Where shall we find any guide to heaven to compare with thee? What shall we gain by forsaking thee? What Scribe, what Pharisee, what Sadducee, what Priest, what Rabbi can show us such words of eternal life as thou showest? The question is one which every true Christian may boldly ask, when urged and tempted to give up his religion, and go back to the world. It is easy for those who hate religion to pick holes in our conduct, to make objections to our doctrines, to find fault with our practices. It may be hard sometimes to give them any answer. But after all, To whom shall we go, if we give up our religion? Where shall we find such peace, and hope, and solid comfort as in serving Christ, however poorly we serve Him? Can we better ourselves by turning our back on Christ, and going back to our old ways? We cannot. Then let us hold on our way and persevere. Let us mark, lastly, in this passage, what little benefit some men get from religious privileges. We read that our Lord said, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil. And it goes on, He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. If ever there was a man who had great privileges and opportunities, that man was Judas Iscariot. A chosen disciple, a constant companion of Christ, a witness of His miracles, a hearer of His sermons, a commissioned preacher of His kingdom, a fellow and friend of Peter, James, and John,it would be impossible to imagine a more favourable position for a mans soul. Yet if anyone ever fell hopelessly into hell, and made shipwreck at last for eternity, that man was Judas Iscariot. The character of that man must have been black indeed, of whom our Lord could say he is a devil. Let us settle it firmly in our minds, that the possession of religious privileges alone is not enough to save our souls. It is neither place, nor light, nor company, nor opportunities, but grace that man needs to make him a Christian. With grace we may serve God in the most difficult position,like Daniel in Babylon, Obadiah in Ahabs court, and the saints in Neros household. Without grace we may live in the full sunshine of Christs countenance, and yet, like Judas, be miserably cast away. Then let us never rest until we have grace reigning in our souls. Grace is to be had for the asking. There is One sitting at the right hand of God who has said,Ask, and it shall be given you. (Matt. vii. 7.) The Lord Jesus is more willing to give grace than man is to seek it. If men have it not, it is because they do not ask it. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012).
continue reading Lords Day 2, 2010

Lords Day 3, 2010

Sunday··2010·01·17
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Strength by the Way Horatius Bonar (18081889) Jesus, while this rough desert-soil I tread, be Thou my guide and stay; Nerve me for conflict and for toil; Uphold me on my stranger-way. Jesus, in heaviness and fear,    Mid cloud, and shade, and gloom I stray For earth’s last night is drawing near;    O cheer me on my stranger-way. Jesus, in solitude and grief,    When sun and stars withhold their ray, Make haste, make haste to my relief;    O light me on my stranger-way. Jesus, in weakness of this flesh,    When Satan grasps me for his prey; O give me victory afresh;    And speed me on my stranger-way. Jesus, my righteousness and strength,    My more than life, my more than day; Bring, bring deliverance at length;    O come and end my stranger-way. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). The Gospel According to JohnChrists Brothers Do Not Believe7 After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 3 Therefore His brothers said to Him, Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world. 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him. 6 So Jesus said to them, My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. 8 Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come. 9 Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. Christ Secretly Goes to the Feast    10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret. 11 So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, Where is He? 12 There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him; some were saying, He is a good man; others were saying, No, on the contrary, He leads the people astray. 13 Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews. The chapter we now begin is divided from the preceding one by a wide interval of time. The many miracles which our Lord wrought, while He walked in Galilee, are passed over by St. John in comparative silence. The events which he was specially inspired to record are those which took place in or near Jerusalem. We should observe in this passage the desperate hardness and unbelief of human nature. We are told that even our Lords brethren did not believe in Him. Holy and harmless and blameless as He was in life, some of his nearest relatives, according to the flesh, did not receive Him as the Messiah. It was bad enough that His own people, the Jews sought to kill Him. But it was even worse that His brethren did not believe. That great Scriptural doctrine, mans need of preventing and converting grace, stands out here, as if written with a sunbeam. It becomes all who question that doctrine to look at this passage and consider. Let them observe that seeing Christs miracles, hearing Christs teaching, living in Christs own company, were not enough to make men believers. The mere possession of spiritual privileges never yet made any one a Christian. All is useless without the effectual and applying work of God the Holy Ghost. No wonder that our Lord said in another place, No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him. (John vi. 44.) The true servants of Christ in every age will do well to remember this. They are often surprised and troubled to find that in religion they stand alone. They are apt to fancy that it must be their own fault that all around them are not converted like themselves. They are ready to blame themselves because their families remain worldly and unbelieving. But let them look at the verse before us. In our Lord Jesus Christ there was no fault either in temper, word, or deed. Yet even Christs own brethren did not believe in Him. Our blessed Master has truly learned by experience how to sympathize with all his people who stand alone. This is a thought full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort. He knows the heart of every isolated believer, and can be touched with the feeling of his trials. He has drunk this bitter cup. He has passed through this fire. Let all who are fainting and cast down, because brothers and sisters despise their religion, turn to Christ for comfort, and pour out their hearts before Him. He has suffered Himself being tempted in this way, and He can help as well as feel. (Heb. ii. 18.) We should observe, for another thing, in this passage, one principal reason why many hate Christ. We are told that our Lord said to His unbelieving brethren, The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. These words reveal one of those secret principles which influence men in their treatment of Christ. They help to explain that deadly enmity with which many during our Lords earthly ministry regarded Him and His Gospel. It was not so much the high doctrines which He preached, as the high standard of practice which He proclaimed, which gave offence. It was not even His claim to be received the Messiah which men disliked so much, as His witness against the wickedness of their lives. In short, they could have tolerated His opinions if He would only have spared their sins. The principle, we may be sure, is one of universal application. It is at work now just as much as it was eighteen hundred years ago. The real cause of many peoples dislike to the Gospel is the holiness of living which it demands. Teach abstract doctrines only, and few will find any fault. Denounce the fashionable sins of the day, and call on men to repent and walk consistently with God, and thousands at once will be offended. The true reason why many profess to be infidels, and abuse Christianity, is the witness that Christianity bears against their own bad lives.Like Ahab, they hate it, because it does not prophesy good concerning them, but evil. (1 Kings xxii. 8.) We should observe, lastly, in this passage, the strange variety of opinions about Christ, which were current from the beginning. We are told that there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man others said, Nay, but he deceiveth the people. The words which old Simeon had spoken thirty years before were here accomplished in a striking manner. He had said to our Lords mother, This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel: and for a sign which shall be spoken against;that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke ii. 34, 35.) In the diversities of opinion about our Lord which arose among the Jews, we see the good old mans saying fulfilled. In the face of such a passage as this, the endless differences and divisions about religion, which we see on all sides, in the present day, ought never to surprise us. The open hatred of some toward Christ,the carping, fault-finding, prejudiced spirit of others,the bold confession of the few faithful ones,the timid, man-fearing temperament of the many faithless ones,the unceasing war of words and strife of tongues with which the Churches of Christ are so sadly familiar,are only modern symptoms of an old disease. Such is the corruption of human nature, that Christ is the cause of division among men, wherever He is preached. So long as the world stands, some, when they hear of Him, will love, and some will hate,some will believe, and some will believe not. That deep, prophetical saying of His will be continually verified: Do not think that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matt. x. 34.) What do we think of Christ ourselves? This is the one question with which we have to do. Let us never be ashamed to be of that little number who believe on Him, hear His voice, follow Him, and confess Him before men. While others waste their time in vain jangling and unprofitable controversy, let us take up the cross and give all diligence to make our calling and election sure. The children of this world may hate us, as it hated our Master, because our religion is a standing witness against them. But the last day will show that we chose wisely, lost nothing, and gained a crown of glory that fadeth not away. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012).
continue reading Lords Day 3, 2010

Lords Day 4, 2010

Sunday··2010·01·24 · 1 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Nevers of the Gospel O Lord, May I never fail to come to the knowledge    of the truth, never rest in a system of doctrine, however    scriptural, that does not bring or further       salvation,    or teach me to deny ungodliness and       worldly lusts,    or help me live soberly, righteously, godly; never rely on my own convictions and resolutions,    but be strong in thee and in thy might; never cease to find thy grace sufficient    in all my duties, trials, and conflicts; never forget to repair to thee    in all my spiritual distresses and outward       troubles,    in all the dissatisfactions experienced in       creature comforts; never fail to retreat to him who is full of grace    and truth, the friend that loveth at all times,    who is touched with feelings of my infirmities,    and can do exceedingly abundantly for me; never confine my religion to extraordinary    occasions, but acknowledge thee in all my ways; never limit my devotions to particular seasons    but be in they fear all the day long; never be godly only on the Sabbath,    or in thy house, but on every day abroad       and at home; never make piety a dress but a habit,    not only a habit but a nature,    not only a nature but a life. Do good to me in all thy dispensations, by all means of grace, by worship, prayers, praises, And at last let me enter that world where is no temple, but only thy glory and the Lambs. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). John 7:1424Christs Authority from the Father But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15 The Jews then were astonished, saying, How has this man become learned, having never been educated? 16 So Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. 19 Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me? 20 The crowd answered, You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You? 21 Jesus answered them, I did one deed, and you all marvel. 22 For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. We learn first in this passage, that honest obedience to Gods will is one way to obtain clear spiritual knowledge. Our Lord says, If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. The difficulty of finding out what is truth in religion is a common subject of complaint among men. They point to the many differences which prevail among Christians on matters of doctrine, and profess to be unable to decide who is right. In thousands of cases this professed inability to find out truth becomes an excuse for living without any religion at all. The saying of our Lord before us is one that demands the serious attention of people in this state of mind. It supplies an argument whose edge and point they will find it hard to evade. It teaches that one secret of getting the key of knowledge is to practice honestly what we know, and that if we conscientiously use the light that we now have, we shall soon find more light coming down into our minds.In short, there is a sense in which it is true, that by doing we shall come to knowing. There is a mine of truth in this principle. Well would it be for men if they would act upon it. Instead of saying, as some do,I must first know everything clearly, and then I will act,we should say,I will diligently use such knowledge as I possess, and believe that in the using fresh knowledge will be given to me. How many mysteries this simple plan would solve! How many hard things would soon become plain if men would honestly live up to their light, and follow on to know the Lord! (Hosea vi. 3.) It should never be forgotten that God deals with us as moral beings, and not as beasts or stones. He loves to encourage us to self-exertion and diligent use of such means as we have in our hands. The plain things in religion are undeniably very many. Let a man honestly attend to them, and he shall be taught the deep things of God. Whatever some may say about their inability to find out truth, you will rarely find one of them who does not know better than he practices. Then if he is sincere, let him begin here at once. Let him humbly use what little knowledge he has got, and God will soon give him more.If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (Matt. vi. 22.) We learn, secondly, in this passage, that a self-exalting spirit in ministers of religion is entirely opposed to the mind of Christ. Our Lord says, He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. The wisdom and truth of this sentence will be evident at once to any reflecting mind. The minister truly called of God will be deeply sensible of his Masters majesty and his own infirmity, and will see in himself nothing but unworthiness. He, on the other hand, who knows that he is not inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, will try to cover over his defects by magnifying himself and his office. The very desire to exalt ourselves is a bad symptom. It is a sure sign of something wrong within. Does any one ask illustrations of the truth before us? He will find them, on the one side, in the Scribes and Pharisees of our Lords times. If one thing more than another distinguished these unhappy men, it was their desire to get praise for themselves.He will find them, on the other side, in the character of the Apostle St. Paul. The keynote that runs through all his Epistles is personal humility and zeal for Christs glory:I am less than the least of all saintsI am not fit to be called an ApostleI am chief of sinnerswe preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake. (Ephes. iii. 8; 1 Cor. xv. 9; 1 Tim. i. 15; 2 Cor. iv. 5.) Does any one ask for a test by which he may discern the real man of God from the false shepherd in the present day? Let him remember our Lords weighty words, and notice carefully what is the main object that a minister loves to exalt. Not he who is ever crying,Behold the Church! behold the Sacraments! behold the ministry! but he who says,Behold the Lamb!is the pastor after Gods own heart. Happy indeed is that minister who forgets self in his pulpit, and desires to be hid behind the cross. This man shall be blessed in his work, and be a blessing. We learn, lastly, in this passage, the danger of forming a hasty judgment. The Jews at Jerusalem were ready to condemn our Lord as a sinner against the law of Moses, because He had done a miracle of healing on the Sabbath-day. They forgot in their blind enmity that the fourth commandment was not meant to prevent works of necessity or works of mercy. A work on the Sabbath our Lord had done, no doubt, but not a work forbidden by the law. And hence they drew down on themselves the rebuke, Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. The practical value of the lesson before us is very great. We shall do well to remember it as we travel through life, and to correct our estimate of people and things by the light which it supplies. We are often too ready to be deceived by an appearance of good. We are in danger of rating some men as very good Christians, because of a little outward profession of religion, and a decent Sunday formality,because, in short, they talk the language of Canaan, and wear the garb of pilgrims. We forget that all is not good that appears good, even as all is not gold that glitters, and that daily practice, choice, tastes, habits, conduct, private character, are the true evidence of what a man is.In a word, we forget our Lords saying,Judge not according to the appearance. We are too ready, on the other hand, to be deceived by the appearance of evil. We are in danger of setting down some men as not true Christians, because of a few faults or inconsistencies, and making them offenders because of a word. (Isa. xxix. 21.) We must remember that the best of men are but men at their very best, and that the most eminent saints may be overtaken by temptation, and yet be saints at heart after all. We must not hastily suppose that all is evil, where there is an occasional appearance of evil. The holiest man may fall sadly for a time, and yet the grace within him may finally get a victory. Is a mans general character godly?Then let us suspend our judgment when he falls, and hope on. Let us judge righteous judgment. In any case let us take care that we pass fair judgment on ourselves. Whatever we think of others, let us beware of making mistakes about our own character. There, at any rate, let us be just, honest, and fair. Let us not flatter ourselves that all is right, because all is apparently right before men. The Lord, we must remember, looketh on the heart. (1 Sam. xvi. 7.) Then let us judge ourselves with righteous judgment, and condemn ourselves while we live, lest we be judged of the Lord and condemned forever at the last day. (1 Cor. xi. 31.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012).
continue reading Lords Day 4, 2010

Lords Day 5, 2010

Sunday··2010·01·31
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn XXV. Hannah; or the throne of grace. I. Samuel i. 18. John Newton (17251807)    When Hannah pressd with grief,  Pourd forth her soul in prayr; She quickly found relief,    And left her burden there: Like her, in evry trying case, Let us approach the throne of grace.    When she began to pray,       Her heart was paind and sad;    But ere she went away,       Was comforted and glad: In trouble, what a resting place, Have they who know the throne of grace!    Tho men and devils rage,       And threaten to devour;    The saints, from age to age,       Are safe from all their powr: Fresh strength they gain to run their race, By waiting at the throne of grace.    Eli her case mistook,       How was her spirit movd    By his unkind rebuke?       But God her cause approvd. We need not fear a creatures face, While welcome at a throne of grace.    She was not filld with wine,       As Eli rashly thought;    But with a faith divine,       And found the help she sought: Tho men despise and call us base, Still let us ply the throne of grace.    Men have not powr or skill,       With troubled souls to bear;    Tho they express goodwill,       Poor comforters they are: But swelling sorrows sink apace, When we approach the throne of grace.    Numbers before have tryd,       And found the promise true;    Nor one been yet denyd,       Then why should I or you? Let us by faith their footsteps trace, And hasten to the throne of grace.    As fogs obscure the light,       And taint the morning air;    But soon are put to flight,       If the bright sun appear; Thus Jesus will our troubles chase, By shining from the throne of grace. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 7:2536Christs Origins from the Father So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? 26 Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they? 27 However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from. 28 Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29 I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me. 30 So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 31 But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He? Christs Departure to the Father    32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. 33 Therefore Jesus said, For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. 34 You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come. 35 The Jews then said to one another, Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He? 36 What is this statement that He said, You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come? We see in these verses, the obstinate blindness of the unbelieving Jews. We find them defending their denial of our Lords Messiahship, by saying, But we know this man whence He is: but when Christ cometh no man knoweth whence he is. And yet in both these assertions they were wrong! They were wrong in saying that they knew whence our Lord came. They meant no doubt to say that He was born at Nazareth, and belonged to Nazareth, and was therefore a Galilean. Yet the fact was, that our Lord was born at Bethlehem, that He belonged legally to the tribe of Judah, and that His mother and Joseph were of the house and lineage of David. It is incredible to suppose that the Jews could not have found this out, if they had honestly searched and inquired. It is notorious that pedigrees, genealogies, and family histories were most carefully kept by the Jewish nation. Their ignorance was without excuse. They were wrong again in saying, that no man was to know whence Christ came. There was a well-known prophecy, with which their whole nation was familiar, that Christ was to come out of the town of Bethlehem. (Micah v. 2; Matt. ii. 5; John vii 42.) It is absurd to suppose that they had forgotten this prophecy. But apparently they found it inconvenient to remember it on this occasion. Mens memories are often sadly dependent on their wills. The Apostle Peter, in a certain place, speaks of some as willingly ignorant. (2 Pet. iii. 5.) He had good reason to use the expression. It is a sore spiritual disease, and one most painfully common among men. There are thousands in the present day just as blind in their way as the Jews. They shut their eyes against the plainest facts and doctrines of Christianity. They pretend to say that they do not understand, and cannot therefore believe the things that we press on their attention, as needful to salvation. But, alas! in nineteen cases out of twenty it is a wilful ignorance. They do not believe what they do not like to believe. They will neither read, nor listen, nor search, nor think, nor inquire, honestly after truth. Can any one wonder if such people are ignorant? Faithful and true is that old proverb,There are none so blind as those who will not see. We see, for another thing, in these verses, the overruling hand of God over all His enemies. We find that the unbelieving Jews Sought to take our Lord: but no man laid hands on Him, because his hour was not yet come. They had the will to hurt him, but by an invisible restraint from above, they had not the power. There is a mine of deep truth in the words before us, which deserves close attention. They show us plainly that all our Lords sufferings were undergone voluntarily, and of His own free will. He did not go to the cross because He could not help it. He did not die because He could not prevent His death. Neither Jew nor Gentile, Pharisee nor Sadducee, Annas nor Caiaphas, Herod nor Pontius Pilate, could have injured our Lord, except power had been given them from above. All that they did was done under control, and by permission. The crucifixion was part of the eternal counsels of the Trinity. The passion of our Lord could not begin until the very hour which God had appointed. This is a great mystery. But it is a truth. The servants of Christ in every age should treasure up the doctrine before us, and remember it in time of need. It is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons. Let such never forget that they live in a world where God overrules all times and events, and where nothing can happen but by Gods permission. The very hairs of their heads are all numbered. Sorrow and sickness, and poverty, and persecution, can never touch them, unless God sees fit. They may boldly say to every cross,You could have no power against me, except it were given thee from above. Then let them work on confidently. They are immortal, till their work is done. Let them suffer patiently, if needs be that they suffer. Their times are in Gods hand. (Psl. xxxi. 15.) That hand guides and governs all things here below, and makes no mistakes. We see lastly, in these verses, the miserable end to which unbelievers may one day come. We find our Lord saying to His enemies,Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me; and where I am thither ye cannot come. We can hardly doubt that these words were meant to have a prophetical sense. Whether our Lord had in view individual cases of unbelief among His hearers, or whether He looked forward to the national remorse which many would feel too late in the final siege of Jerusalem, are points which we cannot perhaps decide. But that many Jews did remember Christs sayings long after He had ascended into heaven, and did in a way seek Him and wish for Him when it was too late, we may be very sure. It is far too much forgotten that there is such a thing as finding out truth too late. There may be convictions of sin, discoveries of our own folly, desires after peace, anxieties about heaven, fears of hell,but all too late. The teaching of Scripture on this point is clear and express. It is written in Proverbs,Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. (Prov. ii. 28.) It is written of the foolish virgins in the parable, that when they found the door shut, they knocked in vain, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. (Matt. xxxv. 11.) Awful as it may seem, it is possible, by continually resisting light and warnings, to sin away our own souls. It sounds terrible, but it is true. Let us take heed to ourselves lest we sin after the example of the unbelieving Jews, and never seek the Lord Jesus as a Saviour until it is too late. The door of mercy is still open. The throne of grace is still waiting for us. Let us give diligence to make sure our interest in Christ, while it is called to-day. Better never have been born than hear the Son of God say at last, Where I am thither ye cannot come. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012).
continue reading Lords Day 5, 2010

Lords Day 6, 2010

Sunday··2010·02·07
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 32. (C. M.) Strength from heaven. Isa. xl. 2730. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Whence do our mournful thoughts arise? And wheres our courage fled? Have restless sin and raging hell Struck all our comforts dead? Have we forgot th almighty name    That formed the earth and sea? And can an all-creating arm    Grow weary or decay? Treasures of everlasting might    In our Jehovah dwell; He gives the conquest to the weak    And treads their foes to hell. Mere mortal power shall fade and die,    And youthful vigour cease: But we that wait upon the Lord    Shall feel our strength increase. The saints shall mount on eagles wings,    And taste the promisd bliss, Till their unwearied feet arrive    Where perfect pleasure is. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). John 7:3739Christ Reveals the Living Water Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. It has been said that there are some passages in Scripture which deserve to be printed in letters of gold. Of such passages the verses before us form one. They contain one of those wide, full, free invitations to mankind, which make the Gospel of Christ so eminently the good news of God. Let us see of what it consists. We have, first, in these verses, a case supposed. The Lord Jesus says, If any man thirst. These words no doubt were meant to have a spiritual meaning. The thirst before us is of a purely spiritual kind. It means anxiety of soul,conviction of sin,desire of pardon,longing after peace of conscience. When a man feels his sins, and wants forgivenessis deeply sensible of his souls need, and earnestly desires help and reliefthen he is in that state of mind which our Lord had in view, when he said, If any man thirst. The Jews who heard Peter preach on the day of Pentecost, and were pricked in their hearts,the Philippian jailer who cried to Paul and Silas, What must I do to be saved? are both examples of what the expression means. In both cases there was thirst. Such thirst as this, unhappily, is known by few. All ought to feel it, and all would feel it if they were wise. Sinful, mortal, dying creatures as we all are, with souls that will one day be judged and spend eternity in heaven or hell, there lives not the man or woman on earth who ought not to thirst after salvation. And yet the many thirst after everything almost except salvation. Money, pleasure, honor, rank, self-indulgence,these are the things which they desire. There is no clearer proof of the fall of man, and the utter corruption of human nature, than the careless indifference of most people about their souls. No wonder the Bible calls the natural man blind, and asleep, and dead, when so few can be found who are awake, alive, and athirst about salvation. Happy are those who know something by experience of spiritual thirst. The beginning of all true Christianity is to discover that we are guilty, empty, needy sinners. Until we know that we are lost, we are not in the way to be saved. The very first step toward heaven is to be thoroughly convinced that we deserve hell. That sense of sin which sometimes alarms a man and makes him think his own case desperate, is a good sign. It is in fact a symptom of spiritual life: Blessed indeed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. (Matt. v. 6.) We have, secondly, in these verses, a remedy proposed. The Lord Jesus says, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He declares that He is the true fountain of life, the supplier of all spiritual necessities, the reliever of all spiritual needs. He invites all who feel the burden of sin heavy, to apply to Him, and proclaims Himself their helper. Those words let him come unto me, are few and very simple. But they settle a mighty question which all the wisdom of Greek and Roman philosophers could never settle; they show how man can have peace with God. They show that peace is to be had in Christ by trusting in Him as our mediator and substitute,in one word, by believing. To come to Christ is to believe on Him, and to believe on Him is to come. The remedy may seem a very simple one, too simple to be true. But there is no other remedy than this; and all the wisdom of the world can never find a flaw in it, or devise a better. To use this grand prescription of Christ is the secret of all saving Christianity. The saints of God in every age have been men and women who drank of this fountain by faith, and were relieved. They felt their guilt and emptiness, and thirsted for deliverance. They heard of a full supply of pardon, mercy, and grace in Christ crucified for all penitent believers. They believed the good news and acted upon it. They cast aside all confidence in their own goodness and worthiness, and came to Christ by faith as sinners. So coming they found relief. So coming daily they lived. So coming they died. Really to feel the sinfulness of sin and to thirst, and really to come to Christ and believe, are the two steps which lead to heaven. But they are mighty steps. Thousands are too proud and careless to take them. Few, alas! think, and still fewer believe. We have, lastly, in these verses, a promise held out. The Lord Jesus says, He that believeth on me, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water. These words of course were meant to have a figurative sense. They have a double application. They teach, for one thing, that all who come to Christ by faith shall find in Him abundant satisfaction. They teach, for another thing, that believers shall not only have enough for the needs of their own souls, but shall also become fountains of blessings to others. The fulfillment of the first part of the promise could be testified by thousands of living Christians in the present day. They would say, if their evidence could be collected, that when they came to Christ by faith, they found in Him more than they expected. They have tasted peace, and hope, and comfort, since they first believed, which, with all their doubts and fears, they would not exchange for anything in this world. They have found grace according to their need, and strength according to their days. In themselves and their own hearts they have often been disappointed; but they have never been disappointed in Christ. The fulfillment of the other half of the promise will never be fully known until the judgment-day. That day alone shall reveal the amount of good that every believer is made the instrument of doing to others, from the very day of his conversion. Some do good while they live, by their tongues; like the Apostles and first preachers of the Gospel. Some do good when they are dying; like Stephen and the penitent thief, and our own martyred Reformers at the stake. Some do good long after they are dead, by their writings; like Baxter and Bunyan and MCheyne. But in one way or another, probably, almost all believers will be found to have been fountains of blessings. By word or by deed, by precept or by example, directly or indirectly, they are always leaving their marks on others. They know it not now; but they will find at last that it is true. Christs saying shall be fulfilled. Do we ourselves know anything of coming to Christ? This is the question that should arise in our hearts as we leave this passage. The worst of all states of soul is to be without feeling or concern about eternity,to be without thirst. The greatest of all mistakes is to try to find relief in any other way than the one before us,the way of simply coming to Christ. It is one thing to come to Christs Church, Christs ministers, and Christs ordinances. It is quite another thing to come to Christ Himself. Happy is he who not only knows these things, but acts upon them! J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 6, 2010

Lords Day 7, 2010

Sunday··2010·02·14
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXII. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) O when will thou my Saviour be, O when shall I be clean, The true, eternal sabbath see, A perfect rest from sin! Jesus, the sinners rest thou art, From guilt, and fear, and pain; While thou art absent from my heart, I look for rest in vain. The consolations of thy word,    My soul hath long upheld, The faithful promise of the Lord,    Shall surely be fulfilld; I look to my incarnate God,    Till he his work begin; And wait till his redeeming blood    Shall cleanse me from all sin. His great salvation I shall know,    And perfect liberty; Onward to sin he cannot go,    Whoeer abides in thee; Added to the Redeemers fold    I shall in him rejoice: I all his glory shall behold,    And hear my shepherds voice. O that I now the voice may hear,    That speaks my sins forgivn; His word is past, to give me here    The inward plebdge of heavn: His blood shall over all prevail,    And sanctify the unclean; The grace that saves from future hell,    Shall save from present sin. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). John 7:4052Israel Is Divided over Christ Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, This certainly is the Prophet. 41 Others were saying, This is the Christ. Still others were saying, Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was? 43 So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. 44 Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The Sanhedrin Is Confused over Christ     45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, Why did you not bring Him? 46 The officers answered, Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks. 47 The Pharisees then answered them, You have not also been led astray, have you? 48 No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? 49 But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed. 50 Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them) said to them, 51 Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it? 52 They answered him, You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee. These verses show us, for one thing, how useless is knowledge in religion, if it is not accompanied by grace in the heart. We are told that some of our Lords hearers knew clearly where Christ was to be born. They referred to Scripture, like men familiar with its contents. Hath not the Scripture said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? And yet the eyes of their understanding were not enlightened. Their own Messiah stood before them, and they neither received, nor believed, nor obeyed Him. A certain degree of religious knowledge, beyond doubt, is of vast importance. Ignorance is certainly not the mother of true devotion, and helps nobody toward heaven. An unknown God can never be the object of a reasonable worship. Happy indeed would it be for Christians if they all knew the Scriptures as well as the Jews seem to have done, when our Lord was on earth! But while we value religious knowledge, we must take care that we do not overvalue it. We must not think it enough to know the facts and doctrines of our faith, unless our hearts and lives are thoroughly influenced by what we know. The very devils know the creed intellectually, and believe and tremble, but remain devils still. (James ii. 19.) It is quite possible to be familiar with the letter of Scripture, and to be able to quote texts appropriately, and reason about the theory of Christianity, and yet to remain dead in trespasses and sins. Like many of the generation to which our Lord preached, we may know the Bible well, and yet remain faithless and unconverted. Heart-knowledge, we must always remember, is the one thing needful. It is something which schools and universities cannot confer. It is the gift of God. To find out the plague of our own hearts and hate sin,to become familiar with the throne of grace and the fountain of Christs blood,to sit daily at the feet of Jesus, and humbly learn of Him,this is the highest degree of knowledge to which mortal man can attain. Let any one thank God who knows anything of these things. He may be ignorant of Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and mathematics, but he shall be saved. These verses show us, for another thing, how eminent must have been our Lords gifts, as a public Teacher of religion. We are told that even the officers of the chief priests, who were sent to take Him, were struck and amazed. They were, of course, not likely to be prejudiced in His favour. Yet even they reported,Never man spake like this Man. Of the manner of our Lords public speaking, we can of necessity form little idea. Action, and voice, and delivery are things that must be seen and heard to be appreciated. That our Lords manner was peculiarly solemn, arresting, and impressive, we need not doubt. It was probably something very unlike what the Jewish officers were accustomed to hear. There is much in what is said in another place: He taught them as One having authority, and not as the Scribes. (Matt. vii. 29.) Of the matter of our Lords public speaking, we may form some conception from the discourses which are recorded in the four Gospels. The leading features of these discourses are plain and unmistakable. The world has never seen anything like them, since the gift of speech was given to man. They often contain deep truths, which we have no line to fathom. But they often contain simple things, which even a child can understand. They are bold and outspoken in denouncing national and ecclesiastical sins, and yet they are wise and discreet in never giving needless offence. They are faithful and direct in their warnings, and yet loving and tender, in their invitations. For a combination of power and simplicity, of courage and prudence, of faithfulness and tenderness, we may well say, Never man spake like this Man! It would be well for the Church of Christ if ministers and teachers of religion would strive more to speak after their Lords pattern. Let them remember that elegant bombastic language, and a sensational, theatrical style of address, are utterly unlike their Master. Let them realize, that an eloquent simplicity is the highest attainment of public speaking. Of this their Master left them a glorious example. Surely they need never be ashamed of walking in His steps. These verses show us, lastly, how slowly and gradually the work of grace goes on in some hearts. We are told that Nicodemus stood up in the council of our Lords enemies, and mildly pleaded that He deserved fair dealing. Doth our law judge any man, he asked, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? This very Nicodemus, we must remember, is the man who, eighteen months before, had come to our Lord by night as an ignorant inquirer. He evidently knew little then, and dared not come to Christ in open day. But now, after eighteen months, he has got on so far that he dares to say something on our Lords side. It was but little that he said, no doubt, but it was better than nothing at all. And a day was yet to come, when he would go further still. He was to help Joseph of Arimathaea in doing honour to our Lords dead body, when even His chosen Apostles had forsaken Him and fled. The case of Nicodemus is full of useful instruction. It teaches us, that there are diversities in the operation of the Holy Ghost. All are undoubtedly led to the same Saviour, but all are not led precisely in the same way. It teaches us, that the work of the Spirit does not always go forward with the same speed in the hearts of men. In some cases it may go forward very slowly indeed, and yet may be real and true. We shall do well to remember these things, in forming our opinion of other Christians. We are often ready to condemn some as graceless, because their experience does not exactly tally with our own, or to set them down as not in the narrow way at all, because they cannot run as fast as ourselves. We must beware of hasty judgments. It is not always the fastest runner that wins the race. It is not always those who begin suddenly in religion, and profess themselves rejoicing Christians, who continue steadfast to the end. Slow work is sometimes the surest and most enduring. Nicodemus stood firm, when Judas Iscariot fell away and went to his own place. No doubt it would be a pleasant thing, if everybody who was converted came out boldly, took up the cross, and confessed Christ in the day of his conversion. But it is not always given to Gods children to do so. Have we any grace in our hearts at all? This, after all, is the grand question that concerns us. It may be small,but have we any? It may grow slowly, as in the case of Nicodemus,but does it grow at all? Better a little grace than none! Better move slowly than stand still in sin and the world! J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 7, 2010

Lords Day 8, 2010

Sunday··2010·02·21
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. God Insensibly Withdrawn Philip Doddridge (17021751) A present God is all our strength, And all our joy and hope; When He withdraws, our comforts die, And every grace must droop. But flattring trifles charm our hearts To court their false embrace, Till justly this neglected Friend Averts His angry face. He leaves us, and we miss Him not, But go presumptuous on; Till baffled, wounded, and enslaved, We learn that God is gone. And what, my soul, can then remain, One ray of light to give? Severed from Him, their better life, How can His children live? Hence, all ye painted forms of joy, And leave my heart to mourn; I would devote these eyes to tears, Till cheered by His return. Look back, my Lord, and own the place, Where once Thy temple stood; For lo, its ruins bear the mark Of rich atoning blood. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 8:1220I Am the Light of the World Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life. 13 So the Pharisees said to Him, You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true. 14 Jesus answered and said to them, Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. 16 But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. 17 Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me. 19 So they were saying to Him, Where is Your Father? Jesus answered, You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also. 20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come. The conversation between our Lord and the Jews, which begins with these verses, is full of difficulties. The connection between one part and another, and the precise meaning of some of the expressions which fell from our Lords lips, are things hard to be understood. In passages like this it is true wisdom to acknowledge the great imperfection of our spiritual vision, and to be thankful if we can glean a few handfuls of truth. Let us notice, for one thing, in these verses, what the Lord Jesus says of Himself. He proclaims, I am the light of the world. These words imply that the world needs light, and is naturally in a dark condition. It is so in a moral and spiritual point of view: and it has been so for nearly 6,000 years. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, in modern England, France, and Germany, the same report is true. The vast majority of men neither see nor understand the value of their souls, the true nature of God, nor the reality of a world to come! Notwithstanding all the discoveries of art and science, darkness still covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. (Isaiah. 60:2.) For this state of things, the Lord Jesus Christ declares Himself to be the only remedy. He has risen, like the sun, to diffuse light, and life, and peace, and salvation, in the midst of a dark world. He invites all who want spiritual help and guidance to turn to Him, and take Him for their leader. What the sun is to the whole solar systemthe center of light, and heat, and life, and fertilitythat He has come into the world to be to sinners. Let this saying sink down into our hearts. It is weighty and full of meaning. False lights on every side invite mans attention in the present day. Reason, philosophy, earnestness, liberalism, conscience, and the voice of the Church, are all, in their various ways, crying loudly that they have got the light to show us. Their advocates know not what they say. Wretched are those who believe their high professions! He only is the true light who came into the world to save sinners, who died as our substitute on the cross, and sits at Gods right hand to be our Friend. In His light we shall see light. (Psalm xxxvi. 9.) Let us notice, secondly, in these verses, what the Lord Jesus says of those who follow Him. He promises, He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. To follow Christ is to commit ourselves wholly and entirely to Him as our only leader and Saviour, and to submit ourselves to Him in every matter, both of doctrine and practice. Following is only another word for believing. It is the same act of soul, only seen from a different point of view. As Israel followed the pillar of cloud and fire in all their journeyingsmoving whenever it moved, stopping whenever it tarried, asking no questions, marching on in faithso must a man deal with Christ. He must follow the Lamb wherever He goeth. (Rev. xiv. 4.) He that so follows Christ shall not walk in darkness. He shall not be left in ignorance, like the many around him. He shall not grope in doubt and uncertainty, but shall see the way to heaven, and know where he is going.He shall have the light of life. He shall feel within him the light of Gods countenance shining on him. He shall find in his conscience and understanding a living light, which nothing can altogether quench. The lights with which many please themselves shall go out in the valley of the shadow of death, and prove worse than useless. But the light that Christ gives to every one that follows Him shall never fail. Let us notice, lastly, in these verses, what the Lord Jesus says of His enemies. He tells the Pharisees that, with all their pretended wisdom, they were ignorant of God. Ye neither know Me nor my Father; if ye had known Me, ye would have known my Father also. Ignorance like this is only too common. There are thousands who are conversant with many branches of human learning, and can even argue and reason about religion, and yet know nothing really about God. That there is such a Being as God they fully admit. But His character and attributes revealed in Scripture, His holiness, His purity, His justice, His perfect knowledge, His unchangeableness, are things with which they are little acquainted. In fact, the subject of Gods nature and character makes them uncomfortable, and they do not like to dwell upon it. The grand secret of knowing God is to draw near to Him through Jesus Christ. Approached from this side, there is nothing that need make us afraid. Viewed from this standpoint, God is the sinners friend. God, out of Christ, may well fill us with alarm. How shall we dare to look at so high and holy a Being?God in Christ is full of mercy, grace, and peace. His laws demands are satisfied. His holiness need not make us afraid. Christ in one word is the way and door, by which we must ever draw near to the Father. If we know Christ, we shall know the Father. It is His own word,No man cometh unto the Father but by Me. (John xiv. 6.) Ignorance of Christ is the root of ignorance of God. Wrong at the starting-point, the whole sum of a mans religion is full of error. And now, where are we ourselves? Do we know? Many are living and dying in a kind of fog.Where are we going? Can we give a satisfactory answer? Hundreds go out of existence in utter uncertainty.Let us leave nothing uncertain that concerns our everlasting salvation. Christ, the light of the world, is for us as well as for others, if we humbly follow Him, cast our souls on Him, and become His disciples.Let us not, like thousands, waste our lives in doubting, and arguing, and reasoning, but simply follow. The child that saysI will not learn anything until I know something, will never learn at all. The man that saysI must first understand everything before I become a Christian, will die in his sins. Let us begin by following, and then we shall find light. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 8, 2010

Lords Day 9, 2010

Sunday··2010·02·28
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Feast. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Love strong as death, nay stronger, Love mightier than the grave; Broad as the earth, and longer Than oceans widest wave. This is the love that sought us, This is the love that bought us, This is the love that brought us To gladdest day from saddest night, From deepest shame to glory bright, From depths of death to lifes fair height, From darkness to the joy of light: This is the love that leadeth Us to his table here, This is the love that spreadeth For us this royal cheer. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 8:2130Then He said again to them, I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come. 22 So the Jews were saying, Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, Where I am going, you cannot come? 23 And He was saying to them, You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. 25 So they were saying to Him, Who are You? Jesus said to them, What have I been saying to you from the beginning? 26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world. 27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said, When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him. 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. This passage contains deep things, so deep that we have no line to fathom them. As we read it we should call to mind the Psalmists words,Thy thoughts are very deep. (Psalm xcii. 5.) But it also contains, in the opening verses, some things which are clear, plain, and unmistakable. To these let us give our attention and root them firmly in our hearts. We learn, for one thing, that it is possible to seek Christ in vain. Our Lord says to the unbelieving Jews, Ye shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins. He meant, by these words, that the Jews would one day seek Him in vain. The lesson before us is a very painful one. That such a Saviour as the Lord Jesus, so full of love, so willing to save, should ever be sought in vain, is a sorrowful thought. Yet so it is! A man may have many religious feelings about Christ, without any saving religion. Sickness, sudden affliction, the fear of death, the failure of usual sources of comfortall these causes may draw out of a man a good deal of religiousness. Under the immediate pressure of these he may say his prayers fervently, exhibit a strong spiritual feelings, and profess for a season to seek Christ, and be a different man. And yet all this time his heart may never be touched at all! Take away the peculiar circumstances that affected him, and he may possibly return at once to his old ways. He sought Christ in vain, because he sought Him from false motives, and not with his whole heart. Unhappily this is not all. There is such a thing as a settled habit of resisting light and knowledge, until we seek Christ in vain. Scripture and experience alike prove that men may reject God until God rejects them, and will not hear their prayer. They may go on stifling their convictions, quenching the light of conscience, fighting against their own better knowledge, until God is provoked to give them over and let them alone. It is not for nothing that these words are written,Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me: for they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. (Prov. i. 28, 29.) Such cases may not be common; but they are possible, and they are sometimes seen. Some ministers can testify that they have visited people on their deathbeds who seem to seek Christ, and yet to seek in vain. There is no safety but in seeking Christ while He may be found, and calling on Him while He is near,seeking Him with a true heart, and calling on Him with an honest spirit. Such seeking, we may be very sure, is never in vain. It will never be recorded of such seekers, that they died in their sins. He that really comes to Christ shall never be cast out. The Lord has solemnly declared that He hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth,and that He delighteth in mercy. (Ezekiel xviii. 32; Micah vii. 18.) We learn for another thing, how wide is the difference between Christ and the ungodly. Our Lord says to the unbelieving Jews,Ye are from beneath, I am from above: ye are of this world, I am not of this world. These words, no doubt, have a special application to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In the highest and most literal sense, there never was but One who could truly say, I am from above,I am not of this world. That One is He who came forth from the Father, and was before the world,even the Son of God. But there is a lower sense, in which these words are applicable to all Christs living members. Compared to the thoughtless multitude around them, they are from above, and not of this world, like their Master. The thoughts of the ungodly are about things beneath; the true Christians affections are set on things above. The ungodly man is full of this world; its cares, and pleasures, and profits, absorb his whole attention. The true Christian, though in the world, is not of it; his citizenship is in heaven, and his best things are yet to come. The true Christian will do well never to forget this line of demarcation. If he loves his soul, and desires to serve God, he must be content to find himself separated from many around him by a gulf that cannot be passed. He may not like to seem peculiar and unlike others; but it is the certain consequence of grace reigning within him. He may find it brings on him hatred, ridicule, and hard speeches; but it is the cup which his Master drank, and of which his Master forewarned all His disciples.If ye were of the world the world would love His own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John xv. 19.)Then let the Christian never be ashamed to stand alone and show his colors. He must carry the cross if he would wear the crown. If he has within him a new principle from above, it must be seen. We learn, lastly, how awful is the end to which unbelief can bring man. Our Lord says to his enemies, If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins. These solemn words are invested with peculiar solemnity when we consider from whose lips they came. Who is this that speaks of men dying in their sins, unpardoned, unforgiven, unfit to meet God,of men going into another world with all their sins upon them? He that says this is no other than the Saviour of mankind, who laid down His life for His sheep,the loving, gracious, merciful, compassionate Friend of sinners. It is Christ Himself! Let this simple fact not be overlooked. They are greatly mistaken who suppose that it is harsh and unkind to speak of hell and future punishment. How can such people get over such language as that which is before us? How can they account for many a like expression which our Lord used, and specially for such passages as those in which He speaks of the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched? (Mark x. 46.) They cannot answer these questions. Misled by a false charity and a morbid amiability, they are condemning the plain teaching of the Scripture, and are wise above that which is written. Let us settle it in our minds, as one of the great foundation truths of our faith, that there is a hell. Just as we believe firmly that there is an eternal heaven for the godly, so let us believe firmly that there is an eternal hell for the wicked. Let us never suppose that there is any lack of charity in speaking of hell. Let us rather maintain that it is the highest love to warn men plainly of danger, and to beseech them to flee from the wrath to come. It was Satan, the deceiver, murderer, and liar, who said to Eve in the beginning, Ye shall not surely die. (Gen. iii. 4.) To shrink from telling men, that except they believe they will die in their sins, may please the devil, but surely it cannot please God. Finally, let us never forget that unbelief is the special sin that ruins mens souls. Had the Jews believed on our Lord, all manner of sin and blasphemy might have been forgiven them. But unbelief bars the door in mercys face, and cuts off hope. Let us watch and pray hard against it. Immorality slays its thousands, but unbelief its tens of thousands. One of the strongest sayings ever used by our Lord was this,He that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark xvi. 16.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 9, 2010

Lords Day 10, 2010

Sunday··2010·03·07 · 1 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. True Religion Lord God Almighty, I ask not to be enrolled amongst the earthly great and rich, but to be numbered with the spiritually blessed. Make it my present, supreme, persevering concern to obtain those blessings which are    spiritual in their nature,    eternal in their continuance,    satisfying in their possession. Preserve me from a false estimate of the whole or a part of my character; May I pay regard to my principles as well as my conduct, my motives as well as my actions. Help me never to mistake the excitement of my passions    for the renewing of the Holy Spirit, never to judge my religion by occasional    impressions and impulses, but by my       constant and prevailing disposition. May my heart be right with thee, and my life as becometh the gospel. May I maintain a supreme regard to another    and better world, and feel and confess myself a stranger    and a pilgrim here. Afford me all the direction, defense, support, and consolation my journey hence requires, and grant me a mind stayed upon thee. Give me a large abundance of the supply of    the Spirit of Jesus, that I may be prepared for every duty, love thee in all my mercies, submit to thee in every trial, trust thee when walking in darkness, have peace in thee amidst lifes changes. Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief and uncertainties. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). John 8:3136So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. 33 They answered Him, We are Abrahams descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, You will become free? 34 Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. These verses show us, for one thing, the importance of steady perseverance in Christs service. There were many, it seems, at this particular period, who professed to believe on our Lord, and expressed a desire to become His disciples. There is nothing to show that they had true faith. They appear to have acted under the influence of temporary excitement, without considering what they were doing. And to them our Lord addresses this instructive warning,If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed. This sentence contains a mine of wisdom. To make a beginning in religious life is comparatively easy. Not a few mixed motives assist us. The love of novelty, the praise of well-meaning but imprudent professors, the secret self-satisfaction of feeling how good I am, the universal excitement attending a new position,all these things combine to aid the young beginner. Aided by them he begins to run the race that leads to heaven, lays aside many bad habits, takes up many good ones, has many comfortable frames and feelings, and gets on swimmingly for a time. But when the newness of his position is past and gone, when the freshness of his feelings is rubbed off and lost, when the world and the devil begin to pull hard at him, when the weakness of his own heart begins to appear,then it is that he finds out the real difficulties of vital Christianity. Then it is that he discovers the deep wisdom of our Lords saying now before us. It is not beginning, but continuing a religious profession, that is the test of true grace. We should remember these things in forming our estimate of other peoples religion. No doubt we ought to be thankful when we see any one ceasing to do evil and learning to do well. We must not despise the day of small things. (Zech. iv. 10.) But we must not forget that to begin is one thing, and to go on is quite another. Patient continuance in well-doing is the only sure evidence of grace. Not he that runs fast and furiously at first, but he that keeps up his speed, is he that runs so as to obtain. By all means let us be hopeful when we see anything like conversion. But let us not make too sure that it is real conversion, until time has set its seal upon it. Time and wear test metals, and prove whether they are solid or plated. Time and wear, in like manner, are the surest tests of a mans religion. Where there is spiritual life there will be continuance and steady perseverance. It is the man who goes on as well as begins, that is the disciple indeed. These verses show us, for another thing, the nature of true slavery. The Jews were fond of boasting, though without any just cause, that they were politically free, and were not in bondage to any foreign power. Our Lord reminds those who there was another bondage to which they were giving no heed, although enslaved by it.He that committeth sin is the servant of sin. How true that is! How many on every side are total slaves, although they do not acknowledge it! They are led captive by their besetting corruptions and infirmities, and seem to have no power to get free. Ambition, the love of money, the passion for drink, the craving for pleasure and excitement, gambling, gluttony, illicit connections,all these are so many tyrants among men. Each and all have crowds of unhappy prisoners bound hand and foot in their chains. The wretched prisoners will not admit their bondage. They will even boast sometimes that they are eminently free. But many of them know better. There are times when the iron enters into their souls, and they feel bitterly that they are slaves. There is no slavery like this. Sin is indeed the hardest of all taskmasters. Misery and disappointment in the way, despair and hell in the end,these are the only wages that sin pays to its servants. To deliver men from this bondage, is the grand object of the Gospel. To awaken people to a sense of their degradation, to show them their chains, to make them arise and struggle to be free,this is the great end for which Christ sent forth His ministers. Happy is he who has opened his eyes and found out his danger. To know that we are being led captive, is the very first step toward deliverance. These verses, show us, lastly, the nature of true liberty. Our Lord declares this to the Jews in one comprehensive sentence. He says, If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Liberty, most Englishmen know, is rightly esteemed one of the highest temporal blessings. Freedom from foreign dominion, a free constitution, free trade, a free press, civil and religious liberty,what a world of meaning lies beneath these phrases! How many would sacrifice life and fortune to maintain the things which they represent! Yet, after all our boasting, there are many so-called freemen who are nothing better than slaves. There are many who are totally ignorant of the highest, purest form of liberty. The noblest liberty is that which is the property of the true Christian. Those only are perfectly free people whom the Son of God makes free. All else will sooner or later be found slaves. Wherein does the liberty of true Christians consist? Of what is their freedom made up?They are freed from the guilt and consequences of sin by the blood of Christ. Justified, pardoned, forgiven, they can look forward boldly to the day of judgment, and cry Who shall lay anything to our charge? Who is he that condemneth?They are freed from the power of sin by the grace of Christs Spirit. Sin has no longer dominion over them. Renewed, converted, sanctified, they mortify and tread down sin, and are no longer led captive by it.Liberty, like this, is the portion of all true Christians in the day that they flee to Christ by faith, and commit their souls to Him. That day they become free men. Liberty, like this, is their portion forevermore. Death cannot stop it. The grave cannot even hold their bodies for more than a little season. Those whom Christ makes free are free to all eternity. Let us never rest until we have some personal experience of this freedom ourselves. Without it all other freedom is a worthless privilege. Free speech, free laws, political freedom, commercial freedom, national freedom,all these cannot smooth down a dying pillow, or disarm death of his sting, or fill our consciences with peace. Nothing can do that but the freedom which Christ alone bestows. He gives it freely to all who seek it humbly. Then let us never rest until it is our own. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 10, 2010

Lords Day 11, 2010

Sunday··2010·03·14
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn XXVI. Dagon before the ark. I. Samuel v. 4, 5. John Newton (17251807) When first to make my heart his own, The small-caps;">Lord reveald his mighty grace; Self reignd, like Dagon, on the throne, But could not long maintain its place. It fell, and ownd the powr divine, (Grace can with ease the victry gain) But soon this wretched heart of mine, Contrivd to set it up again. Again the Lord his name proclaimd, And brought the hateful idol low; Then self, like Dagon, broken, maimd, Seemd to receive a mortal blow. Yet self is not of life bereft, Nor ceases to oppose his will; Tho but a maimed stump be left, Tis Dagon, tis an idol still. Lord! must I always guilty prove, And idols in my heart have room? Oh! let the, fire of heavenly love, The very stump of self consume. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 8:3747I know that you are Abrahams descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father. 39 They answered and said to Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said to them, If you are Abrahams children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 You are doing the deeds of your father. They said to Him, We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God. 42 Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God. There are things taught in this passage of Scripture which are peculiarly truth for the times. Well would it be for the Churches if all Christians would ponder carefully the matter which it contains. We are taught for one thing the ignorant self-righteousness of the natural man. We find the Jews pluming themselves on their natural descent from Abraham, as if that must of necessity, cover all deficiencies: Abraham is our father. We find them going even further than this, and claiming to be Gods special favourites and Gods own family: We have one Father, even God. They forgot that fleshly relationship to Abraham was useless, unless they shared Abrahams grace. They forgot that Gods choice of their father to be head of a favoured nation was never meant to carry salvation to the children, unless they walked in their fathers footsteps. All this in their blind self-conceit they refused to see. We are Jews. We are Gods children. We are the true Church. We are in the covenant. We must be all right. This was their whole argument! Strange as it may seem, there are multitudes of so-called Christians who are exactly like these Jews. Their whole religion consist of a few notions neither wiser nor better than those propounded by the enemies of our Lord. They will tell you that they are regular Church people; they have been baptized; they go to the Lords table;but they can tell you no more. Of all the essential doctrines of the Gospel they are totally ignorant. Of faith, and grace, and repentance, and holiness, and spiritual mindedness they know nothing at all. But, forsooth! they are Churchmen, and so they hope to go to heaven! There are myriads in this condition. It sounds sad, but unhappily it is only too true. Let us settle firmly in our minds that connection with a good Church and good ancestors is no proof whatever that we ourselves are in a way to be saved. We need something more than this. We must be joined to Christ himself by a living faith. We must know something experimentally of the work of the Spirit in our hearts. Church principles, and sound Churchmanship, are fine words and excellent party cries. But they will not deliver our souls from the wrath to come, or give us boldness in the day of judgment. We are taught for another thing the true marks of spiritual sonship. Our Lord makes this point most plain by two mighty sayings. Did the Jews say, We have Abraham to our father? He replies, If ye were Abrahams children ye would do the work of Abraham.Did the Jews say, We have one Father, even God? He replies, If God were your Father ye would love Me. Let these two sayings of Christ sink down into our hearts. They supply an answer to two of the most mischievous, yet most common, errors of the present day. What more common, on one side, than vague talk about the universal Fatherhood of God? All men, we are told, are Gods children, whatever be their creed or religion; all are finally to have a place in the Fathers house, where there are many mansions.What more common, on another side, than high-sounding statements about the effect of baptism and the privileges of Church-membership? By baptism, we are confidently told, all baptized people are made children of God; all members of the Church, without distinction, have a right to be addressed as sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. Statements like these can never be reconciled with the plain language of our Lord in the passage before us. If words mean anything, no man is really a child of God, who does not love Jesus Christ. The charitable judgment of a baptismal service, or the hopeful estimate of a catechism, may call him by the name of a son, and reckon him among Gods children. But the reality of sonship to God, and all its blessings, no one possesses who does not love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. (Ephes. vi. 24.) In matters like these we need not be shaken by mere assertions. We may well afford to despise the charge of undervaluing the sacraments. We have only to ask one question: What is written? What saith the Lord? And with this saying before us, we can only come to one conclusion: Where there is no love to Christ, there is no sonship to God. We are taught, lastly, in these verses, the reality and character of the devil. Our Lord speaks of him as one whose personality and existence are beyond dispute. In solemn words of stern rebuke He says to His unbelieving enemies, You are of your father the devil,led by him, doing his will, and showing unhappily that you are like him. And then He paints his picture in dark colors, describing him as a murderer from the beginning, as a liar and the father of lies. There is a devil! We have a mighty invisible enemy always near us,one who never slumbers and never sleeps,one who is about our path and about our bed, and spies out all our ways, and will never leave us until we die.He is a murderer! His great aim and object is, to ruin us forever and kill our souls. To destroy, to rob us of eternal life, to bring us down to the second death in hell, are the things for which he is unceasingly working. He is ever going about, seeking whom he may devour.He is a liar! He is continually trying to deceive us by false representations, just as he deceived Eve at the beginning. He is always telling us that good is evil and evil good,truth is falsehood and falsehood truth,the broad way good and the narrow way bad. Millions are led captive by his deceit, and follow him, both rich and poor, both high and low, both learned and unlearned. Lies are his chosen weapons. By lies he slays many. These are awful things; but they are true. Let us live as if we believed them. Let us not be like many who mock, and sneer, and scoff, and deny the existence of the very being who is invisibly leading them to hell. Let us believe there is a devil, and watch, and pray, and fight hard against his temptations. Strong as he is, there is One stronger than him, who said to Peter, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, and who still intercedes at Gods right hand. Let us commit our souls to Him. (Luke xxii. 32.) With such a being as the devil going to and fro in the world, we never need wonder to see evil abounding. But with Christ on our side, we need not be afraid. Greater is He that is for us than he that is against us. It is written, Resist the devil, and he shall flee from you.The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. (James iv. 7; Rom. xvi. 20.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 11, 2010

Lords Day 12, 2010

Sunday··2010·03·21
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 33. (C. M.) Absurdity of infidelity. 1 Cor. i. 2631. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Shall atheists dare insult the cross Of our Redeemer, God? Shall infidels reproach his laws, Or trample on his blood? What if he choose mysterious ways    To cleanse us from our faults? May not the works of sovreign grace    Transcend our feeble thoughts? What if his gospel bids us fight    With flesh, and self, and sin, The prize is most divinely bright    That we are calld to win. What if the foolish and the poor    His glorious grace partake, This but confirms his truth the more,    For so the prophets spake. Do some that own his sacred name    Indulge their souls in sin? Jesus should never bear the blame,    His laws are pure and clean. Then let our faith grow firm and strong,    Our lips profess his word; Nor blush nor fear to walk among    The men that love the Lord. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). John 8:4859The Jews answered and said to Him, Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon? 49 Jesus answered, I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death. 52 The Jews said to Him, Now we know that You have a demon Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death. 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be? 54 Jesus answered, If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, He is our God; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. 57 So the Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am. 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. We should observe, first, in this passage, what blasphemous and slanderous language was addressed to our Lord by His enemies. We read that the Jews Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Silenced in argument, these wicked men resorted to personal abuse. To lose temper, and call names, is a common sign of a defeated cause. Nicknames, insulting epithets, and violent language, are favourite weapons with the devil. When other means of carrying on his warfare fail, he stirs up his servants to smite with the tongue. Grievous indeed are the sufferings which the saints of God have had to endure from the tongue in every age. Their characters have been slandered. Evil reports have been circulated about them. Lying stories have been diligently invented, and greedily swallowed, about their conduct. No wonder that David said, Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. (Psalm cxx. 2.) he true Christian in the present day must never be surprised to find that he has constant trials to endure from this quarter. Sinful human nature never changes. So long as he serves the world, and walks in the broad way, little perhaps will be said against him. Once let him take up the cross and follow Christ, and there is no lie too monstrous, and no story too absurd, for some to tell against him, and for others to believe. But let him take comfort in the thought that he is only drinking the cup which his blessed Master drank before him. The lies of his enemies do him no injury in heaven, whatever they may on earth. Let him bear them patiently, and not fret, or lose his temper. When Christ was reviled, He reviled not again. (1 Peter ii. 23.) Let the Christian do likewise. We should observe, secondly, what glorious encouragement our Lord holds out to His believing people. We read that He said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep My saying, he shall never see death. Of course these words do not mean that true Christians shall never die. On the contrary, we all know that they must go down to the grave, and cross the river just like others. But the words do mean, that they shall not be hurt by the second death,that final ruin of the whole man in hell, of which the first death is only a faint type or figure. (Rev. xxi. 8.) And they do mean that the sting of the first death shall be removed from the true Christian. His flesh may fail, and his bones may be racked with strong pain; but the bitter sense of unpardoned sins shall not crush him down. This is the worst part of death,and in this he shall have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. xv. 57.) This blessed promise, we must not forget to notice, is the peculiar property of the man who keeps Christs sayings. That expression, it is clear, can never be applicable to the mere outward professing Christian, who neither knows nor cares anything about the Gospel. It belongs to him who receives into his heart, and obeys in his life, the message which the Lord Jesus brought from heaven. It belongs, in short, to those who are Christians, not in name and form only, but in deed and in truth. It is written,He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev. ii. 11.) We should observe, thirdly, in this passage, what clear knowledge of Christ Abraham possessed. We read that our Lord said to the Jews, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it and was glad. When our Lord used these remarkable words, Abraham had been dead and buried at least 1850 years! And yet he is said to have seen our Lords day! How wonderful that sounds! Yet it was quite true. Not only did Abraham see our Lord and talk to Him when He appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre, the night before Sodom was destroyed, (Gen. xviii. 1,) but by faith he looked forward to the day of our Lords incarnation yet to come, and as he looked he was glad. That he saw many things, through a glass darkly, we need not doubt. That he could have explained fully the whole manner and circumstances of our Lords sacrifice on Calvary, we are not obliged to suppose. But we need not shrink from believing that he saw in the far distance a Redeemer, whose advent would finally make all the earth rejoice. And as he saw it, he was glad. The plain truth is, that we are too apt to forget that there never was but one way of salvation, one Saviour, and one hope for sinners, and that Abraham and all the Old Testaments saints looked to the same Christ that we look to ourselves. We shall do well to call to mind the Seventh Article of the Church of England: The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered through Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. This is truth that we must never forget in reading the Old Testament. This is sound speech that cannot be condemned. We should observe, lastly, in this prophecy, how distinctly our Lord declares His own pre-existence. We read that He said to the Jews, Before Abraham was, I am. Without a controversy, these remarkable words are a great deep. They contain things which we have no eyes to see through, or mind to fathom. But if language means anything, they teach us that our Lord Jesus Christ existed long before He came into the world. Before the days of Abraham He was. Before man was created He was. In short, they teach us that the Lord Jesus was no mere man like Moses or David. He was One whose goings forth were from everlasting,the same yesterday, today, and forever,very and eternal God. Deep as these words are, they are full of practical comfort. They show us the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of that great foundation, on which sinners are invited to rest their souls. He to whom the Gospel bids us come with our sins, and believe for pardon and peace, is no mere man. He is nothing less than very God, and therefore able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him. Then let us begin coming to Him with confidence. Let us continue leaning on Him without fear. The Lord Jesus Christ is the true God, and our eternal life is secure. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 12, 2010

Lords Day 13, 2010

Sunday··2010·03·28
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXIII. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Jesus, thy light impart And lead me in thy path; I have an unbelieving heart, But thou canst give me faith. The work in me fulfill,    Which mercy hath begun; I have a proud rebellious will,    But thou canst melt it down. Sin on my heart is wrote,    I am throughout impure; But my disease, oh Lord, is not    Too hard for thee to cure. The darkness of my mind,    Lies open to thy sight; Jesus, I am by nature blind,    But thou canst give me light. Send down thy Holy Ghost,    To cleanse and fill with peace; For O, my inward parts thou knowst    Are very wickedness. Thy love all power hath,    Its power in me exert; And give me living active faith,    That purifies the heart. Unrivald reign within,    My only sovereign be, O crucify the man of sin,    And form thyself in me. Thy bloods renewing might,    Can make the foulest clean; Can wash the Ethiopian white,       And change the leopards skin. That, Lord, can bring me nigh,    And wipe my sins away; Can lift my abject soul on high,    And call me into day. Fulfill thy gracious word,    And shew my guilt forgivn; Bid me embrace my dying Lord,    And mount with him to Heavn. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). The Gospel According to John Christ Heals the Blind Man 9 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind? 3 Jesus answered, It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world. 6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which is translated, Sent) So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, Is not this the one who used to sit and beg? 9 Others were saying, This is he, still others were saying, No, but he is like him. He kept saying, I am the one. 10 So they were saying to him, How then were your eyes opened? 11 He answered, The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, Go to Siloam and wash; so I went away and washed, and I received sight. 12 They said to him, Where is He? He said, I do not know. The chapter we now begin records one of the few great works of Christ which St. John has reported. It tell us how our Lord gave sight to a man who had been blind from his birth. Here, as elsewhere in this Gospel, we find the circumstances of the miracle narrated with peculiar fullness, minuteness, and particularity. Here too, as elsewhere, we find the narrative rich in spiritual lessons. We should observe, first, in this passage, how much sorrow sin has brought into the world. A sorrowful case is brought before us. We are told of a man who was blind from his birth. A more serious affliction can hardly be conceived. Of all the bodily crosses that can be laid on man, without taking away life, none perhaps is greater than the loss of sight. It cuts us off from some of the greatest enjoyments of life. It shuts us up within a narrow world of our own. It makes us painfully helpless and dependent on others. In fact, until men lose their eyesight, they never fully realize its value. Now blindness, like every other bodily infirmity, is one of the fruits of sin. If Adam had never fallen, we cannot doubt that people would never have been blind, or deaf, or mdumb. The many ills that flesh is heir to, the countless pains, and diseases, and physical defects to which we are all liable, came in when the curse came upon the earth. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. (Rom. v. 12.) Let us learn to hate sin with a godly hatred, as the root of more than half of our cares and sorrows. Let us fight against it, mortify it, crucify it, and abhor it both in ourselves and others. There cannot be a clearer proof that man is a fallen creature than the fact that he can love sin and take pleasure in it. We should observe, secondly, in this passage, what a solemn lesson Christ gives us about the use of opportunities. He says to the disciples who asked Him about the blind man, I must work while it is called to-day: the night cometh, when no man can work. That saying was eminently true when applied to our Lord Himself. He knew well that his own earthly ministry would only last three years altogether, and knowing this He diligently redeemed the time. He let slip no opportunity of doing works of mercy, and attending to His Fathers business. Morning, noon, and night He was always carrying on the work which the Father gave Him to do. It was His food and drink to do His Fathers will, and to finish His work. His whole life breathed one sentiment,I must work: the night cometh, when no man can work. The saying is one which should be remembered by all professing Christians. The life that we now live in the flesh is our day. Let us take care that we use it well, for the glory of God and the good of our souls. Let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling, while it is called to-day. There is no work nor labour in the grave, toward which we are all fast hastening. Let us pray, and read, and keep our Sabbaths holy, and hear Gods Word, and do good in our generation, like men who never forget that the night is at hand. Our time is very short. Our daylight will soon be gone. Opportunities once lost can never be retrieved. A second lease of life is granted to no man. Then let us resist procrastination as we would resist the devil. Whatever our hand findeth to do, let us do it with our might. The night cometh, when no man can work. We should observe, thirdly, in this passage, what different means Christ used in working miracles on different occasions. In healing the blind man He might, if He had thought fit, have merely touched Him with his finger, or given command with His tongue. But He did not rest content with doing so. We are told that He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. In all these means of course there was no inherent healing virtue. But for wise reasons the Lord was pleased to use them. We need not doubt that in this, as in every other action of our Lord, there is an instructive lesson. It teaches us, we may well believe, that the Lord of heaven and earth will not be tied down to the use of any one means or instrumentality. In conferring blessings on man, He will work in His own way, and will allow no one to prescribe to Him. Above all, it should teach those who have received anything at Christs hands, to be careful how they measure other mens experience by their own. Have we been healed by Christ, and made to see and live? Let us thank God for it, and be humbled. But let us beware of saying that no other man has been healed, except he has been brought to spiritual life in precisely the same manner. The great question is,Are the eyes of our understanding opened? Do we see? Have we spiritual life?Enough for us if the cure is effected and health restored. If it is, we must leave it to the great Physician to choose the instrument, the means, and the manner,the clay, the touch, or the command. We should observe, lastly, in this passage, the almighty power that Christ holds in His hands. We see Him doing that which in itself was impossible. Without medicines He cures an incurable case. He actually gives eyesight to one who was born blind. Such a miracle as this is meant to teach an old truth, which we can never know too well. It shows us that Jesus the Saviour of sinners has all power in heaven and earth. Such mighty works could never have been done by one that was merely man. In the cure of this blind man we see nothing less than the finger of God. Such a miracle, above all, is meant to make us hopeful about our own souls and the souls of others. Why should we despair of salvation while we have such a Saviour? Where is the spiritual disease that He cannot take away? He can open the eyes of the most sinful and ignorant, and make them see things they never saw before. He can send light into the darkest heart, and cause blindness and prejudice to pass away. Surely, if we are not saved, the fault will be all our own. There lives at Gods right hand One who can heal us if we apply to Him. Let us take heed lest those solemn words are found true of us,Light has come into the world: but men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Ye will not come to Me that ye might have life. (John iii. 19; 5:40) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 13, 2010

Lords Day 14, 2010

Sunday··2010·04·04
Psalm 23The 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.
continue reading Lords Day 14, 2010

Lords Day 15, 2010

Sunday··2010·04·11
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Devil defeated by Faith, Well Fixed and Furnished Ralph Erskine (16851752) Be sober, vigilant, and stout; For every day and hour, Your foe, the devil, walks about, Still seeking to devour. Whom, by a steady faith resist, In Christ, the Captains name; Knowing your fellow-soldiers blessed, Your welfare is the same. But may the God, and source of all, Your grace and warlike store, Who did by Jesus Christ you call, To his eternal glore. After your short whiles suffring now, May he perfect you all, Establish, strengthen, settle you, Firm like a brazen wall. To him whose all-sufficiency, Alone can thus sustain; All glory and dominion be Forevermore. Amen. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 9:1325 They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see. 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath But others were saying, How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs? And there was a division among them. 17 So they said to the blind man again, What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes? And he said, He is a prophet. 18 The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, 19 and questioned them, saying, Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see? 20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself. 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23 For this reason his parents said, He is of age; ask him. 24 So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner. 25 He then answered, Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see. These verses show us how little the Jews of our Lords time understood the right use of the Sabbath day. We read that some of the Pharisees found fault because a blind man was miraculously healed on the Sabbath. They said, This man is not of God, because He keeps not the Sabbath day. A good work had manifestly been done to a helpless fellow-creature. A heavy bodily infirmity had been removed. A mighty act of mercy had been performed. But the blind-hearted enemies of Christ could see no beauty in the act. They called it a breach of the Fourth Commandment! These would-be wise men completely mistook the intention of the Sabbath. They did not see that it was made for man, and meant for the good of mans body, mind, and soul. It was a day to be set apart from others, no doubt, and to be carefully sanctified and kept holy. But its sanctification was never intended to prevent works of necessity and acts of mercy. To heal a sick man was no breach of the Sabbath day. In finding fault with our Lord for so doing, the Jews only exposed their ignorance of their own law. They had forgotten that it is as great a sin to add to a commandment, as to take it away.    Here, as in other places, we must take care that we do not put a wrong meaning on our Lords conduct. We must not for a moment suppose that the Sabbath is no longer binding on Christians, and that they have nothing to do with the Fourth Commandment. This is a great mistake, and the root of great evil. Not one of the ten commandments has ever been repealed or put aside. Our Lord never meant the Sabbath to become a day of pleasure, or a day of business, or a day of traveling and idle dissipation. He meant it to be kept holy as long as the world stands. It is one thing to employ the Sabbath in works of mercy, in ministering to the sick, and doing good to the distressed. It is quite another thing to spend the day in visiting, feasting, and self-indulgence. Whatever men may please to say, the way in which we use the Sabbath a sure test of the state of our religion. By the Sabbath may be found out whether we love communion with God. By the Sabbath may be found out whether we are in tune for heaven. By the Sabbath, in short, the secrets of many hearts are revealed. There are only too many of whom we may say with sorrow, These men are not of God, because they keep not the Sabbath day. * These verses show us, secondly, the desperate lengths to which prejudice will sometimes carry wicked men. We read that the Jews agreed that if any man did confess that Jesus was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. They were determined not to believe. They were resolved that no evidence should change their minds, and no proofs influence their will. They were like men who shut their eyes and tie a bandage over them, and refuse to have it untied. Just as in after times they stopped their ears when Stephen preached, and refused to listen when Paul made his defense, so they behaved at this period of our Lords ministry. Of all states of mind into which unconverted men can fall, this is by far the most dangerous to the soul. So long as a person is open, fair, and honest-minded, there is hope for him, however ignorant he may be. He may be much in the dark at present. But is he willing to follow the light, if set before him? He may be walking in the broad road with all his might. But is he ready to listen to any one who will show him a more excellent way? In a word, is he teachable, childlike, and unfettered by prejudice? If these questions can be answered satisfactorily, we never need despair about the mans soul. The state of mind we should always desire to possess is that of the noble-minded Bereans. When they first heard the Apostle Paul preach, they listened with attention. They received the Word with all readiness of mind. They searched the Scriptures, and compared what they heard with Gods Word. And therefore, we are told, many of them believed. Happy are those who go and do likewise! (Acts xvii. 11, 12.) These verses show us, lastly, that nothing convinces a man so thoroughly as his own senses and feelings. We read that the unbelieving Jews tried in vain to persuade the blind man whom Jesus healed, that nothing had been done for him. They only got from him one plain answer: One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. How the miracle had been worked, he did not pretend to explain. Whether the person who had healed him was a sinner, he did not profess to know. But that something had been done for him he stoutly maintained. He was not to be reasoned out of his senses. Whatever the Jews might think, there were two distinct facts of which he was conscious: I was blind: now I see. There is no kind of evidence so satisfactory as this to the heart of a real Christian. His knowledge may be small. His faith may be feeble. His doctrinal views may be at present confused and indistinct. But if Christ has really wrought a work of grace in his heart by His Spirit, he feels within him something that you cannot overthrow. I was dark, and now I have light. I was afraid of God, and now I love Him. I was fond of sin, and now I hate it. I was blind, and now I see. Let us never rest until we know and feel within us some real work of the Holy Ghost. Let us not be content with the name and form of Christianity. Let us desire to have true experimental acquaintance with it. Feelings no doubt, are deceitful, and are not everything in religion. But if we have no inward feelings about spiritual matters, it is a very bad sign. The hungry man eats, and feels strengthened; the thirsty man drinks, and feels refreshed. Surely the man who has within him the grace of God, ought to be able to say, I feel its power. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). * Once again, Ryles sabbatarianism comes through, and, as noted before, I disagree. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 15, 2010

Lords Day 16, 2010

Sunday··2010·04·18
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. " />The Sleep of the Beloved. So he giveth his beloved sleep. Psalm cxxvii. 2. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Sunlight has vanished, and the weary earth Lies resting from a long days toil and pain, And, looking for a new dawns early birth, Seeks strength in slumber for its toil again. We too would rest, but ere we close the eye    Upon the consciousness of waking thought, Would calmly turn it to yon star-bright sky,    And lift the soul to him who slumbers not. Above us is thy hand with tender care,    Distilling over us the dew of sleep: Darkness seems loaded with oblivious air,    In deep forgetfulness each sense to steep. Thou hast provided midnights hour of peace,    Thou stretchest over us the wing of rest; With more than all a parents tenderness,    Foldest us sleeping to thy gentle breast. Grief flies away; care quits our easy couch,    Till wakened by thy hand, when breaks the day Like the one prophet by the angels touch,    We rise to tread again our pilgrim-way. God of our life! God of each day and night!    Oh, keep us till lifes short race is run! Until there dawns the long, long day of light,    That knows no night, yet needs no star nor sun. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 9:2541 He then answered, Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see. 26 So they said to him, What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes? 27 He answered them, I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you? 28 They reviled him and said, You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from. 30 The man answered and said to them, Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, He could do nothing. 34 They answered him, You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us? So they put him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, Do you believe in the Son of Man? 36 He answered, Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? 37 Jesus said to him, You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind. 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, We are not blind too, are we? 41 Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, We see, your sin remains. We see in these verses how much wiser the poor sometimes are than the rich. The man whom our Lord healed of his blindness was evidently a person of very humble condition. It is written that he was one who sat and begged. (See v. 8.) Yet he saw things which the proud rulers of the Jews could not see, and would not receive. He saw in our Lords miracle an unanswerable proof of our Lords divine commission. If this Man were not of God, he cries, He could do nothing. In fact, from the day of his cure his position was completely altered. He had eyes, and the Pharisees were blind. The same thing may be seen in other places of Scripture. The servants of Pharaoh saw the finger of God in the plagues of Egypt, when their masters heart was hardened. The servants of Naaman saw the wisdom of Elishas advice, when their master was turning away in a rage. The high, the great, and the noble are often the last to learn spiritual lessons. Their possessions and their position often blind the eyes of their understanding, and keep them back from the kingdom of God. It is written that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. (1 Cor. i. 26.) The Christian poor man never need be ashamed of his poverty. It is a sin to be proud, and worldly-minded, and unbelieving; but it is no sin to be poor. The very riches which many long to possess are often veils over the eyes of mens souls, and prevent their seeing Christ. The teaching of the Holy Ghost is more frequently to be seen among men of low degree than among men of rank and education. The words of our Lord are continually proved most true, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God.Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (Mark x. 23; Matt. xi. 25.) We see, secondly, in these verses, how cruelly and unjustly unconverted men will sometimes treat those who disagree with them. When the Pharisees could not frighten the blind man who had been cured, they expelled him from the Jewish Church. Because he manfully refused to deny the evidence of his own senses, they excommunicated him, and put him to an open shame. They cast him out as a heathen man and a publican. The temporal injury that such treatment did to a poor Jew was very great indeed. It cut him off from the outward privileges of the Jewish Church. It made him an object of scorn and suspicion among all true Israelites. But it could do no harm to his soul. That which wicked men bind on earth is not bound in heaven. The curse causeless shall not come. (Prov. xxvi. 2.) The children of God in every age have only too frequently met with like treatment. Excommunication, persecution, and imprisonment have generally been favourite weapons with ecclesiastical tyrants. Unable, like the Pharisees, to answer arguments, they have resorted to violence and injustice. Let the child of God console himself with the thought that there is a true Church out of which no man can cast him, and a Church-membership which no earthly power can take away. He only is blessed whom Christ calls blessed; and he only is accursed whom Christ shall pronounce accursed at the last day. We see, thirdly, in these verses, how great is the kindness and condescension of Christ. No sooner was this poor blind man cast out of the Jewish Church than Jesus finds him and speaks words of comfort. He knew full well how heavy an affliction excommunication was to an Israelite, and at once cheered him with kind words. He now revealed Himself more fully to this man than He did to any one except the Samaritan woman. In reply to the question, Who is the Son of God? He says plainly, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee. We have here one among many beautiful illustrations of the mind of Christ. He sees all that His people go through for His sake, and feels for all, from the highest to the lowest. He keeps account of all their losses, crosses, and persecutions. Are they not all written in His book? (Psal. lvi. 8.) He knows how to come to their hearts with consolation in their time of need, and to speak peace to them when all men seem to hate them. The time when men forsake us is often the very time when Christ draws near, saying, Fear not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isai. xli. 10.) We see, lastly, in these verses, how dangerous it is to possess knowledge, if we do not make a good use of it. The rulers of the Jews were fully persuaded that they knew all religious truth. They were indignant at the very idea of being ignorant and devoid of spiritual eyesight. Are we blind also? they cried. And then came the mighty sentence, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. Knowledge undoubtedly is a very great blessing. The man who cannot read, and is utterly ignorant of Scripture, is in a pitiable condition. He is at the mercy of any false teacher who comes across him, and may be taught to take up any absurd creed, or to follow any vicious practice. Almost any education is better than no education at all. But when knowledge only sticks in a mans head, and has no influence over his heart and life, it becomes a most perilous possession. And when, in addition to this, its possessor is self-conceited and self-satisfied, and imagines he knows everything, the result is one of the worst states of soul into which man can fall. There is far more hope about him who says, I am a poor blind sinner and want God to teach me, than about him who is ever saying, I know it, I know it, I am not ignorant, and yet cleaves to his sins.The sin of that man remaineth. Let us use diligently whatever religious knowledge we possess, and ask continually that God would give us more. Let us never forget that the devil himself is a creature of vast head-knowledge, and yet none the better for it, because it is not rightly used. Let our constant prayer be that which David so often sent up in the hundred and nineteenth Psalm. Lord, teach me thy statutes: give me understanding: unite my heart to fear Your name. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 16, 2010

Lords Day 17, 2010

Sunday··2010·04·25
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Self-Knowledge Searcher of hearts, It is a good day to me when thou givest me a glimpse of myself; Sin is my greatest evil, but thou art my greatest good; I have cause to loathe myself, and not to seek self-honour, for no one desires to commend his own dung-hill. My country, family, church fare worse because of my sins, for sinners bring judgment in thinking    sins are small, or that God is not angry with them. Let me not take other good man as my example, and think I am good because I am like them, For all good men are not so good as thou desirest, and not always consistent, do not always follow holiness, do not feel eternal good in sore affliction. Show me how to know when a thing is evil which I think is right and good, how to know when what is lawful comes from an evil principle, such as desire for reputation or wealth by usury. Give me grace to recall my needs, my lack of knowing thy will in scripture,    of wisdom to guide others,    of daily repentance, want of which keeps thee       at bay,    of the spirit of prayer, having words       without love,    of zeal for thy glory, seeking my own ends,    of joy of thee and thy will,    of love to others. And let me not lay my pipe too short of the fountain, never touching the eternal spring, never drawing down water from above. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). The Gospel According to JohnI Am the Good Shepherd10 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers. 6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. 7 So Jesus said to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The chapter we have now begun is closely connected with the preceding one. The parable before us was spoken with direct reference to the blind teachers of the Jewish Church. The Scribes and Pharisees were the people our Lord had in view, when He described the false shepherd. The very men who had just said We see, were denounced with holy boldness, as thieves and robbers. We have, for one thing, in these verses, a vivid picture of a false teacher of religion. Our Lord says that he is one who enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way. The door, in this sentence, must evidently mean something far more than outward calling and commission. The Jewish teachers, at any rate, were not deficient in this point: they could probably trace up their orders in direct succession to Aaron himself. Ordination is no proof whatever that a man is fit to show others the way to heaven. He may have been regularly set apart by those who have authority to call ministers, and yet all his life may never come near the door, and at last may die nothing better than a thief and a robber. The true sense of the door must be sought in our Lords own interpretation. It is Christ Himself who is the door. The true shepherd of souls is he who enters the ministry with a single eye to Christ, desiring to glorify Christ, doing all in the strength of Christ, preaching Christs doctrine, walking in Christs steps, and labouring to bring men and women to Christ. The false shepherd of souls is he who enters the ministerial office with little or no thought about Christ, from worldly and self-exalting motives, but from no desire to exalt Jesus, and the great salvation that is in Him. Christ, in one word, is the grand touchstone of the minister of religion. The man who makes much of Christ is a pastor after Gods own heart, whom God delights to honour. The minister who makes little of Christ is one whom God regards as an impostor,as one who has climbed up to his holy office not by the door, but by some other way. The sentence before us is a sorrowful and humbling one. That it condemns the Jewish teachers of our Lords time all men can see. There was no door in their ministry. They taught nothing rightly about Messiah. They rejected Christ Himself when He appeared,but all men do not see that the sentence condemns thousands of so-called Christian teachers, quite as much as the leaders and teachers of the Jews. Thousands of ordained men in the present day know nothing whatever about Christ, except His name. They have not entered the door themselves, and they are unable to show it to others. Well would it be for Christendom if this were more widely known, and more seriously considered! Unconverted ministers are the dry-rot of the Church. When the blind lead the blind both must fall into the ditch. If we would know the value of a mans ministry, we must never fail to ask, Where is the Lamb? Where is the Door? Does he bring forward Christ, and give Him his rightful place? We have, for another thing, in these verses, a peculiar picture of true Christians. Our Lord describes them as sheep who hear the voice of a true Shepherd, and know His voice; and as sheep who will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers. The thing taught in these words is a very curious one, and may seem foolishness to the world. There is a spiritual instinct in most true believers, which generally enables them to distinguish between true and false teaching. When they hear unsound religious instruction, there is something within them that says, This is wrong. When they hear the real truth as it is in Jesus, there is something in their hearts which responds, This is right. The careless man of the world may see no difference whatever between minister and minister, sermon and sermon. The poorest sheep of Christ, as a general rule, will distinguish things that differ, though he may sometimes be unable to explain why. Let us beware of despising this spiritual instinct. Whatever a sneering world may please to say, it is one of the peculiar marks of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. As such, it is specially mentioned by St. John, when he says, Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. (1 John ii. 20.) Let us rather pray for it daily, in order that we may be kept from the influence of false shepherds. To lose all power of distinguishing between bitter and sweet is one of the worst symptoms of bodily disease. To be unable to see any difference between law and gospel, truth and error, Protestantism and Popery, the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of man, is a sure proof that we are yet dead in heart, and need conversion. We have, lastly, in these verses, a most instructive picture of Christ Himself. He utters one of those golden sayings which ought to be dear to all true Christians. They apply to people as well as to ministers. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. We are all by nature separate and far off from God. Sin, like a great barrier-wall, rises between us and our Maker. The sense of guilt makes us afraid of Him. The sense of His holiness keeps us at a distance from Him. Born with a heart at enmity with God, we become more and more alienated from Him, by practice, the longer we live. The very first questions in religion that must be answered, are these: How can I draw near to God? How can I be justified? How can a sinner like me be reconciled to my Maker? The Lord Jesus Christ has provided an answer to these mighty questions. By His sacrifice for us on the cross, He has opened a way through the great barrier, and provided pardon and peace for sinners. He has suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. He has opened a way into the holiest, through His blood, by which we may draw near to God with boldness, and approach God without fear. And now He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. In the highest sense He is the door. No one can come to the Father but by Him. Let us take heed that we use this door, and do not merely stand outside looking at it. It is a door free and open to the chief of sinners: If any man enter in by it, he shall be saved. It is a door within which we shall find a full and constant supply for every need of our souls. We shall find that we can go in and out, and enjoy liberty and peace. The day comes when this door will be shut forever, and men shall strive to enter in, but not be able. Then let us make sure work of our own salvation. Let us not stand tarrying outside, and halting between two opinions. Let us enter in and be saved. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 17, 2010

Lords Day 18, 2010

Sunday··2010·05·02
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Lowest Place Christina Rossetti (18301894) Give me the lowest place: not that I dare Ask for the lowest place, but Thou hast died That I might live and share Thy glory by Thy side. Give me the lowest place: or if for me That lowest place too high, make one more low Where I may sit and see My God and love Thee so. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). John 1:1018The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again This commandment I received from My Father. These verses show us, for one thing, the great object for which Christ came into the world. He says, I have come that men might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. The truth contained in these words is of vast importance. They supply an antidote to many crude and unsound notions which are abroad in the world. Christ did not come to be only a teacher of new morality, or an example of holiness and self-denial, or a founder of new ceremonies, as some have vainly asserted. He left heaven, and dwelt for thirty-three years on earth for far higher ends than these. He came to procure eternal life for man, by the price of His own vicarious death. He came to be a mighty fountain of spiritual life for all mankind, to which sinners coming by faith might drink; and, drinking, might live for evermore. By Moses came laws, rules, ordinances, ceremonies. By Christ came grace, truth, and eternal life. Important as this doctrine is, it requires to be fenced with one word of caution. We must not overstrain the meaning of our Lord Jesus Christs words. We must not suppose that eternal life was a thing entirely unknown until Christ came, or that the Old Testament saints were in utter darkness about the world to come. The way of life by faith in a Saviour was a way well known to Abraham and Moses and David. A Redeemer and a Sacrifice was the hope of all Gods children from Abel down to John the Baptist; but their vision of these things was necessarily imperfect. They saw them afar off, and not distinctly. They saw them in outline only, and not completely. It was the coming of Christ which made all things plain, and caused the shadows to pass away. Life and immortality were brought into full light by the Gospel. In short, to use our Lords own words, even those who had life had it more abundantly, when Christ came into the world. These verses show us, for another thing, one of the principal offices which Jesus Christ fills for true Christians. Twice over our Lord uses an expression which, to an Eastern hearer, would be singularly full of meaning. Twice over he says emphatically, I am the Good Shepherd. It is a saying rich in consolation and instruction. Like a good shepherd, Christ knows all His believing people. Their names, their families, their dwelling-places, their circumstances, their private history, their experience, their trials,with all these things Jesus is perfectly acquainted. There is not a thing about the least and lowest of them with which He is not familiar. The children of this world may not know Christians, and may count their lives folly; but the Good Shepherd knows them thoroughly, and, wonderful to say, though He knows them, does not despise them. Like a Good Shepherd, Christ cares tenderly for all His believing people. He provides for all their needs in the wilderness of this world, and leads them by the right way to a city of habitation. He bears patiently with their many weaknesses and infirmities, and does not cast them off because they are wayward, erring, sick, footsore, or lame. He guards and protects them against all their enemies, as Jacob did the flock of Laban; and of those that the Father has given Him He will be found at last to have lost none. Like a Good Shepherd, Christ lays down his life for the sheep. He did it once for all, when He was crucified for them. When He saw that nothing could deliver them from hell and the devil, but His blood, He willingly made His soul an offering for their sins. The merit of that death He is now presenting before the Fathers throne. The sheep are saved for evermore, because the Good Shepherd died for them. This is indeed a love that passeth knowledge! Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John xv. 13.) Let us only take heed that this office of Christ is not set before us in vain. It will profit us nothing at the last day that Jesus was a Shepherd, if during our lifetime, we never heard His voice and followed Him. If we love life, let us join His flock without delay. Except we do this, we shall be found at the left hand in the day of judgment, and lost for evermore. These verses show us, lastly, that when Christ died, He died of His own voluntary free will. He uses a remarkable expression to teach this: I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. The point before us is of no small importance. We must never suppose for a moment that our Lord had no power to prevent His sufferings, and that He was delivered up to His enemies and crucified because He could not help it. Nothing could be further from the truth than such an idea. The treachery of Judas, the armed band of priests servants, the enmity of Scribes and Pharisees, the injustice of Pontius Pilate, the crude hands of Roman soldiers, the scourge, the nails, and the spear,all these could not have harmed a hair of our Lords head, unless He had allowed them. Well might He say those remarkable words, Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels. But how, then, shall the Scripture be fulfilled? (Matt. xxvi. 53.) The plain truth is, that our Lord submitted to death of His own free will, because He knew that His death was the only way of making atonement for mans sins. He poured out His soul unto death with all the desire of His heart, because He had determined to pay our debt to God, and redeem us from hell. For the joy set before Him He willingly endured the cross, and laid down His life, in order that we, through His death, might have eternal life. His death was not the death of a martyr, who sinks at last overwhelmed by enemies, but the death of a triumphant conqueror, who knows that even in dying he wins for himself and his people a kingdom and a crown of glory. Let us lean back our souls on these mighty truths, and be thankful. A willing Saviour, a loving Saviour, a Saviour who came specially into the world to bring life to man, is just the Saviour that we need. If we hear His voice, repent and believe, He is our own. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 18, 2010

Lords Day 19, 2010

Sunday··2010·05·09
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn 36. (C. M.) A lovely carriage. Matt. x. 16. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) O tis a lovely thing to see A man of prudent heart, Whose thoughts, and lips, and life agree To act a useful part. When envy, strife, and wars begin    In little angry souls, Mark how the sons of peace come in,    And quench the kindling coals. Their minds are humble, mild, and meek,    Nor let their fury rise; Nor passion moves their lips to speak,    Nor pride exalts their eyes. Their frame is prudence mixd with love,    Good works fulfil their day; They join the serpent with the dove,    But cast the sting away. Such was the Savior of mankind,    Such pleasures he pursued; His flesh and blood were all refind,    His soul divinely good. Lord, can these plants of virtue grow    In such a heart as mine? Thy grace my nature can renew,    And make my soul like thine. from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). John 10:1930A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him? 21 Others were saying, These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he? The Opposition at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem    22 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 24 The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Fathers name, these testify of Me. 26 But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Fathers hand. 30 I and the Father are one. We should notice, first, in this passage, what strifes and controversies our Lord occasioned when He was on earth. We read that there was a division among the Jews for His sayings,and that many of them said He hath a devil, and is mad, while others took an opposite view. It may seem strange, at first sight, that He who came to preach peace between God and man should be the cause of contention. But herein were His own words literally fulfilled,I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Matt. x. 34.) The fault was not in Christ or His doctrine, but in the carnal mind of His Jewish hearers. Let us never be surprised if we see the same thing in our own day. Human nature never changes. So long as the heart of man is without grace, so long we must expect to see it dislike the Gospel of Christ. Just as oil and water, acids and alkalies, cannot combine, so in the same way unconverted people cannot really like the people of God.The carnal mind is enmity against God.The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. (Rom. viii. 7; 1 Cor. ii. 14.) The servant of Christ must think it no strange thing if he goes through the same experience as his Master. He will often find his ways and opinions in religion the cause of strife in his own family. He will have to endure ridicule, harsh words, and petty persecution, from the children of this world. He may even discover that he is thought a fool or a madman on account of his Christianity. Let none of these things move him. The thought that he is a partaker of the afflictions of Christ ought to steel him against every trial. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household. (Matt. x. 25.) One thing, at any rate, should never be forgotten. We must not allow ourselves to think the worse of religion because of the strifes and dissensions to which it gives rise. Whatever men may please to say, it is human nature, and not religion, which is to blame. We do not blame the glorious sun because its rays draw forth noxious vapors from the marsh. We must not find fault with the glorious Gospel, if it stirs up mens corruptions, and causes the thoughts of many hearts to be revealed. (Luke ii. 35.) We should notice, secondly, the name which Christ gives to true Christians. He uses a figurative expression which, like all His language, is full of deep meaning. He calls them, My sheep. The word sheep, no doubt, points to something in the character and ways of true Christians. It would be easy to show that weakness, helplessness, harmlessness, usefulness, are all points of resemblance between the sheep and the believer. But the leading idea in our Lords mind was the entire dependence of the sheep upon its Shepherd. Just as sheep hear the voice of their own shepherd, and follow him, so do believers follow Christ. By faith they listen to His call. By faith they submit themselves to His guidance. By faith they lean on Him, and commit their souls implicitly to His direction. The ways of a shepherd and his sheep are a most useful illustration of the relation between Christ and the true Christian. The expression, My sheep, points to the close connection that exists between Christ and believers. They are His by gift from the Father, His by purchase, His by calling and choice, and His by their own consent and heart-submission. In the highest sense they are Christs property; and just as a man feels a special interest in that which he has bought at a great price and made his own, so does the Lord Jesus feel a peculiar interest in His people. Expressions like these should be carefully treasured up in the memories of true Christians. They will be found cheering and heart-strengthening in days of trial. The world may see no beauty in the ways of a godly man, and may often pour contempt on him. But he who knows that he is one of Christs sheep has no cause to be ashamed. He has within him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John iv. 14.) We should notice, lastly, in this passage, the vast privileges which the Lord Jesus Christ bestows on true Christians. He uses words about them of singular richness and strength. I know them.I give unto them eternal life.They shall never perish,neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. This sentence is like the cluster of grapes which came from Eshcol. A stronger form of speech perhaps can hardly be found in the whole range of the Bible. Christ knows his people with a special knowledge of approbation, interest, and affection. By the world around them they are comparatively unknown, uncared for, or despised. But they are never forgotten or overlooked by Christ. Christ gives his people eternal life. He bestows on them freely a right and title to heaven, pardoning their many sins, and clothing them with a perfect righteousness. Money, and health, and worldly prosperity He often wisely withholds from them. But He never fails to give them grace, peace, and glory. Christ declares that His people shall never perish. Weak as they are they shall all be saved. Not one of them shall be lost and cast away: not one of them shall miss heaven. If they err, they shall be brought back; if they fall, they shall be raised. The enemies of their souls may be strong and mighty, but their Saviour is mightier; and none shall pluck them out of their Saviours hands. A promise like this deserves the closest attention. If words mean anything, it contains that great doctrine, the perseverance, or continuance in grace, of true believers. That doctrine is literally hated by worldly people. No doubt, like every other truth of Scripture, it is liable to be abused. But the words of Christ are too plain to be evaded. He has said it, and He will make it good,My sheep shall never perish. Whatever men may please to say against this doctrine, it is one which Gods children ought to hold fast, and defend with all their might. To all who feel within them the workings of the Holy Ghost, it is a doctrine full of encouragement and consolation. Once inside the ark, they shall never be cast out. Once converted and joined to Christ, they shall never be cut off from His mystical body. Hypocrites and false professors shall doubtless make shipwreck forever, unless they repent. But true sheep shall never be confounded. Christ has said it, and Christ cannot lie: they shall never perish. Would we get the benefit of this glorious promise? Let us take care that we belong to Christs flock. Let us hear His voice and follow Him. The man who, under a real sense of sin, flees to Christ and trusts in Him, is one of those who shall never be plucked out of Christs hand. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 19, 2010

Lords Day 20, 2010

Sunday··2010·05·16
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn XXVII. The milch kine drawing the ark: Faiths surrender of all. I. Samuel vi. 12. John Newton (17251807)    The kine unguided went By the directest road; When the Philistines homeward sent The ark of Israels God.    Lowing they passd along,    And left their calves shut up; They felt an instinct for their young,    But would not turn or stop.    Shall brutes, devoid of thought,    Their Makers will obey; And we, who by his grace are taught,    More stubborn prove than they?    He shed his precious blood    To make us his alone; If washd in that atoning flood    We are no more our own.    If he his will reveal,    Let us obey his call; And think whateer the flesh may feel,    His love deserves our all.    We should maintain in view    His glory, as our end; Too much we cannot bear, or do,    For such a matchless friend.    His saints should stand prepard    In dutys path to run; Nor count their greatest trials hard,    So that his will be done.    With Jesus for our guide,    The path is safe though rough The promise says, I will provide,    And faith replies, Enough! —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 10:3142The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me? 33 The Jews answered Him, For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God. 34 Jesus answered them, Has it not been written in your Law, I said, you are gods? 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father. 39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp. 40 And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there. 41 Many came to Him and were saying, While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true. 42 Many believed in Him there. We should observe, in these verses, the extreme wickedness of human nature. The unbelieving Jews at Jerusalem was neither moved by our Lords miracles, nor by His preaching. They were determined not to receive Him as their Messiah. Once more it is written that they took up stones to stone Him. Our Lord had done the Jews no injury. He was no robber, murderer, or rebel against the law of the land. He was one whose whole life was love, and who went about doing good. (Acts x. 38.) There was no fault or inconsistency in His character. There was no crime that could be laid to His charge. So perfect and spotless a man had never walked on the face of this earth. But yet the Jews hated Him, and thirsted for His blood. How true are the words of Scripture: They hated Him without a cause. (John xv. 25.) How just the remark of an old divine: Unconverted men would kill God Himself if they could only get at Him. The true Christian has surely no right to wonder if he meets with the same kind of treatment as our blessed Lord. In fact, the more like he is to his Master, and the more holy and spiritual his life, the more probable is it that he will have to endure hatred and persecution. Let him not suppose that any degree of consistency will deliver him from this cross. It is not his faults, but his graces, which call forth the enmity of men. The world hates to see anything of Gods image. The children of the world are vexed and pierced in conscience when they see others better than themselves. Why did Cain hate his brother Abel, and slay him? Because, says John, his own works were evil, and his brothers righteous. (1 John iii. 12.) Why did the Jews hate Christ? Because He exposed their sins and false doctrines; and they knew in their own hearts that he was right and they were wrong. The world, said our Lord, hateth Me, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. (John vii. 7.) Let Christians make up their minds to drink the same cup, and let them drink it patiently and without surprise. There is One in heaven who said, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. (John xv. 18.) Let them remember this and take courage. The time is short. We are traveling on towards a day when all shall be set right, and every man shall receive according to his works. There is an end: and our expectation shall not be cut off. (Prov. xxiii. 18.) We should observe, secondly, in these verses, the high honour that Jesus Christ puts on the Holy Scriptures. We find Him using a text out of the Psalms as an argument against His enemies, in which the whole point lies in the single word gods. And then having quoted the text, He lays down the great principle, the Scripture cannot be broken. It is as though He said, Wherever the Scripture speaks plainly on any subject, there can be no more question about it. The cause is settled and decided. Every jot and tittle of Scripture is true, and must be received as conclusive. The principle here laid down by our Lord is one of vast importance. Let us grasp it firmly, and never let it go. Let us maintain boldly the complete inspiration of every word of the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Let us believe that not only every book of the Bible, but every chapter,and not only every chapter, but every verse,and not only every verse, but every word, was originally given by inspiration of God. Inspiration, we must never shrink from asserting, extends not only to the thoughts and ideas of Scripture, but to the least words. The principle before us, no doubt, is rudely assaulted in the present day. Let no Christians heart fail because of these assaults. Let us stand our ground manfully, and defend the principle of plenary inspiration as we would the pupil of our eye. There are difficulties in Scripture, we need not shrink from conceding, things hard to explain, hard to reconcile, and hard to understand. But in almost all these difficulties, the fault, we may justly suspect, is not so much in Scripture as in our own weak minds. In all cases we may well be content to wait for more light, and to believe that all shall be made clear at last. One thing we may rest assured is very certain,if the difficulties of plenary inspiration are to be numbered by thousands, the difficulties of any other view of inspiration are to be numbered by tens of thousands. The wisest course is to walk in the old path,the path of faith and humility; and say, I cannot give up a single word of my Bible. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. The Scripture cannot be broken. We should observe, lastly, in these verses, the importance which our Lord Jesus Christ attaches to His miracles. He appeals to them as the best evidence of His own Divine mission. He bids the Jews look at them, and deny them if they can. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works. The mighty miracles which our Lord performed during the three years of His earthly ministry are probably not considered as much as they ought to be in the present day. These miracles were not few in number. Forty times and more we read in the Gospels of His doing things entirely out of the ordinary course of nature,healing sick people in a moment, raising the dead with a word, casting out devils, calming winds and waves in an instant, walking on the water as on solid ground. These miracles were not all done in private among friends. Many of them were wrought in the most public manner, under the eyes of unfriendly witnesses. We are so familiar with these things that we are apt to forget the mighty lesson they teach. They teach that He who worked these miracles must be nothing less than very God. They stamp His doctrines and precepts with the mark of Divine authority. He only who created all things at the beginning could suspend the laws of creation at His will. He who could suspend the laws of creation must be One who ought to be thoroughly believed and implicitly obeyed. To reject One who confirmed His mission by such mighty works is the height of madness and folly. Hundreds of unbelieving men, no doubt, in every age, have tried to pour contempt on Christs miracles, and to deny that they were ever worked at all. But they labour in vain. Proofs upon proofs exist that our Lords ministry was accompanied by miracles; and that this was acknowledged by those who lived in our Lords time. Objectors of this sort would do well to take up the one single miracle of our Lords resurrection from the dead, and disprove it if they can. If they cannot disprove that, they ought, as honest men, to confess that miracles are possible. And then, if their hearts are truly humble, they ought to admit that He whose mission was confirmed by such evidence must have been the Son of God. Let us thank God, as we turn from this passage, that Christianity has such abundant evidence that it is a religion from God. Whether we appeal to the internal evidence of the Bible, or to the lives of the first Christians, or to prophecy, or to miracles; or to history, we get one and the same answer. All say with one voice, Jesus is the Son of God, and believers have life through His name. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 20, 2010

Lords Day 21, 2010

Sunday··2010·05·23
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXIV. The Christians WishAugustus Toplady (1740–1778) Emptied of earth I fain would be, Of sin, myself, and all but Thee; Only reserved for Christ that died, Surrenderd to the crucified. Sequesterd from the noise and strife, The lust, the pomp, the pride of life; For heaven alone my heart prepare, And have my conversation there. O may I the Redeemer trace, Invested with his righteousness! This path, untird, I will pursue, Nor slack while Jesus is in view. Nothing, save Jesus, would I know; My friend and my companion Thou! Lord, seize my heart, assert Thy right, And put all other loves to flight. My idols tread beneath thy feet, And enterd once, maintain thy seat; Let Dagon fall before thy face, The ark remaining in its place. O lend me now a two edgd sword, To slay my sins before the Lord; With Abrahams knife, before thine eyes, Each favorite Isaac sacrifice. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). The Gospel According to JohnChrist Raises Lazarus11 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick. 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it. 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. The chapter we have now begun is one of the most remarkable in the New Testament. For grandeur and simplicity, for pathos and solemnity, nothing was ever written like it. It describes a miracle which is not recorded in the other Gospels,the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Nowhere shall we find such convincing proofs of our Lords Divine power. As God, He makes the grave itself yield up its tenants.Nowhere shall we find such striking illustrations of our Lords ability to sympathize with His people. As man, He can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities.Such a miracle well became the end of such a ministry. It was fit and right that the victory of Bethany should closely precede the crucifixion at Calvary. These verses teach us that true Christians may be sick and ill as well as others. We read that Lazarus of Bethany was one whom Jesus loved, and a brother of two well-known holy women. Yet Lazarus was sick, even unto death! The Lord Jesus, who had power over all diseases, could no doubt have prevented this illness, if He had thought fit. But He did not do so. He allowed Lazarus to be sick, and in pain, and weary, and to languish and suffer like any other man. The lesson is one which ought to be deeply graven in our memories. Living in a world full of disease and death, we are sure to need it some day. Sickness, in the very nature of things, can never be anything but trying to flesh and blood. Our bodies and souls are strangely linked together, and that which vexes and weakens the body can hardly fail to vex the mind and soul. But sickness, we must always remember, is no sign that God is displeased with us; no, more, it is generally sent for the good of our souls. It tends to draw our affections away from this world, and to direct them to things above. It sends us to our Bibles, and teaches us to pray better. It helps to prove our faith and patience, and shows us the real value of our hope in Christ. It reminds us betimes that we are not to live always, and tunes and trains our hearts for our great change. Then let us be patient and cheerful when we are laid aside by illness. Let us believe that the Lord Jesus loves us when we are sick no less than when we are well. These verses teach us, secondly, that Jesus Christ is the Christians best Friend in the time of need. We read that when Lazarus was sick, his sisters at once sent to Jesus, and laid the matter before Him. Beautiful, touching, and simple was the message they sent. They did not ask Him to come at once, or to work a miracle, and command the disease to depart. They only said, Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick, and left the matter there, in the full belief that He would do what was best. Here was the true faith and humility of saints! Here was gracious submission of will! The servants of Christ, in every age and climate, will do well to follow this excellent example. No doubt when those whom we love are sick, we are to use diligently every reasonable means for their recovery. We must spare no pains to obtain the best medical advice. We must assist nature in every possible manner to fight a good fight against its enemy. But in all our doing, we must never forget that the best and ablest and wisest Helper is in heaven, at Gods right hand. Like afflicted Job our first action must be to fall on our knees and worship. Like Hezekiah, we must spread our matters before the Lord. Like the holy sisters at Bethany, we must send up a prayer to Christ. Let us not forget, in the hurry and excitement of our feelings, that none can help like Him, and that He is merciful, loving, and gracious. These verses teach us, thirdly, that Christ loves all who are true Christians. We read that Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. The characters of these three good people seem to have been somewhat different. Of Martha, we are told in a certain place, that she was anxious and troubled about many things, while Mary sat at Jesus feet, and heard His word. Of Lazarus we are told nothing distinctive at all. Yet all these were loved by the Lord Jesus. They all belonged to His family, and He loved them all. We must carefully bear this in mind in forming our estimate of Christians. We must never forget that there are varieties in character, and that the grace of God does not cast all believers into one and the same mold. Admitting fully that the foundations of Christian character are always the same, and that all Gods children repent, believe, are holy, prayerful, and Scripture-loving, we must make allowances for wide varieties in their temperaments and habits of mind. We must not undervalue others because they are not exactly like ourselves. The flowers in a garden may differ widely, and yet the gardener feels interest in all. The children of a family may be curiously unlike one another, and yet the parents care for all. It is just so with the Church of Christ. There are degrees of grace, and varieties of grace; but the least, the weakest, the feeblest disciples are all loved by the Lord Jesus. Then let no believers heart fail because of his infirmities; and, above all, let no believer dare to despise and undervalue a brother. These verses teach us, lastly, that Christ knows best at what time to do anything for His people. We read that when He had heard that Lazarus was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was. In fact, He purposely delayed His journey, and did not come to Bethany until Lazarus had been four days in the grave. No doubt He knew well what was going on; but He never moved until the time came which He saw was best. For the sake of the Church and the world, for the good of friends and enemies, He kept away. The children of God must constantly school their minds to learn the great lesson now before us. Nothing so helps us to bear patiently the trials of life as an abiding conviction of the perfect wisdom by which everything around us is managed. Let us try to believe not only that all that happens to us is well done, but that it is done in the best manner, by the right instrument, and at the right time. We are all naturally impatient in the day of trial. We are apt to say, like Moses, when beloved ones are sick, Heal her now, Lord, we beseech thee. (Num. xii. 13.) We forget that Christ is too wise a Physician to make any mistakes. It is the duty of faith to say, My times are in Thy hand. Do with me as Thou wilt, how Thou wilt, what Thou wilt, and when Thou wilt. Not my will, but Thine be done. The highest degree of faith is to be able to wait, sit still, and not complain. Let us turn from the passage with a settled determination to trust Christ entirely with all the concerns of this world, both public and private. Let us believe that He by whom all things were made at first is He who is managing all with perfect wisdom. The affairs of kingdoms, families, and private individuals are all alike overruled by Him. He chooses all the portions of His people. When we are sick, it is because He knows it to be for our good; when He delays coming to help us, it is for some wise reason. The hand that was nailed to the cross is too wise and loving to smite without a needs-be, or to keep us waiting for relief without a cause. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 21, 2010

Lords Day 22, 2010

Sunday··2010·05·30
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Conflict John Mason (16451694) Oh, what a war is in my soul, which fain would be devout! I am most weary with the fight, but may not yet give out. The flesh and spirit both contend for this weak soul of mine, That oft I know not what to do; but, Lord, I would be Thine. I would believe, but unbelief prevails the other way; And I have constant cause for grief, a longer night than day. I cry to God; those cries declare whose part my soul does take; Accept my poor desires while I do this resistance make. My evidences should be clear; but, ah, the blots of sin Turn cheering hope to saddening fear and make black doubts within. The laws of sin and grace will jar both dwelling in one room, The saints expect perpetual war till ye are sent for home. Although these combats make you fear they should not cast you down; God will give grace to hold out here, and glory for its crown. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 11:716Then after this He said to the disciples, Let us go to Judea again. 8 The disciples said to Him, Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again? 9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him. 11 This He said, and after that He said to them, Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep. 12 The disciples then said to Him, Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover. 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him. 16 Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.    We should notice, in this passage, how mysterious are the ways in which Christ sometimes leads His people. We are told that when He talked of going back to Jud?a, His disciples were perplexed. It was the very place where the Jews had lately tried to stone their Master: to return there was to plunge into the midst of danger. These timid Galileans could not see the necessity or prudence of such a step. Thou goest thither again? they cried. Things such as these are often going on around us. The servants of Christ are often placed in circumstances just as puzzling and perplexing as those of the disciples. They are led in ways of which they cannot see the purpose and object; they are called to fill positions from which they naturally shrink, and which they would never have chosen for themselves. Thousands in every age are continually learning this by their own experience. The path they are obliged to walk in is not the path of their own choice. At present they cannot see its usefulness or wisdom. At times like these a Christian must call into exercise his faith and patience. He must believe that his Master knows best by what road His servant ought to travel, and that He is leading him, by the right way, to a city of habitation. He may rest assured that the circumstances in which be is placed are precisely those which are most likely to promote his graces and to check his besetting sins. He need not doubt that what he cannot see now, he will understand hereafter. He will find one day that there was wisdom in every step of his journey, though flesh and blood could not see it at the time. If the twelve disciples had not been taken back into Jud?a, they would not have seen the glorious miracle of Bethany. If Christians were allowed to choose their own course through life, they would never learn hundreds of lessons about Christ and His grace, which they are now taught in Gods ways. Let us remember these things. The time may come when we shall be called to take some journey in life which we greatly dislike. When that time comes, let us set out cheerfully, and believe that all is right. We should notice, secondly, in this passage, how tenderly Christ speaks of the death of believers. He announces the fact of Lazarus being dead in language of singular beauty and gentleness: Our friend Lazarus sleepeth. Every true Christian has a Friend in heaven, of almighty power and boundless love. He is thought of, cared for, provided for, defended by Gods eternal Son. He has an unfailing Protector, who never slumbers or sleeps, and watches continually over his interests. The world may despise him, but he has no cause to be ashamed. Father and mother even may cast him out, but Christ having once taken him up will never let him go. He is the friend of Christ even after he is dead! The friendships of this world are often fair-weather friendships, and fail us like summer-dried fountains, when our need is the sorest; but the friendship of the Son of God is stronger than death, and goes beyond the grave. The Friend of sinners is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. The death of true Christians is sleep, and not annihilation. It is a solemn and miraculous change, no doubt, but not a change to be regarded with alarm. They have nothing to fear for their souls in the change, for their sins are washed away in Christs blood. The sharpest sting of death is the sense of unpardoned sin. Christians have nothing to fear for their bodies in the change; they will rise again by and by, refreshed and renewed, after the image of the Lord. The grave itself is a conquered enemy. It must render back its tenants safe and sound, the very moment that Christ calls for them at the last day. Let us remember these things when those whom we love fall asleep in Christ, or when we ourselves receive our notice to depart this world. Let us call to mind, in such an hour, that our great Friend takes thought for our bodies as well as for our souls, and that He will not allow one hair of our heads to perish. Let us never forget that the grave is the place where the Lord Himself lay, and that as He rose again triumphant from that cold bed, so also shall all His people. To a mere worldly man death must needs be a terrible thing; but he that has Christian faith may boldly say, as he lays down life, I will lay me down in peace, and take my rest: for it is Thou, Lord, that makest me dwell in safety. We should notice, lastly, in this passage, how much of natural temperament clings to a believer even after conversion. We read that when Thomas saw that Lazarus was dead, and that Jesus was determined, in spite of all danger, to return into Jud?a, he said, Let us also go, that we may die with Him. There can only be one meaning in that expression: it was the language of a despairing and desponding mind, which could see nothing but dark clouds in the picture. The very man who afterwards could not believe that his Master had risen again, and thought the news too good to be true, is just the one of the twelve who thinks that if they go back to Jud?a they must all die! Things such as these are deeply instructive, and are doubtless recorded for our learning. They show us that the grace of God in conversion does not so re-mold a man as to leave no trace of his natural bent of character. The sanguine do not altogether cease to be sanguine, nor the desponding to be desponding, when they pass from death to life, and become true Christians. They show us that we must make large allowances for natural temperament, in forming our estimate of individual Christians. We must not expect all Gods children to be exactly one and the same. Each tree in a forest has its own peculiarities of shape and growth, and yet all at a distance look one mass of leaf and verdure. Each member of Christs body has his own distinctive bias, and yet all in the main are led by one Spirit, and love one Lord. The two sisters Martha and Mary, the apostles Peter and John and Thomas, were certainly very unlike one another in many respects. But they had all one point in common: they loved Christ, and were His friends. Let us take heed that we really belong to Christ. This is the one thing needful. If this is made sure, we shall be led by the right way, and end well at last. We may not have the cheerfulness of one brother, or the fiery zeal of another, or the gentleness of another. But if grace reigns within us, and we know what repentance and faith are by experience, we shall stand on the right hand in the great day. Happy is the man of whom, with all his defects, Christ says to saints and angels, This is our friend. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 22, 2010

Lords Day 23, 2010

Sunday··2010·06·06
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Name of Names. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Father, Thy Son hath died The sinners death of woe; Stooping in love from heaven to earth, Our curse to undergo; Our curse to undergo,    Upon the hateful tree. Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord, Put honour on that name of names,    By blessing me! Father, Thy Son hath borne    The sinners doom of shame; Bearing his cross without the gate,    He met the laws full claim;    He met the laws full claim,       Sins righteous penalty. Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord, Put honour on that name of names,       By pardoning me! Father, Thy Son hath poured    His life-blood on this earth, To cleanse away our guilt and stains,    To give us second birth;    To give us second birth,       From sin to set us free. Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord, Put honour on that name of names,       By cleansing me! Father, Thy Son hath risen.    Overcoming hells dark powers; His surety-death was all for us,    His surety- life is ours;    His surety life is ours,       Ours, ours eternally. Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord, Put honour on that name of names,       By quickening me! Father, Thy Son to thee    Is now gone up on high, Enthroned in heaven at Thy right hand,    He reigns eternally;    He reigns eternally,       In might and majesty. Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord, Put honour on that name of names,       By raising me! Father, Thy Son on earth,    No one to own Him found, He passed among the sons of men    Rejected and disowned;    Rejected and disowned,       That we received might be! Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord, Put honour on that name of names,       By owning me! Father, Thy Son is king.    Heavens crown and earths is his; For us, for us, he bought the crown,    For us he earned the bliss;    For us he earned the bliss,       Amen, so let it be! Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord, Put honour on that name of names,       By crowning me! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 11:1729So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You. 23 Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. 24 Martha said to Him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day. 25 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this? 27 She said to Him, Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world. 28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, The Teacher is here and is calling for you. 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him.    There is a grand simplicity about this passage, which is almost spoiled by any human exposition. To comment on it seems like gilding gold or painting lilies. Yet it throws much light on a subject which we can never understand too well; that is, the true character of Christs people. The portraits of Christians in the Bible are faithful likenesses. They show us saints just as they are. We learn, firstly, what a strange mixture of grace and weakness is to be found even in the hearts of true believers. We see this strikingly illustrated in the language used by Martha and Mary. Both these holy women had faith enough to say, Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother would had not died. Yet neither of them seems to have remembered that the death of Lazarus did not depend on Christs absence, and that our Lord, had He thought fit, could have prevented his death with a word, without coming to Bethany.Martha had knowledge enough to say, I know, that even now, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God wilt give it to Thee,I know that my brother shall rise again at the last day,I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God.But even she could get no further. Her dim eyes and trembling hands could not grasp the grand truth that He who stood before her had the keys of life and death, and that in her Master dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colos. ii. 9.) She saw indeed, but through a glass darkly. She knew, but only in part. She believed, but her faith was mingled with much unbelief. Yet both Martha and Mary were genuine children of God, and true Christians. These things are graciously written for our learning. It is good to remember what true Christians really are. Many and great are the mistakes into which people fall, by forming a false estimate of the Christians character. Many are the bitter things which people write against themselves, by expecting to find in their hearts what cannot be found on this side of heaven. Let us settle it in our minds that saints on earth are not perfect angels, but only converted sinners. They are sinners renewed, changed, sanctified, no doubt; but they are yet sinners, and will be until they die. Like Martha and Mary, their faith is often entangled with much unbelief, and their grace compassed round with much infirmity. Happy is that child of God who understands these things, and has learned to judge rightly both of himself and others. Rarely indeed shall we find the saint who does not often need that prayer, Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief. We learn, secondly, what need many believers have of clear views of Christs person, office, and power. This is a point which is forcibly brought out in the well-known sentence which our Lord addressed to Martha. In reply to her vague and faltering expression of belief in the resurrection at the last day, He proclaims the glorious truth, I am the resurrection and the life;I, even I, your Master, am He that has the keys of life and death in His hands. And then He presses on her once more that old lesson, which she had doubtless often heard, but never fully realized: He that believeth in Me will live, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. There is matter here which deserves the close consideration of all true Christians. Many of them complain of want of sensible comfort in their religion. They do not feel the inward peace which they desire. Let them know that vague and indefinite views of Christ are too often the cause of all their perplexities. They must try to see more clearly the great object on which their faith rests. They must grasp more firmly His love and power toward those who believe, and the riches He has laid up for them even now in this world. We are, many of us, sadly like Martha. A little general knowledge of Christ as the only Saviour is often all that we possess. But of the fullness that dwells in Him, of His resurrection, His priesthood, His intercession, His unfailing compassion, we have tasted little or nothing at all. They are things of which our Lord might well say to many, as he did to Martha, Believest thou this? Let us take shame to ourselves that we have named the name of Christ so long, and yet know so little about Him. What right have we to wonder that we feel so little sensible comfort in our Christianity? Our slight and imperfect knowledge of Christ is the true reason of our discomfort. Let the time past suffice us to have been lazy students in Christs school; let the time to come find us more diligent in trying to know Him and the power of His resurrection. (Philip. iii. 10.) If true Christians would only strive, as St. Paul says, to comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, they would be amazed at the discoveries they would make. They would soon find, like Hagar, that there are wells of water near them of which they had no knowledge. They would soon discover that there is more heaven to be enjoyed on earth than they had ever thought possible. The root of a happy religion is clear, distinct, well-defined knowledge of Jesus Christ. More knowledge would have saved Martha many sighs and tears. Knowledge alone no doubt, if unsanctified, only puffeth up. (1 Cor. vii. 1.) Yet without clear knowledge of Christ in all His offices we cannot expect to be established in the faith, and steady in the time of need. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 23, 2010

Lords Day 24, 2010

Sunday··2010·06·13
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Consider Christina Rossetti (18301894)    Consider The lilies of the field whose bloom is brief: We are as they; Like them we fade away, As does the leaf.    Consider The sparrows of the air of small account:    Our God doth view Whether they fall or mount,    He guards us too.    Consider The lilies that neither spin nor toil,    Yet are most fair:    What profits all this care And all this coil?    Consider The birds that have no barn nor harvest-weeks;    God gives them food: Much more our Father seeks    To do us good. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). John 11:3037Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, 34 and said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews were saying, See how He loved him! 37 But some of them said, Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?    Not many passages in the New Testament are more wonderful than the simple narrative contained in these eight verses. It brings out, in a most beautiful light, the sympathizing character of our Lord Jesus Christ. It shows us Him who is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him, as able to feel as He is to save. It shows us Him who is One with the Father, and the Maker of all things, entering into human sorrows, and shedding human tears. We learn, for one thing, in these verses, how great a blessing God sometimes bestows on actions of kindness and sympathy. It seems that the house of Martha and Mary at Bethany was filled with mourners when Jesus arrived. Many of these mourners, no doubt, knew nothing of the inner life of these holy women. Their faith, their hope, their love to Christ, their discipleship, were things of which they were wholly ignorant. But they felt for them in their heavy bereavement, and kindly came to offer what comfort they could. By so doing they reaped a rich and unexpected reward. They beheld the greatest miracle that Jesus ever wrought. They were eye-witnesses when Lazarus came forth from the tomb. To many of them, we may well believe, that day was a spiritual birth. The raising of Lazarus led to a resurrection in their souls. How small sometimes are the hinges on which eternal life appears to depend! If these people had not sympathized they might never have been saved. We need not doubt that these things were written for our learning. To show sympathy and kindness to the sorrowful is good for our own souls, whether we know it or not. To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, to weep with those who weep, to try to bear one anothers burdens, and lighten one anothers cares,all this will make no atonement for sin, and will not take us to heaven. Yet it is healthy employment for our hearts, and employment which none ought to despise. Few perhaps are aware that one secret of being miserable is to live only for ourselves, and one secret of being happy is to try to make others happy, and to do a little good in the world. It is not for nothing that these words were written by Solomon, It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Eccl. vii. 2, 4.) The saying of our Lord is too much overlooked: Whoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward. (Matt. x. 42.) The friends of Martha and Mary found that promise wonderfully verified. In an age of inordinate selfishness and self-indulgence, it would be well if they had more imitators. We learn, for another thing, what a depth of tender sympathy there is in Christs heart towards His people. We read that when our Lord saw Mary weeping, and the Jews also weeping with her, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. We read even more than this. He gave outward expression to His feelings: He wept. He knew perfectly well that the sorrow of the family of Bethany would soon be turned into joy, and that Lazarus in a few minutes would be restored to his sisters. But though he knew all this, he wept. This weeping of Christ is deeply instructive. It shows us that it is not sinful to sorrow. Weeping and mourning are sadly trying to flesh and blood, and make us feel the weakness of our mortal nature. But they are not in themselves wrong. Even the Son of God wept.It shows us that deep feeling is not a thing of which we need be ashamed. To be cold and stoical and unmoved in the sight of sorrow is no sign of grace. There is nothing unworthy of a child of God in tears. Even the Son of God could weep. It shows us, above all, that the Saviour in whom believers trust is a most tender and feeling Saviour. He is one who can be touched with sympathy for our infirmities. When we turn to Him in the hour of trouble, and pour out our hearts before Him, He knows what we go through and can pity. And He is One who never changes. Though He now sits at Gods right hand in heaven, His heart is still the same that it was upon earth. We have an Advocate with the Father, who, when He was upon earth, could weep. Let us remember these things in daily life, and never be ashamed of walking in our Masters footsteps. Let us strive to be men and women of a tender heart and a sympathizing spirit. Let us never be ashamed to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. Well would it be for the Church and the world if there were more Christians of this stamp and character! The Church would be far more beautiful, and the world be far more happy. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 24, 2010

Lords Day 25, 2010

Sunday··2010·06·20
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Thou hast made me John Donne (15721631) Thou hast made me, and shall thy worke decay? Repaire me now, for now mine end doth haste, I runne to death, and death meets me as fast, And all my pleasures are like yesterday, I dare not move my dimme eyes any way, Despaire behind, and death before doth cast Such terrour, and my feeble flesh doth waste By sinne in it, which it twards hell doth weigh; Onely thou art above, and when towards thee By thy leave I can looke, I rise againe; But our old subtle foe so tempteth me, That not one houre my selfe I can sustain, Thy Grace may wing me to prevent his art, And thou like Adamant draw mine iron heart. John Donne, Poems and Prose (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995). John 11:3846So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, Remove the stone. Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days. 40 Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? 41 So they removed the stone Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me. 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, Unbind him, and let him go. 45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.    These verses record one of the greatest miracles the Lord Jesus Christ ever worked, and supply an unanswerable proof of His divinity. He whose voice could bring back from the grave one that had been four days dead, must indeed have been very God! The miracle itself is described in such simple language that no human comment can throw light upon it. But the sayings of our Lord on this occasion are peculiarly interesting, and demand special notice.    We should mark, first, our Lords words about the stone which lay upon the grave of Lazarus.* We read that He said to those around Him, when he came to the place of burial, Take ye away the stone. Now why did our Lord say this? It was doubtless as easy for Him to command the stone to roll away untouched as to call a dead body from the tomb. But such was not His mode of proceeding. Here, as in other cases, He chose to give man something to do. Here, as elsewhere, He taught the great lesson that His almighty power was not meant to destroy mans responsibility. Even when He was ready and willing to raise the dead, He would not have man stand by altogether idle. Let us treasure up this in our memories. It involves a point of great importance. In doing spiritual good to others,in training up our children for heaven,in following after holiness in our own daily walk,in all these things it is undoubtedly true that we are weak and helpless. Without Christ we can do nothing. But still we must remember that Christ expects us to do what we can. Take ye away the stone is the daily command which He gives us. Let us beware that we do not stand still in idleness, under the pretense of humility. Let us daily try to do what we can, and in the trying Christ will meet us and grant His blessing. We should mark, secondly, the words which our Lord addressed to Martha, when she objected to the stone being removed from the grave. The faith of this holy woman completely broke down, when the cave where her beloved brother lay was about to be thrown open. She could not believe that it was of any use. Lord, she cries, by this time he stinketh. And then comes in the solemn reproof of our Lord: Said I not unto thee that if thou wouldest believe thou shouldest see the glory of God? That sentence is rich in meaning. It is far from unlikely that it contains a reference to the message which had been sent to Martha and Mary, when their brother first fell sick. It may be meant to remind Martha that her Master had sent her word, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God. But it is perhaps more likely that our Lord desired to recall to Marthas mind the old lesson He had taught her all through His ministry, the duty of always believing. It is as though He said, Martha, Martha, thou art forgetting the great doctrine of faith, which I have ever taught thee. Believe, and all will be well. Fear not: only believe. The lesson is one which we can never know too well. How apt our faith is to break down in time of trial! How easy it is to talk of faith in the days of health and prosperity, and how hard to practice it in the days of darkness, when neither sun, moon, nor stars appear! Let us lay to heart what our Lord says in this place. Let us pray for such stores of inward faith, that when our turn comes to suffer, we may suffer patiently and believe all is well. The Christian who has ceased to say, I must see, and then I will believe, and has learned to say, I believe, and by and by I shall see, has reached a high degree in the school of Christ. We should mark, thirdly, the words which our Lord addressed to God the Father, when the stone was taken from the grave. We read that He said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me. This wonderful language is totally unlike anything said by Prophets or Apostles, when they worked miracles. In fact, it is not prayer, but praise. It evidently implies a constant mysterious communion going on between Jesus and His Father in heaven, which it is past the power of man either to explain or conceive. We need not doubt that here, as elsewhere in St. John, our Lord meant to teach the Jews the entire and complete unity there was between Him and His Father, in all that He did, as well as in all that He taught. Once more He would remind those who he did not come among them as a mere Prophet, but as the Messiah who was sent by the Father, and who was one with the Father. Once more He would have them know that as the words which He spoke were the very words which the Father gave Him to speak, so the works which He wrought were the very works which the Father gave Him to do. In short, He was the promised Messiah, whom the Father always hears, because He and the Father are One. Deep and high as this truth is, it is for the peace of our souls to believe it thoroughly, and to grasp it tightly. Let it be a settled principle of our religion, that the Saviour in whom we trust is nothing less than eternal God, One whom the Father hears always, One who in very deed is Gods Fellow. A clear view of the dignity of our Mediators Person is one secret of inward comfort. Happy is he who can say, I know whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him. (2 Tim. i. 12.) We should mark, lastly, the words which our Lord addressed to Lazarus when he raised him from the grave. We read that He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth! At the sound of that voice, the king of terrors at once yielded up his lawful captive, and the insatiable grave gave up its prey. At once He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes. The greatness of this miracle cannot possibly be exaggerated. The mind of man can scarcely take in the vastness of the work that was done. Here, in open day, and before many hostile witnesses, a man, four days dead, was restored to life in a moment. Here was public proof that our Lord had absolute power over the material world! A corpse, already corrupt, was made alive!Here was public proof that our Lord had absolute power over the world of spirits! A soul that had left its earthly tenement was called back from Paradise, and joined once more to its owners body.Well may the Church of Christ maintain that He who could work such works was God over all blessed forever. (Rom. ix. 5.) Let us turn from the whole passage with thoughts of comfort and consolation. Comfortable is the thought that the loving Saviour of sinners, on whose mercy our souls entirely depend, is one who has all power in heaven, and earth, and is mighty to save.Comfortable is the thought that there is no sinner too far gone in sin for Christ to raise and convert. He that stood by the grave of Lazarus can say to the vilest of men, Come forth: loose him, and let him go.Comfortable, not least, is the thought that when we ourselves lie down in the grave, we may lie down in the full assurance that we shall rise again. The voice that called Lazarus forth will one day pierce our tombs, and bid soul and body come together. The trumpets shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. xv. 52.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). * Here, I believe Ryle makes a point where there is none. It is certainly a good point, and biblical, but I do not believe it is found in this text. 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");
continue reading Lords Day 25, 2010

Lord���s Day 26, 2010

Sunday··2010·06·27
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� The Excellencies of Christ Samuel Stennett (1727���1795) To Christ, the Lord, let every tongue Its noblest tribute bring; When He���s the subject of the song, Who can refuse to sing? Survey the beauties of His face, And on His glories dwell; Think of the wonders of His grace, And all His triumphs tell. Majestic sweetness sits enthroned, Upon His awful brow; His head with radiant glories crowned, His lips with grace o���erflow. No mortal can with Him compare, Among the sons of men; Fairer is he than all the fair, That fill the heavenly train. He saw me plunged in deep distress, He flew to my relief; For me He bore the shameful cross, And carried all my grief. His hand a thousand blessings pours Upon my guilty head; His presence guilds my darkest hours, And guards my sleeping bed. To Him I owe my life, and breath, And all the joys I have; He makes me triumph over death, And saves me from the grave. To heaven, the place of His abode, He brings my weary feet; Shows me the glories of my God, And makes my joys complete. Since from His bounty I receive Such proofs of love divine, Had I a thousand hearts to give, Lord, they should all be thine! ���Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 11:47���57Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, ���What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48 If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.��� 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ���You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.��� 51 Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples. 55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 So they were seeking for Jesus, and were saying to one another as they stood in the temple, ���What do you think; that He will not come to the feast at all?��� 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he was to report it, so that they might seize Him.    These concluding verses of the eleventh chapter of John contain a melancholy picture of human nature. As we turn away from Jesus Christ and the grave at Bethany, and look at Jerusalem and the rulers of the Jews, we may well say, ���Lord, what is man?��� We should observe, for one thing, in these verses, the desperate wickedness of man���s natural heart. A mighty miracle was wrought within an easy walk of Jerusalem. A man four days dead was raised to life, in the sight of many witnesses. The fact was unmistakable, and could not be denied; and yet the chief priests and Pharisees would not believe that He who did this miracle ought to be received as the Messiah. In the face of overwhelming evidence they shut their eyes, and refused to be convinced. ���This man,��� they admitted, ���does many miracles.��� But so far from yielding to this testimony, they only plunged into further wickedness, and ���took counsel to put Him to death.��� Great, indeed, is the power of unbelief! Let us beware of supposing that miracles alone have any power to convert men���s souls, and to make them Christians. The idea is a complete delusion. To fancy, as some do, that if they saw something wonderful done before their eyes in confirmation of the Gospel, they would at once cast off all indecision and serve Christ, is a mere idle dream. It is the grace of the Spirit in our hearts, and not miracles, that our souls require. The Jews of our Lord���s day are a standing proof to mankind that men may see signs and wonders, and yet remain hard as stone. It is a deep and true saying, ���If men believe not Moses and the Prophets, neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.��� (Luke xvi. 31.) We must never wonder if we see abounding unbelief in our own times, and around our own homes. It may seem at first unexplainable to us, how men cannot see the truth which seems so clear to ourselves, and do not receive the Gospel which appears so worthy of acceptance. But the plain truth is, that man���s unbelief is a far more deeply seated disease than it is generally reckoned. It is proof against the logic of facts, against reasoning, against argument, against moral persuasion. Nothing can melt it down but the grace of God. If we ourselves believe, we can never be too thankful. But we must never count it a strange thing, if we see many of our fellows just as hardened and unbelieving as the Jews. We should observe, for another thing, the blind ignorance with which God���s enemies often act and reason. These rulers of the Jews said to one another, ���If we let this Christ alone we shall be ruined. If we do not stop His course, and make an end of His miracles, the Romans will interfere, and make an end of our nation.��� Never, the event afterward proved, was there a more short-sighted and erring judgment than this. They rushed madly on the path they had chosen, and the very thing they feared came to pass. They did not leave our Lord alone, but crucified and slew Him. And what happened then? After a few years, the very calamity they had dreaded took place: the Roman armies did come, destroyed Jerusalem, burned the temple, and carried away the whole nation into captivity. The well-read Christian need hardly be reminded of many such like things in the history of Christ���s Church. The Roman emperors persecuted the Christians in the first three centuries, and thought it a positive duty not to let them alone. But the more they persecuted them, the more they increased. The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the Church.���The English Papists, in the days of Queen Mary, persecuted the Protestants, and thought that truth was in danger if they were let alone. But the more they burned our forefathers, the more they confirmed men���s minds in steadfast attachment to the doctrines of the Reformation.���In short, the words of the second Psalm are continually verified in this world: ���The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord.��� But ���He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.��� God can make the designs of His enemies work together for the good of His people, and cause the wrath of man to praise Him. In days of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy, believers may rest patiently in the Lord. The very things that at one time seem likely to hurt them, shall prove in the end to be for their gain. We should observe, lastly, what importance bad men sometimes attach to outward ceremonial, while their hearts are full of sin. We are told that many Jews ���went up out of the country to Jerusalem, before the Passover, to purify themselves.��� The most of them, it may be feared, neither knew nor cared anything about inward purity of heart. They made much ado about the washings, and fastings, and ascetic observances, which formed the essence of popular Jewish religion in our Lord���s time; and yet they were willing in a very few days to shed innocent blood. Strange as it may appear, these very sticklers for outward ceremonies were found ready to do the will of the Pharisees, and to put their own Messiah to a violent death. Extremes like this meeting together in the same person are, unhappily, far from uncommon. Experience shows that a bad conscience will often try to satisfy itself, by a show of zeal for the cause of religion, while the ���weightier matters��� of the faith are entirely neglected. The very same man who is ready to compass sea and land to attain ceremonial purity is often the very man, who, if he had fit opportunity, would not shrink from helping to crucify Christ. Startling as these assertions may seem, they are abundantly borne out by plain facts. The cities where Lent is kept at this day with the most extravagant strictness are the very cities where the carnival after Lent is a season of glaring excess and immorality. The people in some parts of Christendom, who make much ado one week about fasting and priestly absolution, are the very people who another week will think nothing of murder! These things are simple realities. The hideous inconsistency of the Jewish formalists in our Lord���s time has never been without a long succession of followers. Let us settle it firmly in our minds that a religion which expends itself in zeal for outward formalities is utterly worthless in God���s sight. The purity that God desires to see is not the purity of bodily washing and fasting, of holy water and self-imposed asceticism, but purity of heart. External worship and ceremonialism may ���satisfy the flesh,��� but they do not tend to promote real godliness. The standard of Christ���s kingdom must be sought in the sermon on the Mount: ���Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.��� (Matt. v. 8; Col. ii. 23.) ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord���s Day 26, 2010

Lord’s Day 27, 2010

Sunday··2010·07·04
Today is Independence Day in the United States of America. I have, in the past, always posted some small patriotic item on this day, but today also happened to be the Lord’s Day. Patriotic as I am, and as important a national event as this day is, I am first a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I cannot replace, or even mix, the day’s worship with earthly patriotism. This is the Lord’s Day. Yet I think the two observances can come together, and perhaps should. But let me suggest that this be no day for national pride among true patriots, but rather an occasion for profound humility. All that we celebrate on this day is a gift from the hand of God. Our nation’s founders—I will not claim that they were Christians, though some were, or that this is or ever was a “Christian nation”—almost unanimously recognized and spoke aloud of a divine Providence, and rightly so. This nation was born, and remains today, because it pleases God to have it so. Any noble acts of men that we commemorate are nothing but extensions of God’s grace. That our nation still stands in spite of the ignoble acts that predominate today is a further display of grace, grace of such immensity that it ought to crush us right down to the ground and force us, prostrate before the God we mock, to confess our sin and plead for mercy. On the previous two Saturdays, I have begun remembrances of “The Hymns of my Youth.” Along with those hymns, I remember the accompanying order of worship. In that order, immediately following the opening hymn, was a confession of sin. It seems to me that the one place in which I can blend my two citizenships on the Lord’s Day is in confession, and in a plea for mercy, on myself as an individual, and on my nation as a whole. And I think, in this, readers from all nations can join me. Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto Thee that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against Thee in thought, word, and deed. Wherefore we flee for refuge to Thine infinite mercy and beseech Thee for Christ’s sake, grant us remission of all our sins, and by Thy Holy Spirit increase in us true knowledge of Thee and of Thy will and true obedience to Thy word, to the end that by Thy grace we may come to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. —The Concordia Hymnal (Augsburg Publishing House), 1960.
continue reading Lord’s Day 27, 2010

Lords Day 28, 2010

Sunday··2010·07·11
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Mine and Thine. Horatius Bonar (18081889) Didicisti quod nihil tui boni præcesserat, et gratia Dei converses es ad Deum.Augustine. All that I was, my sin, my guilt, My death was all my own; All that I am, I owe to thee, My gracious God alone. The evil of my former state Was mine, and only mine. The good in which I now rejoice Is Thine, and only Thine. The darkness of my former state, The bondage all was mine; The light of life in which I walk, The liberty is Thine. Thy grace first made me feel my sin, It taught me to believe; Then, in believing, peace I found, And now I live, I live. All that I am, even here on earth, All that I hope to be, When Jesus comes, and glory dawns, I owe it, Lord, to Thee. Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). The Gospel According to John12 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people? 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. 7 Therefore Jesus said, Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me. 9 The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.    The The chapter we have now begun finishes a most important division of St. Johns Gospel. Our Lords public addresses to the unbelieving Jews of Jerusalem are here brought to an end. After this chapter, St. John records nothing but what was said in private to the disciples. We see, for one thing, in this passage, what abounding proofs exist of the truth of our Lords greatest miracles. We read of a supper at Bethany, where Lazarus sat at the table among the guests,Lazarus, who had been publicly raised from the dead, after lying four days in the grave. No one could pretend to say that his resurrection was a mere optical delusion, and that the eyes of the bystanders must have been deceived by a spirit or vision. Here was the very same Lazarus, after several weeks, sitting among his fellow-men with a real material body, and eating and drinking real material food. It is hard to understand what stronger evidence of a fact could be supplied. He that is not convinced by such evidence as this may as well say that he is determined to believe nothing at all. It is a comfortable thought, that the very same proofs which exist about the resurrection of Lazarus are the proofs which surround that still mightier fact, the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Was Lazarus seen for several weeks by the people of Bethany, going in and coming out among them? So was the Lord Jesus seen by His disciples.Did Lazarus take material food before the eyes of his friends? So did the Lord Jesus eat and drink before His ascension.No one, in his sober senses, who saw Jesus take broiled fish, and eat it before several witnesses, would doubt that He had a real body. (Luke xxiv. 42.) We shall do well to remember this. In an age of abounding unbelief and scepticism, we shall find that the resurrection of Christ will bear any weight that we can lay upon it. Just as He placed beyond reasonable doubt the rising again of a beloved disciple within two miles of Jerusalem, so in a very few weeks He placed beyond doubt His own victory over the grave. If we believe that Lazarus rose again, we need not doubt that Jesus rose again also. If we believe that Jesus rose again, we need not doubt the truth of His Messiahship, the reality of His acceptance as our Mediator, and the certainty of our own resurrection. Christ has risen indeed, and wicked men may well tremble. Christ has risen from the dead, and believers may well rejoice. We see, for another thing, in this passage, what unkindness and discouragement Christs friends sometimes meet with from man. We read that, at the supper in Bethany, Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed the feet of Jesus with precious ointment, and wiped them with the hair of her head. Nor was this ointment poured on with a niggardly hand. She did it so liberally and profusely that the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. She did it under the influence of a heart full of love and gratitude. She thought nothing too great and good to bestow on such a Saviour. Sitting at His feet in days gone by, and hearing His words, she had found peace for her conscience, and pardon for her sins. At this very moment she saw Lazarus, alive and well, sitting by her Masters side,her own brother Lazarus, whom He had brought back to her from the grave. Greatly loved, she thought she could not show too much love in return. Having freely received, she freely gave. But there were some present who found fault with Marys conduct, and blamed her as guilty of wasteful extravagance. One especially, an apostle, a man of whom better things might have been expected, declared openly that the ointment would have been better employed if it had been sold, and the price given to the poor. The heart which could conceive such thoughts must have had low views of the dignity of Christs person, and still lower views of our obligations to Him. A cold heart and a stingy hand will generally go together. There are only too many professing Christians of a like spirit in the present day. Myriads of baptized people cannot understand zeal of any sort, for the honour of Christ. Tell them of any vast outlay of money to push trade or to advance the cause of science, and they approve of it as right and wise. Tell them of any expense incurred for the preaching of the Gospel at home or abroad, for spreading Gods Word, for extending the knowledge of Christ on earth, and they tell you plainly that they think it waste. They never give a farthing to such objects as these, and count those people fools who do. Worst of all, they often cover over their own backwardness to help purely Christian objects, by a pretended concern for the poor at home. Yet they find it convenient to forget the well known fact that those who do most for the cause of Christ are precisely those who do most for the poor. We must never allow ourselves to be moved from patient continuance in well-doing, by the unkind remarks of such persons. It is vain to expect a man to do much for Christ, when he has no sense of debt to Christ. We must pity the blindness of our unkind critics, and work on. He who pleaded the cause of loving Mary, and said, Let her alone, is sitting at the right hand of God, and keeps a book of remembrance. A day is soon coming when a wondering world will see that every cup of cold water given for Christs sake, as well as every box of precious ointment, was recorded in heaven, and has its rewards. In that great day those who thought that anyone could give too much to Christ will find they had better never have been born. We see, lastly, in this passage, what desperate hardness and unbelief there is in the heart of man. Unbelief appears in the chief priests, who consulted that they might put Lazarus to death. They could not deny the fact of his having been raised again. Living, and moving, and eating, and drinking within two miles of Jerusalem, after lying four days in the grave, Lazarus was a witness to the truth of Christs Messiahship, whom they could not possibly answer or put to silence. Yet these proud men would not give way. They would rather commit a murder than throw down the arms of rebellion, and confess themselves in the wrong. No wonder that the Lord Jesus in a certain place marvelled at unbelief. Well might He say, in a well-known parable, If they believe not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. (Mark vi. 6; Luke xvi. 31.) Hardness appears in Judas Iscariot, who, after being a chosen Apostle, and a preacher of the kingdom of heaven, turns out at last a thief and a traitor. So long as the world stands this unhappy man will be a lasting proof of the depth of human corruption. That anyone could follow Christ as a disciple for three years, see all His miracles, hear all His teaching, receive at His hand repeated kindnesses, be counted an Apostle, and yet prove rotten at heart in the end, all this at first sight appears incredible and impossible! Yet the case of Judas shows plainly that the thing can be. Few things, perhaps, are so little realized as the extent of what desperate hardness and unbelief there is in the heart of man. Let us thank God if we know anything of faith, and can say, with all our sense of weakness and infirmity, I believe. Let us pray that our faith may be real, true, genuine, and sincere, and not a mere temporary impression, like the morning cloud and the early dew. Not least, let us watch and pray against the love of the world. It ruined one who basked in the full sunshine of privileges, and heard Christ Himself teaching every day. Then let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1 Cor. x. 12.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 28, 2010

Lord’s Day 29, 2010

Sunday··2010·07·18
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Blessed and Holy Christina Rossetti (1830���1894) Yea, blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First    Resurrection! We mark well his bulwarks, we set up his tokens, we " />      gaze, even we, On luster of God and of Christ, this creature of    flawless perfection: Yea, blessed and holy is he.    But what? an offscouring of earth, a wreck from the       turbulent sea, A bloodstone unflinchingly hewn for the Temples eternal       erection,    One scattered and peeled, one sifted and chastened       and scorged and set free? Yea, this is that worshipful stone of the Wise Master       builder���s election,    Yea, this is that King and that Priest where all Hallows       bow down the knee, Yea, this man set nigh to the Throne is Jonathan of David���s       delection,    Yea, blessed and holy is he. ���Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). John 12:12���19On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, ���Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.��� 14 Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15 ���Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey���s colt.��� 16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him. 17 So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him. 18 For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, ���You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.���    A careful reader of the Gospels can hardly fail to observe that our Lord Jesus Christ���s conduct, at this stage of His earthly ministry, is very peculiar. It is unlike anything else recorded of Him in the New Testament. Hitherto we have seen Him withdrawing as much as possible from public notice, retiring into the wilderness, and checking those who would have brought Him forward and made Him a king. As a rule He did not court popular attention. He did not ���cry or strive, or cause His voice to be heard in the streets.��� (Matt. xii. 19.) Here, on the contrary, we see Him making a public entry into Jerusalem, attended by an immense crowd of people, and causing even the Pharisees to say, ���Behold, the world has gone after Him.��� The explanation of this apparent inconsistency is not hard to find out. The time had come at last when Christ was to die for the sins of the world. The time had come when the true passover Lamb was to be slain, when the true blood of atonement was to be shed, when Messiah was to be ���cut off��� according to prophecy (Dan. ix. 26.), when the way into the holiest was to be opened by the true High Priest to all mankind. Knowing all this, our Lord purposely drew attention to Himself. Knowing this, He placed Himself prominently under the notice of the whole Jewish nation. It was only meet and right that this thing should not be ���done in a corner.��� (Acts xxvi. 26.) If ever there was a transaction in our Lord���s earthly ministry which was public, it was the Sacrifice which He offered up on the cross of Calvary. He died at the time of year when all the tribes were assembled at Jerusalem for the passover feast. Nor was this all. He died in a week when, by His remarkable public entry into Jerusalem, He had caused the eyes of all Israel to be specially fixed upon Himself. We learn, for one thing, in these verses, how entirely voluntary the sufferings of Christ were. It is impossible not to see in the history before us that our Lord had a mysterious influence over the minds and wills of all around Him, whenever He thought fit to use it. Nothing else can account for the effect which His approach to Jerusalem had on the multitudes which accompanied Him. They seem to have been carried forward by a secret constraining power, which they were obliged to obey, in spite of the disapproval of the leaders of the nation. In short, just as our Lord was able to make winds, and waves, and diseases, and devils obey Him, so was He able, when it pleased Him, to turn, the minds of men according to His will. For the case before us does not stand alone. The men of Nazareth could not hold Him when He chose to ���pass through the midst of them and go His way.��� (Luke iv. 30.) The angry Jews of Jerusalem could not detain him when they would have laid violent hands on Him in the Temple; but, ���going through the midst of them, He passed by.��� (John 8:59.) Above all, the very soldiers who apprehended Him in the garden, at first ���went backward and fell to the ground.��� (John 18:6.) In each of these instances there is but one explanation. A Divine influence was put forth. There was about our Lord during His whole earthly ministry a mysterious ���hiding of His power.��� (Hab. 3:4.) But He had almighty power when He was pleased to use it. Why, then, did He not resist His enemies at last? Why did He not scatter the band of soldiers who came to seize Him, like chaff before the wind? There is but one answer. He was a willing Sufferer in order to procure redemption for a lost and ruined soul. He had undertaken to give His own life as a ransom, that we might live forever, and He laid it down on the cross with all the desire of His heart. He did not bleed and suffer and die because He was vanquished by superior force, and could not help Himself, but because He loved us, and rejoiced to give Himself for us as our Substitute. He did not die because He could not avoid death, but because He was willing with all His heart to make His soul an offering for sin. Forever let us rest our hearts on this most comfortable thought. We have a most willing and loving Saviour. It was His delight to do His Father���s will, and to make a way for lost and guilty man to draw near to God in peace. He loved the work He had taken in hand, and the poor sinful world which He came to save. Never, then, let us give way to the unworthy thought that our Saviour does not love to see sinners coming to Him, and does not rejoice to save them. He who was a most willing Sacrifice on the cross is also a most willing Saviour at the right hand of God. He is just as willing to receive sinners who come to Him now for peace, as He was to die for sinners, when He held back His power and willingly suffered on Calvary. We learn, for another thing, in these verses, how minutely the prophesies concerning Christ���s first coming were fulfilled. The riding into Jerusalem on an ass, which is here recorded, might seem at first sight a simple action, and in no way remarkable. But when we turn to the Old Testament, we find that this very thing had been predicted by the Prophet Zechariah five hundred years before. (Zech. ix. 9.) We find that the coming of a Redeemer some day was not the only thing which the Holy Ghost had revealed to the Fathers, but that even the least particulars of His earthly career were predicted and written down with precise accuracy. Such fulfillments of prophecy as this deserve the special attention of all who love the Bible and read it with reverence. They show us that every word of Holy Scripture was given by inspiration of God. They teach us to beware of the mischievous practice of spiritualizing and explaining away the language of Scripture. We must settle it in our minds that the plain, literal meaning of the Bible is generally the true and correct meaning. Here is a prediction of Zechariah literally and exactly fulfilled. Our Lord was not merely a very humble person as some spiritualizing interpreters would have explained Zechariah���s words to mean, but He literally rode into Jerusalem on an ass. Above all, such fulfillments teach us what we may expect in looking forward to the second advent of Jesus Christ. They show us that we must look for a literal accomplishment of the prophecies concerning that second coming, and not for a figurative and a spiritual one. Forever let us hold fast this great principle. Happy is that Bible-reader who believes the words of the Bible to mean exactly what they seem to mean. Such a man has got the true key of knowledge in looking forward to things to come. To know that predictions about the second advent of Christ will be fulfilled literally, just as predictions about the first advent of Christ were fulfilled literally, is the first step towards a right understanding of unfulfilled prophecy. ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 29, 2010

Lords Day 30, 2010

Sunday··2010·07·25
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. I am a little world John Donne (15721631) I am a little world made cunningly Of Elements, and an Angelike spright, But black sinne hath betraid to endless night My worlds both parts, and (oh) both parts must die. You which beyond that heaven which was most high Have found new sphears, and of new lands can write, Powre new seas in mine eyes, so that I might Drowne my world with my weeping earnestly, Or wash it if it must be drownd no more: But oh it must be burnt; alas the fire Of lust and envie have burnt it hereto fore, And made it fouler; Let their flames retire, And burn me ô Lord, with a fiery zeale Of thee and thy house, which doth in eating heale. John Donne, Poems and Prose (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995). John 12:2026Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, Sir, we wish to see Jesus. 22 Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.    There is more going on in some peoples minds than we are aware of. The case of the Greeks before us is a remarkable proof of this. Who would have thought when Christ was on earth, that foreigners from a distant land would have come forward in Jerusalem, and said, Sir, we would see Jesus? Who these Greeks were, what they meant, why they desired to see Jesus, what their inward motives were,all these are questions we cannot answer. Like Zaccheus, they may have been influenced by curiosity. Like the wise men from the East, they may have surmised that Jesus was the promised King of the Jews, whom all the eastern world was expecting. Enough for us to know that they showed more interest in Christ than Caiaphas and all his companions. Enough to know that they drew from our Lords lips sayings which are still read in one hundred and fifty languages, from one end of the world to the other. We learn, for one thing, from our Lords words in this passage, that death is the way to spiritual life and glory. Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. This sentence was primarily meant to teach the wondering Greeks the true nature of Messiahs kingdom. If they thought to see a King like the kings of this world, they were greatly mistaken. Our Lord would have them know that He came to carry a cross, and not to wear a crown. He came not to live a life of honour, ease, and magnificence, but to die a shameful and dishonoured death. The kingdom He came to set up was to begin with a crucifixion, and not with a coronation. Its glory was to take its rise not from victories won by the sword, and from accumulated treasures of gold and silver, but from the death of its King. But this sentence was also meant to teach a wider and broader lesson still. It revealed, under a striking figure, the mighty foundation truth, that Christs death was to be the source of spiritual life to the world. From His cross and sufferings was to spring up a mighty harvest of benefit to all mankind. His death, like a grain of seed, was to be the root of blessings and mercies to countless millions of immortal souls. In short, the great principle of the Gospel was once more exhibited,that Christs vicarious death (not His life, or miracles, or teaching, but His death) was to bring forth fruit to the praise of God, and to provide redemption for a lost world. This deep and mighty sentence was followed by a practical application, which closely concerns ourselves. He who hateth his life shall keep it. He that would be saved must be ready to give up life itself, if necessary, in order to obtain salvation. He must bury his love of the world, with its riches, honours, pleasures, and rewards, with a full belief that in so doing he will reap a better harvest, both here and hereafter. He who loves the life that now is so much that he cannot deny himself anything for the sake of his soul, will find at length that he has lost everything. He, on the contrary, who is ready to cast away everything most dear to him in this life, if it stands in the way of his soul, and to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, will find at length that he is no loser. In a word, his losses will prove nothing in comparison to his gains. Truths such as these should sink deeply into our hearts, and stir up self-inquiry. It is as true of Christians as it is of Christ,there can be no life without death, there can be no sweet without bitter, there can be no crown without a cross. Without Christs death there would have been no life for the world. Unless we are willing to die to sin, and crucify all that is most dear to flesh and blood, we cannot expect any benefit from Christs death. Let us remember these things, and take up our cross daily, like men. Let us, for the joy set before us, endure the cross and despise the shame, and in the end we shall sit down with our Master at Gods right hand. The way of self-crucifixion and sanctification may seem foolishness and wasteful to the world, just as burying good seed seems wasteful to the child and the fool. But there never lived the man who did not find that, by sowing to the Spirit, he reaped life everlasting. We learn, for another thing, from our Lords words, that if we profess to serve Christ, we must follow Him. If any man serves Me, is the saying, let him follow Me. That expression, following, is one of wide signification, and brings before our minds many familiar ideas. As the soldier follows his general, as the servant follows his master, as the scholar follows his teacher; as the sheep follows its shepherd, just so ought the professing Christian to follow Christ. Faith and obedience are the leading marks of real followers, and will always be seen in true believing Christians. Their knowledge may be very small, and their infirmities very great; their grace very weak, and their hope very dim. But they believe what Christ says, and strive to do what Christ commands. And of such Christ declares, They serve Me, they are Mine. Christianity like this receives little from man. It is too thorough, too decided, too strong, too real. To serve Christ in name and form is easy work, and satisfies most people, but to follow Him in faith and life demands more trouble than the generality of men will take about their souls. Laughter, ridicule, opposition, persecution, are often the only reward which Christs followers get from the world. Their religion is one, whose praise is not of men, but of God. (Rom. ii. 29.) Yet to him who followeth, let us never forget, the Lord Jesus holds out abundant encouragement: Where I am, He declares, there also shall my servant be; if any man serves Me, him will my Father honour. Let us lay to heart these comfortable promises, and go forward in the narrow way without fear. The world may cast out our name as evil, and turn us out of its society; but when we dwell with Christ in glory, we shall have a home from which we can never be ejected.The world may pour contempt on our religion, and laugh us and our Christianity to scorn; but when the Father honours us at the last day, before the assembly of angels and men, we shall find that His praise makes amends for all. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 30, 2010

Lord’s Day 31, 2010

Sunday··2010·08·01
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Yet I Sin Eternal Father, Thou art good beyond all thought, But I am vile, wretched, miserable, blind; My lips are ready to confess,    but my heart is slow to feel    and my ways reluctant to amend. I bring my soul to thee;    break it, wound it, bend it, mould it. Unmask to me sin’s deformity,    that I may hate it, abhor it, flee from it. My faculties have been a weapon of revolt       against thee;    as a rebel I have misused my strength,    and served the foul adversary of thy kingdom. Give me grace to bewail my insensate folly, Grant me to know that the way of transgressors       is hard    that evil paths are wretched paths,    that to depart from thee is to lose all good. I have seen the purity and beauty of thy perfect law,    the happiness of those in whose heart it reigns,    the calm dignity of the walk to which it calls,       yet I daily violate and contemn its precepts. Thy loving Spirit strives within me,    brings me Scripture warnings,    speaks in startling providences,    allures by secret whispers,       yet I choose devices and desires to my own hurt,    impiously resent, grieve,    and provoke him to abandon me. All these sins I mourn, lament, and for them    cry pardon. Work in me more profound and abiding repentance; Give me the fullness of a godly grief    that trembles and fears,    yet ever trusts and loves,    which is ever powerful, and ever confident; Grant that through the tears of repentance    I may see more clearly the brightness    and glories of the saving cross. —The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). John 12:27–33 Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, “Father, save Me from this hour”? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. These verses show us what St. Peter meant, when he said, “There are some things hard to be understood” in Scripture. (2 Pet. iii. 16.) There are depths here which we have no line to fathom thoroughly. This need not surprise us, or shake our faith. The Bible would not be a book “given by inspiration of God,” if it did not contain many things which pass man’s finite understanding. With all its difficulties, it contains thousands of passages which the most unlearned may easily comprehend. Even here, if we look steadily at these verses, we may gather from them lessons of considerable importance. We have, first, in these verses, a great doctrine indirectly proved. That doctrine is the imputation of man’s sin to Christ. We see the Saviour of the world, the eternal Son of God troubled and disturbed in mind: “Now is my soul troubled.” We see Him who could heal diseases with a touch, cast out devils with a word, and command the waves and winds to obey Him, in great agony and conflict of spirit. Now how can this be explained? To say, as some do, that the only cause of our Lord’s trouble was the prospect of His own painful death on the cross, is a very unsatisfactory explanation. At this rate it might justly be said that many a martyr has shown more calmness and courage than the Son of God. Such a conclusion is, to say the least, most revolting. Yet this is the conclusion to which men are driven if they adopt the modern notion, that Christ’s death was only a great example of self-sacrifice. Nothing can ever explain our Lord’s trouble of soul, both here and in Gethsemane, except the old doctrine, that He felt the burden of man’s sin pressing Him down. It was the mighty weight of a world’s guilt imputed to Him and meeting on his head, which made Him groan and agonize, and cry, “Now is my soul troubled.” Forever let us cling to that doctrine, not only as untying the knot of the passage before us, but as the only ground of solid comfort for the heart of a Christian. That our sins have been really laid on our Divine Substitute, and borne by Him, and that His righteousness is really imputed to us and accounted ours,—this is the real warrant for Christian peace. And if any man asks how we know that our sins were laid on Christ, we bid him read such passages as that which is before us, and explain them on any other principle if he can. Christ has borne our sins, carried our sins, groaned under the burden of our sins, been “troubled” in soul by the weight of our sins, and really taken away our sins. This, we may rest assured, is sound doctrine this is Scriptural theology. We have, secondly, in these verses, a great mystery unfolded. That mystery is the possibility of much inward conflict of soul without sin. We cannot fail to see in the passage before us a mighty mental struggle in our blessed Saviour. Of its depth and intensity we can probably form very little conception. But the agonizing cry, “My soul is troubled,”—the solemn question, “What shall I say?”—the prayer of suffering flesh and blood, “Father, save Me from this hour,”—the meek confession, “For this cause came I unto this hour,”—the petition of a perfectly submissive will, “Father, glorify Your name,”—what does all this mean? Surely there can be only one answer. These sentences tell of a struggle within our Saviour’s breast, a struggle arising from the natural feelings of one who was perfect man, and as man could suffer all that man is capable of suffering. Yet He in whom this struggle took place was the Holy Son of God. “In Him is no sin.” (1 St. John 3:5.) There is a fountain of comfort here for all true servants of Christ, which ought never to be overlooked. Let them learn from their Lord’s example that inward conflict of soul is not necessarily in itself a sinful thing. Too many, we believe, from not understanding this point, go heavily all their days on their way to heaven. They fancy they have no grace, because they find a fight in their own hearts. They refuse to take comfort in the Gospel, because they feel a battle between the flesh and the Spirit. Let them mark the experience of their Lord and Master, and lay aside their desponding fears. Let them study the experience of His saints in every age, from Paul downwards, and understand that as Christ had inward conflicts, so must Christians expect to have them also. To give way to doubts and unbelief, no doubt is wrong, and robs us of our peace. There is a faithless despondency, unquestionably, which is blameworthy, and must be resisted, repented of, and brought to the fountain for all sin, that it may be pardoned. But the mere presence of fight and strife and conflict in our hearts is in itself no sin. The believer may be known by his inward warfare as well as by his inward peace. We have, thirdly, in these verses, a great miracle exhibited. That miracle is the heavenly Voice described in this passage,—a voice which was heard so plainly that people said it thundered,—proclaiming, “I have glorified my name, and will glorify it again.” This wondrous Voice was heard three times during our Lord’s earthly ministry. Once it was heard at His baptism, when the heavens were opened and the Holy Ghost descended on Him. Once it was heard at His transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah appeared for a season with Him, before Peter, James, and St. John. Once it was heard here at Jerusalem, in the midst of a mixed crowd of disciples and unbelieving Jews. On each occasion we know that it was the Voice of God the Father. But why this Voice was only heard on these occasions we are left to conjecture. The thing was a deep mystery, and we cannot now speak particularly of it. Let it suffice us to believe that this miracle was meant to show the intimate relations and unbroken union of God the Father and God the Son, throughout the period of the Son’s earthly ministry. At no period during His incarnation was there a time when the eternal Father was not close to Him, though unseen by man.—Let us also believe that this miracle was meant to signify to bystanders the entire approval of the Son by the Father, as the Messiah, the Redeemer, and the Saviour of man. That approval the Father was pleased to signify by voice three times, as well as to declare by signs and mighty deeds, performed by the Son in His name. These things we may well believe. But when we have said all, we must confess that the Voice was a mystery. We may read of it with wonder and awe, but we cannot explain it. We have, lastly, in these verses, a great prophesy delivered. The Lord Jesus declared, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Concerning the true meaning of these words, there can be but one opinion in any honest mind. They do not mean, as is often supposed, that if the doctrine of Christ crucified is lifted up and exalted by ministers and teachers, it will have a drawing effect on hearers. This is undeniably a truth, but it is not the truth of the text. They simply mean that the death of Christ on the cross would have a drawing effect on all mankind. His death as our Substitute, and the Sacrifice for our sins, would draw multitudes out of every nation to believe on Him and receive Him as their Saviour. By being crucified for us, and not by ascending a temporal throne, He would set up a kingdom in the world, and gather subjects to Himself. How thoroughly this prophecy has been fulfilled for eighteen centuries, the history of the Church is an abundant proof. Whenever Christ crucified has been preached, and the story of the cross fully told, souls have been converted and drawn to Christ, in every part of the world, just as iron-filings are drawn to a magnet. No truth so exactly suits the needs of all children of Adam, of every color, climate, and language, as the truth about Christ crucified. And the prophecy is not yet exhausted. It shall yet receive a more complete accomplishment. A day shall come when every knee shall bow before the Lamb that was slain, and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. He who was “lifted up” on the cross shall yet sit on the throne of glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations. Friends and foes, each in their own order, shall be “drawn” from their graves, and appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. Let us take heed in that day that we are found on His right hand! —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 31, 2010

Lord’s Day 32, 2010

Sunday··2010·08·08
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Hymn 38.    Part 1.    (c. m.) The atonement of Christ. Rom. iii. 25. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) How is our nature spoil’d by sin!    Yet nature ne’er hath found The way to make the conscience clean,    Or heal the painful wound. In vain we seek for peace with God    By methods of our own: Jesus, there’s nothing but thy blood    Can bring us near the throne. The threat’nings of thy broken law    Impress our souls with dread; If God his sword of vengeance draw,    It strikes our spirits dead. But thine illustrious sacrifice    Hath answer’d these demands: And peace and pardon from the skies    Came down by Jesus’ hands. Here all the ancient types agree,    The altar and the lamb; And prophets in their visions see    Salvation through his name. ’Tis by thy death we live, O Lord,    ’Tis on thy cross we rest; For ever be thy love ador’d,    Thy name for ever bless’d. —from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). John 12:34–43 The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” 41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. We may learn, from these verses, the duty of using present opportunities. The Lord Jesus says to us all, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you. While you have light believe in the light.” Let us not think that these things were only spoken for the sake of the Jews. They were written for us also, upon whom the ends of the world are come. The lesson of the words is generally applicable to the whole professing Church of Christ. Its time for doing good in the world is short and limited. The throne of grace will not always be standing: it will be removed one day, and the throne of judgment will be set up in its place. The door of salvation by faith in Christ will not always be open: it will be shut one day forever, and the number of God’s elect will be completed. The fountain for all sin and uncleanness will not always be accessible; the way to it will one day be barred, and there will remain nothing but the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. These are solemn thoughts; but they are true. They cry aloud to sleeping Churchmen and drowsy congregations, and ought to arouse great searchings of heart. “Can nothing more be done to spread the Gospel at home and abroad? Has every means been tried for extending the knowledge of Christ crucified? Can we lay our hands on our hearts, and say that the Churches have left nothing undone in the matter of missions? Can we look forward to the Second Advent with no feelings of humiliation, and say that the talents of wealth, and influence, and opportunities have not been buried in the ground?”—Such questions may well humble us, when we look, on one side, at the state of professing Christendom, and, on the other, at the state of the heathen world. We must confess with shame that the Church is not walking worthy of its light. But the lesson of the words is specially applicable to ourselves as individuals. Our own time for getting good is short and limited; let us take heed that we make good use of it. Let us “walk while we have the light.” Have we Bibles? Let us not neglect to read them. —Have we the preached Gospel? Let us not linger halting between two opinions, but believe to the saving of our souls. —Have we Sabbaths? Let us not waste them in idleness, carelessness, and indifference, but throw our whole hearts into their sacred employments, and turn them to good account. —Light is about us and around us and near us on every side. Let us each resolve to walk in the light while we have it, lest we find ourselves at length cast out into outer darkness forever. It is a true saying of an old divine, that the recollection of lost and misspent opportunities will be the very essence of hell. We may learn, secondly, from these verses, the desperate hardness of the human heart. It is written of our Lord’s hearers at Jerusalem, that, “though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him.” We err greatly if we suppose that seeing wonderful miraculous things will ever convert souls. Thousands live and die in this delusion. They fancy if they saw some miraculous sight, or witnessed some supernatural exercise of Divine grace, they would lay aside their doubts, and at once become decided Christians. It is a total mistake. Nothing short of a new heart and a new nature implanted in us by the Holy Ghost, will ever make us real disciples of Christ. Without this, a miracle might raise within us a little temporary excitement; but, the novelty once gone, we would find ourselves just as cold and unbelieving as the Jews. The prevalence of unbelief and indifference in the present day ought not to surprise us. It is just one of the evidences of that mighty foundation-doctrine, the total corruption and fall of man. How feebly we grasp and realize that doctrine is proved by our surprise at human incredulity. We only half believe the heart’s deceitfulness. Let us read our Bibles more attentively, and search their contents more carefully. Even when Christ wrought miracles and preached sermons, there were numbers of His hearers who remained utterly unmoved. What right have we to wonder if the hearers of modern sermons in countless instances remain unbelieving? “The disciple is not greater than his Master.” If even the hearers of Christ did not believe, how much more should we expect to find unbelief among the hearers of His ministers! Let the truth be spoken and confessed. Man’s obstinate unbelief is one among many indirect proofs that the Bible is true. The clearest prophecy in Isaiah begins with the solemn question, “Who hath believed?” (Isai. liii. 1.) We may learn, thirdly, from these verses, the amazing power which the love of the world has over men. We read that “among the chief rulers many believed on Christ; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” These unhappy men were evidently convinced that Jesus was the true Messiah. Reason, and intellect, and mind, and conscience, obliged them secretly to admit that no one could do the miracles which He did, unless God was with Him, and that the preacher of Nazareth really was the Christ of God. But they had not courage to confess it. They dared not face the storm of ridicule, if not of persecution, which confession would have entailed. And so, like cowards, they held their peace, and kept their convictions to themselves. Their case, it may be feared, is a sadly common one. There are thousands of people who know far more in religion then they act up to. They know they ought to come forward as decided Christians. They know that they are not living up to their light. But the fear of man keeps them back. They are afraid of being laughed at, jeered at, and despised by the world. They dread losing the good opinion of society, and the favourable judgment of men and women like themselves. And so they go on from to year to year, secretly ill at ease and dissatisfied with themselves,—knowing too much of religion to be happy in the world, and clinging too much to the world to enjoy any religion. Faith is the only cure for soul ailments like this. A believing view of an unseen God, an unseen Christ, an unseen heaven, and an unseen judgment-day,&mddash;this is the grand secret of overcoming the fear of man. The expulsive power of a new principle is required to heal the disease. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” (1 John v. 4.) Let us pray for faith, if we would conquer that deadly enemy of souls, the fear of man and the love of man’s praise. And if we have any faith, let us pray for more. Let our daily cry be, “Lord, increase our faith.” We may easily have too much money, or too much worldly prosperity; but we can never have too much faith. —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 32, 2010

Lords Day 33, 2010

Sunday··2010·08·15
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn XXX. Is this thy kindness to thy friend. II. Samuel xvi. 17. John Newton (17251807) Poor, weak, and worthless tho I am, I have a rich almighty friend; Jesus, the Saviour, is his name, He freely loves, and without end. He ransomd me from hell with blood, And by his powr my foes controlld; He found me, wandring far from God, And brought me to his chosen fold. He cheers my heart, my wants supplies, And says that I shall shortly be Enthrond with him above the skies, O! what a friend is Christ to me. But ah! I my inmost spirit mourns, And well my eyes with tears may swim, To think of my perverse returns; Ive been a faithless friend to him. Often my gracious Friend I grieve, Neglect, distrust, and disobey, And often Satans lies believe, Sooner than all my Friend can say. He bids me always freely come, And promises whateer I ask: But I am straitened, cold and dumb, And count my privilege a task. Before the world that hates his course, My treachrous heart has throbbd with shame; Loth to forego the worlds applause, I hardly dare avow his name. Sure were not I most vile and base, I could not thus my friend requite! And were not he the God of grace, Hed frown and spurn me from his sight. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 12:4450 And Jesus cried out and said, He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.    These verses throw light on two subjects which we can never understand too well. Our daily peace and our practice of daily watchfulness over ourselves are closely connected with a clear knowledge of these two subjects. One thing shown in these verses is, the dignity of our Lord Jesus Christ. We find Him saying, He that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me. I am come a Light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness. Christs oneness with the Father, and Christs office, are clearly exhibited in these words. Concerning the unity of the Father and the Son, we must be content to believe reverently what we cannot grasp mentally or explain distinctly. Let it suffice us to know that our Saviour was not like the prophets and patriarchs, a man sent by God the Father, a friend of God, and a witness for God. He was something far higher and greater than this. He was in His Divine nature essentially one with the Father: and in seeing Him, men saw the Father who sent Him. This is a great mystery; but a truth of vast importance to our souls. He that casts His sins on Jesus Christ by faith is building on a rock. Believing on Christ, he believes not merely on Him, but on Him that sent Him. Concerning the office of Christ, there can be little doubt that in this place He compares Himself to the sun. Like the sun, He has risen on this sin-darkened world with healing on His wings, and shines for the common benefit of all mankind. Like the sun, He is the great source and center of all spiritual life, comfort, and fertility. Like the sun, He illuminates the whole earth, and no one need miss the way to heaven, if he will only use the light offered for his acceptance. Forever let us make much of Christ in all our religion. We can never trust Him too much, follow Him too closely, or commune with Him too unreservedly. He has all power in heaven and earth. He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him. None can pluck us out of the hand of Him who is one with the Father. He can make all our way to heaven bright and plain and cheerful; like the morning sun cheering the traveler. Looking unto Him, we shall find light in our understandings, see light on the path of life we have to travel, feel light in our hearts, and find the days of darkness, which will come sometimes, stripped of half their gloom. Only let us abide in Him, and look to Him with a single eye. There is a mine of meaning in His words, If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (Matt. vi. 22.) Another thing shown in these verses is, the certainty of a judgment to come. We find our Lord saying, He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not my words, has One that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. There is a last day! The world shall not always go on as it does now. Buying and selling, sowing and reaping, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage,all this shall come to an end at last. There is a time appointed by the Father when the whole machinery of creation shall stop, and the present dispensation shall be changed for another. It had a beginning, and it shall also have an end. Banks shall at length close their doors forever. Stock exchanges shall be shut. Parliaments shall be dissolved. The very sun, which since Noahs flood has done his daily work so faithfully, shall rise and set no more. Well would it be if we thought more of this day! Pay-days, birth-days, wedding-days, are often regarded as days of absorbing interest; but they are nothing compared to the last day. There is a judgment coming! Men have their reckoning days, and God will at last have His. The trumpet shall sound. The dead shall be raised incorruptible. The living shall be changed. All, of every name and nation, and people and tongue, shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. The books shall be opened, and the evidence brought forth. Our true character will come out before the world. There will be no concealment, no evasion, no false colouring. Every one shall give account of himself to God, and all shall be judged according to their works. The wicked shall go away into everlasting fire, and the righteous into life eternal. These are awful truths! But they are truths, and ought to be told. No wonder that the Roman governor Felix trembled when Paul the prisoner discoursed about righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. (Acts xxiv. 25.) Yet the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has no cause to be afraid. For him, at any rate, there is no condemnation, and the last assize need have no terrors. The bias of his life shall witness for him; while the shortcomings of his life shall not condemn him. It is the man who rejects Christ, and will not hear His call to repentance,he is the man who in the judgment-day will have reason to be cast down and afraid. Let the thought of judgment to come have a practical effect on our religion. Let us daily judge ourselves with righteous judgment, that we may not be judged and condemned of the Lord. Let us so speak and so act as men who will be judged by the law of liberty. Let us make conscience of all our hourly conduct, and never forget that for every idle word we must give account at the last day. In a word, let us live like those who believe in the truth of judgment, heaven, and hell. So living, we shall be Christians indeed and in truth, and have boldness in the day of Christs appearing. Let the judgment-day be the Christians answer and apology when men ridicule him as too strict, too precise, and too particular in his religion. Irreligion may do tolerably well for a season, so long as a man is in health and prosperous, and looks at nothing but this world. But he who believes that he must give account to the Judge of quick and dead, at His appearing and kingdom, will never be content with an ungodly life. He will say, There is a judgment. I can never serve God too much. Christ died for me. I can never do too much for Him. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 33, 2010

Lord’s Day 34, 2010

Sunday··2010·08·22
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Petitionary Hymns Poem XXV. [Before Meat.] 1 Cor. x. 31. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Lord, we invite thee here, Vouchsafe to be our guest, Jesus, do thou appear The Master of the feast; Thy quick’ning presence let us prove, And banquet on thy hidden love. With manna from on high    Feed thine inheritance, And come and sanctify    Our outward sustenance: With it the inward food be giv’n, The bread of life, the wine of heav’n. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). The Gospel According to John 13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. 5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. The passage we have now read begins one of the most interesting portions of St. John’s Gospel. For five consecutive chapters we find the Evangelist recording matters which are not mentioned by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. We can never be thankful enough that the Holy Ghost has caused them to be written for our learning! In every age the contents of these chapters have been justly regarded as one of the most precious parts of the Bible. They have been the food and drink, the strength and comfort of all true-hearted Christians. Let us ever approach them with peculiar reverence. The place whereon we stand is holy ground. We learn, for one thing, from these verses, what patient and continuing love there is in Christ’s heart towards His people. It is written that “having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.’ Knowing perfectly well that they were about to forsake Him shamefully in a very few hours, in full view of their approaching display of weakness and infirmity, our blessed Master did not cease to have loving thoughts of His disciples. He was not weary of them: He loved them to the last. The love of Christ to sinners is the very essence and marrow of the Gospel. That He should love us at all, and care for our souls, —that He should love us before we love Him, or even know anything about Him, —that He should love us so much as to come into the world to save us, take our nature on Him, bear our sins, and die for us on the cross, —all this is wonderful indeed! It is a kind of love to which there is nothing like it, among men. The narrow selfishness of human nature cannot fully comprehend it. It is one of those things which even the angels of God “desire to look into.’ It is a truth which Christian preachers and teachers should proclaim incessantly, and never be weary of proclaiming. But the love of Christ to saints is no less wonderful, in its way, than His love to sinners, though far less considered. That He should bear with all their countless infirmities from grace to glory,—that He should never be tired of their endless inconsistencies and petty provocations, —that He should go on forgiving and forgetting incessantly, and never be provoked to cast them off and give them up, —all this is marvellous indeed! No mother watching over the waywardness of her feeble babe, in the days of its infancy, has her patience so thoroughly tried, as the patience of Christ is tried by Christians. Yet His patience is infinite. His compassions are a well that is never exhausted. His love is “a love that passeth knowledge.’ Let no man be afraid of beginning with Christ, if he desires to be saved. The chief of sinners may come to Him with boldness, and trust Him for pardon with confidence. This loving Saviour is One who delights to “receive sinners.’ (Luke xv. 2.) Let no man be afraid of going on with Christ after he has once come to Him and believed. Let him not fancy that Christ will cast him off because of failures, and dismiss him into his former hopelessness on account of infirmities. Such thoughts are entirely unwarranted by anything in the Scriptures. Jesus will never reject any servant because of feeble service and weak performance. Those whom He receives He always keeps. Those whom He loves at first He loves at last. His promise shall never be broken, and it is for saints as well as sinners: “Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.’ (John vi. 37.) We learn, for another thing, from these verses, what deep corruption may sometimes be found in the heart of a great professor of religion. It is written that “the devil put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Christ.’ This Judas, we must always remember, was one of the twelve Apostles. He had been chosen by Christ Himself, at the same time with Peter, James, John, and their companions. For three years he had walked in Christ’s society, had seen His miracles, had heard His preaching, had experienced many proofs of His loving-kindness. He had even preached himself and wrought miracles in Christ’s name; and when our Lord sent out His disciples two and two, Judas Iscariot no doubt must have been one of some couple that was sent. Yet here we see this very man possessed by the devil, and rushing headlong to destruction. On all the coasts of England there is not such a beacon to warn sailors of danger as Judas Iscariot is to warn Christians. He shows us what length a man may go in religious profession, and yet turn out a rotten hypocrite at last, and prove never to have been converted. He shows us the uselessness of the highest privileges, unless we have a heart to value them and turn them to good account. Privileges alone without grace save nobody, and will only make hell deeper. He shows us the uselessness of mere head-knowledge. To know things with our brains, and be able to talk and preach and speak to others, is no proof that our own feet are in the way of peace. These are terrible lessons: but they are true. Let us never be surprised if we see hypocrisy and false profession among Christians in modern days. There is nothing new in it, nothing peculiar, nothing that did not happen even among Christ’s own immediate followers, and under Christ’s own eyes. Bad money is a strong proof that there is good coin somewhere. Hypocrisy is a strong indirect evidence that there is such a thing as true religion. Above all, let us pray daily that our own Christianity may at any rate be genuine, sincere, real and true. Our faith may be feeble, our hope dim, our knowledge small, our failures frequent, our faults many. But at all events let us be real and true. Let us be able to say with poor, weak, erring Peter, “Thou, Lord, who knowest all things, knowest that I love Thee.’ (John xxi. 17.) —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 34, 2010

Lords Day 35, 2010

Sunday··2010·08·29
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Recovered from the Tomb Mather Byles (17061788) To Thee, my Lord, I lift the song, Awake, my tuneful powers; In constant praise my grateful tongue Shall fill my following hours. Guilty, condemned, undone I stood; I bid my God depart. He took my sins, and paid His blood, And turned this wandering heart. Death, the grim tyrant, seized my frame, Vile, loathsome, accursed; His breath renews the vital flame, And glories change the dust. Now, Savior, shall Thy praise commence; My soul by Thee brought home, And every member, every sense, Recovered from the tomb. To Thee my reason I submit, My love, my memory, Lord, My eyes to read, my hands to write, My lips to preach Thy Word. Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 13:615 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, Lord, do You wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said to him, What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter. 8 Peter said to Him, Never shall You wash my feet! Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me. 9 Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus said to him, He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, Not all of you are clean. 12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anothers feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.    The verses we have now read conclude the story of our Lords washing the feet of His disciples, the night before He was crucified. It is a story full of touching interest, which for some wise reason no Evangelist records except St. John. The wonderful condescension of Christ, in doing such a menial action, can hardly fail to strike any reader. The mere fact that the Master should wash the feet of the servants might well fill us with surprise. But the circumstances and sayings which arose out of the action are just as interesting as the action itself. Let us see what they were. We should notice, firstly, the hasty ignorance of the Apostle Peter. One moment we find him refusing to allow his Master to do such a servile work as He is about to do:Dost thou wash my feet? Thou shalt never wash my feet. Another moment we find him rushing with characteristic impetuosity into the other extreme:Lord, wash not my feet only, but my hands and my head. But throughout the transaction we find him unable to take in the real meaning of what his eyes behold. He sees, but he does not understand. Let us learn from Peters conduct that a man may have plenty of faith and love, and yet be sadly destitute of clear knowledge. We must not set down men as graceless and godless because they are dull, and stupid, and blundering in their religion. The heart may often be quite right when the head is quite wrong. We must make allowances for the corruption of the understanding, as well as of the will. We must not be surprised to find that the brains as well as the affections of Adams children have been hurt by the fall. It is a humbling lesson, and one seldom fully learned except by long experience. But the longer we live the more true shall we find it, that a believer, like Peter, may make many mistakes and lack understanding, and yet, like Peter, have a heart right before God, and get to heaven at last. Even at our best estate we shall find that many of Christs dealings with us are hard to understand in this life. The why and wherefore of many a providence will often puzzle and perplex us quite as much as the washing puzzled Peter. The wisdom, and fitness, and necessity of many a thing will often be hidden from our eyes. But at times like these we must remember the Masters words, and fall back upon them:What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. There came days, long after Christ had left the world, when Peter saw the full meaning of all that happened on the memorable night before the crucifixion. Even so there will be a day when every dark page in our lifes history will be explained, and when, as we stand with Christ in glory, we shall know all. We should notice, secondly, in this passage, the plain practical lesson which lies upon its surface. That lesson is read out to us by our Lord. He says, I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Humility is evidently one part of the lesson. If the only-begotten Son of God, the King of kings, did not think it beneath Him to do the humblest work of a servant, there is nothing which His disciples should think themselves too great or too good to do. No sin is so offensive to God, and so injurious to the soul as pride. No grace is so commended, both by precept and example, as humility. Be clothed with humility. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself. (1 Pet. v. 5; Luke xviii 14; Phil. ii. 58.) Well would it be for the Church if this very simple truth was more remembered, and real humility was not so sadly rare. Perhaps there is no sight so displeasing in Gods eyes as a self-conceited, self-satisfied, self-contented, stuck-up professor of religion. Alas, it is a sight only too common! Yet the words which St. John here records have never been repealed. They will be a swift witness against many at the last day, except they repent. Love is manifestly the other part of the great practical lesson. Our Lord would have us love others so much that we should delight to do anything which can promote their happiness. We ought to rejoice in doing kindnesses, even in little things. We ought to count it a pleasure to lessen sorrow and multiply joy, even when it costs us some self-sacrifice and self-denial. We ought to love every child of Adam so well, that if in the least trifle we can do anything to make him more happy and comfortable, we should be glad to do it. This was the mind of the Master, and this the ruling principle of His conduct upon earth. There are but few who walk in His steps, it may be feared; but these few are men and women after His own heart. The lesson before us may seem a very simple one; but its importance can never be overrated. Humility and love are precisely the graces which the men of the world can understand, if they do not comprehend doctrines. They are graces about which there is no mystery, and they are within reach of all Christians. The poorest and most ignorant Christian can every day find occasion for practicing love and humility. Then if we would do good to the world, and make our calling and election sure, let no man forget our Lords example in this passage. Like Him, let us be humble and loving towards all. We should notice, lastly, in this passage, the deep spiritual lessons which lie beneath its surface. They are three in number, and lie at the very root of religion, though we can only touch them briefly. For one thing, we learn that all need to be washed by Christ. If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in Me. No man or woman can be saved unless his sins are washed away in Christs precious blood. Nothing else can make us clean or acceptable before God. We must be washed, sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. vi. 11.) Christ must wash us, if we are ever to sit down with saints in glory. Then let us take heed that we apply to Him by faith, wash and become clean. They only are washed who believe. For another thing, we learn that even those who are cleansed and forgiven need a daily application to the blood of Christ for daily pardon. We cannot pass through this evil world without defilement. There is not a day in our lives but we fail and come short in many things, and need fresh supplies of mercy. Even he that is washed needs to wash his feet, and to wash them in the same fountain where he found peace of conscience when he first believed. Then let us daily use that fountain without fear. With the blood of Christ we must begin, and with the blood of Christ we must go on. Finally, we learn that even those who kept company with Christ, and were baptized with water as His disciples, were not all washed from their sin. These words are very solemn,Ye are clean: but not all. Then let us take heed to ourselves, and beware of false profession. If even Christs own disciples are not all cleansed and justified, we have reason to be on our guard. Baptism and Churchmanship are no proof that we are right in the sight of God. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 35, 2010

Lord���s Day 36, 2010

Sunday··2010·09·05
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Abide in Him Horatius Bonar (1808���1889) ���Tecum volo vulnerari Te libenter amplexari In cruce desidero.������Old Hymn. Cling to the Crucified! His death is life to thee;      Life for eternity.      His pains thy pardon seal;      His stripes thy bruises heal;      His cross proclaims thy peace,      Bids every sorrow cease.      His blood is all to thee,         It purges thee from sin;      It sets thy spirit free,         It keeps thy conscience clean. Cling to the Crucified! Cling to the Crucified!         His is a heart of love.         Full as the hearts above;         Its depths of sympathy         Are all awake for thee:         His countenance is light,         Even in the darkest night         That love shall never change,            That light shall ne’er grow dim;         Charge thou thy faithless heart            To find its all in him. Cling to the Crucified! ���Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 13:16���20 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18 I do not speak of all of you I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ���He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.��� 19 From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.���    If we would understand the full meaning of these verses, we must mark carefully where they stand in the chapter. They follow right after the remarkable passage in which we read of Christ washing His disciples��� feet. They stand in close connection with His solemn command, that the disciples should do as they had seen Him do. Then come the five verses which we have now to consider. We are taught, for one thing, in these verses, that Christians must never be ashamed of doing anything that Christ has done. We read, ���Verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.��� There seems little doubt that our Lord���s all-seeing eye saw a rising unwillingness in the minds of the Apostles to do such menial things as they had just seen Him do. Puffed up with their old Jewish expectation of thrones and kingdoms in this world, secretly self-satisfied with their own position as our Lord���s friends, these poor Galileans were startled at the idea of washing people���s feet! They could not bring themselves to believe that Messiah���s service entailed work like this. They could not yet take in the grand truth, that true Christian greatness consisted in doing good to others. And hence they needed our Lord���s word of warning. If He had humbled Himself to do humbling work, His disciples must not hesitate to do the same. The lesson is one of which we all need to be reminded. We are all too apt to dislike any work which seems to entail trouble, self-denial, and going down to our inferiors. We are only too ready to dispute such work to others, and to excuse ourselves by saying, ���It is not in our way.��� When feelings of this kind arise within us we shall find it good to remember our Lord���s words in this passage, no less than our Lord���s example. We ought never to think it beneath us to show kindness to the lowest of men. We ought never to hold our hand because the objects of our kindness are ungrateful or unworthy. Such was not the mind of Him who washed the feet of Judas Iscariot as well as Peter. He who in these matters cannot stoop to follow Christ���s example, gives little evidence of possessing true love or true humility. We are taught, for another thing, in these verses, the uselessness of religious knowledge if not accompanied by practice. We read, ���If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.��� It sounds as if our Lord would warn His disciples that they would never be really happy in His service if they were content with a barren head-knowledge of duty, and did not live according to their knowledge. The lesson is one which deserves the continual remembrance of all professing Christians. Nothing is more common than to hear people saying of doctrine or duty,������We know it, we know it;��� while they sit still in unbelief or disobedience. They actually seem to flatter themselves that there is something creditable and redeeming in knowledge, even when it bears no fruit in heart, character, or life. Yet the truth is precisely the other way. To know what we ought to be, believe, and do, and yet to be unaffected by our knowledge, only adds to our guilt in the sight of God. To know that Christians should be humble and loving, while we continue proud and selfish, will only sink us deeper in the pit, unless we awake and repent. Practice, in short, is the very life of religion. ���To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.��� (James iv. 17.) Of course we must never despise knowledge. It is in one sense the beginning of Christianity in the soul. So long as we know nothing of sin, or God, or Christ, or grace, or repentance, or faith, or conscience, we are of course nothing better than heathens. But we must not overrate knowledge. It is altogether valueless unless it produces results in our conduct, and influences our lives, and moves our wills. In fact knowledge without practice does not raise us above the level of the devil. He could say to Jesus, ���I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God.��� The devils, says St. James, ���believe and tremble.��� (James ii. 20.) Satan knows truth, but has no will to obey it, and is miserable. He that would be happy in Christ���s service must not only know, but do. We are taught, for another thing, in these verses, the perfect knowledge which Christ has of all His people. He can distinguish between false profession and true grace. The Church may be deceived, and rank men as Apostles, who are nothing better than brethren of Judas Iscariot. But Jesus is never deceived, for He can read hearts. And here He declares with peculiar emphasis, ���I know whom I have chosen.��� This perfect knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is a very solemn thought, and one which cuts two ways. It ought to fill the hypocrite with alarm, and drive him to repentance. Let him remember that the eyes of the all-seeing Judge already see him through and through, and detect the absence of a wedding garment. If he would not be put to shame before assembled worlds, let him cast aside his false profession, and confess his sin before it is too late. Believers, on the other hand, may think of an all-knowing Saviour with comfort. They may remember, when misunderstood and slandered by an evil world, that their Master knows all. He knows that they are true and sincere, however weak and failing. A time is coming when He will confess them before His Father, and bring forth their characters clear and bright as the summer sun at noon-day. We are taught, finally, in these verses, the true dignity of Christ���s disciples. The world may despise and ridicule the Apostles because they care more for works of love and humility than the pursuits of the world. But the Master bids them remember their commission, and not be ashamed. They are God���s ambassadors, and have no cause to be cast down. ���Verily, verily,��� He declares, ���He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.��� The doctrine here laid down is full of encouragement. It ought to cheer and hearten all who lay themselves out to do good, and specially to do good to the fallen and the poor. Work of this kind gets little praise from men, and they who give themselves up to it are often regarded as miserable enthusiasts, and meet with much opposition. Let them however work on, and take comfort in the words of Christ which we are now considering. To spend and be spent in trying to do good, makes a man far more honorable in the eyes of Jesus than to command armies or amass a fortune. The few who work for God in Christ���s way have no cause to be ashamed. Let them not be cast down if the children of the world laugh and sneer and despise them. A day comes when they will hear the words, ���Come ye blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.��� (Matt. xxv. 34.) ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord���s Day 36, 2010

Lords Day 37, 2010

Sunday··2010·09·12
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Short Is Time Christina Rossetti (18301894) Short is time, and only time is bleak; Gauge the exceeding height thou hast to climb: Long eternity is nigh to seek: " />   Short is time.    Time is shortening with the wintry rime: Pray and watch and pray, girt up and meek;    Praying, watching, praying, chime by chime. Pray by silence if thou canst not speak:    Time is shortening; pray in till the prime: Time is shortening; soul, fulfill thy week:    Short is time. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). John 13:2130 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me. 22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23 There was reclining on Jesus bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking. 25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus bosom, said to Him, Lord, who is it? 26 Jesus then answered, That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him. So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, What you do, do quickly. 28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, Buy the things we have need of for the feast; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.    The subject of the verses before us is a very painful one. They describe the last scene between our Lord Jesus Christ and the false Apostle Judas Iscariot. They contain the last words which passed between them before they parted forever in this world. They never seem to have met again on earth, excepting in the garden when our Lord was taken prisoner. Within a short time both the holy Master and the treacherous servant were dead. They will never meet again in the body until the trumpet sounds, and the dead are raised, and the judgment is set, and the books are opened. What an awful meeting will that be! Let us mark, firstly, in this passage, what trouble our Lord Jesus went through for the sake of our souls. We are told that shortly after washing the disciples feet, He was troubled in spirit, and said, One of you shall betray Me. The whole length and breadth and depth of our Masters troubles during His earthly ministry are far beyond the conception of most people. His death and suffering on the cross were only the heading up and completion of His sorrows. But all throughout His life,partly from the general unbelief of the Jews,partly from the special hatred of the Pharisees and Sadducees,partly from the weakness and infirmity of His few followers,He must have been in a peculiar degree a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isa. liii. 3.) But the trouble before us was a singular and exceptional one. It was the bitter sorrow of seeing a chosen Apostle deliberately becoming an apostate, a backslider, and an ungrateful traitor. That it was a foreseen sorrow from the beginning we need not doubt; but sorrow is not less acute because long foreseen. That it was a peculiarly cutting sorrow is very evident. Nothing is found so hard for flesh and blood to bear as ingratitude. Even a poet of our own has said that it is sharper than a serpents tooth to have a thankless child. Absaloms rebellion seems to have been Davids heaviest trouble, and Judas Iscariots treachery seems to have been one of the heaviest trials of the Son of David. When He saw it drawing near He was troubled in spirit.    Passages like these should make us see the amazing love of Christ to sinners. How many cups of sorrow He drained to the dregs in working out our salvation, beside the mighty cup of bearing our sins. They show us how little reason we have for complaining when friends fail us, and men disappoint us. If we share our Masters lot we have no cause to be surprised. Above all, they show us the perfect suitableness of Christ to be our Saviour. He can sympathize with us. He has suffered Himself, and can feel for those who are ill-used and forsaken. Let us mark, secondly, in these verses, the power and malignity of our great enemy the devil. We are told in the beginning of the chapter that he put it into the heart of Judas to betray our Lord. We are told here that he entered into him. First he suggests: then he commands. First he knocks at the door and asks permission to come in: then, once admitted, he takes complete possession, and rules the whole inward man like a tyrant. Let us take heed that we are not ignorant of Satans devices. He is still going to and fro in the earth, seeking whom he may devour. He is about our path, and about our bed, and spies out all our ways. Our only safety lies in resisting him at the first, and not listening to his first advances. For this we are all responsible. Strong as he is, he has no power to do us harm, if we cry to the stronger One in heaven, and use the means which He has appointed. It is a standing principle of Christianity, and will ever be found true. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James iv. 7.) Once let a man begin tampering with the devil, and he never knows how far he may fall. Trifling with the first thoughts of sin,making light of evil ideas when first offered to our hearts,allowing Satan to talk to us, and flatter us, and put bad notions into our hearts,all this may seem a small matter to many. It is precisely at this point that the road to ruin often begins. He that allows Satan to sow wicked thoughts will soon find within his heart a crop of wicked habits. Happy is he who really believes that there is a devil, and believing, watches and prays daily that he may be kept from his temptations. Let us mark, lastly, in these verses, the extreme hardness which comes over the heart of a backsliding professor of religion. This is a thing which is most painfully brought out in the case of Judas Iscariot. One might have thought that the sight of our Lords trouble, and the solemn warning, One of you shall betray Me, would have stirred the conscience of this unhappy man. But it did not do so. One might have thought that the solemn words, what thou doest, do quickly, would have arrested him, and made him ashamed of his intended sin. But nothing seems to have moved him. Like one whose conscience was dead, buried, and gone, he rises and goes out to do his wicked work, and parts with his Lord forever. The extent to which we may harden ourselves by resisting light and knowledge is one of the most fearful facts in our nature. We may become past feeling, like those whose limbs are mortified before they die. We may lose entirely all sense of fear, or shame, or remorse, and have a heart as hard as the nether millstone, blind to every warning, and deaf to every appeal. It is a painful disease, but one which unhappily is not uncommon among professing Christians. None seem so liable to it as those who, having great light and privilege, deliberately turn their backs on Christ, and return to the world. Nothing seems likely to touch such people, but the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. Let us watch jealously over our hearts, and beware of giving way to the beginnings of sin. Happy is he who feareth always, and walks humbly with his God. The strongest Christian is the one who feels his weakness most, and cries most frequently, Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe. (Psalm cxix. 117; Prov. xxviii. 14.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 37, 2010

Lord’s Day 38, 2010

Sunday··2010·09·19
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” This is my playes last scene John Donne (1572–1631) This is my playes last scene, here heavens appoint My pilgrimages last mile; and my race Idly, yet quickly runne, hath this last pace, My spans last inch, my minutes latest point, And gluttonous death, will instantly unjoynt My body, and soule, and I shall sleepe a space, But my ever-waking part shall see that face, Whose feare already shakes my every joynt: Then, as my soule, to heaven her first seate, takes flight, And earth-borne body, in the earth shall dwell, So, fall my sinnes, that all may have their right, To where they are bred, and would presse me, to hell. Impute me righteous, thus purg’d of evill, For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devill. —John Donne, Poems and Prose (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995). John 13:31–38 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32 if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 36 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” 37 Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.” In this passage we find the Lord Jesus at last alone with His eleven faithful disciples. The traitor, Judas Iscariot, had left the room, and gone out to do his wicked deed of darkness. Freed from his painful company, our Lord opens His heart to His little flock more fully than He had ever done before. Speaking to them for the last time before His passion, He begins a discourse which for touching interest surpasses any portion of Scripture. These verses show us what glory the crucifixion brought both to God the Father and to God the Son. It seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that this was what our Lord had in His mind when He said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.”—It is as though He said, “The time of my crucifixion is at hand. My work on earth is finished. An event is about to take place to-morrow, which, however painful to you who love Me, is in reality most glorifying both to Me and My Father.” This was a dark and mysterious saying, and we may well believe that the eleven did not understand it. And no wonder! In all the agony of the death on the cross, in all the ignominy and humiliation which they saw afar off, or heard of next day, in hanging naked for six hours between two thieves, —in all this there was no appearance of glory! On the contrary, it was an event calculated to fill the minds of the Apostles with shame, disappointment, and dismay. And yet our Lord’s saying was true. The crucifixion brought glory to the Fathrer. It glorified His wisdom, faithfulness, holiness, and love. It showed Him wise, in providing a plan whereby He could be just, and yet the Justifier of the ungodly. —It showed Him faithful, in keeping His promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. —It showed Him holy, in requiring His law’s demands to be satisfied by our great Substitute. —It showed Him loving, in providing such a Mediator, such a Redeemer, and such a Friend for sinful man as His co-eternal Son. The crucifixion brought glory to the Son. It glorified His compassion, His patience, and His power. It showed Him most compassionate, in dying for us, suffering in our stead, allowing Himself to be counted sin and a curse for us, and buying our redemption with the price of His own blood. —It showed Him most patient, in not dying the common death of most men, but in willingly submitting to such horrors and unknown agonies as no mind can conceive, when with a word he could have summoned His Father’s angels, and been set free.—It showed Him most powerful, in bearing the weight of all a world’s transgressions, and vanquishing Satan and despoiling him of his prey. Forever let us cling to these thoughts about the crucifixion. Let us remember that painting and sculpture can never tell a tenth part of what took place on the cross. Crucifixes and pictures at best can only show us a human being agonizing in a painful death. But of the length and breadth and depth and height of the work transacted on the cross,’of God’s law honored, man’s sins borne, sin punished in a Substitute, free salvation bought for man,—of all this they can tell nothing. Yet all this lies hid under the crucifixion. No wonder St. Paul cries, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gal. vi. 14.) These verses show us, secondly, what great importance our Lord Jesus attaches to the grace of brotherly love. Almost as soon as the false Apostle had left the faithful eleven, comes the injunction, “Love one another.” Immediately after the sad announcement that He would leave them soon, the commandment is given, “Love one another.” It is called a “new” commandment, not because it had never been given before, but because it was to be more honored, to occupy a higher position, to be backed by a higher example than it ever had been before. Above all, it was to be the test of Christianity before the world. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Let us take heed that this well-known Christian grace is not merely a notion in our heads, but a practice in our lives. Of all the commands of our Master there is none which is so much talked about and so little obeyed as this. Yet, if we mean anything when we profess to have charity and love toward all men, it ought to be seen in our tempers and our words, our bearing and our doing, our behaviour at home and abroad, our conduct in every relation of life. Specially it ought to show itself forth in all our dealing with other Christians. We should regard them as brethren and sisters, and delight to do anything to promote their happiness. We should abhor the idea of envy, malice, and jealousy towards a member of Christ, and regard it as a downright sin. This is what our Lord meant when He told us to love one another. Christ’s cause in the earth would prosper far more than it does if this simple law was more honored. There is nothing that the world understands and values more than true charity. The very men who cannot comprehend doctrine, and know nothing of theology, can appreciate charity. It arrests their attention, and makes them think. For the world’s sake, if for no other cause, let us follow after charity more and more. These verses show us, lastly, how much self-ignorance there may be in the heart of a true believer. We see Simon Peter declaring that he was ready to lay down his life for his Master. We see his Master telling him that in that very night he would “deny Him thrice.” And we all know how the matter ended. The Master was right, and Peter was wrong. Let it be a settled principle in our religion, that there is an amount of weakness in all our hearts, of which we have no adequate conception, and that we never know how far we might fall if we were tempted. We fancy sometimes, like Peter, that there are some things we could not possibly do. We look pitifully upon others who fall, and please ourselves in the thought that at any rate we would not have done so. We know nothing at all. The seeds of every sin are latent in our hearts, even when renewed, and they only need occasion, or carelessness and the withdrawal of God’s grace for a season, to put forth an abundant crop. Like Peter, we may think we can do wonders for Christ, and like Peter, we may learn by bitter experience that we have no power and might at all. The servant of Christ will do wisely to remember these things. “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. x. 12.) A humble sense of our own innate weakness, a constant dependence on the Strong for strength, a daily prayer to be held up, because we cannot hold up ourselves,—these are the true secrets of safety. The great Apostle of the Gentiles said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. xii. 10.) —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 38, 2010

Lords Day 39, 2010

Sunday··2010·09·26
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. The Dark Guest O Lord, Bend my hands and cut them off, for I have often struck thee with a wayward will. when these fingers should embrace thee by faith. I am not yet weaned from all created glory, honour, wisdom, and esteem of others, for I have a secret motive to eye my name    in all I do. Let me not only speak the word sin, but see the thing itself. Give me to view discovered sinfulness, to know that though my sins are crucified    they are never wholly mortified. Hatred, malice, ill-will, vain-glory that hunts for and hungers after, mans approval and applause, all are crucified, forgiven, but they rise again in my sinful heart. O my crucified but never wholly mortified    sinfulness! O my life-long damage and daily shame! O my indwelling and besetting sins! O the tormenting slavery of a sinful heart! Destroy, O God, the dark guest within    whose hidden presence makes my life a hell. Yet thou hast not left me here without grace; The cross still stands and meets my needs    in the deepest straits of the soul. I thank thee that my remembrance of it    is like Davids sight of Goliaths sword       which preached forth thy deliverance. The memory of my great sins, my many    temptations, my falls,    bring afresh into my mind the remembrance,       of thy great help, of thy support from heaven,       of the great grace that saved such a wretch          as I am. There is no treasure so wonderful    as that continuous experience of thy grace       toward me which alone can subdue          the risings of sin within: Give me more of it. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). The Gospel According to John14 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.    The three verses we have now read are rich in precious truth. For eighteen centuries they have been peculiarly dear to Christs believing servants in every part of the world. Many are the sick rooms which they have lightened! Many are the dying hearts which they have cheered! Let us see what they contain. We have, first, in this passage a precious remedy against an old disease. That disease is trouble of heart. That remedy is faith. Heart-trouble is the commonest thing in the world. No rank, or class, or condition is exempt from it. No bars, or bolts, or locks can keep it out. Partly from inward causes and partly from outward,partly from the body and partly from the mind,partly from what we love and partly from what we fear, the journey of life is full of trouble. Even the best of Christians have many bitter cups to drink between grace and glory. Even the holiest saints find the world a valley of tears. Faith in the Lord Jesus is the only sure medicine for troubled hearts. To believe more thoroughly, trust more entirely, rest more unreservedly, lay hold more firmly, lean back more completely,this is the prescription which our Master urges on the attention of all His disciples. No doubt the members of that little band which sat round the table at the last supper, had believed already. They had proved the reality of their faith by giving up everything for Christs sake. Yet what does their Lord say to them here? Once more He presses on them the old lesson, the lesson with which they first began: Believe! Believe more! Believe on Me! (Isai. xxvi. 3.) Never let us forget that there are degrees in faith, and that there is a wide difference between weak and strong believers. The weakest faith is enough to give a man a saving interest in Christ, and ought not to be despised, but it will not give a man such inward comfort as a strong faith. Vagueness and dimness of perception are the defect of weak believers. They do not see clearly what they believe and why they believe. In such cases more faith is the one thing needed. Like Peter on the water, they need to look more steadily at Jesus, and less at the waves and wind. Is it not written, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee? (Isai. xxvi. 3.) We have, secondly, in this passage a very comfortable account of heaven, or the future abode of saints. It is but little that we understand about heaven while we are here in the body, and that little is generally taught us in the Bible by negatives much more than positives. But here, at any rate, there are some plain things. Heaven is a Fathers house,the house of that God of whom Jesus says, I go to my Father, and your Father. It is, in a word, home: the home of Christ and Christians. This is a sweet and touching expression. Home, as we all know, is the place where we are generally loved for our own sakes, and not for our gifts or possessions; the place where we are loved to the end, never forgotten, and always welcome. This is one idea of heaven. Believers are in a strange land, and at school, in this life. In the life to come they will be at home. Heaven is a place of mansions,of lasting, permanent, and eternal dwellings. Here in the body we are in temporary lodgings, tents, and tabernacles, and must submit to many changes. In heaven we shall be settled at last, and go out no more. Here we have no continuing city. (Heb. xiii. 14.) Our house not made with hands shall never be taken down. Heaven is a place of many mansions. There will be room for all believers and room for all sorts, for little saints as well as great ones, for the weakest believer as well as for the strongest. The feeblest child of God need not fear there will be no place for him. None will be shut out but impenitent sinners and obstinate unbelievers. Heaven is a place where Christ himself shall be present. He will not be content to dwell without His people:Where I am, there ye shall be also. We need not think that we shall be alone and neglected. Our Saviour,our elder Brother,our Redeemer, who loved us and gave Himself for us, shall be in the midst of us forever. What we shall see, and whom we shall see in heaven, we cannot fully conceive yet, while we are in the body. But one thing is certain: we shall see Christ. Let these things sink down into our minds. To the worldly and careless they may seem nothing at all. To all who feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of God they are full of unspeakable comfort. If we hope to be in heaven it is pleasant to know what heaven is like. We have, lastly, in this passage a solid ground for expecting good things to come. The evil heart of unbelief within us is apt to rob us of our comfort about heaven. We wish we could think it was all true.We fear we shall never be admitted into heaven.Let us hear what Jesus says to encourage us. One cheering word is this,I go to prepare a place for you. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people: a place which we shall find Christ Himself has made ready for true Christians. He has prepared it by procuring a right for every sinner who believes to enter in. None can stop us, and say we have no business there.He has prepared it by going before us as our Head and Representative, and taking possession of it for all the members of His mystical body. As our Forerunner He has marched in, leading captivity captive, and has planted His banner in the land of glory.He has prepared it by carrying our names with Him as our High Priest into the holy of holies, and making angels ready to receive us. Those who enter heaven will find they are neither unknown nor unexpected. Another cheering word is this,I will come again and receive you unto myself. Christ will not wait for believers to come up to Him, but will come down to them, to raise them from their graves and escort them to their heavenly home. As Joseph came to meet Jacob, so will Jesus come to call His people together and guide them to their inheritance. The second advent ought never to be forgotten. Great is the blessedness of looking back to Christ coming the first time to suffer for us, but no less great is the comfort of looking forward to Christ coming the second time, to raise and reward His saints. Let us leave the whole passage with solemnized feelings and serious self-examination. How much they miss who live in a dying world and yet know nothing of God as their Father and Christ as their Saviour! How much they possess who live the life of faith in the Son of God, and believe in Jesus! With all their weaknesses and crosses they have that which the world can neither give nor take away. They have a true Friend while they live, and a true home when they die. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 39, 2010

Lord’s Day 40, 2010

Sunday··2010·10·03
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Hymn 43. Part 1. (L. M.) Jesus our surety and Saviour. 1 Pet. i. 18; Gal. iii. 13; Rom. iv. 25. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) Adam, our father and our head, Transgress’d, and justice doom’d us dead; The fiery law speaks all despair: There’s no reprieve nor pardon there. But, O unutterable grace! The Son of God takes Adam’s place; Down to our world the Saviour flies, Stretches his arms, and bleeds, and dies. Justice was pleas’d to bruise the God, And pay its wrongs with heav’nly blood: What unknown racks and pangs he bore! Then rose; the law could ask no more. Amazing work! look down, ye skies, Wonder and gaze with all your eyes; Ye heav’nly thrones, stoop from above, And bow to this mysterious love. Lo! they adore th’ incarnate Son, And sing the glories he hath won; Sing how he broke our iron chains, How deep he sunk, how high he reigns! Triumph and reign, victorious Lord, By all the flaming hosts ador’d; And say, dear Conqueror, say how long Ere we shall rise to join their song. Send down a chariot from above, With fiery wheels, and pav’d with love Raise us beyond th’ ethereal blue, To sing and love as angels do. —from The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). John 14:4–11 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ’Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” We should mark in these verses how much better Jesus speaks of believers than they speak of themselves. He says to His disciples, “Ye know whither I go, and ye know the way.” And yet Thomas at once breaks in with the remark, “We know neither the whither nor the way.” The apparent contradiction demands explanation. It is more seeming than real. Certainly, in one point of view, the knowledge of the disciples was very small. They knew little before the crucifixion and resurrection compared to what they might have known, and little compared to what they afterwards knew after the day of Pentecost. About our Lord’s purpose in coming into the world, about His sacrificial death and substitution for us on the cross, their ignorance was glaring and great. It might well be said, that they “knew in part” only, and were children in understanding. And yet, in another point of view, the knowledge of the disciples was very great. They knew far more than the great majority of the Jewish nation, and received truths which the Scribes and Pharisees entirely rejected. Compared to the world around them, they were in the highest sense enlightened. They knew and believed that their Master was the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God; and to know Him was the first step towards heaven. All things go by comparison. Before we lightly esteem the disciples because of their ignorance, let us take care that we do not underrate their knowledge. They knew more precious truth than they were aware of themselves. Their hearts were better than their heads. The plain truth is, that all believers are apt to undervalue the work of the Spirit in their own souls, and to fancy they know nothing because they do not know everything. Many true Christians are thought more of in heaven while they live, than they think of themselves, and will find it out to their surprise at the last day. There is One above who takes far more account of heart-knowledge than head-knowledge. Many go mourning all the way to heaven because they know so little, and fancy they will miss the way altogether, and yet have hearts with which God is well pleased. We should mark, secondly, in these verses, what glorious names the Lord Jesus gives Himself. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The fullness of these precious words can probably never be taken in by man. He that attempts to unfold them does little more than scratch the surface of a rich soil. Christ is “the way,”—the way to heaven and peace with God. He is not only the guide, and teacher, and lawgiver, like Moses; He is Himself the door, the ladder, and the road, through whom we must draw near to God. He has opened the way to the tree of life, which was closed when Adam and Eve fell, by the satisfaction He made for us on the cross. Through His blood we may draw near with boldness, and have access with confidence into God’s presence. Christ is “the truth,”—the whole substance of true religion which the mind of man requires. Without Him the wisest heathen groped in gross darkness and knew nothing about God. Before He came even the Jews saw “through a glass darkly,” and discerned nothing distinctly under the types, figures, and ceremonies of the Mosaic law. Christ is the whole truth, and meets and satisfies every desire of the human mind. Christ is “the life,”—the sinner’s title to eternal life and pardon, the believer’s root of spiritual life and holiness, the surety of the Christian’s resurrection life. He that believeth on Christ hath everlasting life. He that abideth in Him, as the branch abides in the vine, shall bring forth much fruit. He that believeth on Him, though he were dead, yet shall he live. The root of all life, for soul and for body, is Christ. Forever let us grasp and hold fast these truths. To use Christ daily as the way,—to believe Christ daily as the truth,—to live on Christ daily as the life,—this is to be a well-informed, a thoroughly furnished and an established Christian. We should mark, thirdly, in these verses, how expressly the Lord Jesus shuts out all ways of salvation but Himself. “No man,” He declares, “No man comes unto the Father but by Me.” It avails nothing that a man is clever, learned, highly gifted, amiable, charitable, kind-hearted, and zealous about some sort of religion. All this will not save his soul if he does not draw near to God by Christ’s atonement, and make use of God’s own Son as his Mediator and Saviour. God is so holy that all men are guilty and debtors in His sight. Sin is so sinful that no mortal man can make satisfaction for it. There must be a mediator, a ransom-payer, a redeemer, between ourselves and God, or else we can never be saved. There is only one door, one bridge, one ladder, between earth and heaven,—the crucified Son of God. Whoever will enter in by that door may be saved; but to him who refuses to use that door the Bible holds out, no hope at all. Without shedding of blood there is no remission. Let us beware, if we love life, of supposing that mere earnestness will take a man to heaven, though he knows nothing of Christ. The idea is a deadly and ruinous error. Sincerity will never wipe away our sins. It is not true that every man will be saved by his own religion, no matter what he believes, so long as he is diligent and sincere. We must not pretend to be wiser than God. Christ has said, and Christ will stand to it, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” We should mark, lastly, in these verses, how close and mysterious is the union of God the Father and God the Son. Four times over this mighty truth is put before us in words that cannot be mistaken. “If ye had known Me, ye would have known my Father.”—“He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”—“I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.”—“The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” Sayings like these are full of deep mystery. We have no eyes to see their meaning fully,—no line to fathom it,—no language to express it,—no mind to take it in. We must be content to believe when we cannot explain, and to admire and revere when we cannot interpret. Let it suffice us to know and hold that the Father is God and the Son is God, and yet that they are one in essence though two distinct Persons,—ineffably one, and yet ineffably distinct. These are high things, and we cannot attain to a full comprehension of them. Let us however take comfort in the simple truth, that Christ is very God of very God; equal with the Father in all things, and One with Him. He who loved us, and shed His blood for us on the cross, and bids us trust Him for pardon, is no mere man like ourselves. He is “God over all, blessed forever,” and able to save to the uttermost the chief of sinners. Though our sins be as scarlet, He can make them white as snow. He that casts his soul on Christ has an Almighty Friend,—a Friend who is One with the Father, and very God. —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 40, 2010

Lords Day 41, 2010

Sunday··2010·10·10
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Hymn XXXI. Ask what I shall give thee. I. Kings iii. 5. John Newton (17251807) Come, my soul, thy suit prepare, Jesus loves to answer prayr, He himself has bid thee pray, Therefore will not say thee nay. Thou art coming to a King, Large petitions with thee bring; For his grace and powr are such, None can ever ask too much. With my burden I begin, Lord, remove this load of sin! Let thy blood, for sinners spilt, Set my conscience free from guilt. Lord! I come to thee for rest, Take possession of my breast; There thy bloodbought right maintain, And without a rival reign. As the image in the glass Answers the beholders face; Thus unto my heart appear, Print thine own resemblance there. While I am a pilgrim here, Let thy love my spirit cheer; As my Guide, my Guard, my Friend, Lead me to my journeys end. Shew me what I have to do, Evry hour my strength renew; Let me live a life of faith, Let me die thy peoples death. —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. John 14:1217Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.    These verses are an example of our Lords tender consideration for the weakness of His disciples. He saw them troubled and faint-hearted at the prospect of being left alone in the world. He cheers them by three promises, peculiarly suited to their circumstances. A word spoken in season, how good is it! We have first in this passage, a striking promise about the works that Christians may do. Our Lord says, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. The full meaning of this promise is not to be sought in the miracles which the Apostles wrought after Christ left the world. Such a notion seems hardly borne out by facts. We read of no Apostle walking on the water, or raising a person four days dead, like Lazarus. What our Lord has in view seems to be the far greater number of conversions, the far wider spread of the Gospel, which would take place under the ministry of the Apostles, than under his own teaching. This was the case, we know from the Acts of the Apostles. We read of no sermon preached by Christ, under which three thousand were converted in one day, as they were on the day of Pentecost. In short, greater works mean more conversions. There is no greater work possible than the conversion of a soul. Let us admire the condescension of our Master in allowing to the ministry of His weak servants more success than to His own. Let us learn that His visible presence is not absolutely necessary to the progress of His kingdom. He can help forward His cause on earth quite as much by sitting at the right hand of the Father, and sending forth the Holy Ghost, as by walking to and fro in the world. Let us believe that there is nothing too hard or too great for believers to do, so long as their Lord intercedes for them in heaven. Let us work on in faith, and expect great things, though we feel weak and lonely, like the disciples. Our Lord is working with us and for us, though we cannot see Him. It was not so much the sword of Joshua that defeated Amalek, as the intercession of Moses on the hill. (Ex. xvii. 11.) We have, secondly, in this passage, a striking promise about things that Christians may get by prayer. Our Lord says, Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do . . . If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. These words are a direct encouragement to the simple, yet great duty of praying. Everyone who kneels daily before God, and from his heart says his prayers, has a right to take comfort in these words. Weak and imperfect as his supplications may be, so long as they are put in Christs hands, and offered in Christs name, they shall not be in vain. We have a Friend at Court, an Advocate with the Father; and if we honor Him by sending all our petitions through Him, He pledges His word that they shall succeed. Of course it is taken for granted that the things we ask are for our souls good, and not mere temporal benefits. Anything and whatsoever do not include wealth, and money, and worldly prosperity. These things are not always good for us, and our Lord loves us too well to let us have them. But whatever is really good for our souls, we need not doubt we shall have, if we ask in Christs name. How is it that many true Christians have so little? How is it that they go halting and mourning on the way to heaven, and enjoy so little peace, and show so little strength in Christs service? The answer is simple and plain. They have not, because they ask not. They have little because they ask little. They are no better than they are, because they do not ask their Lord to make them better. Our languid desires are the reason of our languid performances. We are not straitened in our Lord, but in ourselves. Happy are they who never forget the words, Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Ps. lxxxi. 10.) He that does much for Christ, and leaves his mark in the world, will always prove to be one who prays much. We have, lastly, in this passage, a striking promise about the Holy Ghost. Our Lord says, I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, . . . even the Spirit of truth. This is the first time that the Holy Ghost is mentioned as Christs special gift to His people. Of course we are not to suppose that He did not dwell in the hearts of all the Old Testament saints. But He was given with peculiar influence and power to believers when the New Testament dispensation came in, and this is the special promise of the passage before us. We shall find it useful, therefore, to observe closely the things that are here said about Him. The Holy Ghost is spoken of as a Person. To apply the language before us to a mere influence or inward feeling, is an unreasonable strain of words. The Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of truth. It is His special office to apply truth to the hearts of Christians, to guide them into all truth, and to sanctify them by the truth. The Holy Ghost is said to be one whom the world cannot receive and does not know. His operations are in the strongest sense foolishness to the natural man. The inward feelings of conviction, repentance, faith, hope, fear, and love, which He always produces, are precisely that part of religion which the world cannot understand. The Holy Ghost is said to dwell in believers, and to be known by them. They know the feelings that He creates, and the fruits that He produces, though they may not be able to explain them, or see at first whence they come. But they all are what they are,new men, new creatures, light and salt in the earth, compared to the worldly, by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is given to the Church of the elect, to abide with them until Christ comes the second time. He is meant to supply all the needs of believers, and to fill up all that is lacking while Christs visible presence is removed. He is sent to abide with and help them until Christ returns. These are truths of vast importance. Let us take care that we grasp them firmly, and never let them go. Next to the whole truth about Christ, it concerns our safety and peace to see the whole truth about the Holy Ghost. Any doctrine about the Church, the ministry, or the Sacraments, which obscures the Spirits inward work, or turns it into mere form, is to be avoided as deadly error. Let us never rest until we feel and know that He dwells in us. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. (Rom. viii. 9.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 41, 2010

Lord’s Day 42, 2010

Sunday··2010·10·17
I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1) Petitionary Hymns Poem XXVI. For the Morning. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) My soul, can’st thou no higher rise, To meet thy God, than this? Yet, Lord, accept my sacrifice, Defective as it is. Tune all my organs to thy praise, And psalmist’s muse impart; And with thy penetrating rays, O melt my frozen heart. Give me thyself, the only good, And ever with me stay; Whose faithful mercies are renew’ With each returning day. Ah! guide me with a Father’s eye, Nor from my soul depart; But let the day-star from on high Illuminate my heart. This day preserve me without sin, Protected in thy ways; And hear me while I usher in The welcome dawn with praise. Far as the east from west remove Each earthly vain desire; And raise me on the wings of love, ’Til I can mount no higher. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). John 14:18–20 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” The short passage before us is singularly rich in “precious promises.” Twice our Lord Jesus Christ says, “I will.” Twice He says to believers, “Ye shall.” We learn from this passage, that Christ’s second coming is meant to be the special comfort of believers. He says to His disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Now what is the “coming” here spoken of? It is only fair to say that this is a disputed point among Christians. Many refer it to our Lord’s coming to His disciples after His resurrection. Many refer it to His invisible coming into the hearts of His people by the grace of the Holy Ghost. Many refer it to His coming by the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. It may well be doubted, however, whether any one of these three views conveys the full meaning of our Lord’s words, “I will come.” The true sense of the expression appears to be the second personal coming of Christ at the end of the world. It is a wide, broad, sweeping promise, intended for all believers, in every age, and not for the Apostles alone:—“I will not stay always in heaven: I will one day come back to you.” It is like the message which the angels brought to the disciples after the ascension:—“This same Jesus shall come in like manner as ye have seen Him go.” (Acts. i. 11.) It is like the last promise which winds up the Book of Revelation:—“Surely I come quickly.” (Rev. xxii. 20.) Just in the same way the parting consolation held out to believers, the night before the crucifixion, is a personal return:—“I will come.” Let us settle it in our minds that all believers are comparatively “orphans,” and children in their minority, until the second advent. Our best things are yet to come. Faith has yet to be exchanged for sight, and hope for certainty. Our peace and joy are at present very imperfect. They are as nothing to what we shall have when Christ returns. For the return let us look and long and pray. Let us place it in the forefront of all our doctrinal system, next to the atoning death and the interceding life of our Lord. The highest style of Christians are the men who look for and love the Lord’s appearing. (2 Tim. iv. 8.) We learn for another thing, that Christ’s life secures the life of His believing people. He says, “Because I live ye shall live also.” There is a mysterious and indissoluble union between Christ and every true Christian. The man that is once joined to Him by faith, is as closely united as a member of the body is united to the head. So long as Christ, his Head, lives, so long he will live. He cannot die unless Christ can be plucked from heaven, and Christ’s life destroyed. But this, since Christ is very God, is totally impossible! “Christ being raised from the dead, dies no more: death hath no more dominion over Him.” (Rom. vi. 9.) That which is divine, in the very nature of things, cannot die. Christ’s life secures the continuance of spiritual life to His people. They shall not fall away. They shall persevere unto the end. The divine nature of which they are partakers, shall not perish. The incorruptible seed within them shall not be destroyed by the devil and the world. Weak as they are in themselves, they are closely knit to an immortal Head, and not one member of His mystical body shall ever perish. Christ’s life secures the resurrection life of His people. Just as He rose again from the grave, because death could not hold Him one moment beyond the appointed time, so shall all His believing members rise again in the day when He calls them from the tomb. The victory that Jesus won when He rolled the stone away, and came forth from the tomb, was a victory not only for Himself, but for His people. If the Head rose, much more shall the members. Truths like these ought to be often pondered by true Christians. The careless world knows little of a believer’s privileges. It sees little but the outside of him. It does not understand the secret of his present strength, and of his strong hope of good things to come. And what is that secret? Invisible union with an invisible Saviour in heaven! Each child of God is invisibly linked to the throne of the Rock of Ages. When that throne can be shaken, and not till then, we may despair. But Christ lives, and we shall live also. We learn, finally, from this passage, that full and perfect knowledge of divine things will never be attained by believers until the second advent. Our Lord says, “At that day,” the day of my coming, “you shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.” The best of saints knows but little so long as he is in the body. The fall of our father Adam has corrupted our understandings, as well as our consciences, hearts, and wills. Even after conversion we see through a glass darkly, and on no point do we see so dimly as on the nature of our own union with Christ, and of the union of Christ and the Father. These are matters in which we must be content to believe humbly, and, like little children, to receive on trust the things which we cannot explain. But it is a blessed and cheering thought that when Christ comes again, the remains of ignorance shall be rolled away. Raised from the dead, freed from the darkness of this world, no longer tempted by the devil and tried by the flesh, believers shall see as they have been seen, and know as they have been known. We shall have light enough one day. What we know not now, we shall know hereafter. Let us rest our souls on this comfortable thought, when we see the mournful divisions which rend the Church of Christ. Let us remember that a large portion of them arise from ignorance. We know in part, and therefore misunderstand one another. A day comes when Lutherans shall no longer wrangle with Zwinglians, nor Calvinist with Arminian, nor Churchman with Dissenter. That day is the day of Christ’s second coming. Then and then only will the promise receive its complete fulfillment,—“At that day ye shall know.” —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)]. 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 42, 2010

Lord’s Day 43, 2010

Sunday··2010·10·24
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Christ the Beloved Samuel Davies (1723–1761) Let others let their passions rove Round all the earth, from shore to shore; Since Jesus is my friend and love, My utmost wish can grasp no more. His glories have allured my eye, And into love transformed my heart; To Him my tenderest passions fly; Jesus, nor shall they e’er depart. Upon His friendship I rely, Still of His tender care secure; My wants are all before His eye! Nor can they overcome His pow’r. His presence fills unbounded space; My heavenly friend is always nigh. Full of compassion, rich in grace; Touched with the tenderest sympathy. Faithful and constant is His love, And my ungrateful conduct hides; Safe to the happy world above, The meanest of His friends He guides. Amid the agonies of death, and terrors of the final doom, He saves them from almighty wrath, And leads the helpless pilgrims home. Oh, may an everlasting flame Of love possess my grateful mind! And my last breath adore His name, Who condescends to be my friend! —Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). John 14:21–26 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. 25 These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” We learn from these verses that keeping Christ’s commandments is the best test of love to Christ. This is a lesson of vast importance and one that needs continually pressing on the attention of Christians. It is not talking about religion, and talking fluently and well too, but steadily doing Christ’s will and walking in Christ’s ways, that is the proof of our being true believers. Good feelings and desires are useless if they are not accompanied by action. They may even become mischievous to the soul, induce hardness of conscience, and do certain harm. Passive impressions which do not lead to action, gradually deaden and paralyze the heart. Living and doing are the only real evidence of grace. Where the Holy Ghost is, there will always be a holy life. A jealous watchfulness over tempers, words, and deeds, a constant endeavor to live by the rule of the Sermon on the Mount, this is the best proof that we love Christ. Of course such maxims as these must not be wrested and misunderstood. We are not to suppose for a moment that “keeping Christ’s commandments” can save us. Our best works are full of imperfection. When we have done all we can, we are feeble and unprofitable servants. “By grace are you saved through faith,—not of works.” (Ep. ii. 8.) But while we hold one class of truths, we must not forget another. Faith in the blood of Christ must always be attended by loving obedience to the will of Christ. What the Master has joined together, the disciple must not put asunder. Do we profess to love Christ? Then let us show it by our lives. The Apostle who said, “You know that I love You!” received the charge, “Feed my lambs.” That meant, “Do something. Be useful: follow my example.” (John xxii. 17.) We learn, secondly, from these verses, that there are special comforts laid up for those who love Christ, and prove it by keeping His words. This, at any rate, seems the general sense of our Lord’s language: “My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” The full meaning of this promise, no doubt, is a deep thing. We have no line to fathom it. It is a thing which no man can understand except he that receives and experiences it. But we need not shrink from believing that eminent holiness brings eminent comfort with it, and that no man has such sensible enjoyment of his religion as the man who, like Enoch and Abraham, walks closely with God. There is more of heaven on earth to be obtained than most Christians are aware of. “The secret of the Lord is with them who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.”—“If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me.” (Ps. xxv. 14; Rev. iii. 20.) Promises like these, we may be sure, mean something, and were not written in vain. How is it, people often ask, that so many professing believers have so little happiness in their religion? How is it that so many know little of “joy and peace in believing,” and go mourning and heavy-hearted towards heaven? The answer to these questions is a sorrowful one, but it must be given. Few believers attend as strictly as they should to Christ’s practical sayings and words. There is far too much loose and careless obedience to Christ’s commandments. There is far too much forgetfulness, that while good works cannot justify us they are not to be despised. Let these things sink down into our hearts. If we want to be eminently happy, we must strive to be eminently holy. We learn, lastly, from these verses, that one part of the Holy Ghost’s work is to teach, and to bring things to remembrance. It is written, “The Comforter shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.” To confine this promise to the eleven Apostles, as some do, seems a narrow and unsatisfactory mode of interpreting Scripture. It appears to reach far beyond the day of Pentecost, and the gift of writing inspired books of God’s Holy Word. It is safer, wiser, and more consistent with the whole tone of our Lord’s last discourse, to regard the promise as the common property of all believers, in every age of the world. Our Lord knows the ignorance and forgetfulness of our nature in spiritual things. He graciously declares that when He leaves the world, His people shall have a teacher and remembrancer. Are we sensible of spiritual ignorance? Do we feel that at best we know in part and see in part? Do we desire to understand more clearly the doctrines of the Gospel? Let us pray daily for the help of the “teaching” Spirit. It is His office to illuminate the soul, to open the eyes of the understanding, and to guide us into all truth. He can make dark places light, and rough places smooth. Do we find our memory of spiritual things defective? Do we complain that though we read and hear, we seem to lose as fast as we gain? Let us pray daily for the help of the Holy Ghost. He can bring things to our remembrance. He can make us remember “old things and new.” He can keep in our minds the whole system of truth and duty, and make us ready for every good word and work. —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)]. 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 43, 2010

Lord’s Day 44, 2010

Sunday··2010·10·31
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Beloved Son.Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” —Matt. iii. 17. It is the Father's voice that cries ’Mid the deep silence of the skies, “This, this is my beloved Son, In Him I joy, in Him alone.” In Him my equal see revealed, In Him all righteousness fulfilled; In Him, the Lamb, the victim see, Bound, bleeding, dying on the tree. And can you fail to love again? Far fairer he than sons of men! His very name is fragrance poured, Inmianuel, Jesus, Saviour, Lord! He died, and in his dying, proved How much, how faithfully he loved; At my right hand, his glories shine: Is my beloved, sinner, thine? O full of glory, full of grace, Redeemer of a ruined race, Beloved of the Father, come, Make in these sinful hearts a home! Beloved of the Father, Thou, To whom the saints and angels bow; Lnmanuel, Jesus, Saviour, come, Make in these sinful hearts thy home! —Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 14:27–31 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30 I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.” We ought not to leave the closing portion of this wonderful chapter without noticing one striking feature in it. That feature is the singular frequency with which our Lord uses the expression, “My Father,” and “the Father.” In the last five verses we find it four times. In the whole chapter it occurs no less than twenty-two times. In this respect the chapter stands alone in the Bible. The reason of this frequent use of the expression, is a deep subject. Perhaps the less we speculate and dogmatize about it the better. Our Lord was one who never spoke a word without a meaning, and we need not doubt there was a meaning here. Yet may we not reverently suppose that He desired to leave on the minds of His disciples a strong impression of his entire unity with the Father? Seldom does our Lord lay claim to such high dignity, and such power of giving and supplying comfort to His Church, as in this discourse. Was there not, then, a fitness in His continually reminding His disciples that in all His giving He was one with the Father, and did nothing without the Father? This, at any rate, seems a fair conjecture. Let it be taken for what it is worth. We should observe, for one thing, in this passage, Christ’s last legacy to His people. We find Him saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” Peace is Christ’s distinctive gift: not money, not worldly ease, not temporal prosperity. These are at best very questionable possessions. They often do more harm than good to the soul. They act as clogs and weights to our spiritual life. Inward peace of conscience, arising from a sense of pardoned sin and reconciliation with God, is a far greater blessing. This peace is the property of all believers, whether high or low, rich or poor. The peace which Christ gives He calls “my peace.” It is specially His own to give, because He bought it by His own blood, purchased it by His own substitution, and is appointed by the Father to dispense it to a perishing world. Just as Joseph was sealed and commissioned to give corn to the starving Egyptians, so is Christ specially commissioned, in the counsels of the Eternal Trinity, to give peace to mankind. The peace that Christ gives is not given as the world gives. What He gives the world cannot give at all, and what He gives is given neither unwillingly, nor sparingly, nor for a little time. Christ is far more willing to give than the world is to receive. What He gives He gives to all eternity, and never takes away. He is ready to give abundantly above all that we can ask or think. “Open thy mouth wide,” He says, “and I will fill it.” (Psalm lxxxi. 10.) Who can wonder that a legacy like this should be backed by the renewed emphatic charge, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid?” There is nothing lacking on Christ’s part for our comfort, if we will only come to Him, believe, and receive. The chief of sinners has no cause to be afraid. If we will only look to the one true Saviour, there is medicine for every trouble of heart. Half our doubts and fears arise from dim perceptions of the real nature of Christ’s Gospel. We should observe, for another thing, in this passage, Christ’s perfect holiness. We find Him saying, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” The meaning of these remarkable words admits of only one interpretation. Our Lord would have his disciples know that Satan, “the prince of this world,” was about to make his last and most violent attack on Him. He was mustering all his strength for one more tremendous onset. He was coming up with his utmost malice to try the second Adam in the garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross of Calvary. But our blessed Master declares, “He hath nothing in Me.”—“There is nothing he can lay hold on. There is no weak and defective point in Me. I have kept my Father’s commandment, and finished the work He gave me to do. Satan, therefore, cannot overthrow Me. He can lay nothing to my charge. He cannot condemn Me. I shall come forth from the trial more than conqueror.” Let us mark the difference between Christ and all others who have been born of woman. He is the only one in whom Satan has found “nothing.” He came to Adam and Eve, and found weakness. He came to Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all the saints, and found imperfection. He came to Christ, and found “nothing” at all. He was a Lamb “without blemish and without spot,” a suitable Sacrifice for a world of sinners, a suitable Head for a redeemed race. Let us thank God that we have such a perfect, sinless Saviour; that His righteousness is a perfect righteousness, and His life a blameless life. In ourselves and our doings we shall find everything imperfect; and if we had no other hope than our own goodness, we might well despair. But in Christ we have a perfect, sinless, Representative and Substitute. Well may we say, with the triumphant Apostle, “Who shall lay anything to our charge?” (Rom. vii. 33.) Christ hath died for us, and suffered in our stead. In Him Satan can find nothing. We are hidden in Him. The Father sees us in Him, unworthy as we are, and for His sake is well pleased. —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)]. 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 44, 2010

Lord���s Day 3, 2011

Sunday··2011·01·16
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� " />���Then Whose Shall Those Things Be?��� Christina Rossetti (1830���1894) Oh what is earth, that we should build Our houses here, and seek concealed Poor treasure, and add to the field, And heap to heap, and store to store, Still grasping more and seeking more, While step by step Death nears the door? ���Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). John 16:25���33 These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.��� 29 His disciples said, ���Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. 30 Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.��� 31 Jesus answered them, ���Do you now believe? 32 Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.���    The passage we have now read is a very remarkable portion of Scripture, for two reasons. On the one hand, it forms a suitable conclusion to our Lord���s long parting address to His disciples. It was meet and right that such a solemn sermon should have a solemn ending. On the other hand it contains the most general and unanimous profession of belief that we ever find the Apostles making:������Now are we sure that Thou knowest all things: . . . by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.��� That there are things hard to be understood in the passage it would be useless to deny. But there lie on its surface three plain and profitable lessons, to which we may usefully confine our attention. We learn, for one thing, that clear knowledge of God the Father is one of the foundations of the Christian religion. Our Lord says to His disciples, ���The time cometh when I shall show you plainly of the Father.��� He does not say, we should mark, ���I will show you plainly about myself.��� It is the Father whom He promises to show. The wisdom of this remarkable saying is very deep. There are few subjects of which men know so little in reality as the character and attributes of God the Father. It is not for nothing that it is written, ���No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal Him.��� (Matt. xi. 27.) ���The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.��� (John i. 18.) Thousands fancy they know the Father because they think of Him as great, and almighty, and all-hearing, and wise, and eternal, but they think no further. To think of Him as just and yet the justifier of the sinner who believes in Jesus,���as the God who sent His Son to suffer and die,���as God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself,���as God specially well-pleased with the atoning sacrifice of His Son, whereby His law is honored; to think of God the Father in this way is not given to most men. No wonder that our Master says, ���I will show you plainly of the Father.��� Let it be part of our daily prayers, that we may know more of ���the only true God,��� as well as of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Let us beware alike of the mistakes which some make, who speak of God as if there was no Christ; and of the mistakes which others make, who speak of Christ as if there was no God. Let us seek to know all three Persons in the blessed Trinity, and give to each One the honor due to him. Let us lay hold firmly of the great truth, that the Gospel of our salvation is the result of the eternal counsels of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and that we are as thoroughly debtors to the love of the Father, as to the love of the Spirit, or the love of the Son. No one has learned of Christ so deeply as the man who is ever drawing nearer to the Father through the Son,���ever feeling more childlike confidence in Him,���and ever understanding more thoroughly that in Christ, God is not an angry judge, but a loving Father and Friend. We learn, for another thing, in this passage, that our Lord Jesus Christ makes much of a little grace, and speaks kindly of those who have it. We see Him saying to the disciples: ���The Father Himself loveth you, because ye hath loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.��� How weak was the faith and love of the Apostles! How soon, in a very few hours, they were buried under a cloud of unbelief and cowardice! These very men whom Jesus commends for loving and believing, before the morning sun arose, forsook Him and fled. Yet, weak as their graces were, they were real and true and genuine. They were graces which hundreds of learned priests and scribes and Pharisees never attained, and, not attaining, died miserably in their sins. Let us take great comfort in this blessed truth. The Saviour of sinners will not cast off those who believe in Him, because they are babes in faith and knowledge. He will not break the bruised reed or quench the smoking flax. He can see reality under much infirmity, and where He sees it, He is graciously pleased. The followers of such a Saviour may well be bold and confident. They have a Friend who despises not the least member of His flock, and casts out none who come to Him, however weak and feeble, if they are only true. We learn, for another thing, in this passage, that the best Christians know but little of their own hearts. We see the disciples professing loudly, ���Now Thou speakest plainly,���now we are sure,���now we believe.��� Brave words these! And yet the very men that spoke them, in a very short time were scattered like timid sheep, and left their Master alone. We need not doubt that the profession of the eleven was real and sincere. They honestly meant what they said. But they did not know themselves. They did not know what they were capable of doing under the pressure of the fear of men and of strong temptation. They had not rightly estimated the weakness of the flesh, the power of the devil, the feebleness of their own resolutions, the shallowness of their own faith. All this they had yet to learn by painful experience. Like young recruits, they had yet to learn that it is one thing to know the soldier���s drill and wear the uniform, and quite another thing to be steadfast in the day of battle. Let us mark these things, and learn wisdom. The true secret of spiritual strength is self-distrust and deep humility. ���When I am weak,��� said a great Christian, ���then am I strong.��� (2 Cor. xii. 10.) None of us, perhaps, have the least idea how much we might fall if placed suddenly under the influence of strong temptation. Happy is he who never forgets the words, ���Let him that thinkth he standeth take heed lest he fall;��� and, remembering our Lord���s disciples, prays daily: ���Hold Thou me up and then I shall be safe.��� We learn, lastly, from this passage, that Christ is the true source of peace. We read that our Lord winds up all His discourse with these soothing words: ���These things have I spoken unto you, that ye might have peace.��� The end and scope of His parting address, He would have us know, is to draw us nearer to Himself as the only fountain of comfort. He does not tell us that we shall have no trouble in the world. He holds out no promise of freedom from tribulation, while we are in the body. But He bids us rest in the thought that He has fought our battle and won a victory for us. Though tried, and troubled, and vexed with things here below, we shall not be destroyed. ���Be of good cheer,��� is His parting charge: ���Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.��� Let us lean back our souls on these comfortable words, and take courage. The storms of trial and persecution may sometimes beat heavily on us; but let them only drive us closer to Christ. The sorrows, and losses, and crosses, and disappointments of our life may often make us feel sorely cast down; but let them only make us tighten our hold on Christ. Armed with this very promise let us, under every cross, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Let us often say to our souls, ���Why art thou cast down, and why art thou disquieted?��� And let us often say to our gracious Master,������Lord, didst not Thou say, Be of good cheer? Lord, do as Thou hast said, and cheer us to the end.��� ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord���s Day 3, 2011

Lords Day 4, 2011

Sunday··2011·01·23
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Heart Corruptions O God, May thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to thee. I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me. I am undeserving, but I look to thy tender mercy. I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; thou art full of grace. I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my wilful sin; All my powers of body and soul are defiled; A fountain of pollution is deep within my nature. There are chambers of foul images within my being; I have gone from one odious room to another, walked in a no-mans-land of dangerous    imaginations, pried into the secrets of my fallen nature. I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree, unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt. Lord, dost thou have mercy on me? Thou hast struck a heavy blow at my pride, at the false god of self, and I lie in pieces before thee. But thou hast given me another Master and Lord,    thy Son, Jesus, and now my heart is turned towards holiness, my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to thee. Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride. Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life, from everything that is natural to fallen man, and let Christ’s nature be seen in me day by day. Grant me grace to bear Thy will without repining,    and delight to be not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have    been embedded so long, and lifted from the quarry to the upper air,    where I may be built in Christ for ever. The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). The Gospel According to John17 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. 6 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.    These verses begin one of the most wonderful chapters in the Bible. It is a chapter in which we see our Lord Jesus Christ addressing a long prayer to God the Father. It is wonderful as a specimen of the communion that was ever kept up between the Father and the Son, during the period of the Sons ministry on earth.It is wonderful as a pattern of the intercession which the Son, as an High Priest, is ever carrying on for us in heaven.Not least it is wonderful as an example of the sort of things that believers should mention in prayer. What Christ asks for His people, His people should ask for themselves. It has been well and truly said by an old divine, that the best and fullest sermon ever preached was followed by the best of prayers. It is needless to say that the chapter before us contains many deep things. It could hardly be otherwise. He that reads the words spoken by one Person of the blessed Trinity to another Person, by the Son to the Father, must surely be prepared to find much that he cannot fully understand, much that he has no line to fathom. There are sentences, words, and expressions, in the twenty-six verses of this chapter, which no one probably has ever unfolded completely. We have not minds to do it, or to understand the matters it contains, if we could. But there are great truths in the chapter which stand out clearly and plainly on its face, and to these truths we shall do well to direct our best attention. We should notice, firstly, in these verses, what a glorious account they contain of our Lord Jesus Christs office and dignity. We read that the Father has given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life. The keys of heaven are in Christs hands. The salvation of every soul of mankind is at His disposal.We read, furthermore, that it is life eternal to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. The mere knowledge of God is not sufficient, and saves none. We must know the Son as well as the Father. God known without Christ, is a Being whom we can only fear, and dare not approach. It is God in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, who alone can give to the soul life and peace.We read, furthermore, that Christ has finished the work which the Father gave Him to do. He has finished the work of redemption, and wrought out a perfect righteousness for His people. Unlike the first Adam, who failed to do Gods will and brought sin into the world, the second Adam has done all, and left nothing undone that He came to do.Finally, we read that Christ had glory with the Father before the world was. Unlike Moses and David, He existed from all eternity, long before He came into the world; and He shared glory with the Father, before He was made flesh and born of the Virgin Mary. Each of these marvelous sayings contains matter which our weak minds have not power fully to comprehend. We must be content to admire and reverence what we cannot thoroughly grasp and explain. But one thing is abundantly clear: sayings like these can only be used of one who is very God. To no patriarch, or prophet, or king, or apostle, is any such language ever applied in the Bible. It belongs to none but God. Forever let us thank God that the hope of a Christian rests on such a solid foundation as a Divine Saviour. He to whom we are commanded to flee for pardon, and in whom we are bid to rest for peace, is God as well as man. To all who really think about their souls, and are not careless and worldly, the thought is full of comfort. Such people know and feel that great sinners need a great Saviour, and that no mere human redeemer would meet their needs. Then let them rejoice in Christ, and lean back confidently on Him. Christ has all power, and is able to save to the uttermost, because Christ is divine. Office, power, and pre-existence, all combine to prove that He is God. We should notice, secondly, in these verses, what a gracious account they contain of our Lord Jesus Christs disciples. We find our Lord Himself saying of them, They have kept Thy Word,they have known that all things Thou hast given Me are of Thee,they have received Thy words,they have known surely that I came out from Thee,they have believed that Thou didst send Me. These are wonderful words when we consider the character of the eleven men to whom they were applied. How weak was their faith! How slender their knowledge! How shallow their spiritual attainments! How faint their hearts in the hour of danger! Yet a very little time after Jesus spoke these words they all forsook Him and fled, and one of them denied Him three times with an oath. No one, in short, can read the four Gospels with attention, and fail to see that never had a great master such weak servants as Jesus had in the eleven apostles. Yet these very weak servants were the men of whom the gracious Head of the Church speaks here in high and honorable terms. The lesson before us is full of comfort and instruction. It is evident that Jesus sees far more in His believing people than they see in themselves, or than others see in them. The least degree of faith is very precious in His sight. Though it be no bigger than a grain of mustard seed, it is a plant of heavenly growth, and makes a boundless difference between the possessor of it and the man of the world. Wherever the gracious Saviour of sinners sees true faith in Himself, however feeble, He looks with compassion on many infirmities, and passes by many defects. It was even so with the eleven apostles. They were weak and unstable as water; but they believed and loved their Master when millions refused to own Him. And the language of Him who declared that a cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple should not lose its reward, shows clearly that their loyalty was not forgotten. The true servant of God should mark well the feature in Christs character which is here brought out, and rest his soul upon it. The best among us must often see in himself a vast amount of defects and infirmities, and must feel ashamed of his poor attainments in religion. But do we simply believe in Jesus? Do we cling to Him, and roll all our burdens on Him? Can we say with sincerity and truth, as Peter said afterwards, Lord, Thou knowest all things: Thou knowest that I love Thee? Then let us take comfort in the words of Christ before us, and not give way to despondency. The Lord Jesus did not despise the eleven because of their feebleness, but bore with them and saved them to the end, because they believed. And He never changes. What He did for them, He will do for us. J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 4, 2011

Lord���s Day 7, 2011

Sunday··2011·02·13
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Hymn XLVII. The believer���s safety. Psalm xci. John Newton (1725���1807) Incarnate God! the soul that knows Thy name���s mysterious pow���r; Shall dwell in undisturb���d repose, Nor fear the trying hour. Thy wisdom, faithfulness and love,    To feeble helpless worms; A buckler and a refuge prove,    From enemies and storms. In vain the fowler spreads his net,    To draw them from thy care; Thy timely call instructs their feet,    To shun the artful snare. When like a baneful pestilence,    Sin mows its thousands down On ev���ry side, without defence,    Thy grace secures thine own. No midnight terrors haunt their bed,    No arrow wounds by day; Unhurt on serpents they shall tread,    If found in duty���s way. Angels, unseen, attend the saints,    And bear them in their arms; To cheer the spirit when it faints,    And guard the life from harms. The angels��� Lord, himself is nigh,    To them that love his name; Ready to save them when they cry,    And put their foes to shame. Crosses and changes are their lot,    Long as they sojourn here; But since their Saviour changes not,    What have the saints to fear? —from Olney Hymns. Book I: On select Passages of Scripture. The Gospel According to John 18 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. 2 Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. 3 Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, ���Whom do you seek?��� 5 They answered Him, ���Jesus the Nazarene.��� He said to them, ���I am He.��� And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. 6 So when He said to them, ���I am He,��� they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Therefore He again asked them, ���Whom do you seek?��� And they said, ���Jesus the Nazarene.��� 8 Jesus answered, ���I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,��� 9 to fulfill the word which He spoke, ���Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.��� 10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest���s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave���s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, ���Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?���    These verses begin St. John���s account of Christ���s sufferings and crucifixion. We now enter on the closing scene of our Lord���s ministry, and pass at once from His intercession to His sacrifice. We shall find that, like the other Gospel-writers, the beloved disciple enters fully into the story of the cross. But we shall also find, if we read carefully, that he mentions several interesting points in the story, which Matthew, Mark, and Luke, for some wise reasons, have passed over. We should notice, first, in these verses, the exceeding hardness of heart to which a backsliding professor may attain. We are told that Judas, one of the twelve Apostles, became guide to them that took Jesus. We are told that he used his knowledge of the place of our Lord���s retirement, in order to bring His deadly enemies upon Him; and we are told that when the band of men and officers approached his Master, in order to take Him prisoner, Judas ���stood with them.��� Yet this was a man who for three years had been a constant companion of Christ, had seen His miracles, had heard His sermons, had enjoyed the benefit of His private instruction, had professed himself a believer, had even worked and preached in Christ���s name!������Lord,��� we may well say, ���what is man?��� From the highest degree of privilege down to the lowest depth of sin, there is but a succession of steps. Privileges misused seem to paralyze the conscience. The same fire that melts wax, will harden clay. Let us beware of resting our hopes of salvation on religious knowledge, however great; or religious advantages, however many. We may know all doctrinal truth and be able to teach others, and yet prove rotten at heart, and go down to the pit with Judas. We may bask in the full sunshine of spiritual privileges, and hear the best of Christian teaching, and yet bear no fruit to God���s glory, and be found withered branches of the vine, only fit to be burned. ���Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.��� (1 Cor. x. 12.) Above all, let us beware of cherishing within our hearts any secret besetting sin, such as love of money or love of the world. One faulty link in a chain-cable may cause a shipwreck. One little leak may sink a ship. One allowed and unmortified sin may ruin a professing Christian. Let him that is tempted to be a careless man in his religious life, consider these things, and take care. Let him remember Judas Iscariot. His history is meant to be a lesson. We should notice, secondly, in these verses, the entire voluntariness of Christ���s sufferings. We are told that the first time that our Lord said to the soldiers, ���I am He, they went backward, and fell to the ground.��� A secret invisible power, no doubt, accompanied the words. In no other way can we account for a band of hardy Roman soldiers falling prostrate before a single unarmed man. The same miraculous influence which tied the priests and Pharisees powerless at the triumphant entry into Jerusalem,���which stopped all opposition when the temple was purged of buyers and sellers,���that same mysterious influence was present now. A real miracle was wrought, though few had eyes to see it. At the moment when our Lord seemed weak, He showed that He was strong. Let us carefully remember that our blessed Lord suffered and died of His own free will. He did not die because He could not help it; He did not suffer because He could not escape. All the soldiers of Pilate���s army could not have taken Him, if He had not been willing to be taken. They could not have hurt a hair of His head, if He had not given them permission. But here, as in all His earthly ministry, Jesus was a willing sufferer. He had set His heart on accomplishing our redemption. He loved us, and gave Himself for us, cheerfully, willingly, gladly, in order to make atonement for our sins. It was ���the joy set before Him��� which made Him endure the cross, and despise the shame, and yield Himself up without reluctance into the hands of His enemies. Let this thought abide in our hearts, and refresh our souls. We have a Saviour who was far more willing to save us than we are willing to be saved. If we are not saved, the fault is all our own. Christ is just as willing to receive and pardon, as He was willing to be taken prisoner, to bleed, and to die. We should notice, thirdly, in these verses, our Lord���s tender care for His disciples��� safety. Even at this critical moment, when His own unspeakable sufferings were about to begin, He did not forget the little band of believers who stood around Him. He remembered their weakness. He knew how little fit they were to go into the fiery furnace of the High Priest���s Palace, and Pilate���s judgment-hall. He mercifully makes for them a way of escape.������If ye seek Me, let those go their way.������It seems most probable that here also a miraculous influence accompanied his words. At any rate, not a hair of the disciples��� heads was touched. While the Shepherd was taken, the sheep were allowed to flee away unharmed. We need not hesitate to see in this incident an instructive type of all our Saviour���s dealings with His people even at this day. He will not suffer them ���to be tempted above that which they are able to bear.��� He will hold the winds and storms in His hands, and not allow believers, however sifted and buffeted, to be utterly destroyed. He watches tenderly over every one of His children, and, like a wise physician, measures out the right quantity of their trials with unerring skill. ���They shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of His hand.��� (John x. 28.) Forever let us lean our souls on this precious truth. In the darkest hour the eye of the Lord Jesus is upon us, and our final safety is sure. We should notice, lastly, in these verses, our Lord���s perfect submission to his Father���s will. Once, in another place, we find Him saying, ���If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.��� Again, in another place, we find Him saying, ���If this cup may not pass away from Me except I drink it, Thy will be done.��� Here, however, we find even a higher pitch of cheerful acquiescence: ���The cup that my Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?��� (Matt. xxvi. 39���42.) Let us see in this blessed frame of mind, a pattern for all who profess and call themselves Christians. Far as we may come short of the Master���s standard, let this be the mark at which we continually aim. Determination to have our own way, and do only what we like, is one great source of unhappiness in the world. The habit of laying all our matters before God in prayer, and asking Him to choose our portion, is one chief secret of peace. He is the truly wise man who has learned to say at every stage of his journey, ���Give me what Thou wilt, place me where Thou wilt, do with me as Thou wilt; but not my will, but Thine be done.��� This is the man who has the mind of Christ. By self-will Adam and Eve fell, and brought sin and misery into the world. Entire submission of will to the will of God is the best preparation for that heaven where God will be all. ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord���s Day 7, 2011

Lord’s Day 9, 2011

Sunday··2011·02·27
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” The Substitute. [My preferred tune: Crucifix] Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) “Jesu, plene caritate, Manus tuæ perforatæ Laxent mea crimina; Latus tuum lanceatum, Caput spinus coronatum, Hæc sint medicamina.” —Old Hymn.I lay my sins on Jesus, The spotless Lamb of God; He bears them all, and frees us From the accursèd load; I bring my guilt to Jesus, To wash my crimson stains White in His blood most precious, Till not a stain remains. I lay my wants on Jesus;All fullness dwells in Him;He heals all my diseases,He doth my soul redeem:I lay my griefs on Jesus,My burdens and my cares;He from them all releases,He all my sorrows shares. I rest my soul on Jesus,This weary soul of mine;His right hand me embraces,I on His breast recline.I love the Name of Jesus,Immanuel, Christ, the Lord;Like fragrance on the breezesHis Name abroad is poured. I long to be like Jesus,Meek, loving, lowly, mild;I long to be like Jesus,The Father’s holy Child:I long to be with Jesus,Amid the heavenly throng,To sing with saints His praises,To learn the angels’ song.—Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 18:28–40 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. 29 Therefore Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” 30 They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.” 31 So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,” 32 to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. 33 Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him. 39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” 40 So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber. The verses we have now read contain four striking points, which are only found in St. John’s narrative of Christ’s passion. We need not doubt that there were good reasons why Matthew, Mark, and Luke were not inspired to record them. But they are points of such deep interest, that we should feel thankful that they have been brought forward by St. John. The first point that we should notice is the false conscientiousness of our Lord’s wicked enemies. We are told that the Jews who brought Christ before Pilate would not go into “the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.” That was scrupulosity indeed! These hardened men were actually engaged in doing the wickedest act that mortal man ever did. They wanted to kill their own Messiah. And yet at this very time they talked of being “defiled,” and were very particular about the passover! The conscience of unconverted men is a very curious part of their moral nature. While in some cases it becomes hardened, seared, and dead, until it feels nothing; in others it becomes morbidly scrupulous about the lesser matters of religion. It is no uncommon thing to find people excessively particular about the observance of trifling forms and outward ceremonies, while they are the slaves of degrading sins and detestable immoralities. Robbers and murderers in some countries are extremely strict about confession, and absolution, and prayers to saints. Fastings and self-imposed austerities in Lent, are often followed by excess of worldliness when Lent is over. There is but a step from Lent to Carnival. The attendants at daily services in the morning are not infrequently the patrons of balls and theaters at night. All these are symptoms of spiritual disease, and a heart secretly dissatisfied. Men who know they are wrong in one direction, often struggle to make things right by excess of zeal in another direction. That very zeal is their condemnation. Let us pray that our consciences may always be enlightened by the Holy Ghost, and that we may be kept from a one-sided and deformed Christianity. A religion that makes a man neglect the weightier matters of daily holiness and separation from the world, and concentrate his whole attention on forms, sacraments, ceremonies, and public services, is to say the least, very suspicious. It may be accompanied by immense zeal and show of earnestness, but it is not sound in the sight of God. The Pharisees paid tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and compassed sea and land to make proselytes, while they neglected “judgment, mercy, and faith.” (Matt. xxiii. 23.) The very Jews who thirsted for Christ’s blood were the Jews who feared the defilement of a Roman judgment hall, and made much ado about keeping the passover! Let their conduct be a beacon to Christians, as long as the world stands. That religion is worth little which does not make us say, “I esteem all Your commandments concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way.” (Ps. cxix. 128.) That Christianity is worthless which makes us compound for the neglect of heart religion and practical holiness, by an extravagant zeal for man-made ceremonies or outward forms. The second point that we should notice in these verses, is the account that our Lord Jesus Christ gives of His kingdom. He says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” These famous words have been so often perverted and wrested out of their real sense, that their true meaning has been almost buried under a heap of false interpretations. Let us make sure that we know what they mean. Our Lord’s main object in saying “My kingdom is not of this world,” was to inform Pilate’s mind concerning the true nature of His kingdom, and to correct any false impression he might have received from the Jews. He tells him that He did not come to set up a kingdom which would interfere with the Roman Government. He did not aim at establishing a temporal power, to be supported by armies and maintained by taxes. The only dominion He exercised was over men’s hearts, and the only weapons that His subjects employed were spiritual weapons. A kingdom which required neither money nor servants for its support, was one of which the Roman Emperors need not be afraid. In the highest sense it was a kingdom “not of this world.” But our Lord did not intend to teach that the kings of this world have nothing to do with religion, and ought to ignore God altogether in the government of their subjects. No such idea, we may be sure, was in His mind. He knew perfectly well that it was written, “By Me kings reign” (Prov. viii. 15), and that kings are as much required to use their influence for God, as the meanest of their subjects. He knew that the prosperity of kingdoms is wholly dependent on the blessing of God, and that kings are as much bound to encourage righteousness and godliness, as to punish unrighteousness and immorality. To suppose that He meant to teach Pilate that, in His judgment, an infidel might be as good a king as a Christian, and a man like Gallio as good a ruler as David or Solomon, is simply absurd. Let us carefully hold fast the true meaning of our Lord’s words in these latter days. Let us never be ashamed to maintain that no Government can expect to prosper which refuses to recognize religion, which deals with its subjects as if they had no souls, and cares not whether they serve God, or Baal, or no God at all. Such a Government will find, sooner or later, that its line of policy is suicidal, and damaging to its best interests. No doubt the kings of this world cannot make men Christians by laws and statutes. But they can encourage and support Christianity, and they will do so if they are wise. The kingdom where there is the most industry, temperance, truthfulness, and honesty, will always be the most prosperous of kingdoms. The king who wants to see these things abound among his subjects, should do all that lies in his power to help Christianity and to discourage irreligion. The third point that we should notice in these verses is the account that our Lord gives of His own mission. He says, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” Of course we are not to suppose our Lord meant that this was the only end of His mission. No doubt He spoke with special reference to what He knew was passing through Pilate’s mind. He did not come to win a kingdom with the sword, and to gather adherents and followers by force. He came armed with no other weapon but “truth.” To testify to fallen man the truth about God, about sin, about the need of a Redeemer, about the nature of holiness,—to declare and lift up before man’s eyes this long lost and buried “truth,”—was one great purpose of His ministry. He came to be God’s witness to a lost and corrupt world. That the world needed such a testimony, He does not shrink from telling the proud Roman Governor. And this is what Paul had in view, when he tells Timothy, that “before Pontius Pilate Christ witnessed a good confession.” (1 Tim. vi. 13.) The servants of Christ in every age must remember that our Lord’s conduct in this place is meant to be their example. Like Him we are to be witnesses to God’s truth, salt in the midst of corruption, light in the midst of darkness, men and women not afraid to stand alone, and to testify for God against the ways of sin and the world. To do so may entail on us much trouble, and even persecution. But the duty is clear and plain. If we love life, if we would keep a good conscience, and be owned by Christ at the last day, we must be “witnesses.” It is written, “Whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark viii. 38.) The last point that we should notice in these verses is the question that Pontius Pilate addressed to our Lord. We are told that when our Lord spoke of the truth, the Roman Governor replied, “What is truth?” We are not told with what motive this question was asked, nor does it appear on the face of the narrative that he who asked it waited for an answer. It seems far more likely that the saying was the sarcastic, sneering exclamation of one who did not believe that there was any such thing as “truth.” It sounds like the language of one who had heard, from his earliest youth, so many barren speculations about “truth” among Roman and Greek philosophers, that he doubted its very existence. “Truth indeed! What is truth?” Melancholy as it may appear, there are multitudes in every Christian land whose state of mind is just like that of Pilate. Hundreds, it may be feared among the upper classes, are continually excusing their own irreligion by the specious plea that, like the Roman Governor, they cannot find out “what is truth.” They point to the endless controversies of Romanists and Protestants, of High Churchmen and Low Churchmen, of Churchmen and Dissenters, and pretend to say that they do not understand who is right and who is wrong. Sheltered under this favorite excuse, they pass through life without any decided religion, and in this wretched, comfortless state, too often die. But is it really true that truth cannot be discovered? Nothing of the kind! God never left any honest, diligent inquirer without light and guidance. Pride is one reason why many cannot discover truth. They do not humbly go down on their knees and earnestly ask God to teach them.—Laziness is another reason. They do not honestly take pains, and search the Scriptures. The followers of unhappy Pilate, as a rule, do not deal fairly and honestly with their consciences. Their favorite question,—What is truth?—is nothing better than a pretense and an excuse. The words of Solomon will be found true as long as the world stands: “If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up your voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” (Prov. ii. 4, 5.) No man ever followed that advice and missed the way to heaven. —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012).
continue reading Lord’s Day 9, 2011

Lord���s Day 10, 2011

Sunday··2011·03·06
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� " />���All Flesh Is Grass��� Christina Rossetti (1830���1894) So brief a life, and then an endless life Or endless death; So brief a life, then endless peace or strife: Whoso considereth How man but like a flower Or shoot of grass Blooms an hour, Well may sigh ���Alas!��� So brief a life and then endless grief    Or endless joy; So brief a life, then ruin or relief:    What solace, what annoy Of Time needs dwelling on?    It is, it was, It is done,    While we sigh ���Alas!��� Yet saints are singing in a happy hope    Forecasting pleasure, Bright eyes of faith enlarging all their scope;    Saints love beyond Time���s measure: Where love is, there is bliss    That will not pass; Where love is,    Dies away ���Alas!��� ���Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). The Gospel According to John 19 Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; 3 and they began to come up to Him and say, ���Hail, King of the Jews!��� and to give Him slaps in the face. 4 Pilate came out again and said to them, ���Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.��� 5 Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ���Behold, the Man!��� 6 So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, ���Crucify, crucify!��� Pilate said to them, ���Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.��� 7 The Jews answered him, ���We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.��� 8 Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; 9 and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, ���Where are You from?��� But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, ���You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?��� 11 Jesus answered, ���You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.��� 12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, ���If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.��� 13 Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour And he said to the Jews, ���Behold, your King!��� 15 So they cried out, ���Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!��� Pilate said to them, ���Shall I crucify your King?��� The chief priests answered, ���We have no king but Caesar.��� 16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.    These verses exhibit to our eyes a wonderful picture, a picture which ought to be deeply interesting to all who profess and call themselves Christians. Like every great historical picture, it contains special points on which we should fix our special attention. Above all, it contains three life-like portraits, which we shall find it useful to examine in order. The first portrait in the picture is that of our Lord Jesus Christ himself. We see the Saviour of mankind scourged, crowned with thorns, mocked, smitten, rejected by His own people, unjustly condemned by a judge who saw no fault in Him, and finally delivered up to a most painful death. Yet this was He who was the eternal Son of God, whom the Father���s countless angels delighted to honor. This was He who came into the world to save sinners, and after living a blameless life for thirty years, spent the last three years of His time on earth in going about doing good, and preaching the Gospel. Surely the sun never shone on a more wondrous sight since the day of its creation! Let us admire that love of Christ which St. Paul declares, ���passeth knowledge,��� and let us see an endless depth of meaning in the expression. There is no earthly love with which it can be compared, and no standard by which to measure it. It is a love that stands alone. Never let us forget when we ponder this tale of suffering, that Jesus suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust, that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, and that with His stripes we are healed. Let us diligently follow the example of His patience in all the trials and afflictions of life, and specially in those which may be brought upon us by religion. When He was reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. Let us arm ourselves with the same mind. Let us consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners without a murmur, and strive to glorify Him by suffering well, no less than by doing well. The second portrait in the picture before us, is that of the unbelieving Jews who favored our Lord���s death. We see them for three or four long hours obstinately rejecting Pilate���s offer to release our Lord,���fiercely demanding His crucifixion, savagely claiming His condemnation to death as a right,���persistently refusing to acknowledge Him as their King,���declaring that they had no King but Caesar,���and finally accumulating on their own heads the greater part of the guilt of His murder. Yet, these were the children of Israel and the seed of Abraham, to whom pertained the promises and the Mosaic ceremonial, the temple sacrifices and the temple priesthood. These were men who professed to look for a Prophet like unto Moses, and a son of David who was to set up a kingdom as Messiah. Never, surely, was there such an exhibition of the depth of human wickedness since the day when Adam fell. Let us mark with fear and trembling the enormous danger of long-continued rejection of light and knowledge. There is such a thing as judicial blindness; and it is the last and sorest judgment which God can send upon men. He who, like Pharaoh and Ahab, is often reproved but refuses to receive reproof, will finally have a heart harder than the nether mill-stone, and a conscience past feeling, and seared as with a hot iron. This was the state of the Jewish nation during the time of our Lord���s ministry; and the heading up of their sin was their deliberate rejection of Him, when Pilate desired to let Him go. From such judicial blindness may we all pray to be delivered! There is no worse judgment from God than to be left to ourselves, and given over to our own wicked hearts and the devil. There is no surer way to bring that judgment upon us than to persist in refusing warnings and sinning against light. These words of Solomon are very awful: ���Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock you when your fear cometh.��� (Prov. i. 24���26.) Never let it be forgotten, that, like the Jews, we may at length be given up to strong delusion, so that we believe lies, and think that we are doing God service while we are committing sin. (2 Thess. ii. 11.) The third, and last portrait in the picture before us, is that of Pontius Pilate. We see a Roman Governor,���a man of rank and high position,���an imperial representative of the most powerful nation on earth,���a man who ought to have been the fountain of justice and equity,���halting between two opinions in a case as clear as the sun at noonday. We see him knowing what was right, and yet afraid to act up to his knowledge,���convinced in his own conscience that he ought to acquit the prisoner before him, and yet afraid to do it lest he should displease His accusers,���sacrificing the claims of justice to the base fear of man,���sanctioning from sheer cowardice, an enormous crime,���and finally countenancing, from love of man���s good opinion, the murder of an innocent person. Never perhaps did human nature make such a contemptible exhibition. Never was there a name so justly handed down to a world���s scorn as the name which is embalmed in all our creeds,���the name of Pontius Pilate. Let us learn what miserable creatures great men are, when they have no high principles within them, and no faith in the reality of a God above them. The meanest laborer who has grace and fears God, is a nobler being in the eyes of his Creator than the King, ruler, or statesman, whose first aim it is to please the people. To have one conscience in private and another in public,���one rule of duty for our own souls, and another for our public actions,���to see clearly what is right before God, and yet for the sake of popularity to do wrong,���this may seem to some both right, and politic, and statesmanlike, and wise. But it is a character which no Christian man can ever regard with respect. Let us pray that our own country may never be without men in high places who have grace to think right, and courage to act up to their knowledge, without truckling to the opinion of men. Those who fear God more than man, and care for pleasing God more than man, are the best rulers of a nation, and in the long run of years are always most respected. Men like Pontius Pilate, who are always trimming and compromising, led by popular opinion instead of leading popular opinion, afraid of doing right if it gives offence, ready to do wrong if it makes them personally popular, such men are the worst governors that a country can have. They are often God���s heavy judgment on a nation because of a nation���s sins. ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord���s Day 10, 2011

Lord���s Day 11, 2011

Sunday··2011·03·13 · 1 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Self-Deprecation O Lord, My every sense, member, faculty, affection, is a snare to me, I can scarce open my eyes but I envy those    above me, or despise those below. I covet honour and riches of the mighty, and am proud and unmerciful to the rags    of others; If I behold beauty it is a bait to lust, or see deformity, it stirs up loathing and disdain; How soon do slanders, vain jests, and wanton speeches creep into my heart! Am I comely? what fuel for pride! Am I deformed? what an occasion for repining! Am I gifted? I lust after applause! Am I unlearned? how I despise what I have not! Am in authority? how prone to abuse my trust, make will my law, exclude others��� enjyments,    serve my own interests and policy! Am I inferior? how much I grudge others��� pre-eminence! Am I rich? how exalted I become! Thou knowest that all these are snares by my corruptions, and that my greatest snare is myself. I bewail that my apprehensions are dull, my thoughts mean, my affections stupid, my expressions low, my life unbeseeming; Yet what canst thou expect of dust but levity, of corruption but defilement? Keep me ever mindful of my natural state, but let me not forget my heavenly title, or the grace that can deal with every sin. ���The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). John 19:17���27 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, ���Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.��� 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, ���Do not write, ���The King of the Jews���; but that He said, ���I am King of the Jews.������ 22 Pilate answered, ���What I have written I have written.��� 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 So they said to one another, ���Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be���; this was to fulfill the Scripture: ���They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.��� 25 Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother���s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ���Woman, behold, your son!��� 27 Then He said to the disciple, ���Behold, your mother!��� From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.    He that can read a passage like this without a deep sense of man���s debt to Christ, must have a very cold, or a very thoughtless heart. Great must be the love of the Lord Jesus to sinners, when He could voluntarily endure such sufferings for their salvation. Great must be the sinfulness of sin, when such an amount of vicarious suffering was needed in order to provide redemption. We should observe, first, in this passage, how our Lord had to bear His cross when He went forth from the city to Golgotha. We need not doubt that there was a deep meaning in all this circumstance. For one thing, it was part of that depth of humiliation to which our Lord submitted as our substitute. One portion of the punishment imposed on the vilest criminals, was that they should carry their own cross when they went to execution; and this portion was laid upon our Lord. In the fullest sense He was reckoned a sinner, and counted a curse for our sakes.���For another thing, it was a fulfillment of the great type of the sin-offering of the Mosaic law. It is written, that ���The bullock for the sin-offering, and the goat for the sin-offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp.��� (Lev. xvii. 27.) Little did the blinded Jews imagine, when they madly hounded on the Romans to crucify Jesus outside the gates, that they were unconsciously perfecting the mightiest sin-offering that was ever seen. It is written, ���Jesus, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.��� (Heb. xiii. 12.) The practical lesson which all true Christians should gather from the fact before us, is one that should be kept in continual remembrance. Like our Master, we must be content to go forth ���outside the camp,��� bearing His reproach. We must come out from the world and be separate, and be willing, if need be, to stand alone. Like our Master, we must be willing to take up our cross daily, and to be persecuted both for our doctrine and our practice. Well would it be for the Church if there was more of the true cross to be seen among Christians! To wear material crosses as an ornament, to place material crosses on churches and tombs, all this is cheap and easy work, and entails no trouble. But to have Christ���s cross in our hearts, to carry Christ���s cross in our daily walk, to know the fellowship of His sufferings, to be made conformable to His death, to have crucified affections, and live crucified lives,���all this needs self-denial; and Christians of this stamp are few and far between. Yet, this, we may be sure, is the only cross-bearing and cross-carrying that does good in the world. The times require less of the cross outwardly and more of the cross within. We should observe, secondly, in this passage, how our Lord was crucified as a King. The title placed over our Lord���s head made this plain and unmistakable. The reader of Greek, or Latin, or Hebrew, could not fail to see that He who hung on the central cross of the three on Golgotha, had a royal title over His head. The overruling hand of God so ordered matters, that the strong will of Pilate overrode for once the wishes of the malicious Jews. In spite of the chief priests, our Lord was crucified as ���the King of the Jews.��� It was meet and right that so it should be. Even before our Lord was born, the angel Gabriel declared to the Virgin Mary, ���The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.��� (Luke i. 32, 33.) Almost as soon as He was born, there came wise men from the East, saying, ���Where is He that is born King of the Jews?��� (Matt. ii. 2.) The very week before the crucifixion, the multitude who accompanied our Lord at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, had cried, ���Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.��� (John xii. 13.) The current belief of all godly Jews was, that when Messiah, the Son of David came, He would come as a King. A kingdom of heaven and a kingdom of God was continually proclaimed by our Lord throughout His ministry. A King indeed He was, as He told Pilate, of a kingdom utterly unlike the kingdoms of this world, but for all that a true King of a true kingdom, and a Ruler of true subjects. As such He was born. As such He lived. As such He was crucified. And as such He will come again, and reign over the whole earth, King of kings and Lord of lords. Let us take care that we ourselves know Christ as our King, and that His kingdom is set up within our hearts. They only will find Him their Saviour at the last day, who have obeyed Him as King in this world. Let us cheerfully pay Him that tribute of faith, and love, and obedience, which He prizes far above gold. Above all, let us never be afraid to own ourselves His faithful subjects, soldiers, servants and followers, however much He may be despised by the world. A day will soon come when the despised Nazarene who hung on the cross, shall take to Himself His great power and reign, and put down every enemy under His feet. The kingdoms of this world, as Daniel foretold, shall be swept aside, and become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ. And at last every knee shall bow to Him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. We should observe, lastly, in these verses, how tenderly our Lord took thought for Mary, His mother. We are told that even in the awful agonies of body and mind which our Lord endured, He did not forget her of whom He was born. He mercifully remembered her desolate condition, and the crushing effect of the sorrowful sight before her. He knew that, holy as she was, she was only a woman, and that, as a woman, she must deeply feel the death of such a Son. He therefore commended her to the protection of His best-loved and best-loving disciple, in brief and touching words: ���Woman,��� He said, ���behold thy son! Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.��� We surely need no stronger proof than we have here, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was never meant to be honored as divine, or to be prayed to, worshiped, and trusted in, as the friend and patroness of sinners. Common sense points out that she who needed the care and protection of another, was never likely to help men and women to heaven, or to be in any sense a mediator between God and man! It is not too much to say, however painful the assertion, that of all the inventions of the Church of Rome, there never was one more utterly devoid of foundation, both in Scripture and reason, than the doctrine of Mary-worship. Let us turn from points of controversy to a subject of far more practical importance. Let us take comfort in the thought that we have in Jesus a Saviour of matchless tenderness, matchless sympathy, matchless concern for the condition of His believing people. Let us never forget His words, ���Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.��� (Mark iii. 35.) The heart that even on the cross felt for Mary, is a heart that never changes. Jesus never forgets any who love Him, and even in their worst estate remembers their need. No wonder that Peter says, ���Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.��� (1 Pet. v. 7.) ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord���s Day 11, 2011

Lords Day 13, 2011

Sunday··2011·03·27
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Petitionary Hymns Poem XXIX. Hab. ii. 14. For the Earth shall be filled, &c. Augustus Toplady (17401778) Bring thy kingdom, Lord, make haste, Bring on the glorious day, From the greatest to the least, When all shall own thy sway: When the convert world with grief, Shall see the error of their ways, Lay aside their unbelief, And yield unto thy grace. In thy gospel-chariot, Lord,    Drive through earths utmost bound; spread the odour of thy word    Through all the nations round: Fill the darkend earth with Light,    Thine own victorious cause advance; Take the heathen as the right    Of thine inheritance. In our Day expose to view,    The standard of the lamb; Bid the Nations flock thereto,    Who never knew thy name: Let them quit the downward road,    Compelld thy saying to receive; Turnd from Satan unto God,    With one consent believe. The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). John 19:3842 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. There is a peculiar interest attached to these five verses of Scripture. They introduce us to a stranger, of whom we never heard before. They bring in an old friend, whose name is known wherever the Bible is read. They describe the most important funeral that ever took place in this world. From each of these three points of interest we may learn a very profitable lesson. We learn, for one thing, from these verses, that there are some true Christians in the world of whom very little is known. The case of Joseph of Arimathæa teaches this very plainly. Here is a man named among the friends of Christ, whose very name we never find elsewhere in the New Testament, and whose history, both before and after this crisis, is completely withheld from the Church. He comes forward to do honor to Christ, when the Apostles had forsaken Him and fled. He cares for Him and delights to do Him service, even when dead,not because of any miracle which he saw Him do, but out of free and gratuitous love. He does not hesitate to confess himself one of Christs friends, at a time when Jews and Romans alike had condemned Him as a malefactor, and put Him to death. Surely the man who could do such things must have had strong faith! Can we wonder that, wherever the Gospel is preached, throughout the whole world, this pious action of Joseph is told of as a memorial of him? Let us hope and believe that there are many Christians in every age, who, like Joseph, are the Lords hidden servants, unknown to the Church and the world, but well known to God. Even in Elijahs time there were seven thousand in Israel who had never bowed the knee to Baal, although the desponding prophet knew nothing of it. Perhaps, at this very day, there are saints in the back streets of some of our great towns, or in the lanes of some of our country parishes, who make no noise in the world, and yet love Christ and are loved by Him. Ill-health, or poverty, or the daily cares of some laborious calling, render it impossible for them to come forward in public; and so they live and die comparatively unknown. Yet the last day may show an astonished world that some of these very people, like Joseph, honored Christ as much as any on earth, and that their names were written in heaven. After all, it is special circumstances that bring to the surface special Christians. It is not those who make the greatest show in the Church, who are always found the fastest friends of Christ. We learn, for another thing, from these verses, that there are some servants of Christ whose latter end is better than their beginning. The case of Nicodemus teaches that lesson very plainly. The only man who dared to help Joseph in his holy work of burying our Lord, was one who at first came to Jesus by night, and was nothing better than an ignorant inquirer after truth. At a later period in our Lords ministry we find this same Nicodemus coming forward with somewhat more boldness, and raising in the Council of the Pharisees the question, Does our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? (John vii. 51.) Finally, we see him in the passage before us, ministering to our Lords dead body, and not ashamed to take an active part in giving to the despised Nazarene an honorable burial. How great the contrast between the man who timidly crept into the Lords lodging to ask a question, and the man who brought a hundred pounds weight of myrrh and aloes to anoint His dead body! Yet it was the same Nicodemus. How great may be a mans growth in grace, and faith, and knowledge, and courage, in the short space of three years. We shall do well to store up these things in our minds, and to remember the case of Nicodemus, in forming our estimate of other peoples religion. We must not condemn others as graceless and godless, because they do not see the whole truth at once, and only reach decided Christianity by slow degrees. The Holy Ghost always leads believers to the same foundation truths, and into the same highway to heaven. In these there is invariable uniformity. But the Holy Ghost does not always lead believers through the same experience, or at the same rate of speed. In this there is much diversity in His operations. He that says conversion is a needless thing, and that an unconverted man may be saved, is undoubtedly under a strange delusion. But he that says that no one is converted except he becomes a full-blown and established Christian in a single day, is no less under a delusion. Let us not judge others rashly and hastily. Let us believe that a mans beginnings in religion may be very small, and yet his latter end may greatly increase. Has a man real grace? Has he within him the genuine work of the Spirit? This is the grand question. If he has, we may safely hope that his grace will grow, and we should deal with him gently, and bear with him charitably, though at present he may be a mere babe in spiritual attainments. The life in a helpless infant is as real and true a thing as the life in a full-grown man: the difference is only one of degree. Who hath despised the day of small things? (Zech. iv. 10.) The very Christian who begins his religion with a timid night-visit, and an ignorant inquiry, may stand forward alone one day, and confess Christ boldly in the full light of the sun. We learn, lastly, from these verses, that the burial of the dead is an act which God sanctions and approves. We need not doubt that this is part of the lesson which the passage before us was meant to convey to our minds. Of course, it supplies unanswerable evidence that our Lord really died, and afterwards really rose again; but it also teaches that, when the body of a Christian is dead, there is fitness and meetness in burying it with decent honor. It is not for nothing that the burials of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and Moses are carefully recorded in holy writ. It is not for nothing that we are told that John the Baptist was laid in a tomb; and that devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. (Acts viii. 2.) It is not for nothing that we are told so particularly about the burial of Christ. The true Christian need never be ashamed of regarding a funeral with peculiar reverence and solemnity. It is the body, which may be the instrument of committing the greatest sins, or of bringing the greatest glory to God. It is the body, which the eternal Son of God honored by dwelling in it for thirty and three years, and finally dying in our stead. It is the body, with which He rose again and ascended up into heaven. It is the body, in which He sits at the right hand of God, and represents us before the Father, as our Advocate and Priest. It is the body, which is now the temple of the Holy Ghost, while the believer lives. It is the body, which will rise again, when the last trumpet sounds, and, re-united to the soul, will live in heaven to all eternity. Surely, in the face of such facts as these, we never need suppose that reverence bestowed on the burial of the body is reverence thrown away. Let us leave the subject with one word of caution. Let us take care that we do not regard a sumptuous funeral as an atonement for a life wasted in carelessness and sin. We may bury a man in the most expensive style, and spend hundreds of pounds in mourning. We may place over his grave a costly marble stone, and inscribe on it a flattering epitaph. But all this will not save our souls or his. The turning point at the last day will not be how we are buried, but whether we were buried with Christ, and repented and believed. (Rom. vi. 4.) Better a thousand times to die the death of the righteous, have a lowly grave and a paupers funeral, than to die graceless, and lie under a marble tomb! J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 13, 2011

Lord’s Day 14, 2011

Sunday··2011·04·03 · 1 Comments
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Appeal to Christ for Sincerity of Love to Him Philip Doddridge (1702—1751) Do not I love Thee, O my Lord? Behold my heart and see; And turn each cursed idol out, That dares to rival Thee. Do not I love Thee, O my Lord? Then let me nothing love; Dead be my heart to every joy, When Jesus cannot move. Is not Thy Name melodious still To mine attentive ear? Doth not each pulse with pleasure bound My Savior’s voice to hear? Hast Thou a lamb in all Thy flock I would disdain to feed? Hast Thou a foe, before whose face I fear Thy cause to plead? Would not mine ardent spirit vie With angels round the throne, To execute Thy sacred will, And make Thy glory known? Would not my heart pour forth its blood In honor of Thy Name? And challenge the cold hand of death To damp the immortal flame? Thou knowest I love Thee, dearest Lord, But O, I long to soar Far from the sphere of mortal joys, And learn to love Thee more. —Worthy Is the Lamb (Soli Deo Gloria, 2004). The Gospel According to John 20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes. The chapter we have now begun takes us from Christ’s death to Christ’s resurrection. Like Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John dwells on these two great events with peculiar fullness and particularity. And we need not wonder. The whole of saving Christianity hinges on the two facts, that Christ died for our sins, and rose again for our justification. The chapter before our eyes deserves special attention. Of all the four evangelists, none supplies such deeply interesting evidence of the resurrection, as the disciple whom Jesus loved. We are taught in the passage before us, that those who love Christ most are those who have received most benefit from him. The first whom St. John names among those who came to Christ’s sepulcher, is Mary Magdalene. The history of this faithful woman, no doubt, is hidden in much obscurity. A vast amount of needless ridicule has been heaped upon her memory, as if she was once an habitual sinner against the seventh commandment. Yet there is literally no evidence whatever that she was anything of the kind! But we are distinctly told that she was one out of whom the Lord had cast “seven devils” (Mark xvi. 9; Luke viii. 2),—one who had been subjected in a peculiar way to Satan’s possession,—and one whose gratitude to our Lord for deliverance was a gratitude that knew no bounds. In short, of all our Lord’s followers on earth, none seem to have loved Him so much as Mary Magdalene. None felt that they owed so much to Christ. None felt so strongly that there was nothing too great to do for Christ. Hence, as Andrews beautifully puts it,—“She was last at His cross, and first at His grave. She stayed longest there, and was soonest here. She could not rest until she was up to seek Him. She sought Him while it was yet dark, even before she had light to seek Him by.” In a word, having received much, she loved much; and loving much, she did much, in order to prove the reality of her love. The case before us throws broad and clear light on a question, which ought to be deeply interesting to every true-hearted servant of Christ. How is it that many who profess and call themselves Christians, do so little for the Saviour whose name they bear? How is it that many, whose faith and grace it would be uncharitable to deny, work so little, give so little, say so little, take so little pains, to promote Christ’s cause, and bring glory to Christ in the world? These questions admit of only one answer. It is a low sense of debt and obligation to Christ, which is the account of the whole matter. Where sin is not felt at all, nothing is done; and where sin is little felt, little is done. The man who is deeply conscious of his own guilt and corruption, and deeply convinced that without the death and intercession of Christ he would sink deservedly into the lowest hell, this is the man who will spend and be spent for Jesus, and think that he can never do enough to show forth His praise. Let us daily pray that we may see the sinfulness of sin, and the amazing grace of Christ, more clearly and distinctly. Then, and then only, shall we cease to be cool, and lukewarm, and slovenly in our work for Jesus. Then, and then only, shall we understand such burning zeal as that of Mary; and comprehend what Paul meant when he said, “The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if One died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Cor. v. 14, 15.)We are taught, secondly, in these verses, that there are widely different temperaments in different believers. This is a point which is curiously brought out in the conduct of Peter and John, when Mary Magdalene told them that the Lord’s body was gone. We are told that they both ran to the sepulcher; but John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, outran Peter, and reached the empty grave first. Then comes out the difference between the two men. John, of the two more gentle, quiet, tender, reserved, retiring, deep-feeling, stooped down and looked in, but went no further. Peter, more hot, and zealous, and impulsive, and fervent, and forward, cannot be content without going down into the sepulcher, and actually seeing with his own eyes. Both, we may be sure, were deeply attached to our Lord. The hearts of both, at this critical juncture, were full of hopes, and fears, and anxieties, and expectations, all tangled together. Yet each behaves in his own characteristic fashion. We need not doubt that these things were intentionally written for our learning. Let us learn, from the case before us, to make allowances for wide varieties in the inward character of believers. To do so will save us much trouble in the journey of life, and prevent many an uncharitable thought. Let us not judge brethren harshly, and set them down in a low place, because they do not see or feel things exactly as we see and feel, and because things do not affect or strike them just as they affect and strike us. The flowers in the Lord’s garden are not all of one color and one scent, though they are all planted by one Spirit. The subjects of His kingdom are not all exactly of one tone and temperament, though they all love the same Saviour, and are written in the same book of life. The Church of Christ has some in its ranks who are like Peter, and some who are like John; and a place for all, and a work for all to do. Let us love all who love Christ in sincerity, and thank God that they love Him at all. The great thing is to love Jesus. We are taught, finally, in these verses, that there may be much ignorance even in true believers. This is a point which is brought out here with singular force and distinctness. John himself, the writer of this Gospel, records of himself and his companion Peter, “As yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” How truly incredible this seems! For three long years these two leading Apostles had heard our Lord speak of His own resurrection as a fact, and yet they had not understood Him. Again and again He had staked the truth of His Messiahship on His rising from the dead, and yet they had never taken in His meaning. We little realize the power over the mind which is exercised by wrong teaching in childhood, and by early prejudices imbibed in our youth. Surely the Christian minister has little right to complain of ignorance among his hearers, when he marks the ignorance of Peter and John, under the teaching of Christ Himself. After all we must remember that true grace, and not head knowledge, is the one thing needful. We are in the hands of a merciful and compassionate Saviour, who passes by and pardons much ignorance, when He sees “a heart right in the sight of God.” Some things indeed we must know, and without knowing them we cannot be saved. Our own sinfulness and guilt, the office of Christ as a Saviour, the necessity of repentance and faith,—such things as these are essential to salvation. But he that knows these things may, in other respects, be a very ignorant man. In fact, the extent to which one man may have grace together with much ignorance, and another may have much knowledge and yet no grace, is one of the greatest mysteries in religion, and one which the last day alone will unfold. Let us then seek knowledge, and be ashamed of ignorance. But above all let us make sure that, like Peter and John, we have grace and right hearts. —J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord’s Day 14, 2011

Lords Day 15, 2011

Sunday··2011·04·10
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Lost but Found. Horatius Bonar (18081889)   Arte mirâ, miro consilio,    Quærens ovem suam summus opilio,    Ut nos revocaret ab exilio. Old Hymn. I Was a wandering sheep, I did not love the fold; I did not love my Shepherds voice, I would not be controlled. I was a wayward child, I did not love my home, I did not love my fathers voice, I loved afar to roam. The Shepherd sought his sheep,    The Father sought his child, They followed me oer vale and hill,    Oer deserts waste and wild. They found me nigh to death,    Famished, and faint, and lone; They bound me with the bands of love;    They saved the wandering one! They spoke in tender love,    They raised my drooping head: They gently closed my bleeding wounds,    My fainting soul they fed. They washed my filth away,    They made me clean and fair; They brought me to my home in peace,    The long-sought wanderer! Jesus my Shepherd is,    Twas He that loved my soul, Twas He that washed me in his blood,    Twas He that made me whole. Twas He that sought the lost,    That found the wandering sheep, Twas He that brought me to the fold,    Tis He that still doth keep. I was a wandering sheep,    I would not be controlled: But now I love my Shepherds voice,    I love, I love the fold! I was a wayward child;    I once preferred to roam, But now I love my Fathers voice,-    I love, I love his home! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). John 20:1118 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him. 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away. 16 Jesus said to her, Mary! She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, Rabboni! (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, I have seen the Lord, and that He had said these things to her. The interview between the Lord Jesus and Mary Magdalene immediately after His resurrection, described in these verses, is a narrative peculiar to St. John. No other Evangelist has been inspired to record it. Of all the accounts of the appearances of our Lord, after He rose from the dead, none perhaps is so affecting and touching as this. He that can read this simple story without a deep interest, must have a very cold and unfeeling heart. We see, first, in these verses, that those who love Christ most diligently and perseveringly, are those who receive most privileges from Christs hand. It is a touching fact, and one to be carefully noted, that Mary Magdalene would not leave the sepulcher, when Peter and John went away to their own home. Love to her gracious Master would not let her leave the place where He had been lain. Where He was now she could not tell. What had become of Him she did not know. But love made her linger about the empty tomb, where Joseph and Nicodemus had recently laid Him. Love made her honor the last place where His precious body had been seen by mortal eyes. And her love reaped a rich reward. She saw the angels whom Peter and John had never observed. She actually heard them speak, and had soothing words addressed to her. She was the first to see our Lord after He rose from the dead, the first to hear His voice, the first to hold conversation with Him. Can any one doubt that this was written for our learning? Wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, this little incident testifies that those who honor Christ will be honored by Christ. As it was in the morning of the first Easter day, so will it be as long as the Church stands. The great principle contained in the passage before us, will hold good until the Lord comes again. All believers have not the same degree of faith, or hope, or knowledge, or courage, or wisdom; and it is vain to expect it. But it is a certain fact that those who love Christ most fervently, and cleave to Him most closely, will always enjoy most communion with Him, and feel most of the witness of the Spirit in their hearts. It is precisely those who wait on the Lord, in the temper of Mary Magdalene, to whom the Lord will reveal Himself most fully, and make them know and feel more than others. To know Christ is good; but to know that we know Him is far better. We see, secondly, in these verses, that the fears and sorrows of believers are often quite needless. We are told that Mary stood at the sepulcher weeping, and wept as if nothing could comfort her. She wept when the angels spoke to her: Woman, they said, why weepest thou?She was weeping still when our Lord spoke to her: Woman, He also said, why weepest thou?And the burden of her complaint was always the same: They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.Yet all this time her risen Master was close to her, with body, flesh, and bones, and all things pertaining to the perfection of mans nature. (Article IV.) Her tears were needless. Her anxiety was unnecessary. Like Hagar in the wilderness, she had a well of water by her side, but she had not eyes to see it. What thoughtful Christian can fail to see, that we have here a faithful picture of many a believers experience? How often we are anxious when there is no just cause for anxiety! How often we mourn over the absence of things which in reality are within our grasp, and even at our right hand! Two-thirds of the things we fear in life never happen at all, and two-thirds of the tears we shed are thrown away, and shed in vain. Let us pray for more faith and patience, and allow more time for the full development of Gods purposes. Let us believe that things are often working together for our peace and joy, which seem at one time to contain nothing but bitterness and sorrow. Old Jacob said at one time of his life, all these things are against me (Gen. xlii. 36); yet he lived to see Joseph again, rich and prosperous, and to thank God for all that had happened. If Mary had found the seal of the tomb unbroken, and her Masters body lying cold within, she might well have wept! The very absence of the body which made her weep, was a token for good, and a cause of joy for herself and all mankind. We see, thirdly, in these verses, what low and earthly thoughts of Christ may creep into the mind of a true believer. It seems impossible to gather any other lesson from the solemn words which our Lord addressed to Mary Magdalene, when He said, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.No doubt the language is somewhat mysterious, and ought to be delicately and reverently handled. Yet it is only reasonable to suppose that the first surprise, and the reaction from great sorrow to great joy, was more than the mind of Mary could bear. She was only a woman, though a holy and faithful woman. It is highly probable that, in the first excess of her joy, she threw herself at our Lords feet, and made greater demonstrations of feeling than were seemly or becoming. Very likely she behaved too much like one who thought all must be right if she had her Lords bodily presence, and all must be wrong in His bodily absence. This was not the highest style of faith. She acted, in short, like one who forgot that her Master was God as well as man. She made too little of His divinity, and too much of His humanity. And hence she called forth our Lords gentle rebuke, Touch Me not! There is no need of this excessive demonstration of feeling. I am not yet ascending to my Father for forty days: your present duty is not to linger at my feet, but to go and tell my brethren that I have risen. Think of the feelings of others as well as of your own. After all, we must confess that the fault of this holy woman was one into which Christians have always been too ready to fall. In every age there has been a tendency in the minds of many, to make too much of Christs bodily presence, and to forget that He is not a mere earthly friend, but one who is God over all, blessed forever, as well as man. The pertinacity with which Romanists and their allies cling to the doctrine of Christs real corporal presence in the Lords Supper, is only another exhibition of Marys feeling when she wanted Christs body, or no Christ at all. Let us pray for a right judgment in this matter, as in all other things concerning our Lords person. Let us be content to have Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, and present when two or three are met in His name, and to wait for the real presence of Christs body until He comes again. What we really need is not His literal flesh, but His Spirit. It is not for nothing that it is written, It is the Spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. If we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we Him no more. (John vi. 63; 2 Cor. v. 16.) We see, lastly, in these verses, how kindly and graciously our Lord speaks of His disciples. He bids Mary Magdalene carry a message to them as His brethren. He bids her tell them that His Father was their Father, and His God their God. It was but three days before that they had all forsaken Him shamefully, and fled. Yet this merciful Master speaks as if all was forgiven and forgotten. His first thought is to bring back the wanderers, to bind up the wounds of their consciences, to reanimate their courage, to restore them to their former place. This was indeed a love that passeth knowledge. To trust deserters, and to show confidence in backsliders, was a compassion which man can hardly understand. So true is that word of David: Like as a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth those who fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust. (Psalm ciii. 13, 14.) Let us leave the passage with the comfortable reflection that Jesus Christ never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As He dealt with His erring disciples in the morning of His resurrection, so will He deal with all who believe and love Him, until He comes again. When we wander out of the way He will bring us back. When we fall He will raise us again. But he will never break His royal word: Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. (John vi. 37.) The saints in glory will have one anthem in which every voice and heart will join: He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (Psalm ciii. 10.) J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lords Day 15, 2011

Lord���s Day 17, 2011

Sunday··2011·04·24
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� " /> Was Thy Wrath against the Sea?��� Christina Rossetti (1830���1894) The sea laments with unappeasable    Hankering wail of loss,       Lifting its hands on high and passing by          Out of the lovely light: No foambow any more may crest that swell    Of clamorous waves which toss;       Lifting its hands on high it passes by          From light into the night. Peace, peace, thou sea! God���s wisdom worketh well,    Assigns it crown or cross:       Lift we all hands on high, and passing by          Attest: God doeth right. ���Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). John 20:24���31 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, ���We have seen the Lord!��� But he said to them, ���Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.��� 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ���Peace be with you.��� 27 Then He said to Thomas, ���Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.��� 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, ���My Lord and my God!��� 29 Jesus said to him, ���Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.��� 30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. The story of the unbelief of Thomas, related in these verses, is a narrative peculiar to the Gospel of St. John. For wise and good reasons it is passed over in silence by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and was probably not given to the world until Thomas was dead. It is precisely one of those passages of Scripture which supply strong internal evidence of the honesty of the inspired writers. If impostors and deceivers had compiled the Bible for their own private advantage, they would never have told mankind that one of the first founders of a new religion behaved as Thomas here did. We should mark, for one thing, in these verses, how much Christians may lose by not regularly attending the assemblies of God���s people. Thomas was absent the first time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, and consequently Thomas missed a blessing. Of course we have no certain proof that the absence of the Apostle could not admit of explanation. Yet, at such a crisis in the lives of the eleven, it seems highly improbable that he had any good reason for not being with his brethren, and it is far more likely that in some way he was to blame. One thing, at any rate, is clear and plain. By being absent he was kept in suspense and unbelief a whole week, while all around him were rejoicing in the thought of a risen Lord. It is difficult to suppose that this would have been the case, if there had not been a fault somewhere. It is hard to avoid the suspicion that Thomas was absent when he might have been present. We shall all do well to remember the charge of the Apostle St. Paul: ���Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.��� (Heb. x. 25.) Never to be absent from God���s house on Sundays, without good reason,���never to miss the Lord���s Supper when administered in our own congregation,���never to let our place be empty when means of grace are going on, this is one way to be a growing and prosperous Christian. The very sermon that we needlessly miss, may contain a precious word in season for our souls. The very assembly for prayer and praise from which we stay away, may be the very gathering that would have cheered, and established, and quickened our hearts. We little know how dependent our spiritual health is on little, regular, habitual helps, and how much we suffer if we miss our medicine. The wretched argument that many attend means of grace and are no better for them, should be no argument to a Christian. It may satisfy those who are blind to their own state, and destitute of grace, but it should never satisfy a real servant of Christ. Such an one should remember the words of Solomon������Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.��� (Prov. viii. 34.) Above all he should bind around his heart the Master���s promise: ���Wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.��� ( Matt. xviii. 20.) Such a man will rarely be left like Thomas, shut out in the cold chill of unbelief, while others are warmed and filled. We should mark for another thing in this verse, how kind and merciful Christ is to dull and slow believers. Nowhere, perhaps, in all the four Gospels, do we find this part of our Lord���s character so beautifully illustrated as in the story before our eyes. It is hard to imagine anything more tiresome and provoking than the conduct of Thomas, when even the testimony of ten faithful brethren had no effect on him, and he doggedly declared, ���Except I see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands, I will not believe.��� But it is impossible to imagine anything more patient and compassionate, than our Lord���s treatment of this weak disciple. He does not reject him, or dismiss him, or excommunicate him. He comes again at the end of a week, and apparently for the special benefit of Thomas. He deals with him according to his weakness, like a gentle nurse dealing with a froward child,������Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side.��� If nothing but the grossest, coarsest, most material evidence could satisfy him, even that evidence was supplied. Surely this was a love that passeth knowledge, and a patience that passeth understanding. A passage of Scripture like this, we need not doubt, was written for the special comfort of all true believers. The Holy Ghost knew well that the dull, and the slow, and the stupid, and the doubting, are by far the commonest type of disciples in this evil world. The Holy Ghost has taken care to supply abundant evidence that Jesus is rich in patience as well as compassion, and that He bears with the infirmities of all His people. Let us take care that we drink into our Lord���s spirit, and copy His example. Let us never set down men in a low place, as gracious and godless, because their faith is feeble and their love is cold. Let us remember the case of Thomas, and be very compassionate and of tender mercy. Our Lord has many weak children in His family, many dull pupils in His school, many raw soldiers in His army, many lame sheep in His flock. Yet He bears with them all, and casts none away. Happy is that Christian who has learned to deal likewise with his brethren. There are many in the Church, who, like Thomas, are dull and slow, but for all that, like Thomas, are real and true believers. We should mark, lastly, in these verses, how Christ was addressed by a disciple as ���God,��� without prohibition or rebuke on His part. The noble exclamation which burst from the lips of Thomas, when convinced that his Lord had risen indeed,���the noble exclamation, ���My Lord and my God,������admits of only one meaning. It was a distinct testimony to our blessed Lord���s divinity. It was a clear, unmistakable declaration that Thomas believed Him, whom he saw and touched that day, to be not only man, but God. Above all, it was a testimony which our Lord received and did not prohibit, and a declaration which He did not say one word to rebuke. When Cornelius fell down at the feet of Peter and would have worshiped him, the Apostle refused such honor at once: ���Stand up; I myself also am a man.��� (Acts x. 26.) When the people of Lystra would have done sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas, ���they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you.��� (Acts xiv. 14.) But when Thomas says to Jesus, ���My Lord and my God,��� the words do not elicit a syllable of reproof from our holy and truth-loving Master. Can we doubt that these things were written for our learning? Let us settle it firmly in our minds that the divinity of Christ is one of the grand foundation truths of Christianity, and let us be willing to go to the stake rather than let it go. Unless our Lord Jesus is very God of very God, there is an end of His mediation, His atonement, His advocacy, His priesthood, His whole work of redemption. These glorious doctrines are useless blasphemies, unless Christ is divine. Forever let us bless God that the divinity of our Lord is taught everywhere in the Scriptures, and stands on evidence that can never be overthrown. Above all, let us daily repose our sinful souls on Christ with undoubting confidence, as one who is perfect God as well as perfect man. He is man, and therefore can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is God, and therefore is ���able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.��� That Christian has no cause to fear, who can look to Jesus by faith, and say with Thomas, ���My Lord and my God.��� With such a Saviour we need not be afraid to begin the life of real religion, and with such a Saviour we may boldly go on. ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). 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");
continue reading Lord���s Day 17, 2011

Lord���s Day 18, 2011

Sunday··2011·05·01
I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� The Deeps Lord Jesus, Give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart    shall be Thine alone. Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee,    the ground of my rest,    the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee. Plough deep in me, great Lord,    heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty. I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing    with living water. ���The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett, editor (Banner of Truth Trust, 2002). The Gospel According to John 21 After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, ���I am going fishing.��� They said to him, ���We will also come with you.��� They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said to them, ���Children, you do not have any fish, do you?��� They answered Him, ���No.��� 6 And He said to them, ���Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.��� So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ���It is the Lord.��� So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. 9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, ���Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.��� 11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, ���Come and have breakfast.��� None of the disciples ventured to question Him, ���Who are You?��� knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.    The appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection, described in these verses, is a deeply interesting portion of the Gospel history. The circumstances attending it have always been regarded as highly allegorical and figurative, in every age of the Church. It may, however, be justly doubted whether commentators and interpreters have not gone too far in this direction. It is quite possible to spiritualize and filter away the narratives of the Gospels, until we completely lose sight of the plain meaning of words. In the present case we shall find it wise to confine ourselves to the great, simple lessons, which the passage undoubtedly contains. We should observe, for one thing, in these verses, the poverty of the first disciples of Christ. We find them working with their own hands, in order to supply their temporal needs, and working at one of the humblest of callings,���the calling of a fisherman. Silver and gold they had none, lands and revenues they had none, and therefore they were not ashamed to return to the business to which they had, most of them, been trained. Striking is the fact, that some of the seven here named were fishing, when our Lord first called them to be Apostles, and again fishing, when He appeared to them almost the last time. We need not doubt that to the minds of Peter, James, and John, the coincidence would come home with peculiar power. The poverty of the Apostles goes far to prove the divine origin of Christianity. These very men who toiled all night in a boat, dragging about a cold wet net, and taking nothing,���these very men who found it necessary to work hard in order that they might eat,���these very men were some of the first founders of the mighty Church of Christ, which has now overspread one-third of the globe. These were they who went forth from an obscure corner of the earth, and turned the world upside down. These were the unlearned and ignorant men, who boldly confronted the subtle systems of ancient philosophy, and silenced its advocates by the preaching of the cross. These were the men who at Ephesus, and Athens, and Rome, emptied the heathen temples of their worshipers, and turned away multitudes to a new and better faith. He that can explain these facts, except by admitting that Christianity came down from God, must be a strangely incredulous man. Reason and common sense lead us to only one conclusion in the matter. Nothing can account for the rise and progress of Christianity but the direct interposition of God. We should observe, for another thing, in these verses, the different characters of different disciples of Christ. Once more, on this deeply interesting occasion, we see Peter and John side by side in the same boat, and once more, as at the sepulcher, we see these two good men behaving in different ways. When Jesus stood on the shore, in the dim twilight of the morning, John was the first to perceive who it was, and to say, ���It is the Lord;��� but Peter was the first to spring into the water, and to struggle to get close to his Master. In a word, John was the first to see; but Peter was the first to act. John���s gentle loving spirit was quickest to discern; but Peter���s fiery, impulsive nature was quickest to stir and move. And yet both were believers, both were true-hearted disciples, both loved the Lord in life, and were faithful to Him unto death. But their natural temperaments were not the same. Let us never forget the practical lesson before us. As long as we live, let us diligently use it in forming our estimate of believers. Let us not condemn others as graceless and unconverted, because they do not see the path of duty from our stand-point, or feel things exactly as we feel them. ���There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.��� (1 Cor. xii. 4.) The gifts of God���s children are not bestowed precisely in the same measure and degree. Some have more of one gift, and some have more of another. Some have gifts which shine more in public, and some which shine more in private. Some are more bright in a passive life, and some are more bright in an active one. Yet each and all the members of God���s family, in their own way and in their own season, bring glory to God. Martha was ���careful and troubled about much serving,��� when Mary ���sat at the feet of Jesus and heard His word.��� Yet there came a day at Bethany, when Mary was crushed and prostrated by overmuch sorrow, and Martha���s faith shone more brightly than her sister���s. (Luke x. 39, 40; John xi. 20���28.) Nevertheless both were loved by our Lord. The one thing needful is to have the grace of the Spirit, and to love Christ. Let us love all of whom this can be said, though they may not see with our eyes in everything. The Church of Christ needs servants of all kinds, and instruments of every sort; pen-knives as well as swords, axes as well as hammers, chisels as well as saws, Marthas as well as Marys, Peters as well as Johns. Let our ruling maxim be this, ���Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.��� (Ephes. vi. 24.) We should observe, lastly, in these verses, the abundant evidence which Scripture supplies of our Lord Jesus Christ���s resurrection . Here, as in other places, we find an unanswerable proof that our Lord rose again with a real material body, and a proof seen by seven grown-up men with their own eyes, at one and the same time. We see Him sitting, talking, eating, drinking, on the shore of the lake of Galilee, and to all appearance for a considerable time. The morning sun of spring shines down on the little party. They are alone by the well-known Galilean lake, far away from the crowd and noise of Jerusalem. In the midst sits the Master, with the nail-prints in His hands,���the very Master whom they had all followed for three years, and one of them, at least, had seen hanging on the cross. They could not be deceived. Will anyone pretend to say that stronger proof could be given that Jesus rose from the dead? Can any one imagine better evidence of a fact? That Peter was convinced and satisfied we know. He says himself to Cornelius, We ���did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.��� (Acts x. 41.) Those who in modern times say they are not convinced, may as well say that they are determined not to believe any evidence at all. Let us all thank God that we have such a cloud of witnesses to prove that our Lord rose again. The resurrection of Christ is the grand proof of Christ���s divine mission. He told the Jews they need not believe He was the Messiah, if He did not rise again the third day.���The resurrection of Christ is the top-stone of the work of redemption. It proved that He finished the work He came to do, and, as our Substitute, had overcome the grave.���The resurrection of Christ is a miracle that no infidel can explain away. Men may carp and cavil at Balaam���s ass, and Jonah in the whale���s belly, if they please, but until they can prove that Christ did not rise again we need not